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The President’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday is already one of the most notorious moments in the tortured relations between Washington and Moscow.

Trump’s humiliation is taking its place alongside John Kennedy’s bruising at the hands of Nikita Khrushchev, and George W. Bush staring into Putin’s eyes and getting a sense of his soul.

Like those moments in US-Russia summit lore, the events that unfolded Monday are likely to have significant and unpredictable political and geopolitical reverberations in the United States and around the world.

Trump’s favoring of Putin’s denial of election interference accusations leveled by the US intelligence community was not just the most abject display given by any President overseas, it may be the moment that finally validated claims that Trump prizes his own interests above those of America.

The most obvious question — why did Trump cave so spectacularly to Putin — is likely to remain cloudy going forward, at least unless special counsel Robert Mueller finds evidence the President is beholden to the Russian leader.

But there are going to be profound consequences in Washington and beyond.

Here is what may happen next.

Trump WILL fight back

In 1961, Kennedy emerged from a roughing up by Soviet leader Khrushchev in Vienna and admitted to James Reston of The New York Times that their meeting had been the worst thing in his life.

It’s no surprise that Trump showed no similar self-awareness in a sympathetic interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News on Monday, but Kennedy’s description of his humiliation would be a good summation of the 45th President’s encounter with Putin.

Objectively, Trump has emerged from the summit a diminished figure.

He looked weak. He was obsequious to the stone-faced Russian leader and came across as unprepared and outmatched. He looked as far as it is possible to be from his own self-image as a bullying tough-as-nails dealmaker, the man who boasted at the Republican National Convention in 2016 that “I alone can fix it.”

The myth of Trump as an American strongman may never recover.

The GOP's wrist-slap response to Trump's Russia explosion

It is already clear that the summit is a short-term political disaster for Trump. For a man who jealously guards his image, the mockery will sting and is already provoking the biggest backlash of his presidency.

The President’s former White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci said that Trump needed to launch a damage control effort.
Scaramucci calls on Trump to 'reverse course immediately'

“This is a major mistake … this is not a mistake of words, by the way, this is not a bad PR kerfuffle. This is a mistake of strategy and execution. This is a mistake of thinking and you have your ego involved,” Scaramucci told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”

“He has to speak out about it and reverse course immediately.”

Top Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who normally don’t criticize him, put distance between themselves and Trump.

“The President must appreciate that Russia is not our ally, there is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia,” Ryan said in a written statement.

Even Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, rediscovered his roots as an old Cold Warrior.

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately,” Gingrich tweeted.

Trump tried to clean up his mess in tweets as he flew home across the Atlantic.

“As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people,'” he wrote. “However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past — as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!”

A normal President might rethink his approach to leadership.

It was his hubris and desire to be unchained from his staff that led him to meet Putin alone for nearly two hours in Helsinki — fueling rumors that he is under the Russian leader’s spell. His claim that he was ready for what would be the “easier” leg of his European tour now looks damning. Trump’s confidence that he can wing it through international summits ought to be in tatters — given his failure in Finland and the ballyhooed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month, where the President also seemed outmaneuvered.

More likely, Trump will double down and change the subject. When he’s in a corner, he fights back. Twitter may catch fire on Tuesday.

What will the West do now?

Trump is supposed to be the leader of the free world. But such men don’t kowtow to Russian dictators.

Trump’s performance on Monday followed his blitzkrieg through Europe, in which he split the transatlantic alliance, and insulted allied leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s Theresa May — effectively doing Putin’s work for him.

The debacle in Finland was exactly what America’s friends feared before Trump even left Europe, and it is already beginning to shape their calculations going forward.

“We can no longer completely rely on the White House,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group, according to Reuters.

“To maintain our partnership with the USA we must readjust it.”

Despite Trump’s trolling of US allies over defense spending, the NATO summit last week did take steps to bolster transatlantic defenses and rapid reaction forces. Yet in an alliance built on the principle that an attack on one is an attack on all, the symbolic leadership of the US President is an existential issue. Europe is increasingly nervous.

So it is significant that Maas used the words “White House” rather than the United States — because it reflects how Europeans are increasingly looking for ways to engage Washington through other centers of power rather than through the capricious President.

