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Huge fire breaks out in Beirut’s port a month after explosion disaster

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Beirut Blast

A fire appears to have broken out in an area near Beirut’s port, a month after a horrific blast of nearly 3000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate flattened the Lebanese capital, killing 190 people and injuring more than 6000.

Vision posted to social media today shows what appear to be large, dark plumes of smoke billowing high into the sky over the port with flames leaping metres into the air.

A fire appears to have broken out in an area near Beirut’s port, a month after a horrific blast of nearly 3000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate flattened the Lebanese capital, killing 190 people and injuring more than 6000. (AP)

Panicked residents cracked open windows and called each other to warn them of the new fire.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire at the port, which was decimated by the explosion.

State-run National News Agency said the fire was at a warehouse where tires are placed. It added that firefighters are dealing with the blaze.

The Lebanese army said the fire is at a warehouse where oil and tires are placed in the duty free zone at the port adding that fighting the blaze is ongoing and that army helicopters are taking part in the operation.

A video circulating on social media showed workers at the port running away in fear as soon as the fire broke out, a chilling reminder of last month’s blast that killed dozens of port employees and 10 fire fighters.

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud and authorities called on people to stay away from roads leading to the port to allow fire engines to move quickly.

Police spokesman Colonel Joseph Msalam said they have no information about what is happening at the port adding that the facility is currently under control of the army.

Asked about reports that the fire was caused by burning tires and oil, he said “I don’t know. It could be containers. I really don’t know what is there.”

The fire comes after a blast on August 4, caused by ammonium nitrate stored at the Port of Beirut since 2014, left nearly 300,000 people homeless, destroyed much of the surrounding area and damaged several neighbourhoods entirely.

The blast was the most destructive single incident in Lebanon’s history. Thousands of buildings, including residential homes, hospitals, schools and museums, suffered considerable damage.

The disaster caused up to USD$6.22 billion ($8.55b) in physical damages, the World Bank said last month.

Disaster

Economy to grow only 0.3% in 2 years as India enters first technical recession

Due to a weaker-than-expected 2QFY21, we revise down our 3QFY21 and 4QFY21 growth forecasts.

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National debt under Modi govt surges

New Delhi, Nov 30: The Indian economy is forecast to show an average growth of only 0.3 per cent in two years as India enters its first technical recession, GDP could post further decline in 3QFY21.

As per a report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services, “Real GDP declined 7.5 per cent YoY in 2QFY21 (or 3QCY20), worse than our expectation, but better than the market consensus”.

Fiscal spending, consumption plus investments, posted its first major contraction since FY15 and is the worst on record. On the contrary, decline in private spending narrowed to -9.2 per cent in 2QFY21 from -35.4 per cent YoY in 1Q. The government and private sectors are naturally highly interlinked with each other, the report said.

A comparison of India with other major nations suggests India is no longer the worst affected economy — as the Philippines’ real GDP saw double-digit decline in 3QCY20 and decline was also higher in the UK and Mexico.

Due to a weaker-than-expected 2QFY21, we revise down our 3QFY21 and 4QFY21 growth forecasts.

“We now pencil in a decline of 1–2 per cent YoY in 3QFY21 (v/s a negligible decline earlier) and growth of 2–3 per cent YoY in 4QFY21 (v/s +4.2 per cent projected earlier). Accordingly, India’s real GDP is forecast to decline 7.5 per cent YoY in FY21 (v/s the previous forecast of -6.5 per cent ), but grow 8.5 per cent in FY22 (against 7.8 per cent growth expected earlier). This implies average growth of only 0.3 per cent in the two years,” the report said.

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Fauci warns of ‘surge upon a surge’ in US Covid-19 cases

His warning came as more than 90,000 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalized across the US, with over 18,000 in intensive care units, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

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Anthony Fauci

Washington, Nov 30: Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious diseases expert, has warned that the US might witness a “surge upon a surge” of new coronavirus cases cases in the weeks after Thanksgiving due to cold weather and travel.

“We don’t want to frighten people, but that’s just the reality,” Xinhua news agency quoted Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying on Sunday night in an ABC News interview.

“Having said that, we have to be careful now because there almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel.

“We understand the importance of families getting together. And it’s just something that we have to deal with that we likely will have an increase in cases, as we get into the colder weeks of the winter, and as we approach the Christmas season,” he added.

Fauci urged travellers to be safe when returning home from holiday travels, encouraging them to quarantine if possible and to get tested.

When asked if people should expect similar restrictions and recommendations for Christmas this year, the top expert replied: “I can’t see how we’re not gonna have the same thing because when you have the kind of infection that we have, it doesn’t all of a sudden turn around like that.

“So clearly in the next few weeks, we’re gonna have the same sort of thing and perhaps even two or three weeks down the line… We may see a surge upon a surge.”

Fauci added that he did not foresee “a relaxation” of the current Center for Disease Control (CDC) restrictions.

His warning came as more than 90,000 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalized across the US, with over 18,000 in intensive care units, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

In its latest update on Monday, the Johns Hopkins University revealed that the US’ current caseload and death toll stood at 13,374,162 and 266,838, respectively.

