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'Acting for change’

19 July 2022

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In brief: News from around the Pacific

Friday 4 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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In brief: News from around the Pacific
Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau had been acting in the role since the departure of his predecessor Matthew Varley in November 2019. Photo: Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Solomon Islands police have launched an internal investigation into allegations that officers patrolling the PNG border assaulted fishermen from Bougainville.

Solomons police probe border assault allegations

Police commissioner Mostyn Mangau said they are working closely with their counterparts in Bougainville to get to the bottom of the matter.

The statement is somewhat of a uturn for the Solomons commissioner who when the incident was originally reported by PNG media last month said the allegations were false and misleading and tarnished the good reputation of his officers at the border.

Mr Mangau said he is now awaiting a report from his counterpart in Bougainville to assist them with their internal investigation into the matter.

He said he will not comment any further on the original media article while the investigation is underway.

Almost all of nation affected by covid

Just one of the provinces in Solomon Islands, remote Te Motu, remains free of Covid-19.

As of Tuesday the country had recorded well over 7,000 cases since the outbreak in January, and 120 deaths, with the greater numbers of new cases coming from provinces like Makira and Isabel.

The Health Minister Cullwick Togamana says most victims are unvaccinated and over the age of 50.

He said work is continuing to improve the medical response around the country.

Dr Togamana said the National Medical Store is working to ensure an equitable distribution of Covid-19 critical items to all the provinces.

These include rapid antigen test kits, PPE, masks and gowns.

He said additional technical support, including doctors and nurses, has also been deployed from Honiara to the provincial health centres.

School equipment being sent to Tonga

Rotary New Zealand is sending school equipment to Tonga in the wake of the devastating the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami disaster.

Executive Director, Stuart Batty, told RNZ Pacific a container filled with equipment and stationary was expected to be shipped out soon.

He said emergency response kits had already pre-positioned in the Kingdom before the disaster and that 600 were distributed to affected communities.

"We actually got a container which will be departing from New Zealand hopefully in the next few days, and what we were asked to source was in relation to school equipment. We understand that a small number of schools did lose quite a bit of furntiture, and items of that nature, and stationary, and things like that," he said.

Nauru opens commission in Canberra

Nauru has officially opened a High Commission in Australia.

President Lionel Aingimea opened the mission office in Canberra on Wednesday with a flag raising ceremony.

The high commission was actually established back in 2020 with Camilla Solomon appointed as Nauru's first high commissioner to Australia.

But due to the pandemic an official opening ceremony was never held.

Aingimea says Nauru's physical presence in the country would enable regular and ongoing policy dialogue on a wide range of issues such as climate change, labour mobility and health and security.

Samoa condemns invasion

Samoa has become the latest Pacific country to condemn the attack on Ukraine.

Samoa's representative at the United Nations, Fatumanava-o-Upolu Pa'olelei Luteru, said Samoa may be a small state but it has a moral obligation to speak up.

Fatumanava told the General Assembly that Samoa aligns itself with the statement delivered by Fiji on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Remittances up over Christmas

The festive season saw remittances to Samoa increase by 16.4 percent or 11 million tālā last December compared to November.

The Samoa Observer reports this was highlighted in the Central Bank of Samoa "Visitor Earnings & Remittances Report" for December.

The report recorded a 36 percent or 21 million tālā increase to 79 million tālā compared to December 2020.

The report says that despite the effects of COVID-19 on Samoa's main source markets for remittances, increases during this period were still recorded from New Zealand increasing by 9 million tālā, Australia up also by 9 million, United States by 2 million and American Samoa up by 2 million.

Paris route maintained

Aircalin and Air France have announced they will maintain their route to Paris from New Caledonia after rerouting their stopovers due to the Ukraine war.

As a result, the demand for authorisation to fly into new airspaces, the costs in kerosene, as well as a change in flight personnel, all added to a higher ticket cost.

The Nouméa-Tokyo-Paris route will now land in Budapest in Hungary and continue to Paris Charles-de-Gaule airport.