Papua New Guinea is an amazing tourist destination, more Australians should visit | Stefanie Vaccher

Despite being less than a two-hour flight from Australia, fewer than 80,000 people visited the country in 2019. Here’s why you should make the trip

Last June, I spent four days snorkelling in crystal clear water, swimming with dolphins, and learning to cook freshly caught fish on heated rocks. I wasn’t in Fiji, Vanuatu or New Caledonia – some of the favourite Pacific holiday destinations for Australians – but in Nyapio, a tiny island in Papua New Guinea.

I have been incredibly fortunate to live in PNG for the past two years. Travelling for work and pleasure, I have visited 15 of the country’s 22 provinces. There is hardly a holiday you can’t do in PNG.

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Thai activists in weak condition on hunger strike, say doctors

Jailed activists Tantawan Tuatulanon and Orawan Phupong are demanding lese-majesty law be repealed

Two young Thai activists accused of insulting the monarchy are in a weak, exhausted condition and experiencing symptoms such as nosebleeds and chest pain after a hunger strike during which they have only sipped water, according to their lawyer and doctors.

Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon, 21, and Orawan “Bam” Phupong, 23, were accused of breaching Thailand’s lese-majesty law after they held up a poster at a shopping mall asking people whether they believed that royal motorcades – which lead to road closures – create trouble for the public. Tantawan faces a second lese-majesty case over a speech she gave on Facebook live.

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Revealed: how world’s biggest fossil fuel firms ‘profited in Myanmar after coup’

Leaked tax records suggest subsidiaries of international gas field contractors continued to make millions after the coup

In the two years since a murderous junta launched a coup in Myanmar, some of the world’s biggest oil and gas service companies continued to make millions of dollars from operations that have helped prop up the military regime, tax documents seen by the Guardian suggest.

The Myanmar military seized power in February 2021 and according to the United Nations special rapporteur on Myanmar, it is “committing war crimes and crimes against humanity daily”. More than 2,940 people, including children, pro-democracy activists and other civilians have been killed, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

US oil services giant Halliburton’s Singapore-based subsidiary Myanmar Energy Services reported pre-tax profits of $6.3m in Myanmar in the year to September 2021, which includes eight months while the junta was in power.

Houston-headquartered oil services company Baker Hughes branch in Yangon reported pre-tax profits of $2.64m in the country in the six months to March 2022.

US firm Diamond Offshore Drilling reported $37m in fees to the Myanmar tax authority during the year to September 2021 and another $24.2m from then until March 2022.

Schlumberger Logelco (Yangon Branch), the Panama-based subsidiary of the US-listed world’s largest offshore drilling company, earned revenues of $51.7m in the year to September 2021 in Myanmar and as late as September 2022 was owed $200,000 in service fees from the junta’s energy ministry.

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Auckland floods: city begins clean-up after ‘biggest climate event’ in New Zealand’s history

As rain and flooding eases, attention turns to assessing the scale of the damage after four people were killed by unprecedented extreme weather

Insurers say devastating flooding in Auckland was the “biggest climate event” in New Zealand’s history, as rain eased after days of downpours and a clean-up of the city began.

Friday was the wettest day on record for New Zealand’s largest city, with severe rain leading flood waters to sweep through streets and down highways, killing four people. Schools and businesses closed as buildings and roads were ravaged by the deluge. Auckland International Airport was shuttered temporarily, stranding thousands of travellers overseas.

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Myanmar junta hit by western sanctions as ‘silent strikes’ mark coup anniversary

The UK, US, Canada and Australia have announced a range of measures aimed at punishing Myanmar’s military

The UK, US and Canada have imposed fresh sanctions against Myanmar’s military, including some measures aimed at stopping the supply of aviation fuel to its air force, which is accused of indiscriminately bombing civilian areas.

The sanctions were announced two years on from the 2021 February coup, in which Myanmar’s military ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, detaining her and plunging the country into turmoil.

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Tory peer withdraws ‘racially charged’ comments

Exclusive: Rami Ranger criticised over comments about Pakistani journalists

A Conservative peer has apologised and withdrawn comments that were criticised for being “racially charged”, as a second referral about his conduct was made to the House of Lords standards watchdog.

Rami Ranger, a major Conservative party donor, admitted that remarks unearthed by the Guardian that he made in a letter regarding Pakistani journalists and a later TV interview about grooming and drug dealing had “caused offence”.

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China attacks ‘unscrupulous’ US after reports of further crackdown on Huawei

Beijing reacts angrily to reports that Washington has moved to restrict American exports to hi-tech company

China has reacted angrily to reports that the United States has stopped approving licences for American companies to export most items to China’s hi-tech company Huawei, accusing the US of deliberately targeting Chinese companies under the pretext of national security.

US officials are creating a new formal policy of denial for shipping items to Huawei that would include items below the 5G level, including 4G items, wifi 6 and 7, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing and cloud items, according to a Reuters report that quoted unnamed sources.

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Pakistan: 49 children drown after overloaded boat capsizes in lake

Bodies of teacher and skipper pulled from water at Tanda Dam tourist site, bringing death toll to 51

Forty-nine children died when their overloaded boat capsized in north-west Pakistan, police have said, after divers spent three days dragging bodies from freezing waters.

The boys, aged between seven and 14, were all students of a madrassa and had been taken for a day trip to the scenic Tanda Dam lake on Sunday.

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