Lebanese teen wins Amal Clooney Scholarship to study abroad in Armenia

A Lebanese teen was awarded the Amal Clooney Scholarship, and will participate in a two-year international baccalaureate program in Armenia, Reuters reported.

Kamar Omary, 16, is the fourth Lebanese teen to receive the prestigious scholarship set up by Lebanese-British human rights attorney Amal Clooney.

The scholarship aims to promote cross-cultural education and social and philanthropic projects, according to a news release.

Omary will study at UWC Dilijan College in Armenia. (UWC Dilijan)
Omary will study at UWC Dilijan College in Armenia. (UWC Dilijan)

“This scholarship (gives) young women from Lebanon the opportunity of a lifetime,” Amal Clooney said. “Cross-cultural learning and studying abroad can be transformative.”

Omary will head to the UWC Dilijan College in Dilijan, Armenia for the two-year program. She told Reuters she wants to join in a nationwide effort to combat child marriage and marital rape in Lebanon.

“We need a minimum age for marriage and marital rape should be criminalized,” Omary told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Sexism and abuse of women and children is still widespread. Women are stigmatized. They are generally seen as weaker than men and we need change.”

Omary also wants to follow in Clooney’s footsteps and help people in need, she added.

“Every single person deserves education, health and security, and most refugees don’t get that here. That is very unfair,” Omary said. “I want to connect with people and listen to them – that is how you trigger change and that is what Amal does. She listens to the people and defends them.”

The scholarship winner is chosen annually based on academic performance and interest in the promotion of human rights and international issues.

Reagan Library releases video of meeting with former president Gemayel

The Reagan Presidential Library released vintage video of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan meeting with former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel.

When the White House hosted the Lebanese President, Reagan was nearing the end of his first term in office while Gemayel was only in his second of six years.

“Our talks today focused on the next steps in securing Lebanon’s independence,” Reagan said during the 1983 meeting.

Many consider the relationship between the two presidents one of the most extensive and personal of any administrations between the two countries.

The meeting took place just a few months before the Beirut barracks bombings, which killed 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers.

Gemayel visited the White House again in December 1983, where he met with Reagan for a second time.

READ: White House daily schedule on the day of Gemayel’s visit to the White House.

“My second visit to the White House in the course of the year is a further confirmation for our appreciation for the consistent support President Reagan has given Lebanon,” Gemayel said at the time.

Watch the footage released here:

READ: Reagan’s diary entry on the day of Gemayel’s second visit to the White House:

Most of N.S.C. spent on getting ready for visit by Pres. Gemayal of Lebanon. But also on whether to step up our artillery fire on Druze batteries lobbying shells in the direction of our Marines. So far we haven’t done anything. We’re a divided group. I happen to believe taking out a few batteries might give them pause to think. Joint Chiefs believe it might drastically alter our mission & lead to major increases in troops for Lebanon. Met with Gemayal & his cabinet. We emphasized need to work harder for expanding govt. to include some dissident groups. He made a good case that Syria has a block on the main factions. Cabinet Council on “space” & where we go. The issue is whether to move on a program for a permanent manned Space station. I’m for it as I think most everyone is but the question is funding such a new course in face of our deficits. Dave Stockman who opposed my signing the dairy bill came in to brief me on how the bill came to be and how may Reps. & Sens. broke their word on concessions they’d promised in return for the bill. I was never told any of this while it was going on. We’ll have to have a different procedure so this cant happen again. Nancy & I went to Shiloh Baptist Church for P.B.S. Young talent taping. Leontyne Price was mistress of ceremonies. Howard U. choir & young black singers were magnificent. It was a great finish to the day.

Lebanese American attorney to open youth center in Batroun

Prominent Michigan attorney Joumana Kayrouz is planning to fund the construction of a new youth center in the northern coastal city of Batroun, Lebanon, her office announced.

The ‘Youth Hub Center’ will serve as a gathering place for Lebanese youth in the Batroun district. It is set to open in May 2019.

“I want young people in Lebanon and abroad to recognize that important fact and to continue to give back to the country where they were born while pursuing their lives wherever it may take them,” Kayrouz said. “My country opened doors for me and I pray that I am doing all I can to open doors for the next generations of Lebanese talents.”

Kayrouz said the new center is part of a “larger effort” by Lebanese expatriates to support their motherland.

Attorney Joumana Kayrouz is best known for her signature billboard advertisements in metro Detroit. (Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz)
Attorney Joumana Kayrouz is best known for her signature billboard advertisements in metro Detroit. (Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz)

The estimated cost for the project was not released.

“The Lebanese Youth Hub is dedicated to the Lebanese youth, where they will congregate to socialize with one another instead of having to connect solely through technology,” said Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose hometown is Batroun. “It will be their special place.”

Kayrouz has gained national prominence for her signature billboard advertising. She recently expanded her practice to include family law, criminal law, immigration and bankruptcy.

Lebanese police searching for topless, flashing woman on highway

Authorities in Lebanon are searching for a woman who went topless on a Saida highway and flashed her bare breasts to other motorists, the Daily Mail reported.

The photo circulating on social media purportedly shows an unidentified woman standing outside a sunroof and exposing her breasts to another vehicle.

Lebanese road safety organization YASA is calling on Lebanese police to locate and prosecute the woman.

Police in Lebanon are searching for a woman who flashed motorists on a highway in Saida. (YASA)
Police in Lebanon are searching for a woman who flashed motorists on a highway in Saida. (YASA)

“The police must do significant efforts to enforce traffic law not only speed control on few roads,” YASA founder Ziad Akl told the Daily Mail. “This unfamiliar show is illegal and unethical. Penal law must be enforced in parallel with traffic law in order to eliminate such behavior.”

The flashing prank has sparked a debate among Lebanese social media users. Some users see it as harmless fun, while others believe the woman should be held accountable.

According to the Daily Mail, Lebanon sees an average of 4,500 accidents each year on its roads with more than 6,000 injured and 900 killed.

Editor’s Note: Lebanese Examiner censored the photo to conceal the woman’s face, as she has not been charged with a crime.

Man accused of killing Lebanese wife sentenced to death by hanging

A Kuwaiti court sentenced an Egyptian teacher Sunday to death by hanging after allegedly murdering his Lebanese wife, a Kuwait-based newspaper reported.

The man, whose name and nationality were not released, is said to be 42-years-old. He is accused in the stabbing death of his wife, authorities said.

According to Alqabas.com, the wife was of Lebanese descent and lived in the suburb of Hawally, Kuwait with her husband and children.

The Kuwait Palace of Justice in Kuwait City. (File photo)
The Kuwait Palace of Justice in Kuwait City. (File photo)

In court, the husband claimed self-defense, alleging his wife drew the knife first.

Authorities did not release the wife’s name.

A circulating video on social media purportedly showed the man surrendering to police on the day of the murder.

WATCH: Arrest made in the murder of a Lebanese woman in Kuwait:

Viral ‘We don’t tip terrorist’ restaurant receipt fake, waiter admits

A waiter at a Saltgrass steakhouse in Odessa, Texas admitted that his post about a racist receipt that read, “We don’t tip terrorist,” was fake.

Khalil Cavil posted on Facebook on July 16th a photo of a $108 bill with a paragraph explaining what happened.

“Last night at work I received this note from one of my tables,” Khalil wrote. “I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists.”

Cavil’s post was shared tens of thousands of times and generated about 8,000 comments before it was deleted.

Khalil's original post has since been deleted (Facebook screen grab)
Khalil’s original post has since been deleted (Facebook screen grab)

“I did write it,” Cavil told the Odessa American local newspaper. “I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”

Restaurant officials said that Khalil is no longer employed at the establishment.

“Racism of any form is intolerable, and we will always act swiftly should it occur in any of our establishments,” said Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass. “Falsely accusing someone of racism is equaling disturbing.”

Lebanese family accused of stealing $4.3M coin from German museum

A Lebanese family in Germany is accused of stealing a giant gold coin from a Berlin museum worth about $4.3 million, prosecutors said.

Authorities seized 77 properties owned by members of the unidentified Lebanese family suspected of “mafia-style” crimes. The properties included homes, apartment blocks and garden allotments.

Prosecutors said they recovered about $11.7 million worth of property, but were unable to locate the gold coin.

