Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 800

1) PNG Urges MSG Members To Support Kanak Independence
Deputy PM applauds progress made towards founding MSG goal

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 31, 2013) – PNG is calling on members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to continue supporting the indigenous Kanaks of New Caledonia in their pursuit for independence.

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion, who attended the group’s 25-year celebrations in Port Vila, Vanuatu, last weekend, said one of the cornerstones for the formation of the MSG was to pursue self-determination for the Kanaks.

“While we still have a lot more work to do to achieve this noble dream for our brothers and sisters in New Caledonia, we must be happy that we have made real progress towards making this dream a reality.

“I must commend the hard-working director general, his staff and our officials for their tireless effort in implementing the leaders’ decisions on this matter,” he said.

Dion said PNG was pleased to note that a successful mission was led by the secretariat to the UN headquarters where talks were held with various stakeholders, including meetings with the de-colonization committee.

He said the establishment of the FLNKS (a Kanaks liberation body) unit should also further boost and enable better coordination and coherence in New Caledonia’s effort towards self-determination or independence.

“We must continue to be diligent in our collective efforts so that together we can continue to climb every hill, cross every lagoon and withstand every cyclone to get our New Caledonia brothers and sisters to their promised land.”

Dion said PNG made some commitments towards assisting the FLNKS and the Kanaks in education, training and capacity-building and a pledge for financial assistance to establish the work of the FLNKS unit at the secretariat.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

2) West Papuan group to apply for MSG full membership
By Online Editor
2:17 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, Vanuatu

By PACNEWS Editor Makereta Komai in Port Vila

In response to clarifications from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat that no formal application has been received from the West Papuan to join the sub-regional body, a group of West Papuans in Vanuatu will submit an application to the Secretariat this week.

Media reports in Port Vila say the group in Port Vila for the MSG Silver Jubilee celebrations will apply for full membership of the MSG.

The group wants to counter the recognition of Indonesia as an observer to the MSG. Indonesia was granted MSG observer status in 2011, a decision the local media is claiming, was made by Prime Minister Sato Kilman endorsed without the approval of his Council of Ministers.

Vanuatu has diplomatic relations with Indonesia since 1995.

West Papuan groups in Port Vila were disappointed that PM Kilman did not mention the struggle for independence in West Papua in his speech at the launch of the Melanesia Silver Jubilee celebrations in Port Vila Monday.

It was later clarified that PM Kilman did not touch on the issue because West Papua is yet to become a formal agenda issue for the Melanesia Spearhead Group Leaders meeting.

Speaking to PACNEWS, the Director General of the MSG Secretariat Peter Forau clarified reasons behind Indonesia’s endorsement as an observer.

“When our ministers decided to include them as an observer, it was really to find a way to engage with West Papua. They thought that if they brought them in, they would have some accountability to the group.

“The fact is that there is a condition on their observership, which is about discussing the issue of West Papua, for example. And they welcome that. I think the way others are seeing it is about them being in and not West Papua.

“They can attend our meetings. It’s not a right specific to them but a right that is quite limited. It’s only a gesture of friendship and an opportunity for our members to engage with them about the issue of West Papua, said Forau.

He said any application for membership will follow the normal process of vetting before any independent state or group is allowed to join the group.

“We recognise what’s happening in West Papua. We continue to talk to them informally but unfortunately the decisions about what we can do rests with our members.

“Our Principles of Agreement is being reviewed and one of the provisions will be to allow for special groups or communities to be considered to have some association with the MSG. The criterias for membership doesn’t allow for that now but then again once the technical and legal people have had a look, it will go to our Leaders for approval before it becomes part of our criteria for association membership and observership, said the MSG director general.

Currently, an expression of interest for observer status should be submitted to the Director General, if any party or group wants to join the MSG. The application must have the support of the administering power.

After the application is received, the Secretariat tables the application to the Senior Officials Meeting for consideration before it’s forwarded to the MSG Foreign Affairs Ministers, who will then recommend to the Leaders the final endorsement for the application.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

3) ‘Mountain people’ vying to rule Papua

Nethy Dharma Somba and Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura, Papua | Headlines | Tue, January 29 2013, 9:08 AM

Decision time: Big posters of gubernatorial candidates and their running mates are on display in various places in Papua. Resource-rich Papua province will elect a governor on Tuesday. JP/Rendi A. Witular

Papua’s “mountain people” who reside in the alpine terrain of the isolated pegunungan tengah area, are the largest population group in country’s most backward province.

According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) census in 2010, 1.6 million of the province’s 2.8 million population live in the pegunungan tengah.

Despite being the majority, almost no one from the area has managed to climb the ladder of political success and lead the province, which has been plagued for decades by separatism and conflict.

Papuan leaders at the provincial and national level almost invariably come from the tribes who inhabit the coast.

But the province’s political pendulum is swinging.

Around 2.7 million eligible voters will cast the ballots today in a gubernatorial election that has been marred by extreme division between candidates from the interior and the coastal areas.

Six gubernatorial candidates are competing to rule Papua, where US-based miner Freeport McMoran operates the world’s largest integrated gold concession.

Seven gubernatorial and deputy gubernatorial candidates originate in the pegunungan tengah while only five are from the coast.

The strongest candidate, according to local figures, is former Puncak Jaya regent Lukas Enembe, a “mountain figure” supported by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party and the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). In the 2009 election, Papua was a stronghold of the Democratic Party.

Puncak Jaya is part of the pegunungan tengah territory that includes regencies such as Jayawijaya, Lanny Jaya, Nduga, Tolikara, Membrano Tengah, Yahukimo and Pegunungan Bintang.

“What marks the election today is probably the spirit of having ‘mountain people’ rule the province for the first time,” said the head of Papua’s unity, politics and public security agency (Kesbang), M. Mansyur.

While Lukas is tipped to represent the “mountain people”, his stiffest opponent, Habel Melkias Suwae, former Jayapura regent, is likely to represent the coastline voters.

Habel is supported by the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

“There seems to be a balance between candidates from the mountain and the coastline. Voters tend to pick candidates based on territorial relations rather than on programs,” said Cendrawasih University political analyst Beatus Tembaib.

Beatus believes the election will go to a second round as it will be difficult for a candidate to secure more than 30 percent of the vote to win outright.

The division between groups of voters is becoming increasingly polarized. Cendrawasih military district chief Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua said on Monday that military and security personnel would remain on the alert for possible civil unrest resulting from the election.

Local elections in Papua have regularly been the scene of conflicts ignited by the losing candidates and disputes between local leaders regularly contribute to the slow pace of development.

The recent election-based conflict in Tolikara regency, for example, means the current regent is unable to endorse the annual budget as the mob torched the treasury office late last year, destroying all documents related to budgeting.

“I suspect the office was torched to eliminate evidence of corruption from the previous administration,” said Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo. “The arson attack has also delayed the budget because the records were all destroyed.”

Regular civil and separatist conflicts, coupled with intense corruption and extreme isolation from the outside world, have severely retarded development in Papua despite the province’s rich natural resources of gold, copper, coal and timber.

Previous Papua governor Barnabas Suebu, whose term expired last year, could not run for reelection due to lack of support from political parties. He has left behind a mounting problem that may not be easy for the next leader to solve.

Despite an annual budget of more than Rp 40 trillion (US$4.16 billion), the seventh-largest budget in the country, Papua’s development indicators remain at the bottom of the list.

According to the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), corruption has severely aggravated Papua’s plight. Last year, the BPK found that around 22 percent of the Rp 19.12 trillion audited autonomy fund had been stolen. Since 2002, the central government has disbursed more than Rp 30 trillion of such funds in the hope of accelerating Papua development.

The latest Community Health Development Index names Papua and West Papua as the provinces with the worst performance of health-related indicators.

According to the annual report, released early last year by the Health Ministry, Papua faces serious public health problems, ranging from high levels of malnutrition, higher-than-average child and maternal mortality rates, low immunization rates, high levels of disease and poor access to clean water, sanitation and trained healthcare workers.

Papua was ranked the nation’s poorest province by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), with 32 percent of its residents considered “poor”, far above the national poverty rate of 12.5 percent.

“Whoever leads Papua should not repeat the mistake made by the previous leaders who only thought of his personal gain and interests. I don’t see any candidates who have firm commitment to that yet, whether they are of mountain or coastal origin. That rests on the voters to decide their future, and I hope they don’t chose the wrong guy again,” said the secretary of the Papuan Traditional Council, Leo Imbiri.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/01/29/mountain-people-vying-rule-papua.html

4) 600 affected in West New Britain floods
By Online Editor
3:44 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

600 villagers and settlers living along the Dagi river at Nahaviu in West New Britain province have been advised to move out from their current location and move to higher grounds.

Floods caused by heavy rains have washed away houses, food gardens and cattle.

Provincial Disaster Officials, during an inspection of the area, yesterday, warned people including those from Oil Palm Industrial Corporation to move to higher grounds.

Provincial disaster officer director Leo Maponi says the current location is risky for people to live during this period and they have to move out before anything could happen to them.

He has further advised the people in the province to chop down trees near the houses during this period of strong winds and heavy rain.

Director provincial disaster and emergency Leo Maponi says the strong winds have already caused several lives and the people must chop down trees near the houses.

Meanwhile, Kwalesi village in the Hoskins area has been hit by 30 to 40 knots cyclone affecting 260 homes.

West New Britain Red Cross branch have gone and conducted an assessment where a situation report has been sent to PNG Red Cross headquarter for relief supplies.

