Category Archives: Middle East

92% Of Lebanese Find It Unacceptable For The US To Monitor Communications Of Citizens

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The American government has reportedly been monitoring communications, such as emails and phone calls, in the U.S and other countries. Pew conducted a survey asking people from around the world whether they find it acceptable or not for the US to monitor communications from citizens, American citizens, suspected terrorists and country leaders.

Here’s what the Lebanese had to say about that:
– 92% found is unacceptable for the American government to monitor communications of Lebanese citizens.
– 76% found it acceptable for the American government to monitor communications of suspected terrorists.
– 77% found it unacceptable for the American government to monitor communications of US citizens.
– 87% found it unacceptable for the American government to monitor communications of Lebanese leaders.

You can find other Pew polls [Here]. One interesting survey on the rise of Islamic Extremism in the Middle East revealed that 92% of Lebanese (the highest %) were very concerned about Islamic Extremism in their country.

Thanks Mark!

Lebanese Emilie Houwat Wins The First Edition Of ‘I am NatGeo Photographer’

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emiliehouwat via LorientLeJour

I Am a NatGeo Photographer is a reality show broadcasted on National Geographic Abu Dhabi. It features eight asipiring photographer from across the region competing in a series of challenges all over the UAE. “Their goal is to find that perfect photo until, in time-honoured reality-TV fashion, only one remains to be crowned the winner and see their work in the pages of the ­magazine”.

The first edition of this show has come to an end and it was a Lebanese photographer called Emilie Houwat who won. I haven’t seem the picture she took as I couldn’t find it anywhere, but I will update the post once I do.

Congrats to Emilie! You can check out her website [Here].

Between The World Cup And Israel’s Military Offensive Against Gaza

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Ever since Israel started its offensive against Gaza few days ago, a lot of people have been showing their support for the Palestinian people while some of them have been bashing football fans for not caring enough about Gaza and cheering for their teams. “How could you watch the World Cup while children are dying?” and “Shame on you for ignoring the massacres on Palestine” are some of the messages I got and I couldn’t but laugh at them.

We all condemn what’s happening in Gaza and what’s been happening for the past 30 years, as we condemn the hundreds of innocent civilians killed in the Syrian conflict everyday, and in Iraq and Yemen and anywhere there’s a conflict. However, as much as some Lebanese and Arabs feel concerned with what’s happening in neighboring countries, there’s nothing we can do to help even if we wanted to, and the truth is we need help in Lebanon more than any other country (except Palestine maybe). Moreover, if you truly wish to help Palestinians, do so on a daily basis and don’t just remember them during wars and start spreading pictures of dead babies and burned bodies on Facebook.

Going back few months from now, innocent people were dying in Tripoli (In Lebanon of course) due to sectarian fights yet a lot of people who are sharing Gaza posts and pictures all over the internet didn’t feel that concerned with what’s happening. A lot of Lebanese as well don’t feel concerned with the suicide bombings in Dahieh and Beirut’s suburbs, without forgetting the 1 Million+ Syrian refugees suffering in Lebanon.

To sum things up, stop pretending to care about Gaza children if you’ve just realized that they are suffering, stop telling people not to watch the World Cup because people are dying in Palestine and stop sharing graphic images to get people’s attention. If anything, start caring about your country more and let people enjoy their lives the way they see it appropriate.

Lebanon’s Taxi Driver Killers In The 10 Horrific Middle East Serial Killers List

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Brothers George and Michel Tanielian are believed to be Lebanon’s first serial killers. The 9 other criminals who made the list are:

Mohammed Bijeh from Iran.
Adam Omar from Yemen.
Mahin Qadri from Iran.
Ali Kaya from Turkey.
Saeed Hanaei from Iran.
Bilal Musa from Jordan.
Dr. Louay Omar Mohammed Al-Taei from Iraq.
Awdhah from Saudi Arabia.
Ali Reza Kordiyeh from Iran.

Check out the full article [Here].

