RIP Basil Soda

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Soda

Lebanon lost today one of its renowned fashion designers Basil Soda. Soda unfortunately lost his battle against cancer after a couple of years and died today aged 47 only. I don’t know much about the man or about fashion in general but I remember he designed one of our friend’s wedding dress few years back and how it was a big deal back then. Also, I used to notice Lana (From L’armoire de Lana) posing in his dresses and it didn’t take a fashion expert to notice how gifted he was. Basil Soda’s brand is found in major international cities, including New York, Washington, Cannes, Toronto, Vienna, Moscow, Dubai, Beirut, all the way to Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Some of the celebrities that wore his dresses included Katy Perry, Emily Blunt, Marion Cotillard, Jiang Yiyan, Morena Baccarin, and Giuliana Rancic.

Here’s how Basil Soda’s page announced his death today:

We are sorry to announce the loss of Basil Soda, the great international designer, he who built his company single handedly from the ground up. A great man who will always be remembered for his craft and beautiful soul.

And the beautiful testimonials posted by my friends Lana and Samar.

larmoiredelana

ulap

Sincere condolences to his family.

The Most Hilarious Lebanese TV Interview And Other Fun Stuff

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Anaween Via Anaween Areeda

Before talking about this hilarious interview I just found out, let’s start with another epic made-up story by the guys behind Anaween Areeda. Going back to that old CHINN video, it was taken from an interview between Jean Aziz and ex-President Emile Lahoud back in 2013 (with a special CHINN touch) and it’s hilarious!

Here it is:

[YouTube]

And here are some other funny stuff I picked up from last week.

Madonna Madonna spotted after the Adonis explosion that took place near her house. Seems she’s always fully dressed – via Mawtoura

Yasa Not 1 or 2 but 3 policemen breaking the law – via Yasa

20150323_075443 Soper Dilix!

20150327_090130-1 El Cheghel mich 3eb

Tweet At #GazaFont To Break The Media Blackout And #UncoverGaza Stories

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letters

When sectarian fights were raging in Tripoli and innocent people were getting killed, a lot of people were clueless about what’s happening and who’s fighting who. The sad part was that most local TVs seemed uninterested and only very few did the extra effort to go and investigate properly. This negligence led the online community to start hashtags and campaigns to support Tripoli residents, shed the light on the events taking place and share stories and videos.

Of course I’m not trying to compare in anyway the small fights that took place in Tripoli last year to what Gaza, also known for being the largest open-air prison in the world, has been going through the past 20 years or more, but in both cases media played a detrimental role by ignoring the events and hiding the truth.

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The sad and shocking part is that the media blackout on the latest Israeli offensive against Gaza was deliberate and the atrocities and crimes that were committed there didn’t get the coverage needed, even though the last Gaza war was the bloodiest in years. In fact, Israel has killed in 2014 more Palestinians (2,341) than in any other year since 1967 and 531 out of these 2341 kills were innocent children.

Font

Having said all that, the Gaza Font is an initiative aimed at shedding the light on the Gaza unknown stories by asking the public to engage. Every letter and number stands for a story little-known that is now revealed and you can show your support in many ways that are described on the website, and mainly by tweeting at #UncoverGaza.

Ab

We are all concerned with what’s happening around us, whether in Syria or Palestine or anywhere in the Middle East. We should be concerned with innocent civilians and families and children paying the price of war and being kicked out of their villages and houses. Let’s not forget we’ve been there many times as Lebanese and every family in Lebanon has paid the price of war in one way or another.

[YouTube]

Week21: LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Marj Tarchich by Sacha el Aref

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [Here] if you like.

lol Chou ya Ashta? By ItsGeorge

Surfing Surfing in Lebanon – by Elio

Jezzine Beautiful Jezzine Waterfalls – by Ayamhanna

Hammana Spring time in Hammana – by Sacha Al Aref

Chabrou7 Chabrouh dam – by m_kay

Cha3nine Happy Palm Sunday (Cha3neene) – By Antoniohab

Shoud We Celebrate Earth Hour In Lebanon?

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Taken from an old post

Earth Hour is an annual global event where cities from around the world switch off their lights for an hour. The purpose of Earth Hour is to remind us that we have to seriously start considering renewable energies as individuals and as a country. A couple of years ago, Achrafieh, Rmeil and Geitawi all went dark to celebrate Earth Hour and last year the serail as well as a couple of hotels also took part in it.

