NEWS (Melanesian/Pacific) 6 September 2012

 

1) Free Papua Movement i promis long pait iet long indipendens

Updated 5 September 2012, 10:40 AEST

Free Papua Movement i tok pait blong lusim Indonesia na kisim indipendens bai go het iet maski ol i holim kalabus lida blong ol, Daniel Kogoya.

Long Sande nait, polis ibin arestim Mr Kagoya na sampela activist insait long wanpela reid long hetkota blong ol insait long Jayapura.

Ol atoriti i tok ol i bin wok long painim em long moa long wanpela yar, we ol i sutim tok long em long kamapim ol pait igo long ol sivilian.

Ol i tok dispela kalabus bai hamarim wok blong OPM, samting em John Otto Ondawame, mausman blong ol long Vanuatu i tok, em bai ino stopim.

“It doesn’t mean anything. Even if they kill a thousand West Papuans, members of OPM or civilians, we will continue and grow. The deep aspiration of independence for West Papua will never die,” em i tokim Radio Australia.

Ol polis wantaim ol militeri ofisa, em Australia i treinim ol, Detachmnet 88 ibin lidim dispela reid long hetkota blong ol long Jayapura.

Jason Macleod, long Centre for Peace and Conflict studies long University of Queensland, i tok dispela em i namba tu reid insait long sotpela taim, na dispela i soim Indonesia atoriti i wok long daunim wok blong muvment.

“Without a doubt we are seeing an increase in police and military operations,” em i bin tok.

“Activists have been arrested in other parts of West Papua. We’re also seeing an increase in surveillance activities, so a number of the West Papua national committee activists have gone to ground, many are in hiding and a number of church leaders and civil society leaders are also reporting that West Papua is more unsafe than they’ve experienced it in many years.”

Tasol, Jason Macleod i tok tu olsem kalabus blong Daniel Kagoya bai ino stopim wok blong OPM.

“The most important thing to remember is that the overwhelming majority of the population want independence, and that would be true for political leaders, church leaders, NGO activists, right through to grassroots,” em i bin tok.


2) Indonesian House of Representatives committee to deal with Papua issues

The House of Representatives in Indonesia has set up a working committee (Panja) to push the government to find solutions to eventually end recurring violence in the resource-rich province of Papua.

House member Mahfudz Siddiq said the ongoing violence in Papua illustrated the government’s failure to deal with the province’s problems.

“Due to the government’s failure [in solving problems in Papua], House Commission I has established a working committee that aims to push the government to formulate and implement comprehensive and peaceful programs in Papua,” Mahfudz said, referring to the House Commission that he chairs, overseeing defense and foreign affairs.

The working committee on Papua that was officially established on Monday comprises 27 lawmakers from all nine political party factions including the Democratic Party, the Golkar Party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura).

The working committee is chaired by leaders of Commission I.

Following their visit to Papua in June, Commission I members identified at least four major issues that continue to trigger violence in the province: The lack of Papuans’ trust in the central government, the politics and history of Papua’s integration into Indonesia, the poor performances of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) and the regional administration and an increase in armed violence.

“This working committee will help the government bring together various stakeholders in Papua to search for the best solutions with the unity of Indonesia in mind,” Mahfudz said.

On Tuesday more violence broke out in Papua, claiming the lives of two Papuans, Zeky Tabuni, 30, and Kamoro Tabuni, 19. Both died after being attacked by around 30 people during a violent clash in Kwamki Lama at around 1:30 a.m.

Papua Police spokesman Sr. Adj. Comr. Johannes Nugroho Wicaksono said on Tuesday that the clash was between residents of two villages in Kwamki Lama who have been hostile toward each other for years.

“We are still hunting for the perpetrators and securing the area so that the clash will not get worse,” he said.

Mahfudz, a PKS politician, claimed the UP4B had become a problem rather than a solution.

“We suggest the government evaluates the significance of setting up the UP4B because it has done almost nothing in Papua after almost two years,” Mahfudz said.

Established by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in mid October last year, the UP4B is mandated by a presidential decree to coordinate, synchronize, facilitate, monitor and evaluate development programs in Papua.

“Our main job relies on five keywords: coordinate, synchronize, facilitate, monitor and evaluate.

None of those words gives us a mandate to execute any [development] programs in Papua. We are mandated to open up access for development there and this is what we are trying to do,” UP4B chairman Bambang Darmono told The Jakarta Post recently.
SOURCE JAKARTA POST /PACNEWS

3) No concerns of human rights abuse in West Papua: Australian Defence minister

By Online Editor
4:22 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, AustraliaAustralia will begin work on selling military hardware to Indonesia as
Defence Minister Stephen Smith says he has “no concerns” about alleged human rights abuses by Indonesian soldiers in the restive province of West Papua.

After a series of meetings over two days, Smith and his Indonesian counterpart, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, signed a new “’Defence Co-operation Agreement” with commitments about future exercises and, for the first time, a focus on the trade in defence equipment.

The move stems from Australia’s recent decision to give Indonesia four C-130 Hercules aircraft. Smith has signalled he would be prepared to sell them six more, saying talks about opening up military trade were at an early stage, but would develop over the next 12 months.

The Indonesian army and police have been implicated in serious human rights abuses in West Papua, most recently during a riot by soldiers leading to the burning of a village near remote Wamena, and the killing by police of independence activist Mako Tabuni.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr recently called for a thorough and open inquiry into Tabuni’s death.

But asked about West Papua, Smith said it had been discussed only “in passing”

“’I have no concerns about our enhanced defence co-operation, practical co-operation, whether it’s through the defence co-operation agreement or our discussions about defence capability,” he said.

Smith said he respected Indonesia’s policies towards its easternmost province, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s recent statement that allegations of abuse would be investigated.

Purnomo, standing beside Smith, said the killing of Tabuni had been legal and required no investigation.

“’Mako Tabuni was involved in several shootings … and [was shot] when the police tried to catch him” Purnomo said.

“’This, I think, is nothing to do with the human rights, because this is criminal. And it happened in a region of Indonesian territory. It was under the law, under the regulations … of Indonesia.”

The sale of defence equipment to Indonesia became controversial after the Obama administration agreed to give Indonesia two F16 fighter jets, and sell it air-to-surface guided missiles valued at $25 million.

An Indonesian press release about the co-operation agreement with Australia said it was designed to “’strengthen and develop the relationship and co-operation … on the basis of mutual respect of each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, no meddling in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and with a great respect for peace”

The comprehensive agreement aims to improve relations between Australian and Indonesian agencies, to counter terrorism, increase maritime security and facilitate disaster recovery.

SOURCE: THE AGE/PACNEWS

4) US military support for Indonesia questioned after call for peaceful resolution in Papua

Posted at 04:17 on 06 September, 2012 UTC

The East Timor & Indonesia Action Network has questioned the US Secretary of State’s call for peaceful resolution to conflict in Papua when her government is providing more weapons to Indonesia’s military.

While in Indonesia this week Hillary Clinton has urged consultation between Indonesia’s government and the people of Papua.

She says the US deplores violence in Papua and has called for full and transparent investigations into recent killings there.

The Network’s John Miller says while the US speaks frequently about the need for human rights abuses in Papua to end, it is arming the people who are responsible for most of the abuse.

“The words are about human rights sometimes. But the actions are just, particularly under the Obama administration and in the later years of the Bush administration, are increasingly supplying the tools of violence to Indonesia’s military and police.”

John Miller

Meanwhile, Australia’s Defence Minister Stephen Smith has indicated his government will begin selling military equipment to Indonesia.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Six OPM members remain in Indonesian police custody

Posted at 23:11 on 05 September, 2012 UTC

Indonesian police say they have detained six separatist rebels over an attack which left four dead in the restive province of Papua.

The rebel Free Papua Movement, OPM, which has been fighting for independence for decades, confirmed that those named belonged to the group, including the commander who led the attack Daniel Kogoya.

Police rounded up 25 people in the provincial capital Jayapura over the weekend after investigators found sufficient evidence of their alleged involvement in the incident on the 1st of August last year.

National police spokesman, Boy Rafli Amar, told AFP that six of the 25 investigated have been positively named suspects and detained.

Papua police allege those detained blocked a road, opened fire on passing vehicles and then attacked passengers with machetes, killing an army officer and three others and injuring seven.

The police announcement came a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Indonesia to pursue dialogue and ensure autonomy for the restive region.

Radio New Zealand International

6) Claims corruption is “single biggest threat” to PNG’s future

By Online Editor
1:53 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Papua New GuineaConcerns are rife in PNG that corruption could destroy the country’s future.

In a state of the nation address Wednesday, the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill outlined an anti-corruption strategy and promised to rebuild the country’s public institutions and infrastructure.

However, at least one public figure, the former member for Lae Open Bart Philemon, said more needs to be done to address the problem.

Philemon called for urgent action to fight corruption, saying the problem is the biggest threat to the nation’s future.

On Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program, Lawrence Stephens, the president of Transparency International PNG, agreed with Mr Philemon.

Papua New Guinea ranks 154th out of 180 nations in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which lists countries according to their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

“When you listen to statements like the former member, like those of the prime minister, and like those of many other leaders, the ranking appears to be warranted and we are in serious trouble as a nation plagued by corruption,” Stephens said.

“People are far too accepting of the reality of corruption, far too ready to participate in corrupt activities, even down to the extent of bribing police officers and corrupt officials,” Stephens added.

