Australia

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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.

Broesis / Pixabay
Broesis / Pixabay

While temperatures remain frigid across much of the mainland United States this week, it’s another story entirely in many parts of the Asia Pacific. That includes Australia—where some cities are seeing their hottest temperatures in decades. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

One of the world’s biggest mining companies may pull out of several industry lobbying groups. The issue is a difference in approach to climate change. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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.

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.

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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

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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Wikipedia

Australia has produced a foreign policy “white paper,” laying out policy priorities for the government. And while it doesn’t mention the U.S. president by name, his thinking was clearly an influence. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Australia appears to be on its way to becoming the next country to officially recognize same-sex marriage. That follows the results of a nationwide vote spread out over two months. But the process is still not over. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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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.

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Wikimedia Commons

Voters in Australia are surprising a lot of so-called “political experts.” Over the past several weeks, a voluntary nationwide ballot has been underway on legalizing same sex marriage. And it’s already produced some unexpected results. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Utility companies around the world are trying to manage a transition to more use of renewable energy. But they are moving at different speeds, and sometimes with different goals. Under a law passed a couple of years ago, the state of Hawai‘i is committed to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2045. In Australia, the policy debate has taken a different turn. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea is set to close at the end of this month, but most of the refugees there refuse to leave. Now Canberra is offering an alternative - the detention center in Nauru. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

More than 6,200 electric vehicles are now registered in the state of Hawai‘i—up from about 4,000 in early 2016. That’s according to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which tracks the numbers.  While the use of electric cars is growing in the Aloha State, a different kind of alternative energy vehicle is in focus this week down under. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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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

A national vote is getting underway this week in Australia. Ballots have gone out by mail in a campaign that will last nearly two months. The results will not be binding, but might lead to another vote. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The American south is not the only location where statues are the focus of controversy. Here in Hawai‘i, some activists are re-launching a petition to change the name of McKinley High School, and remove the statue of President William McKinley from its lawn. In Australia, another statue is drawing attention—one with links to Hawai‘i. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia 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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Simple Wikipedia

More than two dozen countries around the world recognize marriage between members of the same sex. Australia appears to be moving in that direction, but there are some twists and turns along the way. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

A dispute over a homeless encampment in Australia’s largest city has apparently come to an end. The mayor of Sydney says the city will provide a safe space for the homeless—although several details remain uncertain. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Ian Paterson / Geograph
Ian Paterson / Geograph

A decision in Japan is sparking some backlash in the United States this week. It’s about trade—and a very specific export from the United States. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Sam Karanikos
Sam Karanikos

One of Australia’s most famous musicians died this week. He’d performed for President Obama and for Queen Elizabeth, but was best known in his own country. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Archeologists in Australia say they’ve found evidence that people were on the land there much earlier than previously believed. In fact, the difference is nearly 20,000 years. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia 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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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.

Simple Wikipedia
Simple Wikipedia

More than a third of the electricity generated by Hawai‘i’s largest utility last year came from renewable sources. Hawaiian Electric says the biggest source of renewable energy across the state is solar, followed by wind. A massive new project in Australia focuses on a different part of renewable energy: battery storage. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Flickr

Fireworks, parades and services of thanksgiving in the Solomon Islands this week, as RAMSI comes to an end after 14 years. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands arrived amid tribal warfare and governmental collapse in 2003. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it’s now regarded as a model for regional peacekeeping.

At an ecumenical service outside Honiara yesterday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare praised RAMSI in biblical terms: “Yes, the Divine intervention to our call for help is RAMSI,” he said.

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A major turning point in the plight of detainees on Manus Island yesterday, when Australia agreed to settle a class action lawsuit, for $530 million. Almost two thousand men will share the compensation. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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