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New head of fractured Pacific Forum stresses unity

The new Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum says he will champion solidarity and unity within the pre-eminent regional grouping. At his first press conference since taking up the role, Henry Puna spoke about the recent decision by five Micronesian countries to withdraw from the Forum in protest at his appointment to the role. Micronesia was unhappy that Pacific countries dishonoured...

Fiji records highest daily total of 279 COVID-19 cases and reports four deaths

Fiji has reported its highest daily total of positive COVID-19 infections with 279 cases reported Wednesday. The ministry has also reported four deaths attributed to the virus. Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong announced these in the COVID-19 update last night. He said of those cases, 46 are from existing containment zones or quarantine facilities in Nadi. That...

Fiji’s virus spike ‘wake-up call’ for Pacific Islands: Red Cross

The Red Cross called for faster vaccine rollouts in vulnerable Pacific island nations Wednesday as a record Covid-19 surge threatens to overload Fiji's health system. Fiji's two largest hospitals have been converted into dedicated Covid-19 facilities, with cases doubling every nine days since a second wave began in April. The situation has been a “serious wake-up call” showing the need for...

97 percent vaccination rate in Niue

After the first phase of the Pfizer vaccine roll out which started three weeks ago, Niue can be proud that 97 per cent of the eligible population of 16 years and older have taken their first dose of the vaccine. The Minister of Health Sauni Tongatule in an interview with BCN news said that he is proud of this number...

PNG records 38 new COVID-19 cases – total cases at 17,079

Papua New Guinea has recorded 38 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday increasing the total number of cases to 17,079. The cases were reported in 11 provinces with Autonomous Region of Bougainville reporting 11 cases followed by New Ireland with six cases. Western Highlands, Southern Highlands, National Capital District and East New Britain reported four cases each. West New Britain, Madang,...

COVID-19 Fiji: Infections total 279 today; highest daily total in current outbreak with four deaths recorded

Fiji has reported its highest daily total of positive COVID-19 infections as of 8am today with 279 cases reported this evening. Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong said of those cases, 46 are from existing containment zones or quarantine facilities in Nadi. That includes 22 from Nawajikuma, 8 are from Tramline, and 16 are close contacts...

Court decision on legality of FAST swearing-in next Monday

Samoa Supreme Court’s decision on the legality of the swearing in ceremony performed by the FAST Party on 24 May 2021 in a tent outside Parliament’s locked doors, will be delivered Monday 28 June. The legal arguments were heard this week by Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai, Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma. The legal challenge by the Attorney...

Churches warn against misuse of theology to prevent Covid-19 vaccination and protocols

- Pacific churches have called on Christian leaders not to take advantage of the COVID-19 situation in Fiji to manipulate Christians and proselytize. In a statement, Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend James Bhagwan, noted with concern the use of misguided theology by some Christians to create. “Over the past few months, some church communities are using immature or undeveloped...

PNG deputy PM Basil to face leadership tribunal

Papua New Guinea deputy Prime Minister and member for Bulolo, Sam Basil will be facing a leadership tribunal. Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika appointed the Leadership tribunal to enquire into allegations of misconduct in office by the member for Bulolo. The appointment follows a request by Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin, to the chief justice under section 27 of the organic law...

Numbers of drifting FADs underestimated, SPC study shows

By Claire Heath The numbers of drifting fish-aggregating devices in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) have been underestimated, an ongoing study by the Pacific Community (SPC) shows. Dr Lauriane Escalle, at SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP), said they had counted 159 FADs or satellite buoys around Wallis and Futuna in the first year of a project with Wallis...

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International concern over Tonga’s debate on death penalty for drug offences

Several international human rights organisations have expressed grave concern over recent discussions in Tonga's Parliament suggesting the extension of the death penalty to drug-related...

Fiji’s political landscape unpredictable: Herr

The political landscape in Fiji is facing a perfect storm, with the governing coalition and the opposition party plagued by internal divisions. This has been...

AOSIS lead negotiator Rasmussen urges swift action and robust financing to address Climate threats

AOSIS Climate lead negotiator, Anne Rasmussen of Samoa, emphasised the coalition's vulnerability to climate change at the Sixtieth Session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB60)...