You can now visit the Lebanese Republican Palace in Baabda

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The President’s office – Picture taken from Presidency.gov.lb

A Press Release was posted on the Presidency’s official website where it was stated that the Baabda palace will open to visitors the first Saturday of every month starting June. Looking at the pictures, it is definitely worth a visit.

The first Saturday of every month, beginning in June, will be an opportunity for people to visit the presidential palace in Baabda. Visiting times will be from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Those interested in making a visit may consult www.presidency.gov.lb for further details.

At least three weeks are needed to process applications for a visit. [DailyStar]

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Jbeil (Byblos) Crowned Best Tourist City In the Arab World For 2013 .. Twice?

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[YouTube]

I read on the LBCI website yesterday that Jbeil was named the Best Arab tourist city in 2013 and then watched in the news that it will receive the award on the 15th of June.

I tried looking for the source of that information online but I could only find articles dating back from April stating that Jbeil or Byblos was named the best Arab tourist city in 2013 by The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and that the ceremony will take place on May 4th at Bourj Al Arab Hotel Dubai under the patronage of the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Dr. Taleb Rifaii, and a number of Arab leaders and representatives of the diplomatic corps. [NNA-LEB] [MTV] [Daily Star]

However, I couldn’t find any event related to The United Nations World Tourism Organization or Burj Al Arab on the dates mentioned. Having said that, I don’t know honestly if both sources are talking about the same award, and I have no idea where did this event take place if it ever took place.

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Picture taken by myself: @LeNajib

In all cases, Jbeil deserves the award as it’s a great touristic city with beautiful souks and ruins, as well as plenty of pubs, restaurants and resorts. Walking down Jbeil’s old Souks all the way to the Sea Castle and having dinner at its many restaurants is a MUST if you are coming to Lebanon this summer.

Too bad UAE citizens are going to miss out on that as they were urged not to travel to Lebanon yet again. It’s quite sad to read that when we thought this summer was going to be better than the last one.

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Picture taken by myself: @LeNajib

American University of Dubai Graduation Ceremony Live on Lebanese TVs

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Update: Lebanese Elias Bou Saab, VP of the American University of Dubai, is apparently the reason why the ceremony is always broadcasted on Lebanese TVs. He is a major shareholder in OTV and business deals with major Lebanese TVs and institutions. I was told he’s also he was the mayor of Dhour el Choueir, whose municipality is becoming a model for others to follow. He’s also the husband of singer Julia Boutros. Thanks @ArzLeb

I was told that this is not the first year that they broadcast it live but I still find it weird. They have pretty cool commencement speakers though, Arianna Huffington the Chair, President, and Editor-In-Chief Of The Huffington Post Media Group and Los Angeles’ mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

I remember Journalist Ghassan Tueni (May he R.I.P) was the speaker during my AUB graduation. We didn’t get any TV coverage though, unless my memory has failed me.

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Sietske’s Kick-Ass Housekeeper won her first race!

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Aregu in first place

The story keeps getting better and better! In case you missed the original story, check it out [Here].

In case you haven’t visited Sietske’s blog yet, read [Here].

My housekeeper, as you may remember, runs for pleasure. And so her trainer sent me a message me yesterday to make sure she got to this 10 kilometer cross-country race in Arsoun this morning. I had no idea she was signed up, but he’s signing her up for all kinds of races, and she’s loving it!
Well, he just sent her picture through on WhatsApp; First place in her age category, and what’s even more cool, First Place in the overall category. So she seriously kicks ass! Her next race is on May 26, for the 10K women’s Challenge Race, and her trainer (I should name him, he’s really awesome in taking her under his wings, Roger Bejani. And her team mates, who run with her as well!) says she’s got ‘podium possibility’. Watch out for her, and come and cheer her on!!! [Link]

A letter from Enta 7orr’s Producer Rami Zeineddine to MTV’s CEO Michel el Murr

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Joe Maalouf was sacked from MTV and his show Enta Horr stopped last week

It looks like the war between the Murrs and the Enta Horr team is far from over. First Jyad Murr replies to Joe Maalouf:

Just to clarify what happened, knowing that my family will not be happy that I answered, and want to ignore the one usual one sided monologue he usually does. But since I read so many things on the internet and heard what he said on VDL, especially the part that he only met twice by coincidence Gaby Murr in the elevator, I wanted to relate some facts with my apology to MTV’s board of directors for not wanting me to do that and doing it anyway:

1- MTV giving someone the freedom to express his opinions, has always given instructions to give the chance to both parties, weather political or social, to show their different point of views. We give the liberty to the broadcaster to express sometimes his personal opinion but always in a fair way. In the case of Maalouf, it’s a one sided pretentious monologue. These are not MTV’s principles, as you notice in all our political programs, Bimawdou3iyya, the news, seven, Beirut lyom etc and in Social shows like Talk of the town for example where we treat all guests whether from 8 or March 14 the same way, and I guess most of you noticed that.

2- After many remarks regarding that, especially from Gaby Murr and the many promises in his office to do so, 3 of these times I was present, (Maalouf says he only met him by mistake in the elevator on VDL!!! maybe all the persons in the 4th floor who see him there are only hallucinating and maybe, I am a the one not saying the truth, and Maalouf is)
The last time, and after 3 very strict remarks, Joe begged my father to excuse him and said: “Wa3ed Charaf, It’s the last time I do that, and I will always go by you to have your agreement on the political and social programs before I go on air, and will always have both sides of the argument..”
What happened after that, is that he does a show without sticking to his “wa3ed charaf”, with a one sided argument, and after a contact from a person who wanted to express live his other sided of the story, my father had call the studio to oblige Joe to do that because he was not accepting!!! , and after the threats, he does not let the person speak and acts as the sole judge and torturer with the caller.
Well just to tell you, I do not know any head of company, store, newspaper or whatever place who will not do much much more to an employee who acts this way, don’t listen to the directives, don’t keep his promises, and so on. I was surprised that my father reaction was just throwing him out of the door, I would have done that from the window if someone disrespects me that much.

3- Joe is trying to present this as a case of defence against poor transexuals, and I agree that what was done is wrong, however, This is not the case. Remember that by doing the contrary a few month ago, Joe made these homosexuals undergo the most humiliating treatments when they were arrested because of his report.
No, it is not because of this show specifically, it is because of all that was said above, and because of that MTV will stay the voice of freedom, will give a chance to everybody to express their opinions, and like it pushed a unknown Joe Maalouf a year ago will push in the future other stars who will stick to their “Charaf”, who will follow the directions of the media they work in, who will not think they are more important than the media and everybody who works there, who will not think they are smarter than any Lebanese, who will not arrogantly express their mono-sided opinions. We can create new program and star who will represent mtv’s values as it is the case of all the other 100 hosts we have on our channel.

4- Finally, please Joe Maalouf, come back to earth, when you started working in mtv, you used to talk with everyone in the cafeteria, now you go inside barely looking at anyone from the 100’s of studiovision and mtv employees, maybe, after stopping your show in mtv you will land back to planet earth. This time I will not use the French Fable of Lamartine: “La grenouille (des egouts) qui voulait se faire aussi grosse que le boeuf”, because he might not understand it, i will use the Arabic:
“رحم الله امرء عرف حده فوقف عنده

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