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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Update: h/t Moon of Alabama

There is a short video of firefighters at the initial fire. Reportedly none survived when the fireworks fire set off the ammonium nitrate. Another video shows the initial fire caused by welding. It burns a while and then sets off fireworks in a first explosion. This takes the the roof off the warehouse. A few minutes later the fireworks cause the huge explosion of the ammonium nitrate.

This video is evidence there was no attack on a Hezbollah munitions depot. From this post it supports the fire was caused by a welding accident.

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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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In story: Under Joe Biden the Same Old ME Policy

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Once homeless, now poised for the House: Protest leader ousts veteran Missouri congressman | LA Times |

Finally the voters made a new choice in St. Louis North ...



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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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In story: 20 Years (at least) Without Election Integrity

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There was attempts at selling voting machines in Europe and I was - with the Swedish Pirate party - a small part of the effort to prevent that. Which by and large succeeded.
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In story: 20 Years (at least) Without Election Integrity

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In Sweden, we do hand count, as the conclusion over various tests is that it is the most accurate way. Even using those bill counters used at banks has turned out less reliable then by hand. Also almost all votes are counted at least twice and discrepancies that are large enough to change seats are grounds for re-elections, of which we have had a few.
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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Marwan Hamadeh, 80 years old, retires from Lebanese politics



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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Feiglin on Lebanon: "This hell was supposed to fall on us, we will be made a miracle" | One News |

According to former MK Moshe Feiglin, the material that exploded last night in Beirut was destined for Israel, as part of Hezbollah's war on it.

"There have not been good days for Israel as fifteen in the Father and today is the frost," Feiglin wrote on Facebook. "This mishnah by Rabban Gamliel took on topical significance yesterday ... In honor of" Valentine's Day ", we received a" spectacular pyrotechnics show "at the port of Beirut.

"You do not really believe it was some kind of messy fuel depot - yes ...? Do you understand that this hell was supposed to fall on us in the rain of missiles ?!", Feiglin asked.



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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Youm-e-Istehsal Kashmir: India learned how to change regional demography from Israel, says President Alvi  | Dawn Pakistan |

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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

Humanitarian Aid with a Price Tag
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Israel offers Lebanon medical assistance after Beirut blast | Al-Monitor |

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the mediators who reached out to Lebanon on behalf of Israel were France and the United Nations' peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL.

"We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time," Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted.

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An unnamed Israeli intelligence official told The New York Times that Israel was not involved in Tuesday's explosion in Beirut.

Tensions remain high between Israel and Hezbollah. The militant group has vowed retaliation for a June 20 Israeli strike outside the Syrian capital of Damascus that killed one of its senior fighters. Israel has since deployed additional forces in the Galilee and last week announced the military foiled a Hezbollah raid along its northern border.

The Israeli military's Arabic spokesperson tweeted in the wake of the blast Tuesday that "this is the time to transcend conflict" and focus on providing humanitarian support.

In addition to Israel, a number of countries pledged to come to Lebanon's aid. Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Iran is prepared to help "in any way necessary," and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States stands "ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy."



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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Waste Away - The Baffler
A massive private holding company bought out the entirety of the downtown area - which had been the front line between the two divided halves of Beirut - promising to build a shiny new city out of its ruins. One that would look very much like the pre-war city, with its romantic, pale-yellow mandate-era buildings, but sleeker and more modernized. For a single private company to acquire so much prime land - most of which still technically belonged to the homeowners and shopkeepers and businesses who had waited fifteen long years to reclaim their holdings; some of which was public property and belonged to the municipality and hence the people - required certain zoning and property laws to be rewritten outright. There was very little outcry, except from those who had been swindled out of what they owned. At the time, too many people were invested, either financially or emotionally, in seeing the war come to an end to care about how the city's future might be made to emerge from the rubble of its past.

Downtown Beirut went from blasted wasteland to massive construction site overnight, with individual lots encircled by steel fences, upon which were digitally rendered images of the buildings that would sprout there, the apartments they would house, and the people who might live there (a vast majority of whom were inexplicably blond). There were also always a few lines of copy richly proclaiming the virtues of these soon-to-be dwellings. Some variation of "exclusive private luxury in the heart of the city" or else "luxurious private exclusivity." Really, the most the copywriters could be bothered with was to scramble the order of these words, occasionally also throwing in promises like "haven" and "retreat" and "elegant" and "singular views."

