Regional

Australia’s biggest state unveils plan for cashless poker machines

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The leader of Australia’s most populous state on Monday unveiled a plan to make all poker machines cashless within five years to fight money laundering and problem gambling, setting up a political...

5th February

Bishops and Archbishops meet in Fiji; reality of rising sea level on the agenda

A total of 84 Bishops and Archbishops will be attending a six-day Federation of Catholic Bishops of Oceania (FCBCO) General Assembly that begins today with the opening mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva. The participants are expected to deliberate on issues of climate change, rising sea level, and the importance of the ocean...

3rd February

Kiribati rejoins forum

A defence and security expert says there is still a lot of work to do to fully mend Pacific regional unity even with Kiribati stating its intention to rejoin the Forum. The Micronesian country’s shock withdrawal in July last year rocked the foundations of Pacific regionalism and raised questions about the power dynamics and politics...

Australia’s radioactive capsule to be moved to storage as investigation starts

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A lost radioactive capsule found after a search along a 1,400 km stretch of the arid Western Australian outback is due to arrive in Perth on Thursday as investigators work on piecing together just how it fell from a truck. The capsule – 6mm in diameter and 8 mm long or about...

Australia to replace monarch on banknote with design honouring Indigenous culture

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia will replace the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on its A$5 banknote with a new design to reflect and honour the history of its Indigenous culture, the country’s central bank said on Thursday. The decision follows consultation with the federal government, which supports the change, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in...

New Zealand announces NZ$700,000 in additional flood support as cleanup begins

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s government on Thursday announced NZ$700,000 ($450,000) in additional funding to help rebuild flood-ravaged Auckland and other areas in the upper north island as residents of the country’s second-largest city start cleaning up. Auckland and much of New Zealand’s upper North Island have been hit by record rainfall in the last...

Puna delighted over Kiribati’s return to the Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna has welcomed the Kiribati government’s confirmation of its intention to return to the Pacific Islands Forum. The agreement to return to the Pacific Islands Forum family was sealed during a meeting between the President of Kiribati Taneti Maamau and Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka last month. “I am...

Australian Cardinal Pell’s funeral marked by arrival of protesters, mourners

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Protesters gathered and mourners began to arrive in Sydney on Thursday ahead of the funeral service of Australian Cardinal George Pell, a former top Vatican official who was acquitted in 2020 of sexual abuse accusations. Australian police said it had dropped a court bid to block the gathering after protesters agreed to...

2nd February

U.S. FDA removes COVID test requirements for Pfizer, Merck pills

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday removed the need for a positive test for COVID-19 treatments from Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc. Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio pills were given emergency use authorizations in Dec. 2021 for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID who tested positive for the virus, and who...

U.S. opens embassy in Solomon Islands, Blinken says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States has opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands after a 30-year absence as it seeks to boost diplomatic relations in the Pacific as a counter to China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to open a diplomatic mission in the Pacific island nation during a visit to the region...

Kiribati set to rejoin Pacific Islands Forum

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the government of Kiribati has written to him as chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and has expressed its willingness to re-join the Forum family. In a media conference yesterday, he said he would facilitate the process in consultation with all Forum leaders. “We agreed to strengthen our...

Fish pact on the cards

Cabinet has agreed that potential areas of supportive collaboration be explored between the Ministry of Fisheries and their Kiribati counterparts. Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka told a media conference yesterday that Kiribati was resource-rich especially in fisheries. “Fiji will pursue possible collaboration with the Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the promotion of fishing...

Cabinet approves agreement on Fiji-NZ defence cooperation

An agreement between the Fiji and New Zealand governments on defence cooperation and status of visiting forces will, among others, reaffirm mutual benefits of interoperability between the countries’ defence forces. Cabinet approved the agreement on Tuesday, which Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said was an affirmation of Fiji and New Zealand’s strong bilateral defence relationship. In...

1st February

Stronger partnership for future of regional tourism

Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka says Fiji has certain advantages in the tourism sector and there is a need to share that with its Pacific neighbours. The deputy Prime Minister shared this with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation chief executive Petero Manufolau and reaffirmed stronger partnership for the prosperity of regional tourism. “The outlook is more...

The worst of the rain to hit New Zealand’s Auckland may have passed

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -The worst of the forecast rain moved away from New Zealand’s flood-ravaged biggest city on Wednesday after inflicting what the finance minister described as probably the “biggest non-earthquake event” in the country’s history. Four people were killed in flash floods and landslides that hit Auckland beginning on Friday as rainfall, that authorities say...

PM’s fruitful visit to Kiribati

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s inaugural state visit to Kiribati has borne fruit after the government of Kiribati formally announced its intent to rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in 2023. A statement issued by the Government of Kiribati on Monday also highlighted the decision came following a “fruitful, positive, and successful” bilateral meeting held between...

Australia deploys more experts, equipment to search for lost radioactive capsule

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australian authorities on Tuesday sent out more personnel and specialised detection equipment to search for a tiny radioactive capsule missing somewhere in the outback, including a team from the country’s nuclear safety agency. The capsule is believed to have fallen from a road train – a truck with multiple trailers – that made...

Australia and China trade ministers to hold virtual meeting next week

SYDNEY (Reuters) -The trade ministers of Australia and China will hold a virtual meeting next week, Australia’s trade minister, Don Farrell, told broadcaster ABC in an interview on Tuesday. The meeting between China’s Wang Wentao and Farrell would be the first between the commerce and trade ministers of both nations in three years. Relations between...

E-Edition