Neal Conan

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minutes" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; and he appears most Tuesdays on The Conversation.
 

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Flickr

Fireworks, parades and services of thanksgiving in the Solomon Islands this week, as RAMSI comes to an end after 14 years. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands arrived amid tribal warfare and governmental collapse in 2003. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it’s now regarded as a model for regional peacekeeping.

At an ecumenical service outside Honiara yesterday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare praised RAMSI in biblical terms: “Yes, the Divine intervention to our call for help is RAMSI,” he said.

Wikimedia Commons

73 years after the liberation of Guam, the US government has started to process claims for reparations. A bill signed by President Obama last December resolved decades of disputes over payments to those who suffered under Japanese occupation but we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, the arguments aren’t over yet.

In December 1941, Nine-year-old Forrest Mendiola Harris fled when bombs started dropping on his village. Now 85, he told the Pacific Daily News “I just want to say that I’m lucky that I lived through the war.”

Nicholas Raymond / Flickr

Flags in Vanuatu are at half-staff as the country mourns President Baldwin Lonsdale, who died Saturday of a heart attack at the age of 67. Lonsdale served as Secretary General of Torba Province and became an Anglican priest before he took office as head of state in 2014. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A major turning point in the plight of detainees on Manus Island yesterday, when Australia agreed to settle a class action lawsuit, for $530 million. Almost two thousand men will share the compensation. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Flickr / Yasuhiro Chatani
Flickr / Yasuhiro Chatani

Most projections of the impact of climate change and sea level rise focus on flooding and agriculture, but a new report from the UN suggests major changes in fisheries as well…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, voters in France overwhelmingly endorsed centrist candidates in the first round of legislative elections. President Emmanuel Macron’s brand new En Marche party looks set to win a commanding majority in the second round, two weeks from now, but results in France’s Pacific territories are more muddled; Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Simple Wikipedia
Simple Wikipedia

This week, we've been marking the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. The dramatic victory turned the tide of the Second World War in the Pacific and paved the way for a long era of American dominance, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute, nervous allies are beginning to question whether that era is coming to an end.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week, we’re marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. On the seventh of June, 1942, U.S.S. Yorktown slipped beneath the waves, in the last act of the battle. In Today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan focuses on what happened next.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the Second World War in the Pacific, and a pivotal moment in Pacific history. Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Last week, we reported on plans to close the controversial Australian detention camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Now, documents obtained by The Guardian show shocking levels of violence, sexual assault, suicide and drug use by staff and detainees. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

An extraordinary meeting is underway in central Australia, where aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders will discuss constitutional recognition, a treaty and compensation.  The summit’s being held at Uluru, the iconic rock revered by aboriginals…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

In Tonga, a constitutional amendment proposes to transfer more power from the King to the Prime Minister. Democratic reform, according to its supporters; critics call it a power grab. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A tiny, uninhabited island in the south Pacific is, according to scientists, “the most polluted, most remote island in the whole world.” More on Henderson Island from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Flickr / theglobalpanorama
Flickr / theglobalpanorama

The government of Papua New Guinea announced plans to close and demolish the controversial Australian Detention camp on Manus Island. About 900 men have been held there without charge for four years after trying to get to Australia by boat. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Simple Wikipedia
Simple Wikipedia

The complicated politics of the former Soviet Union don’t often affect the South Pacific, but two disputed territories that broke away from Georgia are about to cause headaches in the impoverished and far off island nation of Nauru. Neal Conan unravels the diplomatic knot in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

In April, the incumbent Governor of Jakarta lost his bid for election in a campaign dominated by allegations that he had committed blasphemy against the Koran. Yesterday, he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Details, from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Two years ago, we reported on the case of Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, arrested as he boarded a plane in Honolulu headed for China. Lin was charged with espionage in what government officials said was an epic sex for secrets scandal. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, it now looks as if the allegations were greatly exaggerated.

Flickr / IAEA Imagebank
Flickr / IAEA Imagebank

According to Reuters, the U.S. Military’s controversial anti-missile system has reached initial operating capacity in South Korea. The news agency quotes U.S. officials as cautioning that it will still be months before THAAD is fully operational – the acronym stands for Theater High Altitude Area Defense. And, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, there is growing sentiment to install the system in Japan.

Wikipedia / PierreSelim
Wikipedia / PierreSelim

The Olympic Gold Medal won by Fiji’s sevens in Rio de Janeiro validated the popularity of rugby in much of the Pacific, and the quality of its players. An estimated 800 Pacific Islanders play professionally in Europe, but both they and their clubs can have problems with culture shock…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

After an embarrassing mix-up, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson is now close enough to Korea to launch airstrikes if needed.  Admiral Harry Harris, the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, took responsibility for the confusion last week when the White House gave the impression that the carrier was racing towards Korea, when it was actually more than three thousand miles away, and steaming in the opposite direction. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

After the first round of voting in France's Presidential election on Sunday, Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen emerged to face off against each other next month. Neither finished first in New Caledonia or French Polynesia. More details from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

As we look back to President Trump’s first hundred days in office this week, one campaign promise he did keep was to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated under President Obama. However, a different free trade agreement is about to be signed in the Pacific. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

▲Bonard▼ / Flickr
▲Bonard▼ / Flickr

A sheriff’s captain from Nevada got an unusual assignment last month. Joe Duffy went to the Kingdom of Tonga to help authorities there with a rising drug gang problem. We have details from Neal Conan in Today’s Pacific News Minute.

Simple Wikipedia
Simple Wikipedia

Security will be tight as voters in Jakarta head to the polls tomorrow in an election seen as a test of Indonesia’s longstanding secular tradition. And, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, one candidate faces a blasphemy trial as soon as the election’s over.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week, the Archdiocese of Guam asked a federal court to dismiss dozens of law suits filed by former altar boys who say they were raped and assaulted by priests as far back as the 1970s. The key to the suits was a law passed last year that lifted the statute of limitations, and as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, that law is also the basis of the Archdiocese’s argument.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

One of the leaders of Abu Sayyaf is reportedly among those killed in a shootout with the Philippine Army yesterday. Muamar Askali, also known as Abu Rami sometimes acted as a spokesman for the jihadist group. The firefight erupted on the island of Bohol in the central Philippines, with five rebels and four Filipino soldiers killed…we have background on Abu Sayyaf from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The man regarded as the father of his nation gave a farewell address to the parliament of Papua New Guinea this week. Sir Michael Somare helped write the constitution and served as PNG’s first Prime Minister after Independence…we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Last month, we reported on Guam’s dispute with the Justice Department over voter eligibility in a plebiscite restricted to Chamorros. In another similar case, the Justice Department charges that Guam’s Chamorro Land Trust violates anti-discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump isn’t the only world leader forced to cancel a vote on an important bill. Last week, in Washington, it was Health Care. This week in Canberra, an extradition treaty with China. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

After a vacation here in Hawaii, Barack Obama has flown onto French Polynesia, where he reportedly plans to work on his memoirs for a month or so. The former president will stay at the resort on Tetiaroa, the island once owned by Marlon Brando.

French Polynesia is getting ready to vote in next month’s French Presidential election, though, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, without one of their own on the ballot.

Pages