NEWS (Melanesian/Pacific) 7 September 2012.

1) Bikpela wari long ol ‘illegal weapon’ i pulap long Pacific

Updated 7 September 2012, 12:07 AEST

Ripot i tok moa long haf blong ol kraim insait long Pacific i kamap long ol gan.

This banner displayed during a peace rally in Honiara on 22 August 2003 reflects the mood of a nation given a fresh start through its embrace of RAMSI and the declaration of a guns-free Solomon Islands.

This banner displayed during a peace rally in Honiara on 22 August 2003 reflects the mood of a nation given a fresh start throug (Credit: ABC licensed)

Wanpela ripot blong Pacific Transnational Crime i bin tok Tonga na American Samoa insait long ol yar ikam go pinis, i bin senta long ol pipol i muvim ol gan igo kam insait long Pacific rijon.

Tasol insait long Papua New Guinea, ripot i painim moa long 60 pe sen blong ol bikpela kraim nau i kamap long birua blong ol gan.

Long Samoa insait long mun May, wanpela man i bin dai na tripeal polisman i kisim bagarap bihainim wanpela polis reid long wanpela vilis long hap.

Dr Gordon Nanau, wanpela tisa long sait blong politik na intanesinol afeas long University of the South Pacific long Fiji, i tokim Radio Australi Pacific Beat olsem ol pipol imas wokbung wantaim polis long daunim namba blong ol gan igo long ol komuniti.

“In the past few months there was that incident where police raided a few villages in Samoa, and that resulted in three casualties,” he said. “In Tonga in 2010 police recovered around thirty semi-automatic assault rifles in Tongatapu – that’s an indication that there are illegal guns in communities.”

Em i tok tu olsem igat ol ripot long liklik namba blong ol gan i stap long Solomon Islands, maski igat tripela amnesty agriment long, em ol lokal atoriti na Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, igo pas longen.

“Even in rural Solomon Islands people talk about groups that still hold on to guns even after the amnesty period.”

2) Papuan human rights activist says no let up in abuses by military

Posted at 03:50 on 07 September, 2012 UTC

A human rights activist in Indonesia’s Papua says there’s been little apparent improvement in the conduct of the military in the disputed region.

Despite being frequently linked to rampant human rights abuses in Papua region, Indonesia’s military is being provided with more weapons and equipment from both the US and Australia.

Denny Yomaki of the Demo for Freedom NGO says village raids, violence and torture of Papuans by soldiers continue to create a climate of fear in Papua.

He says while the military has begun trying to get onside with Papuans through social outreach projects, troops still largely enjoy impunity for abuses.

“I don’t see any development or changes, changes in the attitude. Abuse can be blamed on lower ranked officers by the commanders of military or police but it’s been going on for many years and no change.”

Denny Yomaki

Radio New Zealand International

2)Manam islanders evacuated

People from Dugulaba village on Manam island in Madang province will have to be evacuated from their village next week due to heavy ash fall from the volcano.

The Madang provincial disaster office conducted an assessment of the situation on the island last week and recommended the evacuation of about 200 people to the Madang provincial administration and the national disaster center.

The assessment has recommended that they be relocated to Baliau village at the back of the island where the ash fall is not so bad.

SOURCE: NBC/PACNEWS

3) No immediate review for PNG Disciplined forces working condition

By Online Editor
3:45 pm GMT+12, 07/09/2012, Papua New GuineaThere will be an immediate review of the working conditions of all disciplined forces – the police, defence force and correctional service.

Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, in his state of the nation address in Parliament this week, says the government will rebuild the barracks as well as increase training and discipline.

O’Neill said the government will restore the confidence and pride of men and women in the forces so they be trusted and respected.

He said his government will invest in a better equipped police force and ensure increased police presence throughout the country to fight crime.

O’Neill admitted that successive governments have done little over the years to beef up police manpower and provide adequate resources while the population has increased greatly.

“We have a police force whose ratio currently stands at 1 policeman to 1,600 citizens. This is well below the UN recommended ratio of 1 policeman to 450 citizens. We will correct this by going on a recruitment drive to increase police manpower. We will also provide sufficient funding so police are resourced well to maintain law and order.”

He adds the government will continue to rebuild the defence force into a lean and efficient force.

O’Neill said the government will also focus on training, discipline and building capacity of the correctional service.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neil says the development of a National Security Policy for PNG is important, given the economic boom the country will soon experience, and threats from both external and internal factors.

A National Security Policy Technical Working Group has been put in place to formulate PNG’s security policy, which O’Neil says will be aligned with the PNG Vision 2050.

