Member's Blog


Written by Friday, 26 August 2011 01:40

By Livia Murray The Daily Star

BEIRUT: While Lebanese expatriates have long maintained close economic and cultural ties with their home country, they were finally granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections in 2008 – and were told that the process wasn’t ready for them in time for the polls that took place the following year.

Although the government is legally bound to provide a way for Lebanese expatriates to vote overseas, with the elections of 2013 just two years away, some politicians, government officials and civil society groups are worried that the out-of-country voting won’t be ready in time.

The electoral law adopted in 2008 states that “every Lebanese whose name appears in the electoral rolls has the right to vote by registering at the Lebanese Embassy or Consulate at the place of his residency abroad.”

Recent numbers from a survey conducted by the Foreign Ministry, however, show that out of the approximately 1.2 million Lebanese living overseas who are eligible, only around 3,000 have registered at their embassies to vote.

After being informed of the figure last week during a meeting at the ministry, Kesrouan MP Nehmtallah Abi Nasr argued that the Lebanese diaspora was in danger of missing out once again on the chance to vote.

But in an interview Thursday, Haitham Joumaa, director general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Expatriates Department, said the ministry was ready to hold voting abroad and had prepared a “detailed” mechanism to that end.

“If we are told that elections will be held three months from now, we are ready to hold out-of-country voting – if the cost of this process is covered and if we are provided with the sufficient personnel and other needs,” he said.

Joumaa said the survey by the ministry had polled every Lebanese embassy and consulate throughout the world, adding that an estimated number of 4 million expatriates have Lebanese nationality, though only those 21 years of age and over are eligible to vote.

“We have all the required details, such as, for example, what states do not allow nationals who also hold a Lebanese passport to take part in Lebanon’s elections,” he said.


Written by News Monday, 8 August 2011 02:38

By Dana Halawi The Daily Star


BEIRUT: In its heyday, Lebanon was known as “the Switzerland of the Middle East,” but the similarities between the two countries today go beyond picturesque mountains and a tradition of discreet banking policies: Both countries are carving out a reputation for themselves in the art of chocolate making.

Since 1819, Swiss chocolate has been recognized as a world standard which other countries can only dream of attaining. Meanwhile, Lebanon ranks as the top country in the Middle East in the field of chocolate manufacturing.

In fact, Lebanon’s chocolate makers have earned regional recognition to the extent that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates are importing products from Lebanon despite the higher cost of production in this country.

“The Arab market relies heavily on the chocolate produced in Lebanon because of its good quality and taste,” said Ahmad Ismail, partner at Net Group Distribution which specializes in the production of chocolate and its distribution in the local and Arab markets.

Ismail said the cost of production in the Arab market such as Saudi Arabia might be lower but the “Made in Lebanon” label is much more attractive to the Arab market than any other labels.

Written by Sunday, 10 July 2011 21:36

Congratulations to the New Miss Lebanon 2011 from Yara Khoury-Mikhael

BEIRUT: Yara Khoury-Mikhael was crowned Sunday night as Miss Lebanon following a lavish beauty pageant held at Beirut Souks.

The former Lebanese American University student pipped runners up Pamela Jabour and Sonia-Lynn Gabriel to the 2011 crown.

She replaces incumbent Rahaf Abdullah as Lebanon’s beauty queen.

the 5 Misses at the final stage were: 5 girls moving on to the final stage, they are: - Carolina Nassar. Yara Khoury-Mikhael. Pamela Jabbour. Paloma Mady.
- Sonia-Lynn Gabriel

the 10 Misses during Phase were: e 10 girls moving on to the next stage ... they are: Ranine Matar. Alice Tawil. Carolina Nassar. Pamela Jabbour. Sonia-Lynn Gabriel. Geva Eid. Paloma Mady. Pamela Gemayel. Yara Khoury-Mikhael. Lama Sassine.

