Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 688
1)Australia i halvim PNG na Vanuatu
Australia i statim pinis wanpla nupla wok blong halvim Papua New Guinea na Vanuatu wantem ol wok blong transapot na turisam long despla tupla kantri.
Oli bin tokaut oa lonchim despla nupla ski-im aste long australian Palaman haus long Canberrra.
Nem bilong despela scheme oli kolim “Pacific Growth and Employment Project” na Australia Gavman na International Labor Organisation irerem moni longen.
As tingting blong despla wok em blong givim wok long ol pipal long PNG na Vanuatu.
2)PNG i surikim vote ov no konfidans taem
National Palaman i senisim taem blong vote ov no konfidans lusim 18pla mun igo long 30pla ten mun.
Pastaim long general ileksan long Papua New Guinea dispela yar, mama lo ibin tok Oposisan i ken bringim vot nogat bilip or Vote of No Confidence igo long Praim Minista or Gavman bihain long 18 mun.
Tasol aste Palaman ibin vot na oraetim tingting blong surukim Grace Period igo long tripela ten (30) mun nau.
Antap tu long despla palamen ibin vot na givim tok orait long moni plen or baset.Radio Austrlia.
By Online Editor
12:04 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Papua New GuineaMember countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) have a huge task to provide effective land and sea surveillance in their respective regions, Police Minister Nixon Duban said in Port Moresby Monday .
Speaking at the opening of the MSG Police Commissioners’ Conference in Port Moresby, Duban said: “Each of our countries (Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and PNG) is faced with similar challenges with regards to monitoring and surveillance.
“These include the lack of proper legislation, the absence of inter-agency cooperation, lack of infrastructure, conflicting priorities, lack of funding, lack of political will and lack of collaboration at agency level.”
He said inter-government cooperation was also a challenge.
“International crime and terrorism know no boundary so our crime-fighting strategies must transcend our international borders as well.”
Duban said MSG member countries needed each other’s support as one could not effectively ensure the rule of law in isolation.
Earlier this month, the minister met with the new Interpol general assembly president, Mireille Ballestrazzi of France, in Italy. He raised concerns about establishing a delegate for the Pacific region.
“I will be officially writing to her with regards to this. I am sure with our own delegate, we shall be able to effectively tap into the collective experience and expertise at the disposal of Interpol,” Duban said.
The minister also revealed plans to reform and transform the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) into an effective and efficient law enforcement agency.
“My intention is to properly resource and equip the Royal PNG Constabulary. I want to improve the Royal PNG Constabulary’s capability and capacity so that it will effectively and efficiently, and in the most professional manner, discharge its constitutional duties and responsibilities,” he said.
Duban believes a well-equipped domestic police would contribute to the regional and global security.
He intends to improve surveillance and security on PNG’s land and maritime provinces through collaboration with the RPNGC, PNGDF, PNG Customs and other players including our neighbouring countries.
“However, it is common throughout the world that there is always not enough to sustain all government activities.
“We can try as hard as we can but, as usual, police will not be given the funding it asks for.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
2:53 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Papua New GuineaSOHE MP Delilah Gore is calling for four reserved seats for women in Papua New Guinea parliament instead of the 22 that has been suggested.
Highlighting this yesterday, Gore said 22 seats were too many. However, she proposed there be only four, one representing each region – southern, highlands, Mamose and the New Guinea Islands.
“I don’t support the 22 reserved seats for women because this would only contradict how I came into parliament. But I would like to see women given autonomy through these four reserved seats – to be the voice for women in each of their regions,” Gore said.
Exercising democracy through the ballot boxes, Gore encouraged women to market their leadership qualities and seek fair representation through the election process.
“Women should not sit back and relax, and expect to talk their way into parliament. They should go out to the people and show that they will serve their interests and represent them well in parliament.
“I had to show my leadership potential to the people. I had to show that women can make good leaders and I talked to the people to earn their vote.”
Her comment supported that of fellow female MP (Lae) and Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development Loujaya Toni’s about how women should seek parliament representation through elections.
Gore said being equally elected members of parliament, she and her other fellow female MPs (Toni and Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso) had gained equal respect from their male counterparts to have their say in parliament.
Meanwhile, Gore is talking with officers at the National Development Bank to run a men and women in business course in her area, with support from the ministry for trade, commerce and industry.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
4b)PM Calls To Centralize PNG Government Trust Accounts
‘Millions’ in commercial banks putting pressure on economy
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 26, 2012) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill wants all government trust accounts held in commercial banks to be transferred to Papua New Guinea’s Central Bank to soak up excess liquidity in the banking system which is putting inflationary pressure on the economy.
O’Neill said in a statement yesterday he had written to Treasury Minister Don Polye directing the move and had also asked for details of interest earned from these trust accounts held in commercial banks and where the interest earned had been spent.
“I would imagine millions of kina in interest earned from these accounts, yet the government has not been informed of where and how they have been used,” O’Neill said in his letter.
O’Neill said he had met and discussed the centralization of government accounts with Central Bank Governor Loi Bakani. He wants Polye to get Treasury to work towards this before the 2013 fiscal year begins.
“Most of the trust accounts operated by the government for projects and procurement of essential goods are held at commercial banks. Some are held at the Central Bank.
“These accounts hold hundreds of millions of kina, and the concern is that this contributes to the excess liquidity in the system,” O’Neill said.
Excess liquidity puts upward pressure on the economy, and causes interest rates and inflation to rise.
In recent times, the Central Bank has used its monetary policy to intervene in the market to ease the pressure. But O’Neill believes the government can act decisively to mitigate the risks by transferring the trust accounts to the Central Bank where there will be effective management of cash flow and foreign exchange risks. In his letter to Polye, O’Neill emphasized that with most of the budget deficit in the 2013 national budget to be financed domestically through treasury bills and inscribed stocks and so the need to manage cash flow was absolutely imperative. Inscribed stocks are fixed term interest bearing investments in which ownership information is recorded and a means of domestic borrowing for the government.
The Bank of PNG website say auctions of government inscribed stocks are conducted on the second Tuesday of each month.
The National: www.thenational.com.
4c)Bougainville to look to training aspiring politicians
Posted at 01:55 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is considering training aspiring politicians.
A former rebel leader, Ishmael Toroama, made the call during a reconciliation ceremony for the province’s president, John Momis, who 15 years ago was held hostage for a month by rebels.
Mr Momis has embraced the call and says it is incumbent on leaders to pass on their experience and guide younger leaders.
He says in this way they will understand why certain actions have been taken.
“The need for democracy, for negotiations, for empowering people in a structural wayand agiving them a voice and I think the call by Ishmael Toroama is a good one and we will very seriously, not only seriously consider it but in fact I believe we should budget for it, if we have the money budget it for it and start next year.”
Bougainville President John Momis.
Radio New Zealand International
5)Ex-Militant Escapee Criticizes Solomon Islands Peace Process
Blames government for ethnic tensions, hindering reconciliation
By Jeremy Inifiri
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 27, 2012) – True lasting peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved until a national peace and reconciliation ceremony is organized in the Solomon Islands, according to a recording reputedly made by escaped fugitive Francis Lela.
Lela and other prisoners escaped into the Botanical Garden forests this year, but a man-hunt to catch the former Guadalcanal militant failed.
