Indonesia. Mount Kelud on the island Java erupted on Feb. 13 at 10:50 p.m. local time, necessitating the evacuation of 200,000 people. Fierce tremors shook the island and the blast could be heard 80 miles away. There have only been four confirmed fatalities, which resulted from roof collapses. Kelud, a stratovolcano, last erupted in 2007, but it was a small eruption and did not damage any scientific monitoring equipment on the volcano. Prior to the eruption, the Indonesian government issued a warning following an advisory from scientists and evacuated 30,000 people. There was no alert warning issued this year as scientists were not expecting the eruption.
Thailand. After two months of gridlock, riot police reclaimed the besieged Thai government headquarters from protesters without resistance. On Feb. 14, police dispersed occupation camps for the first time after three months of protest against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Government House officials will return to work on Monday, according to Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung. At least 10 people have been killed since the protests began, but police have exercised restraint in moving against protest camps in fear of unleashing more violence. Police have made no arrests.
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United States. The jet stream, which determines weather over Northern Europe and North America, may be changing permanently. A new study suggests that recent warming of the Arctic has caused the jet stream atmospheric system to take a longer, more meandering path across the northern troposphere. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising two to three times faster than the rest of the planet. “This does seem to suggest that weather patterns are changing and people are noticing that the weather in their area is not what it used to be,” Professor Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University said. The new jet stream positioning is responsible for the bitter winter weather gripping the United States in the Midwest and for the storms causing flooding in the United Kingdom. “We can expect more of the same and we can expect it to happen more frequently,” Francis said.