Nicaraguans evacuate as volcano spews ash cloud

Updated 28 December 2012
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Nicaraguans evacuate as volcano spews ash cloud

CHINANDEGA, MANAGUA: Nicaragua's tallest volcano has belched an ash cloud hundreds of meters (feet) into the sky in the latest bout of sporadic activity, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents, the government said on Wednesday.
The 5,725-foot (1,745-meter) San Cristobal volcano, which sits around 85 miles (135 km) north of the capital Managua in the country's northwest, has been active in recent years, and went through a similar episode in September.
Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo called on residents who live within a 1.9-mile (3-km) radius of the volcano to leave the area. Around 300 families live near the volcano.
"We have some families who have self-evacuated. ... We ask (the people) to go to a safe place, it's just for a few days during this emergency," she said, adding it was a precautionary measure.
A billowing grayish cloud could be seen drifting sideways from the volcano's peak. The volcano also stirred in mid-2008, when it expelled gas and rumbled with a series of small eruptions.
Some 1,500 farmers living on the slopes of the San Cristobal volcano refused to leave, despite being ordered to evacuate as the volcano spewed gas, sand and ash.
"People have not evacuated because we do not want to go and leave the area abandoned," Maria Pereira told AFP.
Pereira lives in "Grecia 4," a community of about 600 people at the base of the volcano, in the Chinandega department.
She said columns of ash "bathed the trees, houses, and roads in white" and "pretty sand fell" in the morning. She said by early afternoon volcanic activity had decreased, though in the evening new columns of ash shot up.
In another community near the volcano, Bethlehem, some farmers resisted efforts of Civil Defense officials to convince them to obey the evacuation order.
Around 140 Civil Defense troops have been deployed to "persuade" farmers to move away from the danger zone, state deputy Colonel Nestor Solis told reporters.
The government issued a yellow alert on Wednesday, ordering the evacuation of 300 families living near the volcano.


Germany’s Merkel calls for solutions to Iran’s “aggressive tendencies”

Updated 27 min 34 sec ago
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Germany’s Merkel calls for solutions to Iran’s “aggressive tendencies”

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel: Iran’s aggressive tendencies must not only be discussed, but rather we need solutions urgently.
  • Germany remained party to the Iran nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its atomic program, after US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May.

AMMAN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said European countries shared concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile program and called for solutions to its “aggressive tendencies” in the Middle East.
“Iran’s aggressive tendencies must not only be discussed, but rather we need solutions urgently,” she said after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman.
Germany remained party to the Iran nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its atomic program, after US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May.
Merkel said on Thursday that while European countries wanted to maintain the 2015 accord, they shared concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile program, its presence in Syria and its role in the war in Yemen.
In Syria, Iran is a big military supporter of President Bashar Assad, sending some of its own forces there and backing Shiite militias from Lebanon and Iraq who are fighting on the ground. Gulf and Western countries accuse Tehran of arming the Houthi group in Yemen, which it denies.
Merkel said earlier this month after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the question of Iran’s regional influence was “worrying, especially for Israel’s security.”
Abdullah, who met Netanyahu on Monday and spoke by phone with Trump’s son-in-law and regional envoy Jared Kushner on Tuesday, said there could be no peace in the Middle East without a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The United States is preparing a new peace plan, which has not yet been made public, but has already angered Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Abdullah this month appointed a new prime minister after the country’s biggest protests in years over taxes and price increases pushed by the International Monetary Fund.
Merkel said reforms should be balanced and “not hit the wrong people.”