Pacific News Minute

YunHo LEE / Flickr
YunHo LEE / Flickr

Last week, Japan and South Korea announced agreement on the painful issue of the so-called comfort women.  A deal welcomed by the United States, which hopes its two allies can work together on regional security.  But the celebrations may have been premature, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - a couple of major problems remain.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

US presidential hopefuls will spend most of January in Iowa and New Hampshire as the primary and caucus season gets underway.  We know that one of them will be elected later this year.  Four Pacific Island nations could get new political leadership this month.  As we hear from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute, one new president has already been chosen.

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Wikipedia Commons

One of the more colorful Internet entrepreneurs faces extradition to the United States. Kim Dotcom could serve up to twenty years if convicted on multiple charges including copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.  A week ago, a judge in New Zealand found the evidence against him and three co-defendants overwhelming.  The background, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  Two Pacific Island conflicts echoed in the news this week.  On Bougainville, an angry President John Momis says that Papua New Guinea violated the peace agreement that ended the war on that island in 2001 by failing to make guaranteed payments.  Next door in the Solomon Islands, the government kicked off a program to rehabilitate fighters from its civil war.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday's agreement between South Korea and Japan came as welcome news in Washington.  The United States has long urged Tokyo and Seoul to resolve the issue of the "comfort women" - Korean women coerced into prostitution to service Japanese soldiers during the Second World War.  As we hear from Neal Conan in Today's Pacific News Minute, the agreement may be a step forward, but a long way from complete resolution.

DVIDSHUB / Flickr
DVIDSHUB / Flickr

For the 64th year in a row - US Air Force crews dropped toys, fishing gear, canned goods and a new addition this year - soccer balls to thousands of people on isolated Pacific Islands.  Also new: Japan and Australia sent planes to participate in "Operation Christmas Drop." Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

A week ago, the Obama administration announced the sale of $1.83-billion dollars of weapons to Taiwan.  Beijing responded by calling in the US Charge D'affaires to complain about violations of China's sovereignty and security interests.  In fact, the sale was on the small side - as such things go and as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, more about politics than military capability.

JasonParis / Flickr
JasonParis / Flickr

Last week, the speaker of Indonesia's parliament resigned as an ethics committee listened to a recording, where he demanded a four billion dollar payoff from an American mining company.  Money that he said, would be split with the country's president and Vice President.  Details on what's been called Indonesia's biggest corruption scandal from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Allegations of torture by police in Fiji are raising new questions about human rights and the government's commitment to democracy.  After the country's attorney general ordered a parliamentary investigation into the case halted, an opposition MP charged that the government is still operating like a dictatorship.  Details from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Three ships from the Chinese Navy are in Pearl Harbor this week on what's described as a routine port visit.  That comes, as a senior naval officer made a speech in Honolulu this week on rising tension between the US and China in the South China Sea.  More from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

UNclimatechange / Flickr
UNclimatechange / Flickr

Earlier this week, we reported that the Foreign minister of the Marshall Islands had been voted out of office. The final results came in as Tony De Brum participated in the UN Climate Change Talks in Paris. Neal Conan, who's in Paris covering the conference, reports that De Brum has emerged as a key figure in what may be his last hurrah - here's today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Like many Pacific Islands, Hawaii has long relied on imports of oil and coal to generate electricity.  Even in a first world economy - the transition to clean alternatives is proving a challenge.  In Paris, at the UN Conference on Climate Change - Pacific Island Nations including some of the poorest countries on earth are demanding financial commitments from rich countries to help in their transition.  Details from Neal Conan in Paris with the Pacific News Minute.

unfccc.int
unfccc.int

In Paris, negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference have just a couple of days to reach agreement, with several major issues undecided.  Pacific Island nations which have been pressing for a more ambitious goal are now under pressure to agree to a target many say will leave low lying islands uninhabitable by the end of this century.  More from Neal Conan in Paris, with the Pacific News Minute.

