Blog Baladi is the most popular Lebanese blog out there. Najib offers commentary on everything in Lebanon. Blog Baladi's mission is to showcase Lebanon and the Lebanese in all their true, gritty, depressing, beautiful, ever-hopeful and absolutely hilarious glory.
They’ve been around for 4 years in Lebanon, commercialized under the names “Juul” ou “Vaporesso”, soaring recently in the 3rd country with the biggest smoking population worldwide. Philip Morris International (PMI)’s “Iqos”, British American Tobacco (BAT)’s “Glo” and Japan Tobacco International (JTI)’s “Ploom” have been marketed as less dangerous than normal cigarettes, containing lower amounts of nicotine and its derivates.
They are however to date not legalized in the country, and merchants tend to get them from abroad, the black market or the Beirut International Airport – Duty Free at exorbitant prices. Many attempts to legalize them have been made and countered throughout the years, in 2013 by the Minister of Health Ali Hassan Khalil back then, and in 2015 by the Minister of Finance, ironically, Ali Hassan Khalil as well.
Regardless of both ministries’ opinions nowadays, their fate resides only in the hands of the Directorate of General Customs (المجلس الأعلى للجمارك), who will decide whether to legalize them or not in the upcoming weeks after discussing the taxes to be imposed on them.
French TV stations love to explore countries that speak the same language all around the world, Lebanon being one of them.
M6 has unleashed on its TV show 66 minutes on July 14, a new 43-minute documentary entitled “Beyrouth la rayonnante”, French for “The radiant Beirut”, which tackles a beautiful side of the capital.
A seulement 4 heures de Paris, francophone et baignée par la méditerranée, Beyrouth offre un cadre idéal pour les expatriés. Entre vestiges historiques, galerie d’art avant-gardiste, plages de sable fin et reliefs montagneux à proximité, la ville est étonnante et déroutante à la fois. Ici tout est possible. C’est en tous cas le crédo des quatre Français que nous allons suivre et qui sont venus tenter leur chance dans une ville qui retrouve petit à petit sa splendeur passée.
You can watch it below.
66 Minutes - Beyrouth la rayonnante M6 du 14 juillet 2019 - YouTube
Just like in Basketball, Lebanon’s FIFA team has a mountain to climb if they are to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.But first, they have to go through the 2022 World Cup qualification second round, whose draw was announced on July 17, and back it up later on in the third round.
Lebanon (#86) was drawn in Group H, alongside South Korea (#37), North Korea (#122), Turkmenistan (#135) and Sri Lanka (#201).
The 8 group winners and the 4 best runners-up across all 8 groups will advance to the third round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifications and to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Since the host Qatar is already qualified, if ever they feature in one of the qualifying slots (winners or runners-up), a fifth-best runner-up will advance to the final qualifying stage.
The remaining 4 runners-up and the 4 best fourth-placed teams across all groups will advance to the Asian Cup qualifying third round. The remaining 4 fourth-placed teams will advance to the Asian Cup qualifying play-off round.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying 2nd round matches are set to be played between September 5, 2019 and June 9, 2020.
September 5, 2019: Lebanon VS North Korea
October 10, 2019: Lebanon VS Turkmenistan
October 15, 2019: Lebanon VS Sri Lanka
November 14, 2019: Lebanon VS South Korea
November 19, 2019: Lebanon VS North Korea
March 31, 2020: Lebanon VS Turkmenistan
June 4, 2020: Lebanon VS Sri Lanka
June 9, 2020: Lebanon VS South Korea
The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifications for Asia end in March 2022, following which 4 or 5 teams from the region will make it among 31 countries in total to the World Cup in Qatar, the already-qualified host.
A few weeks after controversial Jordanian series “Jinn” made the headlines by becoming the first Arabic series to hit the Netflix platform on June 13, Lebanon strikes with a series of his own, “Dollar”, which will star Lebanese actor Adel Karam and Algerian-Lebanese actress Amel Bouchoucha.
Beautiful executive assistant Zeina reluctantly teams up with the self-assured Tarek to chase down an elusive dollar bill worth $1 million.
The 15-episode drama will be a Netflix Original, subtitled in 20 languages, and will be available for streaming starting August 8 to 148 million members in over 190 countries.
Adel Karam has already appeared on Netflix in February 2018, with a special stand-up comedy “Adel Karam: Live from Beirut”. “Dollar”, whose promo can be watched below, is produced by Cedars Art Production – Sabbah Brothers, directed by Samer Al Barkawi (known for popular Ramadan TV series including Al Hayba and Nos Yom), and written by Hisham Hilal.
برومو مسلسل دولار (عادل كرم-امل بشوشة)قرياً... - YouTube
A couple more Arabic series have already been announced by Netflix:
“مدرسة الروابي للبنات” or “Al Rawabi School for Girls” – Jordan (April 13).