[...] The holding company's slogan, etched into the hundreds upon hundreds of cement barricades erected to mark the limits of its empire, declared Beirut "an ancient city for the future." A rebranding of the old national myth, one predicated on continuous destruction: Beirut, the phoenix, the city that had been destroyed and rebuilt seven times over the centuries would yet once more rise, glorious and triumphant, from the ash.

by das monde on
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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Warnings by Port Authority left unheeded | Al Jazeera |

The ship's dangerous cargo was then offloaded and placed in Hangar 12 of Beirut port, a large grey structure facing the country's main north-south highway at the main entrance to the capital.

Months later, on June 27, 2014, then-director of Lebanese Customs Shafik Merhi sent a letter addressed to an unnamed "Urgent Matters judge", asking for a solution to the cargo, according to documents shared online.

Customs officials sent at least five more letters over the next three years - on December 5, 2014, May 6, 2015, May 20, 2016, October 13, 2016, and October 27, 2017 - asking for guidance. They proposed three options: Export the ammonium nitrate, hand it over to the Lebanese Army, or sell it to the privately-owned Lebanese Explosives Company.

One letter sent in 2016 noted there had been "no reply" from judges to previous requests.

It pleaded: "In view of the serious danger of keeping these goods in the hangar in unsuitable climatic conditions, we reaffirm our request to please request the marine agency to re-export these goods immediately to preserve the safety of the port and those working in it, or to look into agreeing to sell this amount" to the Lebanese Explosives Company.

Again, there was no reply.

A year later, Badri Daher, the new Lebanese Customs Administration director, wrote to a judge once again.

In the October 27, 2017, letter, Daher urged the judge to come to a decision on the matter in view of "the danger ... of leaving these goods in the place they are, and to those working there".



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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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Beirut Blast Wrap-up | MofA |

In 2013 Lebanese authorities arrested a ship (pdf) that had been abandoned by its owner.

    On 23/9/2013, m/v Rhosus, flying the Moldovian flag, sailed from Batumi Port, Georgia heading to Biera in Mozambique carrying 2,750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate in bulk.

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The ammonium nitrate was stored in a quayside warehouse. The picture shows the 1,000 kilogram big bags labeled "Nitroprill HD" in bad storage conditions at the 'Hanger 12' warehouse in Beirut.

"Nitroprill HD" is a knock-off product of the trademarked Nitropril, a premium grade porous prilled ammonium nitrate manufactured and sold by the Orica Mining Services in Australia. It is used as a commercial explosive in mining and quarrying. The safety sheet of the original product says it "May explode under confinement and high temperature, but not readily detonated. May explode due to nearby detonations."



by Oui on
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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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For me it's highly speculative ... the author has proven excellent sources and he puts his reputation on the line.

If his source within the intelligence community is right, the assumption of "accidentally" causing the secondary massive explosion is incorrect.

by Oui on
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In story: Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

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In story: Under Joe Biden the Same Old ME Policy

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Beirut explosion: more than 50 dead and 2,750 wounded, says Lebanon health ministry

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In story: July 2020

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Tik Tok Canada UK Australia New Zealand

Microsoft confirms talks to buy TikTok in U.S. and 4-Eyes allies | CNBC |

President Trump said that he opposed the idea of Microsoft buying TikTok and that he would move to ban the app in the U.S.

The two companies have looked at Microsoft buying TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

TikTok Planning London HQ

The UK government has reportedly approved allowing Chinese video app TikTok to launch its headquarters in London.

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In story: GOP Dream Candidate Flunking

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In story: July 2020

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Putin's Apprentice 😎

by Oui on
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In story: Under Joe Biden the Same Old ME Policy

Re: Massive Explosion Rocks Beirut Port
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In story: Under Joe Biden the Same Old ME Policy

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Beirut blast apparently caused by explosive materials seized from ship, stored at port | Times of Israel |



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News and Views

 July 2020

by Bernard - Jul 5, 72 comments

Your take on this month's news

 June 2020

by Oui - May 22, 136 comments

Your take on this month's news


 Midsummer Open Thread

by Bernard - Jun 19, 45 comments

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