After bringing together last year young men and women from Bab el Tebbeneh & Jabal Mohsen to create and prepare for a comedy play inspired by their lives, and following the resounding success of the play and the documentary that followed, MARCH felt the need to keep up the momentum of this conflict resolution exercise and inaugurated Qahwetna: a cultural café founded on the former fighting line (Syria Street) between the two areas, where ” events such as other plays, stand-up comedy gigs, rap sessions and other expressive art forms can find a platform in the neglected conflict areas in Tripoli”.
The Cultural Café is a much needed space for young people to interact around peaceful ideas,
have fun, and enjoy themselves. The ultimate aim is to unite the people of Jabal Mohsen and Beb el Tebbeneh around peace values, art and culture. It is also a reminder that the problems in Tripoli are not stirred or generated by fanaticism or extremism, but it’s the lack of opportunities and under-development that is suppressing any hope for the youth, leading them to resort to violence
I am visiting Tripoli in the next couple of weeks and my first stop will be at Qahwetna. I hope we will see more cultural cafes in other areas of conflict. Thumbs up to MARCH and everyone involved in this project, mainly the British Embassy for funding and supporting the whole thing!
Mother’s Day is less than 1 month away and a lot of Lebanese working or living abroad won’t be able to spend that special day with their mothers. In order to make that happen, a fun competition entitled #Shta2tellikMom was kicked by The Spot in order to reunite expats with their families in Lebanon, particularly on rare occasions such as Mother’s Day.
The rules are quite simple:
1- Upload a video selfie on Facebook or Instagram (10 to 15 seconds) telling your mom how much you miss her
2- Use #Shta2tellikMom
3- The most creative video selfies will win a trip to Lebanon to see their mom on Mother’s day
I went through some of the videos posted, a lot of them are emotional or food-related and there’s a couple of funny ones. The funniest for me was the weightlifting dude but there’s still room for creativity.
That one was sent by my brother when he was abroad for a short while. #Shta2tellikMom #KelYomDelivery #BaddeMjadra
The world’s largest innovation event kicked off yesterday and LG’s ultra premium Signature products and impressive booth stole the show on Day1. The new LG Signature line of products, which was introduced one day before CES started, features an impressive lineup of gorgeously designed signature products aimed “for people who seek an extraordinary life”. Basically, what LG did was take its existing premium products and made them ultra premium, as well as introduce cool new features.
The LG Signature includes astonishingly thin 4K OLED TVs, a new signature fridge, an air purifier and a new washing machine. If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I was interested in home appliances, I would have probably said no but I carefully chose all of our home appliances and the innovations that LG introduced are quite useful and interesting to look at.
Here are my favorite new 5 items from LG’s booth:
1- New astonishingly thin 4K OLED TVs
LG’s 4K OLED TV is incredibly thin at 2.75mm and the picture quality is ridiculous. You honestly don’t need to understand all the geeky specs to notice the difference in image quality. Just look at the difference between LED vs OLED and LCD vs OLED.
There’s one model that caught my attention there, the UH9800 98-inch 8K model but there wasn’t much information about it yet.
2- The new Signature Fridge
I already have a four-door LG Fridge that I’m very satisfied with especially with its door-in-door feature yet the new LG Signature Fridge provides an even better experience and has cooler features, such as the “knock on fridge door to reveal what’s inside” and a door that you can automatically open with your foot thanks to a sensor that is able to detect the difference between a person and a pet. Also, the new fridge has a door-in-door design on both sides not just one.
3- The Twin-wash New Signature Washing Machine
That’s one heck of a washing machine and it could prove very useful in Lebanon where we can only wash our clothes during specific hours where the power is not out. The new LG Signature washing machine has touch controls on the front door and washes two loads at the same time. It also automatically doses out detergent from the reserve and works as a dryer as well.
What else can you possibly want from a washing machine?
4- HOM-BOT Turbo+ cleaning robot
LG’s robotic vacuum cleaner is a pretty cool gadget that uses augmented reality technology and features camera sensors which record the surrounding area to track where it has already cleaned. It also allows users to inform the vacuum clear to clean spots it has missed by using any smartphone’s camera.
It would really cool to test it out but pricing and availability weren’t announced yet.
Ever since we had a baby, I’ve been looking for a proper air purifier for some time now and LG’s new hybrid air purifier is exactly what I need. I love the transparent window that shows how “dirty” the air we are breathing is. I still need to check its price though.
In addition to these five items, there are other exciting things to look at, such as the newest LG V10 smartphone which I will be reviewing separately, the new kitchen range, the dual-view flat OLED and dual-view curved tiling OLED and the LG Smart Home Ecosystem.
#NERD16 is an open nationwide tournament that is hosted at AUB on March 2016 and the biggest robotics tournament in Lebanon. This year marks the sixth edition of NERD (National Education Robotics Day) and it will feature more competitions and challenges than the previous years. Moreover, this year’s theme “Robots for Nature” is related to our current situation and the robotics challenges are about waste management and environmental issues.
