27 Sep 2022

Pacific news in brief for September 26

2:52 pm on 27 September 2022

Nauru elects new parliament

Nauru's president Lionel Aingimea is among the members of parliament who have been re-elected in the weekend poll.

However, unofficial results show that two former presidents, Baron Waqa and Ludwig Scotty, failed to win any of the 19 seats at stake.

Marcus Stephen, another former president, also retained his seat.

In the Yaren constituency, the two seats were won by women, Charmaine Scotty and Isabella Dageago.

Bill proposes pay rise for American Samoa leaders

New legislation has been introduced in the American Samoa Senate seeking to hike the salary of the Governor by 25 percent to $US150,000.

The Lieutenant Governor would get $US140,000, up from $US85,000, if the bill is passed.

The effective date of the new bill is January 2025 - when a new administration takes office after the November 2024 gubernatorial election.

It' is not clear whether the Senate or the House of Representatives will have time to pass it this session, given the session finishes at the end of next week ahead of the mid-terms.

NZ residency new option for Samoan sailors

Samoan sailors selected for working on board ships in New Zealand can eventually seek permanent residency as part of their work conditions.

TV1 SAMOA reported that the Chief Executive Officer for Samoa Shipping Services confirmed that 15 sailors had been selected to work for KiwiRail, which operates ferries between the two main islands of New Zealand.

Lautimu'ia Uelese Va'ai said initially six would depart within a month when all their documentation was completed.

He said the remaining nine would follow once travel arrangements were completed.

Lautimu'ia added all the sailors would get a chance to apply for a three-year visa if everything went well during the first 12 months.

"They will then be eligible for permanent residency in New Zealand," he said.

Most sailors working in other countries are only given short-term contracts before returning home.

Quake experts leave American Samoa

A team from the US Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is returning to Hawaii as the earthquakes in In American Samoa's Manu'a islands lessen.

Numerous earthquakes were reported in the area since July 26th linked to the Ta'u Island underwater volcano.

The team said it intended to install permanent seismometers to be able to continue to monitor the volcanic activity from afar.

Visiting volcanologist Dr Natalia Deligne and Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Director Dr Charles McCreery spoke about the importance of having an evacuation plan and being prepared for tsunamis that could occur at any time.

With specific regard to the volcanic activity in Manu'a, officials told local media that nature was the first warning.

"Tutuila might have as little as seven minutes to evacuate, while Manua'n residents must vacate as soon as they feel sustained earth shakes. The sustained earth shakes are the ones that are long in duration like that of September 2009," the team said.

PINA meets in Solomon Islands after Covid-19 interruption

Media practitioners, managers and educators from all over the Pacific and further abroad are meeting in Solomon Islands this week.

It is the first in-person meeting of Pacific Islands News Association members and supporters since the start of the pandemic.

The president of the association, Kora Nou, is also the managing director of the National Broadcasting Corporation of Papua New Guinea.

He said media organisations needed to stand in solidarity if they were to capitalise on today's constantly evolving media landscape.

"It's almost two years going since we had our last meeting in Tonga. It's good to be back finally meeting face to face with our colleagues from across the Pacific. I'm looking forward to see where we left off and the opportunities we have, and then we can build on those. But as I said it's good to back here meeting our colleagues face to face", he said.