Beirut explosion: news summary for Monday 10 August

Beirut explosion: latest news - Monday 10 August

Tunisia concert

Concert for Lebanese in Tunisia

Tunisian singer Lotfi Bouchnak performs during a concert for solidarity with the Lebanese people in Tunis on Sunday, in the wake of Tuesday's blast at the Beirut port.

(Photo: EFE/EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA)

French expert: Dangerous chemicals remain in Beirut port

(AP) Chemical experts and firefighters are working to secure at least 20 potentially dangerous chemical containers at the explosion-shattered port of Beirut, after finding one that was leaking, according to a member of a French clean-up team.

Some of the containers were punctured when last week’s deadly blast ripped through the port and the Lebanese capital, said Lieutenant Anthony, a French chemical expert at the site who was not authorised to be identified by his full name according to government policy.

French and Italian chemical experts working amid the remains of the port have so far identified more than 20 containers carrying dangerous chemicals, Anthony said. “We noted the presence of containers with the chemical danger symbol. And then noted that one of the containers was leaking,” he told The Associated Press in a TV interview today.

Beirut

France says the Lebanese people's aspirations must be heard

France's government urged the swift formation of a new government in crisis-hit Lebanon after the prime minister announced his resignation and that of his cabinet after a massive port explosion last week caused public outrage.

"It is indispensable that henceforth the people's aspirations on reform and governance are heard," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

Lebanese court investigating Beirut port explosion

The Lebanese attorney general started interrogating some of the arrested individuals, including security personnel, in the wake of last Tuesday's explosion

Read more:

NASA satellite images show Beirut port destruction

In collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore, NASA published satellite images of the port of Beirut with coloured pixels to show the damage cased by Tuesday's explosion. The red pixels denote the most serious damage, followed by orange and yellow. NASA were able to compare before and after images to determine changes in the landscape. 

Lebanon's president accepts government resignation, asks it to stay on in caretaker capacity

Lebanese President Michel Aoun accepted the resignation of the prime minister's government on Monday following last week's devastating explosion in Beirut port and asked it to stay on temporarily, in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed, a televised announcement said.

Lebanon government resigns after deadly Beirut blast

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on Monday the resignation of his government after a powerful Beirut port explosion sparked public uproar against the country's leaders.

Diab, in a televised speech, said the detonation of highly-explosive material warehoused at the port in the capital for the last seven years was "the result of endemic corruption".

"Today, we follow the will of the people in their demand to hold accountable those responsible for the disaster that has been in hiding for seven years, and their desire for real change," he said. "In the face of this reality ... I am announcing today the resignation of this government."

The cabinet had already been under pressure to step down over last week's explosion that killed 163 people, wounded some 6,000 and left around 300,000 without habitable housing. Several ministers had already resigned over the weekend.

Hassan Diab

Lebanon PM to announce government resignation soon - minister

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab will soon announce his government's resignation, the health minister told Reuters on Monday after a massive port explosion that devastated the capital piled pressure on the cabinet.

Diab is set to deliver an address to the nation at 7:30 p.m. local time, his office said. 

Demonstrators take part in a protest following the blast in Beirut, Lebanon, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

In pictures: Demonstrators take part in a protest following the blast in Beirut, Lebanon, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Inquiry begins into bomb blast

Security agency leaders are being questioned by a Lebanese judge over the last week's blast as a string of cabinet ministers resign. Judge Ghassan El Khoury began questioning Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba, the head of State Security, according to state-run National News Agency.

Lebanon's finance minister resigns, say local media

Lebanon's Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, a key negotiator with the IMF over a rescue plan to help Lebanon exit a deep financial crisis, resigned on Monday over last week's devastating Beirut port blast, local media reported. (Reporting by Reuters)

Pressure on Lebanese president mounts as fourth minister resigns

Lebanon's Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, is expected to submit his resignation on Monday afternoon, Lebanese media reported, as the entire cabinet faces mounting pressure to step down after the massive explosion that rocked Beirut last week.

According to Sky News Arabia, Diab is planning to announce his resignation before the cabinet meeting slated for Monday at 15:00 local time (08:00 EST).

Beirut

The aftermath of Beirut port blast six days after the explosion rocked the city.

Photo: EFE/EPA/WAEL HAMZA

Mother in labour as Beirut blasts rip through hospital room

"My son George was born under a catastrophic blast, I did not believe we came out alive,” Edmound told Reuters.

Although the blast ripped through the windows of the room and tossed medical supplies everywhere, injuring doctors and nurses inside, the staff still continued working with the flashlight on and helped Emmanuelle deliver her baby boy who was big and healthy.

Read the incredible story and see the video

Reflections on the devastation

This BBC report continues to get heartfelt reactions, centring around on the story of Sahar Fares.

Beirut protesters push coalition to brink of collapse

For two days protesters wielding nooses bearing the names of national leaders have stormed Beirut’s city centre, from the parliament building to the street where the Great Mosque and the Christian Maronite cathedral stand side by side.

But they showed particular venom towards the uneasy alliance between Lebanon’s largest Christian-majority party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), and the Iran-backed Shia militia Hezbollah, which dominates the government.

Police fired tear gas at protesters blocking a road near parliament

As per several reports, fire broke out at an entrance of Parliament Square as protesters tried to break into a barred area.

The demonstrators also broke into the housing and transport ministry offices. Police wearing body armour and carrying batons clashed with the anti-government protestors as thousands came together to stage protests on Parliament Square and nearby Martyrs’ Square.

A break for prayer

Iran says Beirut blast should not be politicised

Iran said on Monday that countries should refrain from politicising the massive blast in Beirut last week, adding that the United States should lift sanctions against Lebanon.

'The blast should not be used as an excuse for political aims ... the cause of the blast should be investigated carefully,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a televised news conference.

'If America is honest about its assistance offer to Lebanon, they should lift sanctions.'

Defiance on the streets overnight

More on-the-ground reports from Leila in Beirut.

A message of solidarity

'Imagine being held hostage in a small, pitch dark room with no way to escape. Your captors have taken your wallet and phone, and often only give you food once a day.

'You notice yourself getting sick, but medical aid from your tormentors never arrives. And then, for whatever reason, someone walks in and shoots you in the stomach.'

Read more

The food challenge created by the explosion

David Beasley from the World Food Programme shares this video highlighting one of the many emergencies now faced.

Family of killed protester denied autopsy

France 24's Middle East Correspondent, Leila Molana-Allen, is based in Beirut and has been following the stories on the ground.

A summary of the Beirut explosion aftermath

Here is a selection of some of the related stories that have been making the headlines over the last 24 hours:

- President Trump told reporters on Sunday that the US will give substantial further aid to Lebanon after sending three planes of medical equipment

- World leaders and participants of a virtual donors' conference on Sunday pledged $298 million to Lebanon to help rebuild Beirut

- Beirut governor says many bodies still unidentified from port blast are foreign workers

- The International Monetary Fund said on Sunday it was willing to redouble efforts to help Lebanon after the devastating blast that hit Beirut

- Lebanon's environment minister resigned from Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government on Sunday. This followed the resignation of Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad

Beirut explosion live coverage: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the aftermath of last Tuesday’s blast in Beirut, which saw two huge explosions in the Lebanese capital’s port area, caused by the detonation of around 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

The disaster has left at least 158 people dead, dozens missing and thousands injured and homeless.

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