Watch: Vanuatu volcano spews smoke, ash and lava as eruption threatens

A New Zealand Air Force Orion has flown over Vanuatu's Monaro volcano, reporting that plumes of smoke, ash and volcanic rock are spewing from it ahead of a likely eruption.

The New Zealand Defence Force crew said the volcano on Ambae Island is the most active they've seen in some time.

"Ambae was very active. There were ash clouds, the crater was erupting, [there were] plumes, lavas, smoke ash," Group Captain Nick Olney told Australia's ABC.

He told The Associated Press they had already planned the aerial survey before the recent activity, but were happy to help provide Vanuatu authorities with images and information.

The volcano has forced more than 7,000 people to flee their homes, with authorities declaring an emergency on Ambae island, where activity at the  volcano has increased recently, raising fears of a major eruption. 

About 10,000 people live on the island, and villagers close to the volcano have been moved to schools and community halls on the island's less vulnerable eastern and western regions.

For those displaced villagers, it's now a waiting game to see whether the volcano erupts or returns to normal activity that's not a threat to them.

Shadrack Welegtabit, the director of Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office, said a ship had arrived on Wednesday carrying food, water and other essential supplies. He said a second ship was due to arrive on Friday.

Vanuatu's Meteorology and Geohazards Department said in an alert that villagers within 6.5 kilometres of the volcano face the biggest risk from airborne rocks and volcanic gas. 

The department warned that acid rain could damage crops across a broader area.

'See you at Mom and Dad's house' - siblings of US congressman appear in attack ad against him

A candidate running in Arizona's congressional election has received some unlikely support - from the siblings of the current Congressman.

Six of Paul Gosar's brothers and sisters appeared in an ad for Democrat David Brill, where they throw all manner of accusations at him.

Grace says he's doing nothing for rural America, while David says he's not working for his district.

"He is not listening to you, and he does not have your best interests at heart," Tim says - before adding: "My name is Tim Gosar".

It's not the first time Gosar's siblings have spoken out against him.

Last year, they signed an open letter to a local paper after comments he made after the Charlottesville rally.

He replied to the ad in a series of tweets.

David Brill received some unlikely support – from six brothers and sisters of rival Paul Gosar. Source: Breakfast


British Labour Party mulls backing new referendum to stop Brexit

Britain's main opposition Labour Party confirmed Sunday that it will hold a major debate on Brexit at its party conference this week, raising hopes among Labour members hoping to stop the country from leaving the European Union.

With the UK and the European Union at an impasse in divorce talks, many Labour members think the left-of-centre party has the power — and a duty — to force a new referendum that could reverse Britain's decision to leave the 28-nation bloc.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has long opposed that idea, but he and other party leaders are under pressure to change their minds. As delegates gathered in Liverpool, one message was emblazoned on hundreds of T-shirts and tote bags: "Love Corbyn, Hate Brexit."

Ever since Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, Labour has said it will respect the result, although it wants a closer relationship with the bloc than the one Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government is seeking.

Now, with divorce negotiations stuck and Britain due to leave in March, many Labour members think the party must change its course.

"Labour have to come to a decision. The time has gone for sitting on the fence," said Mike Buckley of Labour for a People's Vote, a group campaigning for a new Brexit referendum.

To drive home the message, several thousand People's Vote supporters marched through Liverpool on Sunday, waving blue-and-yellow EU flags alongside Union Jacks and holding signs reading "Exit from Brexit" and a few ruder slogans.

More than 100 local Labour associations submitted motions to the conference urging a public plebiscite, with a choice between leaving on terms agreed upon by the government or staying in the EU.

Party chiefs said Sunday that members and affiliated unions had selected Brexit as one of the priority issues delegates will consider, with a debate scheduled for Tuesday. But what exactly they will vote on has yet to be decided and will be crucial.

Margaret Mills, a delegate from Orpington in southern England, said her local party had passed a motion calling on Labour to "stop Brexit by any means — well, short of physical violence."

