Timeline Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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New Guinea Island is the 2nd largest island in
the world and is shared by West Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, an
Indonesian province, and the independent nation of Papua New Guinea.
The island of Bougainville was governed by Papua New Guinea.
(SFC, 5/17/96, p.A-16)(WUD, 1994, p.962)(SFC,
10/10/97, p.A13)(NH, 10/98, p.92)
A cultural turning point was caused when the Portuguese introduced
the sweet potato.
(SFC, 9/7/96, p.B4)
Papua New Guinea is about the size of California and counted some
869 tribal languages.
(SFC,11/14/97, p.D2)(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.11)
Papua New Guinea is an impoverished, corruption-riven country
struggling with an underfunded, undertrained police force struggling
to keep a lid on violence in society. The capital, Port Moresby, is
considered one of the world's most dangerous cities outside a war
400000BC - 48000BC A human
group, later called the Denisovans, lived in Asia during this
period. They then interbred with humans expanding from Africa along
the coast of South Asia. In 2010 fossil evidence from a Siberian
cave in 2008 revealed that their DNA was related to the DNA of
people from New Guinea, which contained 4.8% Denisovan DNA. 3-5% of
the DNA from native people of Papua New Guinea, Australia, the
Philippines and other nearby islands came from Denisovans, who left
Africa as far back as 800,000 BC. In 2014 scientists reported that a
genetic between extinct Denisovans and some modern-day Tibetans and
(SFC, 12/23/10, p.A4)(SSFC, 9/16/12, p.C11)(SFC,
50,000 BCE The stone age culture of this area goes
back this time.
(SFC, 5/29/96, p.A8)
c5,000BCE Research in 2003 indicated that bananas
and taro were cultivated in the highlands of Papua New Guinea as
long as 7,000 years ago. The first signs of human habitation in the
area occurred c5,800 BCE and included a change from forest to
grasslands and increase in charcoal in the sediments. The earliest
Asian influence on the islands occurred about 1,500 BCE.
1300BC The Lapita people took once again to the
open seas about this time, pushing east past the Solomon Islands to
the Bismarck archipelago and beyond to Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa.
Theses Southeast Asian peoples had headed south from Taiwan to Papua
New Guinea and as far as the main Solomon islands, where they
stopped some 40,000 years ago.
1522 18 survivors of the
original Magellan expedition completed the circumnavigation of the
globe under Sebastian del Cano. Plumes of the bird of paradise from
New Guinea were first brought back to Europe.
(TL-MB, p.12)(NH, 9/96, p.8)
1767 Louis Antoine de
Bougainville of France sailed to the islands of New Guinea. He
encountered the ritual of gift giving to one's enemy, which
obligated the enemy to give back even more.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R4)
1878 Apr, A Fijian minister and
three teachers were killed and eaten by Tolai tribespeople on the
Gazelle Peninsula of Papua New Guinea. In 2007 descendants of the
Tolai apologized for their forefathers' actions. Englishman George
Brown directed and took part in a punitive expedition that resulted
in a number of Tolais being killed and several villages burnt down.
Official investigations by British colonial authorities in the
Pacific cleared him of criminal charges.
1906 Sep 1, Papua New Guinea
was placed under Australian administration, which continued to 1973.
5/28/11, SR p.17)
1910 Jun 2, Pygmies were
discovered in Dutch New Guinea (Papua).
1920-1950 Fore people of Papua New Guinea were
devastated by an epidemic of kuru, a brain-destroying disease caused
by abnormal proteins called prions.
(SFC, 4/11/03, p.A6)
1937 Jul 2, Amelia Earhart and
navigator Fred Noonan left Lae in Papua, New Guinea and disappeared
over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first
round-the-world flight at the equator. They failed to arrive at
their scheduled stop at Howland Island. Noonan was alcoholic and had
been on a binge the night before. Radioman Leo Bellarts was the last
person to communicate with Earhart.
(SFC, 3/1/97, p.A8)(SFC, 5/20/97, p.A12)(AP,
7/2/97)(SFEC, 7/6/97, p.B10)
1942 Mar 7, Japanese troops
landed on New Guinea.
1942 Aug 26, Japanese troops
landed on New Guinea, Milne Bay.
1943 Jan 2, The Allies captured
Buna in New Guinea.
1943 Sep 4, Allied troops
captured Lae-Salamaua, in New Guinea.
1943 Dec 17, U.S. forces
invaded New Britain Island in New Guinea.
1944 Feb 15, Nathan Gordon
(1916-2008), US Navy pilot from Arkansas, and his crew made 4
separate flying boat landings to rescue a number of aviators from
B-52 bombers, which had been shot down while attacking Japanese
positions near Kavieng harbor on New Ireland Island, Papua New
Guinea. Gordon later became the longest-serving lieutenant governor
(SFC, 9/15/08, p.B8)
1944 Feb 29, US forces caught
Japanese troops off-guard and easily took control of the Admiralty
Islands in Papua New Guinea.
1944 Mar 11, The US B-24 bomber
Heaven Can't Wait was shot down over a bay near Papua New Guinea
killing all eleven crew members. Wreckage of the plane was found in
(SFC, 5/23/18, p.A1)
1944 Apr 10, A US B-24
Liberator was shot down over Madang while on a bombing mission to
knockout Japanese anti-aircraft positions in Papua New Guinea. 4
members of the crew exited the plane, were captured and executed. 8
others went down with the plane. In 2014 the remains of two missing
airmen were identified using DNA and other evidence.
(SFC, 8/8/14, p.A7)
1944 Apr 22, During World War
II, U.S. forces and Allies began invading Japanese-held New Guinea
with amphibious landings near Hollandia, New Guinea.
(AP, 4/22/97)(HN, 4/22/98)
1944 May 27, Gen. MacArthur
landed on Biak Island in New Guinea.
