Volcano Shortens Obama's Indonesian Visit

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President Barack Obama has arrived in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation for the second stop of his four-country Asian tour. However, his trip will probably be cut short as the White House is concerned about ash from a volcano a hundred miles away.

The president and First Lady Michelle Obama received a warm welcome in Jarkarta on Tuesday -- the boyhood home of Obama for four years.

Still, the welcome was watered down by news that this trip would end early, because the volcano known as Mount Merapi, is still spewing dangerous ash.

The eruption has killed more than 150 people and has left entire villages caked in gray soot. The ash covers the streets, buildings and withered palm trees.

In the last 100 years, the volcano has killed more than 1,000 people.

The White House is trying to make the most of the president's visit, calling Indonesia a strategic partner -- for their joint efforts in counterterrorism and the potential for greater economic ties.

Administration officials are hoping President Obama can still deliver a scheduled speech on Wednesday so he can underscore the value of democracy and religious tolerance in the world's largest Muslim nation.

The president's tour of Indonesia caps three days in India, which was billed as a trip to seek out jobs.

"I want to be able to say to the American people when they tell me, well, 'Why are you spending time with India, aren't they taking our jobs?'" Obama said. "I want to be able to say, 'Actually you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs.'"

The next leg of his trip takes the president to South Korea and Japan. Yet, China is noticeably absent from the president's itinerary. The tour is widely seen as a way to strengthen Asian ties to counter-balance China's growing influence.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.