Category Archives: News

#EcoFriendlyABC: The Largest Private Photovoltaic Plant In Lebanon On ABC Achrafieh’s Rooftop

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ABC Achrafieh, the most beautiful mall in Beirut, is turning into the most eco-friendly one by installing the largest private photovoltaic plant in Lebanon on ABC’s rooftop. The installation will cover up to 4,000 m2 and will provide a capacity of 0.45 MW that is enough to power ABC department store, the equivalent of feeding up to 500 houses. By doing so, ABC will reduce its need for electricity and secure free renewable energy for up to 20 years. I love the initiative and I hope others malls will follow-suit in implementing eco-friendly solutions.

What is Photovolatic system?
Photovoltaic_Cells

A photovoltaic system (photo means light and voltaic means voltage), uses photovoltaic (solar) cells to directly convert the energy of light into electricity. This system is mainly used to reduce the need for electricity and replace the traditional polluting power generation options. While the initial cost of setting up such a system may prove to be high, even though it’s been decreasing year after year, “the operational costs associated with the conventional fuel mix (coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas) used for generating electricity are not substantially less than the “full” costs associated with photovoltaic systems and, in many cases, exceed the costs of PVs”. More importantly, there are hidden costs to using conventional energy sources such as damaging the environment and increasing pollution that are crucial and need to be taken into consideration. [Read More]

That’s why more and more companies and corporations worldwide are investing in renewable energies as such solutions will pay off on the long run financially and environmentally. Speaking of smart eco-friendly solutions in Lebanon, The Beirut River Solar Snake is a similar project to ABC’s plant and consists of a photovoltaic farm set on top of Beirut’s river and aimed at generating 1.08 MWp to light up around 1000 houses. I’m not sure though if the farm is already operational or not, but we definitely need more government-drive initiatives such as the BRSS.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made up of at least 2 semi-conductor layers. One layer containing a positive charge, the other a negative charge. Sunlight consists of little particles of solar energy called photons. As a PV cell is exposed to this sunlight, many of the photons are reflected, pass right through, or absorbed by the solar cell.

When enough photons are absorbed by the negative layer of the photovoltaic cell, electrons are freed from the negative semiconductor material. Due to the manufacturing process of the positive layer, these freed electrons naturally migrate to the positive layer creating a voltage differential, similar to a household battery.

When the 2 layers are connected to an external load, the electrons flow through the circuit creating electricity. Each individual solar energy cell produces only 1-2 watts. To increase power output, cells are combined in a weather-tight package called a solar module. These modules (from one to several thousand) are then wired up in serial and/or parallel with one another, into what’s called a solar array, to create the desired voltage and amperage output required by the given project. [Source]

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I was able to visit the roof last week before anyone else and took a couple of pictures that I’m sharing here. The official reveal will take place tonight at ABC so see you all there!

Photo 8-04-2015 6 49 35 pm Here’s another shot showing ABC from the top taken by Joseph Saba

An Inmate Sitting For Official Exams At Baabda’s Women Prison For The First Time

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prisoner

A female prisoner at Baabda’s Women Prison sat for Lebanon’s official exams as she hopes to pursue an education after her release. This is the first prisoner to sit for official exams at the prison according to the MTV report and she was visited by Education Minister Elias Bou Saab who “decried the deplorable conditions of the jail, saying that what he saw today was not something anyone should have to bear”.

I have 3 things to say here:
– I smiled when I saw that MTV was covering a story related to an inmate wishing to pursue her education, specially after Adel Karam’s screw up last week on Hayda 7ake. Next thing you know, Abdallah Taleb will be a guest on Hayda 7ake next week.

– I laughed when I heard the Education Minister talk about Baabda’s Women Prison as if it was the first time he visits it, which is probably the case. Noting that conditions in all prisons are terrible in Lebanon and that he’s been a minister for few years now, he should have thought earlier about setting conference rooms and encouraging inmates to pursue their studies in prison. Moreover, Catharsis has been working for years on creating a bridge between inmates and society, and came up with a play “Sheherazade in Baabda” performed by the women inmates of Baabda prison, yet they never received any official and decent support.

