26 Oct 2022

Pacific news in brief for October 26

1:44 pm on 26 October 2022

Entire community suspected in sorcery killings, The Orator star dies, and US bombers deployed in Guam

Sorcery killings in PNG

A PNG police commander says two brothers have been killed over sorcery allegations in Gulf's Kakoro Village.

The National reports chief inspector Jeffrey Lemb, saying they are investigating the case.

He said the suspects are unknown but may have included the whole community.

The deaths come on the back of the death of a 70-year-old woman from Kaintiba Village who was hacked with a bush knife, in what was believed to be Gulf's first sorcery accusation-related violence case against a woman.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested and charged a Southern Highlands teacher with raping a teenaged schoolgirl.

The National reports the girl's family lodged a police report after they found that she was three months pregnant.

The girl named her teacher as the father, saying that they had been having an affair for nearly two years.

Police said that they charged the teacher with statutory rape as the age of consent for girls in Papua New Guinea is 16.

Tributes paid to star of much-loved Samoan film

The Samoan actor who moved audiences with his portrayal of the main character in the Samoan language movie The Orator - O le Tulafale, has died after a short illness.

Fa'afiaula Sagote was 40.

Photo: Archive

The Orator, funded by the New Zealand Film Commission, was written and directed by Wellington-based Samoan writer director Tusi Tamasese and was the first-ever Samoan feature film filmed entirely in the Samoan language.

Veteran NZ film producer Catherine Fitzgerald, who produced The Orator, said she was shocked and saddened at news.

She said Fiaula was a pleasure to work with - someone with grace, intelligence and tenacity.

The film is set in Samoa and follows a man named Saili - meaning "in search of". He has to conquer his fears in a society that literally looks down at him; in a bid to defend his land and his aiga.

Bombers deployed to Guam as Korea tensions continue

The US Air Force has deployed two B-1 bomber planes to Guam, amid North Korea's persistent threats to conduct nuclear tests in the region.

Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon's press secretary, said the deployment sends a clear message that the United States stands closely with its allies and partners to deter potential provocation.

According to Pacific Air Forces, the B-1 lancers landed at Andersen Air Force Base on October 18.

Brigadier General Ryder said they continue to believe North Korea is preparing for a potential future nuclear test and they are keeping a close eye on the situation.

He said they will continue to stay very closely in touch with the Republic of Korea, with Japan and their other allies and partners in the region on that front.

New technology to aid fishing and weather research in Cook Islands

In the Cook Islands, two agencies are working together to employ state-of-the-art technology to improve understanding of fisheries and assist with weather forecasting.

The Ministry of Marine Resources and the Cook Islands Meteorological Service are collaborating with the Pacific Community scientific organisation for what is called the Highly Instrumented Fish Aggregating Devices Project, or HI-FAD Project.

This includes deploying a variety of monitoring buoys on anchored fish aggregating devices around Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

The devices are used by local small-scale fishermen, but this project will investigate whether they can also be used as a platform for ocean monitoring sensors, to further assist fishers and improve the forecasting of ocean conditions.

Bougainville police unhappy with new squatter settlements

The head of police in Buka, the main town in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville, has issued a warning about the squatter settlements that are popping up.

Inspector Emmart Tsimes told New Dawn FM the settlements are growing at an alarming rate and this needs to be addressed before it gets out of hand.

He said factors encouraging the drift into urban areas need to be looked at, including improving the allocation of basic services in rural areas.

Inspector Tsimes is promising that as soon as the Vagrancy Bill is passed in Parliament, all the people living in settlements will be evicted to clear Buka township.

Temaru leads riot commemorations

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru has led his party's commemorations of the 35th anniversary of the Papeete riots.

A prolonged strike by port workers had led to a confrontation with police, which culminated in rioting and the ransacking of inner city buildings.

In response, the French High Commission declared a curfew and a state of emergency while Paris sent additional riot squads to contain the situation.

To mark the events of 1987, Temaru laid a wreath at the statue of the nationalist leader Pouvanaa a Oopa in front of the territorial assembly.

NZ building firm opens door for skilled Tongans

Skilled Tongan workers are now able to apply for two-year contracts with leading New Zealand construction firm Fulton Hogan.

The employment initiative has grown out of Fulton Hogan's support for Tonga after the January 15 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami, which destroyed large areas of the Kingdom.

Tongan Advisory Council Chair Melino Maka has joined forces with All Black great, La'auli Sir Michael Jones, who assisted the Tonga relief effort along with shipping company Matson, by supplying containers for crucial emergency supplies.

Thirty candidates have been shortlisted for ten spots.