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Tag: Lebanon

CBC investigation on who killed Rafic Hariri

CBC has just released today the 21st of November a months-long CBC investigation on Rafic Hariri entitled “Who Killed Rafic Hariri?”. The investigation, relying on interviews with multiple sources from inside the UN inquiry and some of the commission’s own records, found examples of timidity, bureaucratic inertia and incompetence bordering on gross negligence.

Among other things, CBC News has learned that:

  • Evidence gathered by Lebanese police and, much later, the UN, points overwhelmingly to the fact that the assassins were from Hezbollah, the militant Party of God that is largely sponsored by Syria and Iran. CBC News has obtained cellphone and other telecommunications evidence that is at the core of the case.
  • UN investigators came to believe their inquiry was penetrated early by Hezbollah and that that the commission’s lax security likely led to the murder of a young, dedicated Lebanese policeman who had largely cracked the case on his own and was co-operating with the international inquiry.
  • UN commission insiders also suspected Hariri’s own chief of protocol at the time, a man who now heads Lebanon’s intelligence service, of colluding with Hezbollah. But those suspicions, laid out in an extensive internal memo, were not pursued, basically for diplomatic reasons.

Read the full report of four parts on the CBC website here

(Click on the image below to enlarge)

Phone network involved in Hariri assasination - CBC

Phone network involved in Hariri assasination - CBC

Lebanese Red Cross creates world’s largest handprint painting on October 31st 2010

The series of record-breaking events continues in Lebanon with a new record set by the Lebanese Red Cross association. A 4,600-square-meter painted canvas was assembled at the Cite Sportive stadium in Beirut Sunday, breaking the Guinness world record for the largest handprint painting.

The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) broke the record by creating the Red Cross emblem using handprints collected from various Lebanese regions. The former holder of the world’s largest handprint painting was China, with a 3,715.86-square-meter canvas encouraging youths to combat drugs.

World's Largest Handpring Painting by Lebanon - AP/Lebanese Red Cross

World's Largest Handpring Painting by Lebanon - AP/Lebanese Red Cross

Largest wine glass Guiness record by Lebanon on October 30th 2010

Organizers of a wine festival in Beirut poured around one hundred bottles of Lebanese wine into the giant glass, 2.4 meters high and 1.65 meters wide.

Lebanon managed to steal the 12 year-old record from Portugal and was officially confirmed by Guinness World Records adjudicator Liz Smith.

Organizers said winemakers from across the country had contributed their produce as part of a campaign to promote Lebanese wine — half of which they said is exported.

The wine glass may be a useful accompaniment for Lebanon’s other forays into culinary extremes. In recent years it has claimed the world’s biggest servings of kibbeh and tabbouleh, traditional meat and salad dishes, largest falafel and the biggest bowl of hummus.

Largest Wine Glass in Lebanon - Reuters

Largest Wine Glass in Lebanon - Reuters

Lebanon sets the world’s largest flag on October 10th 2010

Lebanon has revealed on October 10th 2010 the world’s largest national flag at the Lebanese Air Force Base in Rayak, to commemorate the Lebanese Army’s 65th anniversary.

The flag, which measures an amazing 65,650 square meters, beats previous record-holders Morocco , which only measured in at a minuscule 60,000 square meters. The area of the cedar at the centre of the flag measures in at 10,452 square metres, a reference to the country’s total area of 10,452 square kilometres.

The flag, which measures 325 metres in length and 202 metres wide, was made in Kuwait under the supervision of Lebanese entrepreneur Ashraf Makarem. Guinness World Records confirmed that the flag is indeed the world’s largest, with regional official Talal Omar on hand to present Makarem with his record-breaking certificate.

World's Largest Flag by Lebanon - EPA

World's Largest Flag by Lebanon - EPA

Beirut Farmers’ Market to help local produce

Those working off the land in Lebanon face stiff competition for international trade, as they do not benefit from subsidies like many farmers abroad. But as Katy Watson from BBC reports, one man has now set up Beirut’s first farmers’ market to help local producers reap rewards closer to home.

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Lebanese crafts struggle to survive against cheaper Chinese imports

Lebanon has a reputation for cultivating local crafts, from metalwork to woodwork and many are still making a living from their traditional skills. But faced with cheaper imports from China and India it is getting tougher to survive. This has prompted some to try to raise the profile of local craftsmen.

Watch the 4 minute video below on this subject by BBC:

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Lebanon sets Falafel Guinness record on May 9th 2010

A day after firing a 10-ton hummus broadside in a food fight with Israel, chefs in Lebanon weighed in with another first for a Guinness record on Sunday - five tons of Falafel.

