Strong earth quake near Tonga prompts tsunami warning; no casualties

A strong 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Friday near Tonga, temporarily generating a tsunami with the potential of striking coastlines in the South Pacific, officials said. There were no immediate reports of damage. The quake struck about 200 kilometers south-southeast of the Tongan capital of Nuku'Alofa at a depth of 10 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for Tonga and neighboring islands, and reported that sea level readings confirmed that a potentially destructive tsunami wave was generated by the quake.