The Polynesian nation of Tonga was rocked Saturday by the massive eruption of an underwater volcano, a seismic event that sent an ash cloud 12 miles high and pushed a 4-foot-high tsunami onto land. Officials are still assessing the damage; tsunami waves reached the western coasts of the Americas, with the blast heard as far away as Alaska, nearly 6,000 miles from Tonga. More than 100,000 people live in the island nation.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano sits about 50 miles north of the main island and reaches more than a mile off the seafloor. The region experiences significant seismic activity—Tonga's archipelago sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area defined by multiple tectonic plate boundaries responsible for 75% of the world's volcanoes and 90% of its earthquakes. In particular, the country resides above the Tonga Trench, where the Pacific Plate is being rapidly pulled westward.
The path to Super Bowl LVI solidified over the weekend, with five of six wild card playoff games being held.
The Cincinnati Bengals were Saturday's top story, beating the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 to secure their first playoff win in 31 years. Later in the evening, the Buffalo Bills dominated the New England Patriots 47-17 in an outdoor night game that featured single-digit temperatures.
In Sunday's action, the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 35-15, while the Dallas Cowboys fell at home to rival the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. In the late game, the Kansas City Chiefs topped the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 in what was likely Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's final game. The Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals face off tonight (8:15 pm ET, ESPN) to close out wild card weekend.
The top-seeded teams in each conference, the Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans, had the weekend off. See an updated playoff bracket here.
Dallas Hostage Standoff
Four people taken hostage were rescued unharmed Saturday after an 11-hour standoff with a gunman inside a Dallas-area synagogue. The suspect was shot and killed in an engagement with responding officers after hostages had been evacuated.
Officials identified the suspect as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British national. Among his demands, Akram reportedly called for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national being held in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison for attempting to kill American officials in Afghanistan. Siddiqui, the first female terrorism defendant arrested after 9/11, has become a cause célèbre for al-Qaida sympathizers who believe her conviction was unjust.
The standoff was reportedly ended after the involvement of the FBI's hostage rescue team, who flew in from Virginia as the situation began to unfold.
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Business & Markets
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Politics & World Affairs
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Historybook: Benjamin Franklin born (1706); Actress Betty White born (1922); Muhammad Ali born (1942); UN Security Council holds its first meeting (1946); HBD Michelle Obama (1964).
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."
- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
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