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Author: Vila Times Editor

Palau pressured to cut diplomatic links with Taiwan

Palau has vowed to resist renewed pressure from Beijing to cut its diplomatic links with Taiwan. One of just 20 nations keeping formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Palau was named in a notice issued by Chinese officials in December warning travel agencies that it was illegal to advertise group tours to destinations not on China’s approved list, Financial Times reports. But while a clampdown on Chinese visitors would hurt the Palau economy, the nation said it had no plans to switch its allegiance away from Taipei. “Palau is a country of laws, it is a democracy and we make...

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Exxon discovered oil and gas in Papua New Guinea

Exxon Mobil Corp. has discovered natural gas and oil in the western province of Papua New Guinea and has begun evaluating the find with its partners. The Texas oil company drilled an exploration well more than 8,900 feet into the earth and found hydrocarbons in sandstone reservoirs, confirming that the gas-rich field encompassing the Toro and Digimu sandstone reservoirs extends southeast, Business Wire reports. The discovery added to the company’s “rapidly growing inventory of low cost supply of natural gas” in Papua New Guinea, adding to reserves acquired in Exxon’s purchase of InterOil Corp., as well as its boost...

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Qantas is worst major airline for fuel efficiency and emissions in the Pacific: study

Qantas has been ranked in a new study as the worst major airline for fuel efficiency and carbon emissions when flying across the Pacific. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has analysed the fuel emissions of 20 major airlines conducting trans-Pacific flights, ABC reports. It ranked Qantas the worst in 2016, finding it burned on average 64 per cent more fuel per passenger-kilometre than the top ranked airlines, China-based Hainan and Japan’s ANA. A “passenger-kilometre” is defined as how many people you can fly 1 kilometre on 1 litre of fuel. The other major Australian carrier, Virgin Australia,...

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Why China is splashing cash around in the Pacific: analysis

Tim Murphy, co-editor of the New Zealand-based media Newsroom, wrote another article on Chinese aid projects in the Pacific, trying to put together the information from different sources.   In downtown Nuku’alofa, a colossus is rising. From the water it dominates all. On the ground, it dwarfs the Tongan royal palace across the road and the central business district around it. The three-storey Government building, named St George Palace, was built by Chinese workers and funded by a NZ$20 million gift to Tonga from the People’s Republic of China. While it is grandly out of scale for the flat,...

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Vanuatu to host its second Leimalo Surf Festival in Pango Village

The Vanuatu Surfing Association (VSA) will be hosting its second annual Leimalo Surf Festival in the wave rich region of Pango Village. Named after Leimalo, the local female deity who is said to bless surfers with good waves, the festival is turning into one of the biggest gatherings of indigenous surfing tribes and offers one of the highest prize purses in the Pacific, Surfer Today reports. Located in the uncrowded pristine waters of Vanuatu, the event will showcase the talent of indigenous Pacific islanders and celebrate surfing and culture.Last year’s inaugural event was held in perfectly groomed one-meter swell,...

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Vanuatu trio to help Solomon Warriors in 2018 OCL campaign

In December Vanuatu defeated Solomon Islands 3-2 in the Pacific Mini Games to take the gold medal. For the Solomon Islands it was a tough defeat to take but the nation’s football team remains one of the strongest in Oceania. For the champions of Solomon Islands, Solomon Warriors, it will be a mix of home grown players and three stars from Vanuatu who will lead them into the Oceania Champions League, OceaniaFC reports. In the Pacific Mini Games defenders Haddis Aengari and Emmanuel Poila, along with striker Gagame Feni, started for Solomon Islands. Forward Jerry Donga was on the...

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Hong Kong investor interested to reopen Tinian casino-hotel

Hong Kong investor Tim Chen, principal owner of Tinian Entertainment Corp., is interested in taking over and running the now defunct Tinian Dynasty hotel-casino on Tinian island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, but the $75 million fine imposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCen is a major concern. Chen chartered a flight from Hong Kong to Tinian on Friday to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Tinian International Airport which is now complete after 20 years of construction and renovations, Marianas Variety reports. Chen also met with the Tinian leadership late in the afternoon to discuss...

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Palau started to collect $100 per visitor environmental fee

Palau’s arrival form greets visitors with the line “Welcome to Palau -The Rainbow’s End,” a phrase that aptly sums up the country’s resplendent beauty. Starting Janгфкн 1, 2018, every visitor coming to Palau will be assessed a $100 environmental fee. It’s part of the island nation’s move to promote high value tourism and first-rate tourism hospitality, Pacific Note reports. Faced with a rough start and suffering delays since becoming law two years ago, the tourist fee named the “Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee” is finally being implemented. The environmental fee is the primary financing mechanism for the Palau National Marine...

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French Polynesia’s ex-president says UAE to invest ‘billions of dollars’ in Tahiti

Gaston Flosse, French Polynesia’s former president, after arriving in Tahiti from Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, announced he has signed an agreement for a large scale investments in Tahiti with a rich UAE businessman, after three days of talks. Gaston Flosse made this announcement in the airport soon after landing in Papeete. According to him, Al Manhal, an investment company from Abu Dhabi, is willing to invest “billions of dollars” worth of projects in Tahiti, local media Tahiti News reports. Earlier Gaston Flosse stated that Al Manhal has contacted French Polynesian government in 2016, offering to...

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American Samoa wants to tap into booming Pacific wedding market

American Samoa is looking at tapping into the wedding market — a booming industry in the Pacific — by amending local laws, hence allowing foreigners to exchange vows in the territory. Current local marriage laws are a “big deterrent” for American Samoa to be a potential destination for weddings, for foreigners who want to wed in the territory, American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe told Samoa News. A call to the Office of Vital Statistics by Samoa News elicited the following: To get a marriage license, you must have a valid Immigration ID, unless you are an...

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