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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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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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