Category Archives: Information

British Ambassador Tom Fletcher Worked As A Domestic Worker To Highlight Migrant Worker Rights

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Few months back, His Excellency was invited to a formal dinner when he noticed domestic workers were all seated on a separate table, so he went and sat down with them then left the dinner. Today, Tom has decided to fill in the shoes of Kalkedan, an Ethiopian domestic worker, to highlight once again migrant workers rights in Lebanon.

Needless to say, this is a great initiative, just like all the previous initiatives that his Excellency has taken. Ambassador Fletcher has been serving as a role model for everyone in Lebanon, and has been doing way more than what he’s required and setting the bar very high for other ambassadors and foreign representatives and Lebanese politicians of course.

We are very lucky to have someone like Tom Fletcher serving our country and I am very fortunate to have met him on several occasions.


One Of The Lebanese Kidnapped Army Soldiers Met With His Family

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What these families are going through is unbearable and unacceptable. From one side, the government is barely doing anything to free the soldiers and from another side the terrorists are giving the families false hopes and leaving them anxious and fearful regarding the future fate of their sons.

29 soldiers have been kidnapped for over a month now by al-Nusra Front and ISIS in Ersal.


What Will Happen When Lebanon Becomes an Oil Rich Country

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I’ve noticed recently an increased interest on oil and gas activities in Lebanon but I can’t figure out why. Executive Magazine has released a couple of articles lately, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration published an assessment report and the Lebanese Gas & Oil Facebook page has been pretty active lately.

I don’t think we will be extracting or selling oil anytime soon, but here’s a glimpse of what’s gonna happen according to Karl when Lebanon becomes an oil rich country:

- The country will become rich, very rich. Given Lebanon’s traditional commitment to equalitarianism, the process will be run efficiently and the proceeds will be distributed equally among the Lebanese.

– The Lebanese, who are generally known for their simple and non-materialistic lifestyle, will be tempted to abandon their traditional asceticism but they will do that with typical classiness and good taste.

– Cooperation is a cornerstone of Lebanese society, and there are hardly any disagreements to be expected over the distribution and use of the oil wealth. The country’s democracy is also reinforced by informal network of inter-sect cooperation, which will ensure everything goes smoothly.

Those are the major headlines, which are quite reassuring. The model also predicted specific results listed below:

– Parking valets will have their own valet parking service, which means that each restaurant/bar/nightclub will have a double valet parking system in front.

– Several very exclusive mega night clubs will open in Beirut and other cities, each accommodating no more than 25000 people.

– The Lebanese will stop trying to produce The Largest Hummus Plate In The World. Instead, they will start making The Largest Caviar Plate In The World. And then celebrate the record by smoking The Largest Cigar In The World.

You can read the full article [here].

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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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.


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

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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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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!