PACIFIC BRIEFS

Tuesday July 05, 2016 Written by Published in Regional

NAURU OPPOSITION CALLING FOUL PLAY

 

NAURU – Nauru’s general election is on Saturday, and Dabwido also accused the government of manipulating the police commissioner to prevent the opposition from holding a rally. He said local media had been running the government’s election advertising for weeks, but had yet to broadcast the opposition’s commercial. “One is ready to go right now, one is almost ready,” he said. “We’re willing to pay for that and they said we’ll get back to you, we have to talk to higher authorities. There’s only four or five more days to go to the election so we’re not too hopeful on that now. So there is political interference unfortunately.” Sprent Dabwido said to publicise their campaign, opposition candidates were circulating brochures in which they’re unable to criticise the government for fear of prosecution. The Nauru government was unavailable for comment.

PACIFIC WOMEN STRUGGLE TO FIND WORK

NEW ZEALAND – The New Zealand Human Rights Commission says a lack of support is compounding the rate of young Pacific women who are not in education, employment or training. Data added to the Commission’s online tool which tracks equality at work shows nearly a third (31.4 per cent) of Pacific women under the age of 25 in New Zealand are unemployed. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Jackie Blue, said people aged 16 and 17 who apply for a benefit are given help, such as mentoring, to assist them to find work or training. But Dr Blue said those over 18 were not offered the same support. “So one of our recommendations is that the government looks at extending the criteria and the age group they can apply,” Dr Blue said. She said women have always been marginalised in the labour market with Pacific women particularly disadvantaged.

KAVA DRINKING TAKING OFF IN THE US

PACIFIC – The popularity of the Pacific region’s favourite narcotic, kava, appears to be growing in other parts of the world such as the United States. Recently kava production and supply had struggled to meet demand in some of the Pacific region’s kava-producing hubs. However despite lingering reputational damage from a German ban on kava products implemented in 2002, but subsequently overturned, demand for kava is steadily reaching new frontiers. One of the founders of the Auckland University Kava Society, Zbigniew Dumieński, said there was increased demand for kava from pharmaceutical companies due to its medicinal qualities. “We also see a huge kind of revolution in terms of kava consumption in the west. Lots of people have started switching to using Kava as a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol.”

NINE DEAD FROM DEHYDRATION

VANUATU – Nine people have died in recent weeks in Vanuatu of extreme dehydration due to an outbreak of diarrhoea. The Vanuatu Daily Post reports the outbreaks have been confirmed in Malampa, Penama and Sanma provinces. Parents have been advised to seek medical attention if their children reveal early symptoms of diarrhoea. An officer with the Ministry of Health, George Worwor, said parents were not seeking medical care early enough. He said medical surveillance officers were out promoting basic hygiene and investigating the source of the outbreak. The children’s outpatient clinic at Port Vila’s hospital has been crowded with children with diarrhoea and vomiting in recent weeks.

SAMOA PM DEFENDS TAX HAVEN ROLE

SAMOA – Samoa’s prime minister has defended his country’s role as an offshore tax haven, claiming the ravages of climate change have left the islands increasingly reliant on the revenue it brings. Samoa was named in the Panama Papers tax scandal in April when documents were leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. During a state visit in Brussels, Tuilaepa suggested that royalty payments from trustee companies like Mossack Fonseca fund social programmes for young people vulnerable to drug abuse. Tuilaepa says the Samoa International Finance Authority or SIFA, which registers companies not actually in Samoa, is very important for financing youth in sport. The Guardian reports the prime minister denied any wrongdoing by SIFA, arguing their operations are legal and regulated and Samoa has signed up to three out of the four anti-money laundering standards.

 

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