Picture by Muhanned
Ever since the new Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance, everyone’s been speculating, including Lebanese MP Walid Jumblatt, over the brand of the watch he was wearing. Some are saying it’s a Rolex, while others are claiming it’s an Omega or a Tag Heuer or even an Al-Fajr WA-10S Deluxe watch.
The Al-Fajr watch is apparently Swiss made and is pre-programmed with the correct prayer times for all the world’s major cities. You can also set the date according the standard international, or Gregorian calendar, based on the birth of Christ, or the Muslim calendar, dated to the Hejirah. The compass found on the watch shows the direction of prayer (Kiblah).
The funny part is that this self-proclaimed Caliph was denouncing the West in his speech. The sad part is that people nowadays seem more interested in the brand of his watch rather than the persecutions, massacres and atrocities his group is committing.
At least 20 Lebanese nationals were on board of the Algerian flight AH5017 that went missing on Thursday between Burkina Faso and Algiers. Here are the names of the victims as compiled from MTV and Naharnet:
Randa Bassam Daher and her three children
Joseph Jerjes al-Hajj
Fadi Rustom and his son-in-law Omar al-Ballan
Monji Hassan, his wife Najwa, their four children
Bilal Dheini, his wife and their three children
Unfortunately, there were no survivors from the plane crash which is the third in the past couple of months. BBC showed a video of the wreckage site in Mali and explored the odds of having a cluster of plane accidents so close together.
Sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
The Tourism Ministry is saying the number of Arab tourists is up by 90 percent in June when compared with the previous year. Considering that practically no one came last year, I guess any improvement is good. What we really need though is a 1000% increase to start noticing any tourists in Lebanon and it’s not looking good again this summer despite a promising start.
The French tourists topped the list of non-Arab nationalities visiting Lebanon, followed by the German and Swedish tourists.
BEIRUT: The Tourism Ministry said Tuesday the number of Arab tourists increased by 90 percent in June, compared with the previous year.
“We don’t want the months of May and June, that witnessed this improvement, to be an exception, instead we want them to be a model for the coming months,” Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon said, arguing that the increase in tourism resulted from Lebanon’s “renewed openness to Gulf countries and the new dynamic in the tourism sector that accompanied the security plan.” [Link]
I added a banner on the right side of the blog to help Donner Sang Compter reach 10,000 donors in 10 months. The campaign will end on May 16 2015 and everyone is invited to spread the word and sign up!
Donner Sang Compter has been pulling a tremendous job by linking blood donors to patients in need, so let’s make this mission easier for them by becoming donors. You can register at this website: [www.donatebloodtoday.me]
DSC’s emergency number is 03 314 868 for those who don’t know it.
Update: 16,000 tweets reached!
As part of its campaign this Ramadan, Touch has launched an intiative on Twitter to raise funds for two children at the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon. Their goal is to reach 16,000 tweets and they are at 2000 tweets with 8 days left. You don’t need to donate money or do anything except tweet @touchLebanon and use the hashtag #touchGivesBack.
I always take pride in encouraging campaigns aimed at helping people in need so let’s make this happen and let’s spread the word!
The article says the ministry will be also installing 911 stations including 310 inside Beirut with a sign to inform passengers about possible delays.
The Public Works and Transport Ministry is devising a strategy for managing the sector in Lebanon by purchasing 250 new buses to operate on 20 routes inside Beirut while linking it with stations in other areas such as Tripoli, Sidon and Chtaura, according to the head of the parliamentary commission for Public Works, Energy, Water and Transportation.
MP Mohammad Qabbani said during a meeting to discuss this issue Tuesday that 200 buses would be dedicated to Beirut while the other 50 would work in between other governorates.
Here’s a map showing Lebanon’s bus routes and map but I don’t know where we can find the bus schedules online.
He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn’t speak the language of occupation #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies via @SulomeAnderson
Sulome Anderson is an Arab-American journalist who writes for the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, NY Mag & VICE. She’s half Lebanese and tweeted the other day a selfie with her Jewish bf kissing with a message that said #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies. The photo quickly has gone viral and became a symbol of peace. Sulome Anderson is the daughter of former AP Middle East bureau chief Terry Anderson, who was kidnapped in Lebanon three months before she was born in 1985 by a Shiite militia and was held for seven years.
I think these messages are important, because even though they won’t help resolve the conflict, it brings people, mainly Jews and Arabs, together as this conflict isn’t just about politics but about people and human values. It is unacceptable that children and innocent civilians get murdered that way and no one’s able to stop these massacres from happening.
My boyfriend is Jewish, raised in an orthodox family, and I’m half Lebanese. Last week we were on vacation and, at the suggestion of a journalist friend, added a photo of us together in support of what was then a little-known initiative called Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies. I wrote those words on a piece of paper, kissed my boyfriend, snapped a picture, and posted it on the group’s Facebook page. I also tweeted it to my modest following and added this caption: “He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn’t speak the language of occupation.”
Two African cities, Luanda in Angola and N’Djamena in Chad, topped the Mercer Consulting list of the most expensive cities for expatriates according to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey. They were followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Tokyo, Bern, Moscow and Shanghai.
As for the Middle East, Beirut was ranked the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates and the 63rd world wide, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah. I don’t think that’s something we should be proud of as it doesn’t reflect the reality at all and we can’t be compared to cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
If you remember back in January, Vice posted a story that I shared here about an Israeli-backed militiaman and murderer who kidnapped a journalist and two Irish UN peacekeepers in Lebanon back in the 1980s and ended up selling ice cream to children in Detroit.
The author back then said that the guy who kidnapped him was called Mahmoud Bazzi and that he’s currently living in Detroit and works as an ice cream man. Well it looks like the US authorities have finally arrested him and are planning to deport him on immigration charges. Bazzi is denying the charges and claims “he once falsely confessed to the slayings because he feared a Lebanese militia would kill him unless he lied”.
Federal agents have arrested a man the Irish government calls a suspect in the abduction, torture and killing of two Irish soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon 34 years ago.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesdsay arrested Mahmoud Bazzi at his home in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. The agency arrested Bazzi for “administrative immigration violations” and not directly in connection to the killings in Lebanon, spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told The Associated Press. She said he would be held “pending removal proceedings.” [HuffingtonPost]