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Earthquake deaths likely

SYDNEY, Australia -- A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami of up to 1.5 metres that damaged dozens of homes and likely killed several people in the South Pacific island chain today.

Authorities cancelled warnings for tsunamis on more distant coasts.

Solomons officials reported two 1.5-metre waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging around 50 homes and properties. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution.

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner John Lansley said police patrols had reported several people were presumed dead, though the reports were still being verified.

"Sadly, we believe some people have lost their lives," he said. "At the moment we potentially know of four, but there may of course be more."

The tsunami formed after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck near Lata on Santa Cruz in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons.

World's longest cat dies

RENO, Nev. -- Stewie the cat, the longest domestic cat in the world at more than a metre long from nose to tail, has died.

Stewie was surrounded by family when he succumbed to a year-long battle with cancer Monday evening at his Reno home, owner Robin Hendrickson said Tuesday. He was 8. Guinness World Records declared Stewie the record-holder in August 2010, measuring 48.5 inches (123.19 centimetres) from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail.

Hundreds of fans flooded Stewie's Facebook site with memories and condolences Tuesday.

The Maine coon cat was a certified therapy animal that frequently visited a Reno senior centre and helped promote animal welfare awareness with the Nevada Humane Society.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 6, 2013 A8

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