1944 Jul 5, The Japanese
garrison on Numfoor, New Guinea, tried to counterattack but was soon
beaten back by U.S. forces.
1945 Australian soldier Edward
Kenna (d.2009 at 90) single-handedly stormed a Japanese machine-gun
nest at Wewak, New Guinea, firing a Bren gun from his hip with enemy
bullets passing under his arms as he advanced. Kenna was awarded a
Victoria Cross for his valor.
1945 The Territory of New
Guinea under Australia merged with the Territory of Papua.
(WUD, 1994, p.962)
1950-1959 Cannibalism was banned in Papua New
(SFC, 4/11/03, p.A6)
1950-1959 The first outsiders to regularly contact
the Bahinemo people of Papua New Guinea in the 1950s were traders
looking for crocodile skins and carvings.
(SFC, 5/29/96, p.A8)
1951 The Lamington volcano
erupted and 2,942 people were killed.
(SFC, 1/19/02, p.A14)
1953 Dec, Ornithologist E.
Thomas Gilliard (d.1965 at age 52) and his wife, Margaret, arrived
in New Guinea to study birds in the Viktor Emanuel Range. Police
activities forced them to remake plans and they proceeded to survey
the Sepik River and to photograph the Iatmul and Sawos people who
lived along its banks.
(NH, 10/98, p.92)
1956 Evangelicals from the
Summer Institute of Linguistics, based in Dallas, began to translate
the Bible into local languages.
1959 Papua became independent
(WUD, 1994, p.962)
1961 Dec 1, The Territory of
New Guinea declared independence from the Netherlands.
(WUD, 1994, p.962)(SFC, 6/5/00, p.A8)
1963 Sovereignty over West
Papua was transferred from the Netherlands to Indonesia. A UN
approved referendum, involving some 1,000 handpicked pro-Jakarta
Papuans, ratified the annexation in 1969.
(WSJ, 6/6/00, p.A23)
1967 Australia pressured
mining-company officials to develop the Panguna mine on Bougainville
in the face of local opposition. Cabinet minutes of this were not
declassified until 1998.
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A14)
1968 In Papua New Guinea
Michael Somare (b.1936) was first elected to parliament. He later
served 3 terms as prime minister.
(Econ, 8/6/11, p.35)
1969 Jul 14 - 1969 Aug 2, In
West Papua the "Act of Free Choice" was conducted by the Indonesian
military forces. A UN approved referendum, involving 1,026
handpicked pro-Jakarta tribal chiefs, ratified Indonesia’s 1963
annexation of West Papua. Many voted at gunpoint in the unanimous
decision. In papers released in 2004 it was revealed that US
Ambassador Marshall Green in 1969 had foreknowledge that Indonesia
had no intention of allowing a Papuan vote that might prevent
Indonesia from annexing West Papua as a Indonesian province; he
further pointed out that any UN member would be unwise to expect
free or direct elections.
(WSJ, 6/6/00, p.A23)(SSFC, 9/1/02,
p.A15)(http://tinyurl.com/7cxq3)(Econ, 6/30/12, p.46)
1969 Australian bulldozers
arrive on Bougainville and began work at the Panguna mine. Local
women were unsuccessful in trying to stop the work.
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A14)
1971 Australia joined with New
Zealand and 14 independent of self-governing island nations to form
the South Pacific Forum. The name was changed in 2000 to Pacific
Islands Forum. Member states include: Australia, the Cook Islands,
the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall
Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa,
the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Since 2006,
associate members territories are New Caledonia and French
Polynesia. In 2011 Guam, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa
became associate members.
1975 Sep 1, Bougainville Island
announced the formation of the "Republic of the North Solomons," but
failed in its bid to secede from Papua New Guinea.
1975 Sep 16, Papua New Guinea
(PNG), a former Australian colony, became independent. Michael
Somare (b.1936) served as the first prime minister.
(WSJ, 12/20/96, p.B8)(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A14)
1980 Mar 11, Julius Chan
(b.1939) succeeded Michael Somare as PM of Papua New Guinea.
1982 Former PM Michael Somare
(1975-1980) succeeded Julius Chan as prime minister of Papua New
Guinea. This was his 2nd term.
1985 Paias Wingti (b.1951)
succeeded Michael Somare as prime minister of Papua New Guinea and
served to 1988.
1988 Sir Rabbie Namaliu
(b.1947) began serving as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and
continued to 1992.
1988 Francis Ona threatened to
close down the Panguna open-pit copper mine on Bougainville. He
demanded half the profits for local landowners, $11.5 billion
compensation for environmental damage, and independence for
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A1,14)
1988-1997 A separatist war on Papua New Guinea’
island of Bougainville claimed about 5,000 lives over this period
and led to the closure of a big copper mine run by Rio Tinto.
(Econ, 4/8/17, p.34)
1989 May, In Papua New Guinea
fighting on Bougainville Island forced the closure of Bougainville
Copper, one of the world’s ten largest copper mines. It was jointly
owned by RTZ-CRA and the government. Part of the cause for the civil
war was environmental damage caused by the huge Panguna copper mine
and insufficient land royalties paid to landowners.
(WSJ, 3/4/97, p.A15)(SFC, 10/10/97, p.A13)(WSJ,
1989 Bougainville islanders
formed the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) under former land
surveyor Francis Ona. Papua new Guinea imposed a naval and air
blockade. A counterinsurgent group called Resistance was formed.
(SFC, 12/29/01, p.A9)
1990 Francis Ona declared
independence and himself president of what he called Meekamuii.
Papua New Guinea tightened its blockade.
(SFC, 12/29/01, p.A9)
1990 In Papua New Guinea
soldiers withdrew from Bougainville following a ceasefire with the
Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA).
