I laughed when I read that Abou Bilal is studying medicine at the Kyiv Medical University. I wonder what he will specialize in later on? Gynecology maybe?
Tatyana was a single mom working as a waitress, struggling to raise her two year-old son after her boyfriend left when he was born. One day, a young man approached her in a bar, and asked if she’d like to make good money in a “safe and quick” way. The young man was Lebanese and studying medicine at the Kyiv Medical University. He told Tatyana that he could get her a six-month visa to work as a dancer in Lebanon. His uncle, he said, owned a cabaret there, and he was looking for new dancers for the nightly show. Tatyana accepted. Soon though, it became evident to her that she was being recruited for prostitution. “I didn’t mind. I was sleeping all the time with Ukrainian jerks that disappeared as soon as they had their way with me. So why not make some cash out of it?” Her contact in Lebanon was a man called Abu Bilal. Once she arrived to Lebanon, she only met him once. “He seemed nice and caring, he warned us about never sleeping with men without condoms and stuff like that.”
You can buy Tatyana for $400 USD a night. Don’t be offended by the word ‘buy’ – she uses it herself, in a very down-to-earth manner. “I am lucky to be worth $400 in such a competitive environment. Many of the other girls are bought for $200 or even less,” she says with a hint of… is it pride?! Yes, pride indeed. Tatyana, just like her friends Olga and Yulia, is from Ukraine. She entered Lebanon four months ago with an artist visa, an inventive scheme that the Lebanese authorities use to avoid admitting that they allow prostitution. General Security closely monitors the ‘artists.’ Their residency permits do not exceed six months, and they are deported if they are caught overstaying their permits.
Update: The General Security denied the allegations stated in Annahar’s article and said it didn’t have access to any data (Source: VOL).
Update2: Since February 2013, the Prime Minister can accept giving the Data to any security agency at his own discretion [Source]. The criteria set out by the law which requires judges’ prior approval and execution by Minister of Communication was waived as per request from President Sleiman. Nowadays, even ISF is receiving such Data and not only General Security (Annahar’s info is partially true but fully unprofessional). Thank you Razor!
An-Nahar Daily said on Monday that the General Security apparatus is receiving the telecommunications’ data that it needs upon the approval of Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
According to An-Nahar newspaper, General Security Chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim sent more than one memorandum to the interior ministry and received immediate approvals from PM Mikati and Minister Charbel “who did not take into account the freedom and privacy of citizens”. [LBC]
According to Annahar’s article, The General Security have repeatedly requested access to the telecoms data of the entire population for many Lebanese areas and got an approval for it.
I don’t know where Telecom Minister Sehnaoui stands from those requests and whether he also gave his approval or if it was required (I think he has to approve), but this goes against the campaign he led himself few months back in the name of privacy and personal freedom. I wish the author of the article provided further explanation and details rather than politicize the whole matter as the problem is much bigger than such considerations.
In all cases, I am almost positive all the legal and illegal parties have access in a way or another to our data but this remains nonetheless a very serious issue as we should never compromise our freedom in the name of security.
Here’s my original post on the Freedom vs. Security back when the Information Branch requested data from the Telecom Ministry and the government and got denied any access.
Last picture of the group on the small boat taken by the yacht’s skipper – via DailyStar
That’s quite an unfortunate incident. According to TimesOfMalta, the sea was calm when the group left but there was a sudden change in weather later on with winds reaching up to force six.
The French-Lebanese couple, Elias Chmouni and Sandrine Godet, left behind a five-month-old son (Simon) and a three-year-old daughter (Clara).
Chmouni was one of five tourists that were reported missing after the boat accident. His wife, and their 14-year-old son as well as a French couple accompanying them were also reported missing after the accident.
The accident took place on the evening of May 12, when the group set sail from Tunisia on a private yacht, called El Pirata, to celebrate Chmouni’s 49th birthday.
