Regional

27th February

Facebook signs letter of intent with three Australian media firms

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Friday said it had signed letters of intent with three Australian media firms, a day after the country’s Parliament passed a law forcing it to pay media companies for...

26th February

Malaysian man wins landmark challenge against Muslim gay sex ban

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A Malaysian man on Thursday won a landmark court challenge against an Islamic ban on sex “against the order of nature”, raising hopes for greater acceptance of gay rights in the mostly Muslim country. The Muslim man in his 30s – whose name has been withheld by his lawyer...

Carbon offsets gird for lift-off as big money gets close to nature

LONDON (Reuters) – An expected dash by big corporations for offsets to meet their climate targets has prompted financial exchanges to launch carbon futures contracts to capitalise on what could be a multi-billion dollar market. It’s a step change. Carbon offsets, generated by emissions reduction projects, such as tree planting or shifts to less polluting...

Papua New Guinea’s Michael Somare, ‘father of the nation’, dies

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea’s first prime minister, Michael Somare, has died aged 84, his daughter said on Friday. Known as the “father of the nation”, Somare led the Pacific archipelago to independence from Australia in 1975 and served four times as prime minister. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early February,...

Health authorities call for common approach to COVID-19 treatments: EU

(Reuters) – International cooperation over COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is required to respond to emerging variants of the virus, improve access for pregnant women and build confidence in vaccines, Europe’s drugs regulator said on Thursday. Health authorities from across the world including, Europe, the United States, Britain and Australia, met during the first few weeks...

Facebook to invest $1 billion in news industry after Australia row

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Wednesday pledged to invest at least $1 billion in the news industry over the next three years, days after a high-profile stand-off with the Australian government over paying news outlets for content. The social network’s commitment to the news industry follows Google’s $1 billion investment last year, as technology giants...

White House to roll out Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses next week, pending authorization

(Reuters) – The United States expects to roll out three to four million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine next week, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday. A Johnson & Johnson executive on Tuesday said the company expected to ship nearly 4...

25th February

Travel bubble with Pacific Islands ‘critical’ as millions of berries rot

BRISBANE, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (BRISBANE TIMES) – An LNP backbencher has called for a new travel bubble between Pacific Islands nations and Queensland to be set up this week after millions of strawberries were “left to rot” on farms because of a lack of workers. Andrew Powell, whose Sunshine Coast-based seat of Glasshouse is home...

Kiribati seafarers in Germany can go home

BERLIN, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (AAP) – Germany’s foreign ministry says 170 people from the Pacific island of Kiribati will be able to return home after being stranded in the country for several months. The Kiribati citizens are seafarers who became stranded several months ago because their country – one of the few places without coronavirus...

Venezuela kicks out head of EU delegation after new sanctions

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Wednesday that the head of the European Union’s delegation in Caracas had 72 hours to leave the country and declared her persona non grata after the bloc imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan officials this week. In announcing the action against Portuguese national Isabel Brilhante, Arreaza...

Repatriation of 44 failed Vanuatu students in Fiji soon

PORT VILA, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (VANUATU DAILY POST) – 44 scholarship students who undertook studies under the Member’s Education Support Scheme (MESS) of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) last year and failed all or most of their courses will be repatriated. These students will no longer be supported by VNPF, said the General Manager...

Biden revokes Trump ban on many green card applicants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a proclamation from his predecessor that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States. Former President Donald Trump issued the ban last year, saying it was needed to protect U.S. workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden rejected that reasoning...

Kiribati Parliament meeting scheduled for April 19

TARAWA, 25 FEBRURAY 2021 (RADIO KIRIBATI) – The fourth meeting of the 12th Parliament (Maneaba ni Maungatabu) will kick off on 19 April this year. Clerk to Parliament Eni Tekanene told Radio Kiribati News arrangement to transport all MPs to the capital Tarawa for the meeting is now underway. Tekanene said all MPs are expected...

Vanuatu Deputy PM wants answers from Australia over sacked seasonal workers

CANBERRA/PORT VILA, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (ABC) – Vanuatu’s government wants more information from Australia after its High Commissioner claimed that more than 50 of its seasonal workers had been sacked from their jobs in Bundaberg, Queensland and received death threats. High Commissioner Samson Fare tweeted that the 51 workers were part of the Australian Government’s...

Solomon Islands Police patrol boat ambushed by Bougainvilleans

HONIARA, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (SIBC) – Solomon Islands Police Response Team(PRT) at the border were ambushed ahead of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s visit to Nila in Shortland Islands Wednesday. The incident happened prior to the arrival of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. On Wednesday four PRT officers manning Kariki station did an advance patrol around the...

Australian media reforms pass parliament after last-ditch changes

CANBERRA (Reuters) – The Australian parliament on Thursday passed a new law designed to force Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc to pay media companies for content used on their platforms in reforms that could be replicated in other countries. Australia will be the first country where a government arbitrator will decide the price to...

