Six Lebanese Cities (Including Jbeil??) Among 64 Cities At “Extreme Risk” Of A Terror Attack

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lol

I am going to label this post under “Humor” because this is an absolutely ridiculous list that makes no sense whatsoever and I’m quite surprised that the Telegraph and Time decided to share it without double checking some of its findings. Out of the 64 cities categorized as “extreme risk” in Verisk Maplecroft’s new Global Alerts Dashboard (GAD), there are 6 Lebanese cities: Beirut, Byblos, Aley, Baabda, Jounieh and Zahlé.

Noting that the rankings are based on “an online mapping and data portal that logs and analyses every reported terrorism incident down to levels of 100m² worldwide”, and that is based on the “intensity and frequency of attacks in the 12 months following February 2014, combined with the number and severity of incidents in the previous five years”, I am not sure how cities like Byblos, Aley, Baabda, Jounieh and Zahlé made the list while Tripoli wasn’t even mentioned. When was the last time you heard about an attack in Jounieh, Byblos or Baabda? The areas aren’t even close to conflict areas like Zahle is. Moreover, how is Beirut more at risk of a terror attack than Damascus?

Funnily enough, I was just praising Jbeil yesterday for winning the Arab Tourism Capital Title for 2016 and now it’s on some world’s deadliest cities list.

Update: I am going to email the Telegraph and Time and ask them to revise this article.

What Is This Arab Tourism Award Jbeil (Byblos) Just Won?

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byblos via Bank Audi FB page

I’m really happy that Byblos won the Arab Tourism Capital Title for 2016 but I am really confused about this award as I can’t find anything about it. There’s no doubt that Jbeil deserves to win such an award but who are we competing against and who’s coming up with these awards? What exactly is the Arab Council of Tourism?

I tried to look up the Arab Council of Tourism online and found a website called [arab-tourismorg.org] which didn’t help much. In fact, I realized Jbeil wasn’t the only winner as the Saudi city Abha also won the same award for the year 2016 and 2017. If this is true, then Jbeil won the award for two years not just one (yay?).

Jbeil was also chosen as the best Arab Tourist City by the World Tourism Organization in 2013 but I could barely find anything related to it as well. Don’t get me wrong as I am not trying to question the awards but if we are only hearing about them in Beirut then what’s the point?

I honestly think our primary focus should be on promoting tours and activities in Jbeil because these awards won’t help much if tourists don’t know how to get to Byblos. I just had a quick look at Livelovelebanon (where it’s still winter) and destinationlebanon where I found a very helpful pdf but not so user-friendly.

Otherwise, congrats to Jbeil which is one of my favorite cities in Lebanon and I’m going to dedicate a post very soon to Jbeil, how to get there, things to do, places to go, restaurants to visit etc …

cities

An Amazing HQ Lebanon Video From The 1960s

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old airport

If you are like old pictures and videos of Lebanon, then Kheireddine El-Ahdab is the man to follow. He always shares the most amazing old videos and pictures of Beirut and Lebanon and his latest is this amazing 5-minute high quality video shot in Beirut and Lebanon in the 1960s. The video is from the AP archives and was taken from the movie 24 hours to kill.

You can easily spot the old Beirut airport, Phoenicia hotel, Excelsior and St George hotel, the Casino du Liban and other landmarks. Check out the video [here].

Phoenicia Phoenicia hotel.

ST george Fashion trends back then.

stgeorge1 The famous St Georges hotel and bay

jj Berdwani in Zahle

swin and ski Swim and ski in the same day.

souks Jewelry souks

jagalna Wearing sunglasses at nightclubs is still a trend

Casino Casino du Liban

BlogBaladi Earning The Top Spot In Communicate Levant’s Book of Tens (Top Social Media Influencers)

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20150520_210947

Communicate Levant just released their book of tens 2015 which includes comprehensive lists of everything that happened in Lebanon last year from viral campaigns, YouTube hits, epic media mistakes, promising local startups, bad outdoor ads, only-in-Lebanon images, ten hilarious people to follow in Facebook, ten hashtags that should be banned, ten most popular local TV shows as well as the top ten social influencers where I am featured in the top spot.

