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500 evacuated in volcano alert

A light spewing of ash amid renewed rumblings in the Nevado del Ruiz volcano prompted Colombian authorities to evacuate 500 people from beneath its flanks and briefly suspend flights at four airports.

The volcano's seismic activity was more intense than episodes in April and early May, when it emitted columns of steam, said the government geological agency Ingeominas. The 17,160ft volcano spouted ash that fell on population centres including the western city of Manizales.

Recovery hope ends for miners

The families of 29 men killed 18 months ago when an explosion ripped through a New Zealand coal mine say they are abandoning their campaign to get the remains returned.

Bernie Monk -- whose 23-year-old son Michael died in the November 2010 disaster -- said an assessment by new mine owners Solid Energy indicates the old mine shaft remains dangerously full of methane. He said the families do not want to risk any more lives in a recovery operation.

Sudan leaves oil-rich region

Sudan withdrew its army from the disputed Abyei border region that contains rich oil fields and is contested by neighbouring South Sudan, handing it over to UN forces, a semi-official media agency reported.

The Sudan Media Centre quoted Al-Khair al-Faheem Mekki, co-chairman of the committee that oversaw the handover, as saying Ethiopian troops would fill the vacuum and maintain security.

Heritage bid for sunken city

A team of international archaeologists said they will ask the United Nations cultural agency to bestow world heritage status on Port Royal, the mostly submerged remains of a historic Jamaican port known as the "wickedest city on earth" more than three centuries ago.

It was once a bustling place where buccaneers docked in search of rum, women and boat repairs. In recent days, consultants have conducted surveys to mark the old city's land and sea boundaries to apply for the world heritage designation.