SEOUL, South Korea - Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, visiting the
South Korean capital of Seoul, said that terrorist organizations
“working for the destruction of the Middle East do not represent Islam
or Muslims.” Such groups, he said in an address during the Forum for Peace on the
Korean Peninsula that met Aug. 18-21, work to destroy “a moderate and
open Islam, resulting from coexistence with Christians.”
Rai also urged the international community to end the wars raging in the Middle East “fueled by foreign countries.” Rai addressed the forum under an invitation of Seoul Cardinal Andrew
Yeom Soo-jung, imploring the international community “to speed up the
solutions and impose a halt to the wars, fueled by foreign countries,
raging in the Middle East.”
Stressing the need for a “series of reforms” in the Arab states, Rai
called for the separation of state and religion, the development of
democracy and “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
He also called on the international community to “help the
rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia” which he said would reduce
sectarian tension in the region.
Saudi’s oil price fallout echoes beyond the bounds of the GCC. For more on how it is affecting Pakistan - Lebanon’s economy has long depended on the Arab Gulf states.
of thousands of Lebanese work there, sending their savings home to
relatives. It is the main destination for exports — both human capital
and produced goods — as well as the leading supplier of investment. There
is often a feeling that without the Gulf’s role, Lebanon’s beleaguered
economy could not survive. But this relationship could be in trouble.
global oil prices falling since 2014, the economic diversification
plans touted by Gulf states are finally being put to the test. For the
many Lebanese working in the Gulf, their livelihoods and billions of
dollars in annual remittances, depend on the continued strength of these
immediate is the growing divide between GCC countries and the Lebanese
government over the role of Hizbollah, with Saudi Arabia leading the
charge against the group and economists fearing major economic
ramifications on Lebanon.
Beirut-Lebanese cooks were not surprised when Beirut ranked in first
place as the Best International Cities for Food, according to statistics
released by Travel + Leisure (T+L) website. They all know that this
achievement is the result of years of efforts to spread the Lebanese
cuisine across the world, which made them excellent ambassadors for the
The mentioned website carries out an annual survey “The World’s Best
Awards” to ask travelers to weigh in on travel experiences around the
globe to share their opinions and tourism experiences.
This year, Beirut’s gastronomy has beaten European and Asian countries;
Lebanese delicious platters have stolen lights from cities like Paris,
Florence, Bordeaux, Saint Miguel, and Rome despite their excellence in
Readers of the website shared their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Results showed that Beirut has succeeded in capturing the first place
among ten other countries for serving best platters in its restaurants.
The Lebanese capital was respectively followed by San Sebastian, Paris,
Florence, Bologna, Roma, Saint Miguel, Chiang Mai, Barcelona, and
On 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared will once again be observed. In Lebanon, where an estimated 17,000 persons are still missing on account of the “civil” war that ravaged the country - with plenty of outside help - from 1975 until 1990, it will mark yet another year of unanswered questions for family members of the victims.
this year, I spoke with one such family member: a silver-haired man
named Abed, whose younger brother, Ahmad, joined the PLO in 1983 at the
age of 17 and then promptly disappeared. Over pineapple juice in
the garden of his home in the tiny south Lebanese village of Maaroub,
Abed recounted the decades of futile searches for Ahmad.
one period, the family was strung along by an enterprising fellow
involved in a missing persons scam industry; in exchange for several
hefty payments, he produced what he claimed was an official paper from a
prison in Aleppo, Syria, confirming that Ahmad was being held there.
There are delicate-sounding Arab pop-stars – and then you have Assi El Helani. Nicknamed
"The Knight of the Arab Song", the Lebanese singer is a powerful
presence – both on stage and television screens as a mentor on MBC’s
reality-singing contest, The Voice. Speaking
of voice, his is a full-bodied husky tenor that captures the drama and
heartache of the original and classic Levantine folk songs that have
become his calling card.
we caught up with the 45-year-old at this summer’s Mawazine Festival
in Rabat, Morocco, El Helani said he is proud that he has helped to
revive the once-neglected Arab folk music genre. More so than
talent, however, he credits his success to hard work – something he
repeatedly reiterates to the youngsters he guides on The Voice.
Faysal stands amid the rolling fields of the Bekaa
Valley. Just down the road are award-winning, decadent vineyards—a
product of the fertile agricultural region’s 5,000-year head start on
Napa Valley. The Romans even chose to build their temple to Bacchus
here. Above loom the snow-covered slopes of Mt. Hermon, where many today
place Jesus’ transfiguration. Surveying the sea of green plants
rustling in a pleasant breeze, the 43-year-old describes what he feels:
“A knife in my heart.”
For Faysal, a Syrian refugee, the scene is not one of
grandeur but of guilt; in the field before him are three of his
children—his 15-year-old son and 13- and 11-year-old daughters—bent in
half as they weed potatoes instead of attending school.
“I have no choice,” says the father of six. In Aleppo,
one of Syria’s most war-torn cities, his job as a truck driver once
provided a four-room house and a middle-class, urban life. Now, having
injured his back in his own efforts at day labor, he can’t pay the rent
for their cobbled-together shelter on a farmer’s property. So he just
stands and watches his children. And cries.
Lebanon’s foreign minister has asked his country’s diplomats at the
UN to file a complaint “urgently” to the Security Council regarding the
latest Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, Anadolu reported on Friday. Israel continues to occupy the southern Lebanese towns of Al-Ghajar and Shabaa Farms.
