The 2006 Lebanon War Wikipedia page is in the top 30 most edited Wikipedia pages and controversial topics with over 20,000 revisions, with the most popular ones being George W. Bush and World Wrestling Entertainment. It’s the only Middle-East related page on that list weirdly enough despite everything that’s been happening since 2006. Other pages on that list include The Undertaken, Adolf Hitler, Jesus, Michael Jackson, Roger Federer and others.
I think the main reason for that was the cyber war that Israel launched back then against Lebanon and Hezbollah and that turned into a global cyber-warfare between the US and its enemies.
The UNHCR released its annual Global Trends Report: World At War on Thursday, and revealed that the number of people displaced by war and persecution has reached a new high whereas one in every 122 humans globally is either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. We are talking about almost 60 million people that were forcibly displaced compared to 51.2 million in 2013.
As far as refugees per 1,000 inhabitants ratio is concerned, Lebanon is still leading the way with 232 refugees, followed by Jordan with 87. The “good” news though is that this number has slightly dropped from mid-2014 where it peaked at 257, which could be due to the visa restrictions set by the Lebanese authorities.
Needless to say, there’s still a lot of work to be done as refugees need to be regrouped in decent camps and should get the necessary help. Of course Lebanon needs all the help he can get from Arab countries and the UN, but more importantly, we need transparency and accountability when it comes to foreign aids to ensure funds are not going into the wrong pockets.
The video was shot by 961FastCam. The Jounieh bay is one of the most beautiful in Lebanon but it’s unfortunately ruined by the illegal beaches and the lack of decent beach resorts. This region has so much potential but no one is willing to fix things up.
We should be competing with Greece and Aiya Nappa instead of begging tourists (and locals) to visit Keserwan and the Jounieh bay.
A year after Azadea Foundation’s revival of the 22,000 sqm Rene Mouawad Sanayeh Garden, one of Beirut’s oldest and most popular gardens, around 11,000 are visiting the garden on weekends and 8,000 during weekdays. Added to that, more than 3000 students from 90 different schools, as well NGOs and other associations visited the garden last year. Free bicycle rides are organized as well for orphans on a weekly basis.
The garden is currently being managed by Azadea Foundation who is providing 7 security guards daily during the weekdays and 11 daily during weekends, and has adopted all maintenance costs for the 10 upcoming years (i.e. security, cleaning, water, electricity, fountain and greenery).
Needless to say, it’s great to see so many people visiting the garden and I hope similar initiatives will be taken to reopen other public gardens and more specifically Horch Beirut which has been closed for years by Beirut’s municipality for fear of vandalism and poor maintenance. A lot of people have been asking for the Horch to be reopened for the public but I’m not 100% with this idea without taking the proper measures. Nevertheless, I think Beirut’s municipality should make it its utmost priority to adopt a plan to reopen the Horch and other gardens given that it can easily afford doing so.
Until then, we need more private initiative to increase the number of green spaces in Lebanon and maintain them just like Azadea did with the Sanayeh Garden.
PS: Pets are still not allowed at Sanayeh garden for hygiene purposes (no one picks up his pet’s poop in Lebanon).
Kafa organized a demonstration yesterday in front of the National Musuem to end domestic violence against women and in support of the victims’ families, specially after the brutal murder of Sara al Amin a week ago. On the same day and in a different location, a man was caught on camera beating a woman inside her car. Al Jadeed are saying he’s an official and that the woman is his wife but I can’t confirm both. What’s sure is that he was beating her in public and no one intervened to help the poor woman, which brings me back to the post I wrote a few days ago on how Lebanese need to protect women being assaulted in public or inside their houses.
If I had seen this guy, I would have definitely rushed and kept him away from this woman and I am sure a lot of people would have done the same. I am not here blaming the guy who filmed the whole thing as it’s a personal choice after all, but we need to take action against abusive individuals and shame them while protecting the victim.
I will follow up on this story and see if this guy’s name is revealed since he’s an official and the head of a municipality according to Al Jadeed.
The number of passengers during the first four months of 2015 reached a record high of 1,969,222 passengers and showed an increase of almost 10% when compared to the same period last year. Similarly, Lebanon’s hotels (four and five stars) witnessed an increase in occupancy from 42% last year to almost 54% this year according to an Ernst & Young study. Doha, Madina, Abu Dhabi and Dubai all ranked higher with an occupancy rate of over 75%. As far as room rates are concerned, the average room rate in Beirut rose from $163 in 2014 to $173 this year, vs $303 in Dubai and $227 in Abu Dhabi. I wish they added a breakdown by nationalities to see if we are getting more Arab tourists this year or not.
