Regional

Australia’s radioactive capsule to be moved to storage as investigation starts

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A lost radioactive capsule found after a search along a 1,400 km stretch of the arid Western Australian outback is due to arrive in Perth on Thursday as investigators work on piecing...

Australia to replace monarch on banknote with design honouring Indigenous culture

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia will replace the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on its A$5 banknote with a new design to reflect and honour the history of its Indigenous culture, the country’s central bank said on Thursday. The decision follows consultation with the federal government, which supports the change, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in...

New Zealand announces NZ$700,000 in additional flood support as cleanup begins

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s government on Thursday announced NZ$700,000 ($450,000) in additional funding to help rebuild flood-ravaged Auckland and other areas in the upper north island as residents of the country’s second-largest city start cleaning up. Auckland and much of New Zealand’s upper North Island have been hit by record rainfall in the last...

Puna delighted over Kiribati’s return to the Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna has welcomed the Kiribati government’s confirmation of its intention to return to the Pacific Islands Forum. The agreement to return to the Pacific Islands Forum family was sealed during a meeting between the President of Kiribati Taneti Maamau and Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka last month. “I am...

Australian Cardinal Pell’s funeral marked by arrival of protesters, mourners

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Protesters gathered and mourners began to arrive in Sydney on Thursday ahead of the funeral service of Australian Cardinal George Pell, a former top Vatican official who was acquitted in 2020 of sexual abuse accusations. Australian police said it had dropped a court bid to block the gathering after protesters agreed to...

2nd February

U.S. FDA removes COVID test requirements for Pfizer, Merck pills

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday removed the need for a positive test for COVID-19 treatments from Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc. Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio pills were given emergency use authorizations in Dec. 2021 for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID who tested positive for the virus, and who...

U.S. opens embassy in Solomon Islands, Blinken says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States has opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands after a 30-year absence as it seeks to boost diplomatic relations in the Pacific as a counter to China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to open a diplomatic mission in the Pacific island nation during a visit to the region...

Kiribati set to rejoin Pacific Islands Forum

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the government of Kiribati has written to him as chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and has expressed its willingness to re-join the Forum family. In a media conference yesterday, he said he would facilitate the process in consultation with all Forum leaders. “We agreed to strengthen our...

Fish pact on the cards

Cabinet has agreed that potential areas of supportive collaboration be explored between the Ministry of Fisheries and their Kiribati counterparts. Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka told a media conference yesterday that Kiribati was resource-rich especially in fisheries. “Fiji will pursue possible collaboration with the Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the promotion of fishing...

Cabinet approves agreement on Fiji-NZ defence cooperation

An agreement between the Fiji and New Zealand governments on defence cooperation and status of visiting forces will, among others, reaffirm mutual benefits of interoperability between the countries’ defence forces. Cabinet approved the agreement on Tuesday, which Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said was an affirmation of Fiji and New Zealand’s strong bilateral defence relationship. In...

1st February

Stronger partnership for future of regional tourism

Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka says Fiji has certain advantages in the tourism sector and there is a need to share that with its Pacific neighbours. The deputy Prime Minister shared this with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation chief executive Petero Manufolau and reaffirmed stronger partnership for the prosperity of regional tourism. “The outlook is more...

The worst of the rain to hit New Zealand’s Auckland may have passed

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -The worst of the forecast rain moved away from New Zealand’s flood-ravaged biggest city on Wednesday after inflicting what the finance minister described as probably the “biggest non-earthquake event” in the country’s history. Four people were killed in flash floods and landslides that hit Auckland beginning on Friday as rainfall, that authorities say...

PM’s fruitful visit to Kiribati

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s inaugural state visit to Kiribati has borne fruit after the government of Kiribati formally announced its intent to rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in 2023. A statement issued by the Government of Kiribati on Monday also highlighted the decision came following a “fruitful, positive, and successful” bilateral meeting held between...

Australia deploys more experts, equipment to search for lost radioactive capsule

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australian authorities on Tuesday sent out more personnel and specialised detection equipment to search for a tiny radioactive capsule missing somewhere in the outback, including a team from the country’s nuclear safety agency. The capsule is believed to have fallen from a road train – a truck with multiple trailers – that made...

Australia and China trade ministers to hold virtual meeting next week

SYDNEY (Reuters) -The trade ministers of Australia and China will hold a virtual meeting next week, Australia’s trade minister, Don Farrell, told broadcaster ABC in an interview on Tuesday. The meeting between China’s Wang Wentao and Farrell would be the first between the commerce and trade ministers of both nations in three years. Relations between...

30th January

New Zealand’s Auckland expected to receive further rains as flooding remains

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Flood ravaged Auckland is expected to receive further heavy rain over the coming days, according to the city’s council, even as people start to count the cost of the flash floods that have hit New Zealand’s largest city since Friday. Four people have now lost their lives in the flash floods that...

Rabuka: Fiji ready to help

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has assured his New Zealand counterpart Chris Hipkins that Fiji stands ready to provide any assistance should the need arise. In a statement, he said he was devastated by the disastrous impact of flash flooding in Auckland that resulted in the loss of lives and property. “Our thoughts and prayers go...

Australia’s IAG receives over 5,000 claims after New Zealand floods

(Reuters) – Insurance Australia Group’s New Zealand divisions have received over 5,000 claims so far following severe storms and flooding across the country, it said on Monday. “The number of claims is expected to rise further over the coming days, with the event still unfolding and as customers identify damage to their property,” IAG said...

28th January

Australia regulator to probe social media influencers for false endorsements

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s competition regulator said on Friday it would check whether influencers on social media platforms had failed to disclose their affiliation with the brands they were promoting. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it would look at more than 100 influencers after several consumers informed the regulator about some endorsements...

Auckland, New Zealand starts clean-up after torrential rains, flash floods

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Authorities in New Zealand’s biggest city Auckland began mopping up on Saturday, a day after torrential rains brought flooding and evacuations, shutting airports and forcing organisers to cancel a scheduled concert by Elton John. A state of emergency remained in place in the city of around 1.6 million people on New Zealand’s...

Auckland Airport still closed, no flights until at least noon

Auckland International Airport remains closed due to flooding, after heavy rain hit the super city on Friday night. There will be no flights into or out of Auckland until noon on Saturday at the earliest, the airport said in a statement overnight. The Auckland region is under a state of local emergency. Information on when...

China’s Xi says ties with Australia moving in “right direction” – state media

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday relations with Australia were moving in the right direction in the latest sign of an improvement in ties between the major trading partners. Xi made his comments in a congratulatory message for Australia Day to Australian Governor-General David Hurley, the Xinhua state-run news agency reported....

27th January

FDA advisers recommend using same strain for initial COVID vaccine and boosters

(Reuters) – Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday unanimously voted in favor of using the same coronavirus strain for the initial COVID-19 vaccine doses and the boosters, to simplify the vaccination regimen in the United States.

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