NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific) 8 August 2012.

1)Ol i wok long painim iet ol pipol i lus long bot long PNG

Updated 8 August 2012, 18:19 AEST

Ofis blong Provincial Disaster na Emergency Services long Milne Bay long Papua New Guinea i tok dispela birua i bin kamap klostu long Trobriand islands long las wik.

 Emergency Co-ordinator Eric Balaria i tok ibin igat 18-pela pipol long bot, MV Oyapa taim em i lusim wanpela ailan long Normanby Island long go long Trobriand taim dispela disasta i kamap.

Em i tok, taim ol wok halvim igo het long dispela taim, ol pipol imas sekim weather ripot pastaim long kisim bot.

Mr Balaria i tok dispela taim bot i lus ibin igat ripot blong strongpela win long Milne Bay na dispela iet ibin stopim ol wok blong painim pipol i lus.Radioaustralia

2)PNG investment in Australia hits US$1.2 billion

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 07/08/2012, Australia

Papua New Guinea’s investment in Australia reached US$1.2 billion, equal to 12.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, according to Asian Development Bank country economist Aaron Batten.

This was 350% higher than the amount of money invested by Australian companies in PNG, he said.

Batten said the benefits of strong economic growth were being undermined by rising inequality.

“Rising inequality is partly a result of constraints on diversified business investment.” Batten said.

“Whilst the stock of private sector employment has doubled over the last decade, ADB estimates show that less than 5% of the population – or roughly 10% of the working age population – are currently able to earn a wage in the formal economy.

“PNG’s chief operating officers’ survey highlights that a shortage of skilled labour, poor law and order, lack of technical expertise, unreliable utilities from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the poor state of transport infrastructure impose major barriers on investment in the more labour-intensive and pro-poor, non-mineral economy.

“These constraints combined with rising firm profitability, have led to a dramatic outflow of investment funds from PNG over the last decade.”

Batten said PNG’s macroeconomic success masked a growing sense of unease about the distribution of the benefits of growth and the government’s ability to translate wealth and macroeconomic stability into better public services.

“Progress has been made in some areas,” he said.

“The proportion of the road network classified as being in ‘good’ condition has risen from 10% in 2003 to 33% last year, and under-five mortality rates have fallen in many provinces.

“However, available evidence suggests that many areas of core public services have deteriorated over the last decade, particularly in rural and remote areas.

“PNG is one of a handful of countries not on track to meet any of the Millennium Development Goals.”
Batten said high inflation also undermined the inclusiveness of growth.

“Although wage earners can negotiate higher wages when costs rise, the roughly 85% of the population reliant on cash crops for their semi-subsistence livelihoods have seen their purchasing power deteriorate rapidly in recent years,” he said.

“Structural constraints in land and housing markets have restricted the supply response to rising property demand and contributed to sharply increasing rental prices.

“As a result, a growing portion of urban residents are now forced to live in informal urban settlements, which have poor access to power and sanitation facilities and significant security risks.”
Batten said PNG’s booming mining sector was creating growing inequalities at the village level as well.

“With low education and financial literacy, members of some segments of the PNG population find it difficult to hold leaders to account for the equitable distribution of mining royalty payments,” he said.

“A particularly difficult challenge for government during the next 12 months will be managing the 8,000 local workers who will begin to be retrenched from the LNG project.

“Landowner groups are now highlighting the potential for social unrest if alternative work arrangements for their workers cannot be found.”.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

3)PNG to oversee AusAID courses

By Online Editor
1:06 pm GMT+12, 08/08/2012, Papua New Guinea

Scholarship PNG will be administering 470 health and education scholarships on behalf of AusAID.

This will be in partnership with identified institutions for study in the country.

The scholarships are available for five health and education programmes starting next year.

They are bachelor of midwifery, bache¬lor or diploma of nur¬sing, community health worker certificate and bachelor of education (secondary).

The head of the Australian aid programme in PNG, Stuart Schaefer said: “Australia and PNG have a joint goal to improve health and education in PNG and that includes increasing the number and quality of health workers and teachers.”

Scholarships PNG is working in close partnership with the partner institutions identified to support the delivery of the scholarships.

Scholarships for bachelor of midwifery programmes will be available at the University of PNG, Pacific Adventist University, Lutheran School of Nursing, University of Goroka and St Mary’s School ofNursing.

Scholarships for the bachelor of nursing programme will only be available at the Pacific Adventist University.

Diploma of nursing programmes will be available at the University of PNG, Lutheran School of Nursing, Goroka School of Nursing, St Mary’s School of Nursing, Mendi School of Nursing, St Barna¬bas School of Nursing, Lae School of Nursing and Nazarene School of Nursing.

Scholarships for community health worker certificate programmes will be delivered by St Gerard’s, Kapuna, Raihu, Rumginae, Lemakot, Salamo, Tinsley, St Margaret’s, Braun, Kumin, Onamuga and Gaubin CHW Training Schools.

Scholarships for Bachelor of Education (Secondary) programmes will be available at Pacific Adventist University and University of Goroka.

Interested applicants must apply and be accepted by their institution(s) of choice to study one of the five programmes and be eligible to receive a scho¬larship.

Interested applicants must apply direct to Scholarships PNG, using the 2013 PNG Health and Education Scholarships Application Form.

The scholarships are funded by AusAID and are consistent with the partnership for development areas agreed to by the PNG government – health, education, law and justice and infrastructure and transport.

The closing date is Aug 31.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

4)Expanding tourism in PNG

By Online Editor
1:08 pm GMT+12, 08/08/2012, Papua New Guinea

With visitor arrival numbers and tourism spend both up in recent years, Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) tourism sector is showing solid signs of consistent growth.

A renewed focus on niche markets, particularly adventure and ecotourism, has seen international recognition of the burgeoning sector. However, a lack of infrastructure and security issues could frustrate further achievements.

