Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 31st, 2015

Open Letter to  Bilal Hamad: President of Beirut’s Municipal Council

Najat Rizk shared Jad Chaaban post

Share now! Municipalities have to take full responsibilities.

Beirut, 27 August 2015 Open Letter to Mr. Bilal Hamad, President of the Municipal Council of Beirut Dear Mr. Hamad, I am writing to you as a Lebanese citizen and…
jadchaaban.com

Beirut, 27 August 2015

I am writing to you as a Lebanese citizen and taxpayer, and a permanent resident of Beirut.

I did not vote to elect you for the Municipal Council, because of our country’s twisted and sectarian election laws that do not allow us to elect our representatives based on our main area of residence.

Nevertheless I believe it is my right to address you as the only elected municipal representative in the city where I live.

And my main complaint is pretty straightforward: Either you and the municipal council take concrete actions to resolve the waste crisis immediately, or you should resign.

I like many of my fellow Beirut residents, Lebanese or foreigners, am a law-abiding citizen, who pays a lot of taxes to finance your and other civil servants’ salaries and expenses.

In fact I have calculated that as much as 30% of my income is swiped away by taxes (income tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), benzene tax, mobile phone tax, Beirut municipal taxes – which by the way are 50$/month! – etc…).

This comes on top of having to pay two bills for every public service, which in other countries are typically provided by municipalities: 1. I have to buy additional electricity (Beirut municipality doesn’t provide any);

2. I have to buy drinking water in gallons (Beirut municipality doesn’t provide good quality tap water);

3.  I need to have a car to go anywhere (Beirut municipality doesn’t have an efficient public transport system); and the list goes on!

I am not expecting you and your council to solve all of these issues now (although I believe this can be done, look at some other cities in Lebanon!), but the least you can do immediately is to address the trash issue, before this also becomes a public service that we have to pay two or three times more for it to be resolved!

You will tell me that all of this is none of your business, as almost all public services in the city are handled by the central Government.

You will also tell me that the city of Beirut has a peculiar governance structure, where the Government-appointed Beirut Governor shares executive powers with the municipality.

You will also mention that your municipality has a limited budget ($1.5 billion as former minister Charbel Nahas stated), and no space to handle waste treatment, thus the need to find another area in Lebanon to dump our waste on it.

Well Mr. President all of these arguments are invalid.

There is nothing that prevents you from offering public services, even if this were to go against the wishes of the central government.

The city of Zahleh has electricity (24/24 and people there pay only $20 per ton compared to $160 in Beirut) ,

Jbeil has electric cars in the old town,

And Saida has its own freaking waste treatment plant!

Since the beginning of the current crisis several Lebanese municipalities have already engaged in sorting household waste at source and recycling.

If there is a will there is a way, and no one can prevent your Municipal Council from actively engaging in any public service, especially waste management. Go ahead and you will have mine and all of the Beirut residents’ (voters and non-voters) support.

Also don’t tell me there is no money and space. Your municipality has a cash reserve of 1.2 billion USD, 170 times the budget allocated to the Ministry of Environment!

But somehow during your tenure you only found money (and executive powers!) to close down one of Beirut’s last public green spaces (the Dalieh), to install controversial surveillance cameras, and to expropriate land and public parks to build controversial highways (Fouad Boustros Boulevard) and parking lots!

Mr. Hamad you and the Beirut Municipal Council are requested to implement immediately a waste management plan that in my (and many experts’) opinion consists of the following:
1. Implement a city-wide campaign for sorting waste at source, including separation into recyclables, organic, and non-recyclable items. This would immediately reduce the amount of garbage on the streets and engage Beirut residents as partners in the solution. If you want tips on how this is done, please call the municipalities of Roumieh, Bekfaya, Joun, Arsoun, and many others.
2. Upgrade the existing waste treatment plants of Karantina into more efficient ones: Once the amount of garbage is reduced through sorting, the existing plants (which fall under the municipality’s jurisdiction) could be easily turned into more efficient waste treatment facilities, therefore minimizing the amount of trash that has to be dumped. By producing better compost and extracting more recyclables, we can minimize the percent of trash currently going to landfills from 75% to only 15%!

