Monthly Archives: October 2011

More on the wage hike

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Ever since the decision to increase minimum wages by 200,000 LL was announced yesterday, I haven’t read any positive feedback on it. Many think it’s a bad idea and the economic bodies urged the private sector not to abide by the government’s decision.

Economically speaking, it is always bad when the government increases minimum wages without taking into consideration the resulting inflation and increase in unemployment. However, looking at the inflation that has been ongoing for years now in Lebanon, it is hard to believe that adding 200,000 LL to the minimum wage will have that many repercussions.

Nevertheless, I had a long talk with a good friend of mine who works in the industrial sector and he told me that while intentions behind raising the wages are good, such measures will force businesses to fire people and cut down on the benefits given to employees. Added to that, the government is planning on compensating this increase by adding an extra 2% to the VAT, which along with the inflation, will result in flamboyant prices.

There were better alternatives to increasing the minimum wage, ones that do not include regulating prices such as:

- Follow the army example and grant Lebanese earning only the minimum wage discounts on food and other basic goods.

- Higher Taxes on the maritime resorts and quarries, knowing that a big portion of them is illegal.

Nadine Njeim on Tony Baroud’s “A7la Jalse”

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I saw few minutes of Tony Baroud’s new show on LBCI called “A7la Jalsse” and Nadine Njeim, Miss Lebanon 2004, was among his guests.

During one part of the show, they asked all guests to state their bad habits. When it was Nadine’s turn, she proudly stated that she texts on her BB, does her makeup, and eats while driving!!

Fortunately though, she does keep the seat belt on and was never caught cheating on her exams.

I wish someone could share with us the standards upon which the MOT is choosing candidates for Miss Lebanon(aside from having a twitter account because social media is so cool now!)

PS: While listening to Nadine, I was imagining SLCHI making fun of her with Roula playing Nadine and Naim playing Tony. We want SLCHI back!

Minimum Wage raised to 700,000

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On Tuesday, the cabinet increased the minimum wage to LL700,000 from LL500,000. It also raised by LL200,000 the wages of workers earning less than LL1 million. As for those who earn between LL1 million and LL1.8 million, they would get a LL300,000 raise. [Naharnet]

While this is great news, there seems to be something wrong with the decision taken as it excluded everyone earning between 1,000,000 and 1,800,000 LL. In fact, I just read on the Kataeb portal that the government might reconsider the draft to include everyone.

Why is it wrong?
Because it doesn’t make sense to add 300,000 LL for someone earning 1,750,000 and exempting another one earning 1,810,000 LL. What should be done is sorting the salaries into ranges and giving a percentage for each range:

For example:
- 200,000 LL for people below 1,000,000
- 300,000 LL for people between 1,000,000 and 1,800,000 LL.
- 10% or 400,000 LL (depending which is higher) for people between 1,800,000 and 5,000,000

BBC Report: World’s Slowest Internet

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BlogBaladi took part in the report BBC did on the internet in Lebanon as I was interviewed by Howard Johnson on that matter few weeks back. Surprisingly though, they did not include anything I said but simply showed me browsing the net at the start of the report. Di3an kel hal 7ake!

For those interested, I talked about most of the issues the other interviewees mentioned but also noted that the cap given to internet users is very low, that our infrastructure might not be able to handle increasing numbers of internet users specially after the drop in prices and the speed upgrades, and that both issues could prove very problematic in the near future.

Straw Hat Legacy

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[YouTube]

Straw Hat Legacy is an iPhone/iPad game designed by a Lebanese indie developer called EvilEggPlant Studios. I guess the Arabic for that would be الباذنجان الشريرة?

Anyway, EvilEggPlant was started up by two guys, Wael Ouaijan and Avak Avakian and Straw Hat Legacy is their first game release. You can watch the video of the game above or download it from the Apple Store [Here]

My brother also has an interview with them which you can check out on his blog [Here]

Lebanon bans “Red, White and the Green”

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Lebanon has banned a screening of Iranian documentary “Red, White and the Green,” which deals with violence in the weeks before the 2009 presidential election, an organizer announced Sunday.

“Lebanese censorship authorities on Friday informed us we would have to pull Iranian director Nader Davoodi’s film ‘Red, White and the Green’ from our program and today we were informed that Davoodi would not be allowed to travel to Lebanon,” said Colette Naufal, director of the Beirut International Film Festival which runs from October 5 to 13. [Link]

I am curious to know what was the reason for banning this Iranian movie.

You can check out more about the movie [Here].

Thank you Nadine Labaki

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I finally went to see Nadine Labaki’s movie yesterday and I absolutely loved it!

It is by far the best movie I’ve seen this year and the best Lebanese movie ever produced. The characters, the plot, the music, the locations chosen, everything was just perfect!

There are a lot of funny scenes despite the drama involved, and I felt the movie was short despite being 110 minutes long.

Nevertheless, there are two things I did not appreciate in the movie:

- All men are portrayed as being irrational and impulsive and sometimes dumb while all women are wise and intelligent and can easily manipulate and trick their men.

- Lebanese Muslim & Christian women, living in distant villages, will NEVER go down to the city to bring back Ukrainian strippers/hookers to keep their husbands and the villages’ men entertained.

Still, those are minor details when we look at the whole movie which is simply brilliant!

I highly recommend it to all and I will definitely be watching it a second time soon.

PS: The movie scored a well deserved 7.4 on imdb and there are some nice reviews which you can read [Here].