– The female prisoner (H.N) is doing time for substance abuse and needs all the help she could get to overcome her addiction and start a new life. She’s already doing an amazing job by being the first inmate to sit for official exams, and she should be encouraged by the authorities along with other inmates to pursue their education. I’m glad Minister Bou Saab raised the issue to Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, but I believe he can already start making some changes before they start building new prisons.

[YouTube]

Thanks Nancy!

How Captain Saadeddine Dabbous Became MEA’s First Ever Lebanese Pilot In 1952

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mea via LiveLoveBeirut

The above picture was shared yesterday by LiveLoveBeirut and includes Captain Saadeddine Dabbous who is Middle East Airlines’ first ever 6pilot, as well as his sons and two grandsons who also work for MEA Airlines. Two of them are captains and the two others are first officers.

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The Dabbous family has three proud generations of pilots, which is quite amazing but what’s even more amazing is how Captain Saadeddine Dabbous became the MEA’s first pilot Lebanese ever. Saad always dreamt of flying a plane but he joined the Middle East back in 1947 as an accountant and used to earn 150 Lebanese Liras per month. Two years into the job, he decided to apply for a pilot training session. Saad passed the medical tests, then the first round so MEA transferred him to Cairo for a year and a half to complete his training. He graduated on top of his class and then traveled to London for another 6-month training.

After 4 years of training, studying and flying as a co-pilot, Saad became officially the first Lebanese MEA pilot in 1952 when he drove a Dakota DC3 plane from Cairo to Beirut. Saad’s first ever trip was covered by the Lebanese media and the Prime Minister at the time Saeb Salam was waiting for the plane to land at Beirut’s airport. Captain Saad was honored during a ceremony the next day and officially proclaimed as MEA’s first official pilot. Saad worked as a proud MEA pilot until 1985 when he retired after doing a final trip from Cairo to Beirut just like his first ever flight. His two sons Tarek and Hisham later on became pilots as well and their respective sons Saad and Wassim are on their way to become pilots.

Captain Saad flew over 25,000 hours in his career and was honored by the Lebanese President.

PS: I got the story details from [CedarWings].

7774686 via studentguidemag

Uber Now Available In Jounieh

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After launching back in July in Beirut, Uber is now live in Jounieh and its coverage has extended to the following areas: Baabda, Mansourieh, Zalka, Jal El Dib, Cornet Chehwan, Aoukar, Mtaileb, Bayada, Zouk Mosbeh, Adonis, Kaslik, Jounieh, Adma, Tabarja etc …

I use Uber whenever I have plans in Beirut as it saves me the trouble of finding a parking spot because I will never give my car to the valet. The drivers are friendly and drive safely, the trips are smooth and the cost is the same as other taxi services if not less. I’m glad they finally extended their coverage to Jounieh because I live there and I sometimes don’t feel like driving all the way to Beirut, specially when I’m going to drink and party.

For those of you who didn’t try Uber yet, the app is available for [Android] and [iOS]. You can test out the service by entering promo code “HelloJOUNIEH” which grants you 2 FREE uberX rides up to $20 per trip.

I read on their blog as well that they are offering free rides valid through Sun, May 31st at 11:59pm on all trips beginning beyond Nahr El Kalb tunnel ONLY (Jounieh side).

PS: I will be doing soon a review of all online taxi services available in Lebanon. I’ve tried so far Allo Taxi, Uber. There’s still Careem on my list. If you know others, please do share the names.

Pictures Of The Skybar Beirut Fire

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A big fire broke out around 2am today at Skybar Beirut causing some major damages. I’m not really sure what happened as I was unable to get in touch with anyone yet but I read in the Daily Star that it could be due to an electrical short circuit.

Skybar was scheduled to open next week but I’m not sure they can fix all this mess in time. I will keep you posted as soon as I have updates but I’m sure we will be partying there this summer :)

PS: I’ve shared a status earlier on Facebook and I will repeat it here. Making jokes out of this sad incident is like shooting yourself in the foot. Even if we don’t like the place and think it’s for the fancy people (which is not the case), Skybar Beirut is an international touristic attraction that everyone wants to visit and enjoy. Skybar has shaped and revolutionized ‪#‎Beirut‬’s nightlife scene.
More importantly, tens if not hundreds of families will be affected by this fire not just the party goers so think about that before making silly jokes.

