Charbel Khalil’s Lousy Take on The Siege & Starvation Of Madaya

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Madaya

A lot of graphic images of death and starvation have emerged in the past few days out of Madaya, yet a lot of these pictures were not confirmed by aid groups and are probably fake. What’s confirmed though is that residents of the besieged Syrian town are being starved to death. Even when the food is available, the prices are prohibitive and a lot of people cannot afford it.

Having said that, the worst thing that anyone could possibly do in this case is make fun of these people’s misery or make a joke out of the fake images by sharing genuine pictures of people who were starving at some point somewhere else in the world.

If Charbel Khalil wants to mock those who don’t verify pictures before sharing them, there are plenty of ways to do so but his tweet is wrong and inappropriate and he should remove it in my opinion. Of course Khalil is not only refusing to admit he’s wrong but is making things even worse by calling some of those attacking him idiots.

Madaya residents are starving to death. You can either ignore the issue if you don’t feel concerned or try to help in any way possible, but making jokes out of this serious crisis is wrong under circumstances.

CES 2016 Day 1: Meet The Five Coolest New Products by LG

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LG

The world’s largest innovation event kicked off yesterday and LG’s ultra premium Signature products and impressive booth stole the show on Day1. The new LG Signature line of products, which was introduced one day before CES started, features an impressive lineup of gorgeously designed signature products aimed “for people who seek an extraordinary life”. Basically, what LG did was take its existing premium products and made them ultra premium, as well as introduce cool new features.

The LG Signature includes astonishingly thin 4K OLED TVs, a new signature fridge, an air purifier and a new washing machine. If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I was interested in home appliances, I would have probably said no but I carefully chose all of our home appliances and the innovations that LG introduced are quite useful and interesting to look at.

Here are my favorite new 5 items from LG’s booth:

1- New astonishingly thin 4K OLED TVs
oled

LG’s 4K OLED TV is incredibly thin at 2.75mm and the picture quality is ridiculous. You honestly don’t need to understand all the geeky specs to notice the difference in image quality. Just look at the difference between LED vs OLED and LCD vs OLED.

There’s one model that caught my attention there, the UH9800 98-inch 8K model but there wasn’t much information about it yet.

98

2- The new Signature Fridge
fridge

I already have a four-door LG Fridge that I’m very satisfied with especially with its door-in-door feature yet the new LG Signature Fridge provides an even better experience and has cooler features, such as the “knock on fridge door to reveal what’s inside” and a door that you can automatically open with your foot thanks to a sensor that is able to detect the difference between a person and a pet. Also, the new fridge has a door-in-door design on both sides not just one.

3- The Twin-wash New Signature Washing Machine
washing

That’s one heck of a washing machine and it could prove very useful in Lebanon where we can only wash our clothes during specific hours where the power is not out. The new LG Signature washing machine has touch controls on the front door and washes two loads at the same time. It also automatically doses out detergent from the reserve and works as a dryer as well.

What else can you possibly want from a washing machine?

4- HOM-BOT Turbo+ cleaning robot
20160107_110824

LG’s robotic vacuum cleaner is a pretty cool gadget that uses augmented reality technology and features camera sensors which record the surrounding area to track where it has already cleaned. It also allows users to inform the vacuum clear to clean spots it has missed by using any smartphone’s camera.

It would really cool to test it out but pricing and availability weren’t announced yet.

[YouTube]

5- LG Signature hybrid air purifier
LG air purifier

Ever since we had a baby, I’ve been looking for a proper air purifier for some time now and LG’s new hybrid air purifier is exactly what I need. I love the transparent window that shows how “dirty” the air we are breathing is. I still need to check its price though.

In addition to these five items, there are other exciting things to look at, such as the newest LG V10 smartphone which I will be reviewing separately, the new kitchen range, the dual-view flat OLED and dual-view curved tiling OLED and the LG Smart Home Ecosystem.