Communicate Levant asked Lebanese brands from various industries – be it F&B, Fashion, technology and others to come up with that list and it’s quite awesome to be on that list along with my fellow bloggers Gino from Gino’s Blog, Anthony from NGNO, Lana from L’armoire De Lana and Rami from +961. I’m glad British Ambassador Tom Fletcher made the list because he’s been more influential than most of our politicians in the past years and deserves to be on top for all the work he’s accomplished.

20150520_210903

The Book of Tens came in a huge box that had balloons inside and a challenge, the #communichallenge where we need to do one of the following:

– Do something creative with the box (wear it, paint it, glue it, fold it or ship* an unloved one to a remote area across the Atlantic).
– Fit a colleague inside the box.

I already have something in mind and my younger brother won’t like the idea. Stay tuned :)

Will The Real Anthony Touma Please Stand Up?

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touma

There’s a guy on Facebook called “Anthony Touma” who has been getting tons of messages and friend requests ever since Anthony Touma (the singer) won the 2015 edition of Dancing With The Stars. He doesn’t seem too upset about it as he’s been getting deliveries in less than 10 minutes. Check out what he wrote as it’s hilarious.

I was cheering for Leila ben Khalifa by the way.

leila

Thanks Rabih!

Giveaway: Five Tickets To Watch The Amazing Yasmine Hamdan At O1NE Beirut On Sunday!

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Yasmine-HamdancJean-Baptiste-Millot Yasmine Hamdan – Source

Update: Winners of the Yasmine Hamdan tickets are:
Agnes Semaan
Amira Mourad

I will send you emails later on today on how to claim your tickets.

If you can feel the emotion, it’s for you. That’s what Yasmine Hamdan told Telegraph in one of her many interviews and she’s absolulty right. Her music is like nothing I’ve ever heard before as it mixes between traditional Arabic music and electro folk pop, add to that her wonderful voice and the playful use of various dialects of Arabic in her lyrics and you get music that is out of this world.

Who is Yasmine Hamdan?
Yasmine Hamdan is a Lebanese artist, singer and actress is now living in Paris. Hamdan spent her youth dodging wars between Beirut and Kuwait before she settled in Beirut, formed Soapkills with Zeid Hamdan, one of the first indie/electronic bands to appear in the Middle East and soon established herself as an underground icon throughout the Arab world. She was praised by the New York Times as “Arabic Music’s Modern Voice” (New York Times) and was described by NPR as “one of the most free-thinking and inventive artists singing in Arabic today”. Yasmine has been on stages all around the world, amongst them the Opera house in Australia, Olympia in France, Albert Hall in London, Haus Der Kulturen der Wel in Berlin, the Byblos Music Festival in Lebanon and she’s performing on Sunday 24th of May at O1NE Beirut: House of Entertainement.

yasmine

Who wants tickets to watch Yasmine Hamdan?

Yasmine’s concert is on Sunday at the exceptional O1NE Beirut and I have 5 tickets to give away. I will definitely be there with the winners and we might get the chance to meet Yasmine behind the scenes. All you need to win these tickets is answer the below questions:

1- How many albums did Yasmine produce with Soapkills?
2- Under which album is her song “Deny”?

I will draw 2 names (2 tickets each) by Wednesday night and announce the winners on Thursday morning. Another ticket will be given away on Facebook or Instagram so stay tuned. Tickets are available on Virgin TicketingBoxOffice for those interested.

