A magnitude 6.7 quake hit off Papua New Guinea's island of New Ireland, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Tuesday.

A national disaster center official based in Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, told Reuters by telephone there were no immediate reports of damage.

There were also no immediate warnings of a tsunami from the

THESE are critical times for trees. In some places

Climate change, by displacing settled populations, is creating a new kind of refugee. (Editorial)

It could save the rainforests of Borneo, slow climate change and the international community backs it. But a plan to pay tropical countries not to chop down trees risks being discredited by opportunists even before it starts.

Pacific islands are trying low-cost ways to protect crops and coasts from cyclones that are a bigger threat -- for now -- than rising sea levels that could wipe low-lying nations off the map.

The trade in Hawksbill Turtles Eretmochelys imbricata, medium-sized cheloniids with a pan-tropical distribution, has been recognized as a key threat to their conservation in the wild, and has greatly contributed to the species being listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List.

With their boundless vistas of turquoise water framed by swaying coconut palms, the Carteret Islands northeast of the Papua New Guinea mainland might seem the idyllic spot to be a castaway.

Stuart Beck, the permanent representative for Palau at the United Nations, in 2005.

BHP Billiton moved closer to developing Australia's second-biggest un-mined uranium deposit by applying for environmental permits, but warned it might mothball or sell a big nickel refinery as that market languishes.

A commitment by six Asia-Pacific nations to protect a huge swathe of ecologically rich coral reef is an important step, although the pact is non-binding and key details still need to thrashed out, conservationists said.

Southeast Asia's biologically diverse coral reefs will disappear by the end of this century, wiping out coastal economies and sparking civil unrest if climate change isn't addressed, conservation group WWF said on Wednesday.