Earlier this week an anti-corruption team appointed by the country’s government arrested four people for allegedly misusing more than $US1.5 million in school funds.

It followed an investigation by Task Force Sweep, which was set up by the government last year to investigate the alleged misuse of public funds.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

7) PNG Economy Expected To Grow By 9.9 Percent in 2012
$243.5 million deficit projected despite positive growth

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 5, 2012) – Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) economy has been growing at 8 percent a year over the past 10 years and is expected to remain so in the medium term, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament yesterday.

However, the Prime Minister reminded the nation of short-term challenges that have weakened the fiscal outlook, resulting in a budget deficit of over K500 million [US$237.3 million] that is being addressed by the government for a balanced budget by the end of the year.

Mr. O’Neill in his State of the Nation address said as reflected by the 2012 mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook Report, PNG’s economy grew at around 11 percent in 2011 and under the 2012 budget, the revised economic growth is expected to be at around 9.9 percent.

He said growth in the non-mining sector also increased to 13.1 percent in 2011 and is expected to be 10.4 percent in 2012.

Mr. O’Neill said these growth rates are some of the strongest among nations of the world and inflation, on the other hand, has been estimated at 8.8 percent in 2012.

He said on balance, the risks to the Papua New Guinea economy are modest as the internal drivers for growth continue to dominate the external factors.

He said there are a number of risk factors that have come into play to deliver that outcome which includes:

  • Uncertainty in global economic recovery and commodity price volatility.
  • Strong appreciation of the kina against other countries’ currencies in the first half of 2012.
  • Loss of fiscal discipline due to low revenues as a result of declining commodity prices and increasing additional expenditure pressures; and
  • Continued disruptions to the PNG LNG project construction progress and other major mining projects.

The Prime Minister said this shortfall is estimated to be K392.5 million [US$186.3 million]. Despite this expected revenue shortfall, total expenditure and net lending continue to be maintained as per the 2012 budget.

Mr. O’Neill said actual expenditures recorded in the first half of the year indicate a potential overspending of K120.7 million [US$57.3 million] by the end of the year, largely due to increase in spending on payroll and election-related expenses.

The combination of these expected revenue shortfalls and overspending indicates a projected budget deficit of K513.1 million [US$243.5], he said.

“Our immediate challenge is to impose austerity measures and to maintain fiscal discipline in the second half of the year so that we are positioned to offset the estimated K513.1 million budget deficit recorded. Corrective options are now under consideration to return the 2012 Budget to one that is balanced,” the Prime Minister said.

He said these options include deferral of low priority projects and maintaining a tighter rein on expenditure.

“Let me remind all of us again that we are a responsible, inclusive government and we will make the necessary adjustments to return the 2012 budget to a balanced one by year’s end,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.

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

8) PNG election petitions on record-high

By Online Editor
4:20 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Papua New GuineaThe number of Papua New Guinea election petition cases registered at the National Court has climbed to more than 70 cases, exceeding figures of previous election petitions.

According to the Waigani National Court registry, about 76 election petition cases have been already registered and ready for Directions Hearing.

This practically means that 76 out of the 111 seats are under dispute. The 2007 election had 55 but the team assisting the court registry confided more are expected.

They said the way in which the petitions filed was overwhelming and they won’t be surprised if all 111 electorates were being challenged in court.

According to the National Court rules on election petitions, all election petition cases filed can be amended any time before the expiry of 40 days from the declaration.

Directions Hearing take place within 28 days from the date of the filing of the petition. During Directions Hearing, the assigned judge would consider, amongst other things, whether a party shall be represented by a lawyer, identification of legal issues, filing and serving of witnesses’ statements and or affidavits, number of witnesses, filing, serving and producing of any other relevant documents.

It will then schedule a hearing to a Provincial Court House in or close to where the electorate is situated. Court officials said the final election petitions are expected to come in by the 17th or 18th of this month.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

9) PNG ferry overloaded, unsafe: report

By Online Editor
10:22 am GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Papua New Guinea

A ferry which sank in stormy seas in Papua New Guinea, claiming as many as 161 lives, was overcrowded, unsafe and unseaworthy, according to a damning report released by the government.

The MV Rabaul Queen went down in rough weather on February 2 after it was hit by three large waves which capsized the vessel, flinging some of those on board into the sea and trapping others below deck.

The report by the PNG Commission of Inquiry was unable to determine how many people were on board because there was no manifest, but said it was carrying at least 392, and possibly as many as 411 people, despite a maximum capacity of 310.

The commission said on Wednesday the Rabaul Queen was unsafe for the overnight voyage from Kimbe to Lae because, among other things, it did not meet appropriate standards for the 4- to 6-metre waves and gale force winds.

The commission said it considered the ship was unseaworthy and should never have departed Kimbe because it was not manned by a competent crew and did not carry lifejackets for children.

“Simply put, the ship should not have been where it was in the conditions that were present on the morning of 2 February 2012,” it said.

It said the operator Rabaul Shipping and its master, Captain Anthony Tsiau, 54, failed to consider the best weather information before the ship sailed or during the voyage, despite a government warning of gale force winds causing very rough seas.

The inquiry said passengers had described conditions on board as “packed” and “overloaded”, saying people were sitting shoulder to shoulder on the decks and could not stretch out their legs.

“At the time of the sinking, the owner of the Rabaul Queen, Captain (Peter) Sharp, had been compromising the safety of passengers and crew on all his ships for a number of years,” Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion reportedly told parliament.

“Ships were regularly overloaded, they sailed in unsuitable weather conditions and the fleet was poorly maintained,” Dion said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The inquiry found that after a night at sea, a large wave hit the Rabaul Queen at 6.15am and before it could fully right itself, a second smashed into the ship.

As water began to flood in, a third wave hit the exposed hull and the 21-year-old Japanese-built passenger ferry capsized off the coast of PNG’s second largest city, Lae. It sank so quickly the master did not broadcast a mayday signal.

When rescue ships began to arrive at the scene some three hours later, they pulled 246 survivors from the water. Four bodies were also recovered.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

10) AUTONOMOUS BOUGAINVILLE NEWS 

010912MOMIS HAPPY MAN
By Aloysius Laukai

ABG President chief JOHN MOMIS is happy that the new national leadership under Prime Minister PETER O’NEIL was able to respond positively to Bougainville’s
Case after meeting with them last weekend.
President MOMIS made these remarks at the Buka aiport this afternoon after returning from PORT MORESBY with his delegation which included the Vice President, PATRICK NISIRA,Finance Minister, ALBERT PUNGHAU, Planner, LESLIE TSERAHA and the Chief Administrator,LAWRENCE DISIN.

ABG President said that meetings with the Acting Prime Minister, LEO DION,Public service minister,DR.PUKA TEMU,TREASURER,DON POLYE and the chief secretary
Were very promising.He said that the long awaited ONE HUNDRED MILLION KINA and including the FIFTEEN MILLION KINA Reconstruction funds for last year and this year were also approved.

President MOMIS will make other announcements at a press conference on Monday. Pictured is President Momis welcomed at the Buka airport this afternoon.

010912EYE CARE VISIT
By Aloysius Laukai

People having eye problems on Bougainville are asked to see a special eye specialist team that will visit Bougainville next week.

A message from Callan Service Bougainville reports that eye spealists will visit the following places,
Monday September 03rd they will visit TEAROUKI
TUESDAY 04th September 2012-BUKA HOSPITAL
WEDNESDAY 05th 2012-GAGAN Community.
THURSDAY 06th September,2012-Team will travel to ARAWA.
FRIDAY/SAT -07-08th 2012-ARAWA HEALTH CENTRE.
MONDAY 10th September-WAKUNAI HEALTH CENTRE.
TUESDAY 11th September-MONOITU HEALTH CENTRE,Siwai.
WEDNESDAY 12th September,BUIN HOSPITAL.
Bougainvilleans who can access this site are kindly asked to relay this important message.

310812 Powerless Buka
By Aloysius Laukai

The so called temporary headquater of the Autonomous region of Bougainville, Buka Town is now a powerless town since the PNG POWER’S generator developed engine trouble last weekend.

And their small standbye gen sets cannot meet the demand for electricity by Buka’s other mini towns of Kokopau, Sohano,Kubu and Hutjena and not forgeting villages getting power under the rural electricity program.

Their so called load shedding does not even cover the backstreets as we have been without power since yesterday..now going into 48hrs without power.

And two local radio stations completly out of service the entire population is also in the dark.
As darkness falls we are totaly hopeless till the next morning.

280812 more industries needed
By Tapo Tovilu

Investors currently in the region must bring in more and do more to start industries in the region to help strengthen the economy.
The call was made by Chief Francis Loio who called on the Chinese to do more than just retail shops.
He says that the retail business is small and should be left to the locals in whatever region of Bougainville they are in.
He also made a call to authorities to monitor the quality of goods coming into the region and going on to our shelves.

290812 calls to improve nova road links
By Tapo Tovilu

Calls have been made by the travelling public residing in the Kahule and Nova for more to be done to help fix their road to Buka Town.
They say that they have now for too long been travelling on poor road conditions to and fro town.
They thanked the works department which is currently upgrading the Ramunpan road area.
They made a call to member for North to look at doing more to help improve the road conditions from Buka to Kahule.

