Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 690

Mangorise Awoho! Bonjour!

I flew to Melbourne City from Sydney for the day 1/12/12.To be part of The West Papuan Rally.A Beautiful sunny day indeed!And the Melanesian Hospitality from Our Wantoks from West Papua words cant explain –PAPUA MERDEKA! 
We all gather at the Melbourne State library 12pm and about 2pm a short march/walk to Federation Square in front of the SBS(Radio/TV) Office.It was colourful with West Papuan Flags held Up High and Proud…Yes I was carrying a West Papuan flag too and trying to take photo’s at the same time!,an Aboriginal flag,a Kanaky Flag and a few flags from Maluku Islands.Followed by a BBQ on the river,with lots of singing and dancing and the cake!
I did make loads of contacts with Our West Papuan Community in Melbourne,The Tambura Girls(Singers) ol pikinini blo late August wan singer blo Black Brothers ( Vanuatu based early 80’s ),Wantok -Sir Telek blong Papua New Guinea, hem tu i fly ikam down blo singsing mo supportem olgeta Wantoks blon yumi blo West Papua,Nick the man behind The West Papuan Media and Oh & my wonderful group of People – The 43 West Papuan asylum seekers whose arrival in Australia, by outrigger canoe, in 2006 caused a diplomatic incident with Indonesia..Belief it or not under John Howard Government @ that time and he granted them Visas to stay,Sad enough 4 of them were bribed ($$) by the Indonesians,$$ Temptation- so they when back to West Papua and today suffering and regretting having to leave Australia  ..Only 39 of the crew members and their Families are living in Melbourne today and adapting to a life, Where there is FREEDOM of speech  & We have Our Kanaky represent,Maluku Represent,Aboriginal Represent,PNG represent,Me: Representing Kanaky,Vanuatu and Solomon Islands (Savy road!) and all Friends of West Papua:  For more News coverage and PHOTOS go to VOM site.
THANK YOU TO THE WEST PAPUAN COMMUNITY IN MELBOURNE FOR ORGANISING A WONDERFUL RALLY AND THE YOUR MELANESIAN HOSPITALITY.

See you all in MELBOURNE/City- 01 December 2013 ! TARAMAKASI ! 
You all have a good week.Cheers-Phil Wantok. 

http://www.voiceofmelanesia.com/

Earthquake,Cyclones,Typhoon etc

1) Strong 6.4 magnitude quake hits off Vanuatu

Updated Sun Dec 2, 2012 2:43pm AEDT

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck off the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, but no tsunami warning was issued.

Seismologists say the quake had a relatively shallow depth of 34 kilometres.

The quake struck just before midday local time, and was centred 108 kilometres northwest of the capital, Port Vila, the United States Geological Survey said.

There have been no immediate reports of damage or injury.

Vanuatu lies on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a zone of frequent seismic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.

It has been rocked by several large quakes in recent years, averaging about three magnitude 7.0 or above incidents every year without any major damage.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-02/an-vanuatu-earthquake/4403374

2) Palau, Philippines brace for Typhoon Bopha

Updated 3 December 2012, 7:17 AEST

Shirley Escalante in Manila, and staff

Parts of the island nation of Palau in the western Pacific are being affected by a powerful typhoon carrying winds of up to 250 kilometres an hour.

Parts of the island nation of Palau in the western Pacific are being affected by a powerful typhoon.

The National Weather Service in Guam says Super Typhoon Bopha is carrying winds of up to 250 kilometres an hour.

Meteorologist Derek Williams says Bopha has the potential to be as devastating as Cylone Tracy which hit the northern Australian city of Darwin in 1974, killing 71 people.

Mr Williams says although Palau’s main island has been spared a direct hit, southern outer islands have not been so fortunate and can expect to be inundated over the coming hours.

“Surf, 25 feet or greater… some of those islands are not even 10 feet in height so there’s going to be some overwash and pretty high inundation of those smaller islands,” Mr Williams told Radio Australia.

Palau is a small Pacific nation of around 21,000 people located to the east of the southern Philippines.

