10 Jul 2024

Pacific news in brief for July 10

3:31 pm on 10 July 2024
Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

Photo: 123rf/ Don Mammoser

Tonga - connection

Connectivity issues in Tonga have reportedly been affecting ATMs and Eftpos.

The ABC's Pacific Beat reports internet services to Vava'u and Ha'apai earlier this month were severely disrupted, with internet providers switching over to satellite internet.

A source told Kaniva News it was hard to make calls on Digicel and the ATM service was "up and down", while EFTPOS was barely working.

A specialist cable repair ship is sailing to Tonga from Singapore, and is expected to arrive next Thursday.

Kaniva News reported yesterday the internet has improved, but the good patches are intermittent and there are still "off hours."

Fiji - politics

Fiji's Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has urged nine Opposition MPs - who have expressed their support for him - to keep on representing the people who voted for them.

Rabuka told The Fiji Times it is very important for the MPs to continue to represent the people.

The deregistered FijiFirst political party amassed more than 200-thousand votes in the last election.

Opposition MP, Mosese Bulitavu, said the nine former FijiFirst MPs collectively received more than 7000 votes.

Bulitavu said the decision to approach Rabuka offering support was influenced by some of the now independent MPs who urged him to work with the government.

Papua New Guinea - violence

The effects of binge drinking in a village in Papua New Guinea has left two people dead and homes and food gardens destroyed.

The National newspaper reported a drunk man lost his phone and picked a fight with his drinking buddies.

Police said the 22-year-old man reportedly slashed five people and ran into a house before being killed.

Police reports said after hearing of the death, fellow clansman and relatives advanced on the village and burned homes and destroyed food gardens.

Local MP Richard Maru has called for calm.

Papua New Guinea - assault

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader, Douglas Tomuriesa, says a cabinet minister charged in Australia with assault must be sacked.

Jimmy Maladina is charged with assaulting his wife in an altercation at Bondi in Sydney at the weekend, and is due in court in Sydney on Thursday.

He has "stepped aside" from his Cabinet duties but Tomuriesa said this does not recognise the embarrassment and shame he has brought upon PNG.

The Post-Courier reported him saying ministers must be held accountable for their actions in their public and personal lives.

He said stepping aside pending court proceedings is not good enough and Maladina must be sacked from cabinet.

Bougainville - wood

The autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville has marked a milestone with its first export of balsa wood.

The wood is going to an Australian company called 3A Composite.

The balsa is grown by Rarung Integrated Farming, which started planting the trees in 2016 at Halia on Buka Island.

The Bougainville vice president, Patrick Nisira, called the development of a new industry a 'very exciting and historic day for Bougainville."

The company said this first shipment is one of several that will go to 3A Composite through a three month trial period.

Northern Mariana Islands - bones

An investigation is underway after human skeletal remains were discovered in a cave in the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Marianas Variety reported the bones are determined to have been there less than 20 years.

A group of hikers exploring a cave at Banzaii Cliff stumbled upon the skeletal remains on 7 July.

It was originally thought that the bones were World War II remains as the cliff site is a war location.

Public Safety Commissioner Anthony Macaranas told the media this week that this is not the case, and an investigation is now underway.

He said they cannot yet confirm if 'foul play is a factor.'

The bones are being sent to a forensic anthropologist to determine age and gender.

Macaranas said the remains are of one person.

Palau - upgraded

Palau has been upgraded to a 'high-income' country by the World Bank.

'High-income' countries are often referred to as 'first-world' countries.

The World Bank report says Palau's economy has recovered post-covid, surpassing the required amount to qualify as a 'high-income' country.

Palau's biggest economy is the tourism sector which makes up 40 percent of the country's GDP.

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