Pacific news in brief for March 28

Samoa – assault

Four volleyball players in Samoa will spend Easter behind bars, after they were charged with assault.

Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo confirmed the latest development into the Saturday assault.

The Samoa Observer reported the victims were in a vehicle reportedly swearing at passing vehicles, which triggered the assault from the volleyball team.

The four men who have been charged with causing injury and assault are aged between 17 and 29.

They have been detained in custody until their court appearance on April 9.

There is also a possibility the two men who complained will face criminal charges, if those in custody lodge complaints against them for insulting words.

Climate – opinion

The International Court of Justice has granted the request of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to participate in the proceedings on its climate change responsibility case.

On 29 March, 2023, the UNG General Assembly asked the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on the legal obligations of countries in preventing climate change.

Forbes reported the Court has authorised a number of international organisations to participate, including the Alliance of Small Island States, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and the Pacific Islands Forum.

The addition of the WHO this week is likely the last.

The WHO has previously advocated that climate change is a public health emergency.

The Court has yet to outline the process it will use once the written statements and responses are received, but it’s believed the advisory opinion will most likely not be released until some time in 2025.

Cook Islands – temperature

The temperature in Cook Islands has been high due to a marine heatwave.

Cook Islands News reported last Tuesday registered 32.9 degrees.

The local metservice forecasts the temperatures will return to normal next month.

Forecaster Nathan Tisam said marine heatwaves can have a significant impact on weather patterns.

He said they can lead to the intensification of extreme weather events by adding energy and moisture to storms.

Samoa is also in the grip of a heatwave with high temperatures in recent weeks.

Cook Islands – wages

The Cook Islands’ leader of the opposition wants the minimum wage to increase by NZ$3 to NZ$12 an hour.

It comes as the panel reviewing the minimum wage compiles its final recommendation.

The minimum wage increased from $8.50 to $9 last year, with a recommendation of $9.30 per hour in 2024.

Democratic Party leader Tina Browne said she wants it to move to $12 an hour before inflation gets worse.

“Particularly given the situation that we are in at the moment [with the] inflation rate – $9 in the Cook Islands is definitely not enough.

“It is worse in the outer islands – the cost of living is so much higher.”

Niue – health

The latest Niue Health department report has found staffing issues remain a major challenge.

TV Niue reported the department started with 12 nurses in the beginning of the fiscal year, but six months on that dropped to six.

The nurses work seven days a week to cover the hospital’s three shifts.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Director of Health, Minerva Ikimau, arrives in Niue on Thursday, local time.

Papua New Guinea – ministers

PNG Prime Minister James Marape has appointed two cabinet ministers.

The National newspaper reported Gumine MP Lucas Dekena has been given the education portfolio, replacing the late Jimmy Uguro.

Bogia MP Robert Naguri is the new energy Minister, replacing Kerenga Kua, who resigned in January following a cabinet reshuffle.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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