Australian prime minister begins 2-day visit to Fiji
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister sidestepped a diplomatic dispute over a suspected extremist's nationality and brushed off criticism that he is burdening Pacific neighbors with unsustainable debt as he began a two-day visit on Thursday to Fiji.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is visiting Fiji and Vanuatu this week as both Australia and China strive to increase their influence among South Pacific island nations.
Humble Pacific island movie star Mungau Dain dies in mid-20s
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Mungau Dain had never considered acting before he starred in the Oscar-nominated film "Tanna." He got the role because his elders decided he was the best-looking guy in their traditional village on the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.
They would later describe him as their answer to Brad Pitt.
Dain died Saturday in the capital Port Vila, after contracting a leg infection that wasn't quickly treated. He was in his mid-20s.
Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes in Pacific near New Caledonia
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A powerful earthquake that struck in the southern Pacific Ocean on Wednesday sent jitters around the region after authorities warned of possible tsunamis, but there were no initial reports of destructive waves or major damage.
The magnitude 7.5 quake hit in the afternoon near the French territory of New Caledonia at a shallow depth, where earthquakes are generally more damaging. It was felt as far away as Vanuatu, about 630 kilometers (390 miles) away
Strong quake strikes in Pacific Ocean but no tsunami threat
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A strong earthquake has struck in the Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia but experts say there isn't a tsunami threat.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the magnitude 7.1 quake hit Wednesday afternoon about 230 kilometers (143 miles) east of Tadine in New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands.
The quake was about 290 kilometers (181 miles) from Isangel in Vanuatu. The USGS says it was about 26 kilometers (16 miles) deep.
Strong Pacific quake hits near Vanuatu but no tsunami threat
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A strong earthquake has struck in the South Pacific near the archipelago nation of Vanuatu, but authorities say there is no threat of a destructive tsunami.
The magnitude 6.7 quake hit Wednesday about 78 kilometers (48 miles) east of the town of Lakatoro, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was about 187 kilometers (116 miles) from the capital Port Vila.
There were no immediate reports of damage on Vanuatu, which is home to about 280,000 people.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Friday again ordered thousands of people to leave Ambae island as a volcano erupted and filled the sky with ash.
Government lawmaker Ralph Regenvanu said on Twitter that the Cabinet had re-imposed a state of emergency and ordered the compulsory evacuation of the entire island, which was once home to about 10,000 people.
Australia and Vanuatu to negotiate security treaty
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia said Monday that it would negotiate a security treaty with Vanuatu, weeks after the Australian prime minister warned China against building a military base in the South Pacific island nation.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the negotiations during a visit to the Australian Parliament House by Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Pacific nation of Vanuatu is preparing to permanently evacuate the entire population of one of its islands as thick ash spewing from a volcano kills crops, dirties water supplies and fouls the air.
The 10,000 or so people who remain on Ambae island have mixed feelings about the plans. Some who are badly affected by the ash are eager to leave while others are resisting losing their land and culture.
Vanuatu volcano evacuees face 2 more weeks before going home
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The 11,000 residents of a Vanuatu island who were evacuated from an erupting volcano will likely need to wait at least two more weeks before they can return home, officials said Wednesday.
Government ministers have decided to extend a state of emergency on Ambae island until Oct. 24 even though the Manaro volcano has stabilized.
Vanuatu says most residents evacuated from belching volcano
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Vanuatu officials said Wednesday they have nearly completed the evacuation of an island where a belching volcano has been threatening to blow.
Shadrack Welegtabit, the director of the National Disaster Management Office, said more than 11,000 residents of Ambae island have been moved to nearby islands in the Pacific archipelago.
He said only a handful of residents remain after refusing to leave.
Vanuatu island exodus continues even as volcano stabilizes
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The evacuation of a Vanuatu island was continuing on Monday even after scientists said an erupting volcano had stabilized.
A makeshift fleet of vessels ranging from tiny water taxis to large landing craft was moving thousands of people from Ambae island to nearby islands in the Pacific archipelago.
Vanuatu officials last week ordered the complete evacuation of the island's 11,000 residents, fearing the Manaro volcano might blow in a major eruption.
Thousands Flee Pacific Volcano
Vanuatu orders evacuation of island with rumbling volcano
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Vanuatu officials on Thursday ordered the complete evacuation of an island in the Pacific archipelago where a rumbling, belching volcano is threatening to blow.
Boats were soon to begin ferrying residents off Ambae island, which is home to about 11,000 people, in a process expected to take about a week. The Manaro volcano has been increasingly active for a week or more, raising fears of a major eruption.
Belching Vanuatu volcano may blow, forces 7,000 to flee
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A rumbling, belching volcano that's threatening to blow had forced more than 7,000 people to flee their homes by Wednesday on an island in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu.
Erupting volcano forces 6,000 evacuations on Vanuatu island
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — An erupting volcano has forced 6,000 people to flee their homes on an island in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu.
The Manaro volcano on Ambae island has been active since 2005, but a recent increase in activity has raised fears of a major eruption.
‘Tanna’ director recounts path from tiny island to Oscar nod
SYDNEY (AP) — The premiere of "Tanna," Australia's first-ever Oscar nominee for a foreign language film, was as far from Hollywood glamor as one can get. The guests gathered not in an opulent theater, but in a cyclone-flattened village on a remote island. There were no glittering gowns, but plenty of grass skirts. And the film's stars were hardly A-list actors; they had, in fact, never acted before — or seen a movie.
‘Tanna’ director recounts path from tiny island to Oscar nod
SYDNEY (AP) — The premiere of "Tanna," Australia's first-ever Oscar nominee for a foreign language film, was as far from Hollywood glamor as one can get. The guests gathered not in an opulent theatre, but in a cyclone-flattened village on a remote island. There were no glittering gowns, but plenty of grass skirts. And the film's stars were hardly A-list actors; they had, in fact, never even acted before — or seen a movie.
Magnitude-7.2 earthquake hits Pacific but no tsunami threat
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A strong magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck Friday in the Pacific Ocean near the island nations of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, but authorities said there was no threat of a tsunami.
The United States Geological Survey said the quake hit Friday afternoon 109 kilometers (68 miles) east of New Caledonia's Hunter Island, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).
After reviewing the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it didn't pose a...