Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 27th, 2013

Another nasty Beirut Explosion: Exclusive Photos and the death of former minister of Finance and academician Mohammad Shateh

These photos are becoming too familiar.

Walking nonchalantly towards the blast site, people in suits walking to their cars after they got the day off.

A powerful explosion of about 60 kilos harvested Mohammad Shateh, 8 others and injured 70 bystanders.

Apparently, Shateh was on his way to join the March 14 coalition in order to expose his project for putting an end to the endemic violent crises in his home city of Tripoli (Lebanon)

 posted this Dec. 27, 2013

Mohammad Shatah was a friend, and I fondly remember several functions in the states where I had the pleasure of having a conversation with him. The shock is still sinking in, but the reactions are all too familiar.

Rabble of people, security forces shouting, ministers and officials with 5 dozen guards each trampling all over the evidence that was already tampered with by dozens of passerby.

The same broken record on TV stations, the same, old, tired phrases that even the speakers don’t believe anymore.

Shots taken seconds after the blast

Saad Hariri’s Political and Financial Adviser, Muhammad Shatah Killed in Huge Explosion that Rocked Beirut   إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية

Naharnet Newsdesk published:

A heavy explosion that rocked the capital Beirut on Friday targeted the convoy of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah, who is ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s adviser.

Shatah’s vehicle license was located in the area of the blast.

The body of Shatah was retrieved from the scene and transferred to AUBMC.

The blast that hit Starco area in downtown Beirut near Bank Audi-SAL also killed five people and at least 15 others were wounded. (The statistics has increased to 8 killed and 70 injured)

Around 400 meters of the area was damaged.

Caretaker PM Najib Miqati swiftly called for an emergency meeting for the Higher Council for Disasters.

“Hizbullah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security and foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 years,” Shatah wrote in a tweet a few hours before his assassination.

Shatah had served as adviser to former PM Fouad Saniora and his successor Saad Hariri, whose own father Rafic was assassinated in a huge Beirut seafront car bomb in February 2005 blamed on Syria.

A meeting for the March 14 alliance (as opposed to March 8 alliance) was scheduled to be held at the Center House in downtown.

State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr arrived at the scene to inspect the site of explosion.

Saqr said that the explosion weighed between 50 and 60 kilos.

Higher Defense Council chief General Mohammed Kheir also inspected the area at the head of a delegation to determine the needs of the victims and take the necessary measures to aid them.

Early estimates said around 30 kilograms of highly combustible elements were used in the explosives.

Red Cross Operations Director George Kettaneh told LBCI that “there are more than 15 casualties.”

Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil later ordered all hospitals in Beirut to receive those who were wounded in the explosion.

Television channels showed pictures of thick smoke near the Serail, where Lebanon’s prime minister has his offices, and a major commercial district home to shops, banks, restaurants.

People were seen running to rescue the injured as a helicopter was seen hovering over the area of the blast.

Footage broadcast by Future TV showed people on fire, others lying on the ground, some bloodied, as well as fires blazing at several other points while ambulances rushed to the stricken area.

Civil defense teams battled fire that erupted in the area of the explosion.

The blast, according to media reports, was caused by a booby-trapped car.

According to MTV the suicide attacker’s name was identified by Ahmed.

Security forces were seen opening fire in the air to disperse people gathered near the blast and began checking the identification papers of passers-by in the area.

The blast caused a major dysfunction in mobile phone communications.

Beirut has been hit by several deadly attacks over the past months, including twin suicide bombings in November that targeted the Iranian embassy and bombings in the bastion of Hizbullah in the south of the capital over the summer.

The 33-month war in Syria has deeply divided the Lebanese and triggered political tensions and sectarian clashes in the country.

Shots of the aftermath at around 10:30-11:00AM on Dec 27, 2013


Today, you need to give thought to the innocent passerby. Knowing Shatah makes this exceptionally painful, but the thought of an innocent citizen passing by and getting killed at 9:30AM on a Friday right after Christmas is just too much.

Army and police were hindering our fun and merriment very efficiently the past few days, but to actually do their job and do something to protect us? Absolutely not.

They’re just the clean-up crew when they’re not busy arresting kids on Christmas. Dis-gus-ting.

I’m leaving Beirut for a couple of days, will be back then.

Till then, my deepest condolences to Chatah’s family and all the innocent passerby.

Makes you wonder when’s our turn to get killed while idly going about our lives in our beloved Beirut…

As I finish this post, the tiny church surrounded by massive skyscrapers has its bells ringing, probably on automatic, as the Christmas tree in Omar’s place shifts in the wind creeping in from the broken window… Merry Christmas indeed…


Personal Note 1: A powerful explosion that kills, maims and injures innocent people with the main target is meant to send several messaes to different parties.

