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.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Wikimedia Commons
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.

Wikimedia Commons
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.

Wikimedia Commons
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.

Wikimedia Commons
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.

Wikimedia Commons
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.

Wikimedia Commons
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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Military prosecutors opened their case against Commander David Alexander Morales in Norfolk, Virginia this week. It’s the latest development in the so-called ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal where 21 naval officers who served in the Pacific Fleet have now been charged or pleaded guilty. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News 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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73 years after the liberation of Guam, the US government has started to process claims for reparations. A bill signed by President Obama last December resolved decades of disputes over payments to those who suffered under Japanese occupation but we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, the arguments aren’t over yet.

In December 1941, Nine-year-old Forrest Mendiola Harris fled when bombs started dropping on his village. Now 85, he told the Pacific Daily News “I just want to say that I’m lucky that I lived through the war.”

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  Outbreaks of disease in two Pacific Island nations…dengue fever in Palau, and mumps in the Marshall Islands. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

 

 

Both outbreaks have an international aspect. Mumps in the Marshalls may be connected to an outbreak of the viral disease last year, in Arkansas. Half of the cases there were in the large Marshallese community…and, while precautions were taken, it’s possible that the virus travelled with Marshallese back home to the Pacific.

Nicholas Raymond / Flickr

Flags in Vanuatu are at half-staff as the country mourns President Baldwin Lonsdale, who died Saturday of a heart attack at the age of 67. Lonsdale served as Secretary General of Torba Province and became an Anglican priest before he took office as head of state in 2014. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Flickr / Yasuhiro Chatani
Flickr / Yasuhiro Chatani

Most projections of the impact of climate change and sea level rise focus on flooding and agriculture, but a new report from the UN suggests major changes in fisheries as well…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, voters in France overwhelmingly endorsed centrist candidates in the first round of legislative elections. President Emmanuel Macron’s brand new En Marche party looks set to win a commanding majority in the second round, two weeks from now, but results in France’s Pacific territories are more muddled; Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Simple Wikipedia
Simple Wikipedia

This week, we've been marking the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. The dramatic victory turned the tide of the Second World War in the Pacific and paved the way for a long era of American dominance, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute, nervous allies are beginning to question whether that era is coming to an end.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week, we’re marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. On the seventh of June, 1942, U.S.S. Yorktown slipped beneath the waves, in the last act of the battle. In Today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan focuses on what happened next.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the Second World War in the Pacific, and a pivotal moment in Pacific history. Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Last week, we reported on plans to close the controversial Australian detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Now, documents obtained by The Guardian show shocking levels of violence, sexual assault, suicide and drug use by staff and detainees. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

An extraordinary meeting is underway in central Australia, where aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders will discuss constitutional recognition, a treaty and compensation.  The summit’s being held at Uluru, the iconic rock revered by aboriginals…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

In Tonga, a constitutional amendment proposes to transfer more power from the King to the Prime Minister. Democratic reform, according to its supporters; critics call it a power grab. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A tiny, uninhabited island in the south Pacific is, according to scientists, “the most polluted, most remote island in the whole world.” More on Henderson Island from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Flickr / theglobalpanorama
Flickr / theglobalpanorama

The government of Papua New Guinea announced plans to close and demolish the controversial Australian Detention camp on Manus Island. About 900 men have been held there without charge for four years after trying to get to Australia by boat. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Simple Wikipedia
Simple Wikipedia

The complicated politics of the former Soviet Union don’t often affect the South Pacific, but two disputed territories that broke away from Georgia are about to cause headaches in the impoverished and far off island nation of Nauru. Neal Conan unravels the diplomatic knot in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

In April, the incumbent Governor of Jakarta lost his bid for election in a campaign dominated by allegations that he had committed blasphemy against the Koran. Yesterday, he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Details, from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Two years ago, we reported on the case of Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, arrested as he boarded a plane in Honolulu headed for China. Lin was charged with espionage in what government officials said was an epic sex for secrets scandal. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it now looks as if the allegations were greatly exaggerated.

Flickr / IAEA Imagebank
Flickr / IAEA Imagebank

According to Reuters, the U.S. Military’s controversial anti-missile system has reached initial operating capacity in South Korea. The news agency quotes U.S. officials as cautioning that it will still be months before THAAD is fully operational – the acronym stands for Theater High Altitude Area Defense. And, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, there is growing sentiment to install the system in Japan.

Wikipedia / PierreSelim
Wikipedia / PierreSelim

The Olympic Gold Medal won by Fiji’s sevens in Rio de Janeiro validated the popularity of rugby in much of the Pacific, and the quality of its players. An estimated 800 Pacific Islanders play professionally in Europe, but both they and their clubs can have problems with culture shock…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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