A Lebanese family is accused of stealing a gold coin valued at $4.3 million. (File photo)
A Lebanese family is accused of stealing a gold coin valued at $4.3 million. (File photo)

 

The coin, known as the Canadian “Big Maple Leaf,” belonged to Berlin’s Bode Museum. It was made of pure 24-carat gold, worth about $4.3 million, despite its lower face value.

Prosecutors believe the coin was stolen in March 2017.

RELATED: Duo accused of stealing from 10+ churches in Mount Lebanon

Authorities said they are now investigating 16 members of the Lebanese family involved in an organized crime ring. No one has been arrested or charged yet.

“The difficult thing with these family structures is that you need leads.” Berlin chief state prosecutor Jörg Raupach told DW. “There’s a crime, money is missing, where has it gone? Working out where that money went is a tough task, but sometimes, as in this case, it leads to a partial success.”

Some gold price experts fear the gold may have been melted down and sold.

 

 

Ancient relics of Saint Marina the Monk arrive in Lebanon

The ancient relics of Saint Marina the Monk have landed at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, the state-run Lebanese National News agency reported.

Saint Marina’s preserved body arrived in a glass box, and was transported to the Maronite Patriarchate in Dimane.

According to Christian teachings, Marina lived in Lebanon’s Kadisha Valley as a monk in the 5th century. She was disguised as a man under the name Marinos.

Marina renounced women’s clothing and said she wanted to live as a monk to dedicate her life to religion, Maronite accounts said.

Saint Marina the Monk arrives at the Beirut International Airport. (Lebanese National News Agency)
Saint Marina the Monk arrives at the Beirut International Airport. (Lebanese National News Agency)

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Maronite religious representatives welcomed the relics of Saint Marina at the airport, and watched the transfer from Venice to Lebanon.

The relics were kept and venerated in Venice by the Catholic Church for nearly 200 years.

The relics will remain in Lebanon until July 23, NNA added.

Report: Pope approves Lebanon to list of ‘Christian pilgrimage’ sites

Pope Francis has reportedly approved Lebanon to the official list of Christian pilgrimage sites in 2019, according to the state-run Lebanese National News agency.

Lebanese Charge d’Affaires in Vatican City Khalil Karam told NNA the authorization will put Lebanon back on the list of official pilgrimage destinations for the first time in 12 years.

Lebanon was previously on the list in 2007.

Worshipers gather at the site of St. Sharbel in Annaya, Lebanon. (Lebanese Examiner)
Worshipers gather at the site of St. Sharbel in Annaya, Lebanon. (Lebanese Examiner)

Karam said President Michel Aoun discussed the potential move with senior Vatican officials during a visit in March 2017.

He said leaders from the Lebanese government have been holding meetings with Vatican officials about recommended pilgrimage sites, hotels and accommodations.

The announcement is expected to attract thousands of Christian pilgrims to Lebanon, and boost the tourism industry. Lebanon relies heavily on the tourism industry, accounting for about 18 percent of the country’s GDP.

Lebanon is one of the earliest regions to adopt Christianity, and was mentioned in the Old Testament. The country is also home to the Maronite Church and the birthplace to several Maronite saints.

Jbeil District to ban all use of plastic bags by the end of 2018

The municipality of Jbeil will ban all use of plastic bags by the start of 2019, officials confirmed.

In a memo issued by the municipality, the local government has urged all supermarkets and retail outlets to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly alternatives by the start of next year.

The municipality is attempting to cut down some of its waste, and is urging other cities and municipalities to follow suit.

In the published memo, Jbeil Mayor Wissam Zaarour is asking the owners of establishments to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly ones (Facebook/Municipality of Jbail-Byblos)
In the published memo, Jbeil Mayor Wissam Zaarour is asking the owners of establishments to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly ones (Facebook/Municipality of Jbail-Byblos)

Many Lebanese environmental groups praised the decision, including Greenpeace Mediterranean global campaign.

“The Jbeil municipality got it right,” Julien Jreissati, a Greenpeace campaigner, told The Daily Star. “Our path out of this garbage crisis starts by reducing the amount of waste we produce.”

RELATED: Wind Power industry in Lebanon industry attracts bids from 40+ companies

The memo’s release comes just two days after Starbucks announced it will stop using disposable plastic straws by 2020 in a effort to eliminate some of the 335 million tons of plastic waste produced globally every year.

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