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Pacific News Briefs

PACIFIC NEWS BRIEFS
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT TONGA
Compiled by Samoa News staff

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend the 53rd Pacific Islands Forum leader's meeting in August, Tonga's prime minister says.

Matangi Tonga reported Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni met Guterres during a bilateral meeting in New York last September.

Hu'akavameiliku said having high-profile representatives at the Forum meeting is important.

Tonga's government is expecting at least 1000 participants.

TEACHER JAILED FOR PORNOGRAPHY

A former Saipan high school band teacher has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in a Malaysia court.

The man was arrested in Malaysia in February.

He has pleaded not guilty to sexual harassment charges, and also faces overstaying charges.

Last month, the US government filed a superseding indictment in the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, against the man after he was arrested in Malaysia.

CONCERNS OVER FUNDS

Vanuatu's new leader of opposition has raised concerns about a potential misuse of public funds involving MPs.

Gracia Shadrack told the Vanuatu Daily Post some government MPs have received payments from the state on multiple occasions on top of their salaries.

He said the practice of accepting multiple incomes from the state is not on.

"Evidence collected by the Opposition indicates that, in addition to the allowance already provided by the state for their parliamentary positions, certain MPs have also been issued further cheque payments by the Parliament Finance Section for additional Parliamentary positions they hold," he said.

Shadrack said the opposition is in the process of gathering more information on this matter and intends to seek legal advice to determine the appropriate course of action.

AID FOR CHILDREN LAGS

A new report by World Vision reveals only five percent of global aid targets children.

This is despite children making up close to half of aid-receiving populations.

World Vision New Zealand's National Director Grant Bayldon said New Zealand's aid contribution should particularly be more child-focused, with at least half the population in the Pacific region under 23.

He said the New Zealand government could make an immediate difference by increasing its aid spending to 0.5 per cent of its Gross National Income, up from where it currently sits at 0.23 per cent.

TOKELAU HEAD OF GOVT

Tokelau has a new Ulu-o-Tokelau, or head of government, Alipati Tavite.

He replaced Kelihiano Kalolo. The new ulu is visiting all the atolls.

AMBASSADOR TO COOK ISLANDS

Vietnam's ambassador to the Cook Islands, Van Trung Nguyen, has presented his letters of credence to the King's representative.

He is in Rarotonga for a series of engagements, including meetings with senior government officials and the private sector, aimed at deepening co-operation between the two countries.

Ambassador Nguyen met with Cook Islands Foreign Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann, where the two discussed possible forward co-operation in trade, agriculture, fisheries and in the multilateral space.

The Cook Islands established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in April 2022.