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Residents flee after Papua New Guinea volcano erupts

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Papua New Guinea’s volatile Ulawun volcano erupted early Tuesday, sending a column of red lava shooting up into the sky and forcing the evacuation of recently returned residents.

Mount Ulawan, situated on the remote Bismarck Archipelago chain, displaced between 7,000 and 13,000 people from their homes when it last erupted in June.

Seismic activity started at midday on Monday before the volcano erupted at about 4:30am Tuesday, according to Rabaul Volcano Observatory assistant director Ima Itikarai.

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“It was noiseless and in the dark just before dawn; the eruption was visible (with) a distinct shard (of) red incandescent glow shooting up less than 100 metres from the base,” he told AFP.

As light dawned, billowing clouds of grey ash could be seen rising several hundred metres into the sky, he said, while local Chris Lagisa said residents could hear the noise of gushing gas and flowing lava.

While most people affected by the previous eruption had remained at evacuation centres, an official with the West New Britain Disaster Office said a number who had returned to tend to their homes and gardens at the base of the volcano had to be evacuated again.

The volcano is one of the world’s most hazardous, featuring on a list of 16 “Decade Volcanoes” targeted for research because they pose a significant risk of large, violent eruptions.

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Trump is desperately cherry-picking portions of Sondland’s testimony to ignore the bombshells: CNN correspondent

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins noted how President Donald Trump is desperately trying to focus on the narrow portions of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony that put him in a good light — and ignoring the trove of damning new information against him.

"[Sondland] makes it clear, absolutely, totally discarding what the president and his allies are saying for weeks," said anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"What the White House [is] relying on, and what the president was reading from earlier, was the conversation where he had called the president to ask if there was a quid pro quo, and he said the president got angry and said there was not one and that he didn't want anything from Ukraine," said Collins. "What they are ignoring is what he started his testimony with today, that yes, in relation to the aid to the White House — to the White House call and the White House meeting, there was a quid pro quo. And we should note there has still been no White House meeting for the Ukrainian leader."

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Republican analyst thinks the House Republicans are ‘setting up’ Mick Mulvaney to be the fall-guy for Trump

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Republicans were caught off-guard this morning when their key witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, started outing key administration officials, as well as the president and vice president, for the bribery efforts with Ukraine.

Republican strategist Amanda Carpenter noted that she doesn't care what White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham is spinning and twisting.

"What I saw today was he's trying to draw a distinction between the quid pro quo between the White House visits and the aid," Carpenter said. "He owns up to the fact, yeah, we held up the White House visits for the investigations. He doesn't deny that. But every time the discussion got to the money, [he] didn't want to hear anything about this."

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Trump aides and GOP lawmakers ‘freaking out’ after being ‘blindsided’ by Gordon Sondland’s testimony

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Allies of President Donald Trump are "freaking out" after the damning testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, CNN's Jim Acosta reported Wednesday.

The administration had been caught flat-footed by Sondland's testimony.

"White House lawyers pressed in recent days to learn from Sondland’s legal team what the ambassador would tell Congress about the president and claims of a “quid pro quo” in his much-anticipated testimony today," The Washington Post reported Wednesday. "Sondland’s lawyers declined however to provide the White House with an early peek into the account that this key impeachment witness would give lawmakers about his interactions with the president."

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