The 260 affected have all sought shelter with relatives in nearby village.

SOURCE: NBC/PACNEWS

5) PNG border a flashpoint

By Online Editor
10:13 am GMT+12, 04/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s inability to man its 760-kilometre land border with Indonesia and increasing tension triggered by cross-border raids and lack of economic opportunities could make the area a flashpoint.

Wutung villagers in the West Sepik Province and locals from the Morehead local level government area in the Western Province have expressed concern at the lack of intervention by the relevant PNG Government agencies to address their problems.

Three weeks ago, Wutung villagers forcefully pulled down the Indonesian flag in protest against Indonesia, compelling Waigani to dispatch a team of officials led by the PNG Foreign Affairs Department to the border region.

The lack of income earning opportunities in West Sepik and the allegations that the popular Indonesian-owned Bartas market was built on the PNG side of the international border appear to be key factors that threaten to trigger hostilities.“We are getting a little money from the trading at the border but it is just about 5 percent and it would be nice if we can capture at least 30 percent of it,” said Patrick Muliale, the Wutung Onne Bewani local level government president.

In the south in Western province’s Morehead District, increasing raids by Javanese poachers on wildlife in the world-famous Bensbach conservation area led to the PNG Government sending an investigation team led by the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF).

It is understood the team has prepared a confidential report and submitted it to the Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc for the PNG Government’s consideration.

Former PNGDF commander, Major General Jerry Singirok subtly alluded to the investigation team’s findings when he made reference to the Indonesian military’s building of a permanent Forward Operations Base (FOB) at the Torasi River in PNG territory.

“This is indeed a major international incident and a serious border infringement that requires an immediate joint inspection and a diplomatic protest by PNG to Jakarta. But if PNG is not satisfied, it has the option to refer the matter to the United Nations Assembly for resolution. But then again, it is unlikely that PNG will take this option,” said the retired army commander.

Former PNG Customs commissioner and now politician, Oro Governor Garry Juffa, also warned that the heavy presence of Indonesian government officials including army paratroopers made the border region vulnerable to conflict.

“The infrastructure includes a military base, office and staff accommodation for all officials and a market with a growing informal support base of civilians of 300 to 400 Javanese nationals, who will be immediately armed and ready to go into action should all hell break loose,” he said.

But Indonesian government officials, while acknowledging and regretting the Wutung skirmish three weeks ago, told the Post-Courier that they were ready to assist PNG grow its border area and the recent incidents warranted the need for PNG to continue to revise its contingency plans.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, when asked by this newspaper to comment on the issue, appeared unperturbed by the growing tensions and said his government would work with Indonesia to build PNG’s border infrastructure.

“They have offered to have their construction companies and their facilities across the border to help build our facilities on this side,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

6) Oil Search lifts PNG output
By Online Editor
2:10 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2013, Papua New Guinea

OIL Search’s oil and gas production in Papua New Guinea bounced back in the December quarter.

The Sydney-based energy company also confirmed the $US19 billion ($18.2bn) PNG liquefied natural gas project remained on track for first LNG sales next year.

Production for the quarter was 1.79 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), taking output for the 2012 calendar year to 6.38 million boe, in line with company guidance of 6.2 million to 6.7 million boe.

The December quarter represented a rebound from the preceding September quarter (1.33 million boe) when production was affected by the shutdown of port loading facilities to determine the cause of what proved to be a “minor oil sheen” on the water surface in July.

The latest quarter’s output was also better than the 1.6 million boe that some in the market had tipped.

As a result — and because of confirmation that the PNG LNG project was on track — Oil Search was able to outperform the rest of the oil sector yesterday with a 1.7 per cent share price gain to $7.23.

Oil Search said the Exxon Mobil-managed LNG project was now about 70 per cent completed and that a key piece of infrastructure, the Komo airstrip, would soon be ready to accept its first cargo flights, most notably equipment for the construction of the gas conditioning plant for the Hides gasfield.

As previously announced, the capital cost of the LNG project has risen from $US15.7bn to $US19bn ($18bn). Oil Search managing director Peter Botten put this in a positive light.

“While this is disappointing, the economic impact is largely offset by a 5 per cent increase increase in (planned) LNG plant capacity (to 6.9 million tonnes annually) and considerably higher oil prices than when the project was initially sanctioned. Project economics remain sound,” Botten said in the group’s quarterly report released Tuesday.

Analysts made only minor adjustments to their December year profit expectations for the group in response to the December quarter production figures.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

7) Loggers Allegedly Digging Up Coral Reef In PNG
West New Britain operations ‘totally destroyed’ pristine ecosystem

By Haiveta Kivia

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 31, 2013) – A logging company operating in a remote area in Kandrian- Gloucester District in West New Britain Province is digging up coral reefs and using it as gravel for roads it is constructing in Papua New Guinea. Pictures given to the Post-Courier by a villager near Geren Base camp where a logging company called Unirise Investment Limited (UIL) is operating, show an excavator parked on the reefs digging it up and shoveling it onto a dump truck. The Post-Courier tried to contact UIL to find out what they were doing to the reef but the company is not listed in the PNG telephone directory. Telephone number 323 0222 was obtained from Investment Promotion Authority and the Post-Courier continuously called the number but no one answered the phone. Lolo Development Corporation, the landowner company involved with Sunrise, is also not listed and IPA does not have any phone numbers listed for the company. Telikom PNG Directory Assistance also does not have any numbers for the two companies.

According to a media statement released by a village leader, UIL operates three logging camps in the district and they are digging up the coral reefs at Geren damaging the environment, thus the matter should be brought to the attention of the national government as soon as possible.

“They are throwing logs onto the reefs and using the dug up coral as gravel to construct causeway to the edge of the reef to load logs onto ships (for export),” he said.

He said the company has totally destroyed a pristine reef system in the area that took years to grow.

The man said forestry officers at Kandrian district have not even intervened to correct this blatant destruction to the environment. He sent a media statement to IPA asking to check if Lolo Development Corporation, the landowner company representing the Geren Base Camp area people, does have a registered office, and if so, where it is located.

“I have observed that there is no landowner company office in the area at the base camp, in Kimbe or in the district. Where are they?” the leader said.

He is now appealing to Kandrian-Glocester MP and Opposition spokesman Joseph Lelang to intervene and also for the National Forest Authority and the Department of Environmental and Conservation to investigate the operation of the company.

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

8) Solomons Teachers Tell Government To Pay Entitlements

SINTA head says re-leveling consult ‘a waste of time and money’
By Jennifer Kakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 30, 2013) – The Government is urged to pay Solomon Islands teachers’ rightful entitlements rather than taking “unnecessary steps” to deal with the issue.

SINTA (Solomon Islands National Teachers Association) president Samson Faisi said the government is using “delaying tactics” by referring the matter to the Trade Disputes Panel (TDP).

He was responding to the steps the government is taking to avert he current teachers’ strike.

Mr. Faisi said education authorities travelling to Honiara to make submission for re- leveling to the teaching service department is a waste of time and money.

“My question is: When was the last time this practice was done?” he asked. “To our knowledge, it’s been years so why now?”

Mr. Faisi said the claim that the government had not idea on the issue was a “total liar.” “The Government should not hide its face when they are aware of this re-leveling issue.”

Mr. Faisi said they have written three letters to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Education last year on the issue.

“They should go back and check their files for the letters unless they destroyed them.

“Myself and our general secretary also met with the prime minister and secretary to prime minister before we went to the World Teacher’s Day end of last on the issue thus there is no point of denying having no knowledge of this issue.”

[PIR editor’s note: Opposition leader Dr. Derek Sikua has also given support to teachers’ calls for payment, denouncing the government action to reasses re-leveling as a “duplication” of measures taken in 2010 and 2011. Local police, meanwhile, have expressed that it would only become involved in the dispute between teachers and government as a last resort, although authorities are still monitoring the sit-in protest being staged at Honiara’s High Court.]

Mr. Faisi added that SINTA still stand that the strike action taken is legal despite the government referring it to the Trade Disputes Panel.

“This issue does not need third party and it is an issue that already been agreed on and that Government fails to play its part in fulfilling the agreement.”

Meanwhile Temotu, Malaita and Western provinces have reaffirmed their stand with Honiara teachers on the sit in protest yesterday.

Solomon Star

9) Solomons teachers asked to end strike

Posted at 01:44 on 04 February, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands government is urging striking teachers to return to work today as it has promised to pay them their outstanding dues this week.

About 9,000 teachers went on strike last Monday after the start of the school year had been deferred by a week over the pay dispute.

That week had passed with the teachers insisting to be paid what they were owed.

Last week, the government invoked the trade disputes panel to force an end to the strike but teachers defied the move prepared to be arrested.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation says officials have been working over the weekend to ensure teachers will be paid this week.

Radio New Zealand International

10) Solomons PM Announces 2013 Government Priorities
Lilo says Solomons ‘a nation conceived, but not born’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 30, 2013) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has launched the National Coalition for Rural Advancement (NCRA) government’s 2013 priorities at the Heritage Park Hotel yesterday.

NCRA’s theme for this year is ‘Building on the Gains for a Stable Solomon Islands: Doing Things Differently.’

Speaking during the occasion, Prime Minister Lilo highlighted some of the important aspects that Solomon Islands has evolved up to this present time.

The prime minister said it was important for us to understand our local context and dynamics if we were to create platforms that serve our best interest in the long term.

