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NRL and Australian federal government closing in on $600m deal to launch PNG rugby league team

The Australian federal government and the NRL are closing in on a deal worth up to $600 million (US$400 million to secure a new NRL side based in Papua New Guinea. NRL chairman Peter V'landys met with Minister for the Pacific Pat Conroy on the sidelines of the NRL's Magic Round in Brisbane late last week to discuss the deal. Conroy...

Samoa rugby 7s team on the edge of disaster, while Pacific rivals Tonga still hope to replace the Manu in the World Series core group next season

The first-ever World Rugby 7s grand final will be played in Madrid in two weeks' time, with eight teams in contention including Fiji. However, Samoa will be absent from the elite group, having finished second last at the end of the league season. Under the competition's new format, that means they along with Spain, the United States and Canada have a...

Vuvale partnership renewal boosts Pacific Labour Mobility

Fiji's Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has announced the renewal of the Vuvale Partnership between Fiji and Australia, which aims to facilitate seamless two-way travel through the Pacific Engagement Visa program. He also emphasised the shared culture and kinship between Fiji’s First Nations peoples and their Pacific neighbours. Key components of the partnership include the expansion of the labour mobility scheme through...

Glen Jackson appointed Fijian Drua coach

The Board of Fijian Drua has appointed highly respected coach Glen Jackson as Head Coach for the Men’s team. Jackson is currently the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua Men’s Assistant Coach. He is a former leading international referee who officiated over 100 first class fixtures, and a Super Rugby Pacific flyhalf for the Chiefs with 60 appearances over five years. He...

French forces launch ‘major operation’ to open route to New Caledonia’s restive capital

French forces launched a "major operation" on Sunday to regain control of a road linking New Caledonia's capital Noumea to the main international airport, after a sixth night of violent unrest. Officials said more than 600 heavily armed gendarmes were dispatched to secure Route Territoriale 1, the main artery connecting the restive capital with air links to the outside world. Furthermore,...

U.S proposes new defence site in Palau

The U.S military is proposing a new defence site in Palau as part of its strategy to beef up regional security amid escalating tensions in the Indo-Pacific. According to a statement from the Joint Region Marianas, engineers from the U.S Navy, U.S Air Force and U.S Marine Corps brief Palauan leaders and citizens about the proposed new projects that include...

Antigua and Barbuda PM hopes for high impact conference charting course for small island States

The fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) is heading to Antigua and Barbuda later this month with “human survivability and protecting our planet” topping the agenda when it comes to containing climate change, according to the Caribbean nation’s Prime Minister. This year’s conference will focus on “charting the course toward resilient prosperity” by assessing small States’ ability...

ADF ‘ready to fly’ as death toll rises in New Caledonia, NZDF Hercules awaits French approval

As Australians stranded in New Caledonia amid unrest beg for help to come home, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong says the defence force is “ready to fly” once commercial flights to the territory resume. Six people have been killed in the French-ruled Pacific Island territory during the upheaval, sparked over contested electoral reform, and a state of emergency has been...

French authorities must uphold rights of the Indigenous Kanak people amid unrest

Responding to ongoing unrest in the non-self-governing French territory of Kanaky New Caledonia after the French Parliament adopted a bill changing the territory’s voting rules, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher Kate Schuetze said: “The state of emergency declared by the French government and the deployment of the French army, coupled with a ban on the social media app TikTok, must not...

French response in New Caledonia risks helping China, Analysts say

French President Emmanuel Macron's ambitions to deepen French influence in the Pacific, where China is expanding its security ties, could be put at risk by the heavy-handed response to civil unrest in New Caledonia, Pacific analysts and officials said. Deadly riots erupted last week among indigenous Kanak, after Paris changed voting rules to allow more French residents to join electoral...

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Fiji Opposition leader Seruiratu urges Australia to slow fossil fuel output

Fiji’s Opposition leader Inia Seruiratu says Fiji should also be able to raise concerns about some of Australia’s decisions such as its ongoing production...

PNG Opposition: Vote of no confidence still alive

It is up to Pangu Pati to remain intact, says Social Democratic Party leader Powes Parkop, as a vote of no confidence looms at...

Rediscovering the lost Kulawai: Fiji’s effort to save a vanishing bird

In the lush forests of Fiji, the Red-throated Lorikeet (Charmosyna amabilis), known locally as the ‘Kulawai’, was once a familiar sight. This small, shy bird,...