26 May 2013

* Rockets in Shiyah: Mikati calls for vigilance and wisdom to prevent discord

Outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Sunday stated that the two rockets which hit southern Beirut suburb sought to confuse and cause negative reactions.
The Lebanese army confirmed in a communiqué that two rockets fell this morning near the church of Mar-Michael and Maroun Misk in Shiyah. According to their statement, four people were injured and properties were damaged. Launching platforms of the two rockets were then discovered in the region between Aytat and Bsaba, in Mount Lebanon.

"With that, we call on all parties to exercise vigilance and wisdom to prevent those who want discord from achieving their goals," outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati warned, noting in the same context that the security services have commenced an investigation to uncover the circumstances of this act of sabotage and arrest the perpetrators.

He urged all leaders to work together to restore peace during the delicate phase the area is passing through.

The attack came in the wake of Hassan Nasrallah's speech yesterday: In his speech delivered on the occasion of Liberation Day, Hassan Nasrallah justifued the presence of Hezbollah fighter in Syria, warning that "in the wake of Syria's fall into the hands of American and Israeli administrations, then the Resistance Movement shall be cornered, and Lebanon, once again, shall be plunged into the Israeli era."

Lebanon Time-Line

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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.