Category Archives: Information

PayPal Not Planning To Launch in Lebanon Yet

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PayPal launched in Egypt last year and Lebanon was supposedly next on the list. However, and as per their reply to Jad from the JRExpress, “there are no reasons per se why PayPal is not launching Lebanon, it’s just a matter of priorities”.

Dear Jad,
My name is Laurent Wakim and I am in charge of PayPal’s business in the MENA region.
As my colleague explained to you, when we announced the launch of PayPal services in Egypt in May, there was a misinterpretation about Lebanon’s launch. In 2012, PayPal decided to have a dedicated team focusing on the MENA region. As part of the priorities, expanding our geographic footprint is among the most important ones. That’s why we launched our business in Egypt.
Lebanon is an important market to us (and to me being Lebanese) however when PayPal looks at new opportunities, we need to prioritize them and they compete against other initiatives whether new products, new geographies, …etc. So while enabling Lebanon remains a priority for us, we don’t have any timeline that we can share. There are no reasons per se why PayPal is not launching Lebanon, it is a matter of priorities.
Thank you.
My best regards.
Laurent

Six Months Inside Roumieh: Lebanon’s Most Notorious Prison

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Picture taken from Vice

Vice interviewed one of Roumieh’s ex-inmates and asked him how it felt like to spend 6 months in the prison and get released after. The revelations are quite shocking to say the least.

Read the full interview [Here].

Roumieh, Lebanon’s most notorious prison, is not somewhere you want to find yourself. The facility regularly holds up to 5,500 inmates, including some of the country’s most high-profile criminals—among them, former Israeli agents and Salafists linked with insurrections against the Lebanese state. The prison is yet to meet the minimum standards stipulated by the UN. Those who officiate the prison have also faced numerous accusations of corruption; high-security prisoners have escaped, reportedly without authorities even realizing, and prison guards and doctors have been charged with trafficking drugs inside its walls.

How rampant was the drug abuse?
I’d say 90 percent, or higher, of the inmates were using. It stretched from prescription drugs, like benzocaine and Tramol, to hashish, cocaine, and heroin. Everything is available: benzocaine being the cheapest, with heroin and cocaine the most expensive. There is no chance of rehabilitation. I remember one inmate saying to me, “The only thing they have imprisoned here is my dick.”

Some people had [homosexual] relationships, but they wouldn’t show it. Late at night or early in the morning, when most people were asleep or high, they would go to the bathroom. Two guys would pay the janitor a couple grams of hashish in order not to let anyone in for ten to 15 minutes. They wouldn’t be abused or ostracised, but if the sharwishe found out then they would be beaten up.

Beirut Sees Deadly Start To Year 2014

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A Hezbollah member holds a rifle at the site of an explosion in Beirut’s southern suburbs.(Reuters)

We ended 2013 with a deadly explosion and we started the year 2014 in Beirut with a new explosion that killed 6 and injured tens. Unlike Mohammad Chatah’s assassination, there were no booby-trapped cars but a suicide bomber this time and the target were innocent civilians.

One of the victims whose pictures got spread on social media networks is a young girl called Malak Zahwi who unfortunately got killed along with her mother Iman in the bombing.

The situation is more and more worrying to be honest. Suicide bombers are the worst thing that could hit us or any country. It’s almost impossible to detect them and even if you do, it’s probably too late.

May all the victims R.I.P.

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Picture via Reuters

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Picture via Reuters

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Picture via Reuters

Syrian Children New Year 2014 Wishes

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[YouTube]

According to the UN, more than half of 2.2 million Syrian refugees are children, with around 400,000 Syrian Children living in Lebanon. The Children are facing a catastrophic life in exile as they’re missing out on education, food, medical attention and are forced to work to provide for their families.

Here’s what two of the kids wished in this video:
“I hope that things go back to normal and that we can eat and drink, and that we can play with our friends.”

“We are under siege: I want meat. It’s been a year since we had any meat”

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Free Taxis on New Year’s Eve In Beirut

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The Lebanese Ministry of Interior and the Union of Owners of Private Taxis in Lebanon are launching an initiative to prevent people from driving under the influence of alcohol. The owners of establishments that offer alcohol should prevent their customers from driving drunk and call center traffic management in Lebanon on 1720, who in return will send a taxi to the designated place. [Source]

Check out the [awareness campaign] the Ministry of Interior has launched recently.

Saudi Arabia donates $3 Billion Dollars To The Lebanese army

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This is definitely better than the Cessna 208 Caravan the Lebanese Army got from the US and the 70 Land Rovers from Britain.

“The king of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering this generous and appreciated aid of $3bn to the Lebanese army to strengthen its capabilities,” Mr Sleiman said in his address. Hopefully money will go to the right place and help the army fight terrorist groups and control the situation better.

He said it was the largest assistance provided in Lebanon’s history and would be used to buy weapons from France. [BBC]

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Cessna Caravan donated by the US to the Lebanese Army

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Oil Money To Help the Lebanese Army but from a different source

Beirut Starco Bombing Victims’ Names

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APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The last yet not official casualty toll of the Bombing that shook Beirut today stood at 6 dead and 71 injured.

The names of the victims as shared by MTV and LBC are as follows:
– Mohammed Nasser Mansour
– Saddam al-Khanshouri (Syrian)
– Kevork Takajian
– Ex-Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah
– Chatah’s bodyguard Tareq Bader

The 6th person is still unidentified.

[YouTube]

A video showing how powerful the blast was from inside Future TV studios.

Tragic Stories From Today’s Beirut Bombing

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These Lebanese teenagers were hanging out in Beirut and took the picture shown above right before the explosion took place today. Fortunately, none of them died but from what I heard, one of them was seriously wounded. Let’s hope that he recovers quickly and rejoins his friends.

[YouTube]

The other tragic story that got circulated today was that of the mother of Mohamad Chatah’s bodyguard (Mohammad Tarek Badr) who was running from one hospital to the other to see where her son’s body is but could not find him anywhere.