Pacific news in brief for May 14

Northern Marianas – bird flu

The Northern Marianas has issued a temporary ban on importing live poultry and hatching eggs due to the threat of bird flu.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources said bird flu presents a significant concern, as it poses risks not only to avian populations but also to humans and other animals.

The department said exceptions may be granted for poultry imports originating from Hawaii and Guam, subject to thorough review.

Recent data from the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service shows a notable increase in avian influenza H5N1 cases across the mainland United States.

Guam – employment

Guam Community College has secured US$1.3 million from Washington to prepare young adults for employment.

The Pacific Daily News reported the ‘Youth Build’ program targets 18 to 24-year-olds without high school diplomas.

It offers a 32-week curriculum split between basic education and construction trade training.

Up to 66 young people will be involved in the program, which aims to prepare participants for employment and boost apprenticeships in high-demand fields, such as construction work.

Meanwhile, Guam’s nursing programs and war survivors have received grant awards from the Guam Economic Development Authority.

Samoa – airport

A $25 million tālā upgrade to Samoa’s Faleolo International Airport is set to ease congestion for October’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa led the ground-breaking ceremony earlier this month.

She said the development will not only improve transportation and an avenue for businesses to operate from, but it symbolises Samoa’s commitment to modernising infrastructure and embracing the future of aviation.

Talamua Online reported the contractors have five months to complete the project.

Federated States of Micronesia – security

The US is proposing to set up a national security office in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) among other defence projects being planned.

Rear Admiral Greg Huffman, the US Indo-Pacific Command senior military official in Guam and Micronesia, said the FSM is a crucial part of the overall defence plan.

The Pacific Island Times reported details of the proposed national security office were not currently available.

Rear Admiral Huffman and US Ambassador to the FSM, Jennifer Johnson, recently hosted a meeting where officials discussed maritime security throughout the region, and progress updates on US-funded projects in the FSM.

Papua New Guinea – eye

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ has welcomed the announcement of NZ$18.9 million towards the construction of a purpose-built eye care training and service centre in Papua New Guinea.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ chief executive Dr Audrey Aumua stressed the impact the PNG Centre for Eye Health will have for people in need, and in helping to eliminate avoidable blindness across the region.

The Foundation said eight out of the 22 PNG provinces have a resident eye doctor.

The centre will support the goal of having two eye doctors graduating every year by 2030.

Construction is scheduled to start later this year and be completed in early 2026.

Cook Islands – market

Rarotonga’s Punanga Nui Market, which is more than 20 years old, is getting an upgrade.

A government spokesperson said phase one of the makeover will take 18 months to complete.

It includes construction of a large undercover open-plan building that will house around 70 grassroots vendors, a new toilet block, a large carpark and connecting walkways.

In phase two, a playground and a food court will be built.

Chief executive of government agency, Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Allan Jenesen said the renovations will make the market a more vibrant place.

Guam – summit

Guam is preparing to host the 26th Micronesian Islands Forum scheduled from 3-5 June.

The Micronesian Islands Forum is a regional intergovernmental organisation composed of island nations and territories in the Micronesia subregion of the Pacific.

The Pacific Island Times reports Guam governor Lou Leon Guerrero saying the forum will feature governors, presidents, and representatives from all over Micronesia working together to strengthen ties, further collaboration, and deepen commitments throughout the region.

The Guam public is also encouraged to register.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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