World’s Largest Toy Car Collection Is In Beirut

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Billy Karam’s awesome toy car collection makes it to AutoBlog.

It’s common for auto enthusiasts to have a few miniatures of their favorite cars around their home or office. They provide a respite of happiness knowing that if you can’t have the real things, at least you can look at them in miniature. However, Billy Karam of Beirut, Lebanon, has taken collecting toy cars to its extreme. His collection of over 30,000 model cars and 400 dioramas is certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest collection of car toys.

“You cannot buy the big ones, so you buy a thousand of the small ones instead,” says Karam in the video. [Link]

Lebanon Warlords of Tripoli (Trailer) By Vice

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Vice hung out with a Sunni Commander called Ziad Allouki and his fighters for a week to discover why they’re fighting, and whether the country really is on the brink of civil war. These so-called militia commanders and gunmen “have been taking advantage lately of the lawlessness in the city to extort money from local businesses“.

That’s definitely a report I am looking forward to.

Thanks Rami for the tip!

Lebanon Ranks 9th In The World Bank and IFC’s Doing Business 2014 Report For Arab Countries

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Lebanon is way behind countries in the The Gulf Region but is still at the same position from last year. UAE and Saudi Arabia are on top of that list with a considerable margin from Bahrain in 3rd spot.

You can check out the full report [Here].

The report ranks countries based on how they perform in 11 different aspects of the business cycle: the business environment, starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

The region as a whole ranked highest in paying taxes, getting electricity, and registering property, while coming in behind on getting credit. Regionally, the UAE placed first in five different topics: starting a business, paying taxes, registering property, getting electricity, and trading across borders.

Why The Beirut Cinema Week Got Cancelled

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The Beirut Cinema Week was supposed to take place back in January and bring “together Lebanese cinema—professionals, investors, the intellectual and general audience”. Unfortunately, recent bombings in Lebanon have forced the organizers to postpone the event.

Here’s what Sabyl Ghoussoub, the director of the Lebanese Film Festival, had to say about that. [Interview]

Do you feel the security situation in Lebanon is stifling creativity?

No, the situation leads us to create more. It stimulates creation. The only problem is that investors do not follow, so many projects do not end.

Do you see any artists, film or otherwise, in Lebanon who are using the current situation as a way to express themselves?

Living in fear of a bomb exploding or in a permanent state of war makes us see life differently. There are many situations in Lebanon, artists who actually live here and artists from the diaspora who merely pass [through]. These are different experiences, different views, but their work is all in one way or another affected by the situation.

Soup For Syria: A Cookbook To Help Feed Syrian Refugees

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Barbara Abdeni Massaad, a serious cook since the age of 15, has decided to publish and sell a cookbook aimed at helping the Syrian refugees. With enough money raised, Barbara hopes she’ll be able to build temporary pop-up kitchen in the Bekaa town of Zahle where a lot of Syrian Refugees currently reside. The book will be called “Soup For Syria” and will contain recipes for soups that consist of local ingredients that can be made by the Syrian families.

I love the initiative and I am definitely buying the book. You can check out updates on this initiative on [Soup For Syria].