Pacific News Minute

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Last week a referendum in New Zealand decisively rejected the Silver Fern flag.  Prime Minister John Key spent about $17-million on a two year project to select a new design.  But voters had the final word and decided to retain the familiar navy blue flag with the Union Jack and the stars of the Southern Cross. But, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, there will be a new flag in the Pacific later this year, in Fiji.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Long running disputes over claims in the South China Sea have centered on two island groups - the Spratleys (near the Philippines) and the Paracels (closer to Vietnam). Last week, there was an incident between Indonesian and Chinese patrol boats near a third island group.  More on the Natuna islands from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Day Donaldson / Flickr
Day Donaldson / Flickr

A rap video featuring President Xi Jinping is soaring to the top of the charts in China.  It's called "The Reform Group Is Two Years Old" - and samples the anti-corruption speeches of "Big Daddy Xi."  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, it's just the latest sign of a growing cult of personality.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

Asylum seekers have staged protests every day this week in the Pacific Island Nation of Nauru. Advocates say that, for some of them, this week marks a thousand days in detention. The government vowed to process all claims by the end of October, but nearly five hundred cases have yet to be heard. And, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, the government also faces protests over new election laws.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Last week, a court in Australia found a hiring company guilty in what's been called a case of modern day "black birding." The company, Maroochy Sunshine, recruited 22 workers from Vanuatu to pick fruit and vegetables in Queensland, but paid some less than the proper wage, and paid some nothing at all.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.


Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The cost of illegal fishing in the western pacific may be much lower than believed.  Previous estimates ranged up to $2.4-billion dollars a year.  But this week, an independent, European funded study puts that figure at about a billion dollars a year, most of that in tuna.  And, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News minute, the study also challenges beliefs, as to who's responsible.

"We imagine vast fleets of pirate boats," said James Movick, director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency. "The evidence doesn't support that."

Br John Walker msc / FLickr
Br John Walker msc / FLickr

Australia is the driest continental landmass on earth.  Right next door, the mountains of Papua New Guinea are some of the wettest places on the planet.  Now the government in Port Moresby has decided to fund a plan to build a fresh water pipeline to connect them.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

On another big day for presidential primaries, let's take time out to catch up on the voting in US pacific territories and on elections in two Pacific Island Nations.  As reported earlier Donald Trump swept the Republican caucus in the Northern Marianas Islands earlier today and won nine delegates.  In Samoa, The ruling party swept to a lop-sided victory, while last week voters in Kiribati opted for change.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

wikipedia Commons
wikipedia Commons

As Spring training get underway on both sides of the Pacific, Japan's most famous baseball team is embroiled in a betting scandal...four of the team's pitchers have admitted betting on baseball, and now three team executives have resigned, including a powerful newspaper publisher. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The President of French Polynesia appeared in criminal court in Tahiti this week, on charges that he bribed a local radio station to support the political party then headed by his father-in-law, five time President Gaston Flosse...who was himself convicted on separate charges a couple of weeks ago.  Neal Conan unravels the story in the Pacific News Minute.

TheAnimalDay.org / Flickr
TheAnimalDay.org / Flickr

US flagged tuna boats are back on the water this week, after the State Department worked out a deal with Pacific Island Nations to cover the rest of this year.  Last December, the companies that operate the tuna boats reneged on an earlier agreement.  We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Two men who helped shape the modern Pacific died over the last few days.  In Honiara, Sir Peter Keniloria the first Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, and, in New York City, Stuart Beck, a lawyer and television executive who was also Palau's first Ambassador to the United Nations.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Another bombshell in the long running scandal surrounding Malaysia's Prime Minister: according to the Wall Street Journal, a state development fund he controlled transferred more than a billion dollars into his personal accounts, hundreds of millions more than previously reported. Both the development fund and the prime minister deny the allegations, an explanation, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

bfishadow / Flickr
bfishadow / Flickr

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the three big state media outlets in Beijing to demand absolute loyalty to the Communist party.  He delivered that message to China Central Television, the People's Daily newspaper and the Xinhua news agency.  But this week it became clear that the party won't tolerate dissent on new media either.  We have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Times Asi / Flickr
Times Asi / Flickr

