United States

US ex-ambassador, banned from entering Russia

Michael McFaul said the ban was "because of my close affiliation with [President Barack] Obama".

Mr McFaul said he was preparing to visit Russia "to do [Hillary] Clinton transition work" before Donald Trump won the US election.

Russia's foreign ministry confirmed the ban, Russian news agencies reported.

In a public post on Facebook, Mr McFaul said: "Was told that I am on the Kremlin's sanctions list because of my close affiliation with Obama. I will take that as a compliment! The US sanctioned Russians close to Putin.

Vanuatu could have fish plant with American company

Last last week, for the first time, frozen albacore tuna was off-loaded at Port Vila's main wharf before being transported to the Chinese-funded fish packing plant at Black Sands.

The Daily Post reports that with the assistance of United States surveillance vessels, the Vanuatu government is committed to having all Vanuatu-flagged fishing vessels unload their catches from the country's Exclusive Economic Zone in Port Vila.

The paper says Bumblebee is in discussion about building a plant in Vanuatu.

US investigates op that killed 30 Afghans

Besides the 30 civilians, two US service members were killed in the operation that targeted Taliban leaders planning additional attacks in Kunduz city.

"I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives, regardless of the circumstances," Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement Saturday.

"The loss of innocent life is a tragedy and our thoughts are with the families. We will work with our Afghan partners to investigate and determine the facts and we will work with the government of Afghanistan to provide assistance."

US changes vote on UN resolution against Cuba embargo

Holiday shopping, the city's marathon, and the US voting against the rest of the world at the UN over Washington's Cuba embargo.

On Wednesday, however, the US took the small but significant step of changing its vote to an abstention on the annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the US economic embargo of the island nation.

North Korea: US faces consequences

Ri's comments came as the US and Asian nations gathered in New York Friday with a fresh reminder of what they consider the gravest threat facing the region: North Korea's announcement this week that it had successfully tested its most powerful rocket engine yet.

The test Tuesday was followed by a US show of force, as the Pentagon on Wednesday flew two B-1B bombers alongside the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, setting the the stage for US-South Korea joint military exercises in October that will include a simulated nuclear facility strike.

Boeing gets $440m order from Papua New Guinea carrier

Announcing the deal along with Boeing at the final trade day of the Singapore Airshow, Air Niugini chairman Sir Frederick Reiher said the carrier needed the planes "urgently".

The airline currently has a domestic service, as well as flights to Australia, Singapore, Fiji, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Hong Kong, Vanuatu and Japan. It is planning to fly to China in the near future.

Dinesh Keskar, regional senior vice president for sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the aircraft had its first test flight in late January and was "performing exceptionally well".

US qualify for Rugby League World Cup

Danny Howard, who plays for Sydney club Wentworthville in the NSW Cup, scored three of his side's eight tries in Jacksonville.

It confirmed the Hawks' place at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand following their success at the 2013 World Cup in which they were surprise quarter-finalists before going down 62-0 to the Kangaroos.

Howard and brother Stephen were born in Los Angeles before their family moved back to Canberra when they were young.

US congratulates Solomons Police Force at graduation

He also donated equipment valued at about $200,000 to Solomon Islands for use in unexploded ordnance (UXO) recovery. 

Ambassador North praised the RSIPF and U.S. military divers for their teamwork in this important endeavour: “The United States values its longstanding relationship with the Solomon Islands and appreciates the efforts of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in rehabilitating the contaminated areas.” 

Unexploded ordnance remaining from World War 11 still impacts Solomon Islands.

US calls for strengthening of PNG’s criminal justice system

This call was made by U.S. Ambassador to PNG, Walter North at a sorcery-related violence forum held in Mendi this week.

The forum was an initiative of the Catholic Diocese of Mendi.

It looked at ways to put a complete stop to sorcery related violence.

North said strengthening the justice system will allow for enhanced prevention and response efforts and proper enforcement of existing criminal laws.

He said the PNG government, public, and civil society must stand up and say no to violence in communities and put an end to the stigmas that lead to it.

US put territory climate measures at high priority

The Office of Insular Affairs is accepting applications for 2016 technical assistance which will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are exhausted.

Assistant Secretary Esther Kia'aina says the island communities continue to face extreme climate events, including typhoons and hurricanes, storm surges, high winds and king tides.

Ms Kia'aina says the areas are also feeling the effects of slow, progressive climate-induced stresses, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, coral bleaching and saline intrusion into water systems.