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Pacific Ocean

From the South Pacific to London 2012 - Williams prepares to become

On move-in Monday she will pick up the key to her little Olympic home by the sea. Only a few people in the world ever do that. Then, 11 days later, she will move up to the capital to carry the flag of the Cook Islands, at the head of an 11-strong team, including three officials, into the world spotlight of the brand new Olympic Stadium in London. Only a few Olympians in the world ever do that.

Fukushima: Return to the disaster zone

A year since the Fukushima nuclear plant was destroyed, the fight to prevent disaster goes on. In an exclusive dispatch from the reactors, David McNeill becomes the first European journalist to revisit Japan's ground zero

Samoans celebrate skipping Friday

Sirens wailed and fireworks exploded over Samoa as the tiny South Pacific nation jumped forward in time, crossing westward over the international date line and effectively erasing Friday, 30 December, 2011, from the country's calendar.

Surfing: Riding the tube to work

Board meeting, anyone? It was just a normal day in the office for Tahiti's Tamaroa McComb yesterday, pictured here on his way to victory in round two of the Rangiroa Pro Junior surfing competition in the French Polynesian atoll of Rangiroa.

Last year was second hottest on record, say scientists

In Britain it ended in freezing temperatures and weeks of snow and ice. Globally, though, 2010 was still the second warmest year on record, according to Met Office scientists who yesterday reaffirmed that the world is continuing to get warmer.

More headlines

John Walsh: Tahiti and the UK are not really so far apart

You have to admit it: Tahiti in early May just isn't Britain. For one thing, it's always 82 degrees fahrenheit there, morning and night. For another, lissom young women in flowery frocks with ruffled sleeves keep giving you spring onions to put behind your ear (they turn out, on inspection, to be unbudded sprigs of tiare, the national flower). For a third, you're considered a shockingly idle slugabed if you rise after 7.30am, when the sun is scorching the mist off the lagoon, and a hopeless lush if you're caught hanging out in a bar, looking for yet another pina colada, after 9.30pm. Early bedders and risers, the French Polynesians.

Why tsunamis were smaller than expected

It is fortunate that one of the biggest earthquakes in recent history has generated only relatively small tsunamis that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Chile to Japan. This is almost certainly because the rupture that generated the earthquake occurred quite deep in the Earth's crust.

Scores dead in tsunami in Pacific islands

A series of tsunamis smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds, officials said today.