Ads by Google Ads by Google

Pacific News Briefs

Waylon Muller, the most-medaled athlete in Marshall Islands history
Compiled by Samoa News staff

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Micronesian Games kicked off in Majuro Saturday night with a gala celebration that featured sports delegations from the 10 islands in the sub-region parading in uniform with flags and banners along a newly opened track field.

Participants also saw rarely performed traditional stick dance of the Marshall Islands, a Marshall Islands flag dance, and numerous local and off-island bands performing. It ended with a fireworks display.

The holding of the Micronesian Games in the Marshall Islands capital, Majuro demonstrates the "resilience" of the country that faced Covid-19 and severe power generation problems in the lead-up to Saturday's opening, said Games Organizing Committee Chairman Tony Muller.

Two hours before the evening started, black clouds rolled over Majuro, deluging the capital with rain and flooding roads. But 30 minutes before the start, the skies cleared and the rain held off for the rest of the night, allowing the program to move forward unimpeded by weather. The rain blessing was noted by speakers at the opening.

Several thousand residents packed the track field to see the opening program for the biggest event in the history of the Marshall Islands.

Over 1,000 athletes from other islands together with over 200 from the Marshall Islands will compete in 13 sporting events over the course of 10 days.

Three-on-three basketball and beach volleyball competitions had started earlier in the day Saturday in order for all sports events to be completed in the June 15-24 time frame of this 10th edition of the Micronesian Games. As expected, team Guam dominated both events.


Scientists from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) in New Zealand have just returned from leading a voyage to a super volcano that erupted near Tonga in 2022.

The January 2022 eruption of the Hunga submarine volcano was the largest recorded since Krakatoa in 1883. 

It sent a tsunami that reached Japan and the Americas, and devastated the main island of Tonga, Tongatapu — damaging homes and infrastructure, as well as killing three people.

GNS says New Zealand has several volcanoes similar in profile to the Hunga within its Exclusive Economic Zone.

The voyage landed back in Wellington onboard the RV Tangaroa last Wednesday after a month away and collected geological, geophysical and water column data from inside the crater. GNS scientist Cornel de Ronde led the trip.


Vanuatu voters have said yes in its first-ever referendum to two changes to the country's constitution which aim to help settle the troubled political arena.

The government is aiming to end party- hopping and to force independents to join political parties and the public are to have the final say on it.

It follows a slew of motions for votes of no confidence and three changes of government in 2023.

The articles had already been passed by parliament and the referendum result would dictate whether they come into effect or are rescinded.

According to the Vanuatu electoral commission, with the referendum results now in, the ball is now in prime minister Charlot Salwai's court as the constitutional amendments need to be gazetted to come into effect.

Commission chairman Edward Kaltamat said preparations are underway to support independent MPs and political parties to make the necessary transitions once the laws come into effect.

Vanuatu's climate change minister Ralph Regenvanu said on X (formerly Twitter) it was "now up to us MP's and politicians to honor this result and implement this mandate and obligation to the full extent possible".


Papua New Guinea's first census in over a decade kicks off next week.

Administrative Services Minister Richard Masere told the Post-Courier preparations are "on track".

They've been getting ready since 2019 but COVID-19 pandemic meant there has been a three year delay.

Twenty-two thousand tablets are being distributed among the census takers.

More than 15 ,000 of the census takers are teachers.

The Australian High commission is supporting the massive task by supplying satellite imagery of isolated places to help teams overcome landscape, infrastructure and remoteness issues.


Solomon Islands Prime Minister Jeremaia Manele welcomes a legal challenge against his election.

The High Court has confirmed that the case seeks the court's interpretation on the process of the Prime Minister's election starting from the nomination period to the date of election.

Local media understands the case was filed by the opposition leader Mathew Wale.

Speaking in parliament this week, Manele said it is an opportunity for the court to make its legal interpretation and provide reasoning on the process.

"A legal case has been filed in court challenging the legality of the Prime Minister. I merely state this for the information of the House. I will not talk further since it is before the court".

"I, however, welcome it because it is an opportunity for our court to clarify the issues raised," he said.

Manele was elected as the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands on May 2.


A coroner has criticized the care of a Tongan woman living with a disability in Auckland New Zealand after she was found dead.

Ruth Finau, 30, was left unchecked by support workers for two days.

She was discovered at her support accommodation in South Auckland a day after staff first found her lying in bed and thought she was sleeping.

Coroner Tania Tetitaha said the standard of care Ms Finau received was not good enough, Kaniva Tonga reported.

Tetitaha's findings said Finau died suddenly and she had not had her medication.


A researcher at Human Rights Watch in Indonesia says the situation in West Papua is hard to compare to Gaza.

It follows a spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua or U-L-M-W-P saying Indonesia's condemnation of the conflict in Gaza is hypocritical because Indonesia has occupied West Papua for 61-years.

Andreas Harsono said part of the reason for Indonesia's support is because of religious ties with Palestine.

"Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank, of course, is recognized by more than 130 countries, members of the United Nations," he said.

"Meanwhile, West Papua is being discussed mostly among seven or maybe 10 other countries, so this is this is difficult to compare."

(Source: RNZ Pacific)