Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 806

1) AFP save kambek long Vanuatu: govt

Updated 13 February 2013, 17:00 AEST
Sam Bolitho

Vanuatu Gavman ibin tokaut tete olsem em bai larim Federal Polis bilong Australia igo beck long kantri long despela yar.

Vanuatu Gavman ibin tokaut tete olsem em bai larim Federal Polis bilong Australia igo beck long kantri long despela yar.

Ol ibin tokaut long despela bihainim  wanpela lukluk raun bilon Australia Foren Minister Bob Carr.

Vanuatu ibin rausim wanpela ten tu (12) ol member bilong AFP  long last yar long ol biain long ol sutim tok long ol ibin istap insait long long samting oli makim olsem  ‘diplomatic incident’ wantaim  Prime Minister bilong kantri.

Vanuatu Acting Police Commissioner Arthur Caulton itok, em i ting olsem despela lain bai igo kamap long Vanuatu long stat bilong mun bihain.

Em i tok klia moa long  Sam Bolitho. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-02-13/afp-save-kambek-long-vanuatu-govt/1088240

2) Ol politisen sapotim Indigenous luksave vote

Updated 13 February 2013, 14:53 AEST
By chief political correspondent Simon Cullen

Lower House of Parliament long Australia i pasim wanpela lo i luksave long ol Aboriginal na Torress Strait Islanders olsem ol as ples tru bilong Australian.

House of Representatives or Lower House of parliament long Australia i pasim wanpela lo i luksave long ol Aboriginal na Torress Strait Islanders olsem ol as ples tru bilong Australian.

Oli lukim dispela Bill olsem i wanpela step long rot igo long wanpela referendam long mekim senis long mama lo, or constitutional change.

Pipal long pablik galeri ibin paitim han na hamamas long taim oli pasim dispela bil na dispela i kamap bihain long faifpela yar we foma praim minista, Kevin Rudd ibin mekim tok sori igo long Stolen Generations.

Praim Minista Julia Gillard i tok, dispela lo i  “sign of good faith” we palamen i gat wok bilong mekim rait long ol rong ibin kamap wantaim ol eksans ol ibin kamapim bipo.

Long tok Inglis Praim Minista i tok long palamen olsem  “No gesture speaks more deeply to the healing of our nation’s fabric than amending our nation’s founding charter”.

Oli pasim dispela lo wantaim bikpela sapot long palamen.

Lida bilong Oposisen, Tony Abbott i tok senis bilong mama lo i kisim longpela taim pinis long luksave long ol as ples pipal bilong Australia.

Em i tokim palamen long tok Inglis olsem “”We need to atone for the omissions and for the hardness of heart of our forebears, to enable us all to embrace the future as a united people”.

3) Activist calls on MSG to help protect rights of West Papuans
By Online Editor
09:05 am GMT+12, 13/02/2013, New Zealand

A leading West Papuan activist has called on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to take steps to protect the indigenous people of Indonesia’s Papua region.

The UK-based Benny Wenda has been in New Zealand this week as part of an overseas tour campaigning for West Papuans’ right to self-determination.

He said Melanesian peoples feel overwhelmingly in support of self-determination but their governments often defer to Indonesia on the issue.

Benny Wenda says West Papuans feel distinct from Indonesia and must have their own seat at the MSG which in turn needs to do more to encourage peace in troubled Papua region.

“Now the new generation of Melanesians they look at their (West Papuan) brothers and sisters being killed in front of their eye. How can they ignore it? I think it’s time to support and West Papua needs to be listed in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Why is Indonesia listed? It’s got nothing to do with Indonesia. I’m not talking about the rest of Indonesia, I’m talking specifically about West Papua. West Papua is a part of Melanesia.”

Wenda said Indonesian security forces cannot silence the calls by West Papuans on their right to self-determination.

He said the Indonesian government has tried to discredit his people as willing participants in ongoing violence in Papua region.

Yet he said Indonesia will not stop the Papuan movement by the targetting of peaceful groups such as the National Committee of West Papua.

“Only this is the safe way to campaign for peace and the world could hear our cry for freedom so that’s why when they come out in their peaceful way, Indonesia creates violence to discriminate them, (label them) this violent group or this terrorist group, whatever. But actually not. It’s Indonesia which is creating then violence in West Papua.”.

