Regional

24th July

Samoa’s superannuation fund and unit trust executes co-investment agreement with ATH and ADB for PNG mobile project

The Samoan National Provident Fund (SNPF) and the Unit Trust of Samoa (UTOS) have executed a co-investment agreement so it jointly invests alongside Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the...

23rd July

Fiji’s Opposition MP Nawaikula’s seat in Parliament vacated

SODELPA and Opposition MP Niko Nawaikula’s seat in Parliament has been vacated in a decision reached by the Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem. And in a statement issued tonight, SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka said the Party regretted that decision, acknowledging Mr Nawaikula’s vocal advocacy for the rights...

Australia tightens Sydney lockdown in ‘national emergency’ COVID-19 scare

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia’s New South Wales state on Friday reported its biggest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases this year, prompting a tighter lockdown in Sydney in what state officials called a “national emergency” that has already derailed a broad economic rebound. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian also raised the likelihood that stay-home orders for the...

Oil slips but heads for steady week on supply tightness

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices trimmed overnight gains on Friday but were poised to end the week largely steady after rebounding from a sharp drop, underpinned by expectations supply will remain tight as demand recovers. Brent crude futures fell 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $73.72 a barrel at 0147 GMT, after jumping 2.2% on Thursday....

Australian states squabble as NSW seeks COVID vaccine priority

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s largest state of New South Wales on Friday urged the federal government to divert vaccine doses to Sydney, the epicentre of a flaring COVID-19 outbreak, raising objections from other states desperate for protection from the virus. The Sydney outbreak has ballooned to nearly 1,800 cases since mid-June, and NSW Premier Gladys...

Bubble burst: New Zealand suspends quarantine-free travel with Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters) -New Zealand will pause its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia for at least eight weeks starting Friday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as Australia fights an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta virus variant. “We’ve always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved. This is not a decision we...

Britain tells EU on Brexit deal: it wasn’t going to last forever

LONDON (Reuters) -British Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Thursday the European Union had been inflexible over renegotiating the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit divorce accord and cautioned Brussels that it was not a deal that would last for ever. “A deal is a deal but it wasn’t something that was going to last...

Two doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca shots effective against Delta variant, study finds

LONDON (Reuters) – Two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine are nearly as effective against the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant as they are against the previously dominant Alpha variant, a study published on Wednesday showed. Officials say vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant, now the dominant variant worldwide, though the study...

Koya: Absence of regional e-commerce strategy a missed opportunity

The absence of a regional e-commerce strategy is a missed opportunity, says Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya. He reasoned with without clear policy and regulatory frameworks, the potential for e-commerce would remain untapped in the region. Mr Koya said while Fijian businesses were now adopting e-commerce, the drive had initially come...

COVID-19: PM – Need more Fijians to step up; notes high US elderly vax coverage

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says older people everywhere know they are particularly vulnerable to this COVID-19 virus so they make no fuss when making the decision to be vaccinated. And he made reference to adult vaccination in the United States of America (USA), noting that about  59.5 per cent of adults have been fully...

22nd July

E-commerce can help MSMEs pull through crisis; payment solutions pose challenge – Minister

While e-commerce may offer a platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to pull through this global crisis, the main challenge, however, is payment solutions with financial institutions. This is because MSMEs with limited capital are not able to afford fees required by commercial banks. Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz...

COVID-19: New Fiji CDC lab to be established in Nadi as testing demands increase

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services is working on increasing the country’s testing capacity, and it has now announced the establishment of a new Centre of Disease Control lab for Nadi in August. Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong revealed this last night in his COVID-19 update announcement, saying they were developing a new...

Rich nations ‘must consign coal power to history’-UK COP26 president

LONDON (Reuters) – Climate change talks this year aimed at keeping global warming in check need to consign coal power to history, the British president of the upcoming United Nations’ conference said on Wednesday. Britain will host the next U.N. climate conference, called COP26, in November in Glasgow, Scotland. The meeting aims to spur more...

Australia, under lockdown, sees jump in COVID-19 cases

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia’s two largest states reported sharp increases in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a blow to hopes that lockdown restrictions would be lifted with more than half the country’s population under stay-at-home orders. New South Wales (NSW) state, home to the country’s most populous city Sydney, logged 110 new cases, up from 78...

21st July

Oil rebounds as market seizes on discounted prices

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Crude oil futures rebounded on Tuesday as market participants vied to take advantage of oil’s two-month low touched in the previous session. Monday’s selloff, spurred by demand destruction fears amid rising COVID-19 cases, pushed oil about 7% lower and hit other riskier assets. The oil market was also lower on news that...

