A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for the ‘laundry’ Category

Anti-money-laundering software: from Syria to the world

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 28, 2009

This post is for A, who has been on a Syria corruption kick recently.

Yesterday I found this delightfully Alice in Wonderland press release in my Google alert, advertising “anti-money-laundering” training for banking and financial institutions “in any language, for any country”. The software training itself isn’t the Alice in Wonderland part: its the fact that the client highlighted is the country of Syria.

Non-democratic regimes throughout the region, and including Syria, use corruption charges as a way to crack down on disloyal regime figures: they may be as corrupt as they like until the regime tires of them, at which point it becomes a useful political tool. I’m sure that Edcomm’s training is solid and professional, but I suspect that the Anti Money Laundering Commission will use it selectively.

In any case, if you are looking for AML training, happy reading – and if you would like to take the Syria AML course (for which Edcomm will issue a free certificate), click here.

New York, NY, March 26, 2009 — A free tutorial that provides Anti Money Laundering (AML) training for banks and financial institutions located in Syria is now available from Edcomm Banker’s Academy. Focus on Anti Money Laundering for Syria offers a comprehensive overview of the AML laws and regulations that are specific to financial institutions in this Middle Eastern country.

The Government of Syria passed several decrees since 2003 in an attempt to criminalize money laundering and generate an Anti Money Laundering Commission, which was established in 2004. Under Decree 33 (2005), all banks and non-financial institutions are required to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with the Commission, which serves as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The Commission has the right to conduct an investigation, relinquish bank secrecy on specific accounts and share information with the police and judicial authorities, and lead the police to carry out a criminal investigation.

Focus on Anti Money Laundering, from Edcomm Banker’s Academy, teaches bank employees about AML laws in their country and familiarizes them with their company’s own policies and procedures. Through this interactive course, students learn everything they need to know to detect and prevent money laundering. Focus on Anti Money Laundering can be customized to meet the needs of every Bank, Credit Union, or Money Services Business (MSB). Each course is regularly updated to include changing laws and policies. Recognizing that money laundering can occur anywhere and everywhere, Edcomm Banker’s Academy is prepared to create a course for any country in need.

For more information about multilingual, multicultural training programs, or to find out how The Edcomm Group Banker’s Academy can customize any training program in any language, for any country, log onto www.bankersacademy.com or call 888-433-2666.


Posted in advertising, laundry, Syria | 4 Comments »

scrub-a-dub Saturday and Sunday

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 12, 2009

Sniff, sniff, my nose went this weekend as I toweled off after my shower. I’ve changed soaps, and now I smell like a hammam – in a good way.

When I was home in Iowa over Christmas, I found a few blocks of soap that I had purchased in Damascus a few years ago. “Aged” soap might not sound as appealing as “aged” wine or cheese, but I don’t think it goes stale. (Any soap experts out there?)


As you can see, the soap was made in Aleppo, and while it has no laurel, it does leave a lovely scent of olive oil on my skin. I’ve been missing the Levant recently, and my new-old soap has made me feel both closer to and further from the region.

Posted in Americans, Arabic, Brooklyn, Damascus, home, laundry, vanity, women | 4 Comments »

Lebanese Arabic: filling in the blanks

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 21, 2008

Living in Lebanon for so long has left me with curious gaps in my Arabic. There are plenty of words that I learned at one point and have simply forgotten, of course – but there are also plenty of words that in Lebanon I simply never used.

Yesterday I braved the ice-encrusted sidewalks to do errands and a few loads of laundry. When it came time to switch my loads from washer to dryer, the only one open was directly behind one of the laundromat’s Maghrebi employees, who was busily folding a fresh load of “serviced” laundry.

Most of the laundromat’s employees speak English as well as any native speaker, but I’ve noticed that this one avoids talking with customers. I should speak to her in Arabic, I thought. After all, I just need to ask her “Would you mind moving a bit so I can use the dryer?”

If only I had needed to ask to use the washer.

What is the word for “dryer”? I thought frantically as my mind remained blank. Why can’t I remember it?

Well, probably because I’ve never owned a dryer – not in Beirut, not in Damascus. What would it be? I wondered to myself. Jaffaf? But I didn’t want to risk it – I’ve tried using grammatical logic to come up with Arabic words before, and it has never ended well.

It wasn’t jaffaf exactly, but I was close: its مجفف. Yep – I looked it up as soon as I returned home.

Of course, this was the second Lebanon-specific gap in my Arabic that I discovered this past week. The first came thanks to the Russian government.

Hunh. What is the word for “Air Force”? I wondered as I read about Russia’s agreement to provide Lebanon with MiGs.

Technically, I believe, there has always been a Lebanese Air Force – although its flying capacity has been largely theoretical for the past few decades. But when people talk about the Lebanese military, they usually talk about the army.

I’m not holding my breath for a sudden infusion of dryers into my next stint in Beirut. But I do hope that the Lebanese Air Force becomes a major institution in its own right.

Posted in Arab world, Arabic, home, laundry, Lebanon, neighbors, women, words | 1 Comment »

Beirut moments

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 26, 2008

This morning I went on a walking tour of our new neighborhood, sponsored by a local architectural preservation society. (H claimed work as an excuse, but I suspect that the 90-degree weather also played a factor in his decision. Its also cleaning time again in our apartment, so perhaps he was penning an ode to Lebanon’s housekeepers.)

The tour was definitely focused on Brooklyn, but for the alert tour-goer it did offer a few Beirut moments.

One, a similar “more is more” approach to electricity wires:

near the Gowanus ... or Gemmayzeh
near the Gowanus … or Gemmayzeh

And two, a shared “batten down the hatches” view of strangers:

"The enemy is everywhere"
“The enemy is everywhere”

I bet the guy who created that sign thinks I’m secretly a CIA agent, too 😛 .

Posted in Americans, Beirut, Brooklyn, home, laundry, Lebanon, photography, tourism, weather, words | Leave a Comment »

becoming known

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 13, 2008

Sometime earlier this spring, H’s mother gave me a go-green canvas shopping bag – produced by local students in conjunction with Lebanon’s greenmarket, Souk el-Tayeb. When we moved here, H insisted on bringing it with us.

We can use it for groceries, he said.

Well, we haven’t used it for grocery shopping yet, and its such a big bag that I can’t really imagine being able to lift it if it were full of canned goods and quarts of orange juice. But we did find a much-needed role for it, as our laundry bag:

(Bala Nylon means “no nylon” – in reference to plastic bags, not hosiery. The Souk’s volume buyers tend to be wealthy and well-coiffed.)

The bag holds all our dirty clothes, and its easy for our launderers to locate when we return to pick up our clean clothes.

Hi, the woman behind the counter said with a smile when I walked in yesterday afternoon. Before I could reach into my wallet and retrieve our receipt, she was already moving towards the row of laundry bags to get ours. You’re the one with the Arabic, right?

I sure am :). And thanks to the bag and H’s name, which we’ve also put on our laundry receipts, we’ve learned that our launderers are North African. The proprietor is originally Moroccan, and her helper is Algerian.

Its a small world, even in New York – and its always nice to be known :).

Posted in Americans, Arabic, laundry, words | 4 Comments »