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Are "ghost voters" influencing the election results in PNG?

There's been a call for Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner to release detailed information so the charge of deliberate voter manipulation can be investigated.

Marshall Islands run-down government building back on the agenda

The Marshall Islands government has taken its first steps to bringing all of its ministries together in one building, three years after they were split up across the capital Majuro.

Competition for podium spots heats up among the Pacific sides at OFC Womens tournament

New Zealand will be crowned OFC Under 19 Women's Champions later today, however there is a tight battle for second place, with Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia separated by just a point and all in contention.

NZ Navy presence in Fiji a success says commander

The presence of a New Zealand Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel in Fiji waters has been a great success so far, according to it's commander.

PNG Government struggling in the polls despite local media reports, says MP Kerenga Kua

As Papua New Guinea's winning election candidates begin shoring up alliances, newly re-elected member from Simbu Province Kerenga Kua is calling on his fellow MPs not to give Prime Minister Peter O'Neill the chance to lead the nation again.

Vanuatu's first pathologist hopes to reduce number of deaths from cervical cancer

Vanuatu's first pathologist is wrapping up her first week of work at Central Vila Hospital's updated laboratory.

Have efforts to police violence against women in the Pacific made women safer?

Efforts to police violence against women in the Pacific have increased over the last decade, but have they made women safer?

Australia needs to view itself "more as a partner, less as a power" in Pacific

Australia needs to view itself more as a partner to it's Pacific neighbours, and less as a power, according to the author of a new book about Australian strategy in the region over the last 40 years.

"Our best is yet to come": PNG Coach Marum confident his Hunters will hold onto finals spot

There are just six rounds to go in the Intrust Super Cup home and away season, and the PNG Hunters are back in action this weekend, taking on the Mackay Cutters in Port Moresby.

Kiribati to get their chance on football's alternative world stage

A team from the Pacific has never come close to securing a spot at a FIFA World Cup Finals series, but next year Kiribati will get their chance to compete on the global stage, after being granted a wild card entry into the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup.

UN concerned that PNG AIDS epidemic could spiral upwards

The director of UNAIDS regional support team for Asia-Pacific, Eamonn Murphy, says he will be seeking urgent talks, once the new Papua New Guinea government takes office, amid fears that the country's AIDS epidemic is escalating.

PNG Election: Simbu authorities commended for their response to extra ballot papers

The Papua New Guinea national election has been condemned in many quarters as chaotic, beset by delays and disputes, particularly over the absence of many thousands of eligible voters from the electoral roll.

PNG Election: Counting comes to a halt in North Waghi after returning officer sacked

The returning officer for the North Waghi constituency in Jiwaka province has been stood down after opposition candidates petitioned Papua New Guinea's electoral commission.

Elite level coaching course to raise surfing standards across the Pacific

Surfing coaches from around the Pacific have gathered in Fiji to attend a level two coaching course that will open the door for them to coach internationally right up to the elite level of the sport.

Fiji NRL quietly confident it can bring top Australian teams to Suva

The National Rugby League in Fiji is waiting for confirmation from government that they're prepared to back plans to stage a series of NRL matches in Suva over the next three Australian seasons.

Manus reports no major election related problems

The PNG elections which have been plagued with problems in many part of the country, passed off without incident in the island province of Manus.

Fiji businessman claims he was disinvited from Brisbane meeting on political grounds

An Australian based Fiji businessman is claiming he was disinvited from a business symposium in Brisbane for political reasons.

FFA welcomes sentences handed to blue boat captains

The Forum Fisheries Agency has welcomed the sentences handed to the captains of three Vietnamese fishing boats caught in Solomon Islands waters.

Australia's influence declining in the region

The author of a new book on Australian policy in the Pacific says while Australia might consider itself to be the natural regional leader, an inconsistent strategy of engagement with its neighbours has seen its influence decline in recent years.

Big upsets in PNG Election as PANGU movement sweeps through Morobe

Four powerful government ministers have been toppled in Papua New Guinea's Morobe province by candidates from Sam Basil's PANGU Party who appear set to be the ruling majority in the area for the next five years.

Pacific observers prepare their post-election recommendations for PNG

Among the election observer groups, the Pacific Islands Forum has a team that is still on the ground, watching as votes are counted.

Green Climate Fund keen to speed up the delivery of grants to Pacific nations

The Green Climate Fund says it wants to hear about ambitious projects to advance the cause of climate change mitigation during four days of regional talks in Tonga.

Future for Tonga Rugby Union looking much brighter

After a tough couple of years for the Tonga Rugby Union, things are looking up for Ikale Tahi, and they can start planning for the 2019 World Cup in Japan now that their place is guaranteed, after Fiji's win over Samoa last weekend.

Cashed up China spending big on rugby sevens

The growth of rugby sevens as a world sport is set to take another leap with confirmation of what's being described as the richest ever sevens tournament to be held in China's financial capital, Shanghai, in October.

Vanuatu's new pathology lab set to save lives

In what's being hailed as a big moment for medicine in Vanuatu, Vila Central Hospital's new pathology lab has started operating this week.

Call for abolition of Maori seats in NZ parliament

A New Zealand opposition party says after this year's election it will press for a referendum on abolishing the seven parliamentary seats set aside for Maori.

PNG Election: Candidate bewildered by Commissioner Gamato's response to claims of vote manipulation

Opposition candidates in the Papua New Guinea Highlands seat of North Waghi have produced video evidence which they claim proves that relatives of Defence Minister, Fabian Pok, filled boxes with votes for him, while genuine voters were excluded from the polling booth at the home of a senior Defence Force officer.

Claims of suspicious "ghost voters" showing up in PNG Government-backed seats

The think-tank Indo-Pacific Public Policy and Economics has been crunching the numbers as the Papua New Guinea election results come in, and it's uncovered what it claims is a pattern of electoral bias linked to ghost voting.

Oceania mourns the death of rising Fijian football star

Mystery still surrounds the death of Fiji's Woman Footballer of the Year for 2016, Francine Lockington who died in hospital at the weekend aged just 18.

Rowing is a sport on the rise in Vanuatu

While soccer is still very much number one in Vanuatu, the country's new favourite sport might be just rowing, inspired by the efforts of Luigi Teilemb at the Rio Olympics, and now by the new pin-up boy of para-rowing, Georges Langa.