"I think the time for vagueness is over," she said.

Corbyn — a veteran socialist who views the EU with suspicion — has long been against holding a second public vote on Brexit, although his opposition appears to be softening.

He said Sunday that he would prefer a general election rather than a referendum but added: "Let's see what comes out of conference."

"Obviously I'm bound by the democracy of our party," Corbyn told the BBC.

Still, Labour faces a major political dilemma over Brexit. Most of the party's half a million members voted in 2016 to remain in the EU, but many of its 257 lawmakers represent areas that supported Brexit.

"For Labour to adopt a second referendum policy would spell political disaster in all those Labour seats that voted leave," said Brendan Chilton of the pro-Brexit group Labour Leave.

Since the 2016 referendum, Labour has stuck to a policy of "constructive ambiguity" in a bid to appeal to both "leave" and "remain" voters. The party opposes May's "Tory Brexit" plan but not Brexit itself. It calls for Britain to leave the EU but remain in the bloc's customs union with "full access" to the EU's huge single market.

Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite trade union, a powerful Labour ally, said British voters had decided to leave the EU and "for us now to enter some kind of campaign that opens up that issue again I think would be wrong."

Yet Pro-EU Labour members, including many lawmakers, say the party's ambiguous stance is becoming increasingly untenable as the risk of an economically damaging "hard Brexit" grows.

The Conservative government's blueprint for future trade ties with the bloc was rejected last week by EU leaders at a summit in Salzburg, Austria. That left May's leadership under siege and Britain at growing risk of crashing out of the EU on March 29 with no deal in place.

Andrew Adonis, a Labour member of the House of Lords who supports holding a second referendum, said Labour can't sit on the sidelines while the country staggers toward political and financial chaos.

"This is as big a crisis as I can remember in my lifetime," Adonis said. "And no one has a clue at the moment what is going to happen.

"That's why I think we now need to take a stand — we the Labour Party and we the country."

Brexit is one of several challenges facing Corbyn, who heads a divided party. He has strong support among grassroots members, many of whom have joined since he was elected leader in 2015. But many Labour lawmakers think his old-fashioned socialism is a turnoff for the wider electorate.

Labour has also been roiled by allegations that Corbyn, a long-time critic of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, has allowed anti-Semitism to fester inside the party. He has denied it and condemned anti-Semitism, but the furore has angered many Jewish party members and their supporters.

Labour backed the "remain" side during the 2016 referendum but Corbyn's support was lukewarm.

"Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexiteer and always has been," said Chilton of Labour Leave. "More and more people now support us leaving the European Union and getting on with it. ... they don't want to re-fight the referendum."

The comments come as the Brexit deadline gets closer, with no deal in sight. Source: Breakfast


Macedonia's president says he won't vote in referendum

Macedonians will vote next weekend on a proposal to change the country's name, ending a long-running dispute with neighboring Greece, which sees the use of the term "Macedonia " as a claim on its own province of the same name.

President Gjorge Ivanov was speaking to members of the Macedonian diaspora in Detroit on Saturday.

He reiterated his position that the deal with Greece is "harmful and defeating" for Macedonia, according to a statement released by his office Sunday.

Polls indicate Macedonians will likely back the deal, but it remains unclear whether turnout will meet the required 50-percent threshold for the vote to be valid.

A ballot box. Source: 1 NEWS


Burials begin as deaths from capsized ferry rise to 224

Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation said Prime Minister Kasssim Majaliwa is leading mourners at the funeral service.

On Saturday rescuers found a survivor two days after the tragedy.

The man was identified as an engineer of the ferry who had locked himself in the engine room.

Video footage showed the man, barefoot and head lolling, carried quickly along a busy street by medical workers and military personnel as a siren wailed.

His condition was not immediately known.

Tanzania’s Defense Chief Venance Mabeyo told reporters at the scene that no further survivors were likely.

Search efforts were ending and officials would work on identifying the dead.

Lifering on boat