Pacific News Minute

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Wikipedia Commons

On the day after tomorrow, the once autonomous territory of Norfolk Island will be part of Australia, ruled by a regional council instead of its own legislative assembly. Australia's parliament abolished self-rule just over a year ago and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, many Norfolk Islanders aren't happy about it.

YouTube Via CC Commons
YouTube Via CC Commons

The US and other nations continue to discuss their response after North Korea fired off two medium range mobile missiles last week.  The tests represent yet another violation of Security Council resolutions.  With a claimed range of more than 2 thousand miles, the Musudan missile has the potential to threaten US bases in Guam and the Northern Marianas.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Takver / Flickr
Takver / Flickr

In the run up to national elections, Australians got two sharply contrasting reports on off-shore detention camps this week.  A trauma expert and psychologist described conditions at Manus Island and Nauru as an atrocity, while a tabloid television crew reported that, for the most part, refugees are well fed, safe and well housed. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr
Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Decades of political instability in Vanuatu culminated in crisis last year.  14 members of parliament ended up in prison for accepting bribes for their votes to oust a prime minister.  Late last year, a snap election swept a new generation of leaders into parliament and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, they're focused on constitutional reforms to improve stability.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Part of the immigration debate this election year has been a proposal to eliminate the right of any child born in the US to automatic citizenship. Birthright citizenship applies in all fifty states and every US territory, except American Samoa.  Last week, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case that might have changed that... We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The annual Malabar exercise is underway ... About 20 ships and 90 aircraft from the US, Japan and India are in the Philippine Sea off the coast of Okinawa...and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, they're accompanied by Chinese intelligence ships.

fijione.tv
fijione.tv

Earlier this week, Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations was elected President of the General Assembly.  When he takes office in September, he will be the first from the Pacific to hold the prestigious, though largely ceremonial position.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

After Peter Thompson's narrow win in a contested vote, Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama described his victory as a measure of Fiji's standing in the world.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

The political crisis in Papua New Guinea escalated sharply last week after police opened fire on student protesters.  As many as 23 students were injured, some seriously.  The government, police and an independent panel of ombudsmen have all announced investigations...we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Archdiocesean Photo
Archdiocesean Photo

After allegations of sexual abuse, the Vatican has appointed an Apostolic Administrator to take over the duties of the Archbishop of Guam while an investigation proceeds.  We have more from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Youtube Via CC Search
Youtube Via CC Search

This week, a Prime Minister of New Zealand visits Fiji for the first time since a military coup in 2006. Prime Minster John Key noted that international monitors described elections there two years ago as free and fair.  He conceded that the political situation might not be ideal, but said it's time to resume relations at the highest level.  We have more on that political situation, from Neal Conan, in today's Pacific News Minute.

Times Asi / Flickr
Times Asi / Flickr

In China yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States wants a peaceful resolution to the simmering dispute in the South China Sea.  The call came during the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, it came after new warnings from senior officials on both sides.

U.S. Department of the Interior / Flickr
U.S. Department of the Interior / Flickr

The government of American Samoa announced plans to send a representative to the United Nations Decolonization Committee's Pacific Seminar this week. The unincorporated US territory is one of six Pacific entities on the Decolonization List and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, there could be two more.

Amit Sharma / Flickr
Amit Sharma / Flickr

Last Friday, a lieutenant commander and two retired Navy officers were arrested as part of a long running investigation into corruption in the US Seventh Fleet, which has its headquarters in Japan.  The head of a defense contractor named Glenn Defense Marine Asia admits that he bribed dozens of officers with lavish meals, prostitutes and cash, and bilked the Navy of at least thirty five million dollars. We have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

You may have seen a report over the weekend with even more bad news on coral bleaching in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.  According to an underwater survey, more than a third of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef is dead or dying.  The report comes right after the Australian government ordered all references to the Great Barrier Reef to be cut out of a UN report on the impact of climate change on World Heritage sites...details From Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Over the last year, the issue of West Papuan independence has emerged as a major regional issue, and could soon become prominent internationally. As we hear from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute, the key could be the upcoming summit, of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

