Category Archives: Lebanon

British-Lebanese TV Host Liliane Daoud Arrested And Deported From Egypt

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lil

British-Lebanese political talk show host and Former BBC Journalist Liliane Daoud was arrested and deported from Egypt yesterday night. She was the host of ONTV’s political show “Headlines”.

“Eight men who said they were from the border police force took her to an unknown location after taking her telephone and her British passport,” Daoud’s ex-husband Khaled al-Berri had earlier told Agence France Presse. Daoud also holds a Lebanese passport. The prominent TV talk show host’s arrest came after her contract with Egyptian OTV television expired, Berri said. [Telegraph]

I remember I saw one a popular hashtag in Egypt asking Liliane to leave because she was “interfering with Egyptian affairs” according to the tweets. Arrests and detentions of journalists opposed to the regime or even remotely criticizing it have become all too common in today’s Egypt. It looks like Mubarak’s security state is making a slow come back.

Four More Suicide Bombings in Al-Qaa Tonight

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qaa

Four suicide bombers yesterday and four more tonight. Fortunately, there were no casualties tonight as eight people were lightly injured today after suicide bombers riding motorcycles blew themselves up in the center of the town. Al-Qaa locals were preparing the funeral for the victims from yesterday’s bombings when the attacks took place. Yesterday, five people were killed and fifteen others were wounded.

The Lebanese army is now deployed and some of the residents are also armed and guarding the town. Al Qaa is a small Christian village located close to the borders in a very sensitive area. Da3esh has been positioned in the mountains above Qaa for years now.

bomb1

Sectarianism and Racism Against Syrian Refugees Will Only Backfire on Us

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hakeer A racist slogan in #Beirut

I think we all agree that the Syrian crisis has deeply affected Lebanon and that the extent of the burden of that crisis has fallen more acutely on communities in Lebanon than in any other country, but the worst possible way to deal with this status-quo is inciting hatred and encouraging racism against Syrian refugees mainly for politically-motivated purposes.

Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs was quoted saying yesterday that he “will seek to bar Syrian refugees from setting up encampments and opening shops in towns that witnessed FPM victories in the latest municipal elections”, and he’s sadly not the only one adopting this political rhetoric.

To begin with, I don’t understand what Bassil means by “his towns” because as far as I know, he doesn’t own any town in Lebanon nor does any other minister. Such statements might encourage violent acts against families not just Syrian workers and may ignite violent acts in rather peaceful towns. This being said, I am not denying the security threat associated with having such a large number of refugees (almost 2 million now), but the real problem is elsewhere and is often being overlooked:

1- The open borders policy has been there since ever between Syria and Lebanon and Lebanon’s economy has long relied on qualified and cheap Syrian labor. The only difference is that Syrians were employed as seasonal workers in the past while they are permanently residing here due to the ongoing war in their home country.

2- Claiming that Akkar or Tripoli workers and craftsmen are suffering economically due to shrinking job opportunities is inaccurate. Akkar has long suffered from a tough economic hardship and has long been ignored by the authorities and local MPs. In fact, the levels of poverty have increased drastically all over Lebanon in the past five years and the Lebanese State couldn’t care less.

3- Banning Syrians from opening shops and businesses is understandable if they are doing it illegally. However, banning them from entering certain town will only harm local businesses because most of them are relying on this cheap labor to keep their business running. If Lebanese-run small businesses were forced to only employ Lebanese workers, they would close down in few months time.

4- The Syrian refugees crisis in Lebanon is creating more job opportunities for Lebanese through the hundreds of NGOs operating on the ground. Despite the fact that Syrian families are receiving direct aid, a lot of Lebanese families are benefiting as well indirectly. On another note here, I think the UN and all the major donors should reconsider the operating cost of their teams in Lebanon because considerable amounts of money are being wasted.

5- The Syrian refugees crisis in Lebanon could have been avoided since Day1 if camps were organized to host these fleeing families. Instead we have tens of thousands of families dispersed all over the place and causing a security headache for the authorities. Not opening refugee camps was a big mistake and those who are worried about naturalization should know better that it’s not gonna happen.

syrian A Lebanese campaign against Racism towards Syrian refugees

Last but not least, we tend to forget sometimes that we Lebanese are also seeking refuge in foreign countries. Ironically enough, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister was visiting Finland few weeks back and was warning that “the waves of immigrants that if not tackled by the roots would destabilize security and stability”, while Sweden was getting ready to deport over 75 Lebanese families.

I’ve said this a million times, but it is never too late to tackle this crisis and manage refugee camps in a proper way for our own sake and for the Syrian families.

Lebanon Won Yet Another Award That I Can’t Find Online

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energey

It’s always great to share news about awards and achievements won by Lebanese abroad but I’ve learned out of experience to verify the story before spreading the word. Yesterday I was reading in Annahar about a Lebanese project that won an Energy Globe Award 2016 against 1700 other projects presented.

click bait

This would have been a major achievement and I am sure that Lebanese are capable of doing so, but I couldn’t find any reference or source proving that we won that award. The Energy Globe Award is real and is considered the most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It basically “distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources”.