Brothers George and Michel Tanielian killed 11 people, mostly taxi drivers, in Lebanon’s Metn district, earning themselves the nickname “The Taxi Driver Killers.” They boarded taxis at night, and George would sit in front beside the driver while Michel would sit at the back. Once they got to a remote location, George would tell the driver to pull over so that he could relieve himself. As soon as the driver pulled over and George began to exit the vehicle, Michel would shoot the driver in the head. They’d then rob the body and set the car on fire. Sometimes, they’d dump the body by the roadside and use the cab to carry other victims, whom they also robbed and killed. Lebanese intelligence officers once went undercover, posing as taxi drivers to catch the brothers. An agent once engaged them in a struggle, but they managed to escape. The pair were arrested after police tracked a victim’s phone that they’d sold. Along with the two of them, police arrested three other brothers as suspects, until Michel confessed during questioning that he and George had carried out the killings. George and Michel were charged before a military court and were sentenced to death.

Zoomaal’s Must See Film Challenge

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zoomal

Zoomal is kicking off a challenge called “The Must See Film” to empower the film scene in the Arab world. This initiative aims at given an opportunity to filmmakers in the Middle East to present their project and get 1$ from Zoomal for every 1$ pledged by a funder. The rules are simple and explained below:

Geographical focus: Films must be directed by Arab filmmakers. We encourage everyone from the region to apply
Impact: The project needs to be innovative and/or pioneering. Where unique stories from the Arab World are highlighted. Stories that are told in ways beyond the traditional feature film are encouraged to apply.
Up to $25,000: Only projects that require a maximum budget of $25,000 will be allowed to apply in the challenge.
Not Zoomaal Prohibited: project must pass Zoomaal’s screening criteria that ban charity, religious, political, alcohol, adult, and tobacco projects, while focusing primarily on creative and sustainable development projects in the Arab world.

Based on previous challenges, matched funded challenges get 5 times more funding than normal sponsorships so this is a unique opportunity for all film makers to present their project and maybe get the needed money to finish their movie.

Check out more details [Here].

2014 Social Media Stats in The Middle East

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[YouTube]

Here are some of the interest statistics as compiled by Hussein.

– 40.2% of the total Middle East population accesses the web,
– 88% of this online population uses social networking on a daily basis,
– In the Middle East, 65% of online users are men, 35% are women,
– 36% of the Middle East of online users are aged between 18 and 24 years,
– Jordan has the highest penetration rate of social networks across Internet users: 88%,
– The smartphones penetration rate in KSA is 63%,
– Facebook is the most popular social network with 94% of the Middle East’s social media users are on it,
– UAE has the highest penetration rate for Facebook (44%),
– 6.5 million users from the Middle East are on Twitter: 3.7 million are active users,
– Arabs produce around 10 million tweets everyday,
– KSA has a penetration rate of 33% for Twitter. It is the highest penetration of Twitter in the world,
– LinkedIn counts over 5.8 million users from the Middle East,
– UAE has the highest LinkedIn penetration with 1.6 million users: A number that has increased by 45% in only 1 year,
– There are 258 million daily views of Youtube videos. 90 million of them come from KSA.

Lebanon vs Worldwide Obesity Levels: 15.9% Of Boys Under 20 Years Are Obese

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According to a new study by the Lancet, the world is getting fatter and the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in children and adolescents in developing countries to 12.9% in 2013 for boys and 13.4% in girls. Here are some of the numbers related to Lebanon and the Arab countries that I’ve collected from the study.

Obese Boys < 20 years
Lebanon – 15.9%
Bahrain – 9.3%
Iraq – 8.2%
Kuwait – 16.7%
Jordan – 8.0%
Palestine – 11.9%
Qatar – 18.8%
Saudi Arabia – 9.4%
Syria – 13.9%
UAE – 12.2%

Obese Men >= 20 years
Lebanon – 26.3%
Bahrain – 31%
Iraq – 25.7%
Kuwait – 43.4%
Jordan – 27.5%
Palestine – 29.8%
Qatar – 44.0%
Saudi Arabia – 30%
Syria – 24.2%
UAE – 27.1%

Obese Girls < 20 years
Lebanon – 12.5%
Bahrain – 10.7%
Iraq – 8.2%
Kuwait – 23.3%
Jordan – 8%
Palestine – 12.5%
Qatar – 15.5%
Saudi Arabia – 14.8%
Syria – 15.4%
UAE – 12.6 %

Obese Women >= 20 years
Lebanon – 29.3%
Bahrain – 24.9%
Iraq – 37.5%
Kuwait – 58.6%
Jordan – 45.6%
Palestine – 42.4 %
Qatar – 54.7%
Saudi Arabia – 44.4%
Syria – 39.9%
UAE – 33.2%

The number of obese boys and girls in Lebanon is quite high and alarming. You can download the full report [Here] (sign up required).