The government is targeting 1.5m visitors and $6.28bn in tourism receipts by 2030, and the latest figures from the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) indicate that it is on the right track. Visitor arrival numbers more than doubled from 77,730 in 2006 to 165,059 in 2011. In the same period, average spend grew 47% to $6133, and the average length of stay hit 20.4 days in 2011.

To continue these trends, the government is beginning to focus on the country’s natural attractions. With more than 600 islands, a landmass of 470,000 sq km and a population of just 6.5m, PNG remains one of the world’s last frontier destinations, replete with adventure destination options and a myriad of animal and plant species.

According to Peter Vincent, CEO of the TPA, the difficult terrain is considered central to PNG’s market positioning. “We would like to classify PNG as an adventure destination more than a mass tourism destination, such as Fiji and other Pacific Island countries,” he told OBG. “In the near future, we would like to develop into one of the world’s leading adventure destinations, which offers niche segments for diving, trekking, surfing and bird watching.”

Events in 2012 may provide a welcome boost to this goal. This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Second World War battle on the Kokoda Trail, PNG’s foremost tourist attraction and a pilgrimage site for Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Japanese. This year’s anniversary received notable public promotion and support from the Australian government, alongside widespread promotional campaigns in collaboration with PNG’s national airline, Air Niugini.

Consequently, tour operators along the 60-km mountainous jungle track are projecting an annual influx of 7000-8000 trekkers – a 50% increase on any previous year – with 2000 tourists reportedly having booked for April’s anniversary alone. Such initiatives have helped push Australians to PNG’s top demographic, registering 17,873 visitors in 2011, a 74.6% increase on 2006.

Moreover, with unofficial estimates that 63% of all tourists visiting the country trek the Kokoda Trail, the success of this year’s event is likely to attract further interest. Operators along the trail are already gearing up with the recent formation of the Kokoda Track Operators’ Association and the Kokoda Track Porters & Guides Association, mirroring organisations in Nepal’s trekking industry. These new organisations will regulate and license the operators, provide support to local communities and protect guides and porters from exploitation.

International recognition has also come for PNG’s surf scene. While currently a low-yield niche that attracts a backpacker demographic, the segment is expected to take off after the world premiere of the PNG surfing documentary “Splinters” at the 2011 Tribeca film festival in Hawaii went on to take the year’s best surfing documentary. This led directly to collaboration between the Surfing Association of PNG and the Quiksilver Foundation, and TIME magazine is set to cover PNG’s 2012 national surfing competition.

And just recently, filmmaker and explorer James Cameron piloted the Deepsea Challenger, a single-pilot submersible built to withstand crushing pressure at the bottom of the ocean, to a depth of more than 8km near the southern edge of the Mariana Trench, off the coast of PNG.

Such international accreditations and attention should help put PNG tourism on the map, as will Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s June announcement that $4.83m per year over the next five years will be invested in PNG’s global tourism campaigns to boost visitor arrivals.

Yet this is no guarantee of more business. The government faces significant aviation and terrestrial infrastructure shortfalls that continue to delay the development of a cohesive and coordinated national tourism industry.
International and domestic infrastructure limitations make travel expensive and, with a shortage of hotels, rates have been topping out at $385-483 per night in Port Moresby in 2012. Security concerns are also a long-standing deterrent for the industry.

While substantial change in PNG’s tourism market remains distant, 2012 is likely to be a formative year for the sector as upcoming events may prove to be a long-awaited catalyst for expansion.
SOURCE:OXFORD BUSINESS GROUP/PACNEWS

5)PNG Prime Minister: Expect Cuts To Government Sectors
Public servants told to prepare for $239.2 million shortfall

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 7, 2012) – Government departments and agencies can expect cuts, restructure or outright abolition, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told heads of departments in a meeting yesterday.

This is a result of a revenue shortfall of K500 million [US$239.2 million] and cost over-runs in the general election.

O’Neill and his caretaker ministers were informed by Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali that revenue might fall by about K500 million due to fall in commodity prices and the appreciation of the kina against the U.S. dollar.

A detailed report on the performance of the 2012 budget would be presented to cabinet when it is ready.

O’Neill and his caretaker ministers met with all departments and urged them to work harder and be prepared for austerity measures to be announced with the budget.

“We have to roll up our sleeves and work harder. We have to be prepared to put in the long hours. You (public servants) will sack yourselves if you are not prepared for this,” the prime minister said.

The heads of departments, led by Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc, assured O’Neill they were ready to work with his government.

The prime minister asked for the meeting to outline the broad policies of his government and what he expects from the public servants.

He said the LNG project promised a lot for the people, but there were dangers of missed opportunities.

“If we miss out, that will be because you and I have not been doing our jobs,” he told the public servants. “We have spent billions of kina in education and health, but we are not making a difference. There is something wrong. That is why I am asking for the extra effort.”

The prime minister is expected to announce his full cabinet tomorrow.

Caretaker ministers who attended the meeting included Don Polye, Patrick Pruaitch, Charles Abel, Ben Micah, Mao Zeming, Sir Puka Temu, William Duma and John Pundari.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

6)PM O’Neill set to unveil PNG ministry

By Online Editor
10:06 am GMT+12, 08/08/2012, Papua New Guinea

There will be at least one woman among 33 ministers in Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government when it is unveiled today, government insiders say.

Of the three women elected to PNG’s parliament, two – Loujaya Toni and Delilah Gore – are being considered for the ministry.

A third, Julie Soso, was elected as governor of the Eastern Highlands on Tuesday but the former journalist is not currently being considered.

“O’Neill wants to be inclusive,” one government insider said on condition he wouldn’t be named.

“Ms Soso is a governor and will be busy enough.

