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At Least 14 Dead After Indonesia’s Mount Semeru Volcano Erupts



(CNN) — At least 14 people are dead and hundreds are displaced after Mount Semeru, a volcano in Indonesia’s East Java province, erupted on Saturday, authorities said.

Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) said in a statement Sunday the eruption had wounded 56 others, with 35 people in serious condition, after it covered villages with ash and left people to run from billowing clouds of debris.

Five of the victims have yet to be identified and nine people are still missing, the BNPB said. Some 1,300 people have been displaced by the eruption and reached evacuation centers, it added.

Hundreds of houses have been totally destroyed and 33 schools have been damaged by the eruption, according to the BNPB.

Officials say the situation at Mount Semeru remains dangerous due to the risk of pyroclastic flows — a mix of ash, rock and volcanic gases that can be much more dangerous than lava.

“We recommend everyone to increase their alert because the potential of pyroclastic flows threat is still high. It can happen anytime without any warning,” Chief of the Mount Semeru Observation Post, Liswanto, told CNN Sunday.

Liswanto said on Sunday his team recorded two pyroclastic flow events. The first was at 5 a.m. local and second one was at 10 a.m. local time. The deadly volcanic material was rolling down to Curah Kobokan village, which was evacuated on Saturday.

They have urged people living up to 6 miles away from the volcano to evacuate as pyroclastic flows “is very hot, the temperature can reach more than 1000 Celsius,” Liswanto said.

Since there is no sign or method to predict when the pyroclastic flow will occur, the phenomenon can be very dangerous, Liswanto said.

Ongoing evacuations

One rescue volunteer in Indonesia’s Lumajang district told CNN Sunday that he and his team evacuated the bodies of six miners from a river in Curah Kobokan village, where they were mining sand in the river bank.

Some of the miners were still inside their trucks, while others were discovered laying on the ground near the trucks, said 32-year-old volunteer Muhammad Firman Adiguna Effasa. It is unclear if those six deaths are part of the 14 deaths that authorities announced.

He added he was worried that more miners or other victims could be still out there but won’t survive because the lava flood was so intense.

Authorities have converted schools, mosques, village halls and village houses into evacuation centers, the statement said.

Java is the largest population center in Indonesia’s massive island archipelago and home to the capital city of Jakarta. Standing at more than 12,000 feet high, Mount Semeru is the tallest mountain on Java.

Volcanic ash and the smell of sulfur was first reported around 3 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET), according to the Mount Semeru Volcano Observation Post. The station added that hot ash clouds were falling towards an East Java village, Sapitarang, in Pronojiwo District.

Videos shared by government emergency response teams showed residents in the area running away from huge thick clouds of ash. Other footage shared by locals showed people gathering at a local mosque in Besuk Kobokan as smoke blankets the surrounding streets.

Following the explosion rescue officials scrambled to evacuate victims from the surrounding area.

Indah Amperawati, deputy head of Lumajang District, an area close to the volcano said Saturday that most of the burn victims have been evacuated to the Penanggal Primarily Health Center alongside a resident who died in the village of Curah Kobokan.

Emergency services had been unable to reach several other villages due to roads being blocked by mud and fallen trees, Indah told the press conference.

The military has been asked for people and equipment to support rescue efforts, Maj. Gen. TNI Suharyanto, the head of the BNPB, told the press conference.

Budi Santosa, head of disaster management of East Java province, said Saturday that two sub districts had been “badly affected” by the volcano’s eruption.

Santosa told the news conference that he believed health facilities in the disaster area, either primary health centers or hospitals, would be able to accommodate victims.

On Sunday, the Indonesian government said it is now preparing a relocation process for villagers who lost their home and in the next six months the BNPB will provide them with financial aid before the government can relocate them.

Indonesia sits between two continental plates on what is known as the Ring of Fire, a band around the basin of the Pacific Ocean that leads to high levels of tectonic and volcanic activity.

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Biden Answers Inflation Query by Calling Fox Reporter SOB



WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden responded to a question about inflation on Monday by calling a Fox News reporter a vulgarity.

