**Several Feared Dead Following Large Pacific Quake**
A powerful earthquake shook islands in the South Pacific Wednesday, triggeringa regional tsunami that reports say destroyed dozens of homes and killedseveral people.
The magnitude-8 quake hit a sparsely populated region near the Solomon Islands. A one-meter tsunami later washed ashore on the island chain. A region-wide tsunami alert was lifted a short time later.
Seismologist Dale Grant with the U.S. Geological Survey tells VOA the initialquake was followed by at least 14 aftershocks of magnitude-5 or bigger.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the initial quake struck at 0112 UTC nearthe Santa Cruz Islands in the Solomons at a depth of about six kilometers.
At least six people have been reported killed in the Santa Cruz Islands.Authorities also are investigating reports that several villages were damagedor destroyed in the hard-to-reach area. It was not clear whether the deathswere the result of the earthquake or the tsunami.
**Iranian President Visits Egypt as Diplomatic Relations Thaw**
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received a warm official welcome inCairo Tuesday, on the first trip by an Iranian leader to Egypt since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Egypt's new president, Mohamed Morsi, welcomed the Iranian leader in a redcarpet ceremony that marked a clear departure from decades of frigid ties between the regional powers. The Iranian leader is set to attend a three-day regional summit that begins Wednesday in the capital.
Egypt's MENA news agency said the two leaders discussed "ways to resolvethe Syrian crisis and end Syrian bloodshed without military intervention,"as well as ways to improve bilateral ties.