Regional

27th March

1195 votes cast in Solomon Islands pre-polling

HONIARA, 27 MARCH 2019 (ISLAND SUN) – About 1195 (91 percent) Solomon Islands voters have cast their ballot papers during the Pre-Polling throughout the country last Thursday. The total number of eligible voters are 1319...

Don’t let sexual violence laws “be words on a page,” human rights adviser says

APIA, 27 MARCH 2019 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – Pacific nations are successfully working through writing policies and laws around gender based violence, and becoming parties to international treaties, but not enough happens on the ground to implement those words. At the Pacific Island Law Officers Network workshop this week, police, lawyers and judges from across the...

New rules planned for NGOs in PNG

PORT MORESBY, 27 MARCH 2019 (THE NATIONAL) – Activities of all civil society organisations (CSOs) throughout Papua New Guinea will be monitored and coordinated through a policy. Youth Religion and Community Development deputy secretary, Joe Itaki, told The National that the policy would require all CSOs, also known as non-government organisations (NGOs), to be registered....

Noumea ranked 20th most expensive city for expats

NOUMEA, 27 MARCH 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – New Caledonia’s capital Noumea has been listed among the world’s 20 most expensive cities for expats. In the annual survey of the British publication The Economist, Noumea made the biggest leap over the past year, rising from 53rd to 20th spot. The index, which is based on the...

Australia remains PNG’s biggest investor with trade worth K19billion

PORT MORESBY, 27 MARCH 2019 (THE NATIONAL) – Australia is still the biggest investor in Papua New Guinea, with trade between the two countries worth US$5.9 billion (K19.9bil) in 2017, a conference has been told. David Tonkin, chief legal counsel at Australian Trade and Investment Commission, made the revelation at the international mediation and arbitration...

26th March

Dozens of Bangladesh migrants trafficked to Vanuatu stuck in limbo

DHAKA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Dozens of Bangladeshis who say they were trafficked to Vanuatu with the promise of jobs are stuck in limbo and struggling to survive while awaiting justice and the option of returning home. About 101 migrants who arrived in the Pacific island nation over the course of the last two years...

French Muslim group sues Facebook, YouTube over Christchurch footage

PARIS (Reuters) – One of the main groups representing Muslims in France said on Monday it was suing Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of inciting violence by allowing the streaming of footage of the Christchurch massacre on their platforms. The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said the companies had disseminated material that encouraged...

New Zealand PM announces royal commission inquiry into Christchurch attack

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday a royal commission, a powerful form of public inquiry, into the events leading up to a March 15 attack on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people. “It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to the bottom of...

New Zealand PM says she will meet President Xi in China

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she will travel to China at the end of the week for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, amid concerns of strained relations between the countries. Ardern said she would travel to Beijing on Sunday. She first announced her plans to visit...

25th March

French ambassador to Vanuatu stood down amid assault probe

PARIS, 25 MARCH 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – The French ambassador to Vanuatu Robby Judes has been stood down from his position as he is being investigated for alleged assault. The move has been announced in the Official Journal and approved by the French President Emmanuel Macron. This comes a month after Judes was summoned to...

Melanesian Spearhead Group Observer Group commences preparations in Honiara

HONIARA, 25 MARCH 2019 (MSG SECRETARIAT) – An advance team from the MSG Secretariat is in Honiara and have commenced preparations for the MSG Observer Group MSG) to arrive this week before deployment mission commences close to the days leading up to the National General Election on 3 April. The Director General of the MSG...

Commonwealth group deployed to observe Solomon Islands national general election

LONDON, 25 MARCH 2019 (COMSEC) – Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will deploy a team to observe the Solomon Islands National General Election to be held on 3 April 2019. The group will be led by Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, and will comprise ten eminent persons drawn from across the regions of...

Hundreds of thousands march in London to demand new Brexit referendum

LONDON (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people opposed to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union marched through central London on Saturday to demand a new referendum as the deepening Brexit crisis risked sinking Prime Minister Theresa May’s premiership. After three years of tortuous debate, it is still uncertain how, when or even if Brexit...

Taiwan president shores up dwindling allies on Pacific tour

KOROR, 25 MARCH 2019 (AFP) – Visiting Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has pledged a tourism boost and gifted a coast guard vessel to the remote Pacific microstate of Palau, as she works to check a push for regional influence by rival China. Tsai arrived in Palau last Thursday to kick off her second official visit...

24th March

Australian PM boosted by re-election of ruling party in largest state

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s re-election prospects got a lift on Saturday when Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), returned his ruling Liberal Party to power. The NSW election, less than two months before a federal poll, was seen as a test case of Morrison’s strategy to seek re-election on the...

New Zealand reopens mosques that were attacked; many ‘march for love’

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Smelling of fresh paint, the two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch where a gunman killed 50 worshippers last week reopened their doors on Saturday, with many survivors among the first to walk in and pray for those who died. At the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 of...

23rd March

“We are one” says PM Ardern as New Zealand mourns with prayers, silence

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – The Muslim call to prayer sounded out over Christchurch and around New Zealand on Friday, as thousands gathered to remember the 50 people killed by a lone gunman at two mosques a week ago. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined about 20,000 people standing quietly at Hagley Park, in front of the Al...

22nd March

Indonesian foreign Minister opens Indonesia-South Pacific Forum

JAKARTA, 22 MARCH 2019 (ANTARA NEWS) – Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi officially opened a series of activities of the Indonesia-South Pacific Forum (ISPF) at the Ministry Thursday. “This morning, I have opened a series of activities of the Indonesia-South Pacific Forum or ISPF in Jakarta to increase (Indonesia’s) role and presence in South...

President Tsai arrives in Palau

KOROR, 22 MARCH 2019 (CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Palau Thursday, marking the first leg of her current visit to diplomatic allies in the Pacific. Tsai was welcomed by Palau Minister of State Faustina Rehuher-Marugg last night. Reflecting the close friendship between the two countries, Palau Vice President Raynold Oilouch...

USP graduates remember Christchurch shooting victims

A MINUTE of silence was observed for the first two sessions of the University of the South Pacific graduation ceremonies yesterday to commemorate victims of the Christchurch shooting. Professor Pal Ahluwalia, USP’s vice-chancellor and president, said a total of 2226 students were graduating this month. “This is the largest number of graduates to ever graduate...

Belisle: Literacy still a challenge for Pacific primary school students

LITERACY continues to be a challenge for primary school students in the Pacific, says Education Quality Assessment Programme director Michelle Belisle. Speaking to this newspaper during a Pacific Island Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) steering committee meeting in Nadi this week, she said there were hopes that the 2018 results — being analysed and discussed...

PNG Biomass seeks support of PNG Power and government

PORT MORESBY, 22 MARCH 2019 (THE NATIONAL) – PNG Biomass wants the full support of PNG Power Ltd and Government so it can go ahead with the construction of a biomass power plant. Stakeholder engagement manager Jessie Mitir told the petroleum and energy summit yesterday said they wanted confirmation to be given for construction of...

Fiji tower controllers ‘not returning to work’

AIR traffic controllers say they will not return to work until Fiji Airports agrees to come to the negotiation table to discuss pay grievances and operational issues. This was the word from team leader and senior controller Kolokesa Kini during a press conference in Suva yesterday. He travelled with two other senior ATCs to meet...

Douglas Kimi appointed as new Solomon Islands census chief

HONIARA, 22 MARCH 2019 (SOLOMON STAR) – Douglas  Kimi who is the Solomon Islands Government Statistician is now the new 2019 National Census Commissioner. Caretaker Prime Minister Rick Hou officially announced this on Monday as the country is heading towards the next National Census in November. He said the announcement was made in accordance to...

New Caledonia’s Martin fails in Paris appeal

NOUMEA, 22 MARCH 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – France’s highest court has upheld the corruption conviction of a former president of New Caledonia Harold Martin. Two years ago, he had been given a six-month suspended prison sentence over the allocation of a US$29 million contract to an associate, Jean-Marc Bruel. However, the Paris court overturned his...

Tonga police minister threatens to impeach Acting Speaker

NUKU’ALOFA, 22 MARCH 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – Tonga’s Police Minister Mateni Tapueluelu has threatened to impeach the Acting Speaker, Lord Tu’ilakepa. This came after Tu’ilakepa announced six bills the government is trying to push through under urgency would first have to go to the House’s Standing Committee on Legislation. Matangi Tonga reported that Prime Minister...

Vanuatu Government refutes assertions

PORT VILA, 22 MARCH 2019 (VANUATU DAILY POST) – The Vanuatu Government has refuted assertions that corruption and resentment, due to unemployment by ni-Vanuatu, are fueled by China-funded infrastructural development projects. “Whilst the media feel at liberty to publish anything for anything, the government want to inform the general public that the recent publication on...

New Zealand to ban military style weapons, says PM Arden

WELLINGTON, 22 MARCH 2019 (BBC NEWS) – New Zealand will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons used in the Christchurch attacks, PM Jacinda Ardern has said. The country’s gun laws have been in the spotlight since a gunman killed 50 people at two mosques last Friday. Ardern said she expected new legislation to be in...

21st March

New Zealand begins funerals for mosque shooting victims, PM visits school

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – The bodies of victims from New Zealand’s mosques mass shooting were carried in open caskets on the shoulders of mourners into a large tent at Christchurch’s Memorial Park Cemetery on Wednesday – the first burials of the 50 victims. The majority of victims from Friday’s attack in the South Island city were...

ISIS revenge threat taken seriously: NZ PM

WELLLINGTON, 21 MARCH, 2019 (AAP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking seriously a reported call for retaliation from Islamic State over the terror attack in Christchurch. The spokesman for the jihadist group, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, broke a six-month silence to say last week’s attack on two mosques which resulted in 50 deaths...

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