23 Jun 2023

Pacific news in brief for June 23

1:31 pm on 23 June 2023
Governor Lukas Enembe

Governor Lukas Enembe Photo: West Papua Today

Papua - governor indicted

The deposed Papua Governor Lukas Enembe has been indicted on charges of bribery, allegedly of around $US3million.

The amount of bribes in this indictment is far greater than Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission's initial allegation, when naming Mr Enembe as a suspect at the end of 2022.

The Commission's public prosecutor says the money was given to the defendant, which is an act that goes against his duties.

Enembe's declining health has been a constant concern for his supporters, who claim the outspoken leader's arrest in January was politically motivated.

French Polynesia - dengue fever

A dengue case has been detected in French Polynesia for the first time in three years.

The health authorities say a traveller from South-east Asia was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease after falling ill in Moorea.

Two areas around the sites, where the individual was staying, are being disinfected.

In late 2019, French Polynesia experienced a dengue outbreak, which affected about 3000 people.

French Polynesia - rescue

Eight rescued Danish sailors are being taken to Tahiti after their yacht was overturned by whales.

The Danish Defence Operations Centre said the father of a woman travelling on the yacht received a call from her about the collision via satellite phone, and alerted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Hawaii.

It said the eight were picked up by a fishing vessel and transferred to the diverted container ship Mathilde Schulte, now bound for Papeete.

Solomon Islands/Vanuatu - aviation

Solomon Airlines has established a codeshare agreement with Air Vanuatu, enabling both airlines to sell seats on a new flight between Port Vila and Auckland.

Air Vanuatu now flies three times weekly between the two places following the addition of a third service on Mondays.

Solomon Airlines said it can now offer easy travel from Solomon Islands to New Zealand flying same day from Honiara to Auckland via Port Vila, and vice versa.

Tonga - eruption

A study by the United States Geological Survey has revealed last year's Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption generated the most intense lightning ever recorded.

Nearly 200,000 flashes of lightning occurred in the volcanic plume throughout the eruption, according to the study published this week.

Study lead, Alexa Van Eaton, says in a media statement the thunderstorm peaked at more than 2,600 flashes per minute.

Eaton said the rate and intensity had been measured with high-resolution lightning data collected from various sources.

Fiji - embassies

Fiji will be reopening embassies in Israel, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the United States.

Fiji's cooperation with Israel is currently faciliated through the Israel Embassy in Canberra and the office of the permanent representative of Fiji to the UN.

The government says Fiji has maintained amicable relations with Israel through bilateral cooperation on peace and security and in areas such as agriculture.

United States - Samoan community

Carson City in California is hosting Samoan Heritage Day Celebration on Saturday local time, a concert and public display featuring contemporary music from Samoan artists, traditional performances and food.

Carson City is regarded as having the largest portion of the estimated 50,000 Samoan diaspora in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area.

Rapper Cuuhraig headlines the event.

Music - Tongi

American Idol winner Iam Tongi will perform at Auckland's Eden Festival on October 7.

It marks the 18-year-old's first performance outside of the United States.

The Auckland Eden Festival headlines New Zealand band Six60 and Fugees lead singer Lauryn Hill.

Since entering and winning the American Idol competition, Iam Tongi has won a huge fan following.