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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 27th 2016

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Yet another round of cool outing ideas from Lebtivity! We’re in for a long weekend so here my picks for you to inspire your plans.

  1. Spring Family Lunch Buffet & Easter Egg Hunt at Beit Wadih
  2. Escape Games Beirut – The new smart fun activity!
  3. Spring at the Roof Market – Citymall
  4. Cannes Coup de Coeur
  5. Easter at CityMall
  6. Nemr Abou Nassar New Stand up Comedy Show LIVE at BIEL
  7. Meen the Band Live at Publicity
  8. Jeane Manson en Concert au Casino du Liban
  9. SPRING Festival 2016 | Beirut
  10. Startup Grind Beirut hosts Majed Al Tamer (WSI)
  11. Arthur Satyan 4-day Jazz Master Class
  12. BIPOD 2016
  13. The Beirut International Jazz Day 2016

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

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Review – Beirut Fawq Al Shajara بيروت فوق الشجرة

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I recently watched “Beirut Fawq Al Shajara” written by Yehya Jaber and starring Ziad Itani, the same duo who brought us “Beirut Tarik Jdideh” a couple of years ago. And while the latter featured stories inspired from the day to day lives of people living in Tarik Jdideh, the new play focused on events that took place around other areas in Beirut. It might sound redundant at first, but trust me it isn’t. Ziad Itani delivered once again a solid performance without feeling fake on stage, and never failed to crack the audience up at the stories he was illustrating.

Beirut Fawk al Shajara follows the story of Fouad, a Beiruti influenced by his Turkish grandmother as a child, who manages to engage into relationships with many women of different nationalities as he ages while working as tailor. With each relationship we get introduced to some event that took place at a certain time in Beirut’s recent history in a humorous way.

What makes it all interesting is that despite the whole story being fictitious, the events Ziad Itani tells are all pretty accurate. So you’ll be laughing your heart our over the play duration but still learn a good deal from the recent history of the city. You are also guaranteed to be leaving the theater and for some reason humming “Oh lali 3ala Oh lala”!

All in all, and as a side note, I’m really satisfied about the plays Lebanese artists have performed over the last few years such as Venus, Ka3eb 3aleh, and Injazat 7ayat to name a few that do not speak to the audience in a dumb way the same way Lebanese movies and drama series mostly do.

Beirut Fawq Al Shajara is showing at Teatro Verdun (Dunes Center) on Mondays and Thursdays, with tickets selling for 35,000L.L. Needless to say, I highly recommend you go watch it!

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 20th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The annual heartbeat concert is happening this weekend and I highly recommend you book your ticket to help children suffering from heart diseases.

This year’s concert will feature 100 singers, dancers, musicians and comedians, performing live on stage, with decors, costumes, screen projections and lighting effects inspired from several countries. And if you’re unable to attend but still want to donate to heartbeat, you can do so through their website.

  1. The Moment (Sar wa2ta) with Milad Hadchiti
  2. Startups Success Stories: A Hands-on Experience from IE & Friends
  3. Stress Management workshop at Skillz
  4. Heartbeat Concert 2016
  5. Curro De Candela
  6. TEDxNDULouaize – Main Event 2016 – Unknown Variables
  7. The Voice Kids Tour 2016 in Lebanon
  8. The Happiness Program With The Art of Living Foundation
  9. Walk with Al Younbouh 2016
  10. The French Macaron – Cooking class with Lamina’s Kitchen
  11. Carina Live at Zico House
  12. Live Concert at l’appartement
  13. Braderie du Livre à la Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture a Zouk Mikael
  14. Rupture à Domicile – Comédie

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

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Lebanon Has The Highest Number of Billionaires Per Capita

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Forbes Middle East released their list of the world’s richest Arabs in 2016 headed by Prine AlWaleed Bin Talal (17.3 Billion) and 7 unsurprising names from Lebanese made it to the list this year.

12. Najib Mikati, 2.5 Billion
12. Taha Mikati, 2.5 Billion
15. Bahaa Hariri, 2.2 Billion
23. Robert Mouawad & family, 1.5 Billion
25. Saad Hariri, 1.4 Billion
31. Ayman Hariri, 1.2 Billion
32. Fahd Hariri, 1.2 Billion

With these figures, Lebanon turned out to be the country with highest number of billionaires per capita in the Arab world.

But for some reason I always have a hard time believing that these lists report the exact number of billionaires in Lebanon and the other countries simply because we lack transparency here in our region. The Mubarak family of Egypt for example never made it to any “Richest Arabs” list, and we only knew about their billions after they were overthrown.

In our case, we have politicians who have been active for more than 30 and 40 years now like Berri and Joumblat, and I highly doubt these two have not been able to make a couple billions throughout their long years of “serving” the nation.. so yeah there’s definitely more to add to that Forbes list.

