Solomon Islands

Solomons Cabinet approves Facebook ban

A submission for the ban was said to be brought to Cabinet by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Communication and Civil Aviation Minister Peter Shanel Agovaka.

Agovaka told Solomon Times Online (STO) that this temporary ban was made because of the controversial issues raised via Facebook.

“Abusive languages against Ministers, Prime Minister, character assassination, defamation of character, all these are issues of concerns”, Agovaka said.

More Covid-19 cases recorded in Solomon Islands

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said all five cases involved passengers on a recent repatriation flight connecting through Auckland in New Zealand.

Sogavare said four of the people who tested positive were local footballers returning from the United Kingdom and the fifth person was a Korean national.

Chinese worker breaches quarantine in Solomon Islands

The worker flew into the Solomons with about 80 other Chinese nationals, many of whom will construct stadia for the 2023 Pacific Games.

The Covid-19 Oversight Committee said the worker passed a package to a Chinese national outside of quarantine, who owns a hardware store in Honiara.

The Solomon Times reported that person had now been quarantined at the Pacific Casino for 14 days.

The Ministry of Health said it was continuing to investigate the breach.

COVID-19:Melanesian bubble 'not worth risk' to health

The economic strains caused by COVID-19 have prompted leaders of the five member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, to discuss a potential bubble. 

At a leaders' meeting last week in Port Vila, Acting Director of the Secretariat, George Hoa'au, said a Five Point Sustainability Plan was being developed to help ensure members are resilient to the challenges. 

But commentator Elisapeci Waqanivala said that the discussion isn't providing enough details for people to be aware of its real intention.

Solomons’ local COVID-19 tests return negative

This was revealed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a national address on Friday.

Mr Sogavare said the country's newly established testing facilities have the potential to carry out more than 3000 tests although the current capacity is at around 500.

He said so far four people who displayed symptoms of COVID-19 have been tested locally.

"Therefore, we have undertaken a total of 17 COVID-19 tests altogether, 13 done overseas and four done in country. All results, negative," Mr Sogavare said.

Dozens feared missing off boat in Solomons amid cyclone

It is understood the vessel MV Taimareho was carrying passengers from the capital Honiara to West Are Are in Malaita Province last night when it encountered bad conditions.

The Solomon Islands Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre says it only received word of the stricken ship's ordeal late this morning, and its officers are scrambling to launch a rescue operation.

According to the cente, the vessel encountered very rough seas and strong winds whipped up by Cyclone Harold between 2am and 3am this morning - a number of passengers were washed overboard.

TC Harold batters Solomon Islands as it heads to Vanuatu

The Solomon Islands Meteorology Service said a Tropical Cyclone Warning is current for all Solomon Islands provinces.

The category 1 system is slamming Solomon Islands as it makes it way down the country, heading towards Vanuatu.

On Friday, the Director of the Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates, said at least two ships had been washed ashore, fallen trees were blocking roads and the power was out in many areas.

Former PNA CEO gets UN posting

Mr Aqorau, who until Friday had been a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra for two three-month periods, said the appointment will be effective with the beginning of 2020.

He was CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, the nine-island tuna cartel, from 2010 to 2016.

During this time, PNA implemented a tuna management programme known as the "Vessel Day Scheme" that reshaped the purse seine industry, generating a huge increase in revenue to participating islands.

Solomons signs up to China's 'Belt and Road Initiative'

Manasseh Sogavare attended high-level talks in Beijing during the first ever official visit to China by a Solomons' prime minister.

His visit follows last month's controversial move by the Solomons to switch its diplomatic recognition to China, ending a long relationship with Taiwan.

While in Beijing, Mr Sogavare met China's President Xi Jinping, with the two leaders signing various agreements.

According to the ABC, one of the agreements was for co-operation under China's sprawling Belt and Road initiative.

Taiwan cuts ties with Solomon Islands, accuses China of 'dollar diplomacy'

The move was announced in a statement released on Monday by Taiwan's ministry of foreign affairs.

"The government hereby declares the termination of diplomatic relations with Solomon Islands with immediate effect, the end of all bilateral co-operative projects, as well as the recall of the staff of its Embassy, technical mission, and medical mission stationed in Solomon Islands," the statement said.

"The Taiwan government also demands that Solomon Islands immediately recall its government personnel from Taiwan."