Regional

Disaster risk finance opportunities to be discussed at FEMM

Climate and disaster risk finance opportunities in the region, among other things, are to be discussed at the 2022 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM). Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) secretary general Henry Puna mentioned this while...

11th August

Australia, China not yet ready to tackle trade disputes – Chinese envoy

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia and China have not yet reached the point of talking about how to resolve their trade disputes, the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, said on Wednesday. “Currently, there have been top level communications … even face-to-face contacts but we have not yet come to the stage to discuss about how...

FDA says found possible carcinogen in certain samples of Merck’s Januvia

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday certain samples of sitagliptin, a compound in Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia, were contaminated with a possible carcinogen. The agency said it would not object to the temporary distribution of sitagliptin containing the impurity above the acceptable intake limit to avoid a shortage. Shares of...

New Zealand’s endangered kakapo parrot gets a big population boost

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The population of New Zealand’s kakapo, an endangered flightless parrot, has increased 25% in the last year to 252 birds following a good breeding season and success with artificial insemination, the conservation department said Tuesday. The kakapo have been nearly wiped out by introduced predators such as stoats as the birds cannot...

10th August

Marape returns as Papua New Guinea prime minister after poll

SYDNEY (Reuters) -James Marape, who was sworn in as prime minister of Papua New Guinea on Tuesday after a national election, vowed to reform electoral processes and “get more from our resources” without scaring away investors. Voting in PNG’s general election, held every five years, ran across three weeks in July but counting was extended...

In Australia, tributes pour out for pop star Newton-John

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australians expressed shock and sadness on Tuesday as they woke up to the news that 1970s and ’80s pop icon Olivia Newton-John, star of the hit movie musical “Grease”, had died at age 73 at her home in Southern California. From the Prime Minister on down, tributes flowed for the four-time Grammy...

Solomons PM’s absence from memorial service was a ‘missed opportunity’ – U.S. official

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare did not attend a weekend dawn service for a key World War Two battle organised by the United States, with local media reporting it as a “snub”. The Solomon Star News said Sogavare was due to give a speech on Sunday at the memorial service attended by...

Australia business activity booms in July, costs surge

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A measure of Australian business confidence rebounded in July as sales and profits held up surprisingly well in the face of rising interest rates and high inflation, though firms also reported record costs amid supply constraints. Tuesday’s survey from National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB) showed its index of business conditions climbed 6...

9th August

Australia’s central bank launches digital currency project

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s central bank on Tuesday said it was launching a one-year research programme into the case for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Australia, focusing on what potential economic benefits it might bring. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is partnering with the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre (DFCRC), a government-backed...

Sherman, Australia’s Wong reaffirm commitment to maintaining peace across Taiwan Strait

(Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong discussed China’s recent actions and reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in a meeting on Monday, the U.S. State Department said. Sherman was visiting Australia as part of a trip to Pacific nations.

Solomons leader did not attend U.S. war memorial service in “snub” – media report

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare did not attend a weekend dawn service for a key World War Two battle organised by the United States, with local media reporting it as a “snub”. The Solomon Star News said Sogavare was due to give a speech at a memorial service that was attended...

8th August

Pacific Islands solidarity is a Biden priority, U.S. diplomat tells Solomons

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden sees strong ties with Pacific Island countries as a priority, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in the Solomon Islands on Sunday, underscoring the stakes of a visit as geopolitical tensions have been mounting in the region. At a World War Two memorial event in the Solomons...

7th August

China embassy: Australia should be ‘prudent’ on Taiwan-related issues

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China hopes that Australia will be prudent on Taiwan-related issues and avoid being led by others that could cause fresh trouble for ties between the two countries, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Australia said on Saturday. The remarks, posted on the embassy’s website, were commenting on a statement released by...

Tonga, not China, must decide its future, says U.S. diplomat

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Tonga should determine its future, not China or any other country, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during a multi-leg trip to Pacific nations amid growing geopolitical tension. At a televised event with university students in the Tonga capital Nuku’alofa on Saturday, Sherman noted the countries had fought alongside each...

Organised crime: UN reports identify Fiji as a transit point

Several United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports have identified Fiji and the Pacific as a transit point for drug routes, said Acting Defence Minister Jone Usamate during the inaugural Pacific regional law enforcement conference in Nadi early this week. Mr Usamate said transnational organised crime was more prominent in the Pacific region...

Pacific Islands Forum members agree on framework

Members of the Pacific Islands Forum have agreed to develop a Regional Transnational Organised Crime Disruption Framework. At the conclusion of the three-day inaugural Pacific Regional Law Enforcement Conference in Nadi this week, PIF secretary general Henry Puna said the new framework was a collective response to transnational organised crimes. “Recognising the significant impact of...

China’s suspension of bilateral climate talks with U.S. ‘punishes the world’ -Kerry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the United States does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world,” U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry said on Friday. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former U.S. Secretary of State,...

6th August

Pacific region susceptible to crimes – Puna

The Pacific region remains susceptible to transnational organised crimes (TNOC), says Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna. While closing the inaugural Pacific Regional Law Enforcement Conference in Nadi this week, he said geopolitical competition, COVID-19 and the ongoing unrest in Ukraine continued to exacerbate the region’s economic and development concerns. “Our geography, situated between...

COP26 President: Set clear adaptation finance targets by COP27

COP26 president Alok Sharma urged all the private finance providers to set out clear and ambitious adaptation finance targets by COP27. Mr Sharma said it was imperative to deliver on the commitment to double adaptation finance to $40 billion by 2025. “Because we all know that we need a radical step change in delivery and...

Australia: No overarching requirement for Pacific labour scheme

THERE is no overarching requirement for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme workers to be unemployed to join the scheme, says the Australian government. However, they said it was open to Pacific governments to determine policies on the selection of workers. “The PALM scheme allows eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from nine Pacific island...

Papua New Guinea PM says he can form a govt as vote counting continues

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said his party has the numbers to form a coalition government, after a national poll plagued by violence, fraud allegations and large numbers of voters missing from the electoral roll. PNG’s general election, held every five years, is among the world’s most challenging due in...

SG Puna: Justice remains evasive

Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general Henry Puna says that for more than seven decades, the Pacific  and its people have suffered and continue to suffer the enduring impacts and injustices of nuclear testing, injustices to people’s rights, health, their homes and environment. And he said justice remained evasive. Mr Puna made the comment as he joined...

U.S. senior diplomat kicks off Pacific tour in Samoa

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Samoa’s leader on Friday, discussing climate change, ocean security and opportunities to work together as Washington seeks to re-engage the region amid growing Chinese influence. The senior U.S. diplomat’s visit is part of a multi-leg trip to Pacific nations. Sherman is now headed to...

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