(Econ, 2/9/08, p.48)
1990 Businessmen and
politicians journeyed into the Hunstein Forest to collect the “x’s"
of clansmen on a deal to sell their forest for royalty payments. The
government in Port Moresby, the capital, has since suspended the
(SFC, 5/29/96, p.A8)
1992 Former PM Paias Wingti
(1985-1988) succeeded Rabbie Namaliu as Prime Minister of Papua New
Guinea and continued to 1994.
1994 Former PM Julius Chan
(1980-1982) succeeded Paias Wingti as Prime Minister of Papua New
Guinea and continued to 1997.
1994 In California at Stanford
Univ. 10 master artists from the Kwoma and Iatmul cultures of the
Sepik River of New Guinea carved poles for the New Guinea Sculpture
Garden near Robley Hall.
(SFC, 8/18/99, p.D5)
1994 Two volcanoes on the
opposite sides of one of the Duke of York Islands erupted for 4
months. Evacuees moved back to the islands but found that the lands
had begun sinking into the Pacific. [see 1999]
(SFC, 11/6/99, p.A24)
1996 Oct 12, Theodore Miriung,
head of the Bougainville Transitional Government of Papua, New
Guinea, was assassinated.
(SFC, 10/16/96, p.A10)
1996 Nov, A volcano on Manam
Island erupted. 7,000 villagers were on standby for evacuation.
(SFC, 11/16/96, p.C1)
1996 Edward Marriott, English
reporter, authored “The Lost Tribe," an account of his search for
the “Stone Age" Liawep people.
(SFEC, 4/9/00, BR p.6)
1996 The 500 Bahinemo people
and the several hundred Bitara people were faced with the decision
over whether to allow logging in their 2,300 sq. miles of primeval
(SFC, 5/29/96, p.A8)
1997 Jan, The government of
Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan decided to hire foreign mercenaries
for $36 million to crush the revolt in Bougainville.
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A1)
1997 Feb, The government under
Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan hired Sandline Int’l., a company that
provides military training and support, to help put an end to the
bloody secessionist movement on Bougainville Island. Sandline in
turn subcontracted much of the work to the South African mercenary
firm Executive Outcomes, known for its effective work in Angola and
(WSJ, 3/4/97, p.A15)(SFC, 3/21/97, p.A20)
1997 Mar 1, Prime Minister
Julius Chan announced that the government would buy the 54% stake in
Bougainville Copper held by RTZ-CRA Ltd.
(WSJ, 3/4/97, p.A15)
1997 Mar 17, The government
fired army commander Brigadier Gen’l. Jerry Singirok. He refused to
accept the hiring of the British mercenary firm Sandline Int’l.
(SFC, 3/18/97, p.A12)
1997 Mar 19, In Port Moresby,
Papua New Guinea, police fired tear gas and warning shots at more
than 2,000 civilians protesting the government’s $27 million
contract with Sandline Int’l. to quell rebels on Bougainville.
(SFC, 3/20/97, p.A12)(AP, 3/29/03)
1997 Mar 26, Prime Minister
Julius Chan resigned due to the public uproar over plans to use
mercenaries in Bougainville.
(SFC, 3/26/97, p.A14)
1997 Jun, In elections the
government of Sir Julius Chan was swept out of office.
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A1)
1997 Jun, Papua New Guinea PM
Bill Skate formed a shaky coalition government: “...if I tell my
gang members to kill, they kill... there’s no other godfather. I’m
the godfather..." He later claimed to be drunk using the described
“Johnny Walker defense." Skate resigned in 1999 after serving 18
months as prime minister.
1997 Jul, Gen’l. Jerry
Singirok, leader of the March revolt against prime minister Chan,
was decommissioned. Elections were completed and a new government
was to be announced at the end of the month.
(SFC, 7/11/97, p.A11)
1997 Nov 26, It was reported
that gas reserve of 4 trillion cubic feet around Kutubu, in
Papua New Guinea, was planned to be delivered to Australia across a
1,500 mile pipeline by Chevron Corp. by mid-2001.
1998 Jan 23, Warring parties on
Bougainville signed a peace agreement that would go into effect on
April 30. An estimated 10,000 people died during the 10 year civil
strife, mostly non-combatants from untreated disease. Some 1,000
rebels died and about 2,200 government sympathizers.
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A1)
1998 Apr 1, it was reported
that Port Moresby, a fortress city of 320,000, had 8% of the
nation’s population and 46% of its crime. Assault rifles were
reported to be becoming part of the weaponry of Huli tribesmen.
(WSJ, 4/1/98, p.A1)
1998 Jul 17, In Papua New
Guinea a 23-foot tidal wave followed a 7.0 earthquake at the Solomon
Islands and killed at 2,500-3,000 people. The villages of Malol,
Arop, Otto, Warupu and Sissano were turned into barren strips of
(SFC, 7/18/98, p.A10)(SFEC, 7/20/98, p.A1)(AP,
1999 Nov, It was reported that
the Duke of York Islands were sinking into the Pacific at 4-6 inches
per year. Government scientists recommended that the 20,000
residents be relocated.
(SFC, 11/6/99, p.A24)
1999 Sir Michael Morauta began
serving as prime minister of Papua New Guinea. He held office to
(Econ, 7/21/07, p.44)
2000 Jun 4, In West Papua
separatists made a declaration of independence. Thaha Alhamid read
the declaration before thousands gathered in Jayapura.
(SFC, 6/5/00, p.A8)
2000 Nov 16, A tidal wave
followed a magnitude 8.0 earthquake and left at least one person
dead and at some 5,000 people homeless.
(WSJ, 11/22/00, p.A1)(SFC, 11/25/00, p.D8)
2001 May 9, In Papua New Guinea
the Bougainville Provincial Peace Consultative committee adopted a
peace plan and opposing factions agreed to lay down their weapons.