[YouTube]

Netflix Finally In Lebanon: Here’s How You Get It

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netflix2

I was few meters away from the Netflix keynote that was taking place at CES 2016 when they announced they are finally launching their service globally to over 130 new countries (except China) around the world. The expansion included the Middle East and Lebanon of course. The service actually went live during the keynote which is pretty cool!

Since I’m not in Lebanon right now, I cannot check what’s available but I’ve been told not all the series are available yet. In fact, Netflix mentioned that they will be adding throughout 2016 “31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries”.

How To Get It?
netflix1 (2)

It’s really quite simple.
– Go to netflix.com
– Choose your plan
– Enter your credit card details during signup. First month is for free so you won’t be billed for now.
– You will probably get an SMS with a small charge, which is an authorization check that you won’t be charged for.

What Are The Plans Available?
The plans are identical to the ones in the US:

– Basic at $7.99: You get to watch on 1 screen and HD is not available.
– Normal at $9.99: You get to watch on two screens at the same time, HD is available.
– Premium at $11.99: This plan will get u Ultra HD content on up to 4 screens simultaneously.

Will it affect my internet usage?
Our internet is still not so good in Lebanon, and the real problem is not only with the speeds but the data caps which are very low. I recently signed up for Ogero’s unlimited 2Mbps service which costs me $50 and the speed is almost stable at around 1.6 1.7Mpbs which should be good enough to stream Netflix videos and TV series.

In terms of consumption, “Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video”, so it really depends on how frequently you will be using Netflix.

If you look up the data usage settings for your account, you can actually reduce the amount of bandwidth used while watching Netflix by selecting the lowest plan which consumes around 300MB per hour:

Low (0.3 GB per hour)
Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
High (Best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD and 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
Auto (Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current Internet connection speed)

Will NetFlix Be Censoring Any Content?

I don’t have a clear answer for that but as far as I know, Netflix doesn’t censor any content. We will have to see though what will happen if a movie or a TV series that’s on Netflix gets banned in Lebanon.

All in all, I’m still in Vegas so hopefully by next week I will have a more elaborate post on Netflix. Till then, netflix and chill (If your internet connections allows you too)!

Watch Out! You May Need A New Lebanese Passport

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passport

The General Security released an important memo a couple of weeks ago but apparently very few people have read it or heard about it (including myself) because we were all too busy with the holidays. In fact, I think the timing and the rollout were terribly planned as a lot of people travel back to Lebanon during this time of year just for few days and the last thing they’d want to do is spend hours, if not days, to come up with new passports. I’m not sure if they had announced these measures before but they should have done a proper campaign to inform everyone.

The memo basically says that you will need to apply for a new Lebanese passport if:

– The renewal on your old passport is hand-written, just like the picture above.
– Or your passport includes accompanied individuals such as children.

The deadline was set to the 10th of January, after which the old renewed passports will no longer be considered valid on departure. In other words, you won’t be able to fly if the conditions apply and you don’t have a new passport. On the other hand, arrivals will be warned.

Luckily for me, I only have 5 months left on my passport so I have to renew it soon but this sucks for those who just renewed their passports last year for more than a year.

إلتزاماً بالمعايير المفروضة من قبل منظمة الطيران المدني الدولي ،

تُعلم المديرية العامة للأمن العام المواطنين اللبنانيين حاملي جوازات سفر مجددة بخط اليد أو جوازات سفر تتضمن مرافقين بوجوب إستبدالها بجوازات جديدة في حال رغبتهم بالسفر ، وتلفت عنايتهم إلى أنه سيصار إلى سحب الجوازات المنوه عنها من قبل الدوائر والمراكز الحدودية اعتباراً من تاريخ 2016/01/10 ليصار الى إلغائها.

PS: LBCI did a report on this issue. Watch it [here].

I’m In Las Vegas For The CES 2016 Expo!

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vegas

I’ve never been to Las Vegas or to a CES expo before so it’s pretty exciting to be here with the LG Levant team to attend The International Consumer Electronics Show 2016, one of the world’s most renowned and biggest electronics and technology trade shows.

