Pacific News Minute

Sean Kelleher / Flickr
Sean Kelleher / Flickr

As of yesterday, conditions at Australia's notorious detention camp on the Pacific Island Nation of Nauru have been eased.  Hundreds of asylum seekers now have freedom of movement - anywhere on the island, 24 hours a day.  Though critics charge, it's not much of an improvement.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute. 

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Protests in West Papua this week, after Indonesian Police shot two 17 year old boys - one of whom died. This is the fifth time this year that civilians have been fired on by soldiers or police in the restive province, with now eight reported killed.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Times Asi / Flickr Commons
Times Asi / Flickr Commons

When he was in The US last week, Chinese President Xi Jing Ping cited an Ancient Greek historian to argue that conflict with the United States is not inevitable - at the same time, China completed an air field on its new headquarters in the South China Sea.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

As the United Nations General Assembly opened yesterday in New York, most attention focused on speeches by Presidents Obama and Putin and the meeting later in the day between the leaders of the United States and Russia.  But New Zealand caused a stir as well, when Prime Minster John Key announced an enormous new maritime ocean sanctuary.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Sids1 / Flickr
Sids1 / Flickr

Yesterday, New Zealand deported a man who claimed to be a climate refugee...both opposition MPs and Pacific Islanders protested the decision, and said that New Zealand will have to face the reality of climate change sooner or later...details, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Alex Carvalho / Flickr
Alex Carvalho / Flickr

Last week, activists from the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior II boarded a Taiwanese fishing boat to expose what they describe as an illegal operation.  In response, the island nation of Nauru issued a ban on the practice known as transshipment.  Details, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

m-louis .® / Flickr
m-louis .® / Flickr

After a bitter debate that dragged on into the wee hours of Saturday morning, Japan's Upper House voted final approval on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial security laws.  The measures reinterpret the country's pacifist constitution and expand the circumstances under which Japanese troops could go into combat.  Reaction, from Neal Conan in our Pacific News Minute.

Khairil Yusof / Flickr
Khairil Yusof / Flickr

A largely peaceful pro-government rally in Malaysia turned violent earlier today, when hundreds of Malays tried to storm into the Chinatown district of the capital.  Police used water cannon laced with chemicals to disperse the crowd.  The incident sparked new concerns about ethnic conflict amid a political crisis tied to a corruption scandal - more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr
InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr

It's North Korea. Again.

Just last month, North Korea vowed war as tensions escalated along the DMZ.  This week, Pyongyang announced plans to launch long range missiles and improve its nuclear weapons and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, you can expect more of the same for the next month.

October 10th is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers Party - a major event in North Korea, and announcements this week have analysts wondering if it might be marked by a long range missile launch, a nuclear weapons test, or maybe both.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was forced out of office Monday after a revolt in his ruling Liberal Party.  The hard line conservative's departure was met with satisfaction by his Pacific Island neighbors after what some call Abbott's last gaffe.  Details from Neal Conan in our Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Elections in Singapore on Friday are not expected to produce any surprises - the People's Action Party has ruled the island city state ever since independence 50 years ago and is widely credited for the creation of one of the most prosperous countries in the world.  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - analysts will measure tomorrow's results by looking at one number.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The summit meeting of leaders from around the Pacific continues in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea this week.  Yesterday, we reported on climate change - the issue at the top of the agenda.  Today more background on another big controversy as we hear about West Papua from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Leaders from around the Pacific gather in Port Moresby - the Capital of Papua New Guinea this week, for the summit meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum.  Climate Change leads the agenda in the run up to the United Nations Conference in Paris at the end of this year, but as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - it may be hard to reach a common position.

A bombshell in court in Vanuatu yesterday, as the country's Finance Minister pleaded guilty to bribery charges.  13 other Members of Parliament face similar charges in a case set to go forward next week. As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, the case revolves around a vote of no confidence earlier this summer.

On June 11th, three members of Prime Minister Joe Natuman's party crossed the aisle to support a motion of no confidence filed by opposition leader Moanna Carcasses, who wound up as the deputy to the new Prime Minister Sato Kilman.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

A six month investigation by an Australian Senate Committee finds that conditions at the migrant detention center on the Pacific Island Nation of Nauru are not safe.  A report calls for all children to be removed as soon as possible, and as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, that's just one of fifteen recommendations.

