VIDEO: Haifa Wehbe shocks Arab world with revealing dress

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese superstar Haifa Wehbe shocked the Arab world on Thursday when she wore a revealing dress during a talent show performance on Arab Star Academy.

Haifa, who is 38 years old, appeared on a live episode, flaunting a tight-fitting black dress with revealing sheer panels.

More than two million people watched the seductive performance and many women took to social media to criticize Wehbe for her racy choice of outfit.

Most of the negative reactions on social media came from women in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

“They think if women dress this way it would misrepresent our culture,” said Dana Khairallah, a Lebanese lifestyle blogger, in an interview with BBC. “I find that hypocritical. I see Arab girls dressing more provocatively in clubs but no one cares because there are no cameras.”

The Egyptian channel CBC, which airs the Star Academy TV show, issued an apology on its channel for the star’s appearance on the show.

Wehbe herself blamed the stage lighting in a tweet, saying the original dress appeared more modest but that she “was surprised that it looked very different with the strong lighting on the stage.”

WATCH the performance:

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VIDEO: Najwa Karam scolds audience member on stage

(SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA) — Lebanese superstar Najwa Karam recently lashed out at an audience member on stage in Sydney, Australia after reportedly getting harassed halfway during her performance.

“Money does not buy us nor does it buy you, and shame on you for what you are doing,” she told the unidentified man.

Karam, who is known for her modesty and lack of controversy, continued with her performance despite the man’s jeers.

“In my life, I have never liked problems on stage, but you are being rude tonight,” she said. “Isn’t there anyone who can push you back tonight?”

Other audience members cheered for her and yelled, “May God strengthen you Najwa!”

It is unclear why the man was supposedly upset.

Watch the amateur YouTube video below:

WEEKEND COMEDY: Lebanese fathers and smartphones

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(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — It’s no surprise Lebanese fathers are not always the ‘smartest’ when it comes to smartphones.

But no matter how many doctorate degrees you earn, your Lebanese father, according to him, is always smarter than both you and your smartphone.

Watch below:

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Swedish-Lebanese singer performs at UNHCR Award Gala

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(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Swedish-Lebanese singer-songwriter Maher Zain performs his new song “One Day”, written in honor of refugees worldwide, for the first time at the 2014 Nansen Refugee Award ceremony.

The Nansen Refugee Award marks its 60th anniversary this year and is UNHCR’s top humanitarian honor. A courageous Colombian women’s rights network – Butterflies with New Wings Building a Future (Butterflies) – received the Award for its outstanding work to help victims of forced displacement and sexual abuse in Buenaventura, Colombia.

Watch Zain’s live performance:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS7-niMavSM” width=”500″ height=”300″]

Lebanese film “Ghadi” vying for Oscar nomination

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — The 2013 Lebanese drama film directed by Amin Dora, “Ghadi” is vying for an official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Oscars Awards.

The film was originally selected as the Lebanese entry last year, but was delayed to this year because it didn’t meet eligibility dates.

“Ghadi” set in a fictional village near Batroun, tackles the daring campaign waged by a father to overcome villagers’ animosity toward his disabled son.

Written by Georges Khabbaz, the film was previously awarded the audience choice award at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and was recently selected by the Culture Ministry as Lebanon’s official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Entertainment magazine Variety described it as “a sly and absorbing comedy whose particular resonance for Arab viewers (particularly fans of the fledgling Lebanese filmmaking industry) never undercuts its essential appeal to a potentially broad array of audiences.”

“Ghadi” will be competing against 80 other entries in the foreign language category. Lebanon has entered 11 films for the Oscars since 1978, but has yet to receive a nomination.

Watch the movie trailer here:

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Alamuddin named one of the most “powerful” people in London

(LONDON, ENGLAND) — Human rights attorney Amal Alamuddin was recently featured in a UK newspaper’s list of the most powerful and influential people in London.

Alamuddin is the highest-placed female on the Evening Standard newspaper’s annual power ranking list.

This list, officially called ‘The 1000 most influential Londoners 2014’ features 1,000 people and at the fourth spot, she was placed higher than Kate Middleton, Victoria Beckham, Prince Harry and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Alamuddin is featured behind the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and technology entrepreneur Demis Hassabis.

Prince Harry, who is currently fourth in line to the U.K. throne, claims the seventh spot.

Meanwhile, Amal has also been criticized for changing her last name from Alamuddin to Clooney after she got married in Venice last month.

