Regional

Airline cabin crew member arrested in Australian drug bust

SYDNEY (Reuters) – An employee of a Malaysian airline was among eight people arrested in Australia on charges of trafficking more than 14 kg (30 lb) of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines, Australian authorities said on...

Cheers mate: Australia to allow kava imports to bolster Pacific ties

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will allow imports of the intoxicating drink kava, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as it seeks to forge closer ties with its Pacific neighbours amid growing Chinese interest in the region. Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes...

16th January

NRL star Greg Inglis escapes conviction after pleading guilty to drink driving

SYDNEY, 16 JANUARY 2019 (SMH) – NRL star Greg Inglis has escaped conviction for drink driving, owing partly to his charitable nature. The South Sydney captain was caught speeding at 99km/h in an 80km/h zone and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .085 on the Great Western Highway in South Bowenfels, just outside Lithgow, on...

Sharp drop in skilled immigrants: ‘Employers need these people’

AUCKLAND, 15 JANUARY 2019 (RNZ) – New Zealand Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says he is looking at ways of encouraging more skilled immigrants to become residents – after a drop of several thousand in one year. Overall new resident numbers fell from 47,684 to 37,948 in the last financial year and almost three quarters of...

15th January

Mother creates job portal for Samoans

APIA, 15 JANUARY 2019 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – With the world advancing technologically, a young mother is ensuring that both Samoas are not left behind. 28-year-old Jennifer Livigisitone Singh from Falelatai and Malololelei has invested her time into creating an online employment portal for job seekers and employers in Samoa and American Samoa. What makes this...

Marshall enlists block-chain expert in cryptocurrency development

MAJURO, 15 JANUARY 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – The Marshall Islands has enlisted renowned block-chain expert, Steve Tendon, to help it develop its cryptocurrency. Last year the Marshalls government of Hilda Heine announced it would launch its own national cryptocurrency, the Sovereign. It has now been revealed that Tendon will be advising and assisting with the...

Samoa Airways jet operation back to normal schedule

APIA, 15 JANUARY 2019 (GOVT PRESS SECRETARIAT) – Samoa Airways says its international jet schedule will return to normal from today, Tuesday 15 January. The airline’s international flights during 6-14 January were rescheduled, after its Boeing 737-800 aircraft made an unplanned overnight stopover in Sydney on 05 January due to unsuitable weather conditions and the...

Drugs and cash seized by Tonga Police Drugs Taskforce

NUKU’ALOFA, 15 JANUARY 2019 (PACNEWS) – Tonga’s Police Drugs Enforcement Taskforce continues to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs in the country, with the latest arrests of three men Sunday in Hauloto. Police seized 189 packs of cannabis (446 grams), 23 packs of methamphetamine (7.97 grams) packed ready for distribution and cash, according to Deputy...

Fiu Elisara decries lack of meeting opportunity with ADB President

APIA, 15 JANUARY 2019 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – Fiu Mataese Elisara of Sili Savai’i, a critic of the Asian Development Bank’s consultation practices, is disappointed to not have met the President or his delegation in Apia last week. He said given the volume of correspondence he and his peers have had with the bank since 2014,...

Cook Islands Parliament to overhaul rules

RAROTONGA, 15 JANUARY 2019 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – The Speaker of Cook Islands Parliament Niki Rattle will chair a Standing Orders committee, set up to look into revising the rules regulating parliamentary proceedings. The committee aims to better align Standing Orders with the Cook Islands Constitution. Members include Prime Minister Henry Puna, Deputy Prime Minister...

Ipatas downplays talk he could be PNG’s next leader

PORT MORESBY, 15 JANUARY 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – A senior Papua New Guinea MP has downplayed suggestions he is a candidate to be the next prime minister. The parliamentary opposition is planning for a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill early next month. Local media has identified veteran MP and governor of Enga...

PNG Army to recruit 300 officers

PORT MORESBY, 15 JANUARY 2019 (THE NATIONAL) – The Papua New Guinea Defence Force is looking at recruiting about 300 officers this year, with first batch of 150 to occupy the Goldie Training Depot. Defence Commander Major General Gilbert Toropo said the first 150 officers would take up six months’ training at Goldie followed by...

Australian premier plans Fiji, Vanuatu visit to offset China influence

MELBOURNE, 15 JANUARY 2019 (REUTERS) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday he will visit Fiji and Vanuatu this week as part of a push to offset China’s growing influence in the South Pacific. PM Morrison heads to Vanuatu on Wednesday, in the first visit by an Australian prime minister to the Pacific...

Fiji Times responds to Director of Information’s statement; FT did not receive PM’s New Year message

THE Fiji Times is an independent newspaper and it is neither pro-Government nor anti-Government, says newspaper editor-in-chief Fred Wesley. Wesley’s comments came while responding to the Department of Information for blaming the newspaper for being selective and not publishing Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s New Year message. He said the newspaper published news and views based on what it...

Aussie PM plans first official visit to Fiji

AMID a resurgence in economic and diplomatic engagement between Fiji and Australia, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will travel to Fiji this week for the first-ever official bilateral visit by an Australian Prime Minister to Fiji. The two-day visit is scheduled from January 17-18, 2019. Prime Minister Morrison is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister...

14th January

Census puts Cook Islands total population at 17,434

RAROTONGA, 14 JANUARY 2019 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – The Cook Islands population on December 1, 2016 totalled 17,434 – two per cent less than the 2011 Census that counted 17,794 people, and 25 people less than the 17459 total announced in preliminary results released on June 24, 2017. The figure, released on December 7 last...

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