John Akouri Newsblog


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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lebanese American Club of Jacksonville Presents Lebanese Superstar Tony Kiwan

Friday, January 25, 2008

R.I.P. Cousin Joe - You will be missed

Born in Lebanon on Aug. 8, 1929 - Departed on Jan. 24, 2008 and resided in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008 & Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008
Funeral Mass:
Monday, Jan. 28, 2008
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.
Joseph died January 24, 2008, after an accident while vacationing in Cancun. He was a resident of Bloomfield Hills since 1975, formerly of Southfield since 1962. He was the President of Packaging Products, Inc., wholesalers of foam and value added products. Prior to that he started the Romain Management Insurance Business, Inc. which staffed emergency rooms and then he acquired Midwest Emergency Services, Inc. He was the vice president and on the board of directors of Emergency Medicine Specialists "EMS". Joseph was the quintessential business man and knew everything about accounting, insurance and business. His word was his bond. He loved golf, tennis and scotch & soda, and was the former president of the Down River Tennis & Racquet Club. He was fluent in Arabic, French and English. He also loved to travel around the world including Paris, Rome and Cancun and anywhere else he desired. All who knew Joe, knew his love for family, friends, business and his "joi de vivre". His family is grateful that he enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest until the very end. Beloved husband of Eva for 46 years. Dear father of Tia Flory (Larry) and Robert Romain (Loretta). Grandfather of Brittany, Matthew, Joe, Marcus, Kayla and Niklas. Brother of Marie, Najla, Henri and the late Odette and Claude. Family will receive friends at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward Ave. (btwn 13-14 Mile) Saturday 4-8pm and Sunday 1-6pm. Scripture service Sunday 5pm. Funeral Mass Monday 10am at St. Regis Church, 3695 Lincoln at Lahser Rd., Bloomfield Hills. Visitation begins at church 9:30am. In lieu of flowers family suggests memorial tributes to The Capuchins or St. Vincent de Paul.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lebanese American FBI Agent to Appear in CBS 60 Minutes Interview this Sunday

(CBS News)...Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture. Piro, in his first television interview, relays this and other revelations to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley this Sunday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Piro spent almost seven months debriefing Saddam in a plan based on winning his confidence by convincing him that Piro was an important envoy who answered to President Bush. This and being Saddam's sole provider of items like writing materials and toiletries made the toppled Iraqi president open up to Piro, a Lebanese-American and one of the few FBI agents who spoke Arabic. "He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack," says Piro. "He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack." "He didn't believe the U.S. would invade?" asks Pelley, "No, not initially," answers Piro.
Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. "And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war," Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isn’t convinced that the insurgency was Saddam's plan. "Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency," says Piro. Saddam still wouldn't admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, "For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq," he tells Pelley.
He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. "Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there," says Piro. "He wanted to pursue all of WMD…to reconstitute his entire WMD program." This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says. It took nine months to finally capture Saddam, and he bragged that he changed his routine and security to elude capture. "What he wanted to really illustrate is…how he was able to outsmart us," says Piro. "He told me he changed…the way he traveled. He got rid of his normal vehicles. He got rid of the protective detail that he traveled with, really just to change his signature."

Friday, January 18, 2008

LACC Leadership Attends Wayne State University MLK Luncheon

Acting Consul General of Lebanon in Detroit Addresses Vibrant Lebanese Amercan Community in Alabama at Annual Gathering

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lebanese Glitterati Turn Out to Welcome Nadine Labaki to Detroit at pre-Film Premiere VIP Soiree

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Akouri Live on Al Hurra at Close of Polls Tonight

Republican strategist John Akouri on the set of Al Hurra's 'Road to the White House'

Monday, January 14, 2008

Akouri to Provide Political Analysis on Al Hurra Satellite Television Network Following US Presidential Primary Election in Michigan

NATIONAL - Republican strategist John Akouri will appear live on Al Hurra Satellite Television today and again tomorrow evening, once the polls close in the Michigan Presidential Primary Election. With the Detroit skyline as a backdrop, Akouri will offer political analysis of the race on the program 'Road to the White House' from Belle Isle, an island on the Detroit River. Alhurra (Arabic for 'The Free One') is a commercial-free Arabic language satellite television network for the Middle East devoted primarily to news and information. In addition to reporting on regional and international events, the channel broadcasts discussion programs, current affairs magazines and features on a variety of subjects including health and personal fitness, entertainment, sports, fashion, and science and technology. The channel is dedicated to presenting accurate, balanced and comprehensive news. Alhurra endeavors to broaden its viewers' perspectives, enabling them to make more informed decisions. Alhurra is operated by non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the American people through the US Congress.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Akouri to Welcome Lebanese Actress/Director Nadine Labaki at Private Reception & Sneak Preview of her Debut Film

