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News Digest: 31 hikers killed as volcano erupts in Japan

By Press Association Reporters

Rescue workers have discovered the bodies of 31 people near the peak of an erupting volcano.

Four victims were brought down and confirmed dead, one day after Mount Ontake's big initial eruption.

The 27 others were listed as having heart and lung failure, the customary way for Japanese authorities to describe a body until doctors can examine it.

Officials provided no details on how they may have died.

It was the first fatal eruption in modern times at 3,067-metre Mount Ontake, a popular climbing destination about 210km west of Tokyo on the main Japanese island of Honshu. A similar eruption occurred in 1979, but no one died.

Japanese media reported that some of the bodies were found in a lodge near the summit and others were buried in ash. Police said only two of the four confirmed dead had been identified – two men, aged 23 and 45.

Mount Ontake erupted shortly before noon as people were taking advantage of a beautiful autumn day to go for a hike. The blast spewed large white plumes of gas and ash high into the sky, and blanketed the surrounding area in ash, initially trapping hundreds of the people on the slopes.

'Unfaithful' bishop resigns post

A Catholic bishop apologised to churchgoers yesterday after he resigned from his post, claiming to have brought "shame" on his diocese and the church.

The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, who is Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, covering Surrey and Sussex, issued a statement which said he had "been unfaithful to his promises as a Catholic priest".

The statement, which was being read in all churches of the diocese at the weekend, said: "I am sorry to confess that, going back some years, I have been unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest.

"I would like to reassure you that my actions were not illegal and did not involve minors," he added.

"As a result, however, I have decided to offer my resignation as bishop with immediate effect and will now take some time to consider my future."

Following Mr Conry's announcement, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference, said: "This is a sad and painful moment."

Police fire tear gas at pro-democracy protest

Police have used tear gas to try to clear a huge crowd of pro-democracy protesters who had gathered outside government headquarters in Hong Kong.

Police lobbed canisters of tear gas into the crowd last night after spending hours holding the protesters at bay.

The protesters tried to reach a mass sit-in being held outside government headquarters to demand Beijing grant genuine democratic reforms to the former British colony.

Shot teenager's parents demand sack for top cop

The parents of the black teenager gunned down by police in Ferguson have rejected an apology by the city's top cop, saying he should be sacked and the white officer who shot their son arrested.

Michael Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, said "Yes" when asked if Chief Tom Jackson should be fired, and his father Michael said rather than an apology, they wanted Officer Darren Wilson arrested for the death of their 18-year-old son in August, which sparked riots.

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