Three more Lebanese referees implicated in the match-fixing scandal

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

According to Malaeeb, three Lebanese international referees resigned out of fear of being pursued legally outside Lebanon. Andre Haddad, Hadi Kassar and Ziad Bayrak thought it would be the smart thing to do after the arrest of three Lebanese referees in Singapore for accepting sexual services.

The funny part is that the Lebanese Federation still did not ban any of the 3 referees arrested in Singapore.

The Gemmayze Barber

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Picture from NowLebanon

He still has President Camille Chamoun’s picture in his shop. No wonder he lost hope in Lebanon if he had lived the golden years and seen what we’ve come to.

In 1965, at the age of 27, he finally opened his own barber shop. A lot has changed since then: “Gemmayzeh was different! Nowadays it’s all about pubs and cafes!” He is nostalgic for those days when everyone used to know everyone, regardless of their religion, and when Beirut was a prosperous city inhabited by a peaceful community.

When we started talking about the old, pre-82 Beirut a small smile crossed his face, he put his hand on his right cheek and started staring at the sky. When we talked about the Beirut of nowadays his smile disappeared. “I wish hope would still exist in Beirut,” he said. [NowLebanon]

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Picture from NowLebanon

The Full Story Of The Controversial Fouad Boutros Project in Achrafieh

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I have to admit I am always impressed by the studies and reports done by Executive. The Fouad Boutros Highway has caused a lot of controversy in the past few months yet no one bothered clarifying this matter to the public, and examining its pros and cons on Mar Mikhail and the overall traffic in Achrafieh.

Having said that, I strongly recommend you read the whole report [Here].

Executive took both sides to task, analyzing the likely impact the Boutros road would have if constructed. At the outset, it became clear that there were no real facts to deliberate on, because detailed project plans and impact studies were either hopelessly outdated, kept confidential, incomplete or non-existent.

Without such data, it is not possible to give a reasonable assessment of social impact or cost estimates, as well as the effect on traffic flow, business and air quality. It is worrying is this project was nevertheless put on the people’s doorstep.

At the forefront of opposition to the Boutros project are two conservationist civil society organizations, the Association for the Protection of Lebanese Heritage (APLH) and Save Beirut Heritage (SBH), and a newly formed group named after the two neighborhoods that will be most directly affected, the Civil Coalition Against the Hikmeh-Turk Link. They have succeeded in creating outrage and protest against what they describe as a highway project that will only make life worse for residents of east Beirut. Vigorously mobilizing media, the detractors have drawn enough attention to their case that MP Nadim Gemayel, one of the deputies representing Ashrafieh, tells Executive, “[Members of Parliament] will not accept [any action] if there is a huge opposition about this and if the residents [of Ashrafieh] are not beneficiaries of it.”

Civil society interests are to divert the use of the project’s state-owned land into something totally novel: a public park for Ashrafieh. According to Najat Saliba, chemistry professor at the American University of Beirut, particulate pollution levels along a congested Beirut thoroughfare range between two and 4.5 times the limits recommended by the World Health Organization. The park alternative would bring Ashrafieh rare things such as playgrounds, benches, grass, shrubbery and trees.

However, cancelling the Fouad Boutros link could just as well have the totally unintended effect of filling the neighborhood with more high rises, warns CDR’s Helou. If the land is not used in accordance with the original expropriation purpose, old owners will have the right to buy back their land at 75 percent of current market prices and offer them to developers at full prices, he says. “In no time, you will have buildings going up there.”

We don’t need to protest in Lebanon

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Almost 30 million Egyptians (according to CNN) took the streets to protest

Lebanese forgot yesterday about all their worries and became more involved with the Egyptian crisis than the Egyptians themselves. Added to that, most TV shows were cancelled or delayed to broadcast live from Tahrir Square, unlike last week when the Lebanese Army was raiding Al-Assir’s bastion.

