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Australia to continue review of COVID vaccinations – health minister

Australia will continue its review of coronavirus vaccines after a 48-year-old woman’s death was likely linked to the inoculation, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Saturday. On Friday, Australia reported its first fatality from blood...

17th April

Samoa election stalemate to continue into coming week

Samoa’s election results have been confirmed with 25 seats each for the incumbent HRPP and newcomer FAST, with the final seat holder yet to confirm allegiance. The FAST leader says final negotiations will be held over the coming week with an independent MP who may hold the balance of power. Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa...

Samoa election: Savai’i votes for change as top parties tied

Residents on Samoa’s main island of Savai’i have voted for change in this year’s general election. The official results have been declared with the two main parties FAST and HRPP tied at 25 seats. The final round of counting ended on Friday evening, and the Electoral Commissioner then presented the results to the Head of State, who...

PNG epidemic underlines need for vaccine equity: WHO

The World Health Organisation’s director-general says Papua New Guinea’s struggle with Covid-19 underlines the need for vaccine equity. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today told a briefing focused on Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific region about the WHO’s concern of the potential for a much larger epidemic in PNG. Globally cases and deaths were “continuing...

PNG does deal with ‘devil’ it knows over gold mine

Papua New Guinea’s government has done a deal with “the devil” to reopen a large gold mine in the country’s Highlands region. With an economy in contraction due to the pandemic, the PNG government has reached an agreement with Canada-based company Barrick Gold on plans to reopen the Porgera mine. The Enga province mine had...

Tonga’s Princess takes the lead on Covid-19 vaccination

Tonga’s Princess Pilolevu Tuita was the first person to receive her first dose of the Covid-19 AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, followed by frontline workers on Tongatapu. The Princess volunteered to take part along with her husband Lord Tuita and Prime Minister Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa. Acting CEO for Health Dr Reynold ‘Ofanoa also received his first shot. “This...

Antibiotics in development not enough to tackle ‘superbugs’: WHO

(Reuters) – None of the 43 antibiotics currently in development as well as recently approved medicines are enough to combat the increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, the World Health Organization cautioned on Thursday. Almost all new antibiotics brought to market in recent years are variations of drug classes discovered decades ago, according to...

Fit for, and designed by, a prince: Philip’s Land Rover funeral hearse

WINDSOR, England (Reuters) -When Prince Philip’s coffin is conveyed to church for his funeral service, it will be taken in a specially-commissioned Land Rover that the British royal himself helped design. Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, died last week aged 99 and his funeral will be held entirely at Windsor Castle on Saturday, with...

16th April

Australia considers staggered reopening of borders

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will consider a staggered reopening of its international borders to allow residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel abroad first, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday. Australian citizens and permanent residents cannot leave the country due to coronavirus restrictions unless they have an exemption, while returning international travelers...

PNG virus deaths climbed by 11 through Wednesday

Papua New Guinea’s National Control Centre for Covid-19 reports the tally of people dying from the virus increased by 11 over the last 24 hours. While these 11 deaths are newly reported, the centre says they occurred from 19th March to 14th April. They take the PNG death tally from the virus to 82, with...

Pfizer/Biontech vaccine to be used in Niue

The Niue government has announced the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be used to innoculate the population against Covid-19. In a statement, the government says Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved by Medsafe in New Zealand. The government plans to vaccinate everyone over the age of 16. New Zealand government gave Niue $NZD9 million last month...

Double votes detected in Samoa election count

The Office of the Electoral Commission in Samoa has confirmed that dozens of voters voted twice in last week’s elections. The Electoral Commissioner Faimalōmatumua Mathew Lemisio said they would face legal action. Double voting surfaced during the official count for Sagaga 2 constituency that started Tuesday and was put on hold as officials examined the...

Kina Bank acquires Westpac Fiji and PNG

The shareholders of Kina Securities Limited (KSL) have voted in favour of the acquisition of Westpac Fiji and Westpac PNG by Kina Bank. KSL chief executive officer Greg Pawson confirmed this in a statement after the Extraordinary General Meeting held yesterday in Port Moresby, saying it was a great show of confidence by the shareholders....

New Zealand mosque shooter’s court hearing postponed due to no-show

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The mass shooter who killed 51 people in New Zealand in 2019 did not appear in court on Thursday after seeking a judicial review of his prison conditions and his status as a “terrorist entity”. White supremacist Brenton Tarrant was sentenced in August to jail for life without parole for the murders...

15th April

Factbox-Some countries limit AstraZeneca vaccine use, US pauses J&J shot

(Reuters) -Some countries are restricting use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to certain age groups or suspending use after European and British regulators confirmed possible links to rare blood clots. Denmark became the first country to stop using the vaccine altogether, as it said results of investigations showed “real and serious side-effects”. Johnson & Johnson’s...