290812 decision criticised
By Tapo Tovilu

The decision by the National Police Minister to rid the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary of its Auxiliary Unit has been questioned by many.
A Police Cap from the Tinputz area says that auxiliary police officers are helping in areas where the police officers are not present.
He says that for Bougainville the auxiliary police have been part of their community policing program which in the last five years has been very successful.
He says that the decision to remove the auxiliary police will leave a gap in the community policing section of the Bougainville police service.
He made a call to those in power to look back at the decision and to consider what effects it will have on the community.

290812 MANAGER WELCOMES SUPPORT
BY Aloysius Laukai

The General Manager for Team Bougainville, MR.WILLIE MASIU today welcomed Bougainville Copper Foundation’s support to team Bougainville.

He told New Dawn FM from Port Moresby that this support was needed as the team needed to get all its team uniforms for the games.

Mr. Masiu said that team Bougainville was in dire need of funds as funds allocated by the Autonomous Bougainville Government totaling FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA was not available until the ONE HUNDRED MILLION KINA funding from the National Government was received.

He said his team would still need some more sponsors in order for Bougainville to fully participate at this year’s PNG GAMES.

Meanwhile, PRIME MINISTER PETER ONEIL announced that the National Government as paid FOUR MILLION KINA to AIR NIUGINI so that the TWENTY TWO Provinces can get to the games in Kokopo.

He said this means all Provinces would get TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA each for air fares for their contingents.

11) Solomon Islands govt seeks $247 million

By Online Editor
1:52 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Government will be seeking an additional $247 million (US$34.8 million) when parliament meets next week.

This will be in the form of the 2012 Supplementary Appropriation Bill Finance minister Rick Hou will table in parliament.

The $247 million will cover for money the government already spent without parliament’s approval, as well as other new spending.

As part of Parliamentary oversight, the Public Accounts Committee will scrutinise the bill starting tomorrow.
Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Douglas Ete said the reason for the huge ask will be known when the 23 ministries appear before this committee.

Ete said the Committee will ask the ministries to bring explanatory notes and relevant information relating to departmental warrants and virements.

He said among the big spenders, Ministry of Tourism is asking for $15 million (US$2.1 million), Police $11 million and Health 14.5 million.

Ete said his committee will also be asking for information on other funds like tourism, forestry and mines.

He said there are people who would like to believe that PAC is nothing short of a rubber stamp mechanism as far as the Solomon Islands financial and accountability set up is concern.

“But let me say this, by design PAC is about the principle of accountability,” he said.

“PAC ensures that accountability is not just design to catch out its subject in an illegal practice.

“Of course, one wishes to have control systems that are capable of doing this,” the MP for East Honiara said.

He said if accountability relied entirely on catching people out it would inevitably fail, short of turning the country into a police state.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

12) Solomons Government Seeks Further Budget Appropriations
Tourism, police and health ministries request larger allotments

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 6, 2012, 2012) – The government of the Solomon Islands will be seeking an additional SB$247 million [US$33.4 million] when parliament meets next week.

This will be in the form of the 2012 Supplementary Appropriation Bill Finance minister Rick Hou will table in parliament.

The SB$247 million will cover for money the government already spent without parliament’s approval, as well as other new spending.

As part of Parliamentary oversight, the Public Accounts Committee will scrutinize the bill starting tomorrow.

Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Douglas Ete said the reason for the huge request will be known when the 23 ministries appear before this committee.

Mr. Ete said the Committee will ask the ministries to bring explanatory notes and relevant information relating to departmental warrants and virements.

He said among the big spenders, Ministry of Tourism is asking for SB$15 million [US$2 million], Police SB$11 million [US$1.5 million] and Health, asking for SB$14.5 million [US$1.9 million].

Mr. Ete said his committee will also be asking for information on other funds like tourism, forestry and mines.

He said there are people who would like to believe that PAC is nothing short of a rubber stamp mechanism as far as the Solomon Islands financial and accountability set up is concern.

“But let me say this, by design PAC is about the principle of accountability,” he said. “PAC ensures that accountability is not just design to catch out its subject in an illegal practice. Of course, one wishes to have control systems that are capable of doing this,” the MP for East Honiara said.

He said if accountability relied entirely on catching people out it would inevitably fail, short of turning the country into a police state.

Solomon Star

13) Solomons PM: No Fishing Deals Without Vessel Day Scheme
Over $13.5 million earned during 2011 for ‘fishing days’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 6, 2012) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo yesterday warned the Solomon Islands will not sign-on to any fisheries partnership agreements that do not contain the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) arrangement.

“VDS is non-negotiable and a prescribed condition to any fisheries agreements that Solomon Islands will have with both multilateral and bilateral partners and distance fishing nations,” Mr. Lilo said.

He underlined the importance of the VDS to any fisheries agreements that Solomons will sign-on to in the future following recent talks with the European Union, where the European Union declined to accommodate the VDS arrangement in a proposed new fisheries partnership agreement.

Mr. Lilo said the VDS is a significant component of the country’s tuna industry and the economy and there will be no agreements without its inclusion.

“The VDS has made a huge difference to the country’s earnings in the fisheries sector and its return is far better than what the state owned Solomon Taiyo earned for the country or what was generated through access fishing fees.”

Mr. Lilo said he would continue to defend his government’s policy and is unmoved by threats to throw Solomon Islands out of any fishing agreements because of its support for VDS.

He said there are already a precedent being set as VDS has been reflected in the new U.S multilateral treaty and other bilateral fishing nations have signed up to agreements that include VDS arrangements.

The country earned more than SB$100 million [US$13.5 million] last year by selling days under the VDS.

VDS is a scheme where vessel owners can purchase and trade days fishing at sea in places subject to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA).

The purpose of the VDS is to constrain and reduce catches of target tuna species, and increase the rate of return from fishing activities through access fees paid by Distant Water Fishing Nations (DWFNs).

The total allocation of fishing days is set and apportioned between Pacific Island members for one-year periods up to three years in advance.

Solomon Star

14) Vanuatu Journalists Trained To Resist Political Influence
Local politicians allegedly ‘intimidating’ reporters

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 5, 2012) – Vanuatu’s Media Association says it’s training reporters on how to withstand intimidation by politicians as the general election approaches.

The Association’s president Evelyn Toa says news media in Vanuatu can be vulnerable to being used as a tool for politicians and their personal interests around election time.

She says the Association’s been working with junior reporters to teach them how to work responsibly and with integrity.

“Because we have politicians who are trying to intimidate our junior reporters. And we know politicians, they have a lot to say to our people, trying to convince our people or make promises. But we did a training workshop for our juniors to be prepared for the election, and to know what is political propaganda.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

2 Exonerated Over Illegal Vanuatu Citizenship Granting
Case against Samoan and Tongan men dropped

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 5, 2012) – Charges against a Samoan man and a Tongan man that they obtained Vanuatu certificates of citizenship through false and misleading documents has been dropped.

The prosecutor, Tristan Karae, abandoned the case against Tongan Michael Tangataolakepa and Samoan, Ira Mateupage Donald, this morning after his main witness, Solomon Mangau, was stopped from appearing.

Mr. Mangau had already pleaded guilty on charge of complicity in obtaining citizenship by producing false and misleading documents.

Mr. Karae says it was through Mr. Mangau that the Tongan and the Samoan were granted the Vanuatu citizenship certificates less than a month after their arrival in the country.

A case against the former chairman of the Citizenship Commission, Joe Melson Arnambat, who was facing the same charge, was also dropped.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

15) ADB, New Zealand to Improve Domestic Shipping in Vanuatu

By Online Editor
1:40 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Vanuatu

Water transport, the economic lifeline of Vanuatu, is set to see upgrades with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and governments of New Zealand and Vanuatu signing loan and grant funding agreements today to improve domestic port facilities and expand shipping services to remote islands.

“Working alongside the governments of New Zealand and Vanuatu, we look forward to introducing a competitive, reliable, safe and cost effective interisland shipping service to remote areas, which will stimulate economic growth at the same time,” said Robert Guild, Director of Transport, Energy and Natural Resources Division of ADB’s Pacific Department.

Improved shipping and port facilities will support national development and promote new economic opportunities for isolated rural communities. It will also develop services on routes that have so far been commercially unviable. The project, which will finance the building of a new interisland terminal in the capital, Port Vila, and construct new jetties on the islands of Malekula, Ambae, Tanna and Pentecost, will also rehabilitate several jetties in remote areas.. The project is expected to take 5 years to complete.

“For New Zealand, the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Project represents a significant investment in Vanuatu’s sustainable economic development, which is a priority for us.  This project has been a long time in the making.  It was first proposed to us by the Vanuatu Government several years ago, and we look forward to working with Vanuatu and the Asian Development Bank, during the next five years, to implement these much needed improvements to Vanuatu’s inter-island shipping infrastructure, services and governance.  We welcome the Asian Development Bank’s involvement, which reflects New Zealand’s wish to achieve improved development outcomes for Pacific Island Countries through strategic partnerships with other development agencies,” said Bill Dobbie, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu.

The new interisland terminal in Port Vila will provide sufficient berths to handle the growing volume of vessels, as well as separate transit facilities for men, women and the disabled. New jetties will be built at Port Sandwich (Malekula); Lolowai (Ambae); Waisisi (Tanna), and Loltong (Pentecost). Existing jetties at Litzlitz (Malekula); Lenakel (Tanna) and Simonsen (Espiritu Santo) will be repaired or rehabilitated.