An audio recording claimed to be that of the escaped prisoner obtained by this paper yesterday contain a recording of what Lela wanted the Government to hear.
The15 minutes recorded audio (in Solomon Islands pidgin) was dropped off at the Solomon Star office yesterday afternoon by an informant who claimed to know associates of the fugitive.
The audio recording was claimed to have been produced two weeks ago at Lela’s village in Mbabanakira, Weathercoast of Guadalcanal.
Mr. Lela was one of three men who successfully escaped from the Correctional Services Facility at Rove on 5, October 2012.
In the audio, the male voice introduced himself as Francis Lela, a political prisoner at the Rover Correctional Services Facility since 2003, who had recently escaped.
He also outlined reasons as to why true and lasting peace can never be achieved in the country.
He also said that the government is to be blamed for causing the ethnic tension and also being the reason for no achievement of a lasting peace in the country.
He described his escape from Rove as a ‘miraculous escape’ and that it had a purpose.
He claimed the reason behind their escape was because the national government had promised a lot of things to all former militants still at Rove, but failed to fulfill since 2003.
He accused the government of lying to all former militants by holding a national peace and reconciliation; which he said has not been achieved.
“The government lost millions of dollars in bringing over Sir Desmond Tutu from Africa with the aim of achieving peace; however that has not been achieved. Also the Sycamore Tree program which was aimed at sparking peace and reconciliation in the country, failed to work out.
“And even though TRC was established and did a lot of things to try and find out the root cause of the problem, it did not work either,” he said.
He also stressed that the two warring parties of Guadalcanal and Malaita have waited on the government for far too long.
He questioned when the government will put the two warring parties together, and hold a national reconciliation and rehabilitation for all former militants.
“This is the main problem in the country, it should be addressed before this country can go forward,” he said.
The voice in the recording said that some of the inmates at Rove had been there for far too long, adding that they should be pardoned and brought out, paving the way for national reconciliation to take place.
The audio recording of the man claimed as Lela also criticized the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
“RAMSI came into this country not to give us reconciliation but rather to rob us.”
He said RAMSI personnel over the years at times broke the laws of the country but remained immune to prosecution-something which he described as an injustice to local Solomon Islanders.
“So does the law [apply] to them as well or is it only one-sided to us Solomon Islanders? Why does the government have to bow down to them?”
He was referring to two particular incidences – the shooting incident at Titinge during which a Guadalcanal man died and a traffic incident which claimed the life of a Malaita woman. “These laws need to be changed so that it covers everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile he warned that the people of Weathercoast area still do not accept Police into their communities until a reconciliation held between Police and the people in relation to the shooting incident involving the Police patrol boat in the area during the height of the ethnic tension.
“We do not accept any negotiations or dialogue to take place. All we want is for this issue to be settled,” he said. Attempts to talk to police last night were unsuccessful.
The informant said the message Lela sent with the recording was for the audio to be delivered to The Solomon Star.
By Online Editor
09:13 am GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands last week signed on to the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement on Trade in Services (TIS) at the special Pacific ACP Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby.
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo signed the protocol in the presence of Foreign Minister Clay Forau, senior Government and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat officials.
Solomon Islands has been party to the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) since 2003. The agreement only deals with trade in goods. Now, the agreement has expanded to include services.
The Government hoped that by opening-up domestic markets to foreign services suppliers, it would encourage competition in the domestic market and this will lead to efficient services delivery, lower prices and more varieties for local consumers.
The signing brought to an end almost five years of internal consultations. Since 2007, Solomon Islands, through the Department of External Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade had carried out intensive consultations with line ministries and the private sector.
This was to ensure that Solomon Islands Schedule of commitments under the PICTA TIS was well understood and owned by all stakeholders.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
7)Vanuatu Electoral Commission considers postponing provincial elections
Posted at 20:25 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
The chairperson of Vanuatu’s Electoral Commission, John Taleo, says he is considering whether to postpone the upcoming provincial elections.
Fresh from an error-ridden general election, the Commission has been the subject of criticism over the electoral system and the state of the electoral roll.
Two weeks ago the Commission announced the polling date for provincial elections as January 8th next year.
But Mr Taleo says the Kilman government is particularly concerned about the electoral roll.
“I’ve received a lot of complaints saying why can’t we sort out the electoral roll before we go to the provincial elections. The problem for me to move the dates is that the date for the dissolution of the current Local Government Councils is December 3rd. Then the law says after the 3rd of December, it has to be one month for… to conduct an election.”
John Taleo says he expects the Commission to decide on the date for the elections before the end of the week.
Radio New Zealand International
By Online Editor
12:02 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, New Caledonia
The French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, says an agenda has been agreed on with New Caledonia’s leaders for next month’s meeting of the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord in Paris.
Lurel made the point at the end of a four-day visit to New Caledonia to consult pro- and anti-independence politicians who will attend the discussions to be chaired by the French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.
He said one issue to be added to the agenda is the search for symbols of a common identity – an issue that last year prompted four governments to collapse.
The minister has also urged New Caledonian leaders to work towards a more egalitarian society, warning against young Kanak being marginalised.
Lurel said economic reforms need to be undertaken because otherwise answers will be given by people taking to the streets.
The Noumea Accord, which provides for a phased and irreversible transfer of power from Paris, is to enter its final phase, with a possible independence referendum between 2014 and 2018.
By Online Editor
09:11 am GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Fiji
The Fiji Government is confident that their submissions on why it should not be removed from the United States’ Generalized System of Preferences trade list will be heard and a positive outcome will prevail.
Permanent Secretary for industry and trade Shaheen Ali told FijiLive ten companies from the private sectors also made their submissions apart from government and a post hearing brief with the United States Trade Representative was held.
This was after the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) and other unions joined hands to try and stop Fiji to benefit from the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme.
The decision to suspend Fiji from United States’ Generalized System of Preferences trade list will affect eight per cent of the population and 15,000 jobs could be lost among thirty-nine companies that export products using this preference.
In an earlier interview with Radio Australia, the US trade union movement said that suspending Fiji’s access to the US market is the last resort, at least not right away, and that they would prefer the interim government work with the authorities to improve workers rights.
The US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty free entry for up to 5000 products imported by the US.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS
9)Fiji Times May Face Massive Fine, Editor’s Imprisonment
Newspaper found guilty of contempt for controversial article
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 26, 2012) – Fiji’s acting Solicitor General, Sharvada Sharma has asked the High Court to impose a half a million Fiji dollar fine on the country’s oldest newspaper, and send its editor to jail.
The Fiji Times, and its editor and former publisher, were found guilty of contempt of court, over an articlecontaining a quote attributed to the General Secretary of the Oceania Football Federation, Tai Nicholas. Megan Whelan reports.
“Fiji Village reports Mr. Sharma told the court the Fiji Times is a repeat offender and an appropriate penalty needs to be imposed on the company. The Fiji Times lawyer, Jon Apted, said the penalties should not be excessive and there should not be any imprisonment. He says the comment, that Fiji had no judiciary, was printed in error, and measures have been put in place to stop it happening again. Justice Callanchini said the systems should have been in place before this incident took place. Justice Callanchini reserved his decision.”
