CNN Travel: Almaza No.1 Beer in the Middle East and North Africa

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Picture taken by myself [LeNajib]

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!).

Check out the top 6 beers list [Here].

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]

Via MenAribo

Beirut Social Media Awards 2013 Official Results

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Numbers for all the categories are available in Cloud961′s Issue [Here]

The official numbers for the 2013 Social Media Awards are out in the latest Cloud961 issue that you can download [Here]. I am glad they decided to roll out the numbers as it shows transparency and helps clarify things for participants and those who criticized the awards.

As you all probably know, BlogBaladi won the Blog Of The Year Award and I have to say I am shockingly yet pleasantly surprised by the number of votes the blog got!

If you go through the results, Only LebaneseMemes and Anthony Touma were able to gather more public votes, which is great! Even in the “Best News Blog” category, BlogBaladi got the highest number of public votes.

Having said that, Many thanks once again to the 1774 awesome people who voted for us and the 6 judges for their trust in this blog!

PS: +961 also posted about this [Here].

Lebanon ranks 142 out of 162 in the Global Peace Index Report

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This means Lebanon is among the least peaceful countries in the world. You can download the full report and check out other countries [Here].

Here are few rankings related to Arab countries (Out of 162):
Jordan: 52
Syria: 160
Iraq: 159
Saudi Arabia: 97
Qatar: 19
Kuwait: 37
UAE: 36

The 2013 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows that the world has become less peaceful, with a sharp rise in the number of homicides. The GPI measures peace in 162 countries according to 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators of the absence of violence and fear of violence. This is the 7th annual edition of the index.

And here are screenshots showing Lebanon’s rankings from 2010 till 2012.

terrorism 2012

Terrorism 2011

Terrorism 2010

Lebanese football referee jailed for six months in Singapore for accepting sexual services

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Gary Low, the lawyer for the three Lebanese referees accused of accepting free sex – via DailyStar

First 24 Lebanese Football players get accused of match-fixing in Lebanon back in February 2013 and now 3 Lebanese Referees pleaded guilty to accepting free sex from a gambling-linked global syndicate in return for rigging a match in Singapore.

According to the judge, this is the first international football match officials are charged with corruption in Singapore.

It would be interesting to see if they will still be allowed to work as referees in Lebanon.

A Lebanese football referee was jailed for six months Tuesday after pleading guilty to accepting free sexual services from a gambling-linked syndicate which offered the bribe as an inducement to rig a match in Singapore.

Ali Sabbagh, 34, was described by a district court judge as the most culpable of three Lebanese football match officials charged with corruption in the city-state. [DailyStar]

Youssef to Sehnaoui: The ball is in your court now

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Picture taken from @Nicolasehnaoui

Telecom Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui has launched an online campaign few days ago blaming Ogero Chief Abdel Menhem Youssef for the internet slowness lately and asking him to release the bandwidth. Youssef hasn’t been answering any requests or calls lately according to the ministry and causing Lebanon monthly losses estimated at 750,000$.

Here are the alleged Facts and Figures being shared by the Telecom Ministry:

- 1,200 = number of E1 requests taken as a hostage by Abdelmenhem Youssef
- 750,000$ = Monthly losses suffered by Lebanon and caused by Abdelmenhem Youssef’s highjack of the bandwidth
- 25%= Percentage of total Internet Bandwidth being released due to Abdelmenhem Youssef’s refusal to abide
- 2/3 = Number of Council Members needed, by Law, to remove Abdelmenhem Youssef from his position
- 3 = Number of Job Positions occupied unlawfully by Abdelmenhem Youssef #FreeTheBandwidth #FtahElHanafiyye

Having said that, Abdel Menhem Youssef broke his silence yesterday and asked the Telecom Ministry for a permission to answer those “false” allegations and even went as far as asking to investigate these claims and accusations.

I don’t know whether he truly requires the minister’s permission to hold a press conference but he’s apparently playing it smart. If I were Sehnaoui, I would invite Youssef instead to a round table to discuss all these matters, put the differences behind and figure a way out.