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wraps up a visit to Washington today, after talks with Secretary of State John Kerry.  Both reported progress toward a new UN Security Council resolution on North Korea, but tensions continue over disputes in the South China Sea.  China recently drew an interesting comparison - saying there's no difference between its defense of its islands and US defense of Hawaii. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Coral bleaching hit Hawaii's reefs in 2014, and then again last year when as much as 30% of our reefs were affected by a surge of warm water.  Now, ocean scientists attending a meeting in New Orleans are hearing that what's already the longest coral bleaching event in history could extend through this year, and well into 2017.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

On a quick swing through the Pacific this week, French President Francois Hollande stopped over in Tahiti, where he agreed to reconsider compensation for nuclear tests and in the tiny territory of Wallis and Futuna, where he promised an ATM and dialysis equipment for a local hospital. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

As South-East Asian leaders left a meeting with President Obama in California earlier this week, reports began to emerge of important new Chinese military projects on disputed islands in the South China Sea... Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday, Fiji became the first country in the world to ratify the United Nations Climate Agreement reached by 195 nations last December in Paris.  In order to take effect, at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of the world's annual carbon emissions must sign on – hopefully in time for a signing event in New York in April.  But some more ominous news yesterday on climate change as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

In Australia, protests continue over the government's plan to return 268 asylum seekers to an off-shore detention camp in the Pacific island nation of Nauru.  Doctors at a hospital in Brisbane refuse to discharge a one year old baby known as Asha until what they call a suitable home environment is identified.  But while most attention has focused on the plight of migrants in Nauru, Australia operates another, even bigger detention camp on a remote island in Papua New Guinea.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

www.facebook.com/threewisecousins
www.facebook.com/threewisecousins

 After surprisingly good numbers at the box office in New Zealand, a comedy shot on a shoestring in Samoa is now set for release in Australia. "Three Wise Cousins" came in at number seven, earning about two hundred thousand dollars in two weeks on just eight screens. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

 

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Twenty Russian soldiers landed in Fiji earlier today to help with the transfer of a large shipment of weapons.  Both Moscow and Suva say the arms are intended to upgrade Fiji's battalion of peacekeepers, based on the Golan Heights in Syria, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, opposition leaders in Fiji worry that they might also be used to suppress dissent.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Last week, Australia's highest court upheld the government's controversial immigration policy.  On Monday, a senior official said the decision clears the way for to send more than 260 people, including 80 children, back to a migrant detention camp on the remote island of Nauru.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

RMI Education Dept
RMI Education Dept

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina hope to be the first woman elected President of the United States but both still need to secure the nomination of their parties.  Last week, the Republic of the Marshall Islands crossed that barrier with the election of Hilda Heine as its first female chief executive.  We have more on that and another update on Pacific politics from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Rosmarie Voegtli / Flickr
Rosmarie Voegtli / Flickr

Last week, Malaysia's attorney general cleared the country's prime minister of all charges in a long running corruption investigation of a state development fund. Then, just a couple of days later, authorities in Switzerland said they have evidence of bribery, money laundering and other crimes involving the same Malaysian fund. We have more, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Over the weekend, a US Navy Destroyer challenged Chinese claims to islands in the South China Sea...not the Spratleys, this time, but the Paracel Islands, occupied by China but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Marty B / Flickr
Marty B / Flickr

For many years, we've heard that climate change will make the low lying islands of many Pacific nations uninhabitable over the next few decades. Now a new study shows that despite the effects of sea level rise and more powerful storms, most reef islands have persisted and even grown. But as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, prospects for many Pacific Island nations remain gloomy.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Australia's High Court is considering a challenge to the country's controversial off shore detention camps - all migrants who try to reach Australia by sea are sent to facilities  either on the Pacific Island nation of Nauru or to an atoll in Papua New Guinea. Now an Australian Doctor has challenged the government to prosecute him, for speaking out about conditions in the camps. Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Phillip Capper / Flickr
Phillip Capper / Flickr

Results are in from Vanuatu's snap election, which followed a scandal that saw 14 members of Parliament convicted on bribery charges.  Several prominent politicians lost their seats, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, no clear winner emerged.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The fallout from North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month continues. En route to Beijing, a senior US diplomat warned that if China does not act to rein in its ally - the United States will take steps that China may not like.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Pages