Of course a lot of Lebanese unwillingly participated in Earth Hour when electricity is off and they didn’t have a generator subscription as a backup, which makes us wonder if it’s truly worth it to celebrate Earth Hour? Personally speaking, I think we should take part in any movement that helps our planet and reduce pollution and I hope we get more companies, malls, banks, hotels and government institutions to go dark for an hour next year. Even if we don’t get electricity 24/7 and generators are causing even more pollution, we are still helping by cutting the power off even for few minutes.

On another note, there’s one Earth Hour event that took place yesterday in Beirut that didn’t seem right to me. There was a concert at Biel to celebrate Earth Hour. The event is presumably an environmental-friendly one but I’m pretty sure they need electricity or some sort of power for the lighting and the instruments, not to mention the pollution from cars and buses, which is definitely not the ideal thing to do for Earth Hour. What would have been nice to do was to have glow-in-the-dark parties in all pubs and night clubs and have candle-lit diners at restaurants. Again I don’t have much information in regards to that concert but I’d rather we stick to encouraging more and more individuals, municipalities, towns and cities as well as businesses to take part in Earth Hour than organize concerts and such events. Moreover, someone should ask the Energy Minister to compute the consumption before and during Earth Hour to see if it dropped and people are actually taking part in this global event.

concert

Achrafieh2020 thought of a different way of supporting Earth Hour this year, by pledging to plant trees all year long and transform Achrafieh into a healthier more livable environment.

plant

Hiba Tawaji Sings Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” & Advances To The Final Stages

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Hiba

Update (04/04/2015): Hiba Tawaji is still going strong in the Voice France and has advanced to the next round.

Hiba

Hiba Tawaji is one step closer to the Voice France finals after she passed the knockout rounds and advanced to the live shows, which are the final stages of the show. At this point, Hiba will be competing next week against 3 other candidates from the same team and performing live. I was looking for the video and it just got uploaded (Check starting Minute 2:30)

[YouTube]

hiba2

Forest Areas in Lebanon Are Now Less Than 13%!

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Shouf Shouf Biosphere Reserve

Back in 2011, the Ministry of Environment stated that forest areas have declined from 35% of the total area of Lebanon in 1965 to 13% in 2009 and they are even less than 13% nowadays according to Minister Akram Chehayeb. The disappearance of green areas is estimated at 0.4% annually and reforestation is estimated at 0.83 annually according to Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk which is not enough. For this sake, the “40 million forest trees” initiative was launched back in December 2014 and will hopefully result in planting 40 million trees in 70,000 hectares of public land and cost approximately 400 million dollars. Once done, this project should bring back the % of green areas to around 22%, increase resilience to climate change effects, protect against erosion, increase rain incidence and encourage tourism and recreation.

Of course this sounds great but unfortunately there has been many reforestation attempts in Lebanon over the past 20 years or more, yet green spaces are still threatened by urban expansion, quarries, forest forest, insects and diseases and more importantly a lack of fund to sustain reforestation initiatives. Only a month ago, I was arguing on why I am against destroying 51000 trees to build a dam because there are no clear plans to minimize the environmental impact. On another note, we have new fires ravaging new forests every year yet our fire fighters still have old fire trucks, old equipment, no substances to fight the fires and sometimes barely any water.

Picture taken from GreenResistance

In all cases, we can’t be but supportive of such initiatives and I’m hoping that the “40 million forest trees” will be completed fully. If you want further information on this initiative, check out this useful presentation by Chadi Mohanna, Director of Rural Development and Natural Resources for the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture.

kobayat I’m going to Kobayat to take part in a reforestation campaign next weekend

Gebran Khalil Gebran’s The Prophet As An Animated Film: Here’s The Official Trailer

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khalil

Salma Hayek has been working on this project for quite some time now and Khalil Gebran’s “The Prophet” is finally coming to the big screen. I still have mixed feelings about turning this masterpiece into an animated feature but the trailer looks great and I’m actually excited about it now. In case some of you haven’t heard of The Prophet (Is that possible?), it’s one of the most beloved books of all time and one of the best selling books as well with over 100 million copies in print.

