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Tuesday 23 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Air New Zealand will trial a digital vaccine passport for three weeks starting in April on its Auckland – Sydney route, the airline announced yesterday.
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Tuesday 23 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
The Ports Authority Tonga held its 2020 Annual General Meeting on 22 February, and paid its sole shareholder, the Government of Tonga, a dividend of $1,541,445, for the financial year ended 30 June 2020.
Tuesday 23 February 2021

Christchurch, New Zealand
New York Times reporting: First the houses and cars vanished. Fences, driveways and the other remaining markers of suburban life followed. Now, only stretches of green remain — an eerie memorial to two earthquakes that leveled Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city, 10 years ago. The undulating expanse, which begins 2 miles from downtown Christchurch, was deemed uninhabitable after the quakes, the second of which killed 185 people on Feb. 22, 2011. The 8,000 properties it encompassed were bought by the government and razed, the remnants swept away.
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Tuesday 23 February 2021

Chicago, USA
New York Times reporting: A nation numbed by misery and loss is confronting a number that still has the power to shock: 500,000. Roughly one year since the first known death by the coronavirus in the United States, an unfathomable toll is nearing — the loss of a half-million people. More Americans have perished from COVID-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined. By now, about 1 in 670 Americans has died of it.
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Tuesday 23 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A recent decision by the Ministry of Education to amend its Tongan language policy for Classes 1 to 3, and to introduce English as a second language at that young level will have a negative impact on the speaking of Tongan language, believes a former Minister of Education, Dr 'Ana Taufe'ulungaki.
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Monday 22 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
The Tongan Pa’anga fell to its lowest exchange rate against the New Zealand Dollar since 2014, with one pa'anga buying less than .58 cents today, and possibly its lowest rate ever against the NZD.
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Monday 22 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
An environmental study on seabed mining for “polymetallic nodules” - rocks that contain metals needed to build batteries, is underway in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific between Hawaii and Mexico. The aim is to use the metals to power electric cars. The study is being undertaken by DeepGreen Metals Inc., a Canadian-based seafloor mining developer, which acquired Tonga Offshore Mining Limited (TOML) last year, and has sponsorship from the Tonga government for seabed exploration. By Eleanor Gee.
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Monday 22 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Talia'uli Fatongiatau (35) was sentenced today to nine-months imprisonment for offering $235 bribe to a Tonga Police officer and possession of 0.89g of methamphatamine. He is currently serving time in Hu'atolitoli Prison.
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Monday 22 February 2021

Canberra, Australia
East Asia Forum: The United States abandoned economic leadership in Asia four years ago. Rather than promote and strengthen the multilateral institutions and frameworks that underpin Asia’s prosperity, the United States under President Trump began systematically undermining them: from the WTO, WHO and Paris Agreement, to military alliances with Japan and South Korea, bilateral trade ties and cooperation in regional forums. What can Biden do to instil confidence in a region still battered and bruised from four years of the Trump administration waywardness? - By the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.
Friday 19 February 2021

Sydney, Australia
New York Times reporting: A digitally savvy nation, Australia woke up Thursday to a shock on Facebook: the news was gone. The social network’s decision to block journalism rather than pay for it erased more than expected, leaving many outraged and debating what should happen next.
Friday 19 February 2021

New York, USA
New York Times reporting: Food researchers are debating whether highly processed foods like potato chips and ice cream are addictive, triggering our brains to overeat. Highly processed foods continue to dominate the American diet, despite being linked to obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explored the science behind addictive behaviour toward food.
Friday 19 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Taufa Latuselu was sentenced to nine-months imprisonment, which was fully suspended for unlawful possession of illicit drugs by the Lord Chief Justice who said, had he been charged with supplying or if this offending occurred after the current amendments to the Illicit Drugs Control Act, full suspension would not have been available.
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Thursday 18 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A hot sunny day did not burn the enthusiasm of Tonga High School students, who started their Inter-House Athletics competition today, singing and dancing to cheer on their houses, at Teufaiva Stadium. The sports were not held last year due to COVID-19 emergency restrictions.
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Thursday 18 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Latu Selu was acquitted of charges, including possession of methamphatamine due to an unlawful search by Tonga Police, ruled a Supreme Court judge who found there was a deliberate disregard of the law.
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Thursday 18 February 2021

Canberra, Australia
Australia plans to start the roll out of the Pfizer/BioNTech CoViD-19 vaccine next week to the first and most vulnerable Australians from 22 February.
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Thursday 18 February 2021

Sydney, Australia
Former rugby league player, Willie Mason (of Tongan heritage), is calling for a Pacific Island All Stars to be included in the annual All Stars fixture over the next few years.
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Wednesday 17 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Tonga’s $15.2 million pa'anga loan repayment due to the EXIM Bank of China, during the 2020-21 financial year, has been deferred to 2021-22, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, confirmed yesterday 16 February.
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Wednesday 17 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Repatriation flights are scheduled to arrive in Tonga on March 3, from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.
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Wednesday 17 February 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
The trial of former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Sione Vuna Fa’otusia will be held in July on charges, which related to a dispute over a stolen cow in 2019.
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Wednesday 17 February 2021

Suva, Fiji
The University of the South Pacific (USP) Council has extended the appointment of Dr Giulio Masasso Paunga as Acting Vice-Chancellor & President until further notice, following a special meeting held yesterday, 16 February. This follows the Fiji Government's sudden deportation of Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia earlier this month.
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