Monthly Archives: March 2012

Beirut’s Roman hippodrome to be dismantled

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Regarding the hippodrome, the leaked correspondence shows that the culture ministry agreed to “the reintegration of the whole southern section of the ruins into the structure intended to be built by keeping it in situ, and the dismantling and re-installation of the central course and northern sections.”

Layoun vociferously defended his decision when he spoke to Al-Akhbar.

“What we did is an important achievement. It corrects the mistake by Solidere, which deceived property owners by not informing them that there were archaeological finds before buying the property,” he said. [Link]

I am not surprised to read this one single bit. In fact, I am a bit happy that they will actually preserve the site by “integrating” it into an upmarket commercial development, because I don’t expect better from this government or any other one. When you hear about filling up an archaeological site with sewers in Beirut in order to build a monument on top, you should not be shocked to hear this.

Krikita ad Myth Busted

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I posted back in Jan 24 that famous Krikita ad that was invading (and still is) Local TVs and wanted to make an experiment to see if it’s possible for the girl to snatch a cricri from the guy’s hand while jogging?

Well my brother and his friends finally did the experiment and it failed on all times. You can’t snatch a cricri while jogging from someone’s cricri bag. Myth busted!

I told him to upload it to that Crest & Oral-B Arabia Spread the Smile competition. It’s funnier than all the videos and photo I’ve seen there.

Update: It’s official. He uploaded it. It’s still under moderation but you can still view it here and vote [here] until it’s cleared.

How bad is the rotten meat issue?

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I was discussing the whole rotten meat issue with few friends in the food business and I was surprised to hear the prime suspects, known as the Natour brothers, are among Lebanon’s biggest meat distributors and have few dealerships on Brazilian meat for example that no one else has.

This being said, there were two types of products being distributed:
– Expired meat that still “looked okay” had its expiry date changed.
– Rotten meat was sold as processed or hamburger meat etc…

Therefore, anyone from a 5-star hotel to a small snack could have received bad meat and used it in a way or another, and that’s probably why we’ve been hearing on a daily basis about tons of bad meat found in the dumpster all over Lebanon.

Of course no minister or concerned party resigned yet and it will only take few days or weeks before this whole issue is thrown in the garbage for all to forget.

Clarification on Dr. Zackaria Ahmed Hankir’s arrest

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I thought it would be appropriate to mention the comments I received on an earlier post regarding Zackaria Ahmed Hankir’s arrest for having a Doshka in his car.

The man in question is a highly esteemed doctor who treats a majority of his patients for free and has a hobby of collecting antiques. It is quite shameful that relatively reliable news portals and radios would spread such inaccurate information. Here’s a link to MTV’s report on that matter. [YouTube]

Here are comments from Dr Mohammed Zackaria Hankir and Zahra Hankir, Dr. Zakaria’s children. Thank you for your comments and apologies for any inconvenience caused noting that I did not accuse your father of arms smuggling but commented on the arrest as mentioned in the news.

I am the proud son of Dr Zackaria Ahmed Hankir and would like to take the opportunity to say a few words on this peculiar matter. Whilst my dad might have been quoted for saying that he used the Doshka as a “decoration item” what he meant was that he is in the habit of collecting all sorts of items which he uses to furnish his private home and clinic. That particular item is something he simply acquired over decades of collecting various bits and bobs (believe me, I used to go to the Sunday Markets in the UK with him as far back as 20 years ago when I was 10 years of age). The army confiscated this item among many others which as Sergio rightfully said don’t even shoot. Further, they subjected my further to the ignominy of being detained in jail. Now I may have a relatively liberal sense of what constitutes human rights having lived in the UK for a vast majority of my life, but a man is fully entitled to collect whatever his heart desires so long as it is not to the harm of others. My father is an exceptional physician who as Sam (bless your soul sir) rightly said, doesn’t charge a majority of his patients for his services. I can attest to this because despite the fact my father is a Dr, I (and the rest of my family) have had to work for everything we have just so that the people of Saida and other cities in Lebanon could benefit from his altruistic services. I can’t give you a figure (likely in the hundreds if not the thousands), but it is a matter of fact that there are a plethora of people out there in this world (the UK and Ireland included) who are alive and well thanks to my father’s ingenuity and compassion as a physician. He is an asset to Lebanon in the truest sense of the term and nothing less than a devoted patriot. The man has a British passport and me and my 3 brothers are all based in the UK. He can easily return here if he had the desire but he simply does n’t. Finally my father has dealt with this matter with dignity and transparency and so I hope other more pressing matters can be addressed by the authorities of Lebanon; a nation that I will always be inextricably connected to and also deeply proud of.
Dr Mohammed Zackaria Hankir, Oxford UK.

