NEWS ( Melanesian/Pacific) 12 September 2012

1) PNG a leader in the Pacific

By Online Editor
12:51 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2012, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s acting  Prime Minister Leo Dion says Papua New Guinea has emerged a leader in the Pacific, and an important economic and trade partner for powerful economies in Asia and the Pacific.

“Papua New Guinea’s role as a leader in the Pacific, and our emergence as an important economic and trading nation in the region, is getting the nod of recognition from powerful global players like the US and China,” Dion said.

“With our economic growth now the envy of most countries, we cannot miss the opportunity we have to directly engage with leaders of these powerful economies and forums like the Pacific Islands Forum and Association of Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).” present us these opportunities.

“Prime Minister Peter O’Neill concluded a highly successful leaders meeting of the PIF in the Cook Islands, and flew to Russia for the APEC meeting.

“He is in China at the invitation of the Chinese government to meet the new leader of China, and to continue discussions for a possible loan with the EXIM Bank of China.”

Dion was responding to criticism from the opposition on O’Neill’s attendances of those meetings and fears the loan from China might blow debt.

The Opposition’s Tobias Kulang said that O’Neill left no-one to run the nation, while Bulolo MP Sam Basil claimed that O’Neill’s team was overseas partying and relaxing.

Dion said the Opposition was embarrassing itself with comments. That suggested they understood very little about these regional forums.

“As the prime minister said publicly upon his return from the Cook Island, PNG is a leader in the Pacific and must demonstrate its leadership role in the PIF. Our growing economy is attracting interest from powerful economies who are APEC members.

“We are members of these organisations and we must attend or we miss opportunities that present themselves.

“If the Opposition requested, one of its members would have been invited to travel to make their input,” Dion said.

“We appreciate criticisms from the opposition, but they must be constructive and show a certain level of maturity and understanding of issues they want to debate.”

On the opposition’s criticism of the proposed loan from China, Dion said it was public knowledge even before the country went to the general election.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

2) PNG look to Singapore as role model

By Online Editor
09:57 am GMT+12, 12/09/2012, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Public Enterprises, Ben Micah, says he will look at the way Singapore manages its State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and investments, as a possible role model for Papua New Guinea.

Micah is particularly interested in the structure, and operating processes of the Singapore government’s investment company, Temasek Holdings.

He says, the relationship between Temasek, the government’s incorporated sovereign wealth fund, Singapore Investment Corporation, and the Central Bank, the monetary authority of Singapore, has some aspects that can be adopted in Papua New Guinea.

He stresses, it is important to keep an open mind about the most appropriate and up-to-date ways, of dealing with issues, adding the current model in P-N-G, since 2002, has not worked effectively.

Micah says, this has resulted in lack of service delivery, with millions of Kina injected into public enterprises with no tangible benefits, when the money should have been used for health, education and other services.

Micah met with Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in his last visit, and talked about the possibilities.

He is hoping to meet with Temasek Holdings, the Singapore Investment Corporation and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

