Lebanese Daniel Khorassandjian Among The 3 Best Referees At The 2014 WTF Cup Taekwondo Championship in Queretaro, Mexico

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referees Daniel Khorassandjian (first from left)

Lebanon’s Daniel Khorassandjian was among the three winning referees at the 2014 WTF World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships that were held in Queretaro, Mexico last month. Daniel was also named among the best referees back in 2012.

Update: I was just talked to Daniel and he told me that this is his 9th best referee award in 4 years, which is quite impressive! Here’s the list of events where he was named best referee:
2 times WTF 2012 2014
2 Times Asian Tkd Union 2012
1 Las Vegas Taekwondo Hall Of Fame 2013
1 Russian Open 2013
1 Kazakhstan Open 2014
1 Asian Clubs Championp 2014
1 west Asian Chmpionship 2010

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Galette Des Rois, Zlebyé, Armenian Christmas And A Tradition To Waste Electricity

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The majority of Christians in Lebanon and around the world celebrate Epiphany tonight and the tradition is to eat the Galette des Rois and some zlebyé. The traditional Galette is filled with frangipane, an almond-based filling, and a slice is given to each person sitting on the table. The one who gets the lucky charm (la fève) hidden in the galette gets to wear the king or the queen’s crown. This year I got a galette from Cannelle and another from Kay (Stop & Shop) and the one from Kay was much better.

While the galette is a French tradition, the zlebyé is made in Lebanon during epiphany every year and is basically a fried dough with sugar and cinnamon. It’s really good and the best way to have it is when it’s still hot. Aside from the food traditions, a lot of families keep their balconies lit up tonight as the day marks principally the visit of the Magi (Three wise men) to the Christ child. I don’t mind the tradition but I wish we could replace it with candles as we need to save electricity in this country.

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On another note, the majority of Armenians in Lebanon celebrate today Christmas so Merry Christmas to all my Armenian friends!

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Lebanon To Impose Visa Restrictions On Syrians For The First Time

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refugees Picture via UNRWA

Syrians were able to stay in Lebanon for up to six months previously, but this will no longer be possible as any Syrian who wishes to enter Lebanon will have to obtain a visa at the borders. This measure should have been implemented long time ago in order to control the flow of refugees trying to escape the war but it’s better late than never.

The new regulations will come into effect on January 5 as mentioned on the General Security website. This is the first time that such measures are taken ever since Lebanon’s independence. Hopefully, the borders will be secured soon as well in order to stop illegal entries as well.

Will Solidere Really End In 2019?

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Update: Solidere’s term was actually extended to 35 years in 2005, so its term ends in 2029 not 2019 as is being said, open to extension. via Karl

We all know that the St Georges Club in Beirut and Solidere are not friends, and it seems the St Georges is optimistic that Solidere will come to an end in 2019. The reason why they are saying so is because Solidere was created in 1994 and its life span was limited to 25 years and cannot be renewed legally. Honestly, I am pretty sure they will figure out a way to renew Solidere’s contract or replace it with a similar company under a different name. Nevertheless, I wonder who will take over Solidere’s tasks if the company ceased to exist.

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Thanks Hadi!

Lebanese Red Cross Road Accidents Statistics For 2014: 10866 Accidents, 14516 Injuries And 229 Kills

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If we look back at 2013, there were 11,552 injuries according to the Lebanese Red Cross so the number has increased by almost 3000 this year which is huge! As far as the kills and accidents are concerned, I couldn’t find the full 2013 report but I assume the numbers are up this year as well.

I tried to compare the LRC statistics to the ones published by Kunhadi (via the ISF), but they don’t match at all. In fact, Kunhadi registered lower crashes (3420) and injuries (4690) this year, but 537 fatalities which is twice as much as the number reported by the Red Cross.

I don’t know which numbers are more accurate, but the sure thing is that road safety is still a major problem in Lebanon and the Lebanese authorities as well as all the NGOs concerned should be taking further measures. In fact, I think NGOs should cut down a bit on the awareness campaigns and take further practical measures on the roads, like installing safety barriers, fixing potholes or covering them, or even setting up checkpoints with the help of the ISF or municipalities on dangerous roads.

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