By Euan Moyle, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program.
- The situation in the Manus Island detention centre remains tense, with approximately 400 refugees refusing to leave. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged AU$2.7 million for essential services to refugees on Manus and Nauru, and has also pressed Malcolm Turnbull to reconsider an offer to take 150 of the remaining refugees.
- Solomon Islands parliament has elected a new Prime Minister, with the ruling Democratic Coalition for Change’s Rick Hou to replace the ousted Manasseh Sogavare.
- On the sidelines of COP23, Pope Francis met with Pacific Islands Forum leaders at the Vatican and spoke out on the risks of rising sea levels in the Pacific.
- Malcolm Turnbull and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill have announced that Australia will build an undersea telecommunications cable between the two countries. A deal between Chinese telecommunications company Huawei and the government of Solomon Islands to build a similar cable that would connect to Australia’s communications network had previously raised security concerns in Australia.
- Tonga’s snap election, called after King Tupou IV dismissed the government of ‘Akilisi Pohiva in August, is being held tomorrow. There is a strong possibility that no female candidates will win seats and ABC’s Pacific Beat spoke with ‘Akosita Havili Lavulavu, the only woman in Tonga’s parliament, about the obstacles for aspiring female politicians in Tonga.
- The University of PNG’s School of Business and Public Policy and the ANU’s Development Policy Centre are calling for academic papers for the 2018 PNG Update, to be held in Port Moresby in June 2018.