Pacific news in brief for September 9

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PNG Governor’s support for sea dump, adviser quits far-right ties and internet disruption continues in territory

New governor rejects long-standing opposition to ditching byproducts in the sea

Papua New Guinea’s newly resettled governor in Morobe province, Luther Wenge, is happy that mining by-products are being dumped at sea.

The commissioning of the new Wafi-Golpu mine is a priority for the national government as it strives to develop the country’s economy.

Wenge’s support comes despite years of opposition to the dumping at sea, from the community and two former governors of Morobe.

Wenge told the audience at his swearing-in ceremony that the provincial government would drop all legal challenges to the mine going forward.

RNZ Pacific’s PNG correspondent Scott Waide said Wenge was clear about why he supported the mine.

“He was saying deep sea tailings disposal will take place and that’s where he’ll get the money to pay for free education,” he said.

New Caledonia’s special adviser resigns over far-right support

A special adviser to a New Caledonian member of the French government has resigned, after criticizing his support for the French far right.

Breuic Frogier resigned just days after being appointed by Sonia Backes, who in July took the newly created post of citizenship secretary in the revamped and expanded 42-member French government.

Frogier had led the presidential campaign of far-right candidate Eric Zemmour this year, describing him as the only one with a perspective for the future of New Caledonia.

He said criticism of his support for one of Emmanuel Macron’s rivals put Backes in an uncomfortable position, prompting him to tender his resignation.

The SOS Racisme group had asked French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to dismiss him.

More internet turbulence expected in the territory

Wallis and Futuna has experienced internet connection blackouts – and more are expected.

The cut was blamed on the urgent replacement of the Tuisamoa submarine cable around the level of American Samoa.


Photo: 123RF

The Tuisamoa is a 1,470 km long cable system that crosses Samoa, Fiji and has branched out to Wallis and Futuna since 2017.

According to officials at French internet company Orange, the shutdown was not notified as it should.

Further cuts are scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the same time.

Some islands in Samoa were affected by the cuts, however – but they were able to reconnect quickly thanks to its other feeder links to Fiji and Australia.

Samoan police are trying to tackle rising suicide rates

The Samoa Police Department has launched a social media awareness campaign to help reduce the rising number of suicides.

The ministry on Tuesday launched the first 10-minute episode of Samoa Saogalemu, a Facebook chat series aimed at eliminating suicides.

Deputy Commissioner Papali’i Monalisa Tia’i-Keti says there were 15 suicides in the first eight months of 2022, compared to 15 for all of 2021.

He said that because Samoa does not have a resident clinical pathologist, there is a long wait as negotiations continue to secure a pathologist from overseas.

“Families are very agitated by the long wait, but it is a legal requirement for suicides to have an autopsy and it can only be done by a qualified person from abroad,” he said.

A recent Memorandum of Understanding between Samoa Police and Fiji Police will see the availability of a pathologist to work in Samoa should the need arise.

Self-isolation for covid-positive travelers to American Samoa

Passengers arriving in American Samoa who test positive for Covid-19 no longer need to be quarantined but must self-isolate.

All passengers are still tested upon arrival.

Those who test negative are allowed to leave immediately.

But those who test positive stay for a briefing on what they need to do, which is self-isolate at home for 10 days, and register on TalofaPass to check in daily.

Pacific leaders soon at the UN General Assembly

Pacific island leaders are expected in New York for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The conference will take place from September 13 to 20.

Climate change and the Ukrainian crisis are expected to dominate discussions and speeches.

US President Joe Biden has invited Pacific Island leaders to a meeting in Washington on September 28-29.

New Caledonian minister says emissions targets met early

New Caledonia’s energy minister, Christophe Gyges, said he had already met his 2025 emissions reduction targets.

The territory plans to reach 70% renewable energy to power its nickel plants by 2030.

A new temporary CAT floating power plant has arrived in New Caledonia from Turkey.

Gyges told RNZ Pacific that the territory’s energy plan is on track.

“We are already producing 500 megawatts of photovoltaic effect, so we are already meeting the 2025 to 2026 targets, when the CAT will stop. This means that it will be replaced by already authorized projects,” he said. .

The CAT will replace a 50-year-old plant to bring cleaner energy to nickel production.

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