“The blasts could not have come at a worse time for the country. They may mark the end of modern Lebanon as we know it. The physical signs are everywhere: once famed for its robust night life and rich cultural outlets, Beirut recently has had no electricity for up to twenty hours a day. Rescue efforts were hampered by the power outages. Rancid garbage lines streets and fills open spaces, owing to squabbling among political factions over which of their allies should get the contract to collect it. Potable water is often in short supply.” The New Yorker’s Robin Wright: After Twin Explosions, an “Apocalypse” in Lebanon. “The political aftershock from the explosions in Beirut—and the criminal negligence that they exposed—will be much bigger than the disaster itself.”

+ And the disaster itself is enormous. NYT: Blame for Beirut Explosion Begins With a Leaky, Troubled Ship. “The ship was trailed by debts, crewed by disgruntled sailors and dogged by a small hole in its hull that meant water had to be constantly pumped out. And it carried a volatile cargo, more than 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate.”

+ One of the more shocking videos you’ll see. Bride’s photoshoot interrupted by massive blast. And photos from the scene.