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A PICTURE AND ITS STORY – Capturing a rescue in Beirut

A PICTURE AND ITS STORY – Capturing a rescue in Beirut

WHEN he first felt the ground shaking, Reuters photographer Mohamed Azakir thought Beirut had been struck by an earthquake. Then he heard the explosion. Grabbing his camera, Azakir rushed out into the streets, trying to locate the source of the blast. When he reached the port, he realized he was close. Dead bodies lay everywhere, and people were screaming. Azakir saw one man, pinned under a vehicle, covered in a thick film of rubble and blood. At first, Azakir thought the man was dead. But then the man opened his eyes and began waving his arms and asking for help.…
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Lebanese protesters storm ministry buildings, TV shows, as Beirut blast protests grow

Lebanese protesters storm ministry buildings, TV shows, as Beirut blast protests grow

MICHAEL GEORGY  LEBANESE protesters have stormed government ministries in Beirut and trashed the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks, TV footage showed, as shots were fired in growing protests over this week's devastating explosion. A policeman was killed during the clashes, a spokesman said. A policeman at the scene said the officer died when he fell into an elevator shaft in a nearby building after being chased by protesters. The Red Cross said it had treated 117 people for injuries on the scene while another 55 were taken to hospital. A fire broke out in central Martyrs' Square. Dozens…
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Lebanon sees possible ‘external interference’ in port blast

Lebanon sees possible ‘external interference’ in port blast

MICHAEL GEORGE and ELLEN FRANCIS LEBANON's president says its investigation into the biggest blast in Beirut's history would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference, as residents sought to rebuild shattered homes and lives. Rescuers sifted rubble in a race to find anyone still alive after Tuesday's port explosion that killed 154 people, injured 5,000, destroyed a swathe of the Mediterranean city and sent seismic shockwaves around the region. "The cause has not been determined yet. There is a possibility of external interference through a rocket or bomb or other act," President Michel Aoun told…
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Lebanon detains 16 in probe of Beirut port blast

Lebanon detains 16 in probe of Beirut port blast

LEBANESE authorities have taken into custody 16 individuals as part of an investigation into the Beirut port warehouse explosion that shook the capital, according to state news agency NNA. It quoted Judge Fadi Akiki, a government representative at the military court, as saying authorities had so far questioned more than 18 port and customs officials and individuals responsible for or involved in maintenance work at the warehouse housing highly explosive material that blew up. "Sixteen people have been taken into custody as part of the investigation," NNA quoted Akiki as saying, without naming the individuals. He said the investigation was…
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Beirut’s accidental cargo: how an unscheduled port visit led to disaster

Beirut’s accidental cargo: how an unscheduled port visit led to disaster

MARIA VASILYEVA THE chemicals that went up in flames in Beirut's deadliest peace-time explosion arrived in the Lebanese capital seven years ago on a leaky Russian-leased cargo ship that, according to its captain, should never have stopped there. "They were being greedy," said Boris Prokoshev, who was captain of the Rhosus in 2013 when he says the owner told him to make an unscheduled stop in Lebanon to pick up extra cargo. Prokoshev said the ship was carrying 2,750 tonnes of a highly combustible chemical from Georgia to Mozambique when the order came to divert to Beirut on its way…
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Countries rally round Lebanon after Beirut blast

Countries rally round Lebanon after Beirut blast

COUNTRIES and international organisations have lined up to help Lebanon after a massive warehouse explosion sent a blast wave across Beirut, killing at least 145 people and injuring nearly 5,000. Below are details of some of the international assistance offered. BANGLADESH - Emergency food, medical supplies and a medical team. BRITAIN - A 5 million pound ($6.6 million) aid package including search and rescue help and expert medical support. The Royal Navy's HMS ENTERPRISE will help asses damage at Beirut port. CYPRUS - Two helicopters, 10 rescuers and eight rescue dogs. The Cypriot foreign minister said Nicosia had chartered a…
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Donors pledge 253 mln euros in emergency aid for Lebanon after blast

Donors pledge 253 mln euros in emergency aid for Lebanon after blast

YIMING WOO  AN mergency donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon raised pledges worth nearly 253 million euros ($298 million) for immediate humanitarian relief, the French presidency said. Those commitments would not be conditional on political or institutional reform, President Emmanuel Macron's office said. There were also pledges made for longer-term support that would depend on changes brought in by the authorities, the Elysee Palace said. World powers promised not to fail the Lebanese people as the capital, Beirut, recovers from the massive explosion that killed 158 people and destroyed swathes of the city last Tuesday. Lebanon was already mired in political…
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Lebanon government resigns amid outrage over Beirut blast

Lebanon government resigns amid outrage over Beirut blast

MICHAEL GEORGY LEBANON’s prime minister has announced his government's resignation, saying a huge explosion that devastated the capital and stirred public outrage was the result of endemic corruption. The August 4 detonation at a port warehouse of more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed at least 163 people, injured more than 6,000 and destroyed swathes of the Mediterranean capital, compounding months of political and economic meltdown. In a televised address, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he backed calls by ordinary Lebanese for those responsible for "this crime" to be put on trial. Diab made the announcement after the cabinet,…
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Build “free and strong” coexistence after blast, Pope Francis tells Lebanese

Build “free and strong” coexistence after blast, Pope Francis tells Lebanese

POPE Francis has urged the people of Lebanon to work together in the wake of the devastating port blast to give birth to a new "free and strong" coexistence. The pope spoke at his weekly address in St. Peter's Square as some Lebanese called for a sustained uprising to topple their leaders and the country's top Christian Maronite cleric, whose Church is a Catholic Eastern rite, said the cabinet should resign. "Last Tuesday's catastrophe calls everyone, beginning with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country," Francis said. He said the coexistence of cultures…
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Senegal port seeks removal of 2,700 tonnes of chemical that caused Beirut blast

Senegal port seeks removal of 2,700 tonnes of chemical that caused Beirut blast

THE port of Senegal's capital Dakar has requested the removal of around 2,700 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate stored in its complex - the same volume of the chemical that caused Beirut's devastating port blast this month. The unidentified owner of the stockpile has found a warehouse to store the industrial chemical outside the city, according to the general directorate of the port, which sits next to Dakar's densely populated downtown. "He is currently working with the environment ministry to obtain approval to urgently remove this cargo," it said in a statement that did not say how long the…
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