Australia and Oceania

Tom Hanks in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus

GOLD COAST, Australia (AFP) — Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for coronavirus while in Australia for a film project, the Oscar-winning US actor said Thursday. Hanks and Wilson, both 63, were in isolation in hospital …

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New Zealand confirms first coronavirus case

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand confirmed its first coronavirus case Friday, saying a recent arrival from Iran who traveled to Auckland via Bali had tested positive. Health officials said the person, aged in their 60s, was being treated …

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Two Australian evacuees from Japan ship have coronavirus

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus, authorities said Friday, raising questions about Japan’s policy of allowing evacuees to return home after testing negative. “We have two people who …

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Bushfire crisis hit 75% of Australians: survey

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Three in four Australians — almost 18 million people — were affected by the country’s deadly bushfire crisis, according to a survey released Tuesday that also pointed to plummeting support for the government and for coal …

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Floods fail to end Australia’s years-long drought

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Heavy rain has given hope to Australia’s drought-stricken regions, but scientists warned Tuesday sustained falls were needed to end a years-long dry spell. Stormy weather has brought days of chaos and destruction in the country’s east, …

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6.2-magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake hit just after 4 pm local …

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Thousands flee severe flooding in New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Severe flooding forced thousands of residents in New Zealand’s South Island to flee their homes on Wednesday and left hundreds of tourists stranded at the remote Milford Sound beauty spot. The Southland region declared a …

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Emergency declared for bushfire-threatened Canberra

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Authorities in Canberra on Friday declared the first state of emergency in almost two decades as a bushfire bore down on the Australian capital. Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Andrew Barr said the measure …

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New Zealand charters flight to assist with Wuhan evacuation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand announced Thursday it will charter a 300-seat aircraft to evacuate nationals from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. There are 53 New Zealanders confirmed to be in …

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Australia heatwave renews bushfire worries

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia was bracing for a heatwave to sweep across the country’s fire-ravaged southeast in the coming days, with the forecast stoking fears the soaring temperatures could inflame bushfires. Temperatures reached above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees …

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Three killed in Australia firefighting plane crash

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Three people were killed when a water-bombing plane crashed southwest of Sydney on Thursday, setting off a “large fireball”, Australian officials said, as bushfires flared across the country’s southeast. New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner …

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Waterbombing plane missing as Australia bushfires flare

by Holly ROBERTSON SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A water-bombing plane was missing and feared to have crashed in Australia’s southeast on Thursday, as firefighters battled a new outbreak of bushfires whipped up by scorching temperatures and strong winds. At least …

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