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‘No More Survivors Expected’ Among Dozens of Tourists Caught in New Zealand Volcano

‘No More Survivors Expected’ Among Dozens of Tourists Caught in New Zealand VolcanoAt least five people have died and more than 20 are still unaccounted for after the White Island/Whakaari volcano off the coast of New Zealand erupted without warning Monday as tourists hiked around the rim and walked inside the crater. Authorities say an estimated 30 to 38 of those on the island when the volcano erupted were on an adventure excursion from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was docked on North Island about 30 miles away. In a statement just after midnight local time, police officials said they feared the worst for those still on the island.“The Police Eagle helicopter, rescue helicopter, and NZDF aircraft have undertaken a number of aerial reconnaissance flights over the island since the eruption,” according to a statement at 12:12 a.m.“No signs of life have been seen at any point. Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation,” it reads.“Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.”Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, confirmed that tourists from the Ovation of the Seas ship were involved. He said the names and nationalities of those who were on the volcano for the cruise line’s “epic adventure excursion” have been handed to New Zealand police. Authorities said they believe it may be some time before the toxic ash is cool enough to set foot on the volcano for what is likely to be a recovery mission.About 10 minutes before the volcano erupted at 2:11 p.m. local time, a crater-rim webcam owned by the New Zealand Geological Hazards Agency GeoNet captured an image of a group of tourists approaching the crater. The next image shows only crumpled hardware after the camera was damaged in the blast.John Tims, New Zealand National Operation Commander, told a news conference Monday that toxic gases, burning ash, and lava have made conditions unsafe for rescue crews to search for survivors on the island. The dead were among 23 people immediately evacuated after the eruption. All those rescued had burn injuries. Officials said the five who died were among those evacuated.Officials in Canberra told the Agence-France Press news agency they believed a “considerable number” of those involved in the disaster are Australian.Authorities say around 50 people were on the tiny 1.2 mile-square-mile island at the time it erupted without warning. Several tourists posted photos of the eruption on social media as they watched in horror as the volcano erupted, sending a plume of hot ash some two miles into the sky. Michael Schade, an engineering manager from San Francisco, posted footage of the eruption from an excursion vessel he and several others were on as it sped away. “This is so hard to believe,” Schade wrote. “Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before.” The active volcano encompasses all of the tiny privately owned island about 30 miles from New Zealand’s North Island. It has been in a constant state of volcanic activity for more than 150,000 years. The last major eruption was in 2001, though the volcano has spewed spouts of dangerous steam from its vents in recent years. Despite the dangerous volcanic state, more than 10,000 adventure tourists visit the island each year, paying landing license to the island’s owners. The island also hosts a mobile research station but no residential accommodation, and tourists are warned of the potential for eruption and made to sign waivers regarding the potential danger they face on the live volcano, according to several websites offering volcano tours. “White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years,” Professor Emeritus Ray Cas, from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in Melbourne, Australia, told The Wall Street Journal. “Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter.”New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was heading to Whakatāne in the Bay of Plenty, which is the closest safe area to the disaster zone. She told reporters the situation was still “significant and evolving.” “We know that there were a number of tourists on or around the island at the time, both New Zealanders and visitors from overseas,” she said. “I know there will be a huge amount of concern and anxiety for those who had loved ones on or around the island at the time. I can assure them that police are doing everything they can.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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White House lawyers expected to take lead in impeachment

White House lawyers expected to take lead in impeachmentAs House Democrats prepare for public impeachment hearings, President Donald Trump and his legal team are working to organize a defense that will rely heavily on White House attorneys and congressional Republicans to stave off the threat to his presidency. Democrats consider the hearings to be their best chance to put Trump’s behavior on public display before a politically fraught impeachment vote. Trump’s allies, for their part, see the hearings as an opportunity to take the fight to the president’s opponents.



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Everyone expected the Pixel 4 to have the best smartphone camera, but Apple's iPhone 11 Pro ruined Google's party (GOOG, GOOGL)

Everyone expected the Pixel 4 to have the best smartphone camera, but Apple's iPhone 11 Pro ruined Google's party (GOOG, GOOGL)It was close, but Google let Apple win the battle of the square cameras because of one controversial decision for the Pixel 4.