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
10)Fiji Confident In Appeal For Preferential Trade List
If appeal fails, 15,000 jobs may be affected in Fiji
By Mereani Gonedua
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 26, 2012) – The Fiji government is confident that their submissions on why it should not be removed from the United States’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade list will be heard and a positive outcome will prevail.
Permanent Secretary for industry and trade Shaheen Ali told FijiLive ten companies from the private sector also made their submissions apart from government and a post hearing brief with the United States Trade Representative was held.
This was after the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) and other unions joined hands to try and stop Fiji to benefit from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences Scheme.
The decision to suspend Fiji from United States’ Generalized System of Preferences trade list will affect eight percent of the population and 15,000 jobs could be lost among thirty-nine companies that export products using this preference.
In an earlier interview with Radio Australia, the U.S. trade union movement said that suspending Fiji’s access to the U.S. market is the last resort, at least not right away, and that they would prefer the interim government work with the authorities to improve workers rights.
The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty free entry for up to 5,000 products imported by the U.S.
11)Tax free zone in Fiji could push creation of large commercial farms
Posted at 01:55 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
A local chamber of commerce in the new tax free area created by Fiji’s Budget for 2013 believes the incentive could be a much needed push to help the area develop.
Under the financial plan, those investing a minimum of nearly 600 thousand US dollars in agriculture in the east of Viti Levu will qualify for a tax free holiday for 13 years.
If that investment is in the dairy industry the tax holiday will stretch to 20 years.
The head of the Naisinu Chamber of Commerce, Humphrey Chang, says the area to be declared tax free is hardly growing, but he believes it has vast potential.
“At the moment it’s all subsistence farming. That’s not what government wants to see people do. The government wants to see commercial farming and that’s not happening so the introduction of this new concept of a tax free zone will do just that.”
Mr Chang says potential investors may be able to find land through the administration’s Land Bank.
But a national farming union believes all viable land in the area is already being used
Radio New Zealand International
12)NZ appoints new High Commissioners to Samoa and Tonga
Posted at 03:33 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
A former director with the New Zealand Aid Programme, Jackie Frizelle, has been appointed New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Samoa.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the career diplomat has extensive experience in the Pacific and will bring an impressive mix of strategic and practical skills to her new role.
Mr McCully has also appointed another career diplomat, Mark Talbot, as High Commissioner to Tonga.
Mr Talbot is currently at the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra and previously served at New Zealand’s mission to the European Union.
Mr McCully has praised Mr Talbot’s trade negotiations skills and Pacific Islands Forum experience.
Radio New Zealand International
13)Body identified in Tongan wrecked yacht and drug case
Posted at 20:25 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
Tonga police say the body found on a yacht stashed with cocaine earlier this month has been identified as that of a 35 year old Slovakian man.
He has been named as Milan Rindzak.
His badly decomposed body was found on board a wrecked yacht which ran aground an uninhabited Tongan atoll.
200 kilogrammes of cocaine worth an estimated 120 million dollars was also found on board.
Tonga police have been working with the Australian Federal Police on the case and say they are awaiting instructions on the disposal of the body.
Radio New Zealand International
14)Three charged with armed robbery in Tongan capital
Posted at 20:24 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
Tonga police in the capital, Nuku’alofa, say they have arrested and charged three men with armed robbery after five people, including two women, were abducted from a house in Tofoa on Tuesday last week.
The victims were allegedly tied up and held captive but had all escaped unharmed by Thursday.
Police say the suspects have been remanded to appear in court again next week.
Radio New Zealand International
15)Tonga Joins Movement To End Violence Against Women
Recent survey reported violence affected 77% of Tongan women
NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 26, 2012) – In Tonga there is violence between high school boys, young men in villages, between and within families and in public places. “And at the end of each case, someone’s loved one is injured or badly affected; sadly, the perpetrat[ion] of violence [is] mostly by us, the men,” Lord Vaea said today as Tonga marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The White Ribbon Day, 25 November, was marked in Tonga as part of a global campaign led by men to end violence against women and girls.
Lord Vaea, Minister for Internal Affairs, as guest of honor, said Tonga joined 130 countries around the world to share a common goal and vision to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
He said it was relevant because there is so much violence around and constantly headlined by the media.
Lord Vaea said according to a National Study on Domestic Violence against women in Tonga launched by the Prime Minister earlier this year, from a sample of 600 women:
- 40 percent of women have experienced physical and or sexual violence by a partner in Tonga.
- 45 percent of women in Tonga, reported having experienced at least one of the three types of partner violence of (physical, sexual and emotional violence) in their lifetime.
- 22 percent of every partnered woman reporting multiple types of violence by her partner
- 68 percent in Tonga, reported they had experienced violence by someone other than a partner since they were 15-years old.
- 77 percent in Tonga have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lives by a partner or non-partner.
He said most women who reported physical violence by non-partners said that perpetrators were in most cases, fathers and teachers.
“The study had reported that the phenomenon of violence against women and children is widespread and deeply ingrained in Tongan society and the violence is, to a large extent physical and perpetrated by men known to women as partners, but even more so fathers and teachers.”
He said Tonga was fortunate today to have the Ministry’s National Taskforce for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Domestic Violence Unit at Tonga Police, the Police National Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence and the recently established Victim Support Unit, with two NGO providing services to victims of abuse.
Lord Vaea said Government had also drafted a Family Protection Bill with a clear purpose to protect women and children from domestic violence.
“We hope that you take the message in your own way, and work to raise awareness and bring about positive change. And I encourage you to challenge other men by speaking the message of the white ribbon so that they know that violence against women is wrong and you have the power to end it.”
Police Commissioner Grant O’Fee said domestic violence belongs to everyone. And for anyone to exercise assault just because he is the ‘man of the house’ was wrong.
“This is not just a Tongan issue but a worldwide issue,” he said.
The white ribbon event held at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall was organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which now administers the Women’s Affairs.
Guests included the Minister of Education Hon ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki, Australian High Commissioner HE Mr. Thomas Roth, China’s Ambassador HE Wang Dong Hua, Deputy Police Commissioner Taniela Faletau, Solicitor General ‘Aminiasi Kefu and representatives from non-government organizations.
Australian Aid supported the White Ribbon program, which has been marked in Tonga, for six years.
Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/
16)Public Urged To Conserve Water In Samoa
Current water usage outweighs natural replenishment
By Niccola Hazelman-Siona
APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 26, 2012) – The Samoa Water Authority (SWA) needs your help. The Manager of SWA Urban Operations and Maintenance Division, Tauili’ili Ekiumeni Fauolo, says people need to conserve water – if we want to avoid a looming water crisis.
“This is all that’s left of the water which supplies a big part of the town area and all the way to Samatau,” Tauili’ili said, pointing to the catchment area at Fuluasou.
The Samoa Water Authority had invited the Sunday Samoan to Fuluasou in an attempt to explain why water rationing is continuing in many villages.
For the past two weeks, countless members of the public have called the Samoa Observer to complain about not being able to access tap water.
At Fuluasou on Friday, the sight was not good; in fact, it was worrying. The catchment area has nearly dried up.
Despite some heavy downpours in recent weeks, they have not been able to supply enough water. The river that flows through Tuaefu, Tuanaimato and Lepea has all but dried up.
