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Hawaii reports first serious injury from volcano as lava threatens escape routes

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A stream of lava threatened to block a key Hawaii highway on Sunday that serves as an escape route for coastal residents, while the first known serious injury was reported from fresh explosive eruptions from the Kilauea volcano.

A homeowner on Noni Farms Road who was on a third-floor balcony had his leg shattered from his shin to his foot when hit by lava spatter, said Janet Snyder, a spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii.

She added that lava spatters “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill.” No other information was immediately available.

As magma destroyed four more homes, molten rock from two huge cracks merged into a single stream, threatening to block escape routes and touching off brush fires.

The erupting lava, which can reach a blistering 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius), was expected to hit Highway 137 overnight if it kept up its rate and direction of flow, the County of Hawaii’s Civil Defense Agency said.

Authorities are trying to open up a road that was blocked by lava in 2014 to serve as an alternative escape route should Highway 137 or another exit route, Highway 130, be blocked, Jessica Ferracane of the National Park Service told reporters.

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The park service is working to bulldoze almost a mile of hardened lava out of the way on nearby Highway 11, which has been impassable, she added.

The Hawaii National Guard has warned of mandatory evacuations if more roads become blocked.

But officials went house-to-house in the area to urge more residents to flee, Snyder said, though no head count of the new evacuation was available early Sunday.

They also warned of laze, clouds of hydrochloric acid and steam embedded with fine glass particles formed when hot lava hits ocean water.

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For weeks, geologists have warned that hotter, fresher magma from Kilauea’s summit would run underground and emerge some 25 miles east in the lower Puna district, where older, cooler lava has already destroyed 44 homes and other structures.

“Summit magma has arrived,” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall said on a conference call with reporters.

“There is much more stuff coming out of the ground and its going to produce flows that will move much further away.”

Fountains of bright orange lava were seen spouting at least 20-feet high, and spewing rivers of molten rock on Saturday.

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Carolyn Pearcheta, operational geologist at the Hawaii Volcano Authority, told reporters that hotter and more viscous lava could be on the way, with fountains spurting as high as 600 feet, as seen in a 1955 eruption.

“We’ve seen the clearing out of the system,” she said. “We call that the ‘throat clearing’ phase.”

NEW EXPLOSIVE ERUPTION

At the volcano’s summit, another large explosive eruption occurred around midnight, sending up a nearly two-mile-high ash plume (10,000 feet), according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. There was another explosion around 4 p.m. (10 p.m. ET), according to a Reuters reporter.

Scientists expect a series of eruptions from Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, that could spread ash and volcanic smog across the Big Island, the southernmost of the Hawaiian archipelago.

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That could pose a hazard to aircraft if it blows into their routes at around 30,000 feet.

Around 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates and Laipuna Gardens housing areas near Pahoa, about 30 miles south of Hilo, were ordered to evacuate due to at least 22 volcanic cracks that have opened.

Many thousands more residents have voluntarily left their homes due to life-threatening levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas spewing from vents in the volcanic fissures.

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Prosecutors want hearing on revoking Roger Stone’s bail after he posted right-wing propaganda despite gag order

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Roger Stone may have violated his gag order with Instagram postings and federal prosecutors want a hearing for a judge to consider modifying the conditions of his release from jail pending trial.

"On or about June 18 and 19, 2019, the defendant posted to Instagram and Facebook, commenting about this case and inviting news organizations to cover the issue," prosecutors said in a filing the day after the most recent posting.

Stone is a longtime political advisor to Donald Trump.

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Apple says US tariffs on China would backfire

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Apple is warning the US administration that proposed tariffs on Chinese imports would be counterproductive, saying they would hurt the iPhone maker's competitiveness and "tilt the playing field" to non-American rivals.

In comments filed this week to the US Trade Representative, Apple said the tariff proposal by President Donald Trump would hurt Apple's ability to compete and also end up reducing the tech giant's contributions to the US economy in taxes and investments.

The Apple comments dated June 17 noted that the company is the largest US corporate taxpayer and also is on track to invest some $350 billion in the country over five years.

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Prosecutors debunk right-wing conspiracy theory in new legal smackdown of Roger Stone

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Federal prosecutors debunked a conspiracy theory pushed by the far-right in a new legal brief filed on Thursday.

Longtine Donald Trump political advisor Roger Stone had argued federal investigators relied upon a report from the cyber research firm Crowdstrike to conclude that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee.

That contention, according to federal prosecutors, is "incorrect."

"While the prosecutors did not go into detail, they noted that the investigators gathered evidence of the Russians’ involvement independently, which led to the indictment last year of 12 Russian military officials in connection with the DNC hack," Politico reported.

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