Australia and Oceania

Wild weather hits South Australia after mass blackout

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — South Australia braced for a second night of severe weather Thursday, with tens of thousands of homes still without power after “catastrophic” storms knocked out supply to the entire population. The total blackout caused chaos and …

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Orphaned baby Koala finds fluffy toy friend

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — An orphaned baby koala in Australia has found solace cuddling a fluffy toy marsupial in the absence of his mother as he recovers from the trauma of her death.  Nine-month-old Shayne’s mother was recently hit …

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6.0-magnitude quake hits off Solomon Islands

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A 6.0-magnitude quake hit off the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, officials said, but Australian seismologists said it was unlikely to generate a tsunami. The quake hit some 88 kilometers (54 miles) west of the capital Honiara …

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MH370 ‘debris’ handed to Australian agency

CANBERRA, Australia (AFP) – An American amateur investigator handed possible debris from missing flight MH370 to Australian officials Monday and said several pieces were blackened by flames, raising the prospect of a flash fire onboard. Mystery has surrounded the fate …

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Chinese boats face huge fines for illegal fishing off Guinea

CONAKRY, Guinea (AFP) — Two Chinese vessels face huge fines after being caught fishing illegally in Guinea’s waters, including one fine of up to $3.4 million, the country’s fishing minister said Thursday, as west Africa attempts to crack down on …

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Tsunami but no damage after powerful 7.1 quake jolts New Zealand

  WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — The east coast of New Zealand was hit by a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake before dawn Friday, generating a small tsunami, but officials said there was no significant damage or injuries. A swarm of aftershocks, …

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Deep 6.7 quake off Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) –A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, officials said, but no Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued. The tremor was estimated at a depth of close to 500 kilometers (around 300 miles) some 900 kilometres …

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Kidnapped Australian woman set free in Afghanistan: Canberra

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — An Australian woman kidnapped in Afghanistan has been freed and is “safe and well”, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday. “I confirm that Kerry Jane Wilson, who was abducted in Afghanistan in April this year, has …

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Czech woman rescued one month after partner dies during a hike talks of “harrowing” ordeal

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand (Reuters) — Pavlina Pizova, a Czech traveller who was rescued by New Zealand police on Thursday (August 25) after having spent close to a month alone in a warden’s hut in the mountains of the country’s South …

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Australian unearths ‘beast’ of a truffle

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — An Australian has uncovered what is thought to be the largest black truffle ever discovered in the country, a 1,511-gram (53.3-ounce) monster that could also be a world-beater.  Stuart Dunbar said he had known since February that …

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7.2-magnitude quake hits off New Caledonia, no tsunami threat

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of New Caledonia Friday in the tectonically active Pacific region, but there was no tsunami threat, seismologists said. The quake struck at a depth of about nine kilometres (5.5 …

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Abuse rife in Australian immigration centre: leaked reports

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) – More than 2,000 leaked reports detailing allegations of sexual assault, child abuse and self-harm in Australian immigration centres on Nauru were published Wednesday, prompting rights groups to renew calls for refugees to be resettled elsewhere. Under …

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