20 Jul 2023

Pacific news in brief for July 20

1:36 pm on 20 July 2023
Fiji Police

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Palau - internet

Palau is logged out of the internet until at least Saturday.

Island Times reports the western Pacific nation has been completely disconnected from the internet since Tuesday.

It said the Belau Submarine Cable Corporation's Palau Cable Network No.1, which connects to the SEA-US cable network, is "extensively damaged".

The cause of the damage is not yet confirmed, but it is suspected that it may have been caused by typhoon Mawar, which hit Guam in May.

The company and Palau's Communications Corporation say "repairs can only be undertaken when the cable is not powered" for safety reasons.

Fiji - crime rates

Police in Fiji have are concerned about the increasing crimes against women and children perpetrated by family members.

This is despite official statistics showing an overall decrease in crime.

Concerns lie with crimes being committed by persons in positions of trust within a family setting.

Police reports say out of the 94 cases, 76 percent were perpetrated by male family members in domestic settings.

Of particular concern is that there were 24 incidents involving multiple counts of sexual-related crimes, including rape, indecent assault and sexual assault.

Bougainville - independence talks

A meeting between the leaders of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, due to start on Thursday, has been put back to July 31.

The Joint Supervisory Body has recently focused on the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and inter-government relationships.

But the meeting has been delayed with both sides unable to reach agreement after the PNG Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Manasseh Makiba, declared an absolute majority would be needed for parliament to table the Bougainville referendum result.

The Bougainville Attorney General Ezekiel Massatt said if a compromise cannot be reached they want a moderator to step in.

Climate change - declaration

Taiwan and four allied countries in the South Pacific have signed a joint declaration on climate change.

The other signatories are Tuvalu, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Nauru.

Taiwan's foreign ministry and the Institute for Sustainable Energy hosted the 2023 Pacific Climate Change Forum on Wednesday.

South Pacific countries were invited to share their experiences in climate change adaptation and management.

Samoa - US visit

The husband of US vice-president Kamala Harris is to visit Samoa next week.

Doug Emhoff will meet with government officials and community leaders, including female entrepreneurs, on July 23-24.

The White House said the Second Gentleman's visit will underscore the United States' strong relationship with Samoa and the commitment of the US to the Pacific Islands.

Fiji - food hygiene

The Consumer Council of Fiji says what it calls a disturbing number of restaurants are failing to meet basic hygiene and food safety standards.

The Council surveyed 111 food establishments in Suva, Lautoka, and Labasa in June.

The Consumer Council said 55 of those establishments were not operating with a valid health licence.

A total of 91 of the restaurants had flies and cockroaches.

Council CEO Seema Shandil has called for immediate action, saying the findings are "truly staggering".

Fiji - Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has granted Fiji $US15 million in aid.

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said Fiji looks forward to working closely with Saudi Arabia in supporting its national development needs and aspirations.

The two countries have reaffirmed their commitment to tourism, education, infrastructure, health, and economic stability.

The Saudi delegation said financial support will be provided to assist the country's rehabilitation and relief projects after the recent natural disasters.