Pacific News Minute

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Declassified documents from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta show that U.S. officials closely followed the massacre in Indonesia in the mid-1960s, but did and said nothing. At least 500,000 Indonesians died after a bungled Communist coup but the documents make clear that mass murders spread to include ethnic Chinese, students and union members as well as communists. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

The Philippine Defense Minister confirms the death of the two top leaders of the group that’s battled government troops in the city of Marawi for almost five months. One of the dead, is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list, with a $5 million reward for his death or capture. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea is set to close at the end of this month, but most of the refugees there refuse to leave. Now Canberra is offering an alternative - the detention center in Nauru. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

AK Rockefeller / Flickr
AK Rockefeller / Flickr

Last month, confusion erupted at the meeting of the United Nations Decolonization Committee in New York over a secret petition supporting independence for West Papua. Advocates said they presented the signatures of 1.8 million people, but the head of the Decolonization Committee declared that the petition didn’t exist. Neal Conan puzzles out the story in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Expeditions led by a University of Hawaii professor discovered a new species of sponge that lives 13 thousand feet under the Central Pacific ocean. Little is known about Plenaster Craigi except that it lives on metallic nodules that were once used as one of the most elaborate cover stories of the Cold War. We have more from Neal Conan, in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The prime minister of Vanuatu has promised that everyone evacuated from the island of Ambae will return to the island. All 11,000 residents fled as the Monaro volcano threatened to erupt and could face months in makeshift shelters. We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

A much delayed sedition trial has concluded in Fiji, with 14 of 16 defendants sentenced to as much as three years in jail. The defendants tried to establish a breakaway Christian state. We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

In Malaysia, the Kim Jong Nam murder trial got underway this week. Two women are charged in the assassination of the estranged older brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. We have more from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

An expedition to Zealandia has returned with fossils that prove the sunken continent was not always under water. Zealandia was recognized as a continent earlier this year, when geologists from New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia concluded that it meets all the criteria, even though nearly all of it lies deep under the South Pacific Ocean. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea warned that the referendum on independence in Bougainville may not go ahead. The vote is the last step in an agreement that brought an end to a bloody, ten year civil war on the island. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend, voters in New Zealand delivered an indecisive result. The ruling National Party won the most votes, but fell just short of a majority in Parliament. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, negotiations to form a coalition government are expected to take weeks.

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Wikimedia Commons

We’ve heard a lot these past few months about North Korea’s new and more powerful missiles, but less about new missiles in development in South Korea. As you might suspect, they are also more powerful. We have more on the Korean Arms race from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Limbo has finally ended for at least some of the refugees held in Australia’s offshore detention camps. The State Department announced that 54 have been cleared for relocation to the United States and could arrive as soon the end of this week. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve heard on NPR News, President Trump addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations today. The annual gathering of world leaders provides an important opportunity for diplomacy, especially for poorer nations who don’t maintain embassies around the world. In today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan has a case in point.

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Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a tough year for Guam. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed accusing Catholic priests there of sexual abuse and, more recently, North Korea’s threatened to fire missiles at the island. Now, Guam’s representative in the U.S. Congress faces an ethics investigation…we have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, video of the apparent execution of a teenager triggered protests against President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs in the Philippines, but a vote in Congress yesterday suggests that the president’s policies continue to enjoy strong political support. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Last month, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill won a chaotic and sharply contested election in Papua New Guinea, over an energized opposition that accused O’Neill’s government of corruption and mismanagement. But after starting the new parliament with a sharply reduced majority, O’Neill drew in a steady stream of defectors. And yesterday, the largest party in the opposition alliance crossed the floor to join the government…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

The President of Indonesia met with a group of civic leaders from West Papua last month to discuss opening a dialogue on problems in the restive province. The group did not include representatives of the United Liberation Movement, which issued a statement that rejected the overture. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia

The annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum takes place this week in Samoa, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, some leaders will not attend, while other governments will send caretakers.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency
U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Yesterday, the Navy said it successfully shot down a medium range missile at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai. The interceptor was an SM 6 missile fired from the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, and while officials said the test has been planned for some time, it came just a few days after North Korea’s latest launch, which flew over the northern part of Japan and crashed into the Pacific. In response, Japan plans to upgrade its anti-missile systems.

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The King of Tonga issued a royal decree last week that dissolved parliament and set elections a year early. The decision represents a vote of no confidence in the government of the country’s first democratically elected Prime Minister and a test for democracy itself. We have more, from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Army.mil
Army.mil

A project to lay an undersea cable between Australia and the Solomon Islands has been delayed, first because of security concerns, and now, charges of bribery. Both revolve around the selection of a controversial Chinese contractor. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Last week was the bloodiest thus far in President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-long war on drugs in the Philippines, with nearly a hundred people reported killed in and around Manila. Up to now, the crackdown has been widely popular, but the death of a 17 year old high school student last week set off the first serious protest. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Sad news yesterday, from the Marshall Islands announcing the death of former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum at the age of 72. De Brum became known around the world for his role in the fights against nuclear weapons and climate change. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Last month, when two members of the Australian Greens (Greens, plural, is correct) Party resigned because they suddenly learned that they held dual citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declared that “Ignorance is no excuse.” But now Joyce himself has been caught up in the controversy and the ruling coalition’s razor thin majority in parliament is at risk…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia

Last year, John Key shook up politics in New Zealand when the long standing Prime Minister decided to resign. Now, with an election just six weeks away, the two largest opposition parties have both changed leaders as well…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend, an asylum seeker was found dead on Manus Island. The fifth man to die in the care of Australia’s off-shore detention camp in Papua New Guinea. PNG officials say he hanged himself, but fellow asylum seekers and refugee advocates say it’s too soon to rule out foul play. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week, the government of the Solomon Islands established a National Park at Bloody Ridge, where American and Japanese troops fought during the Battle for Guadalcanal, which began 75 years ago. The government hopes the National Park will help draw both Japanese and American visitors. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia

While several seats remain to be decided, members of parliament in Papua New Guinea re-elected Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister. The vote followed a chaotic election, a contentious count and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, one final drama.

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Wikimedia Commons

Three years ago, the Republic of the Marshall Islands began a quixotic court case to force the World’s Nuclear Weapons states to disarm. The suit was rejected by the International Court of Justice in the Hague last October. And on Monday, the Marshall Island’s case was dismissed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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