The Selfiest Cities in the World: Beirut Ranked 210

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According to Time, Makati City known as the financial center of the Philippines is the Selfie Capital of the World, or the capital where people take the most selfies. Manhattan came in second spot followed by Miami. As far as Arabic cities are concerned, Doha came first (Ranked 42 worldwide), followed by Dubai (Ranked 63 worldwide). Beirut is in the 5th spot regionally and 210th worldwide.

Here are the Arabic cities that made it to the top 100 list:
42. Doha, QA: 52 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
63. Dubai, AE: 41 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
87. Abu Dhabi, AE: 33 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
92. Sharjah, AE: 32 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

To investigate the geography of selfie-taking, TIME built a database of more than 400,000 Instagram photos tagged “selfie” that included geographic coordinates. In total, we ranked 459 cities to determine the selfiest places on earth. Fear not Manhattan and Miami, you’re up there.

Check out the original article and full map [Here].

Thanks Sam!

Zouk Power Plant Emissions Reduced by 80%

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Taken by Avedis

The Minitry of Energy and Water announced back in July that emissions were reduced by 80 percent at the Zouk Mosbeh power plant. I wonder how bad the emissions were given that the above picture was taken today.

The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) announced the completion of the first phase of a project to cut down air pollution at the Zouk power plant. The project consists of equipping production groups at the plant with chemical additives to treat fuel oil and therefore limit toxic gas emissions.

The contracted firm, EPIQ Trading, a local company and subsidiary of EPIQ Group, finished installing and testing technical units on the plant’s second production group. The group was chosen by Electricité du Liban for a testing phase of six months that ended in May 2013.

The company was able to reduce emissions by 80 percent, according to the MoEW. The project will now extend to the remaining three production groups. The MoEW expects the project to be fully-implemented in Zouk by the end of the year. As a next step, the same process will be implemented in the Jiyeh power plant. [Source]

Another view taken today by Roula

Thank you Lea!

Lebanese Cameraman Samir Kassab Still Missing In Syria

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I don’t know why Samir’s story is not over the news like the Maaloula nuns, but he’s a Lebanese who’s gone missing along with Sky News Arabia Mauritanian correspondent Ishak Moctar back in October 2013 and there are still no news of him. Lebanonfiles reported via Al Jomhouria that he could be in the Rakka area in Syria.

Speaking of kidnappings, the Missing and Kidnapped Lebanese issue is a critical one that must be given the highest priority by any government, specially the thousands who disappeared during the Lebanese war at the hands of Lebanese militias. Their families deserve to know what happened and the authorities should work hard to close these files once and for all.

Let’s hope Samir’s case will be resolved soon as he’s just a cameraman and wasn’t kidnapped for political reasons.

Ethical Terrorists: لبنان بلد العجايب Indeed

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Some Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group in Lebanon has issued an apology for targeting orphans in the last suicide bombing attack to hit Beirut’s suburbs. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades said that a “technical fault” occurred and have requested from their suicide bombers to be more cautious next time.

I still can’t believe they issued such an apology.

A militant group issued a rare apology Saturday for a twin suicide bombing in Beirut that killed eight people and wounded dozens, including children from a nearby orphanage. The al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades issued the statement on militant websites apologizing for civilian deaths. It said a “technical fault” affected the second of two Feb. 19 suicide bombings targeting an Iranian cultural centre in Beirut, but didn’t specify what it was. The group insisted its suicide bombers were trained to not target civilians.
“We affirm, always to our suicide bombers, to be cautious, and to abort any operation if they believe it will hit others but the targeted,” it said. [Source]

Check Out The EyeEm Market!

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Follow me on EyeEm Najib

For those of you who don’t know about EyeEm yet, it’s a photo sharing app that’s not just focused on photo sharing, but tries to connect like-minded users through the photos they take. It “combines the familiar ‘snapshots and filters’ approach with metadata that collects not just location and time for each photo, but contextual information like what a user was doing at the time”. What I always loved about EyeEm is that it doesn’t require you to crop your pictures and has some really cool filters.

One of the people who founded EyeEm and is still running it is a Lebanese called Ramzi Rizk, whom I had the chance to meet last year. Ramzi told me about EyeEm’s growth and some of the plans they are working on. Speaking of which, the next step for EyeEm at the moment is the EyeEm market which was launched a couple of weeks back. It’s basically a market where you remain the copyright holder of your images and make 50% net revenue from each photo you sell. If you want to know what are the types of pictures clients are usually interested in, check out this [post].

I think this is a smart step as it will encourage professional photographers to submit their photos and amateurs as well. If you want to know more about EyeEm, the best way is to download it and try it out. It is available for iPhone and Android.

PS: For those of you who haven’t joined yet and don’t want to upload all your Instagram images one more time, you can now connect your EyeEm account to the Instagram one and import all the pictures. It’s very easy and fast.

Are White Belly Dancers Engaging In Cultural Appropriation?

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Ranja Jarrar argues in her piece that white women who practice belly dance are, willingly or unwillingly, engaging in appropriation. Personally speaking, I didn’t really get the point the author was trying to make and I never saw a problem in white women learning how to belly dance and finding in it a form of self-expression.

Women I have confronted about this have said, “But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on.” These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I’m sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It’s not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.

But, here’s the thing. Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs? [Source]

Heads Up About Nutella In Lebanon: U.S VS Polish Version

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I was at O&C having lunch on Sunday and I thought I pass by the supermarket and pick up some stuff on the way out. On my way to the cashier, I noticed they had some Nutella jars on display so I picked up one but saw that it was priced at 9000 Lebanese Liras (6$), which is almost double the price of the one I usually buy. I asked around and as it turns out, the Nutella I got is the American version while the commonly available Nutella in Lebanon comes from Poland (Packaging done in KSA or something like that) and is priced at roughly 3$. Weirdly enough, the guy I asked told me this is the “original” one, as if the Polish one is fake or something.

I ended up getting both to see if the US one is any better but I haven’t tasted them yet as I am trying to get an Italian or German Nutella to taste as well. To be honest, I am just curious to know if they do taste that differently, but I don’t think I will switch to the US version and pay double the price even if it tastes better.

The commonly available Nutella jar in Lebanon has Arabic writing on the back

Update: Here’s the list of ingredients for both as written on the back of each jar:

Polish Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable oil (palm), hazelnuts, fat reduced cocoa powder, skimmed milk powder, demineralized whey powder, emulsifiers (Soy Lecithins), flavouring.

American Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), Vanillin: an artificial flavor.

CNN Report On Lebanon’s Slow Internet

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While one cannot deny that Minister Sehnaoui has improved the internet situation in Lebanon as a whole, internet is still relatively slow in Lebanon and the data caps are still ridiculously low. I am currently registered to the 1.5GB 3G plan and always exceed my monthly limit, even though I use WIFI at work and at home.

Let’s hope things will improve with the new minister.

You can watch the full CNN Report by Mohammad Jamjoum [Here].