“In signing this agreement today on behalf of the Government and the people of Vanuatu, of which I believe is another chapter in the Vanuatu’s record to show our strong partnership with the ADB and development partners. The government and the people of Vanuatu realize that achieving economic broad-based growth that is sustainable over time is very important for the economic advancement of this nation. That is why we are investing in the improvement of shipping and port facilities which will definitely support national development and promote new economic activities for isolated rural communities in Vanuatu,” said Moana Kalosil Carcasses, Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance & Economic Management.

“This new investment will complement the existing road project upgrades funded by the Australian Government, through the Vanuatu Transport Sector Strategy Project in the outer islands to better facilitate domestic and international trade as well as providing separate transit facilities for travelers. This will generate additional employment and income while at the same time redistribute income and increase consumption. It is expected that this infrastructure project with others combined, will contribute to raising all ordinary people’s standard of living,” Kalosil Carcasses said.

“So I encourage other development partners to also provide the same opportunity to the government so the government can in return utilize these supports to promote and build a stronger and cohesive economic growth that will benefit the people of this nation. I would like to thank the ADB and the New Zealand Government in this collaborative effort to assist the Government and people of Vanuatu, providing funding to improve the domestic shipping development in Vanuatu,” he said.

“I believe it is very timely for the people of Vanuatu to receive these types of international assistances through the New Zealand Government and the ADB to upgrade existing and build new berths particularly for those provinces identified in the outer islands,” Kalosil Carcasses said.

ADB’s loan of $10.82 million equivalent from its concessional Asian Development Fund has a 32-year term, with the Government of New Zealand providing a co-financing grant of $12.6 million equivalent directly to the Government of Vanuatu. The Government of Vanuatu will contribute $3.4 million, for a total project cost of around $26.8 million.

The technical assistance will include a $500,000 grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund, a $1 million grant from the Government of New Zealand, to be administered by ADB, and about $500,000 from the Government of Vanuatu.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members — 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including cofinancing totaled $21.7 billion.

SOURCE: ADB/PACNEWS

16) Fiji Media Urged To Take Advantage Of Censorship Hiatus
Reporters asked to provide public with ‘information they need’

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Sept. 5, 2012) – Fiji’s Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Sharon Smith Johns, has urged Fijian journalists to take advantage of the lifting of censorship.

Speaking at opening of a conference on media and democracy at the University of the South Pacific today, Smith Johns in a government statement said the Fijian Government was looking to journalists to again rise to the challenge of giving ordinary people the information they need.

“You will hear a lot about self censorship, the notion that journalists in Fiji are too afraid to report fully and without fear or favor. Such fears are understandable in the transition from censorship to freedom. But I urge journalists not to use this as an excuse not to do their jobs,” she said.

Smith Johns said that they wanted a vigorous media but with certain conditions that were a prerequisite in most countries – not to fuel racial division, not to threaten peace and order, not to damage our economy and people’s jobs.

She said that in the interests of national stability, Fiji had felt obliged to impose a period of censorship on the local media that had now been lifted.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

17) UK charity slams treatment of Fiji’s ex-soldiers

By Online Editor
1:56 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, United Kingdom

A British veteran’s group has likened the treatment of some Fijians who have served with the British military to modern day slavery.

A group of Fijian veterans is facing deportation, including Lance Corporal Isimeli Baleiwai who served for 13 years, including tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

He has been refused British residency because he had been disciplined over a fight with another soldier.

The soldiers’ charity Veterans Aid says many of the former Fijian soldiers have no access to benefits and no means to contest the orders to leave.

The charity’s chief executive, Hugh Milroy, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that several others are now facing a similar fate for quite trivial reasons.

“It’s almost like modern-day slavery – it’s use and throw away. These people have been discarded after they’ve provided good service to us. So there’s a very odd deal going on. You just can’t be helped but be left with the impression that it’s like modern-day slavery.”

He said until the policy can be changed soldiers from Fiji and other parts of the Commonwealth should think carefully about signing up.

“I think the British Army of course is a very fine organisation, I think it could be a very good career. But until we sort this particular piece of nonsense out, I would think twice about joining.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

18) Fiji to build first women resource centre

By Online Editor
10:15 am GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Fiji

Fiji is working to set up the Pacific island nation’s first resource centre for women in Savusavu with support of the Australian government.

“This will be the first centre of its kind for rural women in Fiji and I must acknowledge the vision and commitment of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama Cakaudrove, who in collaboration with the Architects without Frontiers from Australia has been working on this project since 2008,” acting Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles said here on Wednesday.

According to Miles, with funding support from Australian AID of $1.3 million Fiji dollars (US$742,000), the Cakaudrove Women’s Resource Centre will provide local rural women with safe accommodation when travelling to Savusavu town to sell their produce and handicrafts.

The centre will also become a key meeting point for women from Cakaudrove to receive training and assistance to improve their livelihood and enhance their culture in Fiji’s northern island.

The contribution of women to rural development is already well documented. According to the 2010 UN Women economic analysis report of municipal markets in Fiji, 87 percent of all market vendors were women and rural women in particular reinvest up to 75 percent of their income earned in municipal markets back into their villages on family wellbeing and community commitments.

The centre will also be used as a training facility to empower and train young rural women towards self-employment, which will ensure that women living in remote parts of the northern island of Vanua Levu to have easier access to services over economic opportunities, health, nutrition and education.

“Improving women’s economic empowerment is achievable. This centre, once completed, will become the vehicle to do this,” Miles said, adding Australia “is committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged women, men, their families and communities in Fiji”.

As Fiji’s largest bilateral donor, Australia is increasing its support to Fiji to an estimated $100 million (US$57 million) in official development assistance by 2014.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

19) 500 degree holders unemployed in Fiji: Usamate

By Online Editor
4:09 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Fiji

Fiji’s Minister of Labour, Industries and Employment Jone Usamate says unemployment remains a serious concern locally.

Among the unemployed are at least 500 University graduates who are registered with the National Employment Centre (NEC) system looking for an opportunity to work to earn their livelihood.

Hence, reiterated the need to stick to 55 as retirement age in order to curb the growing unemployment rate in the country.

With that, government has also taken a hand on approach to train youths for blue collar jobs as well as tap into its Pacific bilateral ties for volunteering works.

Usmate said while some people try to separate Fiji from other Pacific Islands, they cannot stop the Pacific family spirit.

“No one can prevent that, the family of one ocean, the spirit of sharing and meeting its own people.”.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

20) Fiji wage increase won’t end poverty, employers warn

By Online Editor
09:59 am GMT+12, 04/09/2012, Fiji

Fiji’s employers’ federation has warned that increasing wages will not end poverty in the country, and will likely lead to job losses.

Nesbitt Hazelman, CEO of the Fiji Commerce and Employers’ Federation, was responding to claims made by Father Kevin Barr — who has just resigned as head of Fiji’s Wages Councils — that “greedy and selfish” employers conspired to keep wages low.

“Over the past several years there has always been an increase in minimum wage,” Hazelman told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program.

“We’ve had trying times, investment has dried up in Fiji, but we’ve always managed to come to an agreement that is workable within industries.”

Hazelman dismissed Father Barr’s claims as “irresponsible”, explaining that some of the unions’ demands were unreasonable and could not be met.

“We’ve always tried to find middle-ground. Some of these wage increases are astronomical. Trade unions are bringing in increases last year of up to 45 per cent in some of the job categories. There is no way industry can sustain that kind of increase,” he said.

He said such wage increases could result in job losses, especially among small and medium-sized businesses who already struggle to make a profit.

“The larger employers are already paying way above minimum wage, its the smaller employers we’re trying to protect here. There needs to be a demarcation,” he said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

21) Fiji named 2012 best family holiday destination

By Online Editor
10:02 am GMT+12, 04/09/2012, Fiji

For years, families have been voting for a Fiji holiday, and now it’s official – Fiji has been named the Best Family Holiday Destination in the 2012 Travel Bug Awards.

Beating other family holiday hot-spots like Hawaii and Vanuatu, Fiji walked away with the award based on accessibility, safety and security for children and the activities on offer, with appeal to all ages.

With its incredibly friendly people, value-packed, family-tailored travel packages and a huge number of resort options, attractions and activities available, Fiji prides itself on offering a safe haven for families to relax and have fun, just a few hours flight from Australia.

Fiji took the top spot with its combination of easily accessible attractions, modern facilities and food options to suit the fussiest of children. A range of kids’ clubs and day care centres, that allow parents to have their own holiday and head off on their own adventures, are another compelling reason why Fiji is the best family holiday destination in the world.

“Fiji continues to be the destination of choice for Australian family holidays and it is wonderful to receive this validation,” said Australian Regional Director, Paresh Pant. “Families who holiday with us always leave with a smile”.

With over 330 tropical islands to choose from, Fiji received approximately 345,000 Australian visitors in the last year alone and according to Tourism Fiji, over 21% of that figure was travelling with families.

SOURCE: YAHOO NEWS/PACNEWS

22) China to assist Fiji’s rice industry

Posted at 04:17 on 06 September, 2012 UTC

The Ministry of Agriculture in Fiji says China has offered to provide machinery and technical advice to help Fiji boost its rice industry.

A delegation from China recently visited Fiji to consider ways to help with Fiji’s rice revitalisation programme, which aims to achieve food security and reduce the rice import bill.