Falafel, like hummus and tabbouleh, are the objects of a cultural quarrel between Israel and Lebanon. Israel exports hummus widely, and is accused of claiming an Arab dish as its own. Lebanon set the tabbouleh record in October 2009, while the last Hummus battle was on Saturday.

With a Guinness World Records representative at hand to record the feat, organizers said it was the first time any country had tried to set such a high-frying Falafel record.

Guinness record for biggest Falafel by Lebanon 2010

Guinness record for biggest Falafel by Lebanon 2010

Lebanon sets again the Guinness world record for biggest Hummus plate in May 2010

In a continuous battle of Hummus with Israel, and after Lebanon set the record straight in October 2009 but again Israel stealing it in January 2010, Lebanon on Saturday May 8 2010 claimed another victory and set the biggest Hummus world record at 10,452 kilograms.

More than 300 chefs set the new record for hummus, which the Lebanese say is their national dish despite Israeli claims, in the presence of a Guinness World Records representative who confirmed its weight at 10,452 kilograms. That more than doubles the previous record of around 4 tons set in January 2010 by cooks in an Arab town near Jerusalem.

The gigantic serving of the popular Middle Eastern chickpea paste is the latest shot in the two countries’ ongoing war to assert ownership over the dip. A Guinness World Records adjudicator confirmed that Lebanon now holds the record.

Lebanon accuses Israel of stealing traditional Arab dishes like hummus and marketing them worldwide as Israeli.

Guinness world record for biggest Hummus plate by Lebanon in May 2010

Guinness world record for biggest Hummus plate by Lebanon in May 2010

Beirut, the supermarket of Plastic Surgeries

In Lebanon, having plastic surgery for the nose, lips, or even breasts is a very normal thing among young females. It has become a very lucrative market for plastic surgeons to a point it became the country where plastic surgery is practiced the most in the world!

Here is what Nora Awada - the subject behind the French documentary “Beyrouth, supermarché du lifting” - has to say about it:

Elles sont jeunes, belles … et la plupart sont refaites de la tête aux pieds. A Beyrouth, se faire retoucher les seins, le nez ou les lèvres par un chirurgien esthétique est presque un acte banal, dès l’âge de 20 ans. Le Liban est le pays où l’on pratique le plus d’opérations plastiques au monde, et tous les excès sont permis. Il y a même des modes : en ce moment, les clientes réclament le nez d’une célèbre chanteuse locale. Pour celles qui n’ont pas les moyens, les banques proposent des prêts spéciaux « chirurgie esthétique ». Si les Libanaises se livrent aussi fréquemment aux bistouris des chirurgiens, c’est parce que, dans ce pays, la concurrence est très rude pour trouver un mari : à cause de la guerre et de l’émigration, il n’y a qu’un homme pour cinq femmes. Mais revers de la médaille : cette dictature de la beauté crée aussi une pression sociale très forte difficile à supporter au quotidien.

Watch below the documentary (in French) by Nora Awada which was broadcasted on the French show 66 Minutes:

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Lebanon GPS map now available through Garmin GPS

You can now go around Beirut without getting lost.

As part of their Middle East and Northern Africa package, Lebanon is now covered in Garmin GPS device map. Even though it is not as detailed as other countries, the map includes major metropolitan coverage for Lebanon.

You can download the map at $199.99 USD from Garmin’s website here.

Lebanon GPS Map Coverage - Garmin.com

Lebanon GPS Map Coverage - Garmin.com

Beirut featured in the Spring 2010 edition of Times Travel magazine

“Lebanon’s cosmopolitan capital is finally getting its groove back”. That’s how the New York Times Travel magazine introduces Beirut in their Spring 2010 edition.

Though it was once known as the Paris of the Middle East, ‘‘Beirut never truly lost its sheen,’’ says Gordon Campbell Gray, the British hotelier who finally opened Le Gray last November, having forged ahead even through the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. The Lebanese capital surely has a touch of Parisian glamour, but it also has a dash of Berlin (bullet-pocked buildings after a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990) and Miami (flashy night-life zones choked with Ferraris and S.U.V.’s). There’s a burgeoning gallery scene, world-class shopping — from avant-garde boutiques like IF to big-ticket designers like Marc Jacobs and Dior — and five-star hotels like the new Four Seasons and Le Gray. ‘‘The Lebanese have a spirit for living for the day, and it permeates every aspect of their life,’’ Campbell Gray says. ‘‘You really understand this when you head back to a Western city.’’

Check the featured article at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/28/t-magazine/travel-issue/28remix-beirut.html

Le Gray, Beirut - New York Times Travel Magazine Spring 2010

Le Gray, Beirut - New York Times Travel Magazine Spring 2010

Chaker Khazaal: the Lebanese-Canadian behind Nations United

A 22-year-old Lebanese-Canadian man is seeking to unite the nations through a collaborative movie combining people from different parts of the planet.

