Schedule changes on Radio Australia

As Daylight Saving time has ended in some parts of Australia, you will notice some changes to our radio schedule. Our flagship Pacific affairs program, Pacific Beat, stays at its regular morning and afternoon time slots. But you will hear some of your favourite programs at different times.

Radio

On air highlights

More from Pacific Beat

Australia's Governor-General leads Anzac dawn service in PNG

Large crowds have gathered at dawn services across the Pacific to take part in Anzac Day commemorations on the 102nd anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on Gallipoli Beach.

Anzac Day: World War II stories remembered at Solomon Islands dawn service

The Anzac Day dawn service in Honiara reflected the Solomon Islands' rich wartime past and its shared history with Australian forces.

Breakaway NPL kicks off to leave PNG FA floundering

The breakaway National Premier League in Papua New Guinea kicked off over the weekend, with a series of matches being played in Port Moresby and Lae.

Japan opens its doors to elite Pacific athletes preparing for Tokyo 2020

The door is open for national Olympic committees around the Pacific to send their top athletes to training camps in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in three years' time.

New investment deal to help Vanuatu coffee farmers get back on track post cyclone

A Vanuatu coffee producer has secured what's known as an 'impact investment' to revive its fortunes after the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam.

Tuvalu install's Pacific's first early warning system for natural disasters

Tuvalu has become the first Pacific Island nation to install an early warning system, using mobile phone text messages and sirens.

March to remember Honiara murder victims unites community

Parts of the Solomon Islands capital Honiara came to a standstill on Sunday, as hundreds of people marched through the streets to vent their feelings about the murder of a Chinese couple over the Easter weekend.

Voters in French Pacific defied mainland voting trend

Voter turnout for the first round of France's presidential election at the weekend was at an all-time low in French Polynesia and those watching closely say that's likely the result of a voter boycott.

MP Ronny Knight says Minister Dutton has no clue what goes on at Manus Island

The insistence by Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that PNG defence personnel fired shots into the Manus Island detention centre on Good Friday over concerns for the welfare of a little boy have been met with disbelief and frustration from police and the local MP.

Coffee industry accuses PNG government of not taking borer beetle outbreak seriously

The Coffee Industry Corporation in Papua New Guinea says the government has let them down by giving them less than half the money they were originally promised to fight the pest that is threatening to devastate the livelihoods of coffee farmers.

Broadway in Fiji: Musical fire ignited for talented young performers

The Broadway fever has hit Fiji, and after its first ever musical was staged in Suva, opportunities for young talented performers to go to America to hone their craft are opening up.

Fijiana step up to the next level in Women's World Rugby Sevens Series

Round four of the Women's World Rugby Sevens series has ended with the Fijian team achieving their best result of the season so far, losing narrowly in the play off for third place to the Olympic champions Australia by 17 points to 15.

PNG Hunters sweep aside cup holders Burleigh with seven-try blitz

The PNG Hunters have climbed to second on the Intrust Super Cup ladder after a crushing win over the reigning premiers Burleigh Bears by 42 points to 6 on Australia's Gold Coast to win the Kokoda Cup.

Not all smooth sailing, but Fiji's biggest school sports event hailed a success

Not for the first time, the annual Coca Cola Games in Fiji, with some two and half thousand school students competing, have produced some fierce competition and their fair share of controversy.

Campaigning underway for election hopefuls in PNG

With the writs issued, Papua New Guineans are preparing for two months of fevered campaigning with the potential for matters to boil over at any point.

PACER Plus trade agreement to go ahead without PNG and Fiji

Australia and New Zealand have finalised plans for the regions historic trade and development deal, PACER PLUS at last, but it seems PNG and Fiji are still unconvinced.

Trial underway for Nauru opposition MP's charged with rioting

The trial of three former opposition MPs in Nauru who have been charged with rioting has finally begun, nearly two years after they were first accused.

PNG: More activity from Manam Volcano possible, villagers advised to be cautious

Vulcanologists in Papua New Guinea are still monitoring the volcano on Manam island in Madang Province, but they say the eruption over the Easter weekend is considered to have been small.

Unpredictable PNG Hunters out to topple Queensland Cup premiers

The PNG Hunters are heading to the Gold Coast again this weekend to take on the Burleigh Bears as the Intrust Super Cup season reaches round eight.

Fijiana closing to cracking semi-final glass ceiling in World Rugby 7s series

The Women's World Rugby Sevens series reaches round four of six this weekend, with the tournament being hosted by the Japanese city of Kitakyushu.

Ben Ryan cagey about rugby sevens future direction on his return to Fiji

The man who led Fiji to World Series and Olympic rugby sevens glory, Ben Ryan, has returned to the country for the launch of a commemorative seven dollar note which will go into circulation today, alongside a brand new 50c coin that will also mark the team's achievements.

NZ Pacific communities said to be part of forced marriage issue

A New Zealand MP says the country's Pacific Island communities are part of the problem of teenage girls being forced into marriage against their will.

High hopes that Brisbane trip will restore 4yo's sight

A company building recycled and cyclone-resistant houses on the Vanuatu island of Tanna is helping to provide vital medical care to a four-year old girl and hopefully restore her sight.

Bumper number of candidates likely to contest PNG's national election

The countdown to Papua New Guinea's national election starts today when the writs are issued and nominations opens.

Two of 14 Vanuatu MPs jailed for corruption soon to be freed on parole

Two of the 14 politicians jailed in Vanuatu for bribery and corruption are expected to be released on parole by the end of the week, while another 10 are believed to be on the brink of lodging their parole applications.

Social media in PNG a new window for rural communities

Social media has been a game changer for Papua New Guineans in recent times, with sites like Facebook changing rapidly the way news and information is spread, particularly in the rural communities.

Talent scouts home in on Fiji's Coca Cola Games

It's being hailed as the biggest sporting event of its kind in the Pacific, maybe even in the world, as some two and a half thousand school students gather to compete over the next three days at the Coca Cola Games in Suva.

Community rocked by suspected double murder in Solomon Islands

The suspected murder of a Chinese couple in Honiara over the Easter weekend has shocked the entire community.

Tongan PM's dispute with TBC starting to impact all media says publisher

Tonga's Prime Minister is so upset about the reappointment of the CEO of the state broadcaster that he is threatening the members of the board that made the decision.

Confusion over prescribing rules for baby bottles in PNG

A mother in PNG has been left frustrated and confused after a pharmacy refused to sell her a bottle so she could feed her baby.

Dispute over definition of foreign or local company causes problems in PNG

A dispute has arisen in PNG over what makes a company local or foreign-owned, and it's leading to real world problems.

Solomon Islands community shaken after young girl's body pulled from crocodile's stomach

Police in Solomon Islands are advising people to be careful around rivers after the body of an 8 year old girl was pulled from the stomach of a crocodile.

"We need to do a lot more": Race against time to save PNG bees

A troublesome pest that is killing bees in PNG's Highlands could devastate the country's agricultural industry if the government doesn't immediately take the lead and tackle the problem, the Coffee Industry Corporation has warned.