Jobran Bassil has sent a letter referring to Israel’s violation of UN
Security Council Resolution 1701 regarding the rights of the Lebanese
people and Lebanon’s sovereignty. “Since the Israeli occupation forces
persist in violating Lebanon’s sovereignty and fail to comply with
international resolutions, particularly 1701, we hereby ask you [the
diplomats] to inform the concerned authorities in the United Nations,
particularly the Security Council, of Israel’s offences in the occupied
Lebanese part of Al-Ghajar and Shebaa Farms.”
According to the Chinese Xinhua news agency, Israel has
imposed new rules, regulations and taxes in the occupied parts of
Al-Ghajar as well new illegal settlements. In addition, the construction
of new roads and other infrastructure has started in the occupied
Shebaa Farms area.
Paul Iskandar, a 23-year-old
fitness coach, has been crowned this year’s Mr Lebanon, squeezing out 15
other hopefuls for the chance to compete in the Mr International
competition later this year. Following a gruelling night of
events such as the swimsuit and general skills competition, Iskandar
secured the top spot, with John Srour, a 24-year-old model, coming in
In front of a packed-out crowd at Casino du Liban on Friday night,
more than a dozen hopefuls fought it out to secure the crown of Mr
Lebanon. Maher Kai, a 28-year-old auditor and part-time thai
boxer, was named Mr Personality, while 23-year-old Mohamad Chhade, a
civil engineer with a self-professed love of football, was named Mr
Lebanese superstar Haifa Wehbe performed at the packed
out event held at the Casino du Liban, an iconic Lebanese spot some 50
kilometres north of Beirut.
The competition has been running since 1995, when it was first set up by the Lebanese Tourism Service.
Riding in a self-driving vehicle requires you to
suspend your belief that man is better than machine. You have to trust that the steering wheel moving below your
hovering hands is turning in the right direction and the right
You have to hope that the acceleration you feel will stop
when you reach the right speed and not careen out of control. You have to believe that this truck, a mashup of metal
and gears and circuit boards, is a better driver than you,
for you have given control of your life to a machine and are
blindly trusting that it actually sees the road better than
It's a leap of faith, and one that I only realized how miraculous
it was after I saw how the self-driving truck I was riding in
knew the difference between an open lane and the open sky.
CHABROUH, Lebanon (CNS) -- In a pristine
mountain setting in Lebanon, a female volunteer gently takes hold of the hands
of Mohammed, a disabled adult who has trouble communicating. She gazes into his
eyes -- still shaded in heart-shaped sunglasses from the dress-up activity a
few hours earlier -- as she engages him in a dance to the rhythm of the music
playing in the background.
Smiling contentedly, Mohammed bows his head
to kiss her hand, and she responds with a kiss on his forehead. "By showing acts of love, we are
demonstrating that everyone is made in the image and likeness of God,"
Anton Depiro, a 30-year-old Catholic volunteer from London, told Catholic News
Service during a recent camp for people with disabilities, run by the Order of Malta Lebanon.
As Depiro affectionately put his arm around
Mohammed, he introduced his middle-aged guest like a proud brother, saying, "He's
very shy and quiet." He told CNS they were "working together slowly
and getting to know each other, and we're finding ways we can interact."
The issue of disability is still somewhat of
a taboo in Lebanon, and families often experience shame when they have a child
with a disability. Because the Lebanese government does not offer support for
people with disabilities, many families resort to putting their family member
into an institution, where there is little connection with the outside world.
Except that Khalid Jabara, the 37-year-old man shot dead in Tulsa, was not
a Muslim. The victim, whose family immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon,
was an Orthodox Christian. That simple fact should have raised all
kinds of questions for journalists working on this story.
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Syria's conflict
has caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee to Lebanon, putting
a huge strain on the Lebanese economy and its already-crumbling
infrastructure. But the five-year Syrian civil war has been a boon for at least one economic sector: the tobacco industry. At Lebanon's main tobacco factory, located southeast of the capital,
Beirut, employees work round-the-clock but can barely cover the high
demand for locally-made cigarettes.
"We are lucky that there are
Syrians in Lebanon," said George Hobeika, a senior official with the
state-owned factory, adding that consumption of some local brands in
Lebanon has more than tripled in five years. Lebanon is hosting
over a million registered Syrian refugees. Unofficially, the number of
Syrians who have fled to Lebanon is estimated to be closer to two
million. Many of them are unable to find work, and spend much of their
day smoking in tented encampments or makeshift accommodation around the
In the months following the outbreak of war in March
2011, many of Syria's cigarette factories closed down. Others were not
able to cover market demand after imports of tobacco stopped, leading to
a sharp rise in demand for Lebanese cigarettes - particularly Cedars, a
brand that is similar to Syria's widely-smoked Hamra cigarettes.
Lebanon's state-owned cigarette company sales peaked at US$1 billion in
by J.D. Durkin Eight television anchors in Egypt have been suspended by their
network until they lose weight, an incident that has sparked wild
controversy in the nation and the role of the state-run media outlet. The state broadcaster Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) have
given the women involved one month to pursue an “appropriate
appearance” for their on-air duties.
One of those women, Khadija Khattab, has challenged
the viewers of Egypt’s Channel 2 to judge for themselves if she really
is “fat,” offering up her last several TV appearances as proof. The
Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness spoke out swiftly
against the move, identifying the broadcaster’s take as a form of
violence against women and noting that it “violates the constitution.” To the surprise of many, the ERTU is run by a female director — Safaa Hegazy — herself a longtime on-air anchor. The BBC points out that the debate has raged on social media in the
country, with the cruelest viewers using the derogatory term
“bakabouzas” to describe the women. “One female Twitter user described
ERTU head Safaa Hegazy as a “strong woman” for making the decision,” they report.