Vanuatu volcano stabilises but still not safe for residents to return

The entire 11,000 population of Ambae, in the north of the Pacific archipelago, was ordered to leave last week after the Manaro Voui volcano rumbled to life and rained rock and ash on villages.

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New Zealand volcanologist Brad Scott is in Vanuatu and flew over the Ambae volcano on Monday  – one of three active in the area.  

He observed a small lava flow, up to 80 metres long, pouring into the lake surrounding the summit. 

While the level of activity has stabilised, it has not decreased either. 

“The eruption is not escalating and growing any more. The local government has taken a precautionary measure for public safety. How long the evacuation will last, unfortunately there is no way to tell,” Mr Scott said. 

RELATED STORY:Evacuation ahead of schedule

The evacuation to nearby islands was scheduled for completion by this Friday but the Red Cross said it was likely to wrap up on Wednesday.

It said villagers were exiting the island on a range of locally-commissioned boats – from barges carrying hundreds of people to smaller ferries shipping dozens at a time.

“You have got a huge range of boats that are transferring 11,000 people from Ambae to the three surrounding islands. For a country this size it is a very big operation,” Red Cross spokesman Joe Cropp said.

“It was orderly. People realised that they need to leave, there is a lot of patience among the community.”

Children walk onto a boat as they are evacuated from the Pacific island of Ambae, which is part of Vanuatu.AAP

Most of the island’s residents have been sheltering in evacuation centres since the volcano first sent up a plume of steam and ash about a week ago.

They are leaving from three coastal locations and the point on Ambae’s western edge had already completed its evacuation on Monday.

The Red Cross is delivering water to the island after ash from the volcano contaminated fresh supplies.

While an orderly evacuation was still a priority for those remaining, attention was now turning to the strained resources at the islands to which people were being relocated, Cropp said.

The relocation facilities on surrounding islands are “starting to handle” the situation, “but we need to step up quickly, we need to get the resources in to provide the shelter, water, food and sanitation that people need,” he added.

An Australian naval ship is expected to arrive on Wednesday, while New Zealand has sent a Hercules C-130 to airlift supplies into the area.

Vanuatu lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

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Watts hopeful of staying with Demons

A frustrated and disappointed Jack Watts remains hopeful he can continue with Melbourne next season.

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Demons coach Simon Goodwin has publicly and privately urged Watts to explore his options elsewhere after 153 games in nine seasons with the club.

Watts has struggled to live up to the expectations that came with being the No.1 pick at the 2008 draft, but produced his best season last year.

He signed a new three-year deal heading into the 2017 season but found himself on the outer with the new coach.

Citing inconsistencies in his application to training, Goodwin overlooked Watts for pre-season matches and dropped him late in the home-and-away season.

But the 26-year-old told reporters on Tuesday he is confident his best football is ahead of him and he hopes that will be with Melbourne.

“I see a really strong future for the Demons so it would be pretty disappointing if I have to miss out on that after everything we’ve gone through,” Watts said.

“Of course, I want to stay. We’ve had (trade) options over the past four or five years (but) that love for the club and love for the boys has kept me there.

“That hasn’t changed.

“Obviously I’m still contracted at Melbourne for the next two years … I love the club and I love the boys, so we’ll wait and see.

“I might still be there next year.”

Watts was tight-lipped on reports he has met with Port Adelaide and Sydney to discuss a potential move.

Goodwin has expressed frustration about the unchanged cycle of expectation and pressure on Watts and the club over the years as he’s struggled to get the best out of himself.

“That’s Goody’s opinion,” Watts said.

“I guess I found it hard to get that consistent sort of form (this year), especially when some key people at the club were thinking that, that’s their views and their attitude.

“I’m really confident with the footy I can play – that I was playing in the middle of this year.

“Seeing where the club is at the moment and where they can go … playing finals next year will be a real goal.

“It will be a shock to the system if I’m going to miss that.”

‘Enough is enough’: Guitarist at Las Vegas country festival backflips on gun control after mass shooting

Caleb Keeter, a lead guitarist in the Josh Abbott Band, said he was a proponent of the second amendment before the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1 that killed at least 59 people.

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Mr Keeter said he feared for his life all night and has changed his mind on gun control in the United States, claiming it was “out of hand”.

“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with [Concealed Handgun Licenses], and legal firearms on the bus,” Keeter tweeted.

“They were useless.”

pic南京夜生活,/0NFjHf3PW2

— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017

Mr Keeter said his crew members were too scared to grab their guns for protection, out of fear the police might think they were the shooter.

The country star said he regrets his stubborness when it came to relaxed gun laws, finishing off his Tweet with a fervent call for strict gun control.

“Enough is enough,” he added.

0:00 Vegas Shooting: People flee as gunman opens fire Share Vegas Shooting: People flee as gunman opens fire

“Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand.

“These rounds were just powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in close proximity of a victim shot by this f***ing coward received shrapnel wounds.

You are all absolutely correct. I saw this happening for years and did nothing. But I’d like to do what I can now. 南京桑拿,南京SPA,/5mYA7D90X3

— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017

“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it. We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.”

The band released a statement on its Facebook page claiming everyone in the band and crew were safe following the mass shooting.