But the celebration turned into a nightmare after Chmouni and his wife Sandrine Godet decided to go to a restaurant at the nearby Xlendi Bay. Instead of sailing there onboard the El Pirata, the group took a small boat and set sail to the bay at around 8 p.m. [DailyStar]
For those of you, like myself, who couldn’t understand a thing about the new hybrid electoral law proposed, here’s a nice elaborate post on that matter posted on Moulahazat.com:
There has been a lot of talk on a hybrid Proportional-Representation/ Winner-Takes-All electoral law in the past few weeks, and almost all the parties (PSP, Phalanges, Amal, Lebanese Forces) gave their proposals of hybrid laws in the electoral committees. The different hybrid draft laws are very similar to each other and mostly differ in the percentage of MPs elected by proportional representation (30%, 40%, 50%) but less in the constituencies’ boundaries (Small districts for the winner-takes-all seats and big ones for the PR seats). I’m going to review the draft law proposed from the Lebanese Forces. You can see the criteria of the law here.
It still looks a bit too complicated to explain to all the voters.
Update: Lana Del Rey will also be performing at the Byblos Festival on July 10th even though it wasn’t officially declared yet. [Source]
For all the Anthony Touma fans, The Voice Tour 2013 is coming to the Jounieh International Festival 2013 on Tuesday July 9 at the Fouad Chehab Stadium as stated by L’Orient LeJour. I didn’t see a mention of the concert on the Jounieh Festival website though.
I for myself am still upset I will be missing Lana del Rey’s performance at the Sky Bar in Beirut on May 30. Speaking of partying, I’ve been to White, Pier7 and Al Mandaloun these past two days and I can assure you the summer has kicked off to a great start!
The 4G network will only support data at the moment to be followed by calls and SMS by end of June
I tried the 4G SIM on both the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Note2 and I couldn’t get a 4G sign even though I put the right configuration. I don’t know if I misunderstood Alfa’s official statement but they did specify a list of devices that work on the Alfa 4G network during the launch:
The devices that work on the Alfa 4G network are:
1- Lumia 920
2- Galaxy S3 (that supports LTE)
3- Galaxy Note 2 (that supports LTE)
4- LG Optimus g
5- iPad mini
Here’s an excerpt from the DailyStar:
Yet very few smartphones and wireless devices currently sold in Lebanon support the new network and accessing it will come at a high cost to consumers. Alfa CEO Marwan Hayek said at a news conference that 41,000 devices in the Lebanese market are currently 4G, or fourth-generation, enabled, including the Nokia Lumia 920, the LG Optimus G, the iPad mini, and compatible Galaxy S3 and Note 2 models. [DailyStar]
PS: On a side note, thumbs up to Alfa for their improved customer service!
If you happen to be going towards Beirut and stop on the right side of the Jounieh Highway (Between EDL Zouk Power Plant and Nahr el Kalb), watch out for these randomly open holes as they could seriously screw up your car.
Just when I started having hope when I saw a policeman wearing a helmet (see below), I spotted an ISF bus not only going the wrong way yesterday but driving recklessly (and stupidly by creating more traffic). Of course other cars followed him instead of staying in line.
I’m wondering if the Interior Minister and concerned parties are allocating enough time to teach these officers the law because they obviously don’t have a clue or just don’t give a damn, and I am not sure which is worse.
I was at G-Star Raw‘s launching party last week and I was having a little chat with their Business Developer Patrick Reytenbagh who asked me which Lebanese restaurant I would recommend for a lunch or dinner for a tourist coming to Lebanon. I had a lot of places in mind but he just wanted that one-place that would leave a great impression and a one of a kind experience and the only restaurant I could think of is Babel in Dbayyeh.
I looked through my previous posts and I was surprised to see that I’ve never reviewed Babel even though I’ve been there countless times. The only post I could find was one entitled ‘Lebanese Hospitality‘ showing how generous Babel is. Everything from the presentation, the architecture, the food and the service is unique and almost perfect. Even the toilets look great lol!
Until I write a full review, I leave with some of Babel’s specialties and this nice post by NoGarlicNoOnions. Babel is located in Dbayyeh.
The only thing that’s missing is a website for the restaurant as I couldn’t find any which is pretty weird.
Who wants to watch the Premiere of one of the best action movies for this summer at Lebanon’s biggest and newest screen? If you are interested, just leave a comment on this post with a valid email and I will draw a winner at the end of the day. The invitation is for 2.
The event marks the official opening of Vox Cinemas and is taking place on May 21st 2013 starting 7:30 pm.
PS: There’s a cocktail reception before the movie premiere and a special parking space will be available for all the guests on Level L2 of the mall
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.