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Kawalis Al-Madina – The Real Story Of Al-Madina Bank Scandal

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I’m not really a fan of Lebanese drama series, but I have lately found Kawalees Al-Madina which recently started airing from Wednesday to Saturday on Al-Jadeed TV quite interesting.

The series is written by Ghada Eid (presenter of Al-Fassad show), and even though the crew denies it but it is mostly based on the true story of Al-Madina Bank collapse between 2002 and 2003 which was mind boggling at that time. Other corruption stories of the kind that went public but never got settled down legally the proper way are mentioned as well, such as the drug ring that was uncovered among AUB students during the same period. I remember the media suddenly stopped talking about that ring because the son of some politician turned out to be involved in it.

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The reason I see Kawalis Al Madina so relevant right now is because several scandals were unveiled over the last few months from garbage, to illegal internet, and finally the manipulation of health care bills by corrupt ISF officers, but unfortunately they’re all on the way of being covered up without holding any of the key suspects accountable for their wrongdoings. The biggest proof about that being how incapable is the ongoing investigation about illegal internet in identifying the nature of a stupid fiber optic cable in Nahr El Kalb!

Disregard the lousy acting we always complain about in Lebanese series, but as long as we are unable to punish the corrupt people in authority, I think it is just fair to irritate them by exposing them on TV and let the public know about their sleazy jobs.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 13th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The 5th edition of Beirut International Platform of Dance is taking place this week and Souk El Akel lands is landing in Zouk Mikael!

  1. Rupture à Domicile – Comédie
  2. BIPOD 2016
  3. Celebrate Spring in Zouk Mikael with Souk El Akel
  4. AUB Job Fair 2016
  5. Avo Demirdjian live in Concert
  6. Beirut Corporate Games 2016
  7. Clue Club – Save the world
  8. Low calorie desserts workshop
  9. Kirtan, Calming Chants in a Chaotic World
  10. Stress Management workshop at Skillz
  11. “After School: What’s Up?” Fair

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

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Remembering the Lebanese Civil War Day by Day

Today marks the 41st anniversary of the Lebanese civil war which lasted 15 years from 1975 to 1990 resulting in 150,000 people killed and thousands of disappeared.

On this occasion I thought it would be good to share with you an interesting group on Facebook called “La guerre du Liban au jour le jour” where Georges Boustany and Kheireddine El-Ahdab share on a daily basis old videos, images, and news articles from war time to recollect both major and tiny events that happened during those 15 years.

I highly recommend you join the group not only to learn more about the Lebanese civil war but also because Georges and Kheireddine sometimes shares rare videos that were not shown in the released war documentaries so far. I once saw a video showing the neighborhood we used to live in during the 1980s, so you never know what’s in it for you!

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That’s One Weird Car Accident in Hamra!

I just stumbled upon these car accident images on Yasa’s Facebook page. It took place in Hamra a while ago today.

Knowing how jammed the area is during the day, someone must have certainly been driving like crazy because it takes great effort to get 7 cars involved in an accident at a small intersection there.

Hoping no one got hurt!

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Central Bank of Lebanon Prohibits Prepaid Cards

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If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Central Bank of Lebanon issued intermediary circular nb415 a couple of weeks ago requesting banks and financial institutions to stop issuing and offering prepaid cards to their customers.

This decision comes as a response to the recent international recommendations after the bombings that hit Europe, since it appeared that terrorists were using these anonymous prepaid cards to cover their identity when buying the needed materials to execute their crimes. The problem here is that some cards are sold off the shelf at bookstores and supermarkets as internet and gift cards with no need to supply any personal information, therefore anybody can use them to buy almost anything without leaving a trace of his identity. That’s why the European Commission is currently working to regulate the usage of prepaid cards and virtual currencies, and Lebanon is following their steps by simply banning dealing with these cards all together.

Needless to say, this is going to upset a lot of people who used to get things done with cards like BLOM’s Visa Mini or Bank of Beirut’s SKIP card without the need to have an account with the issuing bank. Some people still don’t trust the internet with their credit card info and resort to using these prepaid ones whenever they need to purchase stuff online, while others simply use them because they don’t have a bank account like students. And knowing how BDL is usually serious about its decisions, you currently have no option other than opening a bank account and then going through the usual procedure of applying to a credit/internet card that gets linked to your account and eventually traces back to you each time you use it online or at a POS terminal.

However, if your main concern is anonymity, then you can use a service like MaskMe which allows you to generate a virtual card number for the amount you need to spend online in order to use it with the web merchant. This way, your real credit card statement will show a payment to MaskMe, and the merchant will not be able to know your real identity.

This new measure might be necessary to stop the terrorists’ access to funds, but it totally sucks for people who opt for more practical solutions… and until regulators introduce some new control over these cards before offering them again, you will have to bond a little more with your preferred bank!

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This Guy Deserves A Trophy!

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Well played! 😀

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