Thank You Alfa!

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Update: The 10% extra MBs are only for one month to compensate the loss due to the outage that occurred the day before. (Source: Alfa)

That’s probably the only good news that ever came out of an internet outage in Lebanon. I don’t know if the increase is permanent or just for a month.

Red Bull King Of The Rock 2013

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Picture from Last Year’s Final

I’ve been playing Basketball for more than 10 years now and I remember going to the Streetball challenges that used to be held long time ago at the Forum De Beirut back in the late 1990s. It’s a lot of fun and Streetball (3 on 3, 1 on 1 ) for me is more fun than a 5 on 5 game.

If you guys feel the same, then you sure don’t want to miss out this year’s edition of Red Bull’s King of the Rock. It’s a 1 on 1 game and basketball in its purest form. Qualifiers kick off today and go on until June 2. The Final will be held at a cool place, the Old Bus Station in Mar Mikhael, Beirut on Saturday 8th of June 2013 at 8:00 PM.

I won’t be able to make it this year but I will get myself ready for next year hopefully!

You can check out more information about this event [Here].


Balamand University, Tripoli – May 21
Safra Marine, Safra – May 22
USJ, Sodeco – May 24
Mocean, Kaslik – May 25
Hoops, Beirut – May 26
LCU, Jeita – May 29
Hoops, Antelias – June 1
Anibal, Zahle – June 2

Registration starts at 4:00 PM
Games start at 5:00 PM

PS: There’s an Instagram competition that you can join as well. All you need to do is upload cool shots from the games or crowd and use the hashtag #KingOftherock and mention @RedBullLeb of course.

Abou Salim Jump on Splash

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I didn’t watch Splash’s first episode but I was told Abou Salim, Aka Salah Tizani the Comedy legend from Tripoli, made a 3 meter jump which is quite impressive for an 85 year old! He eventually qualified to the second round.

I thought it was pretty cool move from him but a lot of people are asking whether it’s safe to let the old man jump.

The story of one Ukrainian prostitute in Lebanon

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Picture taken from GlobalPost

I laughed when I read that Abou Bilal the young man who approached her first is studying medicine at the Kyiv Medical University. I wonder what he will specialize in later on? Gynecology maybe?

Tatyana was a single mom working as a waitress, struggling to raise her two year-old son after her boyfriend left when he was born. One day, a young man approached her in a bar, and asked if she’d like to make good money in a “safe and quick” way. The young man was Lebanese and studying medicine at the Kyiv Medical University. He told Tatyana that he could get her a six-month visa to work as a dancer in Lebanon. His uncle, he said, owned a cabaret there, and he was looking for new dancers for the nightly show. Tatyana accepted. Soon though, it became evident to her that she was being recruited for prostitution. “I didn’t mind. I was sleeping all the time with Ukrainian jerks that disappeared as soon as they had their way with me. So why not make some cash out of it?” Her contact in Lebanon was a man called Abu Bilal. Once she arrived to Lebanon, she only met him once. “He seemed nice and caring, he warned us about never sleeping with men without condoms and stuff like that.”

You can buy Tatyana for $400 USD a night. Don’t be offended by the word ‘buy’ – she uses it herself, in a very down-to-earth manner. “I am lucky to be worth $400 in such a competitive environment. Many of the other girls are bought for $200 or even less,” she says with a hint of… is it pride?! Yes, pride indeed. Tatyana, just like her friends Olga and Yulia, is from Ukraine. She entered Lebanon four months ago with an artist visa, an inventive scheme that the Lebanese authorities use to avoid admitting that they allow prostitution. General Security closely monitors the ‘artists.’ Their residency permits do not exceed six months, and they are deported if they are caught overstaying their permits.

You can read the full article [Here].

Updated: General Security granted access to all data

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Update: The General Security denied the allegations stated in Annahar’s article and said it didn’t have access to any data (Source: VOL).

Update2: Since February 2013, the Prime Minister can accept giving the Data to any security agency at his own discretion [Source]. The criteria set out by the law which requires judges’ prior approval and execution by Minister of Communication was waived as per request from President Sleiman. Nowadays, even ISF is receiving such Data and not only General Security (Annahar’s info is partially true but fully unprofessional). Thank you Razor!

An-Nahar Daily said on Monday that the General Security apparatus is receiving the telecommunications’ data that it needs upon the approval of Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.

According to An-Nahar newspaper, General Security Chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim sent more than one memorandum to the interior ministry and received immediate approvals from PM Mikati and Minister Charbel “who did not take into account the freedom and privacy of citizens”. [LBC]

According to Annahar’s article, The General Security have repeatedly requested access to the telecoms data of the entire population for many Lebanese areas and got an approval for it.

