11 Jun 2024

Pacific news in brief for June 11

2:59 pm on 11 June 2024
The FSM national government said that with the help of partners it had mobilised emergency relief supplies for affected communities.

The FSM national government said that with the help of partners it had mobilised emergency relief supplies for affected communities. Photo: Facebook / Office of the President, Federated States of Micronesia

Palau - wage

Palau has raised its minimum wage by 75 cents per hour to US$4.25 an hour.

Senate passed a US$13 million supplemental budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which included the minimum wage increase.

It increases the 2024 budget from $119m to $132m, surpassing pre-pandemic funding levels.

Island Times Palau reports the extra money will also go towards increasing the child subsidy rate, a tax refund eligibility expansion, and Palauans 60 years and over with no other income sources will receive a $480 refund.

Cook Islands - celebration

Mangaia, an outer island in the Cooks, is celebrating 200 years of Christianity, attracting a huge crowd.

Resident Metua Vaiimene told Cook Islands News over 1000 people attended the event - double the remote island's population.

Held at the Bicentennial Arena there was dancing, singing and an island feast for the opening on Saturday with celebrations continuing until this coming Sunday.

Other islands have been marking similar bicentennial events, with Rarotonga in July last year and Aitutaki in 2021.

Federated States of Micronesia - drought

Extreme drought has persisted in parts of the US-affiliated Pacific islands, but generally conditions have been easing.

Last week's US drought monitor says drought conditions show some improvement across much of the region, with the exception of the northern islands in Yap State and the northern Mariana islands.

Rainfall has also provided some relief.

However, water conservation measures are highly encouraged to continue for the dry islands of Yap State.

NZ/Fiji - agreement

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has invited Fiji to join PACER Plus and hopes the country will "seize" that opportunity.

PACER Plus is a comprehensive regional development-centred free trade agreement between New Zealand, Australia and nine other Pacific island countries.

The Fiji Times reports Mr Luxon saying the deal significantly liberalises trade in goods and makes it easier for businesses to provide services.

He also noted both countries were able to sign up to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in San Francisco last year.

American Samoa - games

Officials of the Pacific Games Council, which oversees the Pacific Games, spent last week in American Samoa to review sports facilities in the territory, in connection with its bid to host the 2029 Pacific Mini Games.

The president of the council and the chief executive held meetings with the American Samoa National Olympic Committee, the acting Governor, Fono representatives and sports organisations.

They also inspected sports facilities.

The Cook Islands is also making a bid to host the 2029 Games and a selection is to be made at the Games Council meeting in Palau in October.