‘Families without food’: UN rep says Fijians face serious challenges; urges vaccination

Fijian families in the Western Division are without food, says United Nations resident co-ordinator in Fiji Sanaka Samarasinha. He said because of this, it was important for Fijians to get vaccinated to allow borders to open and to get people back to work to feed their families. He made the comment after receiving the AstraZeneca...

COVID-19: Aussie envoy to Fiji receives his jab

Australian High Commissioner John Feakes received his shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the Vodafone Arena in Suva today. Amid concerns of the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Mr Feakes said he was completely relaxed and looking forward to receiving his shot. He said he was treating the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine like any other vaccine he...

COVID-19: A jab to normalcy

Register, roll up your sleeves and get the shot because Fijian families are going without food. This was the urgent plea by United Nations resident coordinator Sanaka Samarasinha after he received the AstraZeneca jab on Tuesday. He said the faster people got vaccinated, the quicker Fiji could open its borders and people could return to...

Britain’s Princess Anne seen in public for first time since death of Philip

COWES, Isle of Wight, England (Reuters) – Princess Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, was on Wednesday seen in public for the first time since the death of her father last week. Philip died at Windsor Castle on Friday, aged 99. Anne, 70, dressed in black and in sunglasses, arrived at the...

Britain wants in-person ‘COP26’ climate change summit this year

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain is working hard to make sure it will host an in-person United Nations’ Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in November and there is no desire to postpone the summit again, Britain’s COP26 president said on Wednesday. “We are working very hard to ensure we deliver an in-person COP, which allows all...

Oil rises on drawdown in U.S. oil stocks, OPEC demand outlook

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose in early trade on Wednesday, adding to overnight gains, after industry data showed U.S. oil inventories declined more than expected and OPEC raised its outlook for oil demand. Brent crude futures rose 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $63.95 a barrel at 0057 GMT, after climbing 39 cents on Tuesday....

Pandemic hits Port Denarau Marina hard; Blue Lanes initiative a positive factor

Nadi-based Port Denarau Marina Ltd –Fiji’s premier berthing marina for superyachts – took a big hit from the economic blow of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The publicly-listed stock recorded a net loss after tax of $212,662 for the six months period ending January 31, 2021. For the same period last year, Port Denarau Marina reported...

Australia reports second Astrazeneca blood clot case, vaccine rollout steady

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia said on Tuesday a second person had been diagnosed with a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine but there had been no rise in inoculation cancellations as authorities try to steady a bungled immunisation campaign. This week Australia abandoned a goal of vaccinating all of its nearly 26 million...

Caribbean island tackles water, food shortages after volcano eruption

KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Reuters) – The tiny eastern Caribbean island of Saint Vincent was rocked by a fifth day of eruptions from the La Soufriere volcano on Tuesday as leaders warned of shortages of water and the potential need for hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild. The explosion happened around 6...

14th April

Dislodged ship held in Suez Canal as talks continue over $916 million claim

CAIRO (Reuters) -A ship that blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week in March is being held in the waterway as canal authorities pursue a $916 million compensation claim against the ship’s Japanese owner, one of the vessel’s insurers and canal sources said on Tuesday. The Ever Given container ship, owned by Shoei Kisen,...

U.S. FDA to scrutinize vaccine design behind COVID-19 shots linked to blood clots

CHICAGO/LONDON (Reuters) – With two COVID-19 vaccines now under scrutiny for possible links to very rare cases of blood clots in the brain, U.S. government scientists are focusing on whether the specific technology behind the shots may be contributing to the risk. In Europe, health regulators said last week there was a possible link between...

Queen Elizabeth returns to royal duties four days after her husband’s death -PA Media

(Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth returned to royal duties on Tuesday, four days after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in an event to mark the retirement of her household’s most senior official, PA Media reported. The queen hosted a ceremony as the Earl Peel stepped down as Lord Chamberlain, the report added. Philip,...

Forum calls on Japan to re-think toxic waste dump plans

The Pacific Islands Forum is calling on Japan to re-think plans to dump toxic waste in the ocean. The Japanese government has announced plans to release treated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific. The Forum’s Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, said under the provisions of the treaty of Rarotonga, the...

Vanuatu authorities investigate ship after dead crew member’s body found

A UK-flagged tanker has been detained by Vanuatu police force and ports authorities amid investigations over the death one of its members crews. Vanuatu Ports Authorities confirmed that the deceased was a Filipino national. His body was discovered on Sunday at Pango beach, about ten minutes drive from Port Vila’s main wharf. The vessel arrived...

Papua deforestation threatens Indonesia’s climate progress

Greenpeace has warned that left unchecked, forest clearance in West Papua could undo Indonesia’s progress in tackling climate change. The environmental NGO has released a report looking at systematic violations on plantation and forest release permits in Indonesia-administered Papua region. It said the land concessions marked for clearance in Papua hold an estimated 71.2 million...

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