President Obama's visit to Vietnam this week has focused on economic and strategic issues and on Human rights. Vietnam rigorously suppresses dissent and, late this week,  four Vietnamese go on trial for an act regarded as a right in much of the world...trying to leave the country. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

eGuide Travel / Flickr
eGuide Travel / Flickr

A massive security operation could not stifle all protests in Hong Kong this week, as an important Chinese official arrived. Zhang Dejiang is the chairman of China's legislature, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and the most senior official to visit Hong Kong since the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in 2014. We have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

 Thousands of police officers manned barricades around the Convention Center, forcing small groups of demonstrators to official protest zones well out of the way.

APEC 2013 / Flickr
APEC 2013 / Flickr

In Papua New Guinea, scandals and crises threaten to overwhelm Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. After courts reinstated the police anti-corruption unit, his arrest appears to be just a matter of time, and protests mount on university campuses and in an Australian detention camp. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

ravilacoya / Flickr
ravilacoya / Flickr

A study in the Solomon Islands by researchers from Australia found that five small islands have vanished, while six others lost significant acreage due to sea level rise. The authors say it's the first scientific confirmation of the dramatic impact of climate change...we have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Vanuatu Daily Digest
Vanuatu Daily Digest

The so-called Panama papers disclosed details of thousands of shell corporations set up in tax havens around the world, including many Pacific Island nations.  Those nations and the law firm involved, Mossack Fonseca, argue that these operations are perfectly legal and are not designed to cloak criminal activity...but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute...sometimes they do.

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / Flickr
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / Flickr

Yesterday, an American destroyer delivered another challenge to Chinese claims in the South China Sea.  USS William P Lawrence sailed within 12 miles of Fiery Cross Reef, where Chinese engineers have created a 700 acre artificial island over the last year and a half.  More, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Virgin Australia announced plans to resume flights to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu later this month.  Major airlines suspended flights in and out of Bauerfield International four months ago because of concerns over the safety of the main runway.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

So how does a country so heavily reliant on tourism allow it's international airport to deteriorate so badly?  At a news conference at Bauerfield earlier this week, deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman answered, "Neglect by successive governments."

AK Rockefeller / Flickr
AK Rockefeller / Flickr

Reports from West Papua say that nearly all of the 1,700 protesters arrested earlier this week have been released.  There were rallies in all the major cities in support of the United Liberation Movement, which has been pushing for a referendum on independence from Indonesia...we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull set national elections for July second.  The budget and the economy are expected to be the big issues, but immigration policy will be important too, especially after two asylum seekers set themselves on fire as a protest.  We have more on that, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Everybody knows that tuna is big business, especially in the Pacific, but, until this week, nobody knew exactly how big.  Now a report commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trust puts the annual estimate at more than 42 billion dollars.  We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

French Prime Minster Manuel Valls is on a three-day visit to New Caledonia.  The French South Pacific Territory is scheduled to hold a referendum on independence in 2018, but what's on the ballot and exactly who's eligible to vote remain to be decided...details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  Australia's controversial migrant policy faces major new questions today after a protester set himself on fire as UN officials toured the detention camp on Nauru.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ordered Australia's other off-shore run camp to be closed.  More, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Earlier today, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the winner of the biggest defense contract in Australia's history.  While Japan was long believed to have the inside track, France received the order for 12 new submarines in a deal estimated at 39 billion dollars.  We have more from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Tadashi Mori / Flickr
Tadashi Mori / Flickr

Sometime in the next few weeks, an international court that few people have ever heard of is expected to issue a ruling that could ratchet up tensions in the South China Sea.  We have more on Philippines VS. China and the International Tribunal of the Permanent court of Arbitration from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Last week, we reported on a series of high profile arrests in Papua New Guinea, where the police anti-corruption squad appeared to be zeroing in on Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.  Since then, the police unit has been suspended, reinstated, and locked out of its offices...more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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