A senior agriculture officer Jone Matawalu says the rice industry is facing a number of challenges, including a labour shortage, high production costs and insufficient mills.

“From what we gather from their discussions, they’ll be assisting us in some of the machinery and some of the technical advice that will really help us. Also the capacity building. And at the moment I cannot tell you how much they’ll assist us with.”

Jone Matawalu says the ministry of agriculture hopes to increase rice production by at least 40 percent by 2014 and reduce Fiji’s rice import bill by just over five million US dollars by then.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Clinton on rare visit to encourage East Timor

By Online Editor
4:28 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Timor-leste

Hillary Clinton on Thursday became the first US Secretary of State to visit East Timor, hoping to encourage the growing self-sufficiency in one of the poorest nations in a strategic region.

On the latest stop in a regional tour, Clinton flew early in the morning into the capital Dili for a one-day trip as smiling schoolchildren lined the streets waving the flags of both East Timor and the United States.

Clinton’s visit comes only a few months after the impoverished nation marked a decade since independence from Indonesia and as UN peacekeepers — deployed during a violent political crisis in 2006 — prepare to leave at the end of the year.

The United States has prioritised building ties in Asia, but East Timor’s hopes to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have been clouded by concerns that it is too weak and unstable to enter the group.

“It’s put an enormous burden on ASEAN as a whole. They really don’t feel like Timor’s ready and it needs much more help before it can play at a level that other countries can,” said a senior US official on Clinton’s plane.

The young nation lies just across the Timor Sea from the Australian city of Darwin, where the United States is deploying 2,500 Marines in a step widely seen as solidifying the US presence in Asia in the face of a rising China.

China has been a growing investor in East Timor. But despite the often fractious relationship between the United States and China, the US official said that the Pacific powers have cooperated on infrastructure and social aid projects on the half-island.

East Timor is “one of the few areas where we have worked quite well together in terms of joint projects,” the official said on customary condition of anonymity.

With a boost from foreign investment, East Timor clocked 10 percent growth last year. Yet the nation is among the most struggling in the Asia-Pacific region, with more than 40 percent of its 1.1 million people falling below the official poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Clinton plans to visit a coffee plantation to encourage international trade in the crop, grown in East Timor since the Portuguese colonial era. Seattle coffee giant Starbucks is one of the main buyers of East Timor’s coffee.

East Timor has been showing signs of stability. Just four years ago, East Timor’s then president and Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta survived an assassination attempt.

But elections in March and April this year were largely peaceful and Ramos-Horta ceded power without incident when he lost to now President Taur Matan Ruak, a former guerrilla leader who will meet Clinton.

“We’ll underscore our commitment to Timor’s fledgling democracy,” the US official said.

Clinton, the most travelled Secretary of State in US history, will later Thursday head to Brunei to make her the first top US diplomat to visit all 10 members of ASEAN.

Clinton has encouraged a united front by ASEAN as it looks to manage tensions with China on the South China Sea, where Vietnam and the Philippines have accused Beijing of waging a campaign of intimidation.

In Beijing on Wednesday, Clinton encouraged progress on a code of conduct for the South China Sea but said that the United States did not want “unhealthy competition” or to hold back Beijing’s rise.

In East Timor, Clinton is also likely to ask for lessons on political transitions with unrest in the Arab world and as the world’s youngest nation of South Sudan struggles to make peace with Khartoum.

More than 183,000 people died from fighting, disease and starvation in East Timor during a 24-year occupation by Indonesia, which has had close relations with the United States both under dictatorship and now as a democracy.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

23) Tonga’s House Debates Language Of Constitutional Clause
Tongan, English versions of clause discussed in house

By Pesi Fonua

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 5, 2012) – Difficulties over the Tongan and English interpretations of the Tongan Constitution had the House in an uproar last week. There was a clash of strong opinions when it was discovered that the Tongan Clause 8 stopped short of spelling out the public’s right to petition the passing or the repealing of enactments, as stated in the English version.

The People Representatives were divided on whether or not they should consult “the people,” over a proposal to amend the Tongan version of Clause 8 of the constitution to bring it into line with the English version.

‘Akilisi Pohiva, ‘Isileli Pulu and Sione Taione were adamant that there was no need to consult the people.

‘Akilisi’s logic was that there was no need to consult the people because the people, “as usual”, would not be interested in the issue, and would ask why the House did not just go ahead and do what they thought was best. He firmly believed that the Tongan version of Clause 8 should remain as it was.

Tongan or English

On the other hand, Sunia Fili and Dr. Sitiveni Halapua thought that it was essential to consult the people, and hopefully get new ideas on what was best to be done.

Sunia suggested that instead of amending the Tongan version of Clause 8 to match the English version, the English version should be amended to match the Tongan version.

Sione Taione even went so far as to warn that such a move to inform the people could spark a riot, similar to what happened on 16 November 2006, because he believed that an amendment to the Tongan version of Clause 8 might even restrict the right of the people to petition the King and the Legislative Assembly.

The other strong view on Bill No. 8 for the Amendment of the Tongan version of Clause 8 of the Constitution came from the government. The Deputy Prime Minister, and a People’s Representative for Vava’u Constituent No. 15, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu did not believe that the amendment would restrict the right of the people to petition the king and the Legislative Assembly. He said that the amendment was to complete the inadequate Tongan translation of the clause.

Tonga Constitution Clause 8

The English version of Clause 8, Freedom of Petition, reads: “All People shall be free to send letters or petitions to the King or Legislative Assembly and to meet and consult concerning matters about which they think it right to petition the King or Legislative Assembly to pass or repeal enactments, provided that they meet peaceably without arms and without disorder.”

The Tongan version of Clause 8 – ‘Oku ngofua ki he kakai kotota pe ke fai ‘enau tangi, reads: “‘Oku ngofua ki he kakai kotota pe ke fai ‘enau tohi pe ko ‘enau tohi kole ki he Tu’i pe ki he Fale Alea pea ke fakataha ‘o alea ki he me’a ‘oku ha mai kiate kinautolu ‘oku totonu ke nau kole ki he Tu’i pe ki he Falea Alea ko hono fokotu’u pe ko hono ta’ofi kapau ‘oku nau fakataha melino pea ta’e ha mahafu tau mo ta’e maveuveu.”

The Tongan version of Clause 8 stops short of spelling out the public’s right to petition the passing or the repealing of enactments; it simply stated that they have the right to establish or to stop “something” so long as they meet peacefully without arms and without disorder.

The proposed amended Tongan version of Clause 8, (a complete Tongan translation of the English) version, reads: “‘Oku ngofua ki he kakai kotoa pe ke fai ‘enau tohi pe ko enau tohi kole ki he Tu’i pe ki he Fale Alea pea ke fakataha ‘o alea ki he me’a ‘oku ha mai kiate kinautolu ‘oku totonu ke nau kole ki he Tu’i pe ki he Fale Alea ko hono fokotu’u pe ko hono ta’ofi ‘o ha lao kapau ‘oku nau fakataha melino pea ta’e ha mahafu tau mo ta’e maveuveu.”

Sunia pointed out that according to the Interpretation Act Clause 21, regarding the application of English or Tongan versions in criminal trials, if any differences in meaning were found between the Tongan and the English then the court shall be guided by what appears to be the true meaning and intent of the Tongan version (amended by Act 28 of 1978).

Sunia’s interpretation was that according to the Interpretation Act the Tongan version held the true meaning of the Tongan law, and therefore the Tongan version of Clause 8 of the constitution should remain, and the English version should be amended to match the Tongan version. He also pointed out that the Tongan version had been in place for more than 100 years.

Standing committee on Legislation

He moved for the Bill to be sent to the House’s Standing Committee on Legislation, and that there should also be a public consultation on the proposed amendment.

Members of the House’s Standing Committee on Legislation are:

  • Lord Fakafanua
  • Lord Tu’iha’ateiho
  • Hon. Samiu Vaipulu (Chair)
  • Hon. Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki
  • Hon. William Clive Edwards
  • ‘Isileli Pulu
  • Sione Havea Taione
  • Semisi Tapueluelu
  • Siosifa Tu’utafaiva.

Lord Nuku was in favor of the notion that the Tongan version of the law was the one that has the legal authority, and therefore the English version of Clause 8 was the one that should be amended to be in line with the Tongan version. He supported the motion for the Bill to be forwarded to the Standing Committee on Legislation.

Lord Fakafanua disagreed with the government’s argument that by amending Clause 8 of the Tongan version of the Constitution it would not make any difference to the application of the clause.

He agreed that there appeared to be contradiction in the law about which version of the law has the real legal authority – the Tongan version or the English version. Because while the Clause 11 of the Law Consolidation Act stressed that the English text of the law shall be held to give the true meaning of the law, Clause 21 of the Interpretation Act stated that the Tongan version has the legal authority when presiding over a criminal case.

He supported the move to table the Bill with the Standing Committee on Legislation.

Confusion

‘Isileli Pulu disagreed with both the proposal to send the Bill to the Standing Committee and for a public consultation, which he considered an unnecessary prolonging of the process. He suggested for the committee to make a decision and get it over and done with.

Toward the end of what appeared to be a mass confusion in the Whole House Committee, the Chairman called for vote on the only one motion that was still standing, and that was for the Bill to be tabled with the Standing Committee on Legislation.

