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Lebanon declares emergency in Beirut, approves urgent funding

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s cabinet on Wednesday declared a two-week state of emergency in Beirut following a massive explosion in the port that rocked the city on Tuesday, and handed control of security in the capital to the military.

The cabinet instructed the military to impose house arrest on anyone involved since 2014 in the administration of the warehouse containing vast amounts of highly-explosive material that blew up, according to a statement read out by the information minister.

It also approved an exceptional allocation of 100 billion Lebanese pounds to deal with the crisis. The sum is notionally worth $66 million based on the official exchange rate of 1,500 pounds to the dollar, but is effectively worth some $13 million based on the latest rate on the parallel market, which stood at around 7,500 in the days before the explosion.

(Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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