Security assistance for Solomons will continue says Australia

Australia and the wider Pacific region are not abandoning Solomon Islands in the wake of the official end of RAMSI.

Vanuatu deputy PM calls for permanent RAMSI style force to aid Pacific nations

The success of the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands has led to a call for a similar force to be established to help other Pacific nations.

Call for Fiji government, NGOs and employers to cooperate to fight poverty

Fiji's government, community groups and the private sector need to work together to try to reduce poverty in the country.

Bougainville sets up committee for SDGs

The Bougainville government has set up a parliamentary committee for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Pacific journos to mingle with world leaders at COP23 talks in Germany

SIBC broadcaster and Pacific Beat contributor Georgina Kekea is one of 10 Pacific journalists who'll be reporting from this year's United Nations climate conference in the German city of Bonn in November.

Marshall Islands babies reportedly being adopted illegally in America

The United States government has raised concern over an apparent increase in illegal adoptions of Marshall Islands babies in America.

Australia dominates at Oceania's youth basketball competition while Guam and Samoa finish strongly

At the Oceania Under 17 Basketball Championships in Guam, Australia have defeated New Zealand 93-55 to take out the men's final, while bronze went to the hosts who beat Samoa 105-70.

In-form Flying Fijians secure World Cup qualification with an emphatic win over Samoa

The Flying Fijians have stamped their authority on rugby in the Pacific after their comprehensive win over Samoa in Apia that saw them retain the Pacific Nations Cup for another year.

Australia won't take a position on PNG election

The Australian government says the conduct of the election in PNG is a matter for the government and people of the country.

Fiji tax threshold rise a short term positive but perhaps long term risk

An initiative in the Fiji budget which would see more people paying no taxes might have a positive effect on the economy in the short term, but might cause problems in the long run.

Report on climate change impacts focuses on Asia Pacific region

A report has detailed the potentially devastating impact climate change could have on those living in the Asia Pacific region.

Problems with the electoral roll in PNG hard to ignore, says Australian MP McGowan

Just two seats have been declared in Papua New Guinea's national election even though counting has been underway all week after more than a fortnight of voting that has been condemned in many quarters as chaotic.

Samoa and Tahiti in the mix to host Pacific Games 2019

Now that Tonga's attempt to host the 2019 Pacific Games has crumbled to dust, two countries are showing strong interest in stepping into the breach, and there could yet be a third.

Baby Pearls into the last four at Netball World Youth Cup

At the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana, Fiji are into unchartered waters after beating Uganda 39-37 in a nail biter to make it through to the semi-finals.

Fiji in no mood to make life easier for Manu Samoa

Automatic World Cup qualification is on the line for Manu Samoa when they take on Fiji in Apia in tomorrow, and by all accounts Alama Ieremia and his coaching team are under enormous pressure.

Samoa & Guam last Pacific teams standing at Oceania youth basketball championships

The semi-final line-ups at the Oceania Under 17 Basketball Championships in Guam have been settled, with the hosts and Samoa looking to upset the odds against Australia and New Zealand.

"Husband Schools" to bring sex ed to the community in PNG

Talking about sex in Papua New Guinea is not always easy, but it's at the heart of the United Nations Population Fund's plans to increase maternal wellbeing and reproductive health in the country.

Electoral commissioner urges speedy counting

The Electoral Commissioner in Papua New Guinea is urging officials to speed up the count after the long, drawn out national election, because he fears the deadline for the return of writs may be missed.

Australia appoints ambassador for regional health security

Australia has appointed its first ever Ambassador for Regional Health Security.

Women candidates struggling to compete in PNG elections so far

There is still a long way to go in counting, but any hopes of an increase in women entering parliament in Papua New Guinea appear to be slim at this stage.

Global 'Eco-City' movement a sign of encouragement for the Pacific

Leading urban planners, architects and environmental experts from around the world are in Melbourne this week for the Eco-City Summit to consider how to make cities resilient in the face of rapid change.

Miss World Fiji to use global pageant to spread the faith

Full time missionary and university science graduate, Nanise Rainima, who will be representing Fiji at this year's Miss World Pageant, wants to spread the word about her faith and create awareness about climate change.

Youth leaders striving to create a savings culture in Vanuatu

Youth leaders in Vanuatu are calling on young people to take control of their finances and use the banks.

Another disappointing year for Blues fans as Maroons spectacularly claim Origin III

For the eleventh time in the last 12 years, Queensland have got the better of New South Wales to win the coveted State of Origin Series.

CCF says Fiji budget needs to be treated with caution

A human rights NGO in Fiji says the public should treat this week's budget announcement with caution.

Call for more action on suspicious deaths of fisheries observers at sea

There's been a call for an investigation into a number of deaths of fisheries observers in Pacific waters in recent years.

Vanuatu to host regional reproductive health conference

Health professionals and experts in family planning in the Pacific are converging on Vanuatu for the 12th biennial Pacific Society for Reproductive Health conference, which is starting this week.

Vote counting in PNG election in question after Minister Marape's early victory

There are fears that the chaotic voting that has marred polling during Papua New Guinea's national election may be reflected in wildly skewed counts.

UN's landmark treaty on High Seas governance to benefit the Pacific

The fourth and final series of meetings to prepare the way for negotiations to set up an international treaty covering the High Seas is underway at the United Nations.

Former Aussie fast bowler Jason Gillespie steps into coaching breach with Cricket PNG

Cricket PNG have moved swiftly and brought in former Australian test star, Jason Gillespie, as interim coach after the sudden departure of Dipak Patel who had been in the role for the last three years.

State of Origin Three set to be a game of epic proportions

The big day has arrived for and the showdown between Queensland, winners in ten of the last eleven seasons, and New South Wales in this year's State of Origin III.

PNG under-19s over-run by New Zealand at OFC tournament

The winners on Match Day 1 at the Oceania U-19 Women's Championship in Auckland were Fiji and New Caledonia, and the hosts New Zealand.

PNG's National Court orders the return of deported NZ missionary

Papua New Guinea's National Court has ordered immigration authorities to facilitate the return of a New Zealand missionary who was deported last month.

