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US$2 million ADB grant signed to support tourist return during COVID19 recovery

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Cook Islands have signed a $2 million grant agreement to help boost tourism in the Cook Islands. The agreement, under the ADB's Supporting Safe Recovery of Travel and Tourism Project, was jointly signed by ADB Pacific Department’s Director General, Leah Gutierrez and Cook Islands Financial Secretary, Garth Henderson. “I would like to...

Set up peacekeeping force: Sir Julius Chan

In light of the recent riots in Honiara, New Ireland Governor, Sir Julius Chan has reminded Papua New Guinea’s leadership to set up the South Pacific Peacekeeping Force (SPPKF). The SPPKF idea was the brainchild of Sir Julius after his government successfully executed the granting of independence for Vanuatu in 1980. In his recollection of the proposal, Governor Chan said it...

Convert climate ‘promises to action’, urge UN rights experts

Marking the 35th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, independent UN human rights experts on Friday issued an urgent call to “move from promises to action” on the outcomes of the UN’s landmark COP26 climate conference. More than three dozen UN experts endorsed a statement calling for greater transparency and rigorous follow up on the commitments made...

New drug laws passed in PNG Parliament

Anyone caught trafficking, peddling or consuming illicit drugs or controlled substances will face life imprisonment or a fine of up to K2 million (US$565,000) under the new laws. The 71 MPs in Parliament were in favour of the Controlled Substance Bill 2021 aimed at controlling the use of illicit drugs or controlled substances and abuse of illicit drugs and precursors. Politicians...

Government returns leased aircraft and launches an audit of Samoa Airways

The Government of Samoa intends to rescind the lease over a Samoa Airways Boeing 737-800 aircraft and also launch a full audit of the national airline’s operations including its financial viability. Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa in her weekly press conference with the media said the decision was not straight forward and Cabinet had to consider all aspects of the...

Australia’s Chief Vet visits Fiji to strengthen biosecurity and animal health collaboration

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp is traveling to Fiji to strengthen ties with key Fijian agricultural, veterinary, and animal health representatives. Dr Schipp said this was part of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Pacific Engagement Programme for regional animal health and biosecurity. “Through reinforcing the biosecurity systems of our Pacific neighbours—and strengthening the multilateral organisations that...

PNG rejects request to operate under Australia

The Papua New Guinea Police Forces contingents will operate on its own under the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). This was confirmed by Moses Kaul and Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Solomon Islands. He said, “When the proposal came from the Solomon Islands government, for ‘PNG Police Force to submit to Australia, when the operation orders are given for...

MP Kenilorea calls for calm ahead of no confidence motion

The Member of Parliament for East Areáre Constituency Peter Kenilorea Junior has urged all Solomon Islanders to allow MPs to undertake their duty in peace and to respect the outcome of the process. Kenilorea posted this statement on Facebook as the nation prepares for the motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today. “Fellow Solomon Islanders tomorrow (Monday) is...

Solomon Islands may switch diplomatic ties from China to Taiwan amid unrest, says provincial leader

Solomon Islands Premier Daniel Suidani says his province of Malaita will also push for independence if the prime minister does not stand down. The premier of the most populous province in the Solomon Islands said the nation would likely switch formal diplomatic ties from China back to Taiwan if the prime minister is ejected by a no-confidence vote on Monday...

Don’t panic but prepare for Omicron likely spread, says WHO

As scientists continue to investigate the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday urged countries not to panic but to prepare for its likely spread. Heralding South Africa’s and Botswana’s decision to report the appearance of the Omicron coronavirus mutation last month, the UN health agency repeated that it will take another two weeks before more...

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COVID19 a wake-up call for Pacific countries to strengthen social security systems

The COVID19 crisis was a wake-up call for many Pacific Island Countries to enhance their social security systems. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB),...

‘End the licences’: Vanuatu oil rig registry sparks concern amid climate advocacy

Thousands of kilometres away from the Pacific, an oil rig in the North Sea operates under the flag of Vanuatu. In the Black Sea, a...

Pacific Defence Ministers to meet in New Caledonia

Defence ministers from several Asian and Pacific States are scheduled to meet in New Caledonia for two days during the first week of December,...