“Loujaya and Gore, one of them will be in cabinet and one will have an executive position within government.”

Both Gore and governor-elect Soso are part of likely treasurer Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party.

Soso’s election on Tuesday was unexpected and marks the first time three women will occupy PNG’s single house of parliament at the same time.

On Monday afternoon Soso took the lead against incumbent Malcolm Smith Kela and former political heavyweight Sir Barry Holloway, who was PNG’s first speaker of parliament when it gained independence from Australia in 1975.

Until the 2012 poll there was just one female member of the national parliament, 15-year political veteran and now retired opposition leader Dame Carol Kidu.

Dame Carol said the election of three women was “brilliant”, and she urged the community to get behind them.

She refused to speculate if one or all three of the women would be promoted to portfolios.

“That’s up to the prime minister,” she said.

“It is very important they establish themselves in their electorate. We don’t want them there for five years, we want them there for 15.

“The honeymoon will be over in a year or so and people will attack you.”

O’Neill has already announced a 10-person caretaker cabinet of familiar faces.

Polye, who brings 12 MPs to the 75-strong coalition table, takes the treasury and finance portfolios, while William Duma remains in charge of Petroleum and Energy.

Puka Temu is currently foreign minister while Patrick Pruaitch has been handed the forestry portfolio.

O’Neill took over the law and order and national planning portfolios during the caretaker phase.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

7)PNG’s O’Neill to name Cabinet today

Posted at 21:34 on 07 August, 2012 UTC

There will be at least one woman among 33 ministers in Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government when it is unveiled today according to government insiders.

AAP reports that of the three women elected to PNG’s parliament, two – Loujaya Toni and Delilah Gore – are being considered for the ministry.

A third, Julie Soso, was elected as governor of the Eastern Highlands but the former journalist is not currently being considered.

One government insider said on condition he wouldn’t be named that Mr “O’Neill wants to be inclusive but Ms Soso is a governor and will be busy enough.

Both Ms Gore and and governor-elect Ms Soso are part of likely treasurer Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party.

Until the 2012 poll there was just one female member of the national parliament, 15-year political veteran and now retired opposition leader Dame Carol Kidu.

Dame Carol said the election of three women was “brilliant”, and she urged the community to get behind them.

Meanwhile, Mr O’Neill has already announced a 10-person caretaker cabinet of familiar faces.

Mr Polye, who brings 12 MPs to the 75-strong coalition table, takes the treasury and finance portfolios, while William Duma remains in charge of Petroleum and Energy.

Puka Temu is currently foreign minister while Patrick Pruaitch has been handed the forestry portfolio.

Mr O’Neill took over the law and order and national planning portfolios during the caretaker phase.

Radio New Zealand International

8)PNG women can make it to parliament without reserved seats – new MP

Posted at 19:41 on 07 August, 2012 UTC

One of Papua New Guinea’s three new female MPs says her success in the general election proves that women can make it to parliament without the creation of reserved seats.

A former district Treasurer, Delilah Gore won the Sohe Open seat in Oro Province.

She is one of two successful female candidates in the Triumph Heritage Empowerment party, alongside Julie Soso who on Monday won Eastern Highlands Regional.

The other new female MP is Loujaya Toni in Lae Open.

Before this election there had only ever been four women MPs in Papua New Guinea.

Delilah Gore says while the lack of female leaders needs to be addressed, she is not supportive of reserved seats

“Not separating women from men. It’s fair. It’s just fair for the men folks when we go into elections and people give us a mandate to come to the parliament. In that way, we gain respect. And I have been gaining a lot of respect from the male parliamentarians right now, I have a lot of support there.”

Delilah Gore says it’s difficult for women to contest an election in PNG but that the THE party was particularly supportive of her campaign.

Radio New Zealand International

9)Five missing at sea after PNG boat hits rocks

Posted at 05:23 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

The search continues in Papua New Guinea for five passengers who went missing after a workboat ran onto rocks near Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay.

The Post Courier reports 18 people were the 10-metre boat at the time of the incident, including four crew.

13 people survived.

The MV Oyapo was en route to the Trobriand Islands from Sehulea on Normanby Island two weeks ago when it encountered engine problems.

The boat then drifted for a while before strong winds smashed it onto rocks.

Survivors from the wrecked boat were picked up swimming by the MV Genevieve Maria who took hem to Nabwageta in the Amphlett Group of Islands.

Radio New Zealand International

10)Govt withholds B’ville’s K100m

By GORETHY KENNETH

THE National Government is ready to release the outstanding K100 million from last year to Bougainville, but it will only do so after certain outstanding issues are resolved to Waigani’s satisfaction.
It is understood that the K100 million is part of a K500 million package, with annual disbursements of K100 million.
One of the reasons why the National Government is reluctant to allocate the money immediately is that it is yet to receive credible documents funding proposals on projects, including one or more impact projects that can be funded from the public funds.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government headed by President John Momis and his provincial administrations are yet to submit their proposals to Waigani.
The first K100 million, which was to have been allocated last year, is from the K500 million that the National Government had allocated and promised for Bougainville, outside of the normal annual budget of K80 million that the ABG receives annually.
Last year, the National Government through the Chief Secretary’s office was a little bit worried about the first release of the money because there was no concrete proposal for use of the K100 million.
The project proposals should include one major impact project funded by the National Government direct to Bougainville. This impact project has not yet been fully identified.
The Government also agreed last year to dispatch the money quarterly – the first K25 million in the first quarter, but this did not happen because of the delay in preparations by both the ABG and the National Government.
Last week in Alotau, the two Bougainville MPs, Steven Pirika Kamma and Jimmy Miringtoro pledged to help the National Government see that these funds are used for impact projects that will benefit all the population of Bougainville.
The Bougainville Affairs Ministry will be announced today, so we should be know what the outcome of this K100 million will be and how it will be distribute and used.
 http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20120808/wehome.htm

11)Papuan activist now free to take independence campaign around the world

Posted at 16:34 on 07 August, 2012 UTC

A leader of the Free West Papua Movement says his removal from an international wanted persons list will make it easier for him to educate the world about the plight of his people.

