Regional

26th January

Bougainville president meets ‘King’ Musingku

The leader of a rebel movement in Bougainville has met with the autonomous Papua New Guinea region’s president in a rare sign of reconciliation President Ishmael Toroama made a visit to Bougainville’s south where he...

No complaints ahead of Samoa election

Samoa’s Electoral Commissioner says there have been no complaints received about candidates trying to curry favour with voters. The practice known as o’o or momoli involves presentations of money, food and fine mats. In the lead-up to the 9 April General Election, there are widespread allegations of the practice, but no official complaints reports the Samoa Observer. Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew...

25th January

PNG govt to abide by police commissioner ruling

Papua New Guinea’s Police Minister, William Onglo, says the government respects and will comply with all decisions of the Court after a ruling was made nullifying last year’s appointment of David Manning as Commissioner of Police. The appointment of Manning was ruled unlawful by Justice David Canning on Friday. In a statement, Onglo said the...

Samoa’s FAST party have campaign slowed by matai

Several matai from Satapuala village in Samoa have stopped one of the country’s newest political party’s from campaigning there. The local matai are supporters of the current MP and candidate for the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP). The village matai delivered a letter to the Chairman of Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi...

Pasifika culture and heritage celebrated in Wellington

Pasifika communities in the Wellington region have started 2021 with a vibrant celebration of their cultural heritage. Thousands attended the Wellington Pasifika Festival on Saturday, thought to be the largest in at least a year, with Auckland’s Polyfest and Pasifika festivals cancelled in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Festival goers were treated to Pacific...

Samoa Govt looks at funding for private schools

The Samoa Government is looking at providing free tertiary education and paying teacher salaries for private institutions, including church-run schools. TV1 Samoa reported the matter was raised in Parliament by government backbencher, Leā’anā Ronnie Posini. He said it was heartening to know the government was looking at allowing students to attend the National University of Samoa...

Palau’s new president vows to stand strong with US and Taiwan

Palau installed a new president on Thursday and first in his agenda is assuring close allies like the United States and Taiwan that the nation will stand strong with them. At about 11 am, on January 21, on an overcast sky, President Surangel Whipps Jr, was officially installed as the new head of state of...

Three more Covid-19 cases in CNMI

The Northern Marianas has had three more cases of Covid-19, taking their total to 132. Health authorities say the latest three cases were identified by travel screening and confirmed through testing upon arrival. The three passengers have been in quarantine and were moved to a designated isolation area for monitoring. Out of the 132 Covid-19...

China rescues 11 miners after 14 days trapped underground: CCTV

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese rescuers pulled 11 gold miners to safety on Sunday, 14 days after they were trapped by an underground explosion, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Footage showed the first miner to be rescued, a black blindfold across his eyes, being lifted out of a mine shaft in the morning. The miner was extremely...

Australia’s PM reluctant to commit to medium-term climate goals: The Australian

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s government is in no rush to sign up to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, although it recognizes the importance of working toward that goal, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an interview published on Saturday. Morrison’s conservative government, in a surprise change of policy last month, said...

Macron says France will tighten legislation on incest

PARIS (Reuters) – France will tighten its laws on incest, President Emmanuel Macron said in a series of tweets on Saturday, after publication of a book accusing a top French political commentator of abusing his stepson sparked outrage across the country. Macron said on his Twitter account that France needs to adapt its laws to...

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) says our foreign reserves are expected to remain comfortable till end-2018. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

RBF: Mobile money services processed $71m

Mobile money platforms processed $71.1 million in 2019, according to the Reserve Bank of Fiji. The RBF revealed this before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights while making submissions on the National Payments Systems Bill 2020 last week. In 2014, the mobile platforms processed around $13.1 million which was an increase...

Honduran abortion rights activists vow to fight on after setback

TEGUCIGALPA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Honduran women’s rights activists vowed to continue their fight for abortion to be decriminalised on Friday, after lawmakers in the conservative Catholic country approved a constitutional reform that would reinforce the ban. Women who have an abortion in Honduras currently face up to six years in jail and campaigners had...

British PM says new variant may carry higher risk of death

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday the new English variant of COVID-19 may be associated with a higher level of mortality although he said evidence showed that both vaccines being used in the country are effective against it. Johnson said that the impact of the new variant, which is already...

‘Choose – I kill you or rape you’: abuse accusations surge in Ethiopia’s war

HAMDAYET, Sudan (Reuters) – The young coffee seller said she was split from family and friends by an Ethiopian soldier at the Tekeze river, taken down a path, and given a harrowing choice. “He said: ‘Choose, either I kill you or rape you’,” the 25-year-old told Reuters at the Hamdayet refugee camp in Sudan where...