SOURCE: NBC/PACNEWS

3) Indon gun runner nabbed 

By FRANCO NEBAS

THE Lae – based National Criminal Intelligent Unit (NCIU) has arrested a 38 year-old Indonesian man suspected to be involved in the smuggling of firearms and ammunition into the country.
Yoshi Kuni Ikeda, who works as a property and maintainance manager for KK Kingston was arrested by police and refused bail on Monday this week.
Mr Ikeda is alleged to be a member of an alleged Asian syndicate triad mafia group that is believed to be operating in Lae.
Investigations are still continuing, with Mr Ikeda being a key suspect in the smuggling and selling of high powered firearms and ammunition.
Recently, the owner of Lae Biscuit Company Ian Chow was arressted by Australian Federal Police after a shipment of over 100, 000 gun powder and ammunition into the country.
Mr Ikeda was arrested following a tip off from police NCIU where Border Security (Customs) officials and police confiscated the weapons.
Lae Metropolitant Police Supritendent Nema Mondia yesterday confirmed the arrest of Mr Ikeda.
Supritendent Mondia said Mr Ikeda has been charged on four counts for unlawfully dealing with firearms, one count for having live ammunition and is not a holder of a gun dealer license under the Firearm Act.
He said Mr Ikeda was refused bail on Monday afternoon and appeared in court yesterday morning.
When asked if there was an Asian Syndicate Triad Mafia Group operating in Lae, Supritendent Mondia denying any knowledge but did confirm that the arrest is another break-through in an ongoing investigation.
“It was a joint effort by PNG Ports, Customs, Fisheries and police NCIU that lead to the confiscation of the weapons,” he said.
During the joint Police NCIU and Custom’s search, four loaded STI Caliber pistols and 19 magazines were neatly packed in a safe that was addressed to Mr Ikeda.
According to information obtained, a container (teu) MRKU765334-0 was imported from Philiphines (exporter – Jadecrown Philipines Corporation) arrived on-board vessel Reecon V.1205 and bill of landing 8633286904.
Custom entry I 4834 dated 15/03/2012 was lodged by Swift Customs in Lae and the consignment was consigned to Swift Custom (PNG) Ltd.
Border Security became suspicious from there as to why Swift Customs Agency had imported such a container when it does not operate a trading outlet.
As a result Border Security put the shipment on hold, to conduct a thorough inspection.
After the container was opened, police and Border Security request for the shipping agent to produce the key to the safe to be opened.
However the agent said that the key was still in Philipines which then forced the police and Border Security and police to force open the safe.
The items found in the safe include 19 magazines (15x9mm magzines) and Four STI Calibre pistols loaded with magazines.
The pistols are: Schuemann Ultimatch 0.355 Caliber (Seriel number – 2012016), Schuemann Ultimatch 0.355mm Wilson (Seriel number – 2012014), Schuemann Ultimatch Caliber (Seriel number – 2012017), and Scheumann 0.355mm Caliber (Seriel number – WF 3089).
“The inteception is only a tip of an iceberg. We believe that many law enforcement agencies are involved in the syndicate,” police said.
Meanwhile police has issued a warning to members of the Lae Pistol Club who had purchased any of the STI pistols to surrender them to police. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20120912/wehome.htm

4) International scientific team find extensive biodiversity in areas threatened by experimental seabed mining

By Online Editor
3:30 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2012, Papua New GuineaThe supporters of experimental seabed mining say the seabed is deep, dark and cold and there is nothing down there.

The scientists strongly disagree, and in a recent quick assessment, international scientists collected more than 500 species of crabs and prawns alone from the waters of PNG – including four totally new genera. Around 15% of the species collected were totally new to science.

The findings of the scientific team are reported in the latest issue of Oceanography.

The research was coordinated by two French institutions – the Museum national D’Histoire Naturelle and the  Instit de Recherche pour Development – and the University of PNG. Together they formed an international team of 11 scientist from six countries to explore the deep waters of eastern Papua New Guinea.

They concluded that not enough is currently known about the seafloor massive sulfides that Canadian company Nautilus minerals wants to exploit to say what the environmental impacts will be.

“Very little is known of the biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea animals from PNG… Preliminary data suggest that deep New Guinean fauna is highly diversified. As an example, a rapped assessment of decapod crustacean biodiversity revealed more than 500 species collected including four new genera and about 15% new species”.

“While we are just beginning to fathom the amplitude of biodiversity in deep New Guinean waters, mining exploration and exploitation of seafloor massive sulfides is flourishing in the region. The exploitation of metals from SMS deposits is an emerging industry, and adverse environmental effects are hard to predict, as hydrothermal vent and adjacent ecosystems are still poorly known.”.

Meanwhile, some of the country’s natural resources should be left aside for future generations says senior PNG statesman Sir Ronald Tovue.

He said much of Papua New Guinea’s financial activities such as mining projects and most recently the LNG and Sea Bed projects were all happening at the same time.

He said the future generation will be left with nothing if PNG exploits its natural resources in only a small space of time.

