Australia

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As you’ve heard on NPR this week, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued dire warnings of extreme weather, rising sea levels, food shortages and climate migration unless urgent and unprecedented economic measures hold the average temperature rise under 1.5℃ – a goal many scientists believe is already out of reach. 

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It’s been a dramatic week at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The public broadcaster is now under investigation following two high profile departures and allegations of improper government influence.

Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michelle R. Hammond / U.S. Navy

Over the summer, Australia moved to block the development of potential Chinese military facilities in Fiji and Vanuatu; now media reports say that Australia will build a naval base of its own in a Pacific Island nation.

Ryan Finnerty

This summer marked the 100th Anniversary of the first time American and Australian troops fought together on the battlefield. What began as an alliance of necessity in the trenches of Europe has evolved into a strategic partnership that spans the Indo-Pacific.

Photo: Lachlan Fearnley / Wikimedia Commons

Australia is still recovering from last month’s political crisis, where the Liberal party ousted Malcolm Turnbull as its leader – which meant he also lost his job as Prime Minister. It turns out, that one of his last acts in office, was to outmaneuver China on a military base in Fiji.

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Solar power continues to become a bigger part of the energy picture for Hawai‘i and for the country. Part of that growth is pushed by developments in technology—from advances in batteries to a different kind of progress now reported in Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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The United States, Mexico, and Canada aren’t the only neighbors working on Free Trade Agreements. Just a few days after taking office, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will travel to Indonesia this week to announce what’s being described as an historic deal.

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Immigration remains a hot button issue in many countries around the world, including Australia. Earlier this week, a little known law maker prompted outrage after he called for a “final solution” on Muslim immigration. Yes, he really did say “final solution”.

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Big infrastructure projects built with Chinese loans are rising across the Pacific – a new government office building in Tonga and Samoa’s new police academy, for example. But new statistics from an Australian think tank suggest that China’s overall role is smaller than thought.

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Hawai‘i remains the state with the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country. In Australia, the numbers are nearly as bad—and the situation is getting worse. It’s getting more attention right now because this is National Homelessness Week in Australia.

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In a speech last night, Australia’s Race Commissioner blasted the government and parts of the media. “There has never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia.”

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It’s been just over a month since customers at stores on O‘ahu started paying 15 cents for plastic bags. This week in Australia, one of the country’s leading grocery store chains reversed its policy on plastic bags — and environmentalists are angry.

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In Australia, the ruling Liberal National coalition took sobering losses in special parliamentary elections over the weekend. In today’s Pacific News Minute, Neal Conan considers the x-factor: Pie-gate.

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An Asia Pacific nation is facing international sanctions because of a policy decision. This doesn’t have anything to do with international trade, and it definitely has nothing to do with President Trump. But it does have to do with basketball.

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It’s easy to confuse the flags of New Zealand and Australia. Both feature the British Union Jack and stars on a dark blue background. Now, in the latest eruption in a war of words between the two old allies, New Zealand’s acting Prime Minster said Australia had copied New Zealand’s flag, and ought to change it.

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Australian media report that members of the Pacific Islands Forum will sign a new security pact at this year’s summit in September. A Chinese newspaper said that if the agreement is aimed at containing China, that would be a strategic mistake.

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Cigarette packages could change in many countries after a ruling by the World Trade Organization last week. In a landmark case, the WTO upheld an Australian law that requires what’s called “plain packaging.” But the packages are anything but plain.

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This Sunday, stores around Oahu began charging 15 cents for plastic bags. Most people realized this change was coming, and it hasn’t been a big deal. But a similar change in Australia is having a very different result.

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Most office spaces around the world include break rooms. That’s generally where people can have lunch or a snack, and chat casually with colleagues. But in Australia, a different kind of “break room” is growing in popularity.

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The diplomatic rivalry between China and Australia has stepped up in recent days. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea just made a state visit to Beijing, while the leaders of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu went to Canberra. China’s also taken over some former Australian territory. . . on the radio.

Minister for Trade and Investment The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP / Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s main political parties have reached agreement on the controversial Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill, which, when it passes, will further cool Australia’s already frosty relations with China.

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Two of the largest grocery store chains in Australia are taking new steps to cut down on the amount of waste they produce. It’s the latest development in a series of moves aimed at curbing waste in Australia. HPR’S Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Tax cuts for corporations and some individuals — and a slower pace on renewable energy. It’s not the Trump Administration agenda; it’s some of the news from the budget proposed by the government of Australia. But there’s also a debate about a figure who is well known in Hawai‘i. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

JJ Harrison / Wikipedia

The governments of both Australia and New Zealand announced increases in aid to the Pacific. Boosts seen at least in part as responses to China’s growing influence. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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A week ago, French President Emmanuel Macron was in Washington. This week, he’s on a five-day trip to Australia and then New Caledonia. We have a preview from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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In the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s Fairfax Media reports that China and Vanuatu are in preliminary discussions on a Chinese military base in the South Pacific. Like several other island nations, Vanuatu receives millions in loans from China and Beijing may now want a payback. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Major League Baseball is underway with a new season, but another game with bats and balls has captured attention around the Asia-Pacific. A cricket scandal involving Australia’s national team is the topic of news and social media from Sydney to New Delhi. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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New figures out this week show that homelessness is a growing problem in Australia. The latest information shows the country’s homeless population has jumped by about 14-percent in the five years leading up to the latest survey. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jarod Hodge / U.S. Navy

On Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party announced that presidents will no longer be limited to two terms, clearing the way for Xi Jinping to remain in office for the foreseeable future. The news comes as the U.S. and its Indo-Pacific allies reconsider an old idea – an informal alliance called the "Quad."  We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track is open again, after local landowners ended a protest that closed the famous trail for three weeks. According to RNZ Pacific, the government agreed to review the joint aid program with Australia, which manages the track. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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