The filmmakers reenacted Cedar 4's journey through Beirut for The Lebanese Rocket Society.
The filmmakers reenacted Cedar 4's journey through Beirut for The Lebanese Rocket Society.

Lebanon's proud space-race history brought back to life in film



Transporting a large rocket through the streets of Beirut is, perhaps understandably, an idea that might not sit well with local authorities. "It took us nine months of negotiations," explains the Lebanese artist and filmmaker Khalil Joreige at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival.

The rocket was, thankfully, nothing militaristic, but a hollow replica of the Cedar 4, which became the symbol of Lebanon's brief involvement in the space race during the 1960s. And its modern-day journey through Beirut was a reenactment for the final scenes of The Lebanese Rocket Society, co-directed by Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas, which picked up the Best Documentary award in the festival's Arab Film Competition.

Between 1960 and 1966, seven rockets were launched by the professor Manoug Manougian and his students from Beirut's Haigazian College. The Cedar 4, capable of reaching 200 kilometres - a distance that sparked concern from Lebanon's neighbours at the time - was a source of huge national pride. But 50 years later, following civil wars and regional upheaval, this momentous period of scientific achievement has been all but forgotten.

"We started looking through old papers and discovered that it was a really important stage in history," says Hadjithomas, adding that their interest had first been sparked by a postage stamp featuring the Cedar 4. "We started asking, but nobody could remember. We were astonished."

In The Lebanese Rocket Society, a film that helps underline the growth and scale of regional documentary-making in recent years, the two travelled the world, speaking to those who were involved in the original launches.

"It was the idea of communicating a dream," says Hadjithomas. "Lebanon launched the first rocket in the Arab world. We wanted to share this and show that we should be proud of what we have accomplished. But also that we should accomplish something today."

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

RESULT

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3
Chelsea: Willian (40'), Batshuayi (42', 49')

SPECS

Engine: Supercharged 3.5-litre V6
Power: 400hp
Torque: 430Nm
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh450,000

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Gulf Men's League final

Dubai Hurricanes 24-12 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

MATCH INFO

Barcelona 4 (Suarez 27', Vidal 32', Dembele 35', Messi 78')

Sevilla 0

Red cards: Ronald Araujo, Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

SCHEDULE

December 8: UAE v USA (Sharjah Cricket Stadium)

December 9: USA v Scotland (Sharjah Cricket Stadium)

December 11: UAE v Scotland (Sharjah Cricket Stadium)

December 12: UAE v USA (ICC Academy Oval 1)

December 14: USA v Scotland (ICC Academy Oval 1)

December 15: UAE v Scotland (ICC Academy Oval 1)

All matches start at 10am

 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The Greatest Royal Rumble card as it stands

The Greatest Royal Rumble card as it stands

50-man Royal Rumble - names entered so far include Braun Strowman, Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle, Big Show, Kane, Chris Jericho, The New Day and Elias

Universal Championship Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

WWE World Heavyweight ChampionshipAJ Styles (champion) v Shinsuke Nakamura

Intercontinental Championship Seth Rollins (champion) v The Miz v Finn Balor v Samoa Joe

United States Championship Jeff Hardy (champion) v Jinder Mahal

SmackDown Tag Team Championship The Bludgeon Brothers (champions) v The Usos

Raw Tag Team Championship (currently vacant) Cesaro and Sheamus v Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt

Casket match The Undertaker v Chris Jericho

Singles match John Cena v Triple H

Cruiserweight Championship Cedric Alexander v tba

if you go

The flights

Fly to Rome with Etihad (www.etihad.ae) or Emirates (www.emirates.com) from Dh2,480 return including taxes. The flight takes six hours. Fly from Rome to Trapani with Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) from Dh420 return including taxes. The flight takes one hour 10 minutes.

