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16 People Arrested In Connection To The Beirut Blast

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 07 August 2020

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Thibault Camus/Pool via REUTERS

Port manager among the arrests.

Security // BLUF: Lebanese authorities have arrested 16 people in connection with the explosion in Beirut this week.

The Beirut Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem was among those arrested. Further to this, the Central Bank had frozen the accounts of several people connected to the incident including Koraytem and the head of Lebanese Customs.

The explosion at the Beirut port, blamed on a fire that ignited 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, caused extensive damage for kilometres and resulted in at least 157 people killed and more than 5000 injured.

(See Point 4 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 07 August 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, CHINA - Political: Trump hammers China over virus as U.S. health secretary heads to Taiwan

FYSA: U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday intensified his attacks on China for its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 700,000 people worldwide, as his health secretary headed to Taiwan for a visit sure to irk Beijing. Trump, whose public approval ratings have fallen amid continued COVID-19 infection rates and economic woes, sought to shift the focus to Beijing, claiming again, without evidence, that it may have intentionally let the virus spread globally. The Republican president, who is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in national polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, said it was a “disgrace” that Beijing had limited the spread of the virus at home but allowed it to reach the rest of the world. “What China did is a terrible thing ... whether it was incompetence or on purpose,” he said, as his administration continued to crack down on Chinese firms and exports. (KFGO. See link in heading for further reading)

2. BRAZIL - Security (Health): Brazil's Bolsonaro orders $360 million to be set aside for AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

FYSA: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree on Thursday that will set aside 1.9 billion reais ($356 million) in funds to purchase and eventually produce the potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University researchers. Brazil’s Acting Health Minister General Eduardo Pazuello said the vaccine could be available for Brazilians by December or January. He called the vaccine “the most promising in the world” to fight the virus. “January is the best bet. The vaccine is the solution to end the pandemic,” Pazuello said during Bolsonaro’s weekly live chat on Facebook. AstraZeneca’s candidate is seen as the frontrunner in the global race to deliver an effective vaccine. On Thursday, the British drugmaker struck a deal to produce the vaccine in China. Pazuello said Brazil would initially receive 100 million doses, which would allow for the vaccination of half the country’s population, and then produce the vaccine locally. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

3. FRANCE - Security: Hostage-taker surrenders after six-hour standoff at bank in Le Havre

FYSA: A man who took six hostages at a bank in the French port city of Le Havre has surrendered after nearly six hours. Police said the 34-year-old, who has a history of mental problems, freed the hostages one by one as the drama unfolded earlier today. The last captive was released shortly before the hostage-taker turned himself in, a police official said.

The hostage-taker was apparently armed with a handgun, but it was not immediately clear whether the weapon was real or fake. A special police intervention unit brought into the Normandy city from Paris spent hours negotiating with the hostage-taker before he turned himself in and was arrested. (Nine News. See link in heading for further reading)

4. LEBANON - Security: Beirut port manager among 16 held in blast probe, judicial source says

FYSA: Lebanese authorities have arrested 16 people in an investigation into the Beirut port warehouse explosion, state news agency NNA said on Thursday, and a judicial source and local media said the port’s general manager was among those being held. NNA did not name the individuals, but 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 others involved in maintenance work at the warehouse. “Sixteen people have been taken into custody as part of the investigation,” NNA quoted Akiki as saying. He said the investigation was continuing. A judicial source and two local broadcasters said Beirut Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem was among those held. Earlier, the central bank said it froze the accounts of seven people including Koraytem and the head of Lebanese customs. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

5. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health), Economic: Supermarket closes seven further Melbourne stores for COVID cleaning

FYSA: Seven more Woolworths stores in and around Melbourne closed overnight for deep cleaning after employees or contractors tested positive for COVID-19. That means a total of 10 Woolies branches have potentially been exposed to coronavirus in just 24 hours. This morning, the company said its stores in Blackburn North, Cranbourne North and Sebastopol, the latter close to Ballarat, closed for deep cleaning. On Thursday, the retail chain said it would do the same for stores in Cranbourne East, Point Cook, St Helena and St Kilda. (News.com.au. See link in heading for further reading)

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