Regional

Worries Bougainvilleans are not complying with Covid-19 measures

There are worries that Covid-19 warnings from the Bougainville Government are not reaching the people. That’s the view of the Executive Director of the Leitana Nehan Women’s Agency, Helen Hakena, who said despite soaring infections,...

Pacific commits to energy transition ahead of COP26

Pacific island governments have reinforced their commitment to energy transition action, 10 months out of the global climate conference in the UK. Despite a year of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pacific continues to focus on critical action for climate mitigation and adaptation. At a recent meeting of policy and intergovernmental representatives, Pacific...

Vanuatu Govt pulls plug on 44 students at USP in Fiji

Vanuatu’s government says 44 of its students studying at the University of the South Pacific’s Fiji campus have had their courses terminated and now face repatriation. The government said the students had failed all or most of their courses and would no longer be supported by the state. The students undertook studies under the Members...

Samoa could extend quarantine if teenager remains positive

Samoan authorities are likely to extend the quarantine period for 160 repatriated passengers who arrived three weeks ago if a 16-year-old male on their flight continues to test positive for Covid-19. Newsline Samoa reports the young carrier, who has been in isolation at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital, remains asymptomatic and continues to test positive....

New Caledonia ministers again fail to elect president

New Caledonia’s 11 newly elected ministers have again failed to elect a new president. Like two weeks ago, none of the three candidates managed to secure the support of at least six ministers. At this morning’s meeting called by the French High Commissioner Laurent Prévost, the anti-independence Future with Confidence coalition’s Thierry Santa won four votes. The two...

Fiji may ratify revised Forum founding document after 16 years

The outgoing Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum has welcomed Fiji’s decision to review a 2005 revision of the body’s founding agreement. Earlier this month, Fiji’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence was tasked to look at the 2005 document. Dame Meg Taylor and her deputy Dr Filimon Manoni appeared virtually before a...

Limits on who can own land in CNMI could change

Efforts are being made to change the rules over who can own land in the Northern Marianas. Currently the constitution restricts the ownership of land to people of Northern Marianas descent. But a legislative initiative from Senate President, Jude Hofschneider, aims to amend the constitution to allow others to buy land. Hofschneider said such a...

2nd March

The University of Papua New Guinea – Reflections after a decade

THIS year, 2021, marks 10 years since I started teaching at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). Regardless of what kind of state it is in today, UPNG’s history and continuity fascinates me. As a student of politics, I look to the institutions of PNG when trying to understand the process of nation-building. National...

Covid: One year on for Pasifika leaders at the frontline

New Zealand’s Pasifika community has been living and working on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic, since the coronavirus arrived a year ago. On the 28th February 2020, New Zealand announced their first confirmed Covid-19 case reported to the Ministry of Health. Camaraderie of Jet Park staff overcomes stigma Drew Leafa, the Operations Manager...

Standoff brings USP operations under scrutiny

The ongoing stand-off between the University of the South Pacific’s host country Fiji and its governing body, the USP Council, has put the regional institution’s future under scrutiny. The latest crisis came to a head three weeks ago when the whistleblowing vice-chancellor and president, Pal Ahluwalia, and his wife were sent packing by Fijian authorities...

No 2 in PNG Covid-19 response team dies

The deputy head of Papua New Guinea’s National Pandemic Response to Covid-19, Dr Paison Dakulala, died Monday. PNG Police Commissioner and the man leading the response, David Manning, issued a statement on Monday evening. Commissioner Manning said he was “deeply saddened at the death of a humble, dedicated and committed medical professional.” Manning, who has...

Quarantine change to ease work of Tongan Covid team

Easing the workload of the Tonga’s Covid-19 surveillance team has been revealed as one of the reasons for the change in managed quarantine. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health announced that passengers would spend 21 days in managed quarantine with no home isolation to follow. Chief Executive, Siale ‘Akau’ola, told RNZ Pacific the initial plan of...

Gas inhalation lands 12 people in New Caledonia hospital

12 people have been taken to hospital in New Caledonia after inhaling carbon monoxide. According to firefighters, the 12 employees of a catering business in suburban Noumea suffered headaches and drowsiness, and vomitted. They were rescued and given oxygen before being rushed to hospital for further examination. The source of the gas was not immediately...

Fijians pay tribute to Somare

Sir Michael died last Friday following a short illness aged 84. Frank Bainimarama said he was saddened at the loss of his friend and Pacific iconic leader. Bainimarama said there has been a great mourning across PNG and the Pacific since the passing of the ‘Grand Chief’. He said Sir Michael was an ‘architect of...

