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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This week marks 50 years since North Korea seized an American intelligence ship, the U.S.S. Pueblo. Its crew of 82 suffered starvation and torture before their release almost a year later. The ship itself is now on display at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

58 refugees from Manus Island in Papua New Guinea are on their way to new homes in the United States. The men have been held in Australian-run detention camps, many for more than four years. Another group of 154 men, women and children are expected to follow in February from Australia’s other-off shore camp in Nauru. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stephen M. Votaw / Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend, the U.S. Navy conducted the latest in a series of patrols to challenge Chinese clams in the South China Sea. The Pearl Harbor based destroyer U.S.S. Hopper passed near Scarborough Shoal, prompting Beijing to threaten accelerated militarization in the area. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The diplomatic dispute between Australia and China continues to seethe. This week, an Australian minister said that Beijing is trying to win influence in the Pacific with loans to build useless buildings and roads to nowhere. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Teinesavaii / Wikimedia Commons
Teinesavaii / Wikimedia Commons

The outspoken Prime Minister of Samoa said on television this week, that media organizations should rely on “official” information, and that it would be good if reporters were forced to reveal their sources. The statement followed passage of a law that makes libel a criminal offense in Samoa. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Qiliho / Wikipedia
Qiliho / Wikipedia

In Fiji, an opposition member of parliament has been questioned by police on allegations of sedition. Critics accuse the government of using the charge to suppress dissent. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Today, we broadcast the final Pacific News Minute of 2017 and Neal Conan continues his series on big stories that will continue to reverberate in the coming year - today: decolonization.

(stephan) / Flickr
(stephan) / Flickr

2017 saw dramatic events across the Asia-Pacific. The leaders of both China and Japan won new terms in office; forces loyal to ISIS held a Philippine city hostage for months; Australia legalized same-sex marriage and moved to wind down its much-criticized off-shore refugee camps. In the last two Pacific News Minutes of the year, Neal Conan focuses on stories likely to make news in 2018 as well as today, North Korea.

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Wikimedia Commons

A main road on the French Island of New Caledonia was closed for part of the weekend after more violence. An emergency doctor says a pick-up truck repeatedly rammed his vehicle from behind and forced him off the road in what he said was an attempted murder. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last week, long forgotten trophies of a 19th century skirmish between the United States and Korea were discovered at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. USNI News reported that workers uncovered battle flags captured by U.S. Marines in 1871. In today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan explains why both sides saw it as a victory.

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Wikimedia Commons

In Tahiti, lawyers for Gaston Flosse are trying to find a way to get the former president back into politics. After two corruption convictions, Flosse was barred from public office until 2019. But his lawyers argue that his sentences should run concurrently, which would allow him to stand in next year’s territorial election. If so, as Neal Conan reports in today’s Pacific News Minute, he may face new questions about a 20 year old case. 

Israel Defense Forces / Flickr
Israel Defense Forces / Flickr

More details have emerged about the Korean-born man arrested over the weekend in Australia. While Choi Han Chan faces charges that he tried to sell missile parts for North Korea, he’s also been described as a nice, polite hospital cleaner from a suburb of Sydney. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week, NASA scientists explained how a new volcanic island in the South Pacific could help them figure out where to look for signs of life on Mars. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

QuinceMedia / Pixabay
QuinceMedia / Pixabay

Last week, we reported on the controversy in Australia over Chinese influence on politics there. Further details on the extent of that influence emerged yesterday when a senator once considered a rising star of the Australian Labor Party resigned over his ties to a Chinese-born billionaire. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Last month, China told its tourist agencies to stop all flights to the Pacific island nation of Palau, in what’s believed to be a protest over a recent visit by the President of Taiwan. Chinese tourists made up more than half of Palau’s tourists last year, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, Palau doesn’t seem worried.

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Wikimedia Commons

The Australian government introduced a series of bills this week, designed to prevent foreign interference in politics. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited “disturbing reports about Chinese influence,” but also said the measures are not directed at any one country. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, China is not buying that.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, the Department of the Interior announced it was time for the people of Bikini to make decisions, not policy makers in Washington DC, and transferred control over the Bikini Resettlement trust fund. As soon as the decision took effect, 11 million dollars was withdrawn from the 59 million dollar fund, and now Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska plans legislation to restore federal supervision. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Six months of chaos over dual nationality comes to a head in Australia this week. After several senators and MPs were disqualified for office under an obscure law, all of them have to file proof of citizenship this week. But, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, confusion is likely to persist for some time.

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Wikimedia Commons

In Manila, the Supreme Court of the Philippines is hearing oral arguments this week, on two suits that challenge President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. On Tuesday, Solicitor General Jose Calida described the petitions as attempts to destabilize the government and sow anarchy…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve been hearing on the NPR news, North Korea fired a ballistic missile yesterday that landed in the Sea of Japan. At the same time, fishing boats believed to be from North Korea have been washing up on Japan’s west coast. The most recent, with eight bodies aboard. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Later this week, Tonga’s freshly elected parliament will gather to elect a prime minister and form a new government – which is expected to look a great deal like the last government after the ruling Democratic Party scored a resounding victory two weeks ago. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The reshuffle of the government of the Solomon Islands is now complete. Parliament elected a new prime minister, who immediately declared that he plans to continue the policies of his predecessor, who was ousted last week in a vote of no confidence. Neal Conan explains in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

There are conflicting reports on a crisis in Indonesia’s restive Papua Province. Police say that an armed group linked to the Free Papua Movement is holding 1300 people hostage in two villages near the world’s second largest copper mine. The group denies it, we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

You’ve probably heard about the naval exercises off the coast of South Korea, as three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups conduct drills with South Korean warships, but a Japanese newspaper reports that South Korea rejected an American plan to include Japanese vessels in the maneuvers. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

You hear the term “Asia Pacific” here on Hawaii Public Radio a lot. It’s the term most journalists and scholars use to describe our part of the world, and it’s in the name of the organization whose conference President Trump will attend later this week in Vietnam. But as he tours the region, the President has been using a different term – “the Indo-Pacific.” And, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it’s meant to convey a message.

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Wikimedia Commons

New Caledonia’s independence referendum passed a major hurdle last week. After marathon talks in Paris, pro and anti-independence factions reached agreement on a fundamental point - who gets to vote. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

There will be a new government in the Solomon Islands. Yesterday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was defeated in a vote of no confidence amid allegations of corruption, nepotism and failure to consult with his colleagues. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

As you may have heard, the indigenous council that manages Uluru has voted to ban climbing on Australia’s most iconic rock, starting in 2019. The sandstone butte, also known as Ayers Rock, is sacred to the Anangu people.

But that milestone for Australia’s indigenous peoples comes just after the government in Canberra rejected a proposal that emerged from an historic gathering of community leaders at Uluru last May. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

So far, 141 suits have been filed in Guam alleging sex abuse by priests. The most recent just last week. This week, the man named in more than half those cases provides sworn evidence. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

President Trump stops over in Hawaii at the end of this week, on his way to a twelve day trip to Asia, his first as President. Stops include Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, but he begins with a visit to Pearl Harbor, which saw another President stop by LAST weekend. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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