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.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

For some time, now - we've been reporting on the political crisis in Vanuatu.  About a quarter of that country's parliament is in prison, after 14 Members of Parliament were convicted of bribery and the Supreme Court resolved a constitutional crisis. The latest, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

bycfotografem / Pixabay Commons
bycfotografem / Pixabay Commons

Australia's government has approved what will be one of the biggest coal mines in the world.  An Indian conglomerate plans to dig up and export about 60-million tons of coal per year - a plan that Australian environmentalists denounced as grossly irresponsible.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet / Flickr
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet / Flickr

Over the past few days, the US Navy has displayed its power from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean, sending aircraft carrier battle groups to exercise with its allies in Tokyo Bay and the Bay of Bengal.  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - the demonstrations come amid widespread expectation of a patrol to challenge Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

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Wikipedia Commons

And now an update on the political crisis in Vanuatu.  Last week, we reported that the speaker of parliament there used a constitutional loophole to pardon himself and thirteen other MPs who had just been convicted on charges of bribery.  As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute - the pardons have now been reversed.

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Wikipedia Commons

A twenty year effort to relocate a US Marine airbase on the Japanese Island of Okinawa hit a new snag this week.  The island's governor revoked a construction permit and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, the result will likely be a court case that could take years to resolve.

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Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the United States will sail and fly wherever international law allows - and made a point to add, the South China Sea is no exception.  The US and its allies have been in discussions about an appropriate response to China's construction of artificial islands in the disputed area and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, it looks like a decision has been made.

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Wikipedia Commons

A series of unprecedented developments has left the government of Vanuatu in chaos.  On Friday, the speaker of the national parliament was among 16 MPs convicted of bribery.  But with the President out of the country on a visit, he then used his position as acting president to pardon his fellow defendants, and himself.  Neal Conan traces the story in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

At the Our Oceans Conference in Valparaiso, Chile this week - President Michelle Bachelet announced a huge new ocean sanctuary around Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.  Last month, we reported on a slightly smaller marine reserve established by New Zealand.  Britain, Kiribati, Palau, the US and other countries also declare vast stretches of the Pacific off limits to illegal fishing.  But the problem is how to monitor such enormous areas.  In today's Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan reports on two new systems which may begin to change that.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Accepting that sea level rise is happening and getting worse, atoll nations from around the world meet in Kitibati this week to work on plans to migrate when the time comes, a prospect that one participant described as cultural genocide.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Akka Rimon, Secretary of Foreign Affairs for Kiribati, described the dilemma: "What do we do, and where do we go, and what do we do from here if the times comes for us to go."

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