Rabih K

Lebanon to start drilling oil wells in Mediterranean Sea in 2019

Exploration drilling of oil and gas in the Mediterranean Sea will begin in 2019, Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abi Khalil said in an interview with the Russian news agency Sputnik.

The minister also held a news conference in Dec. 2017 announcing plans to begin exploratory drilling in 2019.

“If commercial drilling does not take place as we plan, we will continue the exploration of the oil fields,” Abi Khalil told the news outlet.

If the country begins successfully drilling for gas and oil, the Energy Minister said it could be used to fulfill Lebanon’s energy needs, or be delivered to Europe “by sea, through Egypt or via the Arab pipeline.”

Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abi Khalil announced the plans to begin drilling oil wells in 2019. (Twitter/Cesar Abi Khalil)
Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abi Khalil announced the plans to begin drilling oil wells in 2019. (Twitter/Cesar Abi Khalil)

RELATED: Lebanese banker buys Colorado Springs bank as part of U.S. expansion

Hydrocarbons, an early indicator if oil exists in an area, were originally discovered near Lebanon in the eastern Mediterranean in 2009.

In August of this year, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil asked his Russian counterpart to encourage Russian energy companies to take part in the upcoming bidding round of foreign investments.

Sputnik reported that tensions have grown between Lebanese and Israeli governments over territorial claims of the oil reserves.

WatchMojo lists Lebanon’s ‘Top 10 Attractions’ from St. Charbel to Baalbek

From the mountains of Faraya to the ruins of Baalbek, Lebanon’s top travel destinations are the highlight of a new YouTube video posted by a popular travel channel.

In collaboration with Lebanese Examiner, WatchMojo released its list of the ‘Top 10 Attractions’ in Lebanon — and the selections are spot on!

At number 10, WatchMojo features the city of Baalbek in the Beqaa Valley, followed by the Tomb of Saint Charbel at number 9, and the mountains of Faraya at number 8.

WATCH: Top 10 Attractions in Lebanon:

The full list includes:

  • Baalbek – Beqaa Valley
  • Monastery of St. Maron & Tomb of Saint Charbel – Annaya
  • Faraya – Keserwan District
  • Zaitunay Bay – Beirut
  • Byblos – Jbeil District
  • Cedars – Bcharre
  • Sidon – South Governorate
  • Central District – Beirut
  • Tyre – South Governorate
  • Jeita Grotto – Nahr al-Kalb Valley

RELATED: Beirut named in world’s top 15 cities by Travel and Leisure magazine!

The Old Souq Market in Jbeil, Lebanon is one of the country's top travel destinations. (Lebanese Examiner)
The Old Souq Market in Jbeil, Lebanon is one of the country’s top travel destinations. (Lebanese Examiner)

MojoTravels features “all things travel” on YouTube, with insider videos on food, hot spots and travel tips from around the world.

Brazil’s two main parties have presidential candidates of Lebanese descent

Two of Brazil’s main parties have nominated candidates of Lebanese descent for the country’s upcoming presidential election in October, according to an article by The National.

Fernando Haddad, former mayor of São Paulo, is running on one of the largest political movements in Latin America — the left leaning Workers’ Party.

Haddad was previously the running mate of presidential candidate Lula da Silva. He is widely expected to become a presidential nominee after Lula’s candidacy was denied by the Supreme Electoral Court due to his conviction for corruption crimes.

Fernando Haddad was Mayor of São Paulo, Brazil's largest city, from 2013 to 2017. (File photo)
Fernando Haddad was Mayor of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, from 2013 to 2017. (File photo)

Geraldo Alckmin, chairman of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, is also a candidate for Brazil’s highest office. He previously served two non-consecutive terms as governor of São Paulo.

“Mr Alckmin, seen as a candidate for the business community in a country reeling from a crime epidemic and poverty, may have his work cut out but he is vying to replace Michel Temer, the incumbent and another politician of Lebanese heritage – his parents emigrated from the town of Btaaboura in northern Lebanon in 1925,” The National wrote.

Gerald Alckmin served as the Governor of São Paulo from 2001 to 2006. (File photo)
Gerald Alckmin served as the Governor of São Paulo from 2001 to 2006. (File photo)

Lebanese descendants have called Latin America home since the late 1800s. They immigrated to Latin countries in two waves, most prominently after the collapse of the Lebanese silk trade.