Update1: Skybar probably won’t be open this summer unfortunately. I am not sure yet if they will relocate to another place.

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PS: I don’t know who took the pictures above. MTV has more pictures [here].

A Happy Story From Zahle This Time

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happy via Annahar

When I wrote about the 7 year old child that got killed by a pitbull in Zahle last week, I attacked those who are training dogs for illegal fights and stated that this practice is unfortunately very common in the area, but what I didn’t say and should have is that there are as many people in Zahle that love dogs and take great care of them. The dog (Max) in the video below could have easily drowned in the frozen Berdanoui waters but his owner and a couple of Zahle guys rushed to his rescue and saved him in time.

Unfortunately, animal abuse is still very common in Lebanon and most of the incidents reported are bad ones but there are good people out there still trying to do the right thing. Only yesterday, I wrote about a hyena that was killed and another snatched from his mother in Akkar, and I’m following up on the story with a couple of friends to see if they will be able to bring the hyena cub back to his mother, but they told me it’s almost impossible for that to happen now that the hyena has formed bonds with other animals and humans. Nevertheless, it’s still better to take the hyena from this ignorant hunter and put him in a safe shelter.

[YouTube]

What I Told NPR About The Lebanese Sisters Show

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sisters The sisters drawn by a designer – via Glamroz

It’s not everyday that you get interviewed by one of the most popular radios in the US (NPR) and I thank Alice Fordham for that opportunity, even though I wish it had been for something more interesting.

As you all know, there’s a new reality TV show called The Sisters being broadcasted on LBC SAT (Not to be confused with the local LBCI) starring three Lebanese sisters, Alice Nadine and Farah. I’ve heard before about the sisters because of their instagram account (not blog) but I don’t know them personally so I did an effort to watch the first episode but I couldn’t last more than 15 minutes.

The reasons why I didn’t like The Sisters as explained to NPR are as follows:

1- The show has fake written all over it and is very far from what reality TV is supposed to be. I’ve never liked the Kardashians but it does reflect how the family lives and real-life problems as silly as they may seem. The story lines are also empty and meaningless.

2- The show is culturally empty and portrays Lebanese woman in a negative light. Of course no one is expecting the sisters to be role models for our society but they could have at least made an effort not to look that silly and dependent. I honestly blame the producers here and whomever wrote that script.

All in all, I have nothing personal against the Lebanese Sisters and I don’t mind reality shows but I just think they could have done a much better job, specially that it’s the first show of its kind in Lebanon.

Here’s the [full NPR article].

PS: I recommend you also read Nancy’s take on the Lebanese Sisters as she perfectly summed it up.

How Did Zein El Atat Become A Goodwill Ambassador? WTF Did I Miss?

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zein

The UN An organization has apparently appointed Zein el Atat as an ambassador of goodwill for human rights for the International Human Rights commission. This guy was banned at some point back in 2011 and how he’s selling his products in pharmacies and is a good will ambassador? How is that possible?

Update: The organization has no relation to the UN which is good news. I wonder how that entitles him to get a diplomatic passport though

Update 2: Organization is fake according to this article.

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Catchy Headlines To Make A Pointless And Useless Story Go Viral

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I am sure you’ve all clicked on such titles only to find out the story is lame and stupid. I wouldn’t go as far as to say “Journalism is dying” in Lebanon but the amount of pointless and stupid online stories that are being published is increasing dramatically and we are to blame as well as the journalists.

PS: The above titles were all made up so don’t go looking for them :)

#CharlieHebdo: Lebanese Demonstrate In Beirut And Paris In Support Of Freedom Of Expression

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May2

Jesuischarlie via Gino

Lebanese regrouped at Samir Kassir Square in Downtown Beirut at 4pm today to honor victims of the Paris attack and in support of freedom of expression. Lebanese flags were also spotted in the massive Paris unity rally that attracted around a million people.

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charlie1 via MARCH

jesuis1 via MARCH

Nadim via MP Nadim Gemayel