Ruth Sherlock

A surge in coronavirus cases is overwhelming hospitals across Lebanon, leading doctors to tell families to care for sick loved ones at home because there's no more space in the wards.

Jean Nakhoul, an executive producer for Lebanon's MTV channel, says his family has been calling around the country and finding no medical treatment for his 83-year-old grandmother who is sick with COVID-19.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, you know you've heard those ads. You might even have succumbed to one of them. I'm talking about the big push for new gym memberships. It's usually right now. And that's because getting fit is one of the most common New Year's resolutions. But this year, many gyms are closed because of the pandemic. So what are the alternatives for people who are resolved to get fit in 2021? We reached out to Jennipher Walters for some ideas. She is a certified personal trainer and health coach, and she also co-hosts the "Fit Bottomed Girls" podcast.

Updated at 5:23 p.m. ET

A large explosion rocked the airport in Aden, Yemen, on Wednesday shortly after a jet landed carrying officials of the country's Saudi-backed government. Dozens of casualties were reported. Video from the scene shows hundreds of people were gathered on the tarmac when the blast struck.

Nine years ago this month, residents of the small Syrian town of Douma were in full rebellion against the regime of President Bashar Assad. Throughout the preceding year, Assad had watched as popular protests ousted dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and demonstrations spread to Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen. Now pro-democracy dissent had ignited across his country — including in Douma, just five miles from the capital Damascus.

Abu Alaa leaves his home in Damascus at dawn to buy bread from his local bakery. There he stands in line for up to six hours to get the two packets of the round flat pita bread that government rations allow for a three-child family like his.

After this he goes to the gas station, where he usually waits a further six hours to buy the fuel he needs for his work as a minivan driver.

"Half of my day is spent waiting for bread — God, it's laughable," he says. "And the other half is spent waiting in line for diesel!"

Khaled Taleb steps out of his vehicle high on a mountainside in northern Lebanon, and surveys the charred remains of the cedar forest he fought to save. A black carpet of the trees' burned needles crunches underfoot.

Armed with only gardening tools and cloth masks, Taleb and four friends spent the night of Aug. 23 on this mountainside battling a wildfire that swept up from the valley and engulfed this high-altitude woodland of cedars and juniper trees.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Rescue workers in Beirut are delicately exploring the rubble of a collapsed building where a specialist team says it detected signs of life — one month after Lebanon's capital was devastated by a massive explosion at its port.

The effort began after a sniffer dog named Flash signaled to his Chilean search and rescue team that someone might be alive under the concrete and debris in the neighborhood of Mar Mikhael.

Lebanon's capital, Beirut, remains devastated by the massive explosion at the city's port last month. The country is in the depths of an economic collapse, and the coronavirus is spreading.

But as Lebanon reels from multiple tragedies, conservationists are pointing to one bright spot. They say a record number of endangered green sea turtles have come to nest on the country's shores. Loggerhead turtles have also come in large numbers.

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