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.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

After American companies refused to honor an agreement reached with Pacific Island nations, the US announced yesterday that it will withdraw from a treaty that's covered tuna fishing rights in much of the South Pacific for almost 30.  Seventeen countries depend on the promised payments for this year's budget while American Samoa could lose its biggest industry....we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands vows that a new battlefield memorial will be completed on Guadalcanal in time for ceremonies on the 75th Anniversary of the battle.  US Marines waded ashore on Red Beach on August 6th, 1942, beginning a six month struggle that marked a turning point of the Second World War in the Pacific.  We have more from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday, a week after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon - South Korean troops opened fire on a drone as it crossed the demilitarized zone from the north.  The Yonhap news agency reports that the unmanned aircraft turned back after about 20 shots. North and South Korea are also blasting propaganda at each other from huge loudspeakers along the DMZ; all part of a difficult week for South Korea's president, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the Philippines approved an agreement that allows American Forces to use Philippine bases for the next ten years.  Manila is among the most vocal critics of China's ambitions in the area but lacks the military strength to dispute its claims.  Now, that could begin to change, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

US tuna boats in American Samoa are said to be losing $8-thousand every day the fleet sits, tied up at the dock.  As we've reported, when US operators failed to make a payment due December 31st, the Pacific Forum Fisheries association lifted their licenses.  Efforts to resolve the impasse continue, but as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - that's not the only dispute involving Pacific Nations, Tuna and foreign fishermen.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

American Tuna boats are idled in Pacific ports after failing to make an agreed payment to renew their licenses.  The Honolulu office of the National Marine Fisheries service informed them said they cannot fish in the Western Pacific as of January 1st.  The US companies want to renegotiate an agreement they reached with Pacific Island nations just five months ago.  More, from Neal Conan in the 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.

Wikipedia Commons
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.

Wikipedia Commons
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.

Wikipedia Commons
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.

Pages