Beneath the uproar of Trump’s disruptive blast through Europe, strong links remain between the military, business, intelligence agencies and civil society groups on either side of the Atlantic.

Those may be crucial to riding out the Trump storm.

Nicholas Dungan, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who teaches at the prestigious French research university Sciences Po, said it was time for America’s friends in Europe and for the US leadership class — political figures, CEOs, heads of think tanks and universities — to take action.

“Stop wringing your hands … get your act together and start doing things that are going to repair the situation, rather than just sitting around and talking about how bad the situation is with Trump,” he said.

Dungan argued that America’s friends — like French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — need to adopt a dual track approach:

“You need two different policies. You need one policy to the individual Donald Trump, because it’s clear that he doesn’t make the distinction between himself and his office. You need another policy toward the United States of America.”

Putin will draw his own conclusions

The formative moment in Putin’s life came when he watched the evisceration of the Soviet empire from his post in Dresden, East Germany, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

That searing experience nurtured a fierce grievance against the United States, the victor in the Cold War, and a political career dedicated to the reversal of Moscow’s humiliation.

By so comprehensively outpointing the American President in full view of the world — and the viewers back home on state television in Russia — Putin engineered a full circle moment.

“Vladimir Putin pitched a shutout. Trump got beat up in the locker room,” retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a former Fox News analyst, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday, calling the US leader a “disgrace” to the country and the presidency.

US intelligence experts said Putin will take one message from Monday’s events: that Trump is weak and there is no price to be paid for warping US democracy.

“The President missed a prime opportunity to confront Putin face-to-face and assert with some level of forcefulness that we know that you did this and here’s what we are going to do if you don’t stop,” said Richard Ledgett, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency.

The fear now is that Putin will interpret Trump’s solicitous showing in Helsinki as an incentive to come back for more — to try to manipulate the midterm elections in November, or in 2020 with an updated version of the Russian hacking and interference assault that occurred in 2016.

A choice for GOP, Cabinet members, White House staff

Trump’s disaster in Helsinki left everyone who works for him, or supports him, with a choice.

Does it matter that the President refused to stand up for America abroad and chose to align himself with the global political figure who is most hostile to American power, values and historic achievements?

The first officials in the hot seat are the chieftains of the intelligence services, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was personally repudiated by the President in the news conference. Coats had just said last week that the “warning lights are blinking red again” over possible Russian interference in the midterms.

“We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy,” Coats said in a statement after the summit.

But Trump’s behavior raises questions about how top intelligence officials can remain in their posts after being so spectacularly thrown under the bus.

'How bad was that?': Even Trump aides question damage done

After the White House and State Department went dark Monday, unable to explain Trump’s performance, senior officials are also likely to engage in fresh soul searching.

Monday’s events train new scrutiny on top Republicans, who will come under renewed pressure to rein in their President. But this time, as after every previous outrage, it seems unlikely they will take on the political base that never deserts Trump.

“Today’s performance by the President should be a signal to many of those people that it’s time to perhaps say publicly what you say privately in the parlors and restaurants of Washington,” Larry Pfeiffer, the senior director of the Situation Room in the Obama administration, who also served in the CIA under President George W. Bush, said on CNN.



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Houston residents have been warned about a “possible serial killer” on the loose after a rash of attacks in the last week. At a Monday night press conference, police identified the suspect as Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, a parolee who cut off his ankle monitor and is believed to have gone on a killing spree. Rodriguez is suspected of killing a 62-year-old homeowner in Harris County before stealing her car. He then allegedly committed a second and third murder at two mattress stores. Two other people were attacked but survived. Police say Rodriguez is armed and dangerous, and he may be going from door to door in residential areas pretending to be looking for someone. “The sooner we can get him into custody, the sooner we can all breathe better,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday.



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The founder of Papa John’s International Inc. vowed to fight the pizza chain over how it pressed him to step aside for his use of a racial slur, in a controversy that is casting fresh attention on the handling of race issues in corporate America.