He said because PNG lives in a global community, it is important to come up with a security policy to address current and new security challenges.

O’Neil named some of the threats facing the country include smuggling of weapons, contrabands and natural resources, transnational and cyber crimes, and human security.

He said the 700-kilometer LNG gas pipeline must also be protected when the project comes on line in 2014.

PM O’Neil said work on other important security policy initiatives that will complement the NSP are in progress including the Defence White Paper and the Revised Foreign Policy.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that has provided initial assistance in formulating the NSP.

The Prime Minister appealed to all Papua New Guineans to take full ownership of the National Security Policy by contributing to its formulation and implementation.

SOURCE: NBC/PACNEWS

4) Solomon Islands PM Lilo faces no confidence vote

By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 07/09/2012, Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo faces a no-confidence vote when parliament meets next Friday.

Opposition office submitted notice of the motion to parliament late Thursday, and is likely to be debated two days before Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Honiara on 16 September.

Parliament confirmed receiving the motion, and a spokesman said it has been set in the order paper.

The spokesman said the wording of the notice shows Opposition leader Dr Derek Sikua will move the motion.

Dr Sikua, who is currently in his Northeast Guadalcanal constituency, could not be reached for comments.

An Opposition spokesperson said reasons for tabling the motion will be disclosed later.

When contacted last night Prime Minister Lilo said he welcomed the motion.

“I am confident the government will defeat that on the floor of parliament,” Lilo said.

He said the motion is nothing but a waste of time because his government is intact.

The prime minister said if the motion is defeated or withdrawn, he will ask Opposition leader Dr Sikua to resign on the floor of parliament.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

5) Solomon Islands Millennium Development Goals Lag
Pacific Forum reports ‘no improvements made’ in key areas

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 6, 2012) – The Pacific Islands Forum says Solomon Islands appears unlikely to achieve the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The human development goals aim to reduce or eliminate poverty, hunger, child mortality, HIV and AIDS and other diseases, while building up primary education, maternal health, female empowerment and environmental sustainability.

A recent report by the Forum Secretariat shows the country has made no improvement in mortality for children, while poverty and employment figures are dragging behind.

A development worker with long involvement with Solomon Islands, Terrence Wood, says part of the issue comes from an ineffective government.

“Political elites in the Solomon Islands, on average, don’t do a great job in terms of looking after the welfare of their people. There are definite exceptions to that. There are some very good politicians there who work very hard, but they would be the exception rather than the rule.”

He does say the country has made improvements in providing primary school education, feeding the hungry and reducing disease.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

6) Solomons PM To Face No-Confidence Vote In Parliament
PM Lilo welcomes motion, Opposition silent as to motive

By Daniel Namosuia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 7, 2012) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo faces a no-confidence vote when the Solomon Islands parliament meets next Friday.

The Opposition office submitted notice of the motion to parliament late yesterday, and is likely to be debated two days before Prince William and his wife Kate arrived here on September 16.

Parliament confirmed receiving the motion, and a spokesman said it has been set in the order paper.

The spokesman said the wording of the notice shows Opposition leader Dr. Derek Sikua will move the motion.

Dr. Sikua, who is currently in his Northeast Guadalcanal constituency, could not be reached yesterday for comments.

An Opposition spokesperson said reasons for tabling the motion will be disclosed later.

When contacted last night, Prime Minister Lilo said he welcomed the motion.

“I am confident the government will defeat that on the floor of parliament,” Mr. Lilo said.

He said the motion is nothing but a waste of time because his government is intact.

The prime minister said if the motion is defeated or withdrawn, he will ask Opposition leader Dr. Sikua to resign on the floor of parliament.

Solomon Star

7) Trade takes priority over public health

By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 07/09/2012, FijiTrade often trumps public health.

This was a comment made by public health academic and Professor of Health Equity from the Australian National University Sharon Friel while addressing researchers at the Pacific Islands Health Research Symposium in Nadi Thursday.

Citing examples from Tonga where the import of mutton flaps caused an increase in obesity among Tongans, Professor Friel said there was a need to address this issue where bilateral trades affected the health of people in a developing country.

“As the big multi-national countries form partnerships and agreements with other countries they bring with them their produce. Of course this is an important aspect of a developing country.

“We have a trade pathway agreement sitting on one side and then we have this public health challenge sitting on other side and of course there is a high degree of dialogue that occurs between these sectors,” she said.

For Fiji’s case, NCD national adviser Doctor Isimeli Tukana said it would be a challenge to maintain a balance between obtaining an income from the bilateral agreements but at the same time ensuring that people remained healthy.

