Pacific News Minute

Hector Garcia / Flickr
Hector Garcia / Flickr

 In Canberra, this week, Australia's parliament is considering a new law to make the country's controversial immigration laws even tougher. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposes to ban asylum seekers in off shore detention camps from Australia, for life. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

 

Australian Civil-Military Centre
Australian Civil-Military Centre

While maritime border claims from half a dozen countries continue to raise tensions in the South China Sea, one long running dispute in the Pacific was resolved earlier this month when Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands signed a treaty after 32 years of negotiations.  We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

With little fanfare, a US Navy destroyer conducted the latest in a series of patrols around disputed islands in the South China Sea last Friday.  China protested the intrusion as "illegal" and "provocative."  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, it came as a new public opinion survey showed that Chinese hold a mixed view of the US.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

On Monday, as leaders of the G20 gathered in China- North Korea launched three missiles into Japanese waters.  The UN Security Council promptly issued a unanimous condemnation, but as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute- the launch presents difficult political and military problems.

The timing, certainly no coincidence...amounts to a slap at China.  Jeffery Lewis, director of the East Asia Non-proliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies told the Guardian, "They just don't care what the Chinese say anymore."

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday, an independent Australian Member of Parliament named Andrew Wilkie said his application to visit the island nation of Nauru has been refused.  That makes him just the latest prospective visitor to be denied.  Nauru rejected applications from an Australian Senator and from a delegation of Danish MPs in the past few weeks...we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

asopa.typepad.com
asopa.typepad.com

Last week, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea met with President Obama here in Honolulu, in his capacity as the chair of the Pacific Islands Conference. Later this week, Peter O'Neill will take center stage to chair a meeting of Pacific Islands Forum, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, Prime Minister O'Neill continues to face corruption charges at home.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

After his brief visit on Oahu, President Obama flies out to Midway Atoll, and then onto Hangzhou, China to take his place with the leaders of the top twenty economic powers. This year's G20 summit comes amid rising tensions in both the East and South China Seas, and accelerated defense spending.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

The Rise Of The Pacific Region: Neal Conan

Aug 31, 2016
U.S. Navy

The Rise of the Pacific Region: Neal Conan


Dennis Tang / Flickr
Dennis Tang / Flickr

After a report earlier this summer found that stocks of bluefin tuna are down to less than three percent of historic levels, a meeting in Japan this week is considering emergency measures, including a two year moratorium.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

www.publicdomainfiles.com
www.publicdomainfiles.com

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that President Obama may decide to make a fundamental change to US nuclear policy, by issuing a formal declaration that the US would never be first to use nuclear weapons.  The report triggered alarm in Japan and South Korea.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Over the past few months, Chinese fishing fleets have set off protests from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and, most recently, Japan.  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, these conflicts are expected to escalate.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

And now an update in a story we've been following.  Australia agreed earlier today to close its immigration detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. 854 men live there under prison-like conditions, many for more than three years, but there are no details on their future.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Robert Engberg / Flickr
Robert Engberg / Flickr

Last week, foreign ministers from the sixteen members of the Pacific Islands Forum met in Fiji, to get set for the organization's summit next month in the Federated States of Micronesia.  Climate change and disaster management headed the official agenda, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News minute, another long standing issue has reportedly been resolved.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Celebrations continue in Suva and Singapore, after Fiji's Rugby Seven and swimmer Joseph Schooling won gold medals at the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.  That's the first gold for Singapore and the first medal of any kind for Fiji.  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, Tonga has medal hopes for the Winter Games, two years from now.

wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

This week, the Guardian published two thousand documents from inside Australia's detention camp in Nauru.  The leaks detail the assaults, sexual abuse and self-harm suffered by asylum seekers, most held in prison- like conditions for more than three years.  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, a disproportional number of victims, were children.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

As we've reported, the guided missile destroyer USS Benfold is in Qindao on the first port call by an American warship to China since an international court rejected China's claims to almost all of the South China Sea.  Yesterday, the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet joined the Benfold in the home port of China's Northern Fleet…more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Jenny Scott / Flickr
Jenny Scott / Flickr

Debate on the future of electricity in Hawaii continues following the decision by the PUC earlier this summer to reject HECO's proposed merger with NextEra.  In particular over how to reach the goal of 100% renewable generation by 2045.  But, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, the situation for many of our pacific island neighbors is much more basic.

