6 Jan 2023

Pacific news in brief for January 4

1:47 pm on 6 January 2023

Rabuka calls on Fijians to stay positive

Fiji's new prime minister has called on the country to stay positive, despite challenges to be faced in 2023, in his New Year's message.

Sitiveni Rabuka said Fijians must continue to have hope and trust each other that 2023 will be a year of revival, awakening and renewed spirit.

He said on the home front, Fiji had its own socio-economic challenges and deep-rooted mistrust among different communities.

He said 'together, we can find solutions if we are willing to trust and have faith in each other.'

Rabuka said despite uncertainties and problems, the coalition government pledged to continue welfare and development assistance already in place, and to bring in new ones.

Police investigate body of a baby discovered in a seaside village

Solomon Islands police are investigating the body of a baby girl found washed ashore at Boromole Village seaside just before Christmas.

Provincial Police Commander David Soakai said upon arrival police removed a cloth from the infant's body and saw the baby still had her umbilical cord intact.

A nurse confirmed the baby was approximately 40 centimetres in length and weighed 2-point-5 kg.

Soakai said the community did not supply any information of anyone suspected but believe the baby washed ashore by the sea current due to high tide.

Samoa and Fiji authorities investigate how a woman in Samoa illegally boarded a flight to Fiji

Authorities in Samoa and Fiji have launched a joint investigation into how a woman eluded tight security at the Fijian and Samoan international airports.

The Samoa Observer reports a 24-year-old woman from Nofoalii was found hiding in a toilet at the Nadi International Airport transit area. She was deported to Samoa on Monday.

Workers at the Faleolo International Airport are still puzzled as to how the woman managed to pass through the security checks, including the boarding pass check, and take the flight to Fiji.

She had no suitcase or personal belongings except for her phone and passport.

Airport officials said employees from Samoa Airways as well as the Samoa Airport Authority are being questioned by the Police as part of their investigation.

US Labour dept calls on Pacific U.S territories to protect workers against crane hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging employers in Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands to increase safety measures to protect workers against crane hazards.

This followed a crane-related death at the Port Authority of Guam on November 22nd, which is under investigation.

The Health and Safety department said compliance officers will conduct inspections at ports, construction sites and other locations where cranes are in use in the three U.S territories.

The agency will also conduct outreach activities, and on-site consultations, and promote partnerships and alliances to improve compliance and prevent injuries and fatalities.

Australia's PM to visit PNG next week

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to travel to Papua New Guinea from January 12-13 to attend the Annual Leaders' Dialogue alongside his counterpart Prime Minister James Marape in Port Moresby.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks with media after Parliamentary church service in Canberra on July 26, 2022.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese Photo: AFP

The Post Courier reported that following the dialogue, the prime ministers will travel together to Wewak on the northern coast of PNG, to visit the resting place of former PNG prime minister Sir Michael Somare.

A visit before Christmas was cancelled when Albanese came down with Covid-19.

Asia-Pacific business leaders to meet in Auckland next month

Sustainability, digitalisation and resilient inclusive trade will be key themes of a major gathering of senior Asia-Pacific business leaders to be held in Auckland.

The APEC Business Advisory Council is due to meet in Auckland from February 12-to-14.

PNGRFL will host the 2023 AGM in Enga province

Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League will be hosting its 2023 annual general meeting in Wabag, Enga for the first time.

Chairman Sandis Tsaka confirmed the decision with The National newspaper on Saturday following the league's fourth quarter board meeting in Wabag.

The main agenda at the AGM will be the election of the chair, which is held every three years.

Tsaka has served as chairman since 2014.