Tauili’ili said the alarming rate in which water is consumed is worrying “as intakes areas are not being recharged fast enough to keep up with the demand.
“As the population grows, so will the demand,” he said. “Imagine 15 or 20 years from now when we have completely exhausted these water intakes, what will happen then? It is very worrying.”
This year has been tough. And Tauili’ili is not too optimistic about the future either.
“The amount of rain received so far is satisfactory but much more is needed to fully recharge the natural environmental storages and reserves before significant yields and lasting safe flows is attained,” said Tauili’ili.
“This is an ecological event often misunderstood and underestimated at the start of every rainy season, particularly after a long dry period.”
According to Tauili’ili “each catchment intake/water extraction source has a unique quality that is specific to its source and watershed condition.
“The disparate impact and effect (at the start of rainy season) observed at river and spring sources are an indicative measure of deterioration levels at the related watershed.”
Tauili’ili said that while SWA sympathizes with members of the public who are frustrated about the lack of water, he said SWA is trying to save as well as distribute water to everyone.
“It is not easy because we cannot go out and produce the water,” he said. “We rely on the reserves and nature. The public has every right to know what is going on and we understand that but people must also bear with us.”
SWA is not the only industry using water. The Electric Power Corporation (EPC) also uses large amounts of water to drive its hydro-powered turbines. Sometimes, there is a conflict between the two bodies over water.
“We often have to fight over water with EPC as we are trying to provide water to the public whilst they need water to provide electricity; we are not the only industry using the water.”
SWA is now working on another pump station which will increase the amount of water intake to feed the treatment plants through the old EPC dam at Tuaefu.
“The new pump station will hopefully ease the pressure off the streams and we can source from the dam. It is a lot more complicated than a simple equation that rainfall equals more water; we would need three months of solid rainfall to be able to service all areas nonstop. Once the public is aware of how limited our water resources are, they will be much more considerate and mindful of the way water is used,” he said.
Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.
17)Niue expects to make millions from extended deal with New Zealand Mint
Posted at 03:33 on 27 November, 2012 UTC
Niue’s new agreement with New Zealand Mint should earn it at least 400 thousand US dollars a year.
The New Zealand Mint chief executive Simon Harding says they have extended an agreement to use the Niue effigy on commemorative coins for another ten years.
Meg Rivera reports:
“The partnership between Niue and New Zealand Mint has been in place for the last four years, and the Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, says they offered the company a five plus five year deal because New Zealand Mint has done a good job for Niue and wanted it to draw further confidence from the arrangement. The coins have a face value of 2 or 10 dollars but collectors can pay up to 160 US dollars for them. In the numismatic market, the Niue collectible coin is the largest circulating commemorative coin effigy in Russia, with projected sales into the tens of millions. The money earned by Niue is one of its biggest sources of income from the private sector and Mr Talagi says if New Zealand Mint sells more than expected Niue will also earn more.”
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
18) 12 Illegal Fishing Devices Discovered In Palauan Waters
Authorities, Greenpeace conduct joint patrol over 3 weeks
By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon
KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Nov. 26, 2012) – At least 12 fish aggregating devices (FAD) were reportedly found in Palau waters and were destroyed by Greenpeace International, with an officer from Marine Law Enforcement Division, during a three-week joint patrol on the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Greenpeace’s ship Esperanza docked at Malakal Harbor on Saturday after the three-week patrol and briefed local leaders led by President Toribiong about their operation.
Officer Earl Benhart of the Division of Marine Law Enforcement was onboard Esperanza in patrolling Palau waters.
In the briefing, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner Farah Obaidullah disclosed that they have destroyed the illegal FADs found in Palau by sinking them.
FADs are man-made objects that float and used by big fishing companies to attract fish. Over 300 species of fish reportedly aggregate around FADs in the open ocean around the world. Fish tend to move around the FADs in orbits of differing dimensions.
Obaidullah said that Greenpeace will seek a ban on the use of FADs in purse seine fisheries at the upcoming meeting of the Western and WCPFC in Manila, Philippines from December 2-7.
The use of FADs can result in catches of juvenile tuna and other fishes. It is said that thousands of FADs are adrift in the waters of the western Pacific Ocean.
Benhart said that illegal fishing, including the use of FADs, is not only destroying the livelihood of the people in the Pacific island countries but also sabotaging the beautiful oceans.
Greenpeace is against the use of FADs as these entice fish, including the already vulnerable juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas, sharks and other marine life, to congregate in a single location to be scooped by purse seine nets.
With a FAD, large-scale tuna purse seiners can reportedly catch in two days what it would take local fishermen an entire year to catch. Greenpeace disclosed that in 2010 the industry hauled over 2.4 million metric tons of tuna, among which, 75% came from purse seine vessels, often using FADs.
Obaidullah said that the use of FADs in purse seine fishing is devastating tuna and other marine species. She finds it outrageous to see FADs placed in the EEZ of Palau, where they are not allowed without specific authorization.
“We cannot imagine how many FADs there might be in the high seas, where few restrictions apply. If we want to see our tuna stock survive, we must ban FADs right now, not only in Palau, but also everywhere in the western and central Pacific Ocean,” Obaidullah said.
Obaidullah said that the Pacific is the source of 70% of the world’s tuna, providing coastal communities not only with food but also economic prosperity. She added that scientists currently estimate that bigeye tuna is overfished in the Pacific, and yellowfin is on the brink of overfishing in the main fishing grounds.
Aside from calling for a ban on the use of FADs, Obaidullah said Greenpeace will also call for a 50 percent reduction in the catch of bigeye tuna and declare high seas pockets known as the Pacific Commons to be off limits to fishing.
President Toribiong thanked Greenpeace International for working with Palau and helping authorities here in patrolling the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Island Times: www.islandtimes.us
By Online Editor
09:03 am GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea’s Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) says all members of the country’s tourism and hospitality industry need to work together to promote the country as a major tourist destination.
Papua New Guinea’s Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) says all members of the country’s tourism and hospitality industry need to work together to promote the country as a major tourist destination.
TPA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Vincent, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat there is a view of PNG as an expensive place for tourists.
“Right now Papua New Guinea is known for its high cost of getting here,” he said.
“We need to continue to create awareness and tell people that you still can get here and enjoy yourself.”
Vincent says despite the image of PNG as an expensive destination, tourist numbers have been steadily increasing.
“Our numbers are still looking good, we clearly indicated in our tourism master plan that every five years we’re going to increase the numbers by 50 percent and we’ve achieved that,” he said.
Vincent says Papua New Guinea’s tourism operators are looking for a different market to other Pacific countries.
“They’re looking for mass tourism numbers, they’re looking for numbers who are coming in to spend a few days,” he said.
“We’re interested in a market that would come in and spend in Papua New Guinea more than 15 to 21 days.”
Papua New Guinea’s government has announced plans to merge the Tourism Promotion Authority with the Office of Tourism, to form a single Department of Tourism.
Vincent says the government has been consistent with its funding of the Authority in the last ten years, allowing them to fully promote PNG’s tourism highlights.
Last week TPA Marketing Officers for the UK, Russia, North America, Australia, Japan and New Zealand met tour operators in a three-day conference to discuss plans for 2013.
