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Making head scarves make history

How to tie a keffiyeh ... and make history

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Yasser Arafat made it famous. Hipsters everywhere turned it into a fashion statement. Now, the Lebanese have helped set a record with the Palestinian keffiyeh — or rather with 6,500 of them. The keffiyeh — a woven check headdress traditionally worn by Arab men, and a symbol for Palestinians everywhere — recently helped its "rightful" wearers take home a Guinness World Record: for the largest chain of scarves.

Opinion: A right to lampoon Arab leaders

CAIRO, Egypt — Every Arab country in the Middle East and North Africa has laws or policies criminalizing speech that questions or offends the head of state, according to data from Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders. By the time young journalists in Arab countries tackle their first reporting assignment, they’re well aware of this admonition: Don’t touch the folks at the top.

StreetLife: Jerusalem — This place is a zoo

Charles Ansbacher brings Beethoven to Beirut

Hezbollah rebuilds, in more ways than one

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The bombing of Beirut’s southern suburbs by Israel in 2006 destroyed and damaged hundreds of buildings. Now, despite three years of political instability, the global financial crisis and United States sanctions, the Hezbollah-run organization tasked with reconstruction has nearly completed rebuilding, and the affected neighborhoods are once again buzzing with activity.

Lebanese discover their own backyard

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A new trail that traverses Lebanon may dodge minefields and Hezbollah bunkers, but it, and a budding ecotourism business, is getting Lebanese out of the city and into the woods. At least 12 ecotourism companies offer weekly or monthly hiking tours in a country that some have dubbed the “Switzerland of the Middle East” because of its topographical and cultural diversity.

Economic crisis affects Lebanon de-mining

NABATIEH, Lebanon — The pock marks on the walls of 45-year-old Salima Barakat's house are not unusual for this part of southern Lebanon. Bullet and shrapnel marks of varying ages remind longtime residents of the many wars and occupations, notably the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.  Less visable are the scars on Salima's own body, which also tell a story — that of one of millions of cluster bombs dropped by Israel during the 2006 offensive. It landed in Salima's kitchen, exploded and left shrapnel lodged in various parts of her anatomy.

UAE deportations raise questions in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon — When Hussein Massoud returned to the United Arab Emirates from his summer vacation in Lebanon on July 17, he entered the immigration line at Sharja airport like he has hundreds of times before over the past 34 years. But on his most recent trip, the Emirati immigration officers told Massoud that his work permit and residency card had been canceled, and that he had to take the next flight back to Lebanon. Further, neither he nor his family could return. The sense of shock that his life could change so quickly remains weeks later.

HOG heaven meets downtown Beirut

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The United States government may not be so popular in Lebanon or the Arab world, but Americana is alive and well here in the form of one American cultural icon: Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The Milwaukee-based company’s cult status here was evident earlier this month at the first annual HOG (the acronym for Harley Owners Group) tour of Lebanon. The three-day ride brought 267 riders and their loud, chrome-encrusted choppers here from around the Arab world.
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