Bali volcano emits wispy

plume of steam, flights resume

KARANGASEM, Indonesia (AP) — Gushing ash from Bali’s Mount Agung volcano has dissipated into a wispy plume of steam, and Australian airlines that canceled some flights to the Indonesian resort island on the weekend have returned to near-normal schedules.

Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said Monday the volcano remains at its highest alert level but most of Bali is safe for tourists.

The exclusion zone around the volcano still extends 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater in some directions. More than 55,000 people are living in shelters.

Airlines Jetstar and Virgin Australia, which canceled flights over the weekend even as the ash cloud shrank dramatically, said they were resuming services Monday.

The region’s volcanic ash monitoring center in Darwin, Australia, has stopped issuing advisories for Agung, reflecting that it’s currently posing no threat to aircraft. It would resume advisories if there’s another eruption.

Tens of thousands of tourists were stranded when ash closed Bali’s international airport for nearly three days last week.

United States, South Korea start

massive air force drills

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea have started their biggest-ever joint air force exercise with hundreds of aircrafts including two dozen stealth jets.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Monday the five-day drill called Vigilant Ace will improve their capabilities in wartime.

The U.S. 7th Air Force deployed major strategic military assets including six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the regular exercise in the Korean Peninsula. About 12,000 U.S. military personnel are participating.

It takes places a week after North Korea test-launched its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile that puts most of the U.S. within range.

On Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham said it is time for U.S. military families in South Korea to leave the country because the conflict with North Korea is getting close.

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