Plane Stupid / Flickr
Plane Stupid / Flickr

In Paris earlier this week, President Obama warned of tens of millions of climate migrants from the Asia Pacific if the nations of the world fail to reach agreement at the UN climate change conference.  Now, a new report finds that the migration is already underway.  Details from Neal Conan in Paris with today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

In Paris, delegates continue to work on a draft of an agreement at the UN Conference on Climate Change.  They hope to resolve most of the outstanding disputes by the end of this week and finalize a deal next week.  As the world's largest economy and its second largest emitter of carbon - the United States has both enormous influence and enormous responsibility.  But many underestimate just how large an area it controls in the Pacific.  More from Neal Conan, who reports from Paris in the Pacific News Minute.

www.francebleu.fr Via Creative Commons
www.francebleu.fr Via Creative Commons

On his last day at the UN Climate Conference, President Obama met with six leaders from small island states. "Their populations are among the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate Change," he said afterwards.  We have more from Neal Conan in Paris, with today's Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

In Paris, France hosts a summit of Pacific Island leaders ahead of the UN Climate Conference that gets underway next week. Details, from Neal Conan in Paris, in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

As we reported yesterday, Pacific Island Nations hope to be a major factor at the United Nations Climate Conference that begins next week.  They are among the most seriously affected by global warming, and among those least responsible for the problem.  But, as we hear from Neal Conan in Paris in today's Pacific News Minute - several delegations will arrive under circumstances that may limit their effectiveness.

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Wikipedia Commons

The nations of the world are gathering in Paris, ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate change which gets underway next week. News analyst Neal Conan is also there, to cover the conference with a focus on Pacific Island Nations.  As we hear in today's Pacific News Minute, countries which have contributed very little to the problem face enormous challenges as a result of it.

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Wikipedia Commons

After Turkey and the Philippines, Malaysia is the final stop on President Obama's current tour - and after the G20 in Antalya and APEC in Manila, it's another major multilateral meeting.  This time, ASEAN: the Association of South East Asian Nations.  As the current chair - Malaysia hosts the meeting, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minutes, its president is enmeshed in scandal.

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Wikipedia Commons

The Governor of American Samoa is asking the Interior Department for money to explore a review of the territory's political status. The biggest employer - the Starkist Tuna cannery says a minimum wage hike and federal restrictions on fishing could force the company to relocate.  A frustrated local government says those policies are outside its control.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Naval Surface Warriors / Flickr
Naval Surface Warriors / Flickr

Earlier today, President Obama arrived in the Philippines to attend the APEC summit.  While his earlier visit to Turkey and the G-20 summit was dominated by the ISIS attack in Paris, this next stop is more likely to focus on the disputes over the South China Sea.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Inmates took over parts of an Australian detention camp for three days this week.  The high security facility on remote Christmas Island houses both asylum seekers and convicted criminals awaiting deportation (this is the Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, not the one that's part of Kiribas).  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Ninety seven years ago: the guns fell silent on the Western Front on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  The First World War transformed Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa - and while the Pacific was a minor theatre in the conflict, it did play a part, including, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - the first naval battle of the conflict.

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Wikipedia Commons

State media in China reported positively on this weekend's historic meeting between the Presidents of China and Taiwan - the first such summit since 1949.  Reaction on Taiwan was mixed, particularly on a sore subject: Chinese missiles.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Asked about the multitude of ballistic missiles on China's side of the Taiwan Strait - President Xi Jinping replied “the missiles weren't aimed at Taiwan,” a claim that might be charitably described as a diplomatic fiction.

Vilimaka Foliaki / Flickr
Vilimaka Foliaki / Flickr

The National Weather Service just upgraded the current El Niño from moderate to strong - which could mean hurricanes here in Hawaii even after the official end of the season on November 30th.  Farmers and ranchers are already being warned to expect hotter and drier weather this winter.  But nothing like the problems the weather pattern is causing in Pacific nations to the south and east.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

The governments of three Pacific countries face removal, through a parliamentary procedure called a motion of no confidence.  Opposition parties in Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have issued the challenges.  If the Prime Minister's party loses the vote - the whole government changes without an election.  We have an explanation, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Naval Surface Warriors / Flickr
Naval Surface Warriors / Flickr

It's been a week since the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen challenged China's claims in the South China Sea.  We've learned a bit more about that mission since, and about a new development, that could shift this controversy from international waters, to an international court.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

In a speech in London this week, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Europe should respond to its migrant crisis the same way Australia did: turn away the boats and close the borders.  Abbott was forced out of office last month and this is his first major speech since. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

As expected, the United States sent a destroyer into waters claimed by China yesterday.  The freedom of navigation patrol challenges China's claims around artificial islands it's constructed in the South China Sea.  At the same time - another major power is extending military muscle in the Pacific.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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