Strong quake rocks Solomon Islands, sends people fleeing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck near the Solomon Islands but there are no immediate reports of widespread damage or injuries. Australia’s prime minister says a roof at its High Commission collapsed but all staff were safe. The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean southwest of the capital, Honiara. An initial tsunami warning was withdrawn after the threat passed. Government spokesperson George Herming said he crawled under a table on the second floor when the quake rocked the city on Tuesday. The Solomon Islands, which is home to about 700,000 people, doesn’t have any big high-rises that might be vulnerable to a quake. The spokesman said there was some panic around the town and traffic jams as everybody tried to drive to higher ground.