John Schnatter last week publicly apologized for using the “N-word” during media training over the phone with a marketing agency, which was intended to prepare him for returning to his role as brand spokesman. Days later, in a letter to the directors reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,…



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WASHINGTON — Too many days this season, Bryce Harper has looked more like a young athlete saddled with a terrible burden than a superstar on the precipice of an adventure. He’s hitting .214. The Washington Nationals are playing below expectations. And his manager, Dave Martinez, recently had to call him in and deliver a reminder of the importance of running out routine ground balls.

Somber, distracted and underachieving are never a good recipe for getting the most out of a free-agent “walk” year.

But the All-Star break can mean a reset for many, and Harper found some welcome sanctuary Monday night with a return to his two favorite places: (1) Nationals Park and (2) launch mode.

The 2018 Home Run Derby took on extra meaning for Harper, who participated in the event as a shoutout to the home crowd in what might be his final season in Washington. For sentimentalists, he brought along his father, Ron, as his designated Derby pitcher.

On the verge of an anticlimactic ending, the Harpers began a furious comeback with a nod and some family karma. Down 18-9 to Kyle Schwarber in the final round, Bryce went deep nine times in a span of 10 swings to tie it at the end of regulation. Then he drove the second pitch of bonus time over the fence in center field to win the thing, and all sorts of raw emotions came flooding to the surface.

As magenta steamers rained down from high above the stands behind home plate, Harper walked triumphantly down the first-base line with his bat raised high above his head. Then teammates Sean Doolittle and Max Scherzer came out and handed him the Home Run Derby trophy, and Martinez lifted him off the ground in a mammoth bear hug. It was a moment of sweet relief and unbridled joy in a season with too many negative undertones.

“It’s unbelievable,” Harper said. “We have some of the best fans in baseball, and to be able to do that with my family out there, that’s an incredible moment — not only for me, but for the organization and Nationals fans. I’m very blessed and humbled.”

The narrative is now familiar to fans who enjoy a side of economic intrigue with their baseball. The number $400 million has routinely been bandied around as a free-agent target for Harper, but it is mentioned less frequently these days, when his 23 home runs are offset by 102 strikeouts and a .187 batting average since the start of May. When Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, makes the case that his numbers are deceiving because defensive shifts are “discriminatory” to left-handed hitters, it’s a sign of how much ground he has to cover in the second half.

While Harper struggles, Manny Machado is having a more productive season in Baltimore and laying an early claim to the bigger payday in the offseason. The Nationals are 5½ games behind first-place Philadelphia and five back of second-place Atlanta in the National League East, and they’re going to have to pick up their play considerably to avoid being one of 2018’s colossal disappointments.

“I’m very serious on the field. I’m a very serious player. But off the field, I’m the kid you saw out there tonight.”

Bryce Harper

Harper didn’t give much thought to using the Home Run Derby as a springboard to better things. He participated more out of a sense of obligation to the fans and stadium workers who have supported him since he joined the Nationals as a 19-year-old phenom in 2012.

“One of my favorite things is walking in and seeing the workers and really having that relationship with them,” Harper said. “It’s the security guy up front or the guy that works the parking lot. Those are the relationships that you love.

“I’m very serious on the field. I’m a very serious player. But off the field, I’m the kid you saw out there tonight. This wasn’t only for me and my family, but for the cook and the guy that works out front and the people that work upstairs. It was for the whole city of D.C.”

By Home Run Derby standards, the 2018 field lacked the prototypical star power. Three of the participants — Rhys Hoskins, Max Muncy and Schwarber — have yet to make an All-Star team, and Alex Bregman, Jesus Aguilar and Javier Baez are making their All-Star debuts this year. That left Harper and Freddie Freeman as the marquee entrants, and they were pitted against each other in the first round.

Harper came adorned in patriotic garb from head to toe — from his striped bandana to his red, white and blue compression sleeve and wrist band to his color-coordinated socks. His bat even came in patriotic colors and bore the inscription “We the People” on the barrel.

Harper fed off the crowd of 43,698 and eliminated Freeman and Muncy by identical scores of 13-12 in the first two rounds. By the time his turn came around in the final, the event had ascended to full-fledged baseball theatre. A camera caught Harper skipping down the runway and bounding up the steps like Rocky Balboa, and the crowd erupted when he emerged to take aim at Schwarber.

