grows

As leaders in Lebanon deflect responsibility for explosion, skepticism grows

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun meet Thursday. Macron visited Beirut to offer French support to Lebanon after the deadly port blast. <span class="copyright">(Thibault Camus / Pool report via Associated Press)</span>
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun meet Thursday. Macron visited Beirut to offer French support to Lebanon after the deadly port blast. (Thibault Camus / Pool report via Associated Press)

Following Tuesday’s deadly port explosion in Beirut, Lebanese officials face increasing ire from the public and a skeptical international community that has, nevertheless, promised to provide humanitarian aid to help the devastated city get back on its feet.

While both Lebanese citizens and foreign leaders have pushed for an overhaul in the governance of the small Mediterranean country that had already been in the throes of a major economic crisis before the explosion, Lebanese leaders appeared to be digging in their heels.

Beirut residents, who had already been protesting government corruption and inertia and failing public services since October, were enraged when it turned out that Tuesday’s blast had been caused by a stockpile of ammonium

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Stimulus talks drag with $1 trillion on the line; list of dangerous hand sanitizers grows; Australia under siege

Congressional leaders and White House officials return to the bargaining table this week with a $1 trillion package of stimulus checks, jobless benefit bonuses and relief for small businesses hanging in the balance.

All combatants agree that some progress was made in talks Saturday, but no one spoke optimistically about a deal coming soon. Among major sticking points – what will replace the $600 weekly unemployment benefit bonus that expired last week. The bonus more than doubled unemployment checks issued to tens of millions of Americans left jobless by months of pandemic-driven recession.

“We went through a long list of policy issues on our side and on their side,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “As we’ve suggested in the past, there’s clearly a subset of issues where we both agree on very much.”

In Australia, the sprawling city of Melbourne was effectively placed in lockdown Sunday amid a spiraling outbreak.

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