Since the Lebanese government never divulge the perpetrators and its investigations to the general public, it up to the citizens to conjecture (upfront and immediately) on the assassinating parties and the purposes behind the gory attempt.

Depending on which alliance you consider yourself to lean toward, the Evil or the Saint Alliances, you have the pick among these various choices as to the goal of the massive blast:

1. Shateh was the prime mover of the received funds from foreign powers to be channeled to the violent factions in Lebanon and in Syria

2. Sahteh knew too much of who and how the funds were transferred and was to be eliminated as a dangerous witness since the bloody Syrian case has been settled

3. Shateh received the Green Light from abroad to position himself as a viable Prime Minister and a few parties, internally and externally didn’t want this potential candidate to reach a point of no return in the mind of the citizens as the consensus candidate…

4. Shateh is a dual US and Israeli spy who communicated all Lebanon data (citizens and institutions) to the US and Israel and he was to be eliminated in pomp after the latest assassination of Israel of Hezbollah’s intelligence chief Hassan Laqkiss. Since Lebanon barely gather statistics, not even conduct census, whatever information you need on Lebanon you’ll have to dig into Israeli achieves.

5. Blowing up Shateh is a strong message to the former Prime Minister Saniora that if the judicial system in Lebanon cannot touch him, a bomb will take revenge of his being an Israeli agent since 1976.

6. Shateh has been dipping his hand very deep into the funds meant for other purposes…

7. Shateh has been trying to dissociate himself from the shady operations that he  committed himself decades ago. The Saudi Wahhabi political trend is violence or nothing “Either with us or against us” and Shateh angered this obscurantist monarchy…

8. Seniora is the prime beneficiary of Shateh’s assassination as the natural contender to run the financial business of the Hariri clan… Seniora proved in a hurried speech that he is pleased and immediately blamed Hezbollah for the explosion in order to divert the investigation toward political tangents.

Bref, follow the money trail

Note 2: Shatah was born in 1951 in Tripoli (North Lebanon) and graduated in business administration from AUB in 1974 and received a PhD in economics in 1983 from  Texas University. He worked 11 years for the International Monetary Fund. Late Rafic Hariri appointed him as one of the vice-presidents of Lebanon Central Bank and then ambassador to the US (1997-2000). He became one of the small circle in Hariri financial team. He rejoined the IMF until Rafic was assassinated and returned to take on the finance ministry in Seniora PM cabinet… He was lately the advisor to Saad Hariri…

He is married with two grown up boys.

Note 3: Omar, the eldest of Shateh’s two sons, was in the USA at the date of the explosion and returned to Lebanon. He had this to say:

Going to bury the greatest father one could ever ask for. The funeral is at 10:30am Sunday morning at Mohammad Al Amin Mosque in downtown. I can't believe they took him from us. 

Don't be angry and don't try to score political points. For God's sake don't listen to political speeches or sycophants waxing polemic or poetic.

Just ask for justice and accountability for all the crimes they have committed. We know many of their names. Hold them to account.

I love you dad.
“Going to bury the greatest father one could ever ask for. The funeral is at 10:30am Sunday morning at Mohammad Al Amin Mosque in downtown.
I can’t believe they took him from us. Don’t be angry and don’t try to score political points.
For God’s sake don’t listen to political speeches or sycophants waxing polemic or poetic. Just ask for justice and accountability for all the crimes they have committed.
We know many of their names. Hold them to account. I love you dad.”

Giza Zoo in Cairo: Suspicious animal deaths?

The giraffe committed suicide in thisold zoo, an Egyptian newspaper reported.

From tear gas and frequent chanting of demonstrators gathering nearby?

And the government pulled a former zoo director out of retirement to deal with the resulting media storm.

“The problem is with the press,” Nabil Sedki said on a recent afternoon, taking a deep drag on his cigarette as he settled into a giraffe-patterned armchair in his office.

He was five days into the job. “The media fabricated the suicide.”

Giza Zoo in Cairo is beset by poverty, tear gas and suspicious animal deaths

, Published in The Washington Post this December 18, 2013  (E-mail the writer)

The deceased animal in question was a 3-year-old giraffe named Roqa. Sedki said that the giraffe inadvertently hanged herself in early December after getting tangled in a wire inside her enclosure.

The state has launched 3 separate investigations — one purely forensic, another by the government’s official veterinary body and a third by a legal committee — “to see who will hang instead of the giraffe,” Sedki said with a wry laugh.

