Australia and Oceania

Sydney region faces ‘catastrophic’ bushfire threat

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A state of emergency was declared on Monday and residents in the Sydney area were warned of “catastrophic” fire danger as Australia girded for a fresh wave of deadly bushfires that have ravaged the drought-stricken east …

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Volanic eruption creates new island in Tongan archipelago

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (AFP) — An undersea volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago has sunk one island and created another three times larger, according to a report by geologists released Thursday. Taaniela Kula, of the Tonga Geological Service, said the new …

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6.6 magnitude quake strikes off Tonga: USGS

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) –A 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Tuesday, but there was no threat of a tsunami, officials said. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the shallow undersea …

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Boeing: Up to 50 planes grounded globally over cracks

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Crisis-hit Boeing faced fresh safety concerns Thursday, as the firm admitted cracks were found in up to 50 of its popular 737NG planes following worldwide inspections. Boeing had previously reported a problem with the model’s “pickle …

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Aussie police get shoot-to-kill power for marauding drivers

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Police in part of Australia were given shoot-to-kill powers on Monday, to stop drivers who deliberately plough into pedestrians. Eight people have been killed and more than 45 injured in three such attacks in Melbourne, Victoria’s …

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Quartararo crash overshadows first Australia practice

PHILIP ISLAND, Australia (AFP) — French rookie Fabio Quartararo suffered a big scare Friday in the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, stretchered from the scene after coming off his Petronas Yamaha in wet and slippery conditions. The …

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Tourist dies in Aussie jungle zipline fall

CAIRNS, Australia (AFP) — A man has died and a woman been left with serious injuries after they plunged up to five storeys from a jungle zipline in far northeastern Australia. The husband and wife from South Australia were harnessed …

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Venue fire casts pall over New Zealand’s APEC plans

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — A massive fire at the Auckland venue being built to host the 2021 APEC forum raged for a second day on Wednesday, as New Zealand officials insisted the event would go ahead. The blaze broke …

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Auckland blaze blankets city in black smoke

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — A huge fire at a construction site sent clouds of acrid black smoke billowing over Auckland on Tuesday, forcing large parts of the downtown area to be cordoned off as firefighters battled the blaze. The …

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Cardinal Pell appeal ruling to be announced August 21: court

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — The ruling in Australian Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction on historical child sex abuse charges will be handed down on August 21, court officials announced Thursday. Pell, 78, the former Vatican number three, was sentenced …

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Woman stabbed in central Sydney knife rampage

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A man stabbed a woman and attempted to stab several other people in central Sydney Tuesday before being pinned down by members of the public and detained by police, eyewitnesses and officials said. Images broadcast by …

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New Zealand cocaine haul believed drifted 2,100 km from Australia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — A multi-million dollar haul of cocaine washed up on a New Zealand beach this week is believed to have drifted more than 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) across the Tasman Sea from Australia, police said Friday. …

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