The Week in Review from Beirut November 7  1998 ...Search

Surgeons perform the first Mideast liver transplant in Beirut

It was the first operation of its kind in Lebanon and the Middle East. Surgeons at the American University Hospital in Beirut performed last weekend a liver transplant to provide three-year-old girl with an organ that saved her life. It was a very successful operation performed purely by Lebanese team.

Doctors Mohammed Jawad Khalifeh, Hani Hajj and Ghattas Khoury, who presides over the doctors' syndicate, worked for 18 hours non-stop.

The doctors later held a press conference encouraging people to donate their organs and urging the concerned authorities to launch a campaign to encourage donors.

There is a considerable number of patients in Lebanon who need a liver transplant, many of whom die because of the lack and complications of the operation. Moreover, the cost of transplant surgery is often too expensive and the availability of organs is so low that many patients have to travel abroad.

Lebanese News Agency signs cooperation deal with AFP

The Lebanese National News Agency reached a cooperation agreement with the French News Agency. The accord was signed by Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa and AFP's regional director in the presence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Jouanneau and a number of French diplomats in the country. This would enable the news agency to broadcast Lebanese news in Arabic, French and English through satellites.

Minister Sabaa praised this accomplishment noting the ongoing cooperation between Lebanon and France in media issues and in many other fields. For his part, the AFP representative discussed the characteristics of the accord considering it as a first step, which will be followed by the exchange of expertise between the two agencies. Also among the speakers was the head of the National News Agency, Rafik Shlala.

Women meet against Barbie image

Women got together earlier this week in Beirut to voice opposition to the Barbie doll image. A roundtable discussion was organized by the Contours Wellwoman Program drawing around 15 women to a news café in the capital.

The meeting was held under the title, "I am not a Barbie doll". The program speaker stressed only eight women in the world are supermodels or, in other words, Barbie-doll-like adding that the special media focus on them renders them an image aspired by most women. The meeting also discussed the role of women in our society. Many of those gathered gave various views on how it is like to be feminine.


As part of its yearly Shakespearean productions, the Lebanese American University this fall presents "Richard III", one of Shakespeare's most produced plays. Director Ziad Abu Absi has been preparing a cast of  students and theater-lovers to be able to present the late 16th century script with its archaic Shakespearean language.

Auditions went on for more than 10 days last August before the director chose the 40-member cast. Then the long hours of rehearsing began. Abu Absi insists on presenting the play in Shakespeare's tongue because, he says, any translation would risk a loss in spirit and atmosphere.

"Richard III" is the third Shakespearean play produced by LAU and directed by Abu-Absi following "Twelfth Night" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream". It opens on November 9 and runs until November 22 for nine performances in the university's Irwin Hall Auditorium.

Spinney's supermarket back in Beirut

Spinney's supermarket reopened in Beirut at the end of October making a comeback with its largest store in the Middle East. Before the war, Spinney's was known as a department store at Ramlet Al-Bayda. But today the store is much bigger and varied and it is situated on the Dbayyeh highway.

Its main concerns according to managers are cleanliness, quality, and a unique selection of produce grown in Lebanon. Managers insist that the store will offer prices as competitive as any other store in the country.

The supermarket is famous for its Western-style service. It also provides a drive-in facility through its various aisles. Among its various departments are a food court and a bakery offering a wide range of items. The store also ensures mothers a children's play area with two full-time supervisors. There is also wheelchair access, 400 parking spaces, and a parking designated for the disabled.

Microsoft to be represented in Lebanon

A partnership agreement was signed between Mindware Inc. and Diab Electronics enabling the Microsoft Company products to be sold in Lebanon.

But Microsoft managers in the Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean put the ball in the court of the Lebanese government.

They say the company is still waiting for the Lebanese government to take necessary steps to protect copyright laws and intellectual property rights.

In this regard, Microsoft managers not only hope but also expect the Lebanese parliament to pass proper new copyright laws by the end of this year.

Managers also stress that Microsoft had dropped the prices of its products for academic institutions by 90%. Microsoft has already discussed with Solidere possible sites for its potential headquarters in Beirut as well as conducted employment interviews with local computer talents.

Nestle aims at investing in Lebanon

Being one of the world's largest food companies, Nestle is considering further investment opportunities in Lebanon. Company officials expressed Nestle's growing interest in the Middle Eastern market. They also justified Lebanon's special appeal to foreign investors by referring to the current situation of peace and stability in the country.

Ranked the 36th biggest company in the world, Nestle has 220,000 employees worldwide with an annual turnover exceeding some 40 billion US dollars. In Lebanon, Nestle has a major stake of 49% in Sohat, a local water bottler company that covers around half of the water market in the country.

Pepsi extends sponsorship of local football

Pepsi-Lebanon decided to extend its sponsorship of the Lebanese Football Federation for the next three years. An agreement was signed in this regard naming the two major football tournaments the Pepsi Cup and the Pepsi Football League Championship.

The cash-strapped federation was also given an undisclosed amount by Pepsi to distribute a minimum of $638,000 annually in cash incentives for the league's four divisions over the next five years.

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