SOURCE” RNZI/PACNEWS

4) West Papua Activist ‘Stunned’ During New Zealand Visit
Denial to speak in parliament does not discourage Wenda

By Henry Yamo

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Feb. 12, 2013) – West Papuan independence advocate Benny Wenda is stunned to find New Zealand “ignoring human rights issues on its doorstep” after Speaker David Carter denied him the opportunity to speak about his cause at Parliament.

“The Australian Parliament gave support last November and I was looking forward to the same in New Zealand, but my entry to Parliament has been blocked,” he says.

But he says the plight of his people is far too serious for him to give in.

Wenda has witnessed his people being beaten, tortured, imprisoned and killed and has been motivated to fight in this struggle to free his people.

Benny Wenda, a tribal chief of West Papua and founder of International Parliamentarians for West Papua, visited the Pacific Media Centre yesterday as part of his world tour visiting governments and parliamentarians.

International Parliamentarians for West Papua is a global group of Parliamentarians who are committed to raise West Papuan issues in parliaments and to raise the case for self-determination.

Benny’s visit to governments around the world is to raise the issue of West Papua with various Parliamentarians to seek support for West Papuans call for a free referendum, which had been going on for the last 50 years.

Overwhelming support

Although he has received overwhelming support and has been welcomed by parliamentarians in countries he has visited, his planned visit to the New Zealand Parliament hit a snag when Speaker Carter rejected a meeting with parliamentarians in the Beehive.

However, Benny, who campaigns peacefully for self-determination and human rights for the people of West Papua, said this did not dampen his spirits – but it encouraged him.

He said his trip between countries was to raise awareness about the issues affecting the people and what they were going suffering back at home. He also wanted to get international support to raise the issue of human rights.

His aim is to represent his people in putting forward their desire for self-determination to the governments around the world because he believes the so-called 1969 “Act of Free Choice” was not carried out according to international standards but done according to Indonesian standards.

“The Western world calls it an “Act of free choice”, but we call it the “Act of no choice” and part of my campaign is to seek support from world governments to see that through that process West Papuans’ right to self-determination was betrayed in 1969,” he said.

“The 1969 vote must be reviewed, by the UN Decolonization Committee as the legitimate body that was involved in accepting the process then which was a mistake,” he said.

“They never acted by free choice, they were forced by Indonesia to take the vote – including my father. They are lying, before the referendum they gave torches and axes as bribe. That referendum is not true,” he said.

‘Cry for freedom’

“We do not have any freedom of speech and assembly, and for the last 50 years the world has ignored this because Indonesia has been able to close this off to the outside world.

“In the 20th century we are still a colony; my message is “please hear my people cry for freedom,” he said.

Wenda was a political prisoner, accused of inciting an attack on a police station. The fact that he was not in the country at the time, and certainly had nothing to with it, does not matter.

However, it was widely speculated at the time that the charges were brought against Wenda because of his political leadership of the Koteka Tribal Assembly, a political council of tribes which advocates self-determination for West Papua from Indonesia.

Speaking at a public meeting in Auckland last night, human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, also co-founder of International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP), said the road had been a long one for Wenda, but his testament and commitment to his people had gained good momentum.

The ILWP movement is a group of lawyers who want to make the case for West Papuans’ self-determination and to set out to support their international legal case needs.

Robinson said Indonesia had tried to silence Wenda’s international campaign by “abusing” the Interpol system and listing him as a “wanted terrorist”.

Indigenous persecution

“His case is indicative of what goes on in West Papua and the persecution that any indigenous West Papuan leader suffers when they stand up and speak on behalf of their people, “she said.

“This points out that Indonesia is so concerned about the strength of his cause and the strength of his voice speaking on behalf of his people, that it had taken such a drastic step to try to silence him,” she said.

But Robinson and her team were able to challenge the warrant posted on the Interpol system and in September 2012 it was removed on the grounds that the arrest was politically motivated.

Since then Wenda, who was granted political asylum in the UK, has been able to travel to many countries raising awareness about the on-going human rights abuse in West Papua.

Wenda will return to Australia and then travel on to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Pacific Scoop

5) Call on NZ foreign minister to send fact finding mission to Papua

Posted at 03:13 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

The New Zealand Indonesia Human Rights Committee is calling on the Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, to set up a multi-party fact finding mission to visit the Indonesian region of Papua.

This week the New Zealand parliamentary Speaker denied an application for visiting Papuan activist, Benny Wenda, to be hosted at a public function in Parliament in Wellington.

The opposition says the government did not want to offend Jakarta.

The NGO says it is shameful Mr McCully shunned Mr Wenda and that he urged other MPs to do the same.

