Pacific News Minute

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

This summer, as we mark the 70th Anniversary of the events that led up to the end of the Second World War, the Government of Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to loosen restrictions imposed in the Post War constitution on Military Operations and as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute on foreign military sales.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

A moment of transition for the United States Navy this week, as the frigate USS Kaufman returned from her final patrol.  That ends almost forty years of service for a class of small, tough warships that did everything from escorting aircraft carrier battle groups in the Pacific to battling pirates off Somalia and drug runners in the Caribbean.  In today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan remembers two weeks aboard the frigate USS Rentz during what was known as the Tanker War.

Cyr0z / Flickr
Cyr0z / Flickr

Environmental activists hope that the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior can help prompt a revival of anti- nuclear activism across the Pacific.  On July 10, 1985, the Greenpeace ship was mined by French secret agents in Auckland Harbor, New Zealand as it was on its way to protest French nuclear tests at Moraroa Atoll.  A photographer was killed in the explosion.  More on the legacy of the Rainbow Warrior from Neal Conan, in our latest Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Foreign ministers from the Pacific Islands Forum nations gather in Sydney Australia this week. The meeting's primary focus is disaster management.  A timely subject as Cyclone Nangka threatens the Northern Marianas and after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu earlier this year.  But politics will also come up, amid concerns over basic rights in two Pacific Island democracies.  More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Mikhail Kamarov / Flickr
Mikhail Kamarov / Flickr

Russia's Pacific Fleet has steadily dwindled since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but that's about to change with the deployment of a new ballistic missile submarine that's been dubbed Putin's Red October. More from Neal Conan, in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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

President Anote Tong reminded the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week that whatever action the world decides to take on climate change will come too late for his country. The President of Kiribati delivered the keynote address to one of a series of meetings to prepare for the Conference on Climate change in Paris this fall.  Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Malaysia Stylo / Flickr
Malaysia Stylo / Flickr

The Wall Street Journal reports today that more than 900 Million Dollars was wired to the personal account of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The money allegedly came from banks, government agencies and companies connected to a debt ridden sovereign investment company.  Prime Minister Najib dismissed the charge as "political sabotage", but, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, this is just the latest development in a widening scandal.

Bob Hall / Flickr
Bob Hall / Flickr

As of tomorrow, tiny Norfolk Island loses the political autonomy it's enjoyed since 1979. Despite a referendum that appealed to Australia to allow the islanders some say in their political future, self-government will be replaced by a local council. Details from Neal Conan, in the latest Pacific News Minute.

AK Rockefeller / Flickr
AK Rockefeller / Flickr

In Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, last week, a summit meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group ended with an apparent victory for Indonesia, while the United Liberation Movement for West Papua fell short. Details from Neal Conan in our latest Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Yesterday, the State Department released its annual report on human rights abuses that listed some of the usual suspects: Iran, China, Russia, North Korea, Syria, and Cuba. Some American allies like: Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are also on the list. And for the first time, non-state actors including The Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda. One country that will not get into the headlines is the tiny island nation of Nauru. More on the human rights situation there, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

The U.S. Army / Flickr
The U.S. Army / Flickr

There are always concerns and complaints when the military stages live fire exercises here in Hawaii.  Now the Defense Department is holding Hawaii's experience up as a model for skeptical officials in the Northern Marianas. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

vintagedept / Flickr
vintagedept / Flickr

A political summit in the Solomon Islands this week faces a difficult decision on an application for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group from the United Liberation Movement of West Papua. The western half of New Guinea is currently a province of Indonesia, which opposes any recognition for the ULM.  We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

aceebee / Flickr
aceebee / Flickr

In August, we mark the seventieth anniversary of the events that ended the Second World War in the Pacific... The atomic bomb strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan's surrender a few days later.
 Japan is now a close ally of the United States, and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, military ties are getting even closer.

Takver / Flickr
Takver / Flickr

Last week, we reported on controversies surrounding Australia's tough policies on boat people; now, there's a new one.  Passengers who paid a crew of smugglers to take them to New Zealand say their boat was stopped by an Australian Naval vessel, and each crew member received five thousand dollars cash to take them back to Indonesia.  Details, from Neal Conan, in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Jeremy Weate / Flickr
Jeremy Weate / Flickr

Some political developments, in two of our Pacific Ocean neighbors.  A freshly re-elected John Momis will be sworn in today for a new term as President in the autonomous region of Bougainville, and one motion of no confidence toppled the prime minister of Vanuatu last week and there could be another  this week. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute. 

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Earlier this month, Australia relocated four refugees to Cambodia; the first, Canberra hopes of many to follow. Australia refuses entry to anyone who tries to come into the country illegally by sea and thousands have been sent to detention camps on small Pacific Islands. The only way out is to go back home, or accept relocation to Cambodia. Details from Neal Conan in the latest Pacific News Minute.  

Do Kien Trung / Flickr
Do Kien Trung / Flickr

The deputy head of China's Central Military Commission is on a visit to the U.S. Fan Changlong's stops include Naval Air Station  North Island in San Diego, the aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan, and, tomorrow, the Pentagon, where he meets with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Rising tensions in the South China Sea will likely top the agenda, as we hear from Neal Conan today's Pacific News Minute.

Expert Infantry / Flickr
Expert Infantry / Flickr

Over the past few weeks, North Korea claimed it test-fired a missile from a submarine, and a senior American officer said North Korean missiles are now able to strike the west coast of the United States with nuclear weapons. Then, last week, South Korea tried out a new missile of its own. Details from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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