Regional

Google won’t use other web tracking tools after phasing out cookies

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will not build or use alternate tools to track web browsing traffic once it begins phasing out existing technology from its Chrome browser next year, it said in a blog...

As U.S. interview nears, Meghan and Harry won’t tango with UK tabloids

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and American wife Meghan decided long ago they would not play the traditional royal media “game”, and on Sunday they depart from the norms of engagement again with an in-depth interview with U.S. chat show host Oprah Winfrey. Smarting from sometimes critical tabloid headlines and press intrusion in Britain,...

Australian attorney-general denies historical rape claim

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter, the country’s chief law officer, identified himself on Wednesday as the subject of a historical rape allegation, declaring his innocence and strongly denying the claim. Politicians who last week received an anonymous allegation of an assault in 1988 had referred material to federal police. On Tuesday, police in...

South Korea investigates deaths of two who received AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean authorities are investigating the deaths of two people, both with pre-existing conditions, who died within days of receiving AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca said it was aware of the investigation by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), but the safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in clinical...

Australia building world’s first platypus sanctuary

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian conservationists on Wednesday unveiled plans to build the world’s first refuge for the platypus, to promote breeding and rehabilitation as the duck-billed mammal faces extinction due to climate change. The Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the New South Wales State government said they would build the specialist facility, mostly ponds and...

SPC optimistic about rapid regional vaccination timelines

The wait for island nations to vaccinate their people may only take a few months rather than years, the Pacific Community says. The UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit had forecast that some Pacific countries may not get to vaccinate majority of their populations until at least 2025. The group said this involved more than 60 percent...

IFC-APTC partner to offer training course in response to gender-based violence

A survey by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) last year found two-thirds of businesses believe the pandemic had increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence. In this regard, the IFC is partnering with the Australia Pacific Training Coalition to offer a 12-day Train the Trainers course on workplace responses to gender-based violence. A statement...

Tighter controls called for on PNG sand exploitation

After successfully stopping one sand mining project, Papua New Guinea environmentalists now want the government to tighten the rules around the industry. A Singaporean company, Niugini Sands, last week dropped plans to mine the black sands along the Madang coast, with director, Marcus Ong, saying bad publicity was pivotal in their decision. The environmental group,...

Cook Islands mosquito eradication steps up

The Cook Islands has launched its dengue mosquito eradication programme. The Operation Namu mass spraying campaign got underway yesterday on Rarotonga where an outbreak of dengue was declared in February. Spraying will continue today, weather permitting. The Cook Islands News reported spraying would continue around Rarotonga until 11 March. The programme targets mosquito larvae in breeding...

Fiji’s PS Economy Konrote resigns

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Economy Makereta Konrote has resigned after 18 years of service in the ministry. This was confirmed in a post on the Fijian Government Facebook page that stated Ms Konrote’s resignation will take effect from March 15, 2021. She plans to apply her economic expertise to take on new...

Investigation launched into alleged treasonous acts by Samoan MPs

Samoa’s former deputy prime minister and three other Opposition MPs are to be investigated for alleged treasonous activities and breaches of Standing Orders. A Commission of Inquiry has been ordered to look into the behaviour of Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who recently left the governing HRPP, as well as La’auli Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt, Faumuina Wayne Fong,...

Tough road ahead for refugees released into Australian community

Australia has freed dozens of refugees after holding them in detention for up to eight years on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. The offshore detentions were designed to deter refugees and asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat. Canberra alleged they were entering the country illegally. Now, more than 60 refugees, many...

Cooks govt urges end to rumour mill as passengers test negative

Officials in the Cook Islands have reassured the public about their safety from Covid-19 and urged people to stop spreading misinformation. The Secretary of Health, Bob Williams, said passengers who arrived last week on a flight from Auckland have all tested negative for the coronavirus. He said the passengers from the flight, with the exception...

Port Moresby to get bronze statue of PNG founding father

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, has directed that a bronze statue be erected in honour of Sir Michael Somare on Independence Hill in Port Moresby. Sir Michael, PNG’s founding prime minister, died last Friday. The Post Courier also reported the government has accepted Sir Michael’s wish that he be buried at...

3rd March

Is PNG a fragile state

NEMATULLAH BIZHAN and EMMANUEL GOREA In 2018, then Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance and current Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey stated that Papua New Guinea was a fragile state because of the government’s failing economic policies. However, then Prime Minister Peter O’Neill refuted the idea, saying that PNG was not fragile. Is PNG a fragile state?...

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, people in the automonous region in Papua New Guinea, were not following the guidelines. Bougainville, after staying almost completely free...

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...

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