People from every nation are invited to create a film, 3-5 minutes in length, displaying anything they wish to show the rest of the world. There are no restrictions to the footage they film or the message they wish to present. A selection of chosen footage will be edited into a pre-existing concept for a movie called Nations United or NU, written by Chaker Khazaal, the man behind the project.

Chaker Khazaal on the 17th of March 2010 became a Canadian Resident and his dream since childhood has always been to unite humanity and its people.

Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, of Palestinian background, Chaker Khazaal moved to Toronto, Canada in 2005 as an international student at York University where he completed a BA degree in International Development Studies. He also took courses in the fields of film, languages and International Relations.

More information on the project Nations United can be found at www.nationsunited.org

Chaker Khazaal's Nations United Vision - www.nationsunited.org

Chaker Khazaal's Nations United Vision - www.nationsunited.org

Lebanese behind the largest illegal use of Quebec’s healthcare insurance RAMQ

You have previously heard about the documentary exposing Lebanese faking their Canadian permanent residency, and this one just adds to it.

Quebec’s healthcare system RAMQ (Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec) is trying to recuperate around $500,000 caused by the illegal use of the system, which made it the largest fraud in RAMQ’s history in relation to illegal use of the medical card. And guess what, the majority of this is caused by Lebanese.

RAMQ has investigated in the recent months around 1,700 immigrants. More than two-third of them, the majority Lebanese, have simulated their presence in Quebec with the help of a fraudulent Lebanese immigration lawyer, the famous now Nizar Zakka. They have obtained a medical card and used it for healthcare services totaling $500,000. RAMQ was only able to recuperate around $42,000 since most of the immigrants do not live in Quebec. The control of this fraudulent activity will not be easy until RAMQ implements its new barcode card.

You can read the investigation report on RAMQ’s official website here.

Quebec's healthcare system (RAMQ) medical card

Quebec's healthcare system (RAMQ) medical card

On the Beirut synagogue

Lebanon was once home to a thriving Jewish community, but its estimated that there are now fewer than a hundred Jews left in the country. So it came as a surprise when the tiny Jewish community announced the rebuilding of one of Beirut’s historic synagogues.

Natalia Antelava from BBC reports on the Beirut synagogue in the video below:

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The ‘rebirth’ of Lebanon’s fashion industry

One by one, Lebanese designers are conquering catwalks across Europe. While many designers in Europe have faced problems due to the economic downturn, Lebanon’s fashion designers have had no shortage of work. They are thriving as the country profits from a year of political stability.

BBC correspondent Natalie Antelava reports below from Beirut on Lebanon’s bid to become the capital of the Middle East fashion world:

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Rami Eid: the man in the cube

Rami, hats off to you.

‘The man in the Cube’ is a project organized by The League of Independent Activists – IndyACT aiming to raise global urgency on the critical dangers of global warming and to urge world leaders to take fast and effective action against climate change in Copenhagen this year.

‘The man in the cube’ (Rami Eid) represents “the last man on earth” enduring a fierce struggle for survival against climate change effects. He will be living in a transparent 4 meter square cube on Ein El-Mreyseh in Beirut, Lebanon, for 3 days starting October 16th, 2009.

The ‘last man’ simulates the possibility of a dim future for mankind where we failed to act against climate change when we had the chance.

Follow the man in the cube on twitter and his personal blog.

Rami Eid, the man in the cube - themaninthecube.wordpress.com

Rami Eid, the man in the cube - themaninthecube.wordpress.com

via IndyACT blog

Lebanese to break the Guinness Record for largest plate of Hummus and Tabbouleh on October 24-25, 2009

Update (October 25th, 2009): Congratulations to the Lebanese again! We broke the third record for the largest tabbouleh ever made weighing 3557 kilograms!

Update (October 24th, 2009): Congratulations to the Lebanese people! We broke the two records for the largest plate to hold food and the largest hummus plate weighing 2056 kilograms! One more to go!




After having in hand the Largest Dabke and the Biggest Kebbe Guinness Records, Lebanese are heading towards breaking two more records: Largest plates of Hummus and Tabbouleh.

As part of a campaign to claim the ownership of the traditional dishes from Israel that currently holds those two records, the Lebanese Industrialists Association (LIA) is arranging a special public ceremony to break Israeli records in downtown Beirut on October 24 and 25. The hummus plate will be prepared on the first day, and the tabbouleh the following day. In addition to that, they are trying to break a third record, which is the largest plate itself.

