Category Archives: Information

Movember Lebanon: Grow Your Mustaches

Posted By :

1383789_484208888359886_74255484_n

As you all probably know, Movember is an annual, month-long event (November) involving the growing of mustaches to raise awareness on men-related health issues, such as prostate cancer. This year, Movember Lebanon is trying to introduce this campaign to Lebanon and is basically asking people to grow mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

If anyone wishes to take part in this campaign, I will gladly upload their pictures on a separate post at the end of the month and share it with the people behind Movember LB.

Email your pictures to najib@blogbaladi.com and let’s help spread some awareness.

Q. Why is it important to detect prostate cancer early?
The best chance for cure is when the disease is found early, before it has spread beyond the prostate. The cure rate is well above 90 percent if it’s caught early.

In The Top 5 Reddit Hot Stories For Today: A sickening video of a man in Lebanon microwaving a cat

Posted By :

red2
[Reddit.com]

Update: Cat was handed over to Animals Lebanon.

The video of the Lebanese guy who tried to put his cat in a microwave has made it as one of Reddit’s hot stories today. Even though the incident took place few days back and caused an outrage online, none of the two guys were fined or reprimanded for their act and the cat is still with its owner.

Thanks Rami

Ten Important Laws Still On Hold In Lebanon

Posted By :

90011_mainimg

Here’s a nice reminder about 10 important laws that haven’t been approved or implemented yet:

1- Domestic Violence
2- Nationality (Women cannot pass their nationality on to foreign spouses or children fathered by non-Lebanese men)
3- Food Safety
4- Civil Status
5- Electoral Reform
6- Environmental Court (for better environmental law enforcement)
7- Wage Hike
8- Rent Laws (“old rent” system)
9- Draft legislation on electronic signatures and commerce (E-Signatures)
10- Regulating Electron Media

Read all about them [Here].

Azadea Foundation To Revive Rene Moawad Garden in Sanayeh by January 2014

Posted By :

Sanayeh to be
Picture from RagMag

Azadea Foundation has taken the pledge to rehabilitate and revive the Sanayeh garden, one of Beirut’s oldest and most popular gardens in collaboration with the Municipality of Beirut of course. The new 22,000sqm garden will include an amphitheater, children playgrounds, bicycle and running tracks, promenade lanes, free WIFI among other things. I was present at the roundtable organized by Azadea with the collaboration of Jouzour Loubnan and AFDC (Association for Forests, Development and Conservation) to shed the light on the Sanayeh garden and the growing need to preserve the forest wealth in Lebanon and I got some useful answers on this awesome project.

1- Regarding the management, security and cleanliness of the park, I was re-assured there’s a substantial amount of money just allocated for private security firms and specialized personnel to keep the park safe and clean. That’s great because a lot of Lebanese still litter wherever they go and we wouldn’t want that to happen to Sanayeh. I think on a later stage maybe few years from now, the municipality should fine people who litter or let their dogs poop in the park.

2- The garden will be open to public and for free of course.

3- All the plantations there will be managed by a specialized team and there will be a tag explaining the type of tree planted and other useful information.

Only_public_park_in_beirut

I also asked one of the NGO representatives, Dr Magda Bou Dagher Kharrat, whether there’s any place or website that could provide useful information regarding the different kinds of plant species in Lebanon and which species one can grow in his garden or land whether in the city or in the mountains. As it turns out, there’s a website called Lebanon-Flora.org that is aimed at providing “easy access to species information for amateurs, botanists, ecologists and plant geneticists” and sharing “all the recent data and research work on Lebanon plant species from all national and international sources in order to update our knowledge on Lebanon plant species”. The website will be renovated soon but it has already tons of information and a species mapping tool where you could see the types of plants grown in a specific area in Lebanon.

All in all, more companies in Lebanon should take similar initiatives and help build new green spaces for the upcoming generations.

Save The Last Turtle Sanctuary In Lebanon, Help The Orange House Project!

Posted By :

beach2

Mansouri and Kolaila beaches are two of the most beautiful and clean beaches in Lebanon and are also well protected turtle reserves, at least until now. The local municipalities, thanks to the Orange House Project, have recognized both beaches as protected natural areas but this is not enough to ensure a long-term preservation as it requires the government’s intervention.

For those of you who don’t know what the Orange House Project is, it was founded in 2012 and works for the protection and conservation of sea turtles in South Lebanon. Their work has been threatened however by several violations committed by irresponsible people, with the latest being taking down an iron fence to build kiosks and restaurants for a women-only beach.

Needless to say, the government HAS to officially declare these areas protected ones specially that they may be the region’s last turtle and marine reserve. Signing the petition might not get things done but at least it will raise further awareness.

Sign the [Petition], spread the world and help in anyway you can to protect this precious natural heritage.

South Lebanon… where the last untouched beach of the Lebanese coast lays… the one where sea turtles are born and come back every year to lay eggs. This is where the “Orange House” has been created by Mona Khalil, guardian angel of the turtles. The “Orange House” has been transformed to an ecological site (which is open to visitors) that spans on 1.4 km of coast and from which revenues help to finance preservation of marine species, and in particular sea turtles. Protecting this zone is even more important given that the sea turtle is a considered an endangered species globally.

Unfortunately, this beach faces a great danger: the human being… It has been several years that this natural zone suffers from multiple aggressions: sand theft, municipal waste discharge, installing walls, construction works… all of which constitute a pernicious cancer that is slowly destroying one of the last sanctuaries of the coastline. The most recent attack was the work of developers who took away an iron fence to build a concrete wall to mount kiosks and restaurants to create a beach for women. The president of the council of Mansouri, Riyad Zabad said no permit had been issued by the municipality for any work. Yet, these acts are more frequent, establishing a long and sad list of serious violations and illegal activities.