But then, if the interpretation of the law by the members of parliament was not confusing enough, the end of the deliberation was even more confusing.

There was no voting because, out of the blue, ‘Akilisi moved for the Bill to be tabled with the Committee and that there was no need for any public consultation.

The Chairman responded that the Bill would be sent to the Committee, and called for the proceeding of the House to continue with the next Bill.

Attorney General

Later, outside the House, commenting with regards to the proposed amendment of Clause 8 of the Constitution, the Attorney General Neil Adsett admitted that there was an error in the translation of the Tongan version that had been over-looked and it had to be corrected. “But this is the beauty of the English legal system, that you cannot do things only if there is a law that stops you from doing so.”

What the Attorney General was referring to was that there was nothing unconstitutional about people writing all different kinds of petitions to the King and the Legislative Assembly during the past 137 years, because they did not infringe any law.

He said that they had been working on making the Tongan version of the Tongan law as the dominant one, “but it is yet to come.” For the meantime, if there was a disagreement in the interpretation of the law, the English version is the correct one.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

24) American Samoa elections will have highest ever number of women candidates

Posted at 04:17 on 06 September, 2012 UTC

The 2012 elections in American Samoa will include the highest number of female candidates in the Territory’s history.

60 candidates are vying for the 20 House of Representatives seats.

And 10 of them are women, including former lawmaker Fiasili Haleck, veteran educator Dr Trudie Iuli Sala and well known business woman, Florence Saulo.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says there’s a lot of discontent with the achievements of the current legislature.

“While there have been efforts to try and make changes, we really haven’t seen that and then also when you go out to the villages the state of the roads, the services that the government should be providing, with broken down seawalls and roads, I think that the candidates that are running, many of them are first timers, really believe that they can make a difference.”

Monica Miller says there are also two female candidates in the governor’s race.

Radio New Zealand International

25) Samoa Villages Benefiting From Nonu Export Business
Nonu Samoa reports taking in 85,000 kilograms daily

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Sept. 5, 2012) – While there is more and more nonu to be collected from villages in Samoa which have an overflowing supply of the fruit, at least one exporter is making good use of the quantities.

The Nonu Samoa Enterprises Limited at Vaivase is taking in more nonu from growers who have nowhere else to take their fruit.

President of the Nonu Association and owner of Nonu Samoa, Garry Vui said they no longer have to collect nonu from the villages.

“For the last 8 months we haven’t gone out to collect nonu; people are bringing it into the factory,” he said.

The company is paying WST$9.50 [US$4.02] for a barrow, which holds about 14 kilograms. The extra 50 sene is to help the growers with transport expenses, Mr. Vui told the Samoa Observer.

“We understand it is hard for them especially those from rural villages to bring the nonu in,” he pointed. “I know some have to hire trucks so the extra 50cent is our contribution to help them for those extra costs.

“We take as much nonu as we can, and if people bring in a big load we don’t turn them away, we take all of it. We are doing our best to help them and our economy.” Growers come from as far as Aleipata, Manono, Fusi and many more from far away villages.

He said he gets many phone calls from Fusi and other people asking if the company is collecting nonu and if they can bring in more nonu.

As for Pure Pacifika, the president has not heard from them or of their plans recently. On a daily basis, Nonu Samoa takes in about 85 000 kilograms of nonu.

The biggest market for the company is America and some goes to Japan. They are also trying to get into the Chinese market.

“The nonu is not really popular in China and the hardest thing is trying to get people (in China) to understand it. We are very optimistic that next year, we will attract more customers and find a nice, neat market.”

A 40-foot container that is equivalent to 20,000 liters of pasteurized nonu is being exported to the United States every month. It is stored in 1,000 liter containers.

Mr. Vui gave a rough estimate of about US$48,000 for the container.

Asked if it was enough and he said “it’s okay.” He pointed that the weak U.S. dollar does affect the production costs and there are issues with exchange rates.

Furthermore Mr. Vui emphasized that his business is also looking for new business and they are optimistic they will make progress in the coming years.

In terms of added value for Samoa, Mr. Vui said that bottling nonu for export is in their plan for the next two to three years.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

26) Pacific coral partnership gives Guam voice

By Online Editor
4:16 pm GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Guam

U.S states and territories in the Pacific have banded together to try to protect the region’s coral reefs and coastlines.

The governors of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have formed a regional ocean partnership to coordinate efforts to protect their common water border.

Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States, whose indigenous people are called the Chamorros.

The President of the Department of Chamorro Affairs in Guam, Joseph Cameron, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program it gives Pacific island governors an opportunity to talk as a group about the issues facing their marine environments.

He said working with a US state like Hawaii is beneficial to Guam.

“Guam has no voice in Congress, it has no vote in Congress – it is one of the very few leftover colonies of the United States so in essence we just have people listening in.”

Many Pacific islanders rely on a healthy ocean environment, for survival.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

27) CNMI Senate’s $114 Million Budget Rejected By House
School system’s increased budget among points of contention

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Sept. 6, 2012) – As expected, the Northern Marianas House of Representatives rejected yesterday a Senate-amended $114 million budget bill barely three weeks before the Sept. 30 deadline to pass a fiscal year 2013 budget.

A bicameral conference committee will be formed to remove the budget deadlock between the House and Senate.

If no budget is passed by Sept. 1, the government will be forced to temporarily shut down starting Oct. 1 until as budget passes.

Among the contentious issues House Speaker Eli Cabrera (R-Saipan) sees are the $300,000 for retroactive salary payments on Saipan and Rota that the Senate added, as well as the Public School System’s (PSS) budget versus the needs of other agencies such as the hospital.

The House rejected the Senate version of the House budget bill by a vote of 13-4.

Those who voted “no” to rejecting the Senate version of the bill were Reps. Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan), Joe Palacios (R-Saipan), Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota), and Trenton Conner (R-Tinian).

Absent were Reps. Froilan Tenorio (Cov-Saipan), George Camacho (Ind-Saipan), and Sylvester Iguel (Cov-Saipan).

Cabrera said he will name the members of the conference committee today, with Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Ray Basa (Cov-Saipan) leading the House conferees.

Conner said he voted “no” to the motion to reject the Senate-amended bill because he believes that the $33 million that PSS asked for and the Senate granted runs the risk of being dropped by a few millions of dollars once it goes to the conference committee.

Most of the comments heard from the public during the House session were in support of the $33 million PSS budget. PSS asked for this amount, but the House gave it only $28 million, while the governor gave some $30 million.

Education Commissioner Rita Sablan, Ph.D., said that giving 29 percent of the government’s $114 million projected revenue will “provide quality and the best education to our children from birth through 21 and in most cases school age children from 3 to 17 years of age.”

Sablan said if they get the $33 million, they will be able to reduce the large class size from 30 or 42 to 25 to one teacher at PSS, eliminate double sessions and prevent future modified schedules, and be able to hire about 60 classroom teachers, school counselors and school administrators on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Sablan said a $33 million budget will also enable PSS to secure schools and deter thieves at night.

In the last three weeks, PSS had one of its buildings vandalized, and copper wires were removed. A similar incident took place last week, with school equipment stolen.

“If we are to operate efficiently and effectively, we ask for a budget package of $33 million. If the House should move to reject the Senate budget bill for a special reason, please revise what is necessary without changing the $33 million that has been pegged by the Senate,” Sablan said.

Board of Education chair MaryLou Ada raised concerns about the Senate’s amendments to the budget bill restricting the expenditure authority of the education commissioner, which she said violates the Constitution.

Besides Sablan and Ada, others who testified in support of retaining the $33 million budget for PSS were PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornburg, Kagman Elementary School acting principal Ruth Bigalbal and their school’s counselor, Marianas High School principal Cherlyn Cabrera, PSS’ Jackie Quitugua, and BOE member Herman Sablan.

Pension reform bill

In other news, the House passed a Senate-amended pension recovery bill by a vote of 16-1, with Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan) the only one voting “no.”

House Bill 17-315, House Draft 1, Senate Draft 1 now heads to the governor for action.

If signed into law, the measure allows active members to decide whether to refund their contributions without being penalized, continue working, and transition into the U.S. Social Security system, or remain with the NMI Retirement Fund in hopes that the pension program improves as it receives additional funding from the central government.

Employees will also get back 25 percent of their contributions after deciding to withdraw within 30 days and the remaining 75 percent will be disbursed to them within 90 days.

Joe Pangelinan, representing active government employees, expressed relief yesterday that the bill finally passed the House.

“It’s been nine long months since House Bill 17-226 was introduced, vetoed, override was defeated, and then Lt. Gov. Eloy Inos came up with a solution that became HB 17-315. We thank those who made this happen,” Pangelinan told Saipan Tribune.

Dozens of uniformed police officers, corrections officers and other government employees were at the House session to show support to HB 17-315.

The Fitial administration wants to transition government employees to the U.S. Social Security program and place the NMI Retirement Fund under the Department of Finance mostly to disburse pensions for current retirees, as part of the plan to address mounting concerns about the troubled public pension agency. Fitial placed the NMI Retirement Fund under a state of emergency.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

28) Short-Term ‘Tent City’ On Nauru Ready For Asylum Seekers
UN still opposed to Australia’s offshore processing system

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 5, 2012) – A temporary tent city on Nauru is just about ready for the arrival of asylum seekers from Australia.