Surian Soosay / Flickr
Surian Soosay / Flickr

On Sunday, 120-thousand Japanese gathered outside the Diet to protest what they denounced as war legislation.  On Monday, the defense ministry submitted a proposed budget that asks for a fourth consecutive annual increase...details, from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Leigh Blackall / Flickr
Leigh Blackall / Flickr

The government of Australia relocated to a remote island in the Torres Strait this week, as Prime Minster Tony Abbott made good on his promise to spend a week every year in an indigenous community to learn more about the issues faced by Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islanders...more from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Prime Minister Abbott made an important gesture to Australia's indigenous peoples, when he laid a wreath at the grave of Eddie Koiki Mabo, whom he called a "warrior".

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Over the weekend, India hosted a summit meeting with representatives from 14 Pacific Island Nations. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, Fiji's Prime Minister asked India to take the side of small island states at the UN Conference on climate change coming up at the end of this year in Paris.

mroach / Flickr
mroach / Flickr

Until an agreement yesterday, North and South Korea stood on the brink of war for the last several days. As usual, each accused the other of precipitating the crisis.  As a deadline approached at 5 PM Saturday, high level negotiators from both countries gathered at Panmunjom and after marathon talks, found a way to back down.  As we hear from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute… this was just the latest in a long series of confrontations.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Flickr
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Flickr

Across the Pacific, many island nations struggle with issues of sovereignty.  Just this week we reported on the arrest of dozens in Fiji who allegedly planned to set up a breakaway state.  Now the leader of the provincial government on one of the Solomon Islands says he plans to establish a sovereign nation, but not an independent one.  An explanation, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

waterboardingdotorg / Flickr
waterboardingdotorg / Flickr

As Australia's government prepares to issue new, multi-billion dollar contracts for private companies to run its refugee detention centers, the parliament in Canberra heard charges of abuse at the camps, including, most recently, allegations of torture including waterboarding.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

As many as 60 people are under arrest in Fiji on charges of sedition, amid allegations of military training aimed at the establishment of a breakaway Christian state. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

While the details of the charges remain murky, the reaction of the authorities is anything but.  Fiji's Prime minister, Frank Bainimarama declared "There will be no so-called independent states established in Fiji.” Put simply he added, "any insurrection will be crushed."

Moyan Brenn / Flickr
Moyan Brenn / Flickr

If you're planning to visit Pyongyang this weekend, remember to set your watch back an extra thirty minutes. In an effort to expunge a vestige of Japanese Colonization, North Korea has created its own time zone, as of Saturday, which marks 70 years since Japan's occupation of Korea ended at the end of the Second World War. More from Neal Conan in the latest Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Last week, the Bikini Council approved resolutions, asking the U.S. Government for help to relocate, yet again. The population of the famous atoll was evacuated ahead of nuclear weapons tests in the 1940s, their home remains radioactive and their island of exile has been inundated by high waves at least five times in the last four years. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

JasonParis / Flickr
JasonParis / Flickr

Last week, as people from across the Cook Islands gathered in Rarotonga to celebrate fifty years of free association with New Zealand. Prime Minister Henry Puna continued to raise the possibility of more independence, and a seat at the United Nations. As we hear from Neal Conan in our latest Pacific News Minute, the bid is on hold, at least for now.

Day Donaldson / Flickr
Day Donaldson / Flickr

There were commemorations earlier today in Hiroshima, to mark seventy years after the atomic bomb devastated the city and killed an estimated 150 thousand people, almost all of them civilians. More ceremonies follow Sunday, in Nagasaki, but amid the solemnity of those events, many across the region are waiting to hear what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will say to mark Japan's surrender. More from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

Naval Surface Warriors / Flickr
Naval Surface Warriors / Flickr

As the United States continues its strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific, important regional allies continue their shift toward the U.S.  We reported last month on Japanese purchases of U.S. Warplanes...now, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, Australia has confirmed an upgrade to its latest American weapons deal.

PROAMISOM Public Information / Flickr
PROAMISOM Public Information / Flickr

Talks are underway in Brisbane, Australia between the United States and 17 Pacific Island Nations on a new South Pacific Tuna Treaty.  The old treaty expired and an interim agreement is set to run out at the end of this year.  As we hear from Neal Conan today’s Pacific News Minute, a deal is critical for American Samoa.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr
Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr

Next month, the Chinese and Russian Navies will hold their largest ever joint exercise in waters close to Japan.  More from Neal Conan, in today’s latest Pacific News Minute.

This will be the fourth consecutive year for joint exercises in the Pacific.  16 vessels took part last year, 20 are scheduled to participate this year including, for the first time carrier based aircraft.  The major tactical drill is a joint amphibious assault in Russia's Primorsky territory about 250 miles from Japan.

Roger W / Flickr
Roger W / Flickr

The treasury department has issued sanctions against a shipping company based in Singapore for allegedly assisting North Korean weapons traffic, which is banned by both the United States and the United Nations.  As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, the charges date back to an infamous incident two years ago.

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