The Tour Operators Association of Papua New Guinea (TOAPNG) says many tour operators have gone out of business because they didn’t quite meet tourists’ needs.
“We have some operators that have started for the purpose of making money,” TOAPNG Executive Officer, Dominic Tulo, said.
“They don’t have the passion for tourism, so they start up with the wrong intention and then when they find that it is hard to get a tourist they just pull off.”
Marketing Officer for PNG in Japan, Yakashi Yamada, says PNG is a popular destination for Japanese tourists.
“We are very much interested in diving, surfing, culture…this kind of niche market is quite outstanding and very popular in Japan at the moment.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
08:48 am GMT+12, 28/11/2012, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Parliament has passed the historic K13billion (US$6.2 billion) 2013 national budget.
This came after a brief debate following the main response from shadow treasurer and finance spokesman, Joseph Lelang.
Lelang while throwing his support behind the general thrust of the budget which sees a major shift in both recurrent and development funding to provinces and districts, his major concern was on capacity issues to expedite appropriated funding.
He on the other hand was critical that the larger part of the budget cannot be sustained, as in the end, there will be a deficit of over K2 billion (US$968 million), which sees total expenditure overrun net revenue and grants projected at over K10billion (US$4.8 billion)
The shadow treasurer further described the 2013 national budget as not solid, unsustainable, contains lot of wastages and unproductive expenditure, which in the end will not stimulate economic growth as projected.
Joseph Lelang says the debts, particularly superfund contribution and the IPIC loan by the Independent Public Business Corporation, also exposes the budget.
He says many of the initiatives will only add costs to the budget, saying money is wasted on projects that are still controversial like the Konebada Petroleum Park, the PNG Chancery in Solomon Islands, and 100-million Kina allocation for feasibility studies for several roads.
He also pointed out that the K2 billion (US$968 million), plus deficit will only have a destabilizing impact on the country, with rise in inflation guaranteed from excessive borrowing and too much money chasing fewer goods.
Despite being critical of the budget in certain respects, the Opposition however allowed the passage of major appropriation bills and subordinate legislation to pass through on voices.
By Online Editor
2:46 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Papua New GuineaA major limestone mine project, valued at K39 million (US$18.8 million), is set to open in the mountainous highlands province of Chimbu.
The mine should generate lucrative spin-off business and employment opportunities for the local landowners and Papua New Guinea as a whole.
This was revealed by the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, during a recent visit to the province.
Maru has blamed successive Chimbu political leaders for the lack of unity, foresight, vision, will and determination to take ownership of the need to grow the economy of the province.
He said that the limestone project is necessary to provide business and employment creation opportunities for the large Chimbu unemployed population.
Maru said the perception that the mountainous terrain of Chimbu made it impossible for any major economic growth opportunities is no longer an excuse.
Maru said God has blessed Chimbu with enormous lime stone deposits which could easily be developed into a multi- billion stock mine to create hundreds of jobs, new industries and significant wealth for Chimbu Province, its landowners and PNG as a whole.
From Chuave in the west to Kerowagi in the east, the 95km ridge running through the middle of the province is made up of limestone. The province wants to mine this stone and turn it into pure lime – a product needed in mineral and gas resource developments around the world. The project initiated by the Chimbu Provincial Government. Feasibility studies have commenced and at the completion of the first phase, the results are very promising with the National Executive Council (NEC) approving K10 million for the project last year.
According to geologists, the lime purity in the deposit was found to be greater than 99 per cent and was reported to be the highest on record in the Asia-Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand with volume potentials big enough to support a 50 plus year mining operation.
The value of the deposit, based on the current price of lime and exchange rate was found to be in excess of $US18 billion, which is not too far from the value of the PNG LNG project which is K45 billion(US$21.8 billion).
Commercial lime is usually produced from limestone and has many industrial uses.
At present PNG imports more than 80 per cent of its lime and lime related products. With increased activity in the mining sector, there is a growing demand for lime to neutralize mine tailings. A lot more work is required to identify sections of the limestone deposits that are suitable to be mined. Once geological investigations are completed, other components of the studies will be undertaken.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
09:08 am GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Cook IslandsCook Islands private sector leaders say the platform for launching meaningful business links between the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea may lie in a cooperative approach to economic development, including banking and financial services.
A business team, which has just completed a round of high-level talks in Port Moresby, will seek Government support to investigate how financial sector policy can be developed to facilitate doing business with PNG and other Pacific countries.
Team leader John Tierney says the Cook Islands private sector has a number of options in terms of developing business links, including the ability of individual companies and players who are already pursuing their own threads of relationships.
“On a broader level, we can unlock the door to several avenues or opportunities by looking into certain issues and opportunities raised in the recent Banking Review by Sam Knowles,” says Tierney.
“Those findings will need to be fully understood and appreciated if we are to consider any future adjustments in the finance sector.”
While in Port Moresby, the team, which was supported by Finance Minister Mark Brown, met with a number of CEOs, Directors and Investors of the PNG Private Sector, including the Mineral Development Resources Corporation (MRDC), Nasfund, Kina Group, Digicel, BSP, Lamana Group, Steamships, Investment Promotions Authority, Tourism Authority, Airports and Ports Authority. The PNG economy has been dramatically expanding in PNG and private sector is progressively expanding business operations in many sectors across the Pacific region with investments in Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa, French Polynesia and Niue.
These talks were very positive and interest is high in exploring opportunities further. Chairman of Lamana Group, Kostas Constantinou, Sir Michael Bromley of Steamships, and executives from the private sector are said to be considering a visit to Cook Islands, next year.
For its part, the local business team, which was comprised of Tierney, Ewan Smith, Michael Henry, and Stan Hancock, say the Cook Islands private sector is serious about its intentions to break open the business development between the two countries and to consider investments across the Pacific countries.
Discussions with David Conn, the CEO of Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry, were equally fruitful and Tierney says an MOU has now been established between the countries respective Chambers.
Minister Brown was encouraged by the business talks and is supportive of further work. The Minister also took time to discuss a range of sectoral issues, including a positive meeting with counterparts in Government like Minister of Finance James Marape, and Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investments, Ben Micah.
“There is considerable interest in the concept of the Pacific Economy developing our respective private sectors region and achieving greater cooperation and sharing of resources and expertise” says Minister Brown.
The business team was assisted in its efforts by the Prime Minister Henry Puna, who wanted to expand his political assignment in PNG by promoting economic opportunity for Cook Islands interests.
The private sector representatives travelled to Port Moresby in the slipstream of the Prime Minister’s role as Pacific Forum Chair, and succeeded in staging their own high-level consultations that covered a full range of interests in Papua New Guinea
SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS GOVT/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
11:57 am GMT+12, 27/11/2012, SwitzerlandThe Director General of the World Trade Organisation will visit Samoa this week for discussions with the government on national and global trade development issues.
Pascal Lamy is to speak on business implications of WTO membership at a Chamber of Commerce-hosted forum attended by representatives of the private sector, government and civil society.
He is expected to conduct site visits to key Samoa exporters including Yazaki EDS Limited, CCK Trading and Women in Business projects.
As well, Lamy will meet officials from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to discuss some trade initiatives in the region.
While in the region, the Director General will also visit Vanuatu, the Pacific’s newest WTO member.