“The challenge for us in the Ministry of Health is to engage with government so that we market through evidence the health side of the trade so that at the end of the day, Fijians are getting money from the trade and at the same time improving the health of the people,” Dr Tukana said.

“That is actually the situation right now. The trade part is the economic part and the challenge for the Ministry of Health and for the government is to raise through evidence the health part of it,” he said.

Dr Tukana agreed that trade often trumped health “because that’s the way trade works”.

“Trade is about getting money into the country while we are talking about economic health. We need to strike a balance to ensure that while we are rich, we are also healthy. So that the money side of things does not overcome the health side of things,” he said.

He said non-communicable diseases are socially determined and looking for a social solution is an important aspect of decreasing the number of NCDs in the country.

“NCD is a social issue in terms of eating and smoking and drinking alcohol which is one of the things that we are addressing,” Dr Tukana said.

He said people in the country were dying at the age of 40 from NCDs which meant that they were developing symptoms of the diseases at the age of 20.

“If that’s the case, that means that they were consuming NCD causing food, drinking alcohol and not exercising when they were children,” Dr Tukana said.

“So these are some of the factors that we have taken into account and some of them are caused socially,” he said.

The theme of the symposium is Social Determinants of Health and is expected to end today.

“In this symposium, we are not really talking about the medical side of things, we are talking about diseases that are determined socially and how they can be dealt with socially,” Fiji Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma said in his opening address.

Dr Sharma highlighted the need for more vital data to be made available that would assist doctors and those in the public health sector address health-related problems.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

8) Smith-Johns: Peace journalism a viable option

By Online Editor
12:23 pm GMT+12, 07/09/2012, FijiJournalists in Fiji need to rise up and decide for themselves what type of journalists they are going to be.

This was the view of permanent secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns in response to questions from The Fiji Times on whether she felt peace journalism was a viable option for local journalists.

The idea of peace journalism as opposed to conflict journalism was presented to Smith-Johns and other attendees at the two-day Media and Democracy Conference at the University of the South Pacific.

It is defined by Lynch and McGoldrick (2005) as “when editors and reporters make choices of what stories to report and how to report them that create opportunities for society at large to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict”.

Smith-Johns said while peace journalism was a viable option, it was something journalists needed to decide for themselves.

“Local journalists need to take ownership and define who they really are and what type of journalists they want to be instead of letting other people tell them who they are,” she said.

“It should really be up to journalists to make that decision on what types of journalists they are going to be,” she added.

Director of the Pacific Media Centre at the Auckland University of Technology Prof David Robie said his affinity with peace journalism stemmed from his experiences as a journalist.

“As an educator, it is my role to look into the varieties and of journalism and my sympathies of peace journalism come from my experience in reporting conflict,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

9) Exclusion from PACP meetings violates State Party rights – Fiji

By Online Editor
12:34 pm GMT+12, 07/09/2012, FijiFiji says its continued exclusion from the Pacific ACP Leaders meetings and activities ‘violates its State Party rights under the treaties establishing the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP).

And, it will not allow other third parties or organisation to take that right away, according to a country paper obtained by PACNEWS.

“The insistence by the Pacific Islands Forum that it has jurisdiction on PACP matters and meetings have meant that Fiji’s legal rights as a PACP member have been undermined by the unilateral interpretation or decisions, and importantly, not the decision of the ACP or the PACP, said the Fiji paper tabled to PACP Trade Ministers in Tonga last month.

Fiji argues the Forum Secretariat in Suva was only mandated to manage and co-ordinate the affairs of the 14 PACP countries in the best interest of all members and ‘not be the sole arbiter on PACP affairs.’

“The decisions of the PACPs are decisions taken by the 14 PACPs and are not decisions of the ‘16’ Forum Island Countries, claims the Fiji paper.

On the official explanation that Fiji is excluded for logistical reasons, the Fiji paper argued that there is no clear distinction on which PACP meetings are considered Forum or non-Forum related.

“This is used as a tool to selectively bar and punish Fiji.

PACP Leaders at their meeting in Rarotonga last week resolved to defer discussion on Fiji’s participation to a meeting to be hosted by Papua New Guinea before the end of the year.

The Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi said Leaders wanted Fiji back at their meeting because it is a member of the grouping but is faced with the dilemma that this meeting was held under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Forum, of which Fiji is suspended from.

“The Leaders have agreed that we will convene a special meeting in Papua New Guinea to consider Fiji’s participation at future PACP meetings outside of the Forum.

“It will mean that we might have to look at other methods of engagement on ACP issues at the regional level, said Premier Talagi.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill said the meeting in Port Moresby will determine other forms of engagement with Fiji, outside the Forum process.