Typhoons rarely hit Palau, which is outside the main typhoon zone.

On high alert

Parts of the central and southeastern Philippines have also been placed on typhoon alert.

Super Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, is now expected to make landfall over the Philippines on Tuesday.

Thousands of people along the country’s eastern border will be evacuated to safer ground in preparation for the typhoon.

Relief food and medicines have been pre-positioned and evacuation centres on standby.

Meteorologists say the typhoon will bring heavy rains and strong winds reaching over 200 kilometres an hour, over an area of 700 kilometres.

The typhoon is stronger than another weather disturbance which devastated the southern Mindanao island and killed more than 1,200 people at about the same time last year.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2012-12-02/palau-philippines-brace-for-typhoon-bopha/1054758

3) More jobs in MSG Nations, Scheme to benefit Pacific Islanders

By Online Editor
08:54 am GMT+12, 29/11/2012, FijiAbout twelve hundred jobs, in specialised fields, will be available for the Fijian workforce, in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu under the Skills Movement Scheme.

A Memorandum of Understanding on the Scheme was finalised in March this year and the initiative is strongly supported by the Fijian Government.

In order to implement the scheme the Ministry of Industry and Trade held a workshop Wednesday to discuss the necessary processes.

MSG member countries had six months to come up with processes and systems to implement the scheme and that period has lapsed.

Under the scheme, trained Fijians will be given the option to work in any of the countries in the MSG region.

Industry and Trade Permanent Secretary Shaheen Ali says immigration issues, qualification and lack of proper accreditations has prevented skilled labours to move from one country to another.

However since Fiji took over the chairmanship of the MSG this has changed.

Ali says this will not only fix labour shortage problems but also generate economic activity.

Speaking at the workshop, Ali says the administrators and facilitators discussed the processes required to implement the scheme.

“It has been seven months now – our officials have been working hard both within Fiji and also through a MSG sub-committee on services regionally and have come up now with detailed plan to implement this scheme – so the purpose of this workshop is to get feedback from our stakeholders also discuss this processes and systems that are in place that will implement the scheme.”

Ali says the outcomes of the workshop will be taken to the MSG sub-committee meeting on services that will be held in Honiara next week.
SOURCE: FBC/PACNEWS

4) MSG cards for workers

Sheenal Sharma
Monday, December 03, 2012

WORKERS under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) will be given MSG cards to facilitate their movement within the region.

This was revealed at the first national workshop on the MSG Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) in Suva.

Acting chief economist at the Ministry of Industry and Trade Sekove Tamanitoakula said the MSG cards would be linked to the SMS.

Mr Tamanitoakula said having MSG cards for the workers was something the members — Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji— were exploring.

“The sub-committee has been tasked by the senior officials to explore the possibility of using MSG cards,” he said.

He said each country had listed a number of areas they had identified that they needed workers.

Mr Tamanitoakula said Fiji was 90 per cent ready to facilitate the movement of people. “We also need to make sure that other members of the MSG are ready,” he said. “The scheme will start as soon as two countries are ready to exchange workers.”

Mr Tamanitoakula said PNG would be the first country that Fiji would send workers to. He said Fiji would propose another workshop at a regional level to facilitate the implementation of the scheme.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=218898

MEDIA:

5) Australian media wrong: PM O’Neill

By Online Editor
3:10 pm GMT+12, 29/11/2012, AustraliaPapua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday expressed disappointment with the Australian media for its reporting of PNG affairs.

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra for the first time, O’Neill said Australian media reports on PNG were often “wrong” and “totally wide off the mark”.

“It frequently disappoints me,” he said.

“And it especially disappoints me when journalists with the most limited contemporary contact with my country describe it as a ‘failed state’ or a ‘failing state’.

“I have no problem with your media being critical of my government, or my country. There are times when we deserve criticism and, I think, we are mature enough to accept it.

“But sweeping claims such as the use of the term ‘failing state’ to describe Papua New Guinea today is harmful and, frankly, they are hurtful.”

The questions from the Canberra media corps after his address, on the contrary, were quite constructive and indicated in-depth knowledge of current issues in PNG.

