14 Nov 2022

Pacific news and sport in brief for November 12

10:02 am on 14 November 2022
The governor of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Torres.

The governor of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Torres. Photo: CNMI Republican Facebook

More than 800 covid cases in Tuvalu; Torres wants election debates in Marianas; and PNG suffer embarrassing football loss

Covid case numbers in Tuvalu almost doubles

Covid-19 community cases in Tuvalu have shot up to 835.

The Department of Health said there have been 392 new cases of community transmission in the latest reporting period.

The virus was found in the community Wednesday last week, following routine testing.

Initially two probable cases were detected, which were later confirmed to be due to community transmission so the government declared a Covid-19 outbreak.

Marianas governor challenges rival to run-off debates

After the results of the Northern Marianas general election showed the need for a run-off, the incumbent Governor has challenged his rival to a debate.

Ralph Torres failed to reach the 50 percent threshold in unofficial results and now needs to run off against the Lieutenant-Governor, Arnold Palacios, who stood as an independent.

Torres has called for two debates to give the people an open discussion about the candidates' plans for the future.

Palacios has received the endorsement of the Democrats' candidate who came third.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's election saw independent candidates make gains in the Commonwealth Legislature.

The 23rd Senate will be composed of four Republicans, three independents, and two Democrats.

Eleventh death on Tongan roads this year

Tonga police have reported a man has died in an accident on the main thoroughfare of Tongatapu, Taufa'ahau Road.

The accident happened in the early hours of Friday.

Police said the 32-year-old driver lost control, ran off the road and hit a tree, in front of Hu'atolitoli Prison.

It is the 11th road death this year in Tonga, nearly double the tally for all of 2021.

Voters have until day of poll to get new ID cards

Fijian voters who have registered to cast a ballot in the upcoming election will have until the day of the polls to get replacement voter ID cards if they misplace them.

The country's elections chief, Mohammed Saneem, said his office will keep all 20 of its voter services centres across the four divisions open.

Saneem said the elections body will not be registering new voters or changing any voter details, such as residential address.

He said they will only reprint vote cards so that people eligible to vote can do so.

It means if registered voters lose or misplace their voter IDs, the elections office will be able to provide them with a replacement and they do not have to pay a fee.

Solomons shock top-ranked PNG in Canberra

The Solomon Islands women's football has sprung a major upset at the Pacific Women's Four Nations in Canberra by beating Papua New Guinea 3-0.

It's another setback to Oceania champions PNG as they prepare for the 2023 World Cup playoffs in Canberra, after their opening day 2-0 defeat to Fiji.

Jemina David scored a brace in the first half to put the Solomon Islands up 2-0 going into the break.

In second half, Solomon Islands scored again through Ilene Pegi.

Solomon Islands came into the tournament as the lowest ranked nation but had a strong showing in a narrow loss to Australia's Under-20s side in their first match.

In the other match held yesterday, Australia's young team beat Fiji 3-0.

PNG to compete at Special Olympics World Games

Papua New Guinea Guinea will be participating in the Special Olympics World Games next year in Germany.

The National reports PNG will send a Unified Football contingent - a team with people with and without intellectual disabilities.

PNG Special Olympics unified football coach William Vaira said a tournament was hosted to select 10 players to represent the country.

He said they will select best, possible and probable players and submit the names for entries, but then whoever has the passport and the parents who allow their kid to be vaccinated will go.

Hotel accommodation plans for Pacific Games 2023

Plans to offer hotel accommodation for athletes and officials travelling to Honiara for next year's Pacific Games in Solomon Islands have been discussed in Honiara.

Representatives of the country's Government Services Integration Committee (GSIC) held a meeting with Honiara City Tourism Association executive members as well as Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Honiara City Council officials earlier this week, as reported by the Solomon Star.

Discussions centred on hotels which are set to accommodate thousands of visitors and athletes arriving in Honiara for the Games.

Bernard Bataanisia, chair and coordinator of GSIC that is overseeing the Government's preparations for Solomon Islands 2023, stressed the importance of engaging with hotel chiefs to help deliver the event next year.