I don’t know where Telecom Minister Sehnaoui stands from those requests and whether he also gave his approval or if it was required (I think he has to approve), but this goes against the campaign he led himself few months back in the name of privacy and personal freedom. I wish the author of the article provided further explanation and details rather than politicize the whole matter as the problem is much bigger than such considerations.

In all cases, I am almost positive all the legal and illegal parties have access in a way or another to our data but this remains nonetheless a very serious issue as we should never compromise our freedom in the name of security.

Here’s my original post on the Freedom vs. Security back when the Information Branch requested data from the Telecom Ministry and the government and got denied any access.

How Much Food Can You Buy For $5 in Lebanon?

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I was watching this video and thought I’d dig out the prices of the foods they looked at in Lebanon. I asked few friends and got an estimate:

Banana: 5$ = 5-6 Kilos (Local), or 2-3 Kilos (Imported).
Coffee: 5$ = 0.5 Kilos
Rice: 5$ = 6-7 Kilos
Potato: 5$ = 6-7 Kilos (Local).
Beef: 5$ = 0.5 Kilos
Eggs: 5$ = 12-24 eggs (Price is varying a lot lately)
Beer: 5$ = 5-6 Almaza beers.

You can buy a lot of beer with 5$ in Lebanon, but not as much as China.

Two Lebanese dead in Malta boat accident

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Last picture of the group on the small boat taken by the yacht’s skipper – via DailyStar

That’s quite an unfortunate incident. According to TimesOfMalta, the sea was calm when the group left but there was a sudden change in weather later on with winds reaching up to force six.

The French-Lebanese couple, Elias Chmouni and Sandrine Godet, left behind a five-month-old son (Simon) and a three-year-old daughter (Clara).

Chmouni was one of five tourists that were reported missing after the boat accident. His wife, and their 14-year-old son as well as a French couple accompanying them were also reported missing after the accident.

The accident took place on the evening of May 12, when the group set sail from Tunisia on a private yacht, called El Pirata, to celebrate Chmouni’s 49th birthday.

But the celebration turned into a nightmare after Chmouni and his wife Sandrine Godet decided to go to a restaurant at the nearby Xlendi Bay. Instead of sailing there onboard the El Pirata, the group took a small boat and set sail to the bay at around 8 p.m. [DailyStar]

Lebanon’s oldest church found?

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I hope they don’t end up destroying it just to replace it with a hotel. I am not counting on Gaby Layoun for that though.

In addition to the possible Roman gate and road revealed in a previous post, the Landmark site dig (which could be replaced by a 5 star Jean Nouvel hotel) seems to be full of treasures.

Among them are what some archeologists believe could be the remnants of a 4th-5th century Byzantine Basilica.

In these wide shots we can see a number of large white-ish mosaic floors, thought to have belonged to the Basilica:

Great coverage on that story by Habib from the Beirut Report. Read more [Here].

More information on The Hybrid Electoral Law Proposed

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Picture taken from

For those of you, like myself, who couldn’t understand a thing about the new hybrid electoral law proposed, here’s a nice elaborate post on that matter posted on

There has been a lot of talk on a hybrid Proportional-Representation/ Winner-Takes-All electoral law in the past few weeks, and almost all the parties (PSP, Phalanges, Amal, Lebanese Forces) gave their proposals of hybrid laws in the electoral committees. The different hybrid draft laws are very similar to each other and mostly differ in the percentage of MPs elected by proportional representation (30%, 40%, 50%) but less in the constituencies’ boundaries (Small districts for the winner-takes-all seats and big ones for the PR seats). I’m going to review the draft law proposed from the Lebanese Forces. You can see the criteria of the law here.

It still looks a bit too complicated to explain to all the voters.


The Voice Tour 2013 At The Jounieh Festival 2013

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Update: Lana Del Rey will also be performing at the Byblos Festival on July 10th even though it wasn’t officially declared yet. [Source]

For all the Anthony Touma fans, The Voice Tour 2013 is coming to the Jounieh International Festival 2013 on Tuesday July 9 at the Fouad Chehab Stadium as stated by L’Orient LeJour. I didn’t see a mention of the concert on the Jounieh Festival website though.

I for myself am still upset I will be missing Lana del Rey’s performance at the Sky Bar in Beirut on May 30. Speaking of partying, I’ve been to White, Pier7 and Al Mandaloun these past two days and I can assure you the summer has kicked off to a great start!