The agreement entailed the PNG government’s accepting an Autonomous
Bougainville Government (ABG) and a referendum on independence to be
held between 2015-2020.
(SFC, 5/11/01, p.D8)(Econ, 2/9/08, p.48)(Econ,
2001 Jun 26, In Papua, New
Guinea, police killed at least 3 students protesting government
austerity measures. Another 13 were wounded and rioting ensued.
(WSJ, 6/27/01, p.A1)
2001 Nov 11, In Indonesia Theys
Eluay (64), an independence movement leader in Irian Jaya, was found
strangled in his wrecked car and riots erupted. He had spent the
previous evening at dinner with local army commanders. In 2003 7
members of the Indonesia special forces were convicted for
involvement in the murder. Their maximum sentence was 31/2 years.
(SFC, 11/12/01, p.A12)(SFC, 11/27/01, p.A3)(SFC,
2001 Irian Jaya, the Indonesia
half of Papua New Guinea, was renamed Papua.
(Econ, 6/30/12, p.46)
2002 Jan 23, Papua New Guinea
voted to grant autonomy and the right to a referendum on total
independence to Bougainville.
(SFC, 1/24/02, p.A8)
2002 Jun 14, Voting began in
Papua New Guinea's general election with hopes that it would bring
some stability to the struggling Pacific nation. Former 2 time PM
Michael Somare returned to power.
(AP, 6/14/02)(Econ, 7/21/07, p.44)
2002 Jul 10, Two people were
hacked to death and a police station was overrun by armed tribesmen
who stole ballot boxes and freed prisoners in the latest
election-related violence in Papua, New Guinea.
2002 Aug 5, In Papua New Guinea
lawmakers elected founding father Michael Somare as the new prime
minister, as armed riot police surrounded Parliament.
2002 Sep, Mount Pago spewed
silicone ash and a serious eruption was expected. Parts of New
Britain Island were made uninhabitable.
(SFC, 9/7/02, p.A18)
2002 Sep 9, An earthquake
struck just off Papua New Guinea's north coast, killing 3 people and
causing a tidal wave that washed away at least 40 homes.
2003 May 2, In Papua New Guinea
a landslide buried a meeting hall under mud and debris, killing at
least eight people as they listened to election results.
2003 Jun 19, A team of
Australian researchers reported that bananas and taro were
cultivated ion the highlands of Papua New Guinea as long as 7,000
2003 Dec, Australia launched an
enhanced cooperation program for Papua New Guinea.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.11)
2003 The Indonesia half of
Papua New Guinea was split into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.
(Econ, 6/30/12, p.46)
2005 May, Papua New Guinea’s
Supreme Court ruled that Australian deployment of policemen to fight
lawlessness and corruption violated its constitution. This upset a
$760 million enhanced cooperation program (ECP) aimed at fighting
lawlessness and corruption.
(Econ, 8/27/05, p.36)
2005 Aug 31, A new report said
police last January in Papua New Guinea had collared a teen
suspected of picking the pocket of a soldier and dispensed their own
justice. The officers beat him, slammed his head into a truck and
2005 Sep 9, A magnitude 7.3
earthquake struck off the northeast coast of the Pacific island
nation of Papua New Guinea.
2006 Jan 20, In Papua New
Guinea a landslide sent mud and boulders smashing through a remote
village, killing at least eight people and leaving five more missing
and feared dead.
2006 Apr 24, The annual Goldman
Environmental Prizes were awarded in San Francisco. The winners
included Craig Williams (58) for helping to persuade Congress to
order the Defense Dept. to consider alternatives to incinerating
chemical weapons; Tarcisio Feitosa (35) of Brazil for his campaign
against rampant logging; Olya Melen (26) of Ukraine for her suits
forcing the government to scale back a large canal project impacting
wetlands; Yu Xiaogang (35) of China for his reports on damages
caused by new dams; Silas Siakor (36) of Liberia for his
documentation showing how logging was used to fund civil war; and
Anne Kajir of Papua New Guinea for her work to get reimbursements
from logging companies to peasants.
(WSJ, 4/24/06, p.B7)
2006 Aug 1, The Papua New
Guinea government declared a state of emergency in the resource-rich
Southern Highlands province. PM Somare said security forces had been
sent to the graft-ridden province and government controllers
appointed to try to restore good governance.
2006 Oct 15, Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said Australia would cut ministerial contacts with
its northern neighbor until an investigation was held into the
escape from Papua New Guinea of a Solomon Islands official wanted on
child sex charges. Julian Moti, now in custody in the Solomons and
facing charges of illegal entry, was wanted in Australia on child
sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. Moti
was deported to Australia in 2007. His case was thrown out in
December after the court found that Australian officials had
colluded in his illegal deportation.
(AFP, 10/15/06)(Econ, 10/28/06, p.51)(Econ,
2007 Jun 30, Voting in general
elections began in Papua New Guinea and was scheduled to continue to
July 10. An average of 25 candidates stood for each of 109 seats.
Bad weather pushed completion to mid July. The population numbered
about 6 million.
(Econ, 7/7/07, p.42)(Econ, 7/21/07, p.44)
2007 The Beck's petrel was
photographed by an Israeli ornithologist in the Bismarck
Archipelago, a group of islands northeast of Papua New Guinea. The
pale-bellied bird species was last seen in 1929 and long thought to
2008 May 6, Two senior
Taiwanese officials resigned over the loss of millions of dollars in
a failed attempt to persuade Papua New Guinea to officially
2009 Jan 27, Pacific Island
leaders gathered in Port Moresby and threatened to expel Fiji from
their forum if coup leader Frank Bainimarama fails to announce
credible plans for elections.