Rio Tinto reaches agreement to assess Bougainville copper mine impact

(Reuters) -Rio Tinto said on Wednesday it has reached an agreement with stakeholders of the Bougainville community to look into potential environmental damage and human rights breaches at a copper mine it ran decades ago. Community and human rights groups have been pushing the miner to review issues around water, land and health arising from...

PM Bainimarama: PICs can resolve food crisis in our corner of the world

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says it is a “terrible shame” that in the midst of an ocean teeming with life and islands with fertile soil and favourable climate, Pacific Island States are recording the highest rates of diabetes in the world. He made the comment in his official address at the opening of the...

Pfizer vaccine roll-out begins in Covid-free Tokelau

Tokelau’s Nukunonu atoll began its vaccination process today after receiving its delivery of the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, courtesy of the New Zealand Navy Patrol Vessel HMNZS Wellington. The Tokelau atolls’ population was 1499 in the 2016 Census. For Nukunonu, which is home to approximately 420 people, vaccinations started today for...

Cook Islands’ pearl industry in peril

The Cooks Islands’ pearl industry is suffering a shortage of supply which is threatening its future. Local farmers are being forced to kill off oysters because off a lack of highly-skilled Japanese technicians in country due to travel restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Jewellers are concerned this is creating a shortage of black...

Misinformation to blame for low vaccination take up in Bougainville

New figures from PNG’s Covid-19 controllers, show just 627 Bougainvilleans have been vaccinated out of a population of about 300,000. As with most of Papua New Guinea, very few people in Bougainville are getting vaccinated, often because they are discouraged by false claims made on social media. The director of the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development...

Shipping travel bubbles could keep Covid-19 out of NZ – Maritime Union

The Maritime Union is floating the idea of an “oceanic” shipping bubble to protect against Covid-19, after a third coronavirus-riddled ship docked in New Zealand. Nine infected crew members are isolating aboard the Mattina in Bluff. It is the third vessel to dock in New Zealand after crew tested positive for the virus. Mattina, a container ship...

20th July

France, South Pacific nations to combat ‘predatory’ fishing as China extends reach

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday France and South Pacific nations would launch a South Pacific coastguard network to counter “predatory” behaviour, which an adviser said was aimed at illegal fishing, as China expands its maritime reach. The United States and allies including France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are actively...

Zoom to buy cloud-based call center operator Five9 in $15 billion deal

(Reuters) -Zoom Video Communications Inc announced a $14.7 billion all-stock deal to buy cloud-based call center operator Five9 Inc in its largest-ever acquisition, as competition intensifies in its core videoconferencing sector. The teleconferencing services provider has become a household name and investor favorite in the year since the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses and schools adopted...

19th July

COVID-19: Fiji reports 784 new cases; 7 of 15 deaths reported died at home

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Fiji has continued to increase as confirmed positive cases fluctuate on a daily basis. In the 24-hour period ending at 8am today, the Ministry of Health has reported 784 new cases of COVID-19, and 15 virus-related deaths recorded between July 12-19. Seven of those cases were reported to have...

Fiji general election dates

The next general election can be held any time from July 9, 2021, to January 9, 2023, says Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. “As we look into the future of our democracy, we are providing $23.1million to the Fijian Elections Office to continue preparations for the third genuine parliamentary election in Fijian history,” he...

Australia to extend COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria amid Delta outbreak

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian authorities on Monday said Victoria state will extend a COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday despite a slight drop in new infections as the country’s two biggest cities fight to stop the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said lockdown rules would not be lifted as cases were...

Australian PM Morrison’s approval rating slumps on slow vaccine rollout

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval ratings fell to the lowest level in more than a year, according to a poll published on Monday, as a sluggish COVID-19 vaccine rollout dented voters’ confidence in his conservative government. A Newspoll conducted for The Australian newspaper showed Morrison’s public support dropped two points to...

Australia to deport Britain’s Katie Hopkins after quarantine breach

CANBERRA, July 19 (Reuters) – Australia will deport controversial British commentator Katie Hopkins after she admitted breaching the country’s quarantine rules, Australia’s minister for home affairs said on Monday. Hopkins flew into Sydney to appear on Seven Network Ltd’s (SWM.AX) reality television programme Big Brother VIP, according to Australian media, but she stoked public outrage...

Kiribati community celebrates with festival of song and dance

People gathered from all over the North Island to celebrate their connection to Kiribati through song and dance. It was their way of staying connected to an island that is more than 4000km away. The 3000-strong Kiribati community in New Zealand were also marking its language week in Aotearoa. The New Zealand Kiribati National Council...

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