‘Spies’ get PNG marching orders

In a substantial blow to diplomatic relations between Australia and its former colony, PNG has gone ahead with a threat to end contracts for foreigners brought in to the nation’s public service.

There had been 33 Australian public servants seconded to various PNG departments including officials from the Tax Office, Customs, the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman, Treasury and Finance.

Miss PNG crowned Miss Pacific Islands 2015

Havora was crowned queen of the regional beauty pageant in the Cook Islands yesterday. She also won the Best Sarong and Best Talent categories.

PNG has never won an international or regional crown since the first Miss PNG Eva Arni who went on to win the "Miss Asia" title in 1975.

First runner up is Miss Samoa, Ariana Taufao who also won the Best Interview category.

Second runner up, Miss Tonga, Brittne Fuimaono also took home the Miss Photogenic and Miss Social Media titles.

The other winners are:

Third runner up: Miss Fiji, Zaira Begg

Digicel celebrates family this Christmas

Digicel is once again bringing families and the Pacific’s greatest musical talent together with an upbeat new version of their hit song ‘We Are Family’. This new rendition is a cheerful Pacific Christmas music collaboration, available to all Digicel customers across the company’s six Pacific countries. 

Drought-stricken Pacific nations to brace for likely disease

Disaster officials in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga have reported this week that the situation is already bad and they are expecting it to get worse.

Australian agricultural scientist, Mike Bourke says remote areas such as those in Vanuatu's south, worst affected by Cyclone Pam, will need attention, particularly with treatment of disease.

UN draws attention to death penalty law in Pacific nations

Today is World Day Against the Death Penalty, but execution has yet to be abolished in Tonga, Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The death penalty was revived in PNG in 2013, but was put under review in May without being implemented.

PNG judicial independence queried

The lawyers, Greg Egan and Terence Lambert, were preparing to represent PNG investigators in a major fraud case against the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill.

But they were blocked from entering the country, apparently on instruction from Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura.

An executive member for the Law Council of Australia, Morry Bailes, says he is disturbed by the reports.

U20 World Cup spot up for grabs for Oceania women

PNG replaced South Africa as World Cup hosts in March, gifting them automatic qualification and a second berth for Oceania.

Hosts Tonga face a tough test in today's opening match against defending Oceania champions New Zealand, who have been on an unbeaten run since 2002.

Coach Penateti Feke was a part of the Tongan team at July's Pacific Games.

She's selected four of her teammates from that event, while nine have experience from last year's Under 20 tournament.

Indonesia condemns abduction of pair in PNG

The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi says the government is trying to free the hostages, who the Antara news agency reports were kidnapped by villagers from Skoutio village in PNG's West Sepik province last Wednesday.

Armed men reportedly ambushed them while they were conducting logging operations in Skopro, within Papua and a three-hour walk from Skoutio village.

Another Indonesian logging worker was reportedly shot during the incident in which the men were captured, but was not taken into detention and is now in hospital in Jayapua.

Greenpeace calls for investigation into illegal fishing by Taiwanese ship

“We are still tracking the Shuen De Ching No.888 and we have supplied all our information to the nations where the ship might pull into their ports, including Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Fiji.

“We think it is vital for Pacific nations to investigate this ship to show that illegal fishing will not be tolerated, particularly as the region tries to develop a sustainable fisheries industry,” said Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Global Tuna campaigner from aboard Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior ship.

Papua New Guinea and Pacific Community mark new era

The people of Papua New Guinea stand to benefit from the new agreement between their government and the Pacific region’s principal scientific and technical organisation which will strengthen ties to address the country’s complex development challenges in a more holistic way.

“This agreement is based on a genuine spirit of collaboration in which our government and the Pacific Community will seek to complement one another’s efforts more and embrace the contributions of other partners to achieve development outcomes that will assist the people who need it most,” Minister Pato said.