Marshall Islands domestic violence victims using the system to their advantage

Women are seeking help from the Marshall Islands High Court for protection against domestic violence at a record-setting pace in 2017.

Disease prevention in the spotlight for the Pacific's health leaders

Pacific public health officials are meeting in Suva this week to plan how to prevent disease epidemics in the region.

PNG journalists standing their ground on women's equality

For journalists in Papua New Guinea who take on the challenge of reporting on the sensitive issue of domestic abuse of women, it's rarely a straightforward task.

Super Rugby at a crossroads as Western Force fight for their future

Super Rugby is at a big turning point in its history as the code's governing body SANZAAR faces the tough choice of whether to axe the Melbourne Rebels or the Western Force from the competition.

Police investigation begins into shooting at Manus detention centre

Police in Manus have started investigating last week's shooting at the island's Australian-run detention centre.

PNG Bee farmers plea for help in tackling deadly mite

Bee farmers in Papua New Guinea's highlands are calling for the government to urgently help them tackle the spread of a mite that is killing their bees.

Fiji's first ever Broadway show a success

Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Hamilton are all synonymous with New York's iconic Broadway, and now the classic musicals which have left its mark on American pop culture have made their way to Fiji.

Samoan voyaging canoe uses movie Moana to boost local culture

A Samoan voyaging canoe is going to be visiting several remote communities in the country to show young people the movie Moana.

Urgent need for improved road safety across the Pacific, says academic

There's research evidence that careless driving is one of the biggest threats to the health and wellbeing of Pacific Islanders.

Plenty on the agenda for Marshall Islanders at forum on constitutional changes

A major convention is underway in the Marshall Islands to discuss amendments to the country's constitution.

Nautilus Minerals pressing ahead with controversial deep sea mining project in PNG

The planned undersea mining project, Solwara 1, in Papua New Guinea is entering the first underwater testing stage.

Toea Wisil misfire in Stawell Easter races no cause for alarm for coach Fairweather

Papua New Guinea's Toea Wisil may have steamed ahead in the heats at Australia's richest footrace, the Stawell Easter Gift, but she failed to secure a place in the final of the 120m sprint.

Wantok Challenge final delayed after futsal fever in Solomon Islands leads to stadium damage

The final of the 2017 edition of the Wantok Futsal Challenge in Solomon Islands has been postponed after the Multi-Purpose Stadium in Honiara was damaged by overly-enthusiastic spectators.

Senior Fiji First politician joins opposition National Federation Party

A former very senior member of the ruling Fiji First Party has switched his allegiance to an opposition party.

Fears of more violence after clash at Manus detention centre

To PNG now, and the member for Manus Ron Knight says the location of the island's detention centre inside a naval base meant it was only a matter of time before there was a clash between asylum seekers and PNG Defence Force personnel.

NZ marae distributes meat donated by hunters to flood victims

A Maori meeting house in New Zealand is being used to distribute food donated by local hunters to families affected by recent flooding.

Swain's Island mooted as refuelling stop for Tokelau-Samoa helicopter route

A member of the American Samoan fono representing Swain's Island says he's been approached by the Tokelau government about them using the island as a refuelling stop for a possible helicopter service between Tokelau and Samoa.

Rape, murder, riots: All in a day's work for journos in Lae, PNG

Papua New Guinea's second biggest city Lae has an even worse reputation for crime and violence than the capital Port Moresby.

Pacific's fastest woman impresses at Stawell Gift with win in heats

The fastest woman in the Pacific and Australia is among the favourites to win the main women's race in the Stawell Easter Gift, Australia's richest footrace.

Fiji crashes out of Singapore Sevens as Canada wins first-ever all American final

It is said anything can happen in rugby sevens and fans saw plenty of that in round eight of the Sevens World Series.

PNG Hunters muscle out Redcliffe Dolphins in Port Moresby thriller

The PNG Hunters had a good weekend, beating the Redcliffe Dolphins 12-10 in their match at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Samoan Pastor says clergy should not have to pay tax

A Samoan church leader says Pastors shouldn't have to pay tax to the government, partly because Jesus didn't pay tax.

Fiji human rights lawyer says Australian law is clear on the Prasad family case

So how might the situation of the Prasad's be viewed from Fiji?

Indo-Fijian family face deportation after 17 years in Australia

An Indo-Fijian family who have lived in Australia for 17 years is being deported back to Fiji.

PNG opposition shocked by exclusion of local journalists

PNG's Opposition Leader Don Polye says he was shocked to hear that the PNG journalists were not allowed to be included in a Press Conference held by Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when he visited the country last weekend.

TED returns to Suva with 'An Ocean of Ideas'

TED, a global community devoted to spreading ideas, is returning to Suva for a second year and will be held at the University of the South Pacific on May 6.

New book accuses Australia of wartime cover-up over sinking of Montevideo Maru

A new book claims that one of Australia's worst wartime disasters has been forgotten by the government.

NZ braces for tail end of ex-tropical Cyclone Cook

New Zealand authorities are preparing for the arrival of ex-tropical Cyclone Cook, which is expected to hit the north island today.

Fiji facing strong challenge in Singapore after Hong Kong win

Sixteen of the top rugby nations meet in Singapore this weekend for round 8 of the World Rugby Sevens World Series, with Fiji on a high after its win in Hong Kong last weekend.

Futsal fans out in force in Honiara for 2017 Wantok Challenge

The 2017 Wantok Futsal Challenge tournament is underway in Solomon Islands with the week-long tournament in Honiara featuring 17 local teams and one from Vanuatu.

Anglers from around the world in Madang for PNG Game Fishing Titles

Anglers from around the world have converged on the small Papua New Guinean town of Madang for the 2017 National Game Fishing Titles.

Mixed emotions as Port Moresby farewells Sir Michael

But first to Port Moresby where residents are today saying goodbye to Sir Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea's first Prime Minister, who is retiring after 49 years in politics.

'Moving' Kokoda commemoration to be held in Australia, minister says

Australia's Veterans' Affairs Minister Dan Tehan has responded to concerns that a special commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda will not be held in Papua New Guinea.

Report praises Australian response to Cyclone Pam

An evaluation of the Australian government's response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015 has found it was largely successful.

Claims PNG journalists were snubbed during Turnbull visit

A regional media rights organisation is questioning the alleged treatment of Papua New Guinea journalists during the recent visit by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Samoan athletes win marathon and Upolu to Savai'i swim events

In Samoa's Savai'i Games, local competitors have won the marathon and the swim from Upolu to Savai'i.

Designer of PNG's flag Susan Huhume dies in Port Moresby

Many in Papua New Guinea are in mourning, after Susan Huhume, the designer of the country's flag died yesterday.

Calls for Australia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kokoda campaign in PNG

Kokoda tour operators are concerned the Australian Government's plans to commemorate the Battle of Kokoda later this year don't sufficiently recognise the contribution of Papua New Guineans.