He added that since Solomon Islands gained independence many self-governing entities or what some called ‘semi-autonomous’ groups have exercised their own authority and rules over the country’s territories and constituents.

However, Prime Minister Lilo highlighted that the state’s attempt to exert positive control over the entire country has had only mixed success.

Lilo quoted the famous observation by one of the founding fathers of this nation the late Solomon Mamaloni that ‘Solomon Islands is a nation conceived but not born.’

Prime Minister Lilo said the observation by Mamaloni continues to carry some truth today and would be true for some time in the future.

Narrow economic base

The Prime Minister also emphasized that in 1893, when Charles Woodford made his assessment of the economic viability of the new British Solomon Islands Protectorate, he pegged the economy on copra production.

“Indeed, the Solomon Islands developed significant plantations such as the ones on Guadalcanal and Russell Islands formerly under Lever Solomons,” he said.

However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Prime Minister said the economy turned to logging as its mainstay.

“Fish canning and processing also began as well as agriculture, tourism and some manufacturing. In the 1990s mining began with the establishment and operation of Gold Ridge Mining Ltd. The primary resources sector remains largely the backbone of the economy,” he said.

But the Prime Minister said although the economic base has been expanded somewhat, the economy largely depends on a handful of export goods.

“As a result of this, there is high unemployment amongst the growing youthful population. This is partly responsible for the social crises experienced from 1998 to 2003,” the Prime Minister said.

Misfit of institutions

He also highlighted what he described as the “seeming misfit” between the introduced West Minster system of Government administration and those that existed in Solomon Islands.

The prime minister said contestation exists between the formal institutions and informal institutions and between the power structure of these institutions.

Although arguably, he said the Constitution sets out the framework for governance and the relationships between the political structures in the country, the contestations that constantly occur are not insignificant.

Therefore, Mr. Lilo said they often lead to unnecessary tensions between groups and mistrust of the state by the community.

Customary land tenure

Speaking on this subject, the Prime Minister said that at least eighty percent of the nation’s land and resources are controlled under customary tenure.

He said these resources are controlled by chiefs and traditional landowning groups.

“Since independence, attempts to access customary land for development have not had much success. Consequently there are only a few large scale developments on customary land today,” Mr. Lilo said.

However, he said last year, a significant amount of resources from the development budget had been allocated to projects based on customary land but at the end of last year, only a few projects saw progress.

“Much of the resources are wasted on good will payments and other such payments. Among the factors which slowed down progress were disputes over ownership and benefits coming from the projects,” Mr. Lilo said.

The Prime Minister said this continues to be a major obstacle to progress of projects based on customary land.

Inefficiency of government mechanisms

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has attributed that the government is the largest employer in the economy.

He said this is crowding out growth in the private sector.

“Over the years, due to a laxity in the standards of the public service, corruption and inefficiency has weakened performance of the public service. Consequently, service delivery of the basic services had been severely undermined,” Mr. Lilo said.

“I do not paint this background to discourage anyone or to lay blame on anyone. I simply paint this picture to inform us of the realities of our nation; realities which we must work with, whilst we chart our unique future, amongst the nations of the international community.”

The launching was attended by government ministers, members of parliament, church leaders, premiers, members of the diplomatic corps and senior government officials.

Solomon Star

11) Dolphin slaughter affecting Solomon Islands tourism
By Online Editor
1:45 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, Solomon Islands

A Solomon Islands tourism operator has called on the government to take urgent steps to resolve a dispute that has led to the slaughter of dolphins.

Earlier this month, Fanalei village on Malaita Island captured and killed 700 dolphins after falling out with US conservation group, the Earth Island Institute.

The dispute was over money the villagers say they were owed, in return for foregoing their annual hunt.
Another 300 animals have since been killed, with the villagers saying the slaughter will continue until they get their money.

Dive operator, Danny Kennedy, says the dispute is affecting tourism to the country and it is up to the government to end it.

“They should be looking to do something within the next few days, fly in somebody from the Ministry of Conservation, maybe the general manager of the tourism authority to go out there and talk to them and try to quell the slaughter.”

The chairman of the village’s representative association in Honiara, Atkin Fakaia, says they are not talking yet.

“They have the negative attitude towards us for the slaughters over a week ago,” he said.

The institute says it has provided all the money it promised but the Honiara-based villagers are not passing it on.

The kill has led to a stand-off in Fanalei, with the chief there criticising it, and then being removed from his position for his words.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

12) Focus on tertiary education among Solomons 2013 priorities

Posted at 01:38 on 31 January, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has announced his government’s priorities for this year, including a major focus on tertiary education.

Solomon Star News reports that the transition of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education into the Solomon Islands National University is a central plan for the government in 2013.

Mr Lilo says his government will also continue to work with the University of the South Pacific to set up its local campus at Doma in Guadalcanal Province in response to the growing demand for tertiary education among the country’s youths and working population.

Among other priorites for 2013, Mr Lilo included a commitment to health, the establishment of a Mining Development Authority, and support and promotion of artisanal fisheries.

Radio New Zealand International

13) Solomon Islands relies on Aid for Trade to support its economic development
By Online Editor
1:16 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands expects assistance from Aid for Trade (AfT) to support the island country’s infrastructure development.

This point was clearly made by its Ambassador to the European Union based in Brussels, Moses Mose, while speaking at the recent Aid for Trade Policy Dialogue in Paris.

Ambassador Mose said focus should also be ‘geared towards building the capacity of its private sector to help them facilitate trade.’

‘”For Solomon Islands, one particular area we want Aid for Trade to support is in the area of economic infrastructure because of the geographical condition of the country. We need the right infrastructure to be able to link up producers from the rural areas to the market and of course from the market to the export markets outside the country.

“Really the focus of Aid for Trade in the next global review would be in the area of development infrastructure to support our side capacity to be able to benefit from the multilateral trading system, said Ambassador Mose.

The Aid for Trade Policy Dialogue in Paris on 16 January by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) brought together a wide range of stakeholders from developing and developed countries to discuss how to continue delivering aid for trade results in a changing international environment for trade and development.

Since its inception in 2005, the Aid for Trade Initiative has been engaging with the international donor community to help developing countries, in particular the least developed countries (LDCs), overcome obstacles to trade and development. The Global Reviews of Aid for Trade have shown that aid-for-trade programmes have bettered the lives of many men and women in developing countries, and that the Initiative has not only resulted in trade becoming a development strategy priority but

The Aid for Trade Initiative has mobilized over US$200 billion in funding since 2005. Of this amount, some US$60 billion has been directed to least-developed countries (LDCs).

Solomon Islands, as a least developed country (LDC), with a GDP capita of USD$1,030 (2010) is one of the poorest country in the Pacific region. About three quarters of its population of 600,000 depends on agriculture. Economic growth has principally based on extraction of logs, which accounts for 46 percent of exports in 2011. Other major contributors were minerals 16 percent, fish 11 percent and palm oil 10 percent, according to government records.

The main destinations for the Solomon Islands’ exports are East and South East Asia, particularly China. Non-oil imports come mainly from Australia. Despite market access arrangements, there are relatively few exports to Australia, New Zealand and the EU.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

14) 28 Parties To Contest Provincial Elections In Vanuatu
274 candidates, including 12 women, vie for provincial seats

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 3, 2013) – A total of 28 political parties and groupings in Vanuatu are being represented in this month’s provincial elections in Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea. There are 274 candidates everyone – 12 women and 262 men running for office in the elections on Tuesday, February 12.

Independents head the list with the most number of candidates with 55 candidates, followed by the Vanua’aku Party with 31.

Union of Moderate Party and Reunification of Movement for Change are next both have 24 candidates each followed by the National United Party with 20 candidates.

Of the 12 women standing for election, Shefa Province has 10 of them, the highest number of the other three provinces going to the polls this month. Malampa and Tafea have one woman candidate each while Penama Province has no woman candidate.

And of the ten women candidates in Shefa Province, six women are standing for the election in Efate constituency.

On Emae there are two candidates, Tongoa has one and Epi also one woman candidate. There is one woman candidate on Malekula for Malampa and one on Tanna for Tafea provincial elections.

After the second declaration of the names of approved candidates by the Electoral Commission on January 24, two days after the main list of names was released, Penama now has a total of 50 candidates contesting 16 seats in the Provincial Government Council.

Malampa has 21 seats and there are 69 candidates running for election. 96 candidates are contesting 18 seats in Shefa Provincial Government Council, and in Tafea 64 candidates are standing for election for 18 seats in that Provincial Government Council.

Meanwhile, political campaigning is in progress in all the four provinces and will close on February 8, before the polls on February 12.

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

15) Kilman’s future as Prime Minister will be decided by the Supreme Court Friday
By Online Editor
2:19 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, Vanuatu

By PACNEWS Editor Makereta Komai in Port Vila

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Sato Kilman will know on Friday whether he remains in power when the Supreme Court will hand down its ruling on an electoral petition from Port Vila MP, Willie Jimmie.

In December last year, Jimmie filed a petition against the PM and the Electoral Commission for allowing the then caretaker PM to contest the elections when he allegedly owed money to government.

If the decision is in favour of Willie Jimmie, then PM Kilman’s seat for Lakatoro in Malekula will have to be declared vacant and a by-election convened.

Before national elections on October 30 last year, it was alleged in public debate in Vanuatu that Kilman did not settle an outstanding government land rent for VT13 million (just over USD$120,000), and therefore should be disqualified from contesting the elections.

