Australia

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Australian media report that members of the Pacific Islands Forum will sign a new security pact at this year’s summit in September. A Chinese newspaper said that if the agreement is aimed at containing China, that would be a strategic mistake.

Lindsay Fox / EcigaretteReviewed.com

Cigarette packages could change in many countries after a ruling by the World Trade Organization last week. In a landmark case, the WTO upheld an Australian law that requires what’s called “plain packaging.” But the packages are anything but plain.

Kyle Van Horn / Flickr

This Sunday, stores around Oahu began charging 15 cents for plastic bags. Most people realized this change was coming, and it hasn’t been a big deal. But a similar change in Australia is having a very different result.

brownpau / Flickr

Most office spaces around the world include break rooms. That’s generally where people can have lunch or a snack, and chat casually with colleagues. But in Australia, a different kind of “break room” is growing in popularity.

ABC (Australia) logo / Wikimedia Commons

The diplomatic rivalry between China and Australia has stepped up in recent days. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea just made a state visit to Beijing, while the leaders of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu went to Canberra. China’s also taken over some former Australian territory. . . on the radio.

Minister for Trade and Investment The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP / Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s main political parties have reached agreement on the controversial Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill, which, when it passes, will further cool Australia’s already frosty relations with China.

Darren.notley / Wikimedia Commons

Two of the largest grocery store chains in Australia are taking new steps to cut down on the amount of waste they produce. It’s the latest development in a series of moves aimed at curbing waste in Australia. HPR’S Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Roger Wong / Wikimedia Commons

Tax cuts for corporations and some individuals — and a slower pace on renewable energy. It’s not the Trump Administration agenda; it’s some of the news from the budget proposed by the government of Australia. But there’s also a debate about a figure who is well known in Hawai‘i. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

JJ Harrison / Wikipedia

The governments of both Australia and New Zealand announced increases in aid to the Pacific. Boosts seen at least in part as responses to China’s growing influence. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

EU2017EE Estonian Presidency / Flickr

A week ago, French President Emmanuel Macron was in Washington. This week, he’s on a five-day trip to Australia and then New Caledonia. We have a preview from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s Fairfax Media reports that China and Vanuatu are in preliminary discussions on a Chinese military base in the South Pacific. Like several other island nations, Vanuatu receives millions in loans from China and Beijing may now want a payback. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

World Cricket / Flickr

Major League Baseball is underway with a new season, but another game with bats and balls has captured attention around the Asia-Pacific. A cricket scandal involving Australia’s national team is the topic of news and social media from Sydney to New Delhi. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Newtown grafitti / Flickr

New figures out this week show that homelessness is a growing problem in Australia. The latest information shows the country’s homeless population has jumped by about 14-percent in the five years leading up to the latest survey. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jarod Hodge / U.S. Navy

On Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party announced that presidents will no longer be limited to two terms, clearing the way for Xi Jinping to remain in office for the foreseeable future. The news comes as the U.S. and its Indo-Pacific allies reconsider an old idea – an informal alliance called the "Quad."  We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Luke Brindley / Wikimedia Commons

Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track is open again, after local landowners ended a protest that closed the famous trail for three weeks. According to RNZ Pacific, the government agreed to review the joint aid program with Australia, which manages the track. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Cory Doctorow / Flickr

The Prime Minister of Australia is in Washington today and meeting with President Trump. While the topic of mass shootings and guns continue to dominate news in the U.S., Australia has had a very different experience. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff / Flickr

The Prime Minister of Australia is heading to the United States next week. Malcolm Turnbull is scheduled to meet President Trump at the White House a week from today. But the prime minister’s coalition government has been hit with a public fight over a personal matter. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Kolmel / U.S. Navy

The long-rumored nomination of Admiral Harry Harris as the next U.S. Ambassador to Australia is now official. Admiral Harris is about to retire after three years as the head of U.S. Pacific Command where he became known for criticism of China’s military expansion into the South China Sea. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Jakob Montrasio / Flickr

China is changing its recycling policy, and the impacts are being felt all around the world. That includes Hawai‘i because some shipments of recycled material that used to go to China will no longer be accepted. But China’s new policy is already having an immediate effect in a number of places—including Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

58 refugees from Manus Island in Papua New Guinea are on their way to new homes in the United States. The men have been held in Australian-run detention camps, many for more than four years. Another group of 154 men, women and children are expected to follow in February from Australia’s other-off shore camp in Nauru. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Sarah_Ackerman / Wikimedia Commons
Sarah_Ackerman / Wikimedia Commons

The government of Australia plans to spend nearly 50 million U.S. dollars over the next year and a half to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef. But most of the spending is going off-shore. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The diplomatic dispute between Australia and China continues to seethe. This week, an Australian minister said that Beijing is trying to win influence in the Pacific with loans to build useless buildings and roads to nowhere. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Broesis / Pixabay
Broesis / Pixabay

While temperatures remain frigid across much of the mainland United States this week, it’s another story entirely in many parts of the Asia Pacific. That includes Australia—where some cities are seeing their hottest temperatures in decades. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

One of the world’s biggest mining companies may pull out of several industry lobbying groups. The issue is a difference in approach to climate change. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Israel Defense Forces / Flickr
Israel Defense Forces / Flickr

More details have emerged about the Korean-born man arrested over the weekend in Australia. While Choi Han Chan faces charges that he tried to sell missile parts for North Korea, he’s also been described as a nice, polite hospital cleaner from a suburb of Sydney. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

QuinceMedia / Pixabay
QuinceMedia / Pixabay

Last week, we reported on the controversy in Australia over Chinese influence on politics there. Further details on the extent of that influence emerged yesterday when a senator once considered a rising star of the Australian Labor Party resigned over his ties to a Chinese-born billionaire. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The Australian government introduced a series of bills this week, designed to prevent foreign interference in politics. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited “disturbing reports about Chinese influence,” but also said the measures are not directed at any one country. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, China is not buying that.

Wikimedia Commons

Six months of chaos over dual nationality comes to a head in Australia this week. After several senators and MPs were disqualified for office under an obscure law, all of them have to file proof of citizenship this week. But, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, confusion is likely to persist for some time.

JJ Harrison / Wikipedia

Australia has produced a foreign policy “white paper,” laying out policy priorities for the government. And while it doesn’t mention the U.S. president by name, his thinking was clearly an influence. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Australia appears to be on its way to becoming the next country to officially recognize same-sex marriage. That follows the results of a nationwide vote spread out over two months. But the process is still not over. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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