Researchers continue fight against excess salt consumption across the Pacific

A project to wind back excess salt consumption in Fiji and Samoa is helping combat preventable lifestyle diseases.

Organisers of Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu keen to involve the entire country

When Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu two years ago, it made life very hard for the organisers of the 2017 Pacific Mini Games, and their situation didn't improve as the country's biggest ever political scandal unfolded, culminating in jail time for 14 MPs.

Vanuatu still seeking justice after Olympic beach volleyball snub

The President of the Vanuatu Olympic Committee, Antoine Boudier, is still pursuing justice for beach volleyball duo Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu, after they were denied a last minute chance to compete in the Rio Olympics last year.

Fiji cane farmers oppose closure of Penang mill

Sugar cane farmers in Fiji want the Penang mill in Rakiraki to stay open, but admit it may be too late to save it.

Fiji opp'n parties unhappy with response from Electoral Commission

Fiji's opposition political parties are unhappy with the response they got from the Electoral Commission when they asked for changes to the elections system.

New Caledonia battered by Cyclone Cook but escapes major damage

Tropical Cyclone Cook passed over New Caledonia during the night bringing heavy rain, but fortunately avoiding the country's main population centres.

Political storm brews in Vanuatu after MP convictions are quashed

While Cyclone Cook was passing over Vanuatu, another storm, a political one has been brewing, this time in the courts.

Solomon Islands minister arrested on corruption allegations

Anti-corruption investigators have made another high-profile arrest in Solomon Islands.

Parliamentary committees focus of pan-Pacific seminar for MPs

The work of parliamentary committees may seem boring, but it's actually a very significant part of democracy that many members of the public aren't aware of.

Multi-million dollar grant from China to underpin Tonga's preparations for 2019 Pacific Games

After the long-running personal battle between Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and organising committee chairman Lord Fred Sevele, preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga appear to be back on track.

Female AFL players in Solomon Islands hoping for a chance in Australia

The unexpected success of the inaugural AFL Women's competition in Australia has caught the eyes of many female athletes keen to get involved in the action in season two.

NZ sends navy vessel to Fiji to tackle illegal fishing

New Zealand's Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced that his government will be sending a naval patrol vessel to Fiji to help tackle illegal fishing in the region.

Malcolm Turnbull wraps up first visit to PNG

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spent much of the weekend in Papua New Guinea - his first official visit to the country.

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching has implications for Pacific reefs

Scientists have recorded severe coral bleaching in large parts of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef for the second time in 12 months.

NZ sends navy vessel to Fiji to tackle illegal fishing

New Zealand's Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced that his government will be sending a naval patrol vessel to Fiji to help tackle illegal fishing in the region.

Cyclone Cook makes it's way towards New Caledonia

While it appears Vanuatu has by all accounts emerged from Cyclone Cook unscathed, the storm is continuing to make it's way through the Pacific towards New Caledonia.

Vanuatu emerges largely unscathed after Cyclone Cook

Vanuatu appears to have been left sodden but largely unscathed by Tropical Cyclone Cook.

NGOs prepare for cleanup after Cyclone Cook batters Vanuatu

On Saturday night several hundred people in low-lying areas in and around Port Vila left their homes as Cyclone Cook intensified.

Forums Fisheries Agency considers delegation to Vietnam to combat 'blue boats'

The Pacific Island nations have been meeting to consider their next steps in their campaign against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Lack of progress on ICAC worries PNG anti-corruption NGO

The head of Transparency International PNG says he is disappointed that the government has not kept its promise to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Lowy Institute warns of weakened relationship between Australia and PNG

The Lowy Institute says that despite historical ties, the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea is deteriorating, and it's warning of a lack of understanding about PNG, particularly amongst the next generation of Australian leaders.

Hong Kong factor comes into play as Fiji 7s squad hits top form

The Fiji rugby sevens squad have made it a hat trick of wins at the Hong Kong Sevens for the third time, beating the World Series ladder leaders South Africa in the final by 22 points to nil.

PNG Hunters outmuscled by the Falcons on the Sunshine Coast

The PNG Hunters have lost on the road for the first time this season, going down to the Falcons by 38 points to 14 on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Chance that tropical depression near Vanuatu could turn into cyclone

But first, two tropical disturbances are currently bringing rain to Solomon Islands, Fiji and the north of the Vanuatu island group.

PNG credit rating remains steady on B and B+

Papua New Guinea's credit rating has been left unchanged.

Timing of Australian PM Turnbull's visit to PNG under scrutiny

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been accused of dangerous interference in the affairs of Papua New Guinea, ahead of a two day visit that comes just two weeks before the start of a general election campaign.

UN & PNG govt. agree on a new game plan to tackle Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations and the Papua New Guinea Government have signed off on a new Development Assistance Framework that will guide the UN's future work in PNG.

PNG govt considering compensation for TB nursing staff in Daru

The Papua New Guinea Department of Health says it's working on a compensation policy, after more than 200 nursing staff working with TB patients at Daru Hospital in Western Province threatened to strike.

Tonga, PNG out to crack core groups at Hong Kong 7s

The World Rugby Sevens series has reached round seven of ten, with the runaway ladder leaders South Africa out to strengthen their position by winning the Hong Kong tournament for the first time.

Playing in Hong Kong - the mark of a true Fijian rugby 7s player

The Fijian squad will be looking to some old heads to lift the team and carry them through to yet another win at the Hong Kong 7s.

Improving Samoa rugby 7s squad to be rewarded with contracts

It's seven years since Samoa last won the Hong Kong 7s, but after struggling badly in the opening four rounds of the World Series this season, their coach Sir Gordon Tietjens says there are definitely positive signs now.

PNG Hunters in confident mood as they prepare to take on the Falcons

The PNG Hunters will be out to make it four away wins out of four in the Intrust Super Cup when they take on the Falcons on Queensland's Sunshine Coast tomorrow.

New Fijian village by laws may push young people away

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement has organised a public panel on the proposed new village by-laws for this evening.

SODELPA leader says Fiji government is interfering in iTaukei villages

The Leader of Fiji's opposition SODELPA Party, Sitiveni Rabuka, is accusing the government of interfering in the administration of iTaukei villages.

Enga sorcery response team getting good results

An integrated response to sorcery related violence in Papua New Guinea's Enga province has met with great success so far.

PNG rules out any possibility of a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The number of cities queuing up to replace Durban as the host venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is growing, but Port Moresby won't be one of them.

Community Leaders come together for debate on good governance in PNG

With just three months to go before Papua New Guinea's national election, a group called the Consultative Implementation Monitoring Council is on a mission to pique voters' interest and get them more involved in the democratic process.

Konebada Petroleum Park operation accused of cheating PNG landowners

The National Research Institute in Papua New Guinea is calling for an investigation into the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority.

