Kaniva mediawatch September 18, 2020

Chinese database

An Australian cyber security expert has described Zhenhua, the Chinese  company whose  database contains the names of 74 Tongans, as doing the same as many western corporations.

“Zhenhua looks like a company that has done what countless other Western companies have done in the age in which data is the new oil: Collect it and sell it,” Sydney-based Jeremy Kirk said.

The Tongans are among 804 Pacific Islanders whose names and details were compiled by the company, which is alleged to have links with Chinese military and intelligence.

News of the database have raised alarm, with the names of politicians, officials, ordinary citizens and military figures from around the world.

However, Kirby said the material appears to have come largely from public sources.

“Anyone who posts material to social media sites or the internet in general should expect to see that data get scraped by marketing agencies and others,” the analyst said.

Rugby hearing

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland will hear the case between Tonga National Rugby League Inc and the International Rugby League next Tuesday.

The Tongan National Rugby League claims its expulsion from the International Rugby League was illegal.

Tonga was suspended from the IRL after a long running dispute  that began in September last year.

The TRNL was expelled in February this year.

The Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation recommended that Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League be considered for full membership of the International Rugby League.

The TNRL appeal is separate from any approval of Tonga Ma’a Tonga as a member of the IRL.

Covid spike in US

Pacific Island communities continue to battle a surge in Covid-19 cases in Utah.

Utah has strong connections with the Pacific Islands, including Tonga, through the LDS.

According to recent data, 2364 Pacific Islanders have been infected with Covid-19, a rate 2.7 times higher than the state average.

There have been 23 Pacific Islander deaths to date, a rate 1.3 times higher than other ethnic groups, and 273 people who have been hospitalised.

Jacob Fitisemanu, co-founder for Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition told Tagata Pasifika that Pacific Islanders had been the most affected group in the US.

Fitisemanu described the infection and hospitalization rates as alarming.

Petrol price up

The Tongan government has blamed the Covid-29 pandemic for fluctuations in petrol prices in Tonga.

The wholesale price for petrol has gone up by 2.91 seniti per y, while kerosene has decreased to .98 seniti and diesel is down to 1.09 seniti per litre.

The main companies importing petroleum products to the kingdom are  Pacific Energy, which has links with Shell and Total, which brings in its supplies from Singapore via South Korea.

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, oil prices  crashed earlier this year.

Neither Singapore nor South Korea are listed as oil exporters.


At a time when tuna fishing has  been identified as vital to Tonga’s economy, a new report says climate change could severely affect tuna stocks.

A report from the SPC said Pacific nations could lose up to $60 million a year in revenue from tuna fishing as climate change drove tuna stocks east.

Pacific Community scientists are tagging thousands of tuna in an effort to track their movements, environmental conditions and size.

The forecast adds to concerns about the way Tonga’s fishing resources are being handled.

Earlier this year MEIDEC CEO Paula Ma’u said many people thought overseas companies and operators were taking advantage of the lack of monitoring and policing – making money and taking that away overseas, without any contribution to the local economy.


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