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Beirut-based Middle East newspaper bankrupt

When I stopped receiving my paper earlier this week, I thought perhaps my subscription to Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper had  run out.

I checked the website — suspiciously not updated for three days, since Jan. 14.  Checked the news stands — nope, not there either.

Then, a friend wrote: "Has the Daily Star  shut down?"

Apparently, it has.

Zawya Dow Jones reports the Daily Star is bankrupt due to a $1.7 million debt owed to Standard Chartered.

"We appealed two days ago to the judge to lift the bankruptcy ruling from the paper," Jamil Mroue, the Star's owner and editor-in-chief told Zawya Dow Jones Wednesday.

Reporters at the Daily Star told the news service they were ordered out last Wednesday by police, who closed the office in the middle  of the work day.

The Daily Star's website says the paper has shut down three times since its founding in 1952 — twice during Lebanon's civil war. It reopened again in 1996 and published continuously until last week.

The Star had hit hard times since the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.  What had been a 20-page paper shrunk to 10, and the paper stopped including the International Herald Tribune newspaper.

The Daily Star was the only English language paper in Lebanon. Mroue told Dow Jones that he hoped to resolve the debt by selling off part of of his 80 percent holding to investors. It wouldn't be the first time the paper rose from the ashes.