Willie Jimmie had told the Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper in December 2012 that if the court rules that Kilman’s election is unlawful, then it will likely cause the downfall of his coalition government.

In recent weeks, Kilman’s government has been riddled with controversies – the latest being the involvement of his foreign affairs minister, Alfred Carlot. Minister Carlot met passengers of a mystery plane that landed in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea earlier this month carrying two brothers on Vanuatu diplomatic passports, without the knowledge of his Prime Minister. That action strained relations with Papua New Guinea, whose officials briefly detained the minister’s passport and the crew of the plane before they were released to leave the country.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

16) Vanuatu Housing Board Member Calls For Internal Audit

Authority over state housing corporation uncertain

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 30, 2013) – A Board Member of the National Housing Corporation, Jean Claude Toure-Garae, has called on the ministry responsible and the Vanuatu Government to have an audit carried out on the Corporation’s activities.

He made this comment after being on the Board for over one and half years but felt that many projects that have been approved by the Board during his term have not been implemented.

“There are a number of questions that need to be answered in regard to the functions of the National Housing Corporation,” he said.

One of the examples he raised was what he termed ‘confusion’ at this point of time as to which ministry is responsible for the National Housing Corporation.

He complained that the Board Members were not informed to be present last week when the new Internal Affairs Minister paid an official visit to the Corporation.

“Our (Board Members) understanding is that the portfolio of the National Housing Corporation has be transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“And while still waiting for the clarification to be made, the Internal Affairs Minister paid an official visit to the Corporation during his visit of the organizations under his portfolios,” Toure-Garae said.

When Daily Post contacted the Public Service Commission, a staff within the PSC said the National Housing Corporation is under the Prime Minister’s Office.

But a staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told Daily Post otherwise –that the portfolio of the National Housing Corporation is under the responsibility or portfolio of the Internal Affairs Ministry hence the familiarization visit by the Minister to the NHC Offices.

The staff contacted also confirmed that the appointments of the Board Members of the National Housing Corporation were made by the Minister of Internal Affairs which was also confirmed by Mr. Jean Claude Toure-Garae.

“It is confusing at this stage as to which Ministry the national Housing Corporation comes under. We the Board Members are confused ourselves,” Toure-Garae told Daily Post.

He said the main concentration of the Corporation is collecting outstanding payments of the Fresh Water Housing Scheme and the sale and repurchase of the houses and lands.

“Practically there is no more vacant land in the Fresh Water Housing Corporation Scheme. The Board has recommended to the Government to find a new area where low cost housing scheme can be carried out for the low income wage earners but this project has never been carried out along with many other project proposals that would make the National Housing Corporation Scheme the largest Real Estate for the Government and the people of Vanuatu,” Toure-Garae claimed.

“The National government is yet to pay the National Housing Corporation for the Lands occupied by the Fresh Water School, the Fresh Water Football Field and the Fresh Water Park.

Funds from these which would amount to several million vatu can be used to secure another space to build more houses for the low income wage earners,” Toure-Garae stressed.

”One of the most important thing to do now is to have the National Housing Corporation audited and the ministry responsible must assist the Board in getting this done and clarification made to the Board as to which Ministry is actually responsible for the NHC,” Board Member Jean Claude Toure-Garae stressed.

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

17) Vanuatu Provident Fund Asked To Reinstate GM
Workers union calls for Fund to disclose investigation report

By Glenda Shing

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 30, 2013) – National Secretary and Treasurer of Vanuatu National Workers Union (VNWU) Ephraim Kalsakau has called on the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) Board of Directors to reconsider their decision on the sacking of the General Manager of VNPF, Mrs. Anniva Tarilongi, and have her reinstated to her former position.

Kalsakau is concerned that the content of the VNPF Report that was made by the Auditor General has never been made to the public, however, the VNPF Board went ahead to make their decision to terminate GM Tarilongi along with her five other prominent staff.

“Reinstate the GM and the six staff, disclose the content of the audit report to the members of public and then the Board members could make a decision based on the recommendations in the report,” the VNWU Secretary and Treasurer stated.

Kalsakau argued that the GM’s high salary was due to the new increased salary scale similarly other institutions including the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV), and the Vanuatu Financial Service Commission (VFSC).

Former GM Tarilongi’s recruitment was valid as it (her recruitment) went through a process that was agreed upon by the Board before she was accepted into VNPF as the General Manager, Kalsakau said.

According to Kalsakau, allegations of nepotism leveled against Tarilongi’s management were “unfounded” and claimed that VNWU is aware that it is the appointment of the members of the Board of Directors which was based on nepotism.

Mr. Kalsakau provided an example of current Board member, J Shwartze, whom Kalsakau claimed has not been living in Vanuatu for a long period of time and allegedly had a poor record in terms of employing staff on minimum wage and paying VNPF dues.

He said VNWU recognizes that Tarilongi is the only ni-Vanuatu woman who has the qualifications and experiences to take up that position as the VNPF GM, for the benefit of the local employees in the workforce.

Mrs. Tarilongi and five other staff were suspended since August last year over serious allegations that were raised against her. Last week the Board of Directors terminated them, although no reasons were provided for their termination.

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

18) Vanuatu Landowners Threaten To Burn Logging Machines

Erromango residents say loggers failed to honor 2012 agreement

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 31, 2013) – Thirty landowners on the Island of Erromango have threatened to burn logging machineries unless the Department of Forestry and the Vanuatu Government act quickly to meet their demands.

Speaking on behalf of the thirty landowners, former Member of Parliament, Thomas Nentu, said the landowners signed an agreement with a company from New Caledonia AMIVATU to carry out logging on the island.

He said in 2012 the company placed heavy logging machineries on the island and carried out logging but failed to follow the proper procedures.

Mr. Nentu said instead of constructing proper roads into the forests before carry out logging business, the company used portable machineries to cut down trees and had three shipments to Port Vila.

When the land owners expressed their dissatisfaction about the ways in which AMIVATU was carrying out the logging, the company left Erromango and allegedly returned to New Caledonia without paying the owners for the lumbers they shipped from the island.

“They destroyed our forests and left many trees they cut down just lying there. We have tried a number of times to resolve the issue with the Department of the Forestry and the national government but seem to get nowhere and no positive answers in getting the company to come to Vanuatu to resolve the problems they left behind with the landowners,” Nentu complained.

The former MP who is the leader of the 30 land owners that signed the agreement with AMIVATU for logging on Erromango warned that unless they receive some positive help from the Department of Forestry and the national government in resolving the issue, they will have no alternative but to burn down all machineries kept on Erromango.

Nentu further called on any individuals who are trying to place claims on the machineries but were not on the initial list of owners who signed agreement between AMIVATU and land owners to; refrain from pursuing court claims on the machineries, laywers dealing with any claims in relation to the issue to also stop assisting individuals or companies trying to put claims on machineries, ship owners not to attempt to ship the machineries out of Erromango and foreign or local investors not to try and enter further deals regarding AMIVATU logging on Erromango until the Department of Forestry and the Vanuatu Government assist to resolve the outstanding issue.

“Our last resort will be to burn down all machineries that are now on Erromango under the name of the AMIVATU Company. I wish to remind the Government of the 1997 Park line logging that were burnt because of non-action on the part of the Vanuatu Government at the time,” Nentu expressed to Daily Post.

The Acting Director of the Department of Forestry, Joseph Tukon said he is waiting for the Director to return from leave then they will look into the whole issue. He added that normally the Department of Forestry grants licenses to companies for logging who fulfill the initial requirements under the relevant laws of Vanuatu in regards to logging.

He went on to explain that once the company is given the license, the licensee (company) is required to work closely with the landowners to carry out logging business. He explained that under the logging laws payment(s) for logging would normally take place on the spot-that is where the logging is carried out.

“There are other requirements which are usually explained to the landowners before the investors can carry out logging. And once an agreement is reached and signed between the logging company and the land owners, then the land owners must ensure the company follows the requirements.”

The Acting Director said he is waiting for the return of the Director to see how the Department and the Government can assist with the complaints lodged by the Erromango land owners.

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

19) Australia urges Fiji to look to Indonesian model on democracy

Updated 1 February 2013, 17:57 AEST

Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr has suggested Fiji look closely at the way Indonesia has restructured the relationship between its government and its military.

The comments come as the island nation prepares to start the final process for drafting a constitution to replace the one scrapped by its military regime in 2009.

That process has come in for criticism after parts of the draft prepared by the Constitutional Committee, led by Professor Yash Ghai, were rejected, with the military making it clear it had no intention of stepping away from the influential role it now has in all aspects of Fiji society and government.

Senator Carr told Jim Middleton from the ABC’s Newsline program, Indonesia can provide a good example of how to deal with that issue.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/australia-urges-fiji-to-look-to-indonesian-model-on-democracy/1082426

20) Fiji Government Says Draft Constitution In Final Stages
Constituent assembly tasked to review draft yet to name members

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 3, 2013) – The Fiji interim government says its draft constitution is in its final stages and it will be completed this month.

The regime draft was to be ready last week after the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau rejected the draft prepared by the Constitution Commission late last year.

The regime has told the Fiji Sun that it was always the intention to release the draft when the Constituent Assembly sits.

However, there is no firm time table and its members have not been named yet.

The Assembly was to start deliberating the draft four weeks ago but is now not expected to do so for another two weeks.

The regime has also said the constitution will be ready late next month well ahead of elections promised for September next year.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

21) Fiji military will have a seat on Constituent Assembly

Posted at 03:24 on 04 February, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says the military will have a seat on the Constituent Assembly which will debate the draft constitution.