2009 Mar 25, Conservation
International, a Washington D.C.-based conservation group, announced
the discovery of over 50 new animal species in a remote, mountainous
region of Papua New Guinea. The group spent the past several months
analyzing more than 600 animal species found during its expedition
to the South Pacific island nation in July and August.
2009 May 15, In Indonesia 6
Asia-Pacific countries, meeting at the World Oceans Conference,
agreed on a management plan to protect one of the world's largest
networks of coral reefs, promising to reduce pollution, eliminate
overfishing and improve the livelihoods of impoverished coastal
communities. The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries
and Food Security covered an area defined as the Coral Triangle,
which spans Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea,
the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
2009 Aug 11, In Papua New
Guinea a charter plane carrying 13 people to a popular tourist site
vanished on approach in bad weather to an airport nestled in rugged
terrain. No survivors were found in the wreckage, which was located
the next day in the mountainous Kokoda region.
(AP, 8/11/09)(AP, 8/12/09)
2010 Jan 12, In Papua New
Guinea 38 people were killed and 18 others hospitalized after two
speeding buses crashed head-on while trying to drive around
2010 Feb 12, The WHO said a
cholera outbreak on Papua New Guinea has killed at least 40 people
over the last several months.
(SFC, 2/13/10, p.A2)
2010 Oct 6, Scientists unveiled
a spectacular array of more than 200 new species discovered in the
Pacific islands of Papua New Guinea, including a white-tailed mouse
and a tiny, long-snouted frog.
2011 Jun 13, In Papua New
Guinea Theo Abal (21), the adopted son of the acting PM Sam Abal,
slashed the throat of a 29-year-old hostess he met in a bar. Abal
was charged with murder after the body of the waitress was found at
the family home.
2011 Jun 19, In Papua New
Guinea an attacker fired 2 arrows hitting Matt Scheurich as the
28-year-old New Zealander relaxed on a river bank while his
girlfriend, a French doctoral student studying tribal life, swam in
the river. The attacker also threw rocks at Scheurich's head and
then attempted to sexually assault the French woman. The couple were
air lifted out and treated at Kiunga Hospital and then in Cairns,
2011 Jun 28, In Papua New
Guinea the Somare family, led by his wife, Lady Veronica Somare,
announced Michael Somare's retirement as Prime Minister and from
politics. Somare was still hospitalized in intensive care at Raffles
Hospital in Singapore at the time of his retirement, more than three
months after he underwent heart surgery in April 2011.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Somare)(Econ, 8/6/11, p.35)
2011 Aug 2, In Papua New Guinea
Peter O’Neill became prime minister after the speaker ruled the post
vacant. He took office on an anti-corruption platform.
p.45)(Econ 7/1/17, p.34)
2011 Aug 19, Papua New Guinea,
96% Christian, announced that it has named August 26 as the National
Day of Repentence, a time for people to ask forgiveness for their
(SSFC, 8/25/13, p.M3)(http://tinyurl.com/lz8ba4x)
2011 Oct 13, A Papua New Guinea
Dash 8 passenger plane carrying 32 people crashed near the coast.
Witness reports said only four people on board had survived.
(AFP, 10/13/11)(SFC, 10/14/11, p.A2)
2011 Dec 12, Veteran PNG leader
Sir Michael Somare (75) was reinstated as Papua New Guinea's prime
minister when the Supreme Court ruled the election of Peter O'Neill
2011 Dec 15, Papua New Guinea
politics were deadlocked, with two men claiming to be prime
minister, two governments saying they hold power, rival police
chiefs maintaining the peace — and no one sure who actually was in
2011 Dec 20, Papua New Guinea’s
governor general Michael Ogio reversed course and threw his weight
behind the government of Peter O’Neill.
(SFC, 12/21/11, p.A7)
2011 Papua New Guinea’s PM
Michael Somare was suspended from office for failing to submit
required financial statements.
(Econ, 6/18/16, p.40)
2011 The population of Papua
New Guinea was about 6.7 million.
(Econ, 8/6/11, p.34)
2012 Jan 24, In Papua New
Guinea as many as 60 people were feared dead after a massive
landslide wiped out an entire village in the rugged Southern
2012 Jan 26, Papua New Guinea
PM Peter O'Neill refused to step down despite a mutiny by soldiers
who seized the military headquarters and demanded that he cede power
to his ousted predecessor, former PM Michael Somare.
2012 Jan 28, In Papua New
Guinea Yaura Sasa, a retired colonel who attempted to take over the
military and ordered the prime minister to step down, was arrested
and charged with mutiny.
2012 Jan 30, An Indonesian
court indicted five activists for treason in the restive Papua
region after they raised an outlawed Papuan flag on Oct 19 and
declared its independence.
2012 Feb 2, A Papua New Guinea
ferry sank with 351 passengers and 12 crew on board. Rescuers
plucked 246 survivors from the sea off PNG’s east coast. Some 117
people remained missing.
(AP, 2/2/12)(AP, 2/3/12)(AFP, 2/5/12)
2012 Apr 5, Papua New Guinea's
parliament voted to postpone national polls for six months, sparking
2012 Apr 10, In Papua New
Guinea thousands rallied in Port Moresby to protest at any delays to
elections, seen as crucial as the country rests on the cusp of a
2012 Apr 17, A 7.0-magnitude
quake struck off the northeast of Papua New Guinea, but there was no
tsunami warning issued.
2012 May 21, Papua New Guinea's
Supreme Court called for veteran leader Sir Michael Somare (76) to
be reinstated over PM Peter O'Neill. 2 of the 5 justices abstained
from taking part in the ruling.
2012 May 24, Papua New Guinea
Deputy PM Belden Namah led officers into the Supreme Court to arrest
of Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, one of three judges who affirmed
an earlier ruling that Somare is the nation's legitimate prime
2012 May 25, Rogue police
officers in Papua New Guinea blockaded Parliament for several hours,
a day after PM Peter O'Neill's government leveled sedition charges
against the country's chief justice.
