Today's Pacific News - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thu
20
Apr

Pacific Nations Conclude PACER Plus Trade Agreement Negotiations

 

After eight years of negotiation, Australia and New Zealand have reached agreement on a trade and development deal with 12 other Pacific nations. Once ratified, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus would create a regional trading bloc that "recognises the vulnerabilities" of its smallest nations, New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said.

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Thu
20
Apr

Vanuatu Airport Does Not Need Landowners Permission To Proceed With Upgrades

 

The Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) and the Government do not require Custom Owner Consents to proceed with the present runway upgrades. The clarification was made by AVL Chairman, Bakoa Kaltongga yesterday. The custom owners had written to the previous management and board as well as the Shareholders of AVL on numerous occasions since 2014 requesting settlement of a premium Vt 12,480,000 [US$114,000] for the transfer of the Lease Title No. 12/063/014 from Government to AVL.

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Thu
20
Apr

PNG Ombudsman Says Release Of Development Funds Must Cease During Elections

 

Leadership watchdog Ombudsman Commission has issued directions to stop the release of all development funds in provinces and districts as writs for the National Election are issued. It takes effect immediately to prevent bribery and inducements during the election period up to the end of September, Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick and Ombudsman Richard Pagen said yesterday. It will be lifted when the new government is formed, according to the Ombudsman Commission.

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Thu
20
Apr

Marshall Islands Red Cross Looks At Fast-Tracking Membership To International Federation

 

The first secretary general of the Marshall Islands Red Cross said Thursday he hopes to fast-track international membership of the fledgling Marshall Islands entity in the International Federation of the Red Cross. While the Marshall Islands Red Cross was officially established here in 2013, it must meet a variety of organizational requirements before it is fully recognized by the international body.

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Thu
20
Apr

American Research Vessel To Map Deep Ocean In Cook Islands

 

Over the next two months an American vessel is to collect data and map the deep ocean to help the Cook Islands explore areas within the Marae Moana Marine Park. The Okeanos Explorer, a United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expedition ship, will be conducting research between American Samoa and the Cook Islands. It is the first US government vessel dedicated solely to ocean exploration.

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Thu
20
Apr

Nauruans Charged Over Protests 2 Years Ago Seek Temporary Stay In Trial

 

The 19 Nauruans charged in connection with an anti-government protest nearly two years ago are seeking a temporary stay on their trial. They say they believe they can not get a fair trial in Nauru. The trial began yesterday with the defendants, including three former MPs, asking the court to enforce subpoenas on key government officials, including the Justice Minister David Adeang.

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Thu
20
Apr

Fiji Defence Minister Says There Is A Need For More Police Officers

 

There is a need for more police officers, says Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Ratu Inoke said the lack of manpower within the Fiji Police Force was evident during his recent tour of police stations on Viti Levu. "In terms of resources one thing that continues to come out very clearly is that the police stations are undermanned," he said.

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Thu
20
Apr

American Samoa Retirement Fund Loans $4 Million To Telecom Authority

 

ASG Employees Retirement Fund board of trustee chairman, Va’anatiu Tofala Iafeta has confirmed that a $4 million loan from the Retirement Fund for the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA) is already approved. ASTCA board chairman Roy J.D. Hall told a Senate committee hearing last year that ASTCA had submitted an application to the Retirement Fund seeking a $4.7 million loan for the first two payments for the undersea fiber optic cable Hawaiki cable project.

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Thu
20
Apr

Digicel Samoa Plans To Cut Workforce By 25% Through Voluntary Separations

 

Digicel Samoa has offered all its employees a chance to voluntarily apply to leave the company under what it calls an Enhanced Voluntary Separation Programme (EVSP). Digicel Chief Executive Officer, Deepak Khanna confirmed with Talamua that the Enhanced Voluntary Separation programme “covers all its businesses as part of its Digicel 2030 global transformation programme.” He says the programme covers Digicels’ global workforce and will result in an approximate 25% reduction of the global workforce over the next 18 months.

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Thu
20
Apr

French Polynesia's Largest Commune Rebels Against Lack Of Support From State

 

French Polynesia's largest commune is rebelling against a perceived lack of support from the territorial government and the French state. The mayor of Faa'a Oscar Temaru and top council officials decided to block the main road to draw attention to problems experienced in their area. They cited the repeated flooding of homes because of a waterway management system that is outside the commune's control.

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