The outlook was grim when Ron Harper struggled to find the sweet spot and his son appeared out of sync with his swing. But with time running out, they suddenly flipped the switch and traveled back in time to Bryce Harper’s youth in Las Vegas. The comeback was a testament to personal pride and muscle memory.

“He came through,” Ron Harper said. “He did great, so I’m really proud of him. I love him to death, man. He’s a great kid. You couldn’t ask for anything better.”

During the post-Derby news conference, Bryce Harper marveled at how “cool” the championship trophy is and expressed his gratitude to share the experience with his dad on the mound and his mom agonizing over every swing from the stands. The Home Run Derby has been around since 1985, and Harper, Ryne Sandberg and Todd Frazier are the only players to win the event in their home parks.

Harper fell short only when asked if he had won any other home run competition in his lifetime. He answered no, but his father set the record straight.

“Bryce has played in a lot of tournaments, and there’s one in Cooperstown at Dreams Park,” Ron Harper said. “There’s a 12-year-old home run contest, and he won it at age 11. The King of Swat, I think it’s called. I told him, ‘You were that guy tonight.'”

As MLB’s 2018 home run champion can attest, it’s good to be the king. But he doesn’t have to be the second coming of Babe Ruth. If Bryce Harper rediscovered a little bit of himself on Monday, the Home Run Derby will have more than served its purpose.





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Craig Challen and Richard HarrisImage copyright
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

Image caption

Craig Challen (L) and Richard Harris are both experienced divers

Two Australian divers who helped rescue 12 boys from a flooded cave in Thailand will receive civilian honours, PM Malcolm Turnbull says.

Mr Turnbull confirmed the as yet unspecified honours would be awarded to Richard Harris, an anaesthetist, and Craig Challen, a vet.

The men entered the Tham Luang cave as part of the international rescue. Dr Harris helped give medical assessments.

It embodied “every Australian value we hold dear”, Mr Turnbull said.

Dr Harris was one of the last rescuers to emerge from the cave after three days of the mission to extract the Wild Boars football team and their coach last week.

He and Dr Challen, both experienced divers, helped move the boys out of the cave.

“That is one of the most extraordinary acts of heroism, professionalism, discipline [and] teamwork,” Mr Turnbull told local radio 3AW, as he also gave praise to all involved.

Diplomatic immunity

Thai authorities have paid tribute Dr Harris for his crucial medical role in the operation.

On Monday, they also confirmed that Dr Harris, Dr Challen and another Australian medical professional had been granted diplomatic immunity in the event that the mission went wrong.

“We knew there were risks involved in this mission… so there was an understanding reached between the Thai government and the Australian government,” Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told Reuters.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Dr Harris (depicted centre) and other rescuers have been hailed as heroes in Thailand

Dr Harris told reporters last week: “[There were] some moments of significant fear, I have to say, and then a great result and some really joyous moments to finish.”

However the moment was “bittersweet” after he learned his father had died shortly after the rescue’s completion.

Nearly 45,000 people have signed an online petition calling for him to be awarded Australia’s most prestigious bravery honour, the Cross of Valour.

The Australian pair and other divers, including a former Thai Navy Seal who died in the operation, have been lauded around the world.

The Wild Boars had spent nine days in the cave with little food or light when British divers first reached them on 2 July.

The boys, aged 11-16, and their coach, have been recovering in hospital. They are expected to be discharged on Thursday.



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Stephen Colbert basked in the applause of his studio audience on Monday night.

“Thank you for that. I need that tonight in ways I don’t always need it, because today has shaken me to my core,” Colbert confessed. “And I don’t think I need to point out that, at 54, there’s not a lot of core left.”

Colbert wasn’t the only late-night host who was incredulous over the day’s events — specifically, the news conference with President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump sided with Putin and dismissed U.S. intelligence agencies that said Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Everyone had thoughts — here are just some of the topics that Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers all mocked.

Trump’s defense of Putin interfering with the election: “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Noah: “Really? You don’t see any reason not to trust Vladimir Putin? The man was a top KGB spy . . . You can’t trust this man! On the list of people to never trust, Putin is between WebMD and the mom from ‘Get Out.’”

Colbert: “You don’t see any reason? Do you own a mirror? Because after throwing your intelligence community under the bus, you threw it in reverse and turned them into road burger.”