Indonesia has said it wants Benny Wenda to stand trial on charges of murder and arson and succeeded last year in having Interpol issue him with a red notice, putting him at risk of arrest and extradition from Britain.

But in response to work by the charity Fair Trials International, Interpol has decided that the case against the activist, whom Britain granted asylum nine years ago, is political.

Mr Wenda says the people of the Indonesian province have asked him to lobby the international community.

“The government and MPs and mobilise MPS and also we have coming up in October the biggest conference coming up in here. So I will invite all the parliamentarians around the world to talk about West Papua self determination issues as well as the human rights situation.”

Beny Wenda says since the Interpol decision came out he has had contratulatory messages from MPs and people all over the world.

Radio New Zealand International

12)JFK’s surviving rescuer to be a special guest at today’s anniversary

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 17:12

Former US President JF Kennedy’s surviving rescuer will be a special guest at today’s 70th anniversary to mark the Marines landing on Guadalcanal in 1942.


In his first public and media appearing since 1942, Aaron (Eroni) Kumana who only spoke through an interpreter said he was overjoyed to be part of the celebration.

“I am overjoyed…Kennedy is my president and I treasure US and JF Kennedy. To be part of this event makes me feel proud and glad to meet US marines again,” Mr Kumana said.

The heroic Kumana could not hide his joy when he received the invitation to be part of this 70th anniversary.

“I told my children, no one will ever stop me from going over to Honiara to be part of this 70th Anniversary. I want to see the Americans,” Kumana said.

The ninety-two year old is still strong and can walk by himself with his walking stick. Though hearing is a little problem for him at his current age.

Mr Kumana said JF Kennedy and America become his treasure and joy since then.

“I could not believe saving the future president of USA,” Mr Kumana said.

Meanwhile Mr Kumana’s family wish if America could ever recognise the heroics of their father with something special to honour him.

However they are very proud of their father for what he did.By Daniel Namosuaia//Solomon Islands.

13)70th anniversary of Battle of Guadalcanal marked in Solomon Islands

Posted at 19:41 on 07 August, 2012 UTC

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal has been marked with a ceremony in Solomon Islands.

The battle was a key event during the Second World War when Allied and Japanese forces fought on Guadalcanal and nearby islands.

The campaign also involved the New Zealand Navy which has sent the Vessel HMNZS Otago to join this year’s commemorations.

Meanwhile, The Solomon Star reports former US President John F Kennedy’s surviving rescuer was a special guest at the anniversary.

In his first public appearance since 1942, Eroni Kumana who only spoke through an interpreter said he was overjoyed to be part of the anniversary.

Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa helped rescue young U.S. naval officer John F. Kennedy and his crew after their vessel was cut in two by a Japanese destroyer.

The two Solomon Islanders then rowed 60 kilometres through enemy-held waters to summon a rescue boat.

Mr Gasa died a few years ago.

Radio New Zealand International

14)Veterans gather for Kokoda anniversary

Posted 8 August 2012, 17:10 AEST

Veterans have gathered at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle of Kokoda.

The men of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion were sent to New Guinea in 1942 with little training and few resources.

But despite being outnumbered, they successfully delayed the advance of the Japanese army, retaking the village of Kokoda and holding it for two-and-a-half days.

Australia’s Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, says the men of the battalion have left a lasting legacy.

“Stories abound regarding their individual and collective bravery, their willingness to give everything, physically and mentally,” she said.

“Hardships endured and overcome. The most generous acts of mateship and sacrifice.

“Their selfless and courageous actions delayed the Japanese advance on Port Moresby and its airfields, with telling implications for Australia’s north.”radioaustralia.

15)Parliament may meet in Oct

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 04:25

PARLIAMENT is expected to meet in October.

Reliable sources told  The Solomon Star the Government agreed on the date following a Cabinet meeting recently inorder to bring a supplementary bill.

“The Government has seen the need to call Parliament earlier rather than waiting for December because it is running out of money in its budget.

“It needs to bring a Supplementary Bill so that it can allow the Government to spentd until December,” our source said.

Opposition Leader, Dr Derek Sikua on Monday has for the third time called on Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo to convene Parliament urgently.

Dr Sikua said Mr Lilo must respect the rights of Solomon Islands citizens to an effective government service delivery by convening the meeting.

He said government sources revealed that the 2012 budget has been exhausted thus leaving the government in an awkward financial position to meet its service delivery obligation to Solomon Islanders and to pay up the second semester allowances of its sponsored tertiary students and debts with contracted service providers at the recent 11th Festival of Pacific Arts.

He said the government’s current financial situation demands that the Prime Minister convene parliament urgently to approve a supplementary budget.

However, Prime Minister said there is nothing what so ever to suggest that Parliament should meet as the budget is on track and implementation is also on track.

Mr Lilo said there is also nothing to suggest that the Government is running out of provisions to deliver the goods and services to the people.

“I wish to assure the people of Solomon Islands that the Government is in control of their affairs and we will continue to do so,” he said.By Eddie Osifelo //Solomonstar.

16)Food crisis hits Weathercoast

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 17:34

The earthquake that hit the country on July 25 has left many families in the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal without food with most of them going hungry.


Reports said the natural disaster had caused landslides destroying food gardens of  over 15,000 people from Veramogho to Veuru village, according to Pamela Kimberly from Tavanipupu Resort.

According to a statement sent by Ms Kimberly people in the area has started to go hungry and are seeking assistance from responsible authorities.

Thus she said Tavanipupu Resort will assist them with food worth $5000 to feed the people.

