Australia and Oceania

Helicopter crashes during Australia bushfire operation

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A helicopter crashed while fighting a bushfire in northern Australia on Wednesday and the pilot managed to survive with only minor injuries, officials said. “The helicopter crashed during waterbombing operations at the Pechey fire today,” a …

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Australia bushfire threat still high after narrow escape

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia escaped the worst-feared impacts of bushfires during a day of “catastrophic” conditions but the threat remains high, with dozens of fires still blazing and expectations of a brutal summer ahead. More than 300 new fires …

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Australians trapped by bushfires told ‘too late to leave’

by Daniel DE CARTERET / with Holly Robertson in Winmalee HILLVILLE, Australia (AFP) — Dozens of fires fanned by gale-force winds, scorching temperatures and tinder-dry bushland burned out of control in eastern Australia on Tuesday, as residents up and down …

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Australia readies for ‘catastrophic’ bushfires

by Holly ROBERTSON / with Daniel de Carteret in Taree, New South Wales WINMALEE, Australia (AFP) — Thousands of firefighters fanned out across eastern Australia Tuesday as gale-force winds, scorching temperatures and tinder-dry bushland brought “catastrophic” fire conditions. Dozens of …

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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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