2012 Jun 23, Voting began in
Papua New Guinea, a struggling Pacific nation which is on the brink
of a huge resources boom. 3,428 candidates vied for 109 of 111
parliamentary seats, with no single political party likely to win
enough seats to form government on its own.
(AFP, 6/23/12)(Econ, 8/4/12, p.36)
2012 Jul 13, Papua New Guinea
police said they have arrested 29 people accused of being part of a
cannibal cult in the jungle interior and charged them with the
murders of seven suspected witch doctors. The cult members allegedly
ate their victims' brains raw and made soup from their penises.
2012 Aug 3, Papua New Guinea
re-elected Peter O'Neill as the next leader, ending a turbulent
period in the nation's politics which at one point saw it with two
rival prime ministers. Sir Michael Somare (76) accepted the defeat
of his party in the vote and agreed to support O'Neill in his bid to
form the next government.
2012 Aug 13, Australia's PM
Gillard announced a sharp reversal in her government's policy on
asylum seekers, saying it will introduce legislation allowing their
deportation to the poor Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea and
Nauru to face lengthy stays in detention camps.
2013 Feb 6, In Papua New Guinea
a mob stripped, tortured and bound a woman (20) accused of
witchcraft, then burned her alive in front of hundreds of horrified
witnesses in Mount Hagen. Kepari Leniata had been accused of sorcery
by relatives of a 6-year-old boy who died in a hospital a day
earlier. On Feb 17 Janet Ware and Andrew Watea were charged with
murder over the slaying.
(AP, 2/8/13)(AP, 2/18/13)
2013 Apr 17, A magnitude 6.8
earthquake shook Papua New Guinea's northern coast, sending
residents fleeing for higher ground and items tumbling from shelves.
There were no immediate reports of serious damage.
2013 May, The government of
Papua New Guinea repealed the country's 42-year-old Sorcery Act. The
law had allowed for a belief in black magic to be used as a partial
legal defense for killing someone suspected of inflicting harm
through sorcery. It was repealed in response to recent violence.
(AP, 6/10/13)(Econ 7/15/17, p.35)
2013 Jul 19, Australia's PM
Kevin Rudd, with PNG PM Peter O’Neill at his side, warned that all
refugees who arrive in the country by boat will be resettled on the
island nation of Papua New Guinea, a policy shift that rights groups
(AP, 7/19/13)(Econ, 7/27/13, p.34)
2013 Aug 29, In Papua New
Guinea Steven Tari and a follower were killed as they attacked
a young woman in Madang. Tari, an infamous cult leader known as
"Black Jesus" and suspected of cannibalism, had been on the run
since escaping from a Madang prison during a mass break-out with 48
others in March.
2013 Sep 10, In Papua New
Guinea a group of Australian and New Zealand trekkers, including one
woman, were savagely attacked and injured by bandits with two of
their guides hacked to death.
2013 Oct 16, An earthquake with
a magnitude of 7.1 struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
2013 Nov 7, China’s Vice
Premier Wang Yang said China will provide a concessionary loan of up
to $1 billion to Pacific island nations to support construction
projects in a part of the world where Beijing and Taiwan compete for
influence. He made the announcement at a forum with Pacific island
nations in Guangzhou at a meeting attended by representatives from
Micronesia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands,
Tonga, Niue and Fiji.
2014 Feb 18, In Papua New
Guinea police opened fire after hundreds of men broke out of an
Australia-run detention camp for asylum seekers. One inmate was
(SFC, 2/19/14, p.A2)
2014 Apr 19, An earthquake with
a magnitude 7.8 was recorded off Papua New Guinea.
2014 Jun 10, The European
Commission delivered a formal warning to the Philippines and Papua
New Guinea over illegal fishing, a step that could lead to a ban on
exporting to the EU.
2014 Aug 29, In Papua New
Guinea Mount Tavurvur erupted early today in Rabaul district on New
Britain Island. The eruption forced several communities to evacuate
and some international flights were diverted.
2015 May 27, In Papua New
Guinea Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz said about 10 men from a
village across the river from Fiyawena, armed with homemade guns,
axes and machetes, attacked two women last week and killed a woman
named Mifila in front of her family. She was one of four women
accused with 13 of their family members of using sorcery to cause
measles deaths last November in Fiyawena, Enga province.
2015 Jul, Papua New Guinea’s PM
Peter O’Neill announced a ban on foreign, mostly Australian,
consultants. A ban on vegetable imports from Australia soon
(Econ, 9/12/15, p.39)
2015 Dec 23, It was reported
that the European Commission has more than doubled its assistance to
Papua New Guinea as El Niño-related drought and frost have triggered
severe food and water shortages.
2016 Apr 16, In Papua New
Guinea Matthew Damaru, the head of the police anti-corruption unit,
was sacked after arresting several high-profile figures close to the
government. Officers from his unit last week arrested the attorney
general and a Supreme Court judge on charges of corruption. A lawyer
working for PM Peter O'Neill was also arrested on charges of
perverting the course of justice.
2016 Apr 26, Papua New Guinea's
Supreme Court ruled that Australia's detention of asylum seekers at
a facility on the Pacific nation's Manus Island is unconstitutional.
A day later PM Peter O’Neill announced the detention center would be
(AP, 4/26/16)(SFC, 4/28/16, p.A4)
2016 May 6, A Papua New Guinea
court ruled that a pregnant African woman, who says she was raped at
an Australia detention center for asylum seekers on the tiny South
Pacific island of Nauru, cannot be forced to have an abortion in
Papua New Guinea because it is unsafe and illegal.
