$880 Million To Clean up Lebanon’s Litani River

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Litani Photo Credits: Bashaar Tarabay

Two years ago, a seven-year plan that will cost $733 million was approved by the Finance & Public Works committees in the Lebanese Parliament to clean up the catastrophic pollution at the Litani river and Qaraoun Lake. The plan consisted of “expanding sewage treatment networks, managing solid waste and pesticide pollution into the river, and helping factories reduce the dumping of chemicals into the water”.

Two years later, the proposal is still on hold and nothing was done to stop or even limit the pollution happening at the Litani River. As a result, cleaning up the river will now cost us almost $900 million dollars! If we break down the original cost of $733 million, it was as follows:

14 million will go to solid waste treatment.
$2.6 million for agricultural pollution.
$2.6 million for industrial pollution
$712 million for sewage treatment. [Source: Daily Star]

GettyLitani-1 Polluted Litani River Photo Credits: Gettyimages/JosephEid

If we compare the length of La Seine river in France (777 KM) and the cost of its clean up ($10 million dollars) as per the below MTV report, the $880 million dollars cost to clean up the 170 KM long Litani river may seem outrageous but we are talking about two different projects so it’s not a valid comparison.

Nevertheless, I don’t trust the government will do a proper job especially after they’ve neglected that river for year and I’m quoting my friend Nadine “allowed the dumping of industrial and quarry waste which turned 37 percent of its water into a brownish muck, making it no longer suitable for swimming or irrigation, and affecting farmers and residents of the Bekaa and south Lebanon who rely on the river”. There are more than 140 farms that are using this polluted water to irrigate crops such as wheat, potatoes, and various other vegetables and fruit, so this is indirectly affecting all of us.

[YouTube]

Nadine from Newsroomnomad wrote a lengthy post on this matter, emphasizing that the problem is due to a lack of awareness and infrastructure.

Was a Pokémon Go Player Arrested in #Lebanon?

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pok

People have been sharing since yesterday a story about a Lebanese Pokémon Go player that got arrested for playing the game near the General Security HQ in Beirut. Apparently the guy was looking for a rare Pokemon near the building when security guards spotted him and arrested him. He was interrogated briefly then released (after he got laughed at).

I tried digging out the source but I couldn’t find any reliable one and the security forces didn’t issue any statement on that incident, so it’s probably fabricated but I am confident we will hear about arrests due to Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go mania has officially hit Lebanon and hundreds of people attended the first meeting up last week. Just look at the video below:

PS: I personally played it for two days and lost interest.

Full Hospitalization Coverage For Lebanese Above 64

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hos Photo Credits: Al-Akhbar

Lebanon’s Public Health Minister Wael Abu Faour announced that he will implement soon a new plan to provide full medical coverage after retirement in an attempt to “bridge the gap between the state and citizens” and to make sure that no Lebanese is deprived of health care.

The first thing that comes to mind is how much will this plan cost, but the minister is saying the state will actually reduce its cost in other areas by implementing it. It’s one of those “too good to be true” plans that we never thought would be implemented in Lebanon but Abu Faour is quite confident about it.

Just to give you an idea about the hospitalization coverage plans in Lebanon, people who retire at age 64 are no longer allowed to apply to the NSSF (as far as I know) and are either covered by their family or have to get insured somewhere else.

The details of Abu Faour’s 100% medical coverage plan should be announced today at the parliament. I think it’s a good initiative and I hope it will be properly implemented.

Random Car Going The Wrong Way in Yesterday’s Hill Climb

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Jawad Slim Photo Credits: Biser3a

Lebanese Rally driver Jawad Slim almost got killed in yesterday’s hill climb when he almost crashed into a car going the wrong way. Slim was able to miss the incoming car and escaped unhurt but crashed his Mitsubishi in the process.

The question is: Where did that car come from and why wasn’t the stage secured properly? This accident could have easily been a fatal one.

Lebanese Charbel (Bilou) Diab Just Won The MMA World Championship (Super Heavyweights)

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Bilou

Lebanese MMA fighter Charbel Diab shocked the IMMAF Super-Heavyweight division last week when he clinched the Gold Medal in the 265lb+ bracket. Diab is the only Lebanese that got a medal out of the 2016 IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA.

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Not only did Diab win the title but he dominated his opponents and won the semi-final fight with a devastating KO punch at the first minute, while it took him less than 3 minutes to finish off former IMMAF Worlds Silver medalist Marcin Kalata.

We have a lot of young and promising MMA fighters in Lebanon and they are being trained and guided by the best. Congrats to Tristar Gym Lebanon and all those who helped achieve this amazing result!

Check out what IMMAF said about Charbel Diab’s win.

#PekingParis2016: Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha Made it To Paris!