Bougainville’s Toroama won’t be deterred from independence

Bougainville’s President, Ishmael Toroama, has told MPs he will not be deterred from his desire to bring independence to the region. This comes as Bougainville prepares for the joint consultations with the Papua New Guinena Government over the results of the 2019 referendum on independence. Toroama told parliament he will not be deterred by any...

1st March

France reiterates need for new New Caledonia accord

The French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, says France stands ready for a new accord in New Caledonia, should voters again reject independence. Under the terms of the 1998 Noumea Accord, a third and final referendum can be called from next month after two votes in 2018 and 2020 saw a majority opt to stay French....

New Caledonia delays Vanuatu plane departure over debt

Civil aviation authorities in New Caledonia refused to let an Air Vanuatu Boeing 737 depart on Thursday, over an unpaid bill. The plane, which had just delivered more than 100 ni-Vanuatu university students to New Caledonia, was held up for an hour before being allowed to return to Port Vila. The Chief Executive of Air...

Sand mining company pulls out of PNG

A campaign to stop sand mining along 38 kilometres of Papua New Guinea’s Madang coast has been successful. A Singaporean company, Niugini Sands, had applied to mine the sands but concerns were raised about the impact on coastal communities and the environment, which includes nesting grounds for the endangered leatherback turtle. A court injunction was...

Niueans contemplate changes to their Constitution

A veteran Niue politician hopes a constitutional review will lead to improvements in financial accountability by government. O’Love Jacobsen is leading the review – the first on the island in nearly 30 years. She said initially they were seeking submissions from residents on concerns they had with the current document, which was drawn up nearly...

Unity Fiji pays tribute to PNG grand chief Sir Michael Somare

Fijian political party Unity Fiji has joined the entire Pacific people in mourning the loss of Sir Michael Somare – described a great national and regional leader who  was highly respected by every Pacific islander and beyond. Unity Fiji leader Savenaca Narube said the region has lost a pioneering statesman who was well known for...

Dozens of leading Hong Kong democrats brace for national security charges to be laid

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Several dozen Hong Kong democrats are due to report to local police stations across the city on Sunday, with some expecting to be charged with breaches of national security as a crackdown on the democratic opposition intensifies. Benny Tai, one of the organisers of an unofficial primary election last summer, said...

Biden scores legislative win as House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden scored his first legislative win as the House of Representatives passed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package early Saturday, though Democrats face challenges to their hopes of using the bill to raise the minimum wage. Democrats who control the chamber passed the sweeping measure by a mostly party-line vote...

Israeli team in Greece probing ship suspected of oil spill, ministry says

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has sent investigators to Greece to inspect a ship suspected of causing an oil spill that has covered much of Israel’s shoreline with tar, the Environment Protection Ministry said on Saturday. Israel has been looking at a spill from a ship that passed about 50 km (30 miles) offshore on Feb....

28th February

Two new COVID border cases

Fiji has recorded two new border quarantine cases of COVID-19. In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services said the first case was a 22-year-old man who travelled to Fiji from Durban, South Africa – arriving in Nadi on FJ1410 from Auckland. The ministry said he returned a positive result during routine quarantine...

Biden says he will make announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a U.S. intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that...

Nigerian schoolboys freed as forces search for 300 abducted girls

JANGEBE, Nigeria (Reuters) – Gunmen in Nigeria on Saturday released 27 teenage boys who were kidnapped from their school last week in the north-central state of Niger, while security forces continued to search for more than 300 schoolgirls abducted in a nearby state. Schools have become targets for mass kidnappings for ransom in northern Nigeria...

Methodist youth ‘abusing yaqona’

Youth of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma are abusing kava during their rallies. This, according to the church’s general secretary, Reverend Iliesa Naivalu, during the church’s retreat for church ministers and heads of divisions in Suva this week. “During youth rallies, they will have their church service for an hour and then later...

Archaeologists uncover ancient ceremonial carriage near Pompeii

ROME (Reuters) – Archaeologists have unearthed a unique ancient-Roman ceremonial carriage from a villa just outside Pompeii, the city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. The almost perfectly preserved four-wheeled carriage made of iron, bronze and tin was found near the stables of an ancient villa at Civita Giuliana, around 700 metres (yards)...

Canterbury farmer fined for under-paying exploited workers; some workers from Fiji

A Canterbury asparagus grower has been fined for under-paying exploited workers, many of whom are from Fiji. The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) set the penalty for the owner of Motukarara Asparagus Christopher Gray at $26,000, after ordering in October that he repay 13 staff about $54,000. The New Zealand Herald reported that many of the...

New Zealand’s largest city Auckland back to lockdown after COVID-19 case

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that the country’s biggest city, Auckland, will go into a seven-day lockdown from early morning on Sunday after a new local case of the coronavirus of unknown origin emerged. This comes two weeks after Auckland’s nearly 2 million residents were plunged into a...

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