Azadea Foundation To Revive Rene Moawad Garden in Sanayeh by January 2014

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Sanayeh to be
Picture from RagMag

Azadea Foundation has taken the pledge to rehabilitate and revive the Sanayeh garden, one of Beirut’s oldest and most popular gardens in collaboration with the Municipality of Beirut of course. The new 22,000sqm garden will include an amphitheater, children playgrounds, bicycle and running tracks, promenade lanes, free WIFI among other things. I was present at the roundtable organized by Azadea with the collaboration of Jouzour Loubnan and AFDC (Association for Forests, Development and Conservation) to shed the light on the Sanayeh garden and the growing need to preserve the forest wealth in Lebanon and I got some useful answers on this awesome project.

1- Regarding the management, security and cleanliness of the park, I was re-assured there’s a substantial amount of money just allocated for private security firms and specialized personnel to keep the park safe and clean. That’s great because a lot of Lebanese still litter wherever they go and we wouldn’t want that to happen to Sanayeh. I think on a later stage maybe few years from now, the municipality should fine people who litter or let their dogs poop in the park.

2- The garden will be open to public and for free of course.

3- All the plantations there will be managed by a specialized team and there will be a tag explaining the type of tree planted and other useful information.


I also asked one of the NGO representatives, Dr Magda Bou Dagher Kharrat, whether there’s any place or website that could provide useful information regarding the different kinds of plant species in Lebanon and which species one can grow in his garden or land whether in the city or in the mountains. As it turns out, there’s a website called that is aimed at providing “easy access to species information for amateurs, botanists, ecologists and plant geneticists” and sharing “all the recent data and research work on Lebanon plant species from all national and international sources in order to update our knowledge on Lebanon plant species”. The website will be renovated soon but it has already tons of information and a species mapping tool where you could see the types of plants grown in a specific area in Lebanon.

All in all, more companies in Lebanon should take similar initiatives and help build new green spaces for the upcoming generations.

Basmat Watan Episode on Hassan Nasrallah Sparks Beirut Protests

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Charbel Khalil managed to upset one more time few Lebanese after one of his actors on the satirical Lebanese show Bassmat Watan took the role of Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. Few Protestors took the streets yesterday night, burned tires and blocked roads in Sin el Fil for some time.

Honestly speaking, I never liked the show and I don’t think it’s funny, but the man should be free to do whatever he wants. If he’s breaking any law, let the concerned parties take it to the courts, not the streets.

Funnily enough, Hassan Nasrallah did “appear” on a previous Basmat Watan episode back in July, along with Patriarch Bechara el Rai and the Mufti and no one protested.


Video Of Microwaved Cat Removed, Apology Issued

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Too all who watched the video about the cat in the microwave and dissing me. Look i just filmed it “not hurted it” DISS WHOM HURTED IT i was wrong about filming it and im sorry … i never meant to send you a bad picture about me in that way. hear my voice clearly what i was saying to him about the cat. Btw i have a cat in my own house and its name is blue female Type “Angora” you can see it in my albums and i treat it good “You Should never hurt a cat and im sorry”

Mohammad Jallad, the guy who was filming his friend trying to microwave a cat, apparently issued an apology that Nemr shared on his page. The video is no longer available and I am glad to see an apology specially after his early comments but that’s still not enough.

The cat needs to be taken away from Jallad’s friend Hassan Hammoud and handed over to Animals Lebanon. As far as the punishment is concerned, I think what Nemr suggested, which is a hundred hours of pro bono, charity, work with Animals Lebanon, is reasonable enough.

Standard & Poor’s Cuts Lebanon’s ratings To B-

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As a result of this downgrade, S&P lowered as well the ratings of three Lebanese Banks, Bank Audi SAL–Audi Saradar Group, BankMed s.a.l., and Blom Bank, from B to B-. What S&P is basically telling us is that we need to form a freaking government that is capable of running the country or else we’ll be downgraded further.

It is worth noting though that the decision has no direct impact on the Lebanese banking sector as the banks were downgraded automatically because of the state’s sovereign rating and not their performance.

Standard & Poor’s lowered its long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Lebanon from B to B- keeping a negative outlook, the ratings agency said on Nov 1. S&P kept Lebanon’s short-term ratings at B. Political risk in Lebanon has risen as no new government has been formed for over six months while sectarian tensions are rising, fuelled by the spill-over from Syria, S&P underscored.

After nearly three years of weak GDP growth, dented by an internal political environment not conducive to policymaking, public finances have deteriorated and the debt-to-GDP ratio is again trending upward, S&P said.

The influx of Syrian refugees, which now account for nearly 25% of Lebanon’s population, will strain the country’s resources and public finances while potentially destabilising Lebanon’s demographic balance, S&P warned. But Lebanon’s ratings remain supported by the banking sector, which finances the government’s borrowing requirements. The latter benefit from steady deposit inflows and cash reserves, S&P noted. [Link]

A negative rating action on Lebanon would trigger a similar action on the three banks. S&P could therefore lower the ratings on the three banks further if the political and economic situation deteriorates to the point where it staunches domestic deposit growth or external inflows to the banking system. Both are important sources for funding the government’s fiscal deficits and external requirements, as well as for maintaining confidence in the Lebanese pound’s peg to the dollar.

Conversely, it could revise the outlook on the three banks to stable should there be a breakthrough on the domestic political front.