Michael Sonnabend / Flickr
Michael Sonnabend / Flickr

There has been lots of discussion about the influence of corporate money in politics in this year's presidential campaign.   Just two days before Australians went to the polls earlier this summer, an independent think tank published a report on how donations from big mining companies may have influenced six projects, including one of the biggest coal mines in the world.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency / Flickr
U.S. Missile Defense Agency / Flickr

North Korea launched another ballistic missile earlier today, the latest in a series that all defy United Nations Security Council resolutions. The missile landed in the sea off North Korea's east coast, and comes as South Korean and American officials discuss upgrades to anti-ballistic defense systems. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Blue Moon Sailing
Blue Moon Sailing

Last month's ruling by an international court redrew the map of the South China Sea...though China refuses to accept the decision.  But while attention is focused on that regions reefs, shoals and artificial islands, law of the sea scholars now say the court decision could also affect another disputed feature, with a strange history...more on Minerva Reef from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr
Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr

  In Manila yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that China must accept the ruling of an international court as the basis of negotiations with the Philippines.  China rejects the decision that threw out its argument for control over almost all of the South China Sea but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News minute, so far all sides have tried to restrain tensions.

en.kremlin.ru via CC
en.kremlin.ru via CC

Come next Monday, a new law in Malaysia will give the government of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak sweeping new powers. The government describes the National Security Council act as an anti-terrorism law, but critics say it could be used to suppress dissent amid the growing scandal at a government development fund...we have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

APEC 2013 / Flickr
APEC 2013 / Flickr

In Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill survived last Friday's motion of no confidence in parliament. After months of controversy, the vote wasn't close, as 85 MPs stood with the Prime Minister, while just 21 voted with the opposition. Even so, protests and strikes against the government are expected to continue, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

AK Rockefeller / Flickr
AK Rockefeller / Flickr

A week ago, as leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group gathered in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, it looked like they were ready to make an historic decision on the status of West Papua.  But after a closed door meeting that lasted late into the evening, the summit postponed the decision for three months...we have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

The political crisis in Papua New Guinea may reach a decisive point later this week.  Students, pilots and port workers are all on strike, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, whose government faces a crucial vote on Friday. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Admiral John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, is on a long planned visit to China, with the South China Sea at the top of the agenda.  A week ago, an international court rejected China's claim to the area.   As expected, China rejected the ruling.  We have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Youtube Via CC Search
Youtube Via CC Search

Final results are in from last weekend's election in Nauru. The ruling party won 16 of 18 seats in voting described by outside observers as free and fair, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific New Minute, opposition leaders disagree.

President Baron Waqa was re-elected as parliament met yesterday for the first time since Saturday's vote.  His increased majority, the government said, promises more continuity and further stability.

AK Rockefeller / FLickr
AK Rockefeller / FLickr

The twice postponed summit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group gets underway in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands this week.The big issue will be West Papua, and as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, there could be a showdown.

Both The United Liberation Movement for West Papua ...currently an Observer...and Associate member Indonesia have lobbied hard to become full members of the MSG this year...the ULM appears to have three votes, Indonesia two and since both claim to represent the same people, there may be no way to split the difference.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

While today's expected decision on the legality of China's territorial claims has focused attention on the South China Sea, tensions are also building at two other hotspots in East Asia, as we hear from Neal Conan in Today's Pacific News Minute.

wikipedia Commons
wikipedia Commons

China's Navy and Air Force are holding exercises in the South China Sea this week, scheduled to conclude just one day before a UN court issues a long awaited ruling next week that threatens to undermine China's claims in the area.  We have details on the case from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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