PNG Road traffic authority planning "total overhaul" of licensing system to crack down on bad drivers

After a recent spike in serious car crashes, the Road Traffic Authority in Papua New Guinea is determined to crack down on the number of officially unlicensed drivers who take to the roads without ever completing the proper tests.

Ambitious solar project brings power to remote Fijian communities

A new solar project in Fiji will provide electricity to more than 400 remote households on Viti Levu in the area that was hit hardest by Cyclone Winston.

Fiji coach Baber up for the challenge on his return to Hong Kong

After serving as head coach of their national rugby sevens team for three years, Gareth Baber's return to Hong Kong this week, this time as coach of World Series champions Fiji, will be something of a homecoming.

Breakaway PNG football federation denies claiming FIFA endorsement

The Oceania Football Confederation has finally broken cover and gone public on the newly formed Football Federation PNG, with the kick off for their breakaway national premier league now just nine days away.

Fresh charges for PNG asylum seeker labelled a witch hunt by Amnesty International

A 21 year old Iranian asylum seeker who managed to get into Fiji after leaving the Manus Island processing centre in PNG has had new charges laid against him.

Amnesty accuses Ferrovial of complicity in mistreatment of refugees on Nauru

Amnesty International has accused global transport and infrastructure giant Ferrovial of complicity in the mistreatment of refugees on Nauru.

Doctors in Solomon Islands call for rethink of "disposable" medical supplies

Doctors working in Solomon Islands are calling for a more organised approach to re-using medical equipment that is labelled as "disposable".

17 year old Sydney schoolgirls wins RSL sponsorship to Kokoda Track

A 17 year old Sydney schoolgirl is being sponsored by a local Returned Services League branch to walk the Kokoda Track.

Concerns PNG govt yet to revoke controversial leases

An advocacy group in Papua New Guinea says it's yet to see any evidence of the government fulfilling its promise to cancel Special Agricultural Business Leases that cover more than ten per cent of the country.

Portable dialysis machines a potential game changer for kidney-related illness in Asia-Pacific

A groundbreaking idea for a kidney dialysis machine that's both portable and economical is edging closer to reality, after the Irish engineer Vincent Garvey won the Affordable Dialysis Prize awarded by the George Institute in Australia.

Trailblazing female piloting duo take Solomon Islands aviation to new heights

Gender equality in Solomon Islands has reached another milestone, with two women piloting a commercial plane for the first time in the country's aviation history.

Spreading the gospel of pole vaulting across the Pacific

Based on the evidence of results from the Oceania Athletics Association, the pole vault is not a popular sport in the Pacific, particularly among women.

Disappointment for PNG as they lose one day cricket series in the UAE

A big batting collapse has seen the Papua New Guinea cricket team crash to a 103 run defeat against the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

NZ Tongan leader doesn't believe PM's casino denials

Comments by Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva apparently suggesting no casino will be built in the kingdom are being greeted with scepticism from a New Zealand Tonga leader. Developers planning to build a gambling resort and shopping mall have said they are close to completing the requirements to move on to the next phase and Tonga's Finance Minister says he's open to looking at the project. Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva has said there is no room for casinos in the country, which currently does not allow gambling. This follows opposition to the idea, especially from New Zealand Tongan church leaders who indicated they were going to hold an anti-casino protest. Melino Maka, chair of the New Zealand Tongan Advisory Council, says he doesn't believe the Prime Minister's denials.

Chamorro protest rally to be held on Guam this Friday

A protest rally in favour of greater self-determination for the indigenous Chamorro people of Guam is being organised for Friday. Organisers say it has been prompted by a number of issues, including threats to the Chamorro Land Trust, military encroachment onto sacred lands and a recent court case which challenged a plebiscite on self-determination. One of the rally organisers, Amber Benavente-Sanchez, says the court decision in particular has thrown into doubt the ability of Chamorro people to vote on their own future.

Students at UPNG oppose new graduation fee

Students at the University of Papua New Guinea are not happy with the imposition of a new graduation fee. UPNG's acting chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann has told local media the 600-kina fee is necessary to cover costs incurred during last year's long-running student protest. Third year public policy student Peter Nahi was an executive member of the Student Representative Council before it was suspended in the wake of the protest. He says the new graduation fee is a lot of money for students who've already paid their tuition fees.

Sir Michael makes valedictory address to PNG parliament

As recently as this morning, it was unclear whether Sir Michael Somare would have a chance to make his valedictory address to parliament. A ceremony in Sir Michael's honour had been planned for Thursday but the government chose to rise today instead. Reporter Joy Kisselpar was in parliament in Port Moresby for Sir Michael's speech.

PNG MP Sir Michael Somare retires

Papua New Guinea's longest serving MP, famously known as the "Father of Independence", Sir Michael Somare is finally retiring from politics after 49 years. Born in 1936, Sir Michael is one of the longest serving political leaders in the Commonwealth. He served as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea during three separate terms from 1975, for a total of 17 years. He led two political parties; PANGU and later the National Alliance Party. This morning he told parliament he witnessed World War II at the age of 6. He said he had the ambition to be in politics after he became a teacher.

Dame Carol Kidu slams PNG government for thwarting Somare's farewell address

Papua New Guinea's founding Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, won't be attending what would be his final parliamentary sitting today after serving as an MP for almost half a century.

Mixed reactions at Apia ceremony as Samoan weightlifter Ele Opologe's receives long awaited silver medal

Nearly nine years after competing at the Beijing Games, Ele Opologe has just become the first Samoan to receive an Olympic medal.

Samoa's first Olympic medal can inspire other athletes to reach the heights

It's been a long wait for Ele Opologe, nine years in fact, but finally justice has been done and she has an Olympic silver medal in her possession, although in the end the ceremony turned out to be a rather sombre, low key affair.

Ni-Vanuatu rower on track for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan

Just a year after a chance encounter on a Port Vila street, George Langa has become the first para-rower from Vanuatu to compete in an international regatta.

PNG police say rape victim's suicide highlights problems with village courts

The suicide of a rape victim in Papua New Guinea has highlighted problems with village courts trying to deal with serious criminal offences. A 20 year old woman killed herself last month after being raped - allegedly by her uncle. The village court ordered the uncle to pay two thousand kina in compensation. Manus Provincial Police Commander, Inspector David Yapu, says the case should not have been dealt by the village court but referred to police for investigation and appropriate action.

ONOC President keen to revamp Pacific sports funding during his final term

The President of the Oceania National Olympic Committees, Robin Mitchell, has been re-elected to serve a further four-year term but he says it will be his last.

Fiji's NFP insists a new sugar mill will be built in Rakiraki

The opposition National Federation Party in Fiji says the Penang sugar mill in Rakiraki should not have been closed.

Marshall Islands govt moves fast to put a stop to passports scam

In Marshall Islands, it's emerged that a Hong Kong-based company has been promoting an "investment-for-passports" scheme.

Pacific plant breeding network being set up to help farmers

The Pacific Plant Breeding Network has been set up in Fiji to help farmers and growers across the region get access to seeds for drought, heat and disease resistant food plants.

