Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court has ruled that the detention of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island is unconstitutional. Australia sends asylum seekers to the Manus Island detention centre under its offshore processing policy. The five judges on the Supreme Court's bench ruled that the incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees was in breach of their personal liberty, and ordered both the PNG and Australian governments to immediately begin making arrangements to move people out of detention. Currently around 850 men are held on the island, around half of whom have been judged genuine refugees.

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New Zealand has voted to keep its current flag following a referendum that cost the country 25 million New Zealand dollars (64 million Zloty). 1,200,003 (56.6%) of voters wanted to keep the Union flag-centred emblem. Only 915,008 (43.2%) opted for the proposed new design by Kyle Lockwood featuring a silver fern. Prime Minister John Key was accused of politicizing the debate when he expressed a preference for the proposed new design. Following the result Key said that while disappointed, it's time to respect the decision.

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Palau President Tommy Remengesau declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, after severe drought continues to affect the island nation. The President said that rainfall in the capital Koror over the past four months was the lowest recorded in 65 years and the city's only dam had dried up. Koror's only other source of drinking water, the Ngerikiil River, is down to 19 percent capacity.

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Taneti Mamau of the Opposition Tobwaan Kiribati Party (TKB) has been declared the island nation’s fifth President to replace Anote Tong. Wednesday’s election result showed that 16 island constituencies voted in favour of the President-elect’s Tobwaan Kiribati Party (TKB) while seven voted for Rimeta Beniamina’s Bautokaan te Koaua (BTK). A senior member of the coalition and a former president, Teburoro Tito, said ending the outgoing TBK party's 12-year reign was a positive step.

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The Parliament of Vanuatu was dissolved in November 2015, after 14 MEPs of the governing coalition were jailed on bribery charges. During the 2016 elections, which saw a turnout of 56%, 264 candidates competed. Vanuatu, characterized by a long tradition of political pluralism, has a unicameral parliament with 52 seats. The political pluralism is shown in the division of seats, as they were taken by representatives of as many as 16 parties and independent candidates.

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In the two rounds of elections (30 December 2015 and 7 January 2016) inhabitants of this small archipelago lying in the Pacific Ocean elected their representatives to the parliament. Of the 44 seats, 19 were won in the first round and 25 went to a run-off. During the run-off, both the Labor and the Environment Ministers lost their seats.


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