Nov 29, 2020 Last Updated 3:47 AM, Nov 26, 2020
November

November (9)

Fiame's new chapter

"It’s very liberating. I haven’t felt this excited about politics for a long time,” says Samoa’s former Deputy Prime Minister, and now independent member, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. In September, Fiame resigned from government and ended her affiliation with the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) over three controversial bills that would set up an autonomous Samoan Land and Titles Court. It means she will contest the April 2021 election with another party for the first time in her political career. The bills at the heart of her decision have fomented political turmoil in Samoa all year. The Judicature Bill 2020,…
When World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji first screened earlier this year, international audiences vicariously took a road less travelled. The competition, which pitted 66 teams across 671 kilometres, saw participants use a compass and map to sail, hike, climb, paddleboard and bike through Fiji’s interior and maritime regions. Amazon Prime, which aired the series, has approximately 150 million viewers in 200 countries and Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya, said the production injected F$30.6 million (US$14.4 million) into the country. More than 200 locals were directly employed, with many others also involved. The event saw participating villages and…
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, first adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017, will enter into force on 22 January, after the 50th signatory deposited its ratification of the treaty with the United Nations. Nauru became the 49th country to ratify the treaty on 23 October, followed by Honduras the following day. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the disarmament treaty “a very welcome initiative”, noting that the 50th ratification came on the very day that marked the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the UN Charter. Ten of the first 50 treaty ratifications or…

Undiplomatic diplomats

Around the kava bowl in Suva, people were discussing some undiplomatic behaviour by Chinese diplomats last month. Then for day or two, reports that Chinese officials had intervened at a Taiwanese National Day ceremony in the Fiji capital, leading to a physical confrontation, dominated local media and featured internationally. There were conflicting reports about which head first attacked which fist, followed by duelling press releases from Beijing and Taipei. Fiji police later issued a statement saying, “the matter is now being handled at the diplomatic level, as agreed to by all parties involved.” It’s not the first time that disputes…
Post-COVID-19 propositions for various sectors of the economy currently abound. Credit to those who are churning out these fine ideas for public consumption. One in particular, by Dr. Transform Aqorau: ‘Imagining a new post-COVID-19 international economic order (NIEO) for the Pacific Islands’ is essentially regional in essence and in application. Dr. Aqorau refers to it as ‘a single custom and development union’, or alternatively, ‘a single economic and development union’. His article goes on to describe this NIEO for the Pacific Islands. In the lexicon of regionalism, Aqorau’s NIEO is essentially regional economic integration, with a degree of specificity on…
The development of more hydro power schemes in Papua New Guinea is years away and buyers are needed if they are be financially viable. The latest international company to sign an MOU to explore hydro is Australia’s Fortescue Metals (FMG), owned by billionaire Twiggy Forest. “After extensive investigations of Papua New Guinea’s rivers and water resources, Fortescue has determined that there is great potential to generate sustainable energy for a series of environmentally friendly industries,” State Enterprises Minister, Sasindran Muthuvel said at the signing. “This is more than just a hydroelectric power scheme. This is enabling our country to become partners…
The PNG government has approved and agreed to provide K100m (US$28.5 million) to kick start the country’s first Special Economic Zone, creating up to half a million jobs directly and indirectly in the country when it is fully operational. And there will be a role for other Pacific nations. The Ihu Special Economic Zone (ISEZ) is located in Kikori District of Gulf Province, about from 45 minutes by air from the capital, Port Moresby and is expected to take 10-15 years to complete. It will consist of a free trade zone, petroleum park with petrochemical plan, industrial zone, technology park, forestry…
Global miner Rio Tinto says it is ready to discuss cleaning up the site of the giant gold and copper site which it abandoned in 2016, four months after destroying a 46,000 year-old Aboriginal site in Western Australia. Bougainville landowners have filed environmental and human rights complaints against Rio Tinto with the Australian Treasury Department, which has the power to investigate complaints made against Australian companies operating overseas. Landowners are hoping to secure tens-of-millions of dollars for rehabilitation of the Panguna mine site, abandoned after the mine was shut by a civil war in 1989, which it helped spark, and…
After paddling, hiking, sailing, biking and climbing as part of the World’s Toughest Race: Eco Challenge Fiji, how does it feel when you finally cross that finish line? “I was so thrilled. I was waiting for it for a long, long time. My expectation was really high, I told my team, top ten [finish]  but I’m so glad that we crossed the line,” says Eroni Takape, a local competitor with Team Namako. “How did it feel to cross the finish line? Absolutely thrilled but also just a profound sense of satisfaction that we did it,” says another local competitor with…

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