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pacific BRIEFS tropical cyclone ola weakening

Monday 2 February 2015 | Published in Regional


NEW CALEDONIA – Tropical Cyclone Ola near New Caledonia is weakening as it moves south.

The New Zealand Met Sevice says at 1 o’clock yesterday morning New Zealand time the category three cyclone was located about 230 kilometres west of Koumac in New Caledonia. The Met service says Ola is moving south at 13 kilometres an hour and weakening slowly. Winds of 130 kilometres per hour can be expected close to the cyclone’s centre. Meanwhile, a heavy rain notice is still in force for Samoa. There is flooding in low lying areas as well as landslides. A warning is also out for fishing boats but the interisland ferry is still operating.


PALAU – Palau has joined an international ocean monitoring collective. Project Eyes on the Seas is a technology system designed to help monitor, detect and respond to suspected illegal fishing activity. The system was developed by Satellite Applications Catapult, a British company established through a UK government initiative and the Pew Charitable Trusts, a US NGO. Palau President Tommy Remengesau has asked Pew to assist with an enforcement plan for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. Project Eyes on the Seas and its marine sanctuary Virtual Watch Room will reportedly be available to assist with protection of the sanctuary. Remengesau says Palau is putting illegal fishing vessels on notice. He says Palau will be working with its security partners in the US, Australia and Japan as well as organisations like Pew to develop a surveillance and enforcement system that ensures bad actors cannot run or hide in Palau’s waters.

laws not assisting violence victims

TONGA – A women’s group in Tonga says 80 per cent of domestic violence victims are going back into a violent environment. The Women and Children Crisis Centre has assisted more than 1800 women and children since 2009. The centre director, ‘Ofa Likiliki, says most of the people they helped have ended up going back to where they first experienced violence. She says the situation is not helped by the land laws which restrict women from owning land. “We are sending victims back to the violent environment. We just have no other option. When you’re married in Tonga, you go and live in your husband’s house and you live on your husband’s land – so if there’s a domestic violence situation and you leave the house, you can’t really go back to your husband and tell him to leave.”

NZ Air Force flies first patrol in Fiji

FIJI – A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion has patrolled Fiji’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for the first time since defence ties were suspended in 2006. Sanctions were lifted after Fiji’s election in September last year. Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the flight marks the formal resumption of defence ties between the two countries and the Defence Force will rebuild engagement with its Fijian counterparts. Chief of the Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Mike Yardley, says the Air Force regularly patrols New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone and that of its South Pacific neighbours. “It is important we know what is happening in both our EEZ and those of our Pacific partners so we can fulfil our security role to government and to deter any unauthorised activity that may be taking place.”

work begins on honiara seaport

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Work on a Japanese-funded project for the improvement of the Honiara International Seaport Facility in Solomon Islands is set to begin, following its ground breaking ceremony. The project involves the expansion of the current facility and the construction of a second international wharf. The Solomons government says it hopes the project will transform Honiara Port into one of the largest hubs in the Pacific. Prime Minister Mannesseh Sogavare says the occasion was a memorable one for him as it was the first ground breaking ceremony he officiated since his re-election as Prime Minister. He says the increasing level of assistance by Japan to the transport sector and other assistance through the Japanese International Corporation Agency is a manifestation of the strength of partnership between the Solomons and Japan.