Last year’s 97-foot-high Jbeil Christmas tree was featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian and was truly one of the most beautiful trees we’ve seen in Lebanon, but this year’s decoration is even better and the work done by the Jbeil Municipality is quite impressive!
I didn’t have the chance to visit yet but until then, enjoy these pictures from yesterday’s launch. Here’s also a [video] you can watch.
Alfa set up a huge Lebanese Flag to celebrate Lebanon’s independence
Try to call anyone on their mobile today and you will notice the national anthem playing as a ringtone. This was set by the Telecom Ministry and both Alfa & Touch to celebrate Lebanon’s independence. It’s a nice move but I hope it won’t last more than 1 day because it gets annoying especially if you make a lot of calls during the day.
Speaking of celebrations, Fairouz will celebrate her 80th birthday tomorrow, one day before Lebanon’s independence. In case you missed it last year, here’s a [beautiful animated video] about Fairouz.
I’ve been hearing a lot of attacks on the Beirut Marathon in the last couple of days, and how it’s portraying a fake image of Beirut and it’s a waste of money. A lot of people were complaining about the fees as well (40,000 LL for the fun run) saying that it’s a rip off and should be free. To be honest, 40,000 LL is indeed expensive but most of the tickets that are sold are usually sponsored by banks, NGOs and companies and most of the runners end up paying nothing or as little as 10,000 LL to participate so this is really not a big deal.
This is what I wrote last year about the same topic:
I love the Beirut Marathon and everything it stands for. I look forward to it every year and I try to promote it in the best way possible as I truly believe it’s a great sporting event that all Lebanese should take part in. It takes a lot of time, effort and dedication to organize successful marathons one year after the other and to attract more people, and the Beirut Marathon Association has managed to do all that and more. Moreover, BMA’s president May El-Khalil is an inspiration to many in Lebanon and around the world and she is one of the key reasons behind Beirut Marathon’s success and I highly respect and admire this lady.
The participants are running for unity, fun, glory, achievement, promoting wellness and healthy living, for causes and charitable organizations and more importantly for the benefit of Lebanon and all the Lebanese. Every year, we have new causes to run for, inspiring runners to look up to and new challenges to overcome.
The Beirut Marathon is something we should be proud of and take part in or at least encourage if we don’t like to run or walk.
The BMA has nothing to do with the garbage crisis but it’s a good occasion to spread awareness on this issue as well as others. If you don’t like running or think it’s a silly event, there’s no need to bash it and call it useless especially that it’s one of the very few things that still brings people together in Lebanon. We run for fun, for causes, for NGOs, for peace and most importantly we run together.
Last but not least, if you think that the Beirut Marathon is showing a fake image of Beirut, then you obviously haven’t been to Beirut recently.
Jake al-Mir is only 14 years old and has developed two apps already – Picture from the DailyStar
Jake al-Mir is a remarkable 14-year old Lebanese high school student that taught himself how to code at age 12. He came up with an app called “Emoji Escape” two years ago and was invited this year by Apple to attend its World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco thanks to his app on speeding and driving “NoSpeed”.
Jake is one of 350 students worldwide to qualify for a paid scholarship to the conference and presumably the only Arab participant at the event but I can’t confirm that. Some are claiming he is also the youngest developer to be awarded Apple’s WWDC 2015 scholarship, which is awesome news!
How does the “NoSpeed” app work?
Jake Al-Mir developed the “NoSpeed” app to tackle the problem of speeding and try to decrease car accidents especially in his home country Lebanon. The app functions even when the mobile phone is locked by sending the driver a notification whenever he exceeds the speed limit, therefore also helping people avoid speeding tickets.
Here are the key functionalities:
• Track the speed of your car and when it surpasses the speed limit it will send you a voice notification to slow down. IT EVEN WORKS WHEN YOUR iPhone IS TURNED OFF (IN BACKGROUND)
• Customize your speedometer with your favorite color
• Track your altitude while driving
• Benefit from the included compass
• Switch between MPH or Km/h mode
It’s a smart idea to send notifications when the phone is locked but I think there are apps that do the same thing already. However Jake’s app is different as it sends a voice notification that plays without the driver’s intervention. Of course I know for a fact that new cars have smart systems that allow drivers to set thresholds and get alerts for almost anything but I don’t know if they are linked to a mobile app. On the other hand, I’m not really sure if we are allowed to use this app in Lebanon. According to the new traffic law, you can’t even hold your phone to check the time so you risk getting fined for checking notifications. A car phone holder could work of course but we have to check if it’s allowed or not.
