Lebanon drops 14 spots in the 2013 Global Innovation Index

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A lot of rankings are coming out these days and none of them are showing any sign of improvement in Lebanon unfortunately. In fact, Lebanon dropped 14 spots in the Global Innovation Index this year due “to political instability, low public spending on education, and the the immature state of cluster development, and the immature ICT and business model creation”.

Lebanon was ranked 75th out of 142 countries on the Global Innovation Index 2013, down by 14 places compared to last year. The country scored 35.47 over 100, trailing behind Jordan, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The Global Innovation Index 2013 is co-published by the Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The index comprises six measurements: Institutions and political stability, human capital and research, infrastructure and market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs. [Link]

Thank you Tarek!

Article Removed from Annahar’s website?

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I always favorite or email myself some articles during the day to read them later on at night. One of them was an article by Annahar today about 130,000$ that went missing from the Lebanese Basketball Federation. However and for some reason, the link is dead and I can’t find anything about this article on Annahar’s website or Twitter account.

Is there something we weren’t supposed to read about? Why was the article removed? If anyone read it and knows what it talks about, please do share.

Update: I found the article somewhere else. [Link]

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Google

Blocking SMS Spam

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We all hate getting annoying SMS messages and local providers aren’t doing anything to stop them. The ones I hate most, and which I reported on several occasions to Alfa, Touch and the Telecom Ministry, are those I get from 1085 or other four digit spamming numbers. I’ve always wondered if there’s a way to block or filter them, and I tried a couple of Android apps in the past but the one [SMS Spam Blocker - Postman] Abir posted about today is the best I’ve used so far.

Check it out and download it [Here].

Lebanon Ranks 66th Out Of 68 In The 2013 Global Fire Power Report

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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]

Thanks Mark

Marwan Charbel Should Step Down

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Before I start this post, I want to clarify that my opinion here is as a Lebanese citizen who has the right to hold any representative accountable for his actions regardless of his political affiliations, whether he’s a Minister, an MP or the President himself. Of course it should be done in a constructive and objective way, away from insults and personal attacks.

More importantly, what matters to me as a Lebanese nowadays are basic stuff, like a decent internet, 24/7 electricity, freedom of speech, security, stability, a good economy etc … and I don’t give a damn about one’s political affiliation if he/she is able to provide me with all those.

This being said, I strongly believe Marwan Charbel has failed on several occasions as an Interior Minister and that he should step down and make way for someone else who is capable to cope with everything that’s happening lately in Lebanon and its surrounding. Don’t get me wrong, Charbel is a good man and a highly esteemed officer but I believe he doesn’t have what it takes to manage the crisis we’re going through as a country and should take this load off his back and hand it to someone else. He could be perfect for another position for all I know but the Ministry Of Interior was not made for him. After all, there’s no shame in resigning as we are going through extraordinary circumstances that require someone a bit more street-smart and used to handling this ministry or any other sensitive position.

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Before looking back at the mistakes and miscalculations he’s done in the past three years, what happened today at the explosion site is quite shameful and embarrassing for any Interior Minister. It’s not acceptable for demonstrators to attack a minister but it’s ridiculous to see an Interior Minister running away and being escorted to a safe spot by non-governmental armed factions. These things may happen with other Ministers or MPs but they shouldn’t happen with an Interior Minister of a Minister of Defence.

Putting this incident aside, let’s recap few past events:

- Marwan Charbel admitted back in May that the authorities had miscalculated in not building camps to house Syrian refugees escaping the fighting in their country and that he has no plans to fix this problem. [Source]
- Charbel refused at first to sign Nidal and Khouloud’s civil marriage contract despite the public pressure and the President’s request. Fortunately though he ended up signing it.
- As a reaction to the increase of thefts and kidnappings, he announced a security month but publicly announced the starting date thereby eliminating the element of surprise. [Source]
- He said and I quote that “There’s an old saying that Lebanon is the Switzerland of the Middle East; I say that Switzerland is the Lebanon of the West.” [Source]
- He teared up when asked about the security in Lebanon and the rise in crime. [Source]
- He got robbed twice during his visit to Romania.
- He justified the Antelias bombing back in 2011 as being “a result of a financial and personal dispute between several people, including some car dealers.” This justification is one of many that didn’t make any sense and insulted our intelligence. [Source]

Having said that, the man clearly has good intentions but seems disconnected from what’s happening and unprepared to offer solutions and take things in his own hands. His biggest mistake was probably the Abra clashes and the diplomatic approach that he took towards Assir who is now wanted for killing soldiers. For all I know, he may have been trying to cool things down but he clearly miscalculated the threat Assir and others posed and the arming that was happening from both sides.