Inquiry secretary removed

PORT VILA (VANUATU DAILY POST) – The secretary to the Vanuatu Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the European Development Fund (EDF) has been removed from the Commission, awaiting an investigation into allegations against him.

The chairman of the Commission, Edward Nalyal, has advised Mohammed Rizwan that he is not allowed to attend any meetings of the CoI.

Samoa moves in on ghost writers

APIA (SAMOA OBSERVER) – the Samoa Government has tasked the Attorney-General’s Office to look into reintroducing a law which was abolished by government in 2013.

The intention is not only to protect the privacy of the individuals and the public from unsubstantiated, vicious and inciting allegations posted by ghost writers on the social media, but to safeguard and ensure peace and harmony in the country.

In announcing the move, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in his weekly Media Conference noted that when the criminal libel law was abolished (from the Crimes Act of 2013,) some have abused the freedom to express their views in particular the defamatory allegations posted on the social media.

Referendum talks

PARIS (RNZI) – Talks have been underway in Paris to prepare next year’s independence referendum in New Caledonia.

The meeting of the signatories to the Noumea Accord was opened by the overseas minister Annick Girardin because the Prime Minister Edouard Philippe first needed to chair a deferred cabinet meeting. The key issue to resolve is the make-up of the restricted roll of those eligible to vote in the referendum.

Before the talks began, Mr Philippe has said the referendum has to be transparent and monitored to ensure nobody can afterwards call its outcome into question.

US rules out extradition

HONOLULU (AP) – The US State Department says an American charged with murdering his wife in Tonga shouldn’t be extradited because he can’t get a fair trial there.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is denying the Kingdom of Tonga’s request to extradite Dean Jay Fletcher.

A US judge in Hawaii ordered Fletcher’s release Wednesday. Tonga prosecutors accuse Fletcher of beating his Canadian wife, Patricia Linne Kearney, to death last year, escaping police and sailing to American Samoa.

End to taro ban

APIA (SAMOA GOVT) – American Samoa has removed the ban on taro exports from Samoa, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Lopaoo Natanielu Mua has confirmed.

But allowing taro exports back into the territory comes with conditions, added the minister. They include contact details such as telephone and email addresses as well as assurances that the taro are thoroughly cleaned and meets American Samoa’s quarantine requirements.

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