Nevertheless, Jake is only 14 and is obviously very talented. I studied Computer Science and I don’t even know how to start writing an app while he has two apps on iTunes already!
Thumbs up to Jake for this awesome achievement and I hope we will see him working for Apple one day.
I’m sure you’ve all noticed how the Forum de Beyrouth was beautifully lit up and transformed in the past few weeks to accommodate KOHAR’s performances. KOHAR originally started as an independent musical and cultural institution by Lebanese-Armenian, Harout Khatchadourian, also known as The Armenian culture patron, and grew to become “an important cornerstone in the unique musical rendition of Armenian alphabet and culture”. KOHAR is famous for its recordings of All Time Armenian Favorites and for their visually and acoustically appealing concerts.
I’m not very familiar with Armenian culture to be honest (except for the food part), and I wasn’t really sure that I would enjoy listening to Armenian songs for 2 hours especially that I don’t understand the language, but a friend of mine got me tickets and insisted that I should attend and that I would love the show and she was absolutely right!
To begin with, I don’t remember the last time I attended an event as organized as this one. I left home early expecting traffic before the Forum De Beyrouth but there were none and we easily went in and parked. Everyone was seated on time, doors were closed at 8:30 as stated on the tickets and the show kicked off right on time. Moreover, the 15-min intermission didn’t last an hour like most concerts in Lebanon and people went back to their seats on time.
Moving on to the concert, the setup was magical, the performances were outstanding, songs were presented with an amazing choreography and visual effects (3D Projections) and there was a great attention to details! Throughout two hours, 165 musicians, 16 solo performers and 15 dancers entertained an enchanted crowd and kept us asking for more. The whole experience was truly one of a kind and is highly recommended for any music lover and you definitely don’t need to understand Armenian to enjoy the show.
The only part where I felt a bit weird was when we were all handed flags of The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and everyone stood and started singing and waving. I obviously couldn’t relate to the song or that part of Armenia’s history, but I did stand up and waved as well
All in all, the story behind KOHAR is beautiful and inspiring and the concerts perfectly reflect the devotion and passion of the people behind it. The performances are over this year but I will make sure to spread the word and encourage everyone to go watch KOHAR next year.
KOHAR was founded in 1997 as an independent musical and cultural institution by the Armenian culture patron, Harout Khatchadourian of Lebanon, who along with his brothers, Shahe and Nar Khatchadourian, entirely sustain the activities of KOHAR and all its concerts in tribute to their parents; in memory of their late father Aram and in Honor of their mother KOHAR.
Here are few pictures and a couple of short videos from the show:
5- Colonel Beer Halloween Party: Kick ass venue, great beer and awesome food. They are serving pumpkin beer for the occasion. More info: 03 743 543
There are also parties planned at Junkyard in Mar Mikhail, The Angry Monkey in Gemmayze and Uruguay Street. Bar 360 at Le Gray Hotel which reopened last week is also organizing a Halloween night. If you like pumpkin carving, there’s an event at Alice Edde Shop in Jbeil on Saturday Oct 31 2015 from 04:00 pm until 07:00 pm.
This special blood drive aims to encourage those who commemorate Ashoura to “give blood for those who need it most and be like Hussain”. It will take place at the Crowne Plaza Beirut between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and the units will be donated to the Children Cancer Center at AUB.
For those of you who are not familiar with Ashoura, it is commemorated by Shi’a Muslims as a mourning day for the martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Prophet Mohammad during the Battle of Karbala some 1300 years ago. Re-enacting the battle has been long a tradition among the Shiite communities and involves in few areas self-flagellation in order to remember the blood that Hussein shed for them. Abbas cookies are also made during this day and they are quite good!
Winter is coming and a lot of families in Lebanon are unable to stay safe and warm. The #DafaCampaign is aimed at helping all those in need of heating, warm winter clothing, toys, electronics, food and others …
The campaign was kicked off by Journalist Paula Yacoubian and is taking place on Sunday November 1 from 10 am till 6 pm at Martyrs Square and donations will be distributed to organizations and families in need all over Lebanon.
What I like about this campaign is that it’s aimed at helping all families and is not restricted to refugees or Lebanese. Just to give you an idea, 3.3 million people are in need in Lebanon, half of them are Lebanese. Moreover, we had 61% more POOR inside Lebanon since 2011 and 1.5 Million Lebanese are below the poverty line.
#DafaCampaign is taking place in 8 days so there’s plenty of time for everyone to gather the stuff that they don’t need and drop them. Hope to see you all there!