Category Archives: Lebanon

Beirut’s Municipality Has $800 Million In Surplus

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Beirut’s mayor Bilal Hamad mentioned in an interview with Executive Magazine that the city has almost around $800 million in surplus and that they are spending money where it needs to be spent. Knowing that the interview focused on the mayor’s strategy to improve green spaces in 2015, it didn’t seem like a top priority for Hamad and I don’t expect to see any new parks next year in Beirut.

Here’s a summary of the interview highlighting the important points raised:

– Saint Joseph University agreed to repair the Mar Nicolas Garden in return of the strip of land granted for 99 years by the Beirut Municipality.
– Horsh Beirut won’t be open to the public before securing the services of a firm that can maintain, secure, manage and execute the master plan set for Horsh.
– There are still no plans to renovate the Hippodrome.
– There are plans for a park in Martyrs’ Square in downtown which includes an underground parking space that can fit up 1000+ cars.
Beirut is Amazing project is still pending and the execution drawings should be completed in 2015.
– The Fouad Boutros project is still pending awaiting the environmental impact assessment.
– Sidewalks and infrastructure will be renovated and repaired in Hamra, Sassine, Rmeil, Medawar, Karantina and Mar Mikhael before the end of year.
Beit Beirut should be open at the end of 2015. I wish I could believe that as I’ve been hearing the same thing year after year. Hamad said that this is costing the municipality $20 million dollars.

To be honest, I expected Beirut’s municipality to have better plans in regards to green spaces. If it’s money they are worried about, $800 million dollars in surplus is more than enough to consider opening a couple of parks here and there. Moreover, a good way to promote green spaces would be to force construction companies to build parks and maintain them for 10 or 15 years for every skyscraper they build. It’s a win-win situation for the municipality, Beirut residents and even the company in question CSR-wise.

PS: I wish Matt would have asked him about Beirut’s ugly Christmas tree.

Read the full interview [Here].

Remembering Gebran Tueni

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Gebran_12_12_2005_by_sdaouk Picture via sdaouk

Every year, we remember Gebran Tueni while Lebanon takes a step back in freedom and liberty. We need journalists like Gebran to influence the Lebanese youth and guide them in the right direction but unfortunately there aren’t any. We’ve lost la crème de la crème with Gebran Tueni and Samir Kassir and it doesn’t look like we will ever recover from this huge loss.

The only thing I can do through this blog and will keep on doing is remind people of what Gebran stood for and defended the most, that is freedom of speech. Keep in mind that freedom is ALWAYS more important than security and above all considerations. Keep this Benjamin Franklin quote in mind as well as it reflects the reality we are currently living in Lebanon:

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Don’t Mess With Lebanon’s Call Of Duty Clan

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leb cod2

I am a huge Call of Duty fan and I’ve been playing it for years offline and online on my PS3 and PS4 (Advanced Warfare). I never joined any teams online and just played random games but it’s good to hear that we have a highly active and impressive online COD Lebanese clan. They’ve reached 3 times Maximum level in Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops 2 and Ghosts and they are the only Lebanese clan to win platinum division clan wars.

They celebrated their fifth anniversary at Roadster and Sony World Lebanon handed them a couple of gifts. If you are interested in joining them, check their facebook page [Here].

I wish I had time to join their team but I can barely play two hours per week on my PS4 lately. I will stick to finishing COD Advanced Warfare campaign before the end of year.


The Wall Street Journal Features Jbeil’s Christmas Tree

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byblos The 97-foot-high Christmas tree at the entrance to Byblos, Lebanon, north of Beirut, shown on Nov. 25. The tree is covered with 2,500 gold-colored iron leaves.

The Byblos Christmas tree was featured in the Wall Street Journal as part of Christmas trees from around the world, and not the most beautiful Christmas trees in the world. There’s no doubt though that the Byblos tree and decoration are gorgeous.

Check them out [here].

Originally posted by Glamroz

AC Milan Captain Franco Baresi In Beirut For The “Sports For Peace” Project

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baresi_beirut via @ACMIlan

Italian former captain Franco Baresi visited Beirut recently to kick off the “Sports For Peace” Project. I didn’t hear about it anywhere in the news here but I found this article in Italian that says that the initiative kicked off in March and that it reached almost 1450 Lebanese and Syrian aged between 6 and 17.

Franco Baresi was Italy’s captain in 1994 and is one of my old time favorite football defenders.

È stato inaugurato oggi a Beirut il Centro sportivo di Btekhnay restaurato dall’Alto Commissariato Onu per i Rifugiati alla presenza di Franco Baresi e di Rocco Giorgianni, segretario generale di Fondazione Milan. È stato raggiunto così un obiettivo fondamentale di Sports for Peace, il progetto avviato da Fondazione Milan nel marzo scorso e che ha coinvolto finora circa 1450 ragazzi e ragazze siriane e libanesi compresa tra i 6 e i 17 anni .


Thanks Roy!

Five Reasons Why SLCHI Is Funnier Than MafiMetlo

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Every now and then, I watch some of the old SLCHI episodes and they are always funny as hell. Sadly though, I don’t remember the last time I’ve laughed that much on a MafiMetlo episode even though the characters are all (almost) the same. Knowing that I still consider it the funniest Lebanese TV show, here are five reasons why SLCHI was funnier:

1- SLCHI had Fady Raidy. This guy is a genius and is irreplaceable. Fadi el Cherre2a, Pipo and every character he played were hilarious.
2- Abbas is funny but overdoes it most of the time. He’s very annoying when he keeps repeating the same thing for 3 minutes (specially Mr. Bakhil part).
3- Adel is still funny as hell despite what everyone is saying. The only problem is that the characters he is playing are stupid and very lame. Mafimetlo needs longer, wittier and smarter scripts. Also Wajdi wou Majdi needs to be dropped because it’s disrespectful and not appropriate anymore.
4- There’s so much material out there that Mafimetlo is failing to reproduce in a funny way for some reason. They should drop most of the weekly sections and reinvent new stuff every week. They should avoid reproducing old jokes that we all know and have seen a zillion times. Weirdly enough, their live shows are always hilarious so I am wondering if they are doing this on purpose on TV.
5- They need to hire new people and new characters. Moreover, they need to follow up on social media because that’s where all the action is happening and where they can find tons of jokes and funny stories.

Check this old [SLCHI gem] and laugh your heart out!

Christmas Village (عيّد معنا) In Achrafieh (Sassine Square) On December 13 & 14

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Beirut Municipality is organizing with the support of Achrafieh 2020 a Christmas village on December 13 and 14 next to Sassine square. They will be transforming the area into a pedestrian Christmas village for everyone to enjoy and have fun.

The village will be open from 10am till 11pm. Check out more info [Here].

Lebanese Savvy Sisters Bringing Middle Eastern Chain Restaurant Semson To New York

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Christine Assouad Sfeir and Carine Assouad are launching next year Semsom’s first outlet in New York City at 2 Astor Pl. This is their first venture in the US and will consist of a 1,256 square-foot space that will seat around 25 people. The plan is to open four more outlets in New York in 2015 and have around 200 locations across the US by 2020. This is a very ambitious plan but Christine is ranked No.19 on the Forbes list of the 200 most powerful business women in the Arab world for a good reason.

Semsom is open in Lebanon, KSA and Kuwait. I’ve been to Semsom few times and liked the food but that was a while ago. In fact I just realized I haven’t been to a Lebanese restaurant in a long while for some reason.

Check out the full NYPost article [Here].