Tag Archives | Lebanon

Nemr Abou Nassar Set To Appear on Showtime Comedy Club

Nemr Abou Nassar is set to appear on Showtime Comedy Club tomorrow night (US time) in a special called “No Bombing in Beirut”.

The one hour performance tackles misconceptions western people have about us here in the middle east and was shot in both Lebanon and Los Angeles, however it was edited in a way to show people from both ends of the world laughing at the same jokes to prove that we have more in common than we would think. It is an absolutely great achievement for Nemr to be featured on Showtime and it’s great to see talents like him and Wissam Kamal making it big outside Lebanon.

The shows will air on Showtime tomorrow October 7th at 11PM Eastern Time (GMT -4).

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Bid Farewell to Long Queues at The Mecanique Centers

No matter how smart you try to be about timing your car inspection visit to the mecanique center in Hadath, it is almost always guaranteed to be like a trip down to hell. I personally utterly hate to take a day off for the sole purpose of waiting endlessly in long queues to get that stupid task done. And I dare call it stupid because all cars end up driving on the Lebanese roads regardless whether they pass or fail.

However, a new service by “Blink My Car” (the app that made car washing a tap away) seems to have found a workaround for that as it currently offers sending one of their officers to have your car inspected.

I got in contact with them and was informed that the process takes an average of 3 hours and costs 50,000L.L (in addition to the 35,000L.L inspection fees). To benefit from it, all you have to do is to request an appointments through the app and provide the officer with the car registration license.

Once your car passes you will of course have to pay the mecanique fees which can be done at Naf3a, Banks, and some certified centers, but if you wish them to pay it on your behalf then you can pay an additional 25,000L.L and also have one of their officers pay it within 48 hours.

I believe this is pretty convenient for employees especially those with strict working hours, and the service fee is both fair and absolutely worth it.

For those who are not familiar with the app, the cool people at “Blink My Car” were kind enough to provide me with a free promo code for people to try their car wash service when I was inquiring them about the mecanique thing. All you have to do is download their app (for either iOS or Android) and enter the code “plus961free” to benefit from a free wash. There’s no limit set for the code so feel free to tell your friends as well!

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9 Lebanese Startups Among The Arab World’s Top 100

Forbes Middle East released its list of the top 100 startups in the Arab World and Lebanon earned 9 spots with Anghami coming 2nd in the overall ranking thanks to $29M in funding. UAE based startup Fetchr was ranked 1st with a funding of $52M.

Here’s a list of the Lebanese startups that were mentioned (Full list available here):

  • #2 Anghami – Music streaming platform
  • #23 Scriptr – IoT application platform
  • #25 Falafel Games –  Develops and publishes massively multiplayer online games
  • #31 Sqwirl Lab – Startup studio
  • #39 Energy24 – Alternative Energy storage and generator
  • #65 Blink My Car – Car care app
  • #72 Risk+ Solutions – Financial intelligence and risk management solutions
  • #77 Loop – Electric scooter sharing technology
  • #85 Myki – Cybersecurity

With the all the telecom infrastructure upgrades we are promised, I hope we get to see even more Lebanese projects and startups in the coming years.

On the other hand, a similar list was also compiled by Forbes for the top 100 Arab companies and 4 Lebanese banks made it to the list (Bank Audi, BLOM Bank, Byblos Bank, and Bank of Beirut).

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Banque Libano-Française New Mobile App Commercial

It’s not everyday that Lebanese banks make funny commercials. This one was made for Banque Libano-Française’s new Mobile app (MyBLF 2.0) and the actress portraying the client is absolutely hilarious!

Make sure to watch the video till the end.

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60 Years Old Fisherman From Tripoli Is The New Loto Billionaire

This is definitely not the first time someone claims the grand prize in Lebanese lottery and I bet we all feel some envy every time someone does. But in the case of this man, Ahmad Dandash, I guess that you can’t but feel delighted it went for someone who really deserves it.

The 60 years old fisherman seems to have been going through some difficult times and was unable to afford helping any of his kids get an apartment until he scored the loto. Feel free to call it fixed or arranged, but the video and the whole thing is heartwarming.

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“Bebalee” Is An Insult to Fayrouz’s Career

Fayrouz’s new album “Bebalee” has been out for three days, but unlike her previous albums, this one is yet to make any buzz be it online or on radio stations.

I did listen to the album and was unfortunately quite disappointed. Adaptation of foreign songs using silly lyrics is the worst you can expect from an icon like Fayrouz, and the only one to blame is definitely her daughter Reema Rahbani who seems to have produced this album to just prove to her brother Ziad that she can actually create something regardless the quality or the artistic value. “Elak aw eli aw mish la shi, mish la shi, wala ayy shi” is exactly what you would in Arabic call saff 7akeh.

