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Lebanese faking Canadian Permanent Residency exposed!

And you wonder why the term Lebanese is not very appreciated in the Western world.

It is a shame (at least for me) to bring you this. Last week, a documentary appearing on Radio Canada’s show Enquête exposed the Lebanese faking their Canadian Permanent Residency to seek the Canadian Citizenship. Here is the documentary split into four parts for those who didn’t have the chance to see it:

Part 1:
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Part 2:
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Part 3:
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Part 4:
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First artificial heart implant in Lebanon performed by AUB doctors

An American University of Beirut (AUB) medical team successfully performed the first “artificial heart” implant in Lebanon, thus saving the life of a 37-year-old man suffering from terminal heart failure, the AUB said in a statement issued on Thursday.

It said the six-hour operation led by two AUB doctors took place at the American University of Beirut Medical Center Aug. 28. AUB deemed the operation “successful” as the patient survived the first critical 72 hours, showing improvements in all his vital signs.

The “artificial heart” implant operation involves the insertion of a device called a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) that takes over the functions of the left ventricle of the heart, the dominant chamber which is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood via the aorta to the rest of the body. The LVAD used in this surgery is called Heartmate II. It is manufactured by the U.S. medical technology company, Thoratec.

The two AUB doctors, Dr. Pierre Sfeir and Dr. Hadi Skouri, were assisted by a multidisciplinary medical team, including the leading expert on LVAD operations, Dr. Latif Arusoglu, a German surgeon, as well as a clinical specialist, both dispatched by Thoratec.

Lebanon's first artifical heart implant performed at AUB - Naharnet

Lebanon's first artifical heart implant performed at AUB - Naharnet

Lebanese kibbeh enters the 2009 Guinness Book

On Saturday August 29th, the Lebanese village of Ehden entered the Guinness World Book of Records for cooking the world’s largest plate of Kibbeh, which is a traditional dish for which Ehden is famous. Kibbeh is a Levantine Arab/Assyrian dish made of burghul and chopped meat.

Twenty five women participated in cooking the Kibbe plate, which had an area of 20 square meters and weighed 233 kilograms. They used 120 kilos of mince, 80 litres of olive oil, 80 kilos of cracked wheat, five kilos of salt and a mere kilo of pepper. The event was attended by the Guinness records’ regional representative, Talal Omar, who presented the certificate to Rima Franjieh, the head of the Maydan Institute which organized the festival.

Lebanese Kibbeh in Guinness Book - Joseph Barrak

Lebanese Kibbeh in Guinness Book - Joseph Barrak

Lebanese association Tollab in Montreal to break 2009 Dabke record in Guinness Book on June 20th 2009

Update (June 21st 2009): The Lebanese broke the record!!! The new Guinness Book Record is 4475! Congrats.


Take part in making history! Come help Tollab - the Lebanese students’ federation in Montreal - in one of the biggest record breaking events of 2009!

It is within the framework of the annual Lebanese festival in Montreal (held on June 19th, 20th and 21st 2009) that Tollab, in collaboration with MAESTRO travel, aims at setting up a new record for the longest dabke chain ever assembled; an accomplishment that will enter the famous Guinness book of records after being approved by its official representative.

The Federation’s goal is to gather 3500 people at the Marcelin-Wilson Park on the 20th of June, and invite them to dance the Dabke for at least 5 minutes. This event will provide Montreal an international exposure that will highlight its multicultural face, hence uniting all Lebanese and Montrealers of all colors, religions, names or cultures.

The event will take place at 7:30 pm on June 20th 2009 at the Marcelin-Wilson Park, which is located on 11301 boul. de l`Acadie in Montreal, Quebec.

If you would like to participate, there’s no registration beforehand, so you only need to show up for the event.
For more information, you can visit the event’s official facebook page here, or contact Tollab at communication@tollab.ca.

Tollab's 2009 Dabke record in Guinness Book flyer

Tollab's 2009 Dabke record in Guinness Book flyer

Canada’s first same-day breast cancer diagnosis

Canada’s biggest cancer hospital announced that it expanded a clinic that can offer what no other hospital in this country can: same-day breast cancer diagnosis. The rapid diagnostic breast clinic at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital will be able to provide a patient a diagnosis in a matter of hours instead of the more typical five-week wait.

Patients also receive an immediate treatment plan based on their diagnosis, which explains their treatment options: surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Women in Canada typically wait weeks for a diagnosis after finding a suspicious lump in their breast. But at Princess Margaret, almost 500 patients have quietly been undergoing rapid testing at the clinic as part of a pilot project that began in the fall of 2006.

More about this in the video below by CTV:

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Bixi Montreal: Canada’s first public bike system

I’ve been seeing this everywhere in downtown Montreal, so I thought of posting something about it. Bixi is Montreal’s public bicycle sharing system. The $15-million Bixi program was officially launched last Tuesday at city hall, where Mayor Gérald Tremblay took the first ride. It’s the first of its kind to be launched in Canada.

