Category Archives: Information

Missing Iraqi Cash ($1.2 To $1.6 Billion) Ended In Lebanon

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CASH-master675 Stuart W. Bowen Jr., left, a special inspector general who examined corruption and waste in Iraq

After the US defeated Saddam Hussein in 2003, $12 billion to $14 billion was sent to Iraq in the airlift, and an additional $5 billion was sent by electronic transfer to support Iraq’s new government and help the economy. However, and based on an investigation led by Stuart W. Bowen, he found that between $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion had been stolen and moved to a bunker in rural Lebanon for safe keeping.

This is the first time I hear about this money and the bunker. Where did all that money go and where the hell is that bunker?

Read the full article [Here].

Mr. Bowen said that Brick Tracker, his office’s most sensitive investigation, began in 2010 when Wael el-Zein, a Lebanese- American on his staff, received a tip about stolen money hidden in Lebanon. An informant told him about the bunker, which in addition to the cash, was believed to also have held approximately $200 million in gold belonging to the Iraqi government.

But by this time, official Washington had long since forgotten about the flights from Andrews. The C.I.A. expressed little interest in pursuing the matter, and the F.B.I. said it lacked jurisdiction, Mr. Bowen recalled. And when Mr. Bowen and his staff tried to conduct an investigation of the missing cash in Lebanon, they also met with resistance from the United States Embassy in Beirut.

Mr. Bowen was not allowed to travel to Lebanon on official business. Two of his investigators who did travel to Lebanon were denied permission from the embassy to see the bunker themselves because it was too dangerous. When Mr. Bowen’s staff members met in Beirut with Lebanon’s prosecutor general, Said Mirza, he initially agreed to cooperate on an investigation, but later decided against it.

The office of the special inspector general for Iraq closed in 2013, and Mr. Bowen is now working in the private sector. Mr. Bowen thinks at least some of the money has been moved, and said it is impossible to say whether any of it is still in the bunker. He says he is still frustrated by the lack of cooperation he got from his own government in his efforts to pursue the missing cash. “We struggled to gain timely support from the interagency as we pursued this case,” Mr. Bowen said.

Pine Nuts Shortage In Lebanon

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PineNuts

Pine nuts prices have gone up by 40% in the past two years according to the this LBCI report. 1 pine nuts kilo costs now 100,000 LL which is quite expensive but not surprising given that pine nuts have always been pricey and they are not that available worldwide not just in Lebanon. Unfortunately in Lebanon, the problem is that there are no serious initiatives by the government or concerned ministries to grow more pine trees and we have hundreds if not thousands of pine trees destroyed every year by “intentional” forest fires.

PS: Nothing beats adding pine nuts on a Hummus and Kawarma plate.

maison

Everything You Need To Know On Oil And Gas And Lebanon’s Strategic Environmental Assessment

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oil

Executive Magazine has been doing a tremendous job following up on potential offshore oil and gas activities in Lebanon and what the The Lebanese Petroleum Administration has been up to. The latest is a nicely summarized guide of the 900 pages strategic environmental assessment (SEA) related to potential offshore oil and gas activities that the LPA has published.

Check it out [Here]. There’s another useful [website] that keeps posting updates on oil and gas in Lebanon.

Horrible Story: Housekeeper Kills Toddler Girl To Cover Up House Items Theft

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girl via Naharnet

I heard about the sudden death of Celine few days ago and how a doctor was being interrogated as she died a day after being vaccinated. As it turns out and based on the ISF report, the family’s Ethiopian housekeeper had killed the girl after she caught her stealing house items.

That’s a terrible story but something’s weird about this story. If the girl was strangled, why didn’t they figure that out at first? Why did they blame the doctor directly?

May she R.I.P.

Lebanon Is In For A Harsh Winter

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[Picture from sietske-in-beiroet]

Last year we heard the same thing yet we barely got a winter season. Let’s hope they are right this year as we desperately need it.

Usually swarms of wasps and bees are not seen as a good omen, but the large numbers spotted in coastal areas up north are being hailed by some as a sign of a rainy and snowy winter to come, something Lebanon desperately needs after a year of drought and low rainfall.

