Joseph Kaï | Executive

Profits ‘Я’ Us

The alpha bankers had a good year. Profits for 2014 showed surprising strength by growing 9.13 percent year on year to LBP 2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) for the 14 banks with deposits of over $2 billion each. Individual profit champions were BLOM Bank, at $29 billion the sector’s number two by assets, with $365 million,

Members of the new union hail from numerous countries |Greg Demarque|

An ignored but active union

On January 25, 2015, the creation of a union for domestic workers was announced in Beirut. In an atmosphere teeming with excitement, more than 200 women who work in Lebanese homes — including nationals of Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia — called for their basic rights to be respected. This union gives rise to

Greg Demarque | Executive

Something for everyone

Mention Hamra Street in front of anyone familiar with Lebanon and they will surely have an opinion or story to share about one of Beirut’s most well known and cosmopolitan areas. Referred to as the “Champs Élysées” of the Middle East in the 1960s and early 1970s, this street has played a role in influencing

Survey results will reveal what lies beneath Lebanese soil (Nassim Abi Chahine | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0)

Becoming clearer

The search for potential onshore hydrocarbon reservoirs in Lebanon is moving along more quickly than anticipated. Fully analyzed and interpreted data from an airborne survey of 6,000 square kilometers will be ready by the end of the second quarter, three months ahead of schedule, according to NEOS GeoSolutions, the US based company conducting the survey.

Greg Demarque | Executive

Throw open the doors

There’s a glaring contradiction between the privately owned plots on the cadastral map of Beirut and legislation regarding ownership along the coast. A 1925 decree — still in force today — says that the coast is public property. It defines coast, or “maritime public domain,” as the “seashore until the farthest distance that the wave[s]could

The first solar powered flight around the world took off from Abu Dhabi (Solar Impulse)

Feeling the heat

The sight was electrifying: a solar powered flying machine ascended into the desert morning in order to probe a new frontier for ecology and sustainability. Venturing far beyond the conventional concept of an airplane, Solar Impulse II is a science adventure to test and develop new practical technologies that can deal with the urgent, global

Institutional reform, at all levels of the supply chain, is needed to ensure food safety in Lebanon (Dave Collier | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hungry for change

Food safety has become a national spectacle over the past several months. While there have been no recent foodborne epidemics, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour has incessantly reminded us that much of what we eat “violates health standards.” Yet despite this cringeworthy thought, it is refreshing to see the minister taking food safety so seriously

Greg Demarque | Executive

Seashore, Inc.

On February 10, 1966, Inmaa Tourism and Hotels bought two plots of land on the sandy shores of Ramlet al-Baida. Eight years later, the company bought seven more plots, bringing its total land holdings on the coast in this area of Beirut to around 30,000 square meters (m²). The land is still owned by Inmaa.


Thinking ahead

Since 2010, policymakers in Israel have had to repeatedly intervene in the energy sector to deal with challenges — not just opportunities — presented by the discovery of large gas fields. In December 2014, Israel’s antitrust commissioner David Gilo revoked a previous agreement that allowed US based Noble Energy and Israeli company Delek to retain ownership

In the past, security concerns have hampered the growth of nightlife areas (Greg Demarque | Executive)

A roller coaster ride

When Lebanon’s Civil War ended in 1990, Hamra was at a standstill in terms of nightlife, with almost no pubs or restaurants in operation on Makdessi, the street just north of the main road. In 2005, the roller coaster ride began its slow ascent with the opening of De Prague, a cross between a pub

'General' Abou Faour

One man’s army

On a crisp February morning just before dawn, two boys walk down the narrow street leading to the center of the Sabra meat market with short knives tucked away in sheaths attached to their belts. Just a few months earlier, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour had told a press conference, “I’m embarrassed to show the

Lebanon's anemically slow internet cannot be considered broadband by any measure

Light a fire

Lebanon is far from a bastion of fast and cheap internet. But stacked next to bumpy disorganized highways, intermittent electricity and a recent proliferation of private water companies that distribute water of questionable quality when the state runs out, internet infrastructure is probably the best infrastructure that the country has aside from air and seaports.

|Greg Demarque|

A prescription of order

When word broke earlier this year that physicians and pharmacists have been treated to new prescription forms by order of Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, the matter seemed pale — perhaps even byzantine — when compared with the minister’s flashier preoccupations. Who wants to bother with discussing some bureaucratic, procedural reform when there are so

|Greg Demarque|

Waiting for (re)forms

Note: On April 2, 2015, the Ministry of Public Health announced that Minister Wael Abou Faour had issued a decision to adopt the final form of the unified prescription and to begin printing the new forms immediately, stipulating that use of the new forms will be obligatory starting June 1, 2015. The Lebanese people’s preference for the

|Greg Demarque|

Four reasons Lebanon’s internet is so slow

Though Lebanon has a high international capacity coming in through underwater fiber optic cables — to the likes of several hundreds of megabits per second (Mbit/s) — internet speeds at the actual level of the user are overwhelmingly low. In Beirut, they average about 3.2 Mbit/s according to the Ookla Net Index for household downloads,