2016 Jun 8, Papua New Guinea
police opened fire on students protesting against the prime
minister, injuring almost 40 in Port Moresby. Students have been
locked in a month-long standoff with authorities and have been
boycotting classes as they demand PM Peter O'Neill step aside over
2016 Jun 9, A court in Papua
New Guinea granted an injunction preventing students from protesting
on campus with the country on high alert after violent clashes in
the capital Port Moresby.
2016 Jun 25, In Papua New
Guinea a student was killed and several buildings torched in
violence at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology campus in
2016 Aug 2, Papua New Guinea's
Supreme Court ordered Australia to present a resettlement plan for
nearly 900 asylum seekers held in what it says is an illegal
detention center on Manus island. Detainees feared the move will
further delay their release.
2016 Aug, Australia said it
would close an asylum seekers’ camp in Papua New Guinea, but did not
say when or where the refugees would go.
(Econ, 9/3/16, p.34)
2016 Dec 17, A major
7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea, but no
immediate casualties were reported.
2016 The population of Papua
New Guinea numbered about 7.7 million.
(Econ, 6/18/16, p.40)
2017 Mar 22, The France-based
World Water Council said nearly a third of people from sub-Saharan
Africa do not have access to safe drinking water. It said clean
drinking water is available to less than 50% of the people in
Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Papua New Guinea.
(SFC, 3/23/17, p.A2)
2017 Apr 14, In Papua New
Guinea drunk soldiers "went on a rampage" and fired shots in the air
at the Australian asylum-seeker Manus Island facility. The incident
was sparked by an altercation at a football game played by
asylum-seekers at a navy base outside the compound during which a
soldier was allegedly assaulted by an asylum-seeker.
2017 Jun 24, In Papua New
Guinea a two-week long election to decide who will lead the
resource-rich South Pacific nation began, pitting 3,332 candidates
from 44 political parties against each other for a place in the
111-seat parliament. Reports of problems at voting booths and
allegations of ballot fraud soon soured the mood among some in a
country which has a history of electoral violence and corruption.
2017 Jul 16, The prime minister
of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Peter O'Neill, reportedly won a fourth
term in Parliament. Final results on August 2 confirmed O’Neill as
winner. Despite its mineral wealth, which includes Exxon Mobil's $20
billion LNG plant, most of the nearly 8 million population lived at
(Reuters, 7/16/17)(Econ 8/5/17, p.29)
2017 Aug 1, Global Witness said
American consumers may be fuelling logging linked to illegal land
grabs in Papua New Guinea, which have devastated local communities
and the world's third largest tropical rain forest.
2017 Sep 24, Refugees left one
of Australia's offshore detention centers for the United States, as
part of a swap brokered by former US president Barack Obama last
year. About 25 men left the Manus Island detention center in Papua
2017 Oct 31, In Papua New
Guinea hundreds of asylum-seekers refused to leave an Australian
detention camp that authorities closed, citing fears for their
safety, despite food, water and electricity being cut off on Manus
2017 Nov 3, The UN human rights
office called on Australia to restore food, water and health
services to about 600 interned refugees and asylum seekers in Papua
New Guinea, which Canberra cut off three days ago.
2017 Nov 23, Papua New Guinea
police raided a shuttered Australian detention camp, removing dozens
of refugees in an effort to end a stand-off that has drawn global
attention to Canberra's tough asylum-seeker policies.
2017 Nov 24, In Papua New
Guinea the last asylum seekers abandoned a closed immigration camp,
ending a three-week standoff between police and hundreds of men who
had been prepared to suffer squalid conditions without power or
running water rather than move to other residences where they feared
2017 Dec 15, A Papua New Guinea
court gave hundreds of asylum-seekers, who were held for years in a
controversial Australian detention center, the right to sue the PNG
government for compensation.
2018 Jan 5, In Papua New Guinea
the Kadovar Island volcano, thought to be dormant, began spewing ash
into the air, forcing the evacuation of more than 500 residents.
2018 Jan 21, In Papua New
Guinea a volcano on Kadovar Island erupted again, sending plumes of
steam and ash into the air. Flights nearby have been canceled due to
the risk posed by ash plumes and ships were warned to stay away from
2018 Feb 26, In Papua New
Guinea a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in the remote highlands region cut
roads and damaged buildings. At least 55 people were killed and
authorities fear the toll could exceed 100. ExxonMobil Corp shut its
liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the wake of the quake.
(Reuters, 2/26/18)(Reuters, 2/27/18)(AP,
2/28/18)(SSFC, 3/4/18, p.C16)(AP, 3/7/18)
2018 Mar 6, A magnitude 6.7
earthquake shook a remote Papua New Guinea region that was badly
damaged by a powerful quake last week. The quake was followed by two
others measuring magnitude 5.0 and 5.1.
2018 Jun 15, Papua New Guinea
declared a state of emergency, suspended a provincial government and
sent armed forces to its rugged highlands to restore order after
rioters went on a rampage of looting and burning. PM Peter O'Neill
declared a nine-month state of emergency in the province, and
suspended its government for the duration.
2018 Aug 24, In Papua New
Guinea a volcano erupted early today, forcing 2,000 villagers to
flee from lava flows on Manam Island.
2018 Sep 28, A US diplomat said
the United States, Japan and Australia are cooperating on a domestic
internet cable proposal for Papua New Guinea as an alternative to an
offer by Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant that the
United States regards as a cybersecurity threat.
2018 Oct 27, In Australia
protesters rallied in Sydney and Melbourne calling for an end to the
country's controversial South Pacific detention centers which house
refugees who try to reach Australia by boat. Particular focus was
directed toward the wellbeing of children on the tiny island nation
of Nauru. More than 1,400 people are being held on the
Australian-run detention centers on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, some
2018 Nov 1, Australia announced
it will invest in redeveloping a Papua New Guinea naval base as
concerns mount over increasing Chinese influence in the South
2018 Nov 1, Australia said it
aims to remove all asylum seeker children from Nauru within two
months as concerns escalate about their deteriorating health after
languishing on the tiny Pacific atoll nation for up to five years.
