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
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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.


Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

Updated 26 min 44 sec ago
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Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

  • Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications
  • Assange has lived in the Andean nation’s London embassy for six years

QUITO: Julian Assange is sueing the Ecuadorian government over breaches of his “fundamental rights.” 

Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications as part of his asylum in the Andean nation’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years, his lawyer told a news conference on Friday.

The whistleblowing website said its general counsel arrived in Ecuador on Thursday to launch a legal case against the government for “violating (Assange’s) fundamental rights and freedom.”
“The move comes almost seven months after Ecuador threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world, including by refusing to allow journalists and human rights organizations to see him,” WikiLeaks said.
It added that the embassy was requiring Assange’s visitors — including journalists and lawyers — to disclose “private or political details such as their social media usernames.”
The Ecuador government issued no immediate statement in response.
Assange’s legal action comes with speculation mounting that Ecuador was preparing to end its standoff with the British government by terminating his six-year asylum.
Quito confirmed blocking Assange’s Internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking “a written committment” not to interfere in Ecuador’s foreign policies.
Assange found refuge in the embassy in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, and he feared being transferred to the US.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in March 2017 that arresting Assange for leaking sensitive US government files through his websites was a “priority.”