“We would assist them but this is not enough as these people need more to feed them for a long period of time.”

The concerned woman therefore said they called upon business houses and individuals in Honiara and Guadalcanal to give in their support and to assist affected families.

She said they are making arrangement for assistance to reach those affected people in time and would like those who wish to help to contact them.

Meanwhile the Guadalcanal Province Disaster Management Coordinator Herrick Savusi said assessment team had return from the affected area on Friday last week.

Mr Herrick said the assessment team had distributed ten shelter kits with basic tools to the affected households; however no immediate assistance on food was given.

He said food and other assistance will be given later pending on the respond they will get from the provincial government once the assessment report is handed over to the government.

“Currently I’m working on finalizing the report before I will hand it over to the provincial government.”

Two assessment teams were sent to the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal to carry out the assessment work last week.Solomonstar

17)Law students go hungry

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 17:16

GOVERNMENT sponsored law students studying at Emalus Campus in Vanuatu are experiencing food crisis with most of them going hungry for the past three weeks.

This follows the slow response by the government to settle their allowance to pay for food.

Not only that but they still yet to receive their course materials for their second semester.

One student told Solomon Star last night that they are now finding it hard to survive and how to get their course materials.

“At the moment we have to skip two meals and instead have one meal each day to keep us going while waiting for our allowances,” the concern student said.

The student said their second semester has already started three weeks ago but Solomon Islands students are yet to receive their course materials.

“This has affected our study on the campus,” the student added.

The student calls on the Ministry of Education to settle their allowances as quickly as possible.

About 74 students are currently studying Law at Emalus campus in Vanuatu.

Meanwhile USP students based in Suva have reportedly received their allowance yesterday following a quick response by the government.

Attempts to get comments from the education or finance ministry last night for comments were unsuccessful.

However its likely the Vanuatu-based students will receive their payments soon following the release of funds by the government last week.(solomonstar)

18)Vanuatu welcomed into the WTO

By Online Editor
09:57 am GMT+12, 08/08/2012, Belgium

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has announced that it has received an official notification from Vanuatu that it has ratified its accession package, paving the way for the nation to become the 157th member of the global trade body on 24 August 2012.

Lauding the completion of Vanuatu’s domestic ratification procedures, the WTO’s Director General, Pascal Lamy said: “In 30 days, Vanuatu will take a seat at the WTO family table. Its WTO membership will facilitate Vanuatu’s integration in the global economy. This is crucial for a least-developed country such as Vanuatu, since trade can be an engine for growth and poverty reduction. Vanuatu will benefit from a predictable and stable basis for development.” Lamy said.

Vanuatu’s bid to become a WTO member began some seventeen years ago, in 1995. A Working Party concluded negotiations with the nation on May 2, 2011, and the package outlining the nation’s commitments was endorsed by the General Council of the WTO on October 26, 2011.

With the completion of its ratification procedures, Vanuatu has committed, that from the date of its accession, that it will fully apply all WTO provisions without any transitional period except on intellectual property and on the publication of trade information. Vanuatu will apply an average final bound rate of 39.7% and has made specific market access commitments in respect of ten services sectors. For 98 tariff lines related to products such as wines, spirits, beer, turbo propellers, tobacco, turbo jets, chemicals, cell phones, radios and televisions, Vanuatu will phase its tariff reductions in over a period of up to 2015.

In addition, Vanuatu has agreed that it will not apply any anti-dumping, countervailing duties or safeguard measures until it has implemented appropriate laws in conformity with WTO Agreements. Lastly, Vanuatu has pledged to further liberalize its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy, while offering a transparent and predictable environment for trade and foreign investment.
SOURCE: TAX NEWS/PACNEWS

19) 18 Vanuatu women look to stand in October elections

Posted at 01:12 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

Vanuatu’s Department of Women’s Affairs is helping to train women preparing to stand in the election.

18 women have been attending a workshop organised by the department on Efate into the workings of parliament and being an MP.

It is part of efforts to increase women’s participation in the elections set for October the 30th.

Vanuatu voters have elected five women to the 52-seat parliament since independence in 1980 and the current parliament has just one woman MP.

Four years ago, 18 of the 349 candidates were women.

The Electoral Commission is due to officially announce the names of candidates next month.

Radio New Zealand International

20)Indian President Mukherjee meets Fijian counterpart

By Online Editor
10:01 am GMT+12, 08/08/2012, India

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday met his Fijian counterpart Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and called for expansion of trade and investment between the two countries.

The president welcomed Fiji’s recent move to join the Non-Aligned Movement and the support it provides India for reforming the United Nations Security Council as well as multilateral financial institutions, said a Rashtrapati Bhavan release.

The Fijian President, on his first visit to India, was stopping over in Delhi on his way back to Fiji from the London Olympics.

Welcoming him, President Mukherjee recollected the close historical relations between the two countries as well as the presence of a large number of persons of Indian origin in Fiji.

He also referred to the assistance being provided by India to that Pacific island-country in agriculture and healthcare sectors as well as in the sugar industry, and cooperation in the field of defence.

He expressed happiness that India’s development experience was being shared with Fiji through training slots for its nationals and scholarships for students.

Ratu Epeli is the first foreign head of state to call on the newly-elected president. He congratulated him on assuming the high office and invited him to visit Fiji.

He said the Indian Cultural Centre in capital Suva, set up in August 1972, is India’s oldest cultural centre in the world and had added tradition and colour to the fabric of Fijian society.
SOURCE: IANS/PACNEWS

21) I-Taukei rights and religious freedom strong themes at Fiji constitution hearings

Posted at 05:24 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s Constitution Commission chairman Yash Ghai says indigenous people’s rights and freedom of religion are among the strongest themes surfacing so far at its hearings in Suva.