The name change was first noticed on her law firm’s website on the day that she headed back to work in Athens on Monday to discuss how Greece can get back the Parthenon marbles from the British Museum.

Many critics are saying that the name change is “anti-feminist” and “backwards and subservient” to tradition while others are saying that Amal is “giving the impression that her name isn’t as valuable as his.”

Amal has yet to make any public comments about the name change to the media.

WEEKEND COMEDY: Lebanese Father-and-Son Driving

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Among the honking and prolonged lines of traffic on the streets of Beirut, you will often find new drivers learning the tricks of navigating Lebanon’s roads from their father.

Driving in Lebanon isn’t easy on it’s own, but clearly when your father is teaching you how to drive, things may get more difficult.

Watch below:

Mai Hariri loses temper on TV; throws coffee at camera

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese singer Mai Hariri lost her temper in a recent television interview when the host asked whether she used to be a dancer earlier in her career. Hariri was outraged at the question, throwing her cup of coffee at the camera and threatening to leave the interview.

Tammam Baleeq, host of the program “Bila Tashfeer” (Without Encryption) on Lebanon’s New TV channel, questioned if used to dance in the southeastern city of Choueifat.

“I do not accept you asking me such a question,” she said. “You are saying nonsense and angering me.”

She went on to say, “You are insulting me. I have children. What is it that you mean? You are talking about something I don’t know of.”

Baleeq, whose shirt was now stained with coffee, tried to contain the situation.”Hang on, hang on, this is an encryption,” he said, referring to the show’s name, by which the host brings up statements the interviewee is supposed to react to.

Hariri eventually managed to continue the interview.

Lebanese-American Muslim to play Jesus in Bill O’Reilly film

(NEW YORK, NY) — Lebanese-American Muslim actor Haaz Sleiman will play Jesus in a new National Geographic Channel film, an adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book “Killing Jesus.”

The Lebanese actor will join Kelsey Grammer, Stephen Moyer, Rufus Sewell, Emmanuelle Chriqui and John Rhys Davies in the project, according to The haaz-sleiman---photoHollywood Reporter.

Sleiman, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, was raised in Lebanon and moved to the United States when he was 21 years old. He previously starred in the 2008 indie drama film, “The Visitor,” where he played an undocumented Syrian immigrant.

Most recently, he had a recurring role in USA Network’s Covert Affairs, and in CBS dramas “Person of Interest” and “Reckless.”

“Traditionally Jesus has been played by a white man and I think the fact that this is a Middle-Eastern actor is significant,” Matthew Belloni, executive editor of The Hollywood Reporter, told ABC News.

One blogger called the selection of Sleiman “shocking.”

“I mean, if you were filming a Martin Luther King, Jr., miniseries, you wouldn’t cast Jim Caviezel or Diogo Morgado in the lead role. It’d be ridiculous and racist and insulting,” wrote blogger David Henson.

O’Reilly, who will serve as executive producer of the film, says “Killing Jesus” is a history book about Jesus the man, not the Messiah.

“The film (Killing Jesus) will break new ground in chronicling the life of the most famous human being who ever lived. The superb cast and script reflect much thought and research. Viewers are in for something very different and very special.”

Killing Jesus will premiere globally on the National Geographic Channel in 2015 in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Watch ABC News’ report about O’Reilly’s new film:

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Three Lebanese politicians to attend Clooney and Alamuddin’s London ceremony

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — A London ceremony celebrating the wedding of Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney will welcome three Lebanese politicians on October 23.

Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt, Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk, and MP Marwan Hamade will fly to England for a dinner hosted by Alamuddin’s father Ramzi.

Previously, Jumblatt voiced positive opinions of Alamuddin and Clooney’s marriage, expressing hope they would set an example of openness for the Druze community.

“Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara,” he wrote, referring to his ancestral home in the Chouf mountains. “I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs.”

Ramzi Alamuddin is a retired professor of business studies at the American University of Beirut and comes from a prominent Lebanese Druze family. Amal’s mother, Bariaa Alamuddin, is the foreign editor of the Pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

During the 1980s, when the Lebanese Civil War was in full scale, Alamuddin’s family left Lebanon for London and settled in Buckinghamshire, England.

Amal Alamuddin is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the New York University School of Law.

The Lebanese-British human rights lawyer Alamuddin, 36, and Hollywood actor Clooney, 53, dominated world headlines last weekend in a lavish Venice affair that included a wedding ceremony at one of the famed city’s luxurious hotels, the Aman Canal Grande.

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