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UPDATE 1-All U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria expected to go to western Iraq- Pentagon chief

UPDATE 1-All U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria expected to go to western Iraq- Pentagon chiefOn Thursday, Turkey agreed in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to a five-day pause in an offensive into northeastern Syria to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a “safe zone” Ankara aims to establish near the Turkish border with Syria. The truce also aimed to ease a crisis triggered by President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision earlier this month to withdraw all 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria, a move criticized in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of loyal Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside U.S. troops against Islamic State.



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US weather: 'Bomb cyclone' expected to lash northeast with fierce winds and rain

US weather: 'Bomb cyclone' expected to lash northeast with fierce winds and rainA potential bomb cyclone is expected to hit the Northeast of the US Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Boston.New York City, Boston, and Maine will be affected, among other New England locations. It follows last week’s storm in the same area, which brought strong winds to beach’s along the East Coast.



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U.S. Begins Withdrawal from Northern Syria, Leaving Kurds Vulnerable ahead of Expected Turkish Invasion

U.S. Begins Withdrawal from Northern Syria, Leaving Kurds Vulnerable ahead of Expected Turkish InvasionThe White House announced on Sunday night that U.S. forces will withdraw from northern Syria, leaving our Kurdish allies weakened in advance of an expected Turkish invasion that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday "could come at any moment."Turkey has signaled it wants to establish a "safe zone" inside Syria where it can resettle some 3.6 million refugees who fled the Syrian civil war and currently live in Turkey. However, Kurds in the region have warned that Turkey's intention is to remake the demographic composition of the region by flooding it with Sunni Muslims, weakening the Kurds' regional foothold.The withdrawal by the U.S. leaves the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a largely Kurdish organization instrumental to the U.S.-led fight against ISIS, without cover in the face of a Turkish invasion. Turkey considers the SDF, which has ties to Kurdish militants in Turkey, a terrorist organization.A statement from the White House press secretary indicated that President Trump had spoken with Erdogan by phone in advance of the invasion."The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial 'Caliphate,' will no longer be in the immediate area," the statement read.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted 9n Monday that the country was "determined to ensure our country's existence and security by clearing terrorists from this region," referring to the SDF.The SDF put out a statement saying, "As the Syrian Democratic Forces, we are determined to defend our land at all costs." It also warned that a U.S. withdrawal from the area would "reverse the successful effort to defeat ISIS."



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The Latest: Morning arraignment expected in homeless attack

The Latest: Morning arraignment expected in homeless attackThe suspect in the New York City attacks that killed four sleeping homeless men and left another critically injured has been taken to a hospital for evidence collection. Twenty-four-year-old Randy Rodriguez Santos was escorted out of a Manhattan precinct house late Saturday by two uniformed police officers who put him in an unmarked car. Detectives at the scene told journalists Santos was being taken to a hospital to gather DNA evidence.



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A tropical wave is forming in the Caribbean as Lorenzo is expected to hit Ireland and the UK

A tropical wave is forming in the Caribbean as Lorenzo is expected to hit Ireland and the UKFor the first time in several weeks, there are no named tropical storms or hurricanes anywhere in the Atlantic.



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Zimbabwe's Mugabe now expected to be buried on Saturday

Zimbabwe's Mugabe now expected to be buried on SaturdayZimbabwe’s longtime leader Robert Mugabe is expected to be buried on Saturday, a family spokesman said Friday, after three weeks of drama over the former strongman’s final resting place. Security was tight around the rural home that now will be the burial site after an abrupt change of plans left Zimbabwe’s government with an incomplete mausoleum on a hilltop in the capital, Harare. Family spokesman Leo Mugabe confirmed the new plan, a day after the government announced it would comply with the family’s latest wishes.



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Tropical Storm Karen is expected to loop-de-loop back towards the Bahamas after soaking Puerto Rico

Tropical Storm Karen is expected to loop-de-loop back towards the Bahamas after soaking Puerto RicoTropical Storm Karen may loop around in the Atlantic, heading back towards the Bahamas, after hitting Puerto Rico with serious rain on Tuesday.



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