28 Apr 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific

2:23 pm on 28 April 2021

Sorcery-related attack in PNG condemned; Air Niugini stops flying into Kieta after staff hold up and theft; academic wants bigger emissions cuts;

and Fiji workers leave for work in Australia.

Appeal for information after sorcery attack

Police in Papua New Guinea's capital are appealing for information after two women were brutally attacked by a group of up to 20 men.

The women were tortured for hours with hot irons at the Port Moresby settlement of 5 Mile after being accused of witchcraft.

One of the women managed to flee and the police intervened to rescue the other.

Police commander Gideon Ikumu says the men had fled the scene before officers arrived, but their identities are known.

National Capital District governor Powes Parkop called the attack barbaric, saying sorcery-related accusations had no place in PNG society.

Air Niugini stops flying into Kieta after staff hold up and theft.

Papua New Guinea's state-owned airline is refusing to fly into Kieta on Bougainville after its staff were held up by what it describes as armed criminals, at the weekend.

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Photo: Koro Vaka'uta / RNZ

Air Niugini says its staff were in Kieta to conduct training.

It says both personal and company property was stolen.

The company says it has suspended services but if the property is returned or the perpetrators are arrested, then it will look at resuming services.

Academic wants bigger emissions cuts

A New Zealand academic is part of a global call to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by the end of the decade to avoid devastating sea-level rise.

The director of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre Robert McKay says the 50x30 coalition seeks to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, which he says is necessary to save low-lying islands from inundation.

Mr McKay says the net difference between the 2-degree target of the Paris Agreement and 1.5 degrees is 10cm of sea-level rise by the end of the century.

Currently, only six nations have agreed to the 50x30 target.

Fijians fly out for jobs in meatworks

A total of 177 Fijians have flown to New South Wales to work in meatworks as part of Australia's Pacific Labour Scheme.

The Fiji Times quotes the Australian High Commission in Fiji saying these workers will be able to support their families and communities in Fiji, learn new skills and experience life in Australia.

It also said that the cost of quarantine in Australia will be met by the workers' employers or the State government.

CNMI gets go ahead for Johnson and Johnson resumption

The Northern Mariana Islands will resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift the suspension on the single-dose vaccine.

The agencies say they have confidence the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing the virus.

They say the chance of the condition that causes low blood clots and low platelets occurring is very low.

The CDC has also the Northern Marianas to Level 1 category on their travel advisory for Covid-19.

The announcement bodes well for the CNMI's plan to reopen its borders to tourists in June.

That date is still dependent on factors such as the success of the immunisation campaign.

The CNMI government projects 80 percent of the population will be vaccinated by June.