Kimmel: “Well, I guess that settles it. There you go. If you’re wondering whether or not Vladimir Putin has an incriminating video of Donald Trump, we now know beyond a treasonable doubt he does. This wasn’t a good day for Donald Trump. We haven’t seen an American so owned by a Russian since ‘Rocky IV.’”

Fallon: “Sure. If Putin told you, it must be true.”

Meyers: “Can someone get Trump a glass of water? Cause he thirsty. It’s only a matter of weeks before he ‘Single White Females’ Putin.”

When Trump said, “I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish.”

Colbert: “Yeah, we’re all to blame. Trump sounds just like FDR after Pearl Harbor.” (Fake FDR voice: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941: a date for which both countries are to blame. I mean, if we didn’t want to be attacked, why did we have those sexy battleships in our big juicy harbor?”)

Noah: “Now, in Trump’s defense, he has a good point. Sure, on the one hand, Russia messed with the U.S. by meddling in their elections. But on the other hand, America held elections. So they were asking for it.”

The idea that Putin is in charge of Trump.

Meyers: “President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a one-on-one meeting today that lasted over two hours. Ugh, poor Trump! That is a long time to hang out with your boss.”

Noah: “When they set up this meeting last month, no one knew what it was meant to be about . . . maybe it was just going to be Trump going in to see Putin for his annual performance review.”

Fallon: “The big story is that today President Trump met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Finland. Trump was pretty nervous. Which makes sense, because most people are nervous when meeting their boss.”

Kimmel: “Today was maybe the strangest of all 542 bizarre days of Donald Trump’s reign of error . . . The president of the United States today publicly sided with Russia over our own FBI on the subject of cyberattacks on our election campaign. Trump had a meeting today with his KGBFF, Vladimir Putin.”

Colbert: (Plays video of Trump saying, “You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server — why didn’t they take the server?”) “We know where the server is. He’s standing right next to the master.”

When Trump said that Putin was “extremely strong and powerful in his denial,” and offered to have his intelligence agents investigate the 12 Russian operatives indicted on charges that they hacked the Democrats during the election.

Noah: “So Putin offered to help investigate his own crime? And President Art of the Deal says, ‘What an incredible offer!’ . . . This what you get when you put a KGB agent up against a KFC agent.”

Kimmel: “Putin’s just having fun with this now. He actually offered to have his intelligence agents investigate the hacking of our election. That’s like Papa John offering to investigate who’s been saying all the racist stuff at the company.”

Reactions from cable news anchors, such as, “I think that press conference was the single most embarrassing performance by an American president on the world stage that I’ve ever seen.”

Noah: “The most embarrassing performance by an American president. Do you know how hard it is to achieve that? George H.W. Bush once threw up on the Japanese prime minister, and Trump is now on top.”

Fallon: “After the press conference, CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News slammed Trump for his performance. Trump said he shouldn’t jump to any conclusions until we hear what Cartoon Network has to say.”

Colbert: “Wow. Those are the worst reviews I’ve seen since Titanic. And I don’t mean the movie. ‘One star. I drowned. Great band, though.’”

Read more:

Why the Dixie Chicks are in the spotlight after the Trump-Putin news conference

President Trump’s news conference with Russia’s Putin, annotated

Perspective | After a stunning news conference, there’s a newly crucial job for the American press





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Updated Jul 17, 2018 12:56 PM EDT

HOUSTON — A man suspected in three fatal shootings has been arrested in Houston. Authorities say 46-year-old Jose Gilberto Rodriguez was taken into custody Tuesday.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez have said Rodriguez is wanted in connection with three killings since Friday. Gonzalez described Rodriguez as a possible serial killer.

Gonzalez told reporters that Rodriguez was arrested after a “brief vehicle pursuit.”

A sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle around 6:15 a.m., Gonzalez said. While searching the area, the sheriff’s deputy saw a vehicle that matched the description of what Rodriguez was believed to be driving, and Rodriguez was in the vehicle.

“It’s possible that he was casing the neighborhood in search of his next victim,” Gonzalez told reporters.

A chase ensued for around 15 minutes, and Rodriguez was taken into custody without incident at around 7 a.m., Gonzalez said.

