Pacific News

Vanuatu police chief suspended

050514. Photo supplied. Pacific flags. Vanuatu

Vanuatu's police commissioner, Arthur Caulton, has confirmed his suspension from the role by the Police Service Commission.

Fiji's FBC defies campaign ban

FBC homepage

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation has defied the regime's ban on political advertising in the lead-up to tomorrow's general election.

Fiji workers prepare polls

Villager in the Lautoka area

Fiji election workers have started preparing polling stations before tomorrow's vote.

Fiji turns to China over West's democracy stance - report

Government buildings, Suva

A new report says pressure on Fiji from Western countries to return to democracy after the 2006 coup opened the door to increasing aid flows from China.

Tongan authorities meet amid Ha'apai water crisis

The National Shield of Tonga

The National Emergency Management Committee is meeting in Tonga to arrange a response to the water crisis in Ha'apai.

Solomons measles spreads despite mass vaccinations

Savo Island

Health authorities in Solomon Islands say the rate of measles infections in the capital Honiara has not decreased despite records showing that more than the original target population of 55,500 residents have been vaccinated.

Fiji and Samoa SOEs rated poorly

No caption

The author of an Asian Development Bank report says state-owned enterprises in Samoa and Fiji have been returning zero capital on equity and assets because of the influence of politicians.

Incomprehension over New Caledonia snub

Pierre Frogier

A French expert says it is incomprehensible that New Caledonia's anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP Party is refusing to join consultations about the Noumea Accord.

Government billboards still up during Fiji blackout

No caption

Questions have been raised in Fiji about the continued display of public notices with large photos of the Prime Minister during a so-called blackout on campaign advertising.

Woman Vanuatu Council of Chiefs CEO criticised

240414. Photo RNZ. Vanuatu. Port Vila, fruit, market, stall, ni-Vanuatu,

Members of the Vanuatu Council of Chiefs are calling for the Public Service Commission to review its decision to give the position of the Council's Chief Executive Officer to a woman.

Samoa nurses urges link to American Samoa

Faamanatu Nielson (right) with some senior members of the Samoa Nurses' Association

The president of Samoa's Nurses Association, Taulapapa Faamanatu Nielsen, has called for closer ties with its American Samoa counterpart after they were severed over 20 years ago.

ADB praises Solomons SOE action

no caption

The lead author of an Asian Development Bank report says that Solomon Islands was an outstanding performer of nine countries surveyed in the Asia-Pacific.

CNMI on snake alert

Wing Beach, CNMI

Northern Marianas authorities are on high alert after a Brown Tree snake was captured in a trap for the first time.

Tuihani new French assembly president

no caption

French Polynesia's territorial assembly has elected Marcel Tuihani as new assembly president, defeating Antony Geros.

Fiji's blackout "unprecedented" - academic

Crowd of polling workers at elections office after pages of names of people needed to work published in morning paper

A legal expert says a decree provision in Fiji which prohibits any person from communicating political messages in the two days leading up to polling tomorrow is unprecedented.

New site for power plant in American Samoa blessed

no caption

The construction of a new 23-megawatt power plant at Satala in American Samoa to replace the one destroyed by the 2009 earthquake and tsunami is set to begin, following a blessing and turning of the soil.

3m litres carted to dry parts of Fiji

Fiji huts

Three million litres of water has been carted to various homes in Fiji's Western Division in the past two months to offset the effects of a dry spell.

Pacific media body criticises Jakarta over French pair

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Burrat

The Pacific Freedom Forum says Indonesia's President-elect Joko Widodo should keep his campaign promise to open up access to West Papua.

Large military exercise begins on Guam

The US Naval base at Orote Peninsula, Guam

A large US military exercise involving 19 ships, more than 200 aircraft and about 18,000 troops has begun on and around Guam.

Sport: Fa'amanu Brown out of Four Nations

Cronulla Sharks five-eighth Fa'amanu Brown has been ruled out the Four Nations rugby league competition due to an injury sustained in final round of the NRL regular season.

Sport: Farina happy to help Fiji U20s in 'any way possible'

Former Socceroo and now Fiji under-20 technical advisor Frank Farina.

Former Australia and Papua New Guinea football coach Frank Farina hopes that his experience at the top level can rub off on the Fijian Under 20 team at next year's World Cup.