Fayrouz did perform songs with light lyrics in the past (e.g. Kifak enta malla enta) but in my opinion she never delivered something as mediocre as Bebalee.

I really hope she makes it up in the near future by working again with her son Ziad.

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Mandatory IMEI Registration is Coming Back – Mobile Phones to Get More Expensive

I was at a mobile phone shop in Beirut yesterday when I heard some people claiming that the Ministry of Telecommunications is bringing back the mandatory registrations of mobile phones IMEI in a new attempt to fight smuggling of mobile devices. (*ahem* Amhaz…)

As soon as I came back home I searched a bit and found that the thing is unfortunately real as per the below report by MTV (thanks Techie Dad), and it is quite surprising that the ministry didn’t bother alert the subscribers yet about the new decision!

For those who don’t know, a similar decision was taken in 2013 by the telecommunications minister back then Nicolas Sehnaoui and was cancelled by Boutros Harb in 2014 due to how complicated the registration process was. However, unlike now, the ministry back then launched an awareness campaign to let people re-activate their old handsets in order to keep them from being banned on the network once the registration process is put into work.

The MTV report mentions the risks of duplicate IMEIs but the ultimate purpose for enforcing IMEI registration will definitely be fighting smuggling of mobile phones, all at the expense of making our lives harder with the registration process and of course increasing the mobile phone prices (since they will all be subject to import tax and VAT), instead of tightening the controls at the customs.

It isn’t clear yet though when this thing will be put into effect but this guy on Facebook claims it will be as of September 15th. Still, let’s cross our fingers and hope the ministry thinks it over!

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Wissam Kamal to Host “Ridiculousness Arabia” on Comedy Central

I’ve been following Wissam Kamal on YouTube since the early days of his channel and have always loved the series he does such as “Lebanese Father and Son” and “Lebanese Ads: F**k Logic”. The guy solely relies on conveying fun messages instead of clowning around to make us laugh at him like Lebanese TV comedians do, hence why I have always wished to see him running his own show.

Earlier this year he earned some exposure when he appeared with on a hilarious ad for Datsun, and Comedy Central Arabia recently seems to have given him what he deserves by getting him on-board season 2 of “Ridiculousness Arabia”, which makes him the first Lebanese comedian to host a show on this international channel.

The show features viral videos from the internet that are usually failed do-it-yourself attempts at stunts, to which the hosts add their own mock commentary. It will start airing on September 3rd on Comedy Central Arabia which is part of OSN in our region so make sure to tune in!

You can follow Wissam on both YouTube and Facebook for new videos and updates about his work. Also, check the below interview with him and his dad on Min El Ekhir 2 days ago.

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It’s 2017 and The General Security Just Started Accepting Debit/Credit Cards

Although the General Security is probably the only governmental institution that you feel is actually efficient with its smooth operations, but no one can deny that fee payment there can really be irritating sometimes.

You probably have been through it too, each time I renewed my passport I had to bring that exact renewal fees in Lebanese Lira in addition to -god knows why- a photocopy of the bills! And yes, carrying dollars instead is guaranteed to delay your application a bit until you go exchange the money… but it seems like those days are long gone.

I was on my way to work this morning when I noticed several billboards announcing that the General Security has just started accepting payment cards to settle application fees. I know it may sound silly to some but it’s definitely a life saver for others, especially those who do not have the luxury to spend an extended time to submit a simple application form.

And now that this governmental institution seems to have caught up with “modern” payment methods, let’s hope for others such as municipalities or Electricité du Liban (HA HA HA!) to follow suit and hopefully even offer online payments. It’s 2017 for god’s sake!!

P.S: I couldn’t find any online article about this new service except for this post on Blom Bank’s FB page announcing their partnership with the General Security to make it happen.

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Simit Sarayi is Opening in Lebanon

I was at the Spot Choueifat last night when I noticed that Simit Sarayi is set to soon open there on the ground floor. I’m sure those who have been to Istanbul are familiar with the place, but for those who are not, Simit Sarayi is basically a chain of coffee shops / bakeries best known for their simit (circular bread similar to bagels encrusted with sesame seeds).

Wherever you go around Istanbul you are guaranteed to stumble upon one of its branches, so it is more like a Turkish version of Starbucks. Their prices are a bit higher than other places and street simit vendors though, but from my experience the service and the pastries freshness were always well worth it.

The only other place in Beirut that serves simit is a Turkish restaurant in Hamra called Mado but they never serve them fresh, so I hope Simit Sarayi commit to better quality standards.

On a side note I’m personally finding it a bit weird for F&B companies to launch some of their brands from the Spot Choueifat. The mall doesn’t have an ideal location and driving to it is not really a pleasant experience especially at night. Still, IHOP opened last week and now Simit Sarayi is expected to do so anytime soon…

Update:

A friend told me they are also opening soon at Citymall Dora.

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