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Your morning briefing: What you should know for Wednesday, August 5

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Lebanon in mourning after huge blast in Beirut kills 78

Lebanon is in mourning following a huge explosion in the capital Beirut killed at least 78 people and injured more than 4,000.

The blast sent seismic shockwaves through the Lebanese capital, destroying dozens of buildings and shattering windows across the city yesterday evening.

President Michel Aoun said there had been 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was unsafely stored in a warehouse at the port where the blast took place.

An investigation is under way to find the exact trigger for the explosion and Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council said those responsible would face the “maximum punishment”.

Trump describes deadly Beirut explosion as a ‘terrible attack’

Donald Trump has described the massive explosion in Beirut as a “terrible attack,” despite there being no evidence currently suggesting the blast was intentional.

The US President said that he had spoken with US military officials who thought the incident in the Lebanese capital’s port area seemed to be an attack, “a bomb of some kind.”

Failings on border restrictions allowed Covid-19 to spread faster in UK, report finds

Coronavirus spread faster in the UK as the Government failed to bring in quarantine rules for travellers in the early days of the pandemic, a report has found.

The “critical errors” including the “inexplicable” decision to lift all border restrictions in March “accelerated” the scale and pace of the pandemic, the Commons Home Affairs Committee said.

The group of MPs backed the decision to include Spain in the current quarantine measures , but hit out at the way travel corridor decisions were being made and called for improvements.

The inquiry considered all of the Government’s decisions on border measures during the crisis so far.

Schools ‘must come before pubs and shops in lockdown planning’

Schools must be prioritised over pubs and shops in planning for future coronavirus lockdowns, the Children’s Commissioner for England has warned.

Anne Longfield said children were too often “an afterthought” during the first lockdown as she published a paper setting out the key actions needed to ensure youngsters are “at the heart” of future plans.

It comes after a new modelling study implied that reopening schools in September must be combined with a scaled-up testing strategy to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 later this year.

Kate moved to tears as she hears stories of families struggling to cope with pandemic

The Duchess of Cambridge has been moved to tears by heartbreaking stories of families trying to cope during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate told how she broke down and wept when she got home after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The duchess recalled: “It can get very emotional. I remember a couple of the families I met from King’s Lynn and I went home and literally burst into tears, their stories were so moving.”

On this day…

1891: The first American Express travellers’ cheque was cashed.

1926: Houdini, famous escapologist and magician, survived for one-and-a-half hours in a bronze coffin in a hotel swimming pool in Los Angeles.

1958: The nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus completed its historic journey under the North Pole.

1962: Marilyn Monroe died alone in her bedroom from “acute barbiturate poisoning”. She was 36.

1963: Britain, the United States and the USSR signed a nuclear test ban treaty.

1974: US president Richard Nixon admitted his complicity in the Watergate affair.

1984: Richard Burton, Welsh actor who became a Hollywood legend mainly through his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor, died in Geneva, aged 58.

2010: The Copiapo mining accident trapped 33 Chilean miners approximately 2,300ft below the ground. The miners a survived for a record 69 days underground before they were finally rescued.

2012: Andy Murray claimed two Olympic medals after a momentous day on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

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