Zoos are prone to bad publicity, especially when something goes wrong. The government-run Giza Zoo, in the heart of Egypt’s chaotic capital, may be particularly susceptible, given the country’s floundering economy, the tumult of nearby political demonstrations and an overall poor track record in animal care.In May, three black bears died in a single night under mysterious circumstances. ”Zoo riot” 
In 2007 and again in 2008, local media reported that zookeepers were slaughtering the camels for meat — to eat themselves, and to sell to other hungry Egyptians.
And this month, the independent daily Al Masry Al Youm newspaper reported that Roqa had committed suicide. The article went viral.(The same newspaper reported in August that the giraffes and other large animals at the zoo were so troubled by Egypt’s ongoing political unrest — especially the protest chants of demonstrators from the Muslim Brotherhood in a nearby public square — that they had been mulling suicide for a while.)

“Is there anyone who actually believes that this giraffe committed suicide?” Sedki asked one recent day.

As he spoke, a fresh, stinging cloud of tear gas wafted in through an open doorway, and the thudding blasts of tear-gas cannons could be heard from the latest clashes between police and student protesters at neighboring Cairo University.

The campus is located just northwest of the 122-year-old zoo, the biggest and oldest of Egypt’s seven zoological parks.

On its north flank, just outside the zoo’s main gate, is Nahda Square, which served as a permanent protest encampment for supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi for more than a month last summer.

Police used bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters in August, killing scores of people.

When police fire tear gas at protesters, the irritating vapors inevitably make their way toward the animal enclosures, compelling zookeepers to wrap their faces in scarves on the worst of days. It has gotten to the animals, too, Sedki said.

“The sounds of the bullets and the tear gas affect the animals,” he said. Some of the large animals, such as lions and hippos, have displayed “restlessness and tension,” he said.

He said zoo authorities had moved some of the animals to different enclosures but found they had few good options, given that all 80 acres of the zoo are bordered by roaring traffic and the gritty urban sprawl.

For that same reason, Egyptians see the zoo as a rare — if dilapidated and underfunded — oasis of green.

It costs around 73 cents (5 Egyptian pounds) to enter. Families bring picnics and set up camp for the entire day on the grassy medians. Couples stroll hand in hand, and bands of giggling teenagers roam.

“I know that in the West, going to the zoo is like going to a museum — you go to get knowledge,” Sedki said. “But here, they come to visit a garden, not a zoo.”

Animal rights activists — themselves a rare breed in Egypt — have long been concerned about conditions at Giza, which echo the nation’s widespread poverty and bureaucratic failings after decades of authoritarianism and turmoil.

“This is not a zoo,” said Mona Khalil, a founder of the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals, which runs two shelters and provides free veterinary care to poor farmers on Cairo’s outskirts. “This is hell for animals.”

Many of the zoo’s employees earn less than $60 a month, activists say, and have little experience or training and even less incentive to protect the animals they care for.

Instead, the employees follow visitors over the zoo’s muddy and potholed paths, offering scattered “facts” about the animals’ daily lives or an opportunity to get closer — in the hope that it will yield tips.

On a recent afternoon, some keepers touted the chance to hold a baby lion — or if the visitor would prefer it, a monkey or a baby crocodile — for just 25 Egyptian pounds (around $3.60).

Adult lions, cramped in small, iron-barred cages that resembled the circus pens of an earlier era, crunched on animal carcasses, as visitors used their mobile phones to take pictures. Hippos and pelicans drifted through murky water. And a sickly black bear watched as a pair of stray cats hunched over its food dish.

Anyone want a picture with a baby lion? Anyone want a picture with a baby lion?” an employee droned monotonously as he stood next to one row of cages, a camera around his neck.

A different zookeeper gestured toward a rhinoceros that was nosing around in the shade of some trees.

“Her husband died six months ago,” the keeper said, in a cheerful, casual tone. “She killed him with her horn.” Without further explanation, the keeper quickly walked away.

No one in the zoo’s administrative office was quite sure how many animals are kept on the premises.

Staff searched through files in the high-ceilinged administrative headquarters — a building full of binders, and apparently devoid of computers — but were able to find figures only from 2009: 78 species of mammals, 82 species of birds and 26 species of reptiles — for a total of 4,631 individual animals.

Of those, about “forty-something” are lions, Sedki said.

In 2010, the zoo began to separate most of the lions by gender in an effort to stem its skyrocketing lion population. Meat is pricey, and space is limited.

To cope, many of the big cats are packed two per cramped cage. They eat mostly donkey carcasses, zookeepers said, and they “fast” one day a week.


Reporter Kevin Sullivan and photographer Linda Davidson set out to document the size and complexity of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Here are 18 stories of misery, resilience and survival. Explore.

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

2013 was a huge year for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. With new hardware comes new software, and love it or hate it, iOS 7 changed how we use the iPhone.

Here are the most popular iOS-related posts of the year. P

This year we covered jailbreaking your phoneblocking calls, and fixing all those iOS 7-related annoyances.

How to Jailbreak Your iPhone: The Always Up-to-Date Guide [iOS 6.1.2]P

Jailbreaking is a process that changes little by little with each iOS upgrade.

