TONGA –The Tongan government has banned schoolgirls from playing rugby or boxing because the sports are deemed undignified and not in keeping with the island’s traditional culture.
Gentle Giant Mika passes away aged 45
NEW ZEALAND – The sudden death of former All Black and Manu Samoa rugby player, Tiumalu Dylan Mika, has stunned the Pacific and rugby communities around the world. The flanker died, aged 45, at his Auckland home on Tuesday of a suspected heart attack. The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, described Tiumalu as a gentle giant off the field, but a man with a lot of physical strength and passion on the field. Minister Aupito said he was shocked and saddened to hear the news as he personally knew the Mika family. “I just want to convey condolences on behalf of all of our communities to the bereaved family particularly his wife Tracy and also his father and I mention that because it was only less than two years ago that they lost their mother. Combine all those things, they will be going through a really sad time.”
FISH SHORTAGE AT TUNA FACTORY
AMERICAN SAMOA – A shortage of fish continues to be a challenge for the StarKist Samoa cannery in Pago Pago. The cannery which employs more than 2000 people in the territory closes intermittently because of a lack of supply. StarKist Samoa official Taotasi Archie Soliai told a meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council the number of vessels that provide albacore for the cannery have reduced from about 60 to 14. “There was a shortage in 2016, and into 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018 we’re experiencing shortages with albacore supply as well.” Taotasi said limited freezer space was also a challenge for the company. One of its two freezers is being upgraded and expected to be ready in May. Some purse seiners have remained docked in Pago Pago for weeks waiting to unload their catch.
ARRESTED OVER FACEBOOK COMMENT
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Police in Papua New Guinea have arrested a man over a posting on social media. Livingstone Fontenu from Eastern Highlands Province, 25, has been charged with spreading false and misleading information under the Summary Offences Act. Police said the complaint was filed by the province’s Governor Peter Numu. The police alleged Fontenu posted the comments on Facebook while referring to an election petition case between the governor and a candidate in the recent election. They said the comments were misleading and contemptuous. The police said a lot of people were inconsiderately posting false and misleading information on social media and defaming individuals causing irreparable damage to their reputation and integrity, and called on people to report such abuse to them.
law change adds 110,000 voters
NEW CALEDONIA – The French National Assembly has approved a change to the electoral law for New Caledonia for this year’s independence referendum. The change was approved by 537 to two votes, a month after the Senate overwhelmingly voted for it. The new law will allow for the enrolment of an additional 11,000 people following last November’s political agreement on the make-up of the restricted roll to be used for the plebiscite. The referendum will be held on November 4. Next week, the signatories to the Noumea Accord will have their last meeting in Paris at which the exact referendum question is expected to be finalised. The Noumea Accord stipulates that voters will decide if the territory should assume full sovereignty.
SAMOA BRINGS IN COMPULSORY VOTING
SAMOA – All registered voters in Samoa will be required to vote in the next general elections, scheduled for 2021, if legislation now before parliament is passed. The Electoral Bill 2018 allows for the repeal of legislation passed just after Samoa became independent in 1962. It contains close to 80 amendments. One key amendment is for compulsory voting for all registered voters. The legislation allows for a penalty of US$39 dollars if people do not have sufficient reason for failing to vote.
SOLOMON ISLANDS – The recent discovery of the USS Juneau in the depths of the South Pacific has provided some closure to people with connections to the warship, which was blown apart during World War Two.
SAMOA – It takes the smallest of sparks to start a fire. If that small fire finds fuel and if it is not contained properly, it has the potential to develop into an inferno destroying everything in its wake.
SAMOA – A Samoa Member of Parliament has made a public apology in Parliament for the incident that injured several police officers and affected the public when young men from a village in his electorate blocked a public road this week.