In brief: Pacific news

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West Papua Church leaders hold press conference on ongoing conflict in Intan Jaya district, where thousands have fled to shelters
Photo: SEVIANTO PAKIDING / AFP

West Papua churches call for peace amid continued violence

West Papua religious leaders have called for calm as the conflict between Indonesian forces and Papuan independence fighters escalates.

The latest violence in Intan Jaya district has prompted thousands of Papuans to flee their villages, in some cases seeking shelter provided by churches.

Among the victims, AFP reports that a two-year-old boy was killed in an exchange of gunfire, while a six-year-old was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

In the neighboring regency of Mimika, Father Dominikus Hodo of the Catholic Diocese of Timika said that around 2,000 Papuans had taken refuge in buildings run by the church.

He held a press conference with other religious leaders to call on the two sides to immediately conclude a ceasefire and begin peace talks.

Ten other cases of community Covid at CNMI

Ten more people have been confirmed with Covid-10 in the Northern Mariana Islands.

This brings the number of cases in the last widespread community in the Commonwealth to 13, all of which are now under quarantine.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation said the new cases were identified and confirmed through contact tracing late last week.

In total, the islands have registered 304 cases since March of last year.

Don’t ignore other health programs: PNG Health Officer

Papua New Guinea’s deputy pandemic response chief called on the country’s health authorities not to ignore their routine health programs.

Dr Daoni Esorom said that with the increase in Covid-19 cases in most provinces, the natural reaction was to redirect resources and manpower towards it.

But he said provincial health authorities should make sure they always prioritize malaria, maternal and child health, vaccinations, tuberculosis, HIV and non-communicable diseases.

Dr Esorom said with the growing number of people dying from diseases other than Covid-19, all health agencies must ensure that the focus is on these other priority programs as well.

Court ruling confirms legality of Vanuatu government

The Vanuatu Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of former Speaker of Parliament Gracia Shacrack.

The court also ordered Shadrack to pay lawmakers the court costs in the amount of vatu 75,000 or $ 687 within 21 days.

The court’s ruling follows a special session of the Court of Appeals last week, after receiving Shadrack’s urgent request.

In June, Gracia Shadrack, in her role as Speaker of Parliament, said 19 MPs on the government side – including Prime Minister Bob Loughman – lost their seats because they missed three consecutive sessions.

The group challenged the statement in the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor – Shadrack then challenged that judgment.

Samoa warns of too small a fish

Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has issued a strong warning against violating fishing regulations.

It comes after three people were charged with selling small fish.

The ministry said it has taken legal action as part of its efforts to tackle unreported, illegal and unregulated fishing offenses.

The head of the fisheries division, Magele Etuati Ropeti, has warned that those who flout the rules protecting Samoa’s coastal and offshore fisheries can expect heavy fines.

Magele also said the ministry was preventing people from reselling undersized fish.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Hawaiian Music Legend

A Hawaiian music legend will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Pacific Music Awards in New Zealand.

George Veikoso – known professionally as Fiji – has been a part of the music scene for over four decades and his contribution to Pacific music will be celebrated virtually.

Fiji has won a number of awards over the years, including the Hawai’i Academy of Record Arts Award for Male Vocalist of the Year and the Top Pacific International Artist Award at the 2014 Pacific Music Awards.

All winners will be recognized at an online awards ceremony on December 11, which will be screened online.

CNMI plans to increase casino licenses

A bill has been presented to the Northern Mariana Legislature to increase the number of casino licenses on Saipan from one to five.

The move is seen as an effort to secure a source of funding for the 25% portion of retiree pensions, as the Commonwealth’s only casino, Imperial Pacific International, is set to lose its license due to non-payment of license fees. annual and regulatory fees. .

The levy has been used to pay for the lost pension income of retirees in the past.

Written by House of Representatives Leader Ralph Yumul, the bill seeks to license, establish and regulate casino gambling in Saipan and the Northern Islands.


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