According to some elderly residents in Lebanese villages, wasps and bees have good instincts when it comes to changes in the weather and their escape from mountainous areas to warmer regions is a sign of an imminent drop in temperatures, coupled with rains and snow. [DailyStar]

Ahmend Proposes To His Lebanese Fiance On A Starbucks Cup In Calgary

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07_09_cal_starbuckscouple_submitted

They should have a Starbucks-themed wedding.

Dania Melhem ordered her piping cuppa joe expecting to see her name scribbled in across the cup. But when her order was up and she turned her brew around she was surprised by the curly writing: “Dania, Will you marry me?”

Ahmend Rammay, her partner of about a year dropped down on one knee before she had the chance to process.

“I was really, really surprised,” said Melhem. “All of the sudden he’s down on one knee, there’s all kinds of people taking pictures. I don’t really remember much of what he said, it was just really overwhelming and really exciting.” [Link]

Thanks Fida!

Tripoli’s Mohammad el Mir Wins Gold At The Junior Mental Calculation World Championship 2014

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mohammad Mohammad is the one in the pinkish shirt in front

I loved mental calculation as a kid and I was always among the first in my class but I wasn’t nearly as good as this kid is. Mohammad el Mir came first at The Junior Mental Calculation World Championship 2014 which took place in Germany this year. He won gold in the Juniors1 category which is for kids under 12. I looked up the results on the Junior Mental Calculation World Championship Facebook group and it says that Mohammad is representing Canada not Lebanon for some reason. In all cases, congrats to Mohammad and Lebanon!

Here’s a nice report by MTV on Mohammad’s achievement.

Here are this year’s winners / Hier sind die diesjährigen Sieger:

Juniors1 (age / Alter 8-11):
1. Mohammad El Mir (Canada)
2. Sundaresh Sundaragopal (India)
3. Nityashri Sankaran (India)

Juniors 2 (age / Alter 12-14):
1. Granth Thakkar (India)
2. Wenzel Grüß (Germany)
3. Martin Drees (Germany)

Seniors (age / Alter 15-17):
1. Izdar Abulizi (Germany)
2. Max Weber (Germany)
3. Michael Rother (Germany)

Congratulations to the winners and of course all other participants!
Herzlichen Glückwunsch an alle Sieger und natürlich auch alle anderen Teilnehmer!

Myriam Neaimeh The First Lebanese To Score In The FA Women’s Premier League!

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Fa

Myriam joined Newcastle United a couple of years ago and has scored in their last game against Guiseley AFC Vixens. I don’t think we ever had any Lebanese playing in the FA Women’s Premier League so congrats to Myriam! I tried looking for a video but couldn’t find any.

Myriam plays in the FA WPL league, which comes right after the FA WSL which is the highest league.

myriam

How It Looks Like On The Syrian-Lebanese Borders

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[YouTube]

I spotted this video of a Hezbollah fighter mocking MP Sami Gemayel’s military plan to better control the Syrian-Lebanese borders. Personally speaking, I think all Lebanese parties are to blame for the situation but if what this fighter is saying is true on how the terrorists attack almost daily, then we are in deep trouble.

I am positive that the Lebanese army can control the borders but it needs to reinforce all the positions and set up watch towers every 1 km if not less. We have to do whatever it takes to keep these jihadists away from Lebanon.

borders

Clooney And Alamuddin’s Wedding Cost $13 Million Dollars … And They Gave Their Guests iPods

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1399920500_amal-alamuddin-george-clooney-zoom

Clooney and Alamuddin’s four-day wedding celebrations in Venice cost around 10 millions euros according to Elle and Telegraph. I read somewhere that the whole event may have been paid by Amal’s father Ramzi, who’s a retired professor at the American University of Beirut but I doubt it. One thing is for sure, is that Amal is the one making all the headlines and not Clooney and she totally deserves it!

On a last note, I was quite surprised to read that they offered their guests an iPod with a list of their favorite songs as a gift. I didn’t know people still buy iPods these days and Techcrunch agrees that the iPod is dead.

[YouTube] Amal Alamuddin’s wedding dresses in 60 seconds