The former East New Britain premier and current chairman of the East New Britain Autonomy Committee said the committee had raised its objections to sea bed mining.

“It was not a matter of stopping the project but it is too early for another mining project to be developed and especially when it has not been done anywhere else,” he added.

He said the project should eventuate much later because there were currently a lot of mines in PNG.

Sir Ronald said the current government should withdraw the license that was issued to Canadian firm Nautilus Minerals.

He further said the company will benefit more from the project in the next 20 years and the people will be left with nothing.

“They will become rich from our resources…our children will be left with nothing,” he said.

Sir Ronald said those people from PNG who were assisting the company to mine the sea bed have hidden agendas and should be more careful.

“We have had the experience of Bougainville. That experience should teach us a lesson,” he said.

“It is the people who have spoken. The government should withdraw that license,” he added.

SOURCE:RAMU NICKLE/POST COURIER/PACNEWS

5) Fun-run for Vanimo, Papua 

By MELISSA MARTIN 

The first ever cross border- run from PNG to Indonesia will take place on the 27th of this month between the people of Papua Province of Indonesia and Vanimo in the Sandaun Province of PNG.
According to the Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo, Jahar Gultom, the fun-run involving 200 runners from both PNG and Indonesia will start at Wutung village on PNG side of the border and finish at Schouw in the Indonesian territory.
Mr Gultom said since it was the first time for both countries to hold such an activity, they would have 100 runners from Papua and 100 from Vanimo who would run 7.5 kilometres on PNG side, and cross another 2.5 kilometres of PNG/Indonesia land border to finish the race.
“The aim of organising such activities involving the people of two countries will enhance the mutual trust and understanding, and at the same time strengthen the bilateral relationship between both countries.
“The safety of the runners, officials and the public is important, therefore the police and defence will be engaged to provide security during the event,” he added.
Mr Gultom also stressed that this fun-run would become an annual event if everything goes well without trouble on that day. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20120912/wehome.htm

6) Papua police officer killed by unknown gunmen

Posted at 22:48 on 11 September, 2012 UTC

Police in the Indonesian province of Papua say a police officer guarding a road project in Jayapura was killed by unknown gunmen on Monday.

The Jakarta Globe reports that the officer was stationed at the project overseen by Modern Widya Technical in Tolikara district when five armed men opened fire.

Police say Jefri Laudik Runtuboy was shot 14 times by the masked gunmen who tried to shoot others at the project before fleeing.

Radio New Zealand International

 

7) Caledonian Union president dies in Vanuatu following traditional operation

Posted at 22:48 on 11 September, 2012 UTC

The president of New Caledonia’s oldest pro-independence party, the Caledonian Union, has died on Tanna Island in Vanuatu after complications from a traditional operation.

The director of the hospital on Tanna, Louis Naling, says Charles Pidjot was already dead by the time he was taken to the hospital.

He says complications arose after an operation performed by local men on Mr Pidjot to try to ease years of back pain after a car accident.

Mr Naling says the men were not aware Mr Pidjot was diabetic.

Negotiations are now underway to repatriate his body to Port Vila sometime today to be sent back to New Caledonia.

Our correspondent says the Island of Tanna is well known for its traditional operation by custom healers.

Radio New Zealand International

8) A new flag proposed for Fiji

By Online Editor
12:53 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2012, Fiji

Fiji should decolonise its national flag identity and have a new flag for a new nation.

Pacific Dialogue Limited chief executive Jone Dakuvula in their submission said the present flag had a prominent Union Jack (England’s flag) in the top left-hand corner against a pale blue background.

He said it also had a plaque in the middle that was again symbolic of Fiji’s colonial history.

“Fiji, through its coups d’etat of 1987, 2000 and 2006, firmly rejected the constitutional link between Fiji and the United Kingdom, notwithstanding the coup-makers’ ironic claim of continued loyalty to the British Crown,” Dakuvula said.

He said the 1997 Constitution embodied the inheritance of Britain’s rule in Fiji and the knowledge Britain imparted to the people of Fiji of the important values of the rule of law and later parliamentary democracy.

