Pacific news in brief for May 2

Papua New Guinea – violence

An escapee who allegedly murdered a young girl, her brother, a child and wounded the child’s father has been hacked to death by an angry mob of relatives.

The northern police commander told the National newspaper the deceased was being held by police with 18 other people since last month.

They say he was wanted for several other crimes before he escaped and was killed.

Northern Mariana Islands – closure

The slump in the Japanese tourism market is seen as the key reason for one of the two main hotels on the Northern Mariana’s island of Saipan shutting its doors.

The Hyatt Regency, which has operated on the island for 43 years, will close next month, amid occupancy rates of just 30 percent.

RNZ Pacific correspondent on Saipan, Mark Rabago, said the owners were Japanese and the hotel has geared itself to serve the Japanese market.

But in recent years that has slumped dramatically, and getting those tourists back has proved very difficult, not least because of the soaring dollar relative to the yen.

“At the same time the Japanese Government has an internal programme right now, where they are encouraging their people to travel around the country, instead of outside,” he said.

“Also, we are competing against other ‘sun, sand and beach’ tourist spots, like Vietnam, the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia and even Guam and Hawaii. So it is really hard.”

Fiji – hospital

There are a shortage of beds in Fiji hospitals to cater for the growing number of patients.

Minister for Health Dr Atonio Lalabalavu told the Fiji Times it’s a chronic issue that’s impacted the country for many years, because there is not enough space for hospital extensions.

He said they have decentralised medical services in health centres, with an aim of improving the facilities outside hospitals.

Guam – travel

Guam now has a direct link to Japan following the launch of a new flight.

The Guam to Haneda flight is expected to provide a much-needed boost to Japanese visitor arrivals, according to United Airlines.

The first flight departed overnight Wednesday, Guam time.

The Haneda airport is located within the Tokyo metropolitan area, which has a population of more than 37 million.

The Pacific Daily News reported the airline plans to operate seven flights a week between Tokyo-Haneda and Guam, using Boeing 737 aircraft, which has room for 166 customers, including 16 business-class seats.

Niue – bill

The second readings of four Constitution Amendment Bills kick off in Niue’s Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, local time.

TV Niue reported the proposals include increasing the number of members of Cabinet from four to six, and expanding the term of the Assembly from three to four years.

Another planned amendment is changing the title of the head of government from “premier” to “prime minister”.

A government release said if the bills pass second reading, there will be a third and final reading before the public will have a say in a referendum.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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