Category Archives: Information

Mercer Consulting 2014 Report: Beirut Is The Most Expensive City In The Middle East For Expats

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Two African cities, Luanda in Angola and N’Djamena in Chad, topped the Mercer Consulting list of the most expensive cities for expatriates according to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey. They were followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Tokyo, Bern, Moscow and Shanghai.

As for the Middle East, Beirut was ranked the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates and the 63rd world wide, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah. I don’t think that’s something we should be proud of as it doesn’t reflect the reality at all and we can’t be compared to cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

U.S Authorities Arrest Lebanese Mahmoud Bazzi Accused Killer Of Two Irish Soldiers 34 Years Ago

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If you remember back in January, Vice posted a story that I shared here about an Israeli-backed militiaman and murderer who kidnapped a journalist and two Irish UN peacekeepers in Lebanon back in the 1980s and ended up selling ice cream to children in Detroit.

The author back then said that the guy who kidnapped him was called Mahmoud Bazzi and that he’s currently living in Detroit and works as an ice cream man. Well it looks like the US authorities have finally arrested him and are planning to deport him on immigration charges. Bazzi is denying the charges and claims “he once falsely confessed to the slayings because he feared a Lebanese militia would kill him unless he lied”.

Federal agents have arrested a man the Irish government calls a suspect in the abduction, torture and killing of two Irish soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon 34 years ago.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesdsay arrested Mahmoud Bazzi at his home in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. The agency arrested Bazzi for “administrative immigration violations” and not directly in connection to the killings in Lebanon, spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told The Associated Press. She said he would be held “pending removal proceedings.” [HuffingtonPost]

The Little Syrian Kid Got Beaten Again By His Uncle …

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I just saw on Plus961 that Al Jadeed interviewed the little kid that got beaten up as well and his mother. Weirdly enough, the mother told the reporter (Start At Minute 9:00) that she took the little kid to her brother who beat him up as well after hearing the story!

Unfortunately, there are almost half a million Syrian in Lebanon struggling to get into schools and forced to work for a living. Many of them are victims of sexual abuse and violence as well.

Arz Water

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I spotted the new slogan on Facebook and I thought it was a new bottled mineral water brand but it looks like it’s been out for years. That’s pretty weird because I never spotted it in any supermarket. I’ve tried most of the brands we have in Lebanon and my favorite has always been Tannourine.

Two Lebanese-Australian Killed in The Malaysia Airline Crash in Ukraine

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Update: According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two victims are Egyptian-Australian and not Lebanese.

Albert and Mary Rizk were on board of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine two days ago. 298 people were killed in the crash, including 100 of the world’s leading Aids experts who were flying to an international conference in Melbourne. Moreover, there were members of an Australian family on board who lost two other relatives when Flight 370 disappeared back in March.

Sincere condolences to all the families. It’s quite unbelievable that someone decided to shoot down a plane just like that and kill 300 innocent passengers. I really hope they catch whomever did this.

Two Lebanese nationals, holding the Australian citizenship, were among the 298 people on board the Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine. According to Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5), Albert and Mary Rizk are among the victims who died along with dozens of others in the tragedy on Thursday. They live in Melbourne, Australia.

At a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines updated its nationality count of passengers, saying the plane carried 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysian – including the crew-, 27 Australian, 12 Indonesian, 9 British, 4 German, 5 Belgian, 3 Filipino and one person each from Canada and New Zealand. [Naharnet]

ISF Clarification Regarding The Highway Picture That Went Viral

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bike via YasaLebanon

I am sure you’ve all seen the above picture by now. As confirmed by the ISF, it is not a fake photo but a real one and there are reasons why the ISF motorist did not stop the young man.

Here’s what the ISF had to say about this incident:
- On 13/07/2014 one of the Baabda ISF motorists was on the Naameh highway, when a civilian started making stunts with his bike right next to him. The policeman ordered him to stop the stunts several times but the biker didn’t cooperate. That’s when the policeman tried to arrest him but the biker sped away and the policeman stayed behind for safety purposes.
- Necessary disciplinary measures were taken against the policeman.
- Baabda ISF branch is committed to the safety of the drivers and is constantly patrolling the “Costa Brava – Khaldeh” highway.

I think the policeman should have chased the young man or called for reinforcements, but I love the fact that the ISF actually investigated the matter and clarified the issue through its social media channels. I really hope they will keep on listening to what the people have to say and take actions, because that’s the only way to build (a much needed) trust between the police and the citizens.

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Education Minister Elias Bou Saab Asks Schools To Respect Religious Freedom

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This statement comes one month after the Sabis controversy and clearly states that Sabis School has to amend its regulations and cannot by law ban the display of religious symbols. Personally speaking, I’d rather see secular schools in Lebanon and I wish Lebanese students would learn to co-exist away from religious and political considerations. However, the problem with Sabis is that it made an exception for veils which doesn’t make sense coming from a secular school.

Education Minister Elias Bou Saab called on Lebanese educational institutions Thursday to respect freedom of expression and religious practice, a month after SABIS School announced new regulations banning crosses while allowing hijab.

“We call on… public and private schools…to adhere to the content of Articles 9 and 10 of the Lebanese Constitution,” Bou Saab’s statement said, “by not issuing any regulations, decisions or teachings that could violate the [students’] freedom of religion.” [DailyStar]

Meet Lebanon: An Iron Meteorite Found By NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

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The massive iron meteorite is roughly two meters wide and might be the largest ever discovered on Mars. I have no idea why they called it Lebanon and whether it is related to our country or not. There’s a smaller piece that was found as well and dubbed “Lebanon B”.

It is worthy noting that the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a Lebanese called Charles al-Achi. Check out [Here] other prominent Lebanese working for Nasa.

This rock encountered by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is an iron meteorite called “Lebanon,” similar in shape and luster to iron meteorites found on Mars by the previous generation of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Lebanon is about 2 yards or 2 meters wide (left to right, from this angle). The smaller piece in the foreground is called “Lebanon B.” [Nasa]