marshall islands

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The Marshall Islands has reported its first cases of the coronavirus after two people who flew from Hawaii to a U.S. military base tested positive.

Marshallese Community Organization of Hawai'i

Pacific Islanders in Hawaii are being disproportionately hit by the pandemic. They're 4 percent of the population and more than 30 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases. The state has struggled to bring that number down, prompting at least one Pacific Islander community to take matters into their own hands.

Amy Nakamura/HPR

Police reform in Hawaii; Newsroom cuts to Honolulu's only newspaper; Marshallese stranded at consulate

Kelly Bokin / Marshallese Community Organization of Hawa'i

The Marshall Islands is among only a few countries left in the world that are COVID-19 free. This is due in part to a strict travel ban that has left more than 200 Marshallese citizens stranded since March here in Hawaiʻi. 

Rick Bowmer/AP

PHOENIX, Arizona — An elected official in metro Phoenix resigned Tuesday, months after being charged with running a human smuggling operation that paid pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to give up their babies in the U.S.

Rick Bowmer/AP

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arizona official who is accused of running an adoption-fraud scheme involving smuggling women from a country in the Pacific asked an Arkansas court to delay his trail for 10 months, arguing the defense has already received hundreds of documents related to charges.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr / CC BY 2.0 License

PHOENIX — The assessor of Arizona's most populous county has been indicted in an adoption fraud case, accused of arranging for dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give their children up for adoption, according to an Arizona court filing.


This week, while a delegation of four Pacific atoll nations lobbied President Trump in Washington, Hawai‘i's  Chip Fletcher headed to one of those nations, the Marshall Islands, to keynote a conference on their greatest concern:  climate change.  Just back, Fletcher reports the options the Marshalls face could be considered in Hawai‘i.



We’ve been hearing a lot about climate change lately. And this morning we look at the issue as it relates to migration of Pacific islands and the Health of its inhabitants.

We sat down with Laura Brewington who is with the East-West Center to talk about a grant it secured to do just that.



Climate Change and Migration in the Pacific; Marshallese Clothing Mat; Surfing During the Vietnam War; Mission House Museum Candlelit Tour

Marshallese Weaving Cultural Restoration Project

A Pacific Island weaving tradition that nearly went extinct is now making a comeback. Finely woven Marshallese clothing mats made of lauhala or pandanus leaves were on display this weekend at the Bishop Museum. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi was there and filed this report.

Climate Change; Black Market Babies; World Surf League; Falls of Clyde

Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

The clock is winding down on three decades of U.S. financial aid to certain countries in the Northern Pacific region. U.S. economic assistance under the Compact of Free Association is set to expire in five years – dealing quite a blow to the health care systems in three Pacific Island nations. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi reports.

Nathan Fitch

This coming Veterans’ Day, we will likely hear stories of service from those who have been to the frontlines of war. As America honors those who served in the U.S. military, the conversation also centers on how the U.S. can serve its veterans.  HPR Reporter Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi shares the story of an often overlooked group of veterans who are hoping the country they served will return that obligation.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Sad news yesterday, from the Marshall Islands announcing the death of former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum at the age of 72. De Brum became known around the world for his role in the fights against nuclear weapons and climate change. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Three years ago, the Republic of the Marshall Islands began a quixotic court case to force the World’s Nuclear Weapons states to disarm. The suit was rejected by the International Court of Justice in the Hague last October. And on Monday, the Marshall Island’s case was dismissed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

The Marshall Islands - Majuro - Rusty/Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License 2.0

  Outbreaks of disease in two Pacific Island nations…dengue fever in Palau, and mumps in the Marshall Islands. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.



Both outbreaks have an international aspect. Mumps in the Marshalls may be connected to an outbreak of the viral disease last year, in Arkansas. Half of the cases there were in the large Marshallese community…and, while precautions were taken, it’s possible that the virus travelled with Marshallese back home to the Pacific.

RMI Education Dept
RMI Education Dept

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina hope to be the first woman elected President of the United States but both still need to secure the nomination of their parties.  Last week, the Republic of the Marshall Islands crossed that barrier with the election of Hilda Heine as its first female chief executive.  We have more on that and another update on Pacific politics from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

noe tanigawa

The total land mass of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is 70 square miles, that’s smaller than Ni’ihau. Its 29 atolls and over a thousand individual islets scattered across 750 thousand square miles of ocean.  Between 1946 to 1958, the United States conducted nuclear tests on and around two of the atolls, and the effects of radiation contamination continue today.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on the new biography of a woman who championed the cause of radiation victims.