Sending a message with Seselja?
In a Cabinet re-shuffle, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed Liberal Senator Zed Seselja as Minister for International Development and the Pacific, replacing Alex Hawke. But Seselja is a strong supporter of the fossil fuel industry, often voting for new coal mines and against a fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Odd choice if Australia wants to increase climate action in the Pacific, or is Scott Morrison trying to send a message to Forum Island Countries?
Dorsey’s French Polynesian sojourn
French Polynesia’s ability to attract high rollers has seen a number of big decisions made from its exclusive resorts and the superyachts moored there, but perhaps none as momentous as Jack Dorsey’s decision to ban outgoing US President Donald Trump from Twitter. The Twitter CEO discussed action against Trump with his staff from his holiday spot. Following the President’s tweets around the storming of the US Capitol building on January 6, Twitter first suspended then permanently banned him, saying the tweets “were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol.”
Yachties who were encouraged to come to the Pacific region under special arrangements during the pandemic have discovered how difficult different national border policies are making transiting the region. One yacht that arrived unannounced in Niuean waters enroute to New Caledonia from Tahiti, was ordered to leave. Its crew had reportedly been looking for fruit, vegetables and fuel. Meanwhile a couple who decided to set off from Fiji for Indonesia in order to escape the cyclone season have run into trouble in Solomon Islands. They sought safe haven in Solomon Islands when they encountered engine and water problems, however they were charged with entering the country illegally. The case is ongoing. An online fundraising page has been set up by their friends to help cover court and accommodation costs.
Read more Whispers in our January issue.
What has precipitated the quick and quiet departure of the Chief Executive of USP’s Pacific Technical and Further Education CEO, Dr. Hasmukh Lal? The Marshall Islands SOV soldiers on, Micronesia represents at the Pacific Islands Forum, and a Fiji resort is in court.
SINU secrets, new blood at regional organisations, fake pro-Indonesian sites, COVID-19’s other health impacts.
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More manoueverings at USP, will Fiji go to this year’s Festival of Pacific Arts, agency head expense accounts are under scrutiny.
No UN trip for Marape PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape gave the United Nations General Assembly meeting a miss in September, saying it would cost US$352,800 to send him and 55 officials. Marape told local media he had directed that travel for most of the delegation be cancelled, as the expense was unjustifiable. Marape sent the Foreign Minister in his place. Other Pacific Island states however sent large delegations to New York.
Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are amongst the 20 best island nations to survive a global pandemic according to a new study by Adapt Research. Australia and New Zealand top the list, with Fiji coming in at 13th, Solomon Islands at 17th and Vanuatu at 20th.The study authors said it’s more and more likely that an infectious disease could be released on purpose or by accident, wreaking havoc on humankind and the global economy.
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