Category Archives: Information

Shuft Taharrush Campaign: 69% of expatriate women in Lebanon are subjected to harassment

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I am not sure how reliable these numbers are because that’s quite an alarming rate. I wish we had more details on what is the majority of cases reported and what is considered to be a harassment act?

Over two-thirds of expatriate women in the capital have been sexually harassed, according to the results of a new survey by an activist group. The figures are likely just as high for Lebanese women, the group’s leader said, with complaints by women ranging from verbal harassment and catcalls to violent sexual assault.

“In their daily lives, Lebanese women and expatriates are experiencing harassment, whether verbal or physical,” said Tarek Abouzeinab, who launched the anti-harassment initiative.

More than 900 women responded to the survey, which was carried out in places that are frequented by expatriate women, including malls and churches.

The survey found that 69 percent of expatriate women in Lebanon “are subjected to harassment in all its forms and types as well as continuous and unrelenting violence, discrimination and harsh treatment.”

The campaign’s hotline, which was launched during Eid, has so far received over 192 telephone complaints. The group also received 290 email inquiries on harassment. [Source]

Smuggling Lebanese into Australia

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I don’t recall the last time I heard about Lebanese getting smuggled into another country. According to this article, many families from Akkar and Beb el Tebbane are paying thousands of dollars and are risking their lives by going on a tiny fishing boat all the way to Australia.

One of the Lebanese interviewed said he was either forced to carry arms or seek asylum.

Scores of Lebanese from the north of the country have been traveling to Indonesia, boarding fishing boats that carry asylum-seekers into Australian waters. But under the new law signed on July 19, unauthorized arrivals will be sent instead to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be refugees, will be settled there, and if not, they will be sent back home.

On July 25, about 40 Lebanese arrived at the Christmas Island located about 500 kilometers south of Jakarta, Indonesia. The island is a common destination for asylum-seekers, who crowd into boats at Indonesian ports and pay smugglers to ferry them to Australian shores. These young men, however, were unaware that they would never be settled in Australia. [Source]

MP Bahia Hariri ‘Returns to the People’ all her salaries since 2009

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Bahia Hariri visiting ex-PM Rafic Hariri’s (her brother) tomb in Beirut

Like her or not, she definitely did the right thing and other MPs should do the same. In fact, none of them should be earning any salaries until the economic situation gets better and we are out of this mess.

Al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Bahia Hariri “returned” on Sunday more than LL525 million to the Lebanese people, the salary that she has received since her election in 2009.

During a ceremony held at Beiteddine palace, the summer residence of President Michel Suleiman, Hariri said: “I apologize to the Lebanese people for not doing my job since 2009. I have received from the people a paycheck that I don’t deserve.”

She said she “had the honor” to “return to them” more than LL 525 million to establish the “I Love You Lebanon 2020” fund. [Source]

A Lebanese Member of Parliament earns almost $140,000 a year according to the new wage scale that was suggested (Not sure if it got approved) last year.


[Full Infographic] via LebanonAggregator

Villa Clara: Beirut With a French Accent

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A new guesthouse in Mar Mikhail has been featured in the New York Times. Villa Clara Villa is located on Khenchara Street, Mar Mikhael and is a “charming, affordable guesthouse filled with French antiques”. I should pay this place a visit soon and try out the light summer menu.

The tiny boutique hotel, its restaurant and guest rooms stocked with Parisian antiques, opened last year around the corner from an Asterix chicken shack and across the street from its neighborhood boucherie. But this was not Marseille or Lyon, it was the eastern edge of Beirut.

“A Frenchman can easily live in Beirut without feeling displaced,” said Mr. Gougeon, who moved to the Lebanese capital from Paris in 1999, as he sipped local wine in Villa Clara’s leafy backyard after cooking a dinner of crispy-skinned duck confit and old-fashioned île flottante.

For more than a century, through all manner of turmoil, including a 15-year civil war and, more recently, ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria, a distinctly French character has pervaded the city. Much of it is the legacy of the French colonial period — the mandate that lasted from 1920 to 1943 — but a cultural kinship goes back much further than that.

I had come to Beirut to see just how much French influence remains, and discovered an East-West blend more complex and layered than ever. Having left the country for France during particularly troubled times, many affluent Beirutis have returned, bringing with them cravings for Parisian life. A younger generation, meanwhile, has embraced a new hybrid culture — a French, Anglo and Arabic stew — evident in shops and restaurants and trilingual discussions across the city. [NewYorkTimes]

This place is ideal for travelers who are visiting Beirut for few days or a weekend. Rooms are available at $165 with breakfast. You can check out more details on their website [www.villaclara.fr].

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PS: The recommendations for hotels and restaurants mentioned at the article at the end don’t go really with Villa Clara as the hotels are the most expensive in town (Add Four Seasons Hotel to that list) and the restaurants listed are everything but affordable.

Help Roger Dahan

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Roger Dahan is one of Beirut’s many homeless people. He was found yesterday on the streets of Mar Mikhail bleeding and in a bad condition. He had been lying on the pavement for 2 hours covered in blood and in the sun. After several calls to the Red Cross and 112, Roger was finally Roger taken to the Rafik Hariri Hospital. Some people already volunteered to help him out and a [Facebook page] was open for that sake.

Check out the [Facebook Page] for updates on Roger and how you could help him.

We don’t want him to end up like Ali Abdallah did. Speaking of which, it would be interesting to know whether the Find Ali initiative has been able to locate homeless people in Beirut and help them out. I tried checking their website but it’s not opening.

PS: Thumbs up to Blogger Nadine Mazloum for raising the issue in the first place.

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Photo via Lara Hussein

Lebanese railway revival to be studied

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Rayak Train Station – Picture taken from Bambi’s Soapbox

Based on the below article, the European Investment Bank will conduct a study to examine the cost and feasibility of reopening the approximately 80 km Beirut-Tripoli railway. The article doesn’t say who ordered such a study but they’ve been doing studies for over 10 years now and still nothing so maybe it’s better if we invest these 2 million euros somewhere else.

It seems Lebanese will have to wait for the oil drilling to begin before they have a chance of any electricity, water or high speed trains (Assuming politicians don’t steal the money first).

LEBANON: Tenders for a study into the feasibility of rebuilding the disused railway from Beirut north along the coast to Tripoli are to be invited by the European Investment Bank during September.

The standard gauge line linking Haifa, Beirut and Tripoli was built by Allied forces during World War II. Along with the rest of the Lebanese rail network it is currently derelict, with the last trains having run around 1997.

EIB plans to commission a comprehensive study of the technical, economic, financial, environmental, social and institutional aspects of rehabilitating and reopening the approximately 80 km Beirut – Tripoli section, and it will seek assistance with the development of tender documentation for procurement of the construction works.

The study is expected to cost around €2m, funded by the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment & Partnership programme.

Cyprus Airways & Air France modify their flights to Beirut

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It’s a good thing no one cancelled their trips yet. Speaking of airports, no decisions were taken yet to open the Kleiat airport as an alternative to Rafic Hariri’s.

Cyprus Airways:
Effective Thursday, the 8:30 p.m. flight out of Larnaca had been moved to 5:30 a.m. to avoid an overnight stay in Beirut. The Cypriot national carrier flies from Larnaca to Beirut, a 30-minute flight away, once a day, six days a week.
“The company has decided to reschedule its flights because of the current situation,” a spokesman for the company told Reuters. [Reuters]

Air France:
Air France has modified the timing of one of its two daily return flights between Paris and Beirut, as the spectre grows of possible western military intervention in Syria, an airline spokeswoman said on Thursday. [Reuters]