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Pacific islands Wallis and Futuna branded Covid-free

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The Pacific archipelago of Wallis and Futuna has declared itself Covid-free, with no cases among the French remote island's 11,500 inhabitants since 01 April, authorities said. Many remote Pacific island nations have remained free of the virus after shutting the borders soon after the pandemic began but the risk of an outbreak remains high. The French overseas collectivity's administrator superior said...

Vanuatu PM appeal court denies govt appeal

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Vanuatu's prime minister Bob Loughman and 18 other government MPs have lost an important appeal case moving them a step closer to possibly losing their parliamentary seats. In early June the speaker of parliament at that time, Gracia Shadrack, declared that 19 seats held by Loughman and other government MPs, were vacant, because the MPs had been absent from parliament...

World leaders dial in as New Zealand hosts special APEC meeting on pandemic

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U.S. President Joe Biden, Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's Xi Jinping and other world leaders meet virtually on Friday for the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, seeking collective actions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts. New Zealand, the revolving Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation host, said this week it will chair the extraordinary meeting ahead of a formal gathering in November,...

Fiji, the World Bank and debt

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By Samantha Magick When Fiji’s Minister for Economy delivers his budget address this evening many eyes will be on figures around the country’s debt-to GDP ratios. This week, Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers were preoccupied with the challenge of managing debt taken on as a result of COVID-19’s economic damage. They directed the Forum Secretariat to explore options such as...

Tough task preventing ‘dirty cash: PNG Economist

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It is difficult to prevent and control money laundering activities in the country as a range of techniques up to sophisticated ones are used, Papua New Guinea economist Paul Barker says. He said there were extensive international and domestic rules and oversight mechanisms to help prevent money laundering, but the task of prevention and control was very challenging. Money laundering involves...

Citizenship for sale: fugitives, politicians and disgraced businesspeople buying Vanuatu passports

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By Euan Ward A controversial “golden passports” scheme run by the Pacific nation of Vanuatu saw more than 2,000 people, including a slew of disgraced businesspeople and individuals sought by police in countries all over the world, purchase citizenship in 2020 – and with it visa-free access to the EU and UK, the Guardian can reveal. Among those granted citizenship...

Flying Fijians second test against All Blacks: A standpoint from Coach Cotter

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Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter is impressed with the work rate the team displayed last Saturday, plans are being mapped out strategy wise, raising the bar to another level as coach Cotter sets focus on a more competitive matchup tomorrow night. The Flying Fijians exceeded expectation when they took to the ground last weekend, considering a disjointed preparation heading...

UBS made $81m in ‘excessive’ profits from PNG loan

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UBS made $81 million (US$60 million) in excessive profits from an overly complex loan to Papua New Guinea, while the investment bank failed to disclose it had structured an option agreement weighted heavily in its favour, a royal commission was told on Thursday. The commission into the so-called UBS loan affair heard evidence from Dr George Oldfield, a derivatives expert...

Hospitalisation and deaths, more concerning than daily spikes: Fiji Health Ministry

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As Fijians reel from news of 1,120 new infections, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama maintains that adherence to the Health Ministry’s advice is the only way out. Bainimarama was asked by FBC News whether he is concerned with the increasing infections, even before the daily COVID-19 update was released. He said Fijians are still not taking personal responsibility. “The increase in numbers...

Indonesia passes new Papua autonomy law

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Indonesia's parliament has ratified a new autonomy law for Papua aimed at boosting development in its poorest region, sparking protests from activists who warned it would increase Jakarta's grip on the resource-rich area. The Papua special autonomy bill, which revised 20 articles from a pre-existing 2001 law, relates to Indonesia's easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua, where a low-level...

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Moses Uludong announces bid for Palau’s Presidency

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Moses Uludong, a media personality and former politician, has announced his candidacy for the presidency of Palau, challenging current contenders President Surangel Whipps Jr....

Japan to increase MSDF Port calls to Pacific Island nations, Seeking stronger presence in...

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The Japanese Government plans to increase the number of port calls by Maritime Self-Defence Force(MSDF) vessels to Pacific Island nations, according to a draft...

Japan to help Pacific Islands build Infrastructure; Marshall Islands to get ¥5 billion to...

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The Japanese government plans to announce a wide range of support measures to Pacific Island countries based on their needs to coincide with the...