The president was in the East Room of the White House for a meeting of his Competition Council, which is focused on changing regulations and enforcing laws to help consumers deal with high prices. Reporters in the room shouted a number of questions after Biden’s remarks.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Biden about inflation, which is at a nearly 40-year high and has hurt the president’s public approval. Doocy’s network has been relentlessly critical of Biden.

Doocy called out, “Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”

Biden responded with sarcasm, “It’s a great asset — more inflation.” Then he shook his head and added, “What a stupid son of a [expletive].”

His comments were captured on video and by the microphone in front of him. Doocy laughed it off in a subsequent appearance on his network, joking, “Nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it’s not true.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The White House has insisted repeatedly that it is focused on curbing inflation, with Biden reorienting his entire economic agenda around the issue. But the president has also shown a willingness to challenge a media that he deems to be too critical, especially Fox News and Doocy.

At his news conference last week, Biden said to Doocy with sarcasm, “You always ask me the nicest questions.”

“I have a whole binder full,” the reporter answered.

“I know you do,” Biden said. “None of them make a lot of sense to me. Fire away.”


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J.Lo, ‘Marry Me’ Co-stars Talk About Life Imitating Art in New Rom-com



Jennifer Lopez can do it all, except age. She definitely does not seem to age at all, but in her new movie “Marry Me, J.Lo’s playing a part that looks and sounds familiar. We’re not complaining, and neither are her castmates.

Jennifer Lopez (as Kat Valdez): “All right, let’s do it again from the top. (singing) Marry me, marry me, say yes. Marry me, marry me, say yes.”

Jennifer Lopez is ready to say “I do” in the new rom-com “Marry Me.”

Entertainment reporter: “In 36 hours, superstar Kat Valdez and Grammy-winning Bastian will perform their new song ‘Marry Me’ and exchange vows in front of a streaming audience of 20 million people.”

But when her soon-to-be fiance gets busted cheating on her, she decides to tie the knot with a random concertgoer played by Owen Wilson.

Character in “Marry Me”: “Do you, some guy, take Kat to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

Owen Wilson (as Charlie Gilbert): “Okay.”

J.Lo says playing a mega-superstar singer who’s looking for real love hits really close to home.

Jennifer Lopez: “It was so much about it that, really, I could understand like nobody else could understand.”

Even to the point that…

Jennifer Lopez: “Kind of bearing my soul. It was actually a little bit more uncomfortable than playing a character that is nothing like you, because this is you kinda like really bringing real, personal life experience into a role in a way that I’ve never had to.”

Owen Wilson says that connection is what made J.Lo the best person to play Kat.

Owen Wilson: “You can’t imagine anyone but Jennifer Lopez playing this part, just because it seems so perfect for her skill set.”

One of those skills being busting a move.

Owen Wilson: “Everyone was watching the monitor, even the security guys, just because it’s fun watching her dance. You definitely don’t need a double for her dancing.”

Sarah Silverman, who plays his BFF in the movie, agrees.

Sarah Silverman: “We were at a J.Lo concert where she’s playing someone else named Kat Valdez. But it was unbelievable to watch live.”

J.Lo also got to reunite with Maluma for the movie, who she’s made music with before.

Jennifer Lopez: “Working with Maluma was a joy. It was so much fun. This was his first movie, his first time acting, and he was a natural. He was a real natural. He’s like, ‘You know, I’m not this guy. This is not who I – I’m not Bastian.’ I go, ‘No, I know. I know.”

Jennifer Lopez (as Kat Valdez): “I think we left smart six weeks ago.”

“Marry Me” asks for moviegoers’ commitment beginning Feb. 11.

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Miami Beach Police Searching for Missing 5-year-old Last Seen With Mother



Miami Beach Police seek the public’s help in their search for a missing girl who was last seen in the custody of her mother.

Investigators said 5-year-old Leah-Ranee Rose Lassiter was last seen on Nov. 18.

Police said her mother, Chantel Iman Dortch, has since refused to surrender the child to her biological father in contradiction to a court custody order.

Lassiter stands 4 feet tall, weighs around 50 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

Mother and daughter were last seen in a black Audi A4 with the temporary Florida tag of DAG5401 that expired Sept. 21.

Officials urge anyone with information on their whereabouts to call Miami Beach Police at 305-673-7901.

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