Category Archives: Information

72% of Lebanese Think Torture is Justified

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Picture Showing Roumieh Prison Inmates Being Tortured

72% of Lebanese think that torture is justified according to a spring 2015 Pew Research Center survey of 38 nations. The question asked was as follows:

“In the period following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S, the U.S government used interrogation methods that many consider to be torture on people suspected of terrorism. In your opinion, were these interrogation methods justified, or not justified?

If the (survey country) government used torture against people suspected of terrorism to try to gain information about possible attacks in our country, do you think this could be justified or could not be justified?”

Lebanon had the second highest percentage after Uganda. In regards to other Arab countries surveyed, I could only find Jordan and Palestine where less than 50% were in favor of torture. Overall, a median of 45 per cent of people said that torture was never justified, and a median of 40 per cent said it could be in specific cases to learn information about future terrorist attacks. The view that torture may be justified was least common in Latin America (a median of 25%).

The countries with publics most likely to say that torture is justified were:
Uganda (78 per cent)
Lebanon (72 per cent)
Israel (62 per cent)
Kenya (62 per cent)
Nigeria (61 per cent)
USA (58 per cent)

To be honest, it is surprising to see such a high percentage in Lebanon but it would have been interesting to compare it to other countries threatened by terrorism like Iraq and Egypt, as well as other Arab countries like KSA, Qatar, Bahrain etc …

20 Liters of Gasoline Cost Less Than 20,000LL Now!

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gas

Gas prices are still dropping worldwide and 1 liter of fuel costs less than 1,000LL now in Lebanon, which is less than the average price of gasoline around the world (0.97 U.S. Dollar per liter).

Moreover, if we compare gasoline prices in Lebanon vs the Arab World, only GCC countries have cheaper oil prices than Lebanon, while countries like Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Syria have more expensive prices (Assuming this list is accurate).

There are talks about fixing the gas tank price at 25,000LL but I don’t understand the logic behind it. If the government wants to take action and help oil companies by fixing the price of 20 liters of gas, they should also prioritize the average citizen and set a maximum price but we all know this won’t work.

Till then, enjoy the low prices and start planning your winter road trips!


Gas Tank prices back in 2011 in Lebanon

Is The Lebanese Passport The Most Expensive In The World?

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lb via Speaktheblues

I was watching Hayda 7aki yesterday and they were comparing the price of a Lebanese passport vs other passports from around the world, so I looked up the world’s most expensive passports and I got this list:

pass2 via GoEuro

The most expensive passport in the world can be found in Turkey and it costs $251, followed by Australia and Switzerland. However if you look up the expiry date of each passport, you will find that the Lebanese Passport costs more than the Turkish and could be the most expensive worldwide.

In fact, the Turkish passport costs $251 but expires in 10 years, while a 10-year validity passport in Australia costs $254 (not $206 as mentioned). On the other hand, a Lebanese passport costs $200 over 5 years and you have to add $20 in fees and papers, so technically it’s more expensive than all those on the list. Moreover, the biometric passports are still not here and they will probably be more expensive so we will be easily topping that list for quite some time.

The funny part is that our passport is among the 10 worst passports in the world as it only allows you to travel to 37 countries without a visa, and the list is shrinking by the year.

PS: The UAE has the most affordable passports at only $14.

Watch Out! You May Need A New Lebanese Passport

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passport

The General Security released an important memo a couple of weeks ago but apparently very few people have read it or heard about it (including myself) because we were all too busy with the holidays. In fact, I think the timing and the rollout were terribly planned as a lot of people travel back to Lebanon during this time of year just for few days and the last thing they’d want to do is spend hours, if not days, to come up with new passports. I’m not sure if they had announced these measures before but they should have done a proper campaign to inform everyone.

The memo basically says that you will need to apply for a new Lebanese passport if:

– The renewal on your old passport is hand-written, just like the picture above.
– Or your passport includes accompanied individuals such as children.

The deadline was set to the 10th of January, after which the old renewed passports will no longer be considered valid on departure. In other words, you won’t be able to fly if the conditions apply and you don’t have a new passport. On the other hand, arrivals will be warned.

Luckily for me, I only have 5 months left on my passport so I have to renew it soon but this sucks for those who just renewed their passports last year for more than a year.

إلتزاماً بالمعايير المفروضة من قبل منظمة الطيران المدني الدولي ،

تُعلم المديرية العامة للأمن العام المواطنين اللبنانيين حاملي جوازات سفر مجددة بخط اليد أو جوازات سفر تتضمن مرافقين بوجوب إستبدالها بجوازات جديدة في حال رغبتهم بالسفر ، وتلفت عنايتهم إلى أنه سيصار إلى سحب الجوازات المنوه عنها من قبل الدوائر والمراكز الحدودية اعتباراً من تاريخ 2016/01/10 ليصار الى إلغائها.

PS: LBCI did a report on this issue. Watch it [here].

BlogBaladi Is Lebanon’s Most Influential Blog And The Blog Of The Year 2015

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most influential

[LebaneseBlogs] has just published this morning its blogging statistics and awards for 2015 and BlogBaladi emerged as Lebanon’s Most Influential Blog of 2015, also known as Lebanon’s Blog of the year which is awesome news!