The first of those asylum seekers are expected to arrive as early as next week as part of Australia’s new offshore processing plan.

“In the coming weeks we should be able to move the first detainees who have been intercepted and processed on Christmas Island to Nauru”, the Immigration Department’s spokesman Sandi Logan told Australia Network.

“We will be transferring detainees from the detention network. That could well mean Christmas Island and could involve other elements in the detention network.”

Asylum seekers protest

Last month a number of detainees went on hunger strike, reportedly after they were told their asylum claims would be processed in a third country.

Mr. Logan refused to react on the asylum seekers’ response to the upcoming transfer.

“We will deal with the detainee responses at that time,” he said.

“It is clear to all those in Australia and those arriving here that there is a new policy, and that policy involves the likelihood of transfer to Nauru or Papua New Guinea.”

Violating the convention

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said it is opposed to offshore processing, arguing that it is Australia’s responsibility to process claims ‘in country’ as per the refugee convention.

“UNHCR will not be involved in any active or operational way with the processing in the Pacific,” UNHCR regional chief Rick Towle told Australia Network.

Mr. Towle said the agency didn’t get involved in the previous Pacific solution arrangements under Prime Minister John Howard either.

Over the past three weeks, Australian defence force staff have begun repairing the former detention facilities on Nauru, and set up the tent city as a temporary measure.

Stop the boats

Meanwhile, the Australian government has released an internet advertising campaign with the message that ‘there is no advantage’ to getting on a boat to try to reach Australia to lodge an asylum claim.

The online video and pamphlets emphasize that children who arrive by boat will also be sent overseas for processing.

“We want to reach primarily the diaspora communities in Australia from Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan to let them know there has been this change in policy. If they are in touch with their loved ones abroad let them know there has been a change in policy,” Mr. Logan said, in reference to the fact that asylum seekers who arrive by boat will be soon transferred to Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Australia also expanded its humanitarian intake to 20,000 places a year on the recommendation of an expert panel on asylum seekers set up to address the issue of people risking their lives by travel to Australia by boat.

More than 700 people are known to have died in or near Australian waters in failed boat journeys in the last 3 years, 100 of which were killed when a boat sank off Indonesia last week.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

29) Climate Change Aid Reportedly Not Reaching Pacific
Hard to deliver, left circulating at local government level

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 5, 2012) – New research shows much of the climate change aid money pledged by developed countries three years ago is not reaching Pacific communities.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations pledged 30 billion U.S. dollars to kick start vulnerable communities’ work on adapting to climate change and mitigating its effects with the promise of up to 100 billion dollars by 2020.

One of the authors of the Oxfam report, Sarah Meads, says countries firstly have difficulty accessing climate change money and it then often remains circulating at government level.

“Because it’s not traditional aid, it needs to be treated as not a donor-driven model. Instead developing countries need to be given the ownership and then also work in partnership with their communities to make this happen on the ground.”

Sarah Meads says the so-called Fast Start Finance was meant to be new and additional aid but much climate change funding is instead coming from donor’s existing aid budgets.

The Oxfam report offers strategies for affected countries to improve the flow of funds.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

30) China to cancel debts owed by LDCs in the Pacific

By Online Editor
10:25 am GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Cook Islands

China has announced special measures for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) it has diplomatic relations with, to help them meet their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In the Pacific, only two of the eight countries it has diplomatic relations with, Samoa and Vanuatu, are categorized as LDCs. The rest of the countries include Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Cui Tiankai informed Pacific Leaders in Cook Islands last week that his government will further cancel debts owed by least developed Pacific countries.

He however, didn’t go into details about which countries and how much of debts were being forgiven.

China, Tiankai said would also consider the request by some Pacific nations for a debt roll-over.

In addition, China will extend to zero-tariff treatment to 95 percent of the export items from LDCs with diplomatic relations with China.

“China will scale up assistance on infrastructure and production oriented projects and send more agricultural, medical and technical experts to Pacific Island Countries and increase training opportunities for islanders, said Tiankai.

Over the years, China has built over 80 industrial, agricultural and infrastructural projects and buildings for civilian use for Pacific Island Countries through economic and technical assistance.

Minister Tiankai said since 2011, China has completed projects such as business centres, road improvement, building and maintenance of passenger-cargo vessels and community colleges.

China has been a Post Forum Dialogue partner for the Pacific Islands Forum for 23 years.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

31) PNGFA Chung fears FIFA’s action

By Online Editor
11:13 am GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) fears it may face suspension from FIFA for the recent government interference of the sporting code.

PNGFA president David Chung, speaking from Tokyo, Japan last night said FIFA, as one of the most powerful sporting bodies in the world, would not tolerate government interference one bit.

He said any slightest hint of government meddling, may mean ban the country’s football team and force the government to comply.

Chung’s comments came after he learnt that the government has recently appointed new Sports Vice-Minister Labi Amaiu as minister for Rugby League and Soccer.

He said the biggest fear is that PNGFA would be banned from all FIFA sanctioned competition, including World Cup qualifiers, South Pacific Games, Nations Cup and also taking part in the lucrative club competition, the O-League

“There is a very clear message around the world where many countries including super powers of the game such as Portugal and Spain, had been warned and they backed off,” he said.

“France also faced FIFA’s wrath by nearly getting into hot waters when its government stated that it would launch an investigation into the poor performance of the national team at the 2010 World Cup because they were knocked out in the first round,” he added.

Chung, who is also the president of Oceania Football Confederation, said over the years many countries had fallen foul of FIFA’s rules.

Bangladesh was banned for government interference in 2002, Kenya faced the same fate in 2004, Greece and Iran faced bans in 2006 and in 2008 the Republic of Chad, Madagascar and Iraq all faced bans.
PNGFA does not receive any government funding like rugby league since its establishment except for sponsorship of major soccer events in the country.

Chung wanted to seek legal opinion on this from FIFA’s legal affairs department on the implications of having a government minister responsible for soccer.

Chung said he had asked his PNGFA secretariat to find out how the Vice-Minister will want to get involved in soccer, noting that the only recognised body to run the affairs of soccer was PNGFA and not the government .

PNGFA is hoping the appointment of the Vice- Minister is not done as an attempt to interfere with soccer but could merely have been done so to lift the profile of soccer in the country.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

32) Ex-captain ‘Otai appointed Tonga rugby coach

By Online Editor
11:14 am GMT+12, 06/09/2012, Tonga

Former Tonga captain Mana ‘Otai was named head coach of the Pacific island state’s national team Wednesday, replacing predecessor Isitolo Maka.

‘Otai, who skippered the Tongan team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, said his immediate priority was selecting a team for a Northern Hemisphere tour in November that includes Tests against Italy, Scotland and the United States.

“Apart from picking the best possible team there are other factors to look at now, including our players availability, their conditions and to confirm them, so a lot of work needs to be done,” he said.

‘Otai, 43, has been coaching club rugby in Auckland for the past three years and will divide his time between New Zealand and Tonga in his new role. Tonga failed to make the knockout stages of last year’s Rugby World Cup but secured a shock 19-14 win over eventual finalists France in a pool match.

Meanwhile, a former Tongan rugby league international and player-coach for the Bay Roskill Vikings has pleaded guilty to his part in a multi-million dollar drug deal that turned out to be an elaborate hoax.

William Wolfgramm, a butchery owner from Massey, West Auckland, pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland Wednesday to conspiracy to supply methamphetamine.

He came under police surveillance in July last year, suspected of attempting to import more than 100kg of methamphetamine from Tonga.

The methamphetamine turned out to be a hoax but Wolfgramm was arrested for his part in trying to secure the class A drug.

Wolfgramm was remanded on bail for sentencing on October 26.

Justice Timothy Brewer ordered reports on the suitability of home detention saying it was an unusual case and there was “at least the possibility” of a non-custodial sentence.

SOURCE: AFP/TVNZ/PACNEWS

33) Media focus on Fiji distracting, says Niue premier

Updated 6 September 2012, 16:27 AEST

Niue’s premier has lashed out at the region’s media, saying it is too focused on Fiji and not on the important issues affecting people in the Pacific.

Premier Toke Talagi told Radio Australia the relentless focus on Fiji had become distracting at the Pacific Islands Forum in Cook Islands last week.

“The media seem to come with pre-set ideas of what they thought the forum should be talking about, which is nonsensical,” he said.

“All they want to talk about sometimes is Fiji and nothing else.”

Mr Talagi said neither he, nor the forum, spent much time discussing Fiji.

“Fiji has been a distraction in the past few years and we need to focus our attention on the things we need for the people of our region.”

He said more attention needed to be paid to issues such as youth unemployment, fishing, marine conservation and telecommunications.

“They [Fiji] need to get their act together and I’m very glad they are progressing towards elections in 2014 and I hope it will be open and democratic,” he said.radio australia

34) Fiji Hindu group rejects Christian state calls

Posted 6 September 2012, 17:43 AEST

Calls for Fiji to become an officially Christian state have been rejected by one of the country’s main Hindu groups.

It comes after the president of Fiji’s Methodist Church yesterday said the country was ceded to God by the chiefs and was therefore a Christian nation.

Vijendra Prakash, general secretary of Sanatan Dharam, told Radio Australia his members would prefer Fiji be a secular state where religion does not mix with politics.

“Because this country is multicultural religion and a multilingual country, and we have been living so happily,” he said.