The only solution for the waste crisis is that municipalities take back their executive powers and implement sustainable and responsible solutions. If you and your colleagues at the Beirut Municipality cannot do this, then I invite you all to submit your resignations immediately.

Sincerely,

Jad Chaaban
Beirut resident and Lebanese economist

What every navigator or traveller must know: Check #17 that could save your life

29 astuces que tout voyageur devrait absolument connaître…

La 17 est trop peu connue, mais elle change la vie !

By Nathan Weber

Si vous partez bientôt en vacances ou en voyage, voici quelques astuces qui pourraient bien vous être utiles afin de rendre votre vie quotidienne plus facile. En effet, lorsqu’on voyage, il y a certains petits trucs à savoir afin de se faciliter un peu l’existence et d’en profiter au maximum… 

Voici 29 petites astuces qui vous permettront de voyager l’esprit léger !

 

1. Utilisez le mode “navigation privée” de votre navigateur pour réserver vos vols et vos hôtels (ou simplement regarder les prix) .

Les sites de voyages, en particulier les compagnies aériennes, vous suivent à la trace. Ils savent combien de fois vous avez visité le site, et augmentent les prix en fonction afin de vous faire croire que les prix augmentent de jour en jour et vous pousser à acheter. Le mode “navigation privée” vous évite d’avoir des cookies et autres petits programmes espions sur votre ordinateur — et vous permet de voir les “vrais prix”.

2. Utilisez des pailles en plastiques pour transporter des petites dosettes quotidiennes de produits d’hygiène ou de beauté.

Il suffit de faire fondre les bouts des pailles pour les sceller avec un fer à repasser, un fer à lisser, ou même un briquet. Cela vous permet de voyager léger et de prendre juste les quantités nécessaires, surtout si vous ne partez que quelques jours ! 3. Utilisez le ressort d’un vieux stylo afin de protéger vos câbles et de les empêcher de se tordre ou de se casser aux endroits où ils sont les plus fragiles.

4. Avec une pince double-clip, vous pouvez protéger la tête de vos rasoirs.

5. Si vous avez oublié votre chargeur mural, sachez que la plupart des télés dans les hôtels disposent d’un port USB derrière. Avec une simple prise USB, vous pourrez donc charger vos appareils.

 6. Au lieu de plier vos vêtements, enroulez-les de cette manière, bien serré. Vous gagnerez énormément d’espace !

7. Scannez tous vos documents importants avant de partir, et envoyez les-vous par mail.

Si vous perdez vos papiers ou que vous vous faites voler, vous pourrez toujours accéder à leurs copies à partir de n’importe où. Passeport, carte d’identité, billets d’avion… C’est une petite précaution toute bête à prendre, qui vous épargnera bien des tracasseries administratives en cas de problème !

 8. Avec quelques coups de ciseaux et un peu de couture, vous pouvez transformer votre gant de toilette en poche à savon très pratique ! C’est du 2 en 1, et ça prend moins de place…

9. Les bonnets de douche / charlottes en plastique sont idéales pour couvrir le dessous de vos chaussures, et éviter de salir le reste de vos affaires.

 10. Mettez votre téléphone en mode “avion” afin d’économiser de la batterie et de le recharger plus vite

 11. Enroulez vos écouteurs autour d’une pince, afin d’éviter qu’ils s’emmêlent quand vous voyagez

12. Gardez vos épingles à cheveux bien rangées dans une boîte à Tic-Tac vide. 

13. Si vous avez des chemises, enroulez une ceinture dans le col afin d’éviter qu’il ne s’écrase dans votre sac

 14. En avion, choisissez les sièges proches des ailes pour moins ressentir les turbulences.

15. Pour utiliser Google Maps offline, tapez simplement “OK Maps” et les endroits visibles seront sauvegardés pour être accessibles plus tard sans avoir besoin de se connecter à internet.

16. Emballez vos affaires sous vide, afin de gagner énormément d’espace. Plus besoin de payer pour une seconde valise !

17. Attendez d’être le mardi à 15h pour acheter vos billets d’avion

C’est à ce moment que la plupart des grandes compagnies aériennes réduisent leurs prix, et que vous pouvez acheter vos billets au meilleur tarif possible. Les prix fluctuent énormément en fonction des jours, et comme la plupart des ventes se font le lundi soir, les prix baissent de façon drastique le lendemain.

