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Mount Nyiragongo bursting into activity on Saturday. Photo: Justin Kitumwa /AFP via Getty Images

Mount Nyiragongo in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo erupted on Saturday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate the nearby city of Goma, per Reuters.

The state of play: Witnesses told AP that lava had "engulfed" a highway connecting Goma with the city of Beni and Reuters reports that lava has reached an area near Goma's airport, on the outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 2 million.

Goma residents leave the city following the volcanic activity on May 22. Photo: Guerchom Ndebo/AFP via Getty Images
  • But the United Nations peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, which tweeted images from a reconnaissance flight over Goma, said late Saturday: "The lava does not appear to be heading towards the city ... We remain on alert."
  • DRC government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya tweeted Saturday night, "The evacuation plan for the city of Goma has been activated. The government is discussing urgent measures to take now."

Context: Lava from the volcano's last major eruption in 2002 flowed into the city, killing 250 and leaving tens of thousands more homeless, according to CNN.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 18, 2021 - World

In photos: Afghanistan on edge under Taliban rule

People wait to be evacuated from Afghanistan at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 18. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Western officials have stepped up evacuation efforts in Kabul, with over 2,200 diplomats and other civilians flown from Afghanistan on military flights Wednesday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The Taliban has said it will honor women's rights and an independent media within the "frameworks" of Islamic law. But many Afghan women and girls fear they will again face the threat of human rights abuses they endured when the Taliban last ruled in the 1990s — when it carried out public executions for "offenses" including adultery.

It's official: Stock market having worst start to year ever

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been a decidedly ugly start to the year for the stock market, with particular pain in the tech trade.

State of play: As of the end of trading Tuesday — the 16th session of the year — 2022 is now, officially, the worst-ever start in the history of the S&P 500, according to data from Ned Davis Research, a stock market research shop.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

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