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Organisers for this year's Vodafone Pacific Music Awards say much more public support is needed for Pacific music. Events Manager Petrina Togi-Sa'ena is pleased to see a strong line-up of Pacific artists set to be honoured at the event in south Auckland on 1 June. The Disney blockbuster movie Moana grossed over $600 million internationally and the soundtrack is one of...
Fiji's sugar cane farmers have been offered nearly $US5 million in government assistance to help them recover from Cyclone Winston. The Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has announced the farmers will not have to pay the normal deductions due for land and fertiliser costs when they receive their next payment on Friday. The government will also pay off the $US473 individual loans...
Visitor arrivals to the Pacific region grew by 3.7 per cent last year compared with 2015. The figures from the South Pacific Tourism Organisation are in line with the global tourism trend which says arrival figures around the world up by 3.9 per cent. Fiji remains, far and away, the most successful destination, garnering 40 percent of tourists coming into the...
The Fiji Times has rejected government claims that it has an agenda on issues regarding sugar cane farmers and the sugar industry. The Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has accused the newspaper of using sugar cane farmers as a tool for its own agenda and whipping up a frenzy over problems in the industry along with some politicians. But the paper's editor...
Amnesty International says the New Zealand government has neglected to call out Australia on the human rights abuse occurring in its offshore detention centres for refugees. For four years Australia has detained about 1500 asylum seekers on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island for trying to enter Australia by boat. Abuse in the centres has been highlighted by UN special...
A new toolkit has been developed to help Pacific governments with human rights reporting. The Pacific Guide to Statistical Indicators for Human Rights Reporting, which took three years to develop, was launched last week and aims to provide clear indicators of what governments should be reporting to UN treaty committees.Senior Human Rights Adviser for the SPC Romulo Nayacalevu said it...
Cyclone Ella, currently nearing French island Futuna, is heading west. While Fiji's Metservice says it could strengthen to category three, French meteorologists expect it to weaken. The system is forecast to pass south of the French island of Futuna on its way to Fiji. A level one alert is in force in Futuna. Meteo France said the system would weaken by midnight. The...
The WWF says new technology should allow close to real time management of the Pacific's key purse seine tuna fisheries. It says the new 'Observer eReporting App' will change the game for fisheries management. An analysis last year by the Forum Fisheries Agency showed that non-reporting, misreporting or under--reporting were responsible for the bulk of the $US600 million dollars in illegal,...
A Fiji academic says a government bill currently before the house would stifle democracy if enacted. Submissions are open on the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill, which proposes penalties for defaming, demeaning or undermining the sanctity of parliament. A professor with the School of Government at the Univeristy of the South Pacific, Vijay Naidu, said clause 24 of the bill would...
Young farmers in Vanuatu are being urged by police to grow more vegetables and less marijuana.  The message, along with sets of gardening tools, was delivered by police to the chiefs of six villages on the island of Tanna in the country's southern-most Tafea province.It came after an earlier operation was carried out to destroy marijuana crops planted by youths...
Fiji's opposition leader has called on the Fiji media to provide balanced and timely information to attain peace and justice. In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day, Ro Teimumu Kepa says leaving aside the government mouthpiece media, the other practitioners should keep asking the difficult questions. She said the Fijian Media Association was silent on critical national issues of...
A new book containing rare photos from private albums dating back to when many Germans resided in Samoa has been released in Apia this month. Titled To Walk Under Palm Trees, the book is a result of five years work and contains rare photos sourced from private family collections dating back to the eighteenth century. Samoan author, Tony Brunt, said it...
The Fiji Methodist Church says a submission to the iTaukei Affairs Ministry on the proposed village by-laws does not represent the views of the church. In a statement, the Methodist Church said the submission had been drawn up by a sub-committee that went beyond its terms of reference and it made this point to the military's Land Forces commander on...
Artists in Niue are using their skills to help preserve culture and traditions under threat from mass emigration. The island's population has declined by 70 percent in the last decade, leaving behind an aging population. Those elders are among those fighting to preserve the Niuean language and pass on cultural traditions and knowledge. A master carver, Timothy Magaoa, said it was crucial...
The New Zealand navy ship HMNZS Hawea left Auckland on Monday for a six month deployment to Fiji, where it will help patrol the country's waters. New Zealand Joint Forces commander, Major General Tim Gall, said New Zealand would help to develop the Fiji navy's capability as part of New Zealand's renewed engagement with Fiji. The HMNZS Hawea will help patrol...
Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama has dismissed opposition calls for a partial review of the 2013 constitution. Speaking in parliament, he said he did not have the political will to review it and pointed to the endorsement given by his political party which has an overwhelming majority in parliament. Mr Bainimarama also dismissed claims by opposition MP Niko Nawaikula that the...
A petition has been launched in the Northern Marianas urging the crayon manufacturer, Crayola, to name a new colour after Saipan's waters. The 'Make it Saipan Blue!' campaign was initiated on the website, change.org, in the hope that such a name would draw global attention to the United States territory. The crayon company recently announced that it was retiring its 'Dandelion'...
A new study has found that 96 percent of women of childbearing age in four Pacific countries have elevated levels of mercury. Matangi Tonga report has reported that hair samples from women aged 18 to 44 from the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati were examined as part of a joint study by the secretariat of the Minamata...
As many as 200 students at the Solomon Islands National University could be barred from graduating because of members of parliament not honouring their sponsorship commitments. Under the Constituency Scholarship Fund, each MP receives $US44,000 to sponsor students from their constituency through university. But the Island Sun newspaper reported that payments from some MPs to the university have been slow coming,...
Fiji's health minister is asking medical staff to be more mindful of their professional conduct in the workplace and to achieve targets set by the United Nations sustainable development goals.  The request came amid online complaints about poor treatment of patients, especially at hospitals. The minister, Rosy Akbar, spoke to nurses at their recent annual general meeting and acknowledged their job...