Help Roger Dahan

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Roger Dahan is one of Beirut’s many homeless people. He was found yesterday on the streets of Mar Mikhail bleeding and in a bad condition. He had been lying on the pavement for 2 hours covered in blood and in the sun. After several calls to the Red Cross and 112, Roger was finally Roger taken to the Rafik Hariri Hospital. Some people already volunteered to help him out and a [Facebook page] was open for that sake.

Check out the [Facebook Page] for updates on Roger and how you could help him.

We don’t want him to end up like Ali Abdallah did. Speaking of which, it would be interesting to know whether the Find Ali initiative has been able to locate homeless people in Beirut and help them out. I tried checking their website but it’s not opening.

PS: Thumbs up to Blogger Nadine Mazloum for raising the issue in the first place.

Photo via Lara Hussein

How successful is the Lebanese Diaspora?

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lebanese diaspora

This week’s episode on the Freakonomics radio examines the Lebanese Diaspora and how successful it is. Listen to it [Here].

“If you look at ten or twenty or thirty of the richest countries around the world, among the richest people in those countries is someone from Lebanon.” Of course Taleb would say this, Dubner thought. He is Lebanese. But the idea stuck. And that’s what this week’s episode is about.

How successful is the Lebanese diaspora? And how did they get to be this way?

Lebanese railway revival to be studied

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Rayak Train Station – Picture taken from Bambi’s Soapbox

Based on the below article, the European Investment Bank will conduct a study to examine the cost and feasibility of reopening the approximately 80 km Beirut-Tripoli railway. The article doesn’t say who ordered such a study but they’ve been doing studies for over 10 years now and still nothing so maybe it’s better if we invest these 2 million euros somewhere else.

It seems Lebanese will have to wait for the oil drilling to begin before they have a chance of any electricity, water or high speed trains (Assuming politicians don’t steal the money first).

LEBANON: Tenders for a study into the feasibility of rebuilding the disused railway from Beirut north along the coast to Tripoli are to be invited by the European Investment Bank during September.

The standard gauge line linking Haifa, Beirut and Tripoli was built by Allied forces during World War II. Along with the rest of the Lebanese rail network it is currently derelict, with the last trains having run around 1997.

EIB plans to commission a comprehensive study of the technical, economic, financial, environmental, social and institutional aspects of rehabilitating and reopening the approximately 80 km Beirut – Tripoli section, and it will seek assistance with the development of tender documentation for procurement of the construction works.

The study is expected to cost around €2m, funded by the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment & Partnership programme.

Cyprus Airways & Air France modify their flights to Beirut

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It’s a good thing no one cancelled their trips yet. Speaking of airports, no decisions were taken yet to open the Kleiat airport as an alternative to Rafic Hariri’s.

Cyprus Airways:
Effective Thursday, the 8:30 p.m. flight out of Larnaca had been moved to 5:30 a.m. to avoid an overnight stay in Beirut. The Cypriot national carrier flies from Larnaca to Beirut, a 30-minute flight away, once a day, six days a week.
“The company has decided to reschedule its flights because of the current situation,” a spokesman for the company told Reuters. [Reuters]

Air France:
Air France has modified the timing of one of its two daily return flights between Paris and Beirut, as the spectre grows of possible western military intervention in Syria, an airline spokeswoman said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Tamanna makes Tarek’s dream come true

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The Official Camaro Club Lebanon along with IMPEX helped to realize Tarek’s dream.

I gladly took part once in one of Tamanna’s events where they surprised Charly at Le Mall by giving him the opportunity to fly to Spain to watch Barcelona play and meet with Messi and the other players. They are great people and the work they are pulling is awesome.

Tamanna is a non-profit association that grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses to give them joy, strength and hope. You can read more about it [Here].

Touch Mobile TV

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Touch Lebanon introduced a new service today which is called Mobile TV. It basically allows you to watch live local and worldwide channels on your mobile, as well as watch Videos on Demand. All you need is 3G enabled device (or a tablet/PC with an internet connection) to subscribe to the service.

This service is charged separately and has nothing to do with the regular data plans, which I believe are still not that great whether coming from Alfa or Touch as they need to increase the quotas ASAP (I’ve upgraded to 1.5Gb and it’s still not enough).