Fiji media report he told military officers at a medal presentation ceremony the Constituent Assembly would be announced soon and a military representative will sit on it.

He told the officers the military’s support during this time is important and officers should not be surprised by what is going on as it was part of the military’s agenda.

Commodore Bainimarama says officers should know their roles and move with the government in order to reach the 2014 elections.

Radio New Zealand International

22) Fiji State Land Tenants To Benefit From Consultations
Lands ministry representatives will begin meetings in February

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 31, 2013) – More than 17,000 state land tenants will now have the opportunity to voice their concerns with Fiji’s Ministry of Lands or liaise on any issue regarding state land leasing and licensing.

This comes after Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama during his visit to Sigatoka found out that farmers were facing problems with their land leases and very less was done by the authorities concerned.

Bainimarama who is also the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources after receiving complaints immediately instructed a team of officials to visit homes and hear first hand their concerns.

And the Ministry of Lands in response has advertised a list of areas in the western division where tenants will be requested to attend the face-to-face consultations.

Permanent Secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa in a statement has called on tenants and other stakeholders in the Western Division to heed to the PM’s message to “talk to the right people” to address their concerns.

“I would encourage them (tenants and stakeholders) to come forward because as the Prime Minister has stressed, you need to talk to the right people and the right people are coming down,” he said.

“The officials will be listening to their concerns, giving advice and if possible solving their problems right there and then.”

The face to face consultation begins from Sigatoka at the District Officers (DO) office on February 4, 2013 and moves on to Nadi the next day at the DO Nadi’s office.

Similarly, the Commissioner Western’s Office in Lautoka on February 6 and DO’s office in Ba and Rakiraki on February 7 and 8 will also provide people the same opportunity.

Boseiwaqa said the four division’s will be covered in the first quarter with the first consultation being held in the West as the State has the largest number of tenants.

“We will be going back to the West in the next two weeks since in the first round we might miss out some people and this will also be like a follow-up for us,” he said.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

23) Fiji scores poorly in budget transparency report

Posted at 06:09 on 31 January, 2013 UTC

A global report has ranked Fiji near the bottom in terms of budget transparency.

Fiji was given only six points out of 100 on the Open Budget Index, compiled by an independent researcher in partnership with the International Budget Partnership based in Washington DC.

The result was seven points lower than Fiji’s score in the 2010 survey.

A researcher Albert Cerelala says the index is based on how many of eight key budget documents are produced and published, as well as the level of public participation.

He says Papua New Guinea achieved an above-average score of 56 in comparison.

Mr Cerelala says most of the documents are produced by the Fiji government for internal use only, and Fiji can easily do better by being more open.

“One we don’t have, the five budget documents that are currently being produced, we don’t have them being published, but also on top of that we don’t have an existing legislature, we don’t have independent oversight, and we also have very weak participatory processes in budget decision-making.”

Independent Researcher Albert Cerelala.

Radio New Zealand International

24) Women’s Group Opposes Trademarking Of Fijian Motifs
Fiji Airways attempting to brand 15 traditional tapa designs

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 3, 2013) – The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) has strongly objected the attempt made by Fiji Airways to trademark the traditional kesakesa designs. According to reports, Fiji Airways is moving to trademark 15 motifs.

Executive Director Virisila Buadromo in a statement said FWRM is against any attempts to commercially trademark cultural designs which are part of the Fijian culture and have always been available to people and communities.

She said the move by Fiji Airways directly contravenes national, regional and international norms and standards on protection of societal intellectual property and public good. “It is also in direct violation of various articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially Article 31,” Buadromo said.

“This is also a contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW], as women in Fiji are still the primary producers of such masi designs, and therefore various economic, social and cultural rights of women would be directly and indirectly affected by such an illegal and unethical trademark system.”

While the movement believes that the use of the traditional designs and the extensive promotion the logo designer received at the launch of the Fiji Airways new look was commendable, this latest action clearly shows how Fiji Airways wants to possess and control culture.

“We strongly urge Fiji Airways to withdraw their application, and urge the Administrator of Trademarks to dismiss their application if it is not withdrawn,” said Buadromo. “We also urge relevant authorities to create public awareness on this issue which will dissuade other entities from attempting to corporatize public and cultural designs.”

FWRM will be joining the many concerned individuals and organizations in writing a letter to the Administrator of Trademarks. Meanwhile, Air Pacific which will fly as Fiji Airways from next month is expected to comment on the issue tomorrow.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

25) Stay away from politics, soldiers reminded: Fiji PM
By Online Editor
3:53 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2013, Fiji

All military personnel were today reminded by Army Commander and Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama to stay away from politics and remain loyal to their duty and the country.

While addressing soldiers during their first parade at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua, Bainimarama said officers should not be moved or disturbed by criticism made by old politicians against the developments in the country.

“You should not be moved by all this talks from politicians especially now that we have been leading and supporting government for six years in its road to democracy,” said Bainimarama.

“This is an important year for us as we will be announcing the new constitution and moving towards election,” he said. “You should be able to know the commander’s intents for 2013 and should also know your roles as military officers in our road to democracy.”

He also said they should continue to support government in everything they do until they reach their goals of having a new constitution and towards elections.

RFMF is made up of more than 3000 soldiers around the country with about 6000 reserves.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s military will be represented in the Constituent Assembly which will be announced soon by Commodore Bainimarama.

This was announced by Bainimarama today during the first parade and medal presentation ceremony of military officers at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua.

“In a short time we will be announcing the members of the constituent assembly and a military representative will surely be part of the assembly in order to prepare a new constitution that will bring peace and take Fiji to a better place,” said Bainimarama.

Bainimarama said officers should know their roles and move with the government in order to reach the 2014 elections because everything that is happening is part of military’s agenda.

“You should not be moved and be surprised with what is going on and should stay focus in our goals in trying to reach elections,” he said.

He also said military’s participation and support during this time plays an important part and they would want to see military’s views when the new constitution is released.

Bainimarama today handed 163 medals to officers who have served the RFMF for more than 15 years.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

26) Second-hand buying

Avinesh Gopal
Monday, February 04, 2013

THE difficult economic situation does not permit many people to buy brand new items for their homes.

As a result, many people who want certain household items often resort to buying these from a garage sale or other outlets selling second-hand items.

While some of the second-hand items are available at a much lower price than the brand new ones, there are certain things which the buyers have to keep in mind.

According to the Consumer Council of Fiji, second-hand items are regulated under the Second Hand Dealers Act (Cap 238).

But unfortunately, the council says the law does not prescribe standards of second-hand goods or prices.

The council said the Second Hand Dealers Act mostly dealt with licensing and regulating the dealers.

Council’s chief executive officer Premila Kumar said other laws relating to receipts, merchantable quality, misleading information and exclusionary notices would still apply.

Mrs Kumar says pre-disclosure of information on the second-hand goods must be provided to the consumer before he or she decides to buy the product.

She said the council had not received any complaints about the items sold in second-hand shops.

But, she said, concerns had been raised by people on the pricing and quality.

“We mostly receive queries on the high prices of second-hand items.

“The council advises consumers to choose carefully because second-hand items are not new items and therefore the durability or life of a product can be a problem.”

Mrs Kumar said people should check the items carefully before buying, and check other shops for similar items, and keep their receipts properly.

“Although it is true that consumers cannot expect the same quality as that of a new product, nevertheless a limited warranty or assurance for further repairs is desirable to protect the consumer interest because after all, he/she is paying some price for such second-hand product.

“There obviously cannot be the warranty/guarantee of the manufacturer but the dealer’s warranty can be provided.”

Mrs Kumar said a way should be found on how consumers could be covered in the proposed Consumer Protection Act.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=224265

27) With UN gone, Timor faces up to economic challenges

Updated: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 03:12:58 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

East Timor is striking out on its own after 13 years of UN protection, facing the daunting challenge of how to retool its economy and ease its dependence on energy to tunnel out of poverty.

Foreign troops ended their peacekeeping mission in the half-island nation of 1.1 million people on December 31 and Asia’s youngest country is now turning its focus from security to building an economy almost entirely from scratch.

A 20-year plan spearheaded by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao aims to transform the nation of predominantly poor subsistence farmers to an upper-middle-income economy that exports cash crops, livestock and processed oil products.

The task is mammoth for what the IMF has dubbed the “most oil-dependent economy in the world”, which produces little beyond some $15 million in coffee a year, mostly for Starbucks, accounting for 90 percent of its non-oil exports.

World Bank country manager Luis Constantino said East Timor was, in fact, a “big example of things actually going right”.

“They rightly focused on stability, they achieved peace, they created confidence in the state, they devised a vision and they put institutions in place to guide the country forward,” Constantino told AFP.

However, the country’s double-digit growth in recent years has come almost entirely from controversial state spending of the nation’s $11 billion petroleum fund.

The money has steamrolled much-needed infrastructure, most of which was destroyed in Indonesia’s 24-year occupation, when some 183,000 people — then a quarter of the population — died from starvation, fighting and disease.

“Now there’s the challenge to diversify Timor-Leste’s economy to one that’s not just dependent on oil but creates other sources of wealth,” Constantino said, referring to the country by its official name.

After criticism, the government plans to draw only 66 percent of its budget, or $1.2 billion, from the petroleum fund this year, down from 80 percent in 2012.

But the opposition Fretilin Party said the government had neglected 75 percent of the population who are subsistence farmers.

