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First images of ‘unprecedented disaster’

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For the first time since a massive undersea volcano erupted and caused widespread damage, the government of Tonga released its first statement

The Government call it an ‘unprecedented disaster’ declaring three people dead.

View of Nomuka, Tonga (NZDF)

Communications including internet are out and remain limited, images are starting to emerge days from the initial eruption showing the aftermath.

The Pacific island remains coated in volcanic ash and the government has released its first update since the volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami.

Sadly, three deaths have been confirmed – A 65-year-old woman, a 49-year-old man and British woman Angela Glover.

View from the Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (NZDF)

A number of injuries have also been reported, houses damaged, with evacuations and rescue efforts underway.

Communication lines with the affected islands are down and getting aid to where it is most needed is the main concern.

A P-3K2 Orion aircraft flies over an area of Tonga that shows the heavy ash fall from the recent volcanic eruption within the Tongan Islands. 5 Squadron crew work on board whilst flying overhead to provide vital information to send back to MFAT and various other government agencies.

Water supplies have been “seriously affected” by the volcanic ash so other countries are trying to fly in clean drinking water and other supplies, but so far have been unable to land.

Flights have been halted and sea transport routes are disrupted too.

Tonga expects the rescue and clean-up efforts to ramp up now the threat of volcanic activity has ‘significantly decreased’

A P-3K2 Orion aircraft flies over an area of Tonga that shows the heavy ash fall from the recent volcanic eruption within the Tongan Islands. 5 Squadron crew work on board whilst flying overhead to provide vital information to send back to MFAT and various other government agencies.

The blast triggered tsunami warnings from Fiji to Hawaii… what about health warnings?

People are being advised to remain indoors because of the ash.

There are health concerns as people are breathing it, especially with a huge clean-up mission that is happening

Volcanic ash exposure can irritate the lungs, eyes and skin.

Locals have also been advised to drink bottled water too..

The clean-up operation will include ships from Australia and New Zealand to help with pumping out water.

Tonga is made up of about 170 islands, most people are farmers or involved in agriculture, meaning the longer-term devastation to lives and livelihoods will be huge.

World

Authorities find drug-smuggler’s tunnel under the U.S. and Mexico border

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Anti-drug agents have found a smugglers’ tunnel including a rail track, electricity and ventilation system

A drug-smuggler’s tunnel has been unearthed under the U.S. and Mexican border.

It led from the Mexican city of Tijuana to a warehouse located 300 feet from the San Diego border.

Six people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the scheme.

They are accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, among other crimes.

“There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,” says the U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.

Authorities collect information about the people behind the tunnel.

The tunnel is believed to be over 1,750 feet long, and was fitted out reinforced walls.

Close to 100 tunnels have been found in the same area, but this was one of the largest.

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Ukraine Crisis

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

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Finland and Sweden have officially submitted their applications to join NATO

Finland and Sweden have handed in applications to join NATO.

It ends decades of political neutrality for both nations, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Chief of NATO says the applications are quote an “historic step”.

If their bid is successful, it will bring the alliance’s membership to 32.

While Russia strongly opposes the move, there are also members within NATO’s own ranks voicing their concerns.

Dubbed the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the NATO alliance was founded in 1949

It follows one rule: an attack on one, is an attack on all.

It sought to counter Russian expansion in Europe after World War Two.

But following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of its former Eastern European allies joined the alliance, something that has raised concerns in Moscow.

Finland and Sweden need the support of all member states to join. If they’re successful, it will take the alliance to 32 members.

NATO members must spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. Finland already meets this target and Sweden says it will do so “as soon as possible”.

The two countries will also bring a range of military might.

Finland has over 19-thousand active troops, and Sweden has over 14-and-a-half thousand.

There are 220 tanks, and over 200 combat aircraft.

Russia believes NATO has been verging on its door stop and is warning both nations against joining.

Turkey’s President is also voicing concerns, saying the two Scandinavian nations should not send delegations to convince him of their bids.

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Tech

U.S. warns against hiring North Korean tech workers

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The U.S. is warning North Korean workers are trying to find IT jobs by hiding their identities

The U.S. believes workers are seeking to steal money for their home country.

Many of them are allegedly pretending to be from other parts of Asia, according to three U.S. agencies.

The State Department says thousands of highly skilled IT workers are sent around the world to generate revenue to help with North Korea’s weapons production.

“The DPRK [North Korea] dispatches thousands of highly skilled IT workers around the world to generate revenue that contributes to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes, in violation of US and UN sanctions.”

U.S. State Department

If North Korea is employing workers to fund its missiles program, the move would be in violation of U.N. international sanctions.

“The United States is committed to disrupting illicit DPRK revenue-generating activities, which may facilitate criminal activity, provide direct support to the DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, and threaten international peace and security,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The country has conducted several missile tests in recent months, including a banned intercontinental ballistic missile.

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