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News Wrap: Erupting volcano in the Philippines forces residents from their homes

In our news wrap Monday, a volcano in the Philippines is erupting, forcing thousands of people from their homes. The Taal volcano is spewing lava about 40 miles south of Manila, the capital. Also, China is condemning Taiwanese separatists after pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide reelection Saturday. Beijing’s top diplomat said the group will “leave a stink for 10,000 years.”

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The U.S. Senate returned to work, waiting to begin the impeachment trial of President Trump.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now expected to transmit the articles of impeachment this week. She had held out, as Democrats pressed Senate Republicans to call witnesses. Today, party leaders in the Senate stuck to their positions.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    The Senate was never going to pre-commit ourselves to redoing the prosecutors' homework for them, and we were never going to allow the speaker of the House to dictate Senate proceedings to senators.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    When Leader McConnell talks about precedent, he's talking about witnesses, plain and simple. So the Democratic request for four fact witnesses and three specific sets of relevant documents is very much in line with our history.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will look ahead to the impending trial after the news summary.

    New Jersey Senator Cory Booker suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination today. He said he could not raise the funds to continue.

    Booker's exit leaves a dozen Democrats still running.

    China is condemning Taiwanese separatists, after pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide reelection on Saturday. Beijing's top diplomat said today that the separatists will — quote — "leave a stink for 10,000 years." China claims Taiwan as a maverick province.

    In Australia, wildfire conditions eased somewhat, after a weekend of extreme winds and heat. Drone video showed charred bushland destroyed homes and the empty husks of cars in Victoria state. And the wildfire death toll reached 28.

    A volcano in the Philippines began spewing lava today, forcing thousands of people from their homes. The Taal volcano is erupting about 40 miles south of Manila, the capital.

    Jane Deith of Independent Television News narrates our report.

  • Jane Deith:

    Taal is one of the Philippines' smallest, but most explosive volcanoes. It sits on an island in a lake created by a bigger volcano. The ash has risen so high, it's created its own weather, including lightning.

    And this morning, the first lava went up, leading scientists to warn there could be an explosive eruption within the next few hours or days.

    People have been leaving an eight-mile-danger zone, families, with babies in arms, and bleary-eyed children, most of them heading for Manila, 45 miles away.

  • Man (through translator):

    We're evacuating. We have left all of our belongings.

  • Man (through translator):

    When the volcano emitted steam, we ran away. The road was crowded. Thick ash and pebbles were falling.

  • Jane Deith:

    Morning revealed ashen countryside, homes blanketed by dust. There are fears of toxic gas and, if there should be an explosive mix of magma and water, the volcano could rain down shards of glass.

    Around 16,000 people have been evacuated so far. The president has promised to visit the area tomorrow. The fear is, these are the first signs of a violent eruption, like that in 1965. Then, the Taal volcano killed hundreds. They died as they slept.

    This time, the authorities want to get everyone to a safe distance, from which to watch and wait.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from Jane Deith of Independent Television News.

    At least 54 people are dead across Afghanistan and Pakistan after winter storms brought heavy snow and flash floods. Southwestern Baluchistan province in Pakistan was hardest hit, when snow closed roads and collapsed roofs. Authorities in both countries struggled today to clear roads and move people to safety.

    Back in this country, recovery efforts are under way after severe weather swept the Midwest and the South, killing 11 people. Roads, cars and homes in Southeastern Oklahoma were nearly submerged by flooding rain. And tornadoes leveled homes in Alabama and South Carolina.

    Meanwhile, the East had record January heat. It was 72 degrees in Boston on Sunday.

    Twenty-one Saudi Arabian military trainees in the U.S. are being sent home after last month's shooting at a Navy base in Pensacola, Florida. Another Saudi student killed three people before being killed himself. The FBI reported today that none of the others knew of the attack in advance, but many had contact with child pornography and jihadist material.

    U.S. Attorney General William Barr presented the findings at a news conference in Washington.

  • William Barr:

    This was an act of terrorism. The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology.

    During the course of the investigation, we learned that the shooter posted a message on September 11 of this year stating, "The countdown has begun."

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Barr says the Saudis cooperated fully with the investigation.

    Major League Baseball's Houston Astros fired their manager and general manager today in a cheating scandal. That came after the league suspended both men for all of next season. It found that the Astros stole signs opposing catchers make to pitchers in 2017, when they won the World Series and again in 2018.

    We will get the details later in the program.

    In economic news, the United States has stopped officially branding China as a currency manipulator. The Trump administration announced the step today ahead of signing a trade deal with China on Wednesday.

    And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 83 points to close at 28907. The Nasdaq rose 95 points. And the S&P 500 was up 22.

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