By Alastair Davis, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

  • The Marshall Islands parliament has elected Education Minister Dr Hilde Heine to replace Castor Nemra as President, the first female head of government in the Pacific.
  • Vanuatu held its snap election last week in the wake of an extraordinary corruption scandal, stretching the resources of the Electoral Commission.
  • Election results from the Vanuatu elections are almost in. Negotiations to form a coalition government will likely take several weeks, with a group of independents playing kingmaker.
  • The consequences of the US withdrawal from the South Pacific Tuna Treaty in 2017 are still uncertain, with a restructured treaty a priority for the Pacific Islands Forum.
  • Fijian labour law reforms are being reviewed by an International Labour Organisation delegation this week. Fijian trade unions say the country is at risk of becoming a 'rogue nation' if it doesn't meet international standards.
  • Secrecy surrounding the nature and content of Fiji’s receipt of a shipment of Russian arms has raised questions about both countries’ strategic intentions.
  • Air New Zealand and Qantas have both suspended flights to Port Vila, potentially damaging Vanuatu’s tourism industry which is still recovering from Cyclone Pam.
  • Meanwhile, this Asian Development Bank report on what the Pacific could learn from Southeast Asia in promoting sustainable tourism may be particularly relevant to Vanuatu this week.
  • Yoga is proving popular in Papa New Guinea and is having positive effects as part of prison rehabilitation programs.
  • Papua New Guinea born singer Ngaiire is the focus of this SBS piece on the experience of migrants in Australia: