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Trump calls deadly Beirut explosions a ‘terrible attack’ and says US is ready to assist Lebanon

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trump calls deadly beirut explosions a terrible attack and says us is ready to assist lebanon

President Donald Trump described deadly explosions as a ‘terrible attack’ during a Tuesday press conference, despite no evidence currently suggesting the blasts were intentional.

A series of massive explosions in the Lebanese capital’s port area rocked the city on Tuesday evening local time, killing at least 78 people and injuring more than 4,000 others. 

‘The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon,’ Trump said of the devastating scenes at a White House briefing. ‘We will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack.’

When quizzed by a reporter if he was certain the explosion was in fact an attack, Trump said he had ‘met with some of our great generals and they seem to feel that it was.

‘They would know better than I would,’ the president continued. ‘They seem to think … it was a bomb of some kind, yes.’

President Donald Trump described deadly explosions as a ‘terrible attack’ during a Tuesday press conference, despite no evidence suggesting the blasts were intentional

President Donald Trump described deadly explosions as a ‘terrible attack’ during a Tuesday press conference, despite no evidence suggesting the blasts were intentional

President Donald Trump described deadly explosions as a ‘terrible attack’ during a Tuesday press conference, despite no evidence suggesting the blasts were intentional

A series of massive explosions in the Lebanese capital's port area rocked the city on Tuesday evening local time, killing at least 78 people and injuring more than 4,000 others

A series of massive explosions in the Lebanese capital's port area rocked the city on Tuesday evening local time, killing at least 78 people and injuring more than 4,000 others

A series of massive explosions in the Lebanese capital’s port area rocked the city on Tuesday evening local time, killing at least 78 people and injuring more than 4,000 others

So far, no evidence has been released to the public to indicate that the explosions were the result of an attack. 

Multiple videos of the blast show fires and thick plumes of smoke emanating from a building in Beirut’s port area before a mushroom cloud erupts, sending a shockwave through the city.

Hundreds of buildings were leveled in the horrific explosion. The death toll is expected to rise significantly as emergency personnel continue to pull out bodies out from beneath the rubble.

‘Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families,’ Trump said. ‘The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon.’

The Lebanese government says it’s still investigating the source of the explosion but early indications suggested the blast occurred when a warehouse stored with explosive materials caught on fire. 

A large stock of ammonium nitrate was being stored where the explosions occurred, Lebanese Interior Minister, Mohammed Fahmi said. He has called for an investigation into how the material became ignited.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab called the explosion a ‘catastrophe’ and vowed that those responsible ‘will pay for what happened’.

Diab said an investigation will be launched into the conditions at the ‘dangerous warehouse’ where the blast occurred.

‘I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,’ he added during a televised address. 

In a later tweet, Diab said it was ‘unacceptable that a shipment of ammonium nitrate estimated at 2,750 tons has been present for six years in a warehouse without taking preventive measures that endanger the safety of citizens.’ 

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Prince William says fatherhood gave him ‘new sense of purpose’

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prince william says fatherhood gave him new sense of purpose

Prince William will reveal that fatherhood gave him a ‘new sense of purpose’ and helped spur him to protect the natural world in his new conservation documentary set to air next month.

The Duke of Cambridge will share his passion for the planet and search for ways to restore the environment for the next generation in his new ITV documentary Prince William: A Planet For Us All. 

The arrival of the new documentary, which was filmed by a production team two years ago, comes as Prince William gears up to join a star-studded line-up to give a virtual TED talk about climate change in October. 

Prince William will reveal that fatherhood gave him a 'new sense of purpose' in his new ITV documentary Prince William: A Planet For Us All

Prince William will reveal that fatherhood gave him a 'new sense of purpose' in his new ITV documentary Prince William: A Planet For Us All

Prince William will reveal that fatherhood gave him a ‘new sense of purpose’ in his new ITV documentary Prince William: A Planet For Us All

The documentary, which is set to air on ITV next month, will see the Duke of Cambridge share his passion for the environmental issues

The documentary, which is set to air on ITV next month, will see the Duke of Cambridge share his passion for the environmental issues

The documentary, which is set to air on ITV next month, will see the Duke of Cambridge share his passion for the environmental issues

In a sneak preview of the show the prince is heard saying: ‘I have always loved nature and fatherhood has given me a new sense of purpose.’

The prince, who shares children George, seven, Charlotte, five, and two year-old Louis, with wife Kate Middleton, will also describe how becoming a father helped change his outlook on the world.

He continued: ‘Now I have got George, Charlotte and now Louis in my life – your outlook does change. You want to hand over to the next generation, the wildlife in a much better condition.

‘Two years ago a film crew joined me on my search for ways to protect the natural world.