(BIRMINGHAM, MI)...Magazine publisher John Akouri will formally welcome Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki when she arrives in Michigan next week. The Lebanese American News Agency, whose publications include Lebanese Monthly Magazine, will host a private champagne reception in her honor. The invitation-only special event will take place prior to an advanced screening of her newest film CARAMEL(Sukkar Banat) and feature some of the area's most influential Lebanese Americans. Also on hand to greet the award-winning director will be acting Consul General of Lebanon H.E. Bachir S. Tawk. Akouri will then introduce Ms. Labaki to an audience of hundreds expected to attend and just prior to the start of the advance screening scheduled to take place in Birmingham. Following the film, the actress will then take questions from the movie-goers moderated by Akouri. CARAMEL is the Lebanese selection for the Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film, and the feature film debut by writer-director and star Nadine Labaki. The thirty-three year-old thespian gathered a delightful ensemble cast of non-professional actors. Born in Lebanon, she studied film at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut, and went on to direct many award-winning music videos and commercials. She was selected to develop the CARAMEL screenplay at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival’s Writers’ Residence. The sleeper hit of the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors Fortnight and a Gala at the Toronto International Film Festival, CARAMEL is scheduled to open in Detroit on February 1st.
For more information, please visit

Saturday, January 05, 2008

"Lebanon is not synonymous with Hizballah. Lebanon is not part of the Syrian-Iranian coalition...not a nation of terrorism and religious fanaticism"

Get to know the true, beautiful Lebanon
January 4, 2008
It's interesting how opinions, preconceptions, misconceptions and prejudices are so influenced by the media today. We take adamant stands based largely on reported news instead of spending the time to try to experience hands-on the world and how it works.
I am an exchange student from Lebanon, studying in Michigan. Contrary to what people think, my country is not wartorn. It is not run by dictators. If you're a woman, you don't have to cover yourself up. We do have clean water, plenty of it, and we do have electricity. Oh, and we also have McDonald's, Burger King, Chili's, and God knows what else from America's food chains.
My country is modern, and it is not what you usually see of it on TV news. But Lebanon also is a place of rich history, legacy and beauty. CNN and BBC don't show you a Lebanese festival with beautiful costumes, enchanting music, mesmerizing choreography and the overall ambience of awe and wonder. They would rather show Lebanon only in times of conflict and war.
This projected image is false, but if it's all you see, naturally it becomes the worldwide image of Lebanon, the indisputable truth.
With all due respect, Lebanon is not synonymous with Hizballah. Lebanon is not part of the Syrian-Iranian coalition. Lebanon is not a nation of terrorism and religious fanaticism.
"My country is modern, and it is not what you usually see of it on TV news. But Lebanon also is a place of rich history, legacy and beauty." ~Wassim Badr
I come from a country where the literacy rate is 90%, where people are generally fluent in three languages (Arabic, English and French), and where people are known for their hospitality and benevolent nature.
That is probably why I expected Americans to be less friendly than they have been, aware of media influence about Lebanon.
One difference between us is that in Lebanon, we actually watch CNN. We seriously consider what BBC broadcasts. We even consider ourselves part of the MTV generation! But I'm sure Americans cannot claim exposure to Lebanese broadcasts, even though satellite stations have been available for quite some time now.
That makes a huge difference: We know what's going on in our country and we know how the world perceives it. Yet the people of America, France, England and many other nations are educated simply based on what they receive from their televisions and their occasional podcasts.
At one point, calling yourself an international expert meant you had done massive reading, foreign travel and had actual exposure to the diverse customs of a country. Now, however, that title is being conferred on people who watch excessive TV to claim deep international knowledge and worldly understanding. What they really have are biased notions of the world around them.
I wish that people would go back to the old ways of actually visiting countries, put Lebanon at the top of their list, and base their opinions on experience and interaction with the people. It pains me to see all the beauty with which God has graced my country go to waste simply because, nowadays, it boils down to bad representation and equally bad publicity.
Live in the world and truly partake in its magnificence; life is not about politics or the media. It is essentially about people.
WASSIM BADR, 20, of Beirut, Lebanon, has spent the fall 2007 semester studying computer science and English literature as an exchange student at Madonna University in Livonia. He will return to Lebanon in February to complete his senior year at Notre Dame University. Contact him by e-mail at

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">