“If you look at the amount of money the previous government spent, over $4 billion, you wonder where it all went,” Fretilin member of parliament Estanislau da Silva said.

Only 20 minutes from the centre of the capital Dili, what the economic challenges mean for ordinary people is only too apparent.

Malnourished children with bloated stomachs and runny noses play among ramshackle tin huts in the village of Kulau Rai Hun, as jobless parents sit idly by a dirt road, drinking coffee and smoking.

Marta de Jesus, 48, and her husband, a taxi driver who earns $5 on a good day, cannot grow or buy enough food to meet their nutritional needs.

“We get through around 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of rice every week. That’s all we eat. If we have more money we can buy meat and sometimes corn,” she said outside her two-room dirt-floor home.

The couple had 13 children, two of whom died from malaria and malnutrition.

The country’s fertility rate — the fourth highest in the world, with an average of 6.5 children per family — will only exacerbate food insecurity and unemployment, which is more than 40 percent among youths, according to AusAID.

To tackle both issues, the government plan includes the cultivation of cash crops such as palm oil, vanilla and candlenut for export. The country now imports almost all fruit and vegetables.

But experts are sceptical.

“It’s never going to develop a viable secondary industry sector, it simply doesn’t have a sufficient market domestically, nor does it have the requisite skills,” Damien Kingsbury from Deakin University in Melbourne said.

Downstream energy industries are touted as the nation’s best hope, but Kingsbury called an estimated $10 billion development of the southern coast as an oil and gas supply base and refinery “questionable at best”.

Charles Scheiner from the Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis said the plan was “a very attractive dream for the kind of lives the people deserve”.

It should focus, however, on realistic goals, such as improving health and education, which received only some 10 percent of the budget, he said.

“Timorese don’t need propane, or diesel fuel. They need food and water, and 80 percent are farmers, so that’s where the focus of economic development should be,” Scheiner said, adding only two percent of the budget goes to agriculture.

Deputy Prime Minister Fernando La Sama de Araujo said the government recognised the scale of the challenge but was still hopeful it could improve people’s lives.

“We can’t say we’re going to solve the poverty issue 100 percent, but we’re trying to reduce it. And we’re optimistic the government can tackle it.”

strs-ad/lv/jah

28) UN Reports ‘Slow Progress’ For Basic Freedoms In Tonga
Women’s agency head hopes review will prompt official action

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 3, 2013) – A Tongan women’s agency says the latest review of human rights by the United Nations is a wake up call for the government and civil society to speed up progress on gender equality and domestic violence laws.

Tonga is the first Pacific country to undergo a second review after concerns over the slow progress of basic freedoms.

The report recommends allowing women to own land, protection from domestic violence, better police training as well as abolishing the death penalty and corporal punishment.

The coordinator of the NGO Ma’a Fafine Moe Famili, Betty Blake, says she hopes the review will prompt the government to act.

“I would like to see that government look into women’s rights, our legislation and that government look into the new Family Bill that we are putting in. I would like to see that some resource is being put into the implementation.”

Betty Blake says more needs to be done to address cultural barriers to basic human rights in Tonga.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

29) New TV and FM stations to air in Tongatapu
By Online Editor
3:43 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2013, Tonga

Two new television and one FM stations operated by two local business family in Nuku’alofa are expected to start operation soon after receiving their broadcast licenses from Government

Tonga’s Ministry of Information and Communications issued individual licenses to Uata Media Ltd. of the Uata family, run by Tu’i Uata, to broadcast a TV and FM station. While Nuku’alofa TV Ltd. run by the Ramanlal family will operate a new television station.

Both of the broadcasting companies have not set a date to go on air but they expect it would be sometime soon after their set-up is completed.

Ramanlal Vallabh said they will offer free to air, providing entertainment from television series, movies to rugby. The Ramanlal family currently operates a 24-hrs FM station 88.6 Radio Nuku’alofa.

“We are still discussing our programs and schedules but we would probably be on air in the evening. We are a family business that has a radio station and now we want to get into television entertainment,” said Vallabh.

Meanwhile Tu’i Uata, a son of businessman and parliamentarian ‘Uliti Uata, said today that their TV and FM stations would start operation soon once their stations are established.

He said they would run free to air, local programs on TV, and their FM radio station educate the public on the spirit of cooperation, and raising awareness on Tonga’s new system of government.

The Ministry of Information and Communications stated the license applications were carefully processed since last year, according to the requirements of the Communications Act, and also vetted against the national policy objectives of the communications sector.

Uata Media Ltd. was issued with a new TV Broadcasting license and a FM Radio license while Nuku’alofa Ltd. received a new TV broadcasting license. The duration of the licenses is five years but they can be renewed.
Each application must meet the necessary requirements, including compliance with consumer standards, pass the inspected technical and program standards, and to provide quality of service.

‘Alifeleti Tu’ihalamaka, the Head of the Communications Department of the Ministry of Information and Communications said that once applications met the necessary requirements according to the law and policy, they processed them for approval, which may include proof of financial viability as a business, technical capability and ethical standards as a broadcaster.

Uata Media Ltd’s FM Radio Station will be the eighth FM station in Tonga. The new TV stations would cover Tongatapu and the western part of ‘Eua. Other free to air in Tonga are Television Tonga, and the Christian TV Network. Paid subscriber TV is also provided by DigiTV and Sky TV.

The Ministry of Information and Communications also renewed the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) license of the Office Equipment Ltd.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

30) Samoa Land and Titles Court gets three new judges

Posted at 01:44 on 04 February, 2013 UTC

Samoa’s Lands and Titles court has three new judges, including a woman holding a high ranking matai title, Auelua Apoiliu Tamaseu Warren.

Judge Warren is the fifth woman to be appointed as judge of the Lands and Titles court.

The two other new judges are Letufuga Ioakimo Tauiliili, who is a former senior officer of the ministry of justice, and Pouniu Siaosi Hazelman, who was the former CEO of the government’s Airport Authority.

Judge Warren is a former senior public servant.

They were sworn before the chief judge, Patu Falefatu Maka Sapolu

Radio New Zealand International

31) Kiribati To Buy 6,000 Acres Of Land In Fiji For Food Security
President Tong says land is for food, not for relocation

By Mereseini Marau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 4, 2013) – The government of Kiribati will buy about 6,000 acres of land near Savusavu in Fiji for its food security as the country has started feeling the effects of the rising sea level.

And it will ensure that it protects whatever part of Kiribati that can be saved from the wrath of climate change.

In an interview, Kiribati President Anote Tong who was in New Delhi for the 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, said the last thing he wanted was for people to panic.

“We are buying this land in Vanua Levu, near Savusavu, to address our food security and not for the relocation of our people,” he said.

“The survey is concluded and we are now waiting for the approval of the Minister of Lands.”

Mr. Tong who has been advocating about the adverse effects of climate change in his small island state said that a whole community in Kiribati had relocated and the frequency of those relocating was more often now than before.

“We don’t want our people to panic,” he reiterated. Mr. Tong said they were training people on what to expect if they were to relocate.

“We are not picking them up and relocating them. We are training them and they have a choice if they want to move.”

Mr. Tong said they did not want people to say they relocated because of climate change but because they had a choice to do so. With some of the islands on the verge of sinking in Kiribati, the first citizen of that small island state said everyone accepted that they could not save all their islands by building them up.

But, he said, that they would do everything they could do to ensure that they did not lose their nation to the rising sea level.

“We have accepted that we can’t keep everyone in Kiribati, some will have to relocate. Relocating the whole country is our last option.

“We will try and build up some of our islands, but we can’t do that for all. Nobody is going to give us the money to build up all our islands,” he said.

Mr. Tong said at the moment, the government of Kiribati was looking at other options like securing their food sources.

“We are importing a lot of our food crops because our food crops are affected,” he said. “So the land near Savusavu is an investment which we hope to help in our food security.”

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

32) Dry spell prompts water restrictions in Marshalls

Posted at 03:29 on 31 January, 2013 UTC

Water restrictions are now in place in the Marshall Islands capital, Majuro, after continued dry weather.

It hasn’t rained for almost a week, and the main reservoir is now down to 10 million gallons or about seven to eight days supply.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says US weather officials in Guam have issued an advisory for the northern Marshall Islands not to expect any relief in the next few days and to prepare accordingly.

He says water restrictions are in force in the capital.

“In Majuro, water is now being restricted by the government utility down from eight hours a day five days a week to two hours, twice a week, so yes, we have gone into drought water rationing, that’s for sure.”

Giff Johnson says most of those living in the outer islands have their own water systems but he says if things get worse, the government will ship water to the outer islands.

He says 90 percent of fresh water in the Marshall Islands comes from the rain.

Radio New Zealand International

33) CNMI faces underage drinking challenge
By Online Editor
1:43 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

Researchers say nearly half of in Northern Marianas’ public high school students are regular underage drinkers.

The Commonwealth Health Centre in the Northern Marianas is coordinating a study on substance abuse in the US Pacific territory, using data from the Health Department, police, youth services and schools.

The centre’s James Arriola has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program young people are often not allowed to drink alcohol for legal and cultural reasons.

“So when they do get alcohol, often times they don’t sit around and drink it slowly and responsibly, they binge drink,” he said.

Arriola says the centre is trying to tackle substance abuse not just among teenagers but across the population.

He says prevention methods used on the US mainland don’t work so well in a Pacific setting, so the centre has devised its own, island-focused approach.

