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Undersea volcano sends plume of steam into the skies near Tonga

A Pacific volcano that explosively emerged from the sea in 2014 has erupted again. Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai started letting off steam on Sunday night, around 8:30pm. A plume rose about 15km into the air, with varied reports on whether it contained ash or was just steam. The explosion could be heard up to 170km away, Volcano Discovery reported, citing social media reports. Hunga...

People, fisheries and improved services key to Economic development in Marshall Islands, says World Bank report

The Republic of Marshall Islands(RMI) can achieve higher household incomes, increased employment and economic growth by focusing on the health and education of its people, improving the quality of government spending, and maximising the benefits of key sectors like fisheries, according to new World Bank economic analysis. The Marshall Islands’ Country Economic Memorandum and Public Expenditure Review has examined the...

Westpac on hunt for Pacific buyer

Westpac is reportedly still looking for a buyer for its Pacific banking business – but finding an interested party hasn’t been easy, according to some market watchers. Chinese lenders have reportedly expressed interest, but that could be problematic due to the tensions between Australia and China. One possible solution could be a deal similar to the one made with Pacific’s largest...

2022 Tide Prediction Calendars released; a new calendar for Ebeye-Marshall Islands

Tide Prediction Calendars for 24 Pacific locations were distributed last week to National Meteorological Services and ocean stakeholders around the region to assist in decision making on their daily ocean use. The annual tide prediction calendars are a popular product of the Australian-funded Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) and are designed and produced in the region...

PNG Defence Force Commander replaced

Papua New Guinea Minister for Defence Solan Mirisim, Monday announced that the Chief of Defence Force Major General Gilbert Toropo, will no longer serve as the Commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF). He made this announcement following a National Executive Council (NEC) decision to revoke the appointment of Major General Toropo upon recommendations from the Defence Council. The...

New Zealand donates 1.2m doses of vaccine to Pacific, Asia

New Zealand has now given almost 1.2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Pacific and Asian nations, with more than half of them going to Indonesia, which has suffered one of the worst outbreaks in the region. The Government is now halfway towards making good on its pledges to help vaccinate poorer countries. A further 1.2 million doses of vaccine will...

WHO sounds warning over fast-spreading Omicron

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan added it would be “unwise” to conclude from early evidence that Omicron was a milder...

Papuan rebel fights a war without weapons from a land without food

Wiro Nongganop says he commands a battalion of West Papua independence fighters, but he has no guns, only bows and arrows, and lives in exile in a bark hut, sometimes surviving on potato leaves. Nongganop and a few members of his Muyu tribe fled their homeland in 2019, crossing the poorly marked Indonesian border for the relative safety of remote...

Leave us alone, Fiji Opposition leader Gavoka tells People’s Alliance Party

Fiji’s Opposition Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Viliame Gavoka has called on People’s Alliance Party leader and former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to leave them alone. Gavoka's comment comes after the former Party Leader called on members to play their cards right. In an interview with FijiLive, Gavoka said Rabuka’s comments are becoming tiresome and he should just move on...

Pasifika critical of proposed changes to kava regulation

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand is coming under increased criticism from the Pacific diaspora over planned changes to kava regulation in Australia. The food and drink regulator is calling for public comment on proposed changes to the food standard regulating kava use which it said would clarify the original intent of the kava standard, and limit its preparation and...

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UN and Forum SG pledges resources to the government and people of Tonga

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed his deep concern after reports of a tsunami and ash affecting Tonga following the eruption of an...

Tonga eruption likely the world’s largest in 30 years – scientist

Early data from Tonga's violent volcanic eruption suggests it is the biggest blast since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, volcanologist Shane...

EU could suspend Vanuatu visa-free travel over ‘golden passports’ scheme

The European Commission has proposed suspending a visa-free travel arrangement with Vanuatu due to concerns about the Pacific nation’s controversial “golden passports” scheme. The proposed...