19-year Old Lebanese Behind The Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade (لواء احرار السنة) Twitter Account

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The ISF has finally caught the guy behind the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade’s Twitter account and revealed that he’s a 19 year old young man from the Baalbeck region. This kid has terrorized the whole country with his tweets specially after he threatened to attack Christians and burn Churches to the ground. The so-called Free Sunnis of Baalbeck Brigade also claimed responsibility for several rocket and bomb attacks in Lebanon, including the latest suicide bombing at Raouche’s Duroy Hotel.

Let’s just hope that this is the full story and it was indeed some kid fooling around.

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Lebanese Amale Andraos Appointed Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture

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Lebanese architect Amale Andraos has been appointed as the new dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning at Columbia University (GSAPP) in New York City and will assume the position on September 1, replacing Mark Wigley who announced his retirement last year.

Amale is presumably the first woman to become a dean at the school.

An associate professor at GSAPP and a principal at the New York-based firm WORKac, Andraos is a leading voice on urbanism and globalization, and related environmental and social concerns. She has worked on such noteworthy projects as the Blaffer Museum in Houston, the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan, and the Edible Schoolyards at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn and P.S. 7 in Harlem.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Andraos earned an MArch degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1999, and later worked with celebrated architect Rem Koolhaas (GSD Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design) at OMA in Rotterdam and New York.

“The GSD was the first instance of a truly open, diverse, global and engaged model of education I experienced,” Andraos said. “It was the most formative in what I looked for later in practice and teaching, and I am looking forward to continuing to build a strong conversation between the GSAPP at Columbia and the GSD, at an exciting and important moment for the field.” [Link]

Robin Williams Has Four Upcoming Movies

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Academy-to-Robin-Williams-Genie-youre-free The Academy Tribute to Robin Williams

Robin Williams, who died on Monday, has apparently finished filming four movies that will be released in the coming months. There’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb where Williams plays President Theodore Roosevelt, a holiday movie called Merry Friggin’ Christmas, comedy film Absolutely Anything where Williams voiced Dennis the Dog and Boulevard which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. There were talks about a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire as well but the film would probably not go on without its star.

[YouTube]

I will definitely be watching these movies and I am currently downloading the old Mork & Mindy seasons to watch them over the weekend, as well as Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams and Dead Poets Society.

RIP Funnyman.

[YouTube]

photo-3-2-650x487 House where Mork & Mindy was filmed

wow World of Warcraft pays tribute to Robin Williams

Facts about Starbucks in The Middle East

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starbucks Picture by Sharif

I’ve been hearing about boycott campaigns against Starbucks ever since I was in AUB some 10 years ago, and every time there’s a new conflict between Arabs and Israel, people ask for a new boycott and Starbucks once again updates its facts section to re-assert that it does not fund the Israeli government in anyway. I suggest you read this article to figure out if Starbucks is Zionist or not.

Personally speaking, I’ve been going to Starbucks since 2002 and never stopped simply because by boycotting Starbucks branches in Lebanon or anywhere in the Arab World, I am actually harming Lebanese employees and a Kuwaiti group (Alshaya WLL) and definitely not Howard Schultz (Remember Tripoli’s KFC?). Moreover, I don’t believe in boycotts in the first place and don’t think they will get anywhere specially in today’s world.

This being said, I respect people who wish to boycott Starbucks or any other “Zionist” business in their opinion, but I urge them to do it without spreading fake letters and stories and without intimidating others who don’t like boycotts.

You can find below the most recent facts about Starbucks in the Middle East, updated as of August 2014.

Is it true that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement.

Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Is it true that Starbucks closed its stores in Israel for political reasons?

No. We do not make business decisions based on political issues. We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market. After many months of discussion with our partner we came to this amicable decision. While this was a difficult decision for both companies, we believe it remains the right decision for our businesses.

Do you have plans to re-open should the opportunity arise?

We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.

When and where the business case makes sense and we see a fit for the Starbucks brand in a market we will work closely with a local partner to assess the feasibility of offering our brand to that community. We will therefore continue to assess all opportunities on this basis. At present, we will continue to grow our business in the Middle East as we have been very gratified by the strong reception of the brand in the region. We continue to work closely with our business partner, the Alshaya Group, in developing our plans for the region.

Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?

Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999. Today Alshaya Group, recognized as one of the leading and most influential retailing franchisees in the region, operates nearly 600 Starbucks stores in the Middle East and Levant region. In addition to its Starbucks stores, the Alshaya Group operates more than 2,600 retail stores in the Middle East, Russia and North Africa, providing jobs for more than 40,000 employees of more than 110 nationalities.

We are extremely fortunate and proud to have forged a successful partnership for the past fifteen years and look forward to building on this success. [via Starbucks]

Brazilian Football Team Not Coming To Lebanon Anymore?

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Annahar is saying Brazil may call off the friendly game they had planned with Lebanon on September 4, mainly for security reasons.

Since this is just the Olympic team, I don’t think they will need that much protection but safety comes first I guess. In all cases, I hope they will make because a lot of people are excited about this game in Beirut.

Lebanese Driver To Revolutionize Moto GP Racing With New Fish Position

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fish Picture via Yasa

Moto GP teams are showing interest in a new aerodynamic position nicknamed the “fish position” that was discovered by a scooter driver in Lebanon while he was pulling stunts on the highways. The driver was interviewed by our website who said that he was surprised to find his picture on so many websites this morning. He also revealed that he didn’t mean to come up with a new move; instead he was feeling too hot so he thought he’d take down his short and lie on the scooter to get more air.

The “fish position” has blown away aerodynamics engineers who have already started designing new bikes for their teams. Moreover, team managers have submitted an official request to the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) to allow drivers to race shirtless.

DSL Is Down

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The DSL connections have been down for more than 3 hours now and I am unable to reach Ogero to figure out what’s happening. It seems they were performing some maintenance but it’s taking forever.

Update: DSL was back up on August 14th around noon.

Lebanese Mahmoud Bazzi To Be Deported From The US

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Mahmoud Bazzi was arrested 3 weeks ago by the US authorities and will be deported to Lebanon after he dropped his opposition during an immigration court hearing in downtown Detroit.

Bazzi has been living in Detroit for over 10 years now and used to work as an ice cream man. He will get away from his crime if he comes back to Lebanon unless he flies through Europe and gets arrested there. So far, he’s been denying the charges and claiming that “he falsely confessed to the slayings because he feared a Lebanese militia would kill him unless he lied”.

I wish we’d give that much importance to justice in this country instead of promoting killers to become political leaders and MPs.

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Pte Thomas Barrett (left)and Pte Derek Smallhorne were abducted and shot dead in 1980 in south Lebanon – via Irish Times