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Tuesday 24 October 2023

New York, USA
Tonga’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, will sponsor a special concert featuring the Environmental Symphony: The Movement, to be held in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York, to commemorate United Nations Day on 24 October [Tonga time 11:30am, 25 October].
Monday 23 October 2023
Geneva, New York, Rome
In a joint statement at the weekend the United Nations humanitarian agencies called for the utmost respect of international humanitarian law by all parties in the ongoing Middle East conflict. “Gaza was a desperate humanitarian situation before the most recent hostilities. It is now catastrophic. The world must do more,” said the UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO statement on humanitarian supplies crossing into Gaza, on 21 October. The statement which did not name the warring parties, described the humanitarian crisis and called for a humanitarian ceasefire and immediate access for distribution of aid supplies.
Thursday 12 October 2023

Princeton, USA
Hamas’s brazen and vicious attacks within Israel have rightly drawn condemnation from around the world. If this is a war, as both sides agree it is, then Hamas’s deliberate targeting of civilians counts as a major war crime. But the brutality demonstrated by Hamas did not emerge in a vacuum. The lesson of what is currently happening in Israel and Gaza is that violence breeds more violence. The last real chance of avoiding the tragic conflict being waged between Israel and Hamas was destroyed by a single killing: the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. The assassin was not a Palestinian militant, but an Israeli extremist opposed to the Oslo Accords for peace. The great beneficiaries of the assassination were Israeli nationalists, above all Binyamin Netanyahu.
Friday 11 August 2023

Suva, Fiji
The Pacific Islands are now at a cliff edge. As a region, as countries and as peoples, we face some of the hardest and cruellest choices. Business as usual, more of the same and incremental improvements will be the surest way to disaster for the whole of our region. As our communities, our region struggles, this is a time to ask some hard questions...Do we have what it takes to implement policies and decisions at the pace and speed at which this is needed? By Professor Biman Prasad (article from a public speech during this week's Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Suva, Fiji).
Wednesday 9 August 2023

Sandy-Utah, USA
When the late George Tupou V surrendered the Executive Power to the Prime Minister in 2010, did it mean he wanted to remain only as a ceremonial and symbolic monarchy without any political power? Why did he appoint the Lords? Without a proper assessment of the answers to those two questions, the present leaders of the PTOA (Paati Temo Otumotu Anga’ofa) movement do injustice to the democratic and political reform that the late king had initiated. - Seni Penitani
Friday 9 June 2023

Melbourne, Australia
The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s largest security conference, has wrapped up its 2023 meeting in Singapore. The context for this year’s summit was not propitious: Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine grinds on, while Chinese President Xi Jinping continues his uncompromising approach to global affairs. If one thing was obvious during the two days of defense diplomacy, it is that the Sino-American competition is far from being managed effectively. A robust bilateral dialogue is almost non-existent at the ministerial level, with military-to-military contact even more limited. Concluding the conference, Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen once again warned about US-China tensions, a more militarized Indo-Pacific, and the risk of conflict. By Richard Maude
Thursday 9 March 2023

Suva, Fiji
International Women’s Day (IWD) puts a spotlight on the achievements of women and girls everywhere. It is the day of recognition and celebration of the strides which have been made to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also provides an opportunity for self-reflection on our actions (or lack thereof) as leaders, institutions, and governments, to enhance the lives of women through opportunity, inclusion and equality. Excluding women incurs massive costs.
Tuesday 11 October 2022
Sharm El-Sheikh, Eqypt
Some fear that this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference – to be held here in Egypt on November 6-18 – will be an unintended casualty of the geopolitical tensions and economic challenges the world is facing. I believe the opposite: COP27 represents a unique and timely opportunity for the world to come together, recognize our common interests, and restore multilateral cooperation. As daunting as this challenge is, we have no choice but to confront it. We must negotiate with one another, because there can be no negotiating with the climate. By Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President-Designate.
Thursday 8 September 2022
Poulsbo-WA, USA
I read with interest Pesi's recent editorial on the dysfunction of government; the system does not work for a variety of reasons. I wonder how much of this is related to traditional socio-cultural issues. Also interesting was the recent article on Tongans educated in China. But from my foreign perspective, there appear to be immensely larger issues. - Richard Stoll.
Thursday 28 July 2022

Birmingham, United Kingdom
Today, over 5000 competitors from nations as far afield as Malaysia to Jamaica converge on Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games. The Games is perhaps the most visible aspect of the Commonwealth for many of our 2.5 billion citizens. Less visible, and appreciated, is the potential of the Commonwealth to bolster trade, business and investment between our 56 members. Tonga could win every year through the Commonwealth advantage. We must also work collectively to overcome perceived investment risks within some of our developing countries. - Lord Jonathan Marland of Odstock, Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.
Tuesday 29 March 2022
cheer for Tonga

Tokyo, Japan
We are worried about the people of Tonga. We former JICA volunteers created a song to cheer up the Tongan people affected by the January 15 events, and posted it on You Tube. Similarly in Japan 11 years ago. It is said that many years are still needed to care for the victims’ minds and regain the lost daily life. I hope you introduce this to your readers. - Hiromichi Suzuki
Friday 7 January 2022
US capitol assault