The Commission has begun collecting views as part of its work towards a new constitution which the interim government wants in place before elections in 2014.

Sally Round reports.

Professor Ghai says the Commission has been sitting for just a few days in the capital and had about 60 submissions so far with a wide range of views.

He says indigenous people’s rights in relation to land and traditions is a prominent theme, as is religion.

“The principle which we are supposed to observe in making the constitution requires the state to be secular. Some people are saying it should be a Christian state. Maybe there is some misunderstanding about the concept of a secular state. Some people think this is an empty religious position. We try to explain a secular state is not necessarily anti-religion and the Bill of Rights will firmly have a strong protection of freedom of religion.”

Professor Ghai says people are also concerned about government structure.

“Most people want a directly elected president even though they support a parliamentary system whereas some others are saying it’s time we tried another system. The one they recommend is a US type presidency.”

There have also been calls for better social justice and policies for the disabled.

The Commission chairman says young people seem to be more in line with at least one of the principles already decreed by the interim government as a “must” for the new constitution.

“They wanted a Fiji which had political integration; parties are not linked to a particular community but represent particular people with a particular view across a country and across a racial division.”

Before the Commission began its work Professor Ghai called for a review of laws to make sure people could give their views freely.

The interim government has since lifted restrictions on meetings but controls remain on the media and security forces still have wide reaching powers.

So now the hearings are underway, does Professor Ghai feel people are coming forward freely with their views?

“I think those that come to us are speaking quite openly, frankly and sometimes when I probe them, or we probe them, they seem to be, as one person said, (speaking) from their heart. But what may be happening and we don’t know yet, is that people who are afraid are not coming to us at all.”

Professor Ghai says he brought up that issue again with the interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama on Monday.

“If there are such fears of if there is legislation which inhibits them from coming forward then the government must deal with that situation. I said it could just be that these meetings were announced recently and people are at work but I said people have been telling us that people are a bit nervous about coming out openly.”

Professor Ghai says the regime leader clearly wants full participation and he has urged civil servants to prepare their submissions.

Professor Ghai has, in the meantime, called for a study of remaining laws which may be restricting debate.

The five-person commission moves out of Suva on the 20th with two more months of hearings around the country. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=70115

13)Fiji’s Bainimarama silent on Iran invitation

Posted at 16:34 on 07 August, 2012 UTC

There is uncertainty over whether the Fiji regime leader will travel to Iran this month for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit.

Fiji became the Movement’s 120th member in 2010 when Commodore Frank Bainimarama said Fiji wanted to develop relationships with countries outside the southern Pacific sphere.

He was formally invited to Tehran last month when Iran’s ambassador to New Zealand visited Suva.

The Iranian embassy in Wellington says there has been only verbal but no written confirmation from Fiji that Commodore Bainimarama will attend the triennial summit where Iran will assume the Movement’s chairmanship from Egypt.

The Fiji government has declined to comment about the invitation to the summit, which this year coincides with the Pacific Islands Forum summit in the Cook Islands.

Iran has invited all member countries, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are likely to meet on the margins of the summit.

Radio New Zealand International

14)Fiji’s Khaiyum – plans on getting Fijians overseas to register underway

Posted at 23:20 on 06 August, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s interim-Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, says plans are still being worked out as to how Fijians living abroad can register for voting.

Voter registration in Fiji is about 22 thousand people ahead of target, with over 362,197 Fijians registering to vote in 34 days.

The target is to register 600 thousand people in 60 days.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says they are looking to register Fijian living overseas next year.

“We are yet to finalise a methodology and system as to how we’ll do that, but we need to ensure that the integrity of the data that’s collected is above board and is credible. That’ll go into plan next year.”

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says some voter registration offices will remain open for those who fail to register within the 8 week target period, and those who turn 18 leading up to the elections.

Radio New Zealand International

15)High price to pay in Fiji, Call to exclude human rights

By Online Editor
1:16 pm GMT+12, 08/08/2012, Fiji

 Helping develop a national identity among Fijians and the political integration of its diverse communities is a challenge faced by the Fiji Constitution Commission.

And commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai said Fiji had paid a high price for the dominance of communalism in the public and private lives of its people, adopting uncritically the colonial policy of “divide and rule”.

“The constitution must fashion politics within a framework of national principles that help the people to transcend narrow communalism in the wider interest of Fijians,” Professor Ghai said in an interview with Fiji Times

However, he said, Fiji was not the only country that was faced with this problem.

He said his country Kenya had paid an even higher price than Fiji on account of what they called tribalism.
Professor Ghai said there was a particular challenge to the political leadership of Fiji.

He said a successful constitutional process was not one which would merely produce a constitution.

“But one which calls in question people’s perceptions of reality, promotes understanding of the circumstances of and challenges to the State, and which helps to develop a new vision of the country, promotes democratic values and practices and strengthens national unity,” he said.

Professor Ghai said this would happen only if political parties, civil society, the government and the numerous communities of Fiji both divided and united by the ocean in its vastness, used the consultations process to understand the fears, anxieties and aspirations of Fijians and build a consensus around a set of policies that responded to those anxieties and aspirations.

In a related development, human rights should not be practised in Fiji as it contradicts traditional and cultural values.

This was one of the submissions made to the Constitution Commission earlier this week at the Salvation Army church in Raiwai.

Instead, Serupepeli Vesito of Muanivatu settlement in Vatuwaqa recommended that culture and tradition be protected and safeguarded.

In addition, Vesito submitted the return of all crown land to the iTaukei and all freehold land sold, returned.

The Commission found Vesito’s submission interesting and asked him whether he wished to make further recommendations to which he proposed that all land given to the State to be returned to the iTaukei.

Some people have also recommended the inclusion of a 9pm-6am curfew in the new Constitution.

Chairman of the commission Professor Yash Ghai revealed there were some submissions on a special role for Christianity in Fiji.

