Pacific News Minute

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Wikipedia Commons

US presidential hopefuls will spend most of January in Iowa and New Hampshire as the primary and caucus season gets underway.  We know that one of them will be elected later this year.  Four Pacific Island nations could get new political leadership this month.  As we hear from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute, one new president has already been chosen.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

One of the more colorful Internet entrepreneurs faces extradition to the United States. Kim Dotcom could serve up to twenty years if convicted on multiple charges including copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.  A week ago, a judge in New Zealand found the evidence against him and three co-defendants overwhelming.  The background, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  Two Pacific Island conflicts echoed in the news this week.  On Bougainville, an angry President John Momis says that Papua New Guinea violated the peace agreement that ended the war on that island in 2001 by failing to make guaranteed payments.  Next door in the Solomon Islands, the government kicked off a program to rehabilitate fighters from its civil war.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday's agreement between South Korea and Japan came as welcome news in Washington.  The United States has long urged Tokyo and Seoul to resolve the issue of the "comfort women" - Korean women coerced into prostitution to service Japanese soldiers during the Second World War.  As we hear from Neal Conan in Today's Pacific News Minute, the agreement may be a step forward, but a long way from complete resolution.

DVIDSHUB / Flickr
DVIDSHUB / Flickr

For the 64th year in a row - US Air Force crews dropped toys, fishing gear, canned goods and a new addition this year - soccer balls to thousands of people on isolated Pacific Islands.  Also new: Japan and Australia sent planes to participate in "Operation Christmas Drop." Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

A week ago, the Obama administration announced the sale of $1.83-billion dollars of weapons to Taiwan.  Beijing responded by calling in the US Charge D'affaires to complain about violations of China's sovereignty and security interests.  In fact, the sale was on the small side - as such things go and as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, more about politics than military capability.

JasonParis / Flickr
JasonParis / Flickr

Last week, the speaker of Indonesia's parliament resigned as an ethics committee listened to a recording, where he demanded a four billion dollar payoff from an American mining company.  Money that he said, would be split with the country's president and Vice President.  Details on what's been called Indonesia's biggest corruption scandal from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Allegations of torture by police in Fiji are raising new questions about human rights and the government's commitment to democracy.  After the country's attorney general ordered a parliamentary investigation into the case halted, an opposition MP charged that the government is still operating like a dictatorship.  Details from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Three ships from the Chinese Navy are in Pearl Harbor this week on what's described as a routine port visit.  That comes, as a senior naval officer made a speech in Honolulu this week on rising tension between the US and China in the South China Sea.  More from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

UNclimatechange / Flickr
UNclimatechange / Flickr

Earlier this week, we reported that the Foreign minister of the Marshall Islands had been voted out of office. The final results came in as Tony De Brum participated in the UN Climate Change Talks in Paris. Neal Conan, who's in Paris covering the conference, reports that De Brum has emerged as a key figure in what may be his last hurrah - here's today's Pacific News Minute.

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