“What we’re trying to do is create a more holistic system of care that works to bridge the gaps between our traditional systems of understanding prevention and our new national institutions that serve as the primary system of education,” he said.

Arriola said substance abuse, including alcohol and tobacco use, is having a devastating impact on the health of people living in the region.

“One of the biggest problems in the region, not just in the Mariana Islands but throughout Micronesia, is we have a huge epidemic of non-communicable diseases going on,” he said.

“A huge part of that is primarily related to substance abuse and misuse.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

34) Palau president names cabinet members
By Online Editor
2:01 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, Palau

Palau President Tommy Remengesau announced his cabinet members to the public during a press conference last week.

Former Delegate of Ngchesar Secilil Eldebechel was appointed as minister of finance; Koror Elementary School principal Andrew Tabelual, minister of education; former Social Security Administrator Greg Ngirmang, ministry of health; and Umiich Sengebau of The Nature Conservancy, minister of natural resources, environment and tourism.

Remengesau also named Rhineheart Silas as his deputy chief of Staff.

The remaining members of his cabinet will be announced in the upcoming days

SOURCE: OCEANIA TV/PACNEWS

35) Australia mulls plan for Kiwis’ residency
By Online Editor
10:12 am GMT+12, 04/02/2013, Australia

Thousands of New Zealanders living “temporarily” in Australia could win residency – but only after spending nearly a decade in the country.

Internal Australian immigration documents reveal a proposed “pathway” that would allow New Zealanders living in Australia to gain permanent residency after “eight years or more”.

The proposal has been presented to the Cabinet in Australia, although its status is unclear.

Permanent residency would open the door to citizenship, which is increasingly rare among New Zealanders in Australia.

Under the current rules, thousands of New Zealanders living and working in Australia will never be eligible for permanent residency, usually because they do not have in-demand skills.

While they can live indefinitely in Australia as “temporary residents”, paying tax and raising their “temporary” children, they cannot get most social support available to other long-term residents.

In contrast, Australians are automatically treated as permanent residents upon arrival in New Zealand and can apply for citizenship after five years.

The discrepancy has been labelled discriminatory and even racist by opponents, who say it has contributed to increasing poverty, crime and homelessness in some Queensland communities.

Estimates of the number of ineligible Kiwis in Australia vary wildly from 100,000 to as few as 8000. Regardless, the number is growing every year, with a record 53,676 New Zealanders moving to Australia last year.

Even those who are eligible for permanent residency usually remain on “temporary” visas out of ignorance or prohibitive costs.

Kiwi rights activist David Faulkner said the proposed “pathway” was a political quick fix; improving life for a few New Zealanders and enshrining discrimination against the rest. Most would have a long wait for eligibility.

For many New Zealand children it would be too late, as their “temporary” status meant they could not obtain university student loans.

“You would have to come over here as an eight-year-old to make it for university.”

For those who were eligible, application for permanent residency cost thousands of dollars and could still be declined on health grounds, he said.

Both the New Zealand and Australian governments have pledged to develop better “pathways to citizenship” amid growing concerns about an underclass of Kiwis in Australia.

But the financial cost could scuttle any proposal. Documents show Australian immigration officials remain worried about the welfare burden of new permanent residents.

In one briefing, it is calculated the proposal could give another 15,000 New Zealanders access to Australian social welfare every year.

One official described the current immigration rules as “unfair” while another said he “regretted that neither I or the department have the ability to waive these requirements”.

One of many anomalies identified were New Zealanders with “character concerns” who mistakenly gained access to Australia and settled there permanently with their families. On subsequent visits back to New Zealand some had been caught out by immigration officials and refused re-entry to Australia.

Children were of particular concern, with an official estimating 40,000 New Zealand children were living on “temporary” visas in Australia, curtailing their access to tertiary education and welfare.

A spokesman for Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen would not comment on the proposal but said the government was always “reviewing and improving its visa processes and pathways”.

New Zealanders were not denied a pathway to citizenship available to other immigrants, but because they were allowed to live and work in Australia many mistakenly believed they would automatically qualify for citizenship.

“New Zealanders are certainly not denied a path to citizenship or are discriminated against – they have the same path as anyone else applying for Australian citizenship.”.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

36) Beijing flexes naval might in western Pacific
By Online Editor
1:47 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, China

Three advanced Chinese warships left port on Wednesday for naval drills and war games in the Western Pacific, and the fleet will likely pass through disputed waters in the East and South China Sea, state media said.

The official Xinhua news agency described the maneuvers as routine, but they come as China is engaged in an increasingly bitter, high stakes dispute over maritime territory with Japan and with several Southeast Asia nations.

“The fleet will carry out more than 20 types of exercises including naval confrontation, battle drills far out at sea, the protection of maritime rights and command and control,” Xinhua cited the Defence Ministry as saying in a statement.

“These exercises on the high seas will take in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel and the seas to the east of Taiwan.”

President Hu Jintao has made boosting the navy a priority, especially in trying to turn it into a blue-water fleet able to operate far from China’s shore, and Chinese ships have participated in anti-piracy missions off Somalia.

But China’s growing defence budget, military advances and perceived lack of transparency have alarmed its neighbors and the United States. China is developing stealth fighters and last year launched its first aircraft carrier.

On Sunday, the government said it had again tested emerging military technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air.

China says it has no hostile designs and that it is simply updating its outdated forces.

The Pacific drills are “a normal way of exercising to raise the fighting ability of the navy”, Xinhua cited a naval officer as saying, adding that it was common for other navies to drill in seas far from home.

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

37) Fidji : l’homme du premier putsch quitte l’arène politique

Mis à jour 4 February 2013, 8:58 AEST
Pierre Riant

En fait le général Rabuka a mené deux coups d’État en 1987 et il a  ensuite été élu Premier ministre en 1992.

Le général de division Sitiveni Rabuka se retoire de la vie politique après quelques coups d’État. (Credit: AFP)

Des coups d’État menés au nom du nationalisme indigène.

Sitiveni Rabuka a aussi été arrêté en 2006 pour incitation à la mutinerie, mais il a par la suite été acquitté.  C’est en 2006 que l’actuel Premier ministre par intérim, Frank Bainimarama, a renversé le gouvernement du parti SDL au pouvoir de Laisenia Qarase.

Une carrière mouvementée pour ce général de division qui nous a expliqué son départ de la vie politique.

RABUKA : « Tout l’environnement au niveau national est différent maintenant, mes partisans initiaux se sont éloignés de moi. Peut-être que nous sommes dans une nouvelle ère de la politique fidjienne et que mes services ne sont plus requis. C’est plus pragmatique pour moi de me retirer et de laisser aller de l’avant ceux qui sont en harmonie avec la tendance. »

Les nouvelles réglementations sur l’enregistrement des partis politiques ont aussi contribué à la décision de Sitiveni Rabuka de jeter l’éponge.

En vertu de ces nouvelles réglementations, toute formation politique doit faire état de 5 000 membres payants pour s’enregistrer et le nom d’un parti politique doit être en anglais.

Le général indique que si les 5 000 membres payants ne posent pas un problème pour son SVT :  le Soqosoqo Vakavulewa ni Taukei, (le Parti Politique Fidjien), changer de nom est un obstacle.

RABULKA : « Je pense que nous avons des difficultés à répondre à toutes les exigences, mais l’une des raisons principales qui empêchent le SVT de continuer est que nous avons un nom indigène, un nom fidjien. Et toutes les formations politiques doivent avoir un nom en anglais et nous n’avons pas de nom en anglais. Nous ne pouvons donc pas continuer et c’est logique de nous démanteler et d’autoriser nos membres à rejoindre d’autres partis, s’il reste encore des membres. »

Il faut dire que le SVT n’a remporté que 8 sièges aux élections de 1999 et aucun aux élections de 2001 et de 2006.

Toujours est-il que depuis 1987, Sitiveni Rambuka a mis de l’eau dans son vin et prône souvent la tolérance. Voici ce qu’il pense de l’actuelle administration fidjienne.

RABUKA : « Je ne l’approuve pas. Ce que j’ai fait n’est pas bien et ce qu’ils ont fait n’est pas bien. S’ils veulent représenter le peuple au Parlement, alors ils doivent se débarrasser de leurs uniformes [militaires] et se présenter aux élections. »

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-02-04/fidji-lhomme-du-premier-putsch-quitte-larène-politique/1082966

38) Les orphelins séropositifs de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée

Posté à 4 February 2013, 9:08 AEST
Pierre Riant

Des données empiriques suggèrent que davantage d’enfants sont placés dans des orphelinats par des parents en train de mourir du SIDA.

La Fondation des amis (Friends Foundation) indique que 15 jeunes orphelins en provenance de régions isolées de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ont été déposés fin 2012  à la Fondation.

Cette Fondation ne s’occupe pas de ces enfants à plein temps, son but est de collecter des fonds pour fournir à ces enfants des allocations sociales et scolaires.

Jessie Soi, la fondatrice, n’aiment pas que des enfants soient élevés dans des orphelinats et elle tente de les placer dans le réseau de la famille élargie.

SOI : « L’année dernière nous avons enregistré 46 cas d’enfants orphelins et juste avant la fin de l’année, nous avons eu 15 cas supplémentaires qui sont venus depuis des campements autour de Port Moresby [la capitale]. Ils  ont été emmenés par des amis, les parents sont morts du SIDA et ils ne savaient pas où aller.
Leur âge varie de deux ans à quatorze ans. Nous sommes vraiment inquiets de tous ces gamins dont on ne soupçonne même pas l’existence et qui tentent de survivre avec leurs grands-parents au jour le jour. »

Comme je le disais la Fondation des amis n’est pas un orphelinat mais une organisation caritative qui, dans la mesure du possible, tente de placer les orphelins chez des membres de la famille élargie.

