Neal Conan

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minutes" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; and he appears most Tuesdays on The Conversation.
 

R. Farrell, ITU Pictures / Wikimedia Commons

Last week, we heard about a report from Australia’s Fairfax Media that preliminary talks were underway between China and Vanuatu for a military base in the Pacific Island nation. Vanuatu’s ambassador denied it, then the Foreign Minister denied it, and yesterday, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister denied it. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

U.S. Air Force / National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

76 years ago today, 16 B-25 bombers took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet to attack Tokyo and other Japanese cities. The famous Doolittle Raid lifted American morale in the early days of the Second World War, and while it inflicted very little damage, there were unexpected consequences. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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China is flexing its military muscles. After massive naval maneuvers in the South China Sea last week, a live fire exercise is underway today in the Taiwan Strait. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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An extraordinary woman known as the “Dragon Lady” and the “Steel Butterfly” died in Washington DC at the end of March at the age of 94. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute. Anna Chennault was different things, to different people.

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In the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s Fairfax Media reports that China and Vanuatu are in preliminary discussions on a Chinese military base in the South Pacific. Like several other island nations, Vanuatu receives millions in loans from China and Beijing may now want a payback. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

As trade tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the Trump Administration has authorized American defense contractors to help Taiwan construct a fleet of submarines. Following the announcement, Chinese officials warned the U.S. not to play the “Taiwan Card”. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute

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The source of a deadly oil spill off the coast of Borneo has been identified. After denying responsibility for days, Pertamina, Indonesia’s state oil company now admits that unknown quantities of crude oil leaked from a crack in one of its underwater pipelines. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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The justice system of the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru is in an uproar after the government abandoned its appeals system, without setting up a replacement. Right now, defendants in Nauru have no right to appeal. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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After a meeting in Hanoi, the foreign ministers of China and Vietnam agreed to settle their differences in the South China Sea peacefully. But the announcement may not be what it seems. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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A late night meeting in Paris has settled the most critical remaining issue ahead of New Caledonia’s independence referendum. The exact wording of the question to be put before voters. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Last December, it looked as if Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had evaded a long running corruption charge when the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court quashed an arrest warrant. But now the lawyer at the center of the case has filed civil charges against the Prime Minister and others. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr

Over the past few days, fears of a trade war with China have calmed on news of negotiations between Washington and Beijing, but U.S. diplomatic and military missions over the past two weeks have drawn angry reactions from China. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Presidential Office Building, Taiwan / Flickr

The long running division in the Melanesian Spearhead Group has erupted into public. Senior officials in the Solomon Islands and Fiji have attacked each other over the issue of West Papua. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific New Minute.

U.S. Navy / Wikipedia

After locating the wreck of the famous aircraft carrier USS Lexington earlier this month, a team funded by billionaire Paul Allen reports discovery of another ship lost in the early days of World War II. The USS Juneau, which sank off Guadalcanal in 1942. 683 crewmen died, including the five Sullivan brothers - we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute

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Last October, a Vatican Tribunal reached a decision in the sex abuse trial of the Archbishop of Guam, but didn’t announce its verdict until last week. And even then, it left many questions unanswered. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

U.S. Department of State / Flickr

Just last month, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court. He dared the ICC to indict him. If convicted, he vowed that he would prefer a firing squad to prison. Yesterday, Duterte reversed himself. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Alex Butterfield / Wikipedia

In the future, you’ll be able to use an app to summon an autonomous flying taxi just like "The Jetsons." Well, the future may be closer than you think, and apparently, the Jetsons live in New Zealand. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Wikimedia Commons

Officials in Vanuatu are still assessing the damage from last weekend’s Cyclone Hola. At least one person was killed by a falling tree. To the east, the government of Tonga extended the state of emergency that’s been in force for a month since Cyclone Gita caused widespread damage there. And more than a hundred people are reported dead from an earthquake that devastated the highlands of Papua New Guinea two weeks ago. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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As we reported earlier this week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on a tour of the South Pacific to promote what she calls a “Pacific Reset.” The new prime minister pledged millions to help Samoa and Tonga recover from Cyclone Gita. But, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, New Zealand must still repair relations with one of its own territories.

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While President Trump’s tough talk on tariffs hits a nerve in China, Congress hit an even more sensitive area last week; when both houses unanimously approved the Taiwan Travel Act. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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On her first tour of the South Pacific as Prime Minister, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern arrives in Tonga today. She will find much of the country still devastated by Cyclone Gita and the government in disarray. Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jarod Hodge / U.S. Navy

On Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party announced that presidents will no longer be limited to two terms, clearing the way for Xi Jinping to remain in office for the foreseeable future. The news comes as the U.S. and its Indo-Pacific allies reconsider an old idea – an informal alliance called the "Quad."  We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Remi Jouan / Wikimedia Commons

A year ago, the government of French Polynesia signed an agreement to build a futuristic floating city off the coast of Tahiti, with construction of a pilot project to begin later this year. Now, it looks as if the deal is dead. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Luke Brindley / Wikimedia Commons

Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track is open again, after local landowners ended a protest that closed the famous trail for three weeks. According to RNZ Pacific, the government agreed to review the joint aid program with Australia, which manages the track. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Wikimedia Commons

Research published this week shows that sea levels will rise at least three feet by the year 2300, and that’s a best case scenario. Rising waters already threaten low-lying island nations in the Pacific and will eventually trigger mass migration. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Kimdime / Wikimedia Commons

Last week, we reported on the inconclusive decision by the Melanesian Spearhead Group on West Papua’s bid for full membership. Since then, Indonesia’s declared victory in its campaign to block international recognition for the United Liberation Movement, and we’ve learned more about how they did it. Neal Conan has details in today’s Pacific News Minute.

NASA, MODIS / LANCE / Wikimedia Commons

The Pacific Climate Change Conference got underway in Wellington this week, as the remnants of Cyclone Gita arrived to lash the west coast of New Zealand. Several small island nations suffered severe damage from the storm and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, recovery is expected to take months, if not years.

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A summit meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group is underway in Port Moresby this week, with leaders still unable to decide on full recognition for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua. The group represents the indigenous peoples of the western half of New Guinea, which has been part of Indonesia for more than fifty years. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court announced a preliminary investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines. Thousands of people have been killed by police and vigilantes and this week, a defiant Duterte vowed to continue the war as long as he’s in office. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Kolmel / U.S. Navy

The long-rumored nomination of Admiral Harry Harris as the next U.S. Ambassador to Australia is now official. Admiral Harris is about to retire after three years as the head of U.S. Pacific Command where he became known for criticism of China’s military expansion into the South China Sea. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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