Category Archives: Middle East

Lebanese Car Makers W Motors Just Launched A Second SuperCar: The Fenyr Supersport

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Three years after launching the world’s most exclusive super-car, the Lykan Hypersport, with only 7 units produced, Dubai-Based W Motors has just unveiled at the Dubai Motor Show yesterday their second super-car: The Fenyr Supersport.

The Fenyr Supersport won’t be as exclusive as its predecessor as 25 units will be produced and the price tag will be around $1.6 million but that’s not confirmed yet. The car is powered with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter flat six-cylinder engine and develops almost 900 horsepower (vs 770 hp for Lykan). The Fenyr Supersport can get from 0 to 100 in 2.7 seconds (vs 2.8 seconds for the Lykan) and has a top speed exceeding 400km/h or 248 mph (vs 245 mph for the Lykan). The whole car-body “is crafted out of carbon fiber and complemented by a tubular light-weight aluminium chassis”.

The Fenyr looks awesome but I hope we will get to see it perform on a track, unlike the Lykan Hypersport which we’ve only seen in pictures and flying through buildings in the last Fast & Furious movie.

Here’s how the Fenyr compares to other super-cars:

Fenyr Supersport: V6 4.0 liter 900hp 0 -100: 2.7s top speed: 400 kph
LaFerrari: V12 6.3 litres 963hp 0-100: Less than 3s top speed: 350 kph
Bugatti Veyron: W16 8.0 litres 1,001hp 0-100: 2.7s top speed: 407 kph
Lamborghini Veneno Roadster: V12 750hp 0-60: 2.9s Top Speed: 355 kph

Here are few exclusive shots that I took at the Dubai Motor Show yesterday right after the official unveiling. The interior wasn’t revealed yet by the way.




And this is a picture of the old Lykan, the closest thing to the Batmobile.


My First Time At The #DubaiMotorShow

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I just landed in Dubai and I’m here to attend the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show. I’m here with the Ford & Lincoln team and I’m looking forward to another exciting experience. This is my second trip with Ford and I love how professional and well organized these people are. Last year, the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang was a phenomenal event and I enjoyed every bit of it, especially going up to the 112th floor on Burj Khalifa to see the new Mustang.

I’m here till Wednesday and I’ll be posting daily updates about the Motor Show and my trip. You can follow me on Instagram [@LeNajib], Twitter [@LeNajib] and Facebook of course [BlogBaladi]. I’m also on Snapchat [LeNajib] but I still don’t see the point from using Snapchat so don’t expect many updates there.

The Middle East’s First Official Apple Store Is Now Open In Dubai

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The first official Apple Store in the Middle East will officially open tomorrow to the public in the new Mall of the Emirates extension in Dubai, followed by a second launch at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi. This is obviously big news for the UAE but also for Apple fans in Lebanon. I know a lot of people who prefer to buy their Apple products from the Apple Store itself, experience the official Apple retail experience and get the proper service and warranty. Moreover, the closest Apple Store to Beirut is in Europe right now and is usually expensive because of the Euro and taxes. Of course what would be ideal is having an Apple store in Beirut but we all know that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.

Apple store

My friends at were among the first to visit the Apple Store in Dubai and shared their experience. I’m sharing a couple of sneak peek pictures from inside the store and few things you need to know about the first Apple Stores in the Arab World.

– The last time Apple opened two stores in one day was back in 2001 on the same day in the USA.
– More than 150 products will be sold at the Apple Stores. The Apple TV and the Hermès edition of the Apple Watch are not available though yet.
– Apple will be hosting women-only workshops in the coming weeks besides the usual calendar.
– The store’s design components were done in partnership with Foster + Partners, the same team which designed the Apple Campus at its headquarters in California.
– There are two Genius Bars in the middle of the store in Dubai surrounded by self-watering trees.
– The two UAE Apple Stores will have over 150 employees who speak 40 languages and represent 30 nationalities.

I recommend you check out the full article [here] for more info.



