Baalbeck Festival is to return to the Bekaa

Baalbeck Festival ‘to return home’

The last couple of years have been tough for Lebanese tourism, and one of the areas hardest hit is certainly Baalbeck. The town, home to the most famous and stunning Roman ruins in the country, is located just a few kilometers from the Syrian border. As the Bekaa Valley region has become increasingly lawless and

Roadie (4)

From Beirut to Shenzhen

“We were really amazed by how fast things can move,” says co-founder of Band Industries Hassane Slaibi. Their first product, Roadie Tuner, a device that tunes guitars automatically by placing it on the guitar pegs, is due for distribution in June. After having gone through an acceleration program in Shenzhen, China, at hardware startup accelerator Haxlr8r, the

Elie Nasnas is general manager of AXA Middle East

‘The insurance industry needs more women’

Elie Nasnas is the general manager of AXA Middle East, a Beirut-based insurer affiliated with the leading global insurance brand, AXA. He is also the newest member of the invitation-only MENA Insurance CEO Club, a regional club which is a voice of advocacy on behalf of the insurance industry in the Middle East and North

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in Lebanon

Syria’s refugees: Lower the drawbridge

When the top representatives of the world’s international bodies arrived in Beirut last month, they had a clear message to convey. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF, were desperate to urge people and governments to extend more help to the victims of the Syrian civil war.

Marcello Dell'Utri was arrested in Beirut on Saturday

The curious case of Marcello Dell’Utri

When an international arrest warrant was issued for Marcello Dell’Utri on Thursday, he could have been forgiven for not being too worried. The Italian politician – who for the past four decades has allegedly been the link between former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Sicilian mafia – had already arrived in Lebanon, a country

Insurance offers guarantees for cargo ships in dangerous regions

Trading in an unpredictable region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has witnessed notable changes in the past few years. Beginning in 2008, the global financial crisis, followed by social and political instability, has badly affected several economies as well as caused significant disruptions in trade. This situation has triggered a surge in demand for credit risk protection

The Lebanese healthcare system is straining under pressure from Syrian refugees

Public healthcare on the brink

“I don’t know how no public hospitals have shut down until now. I am very surprised they are all still open.” So says Walid Ammar, director general of Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) for the past two decades. He argues that the scale of the Syrian refugee influx in the past two years —

Cafe Diem mixes a variety of food types

Café Diem – Seize the moment and go

Where in Beirut would one find a decent cup of coffee, a glass of high quality French wine, a filling sandwich and an appetizing dessert all under one roof? Though such eateries that combine different concepts can feel schizophrenic and tend to be lax in at least one aspect, Café Diem manages to pull it


Painting oppression from Aleppo

“Men are preoccupied with two things: politics and sex” says Aleppo-based 70 year-old artist Saad Yagan. And that’s why many of his paintings depict men either having heated political debates or dreaming about – often nude – women. With his first solo show at the Mark Hachem gallery in Beirut ongoing, Yagan is in town

The risk of political violence in Lebanon has grown

Lebanon needs a political violence risk pool

With the recent slew of bombings further entangling Lebanon in the Syrian civil war, political violence insurance in the country is becoming increasingly sought after, as hotels, banks and malls are seeking to protect their assets. This is paired with international reinsurers becoming increasingly weary to underwrite risks in the present volatile situation, resulting in

The HitchHike Girls are a day away from completing their task

The HitchHike Girls – Can They Make It?

A few ago weeks, Mona Talih, Lara Talih and Shaden Fakih were just three typical distracted students. Then, a spur of the moment decision started them down the path to trading cans of energy drink for anything and everything in a desperate race to get across Europe. That decision was to submit a video with

Local governments would have more power to deal with issues such as Syrian refugees

Decentralization – the best way to tackle corruption?

Decentralization is a hot topic right now. In Ukraine, it has been proposed as a means of giving greater autonomy to the Russian-speaking regions in the East of the country – a gentle concession to Moscow’s current belligerent posturing. Iraq continues to debate the merits of moving towards a federal system as a way to

This says: No to a rent law that is unjust and protects the interests of despots

A day of pressure

Hundreds of employees carried out a protest in Downtown Beirut on Wednesday. Protesters started flocking to Riad Solh Square from 10 am but their flow did not quite swell to a flood. By 11am the crowd loosely filled the stretch of road downhill from the Grand Serail, the headquarters of the Prime Minister.    

Grumpy cat is undoubtedly the Internet's most famous feline

The enduring power of memes

“Let’s make a Happy video!” “Let’s do the Harlem Shake.” “Planking? Yes, of course. Check out my photos.” “Oh look it’s another Grumpy Cat!” You’d have to be living under a rock not to be familiar with memes, which are according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to