Category Archives: Information

Lebanon Tightening Regulations on Foreign NGO Workers

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Mohammed-el-Amine-Mosque-in-Beirut-Lebanon Picture Via LayoverGuide

Foreign NGO workers should indeed apply for a different type of VISA if they are not coming here as tourists, but things should be made easy for them as they are here on a humanitarian mission and are helping us out at the end of the day.

Read the full article on the Economist [Here].

New rules now require foreigners engaged in humanitarian work to obtain visas before entering the country rather than alter them once there as used to be the case. Agencies have been instructed to inform the security agency of all foreigners working in their offices, including staff, volunteers, interns, and people visiting Lebanon for training or meetings. Officials have begun visiting NGO offices asking them to comply with the new regulations—or risk their staff being deported.

NGOs say that they want to obey the law, but that the process of obtaining a visa is unpredictable and cumbersome. It costs thousands of dollars, requires much paperwork, and takes months. Smaller organisations say the burden is too much. “If they want me to pay, I don’t mind. Just give me the documents,” says Kris, a founder of a non-profit hostel in Beirut who was recently deported. Kris submitted his residency and work permit applications in December but six months later he was told to leave Lebanon and escorted by security officers to the gate for his flight. [Economist]

The SerLea: A Double Barrel 9mm Submachine Gun of Lebanese Origin

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SerLea

The SerLea is a machine gun that was apparently designed by a Lebanese gunsmith and veteran of Beirut street battles. The weapon has twin barrels, twin magazines and twin open bolts. There’s a synchronizing device to turn the weapon into a single high rate of fire, allowing each barrel to be fired one after the other, producing a rate of fire around 1,000 rounds per minute. The Los Angeles Police Department showed interest in the SerLea machine gun back in the 1990s but only few units were produced.

I’ve never seen nor heard about this gun until now.

Thanks Michel!

Marcel Ghanem’s Storming Intro and His Take On Charles Aznavour

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[YouTube]

It seems Marcel Ghanem managed to anger a lot of people (not me) during his last show including Charles Aznavour fans. In fact, towards the end of his 8 minutes long intro, He bashed Aznavour’s suggestion to put Iraqi refugees in French deserted villages.

I have to say his Aznavour comment was a bit harsh, but what the French singer was proposing is also unacceptable. After all, Aznavour is an Armenian and what happened to his community is happening now to the Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq. The international community should not stand still and offer deserted villages to the refugees, but instead wipe out these IS savages until there’s not a single one of them left.

[YouTube]

CONFIRMED: Passing Statements Issued To All Grade 9 and 12 Lebanese Students

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mem via Lebanese Memes

This is definitely not the best way out of this crisis between the Syndicate Coordination Committee and the Education Ministry, but the students’ future is a priority as they need the results to enroll in universities either inside Lebanon or outside the country. Personally speaking, I am still against the wage increase requested by the SCC and I really think they should reconsider their demands. While some of them truly deserve a raise, there are plenty of others that are abusing the system.

[Source]

19-year Old Lebanese Behind The Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade (لواء احرار السنة) Twitter Account

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441 (1)

The ISF has finally caught the guy behind the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade’s Twitter account and revealed that he’s a 19 year old young man from the Baalbeck region. This kid has terrorized the whole country with his tweets specially after he threatened to attack Christians and burn Churches to the ground. The so-called Free Sunnis of Baalbeck Brigade also claimed responsibility for several rocket and bomb attacks in Lebanon, including the latest suicide bombing at Raouche’s Duroy Hotel.

Let’s just hope that this is the full story and it was indeed some kid fooling around.

lia2

sunna

Facts about Starbucks in The Middle East

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starbucks Picture by Sharif

I’ve been hearing about boycott campaigns against Starbucks ever since I was in AUB some 10 years ago, and every time there’s a new conflict between Arabs and Israel, people ask for a new boycott and Starbucks once again updates its facts section to re-assert that it does not fund the Israeli government in anyway. I suggest you read this article to figure out if Starbucks is Zionist or not.

Personally speaking, I’ve been going to Starbucks since 2002 and never stopped simply because by boycotting Starbucks branches in Lebanon or anywhere in the Arab World, I am actually harming Lebanese employees and a Kuwaiti group (Alshaya WLL) and definitely not Howard Schultz (Remember Tripoli’s KFC?). Moreover, I don’t believe in boycotts in the first place and don’t think they will get anywhere specially in today’s world.

This being said, I respect people who wish to boycott Starbucks or any other “Zionist” business in their opinion, but I urge them to do it without spreading fake letters and stories and without intimidating others who don’t like boycotts.

You can find below the most recent facts about Starbucks in the Middle East, updated as of August 2014.

Is it true that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement.

Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Is it true that Starbucks closed its stores in Israel for political reasons?

No. We do not make business decisions based on political issues. We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market. After many months of discussion with our partner we came to this amicable decision. While this was a difficult decision for both companies, we believe it remains the right decision for our businesses.

Do you have plans to re-open should the opportunity arise?

We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.

When and where the business case makes sense and we see a fit for the Starbucks brand in a market we will work closely with a local partner to assess the feasibility of offering our brand to that community. We will therefore continue to assess all opportunities on this basis. At present, we will continue to grow our business in the Middle East as we have been very gratified by the strong reception of the brand in the region. We continue to work closely with our business partner, the Alshaya Group, in developing our plans for the region.

Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?

Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999. Today Alshaya Group, recognized as one of the leading and most influential retailing franchisees in the region, operates nearly 600 Starbucks stores in the Middle East and Levant region. In addition to its Starbucks stores, the Alshaya Group operates more than 2,600 retail stores in the Middle East, Russia and North Africa, providing jobs for more than 40,000 employees of more than 110 nationalities.

We are extremely fortunate and proud to have forged a successful partnership for the past fifteen years and look forward to building on this success. [via Starbucks]