‘I’ve always believed it’s possible to give the young people hope and belief that things can get fixed. I have the belief that if we all work together we can make a difference.’

During the show, the prince meets people in the UK and abroad who are playing their part in protecting and restoring the environment, according to Kensington Palace.

The documentary also charts his journey from being passionate about conservation to wanting to play a greater global leadership role on the environment, the palace added. 

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who also makes an appearance in the programme, said: ‘Kids know an awful lot about what is happening to the world.’

Prince William will search for ways to restore the environment for the next generation in his new show

Prince William will search for ways to restore the environment for the next generation in his new show

Prince William will search for ways to restore the environment for the next generation in his new show

The documentary shows the prince meeting with people in the UK and abroad who are playing their part in protecting the environment

The documentary shows the prince meeting with people in the UK and abroad who are playing their part in protecting the environment

The documentary shows the prince meeting with people in the UK and abroad who are playing their part in protecting the environment

The show, which will air next month on ITV, will also see the prince meet naturalist Sir David Attenborough

The show, which will air next month on ITV, will also see the prince meet naturalist Sir David Attenborough

The show, which will air next month on ITV, will also see the prince meet naturalist Sir David Attenborough

The arrival of the new documentary comes as Prince William gears up to join a star-studded line-up to give a virtual TED talk about climate change.

The royal will appear alongside a panel of keen environmentalist and celebrities at TED’s Countdown Global Launch on October 10 to discuss how the world can tackle global warming and ensure a better, healthier future for the planet.

The Duke will be joined by impassioned activists at the online conference including Al Gore, as well as A-list actors Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith. 

Earlier this year, Prince William launched the Earthshot Prize initiative, declaring the Earth was at a ‘tipping point’ and humans had just ten years to save the world.  

The Duke will take part in the fourth and final session of the conference, appearing alongside climate change activists, engineers and pop stars.

The session, which is titled ‘Breakthroughs’ is described online as ‘exploring the nexus of protection, regeneration and transformation using powerful examples.

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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: It’s hard watching brain surgery… just think what it’s like to do it

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christopher stevens its hard watching brain surgery just think what its like to do it

Brain Surgeons: Between Life And Death

Rating: rating showbiz 4

Ghosts

Rating: rating showbiz 4

First, do no harm, warned the fore- father of all doctors, the Greek physician Hippocrates. It was all very well to say that in 400BC, but he had no idea about 21st-century brain surgery.

‘Virtually everything we do in neurosurgery carries a high risk,’ remarked Mr Aabir Chakraborty in Brain Surgeons: Between Life And Death (C4). One slip of a stiletto-thin scalpel, deep inside the head, can sever an artery and cause a fatal stroke.

Before donning his scrubs for surgery at Southampton’s Neurological Centre, the doc revealed that he meditated for an hour each morning. 

It helped him to develop empathy with his patients, he said.

Matthew, 12, who had a rare tumour at the top of his brainstem, was featured on Brain Surgeons: Between Life And Death

Matthew, 12, who had a rare tumour at the top of his brainstem, was featured on Brain Surgeons: Between Life And Death

Matthew, 12, who had a rare tumour at the top of his brainstem, was featured on Brain Surgeons: Between Life And Death

Personally, if a surgeon is going to be mucking around inside my cranium, I don’t need him to be working on his emotions before breakfast. He can be as hard-boiled as Humphrey Bogart for all I care, so long as he’s got a steady hand. Surgery, not sympathy, should be the watchword.

But it was impossible not to feel deep sympathy for the parents of 12-year-old Matthew, who had a rare tumour at the top of his brainstem. ‘I wish it was me rather than him,’ said his father fervently.

Channel 4’s wide-ranging medical documentaries work best when we develop a strong emotional desire to see the patient get better — as in the story, a couple of weeks ago, of robotics scientist Peter Scott-Morgan, who had pioneering implants to help him overcome the paralysis of motor neurone disease.

From the moment we met Matthew, I was fighting the urge to fast-forward to the end of the episode, to reassure myself that the boy recovered from both his tumour and the surgery.

However, the operation took two days and it felt as though we watched every moment of it. Although it was — thankfully — benign, Matthew’s tumour was ingrown at the centre of the brain, and the surgeons had to cut a tunnel to it without damaging any of his faculties.

Tax return of the week:

The earliest written records, said Dr Irving Finkel in The Secret History Of Writing (BBC4), were little drawings that enabled farmers to show their accounts to the taxman. Death and taxes have always been inevitable…

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When they reached the mass, which was the size of a plum, an artery started to bleed heavily. By this point, I had both arms wrapped around my head as though I could stem the flow by contorting myself.

Just as nerve-racking were the first days of recuperation, when Matthew had no sensation in his left side. The final sequence, after the boy had returned home to his family, came as a blessed relief: he seemed fully recovered and was riding his bike.