18. Au lieu d’acheter une bouteille d’eau hors de prix à l’aéroport, emmenez avec vous une bouteille vide que vous remplirez une fois le contrôle de sécurité passé.

 19. Si vous voyagez à deux dans l’avion, réservez les sièges fenêtre ET couloir (ne prenez pas le milieu)

Si personne ne prend pas le siège au milieu (ce qui a des chances de se produire vu que la plupart des personnes n’aiment pas se trouver au milieu), vous aurez une rangée de sièges pour vous tout seuls ! Et si quelqu’un prend ce siège, vous n’aurez qu’à lui demander gentiment d’échanger avec le siège couloir, afin de pouvoir vous asseoir l’un à côté de l’autre.

 20. Évitez d’avoir des fuites dans votre trousse de toilette

Pour éviter que vos tubes de dentifrice, gel douche ou autres ne s’ouvrent pendant le trajet, enlevez le capuchon et placez un papier film avant de revisser !

21. Il y a de meilleurs moments que d’autres pour utiliser les toilettes de l’avion.

Les moments ou il y a le moins de monde aux toilettes sont au début du vol, juste après que l’avion ne soit stabilisé, et 15-20 minutes avant l’atterrissage. Bon à savoir, surtout si vous voyagez avec une compagnie qui ne permet pas de faire la queue devant les toilettes…

 22. Besoin d’internet ? Trouvez le code Wi-FI de la plupart des établissements en jetant un œil à la section des commentaires de FourSquare. De nombreuses personnes indiquent le code dans leurs messages ! 

 23. Un chargeur gratuit si vous avez oublié le vôtre à la maison.

Vous avez oublié votre chargeur ? Ce n’est pas si grave ! Souvent, les hôtels et auberges de jeunesse ont une boîte remplie de chargeurs oubliés par leurs précédents clients. Il suffit de demander gentiment à l’accueil…

 24. Évitez les mauvaises surprises et soyez l’un des premiers à récupérer vos bagages à l’aéroport.

Vous aussi, vous avez la malédiction de la valise qui arrive en tout dernier sur le tapis roulant de l’aéroport ? Il suffit de coller un sticker “fragile” sur votre valise, même si ce n’est pas le cas. Le personnel manipulera votre valise avec plus d’attention, et la placera au-dessus des autres valises. Elle sera donc parmi les premières à sortir de l’avion et à sortir sur le tapis roulant !

 25. Soyez prêt à plier bagage à tout moment

Vous connaissez ces rangements en tissu à accrocher dans les penderies ? Eh bien ils peuvent vous servir pour pré-ranger vos affaires, ce qui vous permet de faire et de défaire votre valise extrêmement rapidement. Idéal si vous devez partir en catastrophe (ou que vous voulez simplement économiser un temps précieux)

26. Supprimez les touristes de vos photos de voyage

Il suffit de prendre une quinzaine de photos identiques, en stabilisant votre appareil photo. Sur Photoshop, cliquez sur Fichier > Scripts > Statistiques puis de choisissez l’option “Médiane” avant de sélectionner toutes vos photos. Photoshop va ensuite repérer toutes les différences entre ces photos et simplement les supprimer, ce qui vous permet d’avoir votre paysage sans personne sur la photo !

 27. Utilisez les machines de retrait normales, plutôt que de changer de l’argent à l’aéroport

Très souvent, le taux de change est bien plus bas si vous vous adressez directement à la banque, plutôt que d’aller dans ces bureaux de change.

28. Accédez gratuitement au Wi-Fi dans les aéroports !

Quand vous êtes à l’aéroport, ajoutez simplement “?.jpg” à la fin de l’URL afin de contourner le Wi-FI qui est souvent bloqué, à des tarifs ridiculement élevés. Vous pouvez aussi vous asseoir juste à côté d’un salon Buisness ou V.I.P, près du mur : Le signal Wi-fi (gratuit) passe parfois à travers la paroi.