24th January

Italy’s Lombardy spars with government over virus data mishap

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Lombardy region and the central government exchanged blame on Saturday over the release of COVID-19 data that wrongly condemned the region to stricter restrictions. Lombardy, the country’s wealthiest and most productive area which includes the fashion capital Milan, was forced to close most shops a week ago after being classed “red”...

UK vaccine roll-out speeds up but doctors want quicker second dose

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s COVID-19 vaccination push gathered pace on Saturday, with 5.9 million people now having had a first dose, but doctors challenged the government over its policy of delaying a second shot of the Pfizer vaccine for up to 12 weeks. The British government is stretching out the gap between first and second...

Don’t talk on the subway, say French doctors, to limit COVID-19 spread

PARIS (Reuters) – Passengers on public transport systems should avoid talking to one another or on the phone in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, the French National Academy of Medecine said. “The mandatory wearing of masks on public transport, where social distancing is not possible, should by accompanied by one very simple...

Animal activist in China’s Wuhan happy to be back to routine rescues

WUHAN (Reuters) – On the anniversary of the world’s first coronavirus lockdown, in the Chinese city of Wuhan, life for animal lover Du Fan has returned to something like normal. That means Du and his organisation, the Wuhan Small Animals Protection Association, can focus their energy on rescuing, caring and finding homes for stray cats...

U.S. to reverse Trump’s ‘draconian’ immigration policies, Biden tells Mexican president

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States plans to reverse the Trump administration’s “draconian” immigration approach while working on policies addressing the causes of migration, President Joe Biden told his Mexican counterpart, the White House said on Saturday. In a Friday call with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden outlined his plan to create new...

Italy PM says vaccine supply delays are serious contract violations

MILAN (Reuters) – Delays in supply of vaccines to Italy from Pfizer and, possibly, AstraZeneca amount to serious violations of contractual agreements and Rome will take countermeasures, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. In a post on Facebook Conte said the delays were causing “enormous damage” to Italy and other countries. “This is unacceptable,” Conte wrote.

Saudi Arabia expects ‘excellent relations’ with Biden administration

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Saturday the kingdom was optimistic that it would have “excellent relations” with the new U.S. administration of President Joe Biden and that it would continue to talk with Washington regarding the Iran nuclear deal. “I am optimistic. Saudi Arabia has built solid, historical relations where it...

Chicago teachers vote on job action, claim schools not ready to reopen

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago teachers will vote on Saturday on a resolution to not return to classrooms next week, claiming the third largest school system in the United States lacks an adequate plan to safely re-open schools amid the pandemic. The results of the vote, expected on Sunday, could jeopardize Chicago Public Schools’ phased reopening...

Biden administration to unveil climate change policies, adviser says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is poised to release within days the policies it believes are needed to tackle climate change, Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser, said on Saturday. “We’ve already sent signals on the things that we don’t like that we’re going to roll back, but this week...

Larry King, decades-long fixture of U.S. TV interviews, dead at 87

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died aged 87, his media company said in a statement on Saturday. King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a COVID-19 infection, according to several...

Biden administration will review deal with the Taliban -White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will review the peace agreement reached with the Taliban last year, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told his Afghan counterpart in a phone call on Friday, according to a White House statement. Under a February 2020 deal between the United States and the Taliban, U.S. forces are...

More than 150 National Guard in Washington for inauguration test positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Between 150 and 200 National Guard deployed to Washington, D.C., to provide security for President Joe Biden’s inauguration have tested positive for the coronavirus, a U.S. official said on Friday. The U.S. government imposed unprecedented security measures in the city following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of...

British lawmakers seek investigation into UK-registered firm possibly linked to Beirut blast

LONDON (Reuters) – Two senior British parliamentarians called on Friday for an investigation into a British-registered company possibly linked to last year’s devastating explosion in Beirut, after Reuters found that the firm had not disclosed its beneficial owners. The company, Savaro Ltd, is registered at a London address, and like all British firms is required...

Fiji prisons full beyond approved capacity

There are a total 2379 inmates serving sentences in prisons in Fiji which is 12 per cent more than the prisons’ approved capacity. This, according to Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) director rehabilitation Salote Panapasa at the Suva Women’s Corrections Centre at Walu Bay, Suva on Thursday. “The prison approved capacity is 2129 but we have...

In Senate deal, Trump impeachment trial put off until early February

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of the U.S. Senate agreed on Friday to push back former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by two weeks, giving the chamber more time to focus on President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and Cabinet nominees before turning to the contentious showdown over Trump. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat,...

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