That’s the only way that we will get somewhere.

How to report Lebanese Police Misconducts?

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Fighting Crime in Gemmayze

I know this is too good to be true, and that chances are slim complaints will be taken seriously but it doesn’t mean we can’t give it a try.

Here are the steps as shared by Gino to report ISF wrongdoings:

1- CATALOG IT. We all have cameras on our phones, take a video or photo of whatever you saw was wrong, and try to get the name of the officer, or number of the vehicle misbehaving

2- REPORT IT. You can call 01610610 and ask to speak to the Public Relations Office, headed by Colonel Joseph Mousallem. Identify yourself, explain what happened and display the evidence you have.

3- ANONYMOUSLY. The police officers that are crooked tend to watch each others back, and we don’t wanna see any of you get hassled if you try to report on misbehavior. That’s why, report it via their online complaints form that can be found here.

4- FOLLOW UP. Make sure you let us know what happens with your complaints, if you were listened to and if your concerns were properly dealt with and if the misbehavior was disciplined. If not, we’d love to name and shame the officers you caught red handed.

Picture via Gino’s blog

There’s a small detail that needs to be clarified here though: Are we allowed to take pictures of cops or army men? Logically speaking, there shouldn’t be a problem but I think they may have the right to ask you not to for security purposes (but definitely not when they are violating the law!). I’ll get back with an answer for that tomorrow.

Here’s the [link] to the online ISF complaint form.

Lebanese beaches no longer safe for swimming

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In case you are wondering whether it’s better to swim in a beach or a pool, this LBC report and DailyStar article will make you reconsider going swimming in the first place in Lebanon.

According to the DailyStar’s article, samples collected from swimming areas in Nahr el Kalb, Jounieh, Tabarja, Ramlet al-Baida, Jbeil and Sidon all measured above the 100 fecal coliforms mark which meant that the beaches are no longer safe for swimming. The samples collected in Mina and Sidon came back borderline toxic!!

The results given to The Daily Star reveal a widely polluted coast undermining Lebanon’s image as a beach and resort destination. Unsafe levels of fecal coliforms can lead to rashes, diarrhea and vomiting and can spread disease depending on the extent of exposure.

Results can vary widely in the same city based on where the sample is taken, it often depends on where waste is exhausted, which is not widely regulated. Environment and Development Magazine conducted their studies at the American University of Beirut and will publish full results in next month.

I honestly stopped going to the beach since the 2006 war and the pollution that followed. I go to specific pools which I hope are as clean as I think they are.

“This is an emergency,” said Nada Zaarour, president of Green Party, about the study. “People shouldn’t be swimming at Lebanese beaches.”

“It’s a very serious problem that the Lebanese people are dealing with since we have some of the most expensive resorts on the Mediterranean coast,” she added.

I wish to ask the Green Party’s president about the activities or actions undertaken by her party in the past years to prevent all this pollution. I think it’s too late to call it an emergency at this point. This question goes as well to the concerned parties and ministries.

Minister Abboud assures tourists Lebanon is safe to visit

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APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon Syria
Very safe indeed! One protester was killed and several were injured Sunday outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. via Naharnet

Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud stated today that Lebanon is ready to welcome tourists and the decision Gulf countries took to prevent their citizens from traveling to Lebanon is wrong.

He also said and I quote that Lebanon remains the best when it comes to security when compared with countries around the world.

وإذ رأى أن الخطر موجود في كل بلدان العالم، أكد أن “لبنان يبقى الافضل على الصعيد الامني مقارنة بين بلدان العالم”، معلنا “عدم الاستسلام للارهابيين من أينما أتوا وستبقى أرض لبنان أرض المحبة والانفتاح والسياحة وهذه هي رسالتنا الى كل العالم”.

It’s just pathetic how we are trying to make use of the situation in Turkey to attract tourists. What Lebanon needs is a proper plan to set up touristic areas away from the conflicts and more importantly build a second airport in a neutral and safe area. There are plenty of things we can do instead of deceiving people into thinking Lebanon is the safest.