Netflix Might Be Launching In The Middle East Soon

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According to IGN, Netflix has confirmed they will be launching in the Middle East soon. In an email to IGN ME, Netflix’s Joris Evers said, “We plan to complete our global expansion by the end of 2016. Of course the Middle East is part of that, hence our hiring.”

If you look under Jobs on, you will find that there’s one specific position for the Middle East area. This is definitely great news but we still have to see what will be available on Netflix once it starts here. Currently, people are using VPN services to access Netflix.


Doomsday Seeds Transferred From Syria To The Bekaa In Lebanon

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norway The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard in Norway

This is quite an incredible story. Apparently things have become so bad in Syria that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has sounded the doomsday alarm and made an extraordinary request in early September to remove thousands of samples and transfer them to a vault in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. The aim is to preserve Syria’s unique agricultural heritage after ICARDA’s gene bank in Aleppo, which includes more than 135,000 varieties of wheat, fava bean, lentil and chickpea crops, as well as the world’s most valuable barley collection, has been damaged by the war.

What is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in northern Norway, something of an agricultural Noah’s Ark, was set up as a guarantee against mass starvation. The world’s governments poured in their countries’ seed samples – unique strains of every crop – and the doors were closed in 2008, when no one expected them to be opened for many generations. It has more than 860,000 samples, from almost all nations. Even if the power were to fail, the vault would stay frozen and sealed for at least 200 years. The vault is meant to be opened only in the event of a catastrophic event, like flooding or drought, that would threaten a crop with extinction, according to Brian Lainoff, a spokesman for the Crop Trust, one of the vault’s international stewards.

ICARDA’s gene bank in Aleppo, Syria, includes more than 135,000 varieties of wheat, fava bean, lentil and chickpea crops, as well as the world’s most valuable barley collection.

Let’s just hope things will remain calm in the Bekaa.


Sources: [CNN] [Independent] [Jazeera]

Gibran Khalil Gibran Exhibition At The Sharjah Art Museum Till Dec 10, 2015

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The Sharjah Art Museum in collaboration with the Gibran National Committee is hosting an exhibition entitled Drawings of Gibran: A Humane Perspective that will showcase artworks by the Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer. More than 50 works and manuscripts will be displayed, making it the largest collection of Gibran’s work ever to go on display in the UAE. Some of the works displayed will include his 1916 face of a Veiled Woman, a charcoal self-portrait from 1908 and an oil painting from 1910 called The Sad Mona Lisa. The original Gibran museum is located in Bcharreh of course and includes 440 original paintings.

Admission is free and the exhibition will run from October 7th until December 10th. Gibran Khalil Gibran is considered one of the most influential figures of the modern age. His most popular work is The Prophet, which was turned into an animated movie this year by Salma Hayek.

I am sure a lot of Lebanese here and in Dubai never visited Gibran’s museum in Bcharreh so here’s a chance to check out some of his artwork.


The State Of Broadband 2015 Report: Lebanon vs The Arab World

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According to Ogero’s July 2015 report, there are 3,638,051 internet users in Lebanon as of December 2014, out of which 2,505,875 mobile internet users. The internet penetration is 86% which puts Lebanon in 4th position regionally after Bahrain, UAE and Qatar. Unfortunately, the speeds and quotas are still lousy but things are moving in the right way hopefully especially after the fiber optics joint announcement done by the Telecom Ministry and Ogero.


About the BB Commission:
The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call to step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Established in May 2010, the Commission unites government leaders, top industry executives, thought leaders, policy pioneers, international agencies and organizations concerned with development.

As far as broadband is concerned, the 2015 State of Broadband report was released few days ago and Lebanon’s indicators were relatively good when compared to other Arab countries. Broadband is seen as foundation for sustainable development by the UN and an “affordable and effective broadband connectivity is a vital enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection”.

Where does Lebanon stand in the Arab World?

– Lebanon ranked first (47th globally) in terms of fixed-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants with an average of 22.8 over 100.
– Lebanon ranked 8th (57th globally) in terms of mobile broadband per 100 inhabitants with an average of 53.5 over 100. Kuwait ranked first regionally and third globally with 139.8 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.
– 68.4% of households in Lebanon have internet (vs 98% in Qatar, 94% in KSA and 90.1% in UAE)
– 74.4% of Lebanese have used the internet in 2014 (vs 91.5% in Qatar, 91% in Bahrain and 90.4% in UAE).