But it says the minister could make amends by setting up a parliamentary group to visit Papua so MPs can assess the situation there for themselves.

It says there is a clear precedent with a similar group, led by a National Party MP, visiting East Timor in 1994 when it was still under Indonesian occupation.

Radio New Zealand International

6) PNG Court Registrar Reappointed For 3 More Years
Judicial commission looking to increase number of judges in PNG

By Todagia Kelola

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 12, 2013) – The registrar of the Supreme and National Courts of Papua New Guinea, Ian Augerea, has been re-appointed for another term in office.

The Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) re-appointed him for another three years in office on February 1.

During the same meeting, the JLSC appointed senior and distinguished private legal practitioner, Mr. Goodwin Poole for a 12 months period as a judge of the National and Supreme Courts of Papua New Guinea.

It also reappointed Justice Elenas Batari, from Hoskins, West New Britain Province, for another term of 10 years as a judge.

Announcing the judicial appointments, the JLSC Chairman, who is also the Minister for Justice, Kerenga Kua, said: “The increase in the number of judges to our higher courts will significantly ease the enormous workload being shouldered by Judges and most importantly, expedite backlog of cases in both the National and Supreme Courts.

“Justice Poole’s appointment and that of Justice Batari were necessary to enable the National Judicial System to work more effectively and efficiently.”

The judiciary’s current ceiling is 23 judges, excluding the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Acting Judges. The Judiciary’s current permanent judges’ strength is 22.

The remaining vacancy is now being filled with the appointment of Mr. Poole, age 71, from Roma, Queensland, in Australia.

He has spent 15 of his 35 years of practice in PNG, both in public and private legal practice.

Justice Batari was first appointed a Judge on 6 March 2001 for a term of 10 years. Effective 6th March 2011, Justice Batari was reappointed “until retiring age,” which at that time of reappointment was understood to coincide with his attaining retiring age at 60.

On 28 September 2012, an amendment to section 7 of the Organic Law on Terms and Conditions of Employment of Judges which increased the retiring age from 60 to 72 and mandatory age from 65 to 75 came into force, thus making Justice Batari eligible for reappointment.

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

7) PNG Police rescued women from witch burning
By Online Editor
4:39 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Police saved two women from being burnt alive in Mt Hagen where a 20-year-old mother of a baby girl was thrown into a fire and burnt two days earlier.

Assistant Police Commissioner and Highlands Divisional Commander Teddy Tei said last Monday, two women were tied to pillars by relatives of a girl they were accused of killing through sorcery.

However, Tei said the eight-year-old girl the women were accused of killing was “gang-raped and killed by two known suspects”.

The women, from Enga’s Kandep district, were being tortured near Kagamuga Airport in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, were saved by officers who arrived after receiving a tip-off from a witness to the attack.

Tei said police rescued the two women and also arrested 20 suspects who were now behind bars at the Mt Hagen police cell.

He said the relatives of the girl, also from the Kandep, accused the two elderly women of performing sorcery and killing the girl on Jan 29.

The relatives of the deceased engaged a man claiming to possess supernatural powers, commonly known as “glassman” who identified the two women as sorcerers and blamed them for the death of the girl.

Tei said the “glassman” and the two rape-and-murder suspects, together with those ready to set the two women on fire, tied up the women.

“Police know their identities and they will be arrested sooner or later,” Tei said of those who managed to escape from the suspected group.

He appealed to the people not to take the law into their own hands to attack innocent and helpless people.
“What evidence do they have to produce to court for sorcery-related killing and torturing?

“It’s just a belief,” Tei said.

Relatives who were not sure of the cause of the death, were encouraged to take their love ones to the hospital and ask the doctors to carry out post-mortem to determine the cause.

He said people with other motives usually accused others of sorcery.

Tei said the “glassman” was money-driven and could point at anybody to obtain money.

The 20 suspects arrested would be interviewed and charged accordingly by the police criminal investigations unit.

Tei said police would also arrest and charge the relatives if they helped or assisted in the interrogation and torturing of the two women.

He said police expected to arrest more people in relation to the torture and killing of Kepari Lanieta last Wednesday.

It is understood that police are also looking for Lanieta’s husband for questioning.

Tei said the cases were a priority and they were working hard to solve them.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

8) PNG plans fivefold increase of military

Posted at 06:16 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea is planning a fivefold increase in the size of its military.

The Defence Minister, Dr Fabian Pok, has told Parliament that over the next ten years Defence Force personnel will be increased to 10,000.