“All the religious organisations are given respect and rights and no one is given supremacy over another or try to undermine the others.”

Mr Prakash said all citizens had a right to worship, regardless of their religion.

Fiji Methodist Church’s new president, Tuikilakila Waqairatu, on Wednesday said he supported the idea of of Fiji becoming a Christian state.

“Fiji was given to God,” he said.

“When we say that Fiji is a Christian state … we say it was decided by our chiefs who ceded Fiji to Great Britain that Fiji be a Christian country.

“When it was given to God, it has already established its covenant relationship with God, and that covenant relationship is eternal – it cannot be withdrawn.”radio australia

35) Jumping into Fiji’s history

By Online Editor
11:19 am GMT+12, 05/09/2012, Fiji

Iliesa Delana’s win at 2012 Paralympic Games in London has resulted in Fiji being recorded in the annals of history as a nation that has the capability to produce world champions.

These are the words of President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau who congratulated the victorious Mr Delana Tuesday.

In his statement to The Fiji Times, Ratu Epeli said Mr Delana’s win was an inspiration to everyone.

“He has shown to Fiji and to the world what is humanly possible if one is to set his or her mind towards a certain goal,” he said. Ratu Epeli said sports had always been known to bring Fiji people together irrespective of race, colour or creed.

“It is indeed a great honour for me to convey my personal as well as the people of Fiji’s collective congratulations to Mr Delana for his historic achievement in winning Fiji’s first medal at a Paralympic Games, and a gold medal at that,” he said.

He said he had no doubt that the entire nation would be united in celebrating this outstanding achievement.

The President congratulated Mr Delana and the Fiji Paralympic team officials, including his coach and manager, and importantly his family, for the sacrifices they have all made and endured.

“Thank you Mr Delana for winning Fiji’s first and only Paralympic gold medal. You have made your country and all Fijians extremely proud,” Ratu Epeli said.

Delana, has dedicated his win to the people of Fiji.

The national hero made the comment to Digicel Fiji right after winning his gold medal in London yesterday.

Delana is a brand ambassador for Digicel and member of their customer care team.

In a statement, Digicel said Delana told them he thanked God for his blessings and that his win was like a dream come true.

“The competition was tough, as there were many strong athletes from all over the world,” he said.

Delana said the final took place in the presence of 80,000 spectators and he knew that he had to do his best as he was carrying the flag of his beloved country.

Digicel Fiji CEO David Butler said Digicel Fiji as well as other Digicel markets in the Pacific were delighted with Mr Delana’s achievement and said he had put Fiji on the world map with his historic win.

“As the whole nation celebrates his victory, I on behalf of Digicel Fiji extend my hearty congratulations to Mr Delana and team Fiji for the remarkable performance at the Paralympics,” Butler said.

Meanwhile, Delana’s gold medal win at the London Paralympics would open up doors of opportunity for the disabled athletes.

So says the Fiji Paralympic sports development officer Saimoni Nainoca who added the achievement would inspire many in the country.

Nainoca said Delana had set a legacy by winning Fiji and Pacific’s first gold medal in the F42 men’s high jump event with a regional record of 1.74 metres.

“This will open many doors for Fiji Paralympics in the areas of sports development for people with disability,” he said.
Nainoca said Delana’s historic feat had sent a strong message across the nation.

“Actually two things happened after Iliesa’s win — what does the community feel about the people with disabilities and what the disabled people feel about themselves,” Nainoca said.

“This achievement will change the perception of people towards people with disabilities.

“Iliesa has paved the way for the people with disabilities and given them a challenge that anything is possible through hard work.”
Nainoca said they wanted the community to focus on their abilities rather than the disabilities.

He thanked the schools and sporting associations for helping them to venture into mainstream competitions.

“We are very thankful to the business community and sporting organisations for helping us to get into mainstream competition and participate in a more competitive environment,” Nainoca said.

“This gold medal is dedicated to all those who have helped Iliesa reach this stage and we hope they continue to help him break barriers.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

36) Worsfold says futile to try and block Naitanui

By Online Editor
10:59 am GMT+12, 04/09/2012, Australia

West Coast coach John Worsfold says it’s basically futile to try to block Nic Naitanui’s leap at ruck contests because the flying Fijian will probably get his hands to the ball anyway.
In recent years, rival ruckmen have attempted to nullify Naitanui’s tap abilities by crossing over the line at centre-square bounces in a bid to limit the 22-year-old’s run and leap at the contest.

But Worsfold said Naitanui’s long arms and expert reading of the ball meant he had other ways to beat rivals.
“I think Nic’s dealing with the rucks crossing the line pretty well now,” Worsfold said .

“There’s times when he doesn’t have to jump to beat them or he doesn’t need a run up if they’re crossing the line. He can stand next to them and do a tip off and he still gets a foot higher.

“So he’s won some good hit-outs rucking against that style in the last six weeks. He’s learning about how to read all of those things now.”

Naitanui said he was satisfied with the level of protection given by umpires at ruck contests this season.
But he is bracing himself for a more traditional ruck battle with North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein in Sunday’s elimination final at Patersons Stadium.

“Goldstein jumps pretty high, so I’m sure he’ll back himself in to try to win the tap,” Naitanui said. “So I expect him to have a clear run and jump at it.”

Eagles ruckman Dean Cox has played a significant role in Naitanui’s development and said it was just a matter of time before his protege became unstoppable at ruck contests.

“He’s going to come up against players that are going to try different approaches – cut off his angle, his run-up,” Cox said.

“But as he develops, and he’s starting to show that, he’ll be able to combat it.

“He might jump earlier, or he might be able to side-step around them, and he’s going to get a lot stronger as the years go on.

“They’ll nullify him for a bit but not for too long.”.

SOURCE: AAP/PACENWS

WORLD NEWS: 

37) Clinton in spirited defence of Obama’s record

Updated 6 September 2012, 15:45 AEST

Bill Clinton has taken the stage at the Democratic National Convention, using his huge popularity to bolster Barack Obama’s case for another four years in the White House.

Bill Clinton urged Americans to give Barack Obama more time to finish the job he started.

Bill Clinton urged Americans to give Barack Obama more time to finish the job he started. (Credit: AFP)

With approval ratings near 70 per cent and his eight years in office remembered for their economic prosperity, Mr Clinton launched a spirited defence of Mr Obama’s record.

Watch the full speech here

“I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy, and then just six weeks before his election saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression,” he said.

“A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery.”

Officially nominating Mr Obama for a second term, Mr Clinton urged Americans to give the president more time to finish the job he started.

The president, Mr Clinton said, could not be blamed for the weak economy he inherited in 2009.

“Listen to me now; no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years,” Mr Clinton said.

Mr Obama finds himself in a vulnerable position with the US jobless rate at 8.3 per cent, and Mr Clinton’s role was to try to make it easier for him.

If Americans “renew the president’s contract, you will feel it,” Mr Clinton said.

Earlier, Mr Clinton formally nominated Mr Obama as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.

“I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside.

“I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy.

“After last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama,” he joked, drawing cheers and smiles from the first lady watching from a box the night after her own rousing convention speech.

Master orator

 

He received roaring applause from thousands of Democratic supporters who jammed the convention hall in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Folksy, long on detail and showing he is still a master orator nearly 12 years after he left office, Mr Clinton gave a more cogent defence of Mr Obama’s actions as president than perhaps the current resident of the White House himself.

“Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election,” Mr Clinton said.

“I just want you to know I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it.”

He offered a point-by-point rebuttal of the policies of Mr Obama’s rival Mitt Romney.

He decried the Republican’s creation of an “alternative universe”.

“The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in?” he asked.

“If you want a you’re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society you should support the Republican ticket.”

At the end of the address, Mr Obama took to the stage to thank the former president for his ringing re-election endorsement.

Mr Clinton bowed to his former adversary as the younger president joined him on stage to share a standing ovation.

Earlier, Democrats scrambled to move Mr Obama’s speech indoors.

He had wanted to accept the Democratic nomination in an open-air stadium jammed with tens of thousands of supporters to portray an image of strength.

But the threat of thunderstorms from remnants of Hurricane Isaac forced convention organisers to switch the speech to the current, but much smaller, convention venue.

ABC/Reuters

38) L’homme de l’ombre: Lafras Luitingh refait parler de lui

Posté à 6 September 2012, 9:03 AEST

Pierre Riant

Et de l’affaire des mercenaires de Bougainville…

L’homme au centre de ce qui avait été appelé « l’Affaire Sandline » fait maintenant l’objet d’une enquête menée par les Nations Unies pour avoir financé et dirigé une armée privée en Somalie.

Lafras Luitingh, de nationalité australienne depuis 2009 et ancien inspecteur en désarmement des Nations Unies, avait en 1997 signé un contrat de 13 millions de dollars américains avec le gouvernement de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et le Premier ministre de l’époque Julius Chan, pour fournir des mercenaires et combattre les rebelles qui avaient fermé la mine de cuivre de Panguna sur l’île de Bougainville.  (Sandline étant une société militaire privée britannique.)

Les enquêteurs de l’ONU affirment maintenant que Lafras Luitingh utilisent des sociétés australiennes et leurs comptes bancaires pour financer des opérations en Afrique.
Selon le Groupe de surveillance de la Somalie de l’ONU, ces opérations auraient fondamentalement modifié l’équilibre du pouvoir dans le nord-est de la Somalie.radio australia

 

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