Australia and Oceania

6.0-magnitude quake hits off Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, according to the United States Geological Survey, but no Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued. The tremor hit at a depth of five kilometers (three miles) near the sparsely-populated East New Britain region, some 210 kilometers southeast of the town of Kokopo, the USGS said. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning. Earthquakes are common near Papua […]

New Zealand PM says poll deadlock may last three weeks

by Neil Sands Agence France-Presse WELLINGTON, New Zealand | (AFP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said Monday he expects two or three weeks of “tense” negotiations with maverick MP Winston Peters to break the country’s general election deadlock. Peters emerged as kingmaker in Saturday’s election after English’s conservative National Party and the Labour opposition led by Jacinda Ardern both failed to win an outright majority. English was expected to struggle amid the “Jacinda-mania” hype surrounding the charismatic […]

Powerful 6.4 quake off Vanuatu, no damage reported

  WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck near the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu Thursday but there was no tsunami warning or any immediate reports of damage, officials said. The US Geological Survey said the quake hit about 143 kilometers (88 miles) southeast of the capital Port Vila at 7:09am local time (2009 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 200 kilometres. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no […]

Strong quakes rattle New Zealand

  (Eagle News) – A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook Auckland Island in southern New Zealand on Wednesday, September 20, with a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey. USGS recorded the quake 256 kilometers west of Auckland Island in New Zealand. Before this, USGS recorded another strong quake with a magnitude of 4.7.  This was 273 kilometers northeast of Opotiki, New Zealand. After the 6.1 magnitude quake, another quake with a […]

New Zealand’s fuel shortage hits more flights and petrol stations

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (Reuters) — New Zealand’s jet fuel shortage on Tuesday (September 19) forced 39 flights to be cancelled, 13 of them international, with concerns the fuel crisis may spread after fuel stations in the country’s largest city Auckland halted high-octane gasoline sales. The fuel shortage, caused by a damaged pipeline to Auckland Airport, has caused widespread disruption to air travel since the weekend and comes only days before Saturday’s (September 23) national election […]

Foiled Australia plane plot directed by Islamic State: police

by Martin Parry Agence France Presse SYDNEY, Australia — A man instructed by Islamic State to bring down an Etihad Airways flight tried to use an unsuspecting passenger to carry a bomb on board, with a second poisonous gas plot also in the works, Australian police alleged Friday. The improvised device, using “high military-grade explosive,” was due to be smuggled onto a July 15 service from Sydney, but the attempt was aborted before they reached […]

Australia foils ‘terror plot’ to bring down airplane

  by Glenda Kwek Agence France Presse SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia has foiled an Islamist-inspired “terrorist plot” to bring down an airplane with an improvised explosive, authorities said Sunday, after four people were arrested in raids across Sydney. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the plot appeared to be “elaborate” rather than planned by a lone wolf, as security was beefed up at major domestic and international airports across the nation. “I can report last […]

Boat refugees to leave PNG despite US uncertainty: Australia

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Hundreds of refugees being held at a remote Papua New Guinea detention camp will be moved by October despite uncertainty over a resettlement deal with the United States, Australia’s immigration minister said Thursday. Canberra sends asylum-seekers who try to enter the country by boat to camps on Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island, with those found to be refugees barred from resettling in Australia. They are instead relocated to third countries, or resettled elsewhere in PNG. But the sudden withdrawal from PNG […]

Australia military powers beefed up for terror attacks

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s military will be given greater power to act during terror attacks, the prime minister said Monday, following a review of security forces’ responses to a spate of local and international incidents. Among a raft of changes, police will no longer have to wait until they have exhausted their capacity to call on the army during a terror attack, while special forces will be embedded in law enforcement agencies for better […]

6.4-magnitude quake hits off PNG

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Thursday, officials said, but no Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued. The tremor hit at a depth of 46 kilometers (28 miles) near the sparsely-populated New Ireland region, 110 kilometers southeast of the town Kokopo, the United States Geological Survey said. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ruled out a widespread tsunami and Geoscience Australia estimated any damage would only be within a […]

AirAsia flight grounded after apparent bird strike damages engine

BRISBANE, Australia (Reuters) — Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia X said on Tuesday (July 4) a flight from Australia to Malaysia was diverted and forced to land in Brisbane because an engine was damaged during take-off by what was thought to be a bird strike. AirAsia X Flight D7207 was carrying 345 passengers and 14 crew when it took off from the Gold Coast tourist hub in northern Queensland state en route to Kuala Lumpur late […]

Top Catholic cardinal charged with sexual assault, brings taint of abuse to top of the Church

by Angus Mackinnon Agence France Presse VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Australia’s move to bring sexual assault charges against Cardinal George Pell is the latest chapter in a damaging saga of abuse that the Catholic church has struggled to draw a line under. Pell has been ordered to appear on July 18 before a Melbourne judge to answer unspecified multiple counts arising from his country’s extensive inquiry into decades of abuse in institutions dealing with children. […]