Check out the full report [here].

While Lebanon’s indicators are promising, it is still important to get cheap, fast and abundant internet to all the Lebanese. Telecom Minister Boutros Harb was tweeting yesterday about the latest fiber optics updates and promised a monthly report to highlight the progress. Of course I’m not expecting fiber optics before 2-3 years but I’m still waiting for DSL services to be upgraded to VDSL2+ because we desperately need those especially in regions outside Beirut. I just applied for a DSL connection last week for my new house and I’m still waiting to see if I can get more than 1 MBPS.


Thanks Rami!

Lebanon is 400 Times Smaller than Europe Yet Has 4 Times More Syrian Refugees

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boys The innocent victims of the civil war in Syria – Picture From TheGuardian

Ever since Europe and more specifically Germany agreed to receive Syrian refugees, we’ve been hearing all sorts of heartwarming stories on the overwhelming welcome refugees received in German towns and villages, yet everyone seems to forget that the only country that unconditionally welcomed Syrian refugees (willingly or unwillingly) is Lebanon and our country, which is 400 times smaller than the European Union yet has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world with 257 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants. The numbers reaching Europe are a drop in the ocean when compared to the refugee crisis facing Lebanon yet EU is struggling with migrants and asylum.

To be honest, I’m not really sure how we managed to cope so far with over 1.2 Million Syrian Refugees and a worsening economic situation and I think it’s about time western countries and Arab states consider offering some serious help to the Syrian population residing in camps and tents in Lebanon. Offering money to the Lebanese authorities is pretty much useless because they will end up stealing most if not all of it, and getting more funds to the UN won’t help. What the international community needs to do is support small NGOs that are working closely with the refugees and offer help on a case-by-case basis. Take for example Ketermaya, which is a small village in the Chouf area “that is hosting more Syrian refugees than all 50 U.S. states combined”. A good plan would be to help out this town’s municipality directly or through specific NGOs by building bigger and better schools and kicking off social initiatives. There’s so much that can be done with little money to assist all these refugees, all these children begging on the street and of course the Lebanese families hosting them.

Last week, we were able to move an 8-month old baby and his grandpa from the street to a new shelter within 48 hours and with the help of few people and a couple of NGOs. The whole thing barely cost us anything but there are hundreds if not thousands of families who still need help and need to be identified. It is unfair for one family to get a new life while others continue to suffer and it’s unacceptable to have over 1000 children in Beirut roaming the street begging for food.

I wasn’t expecting to collect $7500 in one week for Baby Ali but we cannot crowdfund every time as people tend to lose interest, which is why we need to figure out a way to let people help families in the way they see fit. There are people who don’t like to donate money and like to volunteer, while others would rather stay anonymous and help financially. I’m brainstorming this idea with a couple of friends but I’d like to hear your feedback on this idea and see if we can work something out to make our lives and the refugees’ lives better.

Until then, enjoy this nice collection of pictures of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

old Source: TheGuardian

S&P: Lebanon’s Outlook Downgraded From “Stable” To “Negative”

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garbage Via NationalPost

Standard & Poor’s has revised the outlook for Lebanon on the long-term ratings from “stable” to “negative”. We used to blame regional instability on the economic situation in Lebanon and it definitely has impacted us negatively but I believe our biggest problems right now are domestic instability and corruption.

We haven’t had a Lebanese president since May 2014, elections since 2009, the parliament has failed to pass a budget since 2005 and garbage is all over our streets! It’s a good thing we still have a solid financial system backed by the Central Bank.

My favorite quote from the article is the below:

The agency did not expect the government to use the lower oil price environment, and the resulting fiscal space, to implement the structural reforms that would reduce fiscal vulnerabilities and promote longer-term economic growth. It added that public finances and fiscal flexibility would remain constrained by structural expenditures that include transfers to EDL and high debt servicing.

I guess this is the S&P’s way of telling the Lebanese authorites: #YouStink!