Pacific news in brief for July 4

Cook Islands – vaping

A move to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and vapes in the Cook Islands this month has been delayed to next month.

The extension to 1 August was confirmed by health secretary Bob Williams, who told Cook Islands News this is to allow businesses more time to sell existing stock and upgrade customs regulations.

Once in place offenders can be fined NZ$100,000 or face up to three months in prison.

Businesses in breach of the ban will be fined NZ$1 million.

Solomon Islands – flights

The Solomon Islands and New Zealand are discussing adding a third weekly flight between the two countries.

This comes as the two have signed a revised air service agreement to bolster tourism, trade and economic exchange.

The revised document replaces the initial 34-year-old agreement, catering to the modernization of the aviation industry, including major upgrades of airport infrastructure.

West Papua – forests

In West Papua, 245,506 hectares of land is under review to be recognized as customary forest land.

Local advocates say the livelihoods of indigenous people are dependent on the existence of customary forest grounds, which they feel are threatened by the palm oil industry.

JubiTV reported an estimated 2.6 million hectares of land in Papua New Guinea is currently used by industrial plantation companies.

Submissions were made by nine clans of the Wambon Kenemopte Tribe, in Boven Digoel Regency, South Papua in an effort to reclaim control over indigenous land.

French Polynesia – archaeology

After almost three years of negotiations, three kilograms of human remains, gathered in the 1970s from archaeological excavations, have been returned from Hawai’i to French Polynesia.

Local media reported that the bones were kept at Honolulu Museum.

Cultural Heritage unit head, Anatauarii Tamarii, said they were harvested from marae and other historical sites in the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Raromatai, Tahiti, and Moorea.

This repatriation was facilitated by a collaboration between the Bishop Museum and the Directorate of Culture and Heritage.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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