6am Pacific Regional News and Sport for 8 October 2016
The latest Pacific regional news and sport.
Tribunal to investigate Samoa feud
Samoa's cabinet has announced that the attorney general has assumed the duties of the country's public prosecutor.
The development comes amid a standoff between the attorney general's office and the public prosecutor's office over the suspension of the director of prosecutions.
The director, Mauga Precious Chang, was suspended in April after she was charged with driving offences.
The acting director, Muriel Liu, had clashed with the attorney general over who was able to prosecute the case against Ms Chang.
Ms Liu was suspended by cabinet on Thursday.
Our correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says the government has appointed a three-member tribunal.
"To investigate and to look into this friction between the National Prosecution Office and the Attorney General, and also to look into the conduct of the director and the acting director of the national prosecutor."
Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says the government accuses the prosecutors of refusing to properly perform their duties, which has created unnecessary conflict between government departments.
PIF welcomes Paris Agreement ratification
The Pacific Islands Forum has welcomed the ratification of the Paris Agreement which will now enter into force in the first week of November.
The Forum's Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, says this is a pivotal moment for the planet and a lifeline for the most vulnerable people of the Pacific.
Dame Meg says Pacific countries need urgent action on climate change and the speed with which the countries of the world have responded to the call for action is inspiring.
She says at the annual Forum summit last month, Pacific leaders were united in their call to remaining Forum members, partners and other countries to ratify the agreement as soon as possible.
In a statement she says 14 Forum members have ratified the agreement.
Air NZ Vanuatu flights still on hold
Air New Zealand has re-stated that it has no immediate plans to resume scheduled flights to Vanuatu.
The airline stopped flights in January, citing concerns about the state of the runway at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila.
Jamie Tahana reports
A multi-million dollar refurbishment is being planned and funded by the World Bank.
But in the meantime, there have been two lots of temporary repairs to the runway.
While Virgin Australia has resumed services, Air New Zealand is only prepared to send in charter flights.
Last week, Vanuatu's infrastructure minister, Jotham Napat, said the airline had told him that the runway was acceptable for operations.
But an Air New Zealand spokesperson says it will only consider resuming scheduled services once a permanent solution has been fully funded, designed to a satisfactory standard and contracted to a competent contractor.
In regal ceremony, Fiji's Ratu Joni is laid to rest
Fiji's former vice president, the Roko Tui Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, has been buried on his home island of Bau.
Ratu Joni, a legal expert who has held highly respected positions in many of the region's countries, died in Suva last week.
As many as 3,000 people gathered at the chiefly burial site on the island, where he was interred in the same chamber as his late father.
The FBC reports that a one-hundred gun salute was accorded to the former vice-president.
Among foreign dignitaries at the funeral were the King of Tonga and the president of Nauru where Ratu Joni was the Chief Justice.
Ratu Joni was a High Court judge and Fiji's Vice President for two years until 2006 when he was removed from office by Frank Bainimarama who made himself head of state for a month.
Georgians arrested with fake passports in Tonga
Seven Georgian citizens have been arrested in Tonga for dealing fake passports.
In a statement, Tonga police say the seven people entered the country two weeks ago using stolen Greek passports.
After a tip off by New Zealand police, Tonga Police sought help from Interpol who said the passports were reported stolen earlier this year and had been altered with false identities.
Today, police searched the group's accomodation and arrested them, and found another seven Georgian passports which are thought to contain their real identities.
The seven accused have been placed under house arrest until they appear in court on Monday.
Tonga parliament debated Indonesia ties
Tonga's prime minister Akilisi Pohiva has told parliament that leadership without morality is due to fail.
He made the comment after being accused of by Lord Nuku of interfering in Indonesia's affairs by speaking about concern for what Mr Pohiva claimed to be the ill treatment of West Papuans.
Mr Pohiva spoke at the United Nations last month when several Pacific countries voiced concerns about human rights abuses by Indonesian forces in Papua.
Lord Nuku says Indonesia has already responded that it doesn't like Tonga's interference.
He said the Cabinet was convinced that what the PM did was right, but he was convinced that it clashed with the Constitution.
He proposed that they should bring in the Chief Justice to tell them who is right.
"No choice" but to give West Papua full membership
A West Papuan advocate says whether the leaders of Fiji and Papua New Guinea attend the Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit in Port Vila in December or not, the leaders of the other nations, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu would have no choice but to vote to give full membership in the MSG to West Papua.
The chairman of Vanuatu's Free West Papua Association, Pastor Allan Nafuki, says the MSG chairman, Solomons' leader Manessah Sogavare, has confirmed this in the presence of his executive and prominent West Papuan leaders, Jacob Rumbiak, Benny Wenda and Andy Ayamiseba in Port Vila.
Mr Nafuki has welcomed the announcement saying the people of West Papua have suffered 54 years of brutality under Indonesian military rule.
He says he is confident the day is coming when Papuans will have some form of self-determination.
Mr Nafuki says already the people of West Papua have got 100% support from civil society groups in Melanesia.
Missing Vanuatu boat draws big reward
The crew of a small boat rescued north of Vanuatu's Santo are offering a reward for their return of their boat.
The five were safely rescued the cruise ship, the Sun Princess, but their boat was abandoned.
They say it was carrying $US4,673 dollars and if anyone finds it they can keep it but the crew want their boat back.
They are now appealing to people in Torba Province and in the Solomons to help relocate them with their boat.
Fritch says Tahiti statute being revised
French Polynesia's president Edouard Fritch says a proposed revision of the territory's autonomy statute will be tabled as an organic law in the French National Assembly before the end of the year.
Mr Fritch made the comment in Paris where is for talks with the overseas minister Ericka Bareigts.
Expected key changes are a formal recognition by France of the impact of its 193 nuclear weapons tests carried out on Morurua and Fangataufa - the two atolls excised from the territory which remain no-go zones controlled by the military.
The revision will formalise the annual payment of more than $US100 million of the autonomy fund which was originally conceived as a subsidy to help convert the territory's economy after the end of the tests in 1996.
It will also clarify the status of strategic raw materials.
Mr Fritch says he won't ask for more power to be given to the territory, with France retaining regal powers such as defence, justice and foreign affairs.
Bank of Hawaii yet to give American Samoa closure date
The Bank of Hawaii is yet to say when it will leave American Samoa during this week's opening fo the Territorial Bank of American Samoa.
Governor Lolo Moliga announced that the Bank of Hawaii had given notice that it would terminate its services in American Samoa in 90 days.
However, the Bank's district manager EJ Ozu says it is working with the Governor to ensure a smooth transition to the new government-owned bank.
Mr Ozu says his bank is obligated to give a minimum of 90 days' notice prior to closure.
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