NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific ) 9 August 2012

1)PNG OTML woka i kamapim Western Provins flood apil

Updated 9 August 2012, 19:59 AEST

Kenya Kala

Samting olsem 30-tausen pipol long Western Province ibin bungim bikpela bagarap taim bikpela haiwara ibin bagarapim haus na ol gaden kaikai blong ol long stat blong mun June dispela yar.

Tom Ruing(right), Rody Ukin(left) na Kiram Bigam (front). Ol wokman (back) i witnesim donesin presenteisin. (Nancy Gah Photo)

Provinsol Gavman blong Western Provins na tu Nesinal Gavman blong PNG i givim halvim mani na tu ovasis lain wantaim tu, ol stakeholders insait iet long kantri.

Wanpela wari bihainim dispela flood oa haiwara ol i painim em i bikpela heve tru, em long wara.
Olsem na wanpela lain wokman meri blong ol Ok Tedi Mining Limited, OTML i pasim tok ol iet, bikos ol i stap long Tabubil long Provins iet, ol imas traim painim mani long halvim ol turangu i bungim bagarap.
Halvim blong dispela lain ol i kolim Western Province Flood Appeal Group bai igo pas long baim tenk wara na bed net.
Siaman blong Flood Appeal, Bill Na’awi i tok, tru lain blong ol i liklik tasol wanem liklik donesin ol i kisim bai halvim ol pipol i bungim bagarap long flood.

2)Delayed MSG visit to New Caledonia due next week

Posted at 18:07 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

The Melanesian Spearhead Group’s delayed visit to New Caledonia is now to go ahead next week after the group dropped its chair, Fiji’s Commodore Frank Bainimarama, from leading the delegation.

The week-long trip was deferred in late June – only days after it had been announced, withFiji citing political developments in Noumea.

A reliable source says the visit to look at the territory’s decolonisation process will now be led by Fiji’s interim foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

The trip is also to prepare next year’s MSG summit in New Caledonia, when the pro-independence FLNKS movement will play host.

The FLNKS says Commodore Bainimarma’s visit last month was blocked by the European Union but the French embassy in Suva said the Fiji leader never applied for a visa.

The deferral also followed the election success of a New Caledonia’s Philippe Gomes who said while he welcomed an MSG delegation there was no call to host the region’s only dictator. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=70121

3)PNG PM names Dion as his deputy

Posted at 19:50 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced his deputy as more details emerged of the new cabinet line-up.

The Deputy Prime Minister will be Leo Dion, the Governor of East New Britain Province.

Mr Dion is a senior member of Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party, the party which returned 12 elected MPs – the second highest of any party after Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress’ 27.

Mr O’Neill has already signalled that Mr Polye will hold the Treasury and Finance portoflio.

Our correspondent Oseah Philemon says Mr Dion’s appointment is probably related to regionalism.

He says while many thought that Don Polye would be offered the Deputy Prime Ministership, that would have meant two Highlands MPs in the top two positions which could be poorly received in other regions.

“So Peter O’Neill had to really trade it off. If he gave the portfolio of Treausyr and Finance to Don Polye, that is a very senior ministry and he couldn;t also give him the Deputy Prime Ministerhip. He (O’Neill) has got more than ninety members in his camp and he’s got to please everybody. So I think the best trade off was to give a very senior position, like Deputy Prime Minister, to the people of the islands region.”

Meanwhile, Loujaya Toni, one of the three women MPs, has reportedly been sworn in as a minister at Government House.

Powes Parkop has been declared the winner of the National Capital District in the last election result.

Mr Parkop retains the seat he first won at the 2007 election, giving his Social Democratic Party a third MP.

Radio New Zealand International

4)Autonomous Bougainville News:

040812Bougainville support O’Neil
By Aloysius Laukai

All four Bougainville National members voted for Prime Minister Peter O’Neil when parliament voted for the Prime Minister on Monday.

Three members were with Mr O’ Neil’s camp in Samarai whilst one was with Belden Nama’s camp in Rabaul.

Three that were in Milne Bay were the re-elected members for Central, Jimmy Miringtoro and Steven Pirika Kamma for South Bougainville.
And of course the Regional member JOE LERA.

