08 February 2009

* Car-theft ring from Canada to Lebanon

Two men are facing charges after a two-month police investigation into an illegal exporting operation that sent stolen cars and car parts from Canada to Lebanon.
Ottawa police worked with the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency and the Insurance Bureau of Canada on the investigation, which recovered $400,000 worth of vehicles and parts.
So far, 14 vehicles have been recovered, with more expected to be found, said Det. Marshall Clark of the Ottawa Police organized auto theft section.
Police believe the stolen vehicles were being cut in half and shipped via the port of Montreal to Lebanon, where they would be reassembled or sold for parts. They tended to be expensive models by manufacturers such as Hummer, Infiniti and Lexus.
“It’s not the first time we’ve uncovered this,” Det. Clark said. “It is a common problem.”
Hanna Tanios, 39, of Ottawa was arrested and charged with fraudulent concealment and possession of stolen property over $5,000. Ayad Tirani, 39, formerly of Ottawa, was also charged but has not yet been arrested, as police believe he is in Lebanon.
Both men are also charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
On Wednesday, police executed a search warrant at Anthony’s 31 Collision & Auto Sales in Gloucester, where they say Mr. Tanios was an employee and former owner and out of which they believe the operation was being run.
A search warrant was executed Friday at a storage facility in Ottawa where cars and car parts were being stockpiled in a rented storage space. Five warrants have been executed as a result of the investigation.
“Out goal is to ultimately find out who else is involved,” Det. Clark said.
When reached at home, Mr. Tanios’s wife would not comment on the charges.


(ottawacitizen)



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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.