“ما وراء الطبيعة” or Paranormal” – Egypt (May 27).
خبر عاجل ثالث مسلسلات Netflix الأصلية من الشرق الأوسط وأول عمل مصري سيكون مقتبسًا من سلسلة روايات #ما_وراء_الطبيعة للكاتب الراحل أحمد خالد توفيق. المسلسل سيكون من رؤية المخرج والمنتج التنفيذي عمرو سلامة والمنتج محمد حفظي. pic.twitter.com/5yEOC9Zkwr
In a tweet unleashed today on her official account, Minister of Interior and Municipalities Raya El Hassan, who has been making positive headlines ever since she took the position, by removing blocs from the front of the General Security in Adlieh, to prohibiting ministerial convoys and allowing Lebanese citizens to get their Civil Extract from their area of residence to name a few, has announced that “special” car plates will be made public soon, on the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities’ official website.
There will be a list of all the numbers available, alongside their prices and annual taxes to be paid for each, without the need to go through a minister, depute or mediator to get them.
بدك نمرة مميزة لسيارتك.. ما تتصل بوزير ولا بنائب وما تعمل واسطة مع حدا. كل مواطن صار فيه يحصل ع الرقم يللي بدو ياه إذا متوفر. الأرقام رح تنشر ع صفحة وزارة الداخلية مع اسعارها ورسمها السنوي، وأي مواطن بيقدر يطّلع عليها ويشتريها بكل شفافية.#بدك_تنمر_ دْفاع_ حقها
A Facebook page by the name of “جُنود الرَّب” (God’s soldiers) has been unleashing since July 17 a series of posts to its 5.5K followers condemning Mashrou’ Leila’s sexual/religious ideologies, performances and lyrics.
This comes around 2 weeks before they are expected to perform at the Byblos International Festival on August 9, marking the band’s 10-year-anniversary. Mashrou’ Leila is being criticized for the content of its lyrics, attacking religions, and for promoting homosexuality, by its openly-gay frontman Hamed Sinno in particular.
There is no official statement from the band nor the festival as of yet.
To note that Mashrou’ Leila has attended the same event in 2016, and before that in 2010, and hit other big local ones such as the 2012 prestigious Baalbeck International Festival and international venues reaching The Roundhouse (UK) and L’Olympia de Paris (France) to name a few.
The band hasn’t promoted any new music, apart from a few singles and remixes (“The Beirut School” opus in 2019) since their latest full album “Ibn El Leil” launched in 2015, which is being heavily criticized (why now?) by the above-mentioned Facebook page and other people as well:
I like the idea behind this video clip to include politicians and artists and it’s nicely shot (even though the majority of scenes are taken from past events) but can the lyrics get cheesier than that? And what’s that lousy rap part and kid singing towards the end?
I hope they don’t start playing it on the MEA flights
When the budget was finally approved two days ago, I kept checking articles to see what happened to Article 94 which dealt with reducing the salaries of MPs, only to find out today that it was scrapped.
Why was it removed from the 2019 budget? Get this. Because it is not within the parliament’s jurisdiction to discuss such matters.
Lebanese MPs are among the the highest paid in the world when compared to the national minimum wage, as they earn all east 18 times the minimum salary, when compared to the UK for example where an MP earns 6 times as much as the minimum wage.
– The Lebanese President earns 18.75 Million LL monthly.
– The Head of Parliament 17.373 Million LL
– A Minister earns 12.937 Million LL
– A Member of Parliament 12.75 Million LL
It’s funny how they’re able to tweak the laws and even disregard the constitution to pass drafts they approve of, but when it comes to their salaries, it’s out of their jurisdiction so they just scrapped it, instead of taking the initiative without passing any law to give away at least half their salaries to cut down on expenses.
2019 and 2018 witnessed alarming developments in the use of archaic media laws to arrest, interrogate and prosecute people over social media posts in Lebanon. According to digital rights group Social Media Exchange (SMEX), the number of cases brought over online posts more than quadrupled between 2017 and 2018. We’re talking about 6 cases in 2016, vs 9 in 2017, 41 in 2018 and 27 so far in 2019.
What is needed is a new law similar that protects against such practices. Until then, the months and years to come will witness more degradation in freedom of expression.
Check out this great report done by Megaphone with the support of SMEX on that issue:
Lebanon’s most beloved saint, Mar Charbel is celebrated on the third Sunday of July. On this occasion, over 10,000 candles were lit up in Mar Charbel’s town of Bkaakafra. I found few pictures shared by Lebanon Weather Forecast FB page:
Over 25,000 miracles are attributed to St Charbel since his death in 1898 according to Father Louis Matar, the Maronite priest who keeps a tally of such things. Hundreds of thousands of Christians and Muslims from all countries flock to Annaya asking for his blessing yearly.
Check out this beautiful tribute to Mar Charbel by Jerry Ghazal.