Category Archives: Lebanon

CNTraveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2015: Beirut Among The 50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World

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Beirut

Beirut made it to the the CNTraveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 Top 50 most beautiful cities in the world. In 2014, Beirut was also chosen among Beirut Among The Top 25 Cities in the World. Other Arab cities that made the list include Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem and Muscat.

Here’s what the caption said about Beirut:

Even when faced with terror and destruction, Beirut is beautiful, charming, and strong. The Lebanese capital has astonishing art, architecture, food, and hotels—in fact, we think it’s one of the great cities of the world. —CNT Editors

I know we have a garbage problem, I know we have corrupt politicians, no president, a lousy infrastructure and traffic everywhere but our city is still a beautiful one. In fact, our country is a beautiful one and I was surprised to see so many Lebanese hating on their own country especially after the latest Ministry of Tourism video. What did you expect the ministry to do? show mountains of garbage or polluted rivers? Do you think every tourism video you see out there perfectly reflects the country in question?

I am not running away from the problems, nor being delusional, but you can either chose to live here and make the best out of it while trying to make a change or figure out a way to leave because being negative the whole time will not change anything and affect your career and your life negatively.

I choose to highlight the issues we face here and try to tackle them in a constructive matter but my focus will always be on highlighting the positive things that surround us and that still make this country worth living in, and there are plenty of them!

Here’s a [link] to the full list.

How To Save About 30 Minutes Of Morning Traffic In Dbayyeh

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dbayyeh1

I was running late two days ago and the Dbayyeh maritime road was jammed so I thought of taking the highway but it turned out to be much worse so I tried to take back the maritime road near Golden Beach hotel. Unfortunately, the small road that takes you back to the maritime road was closed so I had to go backwards or take the inside roads of Antelias and get stuck there forever.

As I was stuck there wondering what to do, some guy was standing in front of the Golden Beach underground parking and letting cars in for some reason, and the policeman wouldn’t let me go back so I had no choice but to go in as well and took the “wasta shortcut” road by mistake. It looks like one of those roads that criminals use to smuggle things but it did the trick and saved me 30 minutes of morning traffic lol!

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What I also found out about is that we have a new “Super wasta road”, or what I call “3aj2a maker” for army men and the ISF which I highlighted in orange. I’ve been begging the ISF on Twitter for months to close down these roads because they cause more traffic but we got an extra one instead. Most of our traffic problems in Lebanon are due to these small shortcuts and tiny roads, and people who overtake and create new lanes, yet no one wants to tackle this problem.

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No Kiss, No H1N1

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lbci

Health Minister Wael Abou Faour reassured us today that we don’t need to worry about the H1N1 virus, saying no epidemic is in sight. Still, I think it’s safer to distribute flu vaccines to reduce the risks and ask doctors to charge less for the vaccine since it only costs 6$ in pharmacies (vs 30-40$ at the doctor).

The Minister added jokingly that we should cut down on the kissing during flu season haha!

nlsp LOL! via NLSP

A New Teleferique From Jbeil To Mar Charbel (Annaya)

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teleferique

Byblos is putting the final touches on a new eco-friendly project that consists of two phases and would definitely boost tourism and investment in the area:

Boosting Eco-Tourism: The first phase consists of establishing an environmental corridor between Jbeil and the Natural Reserve of Bentael (محميّة بنتاعل). Bentael is a Lebanese village hooked in the heights of the Jord among rocks, oak and Pine trees. The reserve is considered one of the oldest, richest and most beautiful reserves in Lebanon.

However, I read recently that it’s under threat due to illegal works being performed there. I hope this new project will put an end to such practices.

bentael1

Teleferique from Jbeil To Annaya: The second phase consists of building a teleferique from the shores of Jbeil to Mar Charbel (Mar Maroun Monastery) in Annaya. Given how popular Annaya is as a destination, this teleferique is a great idea that will reduce traffic, boost religious tourism and bring in more visitors for Byblos and Annaya. My only worry is that a such a large-scale project will probably require approval from several municipalities and ministers of course so it won’t be that easy to pass.

All in all, I really hope this new project comes to life and I wish other cities would consider promoting tourism the way Jbeil is because they’ve doing an incredible job.

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Lebanon To Introduce The “In-Denial Minister” Position

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machnouk

Update: Minister Machnouk deleted the tweet.

After the United Arab Emirates announced the creation of a minister of state for happiness, Lebanon decided to follow suit by appointing an “In-denial Minister” in the upcoming government. This new minister would try to fulfill our youth’s aspirations and achieve the Lebanese people’s ambitions by refusing to accept facts and living in complete denial the whole time. Moreover, a minister of state for happiness wouldn’t make sense because all our ministers are happy by default (سعادة النائب).

One of the many candidates for this new ministry will be our current environment minister Mohammad Machnouk, if he were to validate his last tweet, where he congratulated the UAE for the new ministries and wished if Lebanese had done anything to make a change in the past few months.