Read more for details and videos


Miss Lebanon 2012- 2013 click on  Rina Chibani for more pictures of Yara click Read More


Written by Tuesday, 5 July 2011 14:58


I love midnight bells, they are full of surprises, at least from the Cinderalla movies or lately "Midnight in Paris"  this is what we have learned. But the bells that I have been subjected too are "slightly" different. They occur at 4:13AM or so constantly for the past month. I wake up completely lost: in my mind "what is happening!!!", I would be happily dreaming in my bed then suddenly the famous bells or should I say the awful fire alarm!! that would create the opposit effect of a midnight bell!! The famous 4:13AM bells or so are fire alarms, and the fun part of it is that I live in the 16 floor, how fun not to be able to use elevators!!! But I gave it up, I just stay in my bed  and I do not bother anymore leaving my apartment! The fire alarm would ring for 5 min non-stop with an awful acute noise, at the end of the 5 min, the concierge will speak out with the microphone that is broadcasted to all of the condo, to let us know that now we are "safe".


Here are the explanaiton from the management of my condominium @Milwaukee you really have to read it:



Written by News Saturday, 2 July 2011 22:02


By Willow Osgood The Daily Star

BAALBEK, Lebanon: Vendors selling broad-brimmed hats greet visitors as they pile out of their minibus, which has traveled the width of Lebanon from Beirut’s Cola roundabout to Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley (LL6,000, 2 hours).

It is wise to indulge in one, or bring along a lot of sunscreen. The name Baalbek is Phoenician and means “Valley of God,” but Heliopolis or “City of the Sun” is its Roman name and a fitting description.

The Baalbek temple complex (entry LL12,000), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits right in the town of Baalbek, providing patrons of a local coffee shop with views of Roman temples and columns.

The imposing stone structures invite newly arrived visitors into the best Roman ruins in the country. But the Roman Empire is just one of many world powers that have left their mark on Baalbek.

Luckily, there is Ali Outa, a guide with 47 years of experience, to help tourists navigate the expansive site. Ali, who sports a deep tan and white trainers, takes his guests through 3,000 years, pointing out the remnants and clues of bygone epochs, all in about an hour ($20). He also knows where to find a bit of shade.

Written by Tuesday, 28 June 2011 02:49

Enraged Muslims burned down several Christian-owned homes, surrounded a church and threatened to kill a priest last week in two unrelated incidents in Upper Egypt. Salafis have made a series of attacks and threats against Coptic Christians since the fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime on Feb. 11.

Enraged Muslims burned down several Christian-owned homes, surrounded a church and threatened to kill a priest last week in two unrelated incidents in Upper Egypt.

On Saturday (June 25) in Awlad Khalaf village, just outside Sohag, 240 miles (386 kilometers) south of Cairo, local Muslims attacked Coptic Christian Wahib Halim Atteyah, robbed him of 32,000 Saudi Riyals (US$8,530), and bulldozed his home along with the other structures on his property, according to local media. The group then raided six other Coptic-owned homes and burned them to the ground. Most of the stolen items were returned because of efforts of other Muslims in the area, according to Egyptian newspaper Watani.

Written by Friday, 24 June 2011 16:43

RMONK, N.Y., June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee selected IBM software and hardware to automate and consolidate its data center operations to enable a cloud-based service for delivering SAP®-based courses to students. The school switched its system from Oracle and Dell products to IBM cloud-ready infrastructure and software to deliver faster services with lower administration costs and greater energy efficiency. Specifically, this announcement demonstrates the school's move to a smarter computing environment that will extract greater economics and performance from its technology infrastructure.


As an SAP University Competence Center (UCC), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) acts as an education service provider, hosting a wide range of SAP systems for educational purposes on its campus and virtually to more than 105 universities across North America. SAP software is used to reinforce and supplement classroom content for more than 40,000 students with 1,450 courses per year, preparing them for post-graduation employment. Students from a variety of academic disciplines participate in the program with classes ranging from accounting and information systems to retail merchandising and supply chain management.


Written by Saturday, 18 June 2011 22:29

rmonk, NY, USA - 06 Jun 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, a new solution designed to help cities of all sizes gain a holistic view of information across city departments and agencies. By infusing analytical insights into municipal operations through one central point of command, cities will be able to better anticipate problems, respond to crises, and manage resources.

The Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities will allow cities to use information and analytics to make smarter and more timely decisions, helping local leaders manage a spectrum of events, both planned and unplanned, such as deploying water maintenance crews to repair pumps before they break, alerting fire crews to broken fire hydrants at an emergency scene, or anticipating traffic congestion and preparing redirection scenarios.

IDC Government Insights estimates the new Smarter Cities information technology market opportunity at $34 billion in 2011, increasing more than 18 percent per year to $57 billion by 2014.