‘Endemic corruption’ caused Beirut blast, says Diab

  • Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced his resignation almost a week after the massive explosion that devastated the capital, Beirut, killing some 200 people and wounding 6,000 others.

  • Lebanon’s Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad, and Environment Minister Damianos Kattar have all resigned from their posts.

  • Lebanese police fired tear gas to try to disperse rock-throwing protesters blocking a road near Parliament in Beirut on Sunday in a second day of anti-government demonstrations triggered by last week’s devastating explosion.

  • International leaders joined a virtual donor conference led by France and the UN in the aftermath of the devastating explosion, pledging nearly $300m in humanitarian assistance that will be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population”.

  • US President Donald Trump has announced that the US will give “substantial” aid to Lebanon, but did not specify how much.
  • The IMF said it is willing to redouble efforts to help Lebanon after the devastating explosion, but said all of the country’s institutions needed to show willingness to carry out reforms.

    Monday, August 10

    17:50 GMT – Investigation: Excessive force used against Beirut protesters

    Enraged over a massive blast in Beirut last week, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to call for accountability and the downfall of the country’s ruling class.

    A large number of protesters threw stones and other projectiles. They faced tear gas, rubber bullets, and birdshot fired from shotguns.

    16:45 GMT – Lebanon PM Hassan Diab resigns amid anger over Beirut blast

    Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced his resignation almost a week after a massive explosion that devastated the capital, Beirut, killing some 200 people and wounding 6,000 others.

    Diab made the announcement in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

    He said that “this crime” was a result of endemic corruption and called for the trying those responsible for the deadly blast.

    14:35 GMT – Lebanon’s gov’t under pressure to resign after Beirut explosion

    Lebanon’s government is almost certain to step down after four ministers quit and at least three more promised to do so if Prime Minister Hassan Diab did not announce the resignation of the cabinet himself.

    Tensions have been boiling over in the country following a massive explosion that on Tuesday tore through the capital, Beirut, killing some 200 people and wounding 6,000 others.

    Justice Minister Marie Claude Najem was the latest minister to announce her resignation Monday, while Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni arrived to a cabinet session with his resignation letter but held on to it until after the session.

    13:50 GMT – Lebanon PM to announce gov’t resignation soon: Minister

    Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab will soon announce his government’s resignation, the health minister was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

    Diab was set to deliver an address to the nation at 7:30 pm local time, his office said.

    13:20 GMT – Lebanon’s finance minister resigns

    Lebanon’s Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, a key negotiator with the IMF over a rescue plan to help Lebanon exit a deep financial crisis, has resigned over last week’s devastating Beirut port blast, local media reported.

    11:05 GMT – Death toll from Beirut explosion rises to 200

    More than 200 people are believed to have been killed by Tuesday’s devastating explosion, Beirut’s governor has said.

    Marwan Abboud said dozens were still missing, many of them foreign workers.

    10:45 GMT – Lebanon’s security chief questioned by judge

    A Lebanese judge has began questioning the heads of the country’s security agencies over last week’s devastating blast in Beirut.

    Judge Ghassan El Khoury began questioning Major General Tony Saliba, the head of state security, according to state-run National News Agency. It gave no further details, but other generals are scheduled to be questioned.

    About 20 people have been detained over the blast, including the head of Lebanon’s customs department and his predecessor, as well as the head of the port. Dozens of people have been questioned, including two former cabinet ministers, according to government officials.

    10:00 GMT – Lebanon’s cabinet under pressure as ministers quit

    Lebanese protesters have called for a rally outside Baabda palace to demand President Michel Aoun to step down after resignations by several ministers, with the justice minister the latest to go.

    A cabinet meeting is scheduled for today amid reports that the whole government might resign. If a total of seven ministers resign, the cabinet would effectively become a caretaker government.

    Some Lebanese doubt change is possible in a country where sectarian politicians have dominated the country since the 1975-90 civil war.

    “It won’t work, it’s just the same people. It’s a mafia,” said Antoinette Baaklini, an employee of an electricity company that was demolished in the blast.

    09:25 GMT – Lebanon justice minister resigns

    Lebanese Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm said in a statement she had presented her resignation from the government, citing the catastrophic explosion at the port of Beirut.

    Najm said she was resigning “out of my conviction that staying in power in these conditions, without fundamental change to the system, will not lead to the reform which we worked to achieve”.

    11:05 GMT – Death toll from Beirut explosion rises to 200

    More than 200 people are believed to have been killed by Tuesday’s devastating explosion, Beirut’s governor has said.

    Marwan Abboud said dozens were still missing, many of them foreign workers.

    10:45 GMT – Lebanon’s security chief questioned by judge

    A Lebanese judge has began questioning the heads of the country’s security agencies over last week’s devastating blast in Beirut.

    Judge Ghassan El Khoury began questioning Major General Tony Saliba, the head of state security, according to state-run National News Agency. It gave no further details, but other generals are scheduled to be questioned.

    About 20 people have been detained over the blast, including the head of Lebanon’s customs department and his predecessor, as well as the head of the port. Dozens of people have been questioned, including two former cabinet ministers, according to government officials.

    10:00 GMT – Lebanon’s cabinet under pressure as ministers quit

    Lebanese protesters have called for a rally outside Baabda palace to demand President Michel Aoun to step down after resignations by several ministers, with the justice minister the latest to go.

    A cabinet meeting is scheduled for today amid reports that the whole government might resign. If a total of seven ministers resign, the cabinet would effectively become a caretaker government.

    Some Lebanese doubt change is possible in a country where sectarian politicians have dominated the country since the 1975-90 civil war.

    “It won’t work, it’s just the same people. It’s a mafia,” said Antoinette Baaklini, an employee of an electricity company that was demolished in the blast.

    09:25 GMT – Lebanon justice minister resigns

    Lebanese Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm said in a statement she had presented her resignation from the government, citing the catastrophic explosion at the port of Beirut.

    Najm said she was resigning “out of my conviction that staying in power in these conditions, without fundamental change to the system, will not lead to the reform which we worked to achieve”.

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