Good morning, and happy Monday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Pro-democracy protesters flood streets in Hong Kong again
Protesters rallying for freedoms not available in mainland China took to the streets in Hong Kong again, this time armed with umbrellas and goggles to defend themselves against officials' tear gas. A White House petition urging President Barack Obama to support democracy in Hong Kong and “prevent a second Tiananmen massacre” had 180,000 signatures by early Monday. Crowds that reportedly swelled to more than 80,000 people are largely fighting for voting rights after China last month rejected demands for people to freely choose the city's next leader. Read more in NEWS.
2. Eruption on Japan's Mt. Ontake leaves 36 presumed dead
Rescuers found five more bodies during their search of Mount Ontake, a volcano which erupted without warning. Ten bodies were brought down from the mountain and declared dead, while a remaining 26 are classified as "pulseless," until a doctor can conduct examinations, as per Japanese custom. But emergency crews had to flee the mountain on Monday shortly after finding the bodies because toxic gas levels were too high for them to continue their work. Read more in NEWS.
3. Ashraf Ghani sworn in as Afghan president
Ghani's inauguration, which followed six months of disputed election results, makes him the first democratically elected leader since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban. During his speech at his swearing-in ceremony, Ghani urged the Taliban and other militant groups to "come to talk" to resolve disagreements. Meanwhile, a suicide bomb in the capital and the storming of a police building left at least 16 people dead and 25 injured on inauguration day. Read more in NEWS.
4. Police fear booby traps during hunt for trooper-killer
Authorities searching for Eric Frein, who killed one trooper and injured another more than two weeks ago, shifted their search a bit and believe they have the fugitive contained in a 5-square mile perimeter near his parents' home. But the searchers fear Frein has set booby traps in the dense woods he's possibly hiding in. The man, described as a survivalist with anti-government views, is also believe to be armed with at least one high-powered rifle. Read more in NEWS.
5. Driver of semi that hit college bus says he got distracted
The driver of a semi-truck who skipped a highway median and crashed into a college softball team's bus, killing four women, told investigators he was distracted by something in the cab of the truck when he veered. NTSB investigators say that there are no signs the driver tried to brake before crashing into the bus and off the Oklahoma highway. A vigil for the four teammates from North Central Texas College's softball team who were killed in the crash was held at the school Sunday night. Read more in NEWS.
6. Airstrikes hit grain silo and gas plant in Syria
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said U.S.-led coalition warplanes hit ISIS facilities in Syria overnight. The strikes hit a hit a grain silo as well as the country's largest gas plant. On Saturday and Sunday, twelve strikes carried out against militants in Syria and Iraq targeted an oil refinery, checkpoints and other terrorist-held positions. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr ... Ello? The new social network has been called the "anti-Facebook" because it comes without ads. Does it sound too good to be true? Right now, it might be because the site is in beta mode, but anyone can at least request an invitation. On other social networks, "you are the product that’s bought and sold," Ello's manifesto says. "You are not a product."