Vote counting goes smoothly in PNG's Morobe Province

Papua New Guinea's national election continues, with all but seven provinces on to ballot counting.

Alcohol sales to be severely restricted in Guadalcanal under Premier's new proposal

The Premier of Guadalcanal Province in Solomon Islands says his proposal for a total ban on the sale of alcohol outside the capital Honiara is in response to a rise in the number of young people being a public nuisance.

Vanuatu authorities to adopt a "zero tolerance" attitude to alcohol-related violence

In Vanuatu, authorities have vowed to crack down on the sale of alcohol after a string of incidents in the capital Port Vila.

Fiji Bati to rope in Semi Radradra for the World Cup

Fiji rugby league officials want Semi Radradra to play for the Fiji Bati in October's Rugby League World Cup before he leaves for French club Toulon to play rugby union.

PNG opp'n leader wants election re-run, claims they're rigged

PNG's opposition leader says the elections have been rigged and he wants them run again.

Fiji minimum wage rise of 36 cents criticised as not enough by unions

The Fiji government has raised the national minimum wage by 36 cents an hour.

OFC Under 19 tournament Anti-violence message

The best of the Pacific's young female footballers will be out to prove a point at this year's OFC's Under 19 women's tournament in Auckland, and not just on the soccer field.

"We've been meeting without working": PNG's Electoral Advisory Committee quits

More controversy is emerging from Papua New Guinea's national elections as the initial votes are counted.

Head of Transparency PNG deems 2017 national elections as "shameful"

Since voting began in Papua New Guinea's general elections a fortnight ago there have been reports of thousands of people unable to cast a ballot because they're not on the roll and that's led to accusations that the poll has been rigged.

Armed nuclear states under pressure after the signing of UN nuclear weapons treaty

More than 120 countries have backed a United Nations treaty to ban nuclear weapons, but the leading nuclear powers were absent from the talks in New York.

Pacific Islanders in rural Australia struggling to break free from farm work, research reveals

Pacific Islanders who have settled in regional Australia say the obligation of sending home remittances means they are caught in a cycle of seasonal jobs.

Coach Dipak Patel unhappy by his sudden departure from Cricket PNG

There has been something of an outpouring of emotion on social media from several PNG cricketers following the sudden departure of their coach.

Flying Fijians safely through to Tokyo World Cup finals

The Flying Fijians are through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup finals after defeating Tonga by 14 points to 10 in Nuku'alofa.

Tonga making steady progress despite narrow loss to Fiji

For Tonga, they must now sit back and hope Fiji beat Samoa in Apia this weekend, a result which would send Ikale Tahi to the World Cup as well, provided the losing margin is more than seven points.

Chance for young Pacific players to shine at Oceania basketball championships

The Oceania under-17 basketball championship tipped off in Guam on Monday, with Australia and New Zealand expected to dominate both the men's and women's tournaments.

Deaths of Pacific fishing observers on foreign vessels labelled suspicious

The fact that six Pacific fisheries observers have died while on board foreign flagged fishing boats in recent years raises the possibility that some of those deaths may have been murder.

Juffa slams PNG treatment of respected cancer doctor John Niblett

A provincial governor in Papua New Guinea has hit out at the treatment of the country's only doctor specialising in the treatment of cancer.

Former Fiji Roads boss says he quit over "unrealistic expectations" by board and government

The former CEO of the Fiji Roads Authority says he resigned because the board and government had unrealistic expectations about how to repair the country's transport infrastructure.

New president Pastor Tallis Obed Moses a fresh face in Vanuatu politics

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Port Vila has been sworn as Vanuatu's next president, after winning the backing of the Electoral College in parliament following four rounds of voting.

Leadership the focus for Aboriginal and PNG women at NAIDOC panel in Port Moresby

NAIDOC week is Australia's chance to celebrate the achievements of its First Nations peoples, who are generally under-represented in government, and often victims of negative stereotyping.

Dwindling attendances a concern for PNG Hunters

The PNG Hunters may have been on top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder for more than a month now, but the number of fans turning out to watch the team in Port Moresby has actually fallen.

Ikale Tahi in buoyant mood ahead of World Cup clash against Fiji

A revitalised Tongan team is back in contention for an automatic place at the next Rugby World Cup after their narrow win over Samoa in Nuku'alofa last weekend.

Flying Fijians braced for determined challenge from Tonga

The Flying Fijians are in the best shape of any of the Pacific rugby teams at the moment, after an honourable loss to Australia, and then back to back victories over Italy and Scotland.

Vote counting yet to start in Port Moresby due to delay

The counting of ballot papers could start later today as polling continues elsewhere in PNG's national elections.

Fiji opp'n slams govt attempts to move teachers on to contracts

Fiji's opposition has slammed the government's attempts to tell teachers that if they don't agree to give up their permanent employee status, and sign five year contracts, they will not get a pay rise.

PNG Governor Juffa criticises inaccurate electoral roll

A provincial governor in Papua New Guinea has blasted the state of the electoral rolls in the country after being told his name wasn't on the list when he tried to vote.

PNG Police feel positive about election security duties

There have been plenty of reports from PNG about election related problems, but how do frontline police officers see the situation?

Pastor Tallis Obed Moses elected president of Vanuatu

After days of voting in the country's parliament, Vanuatu has a new president.

Who might buy Tonga Broadcasting if privatisation goes ahead?

With the announcement that Tonga's government owned broadcaster is to be privatised, the obvious question is, who might buy it?

Electoral college still undecided on Vanuatu's next President

Vanuatu is still without a head of state to succeed the late president, Baldwin Lonsdale, after a series of parliamentary votes have failed to produce a clear winner.

Fisheries ministers looking to uphold the Pacific reputation for sustainable management

Fisheries ministers from across the Pacific are meeting on the Sunshine Coast in Australia to discuss the sustainable management of what is a multi-billion-dollar resource.

New wave of Fijian surfers starting to emerge

It's seven years since Fiji last sent a team of surfers to the World Junior Championships, so the fact that a team of three will be representing their country at this year's tournament in Japan in September suggests the sport is on the up.

Counting to get underway as elections continue in PNG

There are just three days of voting left to go in Papua New Guinea's general election, and even after a polling period that has been dogged by a myriad of complaints over ballot paper shortages, and the absence of what appears to be thousands of names from the roll, the Electoral Commissioner has said the whole affair will end on time.