“It is important because we, through our more recent history, have failed to uphold that inheritance of constitutional democracy and the rule of law,” Dakuvula said.

“Our challenge now is to ensure that our history is conveyed and understood from the Fijian people’s perspective,” he said.

Even though Fiji is now a republic with a president as head of state and therefore warrants a new flag, he said. Pacific Dialogue submitted that the new flag should be the symbol of a new beginning as a nation rather than a reminder of our negative colonial inheritances such as racism, divide and rule and cringing subservience.

“There should be a flag design competition to create a new flag for Fiji. It should include symbols representing a new nation,” Dakuvula said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

9) Fiji threatens to withdraw from PACP if the Pacific Islands Forum maintains ‘exclusion’ position

By Online Editor
3:51 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2012, Fiji
Fiji says its continued exclusion from Pacific ACP meetings will hinder the Pacific Islands Forum’s objective of achieving regional integration, an important pillar in the Pacific Plan.

A country paper tabled at the PACP Trade Ministers meeting in Nuku’alofa mid August said if the Suva-based Forum Secretariat continues to deny Fiji’s participation, the island nation will be ‘forced to withdraw from PACP foras.’

Fiji has indicated that it will consider withdrawing from the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), like it did for PACER Plus, if it is not allowed to participate fully at the highest level at PACP meetings and activities.

“Trade and trade agreements deal with national interest and are sovereign undertakings. If Fiji continues to be forced out of PACP Leaders Meeting (the highest decision making body on PICTA), it will have no choice but to consider withdrawal from PICTA, said the Fiji paper.

In addition, Fiji will not be able to sign the PICTA Trade In Services (TIS) Protocol or conclude the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, Fiji has warned.

“This does not augur well as far as the 14 PACPs are concerned. Fiji’s involvement in PICTA (which accounts for most of the PICTA preferential trade) will stop.

The PICTA Trade in Services Protocol was opened for signatures at the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting in Cook Islands last  month. It was initialed by Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

“Such engagements are a significant step towards facilitating deeper regional integration, and unlocking the potential benefits of regional trade in services.

“These regional agreements among Forum island countries will also better prepare Pacific economies for engagement under the EPA with the EU, and also with respect to undertaking negotiations with Australia, New Zealand and other developed countries, said Forum Secretary General, Neroni Slade at the signing in Rarotonga.

But Fiji has indicated it will not join the seven countries that have initialed the Trade in Services Protocol, if the Forum continues to shut the door on Fiji’s participation.

Another important regional trade negotiation to be completed by the end of the year – the EPA negotiations with the Europeans will also be adversely affected, Fiji claims if the position of the Pacific Islands Forum doesn’t change.

“Fiji will be forced to withdraw from PACP foras and will need to accept the Interim EPA. This will defeat PACPs objective to conclude a comprehensive EPA negotiations as a single region, said the Fiji paper.

Fiji and Papua New Guinea signed an interim EPA with the European Union in 2009. The interim agreement focused on trade in goods which includes important provisions on relaxed rules of origin for the fisheries sector.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

10) Fiji Labour Party calls constitutional process “flawed”

Posted at 07:52 on 12 September, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s Labour Party says the only way the country can return to constitutional rule is to appoint a caretaker prime minister to oversee elections.

In a preliminary submission to the Constitutional Commission, the party describes the process by which a new constitution is being drafted as fundamentally flawed and lacking in credibility and integrity.

Annell Husband has more:

“The body set up to formulate the new document has been conducting public hearings around the country for the past few weeks and is expected to finish that work next month. The new constitution is to be finalised by the end of next year, in time for the promised 2014 elections. The Kenyan academic and head of the Commission, Professor Yash Ghai, has expressed concern about aspects of the constitutional process, including how free people feel to express their views. The Labour Party says the process is being driven by Fiji’s interim government to achieve its own agenda and it is urging Commission members not to let state decrees stop them from doing their job properly.”

