Vice On The Abuse Of Domestic Workers In Lebanon: To Be Raped Or To Become A Prostitute

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The Kafala system must be dropped once and for all. Read the full article [Here].

Elhanan is a 24-year-old Ethiopian woman with broad shoulders, short black hair, and a nest of wrinkles surrounding her brown eyes. She came to Lebanon five months ago to work as a maid. She was promised a monthly salary of $200 and the option to return to her native country if she disliked her working conditions. Yet after Elhanan arrived in Beirut, the man who owned the house she tended took her passport and, when his wife and children left the house, often raped her.

“I said, ‘No, mister,’” Elhanan (which is not her real name) told me in an office near a safe house in the suburbs of Beirut. “I always said, ‘No, mister.’ But then he would threaten to kill me.”

Thousands of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon are part of what is known in the Arab world as the Kafala system, a way that people from surrounding regions can emigrate to Arab states and work for higher wages than what they would earn in their homelands. Kafala guest workers are used in a variety of industries, notably construction and domestic labor. The conditions of laborers working in places like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been reported on widely. In Lebanon, like other countries, the arrangement gives employers the power to take away workers’ passports, withhold their salaries, and keep them in what sometimes amounts to a kind of indentured servitude.

Going The Wrong Way In The Worst Possible Place

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Every morning on my way to work, I head towards the Charles Helou highway then go down to the right towards the Port and notice there are cars and motorcyles the wrong way up to save some time. Just imagine cars heading the wrong way towards the highway on a blind right corner when you can’t possibly spot them till the last second.

I don’t know how stupid you have to be to do that.

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Bringing Back The Tourists: LiveLoveLebanon Campaign Launched

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The #LiveLoveLebanon campaign was launched yesterday by the Minister of Tourism in an attempt to promote unorthodox touristic activities in Lebanon. Tourists will now be able to plan their trip to Lebanon by choosing from various themed packages available on LiveLoveLebanon.com.

The website looks nice, the initiative is great and the themes are well chosen, but I hate the fact that we end up opening old PDF documents with barely any pictures. Even the front page doesn’t show any picture of Lebanon. Tourists like to see where they are going and how it looks like and we have tons of beautiful pictures to promote Lebanon with, so let’s use them!

One more thing, I looked at the Fun Lovers theme and there’s only Golfing in Beirut. You’d expect partying, rafting, climbing, scuba diving, ATV rides when we talk about fun so it would be great to add a couple of awesome packages here.

PS: I urge Minister Pharaon to revamp the current MOT site because it’s ugly!

The 8 Types of FIFA World Cup Fans You’ll Encounter In Lebanon

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The 2014 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away and people are already buying flags, jerseys and other accessories to cheer for their favorite team. Almost everyone watches football during the World Cup, even those who don’t like the game and the atmosphere is always a fun one everywhere you go. Having said that, here are the 8 types of World Cup fans you might run into this year:

1- The loyal fan: He loves and plays football, he’s been cheering for the same team for years and will never change sides. I belong to this category as I’ve been supporting The “Mannschaft” (Germany) since 1990 and I doubt that I will ever change my mind.
2- The hardcore fan: He’s pretty much like the loyal fan but his team is always right no matter what they do. Watching the games with these fans is not always fun.
3- The undecided fan: He has the Italian, German and Brazilian flag on his car and is cheering for all 3 teams. I will never understand the logic behind that.
4- Girls who support Italy: Taking aside those who are loyal fans, they support Italy just because the players are cute.
5- Guys who support Italy: Taking aside those who are loyal fans, there are guys who support Italy just because a lot of girls do.
6- Portugal fans: Because Cristiano Ronaldo is on the team.
7- Underdog teams fans: They are either Lebanese born or living in these countries or have no favorite team and just like picking underdog teams.
8- The fan who likes “el le3eb el 7elo”: He doesn’t want to support any team and just likes to watch games.

Bourj Hammoud Brawl Update: Man Hit By The Big Gas Cylinder In A Critical Condition

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WARNING: Video Not safe for work or sensitive viewers.

The fight that started in Burj Hammoud yesterday resumed today for a short while before the Lebanese army intervened. Five Syrians were so far arrested and the man who was hit by the gas cylinder (Elias Kalache) is not dead but is in a critical condition.

I still can’t believe someone actually threw a gas cylinder from the roof on a group of people. This is just crazy!

Are These The New DSL Internet Rates In Lebanon?

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Note: Telecom Minister Boutros Harb did not confirm the below rates and said he will announce them officially on Friday 23rd of May.

The above table has been circulating around for the past couple of days after the Lebanese government approved a proposal to lower phone call rates and internet costs. This is NOT an official list as the Telecom Minister will be holding a Press Release soon but it seems logical and is much-needed upgrade from what we have right now.

To sum it up:
The DSL 1Mbps (4G and 10G), and the 2Mpbs (20GB) plans will be cancelled and replaced with the 2Mpbs (40GB) and priced at 24,000LL per month which was the lowest rate available. A new 2Mbps service (Unlimited) plan will be introduced and priced at 75,000LL monthly. Moreover the 4Mbps (25GB) will be upgraded to 50GB and its price slashed by more than 50% (From 115,000 LL to 50,000 LL per month). The 6 & 8Mbps plans will also get double the quotas at half the original pricing. Moving on to the HDSL, and I really hope this is true, we will get 80GB instead of 40GB at almost half the price (125,000 LL instead of 225,000 LL). There was no mention of the 3G plans after the last government session, but I heard we might get double the quotas at the same or a reduced price as well so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

While these are great news, there’s still a major problem for a lot of Lebanese outside Beirut as their phone lines don’t allow them to get more than a 1Mbps connection and won’t be able to benefit from these speeds. I still have this issue at my parents’ house in Jounieh and I am not sure if they’re working on fixing it or not.