Category Archives: Information

Four More Suicide Bombings in Al-Qaa Tonight

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qaa

Four suicide bombers yesterday and four more tonight. Fortunately, there were no casualties tonight as eight people were lightly injured today after suicide bombers riding motorcycles blew themselves up in the center of the town. Al-Qaa locals were preparing the funeral for the victims from yesterday’s bombings when the attacks took place. Yesterday, five people were killed and fifteen others were wounded.

The Lebanese army is now deployed and some of the residents are also armed and guarding the town. Al Qaa is a small Christian village located close to the borders in a very sensitive area. Da3esh has been positioned in the mountains above Qaa for years now.

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#Lebanon Ranked Second on Numbeo’s 2016 Pollution Index

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Numbeo’s Pollution Index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city. “The biggest weight is given to air pollution, than to water pollution/accessibility, two main pollution factors. Small weight is given to other pollution types. The rankings are based on surveys from visitors of this website. Questions for this surveys are similar to many similar scientific and government surveys”.

Lebanon ranked second after Egypt. Jordan was the next Arab country in the 14th spot, followed by Bahrain (#16), Qatar (#18), Saudi Arabia (#30) and UAE (#52). Numbeo is a crowd-sourced global database of reported consumer prices, perceived crime rates, quality of health care, other statistics.

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Giving Away LeMall Gift Cards Worth $300 & A Chance To Fly To The U.S

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50usd

Summer is here and it’s the best time to start planning your summer trip! If you haven’t done any plans yet, LeMall has kicked off a cool campaign with ‎Wild Discovery‬ and is giving away 3 trips respectively to New York City, Orlando and Los Angeles. The rules are quite simple:

Visit LeMall Sin el Fil from May 20 to July 3, spend 50$ and win 1 of 3 big trips:
– 1 trip for 2 to New York City (Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building)
– 1 trip for 4 to Orlando (Universal Orlando, Magic Kingdom, Disney World)
– 1 trip for 2 to Los Angeles (Universal Studios Hollywood, the Griffith Park, Hollywood Boulevard)

In order to make things more exciting and increase your chances of winning, I am teaming up with LeMall and giving away 3 gift cards worth $100 each. That way, winners will get to shop for their upcoming summer vacation and maybe travel courtesy of Le Mall to these three magical destinations!

The rules are also quite simple:
– You need to follow LeMall & myself on Instagram.
– You need to upload a photo ( or use an existing one) that reflects a vacation mode and tag ‪#‎LeMalltoUSA‬ ‪
– Leave a comment on this blog post with your Instagram account.

Three pictures will be selected based on their originality and creativity. Deadline is June 15th.

PS: Two gift cards will be awarded here (& On Facebook) and the third one on Instagram.

Love During The Siege: Fighting Hunger Through Hope and Love

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The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press is held on June 2 every year, which is the anniversary of Samir Kassir’s assassination, and is funded by the European Union. The winners of the 2016 editions were as follows:

Opinion piece category: Maher Massoud (born in 1977) from Syria, an opinion writer for many Arab newspapers, magazines and websites and a researcher at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO).

Investigative article category: Mohammad Tarek (born in 1989) from Egypt, an investigative journalist at “Al-Masry Al-Youm” newspaper.

Audiovisual report category: Matar Ismaïl (born in 1988) from Syria, has been covering developments in Syria since the very beginning of the uprising in March 2011.

I’ve seen Ismail’s short movie “Love under Siege” and it’s a beautiful one. It sheds the light on the daily life of a Syrian family struggling to survive under siege south of Damascus and shows how these families fight the siege and hunger through hope and love they have learned to find during the hardest of time.

This is a reminder that Syria is still at war, that thousands of families living 2 hours away from Beirut are starving and dying every day.

The Grand Aley Hotel: Built in 1926, For Sale Since 2008

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This is a cool piece by Dima Karam (The Guardian) on the Grand Aley Hotel that was built in 1926 by three brothers from a Beiruti trading family.

The British Army set up their command center in WWII and then the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) general who led the offensive against Syria and Lebanon used the hotel as his HQ. Following WWII, the hotel “became renowned for its evening entertainment – gambling, concerts and dancing” before it got occupied by mercenaries during the Lebanese Civil War.

The owners were unable to re-open the hotel after the war and the central bank ended up seizing the hotel and putting it up for auction back in 2008. Unfortunately, there are still no potential buyers willing to restore this hotel’s glory.

It’s quite shameful that such a beautiful hotel is abandoned and for sale.

Check out the full article [here].

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Don’t Forget to Donate To the Lebanese Red Cross this Month

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support lrc

The Lebanese Red Cross is not a governmental association and relies largely on volunteers with a limited number of paid staff. They provide relief to the victims of disasters, respond to emergencies, accidents and are always there when we need.

In return, the Lebanese Red Cross cannot keep serving us and providing medical assistance for free without our generosity and support. They depend on our donations and on new volunteers to keep saving lives and responding to emergencies.

Every year during May, the LRC organizes a fundraising campaign and this year, they are making it easier for people to donate online through their new [online portal].