Bixi is a portmanteau word of bicycle and taxi created by Michel Gourdeau. It was conceived and fabricated in Montreal. 3,000 bikes are available for short-term rental from the 300 stations located in Montreal’s downtown core. The bikes, which cost $2,000 apiece, are made of aluminum and are theft-proof, according to their designers. The bikes are very innovative. They contain a GPS chip, and if rented and not returned, they will slow down, and the brakes will lock automatically.

The stations are installed progressively in the spring, starting at the beginning of May, depending on weather conditions. Stations are kept in service until the end of November before being removed from the streets during harsh winter months. Cyclists can subscribe to the service at a cost of $78 for a year, $28 for a month or $5 for a day. The first 30 minutes of each rental are free.

More on the Bixi program in the video below by CTV:

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Lebanese DJs Gunther & Stamina to play in Montreal club Karma on May 29th 2009

This post is an exclusive scoop.

If you’re Lebanese and a raver, then you have definitely heard of Gunther & Stamina. They are two brilliant Lebanese DJs who are famous for their long sets (sometimes up to eight hours) every Saturday at b018, Beirut, Lebanon where they hold a residency every week Thursday, Friday & Saturday as main act. And guess what? They are coming to Montreal on May 29th 2009 to play in club Karma!

Gunther teamed up with Stamina (Elias Merheb) in 2005, and since then they became well known in the Lebanese rave scene. Their long sets are blended with the latest underground music from ambient minimal to deep House, progressive, tribal, tech-house and techno. They hold as well a week-end star residency on MixFM, the official number one station in the middle-east, every Friday from 20:00 till 21:00 (Underground sessions is the name of the show).

Update (May 29th 2009): Quoting unconfirmed sources, the Canadian visa was given late to Gunther & Stamina and the show has been postponed to a later notice.

Contact Address of Karma Club:
4467 boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montréal, QC H2W 1Z8, Canada
(514) 658-5761

Gunther & Stamina - taken from their facebook page

Gunther & Stamina - taken from their facebook page

Watch live online the newly re-opened MTV Lebanon (Murr Television)

If you are a Lebanese expatriate and wish to watch MTV Lebanon channel live, you can now do that on my website at www.rabihdagher.com/iptv .

MTV Lebanon (Murr Television) logo

MTV Lebanon (Murr Television) logo

GM and Segway unveil Project PUMA, the urban scooter

Even though bankruptcy for GM (General Motors) is inevitable, its R&D department teamed up with Segway (the company behind the two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle) to roll out an electric two-wheel, two-seat prototype vehicle in New York on Tuesday. Built for use in congested urban environments, Project P.U.M.A. (for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), as the vehicle is called, combines several technologies demonstrated by GM and Segway. Such technologies include dynamic stabilization, electric propulsion, smart battery management, advanced sensing, and many more.

The vehicle is built to carry two seated passengers at speeds of up to 56 km/h. Its 3-hour electric charge would cost about 0.45$, and it can travel over 50 km on a single charge. Energy consumption is estimated to be roughly equivalent to 200 MPG. Pricing wasn’t announced, but Larry Burns, GM’s VP of R&D and strategic planning, said in a statement that it would cost “one-fourth to one-third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today’s automobile”. GM said it hopes to have the vehicle in production by 2012.

You can visit its official page at the Segway PUMA website.
More details about this in the video below by Pat Foran from CTV:

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Canadian embassy in Lebanon now accepts immigration applications

Good news for the Lebanese wishing to apply for immigration in Canada. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced a couple of days ago that as of March 31st 2009, Lebanese nationals applying to immigrate to Canada may select the visa office in Beirut, Lebanon, as their main point of service.

The prelude of these enhanced services started with last year’s announcement which gave immigration applicants from Lebanon the option to have their interviews conducted in Lebanon rather than Syria. But now, applicants have the choice submit their applications to the Canadian embassy in Beirut, and have their files processed there.

But, Federal Skilled Worker applicants will need to submit their application elsewhere – to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia, which is the process for all applicants in this class. Canadian citizens and permanent residents sponsoring their family will continue to send their applications to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. On their application form, they will be able to select the office in Beirut as their primary point of service.

Check the press release on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
For a list of FAQ on these enhanced services at Beirut visa office, Click Here.
Visit the embassy website at www.international.gc.ca/missions/lebanon-liban .

Contact Address of the Canadian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon:
First Floor, Coolrite Building, 43 Jal El Dib Highway
P.O. Box 60163
Jal El Dib, Lebanon
Tel.: (011 961 4) 71 39 00
Fax: (011 961 4) 71 05 95 or (011 961 4) 71 05 93
Email: berut@international.gc.ca

Lebanese waiting in front of Canadian embassy - Associated Press

Lebanese waiting in front of Canadian embassy - Associated Press

Earth Hour 2009 is today! Save yourself by saving the earth

For those of you who do not know, earth hour is scheduled for today from 8:30 pm till 9:30 pm local time. Earth Hour is an international event organized by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), and held on the last Saturday of March each year, which asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness. Even Google’s homepage went “dark” on the day Earth Hour took place.

The last couple of years, the trend has been going towards this “green” campaign and climate change. Companies embrace green technologies, and ads target people urging them to save the earth. But this raises a very important question in my mind: “Is it really the earth that we are saving? or are we saving ourselves?”