What I love about these statistics is that they are not based on subjective opinions, but on hard data gathered and analyzed from the thousands of posts that were published and indexed this year, and I thank Mustapha for going through this effort to pull out these results because I know it’s not easy.

BlogBaladi was featured in all the top lists as follows:

Lebanon’s 20 Most Shared posts on Facebook:
fb shared

My post on the Facebook Safety Check following the Burj Brajneh attacks gathered over 30k in terms of shares and ranked #7 in the most shared Facebook posts list.

Congrats to Elie from A Separate State of Mind for topping the list.

Lebanon’s 20 most shared posts on Twitter:
twitter

It’s very hard to compete with KarlRemarks on Twitter but I managed to sneak into 10th spot with my post on Lebanese journalist and activists and my friend Joumana Haddad being denied entrance to Bahrain.

Ambassador Tom Fletcher topped the list this year with his farewell tweet.

Lebanon’s most viral blogger:
viral

BlogBaladi was ranked as the 3rd most viral blog in 2015 with an average of 35.9 over 50. Virality is a “score for each post that combines its Twitter shares and Facebook shares while normalizing extreme variations”. Last year my average was 21.72 so this is a huge improvement and I’m glad that all the hard work I put into generating better content this year paid off.

Congrats to Elie from A Separate State of Mind and Ralph from Blog Of The Boss for the top 2 spots.

Lebanon’s most prolific blogger:
prolific

Last year I was the most prolific blogger with over 1,557 posts throughout the year, and I could have probably topped the list this year but I decided to cut down my posts to 2 or 3 per day and try to improve the quality of the posts even further and it surely paid off in the virality average and user engagement.

Congrats to Anthony from NoGarlicNoOnions for topping the list.

Lebanon’s blog of the year:

I’m very proud to top the list and be Lebanon’s most influential blogger for 2015. Blogging is hard work and it’s always great to see your work being appreciated, especially when it’s based on objective results and hard data.

Check out all the results [here].

Orphaned 3-Year Old Haidar Visited Real Madrid And Met Cristiano Ronaldo

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haidar22 via DailyStar

Here’s a small update on the #CristianoMeetHaidar story. Haidar did end up visiting Real Madrid and meeting Real’s president and his hero Cristiano Ronaldo. I know this visit won’t bring his family back nor will it make his life any easier in the future, but it brought a smile to his face and probably cheered him up a bit.

Haidar survived the latest Beirut bombings in Burj el Brajneh but unfortunately lost both his parents. He is much better now and is living with his grandparents. Aside from the Real Madrid trip, tens of thousands of dollars were collected online to help him have a better future.

You can follow his updates on this [FB page].

h1

A Lebanese Christmas Card Like No Other …

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xmas leb zbele By Mukagraf

Christmas will have a different “flavor” this year in Lebanon. There are still no solutions for the garbage crisis and everyone is hoping at this point that snow will cover everything. Until then, Santa is taking special precautions this year to celebrate Christmas with the Lebanese as portrayed by Muriel.

If you don’t like this card , there’s another one that I loved that says “Merry Christmas wou bye bye regime” and a couple of others that also awesome. To be honest, I can’t stop recommending Muriel’s greeting cards because they are well-designed, original, hilarious and they perfectly reflect the Lebanese culture.

I got these from Virgin Megastore but you can find Mukagraf greeting cards in almost every bookstore.

Check out Mukagraf’s insta [here].

(Updated Anonymous R Denying The Report) Anonymous Reveals List Of Potential ISIS Targets, Including One In Lebanon

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anon

Update: Anonymous r denying the rumors.
anon1

Anonymous, the collective of online activists, has revealed that ISIS is planning attacks tomorrow in Paris and around the world and has published a list of potential targets.

Anonymous declared war on ISIS last week following the Paris attacks and this list is probably a result of their hacking. I’m not really sure how serious this threat is and it’s very weird to find USEK on that list but it wouldn’t hurt to take extra precautions.

Google Added A Black Ribbon To Commemorate Victims of Beirut Attacks

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Beirut

Google has acknowledged the recent terrorist attacks in Beirut with a commemorative ribbon on their Lebanon homepage www.google.com.lb. The black ribbon is a sign of remembrance and mourning and was also added to Google’s main page in response to the #Paris attacks.

In addition to Google, several foreign papers today acknowledged the #Beirut attacks especially after Facebook’s Safety Check was activated for Paris attacks but not Beirut. To name few, Time and The New York Times featured articles on how Beirut feels forgotten after the latest ISIS attacks. NY Times also quoted fellow blogger Elie in their article following his great take on the Paris and Beirut attacks.

Time

New York Times

Egyptian Legend Adel Emam put the Lebanese flag as a background on his profile picture in support.

Adel

Even in football, German star and ManUnited player Bastian Schweinsteiger expressed his condolences to the Beirut bombing victims.

Bastian

Chelsea player Cesc Fabregas, whose wife Danielle Semaan is Lebanese, also mentioned Beirut in his FB post. The first comment he got was funny though as someone asked him to “Pray For Chelsea because they will be relegated”.

fabregas

On a last note, a French reader of the blog shared his idea of the “Facebook Safety Check” for Beiruti people adding a “We don’t care if you are affected” button.

beyrouth fb