Lebanon

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Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine clears another hurdle; Facebook faces twin antitrust cases; Lebanon judge charges PM in port blast

Canadian health officials have approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following its authorization by the United Kingdom last week. And, several dozen states and the US Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook on Wednesday in twin antitrust cases. Also, a judge in Lebanon investigating the Beirut port blast that killed 200 people and destroyed much of the city in August has charged caretaker prime minister, Hassan Diab, and three former ministers with negligence.

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Iran, Russia accused of 2020 US presidential election meddling; Hariri asked to form a government again; Poland court ruling on abortion law

US officials accused Iran on Wednesday of sending out fake but menacing emails to voters in swing states in an effort to influence public opinion just before the presidential election. And, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been asked to form a government again. Also, Poland’s high court ruled that a 1993 law permitting pregnancy terminations for fetal defects was unconstitutional.

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China, Russia, Cuba elected to UN Human Rights Council; Eli Lilly COVID-19 study paused; Lebanon-Israel maritime talks begin

Notable violators were among the countries elected to the UN Human Rights Council, as Saudi Arabia failed in its bid to earn a three-year term starting Jan. 1. Independent monitors have paused new enrollment in an Eli Lilly study testing an experimental, antibody cocktail. Also, Lebanon and Israel have begun indirect talks mediated by the US over their disputed maritime border.

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DHS faces whistleblower claims; new fire at Beirut's port; second blaze rips through Moria camp

An official from the US Department of Homeland Security, Brian Murphy, said in a whistleblower complaint that senior officials pressured him to suppress facts in intelligence reports. Barely a month after a massive blast tore through Beirut’s port, a large fire has engulfed the area once again. And little remains of Greece's overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos after a second fire overnight destroyed almost everything that had survived the initial blaze.

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Beirut tries to bounce back after tragedy; Malaysia withdraws charges against Goldman Sachs; The Lancet praises Russian vaccine

In Beirut, rescuers were still digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings Friday after finding “signs of life, Malaysia’s Bernama state news agency has reported that prosecutors in Kuala Lumpur withdrew criminal charges against three Goldman Sachs units, and The Lancet medical journal has published early-stage trial results showing that Russia’s “Sputnik-V” vaccine for the coronavirus produced a legitimate antibody response.

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