29. Lors de votre dernier jour dans un pays étranger, prenez toute la monnaie qui vous reste et donnez-la aux sans-abris

 Danish Solar-powered Schools of the Future?

Copenhagen is setting a new International School in Nordhavn CIS, which unites modern architecture with sustainability and decor.

The school is designed by Danish architectural firm C.F. Møller.

The unique façade is covered in 12,000 solar panels, each individually angled to create a sequin-like effect, which will supply over half of the electricity consumed by the school each year.

The solar cells will cover a total area of 6,048 square metres, making it one of the largest building-integrated solar power plants in Denmark. Furthermore, the students will also learn about their school’s green profile as they monitor energy production data as part of the physics and maths course curricula.

“We are proud that through the construction of the school, we will be able to take the lead and set a good example by showing how you can integrate innovative architecture into the curriculum. Our aim is to strengthen the student’s competencies in an international environment so they will become competent world citizens with a focus on sustainability,” says Brit van Ooijen, Chair of the Board for Copenhagen International School.

The school is 25,000 square metres, making it the largest school in Copenhagen. When the school opens in January 2017, 1,200 students and 280 employees will walk its halls.

The school is divided into different ‘towers’, focusing on community, identity and easy navigation.

The students can also spend time on the rooftop terrace, which will function as a playground for the entire school, particularly the younger pupils. The elevated playground prevents students from coming too close to the water surrounding the school and keeps them from straying off school premises.

 #YouStink Protest A few funny posters and banners  

Najat Rizk shared a link.
12 Funny Slogans And Pictures From Today’s #YouStink Protest
Posted By : Najib Yalla 3al Iris? via @TalebKabbara I got back early from the protest today because…
blogbaladi.com

12 Funny Slogans And Pictures From Today’s #YouStink Protest

Posted By :

TalekKabbaraYalla 3al Iris? via @TalebKabbara

I got back early from the protest today because I have a wedding dinner so I compiled some of the funniest slogans and pictures I saw into one post. Enjoy!

Piafvia @InedithPiaf

Louai_nMan United fans were there – via @Louai_n

IMG-20150829-WA0050Taxi Lebnene 100% (Made in Germany)

IMG_20150829_190941I ran out of water yesterday lol!

@LaraelhaddadDayi3 el shab – via @Laraelhaddad

@OlinAHTrying to sell his car at the protest – via @OlinAH

11951803_10153068431896596_5739446591898691925_nThe struggle is real

Berrivia @InedithPiaf

IMG_20150829_182833

IMG_20150829_190852Klink was at the protest – via @RalphAoun

TeeznaMin el ekhir.

Update: I just got this one and thought it was worth adding.

elissa LOOL – via LindsayChoueiry

Canadian Avaaz Kicking asses?  European Migration Agenda

I’m sorry to use crude language, but we Canadians sometimes do that in the best spirit when we get excited

Evidence you say?

We helped win the first ever European Migration Agenda

EU migrants

After thousands of asylum seekers drowned in the Mediterranean earlier this year, the European Commission finally proposed a Migration Agenda to get shared responsibility across the continent for rescue, resettlement and relocation of refugees, and we sprung into action to support the initiative:

  • First, we raised and granted $500,000 to the most effective private rescue mission in the Mediterranean, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), which has saved 7,000 lives this year. We also supported a local organization that assists unaccompanied refugee children at risk of trafficking, and Greek Avaaz members even volunteered to help them on the ground.
  • Then we used funds to run an Avaaz aid mission to the Greek islands where Syrian families arrive every day on rickety boats, delivering bedding and health kits for thousands. Check out Avaazer Mike Baillie’s inspiring blog.
  • At the same time, we launched a European volunteer network for refugees. Over 1,600 Avaazers have volunteered to assist in programmes across the continent. In Greece, Malta, and Italy, they are helping families coming off the boats with integration. In Germany and France, Avaaz members are opening their homes to refugees, and in the UK they are supporting Syrians to resettle.
  • We also did the lobbying — 450,000 EU Avaaz members called for urgent action, and the petition was delivered to all EU Heads of State and the EU Commissioner on migration. Then 65,000 of us sent personal messages to Ministers, and our campaign got attention at the highest level of government. A senior adviser to President Juncker wrote thanking us for our ‘beautiful initiative’.
  • When after weeks of stalling, we found out Poland, Austria and Spain were blocking a deal, we flooded their Ministries with phone calls, and Avaaz volunteers made a video of Syrians appealing directly to the Spanish Minister for refuge, which exploded all over the media.

