Pacific Scoop

Marshall Is News

Dirty tricks and regime change in nuclear-free Palau

The documentary Strategic Trust – The Making of Nuclear-Free Palau.

Thirty years ago today, Haruo Remeliik, the president of the world’s first nuclear-free state Palau, was assassinated. Investigative journalist Ed Rampell asks serious questions about a mysterious reign of terror in the Micronesian nation.

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Ed Rampell

Last December, as Jeb Bush prepared for his presidential bid, reports about his financial dealings revealed that, according to the Los Angeles Times: “Bush and his partners also set up two other funds. BH Logistics raised $26 million and invested it in Dorian LPG Ltd., a shipping company incorporated last year in the Marshall Islands to transport propane gas.”

While Politico noted that BH Logistics is involved in the shale oil industry, a more intriguing point is: Why has Jeb Bush been connected to the remote Republic of the Marshall Islands, site of numerous postwar US hydrogen and atomic bomb tests?

In fact, Bush dynasty involvement in Micronesia – those Western Pacific Islands roughly stretching between Hawai’i and the Philippines – dates back to World War II’s Pacific Theatre campaign. Read more »

Marshall Islands advocate for nuclear test victims honoured in Taiwan

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The late Darlene Keju … a pioneering Pacific legacy. Image: WCC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

Nineteen years after her death from cancer, Marshall Islander Darlene Keju has been honored in Taiwan with the Global Love of Lives award from a Taipei non-profit foundation.

The Chou Ta-Kuan Educational and Cultural Foundation is honoring 19 people from around the world in an annual ceremony launched 18 years ago following the death of the foundation’s namesake, a Taiwanese boy who died at 10 from cancer.

Keju exposed a United States cover up of nuclear test-caused health problems in her islands and later formed the internationally recognised non-profit group Youth to Youth in Health in the Marshall Islands. Read more »

SIDS wrap in Samoa: It really is a matter of life and death

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Facing the future … the SIDS conference in Apia, Samoa, this week. Image:

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Mata’afa Keni Lesa

The urgency with which a number of challenges the small island developing states are confronted with means only one thing. That is the third Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference, which has just ended in Samoa, cannot be treated as business as usual.

While it’s easy to get lost and become totally overwhelmed by the emotions and magnitude of the issues and the personalities who have been to Samoa to talk about them, the reality of life for small island states must never be forgotten.

It’s quite scary in fact. Our islands are slowly but surely sinking. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are becoming more menacing with each single day so that countless families have had to relocate or risk being swept out to sea. Read more »

Pacific NFIP advocacy delegates seek end to NZ police aid for Papua repression

The video of Indonesian repression shown by Pax Christi’s Kevin McBride during his NFIP presentation at AUT University on Saturday while criticising New Zealand police aid. Source: West Papuan witnesses video

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Anna Majavu

Fresh calls have been made for the New Zealand government to end its three-year, $6.34 million project training Indonesian police who are involved in the military occupation and repression of the West Papua region.

The government’s police training programme was slated by Pacific and local community leaders and activists at a conference held at AUT University on Saturday to commemorate international Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) day.

Chilling footage was screened showing Indonesian police invading a peaceful meeting of West Papuans, opening fire and then kicking and beating West Papuans while they were being forced to crawl along the ground. The footage has been handed over to local television stations. Read more »

Nuclear Survival Day storytelling brings world youth to Marshall Islands

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Youth delegates from nuclear-affected countries are joining Marshall Island youngsters to mark the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test this weekend. Image:

Pacific Scoop:
Report – From the PMC news desk

Youth delegates from nuclear-affected countries – from Japan to Kazakhstan to the Pacific – are gathering in the Marshall Islands to mark the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test.

On March 1, 1954, the United States conducted its largest ever nuclear weapon test, codenamed Castle Bravo.

The nuclear test contaminated four of the atolls in Marshall Islands, with the fall-out from the blast still impacting the health and well-being of residents today. Read more »

USP appoints new journalism coordinator amid controversy

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Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Shireen Lata in Suva

A former broadcast journalism lecturer and media centre broadcaster of the University of the South Pacific, New Zealander Patrick Craddock, is returning to Suva to take up the journalism coordinator’s post.

Craddock replaces Australian Dr Ian Weber who resigned suddenly last week.

Craddock has worked for nearly 20 years in different countries in Africa and the Pacific teaching radio journalism, writing scripts and producing radio drama for adult education. Read more »

Election, constitution and declaration round out busy Forum week

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The opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro, the Marshall Islands, last week. Image: Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel

Australia has elected a new leader, Fiji has passed a new constitution and Pacific countries have signed a new declaration on climate change at the end of a ground-breaking week in Pacific politics.

Tony Abbott led the Liberal-National Coalition to electoral victory on Saturday, to become Prime Minister-elect of Australia and one of the most powerful players in the Asia-Pacific region.

He was due to clarify an arrangement for asylum seeker resettlement in Papua New Guinea in the near future, and incoming Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC that developing a “strong mutually respectful relationship with Indonesia” would also be a top priority.

Read more »

Working together to promote a climate for change in the Pacific

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Connie Hedegaard at this year’s Pacific Islands Forum. Hedegaard is the European Commissioner for Climate Action. Image: Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Scoop:
Commentary – By Connie Hedegaard

The Pacific region is on the front line of climate change. Its low-lying islands risk being swamped by rising sea levels and their inhabitants forced to emigrate.

In June, exceptionally high tides coupled with storm surges flooded parts of the Marshall Islands capital, Majuro. The rising waters topped the city sea walls. Some islanders were forced to evacuate their homes and a state of disaster was declared.

For the Pacific people, weather extremes are not about a distant future, they have become the new normal. Heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising oceans are the new reality of an ever-warming world.

Read more »

Future of Forum questioned – regional powers ‘not interested’, says academic

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Leaders from the Smaller Island States (SIS) met at the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro this week.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel 

As this year’s Pacific Islands Forum enters its third day, the Pacific remains divided on the role and relevance of the region’s largest leadership summit, and whether Fiji should be a part of it.

Carbon emissions and fishing industry regulation have been among topics of conversation for delegates from sixteen member states during Wednesday’s talks – but an about-turn by New Zealand government on Fiji received the most attention.

The New Zealand government recognised Fiji’s constitution – due for assent tomorrow – as a step towards liberal democracy and human rights in the country. It also looked towards greater engagement with the state.

Read more »

Kerry warns of climate change impact in the Pacific at Forum

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John Kerry said that Pacific island nations need to prepare for the impact of climate change when speaking to the Pacific Islands Forum this week. Image:

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, made no new environmental promises at his speech at the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro this week, but said that there is “still time to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change”.

Kerry, who addressed the Forum via a video link, acknowledged that the Pacific was on “the front lines of climate change” and that there was a need for climate change mitigation efforts.

“The people of the Pacific Islands know as well as anyone that we also need to prepare communities for the impacts that are already being felt.”

Read more »

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