About That Video On Syrian and Ukrainian Refugees In Lebanon

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Picture via GlobalPost

I am sure you’ve all seen this [video] showing how Lebanese reacted when asked about Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and the possibility of having Ukrainian refugees following recent events in Ukraine and the Crimea region.

For some reason, whomever uploaded the video and most of the people commenting are labeling the Lebanese as racist and insensitive, and that’s the message being spread all across the social media networks. Knowing that there’s still racism in Lebanon, that’s not what the interviewed people said and that’s definitely not the message being sent out from this video. The Syrian Refugees in Lebanon is a very alarming and serious matter as they constitute almost 30% of the country’s population now, and are a huge economic burden on the Lebanese people and its government. That’s not a racist statement, that’s a fact that even the UN acknowledges and I don’t think there’s anyone helping the Syrian Refugees as much as the Lebanese are. Moreover, the Lebanese Online Community and a lot of NGOs and associations have long condemned all the racist acts against Syrian refugees and helped in promoting awareness on that matter.

After all:
It’s normal for public schools and universities to get overcrowded when you have a 1 million refugees in a country of 4 million.
It’s normal for Lebanese workers and local businesses to complain because they are competing with a cheaper labor force.
It’s normal for rent prices to go up when there’s more demand.

What’s not normal is for Lebanese to spread this misleading video and label their own people as racist and insensitive.

Moreover, whomever asked that question about Ukrainian refugees (Just Female Refugees) obviously meant it in a funny way even though I didn’t find it funny, but still the answers were not serious ones and cannot in anyway be compared to the first part of the video. This being said, stop sharing this video and report it if anything because it’s misleading and harmful to the Lebanese and Syrians. No one’s denying that there’s still racism in Lebanon but that’s not how you portray it and raise awareness on it.

Women in Politics 2014 Report: Lebanon At The Bottom of Rankings

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According to The Women In Politics Map 2014, Lebanon only has 3.1 percent of female representation and was ranked at the 139th position, noting that the last position is the 145th. There are currently only four women in the 128-member parliament in Lebanon and only one woman in the government (There were none in the previous government).

Quite shameful.

Check out the whole map [Here] and an article on these rankings [Here].

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Lebanon MMA Heavy Weight Champion Mark Tanios Defeats Egyptian Mohamad Abdel Karim At Bahrain’s Desert Force Championship

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Mark Tanios is the guy on the right

Lebanese Champion Mark Tanios claimed his second consecutive win in the MMA Heavy Weight Title after defeating Egyptian Mohamad Abdel Karim at the Desert Force Championship that was held in Bahrain last week. He got unanimous decision over the Egyptian fighter and is now a step closer to the regional MMA Heavy Weight Title.

Congrats to Mark and to the Lebanese Mixed Martial Arts Committee who is preparing our MMA fighters in the best way possible! Prior to the tournament, Mark was sent to a 40-day camp At Montreal’s Tristar Gym and was supervised by Feras Zahabi, the trainer of the UFC Champion Georges St Pierre.

You can check out more pictures [Here].

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Apple Acquires Burstly, A Daher Capital Company

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Apple has acquired Burstly, a software company that helps developers create smartphone and tablet applications. Burstly currently owns TestFlight, an iOS service that allows programmers to release and manage beta software to a limited audience, and an ad management platform called SkyRocket. Burstly is a Daher Capital company, which is a Beirut-based family business founded and led by Michel Daher.

You can read more about the acquisition on [Bloomberg], [Mashable] and [TechCrunch].

For those of you who are not familiar with Michel Daher, he’s the founder and chairman of Daher Capital. He also founded Master Chips and Poppins, two of the largest FMCG companies in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the very first hedge fund in Lebanon and Master Capital Group, the largest independent non-bank affiliated financial services company. He’s the only Lebanese to ring the Wall Street Opening Bell twice.

Apple Inc. (AAPL), speeding up the pace of acquisitions, bought Burstly Inc., a software company that helps developers create smartphone and tablet applications. The deal, first reported by TechCrunch, was confirmed today by Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Apple is sticking with its strategy of acquiring smaller companies, while Internet leaders Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are doing billion-dollar deals. Burstly’s TestFlight product is used by app makers to test their software with small groups of customers. The Santa Monica, California-based startup also offers a product to help developers make money from advertising.

The underlying technology Apple acquires in deals is often used to enhance existing services or in future products. In 2012, Apple bought fingerprint-security firm AuthenTec Inc., whose technology was recently incorporated into the new iPhone 5s. Purchases of navigation companies have been used to improve its mapping software.

The Selfiest Cities in the World: Beirut Ranked 210

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According to Time, Makati City known as the financial center of the Philippines is the Selfie Capital of the World, or the capital where people take the most selfies. Manhattan came in second spot followed by Miami. As far as Arabic cities are concerned, Doha came first (Ranked 42 worldwide), followed by Dubai (Ranked 63 worldwide). Beirut is in the 5th spot regionally and 210th worldwide.

Here are the Arabic cities that made it to the top 100 list:
42. Doha, QA: 52 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
63. Dubai, AE: 41 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
87. Abu Dhabi, AE: 33 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
92. Sharjah, AE: 32 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

To investigate the geography of selfie-taking, TIME built a database of more than 400,000 Instagram photos tagged “selfie” that included geographic coordinates. In total, we ranked 459 cities to determine the selfiest places on earth. Fear not Manhattan and Miami, you’re up there.

Check out the original article and full map [Here].

Thanks Sam!

Zouk Power Plant Emissions Reduced by 80%

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Taken by Avedis

The Minitry of Energy and Water announced back in July that emissions were reduced by 80 percent at the Zouk Mosbeh power plant. I wonder how bad the emissions were given that the above picture was taken today.

The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) announced the completion of the first phase of a project to cut down air pollution at the Zouk power plant. The project consists of equipping production groups at the plant with chemical additives to treat fuel oil and therefore limit toxic gas emissions.

The contracted firm, EPIQ Trading, a local company and subsidiary of EPIQ Group, finished installing and testing technical units on the plant’s second production group. The group was chosen by Electricité du Liban for a testing phase of six months that ended in May 2013.

The company was able to reduce emissions by 80 percent, according to the MoEW. The project will now extend to the remaining three production groups. The MoEW expects the project to be fully-implemented in Zouk by the end of the year. As a next step, the same process will be implemented in the Jiyeh power plant. [Source]

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Another view taken today by Roula

Thank you Lea!

Lebanese Cameraman Samir Kassab Still Missing In Syria

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I don’t know why Samir’s story is not over the news like the Maaloula nuns, but he’s a Lebanese who’s gone missing along with Sky News Arabia Mauritanian correspondent Ishak Moctar back in October 2013 and there are still no news of him. Lebanonfiles reported via Al Jomhouria that he could be in the Rakka area in Syria.

Speaking of kidnappings, the Missing and Kidnapped Lebanese issue is a critical one that must be given the highest priority by any government, specially the thousands who disappeared during the Lebanese war at the hands of Lebanese militias. Their families deserve to know what happened and the authorities should work hard to close these files once and for all.

Let’s hope Samir’s case will be resolved soon as he’s just a cameraman and wasn’t kidnapped for political reasons.