The two tallies account for the world’s highest, making the US the worst-hit country.

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Depression formed over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood

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Cyclone Storm Nisarga
  • It is very likely to intensify further into a Deep Depression during next 24 hours
  • It is also likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm
  • Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated Extremely heavy falls very likely over south Tamilnadu and south Kerala
  • Sea condition will be rough to very rough over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal
  • Fishermen are advised not to venture into southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night

According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department (IMD):

Latest satellite and Ship observations indicate that the well marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal & neighbourhood concentrated into a Depression and lay centered at 0530 hrs IST of 30th November 2020 over southeast Bay of Bengal about 750 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) and 1150 km east-southeast of Kanyakumari (India).

It is very likely to intensify further into a Deep Depression during next 24 hours. It is also likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm. It is very likely to move west-northwestwards and cross Sri Lanka coast around evening of 2nd December. It is very like to move nearly westwards thereafter and emerge into Comorin area on3rd December morning.

Forecast track and intensity are given below:

:

Date/Time(IST)Position (Lat. 0N/ long. 0E)Maximum sustained surface wind speed (Kmph)Category of cyclonic disturbance
30.11.20/05307.5/88.040-50 gusting to 60Depression
30.11.20/17307.7/87.050-60 gusting to 70Deep Depression
01.12.20/05307.9/86.160-70 gusting to 80Cyclonic Storm
01.12.20/17308.1/84.865-75 gusting to 85Cyclonic Storm
02.12.20/05308.3/83.170-80 gusting to 90Cyclonic Storm
02.12.20/17308.5/81.570-80 gusting to 90Cyclonic Storm
03.12.20/05308.5/80.260-70 gusting to 80Cyclonic Storm
    

Warnings:

(i) Rainfall

  • Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated Extremely heavy falls very likely over south Tamilnaduand south Keralaon 2nd December, 2020 and Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall likely over these regions on 1st, 3rd and 4th December 2020.
  • Heavy to very heavy rainfall at Isolated places very likely over north Tamilnadu, Puducherry, Mahe&Kariakal and north Kerala during 2nd and 3rd December, 2020 and isolated heavy rainfall during 1st and 4th December.
  • Heavy rainfall at isolated places very likely over south Coastal Andhra Pradesh during 2nd& 03rdDecember and over Lakshadweep during 03rd and 4th December, 2020.
Sub-Divisions30 Nov 2020*01 Dec 2020*02 Dec 2020*03 Dec 2020*04 Dec 2020*
South TamilnaduRainfall  at a few places Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at  few places and extremely heavy fall at  isolated places Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated places
North Tamilnadu, Puducherry &KaraikalRainfall  at isolated places Rainfall at a few places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy fall at  isolated places 
 South KeralaRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at  few places and extremely heavy fall at  isolated places Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated places
 North Kerala &MaheRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall at many places with  heavy rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at many places with heavy  rainfall at  isolated placesRainfall at a few places with heavy fall at  isolated places 
South Coastal Andhra PradeshRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall  at isolated placesRainfall  at a few places with heavy rainfall at isolated placesRainfall  at a few places with heavy rainfall at isolated placesRainfall  at a few places
LakshadweepRainfall  at a few placesRainfall  at a few placesRainfall  at most placesRainfall  at most places with heavy to very falls at isolated placesRainfall  at most places with heavy to very falls at isolated places

(ii) Wind warning

  • Squally Weather (wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph) very likely over central parts of South Bay of Bengal on 30thNovember.
  • It would gradually increase becoming 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night and 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmphover southwest Bay of Bengal, along & off Sri Lanka coast and 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph over Comorin Area, Gulf of Mannar and Tamilnadu-Kerala coasts from 2nd December forenoon for subsequent 24 hours.
  • The squally wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph is very likely to prevail over Gulf of Mannar,along & off south Tamilnadu&Kerala coasts, Comorin Area, Lakshadweep-Maldives area and adjoining southeast Arabian Seafrom 3rd December morning for subsequent 24 hours.

 (iii) Sea condition

  • Sea condition will be rough to very rough over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night and very rough to high gusting to 90 kmphover southwest Bay of Bengal, along & off east Sri Lanka coast and rough to very rough over Comorin Area, Gulf of Mannar and Tamilnadu-Kerala coasts from 2nd December forenoon for subsequent 24 hours.
  • Sea condition will be rough to very rough over Gulf of Mannar, along and off south Tamilnadu&Kerala coasts, Comorin Areafrom 2nd December morning and Lakshadweep-Maldives area and adjoining southeast Arabian Seafrom 3rd December morning for subsequent 24 hours.

(iv) Fishermen Warning

Fishermen are advised not to venture into southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from 1st December night; over southwest Bay of Bengal, along & off east Sri Lanka coast, Comorin Area, Gulf of Mannar and Tamilnadu-Kerala coasts from 2nd December forenoon for subsequent 24 hours, over Gulf of Mannar, along & off south Tamilnadu& Kerala coasts, Comorin Area from 2nd December morning and over Lakshadweep-Maldives area & adjoining southeast Arabian Sea from 3rd December morning for subsequent 24 hours.

Also those who are out at Sea are advised to return to the coast by today.

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