Judge Rules Meghan Markle’s Friends Can Remain Anonymous in Privacy Invasion Case Against British Newspaper

LONDON (AP) — A British judge ruled Wednesday that the Duchess of Sussex can keep the names of five close friends secret while she brings a privacy invasion lawsuit against a British newspaper.

High Court judge Mark Warby said “I have concluded that, for the time being at least, the court should grant the claimant the order that she seeks,” protecting the anonymity of friends who defended Meghan Markle in the pages of a U.S. magazine.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd., the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website, over five articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Meghan, 39, is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches.

The duchess asked the judge to prohibit publishing details of female friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine to condemn the alleged bullying she had received from the media. She argued that the friends were not parties to the case and had a “basic right to privacy.”

Associated Newspapers, which is contesting the claim, says it was Meghan’s friends who brought the letter into the public domain by describing it in the People article. One told the magazine that the duchess had written: “Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimizing me through the media so we can repair our relationship.”

Read more: Why a Royal Meghan Markle Matters

The publisher’s lawyers argue that the information about the letter disclosed in the article must have come “directly or indirectly” from Meghan.

Associated Newspapers’ attorney Antony White said during a court hearing last week that keeping the friends’ names secret “would be a heavy curtailment of the media’s and the defendant’s entitlement to report this case and the public’s right to know about it.”

But Meghan’s attorney, Justin Rusbrooke, argued that the duchess was unaware her friends were speaking to the magazine. They say the anonymous interviews were arranged by one of the five friends, who was concerned about the toll media criticism was taking on the duchess, pregnant at the time with her first child.

Rushbrooke argued that the court had a duty to “protect the identity of confidential journalistic sources.”

The women’s names are included in a confidential court document, but they have been identified in …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

Fireworks, Ammonium Nitrate Likely Fueled Beirut Explosion

Fireworks and ammonium nitrate appear to have been the fuel that ignited a massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut, experts and videos of the blast suggest.

The scale of the damage—from the epicenter of the explosion at the port of Beirut to the windows blown out kilometers (miles) away—resembles other blasts involving the chemical compound commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer.

But the compound itself typically doesn’t detonate on its own and requires another ignition source. That likely came from a fire that engulfed what initially appeared to be fireworks that were stored at the port.

Online videos of the disaster’s initial moments show sparks and lights inside the smoke rising from the blaze, just prior to the massive blast. That likely indicates that fireworks were involved, said Boaz Hayoun, owner of the Tamar Group, an Israeli firm that works closely with the Israeli government on safety and certification issues involving explosives.

Read more: Explosion in Beirut: Photos From a City Still Reeling From the Blast

“Before the big explosion, you can see in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles,” Hayoun told The Associated Press. “This is very specific behavior of fireworks, the visuals, the sounds and the transformation from a slow burn to a massive explosion.”

Jeffrey Lewis, a missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, offered a similar assessment.

“It looks like an accident,” Lewis told the AP. “First, there was a fire preceding the explosion, which is not an attack. And some of the videos show munitions what I could call popcorning, exploding like ‘pop, pop, pop, pop.’”

He added that “it’s very common to see fires detonate explosives.”

“If you have a fire raging next to something explosive, and you don’t put it out, it blows up,” he said.

The white cloud that accompanied the massive blast appeared to be a condensation cloud, often common in massive explosions in humid conditions that can follow the shock waves of an explosion, Lewis said.

Orange clouds also followed the blast, likely from toxic nitrogen dioxide gas that’s released after an explosion involving nitrates.

Experts typically determine the power of the blast by measuring the crater left behind, which appeared massive in aerial footage shot on Wednesday morning by the AP.

The Beirut blast, based on the crater and glass windows being blown out a distance …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

Beirut Surveys the Damage – and Searches for a Cause – After Explosion Kills at Least 100

APTOPIX Lebanon Explosion

(BEIRUT) — Residents of Beirut awoke to a scene of utter devastation on Wednesday, a day after a massive explosion at the port sent shock waves across the Lebanese capital, killing at least 100 people and wounding thousands.

Smoke was still rising from the port, where a towering grain silos had been shattered. Major downtown streets were littered with debris and damaged vehicles, and building facades were blown out. At hospitals across the city people had been waiting all night for news of loved ones who had gone missing or were wounded. Others posted requests for help online.

An official with the Lebanese Red Cross said at least 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 were wounded. The official, George Kettaneh, said the toll could rise further.

Hussein Malla–APA drone picture shows the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the city’s port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.

It was unclear what caused the blast, which appeared to have been triggered by a fire and struck with the force of an earthquake. It was the most powerful explosion ever seen in the city, which was on the front lines of the 1975-1990 civil war and has endured conflicts with neighboring Israel and periodic bombings and terror attacks.

“L’Apocalypse,” read the front page of Lebanon’s French L’Orient Le Jour newspaper. Another paper, al-Akhbar, had a photo of a destroyed port with the words: “The Great Collapse.”

Lebanon was already on the brink of collapse amid a severe economic crisis that has ignited mass protests in recent months. Its hospitals are confronting a surge in coronavirus cases, and there were concerns the virus could spread further as people flooded into hospitals.

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014.

Witnesses reported seeing an orange cloud like that which appears when toxic nitrogen dioxide gas is released after an explosion involving nitrates.

Videos showed what looked like a fire erupting nearby just before, and local TV stations reported that a fireworks warehouse was involved. The fire appeared to spread to a nearby building, triggering …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

Australian State of Victoria Imposes Curfew and Closes Most Stores and Factories as It Hits New Coronavirus Record

Victoria has reported a record daily coronavirus case total as Australia’s second-most populous state enters its strictest lockdown since the pandemic began.

The state had 725 new cases in the past 24 hours, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday. Fifteen people died in that period.

The resurgence in Victoria, which accounts for almost a quarter of Australia’s GDP, shows no sign of abating and threatens to overwhelm an economic recovery in other parts of the nation. The state’s second lockdown has triggered some of the strictest social-distancing enforcement measures in the western world, and is a grim warning to the U.S. and some European nations that are struggling to flatten their own pandemic curves.

Victoria will this week shut down large parts of its retail and manufacturing sectors for six weeks across Melbourne.

Construction firms must radically reduce the number of workers on site across the city, while production at meatworks statewide will be cut by a third. Essential services such as banks, supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations will remain open.

The effective isolation of the state and sporadic outbreaks in neighboring New South Wales are likely to start eroding confidence in the rest of Australia, which had been in the vanguard of nations enjoying early success in quashing the spread of the virus.

Melbourne’s outbreak has shown no signs of abating, three weeks after the city’s 5 million residents were ordered to stay at home except for essential work, exercise, medical care or provisions. The Victoria government has now imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the metropolitan area and widened lockdown measures across the entire state.

The state said Tuesday that anyone flouting isolation rules will face an on-the-spot fine of as much as A$5,000 ($3,560).

“I’m so grateful and so proud to think Victorians are dealing with this challenge, a bigger challenge than perhaps we have ever faced,” Andrews said Tuesday.

New South Wales, a state which borders Victoria, is managing to contain the outbreak and recorded 12 new cases on Tuesday. Still, on Tuesday, Queensland state announced it would close its borders to all travelers from New South Wales and the Australia Capital Territory from Saturday.

…read more

Source:: Time – World