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If you’re still wondering what that “presidential alert” was all about, here’s what you need to know.
Meanwhile, Republicans are rushing the Kavanaugh vote as the FBI probe wraps up, and a volcanic eruption strikes Indonesia only days after twin natural disasters.
Awaiting the probe
- Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford’s names are not on the list of people the White House provided for the FBI to interview for its ongoing investigation into Kavanaugh. [CNN / Evan Perez, Ariane de Vogue, and Phil Mattingly]
- And the FBI has not contacted more than 40 sources who may provide additional information on the Supreme Court nominee, including Kavanaugh’s roommate at the time of Ford’s alleged assault and a former close friend of Deborah Ramirez, who’s accused Kavanaugh of misconduct. [NBC News / Leigh Ann Caldwell and Heidi Przybyla]
- Still, the probe is expected to wrap up as early as Wednesday night. Remember: This is a background check, not a standard criminal investigation. [Time / Abby Vesoulis]
- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday that the White House let the Senate determine the scope of the probe, as they’ll be the ones deciding on Kavanaugh’s nomination. [Vox / Li Zhou]
- Senate Republicans are urging full speed ahead on the vote, given that the narrow 51-49 lead of the majority party jeopardizes Kavanaugh’s shot at being confirmed. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the “feeding frenzy” of the hearings and reiterated his intention to put a vote on the floor by Friday. [AFP]
- Kavanaugh’s fate ultimately rests in the hands of three key Republican figures — Arizona’s Jeff Flake, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, and Maine’s Susan Collins — who may swing either way on the vote. [Washington Post / John Wagner and Seung Min Kim]
- All three figures, along with Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, are expected to vote the same way, whether that’s for or against the confirmation. [Burgess Everett / Twitter]
An earthquake, a tsunami, now a volcano
- A volcano erupted Wednesday on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the same island that was struck five days ago by a tsunami and an earthquake that killed more than 1,400 people. [AP / Eileen Ng]
- Mount Soputan spewed a ray of ash more than 19,700 feet into the sky; evacuations were ordered for residents living in near proximity of the volcano. [USA Today / Kim Hjelmgaard]
- So far, no casualties have been reported from the eruption, though the death toll from last week’s twin natural disasters is rising and many people remain unaccounted for. [Guardian / Kezia Tewuh]
- A geophysicist told the Associated Press that volcanic eruptions in Indonesia are not surprising since the Southeast Asian nation sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a seismically active area. [AP / Eileen Ng]
- Residents of Palu, the city hit hardest by the events, are still desperate for aid, raiding cars in search for food and medicine. Locals are also concerned about possible aftershocks. [NYT / Adam Dean, Hannah Beech, and Richard C. Paddock]
- Silence of the Lambs author Thomas Harris, who created the legendary character of Hannibal Lecter, is set to publish his first book in 13 years in 2019. [Guardian / Sian Cain]
- British Prime Minister Theresa May shimmied on stage to Abba like a true “Dancing Queen” at a Conservative Party conference Wednesday, before discussing issues related to Brexit. [Washington Post / William Booth and Karla Adam]
- Netflix just signed a multi-year deal with the C.S. Lewis Company to produce a reimagined version of The Chronicles of Narnia books into a new series and several film projects. [Variety / Joe Otterson]
- If you lack the means to properly communicate the concepts of llamas, bagels, and cupcakes to your friends and family, fret not: Apple is adding 70 new emoji to your keyboard with the upcoming iOS 12.1 update. [USA Today / Eli Blumenthal]
“I think I was so nervous to have a surrogate and to have that connection that God was like, ‘I’m going to make her look just like you.’” [Kim Kardashian West, appearing on Ashley Graham’s new podcast, credits divine intervention for the reason her youngest daughter, Chicago, takes after her / People]
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The US is tearing up a friendship treaty with Iran you probably didn’t know existed
Trump’s mockery of Christine Blasey Ford perpetuates rape culture