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‘We were very scared’: Australian Miss Universe finalist caught up in Las Vegas massacre

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Australia mourns with US over ‘shocking’ Las Vegas attack: Turnbull’Bullets flying everywhere’: Eyewitnesses describe Las Vegas carnageGiffords calls for stricter gun laws in wake of Las Vegas mass shootingWho is the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock? Las Vegas gunman’s brother ‘dumbfounded”Vegas is strong’: Hundreds line up to donate blood after Las Vegas massacre 

Two young women from Darwin have been caught up in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

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Sharon Kamber and her friend, Miss Universe NT finalist Artia Ratahi, were dining on the Las Vegas Strip close to the country music festival where a gunman shot dead at least 59 people on Sunday night.

The pair, both 21, had just ordered at the Outback Steakhouse, a five-minute drive from the Mandalay Bay hotel, when the restaurant went into lockdown.

“We were stuck in the restaurant for a good three hours, until about 2am,” Ms Kamber said.

“My friend was able to be a lot more calm than I was. I called my parents… half in tears, telling them I loved them.”

Darwin woman Sharon Kamber (R) and her friend, Miss Universe Australia 2017 Northern Territory finalist Artia Ratahi (AAP)Sharon Kamber

More than 527 people were injured in the shooting and Ms Kamber said at the time there were rumours of two more shooters in the area.

“They told us that nothing’s clear but we could leave at our own risk,” she said.

“We were very scared. It was hard not to break down.”

The two-minute walk back to her hotel was “horrifying”, with police lining the deserted strip every few metres.

“It was an eerie feeling – such a lively place was so dead.”

Miss Universe Australia 2017 Northern Territory finalist Artia Ratahi who has been caught up in the deadliest mass shooting in US historyAAP

The Northern Territory promotions worker said it was a “very American” way to end a six-month trip to the US, and she was happy to be flying home.

“You always see on the news that America has issues with their guns laws, it’s just crazy they’re not doing much about it,” Ms Kamber said.

“I wasn’t too surprised that something like this was happening, which is saddening to say.”

50 dead, hundreds injured

US officials reacted cautiously meanwhile to an IS claim that Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, had carried out Sunday night’s massacre on the Las Vegas Strip on behalf of the jihadist group.

Police said Paddock, a retired accountant with no criminal record, smashed windows in his 32nd floor hotel room shortly after 10:00 pm and trained bursts of automatic weapons fire on thousands of people attending a country music concert below.

Investigators recovered 23 guns, including assault rifles, from Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, and another 18 firearms along with bomb-making materials at one of his two homes.

Consular staff from across the US are helping in the search for any Australians caught up in the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting.

No Australians have so far been identified as dead or injured but Australian authorities are working with their Canadian and British counterparts and contacting hospitals.

“We’ve increased our consular staff in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We are sending staff from our Washington embassy, experienced consular staff,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC radio on Tuesday.

This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows him (left) with his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock (right) (AAP)AAP

0:00 Police scanner of the moment officers raid shooters room in Mandalay Bay Share Police scanner of the moment officers raid shooters room in Mandalay Bay

President Donald Trump denounced what he called “an act of pure evil” and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

But the White House said it would be “premature” to reopen the US debate on tighter gun controls in the wake of the shooting.

“A motive is yet to be determined and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all of the facts or what took place last night,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

0:00 ‘Act of pure evil’: Trump decries Vegas mass shooting Share ‘Act of pure evil’: Trump decries Vegas mass shooting

Broken windows are seen on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired (Getty)Getty

Victorian mechanic admits stealing Ferrari

A luxury Melbourne car restorer has admitted stealing his long-time friend’s vintage Ferrari.

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Sandro Terzini, 48, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to theft of the 1970 Ferrari Daytona Coupe in 2013 from his friend of 20 years.

The County Court was told Terzini’s mate asked the motor mechanic to securely store the luxury car at his business, Terzini Motore, which restored and traded exotic cars.

But while the owner was overseas, Terzini went behind his back and sold it for $450,000, without telling him.

It was only 16 months later that the owner – who had still been paying insurance premiums for the vehicle – learned it had been sold.

Crown prosecutor Jonathan Manning said the owner initially asked Terzini to store the car at his Brighton business – after buying it from the UK for 150,000 British Pounds – as he had done with previous vehicles.

Four years later, he asked Terzini to find potential buyers for it.

But the owner had a change of heart and told Terzini he no longer wanted to sell the Italian marque, days before Terzini sold the vehicle for $450,000 without his consent, transferring $400,000 from his business to personal bank account.

The car has changed hands a further four times and is now in the UK, the court was told.

Mr Manning said the value of the theft and the deceit was significant.

“He obviously didn’t tell the victim what had happened,” the prosecutor said.

Defence barrister Samuel Tovey said at the time of the theft, his client’s life was spiralling downwards, with large debts, a marriage break up and heavy cocaine use.

He argued it wasn’t a crime motivated purely by greed and said it stood no chance of remaining undiscovered.

But Judge Rachelle Lewitan countered: “It’s a gross breach of trust, isn’t it?”

Terzini will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.