Rather than always publishing new guides, we’re simply going to keep this one up to date. If you want to jailbreak your iOS device, you’ve come to the right page.P

How Can I Block a Number from Calling My Cellphone?P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

Dear Lifehacker,
I’ve been getting tons of spam calls lately—like, multiple calls per day. I’m on the national Do Not Call list, but I’m still getting these robo-calls! Is there anything else I can do?P

How to Fix iOS 7’s Biggest AnnoyancesP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

With the release of any new operating system comes a slew of slight problems and annoyances. iOS 7 is no different.

While certain things won’t annoy everyone, a few minor problems are bound to trouble people. With that in mind, here’s how to fix some of the more common annoyances.P

How to Speed Up, Clean Up, and Revive Your iPhoneP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013

With the sun shining and bees buzzing in celebration of spring you’ve likely started decluttering your closets and basements.

If you need a break from all that indoor work, it might be time to step away and do the same for your iPhone. Here are some easy tips to give your trusted iPhone a spring cleaning of its own.P

How To Find the Best Prepaid Plan and Ditch Your Contract for GoodP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

It used to be that signing a two-year contract with a major carrier was the only way you could score the newest phones and the best coverage.

That’s not so true anymore. Prepaid carriers are upping their networks, offering innovative pricing plans, and are overall becoming more tempting. Here’s what you need to know about switching.P

What is HDR and When Should I Use It In My Photos?P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013

Dear Lifehacker,
I’ve got this setting called “HDR” on my phone’s camera, but I’m still not sure what it does.

It’s supposed to make my pictures look better, but sometimes my pictures just come out blurry or washed out! Am I doing something wrong?P

The Best Jailbreak Apps and Tweaks for iOS 6P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

With the new jailbreak for iOS 6, it’s time to start playing around with all the great apps and tweaks on your newly freed device.

Here’s a look at some of our favorites available in Cydia for iOS 6. P

How to Get iOS 7’s Best Features in iOS 6 (and Keep Your Jailbreak)P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

iOS 7 is coming to your iPhone and iPad next Wednesday, but a lot of its best features are available through third-party apps and jailbreak hacks right now.

If you want to get in on the action without losing you jailbreak, here are a few ways to add some of the new functionality. P

Everything You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Google’s Voice CommandsP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

Voice search is one of those features that seems silly, but is awesome once you start using it. Not convinced?

Here are a few ways to turn voice search from a silly gimmick into a useful productivity tool.P

Lifehacker Pack for iPhone 2013: Our List of the Best iPhone AppsP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

The iPhone has the largest selection of apps on the mobile side, but that means it’s also the most frustrating to find what’s worthwhile. For our fourth annual Lifehacker pack for iPhone, we’re highlighting the apps that help you stay productive, connected, informed, and entertained.P

How to Find Everything That’s Moved in iOS 7P

iOS 7 is out today and while it might at first look like a new coat of paint, a bunch of things have moved around too.

So, before you waste hours trying to figure out how the heck to find everything, here’s where everything’s moved to.P

How to Make Your iPhone Look Like iOS 7 Right NowP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

iOS 7 comes with a pretty sleek new look, but you need to be a developer to actually check it out before this fall. Thankfully, you can get the look and feel of iOS 7 really easily with a few jailbreak tweaks and themes. Here’s what you’ll need.P

Here’s a Massive List of Stuff You Can Ask Siri to Do in iOS 7P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013

Siri got a ton of improvements in iOS 7 and a bunch of new features as well. Now, you can ask it all sorts of things, from launching apps to getting sports scores. Redditor Cheeziz_Chrust put together a list of pretty much everything you can ask Siri these days.P

How to Customize Your iPhone’s Home Screen and Break Away from the PackP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

The iPhone has a pretty beautiful home screen, but it looks the same as every other iPhone out there.

If you want a phone that’s truly yours, here’s how to customize the look of your home screen from top to bottom.P

The Secret Powers Hidden in Your iPhone’s Accessibility OptionsP

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

Unless you’re constantly messing around with your iPhone’s settings, most people don’t dig into the Accessibility features in iOS unless they need to solve a specific problem.

There’s actually a few great features hidden in those options that everyone can make use of, even if you don’t need them.P

All the New Stuff in iOS 7P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

Today, Apple announced iOS 7 with a ton of new features, a complete overhaul to the interface, and plenty more. Here are all the new features.P

iOS 7’s Most Common Bugs (and How to Fix Them)P

Most Popular iPhone Apps and Posts of 2013SEXPAND

No operating system launch is without a few bugs, but it seems like iOS 7 has had more than it’s fair share of blunders.

From iMessages not working to lock screen exploits, here are some of the biggest bugs, and how you can fix them.

99 Life Hacks That Could Make Your Life Easier – Seriously, For Real?

Other types of life-hacker applications:.




December 2013

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