The Mobile TV tariffs are as you can see below. The Data Usage Limits are not very encouraging but I don’t think that’s something the operator companies control. I mean 17$ to watch videos and series for only 5 hours over 3G or 10 hours Wifi?? That’s like a couple of long movies only on 3G. As far as Live TV Categories is concerned, we already have some local TVs (MTV, Al Jadeed for example) and I am sure International TVs who have apps that allow us to stream live news and for free so I wonder what this service has more to offer. I am guessing the streaming should be faster and better.

tariffs [High-Res]

Personally, I like the fact that we have that service now but I wouldn’t subscribe to it unless the usage limits are drastically increased. What I am interested in though is seeing how quick and consistent the live streaming of news or videos is because they take forever to load on the 3G.

Speaking of new services, Touch also launched a useful feature back in June, an in-app billing service with Anghami (Popular mobile music application) whereas touch users don’t need to pay separately for the app services, but instead the fees will be added to their monthly bill (For Postpaid lines) or deducted from the available balance (For Prepaid lines). I gave Anghami a try for a couple of months and it’s a pretty useful app to have if you want to stay posted and download (Only playable on Anghami though) the latest songs, specially the Arabic ones.

Surveillance Cameras soon in Beirut?

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Bilal Hamad, head of the Beirut Municipality, has stated few days ago that the Municipality of Beirut’s council will meet today to decide on installing surveillance cameras in the streets of Beirut, as well as further empowering Beirut’s guards (They need better locations for their offices though).

These cameras should have been installed ages ago but it’s better late than never. Of course this won’t prevent car bombs from happening but will definitely lower the crime rate and maybe help detect suspicious activities before it’s too late.

Major cities such as Tripoli and Jounieh should start installing surveillance cameras ASAP as well.

PS: It would be a good idea for Bilal Hamad to have a decent website for Beirut’s municipality [].

Wine Tasting At La Cave De Joël Robuchon

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Even though I love wine and drink it regularly, I don’t know much about wine tasting and I never pretended to do so to impress my date or anyone for that sake. When I am out and the waiter pours a small sample for me to taste, I would just ask him to fill up the glass.

Of course you learn with time to appreciate good wine bottles and distinguish them from cheap and commercial wines, but wine tasting is a whole different story and that’s what I realized at one of the tasting sessions that were held at La Cave De Joel Robuchon in Beirut Souks last week. I’ve had short and prompt wine tasting sessions before but this one was a long and thorough one and I absolutely loved it.

We basically sat on the bar and were given a brief overview on wine as a whole and then were taught the five basic steps to a proper wine tasting (Color, Swirl, Smell, Taste, Savor). We skipped the last step “Savor” as it’s a step you do after you become accustomed with the first four steps. Savoring the wine basically means talking about the wine and sharing it with friends, getting to know it better and evaluating the harmony between its various aspects.


1- Look at the wine:
You basically tilt the glass and try to figure out the wine’s true color. It’s not as easy as it seems and you should hold the glass in front of a napkin or any white background. White wines tend to become deeper as they age while red wines tend to lose their intensity and their color gets a bit brownish. Once you know this rule, you could tell if you’re dealing with an old or young wine bottle.

2- Swirl the wine
Swirling the wine determines how much alcohol is in the wine, based on the “legs” formed inside. If you don’t know how to swirl (I don’t) and want to avoid spilling, place the glass on the table, hold it from the stem and make small circles. Look at the legs being formed and you’ll know how alcoholic is your wine. This has nothing to do with the wine’s quality though.

3- Sniff the wine
Swirling the wine is also useful in releasing the aromas and helping you smell it properly. There are two ways to smell the wine. You could either swirl it then stick your nose deep and take a big sniff, or hold your nose some 10-15cm away then let it go into the glass. That’s the trickiest part in the tasting for me as I couldn’t really identify the aromas I was smelling. In fact, it could vary from a grapefruit, green apples to dark chocolate, soil, cow or even poop smells.

4- Taste the wine
Once we got to the tasting part, I asked the person teaching us whether we had to spit the wine or not (I remembered one of Frasier’s episodes where he’s getting ready for a blind wine tasting competition and start spitting the wine after taking a sip). You don’t need to spit but professionals do that just so they don’t get drunk lol!

Anyway, the proper way to taste a wine is take a small sip, let the wine warm in your mouth for a few seconds, and try to figure out if what you’re tasting is a sweet, salty, bitter, meaty or earthy etc. You could also draw some air into your mouth, which would help liberate the aromas of the wine that you would detect with your nose. I found this useful link for those of you who are interested in knowing more about [Tasting].

We tasted one type of white wine and one type of red wine.


You can learn more about La Cave de Joël Robuchon, also known as the Wine Library on their [Website] and check out their Facebook Page [Here], follow them on [Twitter] and [Instagram].

If you are interested in wine and want to know more about Lebanon’s best wines, I recommend you get the book “Zawaq“. They also post updates on new wines on their Facebook page that are worth checking.