 Radio New Zealand International

 

11) Fiji Commission Urges Authorities To Respect Constitution
‘Society should believe in the rule of law,’ says professor

By Maciu Malo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 11, 2012) – Constitution Commission member Professor Satendra Nandan believes the solution to safeguarding against the abrogation of the proposed new constitution would be for those in power to abide by the document.

“The only guarantee is if the people feel this is their constitution and the second is those coming into power follow the constitution in a way that is fair to all the citizens,” he said.

“The final guarantee is the major institution of our government, the military and the many other social and intellectual institutions protect the constitution as best as they can.”

Prof. Nandan said people must believe in the new constitution and those in power must not abuse the document.

“That is why we are very concerned with listening to the people first, not only physically listening, but listening with the heart and mind and to see what are the anxieties in people’s hearts, what are their fears, what hope must they care for freedom and do they care for democratic rights?

“Democracy is not an easy thing, it requires sacrifices, compromises, accommodation, understanding of each other, sharing of resources, sharing of whatever we have, so you get a fair society.”

Prof. Nandan said for the new constitution not to be abrogated, society should believe in the rule of law.

“You get an independent judiciary, corruption is removed, the government does not or people in power do not abuse power but empower the people.

“There are leaders whose presence empower, there are leaders who can trample on your rights but there are leaders who present you a part of the great enterprise called nation-building.”

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

 

12) Villager wants yaqona, smoking ban for youths

Maciu Malo
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ALL iTaukei youths in all villages who are below the age of 21 should be banned from smoking and yaqona drinking.

This submission was made by Nayawa villager Peniasi Vakili at Talenavuruvuru bure in Sigatoka last Friday.

He also submitted for an iTaukei Land Trust Board office to be set up in Sigatoka to help the people of Nadroga/Navosa Province. “Travelling and time factor is a huge obstacle to landowners wishing to visit the TLTB offices in Nadi and Lautoka,” he said.

“Also, all institutions that are set up under the iTaukei Affairs Act are to be consolidated and not to be done away with. We want the enforcement of the iTaukei institutions in village setting such as the village council, district and the provincial,” Mr Vakili said. “We also propose that the Great Council of Chiefs to be reinstated as this is the sign of unity among the iTaukei.” http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=211601

13) No jobs for Fiji graduates

By Online Editor
12:38 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2012, Fiji

As Fiji’s job crisis continues to deepen, 9523 graduates from various tertiary institutions in the country are still unemployed, it has been revealed.

Minister for Labour Jone Usamate said out of those 9523 jobless graduates, 858 were degree holders.

Usamate said the unemployed graduates had been registered by the ministry’s National Employment Centre (NEC) from April 2010.

He said the large number of unemployed graduates in the country was a result of not enough jobs but there was still hope ahead.

“For the past few years, our economic growth has been slow and job creation has been slow,” Usamate said.

“There are not enough new jobs being created to absorb the new graduates,” Usamate told The Fiji Times newspaper.

He said the other possible reason was because of the difference between what was being taught in tertiary institutions and what employers needed.

Usamate said Fiji needed to grow the job market and encourage the development of small micro enterprises (SMEs) to make use of the large number of well-educated unemployed youths the country had.

“This year, we are beginning to see some positive signs in our economy. There have been good reports of demand in the construction sector. Growth in the construction sector is a sign of potential growth,” he said.

Usamate outlined that tourism industry that was also doing well and the Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau had reported the number of investors interested to invest in Fiji.

“On top of this, a 2.7 per cent economic growth has been forecast,” he said.

Usamate also highlighted that various proactive measures had been developed by the ministry to counter the increase in unemployment rates.

He said the ministry had self-employment service for those who wanted to start their own small business, Fiji Volunteer Service for those who had a strong sense of service and civic pride and willingness to serve others before self. “Foreign Employment Service is another initiative for those who want to work overseas. This service will be launched with the Foreign Employment Unit under the ministry by the end of September,” Usamate said.

He said the ministry had been engaging in vetting employment agencies that could take the role of seeking jobs in other countries for unemployed Fijians.

Usamate said the NEC could not create jobs but had been effective in carrying out its mandate.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

 


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