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The Peking Paris 2016 race has finally come to an end and TeamLebanon has made it all the way to Paris! Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha drove their Porsche 356C across eleven different countries and ended the race with a gold medal and second in their category. This is a monumental achievement for the Lebanese Team as no one has ever finished the race with a 356C and maintaining their gold medal despite all the obstacles they faced is incredible!

IMG_1259 You have to be one heck of a driver to cover an impressive 13,695-kilometer in a 40 year old car. Charbel’s perseverance and focus were key to this achievement

IMG_1274 Our heroes would have never reached Paris without Walid’s all-nighters and meticulous work to keep the car running

I haven’t received pictures from Paris yet but the cars are there now. I will update you with new pictures as soon as I have them.

porsche Porsche Lebanon’s unconditional support helped Charbel & Walid enormously throughout the race, especially when they ran into mechanical trouble

italy San Martino di Castrozza welcoming the Lebanese team

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The Perfect Answer To This Tasteless Article On Lebanese Beach Resorts

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article

Almost every sentence in this [article] objectionable or vomit-inducing. I really hope they don’t pay people to write such crap. At first, I wanted to write a lengthy reply but then I found the perfect answer.

So here we go:

To the person who wrote that piece,
– If you truly believe all beach resorts are insanely expensive in Lebanon
– If you are bothered by the “string” and the hot girls in bikinis
– If you have a difficulty ignoring showoffs wou jame3it el “Big Champagne”
– If you have a problem with beach resorts that don’t allow kids
– If you don’t like listening to music or having a DJ entertain you on the beach.

Here’s what you need to do. It’s free of charge, the water is bubbly but there’s no champagne, there’s no music, no girls in bikini and the food if you find any is for free.

piscine

TIME Recalls The 2006 Lebanon War Through The Eyes of 18 Photographers

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patrick-baz-lebanon-israel-war Photo Credits: Patrick Baz

I was crossing the Mdayrej bridge three days ago when it hit me that it’s been 10 years now since that bridge was partially destroyed by Israeli warplanes. The 34-day long military conflict was tough on all the Lebanese, especially those who were living in the South. More than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians were killed, over 1 million were displaced, and our infrastructure was severely damaged.

On the 10th anniversary of the conflict, TIME asked 18 photographers to select and reflect on the images they took. I am sharing few excerpts from the article but I recommend you check out all the testimonies [here].

Kate Brooks

For the first time in my life, I truly understood what it was to be a civilian caught in conflict, because I was one. Being in Lebanon wasn’t like being in Afghanistan or Iraq. I had no psychological protection, no place of safety to look forward to returning after my assignment.

Each time my body would grow tense and I would cover my ears. I even removed the windowpanes on one side of my flat for fear the glass would shatter. There was often no electricity or fuel for generator power. I resorted to buying truck batteries to power my computer.

spencer-platt-israel-lebanon-war Photo by Spencer Platt: The opaque nature of reality in the Middle East is captured in the image. The beautiful subjects in the red Mini Cooper driving through a devastated neighborhood took offense at how they were depicted.

Kadir van Lohuizen

It was quite shocking to see how destructive this very short war was between Hezbollah and Israel. The village was first bombed, and then the Israeli army brought bulldozers to completely flatten it.

This was ten years ago. It is depressing how much the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated since then.

davide-monteleone-lebanon-israel-war Photo Credits: Davide Monteleone

Lebanese U18 National Basketball Team Defeats Algeria, Advances To The Arab Championship Final Game

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U18_1 Photo Credits: Sports-961

There’s still hope for Lebanese basketball. Our U18 National team defeated Algeria in the semi-finals and will play Egypt in the final game. This is the fourth consecutive win for the Lebanese team and I’m confident they can overcome Egypt and clinch the title.

In all cases, Lebanon is desperate for young and talented basketball players and a strong U18 team is exactly what we need. Good luck to Salim Alaa El Dine, Ibrahim Haddad, Karim Zeinoun, Karl Assi, Ali Mansour, Elie Jo Dany, Dany Khoury, Sami Ghandour, Marc Khoury, Adel Rizk, Naji Ozeir and Jad Lahib. Thumbs up to Joe Moujaess as well for leading the team to the finals! We can always count on Joe to bring out the best of our players.

Lebanese Stuck at Turkey’s Istanbul Airport, Lebanese Embassy Not Answering

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coup2

Update (16/7/2016 8PM): Minister Bassil urged Lebanese consulate and embassy in Turkey to do the necessary to help the Lebanese stuck there. Embassy got in touch with the passengers according to LBCI.

A group of Lebanese are stuck at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport since yesterday following the failed military coup that took place. One of the passengers is saying the Lebanese embassy in Turkey is not answering their calls and the airport staff closed down the restaurants and left them alone at night with other passengers. Turkish airlines should have resumed their flights by now but MEA announced it will resume its flights tomorrow.

The Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs should get in touch with these passengers instead of tweeting at them to use the hotline and get them back to Beirut ASAP. This is unacceptable!

Here’s a link to the original post.

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