Volcano eruption sparks avalanche at Japan ski resort

Volcanic ash covers the slopes of a ski resort in Kusatsu, Gunma prefecture, central Japan, after Mount Kusatsu-Shirane erupted Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. A disaster official said the volcano erupted and caused avalanche near the ski resort. (Suo Takekuma/Kyodo News via AP)
Updated 23 January 2018
0

Volcano eruption sparks avalanche at Japan ski resort

TOKYO: A volcano eruption near a popular Japanese ski resort sparked an avalanche that injured at least 16 people Tuesday, officials said.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency urged nearby residents to stay away from Mt. Kusatsu Shirane after it detected what it said was “slight volcanic activity.”
“Today an eruption occurred” at the mountain, agency official Makoto Saito told a news conference.
He warned that the volcano could still spew more rocks and ash, and said there was a risk of further avalanches.
A local fire department official told AFP that 10 people had been injured in the incident.
“Five of them were seriously injured. We began sending the injured to a hospital,” he said.
Among the injured were four people hurt by shattered glass while on a ropeway gondola at a ski resort in Gunma, northwest of Tokyo.
The official said an earlier report that one person was missing was not accurate.
The defense ministry said six infantry personnel who had been training on the mountain were also hit by the avalanche but had been rescued.
“They are injured but their injuries are not life-threatening,” a ministry spokesman said.
Footage broadcast on Japanese television showed thick black smoke interspersed with falling rocks sliding down the snow-covered side of the volcano toward a ski slope.
The falling rocks kicked clouds of snow into the air and they made impact.
“Black smoke rose from the top of the mountain and we were told to evacuate inside 30 minutes later,” a man who was at the ski resort told public broadcaster NHK.
“About 100 people have evacuated,” he said.


Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

Updated 17 min ago
0

Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

TUTICORIN, India: A protester shot during demonstrations against a copper plant in southern India died of his injuries Thursday, officials said, the 13th victim killed by police fire.
A curfew remained in pockets of Tuticorin city in Tamil Nadu state where police used live ammunition to disperse protesters this week, provoking international outrage and demands for an immediate investigation.
Calls for the copper smelting plant owned by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to be closed had been building in recent months, with residents complaining it was polluting their city.
The resistance came to a head Tuesday when police stopped a crowd of thousands from protesting outside the factory.
Cars and buildings were set ablaze and rocks hurled at police, who responded with live fire. Eleven demonstrators were shot dead and many people injured in the melee, including 20 police.
Another protester died Wednesday when he was struck by rubber bullets in a second day of protests.
The latest victim died in hospital Thursday, two days after being injured, doctors said.
“He was brought in a critical condition with bullet injuries and died today,” a doctor at the local hospital said.
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu has ordered an inquiry but defended the actions of police, which the state’s opposition leader called “mass murder.”
“The police have a duty during protests to maintain law and order, but lethal force can only be used if there is an imminent threat to life,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.
“Tamil Nadu authorities need to carry out a prompt and credible investigation to determine if police used excessive force.”
Internet services have been blocked across the city for five days. Police justified the blackout to stop the spread of information that could incite further violence as they search for those behind Tuesday’s arson attacks.
Environmentalists and locals say the factory contaminates water and air, claims its owners deny.
The company has sought to renew the license of the temporarily non-operational plant and hopes to double its production capacity.
But a state court Wednesday ordered that it cease any further construction at the new site.
The ruling came just hours after Tamil Nadu’s pollution board ordered the existing plant be shut and its power supply cut until a verdict is made on its licensing application.