The media wanted to know what the PNG government’s stance was on the Manus Island asylum processing centre and whether or not PNG might be courting Chinese friendship at the expense of its relationship with Australia.

O’Neill said PNG’s relationship with China was purely business and trade-oriented and that its traditional aid and people-to-people relationship with Australia would long endure.

He assured the lunch meeting that PNG’s reputation as an investment destination was sound.

The recent passage by an overwhelming majority of parliament of the bill, to extend the grace period for a motion of no-confidence from 18 months to 30 months, indicated political will and political stability, he said.

O’Neill is expected to expound on this topic further when he opens the Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney on Monday.

THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

6) Vanuatu journalist suspended over talk back show on PM’s alleged debt

Posted at 18:58 on 02 December, 2012 UTC

A senior journalist at Vanuatu’s Broadcasting and Television Corporation has been suspended for two weeks without pay for an alleged breach of the VBTC’s staff guidelines.

Antoine Malsugai was suspended by the corporation’s General Manager Fred Vurobaravu, effective from the 23rd of November, following political pressure.

Our correspondent says the decision follows a talk back show he conducted over allegations the prime minister, Sato Kilman had not yet cleared his bill of about 140,000 US dollars for outstanding rent.

Mr Vurobaravu accused Mr Malsugai of being in a breach of the VBTC’s staff guidelines.

This is not the first time Mr Malsugai has been suspended from official duties because of political pressure by politicians.

Meanwhile, the Media Association of Vanuatu has condemned the action taken against Mr Malsugai.

In a media statement, it says after 32 years of Independence, Vanuatu’s national leaders should have a better working relationship with the media so that any issue of this kind can be properly handled, without causing harm to any parties.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Three West Papua National Committee members arrested during protests

Posted at 19:46 on 02 December, 2012 UTC

Three members of the West Papua National Committee, KNPB, were arrested by police during protest action in the Waena area, Indonesia’s Papua province.

The chairperson Victor Yeimo, was arrested along with Hukum Kiman and Ebes Sala over the weekend when demonstrators led by Mr Yeimo began marching from the Waena III State Housing Company towards the Expo area.

Hundreds of police from the Jayapura municipal police were mobilised and police initially requested that they disburse.

The KNPB were intending to commemorate December 1, which is usually referred to as Papua Independence Day.

The demonstrators refused and police dispersed them forcibly by firing tear gas into the crowd.

The 50 or so protesters immediately dispersed but not before three people were detained.

Jayapura municipal police chief Police Commissioner Alfred said that they were arrested because the protest did not have a permit.

Radio New Zealand International

Autonomous Bougainville News:(dawnfm)


8) 301112OPEN PANGUNA
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG President chief JOHN MOMIS wants the closed PANGUNA Copper mine on Bougainville island to reopen to support the ABG with much needed funds to deliver much needed services to the people of Bougainville.

Speaking on his weekly Radio Talk on New Dawn FM, chief Momis said that PANGUNA was a single impact project that can bail out Bougainville from its financial problems.

He explained this however would happen after a completely new agreement is negotiated with BCL and other stakeholders like the landowners. ABG and the PNG government.

ABG president Momis said that with the draw down of powers to the ABG it was becoming evident that only PANGUNA mine can provide that sort of funds.

Last week the deputy president of Meekamui unity government, PHILIP TAKAUNG called on President Momis to continue his work as they were behind his leadership.

And the MOU Awareness workshop in Tarlena was told by all the presenters that they could not fast tract preparations for the draw down due to funding constraints.

NEW DAWN FM understands that most of the funds allocated under the ABG 2012 appropriation arrived this week with only two weeks remaining to the close of all Government Accounts.

And most funds would be carried forward to next year or returned to the National Governments consolidated funds as un-used funds.

2911112 World Vision launches BEIP

By Tapo Tovilu

With the high rate of illiteracy in the
Autonomous region of Bougainville and especially in the Central Region Manetai was fortunate enough to
have launched a new Basic Education Improvement Plan.

The program initiated by World Vision is a
way communities plan their own ways of creating programs to help the illiterate
both young and old learn the basics of numeracy and literacy.

Untara community learning center were the
Basic Education Improvement Plan was launched will be were the learning center
will be based.

When opening the center Education Project
Coordinator with World Vision Helen Teviri told people present that the BEIP
was aimed at improving basic education skills like reading and writing which
many in the community lacked mainly due to the Bougainville conflict which made many school aged children miss school.

She says that all plans were drawn up and
carefully put together by the communities themselves with funding and
assistance coming from World Vision.

The center now caters for 40 plus students
who have been enrolled to begin with BEIP training.

Mrs Teviri challenged the community of
Untara to work together to maintain the learning center and to help it grow.

She recalled that other similar programs
started by other NGO’s in the area had failed earlier due to the non-cooperation
of people in the communities.

The launching ended with a feast and songs
and dances presented by the people of the Manetai area.


291112 HAGO FOODDAY

By Aloysius Laukai

The women groups from the Hagogohe Constituency on Buka island celebrated their deffered WORLD FOOD DAY yesterday and today at the Hoko Sports Field.
The women’s groups yesterday marched in a float in their colours and displayed their items and stall which they decorated according to their colours.
The women used this year’s world food day to show off their garden produce addressing food security in their area.

We will show you some of their presentations

291112
AWARENESS CLOSE

By Aloysius
Laukai

The
three-days MOU Awareness workshop for COE Chairmen and officers in North
Bougainville district ended this afternoon with COE Chairmen’s feeling
satisfied at the contents from this workshop.

The workshop
amongst other this allowed ABG divisions to present their papers to the COE
chairmen’s outlining their own preparations for the draw-down of Powers from
the National Government.

This has now
created a good position for the Local Level Government leaders to appreciate
how far Bougainville has gone in so far as the preparation for the draw- down
of power is concerned.

The leaders
told New Dawn FM that there must be continuous awareness so that the people
know how their Government was addressing these issues.

The
participants also called on the Human Resources Division to make sure that
training for officers including COE members are trained to carry out their
work.

They claimed
that they have not had any induction into the government since they took over
as members of the COE’s.

The workshop
was organized by the Autonomy Division of the ABG

291112
PUBLIC AWARENESS

By Aloysius
Laukai

With only
two years left to Referendum in 2015, the Papua New Guinea National Government
and the Autonomous Bougainville Government Referendum Committee have already
requested that a review be made to the arms disposal program, one of the three pillars of the Bougainville
Peace Agreement signed by leaders on August 31st,2001.

And an
International team of United Nations experts are already in Bougainville to
conduct an evaluation of the arms disposal program on Bougainville.

The team is
visiting every district to hold consultations with Government, Chiefs, Youths,
Women, Former Combatants, Me’ekamui and other such groups.

The ABG has
communicated and directed all district administrations to facilitate the
exercise in their respective districts and to ensure that all relevant
stakeholders have this opportunity to share their views to the team.

The experts
are tasked to conduct consultations and make recommendations to the ABG and
National Government Referendum Committee for its immediate engagements in light
of the 2015 referendum and beyond.

The team
will be in Arawa, Central Bougainville on November 28 and 29th.

Buin on 29th
November to First of December, Siwai from 2nd December to 3rd
December.

Bana
district from 3rd December to 4th December.

Panguna and
Kieta from 4th to 5th December.

Wakunai,
Kunua and Tinputz between December 5th to 8th
December,2012.

Torokina on
December 9th.

Buka, Nissan
and Atolls from December 10th and 11th.

And final
debfrief between the ABG leaders on December 12th December,2012.

291112 ABG
BUDGET SESSION

By Aloysius
Laukai

The
Autonomous Bougainville Government will sit for the 2013 Appropriation Budget on Monday 17th December,
2012 starting at 2pm.

The ABG
speaker, ANDREW MIRIKI announced the date on 21st November stating
that this would be the final sitting for this year, 2012.

According to
a memo from the ABG Parliament speaker, the house is also expected to deal with
other executive Government Business and Parliamentary Committee reports.

As usual,
New Dawn FM will carry the budget session live to its Buka listeners.

291112 LANDS
MOVE

By Aloysius
Laukai

The Division
of Lands and Physical Planning office is to move ahead of all divisions to
Arawa the former capital of
Bougainville.

This was
revealed by the Officer in charge of Customary land, SAMUEL ROROGA yesterday
during the presentation for the lands division at the MOU awareness workshop at
the Bishop Wade Secondary School.

MR. ROROGA
said that Lands division was one of the first powers to be transferred to the
ABG however due to no accommodation and office space they are unable to
transfer these powers.

He said that
despite these difficulties, his division has already gone ahead to prepare
lands policy to be approved by the ABG Parliament early next year.

On the
keeping of title for lands he said that until such time they have a secured
room for safe keeping files, all files will still be kept in Port Moresby.

281112DAL
VISIT

By Aloysius
Laukai

A high level
team from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock is in the Autonomous
Region of Bougainville to discuss and promote Agriculture development
initiatives.

The
department of Agriculture and Livestock officers are holding discussions with
officers from the Primary Industry division and other related divisions and
would also meet the chief Administrator and ABG Parliamentarians.

This follows
the recent visit to DAL headquarters by a team from Bougainville seeking
national government support on a number of issues, from the Agriculture
rehabilitation to finalization of the ABG Agriculture structure and preparation
for the Memorandum of Understanding.

The issues
to be discussed include finalization of a working group and its terms of
reference, the proposed organizational structure for the division of Primary
industry’s proposed agricultural plans and strategies, establishment of the
agriculture commodity boards and the finalization of the MOU.

The DAL team
led by Acting deputy secretary for corporate services, MR. MAWE GONAPA is also
expected to visit a number of cocoa and coconut plantations and other impact
project sites in Bougainville.

The team
comprises of agriculture project advisors from the DAL Islands regional office
in Rabaul and DAL headquarters in Port Moresby.

The team
arrived this morning November 28th and will spend three days before
returning home.

291112Call for Cordinated efforts
by Aloysius Laukai

Unity and team work is the key to strentghtening the Autonomy process and development throughout Bougainville according to the Acting Deputy Administrator operations,Paul Kebori.

He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the MOU awareness workshop in Tarlena this afternoon.

Mr. Kebori said that all persons including the COE chairmen’s and their village assemblies are part of this government system.

He said because Autonomy is a new philosopy with no guidelines from anywhere in the world, we are going through trials and errors but eventually we will get there.

Meanwhile, the ABG member for Selau, TERRY MOSE
who attended the workshop fulltime said that he had gain wealth of information from presentations from the various divisions.

He said that as a member he was now in a better position to debate on issues in parliament.

The member said that the workshop has cleared alot of mis-conceptions on the issue of autonomy implementation process by individual divisions.
The workshop was officialy closed by the ABG member for Selau, TERRY MOSE.

9) Solomon Islands Hoping To Attract More Australian Visitors
Islands recently ranked in top ten Lonely Planet rankings

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, Nov. 29, 2012) – Tourism chiefs in the Solomon Islands are keen to see more Australians make the relatively short journey to the country in the coming years.

Many people have been put off from travelling to this part of the world due to security concerns, but members of the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau believe things are starting to change.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, the organization’s marketing manager Freda Unusi said Australia is traditionally a “very strong” market for the islands.

Indeed, 49 percent of the 22,000 visitors to the Solomon Islands in 2011 were from Australia. “So there’s a gradual upwards trend,” Ms. Unusi was quoted as saying.

Aussies will need to stock up on Solomon Islands dollars before they make the trip.

As with any destination, spending a little time searching for the best exchange rates usually pays dividends.

Currently, one Aussie dollar will get you about SB$7.30 [US$0.98] in return.

The Solomon Islands recently made Lonely Planet’s top ten hot destinations for 2013, which has sparked genuine interest from would be travelers.

Those familiar with the industry say there is now a much stronger cooperation between various stakeholders, which should see the industry coming out strong in the coming years.

They say the new Dash 8 and government’s policy of subsidizing certain shipping routes are all good positive steps, which should see distant communities, that have much to offer, becoming more accessible.

Solomon Times

10) Militancy clearly at an end in Solomon Islands: RAMSI

By Online Editor
11:43 am GMT+12, 30/11/2012, Solomon IslandsThe head of the multinational peacekeeping force in Solomon Islands says the militant activity that prompted its deployment is clearly at an end.

The Australian-led regional assistance mission or RAMSI went into the country in 2003, following several years of civil unrest on Guadalcanal.

RAMSI’s Special Coordinator Nicholas Coppel says although the mission will continue with its focus on strengthening the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, it is the right time for the withdrawal of soldiers.

He says Solomon Islanders share that sense of security about their future.

“I think that’s true. I mean there’s a distinction between militancy and law and order issues and militancy has clearly come to an end. So the presence of the strong force, the military force, isn’t needed to combat the militancy that we saw before. There are still issues in relation to law and order and that’s one of the reasons why RAMSI’s participating police force is going to remain in Solomon Islands for a number of years to come.”

Coppel said whether to rearm the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is a decision for the Solomon Islands government.

Meanwhile, the Australian Federal Police Specialist Response Group (SRG) is providing the Participating Police Force (PPF) with highly trained tactical police capability.

And the Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services Chris Laore yesterday visited RAMSI base at Henderson to inspect its facilities and to see firsthand a demonstration.

The PFF Commander Paul Osborne said the types of security capabilities that the PPF regularly provides in support of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and its operations in Honiara and the provinces are of the highest standard.

Specialist Response Group provides the PPF with the ability to deliver a wide range of capabilities in support of the RSIPF.

These include public order management, search and rescue, disaster response, tactical intelligence, trained police negotiators, maritime policing functions and tactical operations in high risk situations.

Osborne stated that the SRG also provided certain high tech equipment that is superior to and unequally by any other police or military unit that operates here.
SOURCE: RNZI/ SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

11)Solomon Islands wokas ikam long Australia

Updated 30 November 2012, 17:36 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Solomon Islands i salim pinis nambawan laen blong en ikam long Australia long wok aninit long  Australian Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP).

this is an image of a Pacific Island worker

(Credit: ABC)
Odio: Jack Ooi, Director blong Trade Division wantem Foreign Affairs na Trade long Solomon Islands itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Bai gat 10pla wokas olgeta blong Solomon Islands bai go wok long ol farms long state blong Tasmania.

Ol bai stap long Tasmania inap long 6pla mun.

Solomon Islands i joinim Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga na Vanuatu long gon insaet long despla progrem.

Solomon Islands isave salim tu ol pipal blong en long go wok long New Zealand.

Jack Ooi,  Director blong Trade Division wantem ministri blong Foreign Affairs na Trade long Solomon Islands itok kaen wok long Australia na New Zealand i halvim gut ol pipal blong en.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2012-11-30/solomon-islands-wokas-ikam-long-australia/1054444

12) EU Kava Product Ban Costing Pacific $5.1 Million Annually
Traditional drink also functions as cash crop for Vanuatu

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Nov. 29, 2012) – Kava producing Pacific countries are losing Vt472 million (over 4 million Euros, or US$5.1 million) of export revenue each year since 2002 when the European Union banned the kava trade.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Industry, and Tourism Ham Lini said this has totaled to over Vt5 billion [US$54.1 million] to date.

This was revealed by the Deputy Prime Minister when he officially opened Vanuatu’s first ever National Kava Forum Monday in Port Vila.

Lini made the revelation shortly after he made an official call to Canberra about the importance of relaxing restrictions on kava imports.

“Kava, as our traditional drink is also a cash crop that is the main revenue earner for many farmers to meet basic needs like school fees and medical services.

“In 2002, European Union banned the export of kava from Vanuatu and other kava producing countries of the Pacific.

“The issue resulted in the Pacific losing total export revenue exceeding 4 million Euros which equals Vt472 million plus each year.

“Australia has also banned kava from Vanuatu and other Pacific kava producing countries since 2007, which costs us export revenue of over Vt37.5 million [US$405,625] in 2012 alone,” said Deputy Prime Minister. “This paints a negative publicity about our golden product in the international export market.”

Vanuatu’s first ever National Kava Forum initiated a comprehensive examination centered on an industry that has given jobs to 25,000-plus farmers and employs thousands more people [in] the Kava Industry. Discussions will be based around kava production, quality control, and trading of Vanuatu kava and export.

According to Lini, the Government’s objective is for the Forum to put forward a clear roadmap and development plan to take the kava industry forward.

“I requested this Forum to review existing policies and legislative frameworks and generate a better road map to improve Vanuatu’s kava industry,” said the Deputy Prime Minster.

One of the main interesting topics of the Forum is Europe’s ban on kava that has also affected the global market of kava.

The two-day forum gathers a wide group of stakeholders including farmers, exporters, processors, government officials, civil societies and development partners to review the industry.

With ‘Develop and Improve Kava Quality and Trade’ as its theme, the Forum takes an in-depth approach into the industry with technicians bringing about expertise of Agriculture and Kava Production and its marketing and trade considering the existing Kava Act.

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

13)Queen Elizabeth To Be Removed From New Fiji Currency
Coins, cash in 2013 will feature Fiji wildlife, plants

By Indrani Krishna

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 29, 2012) – Fiji’s new series of banknotes and coins with new front new designs will be unveiled 12 December to come into circulation from 2 January 2013.

Royal Bank of Fiji (RBF) Governor Barry Whiteside, said flora and fauna designs of Fiji will replace the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II across all denominations.

Whiteside said that members of the British Royal Family have featured on our currency since 1934.

He said that while it is sad to see this transition taking place, it is time to move forward and promote our very own unique national treasure and the biodiversity that lies around us.

Along with the design changes, RBF will also, for the first time, replace the FJ$2 [US$1.12] bank note with a coin.

A Currency Design Committee of eminent Fijians was approved by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance to oversee the selection of the designs as the work commenced in February 2010.

Banknote and coin tender were invited and awarded to De La Rue Currency and the Royal Canadian Mint, respectively.

All banknote and coin designs were finalized and approved in November 2011.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

14)High costs affect sea transportation in Fiji

By Online Editor
11:35 am GMT+12, 30/11/2012, FijiOnly 11 per cent of the population use sea transportation on inter-island ferries, according to Fiji’s Ministry of Transport.

High fuel costs incurred by shipping operators which result in high travel costs for passengers, low economic activity on the islands because of irregular shipping services, and rural to urban drift are among reasons why less people use sea transportation.

The Ministry of Transport’s principal economic planning officer, Jeke Tavai, said the government hope to change this with frequent shipping services to the islands.

Speaking at the sustainable sea transport workshop at the University of the South Pacific Thursday, he said this could generate economic activity on remote outer islands and boost maritime transportation. Ministry data showed that in 2011, 61648 people made up outward passengers and 50,610 were inward travellers on island ferries.

The only economical routes were Suva, Koro, Savusavu and Taveuni — serviced by the Spirit of Free Enterprise and Lomaiviti Princess — and Natovi, Nabouwalu and Buresala, serviced by the Spirit of Harmony. The rest of the 10 routes were classified uneconomical.

The State pays $1.5m (US$847,000) annually for ships to go on the routes once a month. This is to only cover administration costs of the ships. Tavai said since the monthly trips, they had noticed some economic activity on some of the islands.

Fiji Islands Voyaging Society president Colin Philp said the ministry data did not include those travelling by smaller boats.

He said it was not a true reflection of the number of people travelling by sea.

Philp said sea transportation was not properly regulated and the ministry did not have “any idea on the exact figures”.

The workshop aims to find sustainable methods of sea transportation and among them is using fossil-free sailing vessels.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

15)Ailing Fiji politician allowed into NZ

By Online Editor
2:36 pm GMT+12, 30/11/2012, New ZealandNew Zealand has briefly lifted its ban on politicians involved in the military rule of Fiji to allow an ailing former foreign minister into the country for medical treatment.