It is worth noting that those sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach where they were born. The disappearance or alteration of those sites modifies the turtles’ behavior and drastically reduces their birth rate, further exacerbating their endangered status. Mona Khalil explains, “This part of the beach where the recent construction works are taking place is particularly important for the turtles. This year, because of the iron fence they previously installed, the turtles were not able to reach the beach. This explains why we have seen a sharp decline in birth rates: no more than 35 nests this season, while we usually have an average of more than 50 in previous years”. So just imagine the disaster a construction project would cause.

It is the ecological importance and value of this beach, which has pressed Mona Khalil and other defenders to protect it with a ranking of “Hima”. “One should not believe that a “Hima” is not subject to rules and procedures similar to those laws of natural reserves”, she says. All of the presidents of the surrounding municipal councils have signed a commitment to protect the beach. But when we remind them, they laugh at us, claiming that no law is applied in this country.”… A bitter reality that even the officials do not want to change.

Departments and the municipality do not seem to care and the future of this last sanctuary depends on Mona and her family at this time; which are increasingly powerless in the face of repeated attacks and lack of support from most leaders.

It is everyone’s duty to participate in the improvement of not only our country, but also in the protection of our natural resources which do not belong to one country but to the entire planet. The region’s last turtle and marine species sanctuary is in danger! Help us protect this site and push local governments to declare the area a nature reserve and part of the local natural heritage. It is up to us to make a difference and rebuke the gossips and cynics, who view everything as a lost cause in Lebanon.

beach3

AUB Mourns Marwan Hamzeh

Posted By :

aub-beirut

I was very saddened to hear earlier today about Marwan Mustafa Hamzeh, a Lebanese student at the American University of Beirut, who died after falling from the Penrose men’s dorms building. I don’t think AUB has ever witnessed an incident like this one and I truly hope it will be the last time they do.

I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about the 20 year old’s death but honestly speaking, I’ve ignored all of them as the best thing is to let Marwan rest in peace and extend our condolences to his parents who are without doubt devastated and shocked.

This is what the AUB administration decided to do as well and this is what all of us should do, out of respect for Marwan and his family.

“Out of respect for the family’s privacy and grief, AUB will not be issuing further media statements on the tragedy. AUB administrators are in contact with his family and the students who knew him and are providing them with appropriate support,” the statement concluded.

R.I.P Marwan.

marwan-hamze
Picture of Marwan Hamzeh via Gino’s

Morphosis Architects Shortlisted For New US embassy in Beirut

Posted By :

usembassyawkarj

There were plans to move the embassy to Baabda few years back but they were dropped and the new embassy will be built close to the existing one in Awkar. It will include a chancery, support offices, staff housing and a community centre.

I once went inside the embassy few years back and it’s freaking huge. In fact, it looks more like a small village than an embassy. I am intrigued to know how it’s going to look like but I don’t think there are any pictures or maps online.

Morphosis Architects has been selected from a shortlist of three to design the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) chose Morphosis over Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam with AECOM after conducting a series of presentations and interviews in the third round of the international competition.

“Morphosis presented a strong, cohesive team with over 50 years of collaborative experience. Their presentation demonstrated the management and design approach required to successfully execute this project, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance and impact of an American Embassy in Beirut. [Link]

Lebanese are less happy according to the 2013 World Happiness Report

Posted By :

leb

Most of the Arab countries have a higher happiness index than Lebanon except Iraq, Palestinian Territories and Syria. I can’t say I am surprised specially after everything we’ve been through in the past 3 years.

Here’s the complete ranking list for Arab countries:
14- UAE
23- Oman
27- Qatar
32- Kuwait
33- Saudi Arabia
74- Jordan
79- Bahrain
97- Lebanon
105- Iraq
113- Palestian Territories (vs Israel in 11th spot worldwide)
130- Egypt
148- Syria

Check out the full report [Here].

The happiest people in the world apparently reside in northern Europe, according to a 156-nation survey published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Released Monday, the 2013 World Happiness Report ranks the happiest countries around the globe, with Denmark, Norway and Switzerland leading the pack. Among North American countries, Canada took sixth place, while Mexico (16) slightly outranked the U.S. (17). [HuffPost]

leb2
The yellow line indicates the period between 2005 and 2007 while the blue line indicates the period between 2010 and 2012.

Hammana Residents Protest Against Al-Qaisamani Dam Project

Posted By :

now-hammana-5
Picture from NowLebanon

The protest took place 10 days ago on the Dahr al-Baidar international highway at the Falougha intersection and as usual, the reports coming from the residents and the ministry are conflicting. In fact, officials are saying there are no dangers presented by the dam but it seems hard to believe specially if you read some of the comments and arguments raised against the dam:

1- Why was the dam relocated from the Qaysamani area to Mghiteh which contains the Chaghour fall and is a protected area? Is it true that the dam construction will contaminate the Chaghour water, which is the key water source of Hammana?

2- Residents are claiming the potential risk of flooding will drastically increase if the dam is built. Also they will be getting less electricity.

3- Hammana mayor is against the dam and most of the protestors are claiming this project will only benefit the Kuwaitis (Who are funding the damn by the way). It seems someone wants to come up with a touristic project around the dam in few years time.

I think Minister Bassil should sit down with the town residents and answer their concerns if he’s that confident the dam will only be beneficial for them and doesn’t present any dangers. It doesn’t make sense that they protest and block the highway just to have fun.

The residents of Hammana in the Upper Metn region blocked the main Beirut Damascus road in Daher al-Baydar at the Falougha intersection to protest the establishment of the al-Qaisamani dam in the Falougha area , claiming it would affect their region’s potable water, MTV reported on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, schools had suspended classes and church bells were rung in protest, National News Agency reported. [Link]