2018 Nov 14, In Papua New
Guinea the APEC grouping of nations that includes the US and China
held its lavish annual leaders' meeting in the country that can
least afford it.
2018 Nov 16, World leaders
began landing in Papua New Guinea for the Asia-Pacific Economic
2018 Nov 17, Papua New Guinea
hosted leaders from Pacific Rim countries, including the United
States, Russia and China, this weekend in a coming-out party for the
jungle-clad nation that is regarded as one of the world's last
frontiers for trade and investment. Chinese President Xi Jinping and
US Vice President Mike Pence traded barbs in speeches at the summit,
outlining competing visions for global leadership as trade and other
tensions between them simmer.
2018 Nov 17, Speaking in Papua
New Guinea US Vice President Mike Pence said the United States will
join Pacific ally Australia to build a naval base on Papua New
Guinea's Manus Island.
2018 Nov 18, In Papua New
Guinea an acrimonious meeting of world leaders failed to agree on a
final communique, highlighting widening divisions between global
powers China and the US.
2018 Nov 18, At the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Papua New Guinea,
Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the US and Papua New Guinea signed an
electrification agreement to bring electricity to 70 percent of
Papua New Guinea's people by 2030.
2018 Nov 20, In Papua New
Guinea disgruntled police, military and prison guards stormed the
Parliament in a violent pay dispute stemming from an international
summit hosted by the impoverished South Pacific island nation over
2019 Mar 1, In Switzerland
former FIFA senior vice president David Chung was banned from soccer
for 6½ years for financial wrongdoing linked to a $20 million
building project. The Papua New Guinea official resigned as Oceania
president after a FIFA-appointed audit found irregularities linked
to awarding of contracts for its headquarters in Auckland.
2019 May 14, In Papua New
Guinea a magnitude 7.5 quake struck late today at a relatively
shallow depth of 10 km.
2019 May 26, Papua New Guinea
PM Peter O'Neill announced his resignation after seven years on the
job. He handed over his leadership to a former prime minister and
current member of parliament, Sir Julius Chan.
2019 May 29, Papua New Guinea
(PNG) PM Peter O'Neill quit after losing the confidence of
parliament during weeks of political turmoil in the South Pacific
nation, but government supporters in parliament hoped to be able to
2019 May 30, Former Papua New
Guinea Finance Minister James Marape was sworn in as the country's
new prime minister, following the resignation of Peter O'Neill last
2019 Jun 7, Papua New Guinea PM
James Marape installed a reformer as petroleum minister, handing him
a mandate to overhaul the sector.
2019 Jun 25, Papua New Guinea's
PM James Marape demanded that Australia end or completely rework a
controversial multi-million dollar contract to manage refugees stuck
in tropical island camps.
2019 Jun 25, An Indonesian
military spokesman said that any use of child soldiers by Papuan
independence fighters would be a violation of human rights that
implicates both the rebels and state institutions.
2019 Jun 26, Papua New Guinea's
volatile Ulawun volcano, designated one of the world's most
hazardous, erupted sending residents fleeing. Villagers living at
the base of the volcano had already been evacuated.
2019 Jun 30, It was reported
that two recent volcanic eruptions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have
forced 15,000 villagers in the country's northeast to flee their
2019 Jul 7, In Papua New Guinea
16 women and children were killed by assailants armed with rifles in
the village of Karida in Hela province. Two of the victims were
pregnant. Police and soldiers were soon sent to the area to provide
security amidst the tribal violence.
(SFC, 7/11/19, p.A5)
2019 Dec 4, Australia's
conservative government repealed a contentious law that allowed ill
asylum-seekers languishing in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru to
travel to the country for medical treatment. More than 460 people
remain in limbo in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
2019 Dec 11, In Papua New
Guinea results from two weeks of voting on a referendum on the
island of Bougainville, population about 200,000, showed 98% of the
voters favored independence. The referendum was nonbinding and
independence would need to be negotiated.
(SFC, 12/12/19, p.A4)
2020 Jul 26, A light aircraft
carrying 500kg of cocaine, worth an estimated £45 million crashed in
Papua, New Guinea. The pilot, an Australian, soon surrendered to his
country’s consulate in Papua. Five other men, allegedly linked to a
Melbourne-based crime syndicate, were also later arrested.
(The Telegraph, 8/2/20)
2020 Jul 28, Australia said it
was sending a medical team to help Papua New Guinea fight an
outbreak of coronavirus after the neighboring country experienced a
rise in infections. There were 62 confirmed virus cases as of late
today, up from just eight infections 11 days ago.
2021 Mar 17, Australia said it
will send COVID-19 vaccines from its own supply to Papua New Guinea
and will ask AstraZeneca to send 8,000 doses to contain a concerning
wave of infections.
(SFC, 3/18/21, p.A5)
2021 Mar 20, Papua New Guinea
reported rising coronavirus infections, continuing a surge that
highlights the need for tougher social distancing restrictions
taking effect on March 22. Confirmed cases reached 3,085 with 36
deaths. Health experts believed the true numbers are much higher.
2021 Mar 30, Papua New Guinea
PM James Marape received the first COVID-19 shot in the Pacific
Island country under a small vaccination program aimed at curbing
soaring infections. Australia sent Papua New Guinea 8,000 doses of
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine last week after warning of a
worsening humanitarian crisis.
2021 Apr 24, Papua New Guinea
(PNG) officials reported three new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing
the country's total deaths to 102. The official number of
coronavirus infections in the nation of 8.8 million people rose to
10,602, with 52 new cases.
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