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Pacific Regional News

SPC SAYS DIABETES ON RISE IN PACIFIC, HIGHEST IN AMERICAN SAMOA

A diabetes advisor at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says the prevalence of diabetes in the region and deaths as a result of the disease are rising.

An advisor for non-communicable diseases at the SPC, Jeanie McKenzie says the prevalence of diabetes is the highest in American Samoa where more than half of men and 43 percent of women are affected by the disease.

In Fiji, the rate of diabetes-related amputations has almost doubled over the last five years.

McKenzie says diabetes is on an increasing trend, with the highest death rates in the Marshall Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.

“Three hundred and sixty-three — this is per 100,000 population and they’re 25 years and over. That’s for the Marshall Islands. So if you compare the Marshalls with Fiji, who had 265 deaths and Federated States of Micronesia, 170. That will be a record of what the death rate is for a one year period.”

CHANGES IN LAND LAWS WELCOMED BY TONGA EX-PATS

The recommendations of a four-year long investigation into Tonga’s land laws have received a warm reception in New Zealand’s large expatriate community.

Under the current law Tongans who move overseas lose their rights to hold land.

However, the Royal Land Commission has now recommended expatriates be allowed to retain their land rights.

The head of the Tongan Advisory Council in New Zealand, Melino Maka, says the recommendation recognizes the contribution of over half of the Tongan population who live overseas and contribute to the Tongan economy by paying remittances.

“It’s very important in terms of our own connection to Tonga because it’s all tied to the land. It’s not so much from a monetary point of view, to us it’s more than any monetary value, the land belongs to family and we think it’s very important to recognize that.”

Melino Maka says he hopes the government will accept the commission’s recommendations and pass them into law.

DRUG SMUGGLER ARRESTED IN TAHITI

French Polynesian radio says a local traveling from Rapa Nui in Chile was arrested more than a month ago for smuggling methamphetamine.

The radio says he was caught on arrival in possession of almost half a kilogram of the banned drug.

It says it has an estimated street value of almost 400,000 US dollars.

SAMOA AND U.S. SIGN SHIPRIDER AGREEMENT

The US Ambassador to Samoa, David Huebner, and the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, have signed a bilateral Shiprider Agreement.

The move enables Samoa’s law enforcement officials to help enforce regulations governing fisheries and other maritime laws on US Coast Guards ships.

The agreement was signed on the second day of celebrations of Samoa’s independence golden jubilee.

The US Ambassador says the deal will also advance Samoa’s economic and security interests as well as deepen the cooperation between the US and Samoa.

The agreement applies to uniformed members of the U.S. Coast Guard and members of the Samoan Ministry of Police and Prison, as well as authorized officers of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.



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