A handgun was found in the vehicle, which police say was stolen from one of Rodriguez’s victims.

Rodriguez was known to frequent the Cypress Fairbanks area where he was apprehended, Gonzalez said.

“We knew that this was one of the areas that he had targeted before, obviously the proximity to other victims, and so we’ve been out in high alert out here,” the sheriff said.

Rodriguez is suspected in the shooting death of 62-year-old Pamela Johnson in her Cypress-area home Friday. CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports that Johnson was a widow who liked to read the Bible and surprise neighbors with homemade cookies.

Rodriguez is also suspected in the killing of 28-year-old Allie Barrow inside a mattress store in Houston on Saturday and the fatal shooting of a man inside another mattress store in Houston on Monday.

Rodriguez also is a suspect in the robbery, shooting and wounding of a metro bus driver on Monday and a home invasion robbery on July 9, investigators said.

Gonzalez has said there were “strong indications in each crime” that Rodriguez was involved but declined to elaborate. Authorities have not released further details of the crimes, such as the motive behind each act and whether the victims were randomly chosen.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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A California cleaning woman was left clinging to life Monday morning after she was attacked by a large swarm of bees that “covered her from head to toe,” in an attack so severe, rescuers skipped protocol during their response. 

The woman, who is in her mid-50s, was stung hundreds of times by the large swarm outside a Southern California home.

“When you get somebody stung hundreds of times, [bees] injecting that venom, you’re gonna have a serious issue,” Fire Capt. Tony Bommarito told NBC Los Angeles. “Anybody, allergy or not, is gonna be in serious condition after that.”

Orange County fire officials said four firefighters also were stung at the Lake Forest home. She was reportedly attacked when she went out to her car to get something from the trunk. The hive was hidden by bushes.

“Basically, she was literally covered from head to toe,” Bommarrito told NBC Los Angeles. “Her face was completely covered with bees.”

Another first responder told the outlet that the bees were clustered on the woman, and said she “had them on her face, around her mouth, around her ears, her neck and her hair.”

First responders did not put on protective gear before grabbing a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher and using it on the bees. A few firefighters were stung in the process, including two who were hospitalized.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.





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And more than two months later, Kilauea is still erupting.

On Monday, a lava bomb — a flying chunk of molten rock — struck a tour boat, injuring 23 people. Thirteen of the injured were treated at the hospital, and at least one woman was in serious condition, authorities said.

Here’s a look at how the volcano has been affecting the area over the past few months.

So far, 706 homes have been destroyed, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Rivers of lava blazed paths into neighborhoods, swallowing homes and burying them in what now looks like a sea of black. In the communities of Vacationland and Kapoho, lava decimated hundreds of homes.

The volcano has caused two dozen fissures to crack the Earth’s surface open, purging fountains of lava and dangerous sulfur dioxide. Jagged cracks emerged on critical roads and even under homes, rendering them uninhabitable.

About 12.5 square miles of land have been covered with lava since the eruption began more than two months ago, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency says.

Residents are stressed about housing and their businesses

Mandatory evacuations are still in place for residents of Leilani Estates, according to CNN affiliate KHON. The community of about 1,500 people has been besieged by earthquakes, fissures and lava eruptions.
Residents in affected areas have had to stay at the two shelters open to lava evacuees or find other places to stay. About 20 microshelters, consisting of tiny homes in Pahoa, were built for residents displaced by the lava, reported KHON.

Some evacuees who’ve been able to return to their homes have been frustrated to find that looters have ransacked them in the weeks they’ve had to stay away.

Nat Tomaselli, a longtime resident, told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now that he returned to find that his furniture, refrigerator, bedroom sets and even his solar panels had been stolen. He had to evacuate when the lava crept close to his property several weeks ago.

“I can’t believe they did this,” Tomaselli told the station, through tears. “They tore my place apart. I’m missing all my beds.”

Many of the residents have also been grappling with loss of income, as their businesses and farms have been disrupted by the eruption.

The lava has added new land to the Big Island

The island is on the  northernmost part of the ocean entry.

The lava has already physically changed the Big Island in several ways. The lava flow has added 690 acres of new land, USGS tweeted.