“Since Fiji has not been suspended from the ACP group, we are trying to find ways for Fiji to actively participate in all the Pacific ACP Meeting as the Pacific Islands Forum has already established a position on Fiji.

“So we hope our meeting in Port Moresby, which will be at our own cost will find a way to further engage with Fiji at the PACP Leaders meeting, said PM O’Neill.

Fiji, on the other hand, says ‘it has moved on and the issue of our membership to the Forum is irrelevant.’

Since 2007, Fiji’s Look North Policy has diversified its global network, which has now reached 126 countries. It has also gained many new friends and support for its Roadmap to sustainable democracy. Fiji has opened new missions in South Africa, Brazil, Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

10) Fiji Constitution Commission head concerned people too intimidated to appear

Posted at 03:48 on 07 September, 2012 UTC

The head of Fiji’s Constitution Commission says there are people too intimidated to appear, but it is hearing a range of views.

Women’s organisations in the country have alleged plainclothed police officers are attending the hearings and taking notes and people are afraid to speak out.

The Commission’s head, Professor Yash Ghai, says a lot of people have been speaking frankly, but it’s entirely possible others don’t come at all.

“It’s hard to say how many people are being deterred by…the police. I have noticed in some meetings when the police are taking notes that people seem to be speaking freely. But I know that some people have told me that they are a bit uneasy when the police are sitting there, so it’s a mixed reaction, I would say.”

Professor Yash Ghai says while anyone can watch the hearings, when he has detected police taking notes, he has asked them to leave.

Radio New Zealand International

11) New Fiji Constitution Will Separate Church, State 
Public apparently does not understand ‘secular’ state concept

By Maciu Malo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 6, 2012) – Fiji’s new constitution will ensure a separation of church and State as outlined in the guiding principles set by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

This was a statement by Constitution Commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai to The Fiji Times earlier this week at Namarai in Ra.

“This doesn’t mean that the State is anti-religion, but just a feeling that the function and responsibility of religion of beliefs within societies should be separated from the functions and policies of the institution of the State,” he explained.

“We will have to look at the views we have received on this, some have been in support of separation but most have been made by Christians who want a Christian State.

“I didn’t get the impression that people who asked for a Christian State fully understood what is generally meant by a secular State or separation of religion and State,” Ghai said.

“And I think many of the objectives they have in mind can be met in a system that separates State and religion. Indeed until now there has been no Christian State and yet Christians in this country have done well and they have large membership and are very influential in their communities and in public life,” he said.

Professor Ghai said there was a need for his team to start explaining to the people what is meant by separation of State and religion.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

12) U.S., Japanese Troops Arrive In CNMI For Joint Training
Bilateral military exercises to be held on Tinian

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Sept. 7, 2012) – Some 65 U.S. Marines based in Okinawa arrived on Tinian last night and an additional 150 Marines, along with Japanese Self-Defense Force troops, will follow early next week for a historic joint training-almost 70 years since forces from these two nations fought against each other on Tinian.

Tinian, one of the main islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), was the launching pad for the two atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, putting a decisive end to World War II.

Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz and his chief of staff, Don Farrell, separately said yesterday that a C-130 carrying an estimated 65 U.S. Marines from Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan landed last night on Tinian’s West Field for the military exercise. From there, they moved to North Field.

Dela Cruz and Farrell said the first group will set up their cantonment or camp site, in preparation for next week’s military training.

Farrell said between Sept. 10 and 12, about 15 amphibious tractors carrying some 150 U.S. Marines “and possibly Japanese Self-Defense Force” troops will also arrive on Tinian.

“I said ‘possibly’ because the Japanese troops may arrive by plane. The important thing is, they will be arriving on Tinian,” he said.

Dela Cruz said he is glad that the U.S. Department of Defense, which leases two-thirds of Tinian lands, is now conducting training exercises on the island, not only to help boost Tinian’s economy but also allow the island to have a new role in national defense albeit for training purposes.

“This is not just any kind of training. This is history in the making because we will be having U.S. and Japanese troops training alongside each other,” he said. During the war, these two forces fought each other on the same island.

Dela Cruz also said that “special forces” will take part in the exercises, including Navy SEALs and rangers. “I believe the training scenario will be a hostage rescue operation.”

Since Dela Cruz was elected to office, he has been calling on the U.S. Department of Defense to use its leased lands on Tinian. “I’m happy things are happening now.”

Beginning Monday, Tinian’s North Field will be closed for the military exercise.

