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Lebanon Leaders Warned About Explosives In July

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 11 August 2020

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The Lebanese Government has resigned as a result of the explosion in Beirut.

Security, Political // BLUF: Lebanese government officials were reportedly warned that the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut's port posed a security risk and could destroy the capital if it exploded; according to Reuters.

The subsequent explosion on 04 August resulted in 163 people killed, more than 6000 injured; and destroyed approximately 6000 buildings.

The fallout from the incident has resulted in Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab announcing the resignation of the government, blaming the disaster on endemic corruption.

(See Points 3 and 4 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 11 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 - Security (Health, Travel): Trump weighs blocking U.S. citizens coming home if coronavirus infection feared

FYSA: The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is considering a measure to block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from returning home if they are suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, a senior U.S. official confirmed to Reuters. The official said a draft regulation, which has not been finalized and could change, would give the government authorization to block individuals who could “reasonably” be believed to have contracted COVID-19 or other diseases. Trump has instituted a series of sweeping immigration restrictions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, suspending some legal immigration and allowing U.S. border authorities to rapidly deport migrants caught at the border without standard legal processes. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. BELARUS - Security, Political: Bloody clashes in Belarus as West condemns crackdown after election

FYSA: At least one person died as Belarusian police clashed with protesters on Monday after the opposition accused President Alexander Lukashenko of rigging his re-election victory amid a chorus of criticism from Western leaders. Helmeted police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades and used batons to disperse thousands of people in Minsk in a second night of violence. Protesters set up barricades in several areas and threw Molotov cocktails. One man died while trying to throw an unidentified explosive device at police that blew up in his hands, the government said. Local media reported clashes breaking out in other towns. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

3. LEBANON - Security: Lebanon's leaders warned in July about explosives at port - documents

FYSA: Lebanese security officials warned the prime minister and president last month that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut’s port posed a security risk and could destroy the capital if it exploded, according to documents seen by Reuters and senior security sources. Just over two weeks later, the industrial chemicals exploded in a massive blast that obliterated most of the port, killed at least 163 people, injured 6,000 more and destroyed some 6,000 buildings, according to municipal authorities. A report by the General Directorate of State Security about events leading up to the explosion included a reference to a private letter sent to President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab on July 20. While the content of the letter was not in the report seen by Reuters, a senior security official said it summed up the findings of a judicial investigation launched in January which concluded the chemicals needed to be secured immediately. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

4. LEBANON - Security, Political: Lebanese government quits amid fury over Beirut blast

FYSA: Lebanon’s prime minister announced his government’s resignation on Monday, saying a huge explosion that devastated Beirut and triggered public outrage was the result of endemic corruption. The Aug. 4 detonation at a port warehouse of what authorities said was 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. “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,” Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a speech announcing the resignation. (Al Jazeera. See link in heading for video)

5. HONG KONG - Security, Political: Pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai arrested under Hong Kong security law

FYSA: Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, one of the city’s most vocal Beijing critics, was arrested Monday under a new national security law for colluding with foreign forces, deepening a crackdown on democracy supporters. “They arrested him at his house at about 7am. Our lawyers are on the way to the police station,” Mark Simon, a close aide, told AFP, adding that other members of Lai’s media group had also been arrested. A police source speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP Lai was arrested for colluding with foreign forces — one of the new national security offences — and fraud. Lai owns the Apple Daily newspaper and Next Magazine, two outlets unapologetically pro-democracy and critical of Beijing. (News.com.au. See link in heading for further reading)

6. NEW ZEALAND - Security (Health): Kiwis overseas unhappy about 'unfair' managed isolation charges

FYSA: Some New Zealanders will now have to foot the bill for their time in managed isolation. The minister in charge of the border, Megan Woods, announced on Monday that the charges would apply from Tuesday. Lamia Imam and Alexis Harris are part of the group that runs the “Team of Six Million” Facebook page and told RNZ they’re firmly against charging returning New Zealanders. Imam lives in Austin, Texas, and Harris lives in London. Imam said the group will continue to fight the regulations which, she says, impact Kiwis abroad and within New Zealand. “We want to keep the conversation going because we want to be able to show how unfair this quarantine fee is. “It impacts anyone who has to make a short-term visit out of New Zealand or into New Zealand. It impacts families who are separated because of the pandemic and it impacts anyone who needs to come in for emergency travel – it’s a lot of people, including every single person in New Zealand.” Harris said there are a lot of people who aren’t just wanting to go back to New Zealand on holidays. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

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