Sport: PNG cricketers chalk up win, EAP still searching

Papua New Guinea finally chalked up a win in their final match at the Top End Cricket Carnival in Darwin, chasing down East Asia Pacific's 20 over total of 114 with two balls to spare.

MIFEE accounts for Merauke's high emissions rate

An official from Merauke in Indonesia's Papua province says the regency's alarmingly high greenhouse gas emissions rate results from deforestation.

77% turn out in Fiji's early voting

Workers from Fiji's elections office helping voters in downtown Suva ahead of polling day

There has been a good turn-out in early voting in Fiji's election.

Fiji holding national thanksgiving service today

The 45 Fiji soldiers captured by al-Nusra in Golan Heights.

Fiji has declared today a national day of thanksgiving for the release of the 45 Fijian United Nations Peacekeepers in Syria.

Social media included in Fiji blackout

The Fiji Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, with the Chairman of the Media Industry Development Authority, Ashwin Raj.

Fiji's media and the general public have been reminded that the heavy penalties for breaching the electoral decree this week also apply to social media.

SOEs a 'strain' on Pacific economies

A recent report released by the Asian Development Bank has found that State-owned enterprises or SOE's are continuing to strain economies in the Pacific.

Tongan royalty pushes overseas study

Tonga's Princess Pilolevu Tuita is encouraging top local students to pursue further tertiary education overseas and bring their skills back to Tonga.

Tough penalties if Fiji ban broken

Crowd of polling workers at elections office after pages of names of people needed to work published in morning paper

There is now a black out in force in Fiji on all political activity in the run up to elections on Wednesday.

Reports suggest Qatar paid for Fiji soldiers' release

Fiji soldiers

News reports in the Middle East say that the captors of 45 Fijian troops who were released in the Golan Heights last week were paid a ransom by the government of Qatar.

PNG manhunt cut short by lack of resources

Papua New Guinea police officers marching in a parade

Police in Papua New Guinea's Jiwaka Province are searching for a man wanted for cutting off parts of both of his mother-in-law's legs.

Vanuatu electoral college summoned to find new president

Former Vanuatu Prime Minister Barak Sope

58 members of Vanuatu's electoral college will arrive in Port Vila to elect a new president on Wednesday after being summoned by the country's electoral commission

American Samoa politicians told to rethink wage rises

no caption

The President of the Federation of American Samoa Educators is asking government leaders to resolve problems in schools first, before giving themselves a raise.

Huge Papua estate cause of high gas emissions

no caption

An official from Merauke in Indonesia's Papua province says the regency's alarmingly high greenhouse gas emissions rate results from deforestation.

Tough line on election breaches by Fiji police

no caption

The police in Fiji say they will not tolerate any breach of the law in the run up to the elections on Wednesday.

Tahiti to elect assembly president

Edouard Fritch

French Polynesia's territorial assembly is today due to elect a successor to Edouard Fritch who quit the post of assembly president last week.

Review needed for questionable citizenship grants - Vanuatu lawyer

240414. Photo RNZ. Vanuatu. Port Vila, Port Vila harbour, Iririki, tropics, sailing, yachting

The former head of Transparency International Vanuatu says she's not surprised by the Government's crack down on loosely applied citizenship rules.

PNG govt see PMIZ as fisheries solution

Skipper sorting catch aboard North Sea trawler off the coast of northern England.

Papua New Guinea's Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister has called for a comprehensive study into the fisheries sector to determine how much revenue the country has lost.

Detained French journalists in West Papua could serve shorter sentences

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Burrat

Indonesian officials indicate French journalists arrested in West Papua could serve shorter sentences than the ones originally sought.

Solomons aims for November election

050514. Photo supplied. Pacific flags. Solomons flags

The Solomon Islands electoral commission plans to hold the general election in November. The exact date will be announced by the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui.

French envoys gauge New Caledonia views

Noumea skyline

Two French experts have begun a week of talks with New Caledonian leaders about the final phase of the decolonisation process.

Miner killed in rockfall at controversial Papua mine

The Freeport McMoran mine near Grasberg, West Papua

A mine worker has been killed in a rockfall at a controversial copper and gold mine in Indonesia's Papua province.

PNG's SDPL says Long Term Fund safe and secure

Papua New Guinea, money, kina

The chairman of the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, Sir Mekere Morauta, says Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, is wrong to claim the company is drawing down on the Long Term Fund.

