MOUNT MERAPI in Indonesia continues to rumble. According to German geologists, this is serious: they estimate that there “three times more magma [under Mount Merapi] than what was ejected by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 – the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years”.
Also: American takes out a suspected Palestinian terrorist in Gaza; Beck’s new book (yeah, right); and Olbermann suspended indefinitely.
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Several airlines have suspended flights into Indonesia’s capital Jakarta after Mount Merapi’s worst eruption in a century spewed volcanic ash up to five miles (8km) into the air. The move came as number of people killed by Mount Merapi in the last two weeks climbed to 138 after the volcano unleashed a surge of searing gas yesterday that torched houses and trees and incinerated villagers. Officials at Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and AirAsia fear the ash is a safety threat and could damage aircraft. “The volcanic ash presence in the airways surrounding Jakarta could cause severe damage to our aircraft and engines which could impair the safety of our operations including passengers and crew,” said Azharuddin Osman, director of operations for Malaysia Airlines. The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April forced the closure of most European airports for a week and led to the cancellation of more than 100,000 flights.
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