Regional

COVID-19 pandemic cut life expectancy by most since World War Two –study

LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the largest amount since World War Two, according to a study published on Monday by Oxford University, with the life expectancy of American...

Sydney set to unveil freedom roadmap as more COVID-19 curbs eased

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) government plans to unveil its roadmap on Monday for reopening the state from COVID-19 shutdowns, detailing the differing levels of freedoms to be afforded to citizens based on their vaccination status. With 60% of people aged 16 and over fully inoculated – above the national average of...

24th September

Young Pasifika male nurse recognised in 2021 honours

A young Pasifika male nurse has been recognised as New Zealand’s Young Nurse of the year. Daniel Mataafa, who is of Samoan descent, is a Regional Pacific Nurse Case Manager based at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital and said he was “surprised and honoured” to be this year’s recipient. The 29-year-old was recognised by the New Zealand...

Marshall Islands president urges UN to monitor geopolitical tension in Pacific

The Marshall Islands president has urged world leaders at the United Nations to monitor geopolitical tensions in the Pacific. Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York via a recorded video message, David Kabua, said countries in the region were in the middle of a tug-o-war between ‘the world’s greatest powers’. “My own Pacific islands...

Thousands take part in Samoa mass COVID-19 vaccination drive

Today is the second and final day of lockdown in Samoa with health authorities going door to door to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Around 7000 doses of AstraZeneca were administered on Thursday as part of the two-day roll out. Despite the strict lockdown, from 8am to 6pm, it is not compulsory to get vaccinated. Those willing...

23rd September

Former Minister Taito Phillip Field has died aged 68

The former Associate Pacific Islands Affairs Minister, Taito Phillip Field, has died at the age of 68. Samoan-born Field was a Member of Parliament for South Auckland electorates from 1993 to 2008, and he was the first MP of Pacific Island descent. He was also the first New Zealand politician to be found guilty of corruption...

The race to meet vaccination rates for Pasifika

As a stream of Pasifika ethnic specific vaccination drives open in Aotearoa, efforts are turning towards getting shots in the arms of youth. Thirty-six percent of the Pacific population are fully vaccinated, while 67 percent have received their first dose, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday. This means that 33 percent haven’t been jabbed...

PNG to announce lockdown in several provinces

Papua New Guinea authorities are preparing for a four-week lockdown in at least three provinces at the end of the month. The move has been prompted by a spike in Covid-19 infection rates in Eastern Highlands province as well as the two provinces which sit on the border with Indonesia, Western and West Sepik. While...

Samoa has a budget after midnight resolution reached

Five months after the General Election in April, Samoa has a financial budget to operate with. The Samoa Parliament passed the national budget totalling 983 million tālā after midnight local time on Thursday. This means the private sector will finally be paid for their services after waiting while the government operated on emergency provisions of...

22nd September

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes near Melbourne, tremors rattle southeast Australia

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, Sept 22 (Reuters) – A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday, Geoscience Australia said, one of the country’s biggest quakes on record, causing damage to buildings in the country’s second largest city and sending tremors throughout neighbouring states. The quake’s epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield in the state of...

U.N. chief, UK PM increase pressure on leaders for climate change funds

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged leaders of the world’s major economies including the United States to deliver on their commitments toward a $100 billion per year climate fund with less than six weeks to go before a U.N. climate summit. Johnson and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres hosted a roundtable of world...

Fiji sets up Border Health Protection Unit ahead of anticipated visitor influx

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has established a Border Health Protection Unit in preparation for the opening of international borders and the influx of visitors into the country. The Division, set up under the ministry’s Protection Division, plays a leading role in supervising its Border Health Protection Programmes, the ministry said. Health Minister...

Oil prices advance amid U.S. supply tightness signals

TOKYO (Reuters) -Oil prices rose on Tuesday as analysts pointed to signs of U.S. supply tightness, ending days of losses as global markets remain haunted by the potential impact on China’s economy of a crisis at heavily indebted property group China Evergrande. Brent crude gained 63 cents or 0.9% to $74.55 a barrel by 0340 GMT,...

Australia PM says no opportunity for meeting with French president in New York

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday he will not speak with the French president at the United Nations this week even though French anger over cancellation of a $40 billion defence contract could threaten an Australian-EU trade deal. Australia last week scrapped a deal with France’s Naval Group to build...

External review finds deeper rot in World Bank ‘Doing Business’ rankings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Weeks before the World Bank scrapped its flagship Doing Business rankings following a damning independent probe, a group of external advisers recommended an overhaul of the rankings to limit countries’ efforts to “manipulate their scores.” An 84-page review, written by senior academics and economists, was published on the bank’s website on Monday, about...

21st September

U.N. chief sees progress on climate support for developing countries

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he heard “encouraging declarations” at a meeting of world leaders on Monday about raising financial support to help developing countries deal with climate change. “Will the developed world finally materialize the $100 billion of annual support to developing countries?” Guterres told reporters. “We are not...

Pull up your socks: MP slams ministry for lacks of awareness on kids’ vax

National Federation Party MP Lenora Qereqeretabua yesterday lashed out at Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and called on the ministry to “pull up its socks” regarding awareness on the vaccination of children. Ms Qereqeretabua, while responding to Dr Waqainabete’s ministerial statement in Parliament, claimed there had been virtually nil consultations between schools and parents and...

Australia PM Morrison says trade talks with EU will take time

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said any trade talks with the European Union will be worked through in “the weeks and months ahead” as he deals with fallout of the decision to cancel a $40 billion submarine deal with France. “It’s not an easy thing to do, to get an...

Dr Fong: Health Ministry reconciling active cases

Fiji recorded 79 new cases of COVID-19 during the 24-hour period that ended on Sunday morning with 35 cases from the Western Division and 44 cases from the Central Division. This, according to the Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong. He said Fiji had 12,981 active cases, of which 1252 cases were in the...

Australian PM departs for Quad meeting amid French submarine deal fallout

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday departed for Washington to meet with leaders of the Quad grouping amid criticism over his government’s decision to abandon a $40 billion submarine deal with France. Australia last week said it would scrap a deal with France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional...

U.S. administers about 385.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines -CDC

(Reuters) – The United States has administered 385,586,012 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Sunday morning and distributed 466,561,785 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from 384,911,290 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Sept. 18 out of 466,569,635 doses delivered. The agency said...

COVID-19 cases jump in Australia’s Victoria as curbs ease in Sydney hotspots

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Victoria state on Monday reported its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 cases this year, while some curbs were eased in Sydney despite persistent infections. Hard lockdowns in Victoria will end once 70% of its adult population gets fully vaccinated, expected around Oct. 26, and authorities aim to hit 80% before the...

Australia defends scrapping of French submarine deal, Macron and Biden to talk

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia on Sunday defended its decision to ditch a multi-billion-dollar order for French submarines and opt instead for an alternative deal with the United States and Britain, saying it had flagged its concerns to Paris months ago. Canberra’s move enraged Paris, triggering an unprecedented diplomatic crisis that analysts say could do lasting damage...

20th September

World leaders return to U.N. with focus on pandemic, climate

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -World leaders are returning to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on boosting efforts to fight both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which last year forced them to send video statements for the annual gathering. As the coronavirus still rages amid an inequitable vaccine rollout, about...

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