RELATED: Ancient relics of Saint Marina the Monk arrive in Lebanon

“Should any of them be successful, they would join a long list of other children of Lebanese emigrants who have made their mark on Latin American politics, joining the recently-elected president of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Beníte and Argentina’s First Lady Juliana Awada,” The National reported.

Help get signatures to make Paypal payment services available in Lebanon

A petition is circulating on Change.org asking Paypal to expand their payment services to Lebanon.

Paypal is currently available in other Middle Eastern countries like Yemen and Somalia but not Lebanon.

Jason Karim, the petition organizer, is asking for only 500 signatures before he forwards the petition to the tech giant.

“PayPal is one of the essential payment services around the world, and still, it has not been deployed in the Lebanese market,” Karim wrote.

RELATED: Subscription box company launches products for Lebanon lovers

He believes if the app is made available, it would help local businesses make safe and secure transactions with consumers.

Paypal is a fast, safe way to send money, make an online payment, or receive money, according to the company website. (File photo)
Paypal is a fast, safe way to send money, make an online payment, or receive money, according to the company website. (File photo)

“This petition will help Lebanese (YouTubers), small business owners, the general public, artists, and many more get (paid),” Karim added.

In 2013, a senior Paypal manager promised to bring the service to Lebanon by the end of the year, but the initiative later fizzled out.

“This is a must service for Lebanon,” wrote one of the petition supporters. “Technology is increasing and the demand to pay online is growing, so Paypal is a must!”

To learn more about the petition or to add support to the initiative, click here.

Lebanese spot named one of the top places for cocktails in Ibiza!

Patchwork, a rooftop restaurant and bar featuring Lebanese cuisine, was recently named one of the top 16 places for cocktails on Ibiza, by Ibiza-spotlight.com.

Patchwork is a part of a trio of restaurants in Sa Punta Ibiza, and is located in the beautiful city of Dalt Vila.

The restaurant combines food, cocktails, design and music and makes the dining experience, “a laid-back one until 3 a.m.,” according to its website.

The establishment is “brightly decorated and bursting with color,” and the cocktails are “brimming with fresh fruit and the gin and tonics are amongst the best of the island,” its website added.

RELATED: Lebanese-owned WHITE nightclub ranked top 20 in world

Ibiza Spotlight told readers they would love the clever vessels in which these gorgeous mixed drinks are served. (Youtube Screen grab)
Ibiza Spotlight told readers they would love the clever vessels in which these gorgeous mixed drinks are served. (Youtube Screen grab)

Ibiza is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the east coast of Spain that is a wildly popular tourist destination for millennials.

Massari to perform at American Lebanese Cultural Festival in California

Lebanese-Canadian pop singer Massari is set to perform at the American Lebanese Cultural Festival this weekend in a Los Angeles suburb.

The annual festival is hosted by Our Lady of Mount Lebanon Church in Arcadia, California. The festival is in its 16th year.

Massari is best known for combining Arabic beats with western culture. He has won many awards, including Best International Arabian Artist and Dance Artist of the Year.

He has worked with some big names around the world, including French Montana, Mohammed Assaf and former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

RELATED: Lebanese man plants cedar tree in town of Lebanon, Tennessee

The festival starts on Aug. 25 at noon until midnight PST, and will feature authentic Lebanese food, dabke, backgammon and tarneed tournaments.

The festival will take place on August 25th and will feature musical performances by Massari and Fidel Fayad (Facebook screen grab)
The festival will take place on August 25th and will feature musical performances by Massari and Fidel Fayad (Facebook screen grab)

Admission to the festival is free, but parking is $10.

To find out more information and RSVP to the event, visit their Facebook event page here.

Lebanese restaurant in North Carolina named ‘go-to’ for gluten-free food

Lebanese restaurant Aladdin’s Eatery was ranked among the top four gluten-free dining options in Raleigh by WTVD-TV, an ABC station in North Carolina.

Aladdin’s Eatery is a restaurant chain that serves Lebanese-American dishes with an atmosphere that “treats our guests with Lebanese hospitality by adhering to high standards for quality service,” according to their website.

The ABC station points out the restaurant has over 40 vegetarian dishes, 30 vegan dishes, 40 gluten-free dishes and 40 antibiotic-free meat and chicken dishes to choose from.