Tongan MP worried about the effect of privatising government broadcaster

The Tongan MP representing the two northernmost islands in the country is concerned about what might happen to vital information services if the Tonga Broadcasting Commission is sold off.

Fiji traditional canoe brings conservation message to Lomaiviti

Fiji's traditional double hulled canoe, Uto ni Yalo, is visiting three islands in the remote eastern Lomaiviti group this week, with a conservation message.

Australian government 'hypocrites' on climate change according to economist

Pacific leaders have gathered in Suva for the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event hosted by the Fijian government in preparation for the COP23 Summit later this year.

Water security an ongoing concern for atoll nations

Water security is a major concern for Pacific nations - especially in times of drought and other natural disasters.

Transparency PNG continues to receive complaints from disappointed voters

Widespread complaints from Papua New Guineans about the conduct of the national election have led to plenty of criticism and commentary from leaders across the country.

PNG fishing observer's disappearance raises serious safety concerns for officers at sea

Ministers and officials meeting in Queensland to discuss the future of the South Pacific albacore have been blown of course by the news that yet another Pacific fisheries observer has gone missing at sea.

John Niblett, PNG's longest-serving cancer doctor, dies age 78

One of Papua New Guinea's leading oncologists and campaigners for cancer treatment and prevention, Dr John Niblett, has died.

Pacific cricket nations to suffer financial consequences of test promotions

The International Cricket Council's decision to promote associate nations Ireland and Afghanistan to test status will do wonders for the sport in those two countries, but the 93 associates left behind like Vanuatu, are going to suffer the financial consequences.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato pledges to investigate PNG roll failures

With two former prime ministers, Sir Rabbie Namilu and Sir Mekere Morauta, now known to be among the thousands of voters whose names are missing from the roll in Papua New Guinea, the Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, is promising to set up a taskforce to investigate, once the current election is over.

Bishop questions failure to acknowledge PNG electoral corruption

Across Papua New Guinea, various reports of bribery, threats and intimidation that have been circulating are nothing unusual in an electoral regime that overlays the Wantok system.

Virtual reality experience to capture the diversity of Pacific languages

The South Pacific is home to a quarter of the world's languages, with some 850 of them spoken in Papua New Guinea alone, but it's long been feared that those languages will die out, unless they are properly recorded.

Marshall Islands police under fire over failure to deal with domestic violence cases

The police in Marshall Islands are under scrutiny over their low level response to a string of domestic violence-related deaths in the capital, Majuro.

Winter Olympic hopeful accuses Tongan government of letting their athletes down

The athlete who carried the Tongan flag at the Rio Olympics last year, is heading to the Snowy Mountains in Australia, as he continues his quest to represent his country at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Big opportunities on the cards for the best of Fiji's athletes?

The successful hosting of the Oceania Athletics Championships is just the latest advertisement for Suva as a venue for international events in Fiji, but both Lautoka and Nadi may get their chance in the future.

Candidates call for senior police officer's resignation after counting centre incident

The drama continues in Papua New Guinea's national elections with police in Port Moresby firing gunshots outside a counting centre last night.

PNG Electoral Commission to probe polling issues after election

PNG's electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato says a taskforce will be formed after the current election to examine electoral roll issues.

Fiji union upset public servants being forced onto fixed term contracts

The Fiji government is being accused of acting illegally and unconstitutionally by forcing civil servants onto fixed term contacts.

Tongan man out of pocket over Pacific Games preparation

A Tongan man living in New Zealand says he wants the government to compensate him after he spent thousands of dollars preparing for the Pacific Games, which will now not be coming to Tonga.

PNG elections: Thousands of missing names on electoral roll tarnishes first week of polling

With voting in Papua New Guinea's national election reaching the half-way mark, there's anger over ongoing administration problems which include names missing from electoral rolls and insufficient ballot papers at many voting stations.

High-speed internet on its way to Solomon Islands via a submarine cable to Sydney

Solomon Islands is set to enjoy faster and cheaper internet with the government agreeing to work with Huawei International to install a fibre-optic submarine cable between Sydney and Honiara.

Photo of injured baby on Facebook sparks heated domestic violence debate in Vanuatu

When it comes to the culturally sensitive issue of domestic violence, social media has been something of a game-changer in the Pacific, helping to lift what all too often is a veil of silence.

Ikale Tahi coach thanks Tongan fans for driving his players on to vital win

The coach of the Ikale Tahi, Toutai Kefu, is crediting the Tongan crowd for driving his side on to victory in their World Cup qualifier against Manu Samoa in Nuku'alofa.

Australia enthusiastic about being part of Oceania Athletics Championships

Team Australia have completed another successful outing at the Oceania Athletics Championships, winning more than 100 medals, including 47 gold, over four days of competition in Suva.

"It's a sad day for sport": Pacific Games Council to look for new 2019 hosts as Tonga pulls out

It's deadline day for Tonga but any last hope that the Pohiva government might change their minds on hosting the 2019 Pacific Games would appear to have gone now.

PNG's Toea Wisil still Pacific Queen but disappointed with her time

At the Oceania Athletics Championships in Suva, the successor to the local hero, Banuve Tabakaucoro, as the fastest man in the Pacific has been crowned, with the favourite, Jeremy Dodson, from Samoa winning the men's 100 metres final in 10.86 seconds.

RAMSI concludes 14-year mission

Celebrations and services have been taking place all week in Honiara to mark the end of 14 years of RAMSI in the Solomon Islands.

Disturbances at Lae polling stations as problems plague PNG elections

Papua New Guinea's national election continues today with voters going to the polls in the country's second-largest city of Lae.

Tempers fray as Tongan Parliament rushes budget through

Tonga's budget has been passed after a marathon parliamentary session which stretched into the small hours of the morning.

WHO deploys team of experts to investigate drug-resistant outbreak

The World Health Organisation has deployed an international team of experts to Fiji following an outbreak of two strains of drug-resistant bacteria in Suva.

Australian Army soldier in election assistance operation speaks three PNG languages

As PNG electoral officials and security personnel have used Australian military assistance to help during the election, they may have been surprised to be addressed by an Australian Army Private speaking fluent Tok Pisin, Motu and Hoodlagoon.

