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.


Pyongyang summit ‘an audacious step’ towards denuclearization, end of Korean War

Updated 28 min 55 sec ago
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Pyongyang summit ‘an audacious step’ towards denuclearization, end of Korean War

SEOUL: A third summit of Korean leaders planned for next month will be a further step toward denuclearization of the peninsula and a peace treaty to end the Korean War, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to work toward denuclearization at a landmark summit in Singapore with US President Donald Trump in June, but the two countries have since struggled to agree on how to reach that goal.
Advancement in ties between North and South Korea is the “driving force” behind denuclearization, Moon said in a speech, lauding Monday’s pact for next month’s summit in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.
The two leaders will “take an audacious step to proceed toward the declaration of an end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Moon added.
The neighbors remain technically in a state of war since the Korean War of 1950 to 1953 ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.
Moon said he hoped for speedy progress in talks between the US and North Korea, with steps by Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programs matched by “corresponding comprehensive measures” from Washington.
“When the deep-rooted distrust between the two Koreas and between the North and the US is lifted, the mutual agreement can be implemented,” he said on the peninsula’s 73rd anniversary of liberation from Japanese rule, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.
During their first summit in April, Moon and Kim had agreed to push for an end to the Korean War together with the US this year, but Washington has said its focus is on denuclearization, although Trump in Singapore had promised security guarantees for the North.
“When peace is established on the Korean peninsula along with complete denuclearization, economic cooperation can be carried out in earnest,” Moon said.
Plans to build a railway across the peninsula will kick off this year, he added, proposing an East Asian railroad community that groups China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia and the US.
Moon seeks to resume business cooperation with the North, including the railroad and a joint industrial park, but has been cautious because of international sanctions, chiefly spearheaded by Washington, over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
Moon said he aimed for “unification economic zones” along border provinces when military tension eases and there is lasting peace.
He estimated cross-border economic cooperation could be worth at least 170 trillion won ($149.9 billion) over the next 30 years, citing a study by a state-run think tank.