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Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea late Saturday night, the US Geological Survey said. A tsunami warning has been issued for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. bur-lm/pj

91% of respondents in S.E. Asia say Japan is "reliable friend": poll

More than 90 percent of online poll respondents in seven members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations believe Japan is a "reliable friend" to their countries, according to results released Friday by the Foreign Ministry. In the March online poll commissioned to research company Ipsos Hong Kong by the ministry, 91 percent of respondents said Japan is a reliable friend for the region and 94 percent said their countries have friendly relations with Japan.

Greek Cypriots in landmark Easter mass in Turkish-held north

Greek Cypriots have been authorised to hold a Good Friday mass at a church in the Turkish-held town of Famagusta on divided Cyprus for the first time in decades. Famagusta mayor-in-exile Alexis Galanos said Friday's landmark service at Saint George Exorinos church will send a message of reconciliation on one of the most important dates in the Greek Orthodox calendar.

Irish president wraps up historic state visit to Britain

Queen Elizabeth II bade farewell Friday to Irish President Michael D. Higgins at the end of a historic state visit to Britain that he called "uplifting". Laughing and smiling, the monarch waved off Higgins at Windsor Castle, west of London, after a four-day trip that both countries hope underlines the new strength of their relations. The president earlier hailed his "memorable" state visit, the first by an Irish president since independence from Britain in 1922, as "so positive, so uplifting and so hopeful".

Philippines using 'moral suasion' vs China

The Philippines is using "moral suasion" in its conflict with Asian giant China over their claims to parts of the South China Sea, a government spokesman said Thursday. This was why the Philippines filed a case to a UN tribunal, asking it to declare Beijing's claims of undisputed sovereignty over most of the sea as illegal, said Foreign Department spokesman Charles Jose.

Britain hosts first state visit of Irish president

By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - President Michael Higgins became the first Irish head of state on Tuesday to make a state visit to Britain, crowning a big improvement in historically fraught relations between Dublin and its former colonial master.

Neglected islanders resist plan for Haiti tourism revival

By David Adams ILE-A-VACHE, Haiti (Reuters) - For decades the mostly dirt-poor residents of the small island of Ile-à-Vache off Haiti's south coast lived in anonymity, virtually ignored by the government and visited only by the most adventurous backpackers and yachters. Then in 2012, helicopters started dropping off big shots: Haiti's president, Michel Martelly, Bill Clinton, ad agency models and photographers, tourism executives. Madonna and Sean Penn were spotted in November.

U.S. repatriates more than 200 migrants in one week

Miami, Mar 31 (EFE).- More than 200 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic were rescued at sea during the course of one week and repatriated to their countries or origin, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Monday. Through Sunday, the Coast Guard repatriated 88 undocumented Cuban migrants to Cuba, 82 Haitians to Haiti and 41 Dominicans and two Cubans to the Dominican Republic. "In addition, 17 migrants suspected of various crimes were brought to Miami and Puerto Rico for further investigation," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Scottish financiers back independence as means of staying in EU

By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - A group of Scottish financiers came out in support of independence on Thursday to counter a flood of warnings over Scotland going it alone, cautioning that staying within the United Kingdom could mean losing European Union membership. George Mathewson, former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland and chairman of Toscafund, and five other current and former Scottish financial players raised the possible risks of remaining in the United Kingdom in a letter to a newspaper.

Japan firms want Abe to cool it on China; see demand ebbing: Reuters poll

By Izumi Nakagawa TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese companies are concerned about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's forceful diplomacy with neighbors like China, at a time when demand from Asia's giant appears to be ebbing, a Reuters survey showed. More than half the executives in the Reuters Corporate Survey said demand from China is peaking or declining.
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