The 2016 World Happiness Report is out and Lebanon has surprisingly gained 10 spots. “GDP per capita” is still the most important explanatory variable in determining national happiness, followed by healthy life expectancy and social support for Lebanon.
Here’s the complete ranking list for Arab countries:
28- UAE (Down 8 spots)
34- Saudi Arabia (Up 1 spot)
36- Qatar (Down 8 spots)
41- Kuwait (Down 2 spots)
42- Bahrain (Up 7 spots)
67- Libya (Down 4 spots)
80- Jordan (Up 2 spots)
108- Palestine (No change)
112- Iraq (No change)
120- Egypt (Up 15 spots)
147- Yemen (Down 11 spots)
157- Syria (Down 1 spot)
Syria remains the least happy country in the Arab world and in the world right after Burundi.
Assafir has been there since 1974 while Al Liwa2’s first publication dates back to 1963. Annahar is one of Lebanon’s oldest papers and was launched on 4 August 1933.
I don’t remember the last time I actually bought a newspaper. Print media is doomed and it’s time to move online. The real problem for me though is the current transition to online that’s proving to be disastrous, especially when most of the Lebanese media are relying on click baits, gossip and sex stories to attract more readers.
The cabinet convened today at the Grand Serail to discuss the garbage crisis and came up with a temporary solution for the next four years. Here’s what they announced so far:
– The Cabinet approved to establish two landfills in Bourj Hammoud and Nahr Ghadir area.
– Naameh landfill to reopen for 2 months only.
– Beirut’s trash will be distributed to Costa Brava, Bourj Hammoud and the Sidon incinerator.
– Each municipality that has provided a land to establish a landfill will receive $8 million.
– 40 million dollars will be allocated for development projects of towns located near landfills.
– The Shouf and Aley areas landfill’s location will be determined later.
– The cost of every ton of trash sent to Naameh will be $6.
– Sukleen & Sukomi are here to stay until the bids are over.
Also, waste will be removed from streets starting Sunday or Monday according to LBCI.
Picture via Ramez Dagher
Meanwhile, the protesters at Riad al-Solh square called for a general strike on Monday, asking students not to attend schools or universities and employees not to go to work. They also vowed to take several measures to paralyze the country.
What’s my take on all that?
To begin with, I think the #YouStink call for a general strike is a bad idea and will never work. I am not saying their demands are not righteous but blocking roads will only backfire on them. As for the cabinet’s decision, it’s only a temporary solution and they are basically preparing for another garbage crisis in a couple of years. Also, why are they so determined to set up further landfills on the coast? Who is coming up with these ideas to pollute the coast with more dump sites?
The last thing we need are more landfills and incinerators yet that’s what they are proposing. What we should do is handle the garbage without landfills and The Lebanese Eco Movement has already proposed a solution to do so
All in all, garbage may be removed in the next few days and people will soon forget about it but if the cabinet implements his 4-year plan, expect another garbage crisis soon and further pollution due to the presence of landfills and incinerators.
I think the only way to avoid another garbage crisis in the next four years is for municipalities to start recycling and ensuring that waste is disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way. The solutions are out there, they are cheap and they are working out great for a lot of municipalities already.
I am not really sure if it’s profitable to produce and use 1000 LL counterfeit bills but there are plenty in circulation apparently. I don’t think I’ll ever bother to check if a 1000 LL is counterfeit or not and I doubt that merchants/shops will do.
Nevertheless, here’s how you can verify that your 1000 bills are not counterfeit:
Fayha Choir’s “Choir of The Year” award will be the last apparently as those in charge of the choir have decided to shut it down. The reason is mainly a financial one as they are no longer capable of covering the expenses and maintaining the choir at the level required.
This is a truly sad and unfair. The Fayha Choir had just won “The Choir of The Year” award at the Choir Fest Middle East 2016 and is considered as a national treasure and a great source of inspiration for all Lebanese.
I hope that someone intervenes to save the Choir. Looking at their sponsors and co-sponsors (Tripoli municipalities, Safadi Foundation, Azm & Saada association, Hariri foundation), one of them should step in and give the necessary funding. If not, the Ministry of Culture should intervene.
The Fayha Choir was founded in 2003 and is composed of nearly 50 members, Tripoli and suburbs citizens. The choir is conducted by Maestro Barkev Taslakian and its program includes Lebanese, oriental, as well as French, English, Latin, Armenian and other songs.The Fayha Choir has performed in more than 10 countries so far, including Abu Dhabi, Armenia, Poland, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, France, Canada and others. They have also won 2 first prizes at the “International Warsaw Choir Festival 2007: Best choir & Best conductor and are officially part of the “International Federation for Choral Music” (IFCM).
Update: Middle East Airlines issued the below clarification
تداولت بعض المواقع الالكترونية خبر مضخم حول الرحلة المتوجهة من إسطنبول إلى بيروت لذا يهم شركة طيران الشرق الاوسط ان توضح ما يلي:
“ان طائرة الشركة قد تعرضت لصاعقة ناتجة عن سوء الاحوال الجوية في منطقة شمال تركيا، وهذه الامور تواجه الطائرات عادة في مثل هذه الاحوال الجوية السيئة، ويهم الشركة ان توضح ان جميع طائراتها مجهزة للحماية من الصواعق الكهربائية، وبالتالي لم تواجه الطائرة اي عطل كهربائي او فني، كما وانها لم تتعرض لاي مخاطر تتعلق بالسلامة كما جاء في الخبر الذي ورد حول هذا الامر.
ويهم شركة طيران الشرق الاوسط ان توضح ايضا ان قائد الطائرة طمأن الركاب وان عملية هبوط الطائرة تمت بشكل عادي جدا في المطار
Update2: A passenger also told Lebanonfiles that most of the information they posted was incorrect but they deleted his comment.
I was on my way back from a party yesterday when my friend texted me that there are news of a MEA Flight coming from Turkey exploding. At first, I thought that a plane had crashed or something and I started looking for updates online but then I got a link to the original story.
What happened is that a MEA flight coming from Turkey was struck by lightning and passengers freaked out after hearing a loud noise. The pilot re-assured them that this is a normal incident due to the bad weather conditions and that they might face some turbulence along the way. He re-assured passengers that that everything was under control and ended up landing the plane safely.
I know that this must have be a frightening flight for those on board, and I would have probably panicked like everyone else, but what I don’t get is why anyone would mention in the title that there was an explosion on the plane “خاص: رحلة الموت من تركيا الى بيروت… طائرة للميدل إيست تتعرض لصاعقة وانفجار” or let people panic over a lightning strike.
They could have easily said that a MEA Pilot saved the day after plane got hit by lightning and then explain what happened.
This is not your everyday love story. Ziad Abi Chaker is a multi-disciplinary engineer who specializes in building Municipal Recycling Facilities. If the authorities had listened to his Tedx talk back in 2011 or supported Cedar Environmental, the environmental & industrial engineering organization he founded, we would have avoided the current garbage crisis or at least limited the damages.
Ziad is passionate about his work and his ultimate aim is to achieve a zero waste society, and it’s much easier than you think. His idea is quite simple:
Most municipalities in Lebanon and the middle east cannot afford to buy recycling plants, so he worked out a three way contract where local banks give his company soft loans to build the recycling facilities and municipalities pay only for the service of recycling/composting in comfortable monthly installments not exceeding 5 US Dollars per household per month.
Ever since the garbage crisis begun, people became more aware of the impressive work Cedar Environmental has been doing and a lot of industries and towns have started working with them.
“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 …
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!
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:
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.