Australia and Oceania

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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High alert for new Australia bushfires as heat and winds pick up

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australian firefighters are on high alert for the possibility that scorching temperatures and strong winds could whip up new bushfires on Thursday, coming after rain brought welcome respite to fire-ravaged areas. Unprecedented bushfires fuelled by climate …

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Dust storms and giant hail batter bushfire-weary Australia

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — “Apocalyptic” dust storms swept across drought-stricken areas of Australia over the weekend, with thunder and giant hail battering the east coast, as extreme weather patterns collided in the bushfire-fatigued country. The southern city of Melbourne was …

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Threatened species hit hard by Australia’s bushfires

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s bushfires have burned more than half the known habitat of 100 threatened plants and animals, including 32 critically endangered species, the government said Monday. Wildlife experts worry that more than a billion animals have perished …

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Rain hits Australian fires, but blazes still rage

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Heavy rain fell on bushfires in eastern Australia Friday for a second straight day, offering further relief from a months-long crisis, but dozens of blazes remained out of control. This week’s wet weather has given exhausted …

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Fiji opens evacuation centres as Cyclone Tino hits

SUVA, Fiji (AFP) — Fiji opened evacuation centers and warned of “destructive force winds” as Tropical Cyclone Tino took aim at the Pacific island nation on Friday. The Fiji Meteorological Service said the cyclone was approaching from the north and …

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Relief as rain falls over Australian bushfires

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Rain fell across parts of bushfire-ravaged eastern Australia on Thursday and more wet weather was forecast, giving some relief following months of catastrophic blazes fuelled by climate change. The fires, unprecedented for Australia in terms of …

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Relief as rain falls over Australian bushfires

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Rain fell across parts of bushfire-ravaged eastern Australia on Thursday and more wet weather was forecast, giving some relief following months of catastrophic blazes fuelled by climate change. The fires, unprecedented for Australia in terms of …

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New Zealand volcano death toll rises to 20

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — The death toll from the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand has risen to 20, following another death more than a month after the tragedy, police said Monday. The toll includes two people whose …

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