Part of the lava flow extended underwater away from the coastline, creating a tiny new island, the United States Geological Survey said. The agency thinks underwater pressure pushed the lava flow to the surface.
In June, lava completely filled Kapoho Bay — shocking residents and visitors who had frequented the area for its tide pools, snorkeling and picnics. The scenic bay that had been dotted with beach homes and lush greens had turned into a dark slab of steam and lava. Now the lava flow extends from what used to be the bay, in what is now a 3.7 mile wide flow into the ocean.
Also in June, the lava flow evaporated Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake within a few hours. Green Lake, which had been a popular swimming spot that had once reached about 200 feet deep, is now filled with lava.

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.



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LOS ANGELES — A self-described beachcomber says it was her luckiest find yet: A woman who survived a 250-foot car plunge off a cliff and a week stranded on a remote California beach.

“We freakin’ love that beach and we’re so glad she’s alive,” Chelsea Moore said Monday as she described the afternoon last Friday when she and her husband found 23-year-old Angela Hernandez of Portland.

Hernandez had been driving to her sister’s home in Lancaster, near Los Angeles, on July 6 when a small animal crossed in front of her, causing her to swerve and lose control of her car, she wrote from her hospital bed Sunday in a Facebook account.

“The only thing I really remember after that was waking up,” Hernandez wrote. “I was still in my car and I could feel water rising over my knees. My head hurt and when I touched it, I found blood on my hands.”

Hernandez said she broke a window of her car, jumped into the ocean and swam ashore. She fell asleep on the beach and realized what had happened after she woke up.

Moore, 34, and her husband Chad, 31, of Morro Bay were camping above an oceanside cliff in the rugged Big Sur area of Monterey County when they decided to climb down a cliff to a remote beach to find some good surfing and fishing spots — and a little adventure.

“We’re avid beachcombers. We get excited about sea glass and abalone shells,” Moore said.

Instead, they came on a car bumper and a short time later spotted a rusty and wrecked Jeep. Nobody was in it.

The couple took the license plate to show authorities. They also saw items scattered around that they also collected, among them, a poster for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, Moore said.

“In my head, I thought that maybe someone had died and we would give these items to the next of kin,” she said. “We both agreed that there weren’t survivors.”

But just in case, they walked further along the beach.

After another quarter-mile, the Moores heard a cry for help, and then another.

Then they saw Hernandez.

“She was really happy and she wasn’t sure we were real,” Moore said. “She told us we were the first people she had seen in days but she didn’t know how many days exactly. We told her we were going to help her and get her off that beach.”

Hernandez had two black eyes and burst blood vessels in her eyes.

“Her clothes were in tatters. Her socks were in scraps” and she was shoeless, Moore said. “She was very wet. At high tide there’s no beach. She said sometimes she’d been sleeping and she’d wake up at night with waves smacking her.”

“I found a high spot I was able to climb up to and found myself there almost every day,” Hernandez wrote. “I could see cars driving across the cliff and felt like if I could yell just loud enough, that one could hear or see me. That’s all it would take to make it back to my family. Just one person noticing me.”

By the third day, she made her way back to her wrecked car, found a 10-inch radiator hose and eventually used it and her hands to collect water.

Hernandez said she developed a daily ritual of walking the beach in search of new high ground, screaming for help at the top of her lungs and collecting fresh water.

Everything changed on Friday, when Hernandez woke up and saw a woman walking across the shore.

“I thought it was a dream,” Hernandez wrote.

While her husband stayed with Hernandez, Moore raced and sloshed her way through water and poison oak, scrambled up a rugged cliff trail to the top to get help from the camp’s host and brought back down a pack of food and clothing.

“She chose a peanut butter granola bar. We wrapped her in blankets…tried to keep her comfortable and talking.”

Hours later, rescuers were able to take Hernandez back up the cliff and helicopter her to a hospital.

“We’re just really lucky beachcombers,” Chelsea said. “She’s the hero.”

Moore and her husband spoke to Hernandez and her sister by phone in the hospital on Sunday night.

“She told us she wants to name her kids after us,” Chelsea said. “We’re like equally in awe of each other. It’s kind of cool.”

___

Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





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