SOI : «  Je pense que les orphelins doivent aller dans leur famille élargie parce que les enfants qui sont placés dans des institutions ne sont pas élevés dans leur propre culture et ne sont plus au courant de leurs coutumes et comme vous le savez il y a de nombreuses cultures en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Et dans un orphelinat, ils apprendront ce que disent les personnes qui s’occupent d’eux. Moi, je pense que les orphelins doivent vivre avec leurs grands-parents, leurs tantes ou leurs oncles. »

La Fondation des amis s’occupent de donner de l’argent de poche aux enfants et d’aider la famille d’accueil à payer les frais de scolarité, à habiller les enfants et à les nourrir.

SOI : « Absolument, j’ai été très claire avec les familles quand j’ai commencé ce programme, je leur ai dit qu’elles devaient répondre aux besoins de base des enfants ; comme les vêtements et la nourriture. Je leur ai dit que je donnerais de l’argent de poche mais que je m’occuperais aussi de l’école et je suis maintenant contente que le gouvernement ait offert l’école gratuite. Mais il y a toujours des frais, comme les uniformes, les crayons, les règles, vous savez les fournitures scolaires. »

Et voilà, le travail somme toute remarquable de  Jessie Soi, la fondatrice de la Friends Foundation.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-02-04/les-orphelins-séropositifs-de-papouasie-nouvelleguinée/1082968

39) Lote Tuqiri happy to shift wings for fellow Fijian flyer Marika Koroibete
By Online Editor
2:23 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2013, Australia

They’re two Fijian flyers at opposite ends of stellar careers.

The left wingers are locked in one of the NRL’s most intriguing selection battles.

They were raised a short distance apart in rural Fiji, with the quietly-spoken Koroibete relying on Tuqiri to help translate since his arrival two years ago.

Koroibete also earned his NRL stripes courtesy of Tuqiri, whose season-ending bicep injury opened the way for the explosive 20-year-old over the final six rounds of 2012.

Seven tries – including a club record haul of four in his second NRL appearance – announced Koroibete as a cult hero.

Now 33, Tuqiri has enjoyed such popularity his entire career and can appreciate what awaits his protege.

“I knew he was going to make an impact when he got a run,” Tuqiri said.

“The scary thing is the kid is still learning. If he sticks to it, I think he will be a big name in rugby league for a while.”

The major part of Koroibete’s learning curve is not physical, but literal.

While powerful enough to bowl over several team mates during a recent opposed session, he still struggles to communicate with them on the field.

“It’s an ongoing issue and sometimes he needs a little bit of a prod to talk-up more,” Tigers coach Mick Potter said.

“He’s very shy and not confident in saying something, because he might say the wrong thing.”

It’s a little discussed problem that Tuqiri can appreciate, hence why Tigers staff enlisted his help to translate.

“He was living not far away from where I was from in Fiji, so we speak a similar dialect,” Tuqiri said.

“It’s sometimes easier for the guys to communicate through me.

“He’s finding his voice slowly. We’ve still got to try and communicate with him.

“A few boys do hand signs and things like that.

“It’s just that he’s shy about saying too much and getting the message wrong.

“I know coming from Fiji you are worried about people laughing at what you are putting across.”

Having verbally agreed – but not yet finalised – a one-year extension, Tuqiri is not taking anything for granted in 2013.

Given his disastrous run of arm injuries over the past two seasons, he’s now happy to shift to the right edge to accommodate Koroibete.

“I’ve not played with him yet and we’re both left wingers,” Tuqiri said.

“But I don’t really mind where I play, either edge is fine.

“The good thing about the Tigers this year is that there’s a lot of guys going for spots.

“The coach has tried to instill a bit of competition and that’s shown in the gym and training paddock.

“I’ve had a bit of bad luck over the past couple of years and I just want to finish on my terms, not limping off with a career-ending injury.”

In the unfamiliar position of playing for his future, the dual international has taken a new mindset into this season.
“I’m not 21 anymore. I know I’ve only got a finite amount of time,” he said.

“But I don’t mind having the pressure of having to perform – not only to get a spot next year but to keep going beyond that.

“The younger blokes will get more time to flourish, but I’ve got to show what I can straight away.”.

SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

40) England win thrilling NZ Sevens final
By Online Editor
4:01 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2013, New Zealand

England’s Sevens side rose to the challenge to beat off the superb challenge of Kenya to strike in sudden death extra time and win the Hertz Sevens, round four of the HSBC Sevens World Series in New Zealand’s capital Wellington.

At the business end of a fascinating tournament, Kenya shocked hosts New Zealand to win through to only their second ever IRB Sevens Cup final and also led England 19-12 with seconds remaining, but captain Tom Powell’s converted try drew England level and 20-year old Sam Edgerley pounced in sudden death extra time to seal victory.

In reaching the final, Kenya have risen to second in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings, 21 points behind leaders New Zealand. England’s maximum haul from Wellington takes them up to eighth.

It was just the final dramatic act in an extraordinary day in Wellington when Kenya earlier beat New Zealand 19-14, also in extra time, to reach the 2013 Hertz Sevens final.

DAY TWO HIGHLIGHTS

Having trailed 14-0, Mike Friday’s side scored two second-half tries to take the match into sudden death extra time before Oscar Ouma scored the all-important try, his second of the match. New Zealand still finished third overall, beating Samoa 17-7 in the third place play-off.

Ben Ryan’s side booked their place in the final beating Samoa 21-19. Trailing 12-0, Christian Lewis-Pratt (twice) and Marcus Watson gave them a 21-12 lead which proved enough despite Lio Lolo’s effort.

In the quarter finals, New Zealand beat Australia 24-5 thanks to two tries from Gillies Kaka, England defeated the Auld Enemy 31-7 with Dan Norton and Marcus Watson scoring two each, while Samoa proved too strong for Argentina.

In what was arguably the most entertaining quarter final, Kenya defeated African rivals South Africa 21-20. Having trailed 15-7 and 20-14, Willy Ambaka scorched away to score his second try of the match to snatch a 21-20 victory for Mike Friday’s side with four missed conversions proving decisive for South Africa.

Plate triumph for Australia

Michael O’Connor’s Australia made it five wins from six by beating Scotland 22-7 to win the Plate. Their only defeat came at the hands of New Zealand, before two Shannon Walker tries and 13 points from Lewis Holland secured their place in the final and ended a disappointing weekend for Paul Treu’s side who managed just one victory.

Scotland bounced back from the earlier defeat to England and continued their impressive form at the Hertz Sevens, beating Argentina 35-5 to book their place in the Plate final.

Paris double gives Canada Bowl

Canada beat Fiji 28-19 in the Bowl final, winning all three of their matches on day two thanks to two tries from Taylor Paris.
Fiji will be disappointed with their tournament having failed to reach the Cup quarter finals for the first time in the history of the World Series.

Sean Duke scored twice in Canada’s 31-7 victory against Spain to reach the Bowl final, having earlier beaten Tonga 28-5 thanks to tries from Nathan Hirayama, Tyler Ardron, Duke and Conor Trainor, while Julien Candelon took his tournament try tally to nine for France on day two, but could not prevent Fiji booking their place in the final.

Competing in their first ever Bowl competition in the history of the World Series, five different players scored tries for Fiji in their 29-12 quarter final victory against the USA.

Spain defeated Portugal in the first match of day one in an all-Iberian encounter. Locked at 19-19 in an enthralling match, Pedro Martin chipped and re-gathered then raced the length of the pitch to score his second try of the match and give Spain a dramatic victory. France beat Wales 33-12 thanks to a hat-trick from Candelon.

Wales beat Tonga in Shield

The reigning RWC Sevens champions Wales ended a disappointing weekend, beating Tonga 26-21 to claim the Shield.
Paul John’s side had trailed 21-0, but had enough left in the tank to beat the only non-core side competing in Wellington, as Lee Williams scored the all-important fourth try.

Tonga outplayed Portugal in the first Shield semi final 17-7 with tries to Tevita Halaifonua, Titali Mau, Saia Palei while in the other semi Wales held out a fast finishing USA 17-15 with Will Thomas, Luke Morgan and Rhys Shellard crossing for five-pointers.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

41) IRB confirms pool draw for USA Sevens
By Online Editor
3:59 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2013, United States

The IRB has confirmed the pool draw for round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, USA on 8-10 February 2013.

The draw was made live on television before the Cup final of the Hertz Sevens in Wellington, the fourth round of the 2012/13 season, which was won by England in dramatic fashion after they came from behind to beat Kenya.

As winners in Wellington, England head Pool A and play Fiji in their opening match and will also face Scotland and Portugal.
Wellington runners-up Kenya meet South Africa, whom they beat in the Cup quarter finals in New Zealand, as well as Canada and regional qualifiers Uruguay, in Pool B.

Pool C consists of series leaders New Zealand, Argentina, France and reigning RWC Sevens champions Wales.
USA Sevens hosts the US Eagles will line up in Pool D alongside Samoa, Australia and Spain.

After four of the nine rounds in the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, defending champions New Zealand lead the standings on 77 points, ahead of Kenya (56), Samoa (54) and Fiji, France and South Africa (all 51).

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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