I guess this is a good opportunity to figure out solutions to our current garbage problem. Who knows? Maybe students will come up with robots that recycle and collect garbage for us. I heard Volvo is working on something like that already, so here’s a chance for Lebanese students to offer a solution. I’d love to see someone design a robot that can be deployed in forests and prevent fires before they take place as well. That would be very helpful especially in Lebanon.
I know the ideas that I’m proposing may seem impossible to achieve, but we have a lot of talented young students participating in this competition and one of our Lebanese teams (Fast & Curious) has won the first place in at the Arab Robotics Championship last year and a World Robotics Festival in the US.
#NERD16 is open to all Lebanese student teams or individuals aged 6 or more. The registration period for schools, universities and teams starts on October 23 and ends on December 31. It’s the best opportunity for smart and geeky students to shine so don’t miss out!
PS: For school students, their schools must register. For university students, they can register by themselves. Registration can be done on the website www.etclb.com where anyone can find the rules of all the different competitions and challenges.
New Year’s Eve is 4 days away and I’m sure a lot of people didn’t decide on what to do yet, but it’s not too late unless you were planning to travel somewhere. Here are four ways to spend your NYE:
1- Book a chalet or a small apartment in the mountains:
Faraya, Kfardebian, Faqra, Zahle and the Cedars are still popular destinations to celebrate New Year’s Eve even if it barely snowed this year. The closer you are to Mzaar, the more expensive chalets are but you can find good deals if you go up and ask around. In fact, chances are you will find real cheap chalets if you have time to look around.
2- Book a chalet or a small apartment in Beirut/Mount Lebanon
If you can’t drive to the mountains to check out chalets, I recommend you look in areas like Broumana or Bikfaya. Three years ago, we found a huge apartment that could fit up to 25 people in Broumana for $400 and we are probably going there again this year.
PS: You can also opt for chalets in beach resorts as they are much cheaper now.
3- Spend the night at home or at a friend’s house:
If you have a mountain house or a spacious house with a small garden or outdoor area, you can always plan parties at your own place but it’s a hassle to organize everything and make sure no one messes up the house. If you have kids and can’t leave them anywhere, you can always plan a fun night (board games, cards, poker) with friends or other parents.
4- Party Out:
I’d rather spend the night in a chalet or at some friend’s place than go out and party on NYE but there are tons of events and parties taking place that you can check on the below links:
– [Lebtivity] has over 100 events listed with all the necessary details.
– [newyearinLebanon.tel] lets you search for parties inside and outside Beirut, as well as sort them by budget.
Christmas is all about joy, family and children, but it’s also about living the Christmas spirit and giving to the needy. It’s about remembering those who cannot afford to buy gifts, those who don’t have enough money to set up a Christmas tree or even to invite the family over for dinner. It’s about putting a smile on the face of a child who has never celebrated Christmas or received a gift.
I know it’s hard for most of us to imagine Christmas without a tree, decorations, food and gifts but a lot of poor families cannot afford all that, and I believe we should all get used to helping needy families during this season and all year long if possible.
There are many ways that you can help, many charities that you can support and many initiatives that you can help promote and that I will be blogging about of course, but one of my favorites this year in Lebanon is LeMall’s #TurnChristmasAround campaign. LeMall basically got a huge Christmas truck, teamed up with “Teach A Child” and “Joue Club” and they are touring around the country visiting different schools and bringing Christmas to the kids who can’t have it.
A friend of mine joined them yesterday in their first stop in a school located North of Lebanon and shared with me a lot of heartwarming pictures. He told me some of them had never received a gift in their life and there were no words to describe how happy these kids were.
The truck will be touring from December 14 till December 18 and I am doing my best to try and join them in one of the visits to capture these children’s reactions. Since I’ve gained a bit of weight lately, I could even dress up as Santa lol! If you are interested in joining, you can track the truck on their [Facebook Page] and join them. There are planned stops in the North, South, Zahle, Keserwan, Achrafieh and Zouk.
Let’s try to make Christmas merry and real for those in need this year.
Yesterday was the official lighting of the Christmas Tree in DownTown Beirut. This year’s tree is much nicer than last year but I still don’t find it appealing to be honest neither during the day or at night. I don’t like the ornaments nor the small trees placed around it.
Martyrs Square is one of the most visible areas in Beirut and there’s a huge space around the tree that could have been used to come up with a much nicer and richer decoration but for some reason no one’s interested in pulling a Christmas Decoration like the one in Jbeil for example.
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.
ABC Achrafieh revealed their Christmas decoration last week in the presence of Nadine Labaki, who was appointed as ABC’s new CSR Ambassador, and the CCCL children. ABC is “Home For Christmas” this year and the decoration is stunning as always.
Enjoy the pictures and try to pass by and check out the decoration before it gets really crowded in December.
Nadine Labaki unveiling the Christmas decoration.
ABC CEO Robert Fadel and Nadine Labaki with the CCCL children.