Double gold for PNG's Toea Wisil at the Australian Athletics Championships

The fastest woman in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea's Toea Wisil, is now a double champion of Australia after taking out both the 100 metres and 200 metres titles at the Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney.

Vanuatu's airport to be upgraded by Chinese company

The Vanuatu government has ended the long-running saga over the upgrade to the runway at Port Vila's airport by announcing the winner of the contract to carry out the work. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai says China Civil Engineering and Construction Company has been awarded the US 47-million dollar contract. The World Bank is providing the money and in recent weeks there appeared to be something of a stand-off between the bank and the government over the choice of preferred tenderer. At the announcement Mr Salwai said the World Bank had no objection to his government's selection. Dan McGarry, the media director at the Vanuatu Daily Post was at the announcement.

Mining company to investigate allegations against police in PNG

Allegations that police in Papua New Guinea burnt down homes and raped eight women during a raid on a village near the Porgera mine in Enga province is being investigated, but not yet by police. The mining company Barrick Gold has asked PNG's former Chief Ombudsman, Ila Geno, to begin an investigation in his role as the Independent Observer of Porgera Police Operations. Local police say despite being aware of the raid they'll not look into it until a formal complaint is lodged. Martyn Namorong is the National Coordinator of a non-governmental organisation called the PNG Resource Governance Coalition. He says it is the third, and probably not the last time the same traditional landowners have been forcibly removed.

PNG PM admits landowners have been let down by lease laws

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says land is an important part of people's lives and investors will have to work with landowners in any project. Parliament debated the issue of the land lease "Special Agriculture Business Lease" or SABL and a new lease system in place called the Voluntary Customary Land Registration. Mr O'Neill admitted there have been many cases under SABLs where investors did not work in partnership with landowners.

Would-be seasonal workers in Vanuatu advised to be vigilant when considering a move to Australia

There are calls for more information to be made readily available for Ni-Vanuatu thinking of applying to work in Australia under the Seasonal Workers Scheme.

Vietnam criticised after more illegal 'blue boats' caught, this time in Solomon Islands

The battle against fishing boats operating illegally in Pacific waters is intensifying, with the maritime authorities in Solomon Islands the latest to intercept so-called 'blue boats' from Vietnam and arrest their crews.

Extraordinary deep sea sanctuary near Kiribati a treasured asset for locals as well as scientists

Scientists are still examining the treasures from the deep that were uncovered in the 'dive of discovery' off Kiribati by robotic cameras 6,000 metres below the sea-level of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area.

PNG's Toea Wisil favourite to take out Australian 100m title

The fastest woman in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea's Toea Wisil, has her eyes firmly fixed on the 100 metres title at the Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney.

PNG Hunters confident of a quick return to form

The PNG Hunters were blown off course by the Norths Devils last weekend, as their unbeaten record fell in front of their own fans in Port Moresby.

PNG Kapuls want World Cup game against Tahiti to be played again

The Papua New Guinea Football Association are calling on FIFA to order a replay of their World Cup qualifying match against Tahiti in Port Moresby last week, which the Kapuls lost 3-1.

Australian govt has no tolerance for abuse of Pacific seasonal workers

The Australian government says it doesn't tolerate mistreatment of workers brought into the country from the Pacific under the seasonal workers program.

Local businessman offers to buy Fiji sugar mill

A Fiji businessman is offering to buy the Penang sugar mill in Rakiraki, after it's permanent closure was announced by the state owned Fiji Sugar Corporation.

PNG businessman guilty of misappropriating $6 million kina

A prominent Papua New Guinean businessman has been found guilty of misappropriating more than six million kina, around three million Australian dollars of public money that was supposed to be spent on repairs at a high school.

Australia may be more forthright with PNG in future says academic

A Papua New Guinean academic says the Australian government may be more outspoken about PNG in future because the Manus Island detention centre is about to close.

Solomon Islands MP blows US$50 000 in one month on phone bill

In Solomon Islands, an unnamed MP has racked up a 51 thousand US dollar phone bill in just a month.

Concerns for Great Barrier Reef after Cyclone Debbie batters northern Queensland

The last big cyclone to hit north Queensland back in 2011 was Yasi, and it had a devastating impact on the Great Barrier Reef as strong winds and tidal surges took their toll on the coral.

Former Fiji Rugby Union CEO says 7s franchise idea worth exploring

The man who served as the Fiji Rugby Union's first professional chief executive, Pio Bosco Tikoisuva, agrees that more needs to be done to exploit the commercial potential of the sevens squad, but he has reservations about former coach Ben Ryan's idea of creating an independent franchise.

Australia is speaking plainly to PNG on aid change request

So why is Australia responding so negatively to Papua New Guinea's request to replace development assistance with direct budget support? Jonathan Pryke, research fellow at the Lowy Institute, says the fact that this message is coming from a junior minister could be a way for the government to send a tough message without directly risking the diplomatic reputation of foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Australian Minister warns PNG aid is not a charity

Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific has warned Papua New Guinea that the country's aid program is not a charity. This follows the unexpected request from the PNG government for Australian development assistance to the country to go back to the way it was spent in the 1990s by directly supporting budget spending. That was changed due to concerns about how the money was being spent, including worries about corruption. The Minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, says while PNG's request will be considered, there are pressures on Australian politicians to be very careful about foreign aid spending. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific.

Kundiawa hospital plans to create quality cancer ward for Highlanders after overhaul announced by Health Department

The Papua New Guinea health department says there will be more options for cancer sufferers in the future with services to be expanded significantly.

Pristine condition of Kiribati deep sea wonderland a rare delight for ocean scientists

The scientists who led the 'dive of discovery' off Kiribati to produce real-time video pictures from a robotic camera on the seabed in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area have described a beautiful wilderness untouched by human activity.

Visa woes put a dent in PNG's World Cup hopes ahead of return match against Tahiti

The PNG soccer team's hopes of making it to the final stage of World Cup qualifying in Oceania are hanging by a thread, and only a win against Tahiti in Papeete tonight will keep them alive.

Brave Fiji can't prevent NZ making World Cup progress

In World Cup soccer, New Zealand are through to the final stage of the Oceania qualifying series after another 2-0 win over Fiji.

PNG Hospital CEO confirms periodic lack of insulin for diabetics

The CEO of the Port Moresby General Hospital has confirmed that sometimes they do run out of insulin for type one diabetics. Dr Umesh Gupta says it is a question of how to allocate limited resources, but he stresses that there are always stocks of insulin for emergencies.

PNG diabetic says hospital regularly runs out of life saving insulin

A Papua New Guinea man with type one diabetes says he's been forced to buy insulin from private sources because of regular shortages at the main hospital. Albert Paschal says without regular doses of insulin he will die, but the Port Moresby General Hospital often tells him they have run out of supplies. He says he is not the only person suffering from diabetes who is in this position.

Amnesty International calls Fiji Times sedition charges politically motivated

The human rights organisation Amnesty International has labelled sedition charges laid against the Fiji Times and three of its senior staff politically motivated. It says if the three staff are convicted and jailed, they will be considered prisoners of conscience. Amnesty's New Zealand director, Grant Bayldon, says the media should be allowed to do its job without fear of reprisals.

PNG firefighters ill-equipped to fight suspicious shopping centre blaze

Police are treating as suspicious the fire that burnt down a popular shopping centre in Port Moresby on Friday. The blaze destroyed shops and businesses and led to looting and riots in the streets, with police firing tear gas and gun shots into the air. Now, it's been revealed that firefighters were ill-equipped to deal with the fire. Superintendant Arifeai Farapo is from the Waigani Fire Station. He was at the scene and says resources were so poor that at times his crew members could only stand and watch the flames burn.

Weather expert predicts storm activity for Pacific in coming weeks

From the look of the weather charts, Cyclone Debbie has generated heavy rain clouds that cover much of Melanesia. So what's the outlook for our region? Neville Koop from the NaDraki Weather Service says the region can expect storm activity in coming weeks.

New marine species discovered off Kiribati in ground-breaking exploration of untouched ocean floor

Scientists specialising in reef ecology say they are amazed at what their first glimpses of the ocean floor off Kiribati have revealed, including what appear to be several new species.

President Remengesau frustrated by stubborn Palau congress over proposed environmental fee for tourists

The battle between Congress and the President of Palau over the introduction of an Environmental Impact Fee has escalated, with the President sending a bill that proposes to scrap the plan back to the House of Delegates for further consideration.

Pacific sprint king ambitious, but not ready yet to play sevens for Fiji

The fastest man in the Pacific, Banuve Tabakaucoro, is building his reputation in the local rugby sevens tournaments in Fiji, as he looks to expand his skill set and put his hat in the ring for national selection.

Tonga rugby chief on cloud nine at news that Ikale Tahi are coming home at last

Nine years after the Tongan rugby team last played an international match in Nuku'alofa, it looks like Ikale Tahi could be coming home in July.

Coach planning for the future after Fiji's World Cup mission impossible in New Zealand

The Fijian team are in Wellington for their return World Cup qualifier against New Zealand tonight, knowing that they have to secure an unlikely win if they are to stay in contention.

PNG-Fiji trade war over corned been and rice over

A trade war between PNG and Fiji appears to be over.

Tongan Police say attitudes to corporal punishment won't change overnight

Tonga Police say they are working with schools and NGOs in an effort to stop use of corporal punishment by teachers.

PNG per capita budget spending hasn't increased for 30 years

A new tool designed to help analyse Papua New Guinea's budget data has shown that spending and revenue per capita haven't substantially changed in real terms in 30 years.

Port Moresby business and medical services reeling after destructive fires, riots and looting

The burning down of a popular shopping strip in the Papua New Guinea capital has sent shockwaves through the city and sparked concerns for the owners and employees of the businesses.

Powdered drug a breakthrough to stop post-natal deaths of mothers in developing countries

Researchers have developed a new form of medicine targeted specifically at preventing post-natal deaths among mothers who bleed out after giving birth.

'Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies': PNG among the worst for maternal health in the world

The challenge of reducing maternal deaths in Papua New Guinea is no easy task, with most of the population living rurally and health services often few and far between.

UN meeting hopes to make strides to protect the high seas from development

The United Nations continues the process of working towards a new international treaty to protect the high seas which make up almost two-thirds of the world's ocean system.

Excluding women in remote communities hinders all human progress: UN report

A report from the United Nations Development Program has revealed the Asia-Pacific region is the second most gender-unequal of all developing regions, after the Arab states.

Devil is in the detail as PNG Hunters lose their 100 per cent record

The PNG Hunters have lost their first match of the Intrust Super Cup season, going down 32-18 to the Norths Devils at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Booming Marist 7s the template for a World Series tournament in Fiji

After another big turn out for the Marist 7s tournament in Suva, Lawrence Tikaram, the President of the Marist Rugby Club which organises the annual carnival, says it can become the template for a future World Series 7s event in Fiji.

Plenty of positives from AFLW season as grand final produces a nail-biter

The very first women's AFL Grand Final turned out to be a nailbiter with the Adelaide Crows winning the game against the Brisbane Lions by just a goal.

World's biggest Pasifika cultural festival celebrates 25 years in Auckland

The world's biggest Pasifika Festival will be taking place this weekend in Auckland.

Fallout continues from controversial 'Bootylicious' music video in PNG

The fallout from the controversial 'Bootylicious' music video by PNG artist Tati Mangi continues after the Censorship Board moved to have the clip banned yesterday.

PNG media need not obey restrictions on speaking to Health Department staff

The President of the Papua New Guinea Media Council says an attempt to get journalists to ask permission before interviewing Health Department employees is an attempt to control news about the country's health sector.

Senior Fiji Times staff now facing sedition charges

Senior management of the Fiji Times newspaper are now facing charges of sedition.

PNG government 'glossy hotel' investment slammed by Transparency International

The Papua New Guinea government's decision to invest more than 300 million kina in the luxury Star Mountain Plaza Project in Port Moresby is being called into question by Transparency International.

'Lu-Olo' election victory in Timor-Leste no surprise to political onlookers

A former guerrilla fighter is set to be Timor Leste's next president after the country's first election completed without the help of the United Nations.

Court ruling throws American Samoa's relationship with the USA back into the mix

A landmark victory for American Samoa in the US Federal Court over fishing rights could be the signal for a shift in the relationship between Pago Pago and Washington DC.

New Fiji soccer coach realistic about Bula Boys' chances against NZ

The new coach of Fiji's national soccer team, Christophe Gamel, couldn't have wished for a tougher start, as his team prepares to take on New Zealand home and away in the latest round of Oceania World Cup qualifying, with the first match in Lautoka tomorrow.

Confidence growing in PNG Hunters' camp as unbeaten run continues

After three rounds of the Intrust Super Cup season, only three teams have one hundred percent records, Townsville Blackhawks, Wynnum Manly Seagulls and the PNG Hunters.

AFLW Opportunities for Pacific women could be on the horizon

The battle for the the first ever AFLW premiership will play out tomorrow, as the Brisbane Lions take on the Adelaide Crows on the Gold Coast.

Concern murder rumours causing disquiet in PNG's Central Province

Social media in Papua New Guinea has been abuzz this week with rumours of a horrific payback murder of seven men following the pack rape and murder of a young woman.

Fiji opp'n parties want recommended changes to elections implemented

Fiji's opposition political parties want to see changes to the way elections work.

Proposed ban on Fiji imports gaining more support in PNG

The Papua New Guinea Manufacturing Council is backing the Trade Minister, Richard Maru, who wants to put a ban on all imports from Fiji.

Rice plantation owners in PNG feeling confident of economic success

Rice is set to be grown on a commercial scale in Papua New Guinea for the first time.