Aladdin's Eatery was named one of the top four best dining locations for gluten-free food options in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Aladdin's Eatery)
Aladdin’s Eatery was named one of the top four best dining locations for gluten-free food options in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Aladdin’s Eatery)

The list suggests that gluten-free eaters should try “Jasmine’s Favorite,” which includes kidney beans, vegetables and gluten-free rice topped with the meat of your choice.

RELATED: Anthony Bourdain visited Beirut twice – at very different times

The restaurant chain was founded and is run by Lebanese-American Fady Chamoun, and currently has over 30 locations in the Midwest.

The establishment featured on the list is located at 4209 Lassiter Mill Road in Raleigh, North Carolina.

This Lebanese-British comedian has empowering message for girls

The year 2018 has been phenomenal for Lebanese comedian Esther Manito. She had the opportunity to perform at the United Arab Emirates’ largest theatre, the Dubai Opera, and was a contributor to the book “Donʹt Panic, Iʹm Islamic.

The UK-based comedian spoke exclusively with Lebanese Examiner about her career and the challenges she faced to achieve her success.

How did you get started in comedy, and how did you grow so fast?

I started doing comedy when my son was 7-months-old. I did a comedy course, I had no idea I would continue to do stand up. The last two years has been a whirlwind. I have worked incredibly hard to take as many opportunities as possible.

What are some obstacles you think you have faced in the industry, both personally and professionally?

Well, doing stand-up comedy when you are a mother to two very small children is physically demanding. However, I feel I am more fulfilled which has made me a better mom. In terms of comedy you will always find you are battling stereotypes as female comic, but especially as a female comic that talks about her Arab roots.

RELATED: Actress Shannon Elizabeth: I’m proud of the Lebanese side of my life

Esther Manito is a Lebanese-British comedian. (Photo provided/Esther Manito)
Esther Manito is a Lebanese-British comedian. (Photo provided/Esther Manito)

As you travel all across the world, what do you think of the Lebanese diaspora?

There are Lebanese wherever you go! We are EVERYWHERE! We are Lebanon. I have Lebanese women approach me after most gigs. They are so supportive and love seeing a woman talk about being Lebanese.

What are some future projects you are working on that your fans should look forward to?

I am writing a book, its an observational look at how comedy can be used to challenge sociological expectations of motherhood.

What would you like to say to the younger generation who are thinking of pursuing a career in entertainment?

Girls! Get out there and take pride in your inner funny. Nothing is more wonderful than realizing you can own a stage.

You can follow Esther on Twitter and on her Facebook page.

Lebanese-run ‘Vero’ app becomes most downloaded in 18 countries

The Lebanese-run social media app Vero recently surged in popularity, and became the most downloaded social app in 18 countries, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain and France, according to Forbes.

Launched in 2015, Vero is an ad-free social app that connects users to their friends with pictures, links and videos. The content sharing is intuitive, and is separated by Close Friend, Friend, Acquaintance and Follower.

The founders describe the app as a “social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Just like we do in real life.”

Instead of advertisers, Vero runs on an annual subscription fee model and promised to keep the app free to its first million users.

Ayman Hariri, son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, is the CEO and co-founder of the app. He said he aims to grab the market share of some of his largest competitors, including Facebook and Twitter.

Related: Subscription box company launches products for Lebanon lovers

Ayman Hariri is the CEO of the Riyadi-based Social Media app Vero
Vero allows users to post to their close friends, friends, acquaintances or followers. (Website screen grab)

Unlike other companies in the social media space, Vero creators said the system is not based on algorithms and data mining to cater to advertisers.

Vero can be downloaded on the Apple or Google Play stores.

WATCH: Incredible Lebanese wedding proposal on a yacht!

Wedding season is here, and like other people around the world, many Lebanese couples are wasting no time getting hitched.

In a YouTube video posted by Ali Wehbi, Ali is seen taking his blindfolded girlfriend out on a boat covered in red roses.

When she took the blindfolds off,  Ali popped the question — “Will you marry me?”

His now-fiancée Maya said yes!

Ali proposed to Maya on a yacht in the beautiful Mediterranean sea. (YouTube screen grab)
Ali proposed to Maya on a yacht in the beautiful Mediterranean sea. (YouTube screen grab)

RELATED: Epic wedding entrance captures Lebanese and Assyrian cultures

The two celebrated and danced together on the backdrop of a beautiful Lebanese sunset.

Mabrouk to Ali and Maya!

WATCH: Amazing Lebanese proposal on a yacht:

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