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Beirut explosion: Health Ministry says there are more than 73 dead and 2,750 wounded – live updates

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The death toll from the explosions in Beirut has climbed to 73, according to the Lebanese Health Ministry.


This church in Beirut was televising mass when the explosion took place.


U.S. embassy in Beirut issues statement:

Event:  We are closely following reports of an explosion at or near the Port of Beirut on August 4.

We encourage citizens in the affected area(s) to monitor local news, follow the emergency instructions provided by local authorities, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at step.state.gov to receive important emergency information, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates.  There are reports of toxic gases released in the explosion so all in the area should stay indoors and wear masks if available.

We urge U.S. citizens in the affected areas who are safe to contact their loved ones directly and/or update their status on social media.  If you are in the affected area and need immediate emergency services, please contact local authorities; police can be contacted at 112, civil defense at 125, and the Lebanese Red Cross at 140.  We urge U.S. citizens to avoid the affected areas/shelter in place and follow the directions of local authorities.  The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.  We will continue to provide information to U.S. citizens in the area through Alerts, our Embassy website, and travel.state.gov.  U.S. citizens with verifiable emergencies may contact BeirutACS@state.gov.

Actions to Take:

  • Avoid the area of the incident if possible
  • Monitor local media and our Embassy website for updates
  • Review your personal security plans
  • Have travel documents up to date and easily accessible
  • Read what the U.S. Government Can & Can’t Do in a Crisis

Assistance:

For further detailed information regarding travel and security in Lebanon:


BREAKING: Dozens feared killed, hundreds wounded in Beirut explosions: witnesses (via The Daily Star Lebanon)

Lebanon’s Health Minister says a very high number of injuries and large damage from the Beirut explosion.

Several huge explosions rocked Beirut, Lebanon Thursday, but what actually caused the massive detention, that was followed by a billowing cloud of smoke is still not known.

The explosions appeared to be consecutive with one large explosion occurring before a secondary took place, according to reporters and eye witnesses in the region. The explosions were so forceful near the port in Beirut that it sent waves of water pushing back from the center of the detention.

U.S. Intelligence and State Department officials could not be immediately reached for comment and this story is developing. It will be updated when a response is available.

Numerous social media posts on Twitter and Instagram captured the large explosion, which could be seen from miles away.

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Daily Wire investigation: Italian company may have illegally sold rights to the Vatican’s priceless art

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The Daily Wire has been conducting a fascinating investigation into the Vatican Museum’s priceless artwork. “Rights to the Vatican Museums’ priceless trove of art treasures may have been illegally sold without the Holy See’s approval in what one attorney described as a “high-tech heist,” the investigation finds.

An Italian company is allegedly selling the rights to reproduce the Vatican artwork in six-figure deals, while claiming to be working in “collaboration with” the Vatican Museums.

“This scheme is nothing less than a pre-meditated, high-tech heist of world-class treasured art from the Vatican Museums under the disguise of bogus licenses, as if sanctioned by the Vatican,” Sarah Rose Speno, a New York attorney, told The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire’s report notes that Speno said she stumbled upon the alleged scheme in March when she sought permission to use images of Vatican art for an exhibition by a client.

“We discovered that a large table book had been published with high-resolution images of the interiors of the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel,” Speno said. “We very much wanted to pursue an opportunity to license these images, as soon as possible.”

Speno contacted Scripta Maneant — the Italian publisher that licensed the photos in the book. Scripta Maneant claimed authority to broker the publishing rights via its “collaboration” with Vatican Museums vice director, Monsignore Paolo Nicolini. Scripta Maneant wanted $550,000 for the rights — with a portion being paid to the Vatican through Nicolini, according to Speno. Although Scripta Maneant claimed the fee would be shared with the Vatican, Speno said she later became suspicious.

“The Scripta Maneant scheme became obvious when the Scripta principals demanded a cash wire in the amount of $82,500 no later than their return from summer holiday in late August,” Speno said. “They said that they would produce Vatican approval for our Italian Renaissance Immersive project ‘if and only if’ the fee were wired to the Scripta bank account they provided. It was at this point that grave suspicion entered my mind.”

Ultimately, Speno said, “we terminated the deal when Scripta could not provide us with documented consent by the Vatican.”

Continue Reading: Daily Wire

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