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  • Surge in kava demand spurs export boom for Pacific nations

    AUCKLAND -- The cost of kava, a muddy and mildly narcotic beverage once reserved for Pacific Island chiefs, has quadrupled in some markets, prompting politicians to consider price controls. But in rural areas in the island states, earnings from the

    June 4, 2017 08:00 am JST
  • Australian naval program sums up dilemmas for 'middle power' nations

    SYDNEY -- They are an impressive sight for tourists getting off their buses at the harborside vantage point known as Lady Macquarie's Chair, after an early British governor's wife: the two newest ships in the Royal Australian Navy, moored just acros

    June 2, 2017 07:16 pm JST
  • Island leaders' hearts sink over Trump's Paris Accord pullout

    AUCKLAND -- Pacific Island nations, many suffering the impact of rising sea levels connected to climate change, have been angered by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision on Thursday to pull out of a treaty aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emission

    June 2, 2017 05:05 pm JST
  • Tillerson, Mattis to visit Australia for ministerial talks

    SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will visit Australia next week for talks with their counterparts on a range of foreign affairs and defense matters, officials said Wednesday.In the first Aus

    May 31, 2017 01:28 pm JST
  • Australia struggles with moves to legalize cannabis use

    SYDNEY -- Australia is in the throes of allowing the medicinal use of cannabis, following the trail blazed by a number of U.S. states, as well as Canada, Israel and the Netherlands.The moves to legalize what was widely seen as a forbidden drug highl

    May 31, 2017 01:15 pm JST
  • J.J. Robinson

    Blogger's killing shows danger of Maldive extremism

    To the outside world, the Maldives is synonymous with romantic beach tourism. But the calm azure waters of the Indian Ocean belie a conflict between tourist idyll and reality.The fatal stabbing of blogger and satirist Yameen Rasheed in April has exp

    May 28, 2017 04:00 pm JST
  • Japan Airlines to add flights to Australia, Hawaii

    TOKYO -- Japan Airlines will launch additional flights serving Australia and Hawaii as early as September, revamping its international routes for the first time since undergoing bankruptcy reorganization in 2010.In addition to an existing route betw

    May 26, 2017 04:07 am JST
  • Policy upheavals buffet mining in Philippines, Indonesia

    SANTA CRUZ, Philippines/JAKARTA -- In the eyes of Diosdado Alota, chief of Guinabon village in the northwest Philippines, the mining industry is key to his community's health.Until the national government ordered a suspension of operations in 2014 o

    May 25, 2017 04:08 pm JST
  • New Zealand posts second straight surplus, targets infrastructure spending

    WELLINGTON (Reuters) -- The New Zealand government expects to post a bigger-than-forecast budget surplus in 2017 and plans to invest the extra cash in infrastructure to fuel the growing economy, Finance Minister Steven Joyce said Thursday.The govern

    May 25, 2017 11:41 am JST
  • Company in focus: Hong Kong's MTR gets praise abroad but criticism at home

    HONG KONG Long before any talk of belts and roads, MTR looked beyond the territory for expansion.But it was not until recently that the monopoly operator of Hong Kong's profitable metro system said it wanted to do business in Southeast Asia. With a

    May 25, 2017 10:00 am JST
  • Policy upheavals buffet mining in Philippines, Indonesia

    SANTA CRUZ, Philippines/JAKARTA In the eyes of Diosdado Alota, chief of Guinabon village in the northwest Philippines, the mining industry is key to his community's health.Until the national government ordered a suspension of operations in 2014 over

    May 25, 2017 10:00 am JST
  • Mining companies face tough decisions despite the industry's rebound

    SYDNEY Big international mining companies like BHP and Rio Tinto made it through the crash in global commodity prices by slashing costs, shedding less productive units and taking full advantage of the economies of scale their vast operations provide

    May 25, 2017 10:00 am JST
  • 'TPP 11' are working to save the trade deal, but members remain far apart

    HANOI The remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal showed at least some level of unity in a statement May 21, but the outlook for a "TPP 11" version of the trade pact after the U.S. bailed on the deal looks hazy as gaps remain o

    May 25, 2017 10:00 am JST
  • New Zealand leads the push to keep the TPP alive

    TOKYO New Zealand is keen to press ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and avoid any major reworking resulting from the U.S. departure, both to avoid a lengthy renegotiation process and to leave the door open in case Washington decides to retur

    May 25, 2017 10:00 am JST
  • A family fights for an Aboriginal artist's rich legacy

    SYDNEY A racist injustice that blighted much of the life of late Australian artist Albert Namatjira may soon be at least partially rectified. Internationally esteemed during his lifetime, the Aboriginal watercolorist sold his lambent paintings of th

    May 25, 2017 10:00 am JST
  • Fog of cyberwar spurs virtual arms race on Korean peninsula

    CANBERRA -- In Units 110 and 121 of North Korea's General Staff Reconnaissance Bureau, several thousand information technology experts are working on ways to disrupt the vital installations and systems of their enemy countries via the internet.About

    May 22, 2017 03:30 pm JST
  • 'TPP 11' make show of unity, but members remain far apart

    HANOI -- The remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership showed some level of unity in a statement Sunday, but the outlook for a "TPP 11" version of the trade pact after the U.S. ditched the deal looks hazy amid gaps on some issues.Ministers

    May 22, 2017 02:40 am JST
  • Company in focus

    Hong Kong's MTR is praised abroad for efficiency, but criticized at home

    HONG KONG -- MTR has been venturing abroad long before the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.But it was not until recently that the monopoly operator of Hong Kong's profitable metro system said it wante

    May 21, 2017 12:00 pm JST
  • 'TPP 11' ministers in discord ahead of Sunday meeting

    HANOI -- Ministers from the 11 remaining TPP countries will sit down together here on Sunday to discuss implementing the trade deal without the U.S.But events on Saturday showed they remain at odds.There is a major sticking point. Japan wants the jo

    May 21, 2017 01:45 am JST
  • TPP ministers head to Vietnam to debate pact's fate

    TOKYO -- Negotiators and ministers from Trans-Pacific Partnership countries are set to begin deciding the future of the trade pact without the U.S.Nobuteru Ishihara, Japan's economic revitalization minister, spoke with reporters on Friday morning be

    May 19, 2017 12:50 pm JST