The “Traffic” feature on Google Maps shows current traffic conditions on highways and roads but it is not available in Lebanon and several other countries. I always thought that Google didn’t have enough data to activate this feature but that’s not the case apparently. In fact, Google has enough data as it uses crowd-sourcing from people driving around and sharing their location, pretty much like Tari2ak works, and my friend Rita el Khoury figured out a work-around to activate Traffic view in Beirut.
Here’s what you need to do:
1- Open Google Maps. If you try to activate Traffic in the left menu for Lebanon, you won’t be able to.
2- Scroll to a nearby country (like Turkey or KSA for example), where Google Traffic is available and activate it.
3- Once you see the colored roads, move back to Beirut et voila! You will have Google Traffic for Lebanon.
I tried it this morning and it was pretty accurate and useful.
What’s great about this work around is that it will keep on working even if you exit Google Maps or restart the device. However if you try to click on the Traffic option while over Lebanon it will stop.
PS: If your Google account is not set up for Lebanon, you can activate it directly and it should work. My friend just tried it.
All the Lebanese drivers were wearing seat belts, driving carefully and not using their mobiles yesterday all because of a voice note that was sent to some guy called Maurice. No one knows if it’s a joke or not, but somehow everyone believed the story and became a better driver.
Maybe that’s what we need to make the new traffic law work, a new Maurice every week.
Here’s the original voice note:
And the one that followed:
And one of the many hilarious voice notes that followed:
Someone also shared a traffic fine addressed to Maurice lol!
I’m sure you’ve all heard about Haidar, the three-year old boy who survived the recent Beirut bombings but unfortunately lost both his parents. Most of the local TVs rushed to interview the poor kid while still at the hospital which was obviously wrong, but something positive came out of his tragic story as an online campaign was kicked off to fulfill Haidar’s dream and let him meet Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
The hashtag #CristianoMeetHaidar went viral within few hours with the help of local TVs and celebrities like Elissa and Diana Haddad who offered to cover his trip expenses and it looks like Haidar will meet Cristiano and watch the Classico as well which is amazing news!
Of course this trip will not bring his parents back nor make his life any easier but it will definitely cheer him up and boost his morale. Nevertheless, there’s another online campaign to raise money for Haidar and help him build a better future. The funds raised will go into a personal account for Haidar which will later on serve as a tuition fund and any other expenses this child could need.
The death of a parent is considered one of the most painful, if not traumatic, experiences for a child. Haidar needs all the support and love he can get right now and I hope these small gestures will brighten his world.
#SeeLebanonForYourself is an initiative by Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel to highlight the beauty of Lebanon through high quality virtual images. The Virtual Reality campaign was kicked off a week ago (but halted due to recent events) and aims at showing Lebanon’s gems through high quality virtual images..
You can enjoy the virtual tour in three different ways:
– Desktop: This is the simplest where you just drag the mouse to move the panorama.
– Mobile: Using the gyro icon, just move your phone around in 360 degrees.
– 3D imaging: You can use Google Cardboard, Samsung gear VR or Oculus rift.
The website is simple and loads very quickly. The images are breathtaking and you can easily zoom in and out. The areas currently available are the following:
– Jeita Grotto
– Saydit el Nourieh
– Saida Souq
– Balou3 Balaa
– Saida Sea Castle
– Beiteddine Hammam
And more will be added soon.
Despite everything that’s been happening in Lebanon, there are always new initiatives aimed at showing what Lebanon is truly about and reminding us that we live in a beautiful country.
A Palestinian cab driver decided to set himself and his car on fire after he got stopped earlier today by a policeman in Salim Salam. The driver apparently had a lot of pending fines and couldn’t pay any of them. The story was first shared on bintjbeil.org and most of the comments I read there were bashing the police officer and the system and I can’t really blame them.
I don’t blame them because the traffic law is not fair, not because the fines are high, but because it’s not being applied to everyone, because some people are using their wasta to cancel the fines, because police officers are still breaking the law instead of setting the right example. The idea from the new traffic law should be to help people become aware of the traffic law and care about their own safety, not just fine them and send the money elsewhere. The police officer who stopped the driver may be a decent cop but the problem is with the whole system.
The traffic law is not working and this 43 year old Palestinian driver is yet another victim of this corrupt system. A couple of months ago, another Lebanese taxi driver had a heart attack and died after being stopped by the police for traffic violations that he is unable to pay for.