By Online Editor
08:46 am GMT+12, 28/11/2012, New Zealand
A Pacific trade group has produced a new set of agricultural business guides with the aim of condensing specialist knowledge into easily accessible information for Pacific exporters.
The group that produced the guides, Pacific Islands Trade and Invest (PT&I), hopes the guides will help to distribute good science and investment information to businesses that need it.
“Groups like [Secretariat of the Pacific Community] do a lot of great research but there’s often a gap between how that research is taken and used by the people on the street,” PT&I Trade Commissioner, Adam Dennis, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.
Dennis says the idea for the guidelines came about during a conference between the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and PT&I.
The guides are product-specific – covering vanilla, taro, chilli and coconut – and market-specific, with the aim of helping Pacific exporters get these products into the Australian and New Zealand markets.
“We went out and we had a look at, you know, what products currently existed on the market, how they were packaged, how consumers expected to buy those products, and then we tried to translate that into where we thought the markets were going,” Dennis said.
PT&I’s Joe Fuavao, who was responsible for collating all the information, said the process was “very intense”.
Fuavao says the team tried to spend a lot of time “on the ground” in the market.
“We really wanted to get up-to-date feedback from the buyers,” he said.
“What are the issues they are facing with Pacific Island export products, what are the opportunities they see for the region.”
He says the guides also try to highlight the importance of “the origin story” of products such as coconuts.
“Now it’s where it’s from, how it is grown, how the export of that product benefits local communities,” he said.
“I think the story behind the products is something we really try to highlight in these guides.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
2:47 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Samoa For Forum Island Countries, early harvest in PACER-Plus means the implementation of labour mobility, development assistance and other priority issues ahead of agreements on other issues such as trade in goods, investment etc.
This is what island countries will be seeking from Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) when they meet on Thursday and Friday in Apia, Samoa for their 5th Round of PACER-Plus negotiations.
Trade Negotiations Envoy and Leader of the Solomon Islands’ Delegation in Apia Samoa, Robert Sisilo said the early implementation of what will be agreed in these areas will provide opportunities to island countries to expand and diversify their trade with Australia and New Zealand.
“Currently Island countries export only a few products to Australia and New Zealand, while imports from these two countries account for over 70 per cent of their total imports.
“An early implementation of development-friendly rules of origin can spur foreign direct investment into the region and will enable island countries to enhance their competitiveness in the ANZ markets.” Sisilo told an internal preparatory meeting of senior trade, labour and quarantine officials of the island countries held Monday at Apia’s Tanoa Hotel.
He said for some Island countries, remittances from nationals working abroad exceed Official Development Assistance received from donor countries.
“Greater commitments on labour mobility would therefore provide island countries with stable earnings and underpin the transformation of their economies.
“The early implementation of an agreement on labour mobility would send a positive signal to the Forum Island Countries, some of whom believe that without greater commitments by ANZ in this area they will not benefit from PACER-Plus,” he said.
Sisilo, is also the lead Spokesperson on labour mobility for island countries in the PACER-Plus negotiations.
PACER-Plus is a process launched by Forum Leaders in 2008 and now being developed to discuss, more broadly, regional economic integration of Forum Island Countries with Australia and New Zealand.
The process was formally commenced by Forum Trade Ministers in October 2009.
Ministers identified a number of priority subjects for negotiation – rules of origin, trade facilitation, labour mobility, and development assistance.
Ministers also agreed to seek early harvest for these priority issues.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:26 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, Qatar Nearly 200 nations gather in Doha from Monday for a new round of climate talks as a rush of reports warn extreme weather events like superstorm Sandy may become commonplace if mitigation efforts fail.
Negotiators will converge in the Qatari capital for two weeks under the UN banner to review commitments to cutting climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.
Ramping up the pressure, expert reports warned in recent days that existing mitigation pledges are not nearly enough to limit warming to a manageable 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 deg Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels.
“A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible,” UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said ahead of the talks.
“Doha must make sure the response is accelerated.”
The UN Environmental Programme said this week the goal of keeping planet warming in check has moved further out of reach and the world was headed for an average 3-5 deg C temperature rise this century barring urgent action.
And the World Bank said a planet that is four degrees warmer would see coastal areas inundated and small islands washed away, food production slashed, species eradicated, more frequent heat waves and high-intensity cyclones, and diseases spread to new areas.
“Time is clearly not on our side,” Marlene Moses, chairwoman of the Alliance of Small Island States told AFP.
Topping the agenda in Doha is the launch of a follow up commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only binding pact for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Delegates must also set out a work plan for arriving in the next 36 months at a new, global climate deal that must enter into force by 2020.
Negotiators will be under pressure to raise pre-2020 emission reduction targets, and rich nations to come up with funding for the developing world’s mitigation actions.
The planet has witnessed record-breaking temperatures in the past decade and frequent natural disasters that some blame on climate change — recently superstorm Sandy which ravaged Haiti and the US east coast.
Yet countries disagree on several issues, including the duration of a “second commitment period” for the Kyoto Protocol, which binds about 40 rich nations and the EU to an average five percent greenhouse gas reduction from 1990-levels.
That commitment runs out on December 31.
The EU, Australia and some small Kyoto parties have said they would take on commitments in a follow up period, but New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Russia will not.
Small island countries under the most imminent threat of warming-induced sea level rises, demand a five-year follow up period, believing this will better reflect the urgency.
The EU and others want an eight-year period flowing over into the 2020 deal.
Poor countries also want rich states to raise their pledges to curb warming gases, including the EU from 20 from 30 percent.
“The biggest historical emitters have a responsibility to do more, much more, than they have to date,” said Moses.
The developed world has already agreed to boost funding for the developing world’s climate plans to a level of US$100 billion a year from 2020 — up from a total US$30 billion over the period 2010-2012.
But no numbers have been decided for the interim, nor is it clear where the new money will come from.
“If no agreement is achieved in Doha, we will enter 2013… with no support to help many developing countries in reducing their emissions,” said Wael Hmaidan, director of the NGO Climate Action Network.
Delegates will be joined by more than 100 government ministers for the final four days of talks, notorious for dragging out way past their programmed close as negotiators hold out to the last in a poker-like standoff.
“Doha… will send important signals about whether the world can still manage to keep warming within tolerable limits, or if we are headed for severe climate chaos,” said Kelly Rigg, executive director of the Global Campaign for Climate Actions.
By Online Editor
2:58 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Qatar
New Zealand has been accused of “hampering” the progress of UN climate change talks in Doha.
The New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) is in Doha, Qatar for the conference, which started Monday, and has received two Fossil of the Day awards – awards given to “nations most actively hampering international progress” by international NGO the Climate Action Network (CAN).
The awards are related to New Zealand’s decision not to continue its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, and its decision to reveal a voluntary climate change pledge next year rather than at the current talks.
CAN says New Zealand has run “away from a legally binding, multilateral rules based regime”.
“You still have a chance to support the only legally binding regime and commit to ambitious targets for the second commitment period,” the organisation told New Zealand. “Its island partners in the Pacific should think again before ever trusting New Zealand again.”
Earlier this month Climate Change Minister Tim Groser announced that the Government would not sign up for the second commitment period of Kyoto, and would instead opt for the UN’s Convention Framework.
