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.

Wikimedia Commons
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 As soon as the decision took effect, 11 million dollars was withdrawn from the 59 million dollar fund, and now Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska plans legislation to restore federal supervision.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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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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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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Wikimedia Commons

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.

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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.

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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.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro / U.S. Dept. of Defense
Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro / U.S. Dept. of Defense

Resentment continues in Jakarta after Indonesia’s top military official was denied entry to the United States last weekend. Senior American officials have apologized but Indonesia demands a full explanation. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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

Two families from Tuvalu who claimed status as climate refugees lost their case before New Zealand’s Immigration and Protection Tribunal this week. They claim that life would not be sustainable if they’re forced to return home. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The Manaro volcano in Vanuatu has settled and 11,000 people evacuated late last month are headed home. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Declassified documents from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta show that U.S. officials closely followed the massacre in Indonesia in the mid-1960s, but did and said nothing. At least 500,000 Indonesians died after a bungled Communist coup but the documents make clear that mass murders spread to include ethnic Chinese, students and union members as well as communists. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

The Philippine Defense Minister confirms the death of the two top leaders of the group that’s battled government troops in the city of Marawi for almost five months. One of the dead, is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list, with a $5 million reward for his death or capture. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News 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.

AK Rockefeller / Flickr
AK Rockefeller / Flickr

Last month, confusion erupted at the meeting of the United Nations Decolonization Committee in New York over a secret petition supporting independence for West Papua. Advocates said they presented the signatures of 1.8 million people, but the head of the Decolonization Committee declared that the petition didn’t exist. Neal Conan puzzles out the story in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Expeditions led by a University of Hawaii professor discovered a new species of sponge that lives 13 thousand feet under the Central Pacific ocean. Little is known about Plenaster Craigi except that it lives on metallic nodules that were once used as one of the most elaborate cover stories of the Cold War. We have more from Neal Conan, in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The prime minister of Vanuatu has promised that everyone evacuated from the island of Ambae will return to the island. All 11,000 residents fled as the Monaro volcano threatened to erupt and could face months in makeshift shelters. We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

A much delayed sedition trial has concluded in Fiji, with 14 of 16 defendants sentenced to as much as three years in jail. The defendants tried to establish a breakaway Christian state. We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

In Malaysia, the Kim Jong Nam murder trial got underway this week. Two women are charged in the assassination of the estranged older brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

An expedition to Zealandia has returned with fossils that prove the sunken continent was not always under water. Zealandia was recognized as a continent earlier this year, when geologists from New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia concluded that it meets all the criteria, even though nearly all of it lies deep under the South Pacific Ocean. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea warned that the referendum on independence in Bougainville may not go ahead. The vote is the last step in an agreement that brought an end to a bloody, ten year civil war on the island. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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