Earth will still be here, maybe having a different living environment that is not suitable for us as human beings, but it is us who will disappear! I believe all these ads about saving earth should be modified, to reflect the fact that we are saving ourselves! Maybe this would lead to a higher awareness in the consciousness of people. As for me, I am doing my part in this global campaign, as should each one of you.

Vote Earth 2009- Earth Hour by WWF

Vote Earth 2009- Earth Hour by WWF

India’s Tata Motors launches Nano, the world’s cheapest car

When new products hit the marketplace, they’re often billed as bigger and better. But in auto showrooms in India yesterday, a different idea with a very small price tag was unveiled. It’s called the Nano, the world’s cheapest car (priced at around 2,500$), and it’s about to go on the market in a country where an automobile is often considered an out-of-reach luxury. Here are some specifications of the Nano: no air conditioning, no air bags, no power steering, and top speed at around 70 km/h.

More about this car in the video below by CTV News correspondent Tom Kennedy:

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A review and comparison of tax software

It’s the time of the year to do the income taxes, so if you’re ready to start tackling yours, there’s a number of software tools out there. In the video below, Pat Foran from CTV walks you through some of them that range from free to priced ones, desktop to web-based:

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Pay what you want at Montreal’s restaurant Taverne Crescent

Hit by the downturn of the economy and a deep slide in American tourists, Montreal’s restaurant Taverne Crescent, located on Crescent street in the downtown area, is trying a new strategy to bring back customers: pay what you want.

So yesterday, lunch-hour customers were given the choice of an appetizer, plus either tagliatelle bolognese, salmon or braised beef, and coffee or tea, for whatever they wanted to pay. For a dollar even. Or nothing. George Pappas, the owner of the restaurant, says there is no catch for the ‘pay what you want’ deal. The restaurant is just trying to bring the ‘joie de vive’ back to the city. The deal is from Monday to Friday between 11 am and 3 pm.

This move follows a similar one this month by the London restaurant The Little Bay, and two years ago by the American restaurants One World Café in Salt Lake City and SAME (So All Might Eat) Café in Denver.

More about this in the interview below by CTV with George Pappas, the owner of Taverne Crescent. You can also visit the restaurant’s website at www.TaverneCrescent.com :

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Vibrosphere: a good workout in half the time

The Swedish company ProMedVi is introducing a new gadget called Vibrosphere for those eager to lose weight in half the time. The gadget combines two recognized methods of training: balance and vibration training.

According to the company, the tactile stimulation under the feet in combination with the element of balance can lead to a rapid improvement in proprioception and consequently balance. The vibrations also increase activity in the neuromuscular system through involuntary muscle contractions which contribute to an improved musculature performance and interplay between the muscles and the nerves.

Check out the video below from CTV for more information:

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Huge price discrepancy of healthy food between and within Canadian cities

In its annual report on Canadian Health, the Heart and Stroke foundation found that there is a huge difference of prices for healthy food between cities, and within cities as well. The report looked at 66 communities across Canada between Oct. 15 and Oct. 25, 2008. An example of such difference is the following: one kilogram of lean ground beef was $13.21 in Ottawa, but only $4.14 in Barrie, Ont. In contrast, there was little variation in the cost of snack foods such as cookies, potato chips and pop that should be consumed in moderation.

In addition to that, healthier foods were found to be more expensive. For instance, margarine with trans fats cost on average $2.79 compared with $3.29 for trans-fat-free margarine. A survey accompanying the report suggested that 47% of Canadians reported occasionally going without fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products, whole grain products, meat or fish because of high cost. Healthy eating is a key factor in preventing heart disease.

Watch the following interview by CBC with Stephen Samis, director of health policy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation:

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UltraShape: lose the extra fat without surgery

When I first heard of this a couple of months ago, I did not pay much attention to it since it was brand new and not much testing has been done on it. But now, it is hitting the markets, and a lot of people are willing to pay a few thousand bucks for it.

The Israeli company UltraShape has just introduced a new fat-busting technology that uses ultrasound to target fat cells and literally make them explode. The procedure does not involve surgery, and costs around a thousand dollars a session. Each session takes nearly an inch of fat.

It is mostly intended for the extra fat (that people cannot remove with regular exercise), and not to remove large quantities of fat. It does not work on cellulite, but the company said they are working on it. It is now available in Canada, but is waiting for the FDA approval in the States.

More information in the video below from CNBC:

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Porn industry seeks federal bailout

My first say was “Are you f*** kidding me?”

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis have recently asked the congress for a $5 billion bailout for the adult industry. Francis said in a statement that “the US Government should actively support the adult industry’s survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people.” They claim people are too depressed to have sex.

As it seems anybody now can ask for a bailout during this hard time. But I think I have a quicker and more viable solution for Larry and the industry: seek volunteers! I am sure thousands of volunteers would immediately offer their help “just for the sake of this industry”. If you were a guy, wouldn’t you want to be part of a Jenna Jameson movie?

Read the story at the CNN Political Ticker Blog.

Larry Flynt asking for a bailout

Larry Flynt asking for a bailout