Having said so, while Egyptians may have had many reasons to protest, we don’t have anything to worry about or protest against in Lebanon as:
– Electricity is 24/7 and really cheap.
– Internet is so fast and abundant.
– MPs are giving away their salaries to help close the debt.
– Corruption no longer exists.
– Pollution is at its lowest levels in years and public gardens are everywhere.
– Women now have the right to grant citizenship.
– All armed groups were disbanded and the army is in control.
– Traffic is no longer a worry as public transportation is now available.
– Beach resorts had their licenses suspended and beaches are public and free for all now.

And the list goes on and on …

PS: I am hoping this post creates the same effect the “Don’t go to Lebanon” ad did but I know it’s not gonna happen.

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Lebanon 24th most emerging retail market

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UAE and Kuwait ranked in the top 10. Check out the full table and list [Here].

Lebanon: Stable retail despite political situation. Lebanon (24th)
drops two spots in the GRDI as the country’s per-capita consumer
spending rose 5 percent. The retail environment in Lebanon remains
stable, even as civil war in neighboring Syria has raised anxieties.

Syria’s two-year-old armed conflict has affected Lebanon’s tourism and
retail industries, particularly during the second half of 2012. In the
third quarter, retail spending dropped 8.5 percent year-over-year.
Additionally, Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar issued
official travel bans against Lebanon, hampering tourist arrivals,
especially during the popular Eid holidays. Recent rocket attacks into
a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut have raised worries that Syria’s
troubles could revive sectarian conflicts in Lebanon.

Real estate prices have risen in the past five years, fueled by strong
demand from Lebanese expatriates and Gulf nationals. However, prices
began stagnating in 2012 as demand dampened amid instability concerns
and reduced consumer confidence, and Lebanon’s property boom may come
to a halt.

UAE developer Majid Al Futtaim has dominated the activity in Lebanon,
including the development of the Beirut Waterfront, a $225 million
mixed-use complex that includes residential, retail, and restaurant
space. In 2013, Majid Al Futtaim opened Beirut City Centre, with 200
stores, 60,000 square meters of gross leasable area, and Lebanon’s
first Carrefour hypermarket.

Modern grocery, which stands only at 30 percent of the market now, is
gaining a foothold. Joining Carrefour in Lebanon is Dutch grocer SPAR,
which will enter in 2013 as part of a regional expansion plan that
includes stores in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Khoury Home, Lebanon’s leading
electronics and home appliances retailer, was acquired by a Middle
East private equity fund with growth plans for the brand.

Via 248am

Drifting with Abdo Feghali

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[YouTube]
Red Bull Rally Driver Abdo Feghali breaks “Longest Drift in a Car” World Record

I’ve been wanting to do that for years and thanks to Red Bull, I will be drifting with Lebanese Rally driver Abdo Feghali this Friday at the Fouad Chehab Stadium as part of the qualifiers for Saturday’s big event. In fact, the National Final of the Red Bull Car Park Drift will take place on Saturday July 6th also at the Fouad Chehab Stadium in Jounieh between 8 and 10 pm and It’s gonna be awesome!

I will be posting lots of pictures and videos on my [Instagram] so stay tuned!

You can check out more details about the car park drift on Red Bull’s website [Here]. Follow them on [Twitter] and [Instagram] as they are organizing competitions and giving out cool stuff in the upcoming days.

Lebanon wins First Place at the Arabnet Development Tournament in Dubai

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The summit was held from June 23 to June 26 at the prestigious Atlantis, The Palm Hotel.

After a qualifier round in Lebanon back in October 2012, Donald Derek Haddad, Roy Naufal (CTO/Managing Partner at Grind), George Frewat (Lead developer at Grind), and Jad Joubran (CTO at eTobb.com) were the top 4 Lebanese coders chosen to represent Lebanon at the Arabnet Development Tournament in Dubai.

They were flown to Dubai by Arabnet and were able to reach the finals, win a gold medal for Lebanon and all four of them ended up in the top 7 ranks!

Added to that, Grind’s own 2 developers, Roy Naufal & George Frewat, emerged in the top 3 highest scoring Arab individuals in the competition, proudly winning the titles of “Top Coders” of the Gulf region!

Congrats to Lebanon and to the 4 Lebanese coders and thumbs up to the Arabnet people for their support!

All pictures and information are from [Grindd.com]

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