I am this individual’s daughter and yes that item was part of an antique collection and not used for some sinister purpose, as was originally reported in the press (or as you seem to suggest.) Please get your facts right before contributing to such ridiculous, unfounded and absurd claims, which essentially are defamation. My father is a well-respected doctor with a hobby, not a smuggler. At the very least, his name should not be mentioned in the context of these ridiculous charges, and the army should be focusing its efforts on arresting and raiding the many homes of those who truly harbour and smuggle weapons, not an innocent, law-abiding citizen who owns antiques.

Migrant’s workers rights and obligations booklet in Lebanon

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[High-Res] [Source]

I was checking out on lebmanbojumbo’s blog the “Migrant’s workers rights and obligations booklet in Lebanon”, and I honestly don’t know what to think of the Cultural Practices and Social Manners sections [Manual].

Here are some of the recommendations for all domestic workers coming to Lebanon and my comments:
– In Lebanon, people may sometimes speak with a loud voice but this does not always mean that they are angry with you or don’t like you. They just communicate in a different way from what you may be used to.

How about Lebanese learn to talk quietly and respectfully to others including their domestic workers?

– They often say “NO” by raising their eyebrows, shaking their head from one side to the other or raising it high.

WTF? Seriously?

– You could be asked to wear a veil in a Muslim family.

So much for freedom of religion. How about ask the domestic worker if she minds before being asked to wear a veil or a cross or whatever?

– It is quite common for people in Lebanon to entertain a large number of guests till late hours of the night in their homes.

You are a slave. Deal with it.

– Your employer may ask you to work in the evening or on weekends.

You are a slave. Deal with it.

Minister Fattoush sues MTV over Jeita Grotto report

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Minister Nicolas Fattoush filed a lawsuit against MTV’s Joyce Akiki over a report she did on the Jeita Grotto and the “Mapas” company that’s supposedly managing the Grotto. Looking at the video, local authorities should be the ones investigating this minister and not him suing journalists.

Added to that, I am wondering now if it was also “Mapas” that got Jeita Grotto in the N7W competition and made us lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over some scam competition.

If you still think N7W wasn’t a bad idea, think again.

“Doshka” is allowed in Lebanon

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Few days ago, I read on a Lebanese news portal that a man by the name of Zakaria Ahmad Hankir was arrested outside a Palestinian camp in Lebanon with a “Doshka” in his trunk. The weapon was confiscated and the man put behind bars.

Surprisingly, the man was released today because, and I quote, “he was using the weapon as a decoration item”.

صوت لبنان 100.5: اخلاء سبيل زكريا أحمد حنقير بعدما تبين أن الاسلحة التي كانت بحوزته هي قطع أثرية كان يستعملها للزينة

Doesn’t look like a decoration item to me!

Beaten Ethiopian worker commits suicide

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The Ethiopian woman who was beaten in front of her embassy by a Lebanese called Ali Mahfouz has committed suicide. According to LBC, she was being treated in Deir el Salib when she killed herself. [Source]

Two questions that have to be asked here:

– Why was she moved to Deir el Salib? Who decided that she’s crazy or has some mental problem and needs to be moved there?

– If she truly has a mental issue, how did she get passed the Lebanese authorities? Aren’t there routine medical tests performed?

Thank you Mickel!

Update: Here is a link to the DailyStar article [Link]

Prime Minister Najib Mikati tops Lebanon’s billionaires

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Forbes released its World’s Billionaires 2012 list with Carlos Slim Helú hanging on to the top spot with $69bn, followed by Bill Gates. [Link]

As far as Arab billionaires are concerned, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (Forbes rank: 29) topped the list with $21.3bn, followed by Mohammed Al Amoudi, and Mohammed Bin Issa Al Jaber, all from Saudi Arabia.

The first Lebanese on the list is Prime Minister Najib Mikati in 7th position with an estimated net worth of $3bn followed by his brother Taha Mikati with also $3bn. ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri only came in 18th position with $1.7bn.

Bahaa, Ayman and Fahad el Hariri also made it to the top 30 Arab billionaires list.

You can check the full list [Here].