He said while some people recommended emergency powers and the role of the President during emergency, others recommended the role of the military, especially in internal security

Constitution Commission member said people should not be afraid to make recommendations on what they think should be the new laws for Fiji.

Penny Moore said it was only through the constitution that government would behave as people wished them to.

Moore also highlighted that submissions could be made in the “form of a dance, song, etcetera”, as long as the commission understood what people wished to have in the new constitution.

“We want recommendations and what people want in place,” she said.

“The commission wants to hear what people perceive as a problem and how we can fix that problem,” she added.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

16)Third woman candidate in American Samoa for US Congress seat

Posted at 05:24 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

A third woman has announced her candidacy for the race for the US congressional seat for  American Samoa.

She is 53-year-old Fatumalala Leulualiali’i Atualevao Al-Shehri of Nua and Seetaga.

Fatu lived in Saudi Arabia for close to 30 years as that is where her husband is from.

She admitted that she initially set her sights on running for governor and began walking villages to garner support.

But Fatu says she had difficulty finding a lieutenant governor candidate and the people who supported her did not qualify to run.

She says she is driven to run for Congress because of a vision from God.

Fatu said she stands for an increase in minimum wages, transparency and accountability in government.

Fatu believes Swains island should be granted the right to vote in the American Samoa legislature.

Radio New Zealand International

17)Mobile pornography concerns among Pacific youth

By Online Editor
1:15 pm GMT+12, 08/08/2012, Fiji

The United Nations has warned there’s growing evidence teenagers in the Pacific are making and accessing mobile phone pornography.

A Tongan youth is currently before the courts having been charged with the production and distribution of pornographic videos on mobile phones.

It’s believed Tongan police are also investigating four other pornographic related offences.

UN representative in the Pacific region Dirk Jena, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat during a recent visit to Vanuatu, mobile phone pornography was a concern among authorities there also.

“The issue is its spread through mobile phones and the people describe it as kind of spreading like an epidemic,” he said.

“People compare it with how STIs (Sexually transmitted infections) have spread in the Pacific.”

Some analysts estimate the spread of mobile pornography worth more than $US2 billion.

Jena says the growing mobile population and the high proportion of young people in Pacific countries makes this an important issue for the region.

“The environment that the youth is growing up is so different from the past, so we have to adjust our programs” he said.

“That’s why we want to bring this out, to get more reactions from the population on how we can deal with it.”

Jena also says concerns were raised about the role mobile phones and social media were playing in reshaping the relationships among young Pacific Islanders.

“The concern is that affects the school community – mainly the relationship between boys and girls,” he said.
“Mobile-dating leads to more intercourse, especially at social events…and the concerns was how should we address that? Should we, in the schools ban this type of thing?

“We don’t have the right answer at the moment, because not too much research has been done around this.”..

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

18)Des baux agricoles très spéciaux en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée

Posté à 7 August 2012, 8:34 AEST

Pierre Riant

Dans un nouveau rapport intitulé ‘Up for Grabs‘ et que l’on pourrait traduire par ‘À saisir‘, Greenpeace a présenté à une Commission d’enquête gouvernementale une analyse détaillée sur l’attribution de millions d’hectares de terres coutumières sans le consentement des propriétaires.

11% de la superficie totale du pays qui ont été attribués à des sociétés d’exploitation forestière malaisiennes et australiennes en vertu des Baux Agricoles et Commerciaux Spéciaux, (BACS).

Ces baux n’auraient pas dû être délivrés sans le consentement des propriétaires fonciers coutumiers. Pour les villageois qui mènent une vie de subsistance, la perte des terres signifie la perte de tout : la nourriture, l’eau et parfois un endroit où vivre.

En Nouvelle-Bretagne orientale, il y a 2 ans, 5 000 hectares de terres de Norbett Pames ont été ainsi déboisées après avoir été louées à une société en vertu d’un BACS.

PAMES : « Quand ils sont venus dans la région, il n’y avait pas de procédure à suivre pour démarrer leur projet. On ne m’a pas consulté. Quand ils ont commencé à couper la forêt et tout le reste, l’environnement a été affecté, l’eau a été affectée. C’est dur maintenant pour nos gens d’aller chercher de l’eau.

Et puis il y a aussi des problèmes sociaux qui surgissent dans les régions touchées. Les gens se mettent à boire et à se battre. Les dames se retrouvent enceintes alors qu’elles avaient l’habitude de travailler les jardins et de survivre de la terre. Maintenant c’est dur parce que la terre est prise pour l’exploitation forestière. »

Au départ, ces Baux Agricoles et Commerciaux Spéciaux auraient été conçus pour favoriser le développement rural pour que les petites communautés locales profitent de ce développement ; ces baux n’étaient pas destinés à l’exploitation forestière. À l’heure actuelle, 75% de ces BACS sont entre les mains de sociétés d’exploitation étrangères.

Paul Wynn et l’auteur du rapport ‘Up for Grabs‘.

WYNN : « Elles contrôlent 4 millions d’hectares sur les 5 millions d’hectares qui sont devant la Commission d’enquête. Une société en particulier, une société australienne, Independent Timber and Stedoring, contrôle 2 millions d’hectares, l’un des plus importants Baux Agricoles et Commerciaux Spéciaux de la Province Ouest de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Ils ont systématiquement manipulé le processus et ils ont maintenant l’autorisation gouvernementale d’exploiter  600 000 hectares des forêts du pays, la plus grande opération de déforestation de toute l’Histoire de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. »

Greenpeace et Norbett Pames espèrent que le nouveau gouvernement issu des récentes élections va réagir à la situation. La Commission d’enquête devrait bientôt rendre ses conclusion
s-Radioaustralia.