Together we showed leaders that the European public wants to help vulnerable people fleeing war, and we countered the pervading xenophobic narrative with acts of compassion. Now a deal has been done — the EU has tripled the search and rescue budget for the Mediterranean, and will offer sanctuary to more than 50,000 people escaping war. This is a first step, but the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis requires us to keep pushing leaders to increase safe routes into Europe as the best way to help these desperate families and stop illegal trafficking.

We helped feed thousands of Syrians during the holy month of Ramadan

ramadan meals
ramadan gas

This Ramadan, our community across the Middle East, North Africa, and South East Asia donated over $25,000 for the Ramadan campaign. Support was given to the Development and Regeneration Association, based in Lebanon, and Karam Foundation based in the US and with an extensive network inside Syria.

Through these two incredible organizations, our community helped make the following possible:

  • Iftar for thousands of Syrians through Ramadan Kitchens and food baskets in Bekaa, Salah el Din, Moadamieh and Ghouta. In Moadamieh and Ghouta alone, we helped feed over 18,000 people for the entire month of Ramadan!
  • 2400 meals for orphans in Aleppo
  • Cooking gas for over 600 families in Aleppo
  • 40 tonnes of flour which provided over 60,000 packages of bread in Idlib

Some kids even received new Eid clothes thanks to our community. Click here to see a video from Karam, and here to see photos from Bekaa.

We organised a letter from leading Economists to warn Chancellor Merkel against Greek Austerity

Greek austerity

When the Greek people said no to more austerity measures in a referendum and EU leaders threatened to kick Greece out of the Euro, Avaaz coordinated an open letter to Merkel from 5 leading economists including Thomas Piketty and Jeffrey Sachs on the back of a 530,000-strong Avaaz Europe petition. The letter was all over the German media and published across the world. It had such a strong impact that the German Finance Minister got his chief economist to write a response in a major newspaper, and the debate is now heating up. We’ll keep ramping up actions to shift the prevailing economic view in Germany as this has the most promise to liberate Greece from more failed and crushing austerity.

We got Benetton to pay victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh

Benetton Victory
Benetton Delivery

After two years of flat-out refusal, we got Benetton to reverse their position. Here’s how we did it:

  • We built and delivered a one-million-strong petition to Benetton.
  • We launched a huge social media storm, and when they hid our posts, we ramped them up.
  • We mobilised billboards outside Benetton’s Headquarters for days until the police came to stop us. Then our Italian Counsel got on the phone with the police, and they left us alone.
  • We got influential thought leaders to engage directly with the CEO of Benetton.
  • We issued a heartfelt appeal to Benetton staff through targeted ads on Facebook.
  • And finally, we engaged in personal and constructive negotiations with company executives.

Benetton responded by supporting the scheme, and even thanked Avaaz for our ‘important and positive role in the process’! Now, the scheme is fully funded and workers and their families will receive full payment. This success story could change the game for workers’ rights everywhere.

We raised a whopping $2.6 million for the victims of the Nepal earthquake

Nepal earthquake

When we heard of the devastation from this mega earthquake, we immediately jumped in and cut through bureaucratic hurdles to get aid to those most in need. By partnering with over a dozen of the best local relief efforts, the shelter, food, and medical supplies that our community funded were often the first to reach devastated villages. Funds raised by us are now rebuilding schools and crucial health facilities in the hardest hit regions, and are bringing hope to countless lives. Abari, one of the amazing organisations building schools and houses, sent their gratitude: “While the buildings were still crumbling from the aftershocks in Nepal, Avaaz spoke to us, understood the magnitude of the problem, and arranged the funds – all in less than 24 hours. The way they make decisions and take action is mind-blowing.”