Education minister Filipe Bole, 76, is believed to have suffered a severe heart attack last week and was flown to New Zealand.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Murray McCully confirmed the smart sanctions imposed since Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s 2006 coup had been lifted for Bole “on humanitarian grounds”.

It is not known where he is but prior to the coup Wellington’s Wakefield Hospital had a contract to treat members of the Fiji Military Forces. No soldier has been allowed into New Zealand since the coup.

Bole was foreign minister in the coup regime of Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka and following democratic elections in 1992 was returned to the job. He became a senator but remained in cabinet until his defeat in elections in 1999.

He was returned to power by Bainimarama following the coup.

SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS

16)Deficit concerns

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, December 01, 2012

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum speaks to participants during the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry post budget discussions at Holiday Inn in Suva on Thursday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU+ Enlarge this image

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum speaks to participants during the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry post budget discussions at Holiday Inn in Suva on Thursday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

HAD the government not increased the budget by $182 million, deficit would be around 0.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), says permanent secretary for Finance Filimoni Waqabaca.

Responding to reactions raised at the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry post 2013 budget discussions at the Holiday Inn in Suva on Thursday night, Mr Waqabaca said there was a lot of talk through the media that this was an “irresponsible” government because of the deficit level moving into 2013.

Mr Waqabaca said the trend from 2000 to 2006 showed the average deficit was 3.5 per cent and from 2007 to 2013, the average deficit was 1.9 per cent of GDP.

“When we were designing the budget, we also watched what was happening abroad and if the impact of this global economic slowdown does come our way, the question is what do we do?” he asked participants at the forum.

He said other countries in the world had been encouraged to stimulate activity so that investment continued to move and business had their own opportunities.

“But we need to do that in a well-managed style without putting undue pressure on the deficit,” he said.

“That is the reason why in order to stimulate economic activity in Fiji, we will focus on investment in the framework that we have been building on over the years,” he added.

Mr Waqabaca said particular outcomes was that government wanted to generate sustainable growth and increase investment through increased investment and physical management.

“We have increased the deficit, higher than what we were planning for 2013 — a level that still can be managed,” he said.

17)PNG Sports Federation eyes young athletes

By Online Editor
12:07 pm GMT+12, 29/11/2012, Papua New GuineaPNG Sports Federation is scouting for young talents at the Kokopo Games.

National Sports Institute director Idrish Kumbrawah said this was part of their talent identification programme.

“If we identify these people, we will put them into regional camps and they will be working in partnership with the sports federation,” he said.

“We want to catch them young and develop them.

“The catch age is between 12 and 17.

“We want young people to know that we want to harness the talent that are hidden in them.”

Kumbrawah said they also wanted to test people outside of competitions by running tests in schools.
He acknowledged the national government’s commitment to sports in the 2013 Budget.

Meanwhile, Morobe has indicated it will be hosting 26 sports in the 2014 PNG Games, says Games council chairperson Iamo Launa.

“This will be the second time that Morobe will be hosting the games but it will be a big task ahead of them with 22 provinces to participate. They have given us the indication that they will host 26 sports in 2014,” Launa said.

“Morobe has a lot of existing sporting facilities and the sports foundation has also helped in developing facilities within the Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium.

“Morobe has also confirmed that they would be building a new stadium at Igam.”

Launa reiterated that Morobe, Eastern Highlands and the National Capital District had bid for the 2014 Games. EHP withdrew at the last minute and indicated they wanted to host the 2016 Games.

She said the Games council voted in favour of Morobe, which committed K29 million to host the event.

“The presentation by Morobe Governor Kelly Naru included a financial commitment of K29 million from the provincial government and the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry provided a letter confirming their support.” Launa said.

“Most of the commitments made comprised of their members of parliament including the Minister for Community Development that clearly shows that they have solidarity.

“We have experienced some difficulties and also learning a lot from these lessons and we want to ensure that the council had made a decision to make sure that provincial governments underwrite the games and in that way we get political support from the government and provincial government’s commitment to host.”

Launa added that PNG Sports Foundation staff were ready to start building capacity and helping Morobe to train technical officials and administrators.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

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