Regional

2nd October

Australian government slams Optus for cybersecurity breach

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian government on Sunday levelled its harshest criticism yet against Optus, the second-biggest telecoms company, for a cybersecurity breach that affected the equivalent of 40% of the country’s population. The government...

Australia expands sanctions against Russians

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia on Sunday imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on 28 Russian-appointed separatists, ministers and senior officials after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four regions of Ukraine. The new sanctions targeted individuals who the Australian government said were flouting international law to legitimise Russia’s actions in Ukraine through “sham...

Climate change fight: Asia-Pacific DRR ministers reminded of their responsibility

Climate projections for the region paint a grim picture with all climate change scenarios showing that Asia and the Pacific would be most impacted, says Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu. Speaking during the Pacific reception at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR) in Brisbane, Australia last month, he reminded...

Australia’s Optus says ‘deeply sorry’ for cyberattack

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s second-largest telcoms firm Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications, on Saturday ran a full-page apology in major newspapers for a “devastating” cyberattack 10 days ago and pointed affected customers to a new help site. “We’re deeply sorry that a cyberattack has happened on our watch,” the company said in the notice. “We...

Amid China concerns, Biden vows to address Pacific island needs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden, his administration pledging to help stave off China’s “economic coercion,” promised Pacific island leaders on Thursday to work harder with allies and partners to address their needs. After a two-day Washington summit, the United States and leaders and representatives from 14 Pacific island states issued a joint declaration resolving...

1st October

Export partnership: Nama Fiji set to hit NZ shelves

Premium local skincare brand Nama Fiji is set to hit the New Zealand shelves from next week following an exciting export partnership announcement by Essence Group Fiji with renowned New Zealand retail chain, Farmers. Essence Group managing director Debra Sadranu said the partnership with Farmers provided exciting opportunity for its premium skincare brand to be...

VNPF to invest $7m in building embassy in Fiji

The Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) will spend $7million on the construction of the Vanuatu High Commission building in Suva. This, according to VNPF’s CEO and general manager Parmod Achary during an interview at the Ministry of Economy in Suva. “The new Vanuatu High Commission will cost around 350 million vatu which is equivalent to...

Mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in the Pacific; training to combat diseases

There have been 96 mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in the Pacific from 2012 to 2021. In a bid to address the issue, participants from Fiji, Samoa, Palau and Tonga participated in two workshops at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) Berghofer’s Mosquito Control Laboratory. The training, from September 26 to 30, was part of the...

Podmore: Cervical cancer most frequent in Fiji; hands over GeneXpert machine

Cervical cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in Fiji, says New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner Michelle Podmore. She made this comment during a handover of a GeneXpert machine from the New Zealand High Commission to the Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji in partnership with Pacific Laboratory Specialists (PSL) in support of...

Insurers brace for hit from Florida’s costliest storm since 1992

(Reuters) – Insurers are bracing for a hit of between $28 billion and $47 billion from Hurricane Ian, in what could be the costliest Florida storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to U.S. property data and analytics company CoreLogic. Wind losses for residential and commercial properties in Florida are expected to be between $22...

$1.8bn aid to island countries

The United States will provide more than $US810 million ($F1.86b) to aid Pacific island countries. This financial commitment was announced at the first-ever United States-Pacific Islands Country Summit in Washington on Thursday. In a media statement, the US said the initiatives would seek to improve the lives and wellbeing of all Pacific Islanders by expanding...

Australian police seek to protect 10,000 customers after Optus hack

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian authorities said on Friday they have commenced an operation to protect the personal information of 10,000 people whose data may have been shared online after a cyber attack on Optus, the country’s second-largest telco. The efforts come three days after an unidentified person posted online that they had released personal details...

As Australia calls end to COVID emergency response, doctors warn of risk to public

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia will end the mandatory five-day home quarantine for COVID-infected people on Oct. 14, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday, even as some doctors warned the move would put the public at risk. The decision to let COVID-infected Australians decide whether they need to isolate or not removes one of country’s last...

US ‘welcome to become true Pacific power’

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted the United States position in the Pacific when asked by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to make a few comments at the start of the first ever US-Pacific Island Countries Summit in Washington on Thursday. “The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) family welcomes this opportunity to set the USA towards becoming...

30th September

Biden says U.S. and world security depend on Pacific security

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden told Pacific island leaders on Thursday that the security of the United States and the world depended on security in their region. Biden spoke at the State Department where the United States is hosting more than a dozen leaders and representatives of Pacific island countries as part of...