19)Arrestation d’une responsable politique fidjienne

Mis à jour 7 August 2012, 10:11 AEST

Pierre Riant

Laisenia Qarase, l’ancien Premier ministre fijdien est en prison depuis le 3 août après avoir été reconnu coupable de corruption et condamné à un an de prison.

Cette ancienne députée comparaitra bientôt devant la justice. [Credit: Fiji Live]

Nous apprenons maintenant qu’une responsable politique de renommée, Mere Samisoni, ancienne députée, a été arrêtée puis relâchée vendredi dernier.

En décembre 2011, elle avait été interpellée, mise en examen puis libéré le 4 janvier 2012 pour appel à la violence politique. Elle devrait comparaître devant la justice dans le courant du mois.

Nous avons pu contacter Vanessa Charters, la fille de Mere Samisoni.

CHARTERS : « Il y avait 8 policiers et 3 chiens policiers. Ils ont accosté ma mère et l’ont emmenée pour l’interroger. C’était à Suva, sur le bord de la route. Ils l’ont gardée plusieurs heures et l’ont relâchée.
D’après ce que nous comprenons, ils l’ont accusée de conduire dangereusement à proximité de voitures de la FICAC ; la Commission indépendante de lutte contre la corruption.

Et je peux vous dire que ma mère conduit comme une mémé. En fait ce qu’on peut lui reprocher, c’est d’être hyper prudente et j’ai peine à croire qu’elle ait pu conduire dangereusement quelque part. »

Toujours est-il que Mere Samisoni devrait bientôt passer devant la justice, le 15 août prochain semble-t-il.

CHARTERS : « Oui absolument. Ma mère et son co-accusé ont réclamé des modifications dans les conditions de leur libération conditionnelle. Ils ont été arrêtés et mis en examen en janvier dernier, nous sommes en août et toujours rien du ministère public.

Ma mère a besoin d’un traitement dentaire d’urgence car toute sa santé est affectée par une maladie des gencives qui peut avoir des conséquences pour son cœur. Elle n’est vraiment pas en bonne santé et nous sommes très inquiets. Elle devrait pouvoir aller se faire soigner en Australie parce que le traitement n’est pas disponible à Fidji. Et ce traitement n’est pas un fardeau financier pour l’État puisque ma mère est assez fortunée pour régler elle-même la facture. Nous sommes très inquiets, la famille immédiate est très inquiète de la voir être constamment la cible du régime, Nous sommes inquiets pour cette femme de 74 ans qui doit se faire soigner et qui peut se le permettre. »

Est-ce qu’il y une motivation politique derrière ce que Vanessa Charters décrit comme de l’acharnement.

CHARTERS : « Oui. Ma mère veut vraiment se présenter aux prochaines élections. Elle est très aimée dans sa circonscription et beaucoup de gens sont inquiets [que le militaires] ne veulent pas qu’elle se présente. Je pense qu’on fait pression pour l’empêcher de se présenter. Mais elle sait que Fidji mérite le meilleur leadership et le meilleur gouvernement élu qui soit et ça lui tient à cœur. Mais nous en tant que famille nous sommes inquiets de sa forme physique. »Radioaustralia

20)Manchester University to work closely with Vanuatu, Solomons and PNG

By Online Editor
10:54 am GMT+12, 08/08/2012, United Kingdom

By Matai Akauola in London

An expert on Exercise and Sport Science- Professor Neil Fowler has been talking with several Pacific National Olympic Committees for the setting up of elite programmes.

Professor Fowler- the Head of Department and Associate Dean: Research for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science has already met Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) and is expecting to also meet representatives from the Solomons and Papua New Guinea.

“The meeting this morning with Vanuatu and likely with Solomons and Papua New Guinea really to expand the partnerships we’ve had to this point.

“From 2008 the partnership between ONOC and the Northwest was put in place and we’ve been working toward 2012 and getting these games up and running.

“So we’ve been discussing what do we do now, how do we build on this,” Professor Fowler said.
He said the focus shifts to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland but at the same time he’s hoping that whatever they work on would be sustainable for the future.

Professor Fowler is hoping to work closely with universities in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG.

He says the target is to get more Pacific athletes qualifying for Rio with merit.

PACNEWS coverage is made possible with funding from Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Youth & Sports ‘Promoting Healthy Islands Through Sport’ (HITS) and Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC).
SOURCE: PACNEWS

21)Time to Tona it up

By Online Editor
10:47 am GMT+12, 08/08/2012, United Kingdom

Taekwondo’s Theresa Tona will be the last Papua New Guinean athlete to brace the Olympic stage when she fights in the women’s 49kg division today.

After watching the rest of her fellow PNG athletes compete over the past 11 days, Tona will now have the country’s attention on her as she takes on No.8-ranked Erika Kasahara of Japan in the preliminary round.

With 16 fighters in the competition, Tona, who is ranked No.9, received a favourable draw, taking on the lowest ranked fighter of the top eight.

Taekwondo PNG president Ower Ila said Tona’s coach Andy Rutten was happy with the draw, describing it as “the best draw she could have expected”.

“Winning that first fight is the most important goal right now for Theresa and since the draws came out yesterday Andy is putting together a great game plan but the rest is really up to Theresa. She has to perform out there,” Ila said.

If the 21-year-old beats Kasahara, she will face the No.1 seed China’s Jingyu Wu, who is expected to overcome 16th seed Elizabeth Gordillo of Guatemala.

If Tona loses to Wu she would still have another chance to fight for a bronze medal through the repecharge round.

“Theresa will still have a chance in the second round as long as she gets past the Japanese girl. She will take on the best fighter in the division (Wu) so that will allow her to enter the repecharge stage.”

Ila stressed that Tona had the physical ability to advance but in the competition but needed to be mentally switched on to make the most of her chances. Tona fights Kasahara at 7pm today.SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS


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