Pacific islands unscathed after tsunami scare

New Caledonia is in the predicted path of the tsunami. (Shutterstock)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Pacific islands unscathed after tsunami scare

  • Experts warned waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter above the tide level are possible
  • Anyone near the coast was urged to “stay alert” and follow instructions from local authorities

SYDNEY: Small tsunami waves lapped New Caledonia, Fiji and Vanuatu Wednesday after a strong earthquake in the Pacific Ocean, but the threat passed without any damage reported.
After the 7.1 magnitude quake struck off the eastern coast of New Caledonia, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said “waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter above the tide level” were possible.
But only minor sea level fluctuations were recorded and the warning was soon called off.
Despite this coastal populations were urged to “stay alert” and follow instructions from local authorities.
The tremor hit at a depth of 27 kilometers (17 miles) in the southern Pacific Ocean, some 231 kilometers from the nearest town, Tadine, in the lightly-populated Loyalty Islands, the US Geological Survey said.
Geoscience Australia said shaking would have been felt throughout New Caledonia, but it put the damage radius at 103 kilometers — well away from land.
Jonathan Hanson, duty seismologist at New Zealand’s GNS Science, said the epicenter was some distance from inhabited islands and the tsunami wave warnings were modest.
“The tsunami wave sizes we’ve seen reported are 16-17 centimeters (6.3-6.7 inches) at two New Caledonia stations. At those sizes we wouldn’t expect any damage,” he told AFP.
New Caledonia’s Civil Security department said there was no risk of major flooding.
“Given its location, depth and magnitude, abnormal changes in sea levels could be seen in the Loyalty Islands,” it said.
“Since there is no risk of major flooding along the coast, no action by the public is required,” it added, calling nonetheless for coastal residents to exercise “caution.”
Fiji’s disaster management minister tweeted that the quake “does NOT pose any immediate threat to the Fiji region.”
New Caledonia, a French overseas territory, Fiji and Vanuatu are located within the “Ring of Fire,” a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.


China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute

Updated 26 June 2019
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China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute

  • The latest action against Canada comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for the G-20 summit
  • Before acting against Canadian meat, China previously stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola

TORONTO: China is suspending all meat imports from Canada amid their dispute over the Canadian detention of a top executive at the Chinese tech company Huawei.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement on its website Tuesday that the move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. It is permitted in Canada but banned in China.
“China has taken urgent preventive measures and requested the Canadian government to suspend the issuance of certificates for meat exported to China,” the statement said.
Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada at the request of US authorities, who want to try her on fraud charges.
China then detained two Canadians and sentenced another to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for her release.
The latest action against Canada comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for the G-20 summit. US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart amid trade talks.
Meng’s arrest set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries, complicating high-stakes US-China trade talks and severely damaging Beijing’s relations with Ottawa. Canada wants Trump to speak on behalf of Canada to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese have refused to talk to senior Canadian government officials, including Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Trudeau had hoped to meet with Xi at the G-20 but that appears unlikely.
Before acting against Canadian meat, China previously stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola.
Justine Lesage, a spokeswoman for Canada’s agriculture minister, said in a statement that the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency identified an issue involving inauthentic export certificates that could affect the export of pork and beef products to China.
She said the agency has “taken measures to address this issue and is continuing to work closely with industry partners and Chinese officials.”
“The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and Canadian exports,” she said.