USAID helps Pacific nations find climate project funding

Pacific nations who can access funds to help them with climate change are taking part in a series of workshops in Fiji designed to help them do precisely that.

RAMSI: Pacific's 14-year mission to rebuild Solomon Islands done and dusted

After 14 years, the Australian-led intervention to restore law and order in Solomon Islands comes to an end today.

"It was quite a relief": Solomon Islanders reflect on Ethnic Tensions and RAMSI's arrival

The commemorations this week have raised strong emotions for many people who remember the five years of anarchy and chaos between 1998 and 2003, described now as the Ethnic Tensions.

Australia pledges ongoing support for Solomon Islands as RAMSI mission ends

Australia's Minister for the Pacific and International Development, Concetta Fierravanti Wells, says that while RAMSI may be over, her country's commitment to the security and development of Solomon Islands remains as strong as ever.

PNG Elections: Lae police and election officials hoping for a steady day of polling

Voting gets underway in Papua New Guinea's second largest city Lae today, where election officials and police are making every effort to avoid a repeat of the mistakes seen in the capital Port Moresby.

Samoan discus thrower Alex Rose hopeful of World Championship spot

At the Oceania Athletics Championships in Suva, the two favourites have cruised through the preliminaries in the men's and women's 100 metres.

Established stars shining, new talent emerging in PNG's premier cricket comp

A soggy day wasn't ideal for the start of the final of the men's three day competition in Cricket PNG's Hebou Shield series, but despite the set back, overall the tournament has been a big success.

PNG election in danger of failing says Australian expert

An Australian expert on PNG's budget says the election process is in chaos and it's in danger of failing.

Port Moresby businesses upset at vote delay after already giving staff time off

Some businesses in PNG's capital, Port Moresby, are annoyed at the delay in voting in the city until Friday.

Gov't must address underlying causes of violence in Solomon Islands: Veke

The Premier of Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands believes successive governments have failed to address the underlying causes of the ethnic violence that led to the RAMSI intervention.

Fiji opposition activist released by police without charge

The Fiji opposition party activist detained by special branch after staging a silent one man protest against torture in Suva on Tuesday has been released from custody.

West Papuan activist inspired by Fiji one man protest

A West Papuan independence activist has welcomed the one man silent protest by a Fijian opposition member, Jope Koroisavou, on Monday.

PNG Electoral Commission under fire for chaotic start to polling

Papua New Guineans are calling for the Chief Electoral Commissioner Patilius Gamato to be sacked after a disastrous start to the country's general elections.

"No excuse" for election turmoil in Port Moresby, says NCD Governor Powes Parkop

Port Moresby residents who took time off work to cast their vote have expressed their anger at having their time wasted after polling in National Capital District was postponed at the last minute.

Question of financial consequences for Tonga's withdrawal from Pacific Games still unanswered

With just two days to go before the June 30th deadline set by the Pacific Games Council, parliament has had what would appear to be the final say on Tonga's hosting of the 2019 Games by voting 12 to 9 in favour of Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva's decision to pull out.

"There's still a lot of stigma": Fiji's albinism community calls for more understanding

Government departments in Fiji are being urged to help break down the barriers faced by people who are living with albinism.

Coach anoints teen weightlifter as Fiji's next Olympic medallist

The coach of Fiji's newly crowned World Junior Weighlifting silver medallist says she will be a contender for gold at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in three years' time.

NCD election deferred after strikes, officials arrested

Voting in PNG's National Capital District which was meant to go ahead today, has been deferred until Friday after some staff went on strike and several electoral officials were arrested.

Three ni-Vanuatu men killed in QLD crash

There are calls for seasonal workers in Australia to be given more help adjusting to local driving conditions.

Frustration in the Highlands as some Papua New Guineans miss out on voting

The national election in Papua New Guinea has hit a number of hurdles in the highlands, where voting in the provinces of Chimbu, Hela and Eastern Highlands has been delayed, in some cases by more than six hours.

PNG elections "a work in progress" says Commonwealth election observer

Just three days into Papua New Guinea's elections and bad weather, long delays and missing names on the national roll have led to much frustration across the country.

Mixed feelings about the future among Solomon Islanders as RAMSI prepares to depart

Farewell celebrations are underway for the the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, 14 years after soldiers, police and civil advisors arrived to help stabilise the country reeling from five years of deadly ethnic clashes.

Environmentally-friendly palm oil growing technique touted as a good option for the Pacific

A team of researchers from Australia, Papua New Guinea and France have developed a new technique that could reduce the impact of oil palm cultivation on the environment, and optimise the production of palm oil, which meets about thirty per cent of the global demand for vegetable oil.

Chaos in Tongan parliament as Pacific Games debate continues

The Tongan parliament has resumed, with MPs continuing an extremely heated debate on whether to abandon hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, in line with the decision taken by Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and his Cabinet.

PNG athletes become champions for global development goals

The United Nations in Papua New Guinea has joined forces with the PNG Olympic Committee to appoint what they're calling their five champions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Palau's biggest sporting event goes on despite strong political objections

The annual Belau Games in Palau have gone ahead despite 14 of the country's 16 state governors calling for them to be postponed.

Voting delayed in several provinces in PNG

Voting in Papua New Guinea's election has been delayed in several provinces after allegations of irregularities in the electoral roll and concern about the independence of polling officials.

Fiji opp'n activist arrested after one-man demonstration against torture

A Fiji opposition activist has been arrested by police while staging a one-man protest to coincide with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Global campaign to keep Pacific Games in Tonga

global campaign to get the Tongan government to reconsider its decision to not host the 2019 Pacific games has seen support from as far away as Norway.

Australia accused of not wanting some New Zealand migrants

Australia is being accused of treating New Zealanders poorly because of its increasing numbers of Maori and Pacific islanders.

Election headaches across PNG as voting gets underway

The fate of Peter O'Neill will be decided over the next two weeks as Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister seeks a second term in office in the face of deep economic problems and social unrest.

Ni-Vanuatu from cyclone hit-Torres reject local food in favour of white rice and noodles

The Vanuatu government has back-tracked on a plan to send healthy, locally-produced food, to islands in the cyclone-hit Torres group in the face of local protests and now they're supplying white rice, noodles and tinned fish instead.