Some of My Favorite Yasmine Hamdan songs:
1- Deny:
[YouTube]

2- Beirut:
[YouTube]

3- Yasmine Hamdan singing Mohammad Abdel Wahab
[YouTube]

Just to understand how complex Yasmine’s music is:

If it’s not really “world music”, it’s certainly not mainstream pop. “I don’t define my music geographically,” she says, “whether it’s Middle Eastern or international. If you can feel the emotion, the music’s for you.” While she feels proud of the changes wrought by the Arab Spring, she feels sceptical of the term itself. “Things happened and are happening very differently in Cairo, Tunis, Libya and Syria. The Arab world isn’t one reality.” Indeed, the fact that she lives in Paris, where she is married to Palestinian film director Elia Suleiman, suggests a degree of alienation from what is happening in the Middle East. “Islam itself is in a complex period. I learnt the Koran as a child. When I read the Koran or hear it read, the images and the poetry, the sound of the language is very inspiring. There are many positive values that come with a Muslim upbringing. But when religion becomes about rules and hierarchies, when it starts to feel like a prison, I’m not interested.”

NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

Where Is The Internet Police When You Need It In Lebanon?

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dima-sadek

LBCI News Anchor Dima Sadek removed a post she wrote on Facebook few days ago after her mother received threats and insults on her phone. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a journalist is harassed in Lebanon whether online or through abusive phone calls and these people won’t stop even if you removed a controversial post or picture. May Chidiac was and is still being harassed on a daily basis and nothing is being done to track down these people. Moreover, there are a lot of people who have nothing to do with politics and get harassed on a daily basis and are unable to do anything about it, and I’ve already raised this issue two years ago when one of my friends was being harassed.

I think it’s time for the ISF and cyber crimes bureau to investigate this type of harassment and bullying and try to track down who’s behind it. We also need to track down all these apps that can get you someone’s personal information based on their license plate and that are still available for download. Cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and online harassment are crimes that should be punishable by law and treated more seriously in Lebanon.

Dima

Joke/Headline Of The Week: Lebanon To Become a Railway Powerhouse Once Again

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Picture taken from Bambi’s Soapbox

When I first read the title of this article, I checked the date to make sure it’s not an old post, then I read the whole thing 3 times just to make sure it’s not a satire post and I still can’t believe that someone, Robert Fisk in that case, would believe that “Beirut has the chance to revive its steam-age role as a key transit hub”, and that Syria’s relaunching is going to happen sometime soon and have a positive impact on Lebanon. I mean seriously? A Tunnel from Baabdat to Chtaura? A train from Beirut through the Bekaa, Syria and the Gulf and all the way to Europe? Who are we kidding here?

Eugene Sensenig-Dabbous, an Austrian politics professor at Notre Dame University in Lebanon and engineer by profession, told his Unesco audience that “railways are a regional, international issue because infrastructure development is one of the keys to the future of the Middle East”. Talking later, he was more specific. “The majority of the freight for re-launching Syria after the war will obviously go through Beirut. The Syrian port of Lattakia is too small. The reopening of the old Tripoli-Homs train line, which is still relatively intact, could be done quite quickly.

Now the funniest part is how Mr. Maalouf is “relying on the sheer frustration of the automobile-intoxicated Lebanese to bring back the trains”. Don’t get me wrong as I have the utmost respect for the Ecuador-born Lebanese filmmaker Elias Maalouf, but Lebanese have been cursing yet electing the same people for more than 20 years now, and they seem to be fine living without a president, without infrastructure, water, electricity or internet. They couldn’t care less about trains being renovated or turned into UN heritage sites and they are building houses and nightclubs all over them (unless the government paves a new road over the railway).

All in all, the poster below is the closest thing we will get to seeing trains in Lebanon again. Enjoy the [article] and keep dreaming Lebanon :)

A Video Showing New Traffic Law Violations In Lebanon

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bad

This video was shot by a student for a school project and shows several violations (including one by an ISF officer) in Beirut. I’ve also been spotting many violations on a daily basis but I’ve also noticed Lebanese are not speeding anymore and driving safely which is a good sign. I think the ISF and Interior Ministry are doing the right thing by taking things slowly, but I still want them to punish officers who break the law more severely in order to further gain people’s trust.

[YouTube]

Thanks Hadi!