The Lebanese Red Cross is one of the very few organizations I still trust in Lebanon. You can donate [here] or whenever you spot a Red Cross volunteer on the street, on the road, in a mall, in a restaurant etc …

Municipal Elections: All Polling Stations Should be Wheelchair-accessible

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isf The way they are carrying her up the stairs doesn’t look that safe to be honest

The ISF tweeted earlier today pictures showing officers carrying a woman in a wheelchair up the stairs in order to vote. It’s nice of them but elections sites, some if not all of them, should be wheelchair/walker accessible. All polling stations should be accessible for elderly individuals and people with disabilities as per the 220/2000 law, the 2007 Boutros Commission’s Draft Law25, the 25/2008 Electoral Law26, Enforcement Decree 2214/2009 and the 2010 draft law of Former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud.

Voting is one of our nation’s most fundamental rights and alternative means of voting should be provided in case no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place.

Unfortunately not all security forces were as friendly as those portrayed in the above picture.

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Nadine from NewsRoomNomad wrote more on this matter.

Lebanon Municipal Elections 2016: All You Need To Know About The Voting Process

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balad

Who is eligible to vote?
Every Lebanese individual who has attained the legal age stipulated in the constitution (21 years), whether or not resident on the Lebanese territory, shall be entitled to vote.

Who is not eligible to vote?
All the individuals listed under Article 4,5 and 6. [Source]
• Persons deprived by legal sentence of their civil rights
• Persons convicted to be permanently disqualified from public service at any grades or positions
• Persons disqualified from their grades or public service temporarily, until the end of the disqualification period
• Persons convicted of a felony etc ..

Non-retired military personnel (ISF, Public security, State Security, Customs Police, Lebanese Army etc ..) are not allowed to vote as well..

What is the legal age for voting?
The legal voting age is still 21 years in Lebanon. It should have been reduced to 18 years back in 2008 but the proposed law didn’t pass.

What are the documents needed to vote?
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You need an identity card or a valid passport to vote. An individual civil registry extract or the old voting card are NOT valid.

Where can I get an ID?
If you don’t have an ID, it’s probably too late for the upcoming elections in Beirut but you should do it anyway. Go to the mayor or the registration office in your district and fill an ID Request Form. You will need individual civil registry extract and two passport photos. You can track your application [here].

Where can I vote?
The first municipal elections will take place on May 8th in Beirut, Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hermel. Polling stations are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. If you want to know where is the nearest polling station to you, check out this [link].

When are the elections taking place?
The first municipal elections will take place on May 8th in Beirut, Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hermel.
Mount Lebanon will follow on May 15th, then South Lebanon & Nabatieh on May 22nd and finally North Lebanon and Akkar on May 29.

Guidelines to follow when you’re voting:
– Make sure you check the names properly before voting.
– If you are making your own list, write down the names neatly.
– The voting booth is mandatory and you have to enter it by yourself.

I highly recommend you watch the below video for further details:

If you want more information, you can also call the Minister of Interior and Municipalities’ hotline 1766 or visit [elections.gov.lb].

Namazej: Reaching Out To The Municipal Police To Better Serve Citizens

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Municipal Police in Lebanon is usually recruited according to basic criteria and without any specific qualifications. You don’t even need a bachelor degree to apply for that position and barely any training is conducted upon employment. As a result, Municipal police members:

– Cannot enforce municipal prerogatives as they are not aware of them.
– End up fulfilling Municipal Council President (MCP) and council’s members’ agendas (whether personal or public).
– Cannot properly serve citizens.

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More importantly, most of us have no knowledge of these basic rights and end up fighting with the wrong people or simply refrain from reporting issues because we don’t know how and where. Take for example some of these situations that we face almost everyday in Lebanon:
– Valet guys parking illegally or reserving parking spots that are supposed to be public.
– Shops exhibiting their products on the sidewalk and blocking it.
– Illegally placed banners on electric poles and trees.
– Garbage thrown randomly near your shop or house.
– Illegal dumping by construction companies or factories.
– Construction sites working during prohibited times in residential areas.
– Cutting off trees illegally.

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Since municipal elections are near, and in an attempt to develop the ‘human’ factor in public bodies to better serve citizens, a handbook entitled “NAMAZEJ” was designed, edited and printed by Lebanon Renaissance Foundation and will be distributed to more than 3,000 municipal police members during introductory sessions in all Lebanese mouhafazats under the direct auspices of their respective mouhafez. The booklet was endorsed by the Ministry of Interior and is available online for those interested. [NAMAZEJ]

The Municipal police has a very high level of interaction with the people and should be aware of these rights in order to better serve the municipality and citizens. The ultimate aim from this campaign is “to improve the citizens’ quality of daily life in various regions, and trigger positive change in local governance practices” and this can easily be achieved by obeying the law and knowing your rights.

Beirut Governor Bans Illegally Placed Election Posters

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Beirut Governor Ziad Chbib has ordered the removal of illegally placed municipal election posters on public walls, fences, bridges, traffic lights, poles and others. He has also vowed to fine candidates who break the law.

I wish he had warned candidates before electoral campaigns had kicked off but it’s good news (as long as it’s implemented). I still can’t understand how people can vote for candidates who don’t have a problem polluting their own city’s streets and walls.