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US: Pentagon Announces 11,900 Troops To Be Moved From Germany

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US: Pentagon Announces 11,900 Troops To Be Moved From Germany

The United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper has on Wednesday announced the US military presence in Germany will be slashed by 11,900 troops, relocating some to Italy and Belgium in a major shift of Washington’s NATO assets.

In a repositioning that could start within weeks, of the 34,500 US military personnel in Germany, the Pentagon will be sending home about 6,400 of its military personnel in Germany, and move nearly 5,600 to other NATO countries.

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Esper said at a news conference on Wednesday that a key aim of the rotation is to reinforce NATO’s southeastern flank near the Black Sea, he added some military personnel could also go to Poland and the Baltic states if Warsaw follows through on an agreement already sketched out by the two sides.

Esper said “these changes will unquestionably achieve the core principles of enhancing US and NATO deterrence of Russia; strengthening NATO; reassuring allies; and, improving US strategic flexibility”.

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The move could have a significant economic and strategic impact in Germany, where tens of thousands of US troops have been stationed since the end of World War II.

The repositioning plan leaves just under 25,000 troops in Germany and US officials have said that the moves would likely send air and ground forces to countries that already have an American troop presence.

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On Wednesday, US President, Donald Trump told reporters outside the White House said “Germany is delinquent; they’re at one percent, not two percent,”. “They’ve taken advantage of us for many years.”

There has been pushback against the move within the US from the opposition Democrats as well as high-profile members of Trump’s own party.

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Beirut Blast Death Toll Reaches 100 With More Than 4,000 Wounded

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Beirut Blast Death Toll Reaches 100 With More Than 4,000 Wounded

In Lebanon, at least 100 persons have been killed and nearly 4,000 injured after a huge explosion devastated the port area of the capital Beirut on Tuesday.

At the moment rescue workers in Lebanon are still searching through rubble looking for survivors for more than a hundred people who are missing.

President Michel Aoun who has called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, a decision he said that was “unacceptable”.

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Many Lebanese are expressing immense shock and sadness at the destruction, and great anger towards those who allowed the explosion which sent shockwaves across the capital to happen.

According to BBC an eyewitness Hadi Nasrallah who narrated his ordeal after the explosion said he saw the fire but did not expect the blast. “I lost my hearing for a few seconds, I knew something was wrong, and then suddenly the glass just shattered all over the car, the cars around us, the shops, the stores, the buildings. Just glass going down from all over the building.”

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Dazed, weeping and injured people walked through streets searching for relatives as many were also left homeless by the blast, and some residents said their destroyed homes had been burgled in the night as their windows and doors were blown open.

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The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettani, said at least 100 persons had been killed.

He said “we are still sweeping the area. There could still be victims. I hope not.”

The Lebanese government has said it will observe an official period of mourning for three days from Wednesday.

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Cancer Diagnoses Rates Fell By Half During US Lockdown

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Cancer Diagnoses Rates Fell By Half During US Lockdown

A latest study to examine the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns has revealed that the number of cancers diagnosed weekly in the United States fell by almost fifty percent during March and April compared to the recent average.

The new analysis, published in JAMA Network Open, established a baseline period from January 2019 to February 2020 to determine the average weekly number of cancers diagnosed by six types: breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, gastric and esophageal.

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Trends that are being confirmed through ongoing studies showed that emergency room visits additionally appear to have dropped for heart attacks, strokes and even appendicitis.

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The authors from Quest Diagnostics, a laboratory company found “during the pandemic, the weekly number fell 46.4% (from 4,310 to 2,310) for the 6 cancers combined, with significant declines in all cancer types.”

The drop was particularly stark for breast cancer, with diagnoses rates falling 51.8 percent.

According to the UN, amid the Coronavirus pandemic, child vaccinations have also stalled globally and world health bodies are alarmed by the impact on the fight against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis as screening campaigns, logistics and access to health care have been disrupted.

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Hundreds Wounded As Huge Explosion Rips Through Lebanon’s Beirut

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Hundreds Wounded As Huge Explosion Rips Through Lebanon's Beirut

Lebanon’s health minister has on Tuesday reported that hundreds of people were wounded in a powerful explosion that ripped through the country’s capital, Beirut.

The massive explosion at Beirut’s port caused widespread damage to buildings, shattering windows in different parts of the city. It sent shockwaves across the capital.

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Hamad Hassan, Lebanon’s health minister, said hundreds were wounded in the explosion.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.

Al Jazeera news agency reported that a large column of smoke billowing from an area of the port that houses large warehouses before a large orange explosion is seen and huge dome-shaped blast wave shoots into the air.

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A viral footage of the blast shared around by residents on social media showed a column of smoke rising from the port district followed by an enormous blast. Those filming what initially appeared to be a big blaze where thrown backwards by the shock.

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Emergency workers are presently responding to the blasts and authorities fear many casualties.

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