Kiribati

Fourteen new MPs elected in Kiribati

The second of two rounds of voting took place this week.

Four women have also made Kiribati history by winning seats, the highest number of women in parliament so far.

Most of the ministers in the current caretaker government have kept their seats, including President Taneti Maamau, however it was too early to say whether he would be his party's nomination for President again.

His TKP party had the majority of seats, but cross-party alliances and new members meant there was no clear winner, with the May 22 parliamentary session expected to reveal more.

Kiribati goes to polls as normal despite Covid-19 threat

Earlybird voter Linda Uan said there was handshaking and smiles as voters left the booth in her area.

She was part of a small lineup of less than a dozen voters as the booth she joined opened at 7am this morning.

Ms Uan said despite health warnings all weekend, including recommendations of social distancing and good hygiene, there was nothing different from the last elections.

She said people seemed to be more excited about exercising their right to vote rather than feeling nervous or fearful of the threat of Covid-19.

Nauru Airlines suspends flights to Marshall Islands and Kiribati

In response to the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in relation to Coronavirus, the RMI has suspended all international air travel until 22 March 2020, effective immediately.

Nauru Airlines CEO Geoff Bowmaker said the airline was complying with the various health advisory requirements of each of the countries through which it flies to help keep residents and visitors safe from Coronavirus. 

Kiribati blocks Chinese travelers over coronavirus fears

Kiribati is the latest Pacific country to impose entry requirements to stop the spread off the virus.

All visitors are now required to fill out a health form and travelers from countries with the coronavirus must go through a self-quarantine period.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Wallis and Futuna have ordered 5000 face masks amid concern over the propagation of the coronavirus.

This is the territory's biggest order of its kind as people worry the respiratory illness could reach the archipelago.

Kiribati police find cocaine and marijuana packages

A report from KPS said that as illicit drugs are already in the country, people particularly youths, are probably using it.

KPS said the pure cocaine package, weighed 1.5kg while the other package containing marijuana weighed more than 3kg.

The drugs are being kept at the Kiribati Police Headquarters in Betio.

Police have called on the public to report information related to suspected drug use and possession.

Kiribati records first measles case

The bloodwork of an 11-month-old boy from Eita village in Tarawa, who tested positive for measles, was among 16 samples that were sent to Fiji for testing and were returned on Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said the boy has received treatment and is recovering.

The Kiribati Measles Task Force is working to confirm contact-tracing and co-ordinate measures to minimise the risk of the further spread of measles in the country.

     

Litany of failures led to Kiribati ferry tragedy - inquiry report

Those conclusions are detailed in a report by the Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the MV Butiraoi, which details a litany of failures that led to the country's worst maritime disaster.

The report was released by the office of the president, Taneti Maamau, on Monday. Until then, it had only been available in hard copy at the president's office or the national library, a move which had been criticised as secretive and undemocratic, with reports of time restrictions and a ban on copying, photographing or taking notes from the report.

Opposition organises anti-China protest march in Kiribati

The opposition in Kiribati has organised an anti-China protest march this morning in Tarawa.

Police closely monitored the procession through the streets, which saw protestors waving Taiwanese flags and chanting "We love Taiwan, we hate China, we want peace".

The leader of the opposition Titabu Tabane said the people were not consulted by the government and vowed to switch back to Taiwan if his party were voted into power in next year's election.

Pacific young people discuss natural disasters at Japan summit

The Pacific students are among 210 young people from 43 countries attending the summit along with over 200 Japanese youths.

Japan was hit with a deadly tsunami in March 2011 following a magnitude nine earthquake off the country's east coast.

At least 20,000 people died in the disaster.

Noriko Tanaka, from the Japanese Embassy in Wellington, said it was important for the youth to learn about tsunamis and share their knowledge with their communities when they return home.

Good weather mitigates king tide damage in Kiribati

Kiribati Climate Action Network's Pelenise Alofa said she's thankful there was no wind or storm surge to drive it over seawalls and into properties.

People on Tarawa and other islands have been working all week to build up seawalls in preparation for the inundation, Ms Alofa said.

However, not everyone can afford new cement to protect their properties, she said.

The KiriCAN national co-ordinator said she had been up all night preparing for the tide but will soon go out to check on others around Tarawa.