Fiji pursues reduction in GHG emissions from ships; to install energy-saving propellers

Fiji is working closely with the Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) Network in the Pacific on the installation of the Propeller Boss Cap Fins. The Propeller Boss Cap Fins are energy-saving devices attached to the propeller of a vessel that makes propulsion more efficient and less fuel-consuming. And Ministry of Transport permanent secretary Shaheen...

U.S. CDC expands pre-exposure eligibility for monkeypox vaccine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -At risk people nationwide will now be able to get Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos monkeypox vaccine before being exposed to the disease, U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday. The CDC had previously recommended vaccination after known or presumed exposure to the virus for most groups deemed...

U.S. FDA proposes new rules for packaged foods to qualify as ‘healthy’

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday proposed new rules for labeling packaged foods as “healthy”, as it seeks to help people make informed nutritional choices which can help lower the risk of chronic diseases. The proposed changes to food labeling come on the day of the first White House summit...

29th September

‘Convention represented thoroughly iin Act’

A number of articles in the Budapest Convention is represented quite thoroughly in the Cyber Crime Act 2021. This was the consensus shared by representatives of the Fiji Law Society while delivering a submission on behalf of the organisation before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in Suva yesterday. Representative Mele Rakai informed...

NZ foreign minister says superpowers must listen to needs of Pacific

By Lucy Craymer WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s foreign minister said on Thursday that the United States and China should engage with the Pacific through the Pacific Islands Forum, and work to address the needs of the region. Nanaia Mahuta said at the New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade select committee hearing that she had...

Australian state unveils $40 billion clean energy plan to slash reliance on coal

SYDNEY (Reuters) – One of Australia’s top coal-producing states said it will convert its coal-fired power plants to renewable hubs by 2035 under a A$62 billion ($40 billion) clean energy plan unveiled on Wednesday which would slash its reliance on fossil fuels. Queensland would source 70% of its energy needs from renewables by 2032 and...

UN Security Council to meet Friday on damage to Nord Stream gas pipelines

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council will convene on Friday at the request of Russia to discuss damage to two Russian gas pipelines to Europe that has caused gas to spew into the Baltic Sea. The French U.N. mission, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council for September, said the meeting would...

Singer R. Kelly, already behind bars, ordered to pay victims

NEW YORK (Reuters) – R. Kelly, the multiplatinum R&B singer convicted twice this year of sex crimes, will be required to pay at least $300,000 in restitution to some of his victims, a federal judge said on Wednesday. The money will compensate two women, known as Jane and Stephanie, for the costs of therapy and...

Rugby-Maynal ‘100%’ stands by time-wasting call on Australia’s Foley

(Reuters) – French referee Mathieu Raynal said he “100%” stood by his much-criticised decision to penalise Australia’s Bernard Foley for time-wasting against the All Blacks earlier this month. The Wallabies were leading the Rugby Championship test 37-34 in Melbourne when Raynal awarded them a penalty close to their own posts with less than two minutes...

28th September

Australia to create national anti-corruption watchdog

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s government said on Tuesday it will introduce legislation to create a National Anti-Corruption Commission, after years of debate over the need for an independent watchdog for politicians. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement the move would “restore trust and integrity in politics”, and funding...

27th September

Australian state to invest $100 million in energy storage in push to cut emissions

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Victoria state said on Tuesday it would invest A$157 million ($102 million) to boost battery energy storage, as it pushes to source half its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2030 and help replace coal-fired generation. With the new investment, Victoria will have 2.6 gigawatts of renewable energy storage capacity...

Australia flags privacy overhaul after huge cyber attack on Optus

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia plans to toughen privacy rules to force companies to notify banks faster when they experience cyber attacks, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday, after hackers targeted the country’s second-largest telecoms firm. Optus, owned by Singapore Telecoms Ltd, said last week that home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers of up...

New Zealand marks Queen Elizabeth’s passing on national day of mourning

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led a state memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, saying the Pacific nation has had “a deep connection” with her as New Zealand paid tribute to the late monarch. Hundreds watched the state memorial service outdoors on the screens set on the Parliament grounds in Wellington,...

26th September

Australia plans privacy rule changes after Optus cyber attack

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia plans changes to its privacy rules so that banks can be alerted faster following cyber attacks at companies, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday, after hackers targeted Australia’s second-largest telecommunications firm. Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, last week revealed databases containing home addresses, drivers licences and passport numbers of...

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