NZYD spokesman Simon Tapp says the team was dismayed to receive the Fossil awards in Doha.
“We called New Zealand out on this embarrassing, short-sighted and irresponsible action three weeks ago, and now the whole world is doing the same.”
He says New Zealand’s reputation is at risk at the talks with the Philippines and some Pacific Island states criticising New Zealand’s lack of participation within Kyoto.
“New Zealand’s lack of any target is an embarrassment,” Tapp says. “We urgently need to take our place as a developed Annex 1 nation and recommit to a fair, ambitious, and binding second Kyoto commitment.”
The conference lasts two weeks.
28) Médecins en colère au Vanuatu
Les médecins et l’Hôpital central de Port Vila, la capitale, réclament davantage de ressources, d’argent, de médecins et de médicaments.
Par manque de fonds, cet hôpital ne peut offrir pour l’instant qu’un service minimum et il dispose d’environ 3 infirmiers ou infirmières par tranche de 31 patients.
L’hôpital central manque aussi de lits et selon le vice-responsable de l’hôpital, Trevor Cullwick10 médecins supplémentaires seraient les bienvenus.
En fait, cet hôpital de la capitale manque de tout.
Phil’s Note: Sad but true…. .Ako Niar emango! NA MALIEREAN anda mi kiningitemang Nati Shefa ara Na Taon Ni Viil indo Natan enan andoke , Na worean susum eingah indo auh Nakor ni kian nigkitemang eh! (Vanuatu)….Maraman talasavu eingah rubuh wulik naworian susum eingah.
Akeni amboh alasavi – Tupu lot ati aong miki Nasum ingka na NAHILEANA barah wiliwiliu taka nasaval Naim NA MAHAKIT aningkitemang taka isi.Namkur(Makuraan) Shefa Language-Vanuatu (Translation-Sad but true , Hope & Pray that The Vila Central Hospital get all the help it need to keep the doors open)
By Online Editor
2:56 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Papua New Guinea
About 35, 000 people living with HIV in PNG want to be represented on provincial AIDS councils.
As the country prepares to mark World AIDS Day on Friday, they have urged parliamentarians to make health care services easily accessible to them, especially in rural areas.
In an open letter to MPs, Igat Hope, a national body representing people living with HIV in the country, said it wanted to be included in the planning and delivery of HIV treatment, care and support services in the provinces.
Igat Hope said women living with HIV faced problems such as:
*Limited access to HIV medicine, especially in rural areas;
*Lack of involvement in the planning and provision of HIV treatment, care and support services and in the management of provincial and district AIDS councils; and
*The high level of stigma, discrimination and abuse of people living with HIV.
Statistics provided by Igat Hope showed 60% of new infections in 2010 comprised women.
The National HIV-AIDS strategy (2011-15) aims to provide antire¬troviral medicine to at least 80% of people living with the virus in the country.
But Igat Hope said only 60% were receiving it last year.
It said in 2011 and this year, there were periods when HIV medicine was not available in the country.
Meanwhile, HIV Infection in Papua New Guinea has eased by more than 25% between 2001 and 2011, the UNAIDS World Aids Day 2012 Report announced yesterday.
The report details the global progress leading to the 2015 world wide goal of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
The report detailed that in Papua New Guinea more than 60% of people eligible for antiretroviral therapy were receiving it, however, with the remaining 40% of individuals eligible not receiving the medicines they are entitled to, there is still a long way to go in the national response to HIV.
Annie McPherson, executive director of Igat Hope, said she believes the key to ‘Getting to Zero’ lies in the hands of women. “Women can play a major and very strong influential role in shaping the direction of the response in PNG.
Women are most likely to care about their health and that of their unborn child, women are more likely to take precautions even if it is to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Women are more likely to talk to other women about health and HIV issues as well as their children and their partners,’’ she said.
World AIDS Day takes place on December 1 annually and is a global event which acknowledges the international fight against HIV/AIDS. This year’s World AIDS Day will be marked by Health HIV Walks across NCD electorates, the main walk taking place at Jack Pidik Oval.
The Business Coalition against HIV/AIDS (BAHA) has urged people to wear red on Friday.
BAHA official Joe Bukikun said they picked Friday because it was the last working day of the week.
The theme for the day is “Getting to zero AIDS-related deaths, new infections, stigma and discrimination”.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/POST COURIER/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
12:06 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health has detected four new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases.
The new confirmed cases of three adults and a child bring the total of people living with HIV in Vanuatu to nine (seven adults and two children) and two Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) related deaths.
Three of the above patients are currently on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).
Director of Public Health Dr Len Tarivonda noted four new HIV cases within two years (2011-2012) is an 80% increase since 2010, compared to 2002-2010 where there were only five cases.
In today’s lifestyle setting this should prompt the country’s sexually active population to fully utilize the Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing Centers (VCCT) s by testing to personally guarantee their status because physically on the outside a person with HIV AIDs looks totally normal.
“Each person must take time to reflect on he can do to protect him/herself,” said the Director of Public Health. “It is a worrying socio development issue.”
Health experts believe on average, each individual who is involved in high risk behavior or has a confirmed HIV status can easily spread it to 10 other people.
Dr Tarivonda said people should not be too surprise at the increase in Vanuatu’s records because the risk factors or behaviors are prevalent and very high.
“We have a very high rate of Sexual Transmitted Infection (STIs) in both men and women,” he said.
“A survey conducted on Antenatal mothers in 2008 revealed 25% of the pregnant mothers have STIs.
“Common risk factors in Vanuatu are the high rate of sexual activities and multiple partners, teenage pregnancies and low rate of condom use, traditional and religious beliefs also hamper the use and access of services.
“So when you look at the different factors it is inevitable HIV statistics will increase because the route of HIV Transmission is the same as other STIs.”
The 2009 Census recorded 58.3% of Vanuatu’s population are under 25 years. In 2011, 14% of women giving birth at Central Vila Hospital were teenagers.
The Ministry of Health reassures the public that despite the increase the numbers should not be taken literally but people must try and take into consideration its implications for the overall society.
The Ministry continues to advocate prevention as one of the best measure against STIs and HIV in particular, especially the ABC strategy- Abstain until marriage, Be Faithful to your partner whether you are married or in a relationship and C is safe sex use a condom to protect yourself and your partner.
The Director of Public Health reiterated all preparations are available to cater for every individual who wishes to know his or her status.
“We have 17 VCCTs centers throughout Vanuatu (hospitals and main health centers) offering VCCT services,” he explained.
“Anyone can enquire and get a package of service including testing, counseling, results, pretesting and post testing counseling.
“Everything is confidential and conducted by trained health personnel.”
Anyone who tested positive has the choice to access available treatment and services, funded by the Global Fund.
The setting up of 17 VCCT sites in 2010/11 has resulted positively with 6,800 people tested, compared to previous years.
However some of these are antenatal mothers and blood donors. While it is compulsory for people who donated blood to test for HIV before donating blood, antenatal and other STI tests are voluntary.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Health is working on a new National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS to be implemented in 2013.