The re-elected member for North Bougainville, Louta Atoi had to cross the floor to support his party leader Peter O’Neil before returning to the opposition.

050812 Rain in South Bougainville Destroys Roads and Bridges
By Aloysius Laukai
The continues down pour of heavy rain experienced in the last two weeks in parts of Southern Bougainville finally left a toll of destructions on Saturday night washing out most causeways in Siwai Buin and Bana blocking excess to hospitals and business centers in Buin and Arawa out of reach. Many travelling public are being affected by this rain which also has caused damage to food gardens.
The ABG member for Ramu Hon. Thomas Pataaku has expressed concern on the disaster and wants government intervention to immediately reach the area to fix the roads and bridges washed away by the continues flooding and to support families experiencing shortage of food as a result of rain and flooding.
Reports reaching the UN office in Siwai have indicated families affected by shortage of food as a result of the rain and flooding.
Meanwhile, New Dawn FM also received distress signals from the people of Torokina District in South West Bougainville.
Report from Torokina District Office said that more than six thousand people are without food as their food gardens were destroyed by recent heavy rains.
They wanted immediate assistance from the Disaster and Emergency office in Buka
sorry pic is not loading

Speaker sworn in

National Speaker sworn in
By Aloysius Laukai

The PNG 9th National Parliament this morning voted speaker, Theo Zurenuoc the member for Finchafen.
He defeated opposition nominee Francis Marus
The score was 88 to 17.
Shortly the speaker will call for the nomination of the Prime Minister.

DODL

010812SECOND CHANCE
BYAloysius Laukai

Another opportunity for Bougainville students has opened on Bougainville.

Grades Ten and twelve school leavers can now futhervtheir studies through the University of Technology’s Department of Distance Learning(DODL) which now has agencies throughout Papua New Guinea.

This was revealed by the deputy principle (academic) of Hutjena Secondary School and DODL cordinator, WAMSIE SAI on New Dawn Fm’s talk back program this week.

MR SAI said that first semester had ended amd registration on for semester two applications.
He said similar to the UPNG Program, tyey are also offering courses at K200 per subject and another K100 for facility fees.

He said that classes are held for two hours per subject every Saturday morning.

The cordinator further explained that Grade ten leavers can complete their programs within two years whilst Grade 12 leavers can just upgrade within a year and apply to colleges or universities.

More information can be obtained by contacting MR WAMSIE SAI at the Hutjena Secondary School.

REGIONAL MEMBER

300712BOUGAINVILLE MEMBER
By Aloysius Laukai
Bougainville has a new Regional member.

He is the former Director for the University of PNG’s Bougainville campus and the former commissioner for South Bougainville region under the new ABG adminustrative structure.

MR LERA polled 26,199 votes after the 11th elimination early Monday morning at theHUTJENA Secondary school counting centre.

The former BRA General now businessman, Ishmael Toroama came second with 21,208 votes.

MR.LERA reached the absolute majority figure after the sitting member, FIDELIS SEMOSO was excluded and his 15,699 votes dustributed between the last two remaining candidates.

MR LERA was declared by the Returning Officer, REITAMA TARAVARU at ten am on Monday 30 th July,2012.

5)Controversial Nautilus Deepsea Mining Project Approved In PNG
Mining hoped to inject almost $950 million into national economy

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 8, 2012) – The Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government has approved the world’s first commercial deep-sea mining project despite vehement objections based on real or perceived threats to marine life.

Canadian firm, Nautilus Minerals, has been granted a 20-year license by the PNG Government to commence the Solwara 1 project, the world’s first commercial deep sea mining operation.

This is an impact project estimated to generate over 2 billion kina [US$948.6 million], that will most probably involve 15,000 local people in PNG, initially to organize and participate in workshops on the project’s impacts on the environment and the people affected, including benefits from revenue flows and other spinoff benefits like employment.

Nautilus will mine an area 1.6 kilometers beneath the Bismarck Sea, 50 kilometers off the coast of the island of New Britain. The ore that will be extracted contains high-grade copper and gold.

The company estimates that the first phase of the mining, which will be over a period of 30 months, will realize US$142 million, over K290 million, in benefits to the PNG economy, with a plan to employ 70 percent of the project’s workforce from PNG within three years.

Recently, the PNG Government has come under fire for taking up a 30 percent equity stake in the project, which will require it to contribute about US$25 million, over K51 million, towards infrastructure costs, provoking accusations of a flagrant conflict of interest. In return, PNG will receive US$40.8 million (more than K80 million) in tax from a project estimated to generate US$1 billion (more than K2 billion) although revenue would be ‘a long way short of that’, along with a 30 percent return on what is still a highly experimental mining process, according to Nautilus Minerals CEO Steve Rogers.

In a statement released from United Kingdom and Canada, Nautilus Minerals announced that the “new frontier” in mining is set to be opened up by the underwater extraction of resources from the seabed off the coast of Papua New Guinea despite vehement objections from environmentalists and local activists.

The project is being carefully watched by other mining companies keen to exploit opportunities beneath the waves.

Deep Sea Mining (DSM) campaign, a coalition of groups opposing the PNG drilling, estimates that 1 million square kilometers of sea floor in the Asia-Pacific region is under exploration license. Nautilus alone has around 524,000 square kilometer under license, or pending licenses, in PNG, Tonga, New Zealand and Fiji.

“PNG is the guinea pig for deep-sea mining,” says Helen Rosenbaum, the campaign’s coordinator. The mining companies are waiting in the wings ready to pile in. It’s a new frontier, which is a worrying development.

“The big question the locals are asking is: What are the risks? There is no certain answer to that, which should trigger a precautionary principle. But Nautilus has found a place so far away from people that they can get away with any impacts.

“They have picked an underfunded government without the regulation of developed countries that will have no way of monitoring this properly,” she said.

The mining process will involve leveling underwater hydrothermal ‘chimneys’, which spew out vast amounts of minerals.

Sediment is then piped to a waiting vessel, which will separate the ore from the water before pumping the remaining liquid back to the seafloor.

Already a campaign report has been compiled, co-authored by a professor of zoology from the University of Oxford, which warns that underwater mining will decimate deep water organisms yet to be discovered by science, while sediment plumes could expose marine life to toxic metals that will work their way up the food chain to tuna, dolphins and even humans.

Local non-government organizations have already claimed that an environmental analysis by Nautilus failed to properly address the impact of the mining on ecosystems, nor explained any contingency plan in the event of a major accident.

Wenceslaus Magun, a PNG-based activist, has been vocal about the project, advocating that local fishing communities are concerned about the mining and are planning to challenge the exploration license.

“We are really concerned because the sea is the source of our spirituality and sustenance. The company has not explained to us the risks of deep sea mining. They haven’t responded to my requests for information,” he said.

“The government has turned a blind eye to the concern of its own people. We are mobilizing people to raise funds to take this to court and to retract the Nautilus’ license.”

But the company had defended the project, arguing that deep-sea mining is potentially far less damaging than land-based extraction.

Steve Rogers, the CEO of Nautilus, said the company had gone through a ‘rigorous’ study of environmental impacts over the past six years.

“This will be a relatively small footprint compared to a mine on land, on an area about the size of a dozen football pitches. We’ve sought out the best scientists in the world.

“We aren’t trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes,” Mr. Rogers said.

“This isn’t in a fishing area and won’t impact coral. Even if it were in a fishing area, it won’t affect that upper area where the fish are.”

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

6)Papuans block airstrip in Asmat district

Posted at 22:43 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

Locals in Asmat district in Indonesia’s Papua have blockaded the local airstrip, calling for compensation owed for land used in an expansion of the facility.

Airport official, John Rettob, says it has now been two weeks since Trigana Air has been able to fly to Ewer due to the action.

He told the Jakrta Globe locals are demanding reimbursement for land used by the local district authority to extend the length of the airstrip.

He says the goal of the extension is to allow bigger planes to land there.

The airstrip is currently serving flights from Timika and Merauke.

There are 17 outer routes served by Timika, and three airlines serve these routes.

Papua contains a very limited land road network, and thus relies heavily on air transportation to access the hinterland.

Radio New Zealand International

7)Indonesia: Dynamics of Violence in Papua

Asia Report N°2329 Aug 2012

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

A spate of violence in Papua in May and June 2012 exposed the lack of a coherent government strategy to address this multidimensional conflict. Shootings of non-Papuans in the provincial capital Jayapura in June, likely involving pro-independence militants, were followed by the death of one of those militants at police hands, highlighting the political dimension of the problem. In Wamena, a rampage by soldiers after the death of a comrade shows the depth of distrust between local communities and the army, and the absence of mechanisms to deal with crises. The shooting of five Papuans by newly arrived members of a paramilitary police unit (Brigade Mobile, Brimob) in a remote gold-mining area of Paniai highlights the violence linked to Papua’s vast resource wealth and rent-seeking by the security apparatus with little oversight from Jakarta. While these events are still under investigation, they signal that unless the Yudhoyono government can address these very different aspects of the conflict, things may get worse. An overhaul of security policy would help.

Two factors are driving much of the violence: a wide range of Papuan grievances toward the Indonesian state and a security policy that seems to run directly counter to the government’s professed desire to build trust, accelerate development and ensure that a 2001 special autonomy law for Papua yields concrete benefits. To date the law has failed to produce either improvement in the lives of most Papuans or better relations with the central government. Its substance has been frequently undercut by Jakarta, although provincial lawmakers also bear responsibility for failing to enact key implementing regulations. One of the last measures to prompt accusations in Papua of Jakarta’s bad faith was the 2011 division into two of the Papuan People’s Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua, MRP), an institution set up under the law to safeguard Papuan values and culture that was supposed to be a single body, covering all of Papua. In many ways the MRP was the keystone of special autonomy but it has been plagued by problems since its much-delayed establishment; the division, with Jakarta’s active endorsement, has further reduced its effectiveness.

These problems would be hard enough to manage if Papua had functioning political institutions, but it does not. An ineffectual caretaker governor appointed in July 2011 has left the Papuan provincial government in limbo. Meanwhile, the organisation of a new election has been stymied by a provincial legislature that has focused most of its energy on blocking the former governor from running and vying in national courts with the local election commission for control over parts of the electoral process. The picture is just as grim at district level. This leaves the central government without an engaged partner in Papua, and Papuans without a formal channel for conveying concerns to Jakarta.

The role of a new policy unit – the Unit for Accelerated Development in Papua and West Papua, known by its Indonesian abbreviation of UP4B – established in September 2011, increasingly appears limited to economic affairs, where it will struggle to show visible progress in the short term. Hopes that it might play a behind-the-scenes political role in fostering dialogue on Papuan grievances are fading, as it becomes increasingly clear that dialogue means different things to different people. Efforts to hammer out some consensus on terms and objectives have been set back by the violence, as the government is reluctant to take any steps that might be perceived as making concessions under pressure.

The challenge for the government is to find a short-term strategy that can reduce violence while continuing to work out a policy that will bring long-term social, economic and political benefits and address longstanding grievances. That strategy must involve clear and visible changes in the administration, control and accountability of both the police and military. The security apparatus is not the only problem, nor are police and soldiers always the perpetrators of violence; many have been victims as well. But they have come to symbolise everything that has gone wrong with Jakarta’s handling of the Papuan conflict. It therefore follows that a change in security policy is the best hope for a “quick win” that can transform the political dynamics and halt the slide toward further violence.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To the Government of Indonesia:

1.  Develop a more integrated policymaking mechanism on Papua at the national and provincial levels to ensure that:

a) programs designed to deliver concrete benefits to Papuans and build trust are not inadvertently undercut by decisions or actions taken in home affairs or by intelligence and security agencies;

b) a more unified security reporting mechanism is created under the Papuan regional police commander to ensure that elements of the military and intelligence apparatus do not undertake operations that report only to Jakarta and are not coordinated with other relevant authorities in Papua.

c) strict oversight of programs is not restricted to the development sphere but encompasses security policy, including examination of income-generating programs of the security forces; and

d) Papuan perspectives are included, either by participation of elected governors or the head of the MRP.

To the Indonesian National Police:

2.  Improve dissemination of and training in Police Regulation N°8/2009 on Implementation of Human Rights Standards and Principles in Carrying Out Police Tasks, with particular attention to:

a) Article 10(e) prohibiting any form of torture and inhumane or humiliating treatment, even in the face of an order from a superior or extraordinary circumstances;

b) Article 10(f) guaranteeing the health of those in custody and providing medical care as needed;

c) Article 10(g) prohibiting corruption and abuse of authority;

d) Article 17 on procedures for arrest;

e) Article 40 prohibiting police from acting in a way that generates antipathy in the community, including by asking for unauthorised fees and covering up mistakes;

f) Articles 42-44 on protecting human rights in a situation of mass unrest; and

g) Articles 45-49 on use of firearms, particularly the provision that non-violent methods should always be used first and firearms should only be used in a way that is proportional to the threat faced.

3.  Review policy on use of live ammunition with a view to restricting its use to specific situations and ensuring an adequate supply of non-lethal equipment for handling civil unrest.

4.  Ensure that police are fully equipped with protective body equipment when assigned to insecure areas or when facing civil unrest so as to reduce the incentive to shoot first.

5.  Reassess training needs, to ensure that anyone posted to a particular kabupaten(district) in Papua receives a thorough and detailed briefing from those who have served in the area about local conditions, conflict dynamics and relations with local government and community leaders, and that anyone finishing a tour of duty undergoes an equally thorough debriefing so that knowl­edge and lessons learned can be institutionalised.

6.  Redesign allowances and incentive structures so that police are rewarded rather than penalised for taking posts in isolated and difficult areas and encouraged to build stronger links with local communities.

To the Indonesian National Army and the Indonesian National Police:

7.  Make a clear commitment to ending impunity for inappropriate use of force and torture and to enforcing more credible sanctions against individuals responsible for such behaviour in a visible and public manner so that Papuans can see that justice is being done.

8.  Ensure in particular that there is a policy – rigorously implemented – of zero tolerance that begins in police and military academies for kicking, beating with any instrument including rifle butts or other forms of physical violence in the course of detention, interrogation or on-the-spot punishment for alleged offences.

9.  Make clear that “emotion” can never be used to justify excessive use of force, especially in reacting to attacks by Papuan groups.

10.  Provide more systematic oversight and scrutiny of income and expenditures in district and sub-district-level commands, particularly in those close to mining sites, with a view to ending illegal levies on the trans­port of goods and services.

To the Unit for Accelerated Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B):

11.  Work with the provincial and district-level governments in Papua as well as ministries at national level to identify gaps in implementation of special autonomy legislation and develop strategies for addressing them.

To the National Elections Commission (KPU):

12.  In light of the Constitutional Court’s upholding of the practice of voting by acclamation (using the noken system), work with the provincial-level elections commission (KPUD Papua) to develop clear guidelines that will ensure tabulating these votes includes at least minimum standards against electoral fraud and conduct increased voter education efforts accordingly.

To Papuan Provincial Legislators and the Elected Governor (when one is in place):

13.  Give top priority to enacting the some two dozen regulations necessary to ensure that special autonomy is fully implemented.http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-east-asia/indonesia/232-indonesia-dynamics-of-violence-in-papua.aspx

Jakarta/Brussels, 9 August 2012

8)Vanuatu accused of inaction over ministers breaking law

Posted at 03:12 on 09 August, 2012 UTC

A Vanuatu MP and former justice minister, Ralph Regenvanu, says there are double standards in the government’s actions following the arrival of the super yacht, the Phocea, in Port Vila.

A police investigation searched the vessel for suspected weapons and fake Vanuatupassports more than two weeks ago.

But before this happened and prior to any Customs clearance, two Cabinet Ministers and another MP went on board.

Mr Regenvanu says this is a clear breach carrying a punishment of up to two years jail or heavy fines, but the government has done nothing.

“They have clearly broken the law. Nothing has been done. They haven’t been suspended. There have been no charges laid. On the other hand you have the police leading the investigation has been suspended. No explanation of any clear wrongdoing, any breaking the law, yet he has been suspended – not by the Police Services Commission but by the Minister. So clearly a political suspension. If it was something to do with his conduct it would be the Police Services Commission. So what we see here is a complete double standard in the application of the law.”

Radio New Zealand International

 9)Minister Deplores State Of Justice In Vanuatu 

High legal fees allegedly ‘barriers to justice’

By Glenda Shing

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Aug. 8, 2012) – Vanuatu’s Minister of Justice and Community Services Charlot Salwai has told the members of the legal profession and society that access to justice in Vanuatu has failed considerably, and noted that even in some parts of Vanuatu, people totally lack justice.

The minister made these comments during the official opening of the Law Week, which would run from August 6 to 10 at Sea Front area.

He highlighted some of the problems believed are contributing factors to the failure of access to justice in Vanuatu.

He pointed out that legal fees charged by lawyers are very expensive. He explained that the fees become barriers to access justice, which can cause separation in the different sectors of the society.

“We can evidently see today that only people with high salaries can have access to lawyers and have their lawyers paid, sadly, those with no vatu had to suffer because they could not have access to a legal service.”

The minister also touched on the mentality where he claimed that lawyers have by placing money as their first priority before considering the principle of law. He told the members of the public and the legal society that this mentality has to be changed. With this mentality, it paints a bad picture where a person has to pay a price before acquiring justice.

He challenged the lawyers that the Government has to deliver services to the people because it is the constitutional duty of the Government to do so.

“To you lawyers, what are our ethical duties; is it money or service? I believe your priority should be providing service so that access to justice can prevail.”

Another contributing factor is that the attitudes and conducts for Vanuatu lawyers today do not at all reflect the fundamental beliefs for the citizens of Vanuatu as stated in the Constitution. Salwai claimed that attitudes and conducts of lawyers and law institutions are not based on our culture, Christian beliefs, faith in God and nationalism. He added that because of that, a lot of our issues today that should be solved by our lawyers instead, they (lawyers) become part of the problem.

As the minister responsible for Justice, Salwai told the members of the legal society that the comments are constructive criticisms that they can use to readjust and develop their careers in order to uplift the legal profession and legal system in Vanuatu, enabling it to become more effective and serve the interest of the people and the Government of Vanuatu.

He also commended the legal society for hosting the important week, and especially with the aim to ensure that the people of Vanuatu can have access to justice.

Law Week is organized by the Vanuatu Law Society, a charitable organization headed by Bill Bani. The Minister has declared for the event to become Vanuatu Law Week and celebrated annually. Members of the public are welcome to be part of the Law Week, a time for opportunities to know more about the legal sector, know the roles, functions and challenges faced by the lawyers and legal institutions.

There will also be public debates on hot topics from 6pm to 9pm throughout the week. Debate topics and discussions include whether Sex workers/ prostitution should be legalized in Vanuatu, whether marijuana should be legalized in Vanuatu, prison service VS correctional service system and Westminster System vs. Presidential System.

Law Week 2012 celebration is based on the theme, “Promoting the Law in the community.”

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

10)Plans afoot to collect views of Fiji diaspora on constitution

Posted at 22:43 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s Constitution Commission has made plans to collect ideas for a new constitution from people from Fiji living overseas.

The Commission started public hearings in Suva this week and is collecting submissions over the next two months.

Commission chairman, Professor Yash Ghai, says Fiji’s diplomatic missions abroad are among those the Commission will approach for help.

“We are making direct contact with associations of Fiji diaspora. We will soon have our website, next week, which will have a lot of information and they can send us their submissions, so we will follow that very vigorously.”

Fiji Constitution Commission Chairman Professor Yash Ghai.

Radio New Zealand International

11)Amnesty calls on Fiji to release Qarase from jail

Posted at 03:12 on 09 August, 2012 UTC

Amnesty International is calling on Fiji to immediately release the ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, from prison.

Qarase last week received 12 months for six charges of abuse of office and six months for three charges relating to discharge of duty as a public servant, to be served concurrently at Korovou Prison.

Megan Whelan reports.

“Amnesty says it is concerned that the charges against Qarase were politically motivated. The organisation believes that Qarase may have been imprisoned solely for his political beliefs and his opposition to the military government. Amnesty is also concerned about other individuals facing trial, including Daniel Urai, the President of the Fiji Trade Union Congress, who is charged with sedition, and Mere Samisoni, a former politician, who is charged with trying to overthrow the government. It is calling on the Fiji government to immediately and unconditionally release Laisenia Qarase if he is being held because of his political beliefs, and to ensure that Daniel Urai and Mere Samisoni receive a fair trial.”

Radio New Zealand International

12)Fiji regime labels Anthony assault claim as hearsay

Posted at 03:12 on 09 August, 2012 UTC

The Fiji information ministry has called on Fiji Trades Union Congress leader Felix Anthony to produce his medical report to the police so investigations can be conducted.

Mr Anthony lodged a complaint last month, reporting the alleged threats by the regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and the subsequent beating by military officers.

He says in February last year, he was punched and kicked, suffering a damaged eardrum and bruising that needed medical care.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns says they have to deal with facts not hearsay.

Speaking on behalf of the police, she says their work has been delayed because of the medical report not being submitted

Mr Anthony says he has had difficulty trying to get medical reports from Lautoka Hospitalwhere he was examined after the assault.

Ms Smith-Johns says it is easy for anyone to make these claims without proof and get their 15 minutes of fame.

She also says the complaint is seen by some as trying to derail the constitution consultation process now underway.

Radio New Zealand International

13)Fiji farmers keen on multi-cropping

Posted at 06:37 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

The Fiji India Business Council says a big focus for farmers now is finding ways to grow more crops and make more money from the same amount of land.

For the first time, the Agriculture Show is being held in Fiji’s Western Division this week to benefit the farmers affected by two devastating floods this year.

The president of the Fiji India Business Council, Swani Maharaj, says farmers have recovered well and there is now a continuous supply of crops going into the markets.

Mr Maharaj says many of the those at the show are interested in learning ways to multi-crop, like planting potatoes in between the sugar cane rows.

“Before the sugar cane grows to one and a half two feet, potatoes are already harvested. Similarly they want to plant okra and other vegetables in the sugar cane fields. With the price of sugar slightly down last year and previous years, this years it’s gone up a little bit – but the question here is we want the farmers to have more income from the same amount of farm.”

The president of the Fiji India Business Council, Swani Maharaj.

Radio New Zealand International

14)New Government in Timor-Leste

Press Statement

Patrick Ventrell

Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of Press Relations

 

Washington, DC

 

August 8, 2012

 

The United States welcomes the formation of the Fifth Constitutional Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste under the leadership of Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao. We congratulate the people of Timor-Leste on the three sets of free, fair, and peaceful elections held this year.

 

As Timor-Leste commences its second decade of independence, the United States looks forward to further strengthening our close partnership with all Timorese and to working with Prime Minister Gusmao’s government as we pursue our shared goals of development and prosperity for all the people of Timor-Leste.

15)East Timor swears in larger cabinet

By Online Editor
10:14 am GMT+12, 09/08/2012, Timor-leste

East Timor‘s president has sworn in the nation’s new coalition cabinet, announcing three additional ministerial posts the opposition has dubbed an “unnecessary” use of the poor nation’s money.

President Taur Matan Ruak announced 16 ministers, three more than the former government.

Six are from Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), which leads the coalition government after winning the general election in July.

“I am satisfied with this structure,” Ruak said on Wednesday.

“But what I ask of you all, the new ministers, is that you work efficiently. I also ask that you don’t repeat the mistakes made by past ministers,” he said, after corruption allegations marred the former cabinet.

Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo, president of the minority Democratic Party (PD) that joined the coalition after the CNRT failed to win an absolute majority, will be deputy prime minister and minister for social welfare.

Jose Luis Guterres of minority Frente-Mudanca, another ally, was appointed foreign affairs minister.

The size of the new cabinet, with three additional ministerial posts, drew criticism, especially from the ranks of the opposition Fretilin Party, which came second to the CNRT in the July legislative elections.

Fretilin said the government’s creation of new ministries was wasteful for the tiny half-island nation of just 1.1 million people, half of whom live under the international poverty line.

“This will increase spending on government ministers and vice-ministers, and it’s completely unnecessary for such a small country,” Fretilin vice-president Aresenio Babo told AFP upon seeing an earlier draft list.

“The only explanation is creating jobs for friends to satisfy coalition and individual interests.”

Michael Leach of Australia’s Swinburne University in Melbourne said the Timorese would judge over the five-year term whether the spending had been in the public’s interest.

“Ultimately, the public will decide if their performance justifies the extra cost, or if it’s seen as a form of reward to governing party members and supporters,” he said.

East Timor won independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a bloody 24-year occupation.

Presidential and legislative elections this year were seen as key tests of the nation’s stability as UN peacekeepers plan to pull out of the once restive country by the end of the year.

SOURCE:AFP/PACNEWS

16)Samoa government releases its first ever population and housing census

Posted at 18:07 on 08 August, 2012 UTC

The Samoa Government has released its first ever population and housing census.

The total population for 2011 was 187,200, up from 179,000 in 1996, and 38 percent of the population is under 15-years old.

While boys out number girls 19,629 to 17,774 – girls out number boys at tertiary education, 1,952 to 1,759.

There are 16,787 matai-title holders living in the country, 10 percent are women.

A total of 7,415 foreign citizens reside in Samoa, over half of them are New Zealanders.

In launching the census, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi urged parents to have more children.

He says having more children and having bigger families not only contributes to the brain trust of the country, but also increases the village and national labour force which will expand the local consumer market.

He also says when young people move overseas, they tend to send back money to sustain their families.

Radio New Zealand International

17)Fidji: le SDL se défend d’être raciste

Mis à jour 8 August 2012, 11:12 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Le parti d’opposition planche en ce moment sur des propositions pour la nouvelle Constitution. 

Laisenia Qarase, le chef du SDL récemment condamné à un an de prison ferme, lors d’un forum en 2009. (Fiji Times)
Et selon les médias fidjiens, le SDL aurait l’intention d’instaurer une langue officielle unique, le Fidjien, et de réserver aux seuls indigènes le titre de « Fidjien » ou «i-Taukei». Mais le parti nie farouchement, tout en reconnaissant que certains membres du parti ont exprimé leurs opinions personnelles, qui ne reflètent en rien la ligne du parti. Bruce Hill a joint l’Indo-Fidjien Brij Lal, professeur à l’Université Nationale Australienne de Canberra:
 «Je pense que le SDL est un parti responsable, c’est un des plus grands partis de Fidji, donc j’ai du mal à croire qu’il puisse adopter cette ligne politique. La preuve, le SDL a soutenu la fin du vote ethnique, de la représentation par communautés. Donc je serais très très surpris que le parti ait maintenant des visées nationalistes. Je prends les affirmations des médias avec des pincettes.  Peut-être que certains groupes à Fidji ont tout intérêt à présenter le SDL comme un parti raciste, sans demander aux dirigeants du parti de clarifier leurs positions. Le chef du SDL, Laisenia Qarase, a été condamné à un an de prison récemment, donc je pense que le parti a d’autres soucis en tête que de préparer des propositions détaillées pour la Commission constitutionnelle. Il y a des chances que ces accusations contre le SDL soient calomnieuses, même si je n’ai pas le fin mot de l’histoire.» 
Quoi qu’il en soit, nous aurons bientôt la réponse sur le modèle de société souhaité par le SDL, car les cadres du parti annoncent qu’ils remettront leurs propositions à la Commission constitutionnelle le 10 septembre. Mais une chose est sûre, ce n’est pas le SDL qui a inventé la revendication ethnique à Fidji.
«Ces idées sont dans l’air depuis un moment. En 1974, Sakiasi Butadroka a réclamé l’expulsion de tous les Indo-Fidjiens vers l’Inde. Quant à l’idée de faire de Fidji un Etat chrétien, elle a aussi été défendue par bon nombre de partis fidjiens. Mais c’était à l’époque où les indigènes Fidjiens se sentaient menacés, ils étaient minoritaires et forcément, ils étaient séduits par des idées extrémistes. C’est vrai, bon nombre de cadres des Eglises et des partis politiques ont propagé ces idées. Mais je pense que depuis 2000 le paysage politique a changé à Fidji, de même que la démographie, ce qui a largement calmé le jeu.» 
Et quand Brij Lal parle de transformation de la démographie, il fait référence à l’augmentation de la population indigène par rapport à la communauté indo-fidjienne, qui représente aujourd’hui 36% de la population totale, et tombera à 26% en 2027, alors que dans les années 70, les Indo-Fidjiens représentaient la moitié de la population.  Radioaustralia.

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