Pacific News Minute

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A tacit deal between Australia and the United States is now explicit. In an interview with Australia’s Sky News, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton conceded for the first time that Australia will not accept a group of Central American refugees until the U.S. accepts asylum seekers held on the Pacific Islands of Manus and Nauru….more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute

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Wikimedia Commons

Last December, we reported that the police commissioner of Samoa had been thrown into a jail cell after he was arrested on more than 250 criminal charges, including incitement to murder. On Monday, he declared, “Justice has prevailed” after the entire case was dismissed…we have an update from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last week, a teenager’s death in custody became the latest incident in a long series of case of alleged police brutality in Fiji. Last October, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama admitted that torture was a problem but said that the issue is being addressed. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The stakes in April’s Presidential Election in France could include the country’s future in the European Union…one of the leading candidates, Marine Le Pen of the National Front, vows to hold a plebiscite on the issue if she wins…French Pacific Territories participate in the vote and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, the stakes in French Polynesia could include independence.

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Wikimedia Commons

A retired bishop in the Northern Marianas has been accused of sex abuse against an altar boy. The charges date back to 1971, when Tomas Camacho served as a priest in Guam and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it’s just the latest in a long series of accusations.

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Wikimedia Commons

There was sigh of relief across the Pacific last week when President Trump re-affirmed American commitment to the One China policy in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Since then, though, North Korea launched a missile to remind the world of one major unsolved problem in East Asia. Then the Defense Minister of the Philippines reminded us all of another…more on that, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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53 police reinforcements are due to arrive in New Caledonia this month as sporadic violence continues south of the capital. And French authorities warn of  military style operations if unrest continues. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

USNI
USNI

Last Friday night, a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai was successfully intercepted in space by a new anti-ballistic missile, according to the US Missile Defense Agency. This was the most ambitious test yet of a weapon jointly developed by the United States and Japan…we have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

After a week of leaks, tweets, phone calls and high level meetings, it looks as if The Trump Administration will honor an agreement with Australia to take in as many as 1,250 refugees held on the Pacific Islands of Nauru and Manus…more from Neal Conan in Today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Simple Wikipedia

Over the past couple of years, we’ve reported on efforts to establish Libertarian Utopias on uninhabited Pacific islands and, just last month, to build a small floating city in a French Polynesian lagoon. Now a Russian businessman is in talks with the government of Kiribati to re-establish the Romanov dynasty.  Details from Neal Conan in Today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Amnesty International issued a blistering report earlier today on President Roderigo Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines. More than 7,500 people have been killed over the past 7 months.  Of 59 deaths investigated by Amnesty, the group reported that the vast majority were “extra-judicial killings carried out by government order.” More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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At a news conference yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that President Trump promised to honor a refugee resettlement deal arranged by President Obama. Hundreds of refugees held on the Pacific Islands of Nauru and Manus could go to the United States, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, details remain unclear.

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Wikimedia Commons

The independence movement in West Papua has been fueled by demographics. After a census in 2010, experts believed that settlers from other parts of Indonesia already outnumbered indigenous Melanesians, or would very soon. Now, a new study shows that indigenous people remain the majority. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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tannamovie.tumblr.com

One movie got 14 Oscar nods yesterday, but in much of the Pacific, La La Land has to share the headlines with Tanna, a film shot entirely on location in a village in Vanuatu. More on the “Best Foreign Language Film” nominee from Neal Conan in Today’s Pacific News Minute.

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French Naval forces caught three Vietnamese vessels fishing illegally in New Caledonia. Four others were detained there two weeks ago and last month Papua New Guinea’s Fisheries minister described the so-called Blue Boats as a threat to national security. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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This week, French Polynesia signed a memorandum of understanding with a San Francisco based group to study the engineering and legal support for a floating city.  This is the latest variation in efforts to construct libertarian utopias, free from taxes and government regulations.  We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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On a visit to Europe this month, the foreign Minister of Vanuatu has scheduled a meeting in Paris to discuss two remote, unpopulated islands claimed by both countries since 1980.  More on Matthew and Hunter Islands from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, we reported on the seizure of 1300 pounds of methamphetamine in suburban Manila. Over the weekend, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would have shot the six men arrested in the raid, and declared himself ready to declare martial law if the war on drugs gets out of control. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Times Asi / Flickr
Times Asi / Flickr

This week, Kim Jong Un said that North Korea is ready to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.  And President-Elect Donald Trump vowed that would never happen. North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests and launched about 20 ballistic missiles last year, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it’s never tested an ICBM.

YouTube Via CC Commons
YouTube Via CC Commons

While President-Elect Donald Trump has promised no new foreign business deals while he’s in office, projects already underway will go ahead, including two big developments in Indonesia. Now, Trump’s Indonesian business partner says he wants to run for President himself. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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In 2016, after Papua New Guinea’s supreme court ruled that the Australian offshore detention camp on Manus Island was unconstitutional, hopes rose that the  nearly 900 asylum seekers there would be transferred to Australia… or to Nauru… or most recently, to the United States.  But as another year begins with no change in sight, tensions are building at the remote camp…more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Exxon Mobil announced the discovery of a new gas field in the highlands of Papua New Guinea yesterday…the giant American corporation already operates a huge project in PNG that produces almost seven million tons of liquefied natural gas per year.  But the government has just sent a combined force of troops and police into the area to control widespread fighting. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

This week, a group of Chinese warships sailed into the Pacific south of Okinawa, then turned southwest to enter the disputed waters of the South China Sea.  The naval force includes China’s only aircraft carrier. Beijing describes the operation as a routine exercise, but as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, it clearly sends messages.

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Since being elected President of the Philippines earlier this year, Rodrigo Duterte has described President Obama and Pope Francis, among others, as a “son of a whore.” Now, you can put the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in their company. Neal Conan reports in today’s Pacific News Minute.

AK Rockefeller / Flickr
AK Rockefeller / Flickr

On Monday, Indonesian authorities arrested more than five hundred protesters in West Papua. Most were released the same day, but now there’s news that two activists have been charged with treason, which is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Fourteen years after the government of the Solomon Islands nearly collapsed amid ethnic violence, the country’s police force is about to be rearmed.  Regional peacekeepers are scheduled to withdraw next June, which will leave the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force fully responsible for law and order.  We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Earlier this month, The Australian Broadcasting Commission announced plans to end shortwave radio broadcasts to the Pacific at the end of next month. A watchdog group called The Pacific Freedom Forum is urging governments around the region to put pressure on the ABC to reconsider.  We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week, Chinese investors signed an agreement with the government of Papua New Guinea to develop two giant industrial parks. One to focus on large scale processing of timber, fish, cassava and tropical spices, the other to produce steel and cement. Construction on the 4 billion dollar project could get underway as soon as next year and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, another ambitious project could follow in 2019.

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It now looks like Guam will hold its decolonization plebiscite in 2018. The island's indigenous people will be asked whether they prefer independence, statehood, or Free Association with the U.S. More from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

More military activity in the South China Sea: according to Fox News, China sent a long range bomber to patrol the area last week. The Fox report cited two American officials who described the show of force as a message to the incoming Trump administration.

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