• Solomons escape serious damage after powerful 7.7 quake

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    SYDNEY: A major 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Friday off the Solomon Islands triggering severe shaking and a tsunami warning, but there were no reports of any serious damage, officials said. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially said there could be possible “widespread, hazardous” tsunami waves, forcing villagers to flee to higher ground. But within three hours the warning was downgraded after the threat passed without major incident. The epicenter of the quake, which hit at 4:38 a.m. (1738 GMT Thursday), was located 68 kilometers (42 miles) west of Kirakira, a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands, at a depth of 48 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said. A shallow 6.5 aftershock rattled the same area some four hours later. AFP

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