LEBANON PORTFOLIO

A selection of articles, features and investigations undertaken in Lebanon, including a look at Lebanon's underground BDSM scene, the use of deadly Lannate poison on Beirut's streets and how one town's mayor resorted to burning trash.

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INTERNATIONAL PORTFOLIO

A selection of articles, mojo packages and radio pieces undertaken worldwide, including video reports on Scotland's relationship with the EU and refugee integration in Berlin.

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REFUGEE STORIES

A collection of interviews and stories on the refugee crisis worldwide. Particular focus on Syrians now living in Scotland, told from their own perspectives.

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Bolstering Lebanon’s game development community

With a touch of the screen, fat bunny bounces his way up the vibrantly colored mountain terrain, munching on the occasional carrot. Press too long or too little, however, and splat goes bunny into the mountainside – game over.

Like many mobile games, Fat Bunny’s concept is simple, yet its gameplay addictive. It was launched in its beta version on March 20, the first offering of Lebanese game studio Groovy Antoid, who, along with another Lebanese newcomer, Van Ahmar, were selected as part of a piloted partnership between the startup accelerator Speed@BDD and Arab Arcade, a self-described community initiative.

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35mm from Beirut: Phillipe Aractingi

Philippe Aractingi is a French-Lebanese director and producer, with over 30 years of experience in the film industry. Through his beginnings in war photography, he began recording the world around him, directing his first documentary at age 21. He has filmed subjects across the globe; from giraffes in South Africa to archeology in Sri Lanka.
Aractingi’s feature films, Bosta (2005), Under the Bombs (2008) and Héritages (2013) earned the director critical acclaim. His latest, Listen (2017), has just been released and explores the lighter themes of sound and love.

Listen, your latest feature film based in Lebanon, is out in cinemas now. What can you tell us about it?

It is a poetic story about love, fidelity and sound. I purposely chose this subject because we are surrounded by hatred and war; it is a form of resistance to speak of love in the current Lebanese and Middle Eastern climate.

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Region through an artist’s eyes: Lebanese film director Philippe Aractingi

Lebanon Traveler meets filmmaker Philippe Aractingi at his production studio’s premises in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Badaro. The Lebanese director shares his memories of growing up in Beirut and how the city’s chaos can be a catalyst for creativity.

To the newcomer, navigating Beirut can seem daunting. The city, chaotic and changeable, can be a challenge to get around. Finding the offices of Lebanese filmmaker Philippe Aractingi was a timely reminder of that.

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Glasgow Film Festival 2016

WHO hasn’t wandered through the grand hall of the Kelvingrove and thought “wouldn’t it be great to recreate the classic Indiana Jones-being-chased-by-a-boulder scene here”?

It might sound like something from a movie, but bringing Indy’s stunts to one of Scotland’s most popular attractions has been announced as part of the line-up for the 2016 Glasgow Film Festival (GFF).

GFF 2015 brought in more than 40,000 attendees, making it the third largest film festival in the UK.

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Fears raised over capacity to fight homelessness

A report this month by the charity Crisis has raised concerns about Scotland’s ability to tackle homelessness, with more people being forced to stay longer in temporary accommodation.

Although the numbers of households assessed as homeless has continued to fall, dropping 5% from last year, Crisis argue that the number of homeless applications has remained steady at around 54,000 – taking into account the use of Housing Options services.

The report also raised concerns that some councils “were using Housing Options to deny people their statutory rights, limiting assistance to just signposting to other services.”

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Syrians to be welcomed to Glasgow with ‘refuweegee’ packs containing letters from locals

Vulnerable Syrian refugees are to receive special “Refuweegee” welcome packs when they arrive in Glasgow.

The packs, organised by community group Refuweegee, will contain essentials such as blankets, toiletries and stationery, Glasgow-themed items to introduce them to their new city and a heart-warming welcome letter from city residents.

Founder of the Refuweegee project, Selina Hales, said the idea came about from a desire to do something practical in the face of the growing refugee crisis.

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EU’s deal with Turkey is endangering migrants

Refugee and migrant arrivals in Europe are expected to reach more than one million before the end of 2015, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

That would make this year’s arrivals nearly five times the total in 2014.

The organisation said that 990,671 migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East have entered Europe so far this year, via a combination of irregular land and sea routes.

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Building on our Jamaican ties

When Scots think of Jamaica it’s unlikely to be in terms of our shameful historical links.

Jamaica was a focal point of Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade and a campaign group, launched last year, are determined to bring that issue to the fore.

Scotland Jamaica appeared before the Holyrood petition committee on Tuesday, to call for Scotland to acknowledge its heritage of slavery and begin building new economic and development bonds with the island.

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A social soup revolution is simmering across Scotland

There’s something special about soup. Whether it’s the classics – Scotch broth, lentil, Cullen skink, oxtail – or a more exotic taste, a bowl of soup is the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold Scottish night.

Almost everyone will have fond memories of their granny’s lentil soup – a thousand tiny variations passed down through the generations.

It’s simple, cheap and healthy – not to mention a clever way to trick the kids into having their five a day.

But more than that, soup is a leveller. It brings people together to enjoy a shared experience.

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From Edinburgh, via the Basque Country and public sex, to an award winning film

PIKADERO (Pi-ka-de-ro, noun   1. A riding school   2. A public place for sexual encounters)

From tough times spring success: a study of how the economic downturn impacts on the sex lives of young Spaniards won new Scottish director Ben Sharrock the Michael Powell Award for best British feature film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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