Category Archives: Information

Our Lebanese Cedar Is Our Identity: Adopt A Cedar Tree

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Picture via CedarsBox.com

As most of you probably know, Lebanon is known for its Cedars yet today cedar forests cover only 0.0002% of Lebanon’s surface, mainly due to the climate change, over-harvesting and of course the lack of initiatives from Lebanese authorities. Luckily though, a number of local NGOs and the private sector have been working for years to preserve Cedar forests and expand them by planting new cedar trees. One of the most recent initiatives is the “Adopt A Cedar Tree” which is a collaboration between Byblos Bank, Jouzour Loubnan and Cedars Box to plant thousands of Cedars in Kfardebian, Zaarour, Ehden and Ehmej.

I received a complimentary Cedars Box as a gift on Christmas and already planted it in Kfardebian. I was given precise GPS coordinates and an official certificate of Adoption soon after I filled all the needed information. I will share a picture of the tree as soon as I visit it.

If you want to know how you can adopt a tree, click [Here].

History Of Car Bombs In Lebanon

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According to this 1992 article from Time Magazine entitled “Lebanon: The Terrible Tally of Death”, our country has witnessed 3,641 car bombs during the 1975-1990 civil war period, which resulted in the death of 4,386 people (including 241 U.S Marines and 58 French Paratroopers).

I thought the number was pretty high and so did Karl (see below conversation) because 3641 car bombs during 15 years (almost 5475 days) means 1 car bomb every 1.5 days which is incredibly high. Having said that, another source “The Atlas Group” mentioned that only 245 car bombs, which is more reasonable, took place. From what I recall, the highest number of car bombs took place during the Elie Hobeika era.

Let’s hope we will reach one day in Lebanon where car bombs will become part of our history only.

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Lebanese Ship Accused Of Dumping Dead Cows In The Baltic Sea

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Picture via AFP

Denmark and Sweden have been investigating for days how fourteen dead cows ended up on their shores and it seems it was a Lebanese ship who dropped the dead cows in the sea. Not only did they do that, but the ears were cut off to remove the earmarks identifying the animals.

Dumping slaughter waste is illegal in the Baltic Sea and the crew could be charged with animal cruelty. Swedish police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford said and I quote that “She’s been working in the police for 40 years and had never dealt with such a crime”.

Maybe we should invite her to visit Beirut’s slaughterhouse and see what goes on there.

Fourteen dead cows that washed up on the beaches of Denmark and Sweden were probably dumped overboard by the crew of a Lebanese ship after it encountered bad weather, Danish police said Friday.

“The police suspects that (the source is) a Lebanese ship that was transporting live cattle from a US port to Europe,” the South Zealand and Lolland-Falster Police said in a statement.

“The ship ran into a storm in the Bay of Biscay, in which a number of cows died,” it added.

The animals, the first of which was found on December 31, also had their back legs tied together and their stomachs cut open. The ears had been cut to remove the earmarks identifying the animals, police said.

“The reason the stomachs had been slit open was probably to ensure the animal sank, and the back legs were probably bound so that a crane could grab and hoist the cow overboard,” it said.

The Lebanese ship’s crew had asked to unload the dead animals in a Russian port but were turned down, after which they most likely dumped them around 18 kilometres (11 miles) off the Danish island of Bornholm, police said. [RawStory]

Help Rebuild Lebanon’s Torched Al Sa’eh Library

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I’ve been supportive of every initiative to help rebuild Al Sa’eh library in Tripoli, and I loved the book drive that was kicked off on January 8th and will last till the end of the month, but I was surprised to read about a campaign to collect $35,000 for the library to buy new bookshelves, a new front door and paint the wall .

Don’t get me wrong as I am not doubting the campaign but I thought one of Tripoli’s MPs or politicians would happily fund the project to restore the library as it was. I mean $35,000 is a ridiculous amount for billionaires like Mikati and Safadi, who happen to be from Tripoli.

We shouldn’t have to start crowd-funding campaigns for Al Sa’eh library. Since all parties condemned the incident and showed their support to Father Sarrouj, let them allocate a decent amount of money to repair the library and bring it back to life! Most MPs probably spend 35k on fuel for their convoys so it wouldn’t hurt their pockets if they donated money to rebuild Lebanon’s second biggest library.

Unfreakin-believable!

PS: If you wish to help or donate, click [Here].

Bernard Khoury’s Penthouse in Beirut

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That’s a pretty cool penthouse that the majority of Lebanese probably will never be able to buy. Check out more awesome pictures [Here].

This spacious penthouse in Beirut is owned by 45-year-old Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury. He chose a home with its hodgepodge city view over the more sought-after romantic sea view. It happened by circumstance, when his friend, Marc Doumit, a developer, bought the land on Damascus Road at a low price in the late 1990s after it had been sitting deserted for nearly a decade following the end of the 15-year civil war. Mr. Khoury’s family moved in last year. [WallStreetJournal]

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PS: All pictures are taken by Roger Moukarzel for The Wall Street Journal

Speed Ticket Lebanon Mobile App

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Note: The app is almost a year old but I only heard about it after reading some article about 600 speed tickets issued yesterday (I thought they stopped doing so)

There’s an app available for Android and iOS now to check speeding tickets in Lebanon. Speed Ticket Lebanon basically retrieves the data from the ISF website. To be honest, I thought radars stopped working in Lebanon months ago.

You can download it for [Android] and [iOS].

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Ministry Of Public Health In Lebanon Releases Mobile App

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The Lebanese Ministry Of Public Health launched today a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, aimed at facilitating the cooperation with other ministries, the private sector and civil society. I downloaded it and thought it was a very useful app.

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Once you install and open the app, you get a welcoming page with sliding banners on top, a small news updates tab in the middle then the different menu items. Here’s what you can do with this app:

– Check out the official price of a medicine from a long detailed list. [Drugs Price List]
– Determine if your medicine is legal by checking the [Distributed Drugs] list.
– Check out the various MOPH campaigns and other media in the [Gallery].
– Report fraudulent action to the ministry in the [Be Responsible] section. You can also attach pictures.
– [Locate Public or Private Hospitals] nearby from a long detailed list sorted by area.
– Access the numerous services and campaigns of Ministry of Health under the [MOPH Directory].
– You can also call directly the MOPH on their hotline 1214.

There’s one option that I believe should be added, one that allows users to follow up on their complaints and see if any actions were taken. That will make Lebanese trust the ministry more and cooperate in a better way.

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In Pictures: Tripoli Civic Society Mobilized To Save Al Sa’eh Library

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Picture from Nath Halawani

Hundreds of Lebanese joined the protest yesterday to condemn the torching of Al Sa’eh library in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second biggest library. Lebanese of all ages and religions came to help Father Sarrouj save whatever is left of the 80,000 books and clean up the library. The renovation process will take days and maybe weeks but everyone’s determined to bring back the library to its original state and make it look even better than before.

Lebanese Blogger Nath Halawani has taken part in the restoration process and is sharing awesome pictures that you can check [Here].

I have to say that despite the book slaughter that took place a couple of days ago, I am happy to see all Tripoli residents united and determined to bring back this library to life.

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Here’s a nice report by MTV as well:
[YouTube]

U.S. Embassy In Beirut Urges Americans In Lebanon To Avoid Hotels and Shopping Malls

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It seems the Americans know something we don’t know as I don’t recall ever reading a warning this specific from an embassy in Lebanon. Let’s hope they are just being extra cautious and those are all speculations.

If you’re wondering what could the worst-case scenario for Lebanon be this year, I suggest you read QifaNabki’s Levantine Dystopia.

Following recent bombings in Beirut and other instances of violence that have occurred in Lebanon in recent months, the U.S. government strongly urges U.S. citizens in Lebanon to exercise extreme caution and to avoid hotels, western-style shopping centers, including western-style grocery chain stores, and any public or social events where U.S. citizens normally congregate, as these sites are likely targets for terrorist attacks for at least the near term.

The U.S. Embassy further urges all U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon due to safety and security concerns. The current travel warning can be seen at this link: Travel Warning for Lebanon. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks. The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers to provide emergency services may be limited.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Lebanon enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, Travel.State.Gov, where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Lebanon, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. You can also read the Country Specific Information for Lebanon from within this website. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us onTwitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler App available through iTunes and Google Play to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut Lebanon is located at Awkar facing the Municipality, PO Box 70-840, Beirut and is open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM, (961) (4) 542600 or (961) (4) 543600. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is (961) (4) 542600 or (961) (4) 543600. For further information, U.S. citizens may also access our website at Embassy in Lebanon. [Source]