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Pacific Island links: New Vanuatu PM, Zika in the Pacific, Solomons futsal and more

Pacific Island links: New Vanuatu PM, Zika in the Pacific, Solomons futsal and more
Published 17 Feb 2016 

By Alastair Davis, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

  • PNG's leaders in the political, business and public service spheres will meet in Port Moresby this week to discuss national priorities at the annual Leaders' Summit.
  • The Lowy Institute’s Jonathan Pryke explains the debt and cash flow problems facing the PNG Government in light of a new IMF analysis on public debt.
  • Pentacost MP Charlot Salwai is the new Prime Minister of Vanuatu. Salwai is seen as a consensus choice well suited to leading the governing coalition.
  • Following Vanuatu's successful election, this report on election support in Melanesia by ANU's Julien Barbara is worth reading.
  • Repairs to Port Vila's Bauerfield Airport in time for the start of the tourism season are a top priority for the new Prime Minister and have taken a step forward this week.
  • Global concerns about the Zika virus have reached the Pacific with Tongan health authorities now recommending that women delay pregnancy.
  • Russia's Ambassador to Fiji, Vladimir Morozov, has officially handed over Russian arms to the Fijian military. Negotiations for a second shipment are reportedly underway while a senior Russian defence official dismisses speculation that Moscow is seeking to establish a naval base in Fiji.
  • The Lowy Institute's Jenny Hayward Jones and I argue that democracy in Fiji was damaged by the suspension of the NFP political party from parliament.
  • Continuing in Fiji, civil society groups and Pacific watchers are expressing concern over changes to parliamentary procedures in Fiji.
  • Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja reports on the encouraging work to improve the lot of women in PNG.
  • The Kurukuru, the Solomon Islands national futsal team, are off to the World Cup in Colombia later this year and will benefit from government investment in a new futsal centre. Here they are beating New Zealand:

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