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In the series of explaining Editorials’ Difficult Words, we have cherry-picked the below editorial from The Hindu. Reading the editorials on a daily basis will not only acquaint you with new words but will also improve your general awareness apart from helping you build a perspective on different issues.

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Difficult Word/PhraseContextual Meaning
devastatinghighly destructive or damaging
turned the spotlight onto attract attention to something, usually to give information about something bad
deartha scarcity or lack of something
confiscated(of property) taken or seized with authority
Mushroom clouda mushroom-shaped cloud of dust and debris formed after a nuclear explosion
envelopingwrap up, cover, or surround completely
batteringstrike repeatedly with hard blows
beleagueredexperiencing a lot of criticism and difficulties
scarceinsufficient for the demand
outagea period when a power supply or other service is not available or when equipment is closed down

Beirut battered: On Lebanon blast

Blast worsens Lebanon’s situation as it fights political, economic, and health emergencies

The devastating (highly destructive or damaging) blast in central Beirut on Tuesday that killed 135 people and wounded 4,000 has once again turned the spotlight on (to attract attention to something, usually to give information about something bad) a city that had in the past survived civil wars, sectarian violence, foreign interventions and terrorist attacks. While there is no dearth (a scarcity or lack of something) of conspiracy theories, the initial assessment of the government is that the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the Beirut port after it was confiscated ((of property) taken or seized with authority) from a cargo ship six years ago. Officials say the initial explosion ignited a fire, while the second one was more devastating with a mushroom cloud (a mushroom-shaped cloud of dust and debris formed after a nuclear explosion) of smoke and fire enveloping (wrap up, cover, or surround completely) the capital’s skyline and its shock waves battering (strike repeatedly with hard blows) buildings across the city and wounding thousands. Officials have said they would investigate any potential terror angle, while Prime Minister Hassan Diab has promised to bring “all those responsible for this catastrophe” to justice. U.S. President Donald Trump has called it an attack. The magnitude of the blast and the level of the destruction it caused in one of the busiest areas of the capital city suggest that the casualties could be higher. Beirut’s health-care system, struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, is already stretched. Coping with the aftermath of the blast itself would be an uphill task for the country’s beleaguered (experiencing a lot of criticism and difficulties) government.

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The blast could not have come at a worse time for Lebanon. In recent years, it has been battling with one crisis or another — be it political instability, a crumbling economy or the pandemic. Massive street protests that broke out in Beirut and elsewhere last year against corruption and the government’s inability to provide even basic services to citizens, paralysed governance further, leading to Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation. The new government’s immediate priority was to fix the economy. But the economy is still in free fall. Prices of essential goods are high, foreign currency is scarce (insufficient for the demand) and the GDP is expected to contract 12% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Residents of Beirut are also struggling with long power outages (a period when a power supply or other service is not available or when equipment is closed down), which are delaying even the rescue efforts after the blast. On the southern border, tensions between Israel and Hezbollah are on the rise, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of military action. If Lebanon was already on its knees, amidst all these crises, the blast would most likely break its back. It has rendered hundreds of thousands homeless and would deepen the country’s economic woes as one of its main ports has been destroyed. The immediate focus should be on rescuing the wounded and getting the city back on its feet. All stakeholders, from the Sunni parties to Shia Hezbollah, should work together. Other countries in the region as well as international institutions should offer help to Beirut to withstand this moment of catastrophe.

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We hope you have got some new words to learn and augment your vocabulary. Do let us know in the comments section below. Improve your word power further by referring to such previously published lists. Also, download the list of word-meaning of The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary Free PDFs of March, April, May, June & July 2020 and keep revising these words on a regular basis. Also, take a Free Mock Test of IBPS PO 2020 Prelims.

 

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