I spent my earliest years in Beirut

I spent my earliest years in Beirut before my family returned to the UK, and when I was at school here in the 1980s, the phrase “it’s like Beirut” was bandied around. The Lebanese capital, once called the Paris of the Middle East, became synonymous with a brutal civil war, the kidnapping of Terry Waite and bullet-scarred buildings. He is widely expected to announce the formal resignation of the cabinet but his confirmation became increasingly unnecessary as a string of ministers pre-empted him by saying they were quitting. During the course of the day, Ghazi Wazni, the finance minister, followed … Continue reading I spent my earliest years in Beirut

Serious clashes have broken out between police and protesters in Belarus

Serious clashes have broken out between police and protesters in Belarus following disputed exit polls that claimed to show an overwhelming 79.7 per cent victory for the country’s long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko in Sunday’s presidential elections. In Minsk, there were reports of barricades, water cannon, stun grenades and rounds of rubber bullets being used against protestors. In one instance, a police van drove into crowds. In other cities across the country, officers reportedly laid down arms and crossed to the side of protesters. An 86-year-old man and his wife, aged 85, also perished in the flooding in Evia, it was … Continue reading Serious clashes have broken out between police and protesters in Belarus

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos, at the centre of an alleged $100-million corruption scandal, has reportedly fled to Portugal after a shock announcement that he was going into exile. The 82-year-old revealed on Monday that he had decided to leave Spain to help his son, the current King Felipe VI, ‘exercise his responsibilities’. “Photos and data on my phone prove this to be false,” he said. “And local CCTV, if it exists, would also prove that I’m telling the truth that I was in London on that day. I was not in Durham.” Cummings has not wavered from that line, … Continue reading Spain’s former king Juan Carlos

Rescuers continued a desperate hunt for survivors in ruined Beirut

Rescuers continued a desperate hunt for survivors in ruined Beirut on Tuesday as it emerged the Lebanese capital was hit by the equivalent of a nuclear blast. A state of emergency was in place as the death toll from Tuesday’s explosion hit 135 with more than 5,000 injured and 300,000 homeless. However, something is different about those arriving on Lampedusa. Rather than the queues of young males, as in 2011 during the Arab Spring, it is middle-class families with their children and pets packing into the vans. “I lost my job as a hairdresser. I have no money and came … Continue reading Rescuers continued a desperate hunt for survivors in ruined Beirut