Doors could be opening for PNG cricketers looking to make their mark in Australia

The day when a cricketer from Papua New Guinea plays for one of the franchises in Australia's 20/20 Big Bash tournament, or indeed in the Women's Big Bash, may not be too far away now.

Kapuls' coach confident new look team can get a result against Tahiti

A new look Papua New Guinea team will step on to the park at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby later today to take on Tahiti in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match.

New online news magazine for Solomon Islands

The online news media has a new player in the Pacific and it's promising to deliver strong daily content with a focus on business in the Solomon Islands. Over the past two years 'Solomon Business Magazine' has been steadily growing the readership of its hardcopy publication. Now the magazine is launching online in what editor Robert Iroga describes as a another leap into the unknown. He says that the Solomon Islands has an untapped market in online news.

Indigenous water rights highlighted on World Water Day

It's been 25 years since the historic Mabo decision which recognised Aboriginal land rights in Australia, but for many, the struggle for water rights is ongoing. While Native Title does recognise the unique ties some indigenous groups have to land, their involvement in the management of rivers and other water sources has been much more complicated. It's a debate that's been ignited by indigenous lawyer and academic Virginia Marshall in her new book "Overturning Aqua Nullius", which highlights the sacred relationship Aboriginal groups have with water.

New solutions needed to combat foreign poaching in Pacific fishing grounds

Poaching of seafood in Pacific and Australian waters by Asian fishing boats is starting to have a serious effect on stocks of some species, and novel solutions are needed. That's according to Dr Steven Purcell, research fellow at Southern Cross University's Marine Ecology Research Centre in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. He says certain seafoods such as sea cucumber or beche de mer are being targeted by boats from Vietnam, and there are indications most of those boats are from a single village in the country. Dr Purcell suggests that if those fishermen were offered an alternative way of making a living, that might reduce the poaching problem.

Young Samoan offenders struggle with repatriation

Desperate families in New Zealand are sending their misbehaving children to stay with extended family in Samoa to try and sever gang and criminal links at home. But a new study has revealed the repatriation of troubled young men does more harm than good. Dr Moses Faleolo from Massey University conducted the study and says many of the young people felt abandoned, isolated and disowned while struggling to adjust to Samoan village life.

Bystanders in Fiji urged to intervene if a man attacks a woman

People in Fiji are being asked to intervene if they see a man attacking a woman. This follows an incident in which bystanders either ran away or took photos and videos on their mobile phones as a woman was stabbed on a street in broad daylight. She died, and a man has been charged with murder. Shamima Ali, Director of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, says people should put their mobile phones down and actually do something to help the victim when things like this happen.

First instalment of women's AFL a success

A huge audience is expected to see Brisbane Lions battle it out with the Adelaide Crows on the Gold Coast for the inaugural AFLW premiership this weekend, as the first instalment of the women's AFL competition comes to a close. The groundbreaking competition has defied all expectations, smashing TV viewership numbers and drawing plenty of fans to see the women showcase their skills on the field. But for AFLW Commentator and former women's football manager Chyloe Kurdas, the incredible success of the women's league has come as no surprise.

Academics mourn the passing of trailblazing Pacific intellectual, Dr Teresia Teawia

Tributes are pouring in on social media following the death of Teresia Teaiwa who was widely known as a groundbreaking scholar in the research of Pacific Islands culture.

World Water Day: Pacific Island countries among the worst for water access

A report published by the international charity, WaterAid, lists Papua New Guinea as one of the worst performing countries in the world when it comes to providing its rural population with a safe water supply.

Gender equality activist from PNG named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

A Papua New Guinean woman has been named the Commonwealth's Pacific Young Person of the Year for her outstanding work in promoting gender equality through sport.

Sanctions looming for those behind PNG's breakaway national soccer league?

As Papua New Guinea head into two vital World Cup qualifying matches against Tahiti over the next week, domestic soccer in PNG is in turmoil, with kick off in the new breakaway national league scheduled for April 1.

NZ'rs asked to turn taps off for a day to raise awareness of lack of Pacific water access

On Wednesday, New Zealanders are being asked to do without water from taps. It's part of a fundraising effort by charity organisation Oxfam, aimed at raising awareness about the lack of fresh drinking water in some of the country's Pacific neighbours, particularly Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. The Taps Off Day Challenge coincides with World Water Day. Paula Feehan, advocacy and campaigns director for Oxfam New Zealand, explains how it works.

Claims the Kokoda Track is unsafe challenged

The owner of a tour company that runs trips to the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea disagrees with claims that the route is unsafe. Peter Miller has taken issue with statements made by another tour operator, Charlie Lynn, who said the Kokoda Track was in the worst condition it's ever been, and predicting a tourist could even fall to their death because of the unsafe conditions. Peter Miller says that Charlie Lynn's negative comments about the Kokoda Track could end up destroying the industry.

Day of Prayer and Reconciliation in Solomon Islands

In Solomon Islands, the provincial government in Malaita was behind a special Day of Prayer & Reconciliation in Auki at the weekend that was aimed at getting elected leaders at both the national and provincial levels working together to developing the province. Premier Peter Channel Ramohia told the gathering that the event was important for the province to move forward. Presenter Georgina Kekea was at the ceremony on behalf of SIBC.

PNG firefighters under attack from public over water shortage

Firefighters in Port Moresby are coming under attack from within the very communities they are trying to protect. Responding officers have come to expect hostility and even violence from the public as a matter of course. So great is the risk to their safety that they now attend fire 'call-outs' with police for protection. Superintendant Arifeai Farapo from the Waigani Fire Station, in Port Moresby blames an insufficient number of fire hydrants for the public anger. He says that fire hydrants have been tampered with and used to access water illegally.

PNG coffee growers may have to learn to live with borer parasite

A coffee company owner in the Papua New Guinea Highlands says the coffee-berry borer parasite is present in five highland provinces and it is probably too late to eradicate it.

Fight against Tuberculosis spread far from over in PNG

Tuberculosis is now rated the world's most deadly infectious disease, leading to around 1.8 million deaths every year and infecting 10 million people each year, with around six out of ten cases occurring in south-east Asia and the western Pacific.

Tongan teachers still using corporal punishment after it was banned

Some teachers in Tongan schools are still using corporal punishment even though the practice has been banned in the country since 2014.

Thompson defends Fiji's backpedalling on UN Human Rights council aspirations

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Fiji's Peter Thomson, says his country was right to postpone its bid to secure a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Safety of Kokoda trekkers in serious doubt due to "dangerously unsafe" conditions

Tour operator Charlie Lynn says there's a very real risk that tourists could die on Papua New Guinea's famous Kokoda Track because it is in in such bad condition.

Fiji 7s coach has one eye on the present, one on the future

The Fiji rugby sevens squad are back in camp after time off following the rigours of the Las Vegas and Vancouver rounds of the World Series.

