Regional

9th August

Solomons leader did not attend U.S. war memorial service in “snub” – media report

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare did not attend a weekend dawn service for a key World War Two battle organised by the United States, with local media reporting it as a...

8th August

Pacific Islands solidarity is a Biden priority, U.S. diplomat tells Solomons

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden sees strong ties with Pacific Island countries as a priority, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in the Solomon Islands on Sunday, underscoring the stakes of a visit as geopolitical tensions have been mounting in the region. At a World War Two memorial event in the Solomons...

7th August

China embassy: Australia should be ‘prudent’ on Taiwan-related issues

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China hopes that Australia will be prudent on Taiwan-related issues and avoid being led by others that could cause fresh trouble for ties between the two countries, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Australia said on Saturday. The remarks, posted on the embassy’s website, were commenting on a statement released by...

Tonga, not China, must decide its future, says U.S. diplomat

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Tonga should determine its future, not China or any other country, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during a multi-leg trip to Pacific nations amid growing geopolitical tension. At a televised event with university students in the Tonga capital Nuku’alofa on Saturday, Sherman noted the countries had fought alongside each...

Organised crime: UN reports identify Fiji as a transit point

Several United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports have identified Fiji and the Pacific as a transit point for drug routes, said Acting Defence Minister Jone Usamate during the inaugural Pacific regional law enforcement conference in Nadi early this week. Mr Usamate said transnational organised crime was more prominent in the Pacific region...

Pacific Islands Forum members agree on framework

Members of the Pacific Islands Forum have agreed to develop a Regional Transnational Organised Crime Disruption Framework. At the conclusion of the three-day inaugural Pacific Regional Law Enforcement Conference in Nadi this week, PIF secretary general Henry Puna said the new framework was a collective response to transnational organised crimes. “Recognising the significant impact of...

China’s suspension of bilateral climate talks with U.S. ‘punishes the world’ -Kerry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the United States does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world,” U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry said on Friday. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former U.S. Secretary of State,...

6th August

Pacific region susceptible to crimes – Puna

The Pacific region remains susceptible to transnational organised crimes (TNOC), says Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna. While closing the inaugural Pacific Regional Law Enforcement Conference in Nadi this week, he said geopolitical competition, COVID-19 and the ongoing unrest in Ukraine continued to exacerbate the region’s economic and development concerns. “Our geography, situated between...

COP26 President: Set clear adaptation finance targets by COP27

COP26 president Alok Sharma urged all the private finance providers to set out clear and ambitious adaptation finance targets by COP27. Mr Sharma said it was imperative to deliver on the commitment to double adaptation finance to $40 billion by 2025. “Because we all know that we need a radical step change in delivery and...

Australia: No overarching requirement for Pacific labour scheme

THERE is no overarching requirement for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme workers to be unemployed to join the scheme, says the Australian government. However, they said it was open to Pacific governments to determine policies on the selection of workers. “The PALM scheme allows eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from nine Pacific island...

Papua New Guinea PM says he can form a govt as vote counting continues

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said his party has the numbers to form a coalition government, after a national poll plagued by violence, fraud allegations and large numbers of voters missing from the electoral roll. PNG’s general election, held every five years, is among the world’s most challenging due in...

SG Puna: Justice remains evasive

Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general Henry Puna says that for more than seven decades, the Pacific  and its people have suffered and continue to suffer the enduring impacts and injustices of nuclear testing, injustices to people’s rights, health, their homes and environment. And he said justice remained evasive. Mr Puna made the comment as he joined...

U.S. senior diplomat kicks off Pacific tour in Samoa

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Samoa’s leader on Friday, discussing climate change, ocean security and opportunities to work together as Washington seeks to re-engage the region amid growing Chinese influence. The senior U.S. diplomat’s visit is part of a multi-leg trip to Pacific nations. Sherman is now headed to...

4th August

Parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef show highest coral cover in 36 years

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef showed the largest amount of coral cover in 36 years, but the reef remains vulnerable to increasingly frequent mass bleaching, an official long term monitoring programme reported on Thursday. The recovery in the central and northern stretches of the UNESCO world heritage-listed reef contrasted with the southern...

Tourism SMEs to benefit from training program

The Pacific Tourism Organisation’s (SPTO) Tourism Recovery Toolkit was launched in October 2021 and was designed with the guidance and input of a regional working group comprising representatives from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu. According to the SPTO the toolkit is designed to provide practical guidance to improve operational models and successfully connect tourism...

Australia’s winter COVID wave may have peaked early, health minister says

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s COVID-19 winter outbreak fuelled by the new Omicron sub-variants BA.4/5 may have peaked early, Health Minister Mark Butler said on Thursday, as hospitals reported a steady fall in admissions over the past week. Australia is battling one of its worst flare-ups of the coronavirus driven by the fast-moving new Omicron sub-variants,...

Crime activity ‘expanding’ in the Pacific

The Pacific remains exposed to a range of transnational crime activity and the footprint of organised crime activity is expanding, says Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) acting chairwoman Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti. She said this was highlighted in the PTCN assessment and key findings carried out in 2012. The Samoa Police Force deputy commissioner said...

Fiji Police aids Samoa in autopsy

The Fiji Police Force has been helping Samoa in the area of post-mortem examinations. While speaking at the Inaugural Pacific Regional Law Enforcement Conference in Nadi this week, Samoa Police Force deputy commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti said this assistance was made possible through a program under the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police. “The Pacific Community...

Fiji PM condemns Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, on behalf of Pacific Island leaders, condemned Russia’s thinly-veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in a strongly-worded statement at the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York on Monday. He said it was 36 years since the entry into...

Regional leaders visit CMNHS

The Fiji National University’s (FNU), College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’ (CMNHS) has deeply rooted history in both Fiji and the region. With former national institutions established over a century ago to train students in the medical and nursing fields, many local, regional and international students have studied and graduated from the College. CMNHS...

3rd August

Australian stock exchange operator delays software overhaul by 20 months

(Reuters) -The Australian Securities Exchange said on Wednesday it would delay an overhaul of its main share trading software by up to 20 months, citing problems achieving “scalability and resilience”. The delay until late-2024, among several, takes it to nearly a decade of ASX Ltd’s project to modernise its equities clearance software Clearing House Electronic...

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