Author Archives: Yasser Akkaoui

Riddle me this

Riddle me this

For an entire month, our investigative reporters tried to answer a painfully simple question: is Lebanon using its fiber optic backbone for data traffic? The result — we still don’t know. It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! Even the minister might not know. Instead, there are people hiding something, and I

Resigned to failure

The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon is in a unique position. It has autonomy to make many decisions on its own and is more or less immune from having its work disrupted by a political class that cannot make decisions. IDAL does not sit for years with its hands tied, awaiting a government decree to

The unsuspected juggernaut

There’s a parallel space we Lebanese have learned to operate in — a place where the crooks in power have no influence. In that space, we’ve flourished in 2014. Our banks are strong, our entrepreneurs are maturing, our design space is expanding and our industrialists are investing in mechatronics, putting the country on a path

We’re 20 years too late

In the mid 90s, tech startups were new and sexy. Bill Clinton was in the White House, and Monica too. Marrouche restaurant was still serving. All while American entrepreneurship was changing the world, generating trillions of dollars of value, pleasing clients and investors. The bubble that formed out of the frenzy burst in 2000. It

A dream turns to shame

This month’s oil and gas special report was painful to write. What started as an exciting research project on what promises to be the industry that could break the vicious cycle of corruption and cronyism ended up being a reality check that thrusts the truth in our face again. The oil and gas industry won’t

Hope is not a plan

They say ignorance is bliss, so let’s indulge. Let’s ignore that global temperatures are rising — albeit at a slower pace since 1999. Let’s ignore that springtime snow cover in the northern hemisphere has dropped 2 percent per decade since 1996. Let’s also ignore the possibility that an El Niño event this winter could make

The East’s hour

Yves Meylan is the director of international retail for luxury Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. Executive caught up with him to get the latest trends in high end watches, from design to the sales floor.   Tell me a little bit about yourself. Your job is a big responsibility during these very volatile times, especially since 2000,

Kings and comedians

There’s something wrong here. Protesters are supporting Palestinians in London, Paris, Berlin and even Santiago while the streets of Arab capitals are mostly quiet. Meanwhile, the American — and Jewish — comedian Jon Stewart is expressing more outrage over the accumulating atrocities in Gaza than all of the Arab leaders combined. What is it they

A tourist is leaving his hotel in Raouche after the explosion at Duroy Hotel

The momentum was building

When the World Cup kicked off last month, it felt like a good summer was in the offing. Bars and cafes were full. The Gulf countries had lifted their travel bans, and we could already see tourists and expats on the streets. Hotels were finally reporting decent occupancy rates — with the tourism minister even

The Spinneys store located in Jnah in the 1970s

The real bad guys

When Lebanon was on its descent into civil war in 1975, some militia bosses sicced the ‘poor’ upon the ‘rich’, telling their followers to loot the Spinneys store in Ramlet el-Baida. I remember watching the riot from our balcony — the first to drive up to the deserted store were the warlords and their top