Fiji torture video case still dragging on after five years

The human rights group, Amnesty International, is marking International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, by raising the long running case of an escaped Fijian prison inmate who was assaulted by police and soldiers.

PNG Hunters win ugly to stay ahead of the pack

The PNG Hunters are hanging on to top spot on the Intrust Super Cup ladder, after another close fought victory, this time over Northern Pride by 18 points to 14 in Cairns.

Tonga the next big challenge for in-form Flying Fijians

The Flying Fijians will take a breather now before their World Cup qualifier against Tonga in Nuku'alofa on July 8th, after a hard fought win over the touring Scotland team in Suva.

Plenty to build on as Fijiana complete best-ever World Series season

They made hard work of it, but Fijiana claimed fifth place at the final round of the Women's World Rugby Sevens series in France, and end the season in fourth on the standings, their best ever performance.

Country on edge ahead of Manu Samoa's World Cup clash with Tonga

The Manu Samoa head into their crucial World Cup qualifier in Tonga this weekend on the back of a thumping by the All Blacks, and then an agonising two point loss to Wales in front of their own fans in Apia.

Rising number of diabetes related amputations strain resources

So many diabetics in Pacific nations are having limbs amputated that medical charities cannot keep up with the demand for wheelchairs, crutches and assisted walking devices.

RAMSI success a whole-region effort, PIF Secretary General says

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor has visited Canberra for high-level discussions with the Australian government on climate resilience.

Solomon Islands to review search and rescue system after boat tragedy

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced a major review into the country's search and rescue systems.

Healthy Learner, Healthy Fiji aims to prevent diabetes

A new program is teaching Fijian children healthy attitudes, and helping Australian university students develop their practical knowledge in health promotion.

Solomon Islands' wantok system could help facilitate development

Life in the Solomon Islands today is still very much influenced by the deeply-ingrained wantok system, which stretches into almost all aspects of life.

"PNG politics is not for faint-hearted": Analysts expecting plenty of election drama

Campaigning in Papua New Guinea's national election ends at midnight tonight before voting for 111 seats starts tomorrow.

Pacifika inspiration resounds in Melbourne theatre show

To an outsider, it may be a bit of a stretch to have a connection between an ancient Greek story and Pacific cultures and storytelling.

Manu Samoa looking to give a Wales a good contest in front of the home fans

After a 78-0 drubbing at the hands of the All Blacks a week ago, Manu Samoa, will need to bounce back quickly if they're to get anything from the test match against the touring Welsh team in Apia tonight.

Fijiana with one final chance in France to move up in the 7s ranking

The 2016/2017 Women's World Rugby Sevens series will be completed in France this weekend, where New Zealand will be crowned champions in succession to Australia, barring a highly unlikely set of results.

Top spot on ladder on the line for the Hunters in Northern Pride matchup

After their surprise loss to the bottom side Tweed Heads last time out, the Intrust Super Cup ladder leaders, PNG Hunters, are in Cairns this weekend to take on Northern Pride.

Fiji Labour Party concerned at Pakistani company involvement in elections

Fiji's opposition Labour Party has called for the termination of the contract for a Pakistani organisation involved in organising next year's election.

Fiji opposition united in calling for electoral system changes

All five of Fiji's opposition parties have jointly released a document calling for electoral reform.

Taskforce to review maritime safety in Solomon Islands after boat tragedy

The Solomon Island's prime minister says last week's deadly boat capsize is a 'wake up' call for both authorities and the general population.

NZ Pacific chef wins prestigious Kea Award

New Zealand Pacific chef Robert Oliver has won a prestigious award for his contribution to the culinary industry, through the promotion of Pacific culture.

"He stood up and made his own decisions": Long-time friend pays tribute to Baldwin Lonsdale

Baldwin Lonsdale's firm leadership and his conduct while President of Vanuatu have drawn admiration, both at home and across the Pacific region.

Touching scenes in Port Vila as Ni-Vanuatu come together for President Baldwin Lonsdale's farewell

President Baldwin Lonsdale's death has gripped Vanuatu, with thousands of people attending his funeral or lining the route his cortege took to the airport and those who couldn't attend following the proceedings on Facebook.

East New Britain marks 75th anniversary of the WWII Montevideo Maru tragedy

In Papua New Guinea's East New Britain province, the Rabaul Historical Society is holding a commemorative service this afternoon to remember the lives lost when the Japanese prison ship, the Montevideo Maru, was torpedoed 75 years ago.

Maroons back to their best in Origin II as Blues crumble

It was the Maroons who came out on top in Origin II against the Blues in Sydney with a storming second half comeback, and as usual rugby-mad Papua New Guinea was glued to the action.

Former Samoa sevens star has one eye on Rugby League World Cup

This time last year Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa was reflecting on an eventful season with Samoa on the World Rugby Sevens circuit, during which he was nominated for World Rookie of the Year.

People of Vanuatu say their final goodbye to the late President Baldwin Lonsdale

Vanuatu's capital came to a standstill today, with thousands of school children and other citizens lining the streets to farewell the country's late President, Father Baldwin Lonsdale, who died at the weekend from a suspected heart attack.

Pakistani organisation involved in Fiji election accused of corruption and ballot stuffing

A Pakistani organisation which was contracted to implement an election management system in Fiji has been accused of corruption, ballot stuffing, tampering with voter registration and giving ID cards to terrorists.

Appeal to respect PNG media after reports of intimidation and threats against journalist

The head of police in PNG's Manus Province is appealing to all supporters and candidates running in the election to respect journalists and other media personnel.

Concerns kids stunting could have major economic and social impacts for PNG

Researchers are warning that terrible rates of childhood malnutrition could cripple Papua New Guinea's future economic growth.

Survey results show Australians feel 'rather warm' towards PNG and Solomon Islands

Australia's best friend is New Zealand, we feel 'quite warm' towards PNG and Solomon Islands and would have little hesitation in providing military or humanitarian support to our Pacific neighbours, if the need were to arise.

Hotline set up for PNG voters to report corruption concerns

Transparency International PNG wants to hear from anyone who witnesses corrupt behaviour during polling for the national elections.

Vanuatu's capital Port Vila comes to a standstill for the funeral of President Baldwin Lonsdale

In Vanuatu's capital Port Vila, hundreds of people stood in silence in the rain this morning as police escorted the body of President Baldwin Lonsdale to his funeral service at Parliament House.

"Maybe we would have saved more": Malaita Premier criticises authorities response to boat tragedy

The Search and Rescue authorities in Solomon Islands are under fire for their response after a boat carrying 23 people capsized in rough seas between Malaita and Guadalcanal.

Unique survival equipment to benefit the Pacific in times of disaster

Inflatable solar lights, flat pack water tanks and modular tents are among the winners of the Australian government's Humanitarian Supplies Challenge.

Solomon Islands to freshen up tourism appeal through "eco-tourism" approach

The Solomon Islands government is firmly behind the push to expand the country's eco-tourism sector.

Unchanged Blues in box seat for State of Origin Two

The Maroons from Queensland and the Blues from New South Wales lock horns again in Sydney tonight, for game two of this year's State of Origin series, and for the first time in what seems like a very long time, the Queenslanders are very much on the back foot.

Fijiana coach searching for solutions ahead of World Series final round

The final leg of the Women's World Rugby Sevens Series will be played out in France this weekend, and Fijiana are hoping to have a full squad to choose from as they look to regain fourth spot on the standings, and make it their most successful campaign ever.

"Not just a tin shed with relics": big plans for Vanuatu war museum

Plans are gaining momentum in Vanuatu to build what's billed by its creators as possibly the world's largest ever museum.

PNG coffee growers advised to learn to live with berry borer beetle

Coffee growers in PNG will have to learn to live with the coffee berry borer pest, according to Fairtrade Australia New Zealand.

Pacific Islands Forum election observers arrive in PNG

The first group of election observers from the Pacific Islands Forum has arrived in PNG ahead of voting, with the polling period officially beginning on Saturday.

Vanuatu's Torba Province prepares to farewell the late President Father Baldwin Lonsdale

The people of Vanuatu's remote Torba Province are remembering the country's late President, Father Baldwin Lonsdale as a role model leader.

Coral bleaching event over, but US scientists warn against complacency

The latest research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States indicates that the global bleaching event affecting coral reefs throughout the Pacific is over, at least for now.

Marshall Islands unfazed as Panama cuts diplomatic ties with Taiwan

The decision by Panama to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan means there are just 20 countries left that recognise the island nation officially, ahead of China's wishes, and one of those countries is Marshall Islands.

Tonga rugby union recruitment drive not a "rebuild"

The long, long wait for rugby fans in Tonga is nearly over, with tickets on sale now for the two World Cup qualifiers against Samoa and Fiji in Nuku'alofa next month.

"A truly great moment" - Fiji to be focus of weightlifting world

The government of Fiji has pledged its full support after the country scored a first for the Pacific in securing hosting rights for the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in 2019.

Vanuatu leaders pay respects to President Baldwin Lonsdale

Vanuatu is mourning the death of its much-loved President Baldwin Lonsdale.

PNG opposition leader concerned at lack of info on polling places

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader says he is worried about the lack of information about polling places in the election which officially begins on Saturday.

Former senior Fiji civil servant says travel bans should be lifted

A former senior Fiji civil servant says the opposition SODELPA party is correct to say they will remove travel bans imposed on both Fiji citizens and non-citizens if they win power.

Polling details to be published just days before voting begins in PNG

PNG's Electoral Commission has confirmed that polling details will be published in one of the two daily newspapers later this week.

Baldwin Lonsdale remembered for strong stance on corruption in Vanuatu

A week of national mourning has begun in Vanuatu following the sudden death the country's highly-respected president, Baldwin Lonsdale.

Vanuatu mourns the loss of their "universally loved" President Lonsdale

Around Vanuatu, flags have been lowered to half mast, and hundreds of family, friends and members of the public gathered outside the hospital to stand vigil for Baldwin Lonsdale on Saturday.

"The world needs to learn from his leadership": ULMWP pays tribute to Vanuatu President Lonsdale

Tributes have been flowing from leaders and groups around the world for Vanuatu's late President Baldwin Lonsdale, including members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua who have described him as 'an inspiration'.

Alarm in Solomon Islands as number of children with stunted growth continues to rise

Solomon Islands has overtaken Kiribati as the Pacific country with the highest rate of stunting amongst children under five.

Plenty of excitement in Suva as Flying Fijians narrowly edge Italy

On a busy weekend of test rugby for the Pacific nations, the only winners were Fiji, who managed to squeeze past the touring Italian team at ANZ Stadium in Suva by 22 points to 19.

PNG Hunters cling on to top spot despite shock home defeat

The PNG Hunters are still on top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, despite being beaten 14-10 at home by the bottom club Tweed Heads Seagulls.

Vanuatu politicians rush through legislation saving the country from being blacklisted

Vanuatu MPs have managed to keep the country off an international blacklist that would have likely left it facing serious financial impacts.

More than a dozen people in Solomon Islands missing at sea, feared dead

Solomon Islands authorities say hopes are fading for the lives of 15 people still missing at sea in Marau on the eastern coast of Guadalcanal Island.

Australia partners up with NGOs to help Pacific with disasters

The Australian government has announced a new partnership with six prominent non-governmental organisations to reduce the impact of disasters and humanitarian crises, particularly in the Pacific.

Pacific countries push for nuclear weapon ban at UN talks

Pacific island governments are this week joining historic talks at the United Nations that should result in an international treaty that bans nuclear weapons.

PACERPlus trade deal may still attract non-signing Pacific nations in the future

Pacific nations which haven't signed the PACERPlus trade agreement could still decide to do so at a later date, according to Shiu Raj the Pacific Island Forum's Director of Economic Governance.

Survey reveals sexual offences the most common charge for prisoners in Vanuatu

A survey of inmates serving jail time in Vanuatu has found that more than six out of ten have been convicted of sexual offences, and many of them are repeat offenders.

Vanuatu's judges accused of being too lenient in rape and incest cases

The Vanuatu government recently toughened the sentencing laws for sexual offences, leaving open the possibility of life imprisonment in the worst cases, but judges continue to be criticised for being too lenient.

PACER Plus focus not the right one for the Pacific

The ink has just about dried on the PACER Plus trade deal, hatched over eight long years of negotiating, and in the end Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu couldn't be convinced that it was in their interests to sign up.

Top v bottom as PNG Hunters take on the Seagulls in Moresby

Complacency could be the PNG Hunters biggest enemy this weekend when the Intrust Super Cup ladder leaders take on the bottom side, Tweed Heads, at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Tonga coach thinks Wales are there for the taking

At the start of a big weekend of test match rugby, Tonga take on Wales in Auckland as part of a Pasifika double header, with Ikale Tahi yet to register a win in seven previous meetings.

Claims PNG Immigration Minister is behind attempted deportation of missionaries

A church leader in PNG claims internal church politics is behind an attempt to deport two American Lutheran missionaries from the country.

PNG Immigration Minister denies bias in missionary deportation

PNG's Immigration and Foreign Affairs Minister says he has no personal stake in attempts to deport two missionaries from the country.

Hagen hospital staff warn town residents of drugs shortages

Doctors and nurses at PNG's third busiest hospital this week took the unprecedented step to stage a public awareness drive, informing Mt Hagen residents of the major drugs shortage they're facing.

Massive backlog behind deadly jail escape: PNG remandees wait up to 9 years before going to court

A team of investigators have found a serious backlog of court cases was partly to blame for last month's deadly mass jail break out in PNG, with some people spending up to 9 years behind bars without having had their case ever heard in court.

Nearly twelve thousand signatures on petition urging Tonga's King to save the Pacific Games

The sporting community in Tonga are facing an anxious wait before they find out how King Tupou will react to a petition calling on him to intervene and save the 2019 Pacific Games.

Do drones have what it takes to deliver vaccines to remote islands?

The Government of Vanuatu has launched what's thought to be the first drone trial in the Pacific, with the aim of finding out how effective and efficient they might be in delivering life saving vaccines to remote and inaccessible parts of the country.

Embracing local produce the key to reducing malnutrition in the Pacific

Delegates at the Research for Development Impact Conference in Sydney have been hearing that tackling malnutrition in the Pacific is no easy task, because imported processed foods like white rice and sugary drinks are a common part of the diet.

Solomons' government to buy land to try end land dispute

The Solomon Islands government is looking at purchasing land in the capital Honiara to end a long-running dispute between settlers and a development company.

PNG government's deportation of Catholic missionary questioned

A senior Archbishop has questioned the PNG government's sudden deportation of missionary and lawyer Doug Tennent.

Australia talks up PACER Plus free trade deal

It's taken a decade of negotiating and has lost the biggest Pacific economies along the way, but the Pacer Plus free trade agreement has finally been signed.

Tonga parliament to debate motion on 2019 Pacific Games

Tonga's parliament will reconvene on Thursday after it was adjourned for 2 days, to give the Prime Minister time to respond to a motion that's trying to order the government to recommit to hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.

Australian government agrees to pay $70m to Manus detainees in class action settlement

The Australian government will pay $AUD 70 million to almost 2000 detainees held at the Manus Island detention centre in PNG, in an out-of-court settlement.

Vanuatu in hot water over delay in anti-money laundering bills

MPs in Vanuatu have just a few days left to pass thirteen money bills or risk further international sanctions for failing to implement measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Tonga's Pacific Games supporters to petition King Tupou

The sporting community in Tonga haven't give up all hope of their country hosting the 2019 Pacific Games yet, and they're going ahead with plans to petition King Tupou tomorrow.

Solomon Islands secure their spot in OFC World Cup qualifying final

A 2-1 win over Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby means it will be Solomon Islands who take on New Zealand over two legs in late August and early September, in the OFC World Cup qualifying final.

Solomon Islanders still harbouring illegal weapons: Guadalcanal Premier claims

The Premier of Guadalcanal province in Solomon Islands believes there are still illegal firearms in the community despite the recent effort by police to get people to surrender them.

Pacific Games Council legal threat a bluff says Tongan minister

Tonga's Minister of Justice says the Pacific Games Council's threat to take legal action over the country pulling out of hosting the 2019 Games is a bluff.

Search called off for fishermen missing after boat capsized near Port Moresby

Authorities in Papua New Guinea have suspended their search for three men, including an Australian, who went missing after their boat capsized on Saturday.

Solomon Islands police force confident of maintaining peace after final gun amnesty

The police in Solomon Islands say a three-week gun amnesty has been a success, with more than a dozen firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition being surrendered.

Calls from Torba for Vanuatu government to decentralise its provincial funding

The government of Vanuatu is being urged to consider decentralising its financial structure, and send local funding direct to the constituencies.

Identity and belonging for Pacific Islanders explored in ReHaivaiki musical in Melbourne

Life for young people away from their island homelands is the theme of the show, ReHavaiki, the first Pacifika musical to be staged in Australia.

Solomons coach relaxed about his team's World Cup chances

The team from Solomon Islands will go into their FIFA World Cup qualifier against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby later today knowing that a draw will be enough to see them through to the OFC final against New Zealand to be played over two legs in late August and early September.

Coach believes PNG Kapuls can complete their mission impossible

The Papua New Guinea coach, Flemming Serritslev, was bitterly disappointed at his side's failure to hang on for at least a point, having come back from 2-0 down in their FIFA World Cup qualified in Honiara.

Pacific to come off worst if IOC delivers on threat to ban weightlifting

The sport of weightlifting is on the brink, with the International Olympic Committee giving it six months to clean up its act, or risk being thrown out of future Olympic Games.

PNG Hunters still leading the Intrust Super Cup ladder

The PNG Hunters remain on top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder for the third week in a row after defeating Souths Logan Magpies in Port Moresby.

Marine action plan backed at close of UN Ocean Conference

The first-ever United Nations Ocean Conference has ended with all 193 member countries backing an action plan to restore the marine world to health.

NGO ready to help countries deliver on Ocean Conference commitments

Scientists and diplomats have praised the 1,300 Commitments to Action made during the first-ever UN Ocean Conference.

Repairs to Vanuatu's Bauerfield Airport may be delayed till August

It appears runway repairs at Vanuatu's main Bauerfield Airport may not begin until August as a result of logistical problems.

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