The hotels

The author recommends the following hotels for this itinerary. In Trapani, Ai Lumi (www.ailumi.it); in Marsala, Viacolvento (www.viacolventomarsala.it); and in Marsala Del Vallo, the Meliaresort Dimore Storiche (www.meliaresort.it).

Kandahar

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Stars: Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal

Rating: 2.5/5

WHAT START-UPS IS VISA SEEKING?

Enablers of digital services
• Blockchain and cryptocurrency
• Crowdfunding
• Banking-as-a-service
• Banking identification number sponsors
• Issuers/processors
• Programme managers

Digital issuance
• Blockchain and cryptocurrency
• Alternative lending
• Personal financial management
• Money transfer and remittance
• Digital banking (neo banks)
• Digital wallets, peer-to-peer and transfers
• Employee benefits
• Payables
• Corporate cards

Value-add for merchants/consumers
• Data and analytics
• ID, authentication and security
• Insurance technology
• Loyalty
• Merchant services and tools
• Process and payment infrastructure
• Retail technology

SME recovery
• Money movement
• Acceptance
• Risk management
• Brand management

New categories for 2023
• Sustainable FinTechs
• Risk
• Urban mobility

MADAME WEB

Director: S.J. Clarkson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney

Rating: 3.5/5

Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations
Edited by Sarah Cleave, Comma Press

Zimbabwe v UAE, ODI series

All matches at the Harare Sports Club:

1st ODI, Wednesday, April 10

2nd ODI, Friday, April 12

3rd ODI, Sunday, April 14

4th ODI, Tuesday, April 16

UAE squad: Mohammed Naveed (captain), Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Usman, CP Rizwan, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Sultan Ahmed, Imran Haider, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6
Power: 456hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 691Nm at 3,500rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 14.6L/100km
Price: from Dh349,545
On sale: now

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

The biog

Birthday: February 22, 1956

Born: Madahha near Chittagong, Bangladesh

Arrived in UAE: 1978

Exercise: At least one hour a day on the Corniche, from 5.30-6am and 7pm to 8pm.

Favourite place in Abu Dhabi? “Everywhere. Wherever you go, you can relax.”

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo

Power: 268hp at 5,600rpm

Torque: 380Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: CVT auto

Fuel consumption: 9.5L/100km

On sale: now

Price: from Dh195,000

Spider-Man 2

Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 5
Rating: 5/5

Copa del Rey

Semi-final, first leg

Barcelona 1 (Malcom 57')
Real Madrid (Vazquez 6')

Second leg, February 27

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Vault
Started: June 2023
Co-founders: Bilal Abou-Diab and Sami Abdul Hadi
Based: Abu Dhabi
Licensed by: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Industry: Investment and wealth advisory
Funding: $1 million
Investors: Outliers VC and angel investors
Number of employees: 14

How I connect with my kids when working or travelling

Little notes: My girls often find a letter from me, with a joke, task or some instructions for the afternoon, and saying what I’m excited for when I get home.
Phone call check-in: My kids know that at 3.30pm I’ll be free for a quick chat.
Highs and lows: Instead of a “how was your day?”, at dinner or at bathtime we share three highlights; one thing that didn’t go so well; and something we’re looking forward to.
I start, you next: In the morning, I often start a little Lego project or drawing, and ask them to work on it while I’m gone, then we’ll finish it together.
Bedtime connection: Wake up and sleep time are important moments. A snuggle, some proud words, listening, a story. I can’t be there every night, but I can start the day with them.
Undivided attention: Putting the phone away when I get home often means sitting in the car to send a last email, but leaving it out of sight between home time and bedtime means you can connect properly.
Demystify, don’t demonise your job: Help them understand what you do, where and why. Show them your workplace if you can, then it’s not so abstract when you’re away - they’ll picture you there. Invite them into your “other” world so they know more about the different roles you have.

THREE

Director: Nayla Al Khaja

Starring: Jefferson Hall, Faten Ahmed, Noura Alabed, Saud Alzarooni

Rating: 3.5/5

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


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