Neal Conan

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minutes" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; and he appears most Tuesdays on The Conversation.
 

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Wikimedia Commons

Limbo has finally ended for at least some of the refugees held in Australia’s offshore detention camps. The State Department announced that 54 have been cleared for relocation to the United States and could arrive as soon the end of this week. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve heard on NPR News, President Trump addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations today. The annual gathering of world leaders provides an important opportunity for diplomacy, especially for poorer nations who don’t maintain embassies around the world. In today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan has a case in point.

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Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a tough year for Guam. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed accusing Catholic priests there of sexual abuse and, more recently, North Korea’s threatened to fire missiles at the island. Now, Guam’s representative in the U.S. Congress faces an ethics investigation…we have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, video of the apparent execution of a teenager triggered protests against President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs in the Philippines, but a vote in Congress yesterday suggests that the president’s policies continue to enjoy strong political support. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill won a chaotic and sharply contested election in Papua New Guinea, over an energized opposition that accused O’Neill’s government of corruption and mismanagement. But after starting the new parliament with a sharply reduced majority, O’Neill drew in a steady stream of defectors. And yesterday, the largest party in the opposition alliance crossed the floor to join the government…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The President of Indonesia met with a group of civic leaders from West Papua last month to discuss opening a dialogue on problems in the restive province. The group did not include representatives of the United Liberation Movement, which issued a statement that rejected the overture. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia

The annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum takes place this week in Samoa, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, some leaders will not attend, while other governments will send caretakers.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency
U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Yesterday, the Navy said it successfully shot down a medium range missile at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai. The interceptor was an SM 6 missile fired from the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, and while officials said the test has been planned for some time, it came just a few days after North Korea’s latest launch, which flew over the northern part of Japan and crashed into the Pacific. In response, Japan plans to upgrade its anti-missile systems.

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Wikimedia Commons

The King of Tonga issued a royal decree last week that dissolved parliament and set elections a year early. The decision represents a vote of no confidence in the government of the country’s first democratically elected Prime Minister and a test for democracy itself. We have more, from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Army.mil
Army.mil

A project to lay an undersea cable between Australia and the Solomon Islands has been delayed, first because of security concerns, and now, charges of bribery. Both revolve around the selection of a controversial Chinese contractor. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last week was the bloodiest thus far in President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-long war on drugs in the Philippines, with nearly a hundred people reported killed in and around Manila. Up to now, the crackdown has been widely popular, but the death of a 17 year old high school student last week set off the first serious protest. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Sad news yesterday, from the Marshall Islands announcing the death of former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum at the age of 72. De Brum became known around the world for his role in the fights against nuclear weapons and climate change. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, when two members of the Australian Greens (Greens, plural, is correct) Party resigned because they suddenly learned that they held dual citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declared that “Ignorance is no excuse.” But now Joyce himself has been caught up in the controversy and the ruling coalition’s razor thin majority in parliament is at risk…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia

Last year, John Key shook up politics in New Zealand when the long standing Prime Minister decided to resign. Now, with an election just six weeks away, the two largest opposition parties have both changed leaders as well…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend, an asylum seeker was found dead on Manus Island. The fifth man to die in the care of Australia’s off-shore detention camp in Papua New Guinea. PNG officials say he hanged himself, but fellow asylum seekers and refugee advocates say it’s too soon to rule out foul play. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week, the government of the Solomon Islands established a National Park at Bloody Ridge, where American and Japanese troops fought during the Battle for Guadalcanal, which began 75 years ago. The government hopes the National Park will help draw both Japanese and American visitors. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia

While several seats remain to be decided, members of parliament in Papua New Guinea re-elected Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister. The vote followed a chaotic election, a contentious count and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, one final drama.

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Wikimedia Commons

Three years ago, the Republic of the Marshall Islands began a quixotic court case to force the World’s Nuclear Weapons states to disarm. The suit was rejected by the International Court of Justice in the Hague last October. And on Monday, the Marshall Island’s case was dismissed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

photolib.noaa.gov
photolib.noaa.gov

After marine scientists found a huge patch of plastic garbage in the North Pacific Ocean, they figured there might be one in the South Pacific as well. Now they’ve found it, and it’s huge…details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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After chaotic weeks of voting in Papua New Guinea, counting the ballots has proceeded slowly and the deadline to return results has been extended to Friday. Observers from the Pacific Islands Forum found alarmingly large numbers of names missing from electoral rolls and there are allegations of hundreds of thousands of ghost voters …we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Anti-independence forces will be in charge of organizing next year’s referendum on independence in New Caledonia. The Congress of the French overseas territory elected a president and vice president yesterday. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Kate Ausburn / Flickr
Kate Ausburn / Flickr

Larissa Waters, deputy leader of the Australian Greens Party resigned her senate seat this week, after she learned that she holds dual citizenship with Canada. She checked, after another Greens senator resigned a few days ago over the same issue. Australia’s constitution bars federal candidates with dual citizenship. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Dept. of Foreign Affairs & Trade / Flickr
Dept. of Foreign Affairs & Trade / Flickr

Earlier this month, Solomon Islands and many Pacific Island Nations celebrated the success of RAMSI, the multi-national force that just concluded a 14 year mission to restore order in the Solomons. Vanuatu’s delegate to the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman, called for the Pacific Islands Forum to establish a standing force on the RAMSI model. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Earlier this week, the public comment period expired on the Interior Department’s review of more than two dozen National Monuments. Most are in the west, and most of the 1.4 million comments received focused on Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. As the deadline expired, both the Governor and the Senate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands criticized the Marianas Trench National Monument. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Cardinal George Pell returned to Australia this week to face charges of sexual assault. A top adviser to Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell denies the accusations and says he looks forward to his day in court…more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea are finally acting to close the notorious detention facility on Manus Island. But none of the asylum seekers has been resettled so far, and hundreds are refusing to relocate to a transit facility. We have more on the story from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

An agreement in 1998 requires a referendum on independence in New Caledonia before the end of next year, and now, we finally have some dates. The new government in Paris says the local government has until next May to organize the vote. If it fails to reach agreement, France will do the job itself…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

As world leaders head to Hamburg, Germany for the G-20 summit this weekend, none may be more eager for the International Stage, than Shinzo Abe of Japan. Last weekend, his Liberal Democratic Party suffered historic losses in elections for the local assembly in Tokyo. More, from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week, anti-nuclear activists in French Polynesia mark a grim anniversary. Fifty-one years ago, France exploded the first of 193 nuclear bombs at Moruroa Atoll. Amid memorial masses and protest marches, the president of the territory reported a breakthrough on long-running compensation claims. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

A closely watched and heated national election has begun in chaos across much of Papua New Guinea. The process is scheduled for two weeks, but polling days have already been pushed back in the capital and some highlands provinces and  many voters can’t find their names on official election rolls…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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