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    Major volcano erupts in Indonesia

    (AP) A volcano on a tropical island in northeastern Indonesia exploded in a major eruption Thursday, hurling stones and spewing smoke. Warnings of more blasts kept thousands of villagers away from their homes on the mountainside.

    Vulcanologists have expected a big eruption of Mount Awu on Sangihe Island since last week, and the nearly 12,000 people living around the mountain had been evacuated to a nearby town. There were no reports of injuries in Thursday's blast.

    ``We cannot predict when it will end since many smaller blasts and aftershocks continue to occur,'' said Syamsul Rizal, the vulcanologist.

    It was the second volcanic eruption in Indonesia this week. On Tuesday, two hikers were killed by an eruption of Mount Bromo, a volcano popular with tourists on the eastern end of Java island.

    Thursday's explosion at Mount Awu, 1,350 miles northeast of Jakarta, threw up rocks near the volcano crater and spewed smoke 9,900 feet into the air, but there was no lava flow, Rizal said.