Archive | Lebanon

Lebanon Ranks 99th in World Press Freedom Index – 2nd Among Arab Countries

Reporters without borders issued their yearly World Press Freedom Index and Lebanon came in the 99th place among 180 countries (dropping 1 spot since last year) and in the 2nd place among the Arab countries behind Tunsia.

Here’s what they had to say about the state of press in Lebanon:

Lebanon’s media are outspoken but also extremely politicized and polarized. Its newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels serve as the mouthpieces of political parties or businessmen. Lebanon’s criminal code regards defamation and the dissemination of false information as offenses. Journalists who are prosecuted and convicted by a “print media court” are usually fined, but a prison sentence is still legally possible. Bloggers and online journalists may receive summonses from the “bureau for combatting cyber-crimes” if something they have posted on a social network elicits a complaint from a private party.

Morevoer, below is a list of some Arab countries compared to us:

97 – Tunisia
99 – Lebanon
104 – Kuwait
119 – UAE
123 – Qatar
126 – Oman
138 – Jordan
158 – Iraq
161 – Egypt
164 – Bahrain
165 – Iran
166 – Yemen
168 – Saudi Arabia
177 – Syria

The country with the freest media turned to be Norway, followed by Sweden, Finland and Denmark, while North Korea came at the bottom of the ranking.

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Lebanon is Calling – DEMCO Properties Ad on CNN is Spot On!

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Following the election of a new president in Lebanon after 2 and half years of vacuum, the general mood among the politicians and people alike has been turning positive with hopes of a stable and flourishing future ahead, and this beautiful ad by DEMCO Properties that was showing every 30 minutes on CNN during their coverage of the presidential elections really nails it at restoring the Lebanese expats’ faith in their country.

The ad shows some accomplished Lebanese businessman in NYC getting an emotional call from his homeland (literally) to tell him that Lebanon is back again on his feet and needs his support to accomplish more and eventually secure a stable future.

Needless to say, the ad encourages Lebanese expats to never lose faith in their country and contribute in its recovery by investing more in it, however the most important message this is conveying is to remain positive (who would have guessed 1 month ago that we will elect a president on October 31st?!), I mean even if some expats don’t have some spare money to invest in Lebanon, watching this ad is enough to give them a warm feeling and an extra push to achieve more!

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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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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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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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Australian 60 Minutes Show Crew Arrested for Documenting Children Abduction in Beirut

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News outlets reported yesterday morning that two kids were kidnapped in Hadath by gunmen while waiting for the school bus with their grandmother. As hours went by, the police claimed that their Australian mother was behind the whole thing since she was separated from the father and the two were apparently fighting over the custody of the kids.

Such affairs are not unusual in Lebanon and they sometimes get eventually settled between the parents at a police station, but I was quite surprised this morning to read that it wasn’t really that simple as it turned out the mother planned the abduction in coordination with some private child recovery agency from Australia that helps recover parentally abducted children, and wanted to get them out of Lebanon through the sea to Cyrprus. And it doesn’t end here, she even got the Australian 60 Minutes show involved to film the whole operation as it happens.

The Lebanese police however uncovered the whole thing and ended up arresting the abductors and 60 Minutes crew including presenter Tara Brown (the Australian media is currently buzzing about it by the way) while the mother managed to escape to the Australian embassy along with her children.

I’m not sure how legal this children recovery thing and if journalists are even allowed to document such operations, but it definitely sounds baffling! Let’s see how things will unfold for those in custody right now.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 6th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The annual “Museums Night” event is taking place this Friday which allows you to access 11 museums around Lebanon for free, some of the participating museums have some really interesting stuff to see and know about so this event is definitely not to be missed.

  1. The Social Media & Internet Workshop for Moms
  2. Easter at CityMall
  3. Lebanon Career Expo 2016
  4. HORECA 2016
  5. MEGA 2016 – MENA Games Conference
  6. Jardin d’amour: Performance Theatrale
  7. Nuit des Musées 2016 – Museums Night 2016 – Lebanon
  8. Discover Monot-Huvelin Car Free Day – By Achrafieh 2020
  9. Bankmed YOUTH RACE
  10. TECHNIC Career Expo 2016 – Part of Lebanon Career Expo
  11. Ecrans du Réel – 12ème édition
  12. Anna Mattar’s Jazz Quartet at Onomatopoeia
  13. Saving the Beauty of the World – Art Exhibition
  14. George Nehme @ Junkyard Beirut

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

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