Princeton, USA
Although there is much more to be learned about the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, the motives of the participants can be gleaned from their own statements. Like far-right movements everywhere today, the insurrectionists were driven by resentment of others’ emancipation. Social transformation has been sufficient to generate the rage and resentment over phantom possessions that characterize far-right movements everywhere. An act of destruction can be used to prove that something is one’s own. For example, this psychological dynamic becomes horrendously clear when men decide to kill or disfigure the women they claim to love rather than tolerate their emancipation. By Jan-Werner Mueller.
Thursday 6 January 2022

Melbourne, Australia
There has been considerable opposition to vaccine mandates – opposition that I have argued is misguided. When both a vaccinated and an unvaccinated patient with COVID-19 need the last available bed in a hospital’s intensive care unit, the vaccinated patient should get it. Those who view vaccination as a “personal choice” need to bear personal responsibility for choosing to place others’ lives at risk. Exceptions should be made for those few patients for whom vaccination is contra-indicated on medical grounds, but not for those who claim to have religious grounds for exemption. No major religion rejects vaccination, and if some people choose to interpret their religious beliefs as requiring them to avoid vaccination, then they, and not others, should bear the consequences. By Peter Singer
Wednesday 8 December 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Ko e hoha’a ‘a e motu’a ni he ko e mui’aki eni ke tau talanoa ki ha Palemia mo ‘e ne fili ha’ane Kapineti. Ko e kaveinga ‘oku totonu ke ‘uluaki mahino ko e kakano ‘o e fatongia ko e Palemia. Pe ko hono fakalea ‘e toe mahino angee, koeha koa ‘a e ngaue ‘a e Palemia. Pea tau toki ‘alu ki hono kumi ‘o e tokotaha ‘oku tau pehee ‘e fe’unga mo e ngaue koia. Ko e nofo ‘a e tokanga ‘i he pehee ko e palemia ko e taki ia ‘o e pule’anga ‘oku ‘ikai ko ha ‘uhinga ia ke fili ‘aki ha taha ki he lakanga koia. - 'Inoke Fotu Hu'akau.
Tuesday 30 November 2021

Edinburgh, Scotland
The damage caused by COVID-19 – exacerbated by the continued appearance of new variants, most recently Omicron – has been catastrophic. More than five million lives worldwide have already been lost to COVID-19, and with confirmed cases on track to swell from 260 million today to 460 million by next autumn, the World Health Organization estimates that five million more people may die from the disease in the coming months. While 95% of adults in low-income countries remain unprotected, by the end of 2021, 100 million vaccine doses in the G20 stockpile will pass their expiration date and be wasted. This is perhaps the greatest public policy failure of our times. So, when the World Health Assembly (WHA) gathers for a special session starting on November 29, its task is nothing less than preventing the recurrence of such a tragedy. By Gordon Brown.
Sunday 28 November 2021

Auckland, New Zealand
For years, WTO members have failed to forge an agreement to limit fishing subsidies, thereby allowing the continuation of ecologically devastating fishing operations that would otherwise be economically unviable. Now an agreement is within reach – if the political will is there to deliver it. The comprehensive draft now on the table combines measures to curb harmful subsidies with specific exceptions for developing countries. Governments have given their word that they will curb destructive fisheries subsidies. This week’s 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva (30 Nov.-3 Dec.) will test the credibility of that pledge. By Helen Clark, et al.
Thursday 28 October 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Ko e mataamama ‘o e Fakafofonga Fale Alea tokolahi, ko e sio faasi’i (pe siokita nai) ki he lakanga ‘o hange ha ngaue ke ma’u ai ha mo’ui mo e mafai he fo’i ta’u e 4 mo ha toe fo’i ta’u e 4 fo’ou pea hokohoko pehe ai ha toe ta’u ‘e 4 kehe . . . . - 'Amelia Kinahoi-Siamomua.
Monday 25 October 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Fakatapu ki he Hau ó Tonga mo e Fale ó Haámoheofo. Houéiki ó e fonua, Fale Alea mo e Puleánga kae úmaá á e Tonga kotoa. Fakamolemole kae fakaaú atu á e kií fietokoni koéni naá áonga ki he kakai pea mo e kau fakafofonga Falealea temou fili mai í Novema 2021 ki hono langa hotau fonua. - Samiuela T. Tukuafu.
Friday 22 October 2021

Sydney, Australia
The Pacific has demanded that world leaders at the upcoming COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow must draw a line under new coal, oil and gas projects and immediately end fossil fuel subsidies if the Pacific islands are to remain above the sea with their cultures preserved. The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, which is made up of civil society groups from across the Pacific, including Greenpeace, has outlined its demands for a successful COP26 climate summit and near the top of the list is an immediate end to fossil fuel projects and subsidies.
Saturday 9 October 2021

Nuku'alofa, Tonga
While candidates are campaigning for the November General Election, it is worth considering that to date, only three of the 22 legislations that were passed by the House during its 2021 session, have been enacted and assented by the King. Those three legislations included the appropriation acts, which are essential to keep government services running. The rest of the legislation, it has been pointed out, requires further work. By Pesi Fonua.
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