Labour Minister says Samoa must prepare for the ‘future of work’

APIA, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (SAMOA GLOBAL NEWS) – Samoa’s Minister for Labour, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell, has called for a forward-looking approach to the development of Samoa’s labour force, to ensure it is able to respond to changes taking place in the world of work. During his Ministerial address in Parliament, Lautafi said the Ministry...

PNG doctor warns funding is needed to fight other infectious diseases too not just COVID-19

PORT MORESBY, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (ABC) – This week, nearly a year after its first reported case, Papua New Guinea reached a fresh COVID-19 milestone with the number of cases passing 1000. For a country with a health system that has limited capacity and resources, COVID-19 is adding to the pressure on those tight resources....

Fiji considers 2005 Forum Agreement welcomed: Forum SG

SUVA, 25 FEBRUARY 2021 (PIFS) – Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor has welcomed Fiji parliamentary standing committee consideration of the 2005 revision of the founding agreement of the Pacific Islands Forum. Secretary General Taylor and Deputy Secretary General Dr Filimon Manoni appeared virtually on Monday 22 February before a five-member panel considering submissions on...

EU bets on data to prepare for climate change impacts

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Wednesday said it would create an arsenal of data tools to anticipate and adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. As European Union countries attempt to eliminate their net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, they will still face decades of climate-related impacts, locked in from previous years’...

FAA orders inspections of some Boeing 777 engines after United fire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Tuesday it was ordering immediate inspections of Boeing 777 planes with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines before further flights after an engine failed on a United flight on Saturday. The engines are used on 128 older versions of the plane accounting for less than 10%...

24th February

The 2021 Madang roads ruling

THE National Court of Papua New Guinea made a landmark court decision on Saturday, January 30, 2021, by ordering the Madang Provincial Government, the District Development Authority, and the Urban Local-level Government to fix the roads in Madang Town. The orders prescribed the specific financial contributions and administrative responsibilities of each level of government, including...

PNG struggles to gauge extent of covid-19 in country

Papua New Guinea health authorities are struggling to gauge the extent of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak. Over a hundred new confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in the past several days, taking the total number to 1,111. The National Pandemic Controller’s office reported 34 new cases overnight. But concern is rising over the...

American Samoa continues chase for federal minimum wage exemption

American Samoa’s Republican congresswoman, Uifa’atali Aumua Amata, has requested the territory continue to be exempt from US federal minimum wage laws. Major coronavirus and economic relief legislation, under consideration by the US Congress, includes a provision to hike the federal minimum wage from $US7.25 to $US15 per hour. In a letter to the House committee...

Vanuatu to vaccinate 20 percent of population in first phase

The Vanuatu government is aiming to vaccinate 20 percent of the country’s population for Covid-19 in the first phase of its vaccine roll out. This comes after the Astra Zeneca vaccine was approved for use in Vanuatu last Friday by WHO through the Covax platform. The Vanuatu Daily Post reported the director general of health, Russel Tamata,...

Former Vanuatu PM Salwai appeals perjury sentence

Vanuatu’s former prime minister Charlot Salwai has appealed against the sentence given him after being found guilty of perjury. Earlier this month Mr Salwai was given a two years and three months suspended sentence by supreme Court judge, Andre Wiltens. He has now submitted his appeal to Vanuatu Appeal Court. The Appeal Court is the...

High number of Pasifika children experience material hardship

Statistics NZ’s latest official child poverty figures show Māori and Pacific children were higher across almost all measures, compared with all children. For the year ended June 2020, one in four Pasifika children lived in households experiencing material hardship. That is a similar reading to the report ended June 2019 where almost one in four...

22nd February

New Zealand marks 10 years since Christchurch earthquake

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand on Monday marked 10 years since an earthquake struck its South Island city of Christchurch, killing 185 people, injuring thousands and leaving a trail of destruction. At 12:51 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2011, the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck close to Christchurch city at a depth of 5 km. Although not...

Fijian allegedly murdered in Christchurch, accused arrested

A man allegedly murdered at a Christchurch home lost his father three weeks prior, in a double tragedy for the family. Police were called to reports of a serious assault at a block of flats on Armagh St, on the fringe of the central city, about 7.35pm on Sunday. Officers found Faiz Ali, aged in his...

21st February

Women ‘ignite a fire’ to keep cultural traditions alive

A Tongan community group in New Zealand hope their efforts to make koloa, or cultural treasures, inspires other Pasifika community groups to explore and preserve their own cultures. Akomai Heritage have recently completed a week-long interactive exhibition of the inner workings of a koka’anga (ngatu-making work party) with sprawling exhibits of beautiful finished pieces of...

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