Tongan businesses wary about proposed Facebook ban

The government, which tipped blocking the social media giant earlier this month, is due to make a decision on Friday, although previous deadlines have been pushed out.

The measure is one of several recommended by a working group established in response to abuse on Facebook leveled at the King by anonymous users, as Tongans debate contentious legislative plans that would weaken his powers.

Tonga police says gamblers still in custody for now

A police spokesperson said they faced charges of "gambling on a Sunday" but no other charges at this time.

The Drugs Enforcement Taskforce arrested 17 men and 9 women on Sunday and seized cash worth more than $US38,000.

Police also confiscated five pistol air guns in the raid as well as illegal cigarettes.

The spokesperson said the 26 were due in the Magistrate's Court.

They had been in custody for four days and would ask for bail, the spokesperson said.


Hansen won't wrap All Blacks in cotton wool

The All Blacks, who name their 31-man World Cup squad next week play Tonga in Hamilton on September 7th before facing South Africa in their opening Pool B clash two weeks later.

Hansen said he was wary of his first-choice players losing sharpness between last weekend's 36-0 victory over Australia at Eden Park and their World Cup opener.

"We'd like probably most of the frontliners to get some form of game-time in the Tonga game, otherwise it's too big a break before we play South Africa," Hansen said in comments published by Stuff Media.

Tonga whale watching licence suspended over missing diver

Matangi Tonga Online reported the suspension followed a diver being lost at sea last week.

43-year-old German tourist Marina Trost went missing while diving off 'Eua on Sunday, 11 August as part of an expedition organised by the whale-watching operator.

A spokesperson for the ministry said the business's licence would be suspended until the outcome of the police investigation is known.


Tonga police arrest 26 Chinese nationals for gambling

Officers seized cash of more than $89,000 thousand pa’anga and other foreign currencies in an ongoing police operation.

The 26 suspects include 17 men and 9 women between the ages of 23-year-old to 65-year-old.

Police said the arrests were made at a building at Tofoa that belongs to a 48-year-old Chinese national, where the games of mere chance was held.

Police also seized five pistol airguns and illegal cigarettes.

All suspects are in police custody while an investigation continues.



European Union enhances Tonga’s energy sector

This initiative has been made possible through the funding provided by the European Union (EU) to assist in the reform of the energy sector, including development of the Energy Bill. 

The government of Tonga is accountable for approving institutional, regulatory, and most sustainable policy options for the reform of the energy sector.

Rough seas in Tonga hamper search for missing German diver

Tonga's Acting Deputy Police Commissioner said divers found no sign of missing woman, 40 year old Marina Trost, during their search this morning.

Atunaisa Taumoepeau said a flipper thought to be from the missing woman was found by police on Monday.

A dive belt was found by members of her whale watching group soon after she failed to surface on Sunday.

He said rough seas have hampered the search on the coast of 'Eua where the woman was scuba diving.

"We can't control the demons" - Tonga mulls Facebook ban after royal slander

It's the latest fallout in an escalating digital war between the pro-democracy camp and those firmly backing Tonga's constitutional monarchy, which bestows the King with key political assets.

A new set of proposed laws which will remove some of the King's powers and place them in the government's hands has drawn ire from the royals' camp, spilling onto combative Facebook pages.

Observers say both sides have mobilised thousands of mostly anonymous Facebook accounts to launch attacks on opponents and push political messaging.

Tonga police searching for tourist missing at sea

The missing German tourist, a 40-year-old woman, was part of a whale-watching group that visited the 'Eua Cave on the northern tip of the island on Sunday.

The location is known to divers as the Cathedral.

Police were informed Sunday afternoon of the incident and a search and rescue team was deployed.

Police are coordinating the search with assistance from local boats, divers and New Zealand and Australian authorities in the area.


WHO head visits Tonga for first time

The Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, visited Tonga last week - the first time the agency has sent any of its leaders to the Kingdom.

Dr Ghebreyesus planted a mangrove seedling to mark his visit to the 'Ahau coastal barrier, where he learnt how houses along the coast are flooded at high tide, causing concern about sewage contamination of fisheries.