This will be the first joint exercises on Tinian by the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Farrell said this will be called the Mariana Islands Complex Certification Exercise or Certex.

Tinian is hosting only small fraction of the estimated 2,200 U.S. Marines and sailors that are taking part in a military exercise in Guam and the CNMI this month.

This month’s training exercises on Tinian follows Exercise Geiger Fury 2012 in May, the largest military exercise the CNMI had seen in years involving some 200 U.S. military personnel led by Marine Aircraft Group-12 out of Iwakuni, Japan.

Another round of MAG-12 exercises is set for November to December.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

13) NZ govt’s shifted aid focus in Pacific risks ignoring problems – Labour

By Online Editor
10:08 am GMT+12, 07/09/2012, New ZealandThe opposition Labour Party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Phil Goff, says the New Zealand government’s shifted aid focus in the Pacific risks ignoring the problems in the region, especially for women.

Over the past four years, under the leadership of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, New Zealand has cut funding to women’s organisations around the region, because of the change in aid policy to focus on economic development.

The Labour Party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Phil Goff said the government’s focus means it is ignoring the need to eliminate poverty.

“Women suffer from domestic violence, they suffer from lack of education, they suffer from lack of representation, and I hope Mr McCully is not so bound up with economic development that he ignores the full picture.”

Goff said New Zealand needs to ensure that the rights of all members of Pacific communities are looked after.
But New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key has defended this country’s record of helping women in the Pacific.

PM Key said New Zealand has a proud record of promoting women’s equality.

“We spent around 12 million NZ dollars, in the last 12 months, in terms of aid programmes very specifically focussed at female issues particularly around health, education and of course domestic violence and when it comes to all of our aid programmes one of the criteria that has to be met is gender equality. So I think New Zealand walks the walk and talks the talk”.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

14) Une « ville de toile » à Nauru

Mis à jour 7 September 2012, 8:58 AEST

Pierre Riant

Des structures d’accueil temporaire, des tentes, sont pour ainsi dire prêtes sur l’île de Nauru et les premiers demandeurs d’asile pourraient arriver dès la semaine prochaine dans le centre de rétention de l’ile de Nauru.

Le gouvernement australien a décidé à la mi-août de rouvrir des centres de détention dans des îles reculées du Pacifique, notamment Manus en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et Nauru.

Sandi Logan, porte-parole des services de l’Immigration, indique que les personnes qui sont actuellement sur Christmas Island et qui ont été interceptées  après la décision du gouvernement de rouvrir les centres de détention, pourront dans les semaines à venir être transférées sur l’île de Nauru. : « Il faut montrer à ceux qui arrivent ici qu’une nouvelle politique est en place et que cette politique implique un transfert sur Nauru ou en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. » Radio Australia

15) Obama makes case for re-election

Updated 7 September 2012, 13:36 AEST

US president Barack Obama has urged the American people to return him to the White House so he can lead the country to what he calls a “better place”.

AN Obama DNC2012

AN Obama DNC2012

He did so in the climax to the Democratic Party’s convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After three days of speakers hammering the idea that Republican challenger Mitt Romney was out of touch, Mr Obama took the stage and told Americans the election was a stark choice between two different futures.

“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties,” Mr Obama said. “It will be a choice between two different paths for America.”

The president dispensed hard truths on US economic ills and warned that Mr Romney would endanger America abroad.

Sketching an agenda to create millions of jobs, cut $4 trillion from the deficit and bolster his nation’s strength overseas, Mr Obama refused to abandon the hope of 2008, saying: “Know this, America: our problems can be solved.”

“Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have.”

“The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

‘Time warp’

Mr Obama also blasted Mr Romney and his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan as neophytes that would endanger US national security, comparing their thin resume with his own “tested and proven” leadership.

“My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

“After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not Al-Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp.”

The president cast his speech as a rallying call for Americans to unite to tear open the gridlock that has paralysed Washington, warning Mr Romney would fire teachers, impoverish students, all to give more tax breaks to millionaires.

“We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward,” Mr Obama said.

Hard truths

In many ways, Mr Obama’s address was an attempt to reconcile the heady promises of hope and change he dispensed four years ago with the reality of impossible-to-meet expectations and an economy still staggering from the Great Recession.

“If you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well change will not happen.

“If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests, the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election.

“Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry or control healthcare choices that women should make for themselves.”

Mr Obama also posed as a teller of hard truths, arguing that recovery was bound to be hard from the worst recession in decades.

“You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth,” he said.

“And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

The president’s message, however, could be undercut if new jobs figures due out tomorrow do not show any improvement in the unemployment rate.

ABC/AFP

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