Regional News

First college in the Pacific Islands divests from fossil fuels

Australian Universities urged to follow suit and ‘walk the walk’ on climate change
Source: 350.org

As another set of uninspiring UN climate negotiations draws to a close in Lima, the first college in the Pacific Islands, the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI), has just voted unanimously to divest from fossil fuel companies.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands comprises over 1,000 small, low-lying islands that are home to almost 70,000 people. With rising tides and floods already submerging their homelands, the Marshallese people have a great deal to teach the world about what will happen if we do not take serious action on climate change.

$100k system upgrade improves visa process at U.S. Embassy — Apia


Applying for visas at the U.S. Embassy in Apia is now a more customer-friendly process thanks to a US$100,000 system upgrade, says Chargé d’Affaires Peter Ganser. In a statement issued to the media, Ganser and Embassy staff say they have worked tirelessly to ensure citizens and residents of Samoa have every opportunity to travel or study in the United States. 

A game changer: Thai Union inks deal with Bumble Bee

Still needs to be cleared by US antitrust authorities

After months of speculation, it was revealed yesterday that Thai Union Frozen Products Public Company Limited (TUF) has entered into a binding agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of North America’s largest seafood company, Bumble Bee Foods, LLC. Fishing industry news service, Undercurrent News broke the story on Thursday and has been reporting on it since June of this year.



If asked to represent the Pacific islands in a global climate change forum, Miss Samoa Latafale Auva’a would call on the world to develop a program which would take into account the people of the Pacific islands who contribute less to climate change but are impacted the most.
Climate change was the question for Auva’a during the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant —formerly known as Miss South Pacific Pageant — held Friday night (Thursday in American Samoa) at the Tuanaimato Sports Complex, at Faleata in Samoa.

Chikungunya kills six in the region

Chikunguna has claimed six lives in the Pacific with nations reporting seven additional illnesses currently affecting their populations.

According to a Public Health Update issued by the Ministry of Health’s (M.O.H.) from its National Disease Surveillance and International Health Regulations Division (N.D.S.I.H.D.) yesterday, chikungunya outbreaks are on-going in Samoa, American Samoa, French Polynesia and Tokelau.

The report cites information offered in the latest Pacific Syndromic Surveillance System*.



Miss American Samoa, Anneliese Fa’aitumalo Sword poses with a young fan earlier this week during a public appearance. The eight contestants have been busy this week with interviews, practice sessions and performances during the run up to the Miss Pacific Islands pageant tonight in Apia.


Anneliese says, “Pray for me I want to make you all proud. Manuia fuafuaga o le aso o lo'o totoe.” Samoa News joins with the Territory in wishing Anneliese the best in tonight’s pageant.



Samoa PM reminds women of duties

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has told women thinking of running for parliament they should not neglect their families.

Tuilaepa was speaking at the final sitting of Parliament for the year yesterday which was attended by women taking part in a programme promoting women's participation in Parliament.

He said women should not let their drive and determination to enter politics make them neglect their God given duties as mothers.

He said women hold families, villages, and churches together and they are also the backbone of the country.

New U.S. ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand approved by U.S. Senate


The new U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, Mark Gilbert, was approved by the United States Senate over the weekend, after his nomination in February, 2014.
In a youtube video, distributed by the United States Embassy in Samoa, Gilbert said he was a professional baseball player who turned in his cleats to work in the finance field.

Pacific FAD-closure compliance remains an issue

Making sure international tuna vessels comply with Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) rules remains a key challenge to measures intended to protect fish stocks, the head of the American Tunaboat Association (ATA) said.

There is anecdotal evidence that boats from Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean purse seine fleets are not always in compliance with fish aggregation device (FAD) closure rules, with the lack of compliance rendering the measures ineffective, ATA executive director Brian Hallman told Undercurrent News.

UN Agrees to way forward on climate change - but path is unclear

A global warming pact has been struck, but now nations must not only meet targets but fund clean development

Governments took a step back from chaos in the climate change discussions in Lima and found a way forward on Sunday, albeit with some fudges and compromises, giving themselves just 12 months to finalise a crucial international agreement to avoid dangerous levels of global warming.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, who had skilfully presided over more than two weeks of fraught negotiations, announced that a deal had been struck by more than 190 countries.

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