Owing to the close links between Lebanese banks’ creditworthiness and that of the sovereign, specific factors relating to each of the three banks that would prompt a change in the respective ratings appear limited at this stage. [Link]

Whatsapp Bulk Messages to Lebanese Mobile Numbers

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I got this email from a friend a couple of days ago and I remembered an old post I had written about “reporting harassing phone calls or text messages in Lebanon“. Even though the service provided by this marketing company is different from harassing texts and call, the common point is that someone has access to our numbers and we can’t do anything about it.

I don’t know if there are 4 million lines in Lebanon but where did that company get these numbers from? Who’s providing these lists and why aren’t the concerned parties doing anything about it?

As stated previously, there should be a hotline or website shared by the Police and Telecom ministry dedicated to reporting such issues, specially those related to harassment. Moreover, there should be a law that prohibits marketers from spamming us with messages without our prior approval.

The United States Presented The Lebanese Army With A Cessna 208 Caravan

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The Lebanese Air Forces had already received back in 2009 its first Cessna 208 Caravan and now has two of them. This is a military version of the Cessna (ISTAR Version Built by ATK) which can be armed with Hellfire missiles. These aircrafts can help the LAF conduct effective border security missions and combat threats from extremist groups, according to US Ambassador David Hale.

Honestly speaking, I laughed when I saw the airplane and I laughed harder when I read how the US ambassador was praising the military-to-military partnership between the US and Lebanon, but then again why should the US give us anything in the first place?

Here are most of the aircraft types the Lebanese Air Force currently has:
– 3 Hawker Hunters
– 2 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
– 4 UH-1H Hueys
– 4 SA-342 Gazelles
– 4 R-44 Ravens
– 2 SA/IAR-330 Pumas
– 2 Sikorsky S-61s

“The military-to-military partnership between the United States and Lebanon is multifaceted, to include substantial training and equipment of increasing sophistication,” US Ambassador David Hale said. “Today’s transfer of an advanced Cessna aircraft reflects that progress and builds upon previous Cessna and Huey helicopter transfers. These aircraft will help the LAF conduct effective border security missions and combat threats from extremist groups.” [Source]

Speaking of the LAF, check out this cool find by Habib of an LAF plane at an Israeli war museum. I wonder how it got there.


Save The Last Turtle Sanctuary In Lebanon, Help The Orange House Project!

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Mansouri and Kolaila beaches are two of the most beautiful and clean beaches in Lebanon and are also well protected turtle reserves, at least until now. The local municipalities, thanks to the Orange House Project, have recognized both beaches as protected natural areas but this is not enough to ensure a long-term preservation as it requires the government’s intervention.

For those of you who don’t know what the Orange House Project is, it was founded in 2012 and works for the protection and conservation of sea turtles in South Lebanon. Their work has been threatened however by several violations committed by irresponsible people, with the latest being taking down an iron fence to build kiosks and restaurants for a women-only beach.

Needless to say, the government HAS to officially declare these areas protected ones specially that they may be the region’s last turtle and marine reserve. Signing the petition might not get things done but at least it will raise further awareness.

Sign the [Petition], spread the world and help in anyway you can to protect this precious natural heritage.

South Lebanon… where the last untouched beach of the Lebanese coast lays… the one where sea turtles are born and come back every year to lay eggs. This is where the “Orange House” has been created by Mona Khalil, guardian angel of the turtles. The “Orange House” has been transformed to an ecological site (which is open to visitors) that spans on 1.4 km of coast and from which revenues help to finance preservation of marine species, and in particular sea turtles. Protecting this zone is even more important given that the sea turtle is a considered an endangered species globally.

Unfortunately, this beach faces a great danger: the human being… It has been several years that this natural zone suffers from multiple aggressions: sand theft, municipal waste discharge, installing walls, construction works… all of which constitute a pernicious cancer that is slowly destroying one of the last sanctuaries of the coastline. The most recent attack was the work of developers who took away an iron fence to build a concrete wall to mount kiosks and restaurants to create a beach for women. The president of the council of Mansouri, Riyad Zabad said no permit had been issued by the municipality for any work. Yet, these acts are more frequent, establishing a long and sad list of serious violations and illegal activities.

It is worth noting that those sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach where they were born. The disappearance or alteration of those sites modifies the turtles’ behavior and drastically reduces their birth rate, further exacerbating their endangered status. Mona Khalil explains, “This part of the beach where the recent construction works are taking place is particularly important for the turtles. This year, because of the iron fence they previously installed, the turtles were not able to reach the beach. This explains why we have seen a sharp decline in birth rates: no more than 35 nests this season, while we usually have an average of more than 50 in previous years”. So just imagine the disaster a construction project would cause.

It is the ecological importance and value of this beach, which has pressed Mona Khalil and other defenders to protect it with a ranking of “Hima”. “One should not believe that a “Hima” is not subject to rules and procedures similar to those laws of natural reserves”, she says. All of the presidents of the surrounding municipal councils have signed a commitment to protect the beach. But when we remind them, they laugh at us, claiming that no law is applied in this country.”… A bitter reality that even the officials do not want to change.

Departments and the municipality do not seem to care and the future of this last sanctuary depends on Mona and her family at this time; which are increasingly powerless in the face of repeated attacks and lack of support from most leaders.

It is everyone’s duty to participate in the improvement of not only our country, but also in the protection of our natural resources which do not belong to one country but to the entire planet. The region’s last turtle and marine species sanctuary is in danger! Help us protect this site and push local governments to declare the area a nature reserve and part of the local natural heritage. It is up to us to make a difference and rebuke the gossips and cynics, who view everything as a lost cause in Lebanon.