‘The future looks a lot better than it could have been,’ said his mother cautiously, as though she hardly dared admit they were past the worst. 

Who can blame her? After an experience like that, you’re afraid to breathe for fear the gods will overhear.

It’s not the gods who are listening in Ghosts (BBC1), but assorted lesser spirits, former inhabitants of Button Hall who have stayed on to haunt the place. 

Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) can’t get a moment’s peace — one of them, played by Lolly Adefope, even snuggles in bed with her.

This unfailingly entertaining sitcom from the Horrible Histories team has not moved on much from the first series. 

All the characters are the same, and we know that every week the ghosts will thwart the moneymaking schemes of Alison and her hen-pecked husband.

Martha Howe-Douglas is the imperious Victorian spectre, Fanny, and naturally, there are lots of Fanny jokes. 

Simon Farnaby plays Julian, a caddish MP who died without his trousers on. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, but they might as well have called it Are You Being Haunted?

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US Congress urges Boris Johnson to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece

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us congress urges boris johnson to return the elgin marbles to greece

The US Congress has waded into the ongoing row over the Elgin Marbles and called for their return to Greece.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, eighteen members of the House of Representatives urged Britain to open talks ‘in earnest’ over the sculptures in the British Museum.

They said said: ‘The Marbles have been the source of controversy among western allies for many decades. Greece has long wanted these Parthenon Marbles back.

‘Today we write to you as members of the congressional caucus on Hellenic Issues to urge your government to negotiate with the Greek government in earnest on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.’

The 7th Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, removed the Parthenon Marble pieces from the Acropolis in Athens while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803

The 7th Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, removed the Parthenon Marble pieces from the Acropolis in Athens while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803

The 7th Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, removed the Parthenon Marble pieces from the Acropolis in Athens while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803

The group of congressmen contained both Republicans and Democrats and included the chair of the foreign affairs subcommittee covering Europe and the chairs of the oversight and rules committees.

They want to see the sculptures returned by 2021 – the 200th anniversary of the modern Greek state’s founding.

The letter adds: ‘We remain appreciative of your efforts and good will in support of the historic special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and look forward to strengthening that relationship through the accomplishment of matters such as this.’

Dating back almost 2,500 years to the 5th Century BC the Elgin Marbles are seen some of the finest examples of marble sculpture the world over.

They were removed from the Parthenon in Athens by Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, between 1801 and 1805.

He was British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, who then ruled Greece, when they were taken.

The Earl claimed to have permission from the Ottomans to ship the Marbles to Britain however the supposed decree has never been found.

Parliament bought the Marbles in 1816 and given to the British Museum, which claims Lord Elgin took them with permission.

The Elgin marbles inside The British Museum

The Elgin marbles inside The British Museum

The Elgin marbles inside The British Museum 

However Greece has long maintained they were stolen and even at the time their removal was criticised by some, including Lord Byron who likened it to an act of looting.

A source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘These members of Congress are saying thank you to Britain for looking after them. They know that Boris Johnson understands Greek history better than anyone, and both Republicans and Democrats are calling on the prime minister to do the right thing.

‘By returning the Elgin Marbles, the United States sees an opportunity for Boris Johnson to go down in history as a statesman who respected both Britain’s past and projected a new confident post Brexit Britain to the world.’

It is thought that Parliament would have to change the law to return the Marbles to Athens as the British Museum Act of 1963 bans any property being returned.

The Greeks have some of the remaining Marbles laid out with gaps for those that remain in Britain. 

A LONG-RUNNING HISTORICAL DISPUTE: WHAT ARE THE ELGIN MARBLES? 

The Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that were mostly created by Phidias and his assistants

The Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that were mostly created by Phidias and his assistants

The Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that were mostly created by Phidias and his assistants

The Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that were mostly created by Phidias and his assistants.

The 7th Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, removed the Parthenon Marble pieces from the Acropolis in Athens while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803.

In 1801, the Earl claimed to have obtained a permit from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Parthenon. 

As the Acropolis was still an Ottoman military fort, Elgin required permission to enter the site.

His agents subsequently removed half of the surviving sculptures, as well as architectural members and sculpture from the Propylaea and Erechtheum.

The excavation and removal was completed in 1812 at a personal cost of around £70,000.

The sculptures were shipped to Britain, but in Greece, the Scots aristocrat was accused of looting and vandalism.

They were bought by the British Government in 1816 and placed in the British Museum. They still stand on view in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery.

Greece has sought their return from the British Museum through the years, to no avail.

The authenticity of Elgin’s permit to remove the sculptures from the Parthenon has been widely disputed, especially as the original document has been lost. Many claim it was not legal.

However, others argue that since the Ottomans had controlled Athens since 1460, their claims to the artefacts were legal and recognisable.

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