He says the Force had been downsized from 4,000 to 1,900 under an Australian funding reform in 2002.

The newspaper, The National, reports the minister as saying the government plans to recruit about 1,000 men and women each year for the next ten years.

He says the government has already approved the purchase of new patrol vessels, aircraft and firearms.

Radio New Zealand International

9) PNG supports Fiji’s road to democracy
By Online Editor
4:42 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Fiji

The Papua New Guinea government will continue to support Fiji on its road to democracy, says PNG High Commissioner to Fiji Peter Eafeare.

Speaking to FijiLive after the launching of the elections office website today Eafeare said they have chosen not to interfere with any domestic issues regarding Fiji but will assist them in whatever way they can in order to reach the promised elections in 2014.

Eafeare said the launching of the website is another stepping stone taken by Fiji in achieving their goals towards elections and it is also a tangible way of showing the international community that there is progress underway.

“During our diplomatic core meeting quite a number of countries have expressed their interest and have indicated that they would be supporting the process that will lead up to elections,” he said.

“We have also offered to assist Fiji in whatever we can to assist Fiji with elections,” he said.

He also said the website is a useful guide in assisting Fijians in different requirements especially for voter registrations and registrations of political parties.

In launching the website Attorney General and Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Fijians would be able to have a direct access to information about elections.

“We are introducing the first genuine parliamentary democracy in Fiji’s history, replacing a voting system that operated on racial lines with one person, one vote one value. That is a landmark event that will also attract global attention”, he said.

The Minister said that young people turning 18 in the lead-up to the election would be able to register right up until the writs are issued. He also said the Government would soon be announcing details for the registration of Fijians living overseas.

“Anyone with a computer and smart phone can now access the election website to get all the latest information they need, including their Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) details. This is unprecedented in Fiji and a clear sign of the Bainimarama Government’s commitment to a free, fair, transparent and credible election next year”, the Minister added.

Features of the website include online registration for voters and political parties and all information regarding the work undertaken by the Elections office.

Meanwhile, No existing political parties have re-registered with the Elections office as of yet.

This was confirmed to FijiLive by Elections office Permanent Secretary Mere Vuniwaqa.

Vuniwaqa who also holds the Registrar position said no official documents have been received yet and staff would be on hand to receive applications after normal business hours.

“We want to allow the maximum amount of time tomorrow for applications to be lodged by existing political parties.”

She also said all applications must be submitted in hard copy and the office will remain open until midnight tomorrow.

Attorney General and Elections minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the deadline will not be extended and if existing parties fail to register by tomorrow they will automatically be de-registered and will not be a political party.

The deadline for all 16 existing parties to register is tomorrow.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/MINFO/PACNEWS

10) Solomons government urged to ensure correct use of aid money

Posted at 06:15 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

Transparency International Solomon Islands is urging the government to ensure relief money donated for the tsunami and earthquake relief effort in Temotu province ends up in the right hands.

Aid money for last week’s disaster continues to flow in, with Taiwan adding almost 200,000 US dollars to the half million already contributed by Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

Transparency’s executive officer says a report by the auditor general into relief spending following the 2007 tsunami in Western province found two million US dollars missing.

Daniel Fenua says the report, which is no longer publicly accessible, shows that much of the funding from donors was given to MPs rather than the National Disaster Management Office.

“Our big concern is that we build a way forward to ensure that this money won’t go again through these MPs accounts but rather it should go through the provincial government or the NDMO or national organisations that are more responsible to spend this money accordingly.”

Daniel Fenua says the report on the 2007 disaster relief spending implicates influential government politicians, including the prime minister.

Radio New Zealand International

11a) Tafea, Shefa, Malampa and Penama to Elections

Posted on February 13, 2013 – 10:23am
By
Ricky Binihi

Voters in the Provinces of Tafea, Shefa, Malampa and Penama will go to polls today to elect their new councilors for their respective Provincial Government Councils.

Head of State President Iolu Abil has declared today, Tuesday February 12 a Public Holiday in the provinces that will to elections today.

Politically all the provinces that go to the polls today had been previously run by the Opposition Vanua’aku Party and the Union of Moderate Parties and it would be interesting to see if they are major changes after today’s elections.

The Tafea and Shefa Province used to be run by VP candidates until the Shefa President changed allegiance to join the Vanuatu Leba and contest the Shefa Provincial Election under their banner in the elections.