Of course I will be enjoying my time in Vegas as well, especially that it’s my first visit to the US and more specifically to Vegas so if you have any tips on things to do here please do share. The trip was a hectic one unfortunately as security checks took a lot of time in Chicago and Amman but you can’t really blame anyone for being too cautious these days.

Anyway, I’m here in Vegas now and a couple of hours away from the much-anticipated LG Press conference prior to the CES 2016 opening where they will be announcing among other things an impressive 18-inch rollable OLED TV, or in other words a TV that rolls up like a piece of paper. This might be this year’s most exciting announcement so stay tuned as I will be covering it and other announcements live.

You can follow me on twitter @LeNajib and Instagram @LeNajib and on the blog’s Facebook page [here]. You could also follow the hashtag #LGrocksCES.

roll up tv The leaked 18 inch rollable TV

LG also recently launched the V10, an impressive new smartphone and a major upgrade from the previous LG G4. I will be reviewing it soon and how it’s different from the G4 which is one of my favorite smartphones from 2015.

v10

Ghena Bou Hamdan: The Young Syrian Girl Singing For Syria’s Children Of War

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ghena

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, famous Lebanese child singer Remi Bandali captured Arab hearts by singing “3touna el toufouli” and “Imani A7la Iman” to a war-torn Lebanon. Over 35 years later, Ghena Bou Hamdan did the same by bursting into tears while singing Bandali’s “Give Us Our Childhood” song on the new MBC show “The Voice Kids”. Ghena was carrying a message of peace and hope for her home country and singing for all of Syria’s Children of war. Syria has become the toughest and most dangerous country in the world to be a child and the Syrian War has left millions of children deprived of their rights to survival, health and nutrition.

There are over 14 million children who can’t go to school because of wars in the Arab World, and a lot of children are unfortunately losing their innocence due to the war. We see hundreds of them begging and selling flowers on the streets instead of being in school, others are being sexually exploited or even recruited to become child soldiers.

These kids are the forgotten victims of the horrific war and they need every help they could get. I hope Ghena’s performance will help shed more light on this situation and get these innocent children much-needed assistance.

[YouTube]

14 Awesome Storm Pictures from Different Towns & Areas In Lebanon

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Mzaar via LiveLoveBeirut by @Nady83

Lebanon kicked off 2016 with a beautiful snow storm (Vladimir) that covered the whole country in white. I compiled some of the best pictures from different towns and areas in Lebanon into one post. If you have any picture you’d like to share, send me a link or email me nmitri@gmail.com.

Enjoy and stay safe everyone!

Zahle White Zahle by Oussama Tannous

sheep I think it’s from Akkar. Source

Sawfar via WeAreLebanon by Firas 3amer

Miziara Miziria – via Miziria FB Page

Mar Maroun Mar Maroun Monastery by SkyViewLebanon

Kobayat Stunning Kobayat – by Antoine Daher

Kfardebian Kfardebian covered in snow – by WeAreLebanon

Hasroun Hasroun – by Hasroun Church FB Page

Ehden Snow Camp – Ehden via LiveLoveBeirut by renemowawadphotography

Cedars Bcharre by i_markian

Ammiq Ammiq via WeAreLebanon

Akoura via LiveLoveAkoura by Bachar Tarabay

Tannourine Tannourine by Jack Harb

Lebanon sky Lebanon all covered in white. View from the sky taken by Dany Daccache via Nicolas Sehnaoui.

Fairouz Greets Lebanon On New Year With Bizzare Video

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Fayrouz

I think this is the first time ever that Fairouz shows in a public video wishing the Lebanese a Happy New Year. I love how her voice, one of the most beautiful voices in the World, is still the same but the video is low quality and a bit weird to be honest which is surprising. What’s with the dark setup and candles, the thunder sounds and the creepy look at the end?

The video was posted on Reema Rahbany, Fairouz’s daughter, on her Facebook page. I saw it on MTV yesterday but can’t find the video anymore for some reason. I found another one on YouTube though.

In all cases, I’ve listened to it like 10 times already just because it’s Fairouz so enjoy it!

[YouTube]