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Indonesia Volcano Eruptions Force Thousands to Evacuate

Hot molten lava glows at the crater of Mount Ruang as it erupts in Sanguine Islands, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities issued a tsunami alert Wednesday after eruptions at Ruang mountain sent ash thousands of feet high. Officials ordered more than 11,000 people to leave the area.

The volcano on the northern side of Sulawesi island had at least five large eruptions in the past 24 hours, Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation said. Authorities raised their volcano alert to its highest level.

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At least 800 residents left the area earlier Wednesday.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, has 120 active volcanoes. It is prone to volcanic activity because it sits along the “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

Read More: 23 Hikers Confirmed Dead After Indonesia’s Mount Marapi Erupts

Authorities urged tourists and others to stay at least 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the 725-meter (2,378 foot) Ruang volcano.

Officials worry that part of the volcano could collapse into the sea and cause a tsunami as in a 1871 eruption there.

Tagulandang island to the volcano’s northeast is again at risk, and its residents are among those being told to evacuate.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said residents will be relocated to Manado, the nearest city, on Sulawesi island, a journey of six hours by boat.

In 2018, the eruption of Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano caused a tsunami along the coasts of Sumatra and Java after parts of the mountain fell into the ocean, killing 430 people.

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Ecuador President Noboa Shuts Down Nation on Electricity Crisis

The President of the Republic of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, speaks during the Spain-Ecuador business meeting at the headquarters of the CEOE, on 25 January, 2024 in Madrid, Spain.

Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa ordered businesses and government offices to shut down Thursday and Friday amid a crippling lack of electrical power ahead of a key national referendum scheduled for Sunday.

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Noboa blamed the unprecedented measure on drought, but also sabotage, without offering evidence. The energy crisis comes on the heels of a security crisis and a fiscal crisis that’s sent it seeking help from the International Monetary Fund. 

“We’ve been hammered and hammered and hammered non-stop this week, they’ve tried to screw us with sabotage in the electric sector” to undermine support for his referendum, said Noboa, 36, in Atacames, a beach town hit hard by the surge in crime that’s made Ecuador one of Latin America’s most violent countries.

Read More: Ecuador in Turmoil After ‘Most Wanted’ Criminal Escapes Prison: What to Know

The market-friendly heir of a banana export fortune is asking voters in Sunday’s referendum to approve stronger use of the military as well as the extradition of Ecuadorian citizens to fight crime and to overturn constitutional bans on temporary work and international arbitration.

Drought is affecting other parts of the region in which several nations like Ecuador are highly dependent on hydropower. In Bogota, capital of neighboring Colombia, water is being rationed, and the country has stopped exporting electricity to Ecuador as a measure to avoid blackouts of its own.

Ecuador faces a shortfall in energy supply of 22-to-27 gigawatt hours from this month, the presidency said. Due to the drought, major reservoirs for power plants including Mazar and Paute have almost run dry, while the biggest power plant, Coca-Codo Sinclair, has a water flow 40% below average. 

The government however also blamed the problem on former Energy and Mines Minister Andrea Arrobo, replaced by Noboa with the public works minister, Roberto Luque, on Tuesday, and 21 other officials for the crisis. The government has promised to pay half of consumers’ power bills for this month.

The crisis hits Noboa’s credibility after the National Assembly passed a fast-track bill in January dubbed the “no more blackouts law” that included a fund to maintain thermoelectric generating capacity. 

“It was too little too late,” said Rene Ortiz, a former energy minister as well as secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Under President Rafael Correa, Ecuador borrowed heavily from China to fund a hydroelectric power plant construction spree, promising to use the steep slopes and heavy rains of the Andean foothills to generate clean energy. 

“To solve the problem, this is the moment to import as many diesel generators as obtainable duty-free,” Ortiz recommended.

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Biden Calls China ‘Xenophobic,’ Ramping Up Campaign Rhetoric

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on proposing tariffs on Chinese steel at the United Steelworkers Headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., United States on April 17, 2024.

President Joe Biden called China “xenophobic” while highlighting the Asian nation’s economic woes, as he sought to make the case for U.S. economic strength during a campaign stop in the swing state of Pennsylvania.

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“They’ve got a population that is more people in retirement than working. They’re not importing anything. They’re xenophobic — nobody else coming in. They’ve got real problems,” Biden said of China in remarks to steel workers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The president’s comments follow a phone call two weeks ago with Chinese President Xi Jinping, their first since a face-to-face meeting in November. While overall relations have stabilized of late, tensions are growing over Chinese investments in manufacturing that risk leading to job losses among blue-collar workers.

The remarks were among the most pointed rebukes Biden has delivered of the world’s second-largest economy, which grew faster than expected in the first quarter even as questions persist over the strength of the recovery.

Read More: Biden Calls Xi a ‘Dictator,’ Again

Biden also called for higher tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, part of a series of steps to shore up the American steel sector including a pledge by the president that Japan’s Nippon Steel Corp. wouldn’t successfully acquire Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. 

The tariffs would see the U.S. impose new 25% levies on certain Chinese steel and aluminum products as part of an ongoing review, while his administration also launches a formal probe into China’s shipbuilding industry. China’s Commerce Ministry on Wednesday blasted the U.S. review, saying it was “full of false accusations” and “based on the need of domestic politics.”

Biden also criticized Donald Trump for his policies toward Beijing while in office.

“Trump simply doesn’t get it,” Biden said, claiming that it’s incorrect to view China as on the rise and the U.S. falling behind. Asked as he departed Pittsburgh if the steel tariffs would hurt ties with Xi, Biden responded “no.”

Chinese officials have recently sought to boost investor confidence overseas, after years of strict pandemic curbs and tighter national security controls dented sentiment. Foreign businesses’ direct investment into China slumped to a 30-year low in 2023, underscoring challenges facing Beijing.

Xi’s government has expanded visa-free entry to a range of European and Asian nations of late, after he pledged “heart-warming” measures for investors last year during a trip to the U.S. However, China has so far struggled to woo back foreigners after shutting the nation off during the pandemic: The business hub of Shanghai saw 44% fewer foreign visitors in the first two months of this year compared with the same period in 2019.

Imports have also been weak, with falling commodity prices and weak domestic demand due to a housing market crisis and other issues undermining Chinese purchases of foreign goods. Imports were up 1.5% in the first three months of this year, after a 5.5% drop last year.

Biden also vowed to continue efforts to deny China advanced technology like computer chips, which has spurred Xi to invest in becoming more self-sufficient. 

“They can’t be sent to China because it would undermine our national security,” Biden said. “When I spoke with Xi Jinping he said ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because you’d use it for all the wrong reasons, so you’re not gonna get those advanced computer chips.’”

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Священника и военнослужащего арестовали по факту убийств под Белгородом

Суд обвиняет фигурантов дела в участии в организованной преступной группировке, занимавшейся убийствами, похищениями и вымогательствами.

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В Ростовской области ликвидировали три беспилотника ВСУ

Дроны сбиты около Каменска-Шахтинского.

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Мощное извержение вулкана Руанг произошло в Индонезии

Спасатели проводят эвакуацию людей.

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Санкции против российских олигархов обрушили рынок роскошных яхт

В 2023 году продажи новых суперъяхт — судов длиной более 30 метров — упали на 17%, говорится в отчете SuperYacht Times, передает CNBC. Причиной стал рост цен, длинные списки ожидания и санкции против российских миллиардеров, введенные из-за войны в Украине.

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Ukraine war briefing: Don’t stockpile your Patriots, put Ukrainian needs first, allies told

Olaf Scholz tells EU to send more Patriot batteries as Nato chief urges members to prioritise Ukraine’s air defences; airstrikes on Chernihiv kill 17. What we know on day 785

Calls to support Ukraine’s defence against Russian air strikes have grown after at least 17 people died when three missiles hit the centre of Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine near the border with Russia.

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on Wednesday urged his fellow EU leaders to follow Germany’s lead and send Ukraine more Patriot air defence systems. Germany on Saturday announced it was sending an additional Patriot battery. “This is immediately useful, we want to encourage others to do the same,” said Scholz as he arrived for an EU summit in Brussels. “Now it is about doing it quickly and not at some point in the future.”

