IBDAA – 2017 International Biodiversity Day at AUB

IBDAA, or the International Biodiversity Day at AUB, is an annual poster forum organized by the Nature Conservation Center to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB).

This event provides an opportunity for AUB students to participate in a fully fledged poster forum in order to test their innovative abilities, attempt to address any issue pertaining to the conservation of nature and its development, create a representative poster, and present their work to a panel of experts. Projects can take the form of demonstrations, models, posters, and descriptions of research findings, which ultimately allows them to gather valuable feedback and expertise in the field of idea conception, development, and execution.

For the past 10 years, projects have tackled nature conservation and development from a variety of viewpoints and under various themes. As for this year, the NCC has chosen to make this year’s theme, “Sustainable Solutions to our Environmental Challenges​”, as a means to refocus on the ecological needs of the region.

AUB students who are interested in participating in this event can check IBDAA page on AUB website.

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Alex Demirdjian & The Lebanon Team Ranked First in Their Category at Monza

The Blancpain GT Series Endurance race took place today at Monza and Alex Demirdjian along with his Lebanon team (Abigail Eaton and Davide Rizzo) did a fantastic job aboard the Ferrari 488 GT3 and ranked first in the AM Cup category!! (You can check the results here)

It’s also a job very well done by DEMCO Properties who chose to race under the name of Lebanon with the slogan “Lebanon is Calling” and branded the team in red.

A friend of mine was at the circuit throughout the day and sent me the below photos which I thought of sharing here.

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#Undress522 – An Exhibition by Mireille Honein and ABAAD

Activists supported by ABAAD succeeded back in December to make the parliament agree on a draft law to abolish the controversial penal code article 522 that allow rapists to escape jail time by marrying their victims, and in an attempt to push the parliament to fully approve this law the cooperated with artist Mireille Honein to exhibit 31 paper dresses swaying between the palm trees in Ain El Mraysseh yesterday as a symbol of how unjust is the article 522 to rape victims.

The exhibition was designed in Paris by Honein who brought it to Beirut to support the NGO with the pressure it is exercising to have the legislation abolished.

People who passed by the exhibition were also invited to sign a petition demanding the parliament to prioritize the abolishing of the article, which we all hope to finally seeing it happening during the next legislative session on May 15.

Photo via AFP/Patrick Baz

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Beirut Just Got Its First Bike Lane

In a public post on Facebook, Jawad Sbeity the owner of Beirut by Bike shared some photos from Waygand street showing the setup of the first bike lane in Beirut.

It wasn’t clear where exactly does the lane start and where does it end, nor the streets that will cover or when will it be finalized, nevertheless it’s definitely some good to those who take their bikes around the downtown.

However, the only and most important concern remains whether driver will acknowledge this bike lane or not. Waygand street gets quite busy during the day with some shops there have valet parking service and most of the time you find cars parked on the right lane which narrows the road… so whether you like it or not drivers will have no option but to drive over that bike lane especially during rush hour. Still, neither Sbeity nor the municipality can be blamed for that, but rather the lack of urban planning that should have provisioned wider streets around Beirut.

Anyway, let’s see how long will this lane live on!

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Five Tourists Lip Synced Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You While Touring Lebanon

I just bumped into this video on YouTube showing five tourists who documented their journey around Lebanon in an unusual way. They compiled several segments of themselves lip syncing and dancing to the tunes of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You.

The best thing about the video is that it was shot using a smartphone with no pretentious acting or moves all while showing some nice places around the country, so not much energy was put into it but the resulting video was still pretty cool to watch.

Among the places that show are Raouche, Jbeil, Batroun, Saida Castle, Saida Old Souk, Harissa, and Baalbeck. I believe if this goes viral then it can easily become one of the best promotional videos for Lebanon!

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Bouza 3a Kousa and Other Weird Flavors at Fadi Fruits

Fadi is a quite popular fruit and vegetable store in Jnah that has been recently making rounds around social networks for the zucchini-flavored ice cream. The thing eventually went viral simply because “bouza 3a kousa” has been always regarded among the least appetizing things to try.