The movie is set to be released on August 7 2015 in Los Angeles and New York. I don’t have exact dates for when it will be shown in Lebanon but I’m hoping Salma will fly to Beirut for its launch. The Prophet will feature a voice cast including Salma Hayek as Kamila, Liam Neeson as Mustafa, John Krasinski as Halim, Alfred Molina as Sergeant, Quvenzhané Wallis as Almitra and Frank Langella as Pasha.

You can check out further updates on the [website] and [FB page].

[YouTube]

What I Told NPR About The Lebanese Sisters Show

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sisters The sisters drawn by a designer – via Glamroz

It’s not everyday that you get interviewed by one of the most popular radios in the US (NPR) and I thank Alice Fordham for that opportunity, even though I wish it had been for something more interesting.

As you all know, there’s a new reality TV show called The Sisters being broadcasted on LBC SAT (Not to be confused with the local LBCI) starring three Lebanese sisters, Alice Nadine and Farah. I’ve heard before about the sisters because of their instagram account (not blog) but I don’t know them personally so I did an effort to watch the first episode but I couldn’t last more than 15 minutes.

The reasons why I didn’t like The Sisters as explained to NPR are as follows:

1- The show has fake written all over it and is very far from what reality TV is supposed to be. I’ve never liked the Kardashians but it does reflect how the family lives and real-life problems as silly as they may seem. The story lines are also empty and meaningless.

2- The show is culturally empty and portrays Lebanese woman in a negative light. Of course no one is expecting the sisters to be role models for our society but they could have at least made an effort not to look that silly and dependent. I honestly blame the producers here and whomever wrote that script.

All in all, I have nothing personal against the Lebanese Sisters and I don’t mind reality shows but I just think they could have done a much better job, specially that it’s the first show of its kind in Lebanon.

Here’s the [full NPR article].

PS: I recommend you also read Nancy’s take on the Lebanese Sisters as she perfectly summed it up.

Thieves Are Puncturing AUB Students’ Gas Tanks To Steal Fuel

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punc How a punctured fuel tank looks like – Source

Finding a parking spot was always a problem back in my AUB years, but I don’t recall ever hearing about fuel thefts and I am surprised that these things are happening right outside the campus on AUB’s seaside. According to a friend of mine and Outlook AUB’s article, fuel thefts began back in September but became more frequent in the past few weeks. Six cars have already been targeted and two students claimed their car’s fuel tank was punctured twice.

I think this is a very serious problem for two reasons:
Makhfar Ras Beirut (Previously known as Makhfar Hbeich) is located on Bliss Street and there are always police bike patrols on the sea side, so such incidents should not happen very often. Since AUB cannot guarantee parking to its students, the administration should work closely with the authorities to set up cameras along the sea side and provide better security for their students. The Dean of Students Affairs, Talal Nizameddin has already stated the need to cooperate with the police to stop these crimes.

– Punctured gas tanks are a threat to the driver and people around him as they may lead to a fire or even an explosion specially if it’s a huge leak. Some of the students interviewed in Outlook reported driving for some time before realizing their tank was punctured but luckily none of the cars caught fire.

This being said, stricter safety measures have to be implemented the soonest in order to avoid any tragic outcome. Setting up cameras is a necessity but until it’s done, bike and car patrols should be doubled and I recommend that students take a quick look at their fuel tanks before they drive off for their own safety.

I hope they catch these criminals the soonest! Here’s a [link] to the Outlook AUB’s article written by Lama Miri.

A number of AUB students recently reported finding their cars with punctured fuel tanks emptied of gas, as their vehicles were parked on AUB’s seaside. With insurance not covering the expenses of the repairs, students were forced to pay bills of up to $1,050. Meanwhile, the perpetrators are still at large, and authorities have yet to take adequate preventative measures.

Among the targeted vehicles were three different Nissan cars, a Honda, a Renault, and a Peugeot. The fuel thieves clearly singled out larger models, which are easier to handle than smaller ones. All the cars had plastic reservoirs, and in some cases, the gas reservoir was punctured.

“It was explained to me that it was done using an electric drill on a stick, which means that this is pure vandalism,” said business student Anas Aboul Hosn. “Whoever did this didn’t intend to steal the fuel – if they did, they would have come prepared and we wouldn’t have had such a big fuel puddle around the car.”