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Cracks show for Blatter as Australia transfers vote

Sepp Blatter's formerly insurmountable reign over Fifa was rocked yesterday when Australia's federation announced it would not be voting for him in the today's presidential election.

The FFA has previously always voted for Blatter, but in a statement, chairman Frank Lowry switched support to his rival, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, just hours after the Asian Football Confederation reaffirmed its own support for Blatter.

"FFA believes that profound change within Fifa is needed as soon as possible to address issues of governance and transparency," he said. "This belief will be reflected when Australia casts its vote in the presidential election, should it proceed on Friday in Zurich."

Weather: Feeling cool for many

Cloud and rain across southwestern and central parts will gradually spread east during today, with the rain turning heavy at times. The rain will also be accompanied by some gusty winds, before brighter but showery conditions move in from the west during the afternoon.

Further north across northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland it will be a day of sunshine and showers, with some of the showers turning heavy at times, especially in the west. Feeling cool for many, with a high of 17 Celsius (63F) in the southeast.


Watch Japanese volcano Mount Shindake erupt

Spectacular footage has been captured of a volcano erupting on a remote Japanese island.

Mount Shindake, on Kuchinoerabujima, erupted suddenly at around 10am local time (1am GMT), blasting plumes of black smoke 9km into the sky, forcing evacuations and flight diversions.

A pyroclastic flow of super-heated gas and rock flowed down the side of Mount Shindake and reached the ocean after the mountain's "explosive" eruption, but officials said there was no danger to human life.

"There was a huge bang and black smoke rose up immediately," Nobuaki Hayashi told NHK television, adding that the island's 140 residents were gathering to await evacuation. No one has been hurt.

Just before noon a Coast Guard ship headed for the island to evacuate residents. The closest neighbouring island is Yakushima, roughly one hour to the east.

Thailand to allow US to identify migrant boats

Thailand is to allow the US to fly surveillance planes through its airspace to help identify boats carrying migrants adrift in south-east Asian seas.

"Yes, we are permitting it, it is starting today," said Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn today.

The flights will help the migrant crisis that is rapidly developing in the region.

US calls for urgent action on south-east Asian migrants

An abandoned migrant boat Credit: REUTERS/Beawiharta

American authorities have said that the thousands of migrants adrift in Southeast Asian seas are in need of urgent rescue, as countries gathered in Bangkok to discuss a crisis that's overwhelming the region.

"We have to save lives urgently," US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told reporters on her way into the meeting.

Thousands of migrants are adrift, abandoned by traffickers on overcrowded boats after a Thai crackdown made it too risky for them to continue using trafficking routes through Thailand.

The United States has asked Thailand to fly surveillance flights from Thai bases to identify boats carrying migrants, Richard said, but has yet to get the nod from Thai authorities. The U.S. is operating similar flights from Malaysia, she said.


Andy Burnham to criticise 'politics of envy'

Labour's Andy Burnham (left) Credit: PAUL HACKETT / WPA Rota

Andy Burnham is to argue that wealth-creators must be valued as highly as NHS staff today.

In a speech to senior business figures, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership fight will claim to be on the side of those who "put in the hours, the sweat and the hard graft".

He will also attack Labour's management of the economy when it was last in power, saying it had allowed a "significant" deficit.

Apparently conceding that Tory jibes about the "party of welfare" have stuck, he will add: "I have never believed in levelling down, denigrating success or the politics of envy.

"Nor have I believed that people should be handed everything on a plate."

David Cameron to hold crunch talks with Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel meets David Cameron in January Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga / PA Wire

David Cameron is to round off his whirlwind tour of major European leaders with a crucial meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Prime Minister is looking to build support for his plans to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership of the EU, and he'll need the agreement of the German premier if he is to have any hope of success.

However, there has been little sign of enthusiasm for treaty change. France and Germany have reportedly agreed that closer integration of the eurozone countries can be achieved without altering treaties - potentially reducing Britain's leverage.

This morning Mr Cameron will be in Warsaw for talks with Polish counterpart Ewa Kopacz, before heading for Berlin to see Mrs Merkel.

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