Beirut-Montreal Direct Flights Might Soon Become a Reality

According to a recent article, Air Canada seems to be currently focused on making direct flights possible between Montreal and Beirut.

“We started the regulatory process in 2003,” Rovinescu said. However, geopolitical events intervened, and the carrier itself did not have the right equipment to make the route viable. “We are now at the stage where it looks like we can put the pin in it,” he said.

Part of the challenge of operating the route is ensuring right-level security screenings in Beirut, Rovinescu added. Air Canada is working with its Star Alliance partner Lufthansa, which operates in Beirut, to learn how to address these concerns. Source

With more than 200,000 Lebanese now residing in Canada (as per Wikipedia), such direct route is much needed to help them avoid the tiresome layovers in the European or Gulf cities. And attributing the ban on Beirut Airport to security issues is in my opinion invalid since many airlines operate direct flights to European airports that have some pretty high security standards.

Back in 2012 there was some talks about bringing back direct flights between Lebanon and the United States but it never led to something serious, so let’s hope the efforts Air Canada is currently putting to make Beirut-Montreal route possible do not end the same way.

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Here’s What Helps Keeping Me Hydrated in Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, it’s important to stay hydrated in order to keep yourself energized during the day. But with the long fasting hours nowadays and with the sun setting around 8PM, it becomes challenging to consume the right amount of water before you go to sleep especially if you’re like me and hate the taste of water. I have no problem drinking a big bottle of juice in a single sitting but I just hate the raw taste of water.

To overcome that, I sometimes add mint leaves and lemon slices to a bottle of water to boost my water intake after Iftar, but on other lazy days I just resort to these Bolero sachets for a sugar free and low calorie drink. They come in more than 20 flavors but my personal favorite are the mango, lemon, and ice tea. You just dissolve them in 1.5L of water and you’re good to go.

I personally rarely wake up for Suhour so from the time I finish my Iftar until I sleep at around 12AM I have little time to drink a relatively big amount of water, but Bolero seriously makes it so easy and I highly recommend it if you too have the same problem as I do.

Some other brands like Darine have similar sugar free sachets by the way, but I’m just used to Bolero simply because they were in the market first.

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Old Footage From The Opening of The Beirut-Tripoli Railway in 1942

I’m pretty sure we will never witness something similar to this during our lifetime.

This video I just found on YouTube shows old footage from the opening of the Beirut-Tripoli railway line on December 20th 1942 which was at that time the last link in the Cairo-London line, and you can see the Lebanese president back then Alfred Naccache present at the event (at the 1m56s mark).

This railway was by the way also connected at that time to Haifa in Palestine, but following the Israeli occupation in 1948 and civil war that erupted in Lebanon in 1975, it almost all disappeared except for a small portion that is currently still operational nowadays between Nahariya and Haifa in northern Occupied Palestine. (Source)

As you watch the video you can easily identify Naher El Kaleb at the beginning and probably Jbeil at the 1m10s mark, but it gets difficult (at least for me) to identify the areas that later show.

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Ogero New DSL Prices Finally Approved

Remember the new DSL prices that were proposed by Ogero earlier in May? They were finally approved by the cabinet yesterday with a slight modification and should be effective in a couple of weeks once the decree is published in the Official Gazette.

As I mentioned before, people who will benefit the most are those who live near any of Ogero’s exchange offices since their phone lines can handle better speeds. Others will unfortunately have to wait up to two year until the phone network is upgraded.

As for the minority who is blessed with connectivity using fiber optic cables, the below rates apply.

The above prices are of course only applicable to Ogero subscribers, so we should soon expect other ISPs to announce new competitive packages.

Finally, with respect to mobile data bundles, telecom minister Jarrah also announced that E1 prices will be reduced as well which only makes it logical for 3G and 4G data plan prices to decrease as well, so let’s cross our fingers!

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – June 7th 2017

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The Cabriolet Film Festival is taking place this week on Saint Nicolas Stairs and I’m keen on attending at least one of the festival’s three nights.

  1. Le Théâtre Des Ombres
  2. Cabriolet Film Festival – Beirut – 9th Edition
  3. Ramadan Iftar at The Smallville Hotel
  4. BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2017
  5. Comedy Night Show: ON THE ROAD
  6. Tombé du ciel / Heaven sent by Wissam Charraf
  7. TEDxNDULouaize 2017 – Alchemy of Change
  8. Strawberry Full Moon Night Hike by Wolves Clan
  9. Cherry Day at Hammana – Karaz Hammana
  10. Stone L’oeil – Art Exhibition

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

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Stunning Video of The Milky Way Rising Over Akoura

I absolutely love the astronomy photography and time lapse videos Moophz shares online from around Lebanon!

