Category Archives: Information

BlogBaladi Facebook Page is Now Verified

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FB page

If you are searching for BlogBaladi’s page on Facebook or checking out the page, you will notice the blue badge right next to the name, which means that the page has been verified by Facebook to let people know that it’s authentic.

I wasn’t expecting the verification to happen that fast to be honest especially after reading that it’s not available for Lebanon at the moment. I was just having a chat with a friend and I randomly asked her about the verification process so she told me she can send a recommendation to Facebook and two days later BlogBaladi got the blue badge!

Lebanon Mentioned At The 2016 GOP Convention

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Tom Barrack, the founder of Colony Capital and one of America’s richest businessmen, is a major fundraiser for Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency and he spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

During his speech, he spent a couple of minutes talking about his Lebanese origins and the ties to Lebanon and the Levant Culture. I’m familiar with Barrack and his business but I had no clue his grandparents were Lebanese.

PS: Those are the only two minutes worth listening to in Barrack’s speech as he spent the remaining 11 minutes praising Donald Trump.


If you want a quick recap of the GOP convention, watch John Oliver’s brilliant take on it:


“Beyrouthin” Added to the French Dictionary

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After two years of signing petitions, publishing articles and writing letters to the French Academy and Larousse, Tamyras were finally able to get Larousse to add the word “Beyrouthin” to the French Dictionary. Beyrouthin has been used since 1844 according to Tania Hadjithomas Mehanna but was never included in the dictionary.

“Beyrouthin” can be found in the 2017 Larousse edition between “Beylisme” and “Bezef”.

Felicitations les Beyrouthins!

Shameful “Anal Exams” Still Taking Place in Lebanon

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Human Rights Watch published an 82-pages long report on the forced anal examinations on men and transgender women accused of consensual same-sex conduct in which cases were reported in Lebanon in the past five years. The report was based on interviews with 32 men and transgender women who underwent forced anal examinations in Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia.

It’s quite shameful to see Lebanon being featured in this report as these “tests of shame” were banned in Lebanon back in 2012 and the Justice minister at the time, Shakib Qortbawi, issued a statement calling for an end to anal examinations on men accused of homosexual conduct. Even the head of the Lebanese Order of Physicians Dr. Sharaf Abu Sharaf issued a directive back then calling for an end of the procedure:

It is scientifically established that this procedure is not even qualified as an experimental procedure. It does not provide the needed result and is considered a grave violation against the people who undergo it, and it is done without their prior consent. It is a humiliating practice that violates their dignity, and it is torture according to the definition of CAT [Convention against Torture].

The reason why anal exams are still being used in Lebanon is due to some doctors, and prosecutors, who are not aware or not complying with the circulars that were issued in 2012. Of course, there are also police members who are still requesting such tests as recently as 2015 as reported by Dr. Sami Kawas, a forensic medicine specialist in Beirut.

The only way to end these tests is to inflict a severe punishment on those who are still conducting it. A warning is not enough as these tests violate article 30 of the Lebanese law on medical ethics, which prohibits doctors from engaging in harmful practices, as well as international standards against torture including the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Lebanon has ratified.

Any doctor who performs an anal examination should be kicked out of the syndicate and forbidden to work again. Any police officer who requests such tests should be jailed.

Check out the full report [here].

shame anal

Enhanced & More Secure (Biometric) Lebanese Driving Licenses?

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1 via Lebanon24

According to Lebanon24, The Lebanese Ministry of Interior and Municipalities is preparing to launch new secure driving licenses that will reduce the use of stolen and counterfeit licenses. The new licenses will come in the form of a chip-enabled magnetic card that uses biometric identification.

I couldn’t find further info on this topic but we are definitely headed towards biometric passports (I will elaborate on this issue very soon) so I wouldn’t be surprised if driving licenses get a much-needed upgrade at last. On another note, what needs to be changed as well is the process to receive a driving license. Chip-enabled driving licenses may prevent terrorists from copying them but they won’t prevent stupid drivers, who got their licenses without taking any lessons or going through a driving exam, from causing deadly accidents.

loool Bayometric? Lol

Four More Suicide Bombings in Al-Qaa Tonight

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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.


#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.


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

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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].