Despite all that, I encourage everyone to respect the law and drive safely for their own sake and to avoid getting heavy and useless fines. If the roads are bad and the traffic law is not working, the least we can do is drive safely, set an example for others to follow and hope that one day everyone will do the same.
Angelina Jolie probably has no idea that she has been making headlines for the past 2 days in Lebanon for statements that she never shared. First everyone starting sharing an unofficial post on her fan page on the Beirut bombings and then Lebanese Singer Najwa Karam decided to thank her for her thoughts by replying to her in Arabic (or Lebanese or some weird dialect only Najwa understands). Another fake Angelina replied back by inviting Najwa to a Lebanese breakfast, but she didn’t confirm back yet.
This clearly upset Jolie who decided to issue an official statement from the UN to address Najwa and the fan page post.
Google has acknowledged the recent terrorist attacks in Beirut with a commemorative ribbon on their Lebanon homepage www.google.com.lb. The black ribbon is a sign of remembrance and mourning and was also added to Google’s main page in response to the #Paris attacks.
In addition to Google, several foreign papers today acknowledged the #Beirut attacks especially after Facebook’s Safety Check was activated for Paris attacks but not Beirut. To name few, Time and The New York Times featured articles on how Beirut feels forgotten after the latest ISIS attacks. NY Times also quoted fellow blogger Elie in their article following his great take on the Paris and Beirut attacks.
Egyptian Legend Adel Emam put the Lebanese flag as a background on his profile picture in support.
Even in football, German star and ManUnited player Bastian Schweinsteiger expressed his condolences to the Beirut bombing victims.
Chelsea player Cesc Fabregas, whose wife Danielle Semaan is Lebanese, also mentioned Beirut in his FB post. The first comment he got was funny though as someone asked him to “Pray For Chelsea because they will be relegated”.
On a last note, a French reader of the blog shared his idea of the “Facebook Safety Check” for Beiruti people adding a “We don’t care if you are affected” button.
I never expected my post on Facebook’s Safety Check to go viral but it looks like everyone thought Facebook should have activated that feature for other human disasters not just the Paris attacks. This led Mark Zuckerberg to clarify the matter on his Facebook profile (Check the comments) and say the following:
Many people have rightfully asked why we turned on Safety Check for Paris but not for bombings in Beirut and other places. Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well. Here’s more detail on Safety Check and our policy for deploying it from the Facebook Safety page: https://www.facebook.com/fbsafety/posts/930229667014872
Thank you to everyone who has reached out with questions and concerns about this. You are right that there are many other important conflicts in the world. We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.
To be honest, I wasn’t bashing Facebook for not activating that feature before but I thought it would be quite useful during bombings in Beirut especially that we’ve had quite a few in the past couple of years and that feature was already there. In fact, the “Safety feature” was initially created for natural disasters but the magnitude of the Paris attacks led the Facebook team to activate it for something other than a natural disaster.
All in all, our message went through and the “Safety Check” will probably be enabled for all in the future. However, what matters the most now is that we figure out a way to stop these terrorist attacks from happening and never have to use this feature in Beirut, Paris, Baghdad or anywhere else.
Al-Manar TV Reporter Ali Rasslan decided to visit Haidar, a three-year boy who got injured in the Burj Barajneh blast and ask him about his dead parents. The reporter was clearly aware that Haidar was orphaned after both his mother and father died in the explosion that took place on Thursday in Bourj al-Barajneh, yet he thought it would be a smart idea to visit him at the hospital while he’s laying in bed injured and ask him about his parents’ whereabouts.
To make things even worse, he started by asking the poor kid who’s seriously injured and still traumatized from the blast if he’s ok! Eh walla he’s doing just great. He just survived a terrible bombing, he may have lost his right eye, he just lost both his parents and is laying in a hospital bed instead of playing with his friends or watching TV. He’s having the time of his life I’m sure!
Needless to say, most of the TV reporters here in Lebanon cover the events in an unethical and inappropriate way. This video just happened to be gone viral and caught my attention. Nada Andraos was asking one of the mothers if she saw her dead child’s body. Georges Saliby was asking a kid if he has anything to tell his deceased parent at the worst possible time etc …
I think the Lebanese media needs to take lessons from the French and watch how unfortunate incidents are covered properly.