We helped push the G7 of world polluters to commit to get off fossil fuels forever

G7 climate heroes

After decades of polluting and feet-dragging to move to the only viable solution — a total shift to clean energy — the G7 amazingly set a long-term goal to get completely off fossil fuels. Our community has been pushing for this for 2 years by:

  • spearheading the gigantic, momentum-changing, 700,000-strong climate march last year;
  • building a 2.7 million person petition for 100% clean energy delivered to dozens of key leaders;
  • coordinating scores of rallies, high-level lobbying meetings, opinion polls, and ad campaigns across the world, all funded by our community;
  • and leading a 3-month all-out push for the G7 summit leadership, especially directed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to put this on the agenda and agree to this goal.

Click here to see in detail how we helped get this incredible victory.

We gave over $2.5 million to stop Ebola, and it is almost defeated!

Ebola news

This is a big deal. This monster could have killed millions — it threatened the whole world. But the world came together to stop it, and Liberia was recently declared Ebola-free! What did we do?

  • Our community donated $2.5 million to the best aid operations working on the front line. It was the speed and nimbleness of our funds that made them life-saving. Partners in Health says:We are so grateful for your support, and for the flexibility you provided us in terms of use of the funds. This flexibility was critical.”
  • Over 4000 of us offered to go to West Africa to use our skills to assist in the fight. Avaaz volunteers played critical roles on the ground — from combating patient-doctor transmission in Ebola Treatment Centers, to building the facilities themselves.

The fact that Ebola is defeated in Liberia and has significantly declined in neighbouring countries is a huge victory for humanity, and I’m so proud of our community for showing that people everywhere are willing to risk everything to help others on the other side of the planet in times of crisis. What’s now clearer than ever is that investment in public health in this region is crucial.

We pushed Barclays to divest from an Israeli Defense Company

Israel-Palestine

After the horrific Gaza attacks last summer, Avaaz launched the biggest global divestment campaign ever, calling on major companies to cut ties with operations and companies engaged in the illegal occupation and repression of Palestinians. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Russell Brand joined our call, and other groups called for the bank to act. Avaaz staff then met with Barclays to drive home the importance of divesting from Elbit Systems weapons company. We have now been informed that Barclays has no beneficial ownership of any shares in Elbit Systems in any capacity, nor does it hold any shares in nominee for clients. Barclays has also confirmed that it is not recommending Elbit Systems shares to clients via any trading platforms. Victory!
We are still pushing to get other companies financing the occupation of Palestine to withdraw and respect international law.

We helped finally get justice for Kenyan rape survivor, Liz

Justice for Liz

After a 16-year-old Kenyan girl told the police she was raped by six men who then threw her unconscious body down a 6-meter toilet pit, they just had the criminals mow their station lawn, and then let them free! When our community found out, we responded with a mega global outcry, and we have continued to ramp up the pressure:

  • We delivered the petition to top political and justice officials.
  • We bombarded Kenyan police and politicians on social media.
  • We sent an investigator to the scene to help uncover the crime.
  • And we teamed up with amazing Kenyan organisations to hold a massive march to get a Special Prosecutor involved to take the case to court.

Finally, nearly two years later, a judge sentenced three of the rapists to 15 years in jail. Terry Kunina, one of the women leaders in Kenya, said: “The Avaaz campaign put this case on the map and were it not for the worldwide recognition of the situation that Liz was facing, I am convinced that the case would not be where it is today. Liz now stands a chance at a better life.”

Now Kenyan officials know the world is watching and will hold them responsible for abuse and impunity.

On top of all these incredible wins, Avaaz has grown large enough to set up 18 national teams, so the number and impact of our national campaigning is skyrocketing from Germany to Brazil, from South Africa to Russia.

All of this is made possible by the growing engagement of all of us in this incredible community — from continuing to take action, to bringing our friends in, to donating small amounts of money and time — we are creating a magical and powerful collective force.

There’s a lot of scary stuff going on in the world, but let’s take a moment to give ourselves some love. We’re coming together in our millions, week after week, and it is having impact on some of the most complex issues of our time.

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

Blog Stats

  • 1,426,900 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 774 other followers

%d bloggers like this: