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US report concludes that ‘maintenance’ of warehouse caused huge Beirut ammonium nitrate explosion

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us report concludes that maintenance of warehouse caused huge beirut ammonium nitrate

A U.S. government assessment of last week’s devastating explosion in Beirut has reportedly concluded that maintenance work likely led to the explosion of a large cache of ammonium nitrate. 

It comes amid speculation over what could have triggered the deadly chemical blast which killed 171 people.

Last week, security sources claimed a welder had sparked the initial fire that in turn ignited the chemicals.

Firefighters try to extinguish flames after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut on August 4

Firefighters try to extinguish flames after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut on August 4

The devastating explosion last week. An Italian expert has claimed that the brick red cloud suggests that the blast was not caused by ammonium nitrate and suggested burning armaments had instead caused the blast

The devastating explosion last week. An Italian expert has claimed that the brick red cloud suggests that the blast was not caused by ammonium nitrate and suggested burning armaments had instead caused the blast

Lebanese firefighters work at the scene of an explosion in the Lebanese capital on August 4

Lebanese firefighters work at the scene of an explosion in the Lebanese capital on August 4

The explosion, Lebanon’s worst peacetime disaster, caused devastation across Beirut and is widely seen as a direct consequence of state incompetence and corruption.  

A source familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that maintenance work likely sparked the explosion which devastated much of the Lebanese capital. 

The blast occurred when a warehouse fire ignited 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that had been stored in the city’s port for six years. 

Russian emergency personnel walk on the site of the explosion in the port of Beirut, where rescuers are continuing their recovery efforts nearly a week after the blast

Russian emergency personnel walk on the site of the explosion in the port of Beirut, where rescuers are continuing their recovery efforts nearly a week after the blast 

Italian firefighters from the NBCR (Nuclear Biological Chemical Radiological) unit inspecting a ship wreck in the port of Beirut

Italian firefighters from the NBCR (Nuclear Biological Chemical Radiological) unit inspecting a ship wreck in the port of Beirut

The devastated port of Beirut is seen in an aerial view yesterday after the explosion at a warehouse which has killed more than 160 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless

The devastated port of Beirut is seen in an aerial view yesterday after the explosion at a warehouse which has killed more than 160 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless

The explosion, which drew comparisons with the Hiroshima atom bomb 75 years ago, has also injured more than 6,000 people and left 300,000 homeless. 

Ten firefighters are confirmed to have died in the incident, and six more are still among the missing, including three members of the same family. 

Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government resigned on Monday but that did little to appease protesters who want heads to roll over the disaster.

Documents seen by AFP reveal that relevant officials at every echelon of the state were aware of the danger posed by the large pile of ammonium nitrate stored for years in a port warehouse until it blew up.

The disaster also sparked widespread panic over wheat shortages after 15,000 tonnes of grains were blasted out of the silos.  

The cabinet decided to refer the investigation of the blast to the judicial council, the highest legal authority whose rulings cannot be appealed. 

A protester throws a tear gas canister back towards Lebanese police during an anti-government protest in Beirut on Sunday night

A protester throws a tear gas canister back towards Lebanese police during an anti-government protest in Beirut on Sunday night

Lebanon’s president had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port. 

He said an investigation would consider whether the cause was external interference as well as negligence or an accident. 

‘There are two possible scenarios for what happened: it was either negligence or foreign interference through a missile or bomb,’ he said last Friday. 

The shipment of ammonium nitrate was officially destined for Mozambique when it sailed on the cargo ship Rhosus in 2013, but the vessel made an unscheduled stop in Beirut where the chemicals were impounded.   

Firefighters carry the coffin of their friend Joe Noun, one of ten firefighters who were killed during the explosion that hit the Beirut port, during his funeral at the firefighter headquarters

Firefighters carry the coffin of their friend Joe Noun, one of ten firefighters who were killed during the explosion that hit the Beirut port, during his funeral at the firefighter headquarters

The captain of the Rhosus claims he was told to stop in Beirut to pick up extra cargo – while Mozambique has denied all knowledge of the shipment. 

Cypriot police said on Thursday that they had questioned Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin over his alleged links the ship and its cargo.

Beirut’s governor said many foreign workers and truck drivers remained missing and were assumed to be among the casualties. 

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Croydon tram crash: families of dead demand apology from driver

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croydon tram crash families of dead demand apology from driver

The families of seven people who died in a tram crash in Croydon, south east London, have demanded to meet with the driver to receive an apology.

Seven people were killed and a further 51 were injured in the incident which occurred on November 9 2016.

The tram came off the tracks at almost four times the speed limit in darkness and heavy rain and it was alleged that the driver, Alfred Dorris, had drifted into a ‘microsleep’.

Mr Dorris was arrested at the scene but charges of gross negligence and manslaughter were later dropped by the British Transport Police (BTP).

No charges of corporate manslaughter were brought against Transport for London (TfL) or operator Tram Operations Ltd (TOL), a subsidiary of FirstGroup.

Seven people were killed and a further 51 were injured in the incident which occurred on November 9 2016

Seven people were killed and a further 51 were injured in the incident which occurred on November 9 2016

The tram crash was one of the worst public transport tragedies for a generation

The tram crash was one of the worst public transport tragedies for a generation

A pre-inquest review at Croydon Town Hall heard on Friday that Mr Dorris would be unable to attend the inquest as he was ‘unwell’.

But Andrew Ritchie QC, representing five of the seven victims’ families, said they did ‘not feel comfortable’ with Mr Dorris’ absence.

He said that the families had to satisfy a ‘human need to see the man and hear him apologise’.

Mr Richards suggested a meeting take place ‘either via video conference or a face-to-face, just to hear his apology in some way, so the families can put that need to bed’.

Dane Chinnery was named as the first victim of the Croydon tram crash

Mark Smith pictured with son Lucas by the Christmas tree

Dane Chinnery was named as the first victim of the Croydon tram crash Mark Smith , 35, pictured with son Lucas at the Christmas before he died

Phil Seary pictured at the wedding of his youngest daughter Karina

Mother-of-two Dorota Rynkiewicz was described by friends as a devoted mother and a 'friendly, caring and giving person'

Phil Seary, 57, pictured at the wedding of his youngest daughter Karina. Mother-of-two Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, was described by friends as a devoted mother and a ‘friendly, caring and giving person’

Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Logan, 52, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, and Robert Huxley, 63, all from New Addington, and Mark Smith, 35, and Donald Collett, 62, both from Croydon, were all killed in the crash.

Mr Ritchie represents the families of Mr Logan, Mr Seary, Ms Rynkiewicz, Mr Smith, and Mr Collett.

The families of Mr Chinnery and Mr Huxley are represented by Giles Mooney QC.

A full inquest is due to open on October 19 2020.

The inquest is expected to hear arguments that the case was one of human error and failings of the transport system.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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So what’s an ‘established relationship?’: 80% of Britons believe it means dating someone for a year

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so whats an established relationship 80 of britons believe it means dating someone for a year

Some 84 per cent of Britons think dating for at least a year constitutes an ‘established relationship’, meaning they do not need to socially distance under new lockdown rules.

The latest government guidance issued this week does not provide clarity on what an ‘established relationship’ is, with many couples questioning if they fall into the category.

A survey by YouGov found 80 per cent think referring to a significant other as a ‘partner’ is enough to call things established.

A total of 84 per cent of those questioned think dating for a year or more awards them the title – while 72 per cent think six months or more is enough.

Two thirds – 66 per cent – found referring to someone as a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ makes the relationship established, while 60 per cent said if you say you love them it does.

But just 17 per cent said it counted as established if the pair was having sex, falling to eight per cent for kissing.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people needed to ‘be careful’ when it came to having sexual relationships outside of ‘established relationships’ during the pandemic.

Asked about the Government’s guidance that only ‘established’ couples should be having sex, he told Sky News: ‘In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase.

‘If you’re saying that two households shouldn’t mix, which we are in some parts of the country – in the North East, the North West, in Scotland, in parts of Wales – then you have to then define what is the boundary of that.’

He added: ‘I think we should stick to the letter of it, which is it is okay in an established relationship.

Asked about the Government's guidance that only 'established' couples should be having sex, he told Sky News: 'In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase'

Asked about the Government’s guidance that only ‘established’ couples should be having sex, he told Sky News: ‘In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase’

‘It just means that people need to be careful, they need to be sensible.

‘If you’re in a relationship that is well established… what it means is people realising that coming into close contact with people from other households, then that is how the virus spreads.’

Mr Hancock joked to host Kay Burley that ‘I know I am in an established relationship’ with his wife.

In what is often seen as the first step to moving in with someone, leaving a toothbrush at the other person’s house was seen by 51 per cent to be a sign of an established relationship.

Meanwhile the bold step of meeting a partner’s parents was judged by just 42 per cent to mean a couple fits Mr Hancock’s threshold.

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Some viewers accused Ms Burley of flirting with the health secretary during their interview on yesterday.

The were both laughing while discussing casual sex in the context of the new coronavirus restrictions.

 One viewer tweeted: ‘Jesus christ @KayBurley get a room! What unprofessional interviewing, more like a speed date than a serious interview on a major network at prime news time.’

Another added: ‘She was like that yesterday with Raab, in fact if a man has a pulse, she’s like that with them too. @KayBurley’.

‘Vile!!’ a third posted. ‘How can he be that immature?’ another added.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Berlin council staff told to avoid phrases like ‘asylum seeker’

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berlin council staff told to avoid phrases like asylum seeker

Political correctness has invaded and struck at the heart of Germany with a series of strange new phrases in a new diversity-sensitive language guide.

Berlin city council  has told state employees in the capital to watch their language to avoid offence.

New guidelines put in place by the nanny state authority have led to guidance on every day phrases that they say should not be used. 

Among the many phrases targeted by the PC brigade is asylum seeker. According to the new guide this term is misleading as there is a fundamental right to asylum.

Instead state employees should use the term persons requiring protection.

Foreigners should be replaced with ‘residents without German citizenship’ and people with a migrant background should be referred to as ‘people with an international history.’

State workers in Berlin have been issued politically correct guidance which lists phrases they should not use

State workers in Berlin have been issued politically correct guidance which lists phrases they should not use

The new rules have been criticised across Germany.

Gunnar Schupelius, a commentator on the local daily newspaper BZ, said that a ‘clique’ of politicians was trying to influence people to believe what they think is right. 

He wrote that they want to ensure people ‘behave in accordance with their political ideology.’

The guidance has been turned into a 44-page guide and it forms part of a national diversity programme.

It aims to train Berlin’s state employees to communicate ‘with the people in this city,’ regardless of their sexuality, gender, age, disability, religion or ethnic origin.

The booklet also states that if someone changes gender then officials should not say gender change but gender realignment.

While the German phrase Schwarz fahren, which translates as riding black, and is a widely used German term for fare dodging on public transport should not be used at all.

There are no penalties for failing to adhere to the PC Brigade’s list of pointless changes as they are only a set of recommendations.

The PC guide was written by the State Office for Equal Treatment Against Discrimination, which is run by Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt, from the Green Party.

Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt, from the Green Party, who is behind the guidance

Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt, from the Green Party, who is behind the guidance

Berlin’s centre-left city government is a coalition of the Greens with the Social Democrats and Left Party.

Mr Behrendt, in a press statement, said: ‘Berlin is home to people from many different backgrounds and in very different situations

‘Berliners should understand the administration as their own and therefore the administration should also be open to this diversity.

‘If the diversity of Berlin is reflected in the administration, then that is a benefit for the entire city.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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