BRITAIN TO OPEN diplomatic posts
PACIFIC – The UK is to open new diplomatic posts in Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga among nine new posts in Commonwealth countries as part of an expansion of the UK’s overseas network British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, linked the announcement to the UK’s exit from the European Union. He said the new posts were in regions which provided “huge potential and opportunity post-Brexit for British businesses”. A statement from the UK government said the expanded network “puts Britain in peak position to enhance military cooperation, boost trade and provide services to the rapidly expanding middle classes of the developing world”. Tonga’s Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva described the UK’s re-engagenment with the Pacific as “music to Tongan ears”. Britain already has a high commission in Fiji.
another US World War 2 wreck found
SOLOMON ISLANDS – Ocean floor searches for US navy warships sunk during World War Two have had more success. The searches, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, have located a number of famous shipwrecks over the past six months. These include USS Indianapolis off Tinian, the carrier USS Lexington in the Coral Sea, and the USS Juneau in Iron Bottom Sound off Honiara in Solomon Islands. The latest find is also in the Solomons – the light cruiser USS Helena which sank slowly after being hit by a Japanese torpedo on July 6, 1943, during the Battle of Kula Gulf. USS Helena, named after the capital of Montana, was one of the vessels damaged but not destroyed during the attack on Pearl Harbour.
FIJIANA LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT
FIJI – The Fiji women’s sevens team are confident results will pick up provided they can put their best team on the field. The Fijiana finished fourth on the World Series last season but are a lowly tenth heading into the third round of the season this weekend in Kitakyushu, Japan. The Fijiana finished fourth on the World Series last season but are a lowly tenth heading into the third round of the season. Head coach Iliesa Tanivula said injuries to key players made it difficult for them to compete in Dubai and Sydney. The Fijiana finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games last weekend, losing to bronze medallists England and runners-up Australia in pool play. Captain Ana Maria Rociqa said the players were looking forward to having another shot at the English this weekend.
30TH ANNIVERSARY OF HOSTAGE CRISIS
NEW CALEDONIA – Commemorations have begun in New Caledonia to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ouvea hostage crisis. In April 1988, Kanak militants killed four French police officers and took 27 others hostage, triggering an operation during which the security forces killed 19 hostage takers. On Sunday, wreaths were laid on at the site of the incident on Ouvea to honour the dead officers, and officials also went to the grave of a local man who died in the war in Afghanistan 10 years ago. The two-week crisis of 1988 is being commemorated with a range of events across New Caledonia in efforts to foster reconciliation. On May 5 the French president Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit Ouvea despite objections by local groups.
The United Kingdom government has pledged to provide more funding to help developing countries in the Commonwealth cut their emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
SAMOA – Samoa’s prime minister has welcomed the focus of the Commonwealth on vulnerable member states affected by climate change.
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was speaking from London at the closing of the CHOGM conference on Friday.
All 53 member countries have affirmed their commitment to the most ambitious UN Paris Agreement target of limiting the increase of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
Members also committed to protecting oceans and marine environments from threats such as climate change, pollution and over fishing.
Tuilaepa welcomed the renewed interest in the Commonwealth’s values and principles.
“As well we welcome the focus of the Commonwealth familty to acknowledge the most vulnerable of its members. In particular, the impacts of climate change on our small island developing states.”
Tuilaepa acknowledged the Commonwealth working to foster a fairer, more prosperous and sustainable future for all.
Samoa is to host the CHOGM conference in 2022.
TOKELAU – Chiefs and local leaders from the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau are heralding the launch of the island nation’s first-ever local newspaper that claims to meet international standards.
REFUGEES ROUNDED UP IN DAWN RAID
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A Manus Island refugee in Port Moresby says the Papua New Guinea immigration authority assisted by the army conducted a dawn raid yesterday at a motel in the capital. They were targeting a group of 20 refugees brought to Port Moresby from Manus for medical treatment. The refugee said most of the men were taken from the motel and escorted to the airport for transport back to the island. He said a small number of men avoided capture by hiding, or by being unaware of the raid and away from the motel at the time. About three dozen other men were sent back to Manus from the motel this year after receiving medical treatment. The refugee said about 60 refugees remained in the motel of about 750 in PNG, where they’ve been exiled by Australia for the last five years.
PASIFIKA CRIME RATES DECREASING
NEW ZEALAND – The former National government in New Zealand is taking credit for halving Pacific youth offending during its time in office. It was revealed this week that the rate of Pacific youth offending dropped by 61 per cent between 2009 and 2017. National’s spokesperson for Pacific People’s, Alfred Ngaro, said National had the right plans and policies in place to improve the lives of Pasifika. He said the figures came as achievement results among Pasifika high school students showed a marked jump. Ngaro said it was known that “a lack of education can lead to a young person offending, so it’s no surprise that as Pacific student achievement goes up, Pacific youth offending goes down”.
FIJI AND NZ LOOK TO INCREASE TRADE
FIJI – The Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says his country is exploring new opportunities for trade and investment with New Zealand. Bainimarama has met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the margins of the Commonwealth Head of Governments Meeting in London. Bainimarama said there was a great deal of unrealised potential between the two countries in trade and investment. He said the Fiji-NZ Business Council could be an effective vehicle for greater economic exchange. Ardern said New Zealand’s new approach to regional co-operation would see it becoming a more involved partner in the development of Fiji and other Pacific nations.
TOURISM STAFF SWEPT AWAY BY RIVER
SOLOMON ISLANDS – Staff at the Solomon Islands Visitor Bureau are receiving counselling after a staff member died and another is still missing during an assessment of a hiking track. The office’s marketing officer, Stella Lucas, died during the assessment in the Mataniko River region near Honiara. Another worker Chris Nemaia is still missing. The Bureau chairman, Wilson Ne’e, said he cannot comment on the exact circumstances until local authorities release an official report. Honiara’s a police chief Alfred Uiga said the pair were swept away by the river after a downpour of torrential rain. “One male is still missing and searches are ongoing,” Uiga said. “At this stage, the cause of death of the woman is not confirmed but it appears at this early stage she may have drowned in the river.”