And it seems like he’s intending to continue with these weird flavors! Over the last few days he posted about spicy chocolate ice cream, and just today he added a new beetroot flavor!

Aside from ice cream, Fadi is well known by the way for the high quality vegetables (at a relatively high price) and the seasonal products that you can’t easily find in other stores.

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Lebanese Alex Demirdjian is Competing in a 3 Hours Endurance Race at Monza

As part of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Lebanese driver Alex Demirdjian (also CEO of Demco Steel) along with two other team mates is competing this weekend April 22nd and 23rd in the second round of the series, the TM Performance 3 Hours of Monza, which is an endurance race that will be held at Monza circuit in Italy.

A total of 53 teams will be participating and Alex will be competing aboard a Ferrari 488 GT3 with the “Lebanon is calling” slogan all over it.

A friend will be attending the event and promised to try to send me some photos and I will definitely be sharing them here if she did. In all cases, let’s all cross our fingers for Alex!

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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ Already Available at Amhaz

The new Galaxy S8 and S8+ are set to be released on April 21st in the U.S. and on April 28th around the rest of the world. However, Amhaz is as usual a step ahead of the official resellers in Lebanon and is currently offering the two phones at City Centre and Bir El Abed for a ridiculous $950 and $1150. Still, as in the case with any new smartphone the prices should decrease by the day.

On the other hand, the official prices for the S8 and S8+ are set by Samsung Lebanon to $799 and $899 respectively, and you can pre-order your device while benefiting from free bundles by placing an order on their website.

I personally briefly passed by Samsung’s Dbayeh showroom today and found the S8 to be absolutely gorgeous, and I’m now having a hard time resisting the urge to get one even though my current S7 is still running perfectly. Disregarding all the phone features and specs, the infinity display alone is guaranteed to make you fall if in love with the S8.

Price wise, I expect Amhaz and other stores to soon start selling at a price lower than Samsung’s once the S8 is officially released, but after the issue I enountered with my old S7 Edge, if I’m buying the S8 then I will certainly get it from an authorized retailer because the official warranty is definitely worth it.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 19th 2017

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The Heartbeat annual fundraiser concert is taking place this week and you can of course support them by attending their event.

  1. La Ferme en délire – Theatre
  2. Blooming April – زهّر نيسان Rural Lunch
  3. Les Marionnettes du Parc Brassens
  4. Create Your Professional Website with No Coding – Using Wix
  5. Heartbeat 2017 Fundraiser Concert: Zapping with the Stars
  6. Easter Islands at CityMall
  7. Kif Ken El 3acha – Theater Play
  8. Beirut Fashion Week 2017
  9. Hoppalissa – Samy Khayath new play
  10. Lebanese Payroll System

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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OGERO #UnleashTheSpeed – Test Results in Achrafieh

Today marked the third day in Ogero’s “Unleash the speed” tests for subscribers in Beirut, and among the exchange offices that were included today is the Achrafieh exchange office, so I passed by one of my friends there in the area to test the “unleashed” bandwidth myself!

I eventually used speedtest.net and picked a server in Lyon that I usually use to test my home connection. I performed numerous tests and was impressed by the download speed which was consistent at ~6.5Mbps (3 times the subscription original speed), however the ping latency varied from 90 milliseconds as shown above up to 300 milliseconds, it’s worth noting though that ping to local servers at Cyberia and Connect was consistently less than 50 milliseconds.

Assuming the subscription fees will remain unchanged or hopefully decrease, the speed upgrades are much welcome but the latency thing should definitely be reduced to provide a better experience for online gamers. Aside from that, the ultimate challenge for Ogero will of course be to cope with the increasing demand on bandwidth once they remove the speed caps for all subscribers. People are currently barely getting the speeds they are subscribed to, so increasing line speeds without having the necessary bandwidth to cater for the users is going to be pretty disappointing.

Anyway, I don’t want to be pessimistic about the upgrade plan, but let’s just keep our fingers crossed until it is all done.

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