12,015 Lebanese voted illegally in 2009

[YouTube] – Leb Elections – A single detail can prevent you from voting

Elections are coming soon and the Ministry of Interior has launched a campaign asking all potential voters to verify their information and make sure all is in order. In order to do so, one has to visit the website [www.dgps.gov.lb] and verify his information.

That’s a very good initiative but funnily enough, it seems the problem is not really in people being unable to vote but in those who should are eligible to do so yet voted. In fact and according to Minister Charbel, there were 12,015 Lebanese who voted illegally in 2009. 12,015!!!

Who is not eligible to vote?
• Persons deprived by legal sentence of their civil rights
• Persons convicted to be permanently disqualified from public service at any grades or positions
• Persons disqualified from their grades or public service temporarily, until the end of the disqualification period
• Persons convicted of a felony
• Persons convicted of one of the following major offences: burglary, fraud, issuing of uncovered checks, breach of trust, misappropriation of funds, bribery, perjury, rape, intimidation, falsification, forgery, false testimony, immoral crimes as stated in the seventh chapter of the penal code, and crimes related to the planting, production and/or trade in illicit drugs
• Persons interdicted by court order until the end of the interdiction period
• Persons declared fraudulently bankrupt or those sentenced to sanctions stated in Articles 689 to 698 of the Penal Code
• Persons convicted and sentenced to sanctions stated in Articles 329 to 334 of the penal code
• Naturalized Lebanese individuals before the lapse of ten years after the naturalization decree is issued.
• Military personnel of various ranks

lol
Interior Ministry wants me to use IE – Blasphemy!

Lebanese Singer Elissa on the Pope’s resignation

Elissa
Source

Pope Benedict XVI is almost 86 years old, had a stroke in 1991 that reportedly temporarily affected his vision. He fell in 1992 and 2009, and also had either arthritis or arthrosis, a similarly painful and debilitating joint condition. His doctor also advised him against taking any more transatlantic trips. [Source]

Here’s what came in his resignation letter:

Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. [CNN]

ap_vatican_pope_benedict_resigns_file_thg_130211_wg

As you can see, his arguments are not convincing at all and very doubtful.

On a serious note, the pope’s resignation might pave the way for electing the first black pope in the Catholic Church’s history. Read more about Cardinal Peter Turkson [Here].

80% of historical landmarks in Beirut have been demolished

house-khalidi
Picture taken from NowLebanon – Ottoman-style house in Beirut

Skyscrapers, malls and Shisha cafes are our new identity.

The cars are parked in a line adjacent to Ottoman and French-style buildings in Beirut’s Martyrs Square. A tramway surrounds the square, and people walk along the wide sidewalk of Foch Avenue. This is how downtown Beirut looked in the first decades of the last century, now preserved only in old pictures.

“My grandfather suppresses a tear when passing by what used to be Martyrs Square and the adjacent souqs,” says Pascale Ingea, from the Association for the Protection of Lebanese Heritage (APLH).

Lebanon’s post-war period has seen the destruction of most of the buildings that made Beirut the Paris of the Middle East. “This kills our identity,” she adds.

During the 1990s, the Ministry of Culture put together a list of historical landmarks in the country. The Direction Générale des Antiquités (DGA) included approximately 1,600 buildings in Beirut, most of them from the Ottoman period or the French mandate.

As of this year, 80 percent of the buildings on the list have been demolished, say representatives from both APLH and Save Beirut Heritage (SBH). There are many reasons for the mass destruction of heritage buildings, but the two associations cite the lack of enforcement of the heritage law by successive Lebanese governments out of corruption and lack of interest, as well as non-existent construction regulation. They also note that the DGA’s budget of around $3 million represents less than 0.02% of annual government spending. [NowLebanon]

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel standing on the wrong side of history!

A Lebanese policeman paves the way for Lebanon's Interior Minister Charbel in Beirut Reuters

Marwan Charbel apparently is determined not to sign Nidal & Kholoud’s civil contract even though the Lebanese Supreme Council of the Judiciary approved it.

I truly hope he reconsiders his position and approves it.

The Lebanese Supreme Council of the Judiciary approves Nidal and Kholoud’s civil marriage!

marriage
Picture from NowLebanon

WhenHopeSpeaks posted early today that the Ministry of Justice approved the marriage registration of Nidal & Kholoud on Lebanese soil (Followed by a Zaghlouta) and NowLebanon also mentioned that the Lebanese Supreme Council of the Judiciary approves legalization of civil marriage in Lebanon.

It’s not yet 100% officially confirmed as I believe Interior Minister Marwan Charbel should have a final say about it but it looks like we’re heading in the right direction.

Kholoud
Kholoud posted on تزوجنا مدني … و عَ قبالكن Facebook page that their civil marriage was approved

In case you missed it, this is how Kholoud and Nidal pulled out a civil marriage in Lebanon.

Qatar stops issuing Visas to Lebanese citizens

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I read yesterday the below statement on Naharnet but don’t know the reason behind it nor if it’s official or not. Back in September 2012, rumors spread that Qatar halted visas for Lebanese Shiites due to Hezbollah’s stance but the Qatari PM quickly denied it.

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to MTV: The Qatari decision of halting issuing visas to Lebanese citizens is temporary.

Police Van overturns in Karantina

[YouTube]

The accident caused a huge traffic that stretched from the Dora highway all the way back to Jounieh. Added to that, a police adjutant, by the name of Hashem H (May he R.I.P), was killed and over 10 inmates were injured. When I first read the news, I thought I would be looking at an armored vehicle, not a Hino van with a custom-made box to fit the prisoners. If the container where the prisoners are kept is not designed properly to keep the van balanced, it could overturn very easily.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we should buy armored vehicles for the police, but if we can’t afford them, we should be driving more carefully and slowly, because according to LBC’s report the convoy was flying.

armored_SWAT_truck

Ten Questions for Maxime Chaya

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Picture taken from NowLebanon

Check out Question No.6 below and the rest of the questions [Here]. That must have been a terrible experience.

6. And the worst moment?
That happened to be right afterward, on my descent from the summit. It was like an anticlimax. During my descent to High Camp, I came across a climber, unconscious and frozen from the knees down. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do. I stayed with that climber for more than an hour until I was ordered to leave him. He’s still up there.

New Traffic Law for Scooters in Lebanon

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It’s always a green light for them

I heard scooter drivers blocked Saida’s entrance yesterday to protest a motorcycle ban in the city and caused a huge traffic.

Added to that, they issued a statement asking for a new traffic law that fulfills some of their demands including:

1- Scooters should not, under any circumstances, abide by traffic lights. Whether it’s green, red or yellow, they should be allowed to pass.

2- Helmets should not be mandatory as they prevent scooters from taking a peek at hot women in their cars. Helmets are also not practical when they are smoking Arguile while driving.

3- The Wrong Way sign should not apply to scooters.

4- Protection should be provided to all scooters harassing women in their cars. It is no longer permissible for women drivers to speed away or cut off scooters without being punished.

5- Scooters can fit as many people as the driver believes is convenient.

6- No driving license should be needed to drive a scooter.

7- Car drivers should be more careful when they spot scooters zigzagging on the highway.

8- A scooter is allowed to take a whole lane (even the quick one) on the highway if he sees it appropriate.

9- A scooter can be parked anywhere and does not respect the park meter rules.

10- Whenever cars are involved in an accident with a scooter, the blame is 100% on the car (That’s already the case) and the motorist has to buy the victim a brand new scooter.