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French Polynesia confirms Omicron cases

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French Polynesia's health minister says there are now 20 Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant. Jacques Raynal says practically all cases are tourists who are in Tahiti and Bora Bora. The minister said people are encouraged to get vaccinate and to wear masks. Covid-19 has infected almost 47,000 people and claimed more than 630 lives. SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS

Pacific collective oppose Japanese Government utility company’s plans to dump radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean

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The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues (the Collective) representing Pacific civil society organisations (CSOs) strongly opposes the plans of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO) to discharge 1.28 million tonnes of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean from 2023. The collective refutes the veracity of a number of premises advanced by the Radiological Impact...

Tongans told to protect water tanks from acid rain, as eruption continues

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As a large gaseous cloud continues to rise to 18km altitude and drift over all islands, all Tongan residents were advised by geologists to protect their water tanks from possible acidic rainfall, until the volcanic eruption ceases. Hunga Ha'apai is located 65km NNW of Nuku'alofa, from where the bright white gas cloud can be seen on the horizon. Bursts of lightning...

Palau President Whipps urges Senate to reconsider passage of digital residency bill

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Palau's President Surangel Whipps Jr. urged senators to reconsider the passage of the proposed Digital Residency Identification bill, which earlier failed to get a majority of the votes in the Senate. In his letter to Senate President Hokkons Baules, Whipps vowed to engage with the Olbiil Era Kelulau to consider amendments to the bill. “I write to urge your consideration and...

Alleged Honiara riot ‘instigator’ on $1,000 bail

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The Solomon Islands court has granted bail to one of the instigators of the recent rioting and looting in Honiara. Simon Mannie was arrested and charged by police with one count of unauthorised public assembly and public procession contrary to regulation 14(1) and (3)(a) of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No.3) 2021; Regulation 4 of the Emergency Powers (Covid-10) (declaration of...

Booster dose rolled out in Fiji for specific target population

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Fiji's Ministry of Health and Medical Services has rolled out the COVID-19 booster dose for a specific target population in the country. According to the Government, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been authorised for use as the booster dose by stringent regulatory authorities with more than 30 countries (U.S, UK, Israel, Singapore and France) administering the dose. “A booster dose will...

Australia rules out lockdowns despite Omicron surge

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Australia must move past "the heavy hand of government" and authorities must stop shutting down people's lives with COVID-19 lockdowns, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as daily infections in the country shot up to a new pandemic high. COVID-19 cases have been breaking records over the last several days, the surge fuelled by the more transmissible Omicron variant,...

Customs clearance software to boost trade for Kiribati and Tuvalu

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Kiribati and Tuvalu on 13 December officially started using UNCTAD’s ASYCUDAWorld customs management software to automate import and export clearance processes. The move will make trade easier, faster and cheaper for businesses in the two Pacific island nations, and for those wishing to do business with them. Until now, customs paperwork was processed manually on the islands. This was a time-consuming...

Pacific Airlines in limbo while Australian government sends aid by luxury jets

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One of the Pacific's leading voices on the aviation industry says it would have been "nice" if Pacific airlines had been used for a COVID-19 aid delivery that cost the Australian government around $600,000 (US$429,000) in private charter fees. The Australian government has come under scrutiny with a report in The Age claiming Canberra spent almost $600,000 hiring private luxury...

PNG Power seeks ADB bailout

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to rescue PNG Power Limited before Christmas. This is by way of carrying out a major overhaul of all its power stations throughout the country including Port Moresby. Minister for State Owned Enterprise William Duma accompanied by PNG Power Limited chairman Moses Maladina and Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH) acting chairman Dr David Kavanamur made...

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PM vows to help Tonga after it was hit by tsunami

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Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea has pledged assistance to Tonga following Saturday’s massive underwater volcanic eruption which caused tsunami affecting neighbouring...

Tonga’s undersea cable could take weeks to repair

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It could be weeks before Tonga's crucial undersea cable - which connects it to the world - is back online. The cable carries nearly all...

Distress signal prompts UN concern after Tonga volcanic eruption

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A distress signal has been detected in an isolated, low-lying group of islands in the Tonga archipelago following Saturday's massive volcanic eruption and tsunami,...