Monthly Archives: August 2012

Invisible Iranian bank robber caught

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What a freakin’ idiot! Too bad there’s no footage of what happened, or maybe there is but we can’t access it because Iran decided to switch off the internet and turn to intranet. [Link]

Sadly for one man in Iran, he made just that mistake – and as a result, police in Tehran are hunting a fake sorcerer who convinced the man he was invisible and so could rob banks safely.

The man’s ill-fated heist attempt started to go wrong shortly after he entered the bank, as he started snatching money from the hands of customers. For some reason, rather than being terrified of the mysterious invisible poltergeist stealing their cash, the customers quickly overpowered the hapless thief.

He explained that he had paid 5 million rials (just under £290) to a wizard imposter, who in return gave hims spells to tie to his arm. The sorcerer told him that they would make him invisible, and that he could then rob banks to his heart’s content. [Link]

Renovation of Nahr El Kalb Tunnel

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I passed by Nahr el Kalb two days ago and the left side was closed for some reason. I thought it was an accident at first but once I reached the entrance of the tunnel, I saw them taking out the huge Patriarch poster and doing some works.

This is how it looked like the next day. As it appears, it’s part of an old restauration restoration project by Clean Lebanon to preserve this historic landmark. [Link]

This is how it is supposed to look like one day.

Note: I altered the picture since whatever was left of the Patriarch poster could be interpreted in a wrong way and that wasn’t my intention at all. Can’t believe I didn’t even notice it till someone pointed it out lol!

Another side to the Gretta Taslakian story

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A reader going by the name of Bob left the following comment below which gives a different story to what happened to Gretta:

You guys are so simple minded. You are discussing based on what RRA ( Gretta’s club) president wrote in behalf of Gretta , trying to attack the National Olympic Committee and the Lebanese Athletic Federation ( because he was banned for one year the result of his behavior), and of course attacking the coach of Gretta, because he never wanted her to be coached by someone who doesn’t work for his club, on whom he cannot impose his authority and with whom he had many conflicts and finally he got an opportunity to revenge over the media.

Gretta’s coach is a happily married man with the most gorgeous wife and enjoying a new born babe. He trains her since 2009. Anyone who knows him and knows Gretta will make fun of the articles written in the newspapers.

Gretta and her president reacted very fast without even knowing why she was sent back. Relying on gossips instead of waiting for the report which the NOC and LAF will post soon about what really happened in London.

She could have came back and remained silent until a report was delivered , then they could reply and react.

Gretta went to the Olympics because she is the best female athlete in Lebanon, but she was absolutely not excited to race. And who are close to her might have read her status on facebook. “No goals , no expectations , but enjoy..”

Since day one she didn’t submit to her training plan, she only trained once then she disappeared from the sight of the officials and her coach. The rest of the Lebanese Olympians were always with their team and officials, like any other Olympian in the village, because everyone is there to raise the name of his country and they follow a strict discipline.

Gretta wanted to have complete freedom and be busy socializing and having fun. No one saw her face after day 2, and they could only find her with this Irish trainer around midnight , 3 days in row and lunchtime the day of her race. They remained silent despite the chef wanted to go and rebuke her but many stopped him twice. Her coach is a Doctor and runs a medical center, he left his work and went there for her to be super ready for the race and do a personal best at least.

Her coach warned her that he will write a report that she is always absent from the sight of everybody and not submitting to the plan (trainings,physio, nutrition, rest, focus etc) designed for the camp. She didn’t care about it, and continued neglecting the rules. The day of the race, in the morning her coach wrote a report about Gretta not submitting to the plan and never training and being always absent, therefore he will decline from coaching her. The Federation will post the report of her coach and everybody will see that there’s absolutely nothing of what is mentioned in the newspapers.

Lunch time again they saw her with the Irish guy, and during the pre-race warm up, her coach went to the stadium and found her in the Irish boot , wearing green jacket exactly like the Irish team, and being coached for pre-competition by the Irish guy. Gretta’s coach warned the Irish guy that what is happening is illegal and the Olympic committee can take severe action against such behavior and left. The Irish guy followed Gretta’s coach and tried to convince him that he doesn’t have intention to coach her and that Gretta told him different story and apologized a hundred time.

By that time, The officials arrived to the warm up area to watch Gretta preparing for the race. They met Gretta’s coach arguing with the Irish coach. Finally they saw Gretta sitting in the Irish boot wearing green like them. (Gretta didn’t realize the officials were on track watching her). The NOC president lost his mind and wanted to go and stop her from racing and send her back to Lebanon on the first plane. many stopped him from doing so and asked him to allow her at least to race. One of the federation members took a picture of her in the Irish boot wearing like them. (All the Lebanese team, at least the day of the race wore Lebanese Red jacket written LEBANON on the back). Gretta went to stadium with the green jacket and no one could guess which country does she represent if it wasn’t announced. Of course no one expected her to run well after all.

After the race the NOC and the LAF called her and took her badge and claimed that she will go back to Lebanon on the first plane.

I guess you all can assume why she was sent back after the accumulation of many irresponsible acts. Being hurt and angry, she imagined by her own the scenario that might have happened and reacted through her club president’s announcement.

Soon the NOC and the LAF will post all details.

Four Lebanese-Canadians Run in Quebec Elections

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Johny Kayrouz, “Coalition Avenir Québec” candidate.

One of them, Johny Kairouz, is a good friend of mine and is more than qualified for the job (IMHO). I will write a more detailed post on how to vote for them in the next few days. Hopefully, they will show a good image of Lebanon unlike the politicians we have here.

Four Lebanese-Canadians are running in the upcoming National Assembly’s elections in Quebec as candidates for the upstart “Coalition Avenir Québec.”

The four candidates Johnny Kairouz, Abel-Claude Arslanian, Walid Hadid and Carla el-Ghandour will represent some 200,000 Lebanese-Canadians who are mostly localized in Quebec and Montreal.

The elections will take place Sept. 4. [Link]

What really happened with Gretta Taslakian?

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I had posted earlier today that Lebanese athlete Gretta Taslakian was banned from the Olympic Village and had to return home after she was seen wearing Ireland’s uniform during a training session. Added to that and according to Lorient-LeJour’s article, it was Gretta’s coach Vahé Abrahamian who testified against her and showed the Olympic committee pictures of Gretta wearing Ireland’s uniform (Not Available anywhere on the net).

I thought the story is very weird and did some research and asked some friends around and the truth is I was shocked to hear what really happened, or at least what I was told from some presumably reliable sources and read in an article. Here’s a summary of the Press Release Inter-Liban club issued yesterday:

1- Gretta is participating in the Olympic games for the third consecutive time unlike Vahe who’s there for the first time. As a result Gretta has a lot of friends among athletes and coaches.

2- Vahé was acting like an overprotective boyfriend the whole trip which obviously annoyed Gretta. He would get upset if she doesn’t have dinner with him and once threatened her to file a report against her before the 200m race. Gretta however never skipped practice and tried to contain the situation.

3- Gretta was friends with the Irish coach for years and with others as well and used to roam around the village all the time. The jacket she was wearing was a Nike one that had nothing to do with the Irish team.

4- The Lebanese Olympic committee should have gone through the report Vahe issued more thoroughly and verified the facts stated. Gretta is a great athlete that does not deserve such treatment. What a shame!

It looks like a sexual harassment case and if this is true, this coach will be in serious trouble when he gets back to Lebanon.

Malicious Virus hits Lebanese banks

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The Lebanese banks infected by the “Gauss” virus are Bank of Beirut, EBLF, Blom Bank, Byblos Bank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais.

The malware, which steals system information but also has a mysterious payload that could be destructive against critical infrastructure, has been found infecting at least 2,500 machines, most of them in Lebanon, according to Russia-based security firm Kaspersky Lab, which discovered the malware in June and published an extensive analysis of it on Thursday.

The spyware, dubbed Gauss after a name found in one of its main files, also has a module that targets bank accounts in order to capture login credentials. The malware targets accounts at several banks in Lebanon, including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. It also targets customers of Citibank and PayPal. [Article]

More info on the malware [Here].

via BeirutSpring

Gretta Taslakian (unjustly) banned from The Olympic Village

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According to an article from L’Orient-Le Jour, Lebanese athlete Gretta Taslakian was banned from the Olympic Village in London for wearing the Irish team’s uniform during a training session and flew back to Lebanon on Tuesday.

L’Orient-Le Jour contacted Gretta who denied that she was wearing the Irish uniform and said it was simply a green Nike jacket. She added that she still has the jacket and it has nothing to do with the Irish team except the color maybe.

Now the interesting part is that Gretta’s coach, Vahé Abrahamian who is still in London, apparently informed the Olympic committee that Gretta was indeed wearing Ireland’s uniform during a training session and showed them pictures. I don’t have any of the pictures but why the hell would a coach do something like that? Why didn’t he simply inform her that she shouldn’t be wearing the uniform or a jacket of the same color?

Last but not least, so what if she wore another country’s uniform? Doesn’t that fall under the “Olympic spirit” slogan? I don’t recall that happening in any of the previous Olympics. Actually according to L’Orient-Le Jour, it may be the first time ever an athlete is banned for such a reason. They also pointed out on how the Kenyan runner Kemboi, winner of the 3000m race, wore the French uniform while parading around the stadium and no measures were taken against him.

Gretta is a great athlete and has won gold medals for Lebanon in Asian and Arabic tournaments and deserves much better than that!

Read the full article [Here]

PS: Antoine Chartier, president of the Lebanese Olympic delegation, did not yet comment on the matter.

Andrea Paoli last Lebanese to compete at the London 2012 Olympics

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Andrea Paoli is our last hope for a medal at the Olympics as we haven’t had luck with any of our other Lebanese athletes. She will be competing at 11:30am in the Women’s -57kg Preliminary Round (Taekwondo). [Schedule]

Update1: Andrea is through to the quarter finals! She beat Nidia Munoz frmo Cuba 4-2. Quarter Final game scheduled at 5pm Lebanon Time.

NASA rover lands on Mars

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NASA team showing Lebanese Charles al-Achi, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It’s a great honor to have a Lebanese at such a high position especially that this is the first time NASA has successfully put together a video of a landing on Mars.

NASA’s latest adventure to Mars has given the world more than just glimpses of a new alien landscape. It opened a window into the trip itself, from video footage of the landing to a photo of the rover hanging by a parachute to a shot of discarded spacecraft hardware strewn across the surface. And the best views — of Mars and the journey there — are yet to come. [Link]

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover descent

First Pictures from NASA’s Mars Curiosity over [Link]

Ogero DSL modem disconnecting randomly

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I’ve been very pleased with the connection and speed ever since I switched from Wise to DSL few months back, but I’ve been having some weird issues that I was only able to figure out on Sunday.

When Ogero first came to install the modem, they put filters on all the phones in the house to prevent any internet disruption, mainly on handy-phones for some reason. This however did not stop the connection from going down occasionally but I always thought it was a problem with Ogero as we are used to frequent short internet outages.

However, internet was down all day on Saturday and on Sunday as well. It would go up randomly then go down few minutes later. I called the support like ten times and they would re-assure me every time that there’s no problem from their side and that my connection is working fine. They would also ask me to check the cables or unplug everything and plug them back. I tried everything and the connection was still dropping until I noticed something. Every time I placed a call with the living room’s handy phone, the internet signal on the DSL modem would go off. I thought it was a coincidence at first but then I tried it 4 times and it would disconnect over and over again.

As a result, I unplugged the phone line from this specific handy phone and the connection stopped dropping. Noting that the phone has a filter, and we barely use it, I don’t understand why it would cause a drop in the internet connection and have no clue on how to proceed to fix it. I guess I will have to call back support today.