Not enough awareness in the Pacific of impacts of unhealthy eating, says expert

A community health specialist at the University of New South Wales says more attention needs to be paid in the Pacific to death rates linked to conditions like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

PNG shuns PACER PLUS in favour of stronger trade ties in Melanesia

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, has confirmed his government is pulling out of the PACER PLUS talks with Australia and New Zealand to focus on its trade relationship with other Melanesian countries.

Unease in Vanuatu as corrupt former MPs appeal for early release from prison

Three of the 14 politicians who were jailed for corruption in Vanuatu in 2015 could be out of prison as early as next month.

Palau politicians at odds over strategy for environmental impact fee

Not for the first time the road to the full establishment of Palau's vast, groundbreaking, national marine sanctuary is proving to be a bumpy one, as politicians argue over how to replace the money that will be lost when commercial fishing is banned in the country's waters.

PNG Hunters hang on to defeat Magpies and maintain 100 per cent record

The PNG Hunters are still unbeaten and level on points with Townsville Blackhawks and Wynnum Manly Seagulls at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder after the narrowest of wins over Souths Logan Magpies in Brisbane.

Perfect conditions as world class surfing comes to PNG for the first time

The Papua New Guinea public have embraced the country's first ever World Surf League competition, which continues until March 25th at Tupira on the Madang coast.

Music video sparks debate about cultural decay in PNG

A hip-hop artist in Papua New Guinea has become a social media sensation following the release of his recent 'Bootylicious' music video.

Pilot vaccination program aims to protect 18,000 schoolgirls against cervical cancer

Papua New Guinea has launched a vaccination program to prevent cervical cancer.

Income for half of PNG's population at risk from 'borer beetle' outbreak

The emergence of the borer beetle in two of Papua New Guinea's highlands provinces has the potential to devastate the country's coffee industry, jeopardising the main cash crop there.

Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva defends his call to close Tonga Broadcasting Commission

Tongan Prime Minister, Akilisi Pohiva, is defending his call for the national Broadcasting Commission to be closed down or sold off.

Heads of Pacific fisheries stress the importance of coastal resources over ocean stocks

The emergence of the borer beetle in two of Papua New Guinea's highlands provinces has the potential to devastate the country's coffee industry, jeopardising the main cash crop there.

PNG currency needs a 20 per cent devaluation says think-tank

There are renewed calls for the Papua New Guinea currency, the kina, to be devalued by up to 20 per cent.

General Hospital in Port Moresby receives boost with first MRI machine

The General Hospital in Port Moresby has taken delivery of a magnetic resonance imaging scanner, the first of its kind in Papua New Guinea.

Honiara residents take city and hospital cleanup into their own hands

Exasperated residents in Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, have taken to social media to organise a cleanup at the National Referral Hospital where the frontage has been overwhelmed with rubbish and weeds.

Pacific Challenge working well as pathway for future rugby stars

The Fiji Warriors head into the final round of the World Rugby Pacific Challenge tomorrow in pole position to retain their title.

PNG Hunters bid for a hat trick of Intrust Super Cup wins

The PNG Hunters are on the road again this weekend as they take on Souths Logan Magpies in round three of the Intrust Super Cup.

Star NZ batsman Ross Taylor joins PNG coaching ranks for Middle East tour

The Papua New Guinea cricket team are on their way to the Middle East for a month long tour that will feature warm up games against some of England's top first class players, ahead of a series against the United Arab Emirates in the World Cricket League and the four-day Intercontinental Cup.

First woman to enter Chuuk state senate promises to bring big changes

For the first time in its history, Chuuk province of the Federated States of Micronesia will have a woman in the state senate.

Delays threaten laws governing political parties in PNG

Proposed changes to the Law Governing Political Parties in Papua New Guinea may not be passed this year.

Land disputes force runway closures in Solomon Islands

A dispute over land ownership has forced Solomon Islands national airline to suspend its domestic service to the easternmost province of Temotu.

Call for action to curb excessive spending on NZ Samoan communal obligations

A New Zealand Samoan academic is calling for strong action to be taken to curb the financial impost on members of the Samoan community.

Tongan Nobles to continue efforts to bring down Pohiva government

Tonga's sacked former Finance Minister has been asked to help prepare the national budget as a consultant.

Five Ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers missing in Australia

Another ni-Vanuatu seasonal worker has gone missing in Australia - joining four others who walked away from their jobs in February.

PNG coffee facing crisis as 'borer' outbreak threatens crops

After days of speculation, the government yesterday confirmed an outbreak of the borer - that jeopardises the main cash crop for millions of highlanders.

Election trends database in Port Moresby maps changing voter attitudes in PNG

In the lead-up to Papua New Guinea's national election later this year, researchers have launched a database in Port Moresby that paints a picture of voting trends over the past 30 years.

Concerns that TB could spread due to poor health facilities in Milne Bay Province

There are concerns that a reported outbreak of tuberculosis near Alotau in Papua New Guinea could spread due to poor health facilities.

Disappearance of controversial West Papua friendship mural creates a stir in Darwin

A wall in Darwin that was adorned with a controversial street art mural promoting solidarity with the Free West Papua movement is now blank after it was painted over by contractors.

Condemnation of attack on Fiji journalist outside Suva courthouse

An attack on a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reporter outside a courthouse in Suva has been condemned by the Fiji Media Association.

Fiji govt abandons UN Human Rights Council ambitions for now to focus on COP23

Fiji has opted not to run for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Vanuatu thrown into the lions' den at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup

The draw's been made for the group stages of the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in South Korea in May, and debutants Vanuatu are facing a monumental task up against Mexico, Venezuela and Germany in Group B.

Former Samoa 7s star still waiting for visa before starting UK rugby league career

The young Samoan rugby sevens star, Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa, is still waiting for visa clearance before he can make the switch to rugby league in England, where he has signed for Bradford Bulls.

Centenary of the end of the girmit system in Fiji marked

The end of the girmit or indentured labour system which brought thousands of Indians to Fiji and other countries in the colonial period is being marked by a conference in Sydney next week.

PNG Chief Justice finds that Manus Island detention centre is closed

Papua New Guinea's Chief Justice has found that the Manus Island detention centre is closed, despite the fact that approximately 860 men still live there.

PNG women political candidates participate in mock parliament exercise

Papua New Guinea's Parliament has its first-ever Practice Parliament Session for women.

Programs and presenters

Bruce Hill
Pacific Beat Pacific Beat brings you interviews with leaders, newsmakers, and people who make the Pacifi ...

Read more

Join in

Facebook logo
Connect on Facebook

Share your stories and perspectives on a range of topics and connect with people from the Asia Pacific region on our Facebook pages.

Twitter logo
Connect on Twitter

Follow the latest updates from our people and programs and join the conversation on Twitter.

Radio Australia
Asia Pacific

Contact the studio

Got something to say about what you're hearing on the radio right now?

Text/SMS
Send your texts to +61 427 72 72 72

Tweets
Add the hashtag #raonair to add your tweets to the conversation.

Email
Email us your thoughts on an issue. Messages may be used on air.