In all cases, summer is looking good so let’s keep our fingers crossed that everything will stay calm inside Lebanon and on the borders.
LBCI News Anchor Dima Sadekremoved a post she wrote on Facebook few days ago after her mother received threats and insults on her phone. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a journalist is harassed in Lebanon whether online or through abusive phone calls and these people won’t stop even if you removed a controversial post or picture. May Chidiac was and is still being harassed on a daily basis and nothing is being done to track down these people. Moreover, there are a lot of people who have nothing to do with politics and get harassed on a daily basis and are unable to do anything about it, and I’ve already raised this issue two years ago when one of my friends was being harassed.
I think it’s time for the ISF and cyber crimes bureau to investigate this type of harassment and bullying and try to track down who’s behind it. We also need to track down all these apps that can get you someone’s personal information based on their license plate and that are still available for download. Cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and online harassment are crimes that should be punishable by law and treated more seriously in Lebanon.
I met Ziad Sankari back in 2012 as we were both speakers at TedxLAU. I remember very well sitting right next to Ziad and asking him about CardioDiagnostics as it was a brilliant idea and by far the most interesting talk we had that day. Ziad has been relentlessly working on his idea since then and his efforts finally paid off as he got invited to the White House two days ago as one of the emerging young entrepreneurs from around the world. Ziad Sankari’s work was recognized by US President Barack Obama who introduced Ziad to the whole world (Yup you heard me right!) and explained how CardioDiagnostics, a heart monitoring technology, “is improving the way we respond to cardiac attack incidents which will have enormous ramifications not just in places like Lebanon but potentially all around the world”.
Being recognized by the US president is a huge deal as it provides a unique opportunity to attract investors and I am positive that Ziad will go very far with his idea and I wish him the best of luck!
If you are still wondering who is Ziad and what’s CardioDiagnostics, here’s the full story:
Ziad Sankari started CardioDiagnostics in 2012. Ziad lost his father to a heart attack when he was seventeen and his family lacked access to proper healthcare. He decided to pursue his studies in understanding the electrical activity of the heart and how monitoring and analyzing that activity can save lives. Today, the company uses FDA-approved wearable devices that are 24/7 GPS-enabled heart rate monitors allowing for heart monitoring centers to communicate diagnostic and preventive information to patients in the United States, where the center has over 40 employees, and in Lebanon. In 2008, Ziad attended Ohio State University on a U.S. Fulbright scholarship. After returning to Lebanon, he was selected to pitch his idea at the 2011 Global Innovation through Science and Technology’s (GIST) Tech-I competition where he won first place. Through GIST, a U.S. Department of State funded initiative, Ziad received his first round of seed funding and traveled through various U.S. cities to expand his network, learn how to negotiate, and connect with mentors. Given his experiences, Ziad sees education as essential to successful entrepreneurship and to combat rising issues of poverty and extremism. He hopes to support other startups and build a high-performing educational system in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East that leverages U.S. expertise and connections to open a world of opportunities to younger generations. [Source]
Homosexuality is not a trend nor an illness and people don’t choose to become gay. Blaming People for Being Gay is Like Blaming Them for Being Left-Handed.
IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) is a long day event organized and hosted by Proud Lebanon. During this day, various activities will take place in order to address the issues related to this cause. Your participation is highly appreciated and required, so you can contribute to promote our cause and fight against Homophobia.
The minimum wage in Lebanon was increased three years ago from 500,000 ($330) to 675,000 ($450), yet a lot of people here still think it’s not enough and that it should be drastically increased. There’s no doubt that you can barely live with $450 in Lebanon given how expensive things are now, but that’s not a reason to increase the minimum wage as this could lead to serious economic problems (there are other ways to improve living standards).
I will not dig into this issue as it’s a very complicated one, but I was reading yesterday a chart published by the OECD, Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development, showing the minimum wages in 34 different countries and I thought it would be a nice idea to see where Lebanon stands on that chart. Since the chart is showing the cost per hour after taxes, we need to compute the cost of 1 working hour in Lebanon according to the Labor Law.
As mentioned above, the minimum wage is now 657,000 LL or $450 and most people work 5 days a week and 8 hours a day, which amounts to 168 hours in May for example. If we take Saturdays into consideration the total number of hours would be 188, so the cost of 1 working hour is between $2.4 and $2.7. This means that Lebanon ranks somewhere in the bottom between Hungary and Estonia. Australia and Luxembourg top the list with wages over $9 an hour each, while the US stands in 11th position with $7.25 per hour. As far as Arab countries are concerned, there’s no data available for Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia’s minimum wage is of $720 per month for the public sector while it’s $268 per month in Jordan, $175 in Egypt and between $176–$266 in Syria,