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Unusual Heat Wave Sets Off Chaotic Chain Reaction

Wildfires, mass evacuations, and detonating land mines in the Middle East

(Newser) - Wildfires around the Middle East triggered by a heat wave hitting the region have killed two people, forced thousands of people to leave their homes, and detonated land mines along the Lebanon-Israel border, state media and officials said Saturday. The areas hit by the heat wave are Syria, Lebanon, Israel,... More »

US Has New Theory on Cause of Lebanon Blast

Review puts blame on maintenance work

(Newser) - A US review has found that maintenance work probably triggered the deadly explosion in Beirut last week. The State Department is in agreement on the cause with Lebanese investigators, the Wall Street Journal reports, though President Trump had blamed "a bomb of some kind" immediately after the blast. US... More »

Lebanon's Leaders Received Dire Warning 3 Weeks Ago

Report, letter warned Beirut could be leveled if chemicals weren't secured

(Newser) - Security officials warned Lebanon's president and prime minister that the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut's port could explode, destroying the city, just two weeks before that more or less happened. That's according to Reuters , which got its hands on a state security report... More »

Lebanon's Entire Government Just Resigned

Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his Cabinet quit amid anger over port explosion

(Newser) - Lebanon’s prime minister is stepping down in the wake of the Beirut port explosion last week that triggered public fury and mass protests. In a brief televised speech, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Monday that he is taking “a step back” so he can stand with the people... More »

Things Are Heating Up in Beirut

Protesters hit the streets over an explosion that devastated the city

(Newser) - Security forces fired tear gas and clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators Saturday in Beirut, and a group of protesters stormed the foreign ministry amid mounting fury over this week's explosion that devastated much of the city and killed nearly 160 people, the AP reports. Dozens were still missing and nearly... More »

60K Sign Petition for France to Rule Lebanon

After Beirut blast, many have given up on government

(Newser) - French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut Thursday—and after Tuesday's devastating explosion , more than a few Lebanese were ready for him to take over as their president. A petition circulating on Avaaz calling for the former colonial power to take charge of Lebanon for the next 10 years now... More »

Grief Turns to Anger in Beirut

Residents blame 'failed state' for devastating blast

(Newser) - Beirut has been devastated by a massive explosion that killed at least 137 people and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless—and angry residents say the country was broken long before the Tuesday blast. Residents blame corruption and incompetence for the fact that 2,750 tons of highly explosive... More »

135 Dead in Beirut Blast, Including an American

Another 5K were wounded, 300K left homeless

(Newser) - At least one US citizen was among those killed in the devastating Beirut explosion Tuesday night, and several others were injured. The death toll so far stands at 135, with another 100 still missing and search and rescue efforts continuing, ABC News reports. Another 5,000 were wounded, and as... More »

Port Officials Under House Arrest in Wake of Beirut Blast

As news of a letter warning that reportedly warned of the danger emerges

(Newser) - Investigators began searching through the wreckage of Beirut’s port Wednesday for clues to the cause of the massive explosion that killed 135 as it ripped across the Lebanese capital, and the government ordered port officials put under house arrest amid speculation that negligence was to blame. The investigation is... More »

'The Scale of the Disaster Is Immense' in Beirut

At least 100 dead, 4K wounded in Lebanon blast

(Newser) - "The scale of the disaster is immense" in Beirut, Lebanon, the Guardian reports. The death toll in the massive explosion that rocked the capital Tuesday night, causing blocks of devastation , currently stands at at least 100, the AP reports, with another 4,000 injured—and many still missing. TV... More »

Ammonium Nitrate Blamed for Devastating Beirut Blast

At least 70 dead, 4K injured

(Newser) - The death toll from the massive explosion that shook Lebanon's capital Tuesday now stands at more than 70—and with scenes of utter devastation for blocks surrounding the Beirut port area, the toll appears certain to rise. The country's health minister says the blast, which caused a mushroom... More »

In Lebanon, Scores of Migrant Maids Dumped Like 'Garbage'

Ethiopian workers are being abandoned on embassy steps in Beirut as virus kills economy

(Newser) - There are about a quarter-million migrant workers in Lebanon, many of them from Ethiopia, but as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the former country's economy, maids from the latter are finding themselves suddenly out of a job and dumped on the doorstep of the Ethiopian Embassy in... More »

Why Did Ghosn Flee Japan? He Cites a Figure: 99.4%

Ex-Nissan boss gives his first press conference since escaping the country

(Newser) - In his first press conference given since his clandestine exit from Japan, Carlos Ghosn cleared one thing up on Wednesday: No, there's no Netflix show in the works about his dramatic exit. But Ghosn certainly brought the drama in the lengthy press conference given in Beirut, likening his November... More »

Now Japan's Going After Ghosn's Wife

Carole Ghosn suspected of making false statements in court

(Newser) - Fugitive Carlos Ghosn will have a new complaint to discuss at his Wednesday press conference in Beirut. On the eve of that press conference, Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Ghosn's wife, accused of perjury. Fashion entrepreneur Carole Ghosn is suspected of making false statements during a witness... More »

Ghosn Could Face More Serious Trouble in Lebanon

Lawyers accuse him of collaborating with the enemy, Israel

(Newser) - Lebanon might not be the safe haven Japan's most high-profile criminal defendant sought. A group of lawyers has filed a complaint with the country's judiciary, claiming Carlos Ghosn—a citizen of France, Lebanon, and Brazil—violated a law against collaborating with the enemy when he formerly visited Israel,... More »

Fugitive CEO's Wife: 'Best Gift of My Life'

Carole Ghosn happy her husband escaped, is believed to have played a role

(Newser) - It will take a while to figure out exactly how former Nissan exec Carlos Ghosn managed to jump bail in Japan and flee to Lebanon , but the Wall Street Journal reports that his wife played a big role in the escape. "Best gift of my life," she texted... More »

This Might Be How Carlos Ghosn Flew the Coop

Reports suggest he hid in a box meant for a musical instrument aboard plane

(Newser) - Former Nissan exec Carlos Ghosn stunned authorities in Japan by fleeing to Lebanon to escape a trial over alleged financial misconduct. But how? Nothing has been confirmed, but Business Insider cites multiple reports that Ghosn hid in a box made for a musical instrument on his escape flight. One of... More »

Ex-Nissan Boss Jumps Bail, Somehow Flees Japan

'I have escaped injustice,' Ghosn says

(Newser) - Authorities in Japan might be regretting their decision to grant bail to former Nissan and Renault chief Carlos Ghosn earlier this year. He has fled the country and is now in Lebanon, which does not extradite its citizens, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's not clear how Ghosn managed... More »

Why Millions Are Protesting Worldwide

From Chile to Iraq to Hong Kong, people are upset

(Newser) - In Hong Kong, it was a complicated extradition dispute involving a murder suspect. In Beirut, it was a proposed tax on the popular WhatsApp messenger service. In Chile, it was a 4-cent hike in subway fares. Recent weeks have seen mass protests and clashes erupt in far-flung places triggered by... More »

Reports Clarify Mystery Attack Over Syria

Seems Israeli warplanes are behind it

(Newser) - Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late Tuesday, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers, Syrian state media reported, saying that most of the missiles were shot down by air defense units. The report, quoting an unnamed military official, identified... More »

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