Renowned Lebanese chef Ramzi Choueiri, manager of Al Kafaàt catering school, will be supervising the work of his 250 students at the cooking school in setting the new record of a 5-metre diameter bowl of hummus. The targeted bowl of tabbouleh should exceed 2 tonnes.

Stay tuned for the results!

2009 Largest Hummus Guinnes Record in Lebanon - twitpic.com/photos/arzleb

2009 Largest Hummus Guinnes Record in Lebanon - twitpic.com/photos/arzleb

tipped via Jad Aoun’s Blog

Beirut featured in Snoop Dogg’s “Thats Tha Homie” Official Music Video

“This is the party capital of the world”. That’s how Snoop Dogg described Beirut when he performed in the capital last August. He meant it when he said that, and the proof is that Beirut is featured in the official video clip of his new song That’s Tha Homie, which is from his new album Malice N Wonderland that is set to be released on December 8th, 2009.

Beirut and SkyBar got quite a bite of that video. Watch it below:

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“Beirut, I love you (I love you not)” movie by Orange Dog Productions

Beirut, I Love You (I Love You Not) is a short film by “An Orange Dog Productions” about (fleeting) love & the little pleasures in life, all set and in relation with the very inspiring city of Beirut. It is a Beirut-ish tribute to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amelie Poulain.

The movie was written, directed, and cast by Mounia Akl & Cyril Aris, both from Lebanese origin. In addition to Naim Jeanbart, from Syrian/Canadian origin, they formed the amateur film crew Orange Dog Productions. In addition to this one, their list of movies consists of Wife For Sale, I’ll Be Stalkin’ You, and Seducing Lola.

Check it out in the video below:

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

C.S Sagesse (Hekmeh): A childhood memory of Lebanon

C.S. Sagesse Lebanon LogoWe all pass by phases or experiences in our life that get carved into our memory, and tend to stay with us most of our lives. One of such experiences for me is the Lebanese C.S. Sagesse (Club Sportif La Sagesse) club, also known as Hekmeh, which I played football (soccer) with during my adolescent years. I have played with them for almost two years when I was around 15 years old, but the sweet memories of this short period of time still linger in my head.

For a Lebanese, I don’t think Sagesse needs an introduction. For an outsider, it is a Lebanese sporting club based in Beirut which takes part in football and basketball. Hekmeh is arabic for “Wisdom”. C.S. Sagesse was founded in 1943, under the patronage of the late father Boulos Kik, supported by his excellency late Mgr. Jean Maroun. The club started as a football team, then in 1992 basketball became part of it. The basketball team is more popular than the football team. In football, the team competes in the Lebanese Premier League. The team usually plays their home matches in Fouad Shehab Stadium which can hold up to 5,000 supporters. In basketball, it is known to be the Lebanese Club that had won the most in championships such as 8 Lebanese Leagues, 3 Lebanese Cups, 2 Arab Clubs, and 3 Asian Cups.

The picture below was shot in Ain Saadeh at the time I used to play with them. There used to be our training field, and it was actually one of the best football fields in the country, and only 5 min away from where I lived. I still wonder why they didn’t make it an official football stadium. In the middle of the picture (in dark green) you can see the legendary Emile Rustom. For those of you who do not know him, he is a prominent Lebanese football coach and manager. He was the head coach of Sagesse until 2005, when he joined Lebanon’s national team. He is currently the coach of the Lebanese National Football Team. Emile Rustom is the father of Paul Rustom, a rising star and current football player of the team Nijmeh. Paul used to train and play with us, but he does not appear in the picture.

Can you spot me in the picture? (Click on it to enlarge)

C.S. Sagesse Lebanon football (soccer) team picture

C.S. Sagesse Lebanon football (soccer) team picture

The nostalgic Bonjus bag by Lebanon’s Sarah’s Bag

Not a single Lebanese have not seen, heard of, or tasted the three-sided pyramid juice Bonjus. This exquisite beverage has become part of the Lebanese culture, and will likely to stay for the many generations to come. But guess what, now not only you can drink it, but also you can wear it! Sarah’s Bag has added a new nostalgic item to its astonishing and fabulous collection of bags: the Bonjus bag.

I have previously introduced Sarah’s Bag in my other post (Sarah’s Bag: Lebanon’s fashionable bags and accessories), but this post is dedicated specifically to this bag since I believe it is an impressive piece of work. Who could have imagined that one day girls would be wearing a Bonjus bag?! In an article published by the daily L’Orient-Le Jour, Sarah’s Bag affirmed that its bag does not contain any liquid, is not explosible, does not come with a straw, but on the other side, it can last for a period more than just a childhood.

If I were a girl, I would have definitely bought this bag.

Bonjus Bag by Sarah's Bag

Bonjus Bag by Sarah's Bag