Guatemala volcano eruption kills 25

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Police officers are posted in Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez department, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, as the Fuego Volcano erupts on June 3, 2015. (AFP/Orlando Estrada)
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Police officers carry a wounded man after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018. (AFP/Noe Perez)
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A rescue worker helps a woman covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in El Rodeo, Guatemala June 3, 2018. (Reuters/Fabricio Alonzo)
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A woman covered with ash and burn wounds on the legs is taken to hospital after Fuego volcano erupted violently in El Rodeo, Guatemala June 3, 2018. (Reuters/Fabricio Alonzo)
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A police officer carries a baby after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018. (AFP/Noe Perez)
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The Fuego Volcano in eruption, seen from Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez department, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, on June 3, 2015. (AFP/Orlando Estrada)
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A firefighter looks at the ash covered bodies of victims of Fuego volcano’s eruption inside the morgue in San Juan Alotenango, Guatemala June 3, 2018. (Reuters/Luis Echeverria)
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This handout picture released by the Guatemalan National Army shows soldiers cleaning ashes at the International airport in Guatemala City after the eruption of Volcano Fuego June 3, 2018. (AFP/Guatemala National Army)
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This handout picture released by the Guatemalan National Army shows army personnel as they evacuate a victim of Guatemala’s Volcano Fuego eruption in El Rodeo, Guatemala on June 3, 2018. (AFP/Guatemala National Army)
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A volunteer firefighter cries after leaving Rodeo village in Alotenango, Sacatepequez department, 65 km southwest of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, following the eruption of the Fuego Volcano. (AFP/Orlando Estrada)
Updated 04 June 2018
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Guatemala volcano eruption kills 25

  • Search and rescue operations for the missing and dead have been suspended due to low light and dangerous conditions, and will resume early on Monday morning
  • Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event

GUATEMALA: At least 25 people were killed when Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close, the country’s disaster agency said.
“The toll was 25 dead as of 9:00 p.m. (0300 GMT Monday),” the spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred) said in a WhatsApp group.
Search and rescue operations for the missing and dead have been suspended due to low light and dangerous conditions, and will resume early on Monday morning, the spokesman said.
The eruption sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees gray and blanketing streets, cars and people.
Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.
Earlier, Conred chief Sergio Cabanas and President Jimmy Morales held a news conference, saying that the eruption left seven dead, 20 injured and affected more than 1.7 million people.
Morales announced a red alert for Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepequez, the areas most affected by the eruption, and an orange alert throughout the country.
The president said he and his government would determine whether to ask Congress to declare a state of emergency in the areas, while at the same time appealing to the population for calm.
Hundreds of personnel from the police, Red Cross and military have been dispatched to support emergency operations, Morales said.
Cabanas said that the dead included a civil protection official and others trapped by muddy material that descended from the 3,763-meter (12,346-foot) volcano.
Twenty people suffered burn injuries, and more than 3,000 were evacuated due to the eruption, which affected rural communities around the volcano as well as Antigua Guatemala, a colonial-era town very popular with tourists in the Central American country, he said.
There are also “missing persons, but we do not know how many,” Cabanas said, adding that lava had blocked entry to several communities.
Dense ash blasted out by the volcano shut down Guatemala City’s international airport, civil aviation said.
People were working to clean ash off the runways to get the airport operating again.
It is the second major eruption this year from the peak, following another that subsided at the beginning of February after sending ash towering 1.7 kilometers into the sky.
Guatemala has two other active volcanoes, Santiaguito in the west and Pacaya just south of the capital.


France bans Iran’s Mahan Air for flying arms, troops to Syria, elsewhere

Updated 25 March 2019
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France bans Iran’s Mahan Air for flying arms, troops to Syria, elsewhere

  • The ban will become effective starting April 1
  • The airlines were also banned by Germany since January

PARIS: France has banned flights in and out of the country by Iran’s Mahan Air, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones, diplomats said on Monday, after heavy US pressure on Paris to act.
The decision to revoke Mahan’s license to operate in France was made after Germany banned the airline in January.
Paris had considered revoking its license more than two years ago under the presidency of Francois Hollande, but had backed down because it feared it could harm relations just after a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was signed in 2015.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and Washington has been pressing its European allies to follow suit.
“We knew of their activities from our own intelligence services and after the German move it was a question of credibility,” said a French diplomatic source.
The French ban on the airline, which had four flights a week to Paris from Tehran, takes effect from April 1. The airline’s website is no longer taking reservations and calls to its offices in Paris were not answered.
Tensions between Paris and Tehran have grown in recent months as President Emmanuel Macron and his government have become increasingly frustrated with Iran’s ballistic missile tests, regional activities and a foiled attack on an Iranian exile group in France, which Paris says Iranian intelligence was behind.
Both countries only reappointed ambassadors to each other’s capitals last month after more than six months without envoys.
There are no plans at this stage to ban another airline — Iran Air — said one diplomat.
Mahan Air, established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline, has the country’s largest fleet of aircraft and has flights to a number of European countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Greece.
European countries have been under sustained US pressure to reimpose sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump last year pulled Washington out of an international nuclear non-proliferation treaty reached with Tehran under his predecessor Barack Obama.
Along with Iran, the other signatories to the deal — Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — are still trying to keep it alive and set up in January a mechanism to allow trade with Tehran and circumvent US sanctions.