Nato’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, told member countries that they should further strain their stockpiles to help support Ukraine. “If allies face a choice between meeting Nato capability targets and providing more aid to Ukraine, my message is clear: send more to Ukraine,” he said on Wednesday.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy repeated the urgent appeal for more assistance via video address to the EU leaders. “Thank you, Olaf, for your efficiency. However, we have a bigger need. Systems that you have, they are needed in Ukraine right now – needed to stop Putin from relying on terrorist methods.” Officials say Ukraine is seeking seven more Patriot systems from western stocks since they are the only ones capable of downing Russia’s hypersonic missiles.

Joe Biden has said he strongly supports a proposal from the Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, to at last navigate $61bn in aid for Ukraine through the US Congress. “The House must pass the package this week, and the Senate should quickly follow,” said the US president. “I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: we stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.” An additional proposal is expected to include measures to redirect seized Russian assets toward Ukraine.

Zelenskiy confirmed the Ukrainian military had attacked the Russian airfield of Dzhankoi in occupied Crimea. Unofficial sources in both Ukraine and Russia on Wednesday reported a series of explosions at the base. “Thank you, warriors. Thank you for your accuracy. Thank you to commander-in-chief [Oleksandr] Syrskyi for organising this operation,” said Zelenskiy. The president expressed thanks to servicemen staging “special operations, especially important operations, extremely significant ones that destroy the equipment of the Russian army, their combat infrastructure”.

The Ukrainian military says Russia has ramped up its illegal use of riot control agents on the front to try to clear trenches as it begins to make bigger advances in the east. Riot control agents such as teargas are banned on the battlefield by the international Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Russia and Ukraine are signatories.

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Arizona Republicans fend off Democrats’ attempts to repeal 1864 abortion ban 

phoenix, arizona — Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday tried repeatedly to repeal an 1864 ban on abortion but failed to get the Republican support they needed against the Civil War-era measure poised to become state law again. 

In four votes, the chamber deadlocked 30-30 on a procedural motion that would have allowed a repeal bill to come to the floor, with one Republican joining the 29 Democrats. 

One more Republican vote was needed to enable a vote on repealing a law that was written when Arizona was not yet a state and women lacked the right to vote. 

Democratic leaders later told reporters they did not anticipate another vote on Wednesday but would try again in future sessions.  

“I will continue to call on the legislature to do its job and repeal this law,” Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs said in a statement. “A law from 1864 written by 27 men cannot be allowed to govern the lives of millions of Arizona women.” 

Before Hobbs could sign any repeal bill, it would need to pass both chambers of the state legislature.  

A similar repeal attempt is taking place in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a 16-14 edge. Two Senate Republicans joined the Democrats on Wednesday and voted to advance the bill, but it needs two more such readings before it can reach the Senate floor. 

Opposing abortion rights is seen as sacrosanct to many Republican voters, and crossing party lines on such a touchstone issue would be rare in highly partisan times. 

But repealing the 1864 law would still leave in place a law passed by Republicans in 2022 that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And some Republicans have softened their hard-line stance on abortion, mindful of the same polling that has emboldened Democrats. 

Confident that public opinion is on their side in supporting abortion rights, Democrats have sought to elevate the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court rescinded the constitutional right to abortion in 2022 and Republican-led states went about setting new severe restrictions.  

With or without repealing the 1864 law, Arizona Democrats are also attempting to place a ballot measure before voters in November that would restore abortion rights. 

Democrats are hoping the ballot measure energizes their voters in a closely divided state that could swing toward either party, possibly determining the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, and control of both houses of the state legislature.  

The old law was revived by a state Supreme Court ruling on April 9, and unless the legislature intervenes it could take effect within 60 days.  

It imposes a prison sentence of two to five years for anyone found guilty of inducing an abortion except for a doctor who deems it necessary to save the life of the mother. 

Arizona House Democrats sought to repeal the ban a week ago but were thwarted by the narrow Republican majority of 31-29. On Wednesday, Republican Representative Matt Gress joined the Democrats, but one more vote was needed. 

Democrat Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, sponsor of the repeal bill, said that Democrats would persist and that she was confident it would eventually receive a vote. 

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Зеленский признал продвижение ВС РФ и пожаловался на отсутствие оружия

Президент Украины признал, что российская армия ощущает свою силу почти во всём.