Of course demonstrating for months, holding a sit-in inside the Environment ministry, staging an open-ended hunger strike until Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk resigns were all part of the 2015 Beirut International Festival and not addressed against the minister.

Review: How To Be Single (2016)

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HTBS-05766r

My wife and I have a rule: Whenever I take her to watch one of my horror/action/thriller movies, I have to go to the movies with her and watch romantic comedies/chick flicks. Yesterday was an exception. I asked her to come along to the premiere of ‘How To Be Single’ because Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann and Rebel Wilson are all in the movie and I am a fan of all three of them, especially Wilson who’s hilarious.

The movie is about four girls, Alice, Robin, Lucy and Meg who all want to learn how to be single in world filled with ever-evolving definitions of loves. Dakota Johnson plays the role of a young woman (Alice) who’s experiencing single life after being in a relationship for a long time, then she meets the “being single” expert and fun-loving Robin one day and her life turns upside down. The plot is a deja-vu but the movie was quite good and very funny. Rebel Wilson (Robin)’s jokes cracked me up and a couple of them were hilarious! (Wait for the LTRP joke) and Alice was fun to watch throughout the movie. Aside from being funny, the movie does make you think about certain things in life whether you are single, married or in a serious relationship.

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One thing I didn’t like though is that it was a bit too long and I got bored at some point. But if you are looking for a entertaining and fun movie to watch with your date or your wife, or need more reasons to stay single this Valentine’s, then I recommend you go watch How To Be Single.

Rating: 3.25/5

Why Is Noah Zaaiter Giving TV Interviews?

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Zaiter-_Loop

For those of you who don’t know Noah Zaaiter (نوح زعيتر), he is one of Lebanon’s most notorious drug lords and the leader of the country’s most powerful drug family. Even though there are tens if not hundreds of warrants against him, he seems pretty relaxed and has given over 3 TV interviews recently. I can understand a one-time interview with one of the local TVs but when a state-owned TV (Tele Liban) interviews him and he’s giving lengthy interviews left and right, joking around and sending death threats, then something is terribly wrong. Next thing you know he’s running for parliament!

Back when LBCI interviewed the terrorist Fadl Shaker, everyone was outraged and bashed the station for days even though it was a very short interview, not a 2 hours and a half one like Zaaiter.

For those who think that he’s funny and entertaining, keep in mind that he’s a fugitive wanted for drug trafficking, car theft, terrorism, arms trafficking, kidnapping, as well as opening fire at security forces. As for those who believe that he’s “helping” the poor families of the Bekaa through his business, I can understand to a certain extent families supporting him against the government’s incompetence and negligence but it’s still not a valid reason to see him all over TVs.

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How EDZ Brought 24/7 Electricity To Zahle? Full Story + Exclusive Pictures

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IMG_5514

How did EDZ (Electricite de Zahle) manage to provide Zahle residents with 24/7 electricity? How were they able to defeat the generator gangs? Where does the EDL stand from the EDZ initiative? Why can’t we replicate the EDZ model all over Lebanon?

I’ve been asking myself these questions for quite some time and I’m sure a lot of you would love to know how EDZ managed to do the impossible in a country ruled by corruption and incompetence. I’ve always wanted to visit the EDZ factory in Zahle as well and I finally had that opportunity on Saturday. Unfortunately, I got really sick the day before but I made sure to pass my questions to my friend who organized the visit and get all the information and pictures needed (Thank u Jimmy!).

PS: It is worth noting that this was the first time EDZ allowed anyone (Gino & I in that case) to take pictures of the secure facility.

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Before I get started, here are 6 things you should know about EDZ:
– EDZ was established in 1927 and is the only company in Lebanon that has a license to produce and distribute electricity.
– EDZ is currently providing 24/7 electricity to over 250,000 inhabitants. Its authority stretches beyond Zahle to include 15 other municipalities.
– EDZ technical and non-technical losses are less than 6% (compared to more than 40% for the EDL).
– Only 15 people in Zahle decided not to subscribe to EDZ (mostly generator owners).
– Collection rate is almost 100% and bills are 30-40% lower than previous ones (with EDL and generators).
– EDZ ensures there’s no water supply shortage in Zahle by providing 24/24 power supply to all water pumping stations.

After listing these 6 key points, here’s how it all started and how Assaad Nakad, the man behind EDZ, pursued his mission/dream and brought 24/7 electricity to Zahle residents.

When was the EDZ founded? What Happened with the EDL?
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Civil Defense Volunteers No Longer Responding To Emergency Calls

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civil defense

Civil Defense volunteers were distributing this memo on Friday night where they state that they are no longer responding to emergency calls until the government passes the decree and they become full-timers.

I am not sure if this is just a threat or it was really put into effect, but this is a very serious threat given that the Civil Defense is the only firefighting and rescue force covering all Lebanese territories.

It’s about time the government passes this decree once and for all.