Every year, the Energy Globe Award is awarded in the 5 categories Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth to projects yet Lebanon was not among the winners this year. He was not even among the finalists.

What we did win though is the National Energy Globe Award which is presented to the best project submission of each country. I have no idea how many Lebanese projects were submitted but here what this project is about:

Nutrients are discharged from rivers, inhabited areas and industry, which leads to eutrophication eventually followed by environmental deterioration, and large amounts of carbon dioxide are produced through energy production and emitted to the environment. This year’s National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Lebanon established a delivery chain for microalgae to ensure the use of micro algae for the production of biodiesel. The project contributes to an enhanced energy self-sufficiency based on renewable resources. Congratulations to your initiative!

I loved the idea but it will be very hard to implement when you have a government who couldn’t figure out how to pick up garbage from the streets for eight months and doesn’t mind dumping garbage in the sea.

PS: If anyone has additional information about this award please do share.

You can read more about this project [here].

Rare Beirut Pictures From The UNEF’s Diary (1965-1966)

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Beirut1965X

UNEF (United Nations Emergency Force) Captain Gord Jenkins stayed in Beirut between 1965 and 1966 and kept a diary of his stay with his wife Jan which includes a lot of awesome and rare pictures. Here’s what he said about Lebanon:

Beirut Lebanon had become increasingly important for 115 ATU and -instead of Cairo- Beirut became the main closest supply base for parts ,equipment and food- if you had the money in those days you could buy anything in Beirut. There also was a rest camp in the cool Lebanese hills behind Beirut fot UNEF 1 troops.

Beirut in 1965 and 1966 was quiet and bustling crossroads city – fascinating place to be in – and my wife Jan and I were there – and stayed there for an extended posting.

I selected 10 of the 100+ pictures found in his archives.

WestBeirutTheSportingClub Sporting Club – Beirut

Beirut1965

BeirutIrport-waitingForElArishCrribou Beirut Airport

StreetSceneMartyrsSquare2 Martyrs Square

coast

Beirut1965Corniche Beirut Corniche 1965

WelcomeToLebanon Beirut Airport

Carlton The old Carlton Hotel

#Lebanon Ranked Second on Numbeo’s 2016 Pollution Index

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Numbeo’s Pollution Index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city. “The biggest weight is given to air pollution, than to water pollution/accessibility, two main pollution factors. Small weight is given to other pollution types. The rankings are based on surveys from visitors of this website. Questions for this surveys are similar to many similar scientific and government surveys”.

Lebanon ranked second after Egypt. Jordan was the next Arab country in the 14th spot, followed by Bahrain (#16), Qatar (#18), Saudi Arabia (#30) and UAE (#52). Numbeo is a crowd-sourced global database of reported consumer prices, perceived crime rates, quality of health care, other statistics.

Pollution

Al-Manar Anchor’s Twisted Logic

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manar

A Lebanese TV Anchor called Diaa Bou Taam tweeted yesterday that he wants to boycott restaurants that open during fasting hours and that he is going to shame them in public. He went on by saying that these restaurants are being disrespectful towards fasting Muslims by placing tables and chairs outside. He later on apologized and said that his tweets were just a joke but he’s not fooling anyone with that excuse.

I have no idea what is going through this guy’s head and I’m glad he apologized because as far as I know, non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t fast don’t need to adjust their life during Ramadan and those who feel offended by a couple of chairs and a table outside a restaurant, or someone eating in front of them, clearly got this whole Ramadan fasting wrong.

#PekingParis2016: Team Lebanon Off to a Great Start, Currently Ranked 2nd in Their Class!

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pekin paris

The Peking-Paris began on June 12 and #TeamLebanon has been doing great so far! Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha just crossed Mongolia yesterday after 8 days of off-road driving in one of the most adventurous and difficult routes of the Peking-Paris race. It took some time for the team to get used to the GPS system and they got lost on the second day but were able to get back on track and avoid penalties. Day 3 was one of the toughest for the Lebanese team as their GPS system broke down twice and they had to drive all the way back to the mechanics to fix it but since then, they’ve been scoring great times and are currently ranked #2 in their class and #34 overall.

Team Lebanon has already covered an incredible 3,684 KM through China and Mongolia and are performing very well despite having one of the smallest cars in the race. Here are few selected pictures that will walk you through their stunning journey since Day 1 and show you how challenging this race is:

start2 Ready to go!

camping2 Camping on Day2

drive Hello Mongolia!

fixing roof Fixing damaged roof stack

teamlebanon4 Camping …

teamlebanon3 and taking a short coffee break

team lebanon2 Rough terrain

peking paris3 In the middle of nowhere.

drive Stunning landscapes

fix

#TeamLebanon will spend the next 13 days driving over 5000 KM across Russia. I will make sure to keep you posted with their updates.

Best of luck to Charbel & Walid!

June22

[YouTube]