The existing National Strategic Plan for HIV and STIs (2008-2012) prioritizes; (i) reducing community vulnerability to HIV and STIs (ii)implementing a comprehensive program of treatment, care and support for people infected and affected by HIV (iii)creating a policy and social environment in which an effective HIV can flourish and; (iv)managing the National Strategic Plan efficiently and effectively
Vanuatu is also in the process of developing HIV legislation and also has a National AIDS Committee which is en route to being revived.
Vanuatu’s 2012 Country Progress Report on the Global AIDS Response Progress (GARP) for the period January 2010-December 2011 reported Vt320, 934,657 spend on HIV/AIDs in Vanuatu.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:01 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Fiji
Fiji’s Ministry of Health recorded 30 new HIV/AIDS cases in the first six months of this year and the total number of people living with the killer disease now stands at 449.
Speaking during the launching of World Aids Day at Government House in Suva Tuesday, President and Fiji’s special representative on HIV/AIDS, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said they expect the number to increase by the end of the year and the bulk number of these cases came from the Central/Eastern division.
“The epidemic evidently affecting our young people with over 50 per cent falling within the age group of 15-29, the youth, the bulk of the labor force, the most sexually active and the most vulnerable,” said Ratu Epeli.
Ratu Epeli said global response reports showed a decline in new HIV infections but for Fiji at the end of 2011, a cumulative total of 420 confirmed HIV cases were recorded.
“53 of which were new infections for the year 2011 alone compared to the smaller number of 33 in 2010,” he said.
“Fiji for 2012 focused its campaign on working toward zero new infections, a challenging goal that demanded strategic planning, direct interventions and aggressive campaigns that inform our people of this merciless disease,” he said.
He said Fiji has progressed with some areas in relation to governance, leadership, stigma, discrimination and legal framework in order to achieve the goal of zero new infections but the onus now lies with the people.
This year’s theme is zero new infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS related deaths. World AIDS day will be celebrated in Suva on Saturday.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:04 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, Papua New Guinea
Awareness programmes on drugs and HIV/AIDS are being conducted for athletes and officials at the PNG Games in Kokopo.
The programmes are being conducted by the PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (PNGSFOC) with key messages of “true play” and “play safe.”
The true play message focuses on anti-doping and raising awareness on the use of drugs in sports.
The committee will be working with the PNG Sports anti-doping organisation who will be conducting the doping control and chaperone training and also caring out tests on athletes.
The training programme has been funded by the Sport Foundation with K50,000.
Natanya Potoi from the Oceania regional anti-doping organisation and Graham Turnbull from the Australian sports anti-doping association will also be at the games assisting with these activities.
The play safe message focuses on HIV/AIDS and are being spearheaded by the sports and HIV committee, which is supporting the East New Britain provincial AIDS committee to conduct a quiz for with athletes and officials.
The committee are represented by Ako Maniana and Peter Momo, who will also visit sporting venues and team villages to conduct awareness programmes.
Secretary general Auvita Rapilla said the Sports Foundation was happy to partner various organisations to promote the awareness programmes at the Games.
“With so many people converging in one area, there is a need to share with information on important issues,” she said.
“Hopefully, the athletes and officials will leave the games with not only a sense of accomplishment from participating in the PNG Games but also with a better understanding on issues related to HIV, the use of drugs in sport and the need to respect the environment.”.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:06 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2012, France Former All Black Simon Mannix on Monday backtracked on comments he allegedly made that Fijian players at the French club he coached last year were paid to be unavailable for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Mannix had claimed that French club Racing Metro made payments to encourage Sireli Bobo, Jone Qovu, Josh Matavesi and Virimi Vakatawa to be unavailable for the 2011 Pacific Nations Cup, effectively ruling themselves out of World Cup selection.
But in a statement to AFP on Monday, Mannix claimed that comments made by him during an International Rugby Board (IRB) radio show “Total Rugby” in January 2012 had been distorted.
“The comments that were attributed to me in this broadcast should be clarified because they were distorted and do not correspond to reality,” said Mannix, who now works as backs coach with Irish side Munster.
“In fact, I had just wanted to say that if the club Racing Metro 92 had wanted to, they could have easily compensated the Fijians and presented a cheque to those who did not wish to participate in the World Cup.
“These (players) sometimes prefer to consolidate their club careers faced with the organisational difficulties of rugby in the Pacific Islands and overlapping national and international competitions and their respective calendars,” he added.
Winger Bobo and second rower Qovu, who are still playing for Racing Metro, cited “personal reasons” in 2011 for their decision not to play in the Pacific Nations Cup during the Top 14 season.
Racing Metro signed Cornwall-born Fijian utility back Matavesi from Exeter Chiefs as medical cover in March 2011, and he too said he wanted “to focus on his club” as did winger Vakatawa.
By Online Editor
12:37 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, New Zealand
Sadly it appears the All Blacks’ appetite to play Samoa, Tonga or Fiji outside of a World Cup is at a low ebb.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed last week the prospects of tests against any of the Pacific Island nations was unlikely for the next seven years.
“The calendar is obviously full and there are only certain windows when the island countries would get their best players back from Europe and elsewhere. The options for timing anything extra are severely limited,” Tew said.
But Samoa’s stirring 26-19 win over Wales at Millennium Stadium has brought the issue to light in the same week the All Blacks arrived in Cardiff.
Samoa’s win was further evidence Pacific nations are capable of competing with tier-one countries under the new IRB’s Future Tours schedule, which requires European clubs to release players for test duties.
The schedule, which is in place through to 2019, is a major boost for Pacific rugby with Scotland playing away to Fiji and Samoa this year, and Wales set to visit the islands in 2017.
There is also provision for Samoa, Tonga and Fiji to tour Europe annually. This month has seen an unprecedented number of matches, with Samoa playing tests against France and Wales, Fiji playing England and the Ireland Wolfhounds, and Tonga playing Scotland and Italy.
But there appear to be no IRB provisions for any of the Pacific teams to play the All Blacks, who have played just three tests against them, one against Samoa and two against Fiji, since 2004.
One-off tests outside the IRB window are largely a waste of time competitively and commercially with the All Blacks 101-14 scoreline against Samoa in New Plymouth in 2008 a prime example.
One wonders, though, why the IRB could not schedule a home and away June series between the sides?
The IRB did not return calls on the issue, but Tew railed against the suggestion the lack of contact was a poor reflection on the NZRU.
“We don’t like perceptions that are not a fair reflection of the commitment we’ve made,” he said. “There are other ways that we can support rugby in the Pacific Islands. One is we continue to select their players in Super Rugby despite the fact they are ineligible for All Blacks selection.
“That assists some of their players stay closer to home and be eligible for and easily available for the islands.
“We certainly don’t play any of the games that allegedly are played by some of the clubs in Europe.”
Tew also took exception to the suggestion the All Blacks were not doing enough to help develop the world game.
“One thing that’s forgotten in this debate is we were very strong supporters of getting Argentina into the Rugby Championship,” he said. “That took a lot of arranging and we’re now seeing the benefits of that. But we can’t fit everything that needs to be done into our diary.
“We have a very clear conscience in terms of our commitment to island rugby. We know there’s a strong desire for the All Blacks to play there and, look, at some point we may well but it’s just very hard right now to know how we could fit that in and realistically make it work commercially.
“While we are committed to supporting the islands our first responsibility is to New Zealand rugby.” .
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS