The best ranked Arab countries are Egypt (14), Saudi Arabia (27), Syria (39) and Yemen (43). Lebanon is ranked last in terms of military strength in the Middle East. You can check out the full list [Here].
The GFP ranking makes use of over 40 factors to determine each nation’s Power Index (“PwrIndx”) score. From this score, the finalized ranking is generated. The factors are set within our algorithm which provides a fair canvas and allows smaller, technologically advanced nations to compete with larger, lesser-developed ones. [Source]
Dr. Bassem Youssef, host of El Bernameg, is coming to Beirut on Thursday to take part in Nishan’s show “Ana wel Aassal”. I am a big fan of Bassem Youssef but I don’t know if I can stand Nishan for 2 hours.
Emirates and Qatar Airways were ranked respectively the first and second best airlines in the Middle East and in the World. Middle East Airlines came in 8th spot ahead of Air Arabia and flyDubai in the Top 10 Airlines In the Middle East list, which isn’t something to be proud of. [Source]
Below are the Top 10 Airlines in the Middle East for 2013:
1 – Emirates
2 – Qatar Airways
3 – Etihad Airways
4 – Oman Air
5 – Gulf Air
6 – Royal Jordanian Airlines
7 – Saudi Arabia Airlines
8 – Middle East Airlines
9 – Air Arabia
10 – flyDubai
You can check out the World’s Top Airlines Rankings [Here].
Every now and then, we hear about Israeli soldiers, or even a commando force, infiltrating Lebanese soil to kidnap a shepherd and then releasing him few days later. I don’t know what is their deal with shepherds and whether some of them are truly spying for Hezbollah, but until now all shepherds were released and sent back to Lebanon.
Here are some of the kidnappings that took place since 2010:
July 8, 2013: A 15-member Israeli commando force on Monday crossed the border of the occupied Shebaa Farms and abducted Lebanese shepherd Youssef Hussein Rhayyel who hailed from the town of Shebaa. [Source]
July 2, 2013: Israeli troops kidnap two shepherds in South Lebanon. [Source]
May 2, 2013: Israelis Attempted to kidnap another Lebanese shepherd. [Source]
Jan 2012: Israel releases kidnapped Lebanese shepherd. [Source]
Jan 12, 2011: Israeli army kidnapped a Lebanese shepherd. [Source]
June 27, 2010: Israeli forces have kidnapped a shepherd on Lebanese territory and have reportedly taken him to the Israeli occupied Shebaa Farms. [Source]
Most of the Landlords and real estate companies are trying to rip us off Lebanese with their prices so it’s no surprise to find them trying to rip off Syrian refugees.
“The landlord is not a good man,” he says cautiously as the smile he wore just a minute earlier fades. “He’s greedy, and he’s become greedier since the rest of my family arrived.”
“Most of the stories we get include refugees renting out a room or sometimes a small piece of land, mainly in the Bekaa [near the Syrian border] and are having to pay a lot of money,” said Joelle Eid, a Public Information Associate at UNHCR.
Hassan, who asked his last name not be used for fear of retribution, says the landlord, an overweight local sheikh in his 50s, used to charge around $67 each month for a room. Mohammad, a 23-year-old refugee from Idlib, lives in a one-room apartment with three family members in Faraya, north of Beirut. He pays around $135 a month for what he describes as a broken down apartment where nothing works properly. He also says that his family is being charged more for the room than his Lebanese neighbors are for their homes. [Link]
We’ve been hearing reports from almost all media outlets about Lebanese getting expelled from UAE Gulf countries but our Foreign Minister has been denying them so far. The latest news is that 25 Lebanese got deported from Qatar after being given a four-day ultimatum.
25 Lebanese expatriates were deported from Qatar and are expected to arrive in Beirut as of Wednesday evening. The report claimed that the Lebanese expatriates, who all work in the same company, were given a four-day ultimatum to leave the Qatari territories. It also added that the Lebanese expatriates’ residency permits were still valid as the deportation decision was issued. [MTV]
Radio Voice of Lebanon apparently was able to spot one of the Lebanese who got expelled, Ahmed Ayyoub who and I quote “left the airport without giving any statement about his expulsion because he was in a “delicate emotional condition”. He had just arrived at the Beirut Airport and the reasons for his expulsion are still unknown.
According to CNN Travel, Almaza is the No.1 beer in the Middle East and North Africa. Almaza is indeed great but now I am interested in tasting the other 5 beers on that list. I don’t think we have any of them in Lebanon though (Definitely not the Israeli one haha!).
In at number one is the king of Middle Eastern beers and the staple of any trip to Beirut, the one-and-only Almaza. At a low 4% ABV, Almaza may be a light and fairly standard pilsner, but served ice cold at a Hamra Street café on a warm summer evening, it amounts to far more than that.
“Almaza tastes like a Lebanese summer night would if you could bottle it, with a side of nuts,” said Beirut native Karl Baz, 33. [CNN]
Lebanese dentist Dr. Samir Yousef Jaber got attacked and stabbed to death by a group of young men at the Avenues Mall in Kuwait back in December 2012. The four men implicated in his murder were sentenced to death few days ago by the Kuwaiti criminal court.
You can zoom in to any spot on the planet and watch the same three-decade timelapse unroll. Try it [Here].
Since the 1970s, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have been amassing satellite images of every inch of our planet as part of the Landsat program. Over time, the images reveal a record of change: of cities expanding, lakes and forests disappearing, new islands emerging from the sea off the coast of rising Middle East metropolises like Dubai.
Landsat images taken between 1984 and 2012 have been converted into a seamless, navigable animation built from millions of satellite photos. As Google wrote this morning on its blog: “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.” [Link]
I took some screenshots of Lebanon and Beirut throughout the years.
Lebanon in 1984
Lebanon in 1994
Lebanon in 2000
Lebanon in 2012
The only major changes you can spot is in Beirut (Solidere) as you can see below. Otherwise, the green areas are shrinking.