New bridge in American Samoa dedicated

Damage in American Samoa caused by the 2009 Tsunami

A new multi-million dollar bridge has been dedicated in American Samoa to replace the one destroyed by the 2009 tsunami.

EPA getting tough with CNMI utility

no caption

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is asking the federal court to appoint a receiver and find the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Utilities Corporation in breach and in contempt.

Observers deployed for Fiji polls

Peter Reith and Wahid Supriyadi

A full group of nearly 90 election observers is now on the ground in Fiji ahead of Wednesday's general election, the first in more than eight years.

Flood relief funds for American Samoa still tied up

Heavy rain in American Samoa flooded a large portion of the main road in Fagatogo village, including this section in front of the Market Place.

Relief funds for flooding victims in American Samoa are still tied up until an agreement is signed between the territory and the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Vanuatu PM praised for anti-corruption stance

Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman

Transparency International Vanuatu says it is getting a lot of support in its fight against corruption from the country's Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.

NZ Foreign Minister urges media access for Papua

Murray McCully speaking to reporters on Wednesday,

New Zealand's Foreign Minister has expressed hope that Indonesia's president-elect Joko Widodo will open up Papua region to international media.

Sharks targetted, not bycatch

The hunted silky shark.

Fisheries scientists are hoping new evidence which they say proves longline tuna vessels have been specifically targetting threatened sharks will provoke law changes.

Fear tactics accusation as Fiji campaign ends

FijiFirst candidates Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama

As Fiji political parties pitched to voters over the weekend, there were last-minute accusations that the FijiFirst party was using fear tactics, saying there would be instability if other parties were voted in.

FijiFirst says other parties 'desperate'

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's Attorney-General

A senior figure in the Fiji political party headed by the military leader Frank Bainimarama has described the campaigning by the other parties as desperate and immature.

Complaint lodged in Tahiti over resort funding

Edouard Fritch

French Polynesia's opposition says it is lodging a complaint with the public prosecutor over the use of public funds to get tenders for the Mahana Beach Resort on Tahiti.

Tonga's north running out of water

Cyclone damage in the town of Pangai in January.

Tonga's northern islands may have to start using seawater desalination plants by the middle of this week to deal with an extreme dry season affecting the area.

Lower than expected tax take in Solomons

Gold Ridge mine, Solomon Islands

Weak economic growth has led to a ten percent fall in income for the Solomon Islands government.

Sport: First Tongan women's crew to compete at Alo Paopao Festival

A women's crew from Tonga will compete at an international outrigger canoe competition for the first time this week at the Alo Paopao Festival in Samoa.

Sport: Fijiana qualify for women's sevens series

Fiji will play at every event on the upcoming IRB Women's Sevens World Series after winning the

Sport: First up losses for PNG, EAP cricket teams

Pacific teams have made a losing start to the Top End Cricket Carnival with Papua New Guinea and an East Asia Pacific selection both suffering first-up defeats in Darwin.

Tonga to subsidise power costs for some

The Tonga Government is to subsidise electricity for people it regards as less fortunate.

Trial of French journalists in West Papua to begin in two weeks

Thomas Dandois

The trial of two French journalists arrested in West Papua for illegally working when on tourist visas is expected to begin later this month.

Free food banned from American Samoa elections

American Samoa's capital Pago Pago.

Barbeques and free food and drinks, a feature that's become part of the election day landscape in American Samoa, is set to be banned when people go to the polls this year.

Some political parties in Fiji said to still be divisive

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's Attorney-General

The party of Frank Bainimarama says some of the opposing parties in Fiji's elections are behaving in the same divisive way of the past.

11 countries to get internet boost

A regional internet company says an agreement to provide 11 Pacific countries with fully equipped e-centers shows the area is desperate for internet connectivity.

Red Cross and SPREP partner on climate change

no caption

The Red Cross and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme will work together to improve the way weather information is delivered to communities living with the impacts of climate change.

Fiji PM challenged on immunity in debate

no caption

The leader of Fiji's indigenous-backed Sodelpa party Ro Teimumu Kepa has told Frank Bainimarama he will get his just deserts if immunity for coup-makers is lifted by parliament after the election.

Fiji campaigning closes

no caption

Campaigning for the general elections has now finished in Fiji.

Fiji First stages big rally in Nausori

Fiji First leader Frank Bainimarama addresses the rally in Suva.

Four days out from Fiji's historic election Fiji Fiji, the party set up by the regime which seized power eight years ago, has staged a major rally at Nausori.