His most recent work is a time lapse video of the milky way rising horizontally above Jerd Al Akoura in North Lebanon. I just watched it in Full HD on my laptop and it’s just stunning, so make sure to watch it in high resolution on whatever device you’re using.

You can see more of these eye candies he takes around Lebanon and abroad on his website and Facebook page.

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Ramadan Special – Things to Do This Week in Lebanon

Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. I know many of you search during Ramadan for a nice restaurant to gather with your friends and family over Iftar, so here’s a list of my favorite Iftar/Souhour places.

  1. Ramadan Iftar at The Smallville Hotel
  2. Daily Iftar Buffet at Le Bristol Hotel Beirut
  3. Tripoli Tour & Iftar by Vamos Todos
  4. Ramadan Iftar Gatherings at Bou Melhem
  5. Traditional Iftar at Indigo on the Roof
  6. Ramadan Iftar at Massabki Chtaura
  7. Daily Shour & Iftar at Boulevard Beirut
  8. Les Tziganes Special Ramadan
  9. Ramadan Iftar at Ladurée Villa Zein
  10. Ramadan Iftar at Raouche Arjaan by Rotana

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

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How Do Boycott Campaigns Work in Lebanon?

I remember at least two artists who were subject to online and offline boycott campaigns in Lebanon over the past few years due to their alleged support to Israel, Gad Elmaleh in 2009 and Lara Fabian in 2012. Gad Elmaleh was accused of serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (which wasn’t true) while Lara Fabian faced so much criticism for performing at an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel, and civil society groups of course tried to keep the two artists from performing in Lebanon.

Fast forward to the present, Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot is scheduled to start showing across Lebanese theaters on June 1st. However, Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress and model who first appeared as Wonder Woman in Batman VS Superman last year and her upcoming movie posters have been surprisingly all around the country for a while now! That’s not just any actress supporting Israel, that’s an Israeli actress who served as a combat trainer in the Israeli Defense Forces with her posters all around Lebanon.

I’m not writing this to call for the movie boycott. I personally love superhero movies and will definitely be watching Wonder woman. However, I’ve yet to hear about any call against screening it and in this case one can’t but wonder how do civil society activists choose which artists/projects to boycott or let pass. At one point you start doubting their campaigns could be sometimes fueled by business competition… International artists are all exposed to have a connection with Israel at some point during their career, which makes it easy for anyone to criticize them for the sole purpose of provoking those who are investing their money into getting such artists to perform in Lebanon.

Anyway, the movie is showing in two days so let’s see if any cyber activists will try to take a stance against it!

Update:

I just learned the Ministry of Economy and Trade demanded the General Security to withdraw the movie from Lebanese theaters. However, the questions I raised above still stand.

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Tyeb El Eid – Everybody Deserves to Dress Well for Eid

Tyeb El Eid is an initiative by Cherine Kabbani aiming to provide those in need with free decent clothes this coming Eid.

The whole thing started earlier this month when Cherine wanted to donate some of her old items to those who cannot afford new clothing on Eid El Fitr and asked her friends on Facebook to do the same. However, soon afterward she was overwhelmed with the stuff that people were willing to donate, so she thought of renting a place where people can drop off their unneeded items and make them available to those in need.

The project of course needed some funding, and with the help of a non-profit organization called “Wafa” Cherine was able to rent a small shop in Bourj Abou Haidar (Beirut) where she receives a lot of items everyday and even got a batch from PM Saad Hariri.

Cherine’s store is already operating now and the stories she is sharing on Facebook about the people picking their new clothes from the place are so heartwarming.

Those who would like to contribute to Tyeb El Eid initiative can either check the Facebook Page for directions or get in touch directly with Cherine on 70 964 595 to arrange for a driver to pick up their donations.

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Ramadan Kareem

Do you remember this old Kassatly Chtaura Jellab ad from the 80s and 90s? It has been 30 years since it was first aired on TV and I guess nothing signals the time for Ramadan nowadays like this ad tune does every year on Lebanese TV stations (though it has now evolved a bit of course).

Anyway I wish all a blessed Ramadan!

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