Union of Moderate Parties controlled the Malampa and Penama Provinces until the then Minister of Internal Affairs George Wells suspended the provinces in 2011 over allegations they mishandled the funds of the Councils in the Northern Island Stevedoring Company Limited.

The people of Penama will vote in 16 new councilors, Malampa will vote 21 councilors, Shefa 18 councilors and Tafea 19 councilors.

But the number of voters in the constituencies of the Provinces will be like that of the 2012 Elections as the Electoral Office has not updated the Electoral Roll because double voting and dead people voting will still be expected in these elections.

Daily Post will carry unofficial results tomorrow.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/tafea-shefa-malampa-and-penama-elections

11b ) Transparency questions remain over election dispute case against Vanuatu’s PM

Posted at 06:15 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu MP Willie Jimmy says he plans to appeal a Supreme Court decision to strike out his electoral petition against the Prime Minister Sato Kilman.

The petition challenged Mr Kilman’s eligibility to contest the last election, with the Port Vila MP alleging the Prime Minister hadn’t settled an outstanding debt of about 120,000 US dollars in government rent.

Other candidates were made to settle their debts before being allowed to stand.

Johnny Blades reports that the case has prompted more concern about the Sato Kilman-led government’s transparency record:

———————–

Justice Robert Spear ruled that Willie Jimmy was not eligible to file the petition because he isn’t from the same constituency as the Prime Minister, Malekula.

Mr Jimmy finds the Court’s ruling unhelpful and plans to appeal on the grounds that the heart of the matter has not been resolved.

“They set it aside and they’re looking for little things. They’re trying to side-step the matter. The ruling that came out did not address the main issue – Sato Kilman’s debt to government is still there – and they come and only use the technicalities. This is nonsense to us.”

It was the Electoral Commission’s responsibility to decide if the Prime Minister could contest the election.

After earlier leaving Mr Kilman off the initial candidates list due to his outstanding debt, the chairman of the Electoral Commission, John Taleo, says the Prime Minister hadn’t – and still hasn’t – been proven to owe the debt.

“On the first list I disqualified him but on the second list included him. It was really clear that the case was still pending. There was no judgment until proven guilty in court, and that case is still there until today.”

On the matter of the petition, Mr Taleo says it’s not up to an individual to challenge the Prime Minister’s eligibility, but rather the state law office.

However the state law office last month affirmed that there was a case to answer.

Phil Manhire of the newly-formed Vanuatu Corruption Commission says the evidence seems to suggest that Mr Kilman hasn’t paid his bill.

“We may see a different result, should the court case proceed on the actual facts of the matter, not who is entitled to make the case or whatever. The reality is that this is a question for the Vanuatu government, the Vanuatu people, and they just want to make sure that everything was kosher, it was done properly in accord with the law, and in accord with the laws that had to be followed by everybody else who ran for parliament in the elections.”

The election dispute is the latest in a string of controversies implicating the Kilman-led government since it won re-election last year.

Phil Manhire says the public has had enough of the lack of transparency and accountability.

“Government’s apparent lack of respect for the ni-Vanuatu themselves, the culture, the processes of justice, moral dealings, ethical dealings and the like. That respect just does not seem to exist. And I think that is one huge issue that is affecting and offending a lof of ni-Vanuatu people.”

Radio New Zealand International
12) Vanuatu Government Urged To Release Scholarship Monies
Anti-corruption commission say students ‘stranded’ without funds

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 12, 2013) – The Vanuatu Anti-Corruption Commission (VACC) which was being set up by NGOs and CBOs who are members of the Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organizations (VANGO) wants the government to ensure scholarships awardees return to their respective institutions to continue with their studies in 2013.

NGOs and CBOs in civil society expressed their concerns over the handling of government-sponsored students who are either stranded and or being eliminated altogether from the approved National Education Commission (NEC). Some students who should have traveled to the University of the South Pacific (USP) but are stranded due to nonpayment of airfares, tuition and allowances.

“These students have been selected by the NEC and officially awarded a Vanuatu Government scholarship to the USP in Fiji but could not travel and have been advised by the Scholarships Unit to wait,” advised the VACC’s spokesperson.

Another case is the change of approved listing for returning students to the University of New Caledonia (UNC) for 2013. Students checked their 2012 exam results and they were all eligible to return to UNC this year.

“All returning students’ names appear on the approved listing for returning UNC students for 2013 until January 28, 2013 when the students listing was changed omitting some of the eligible and included those ineligible to continue. Students were being asked to collect their tickets from the Scholarships Unit on Monday January 28, 2013 and only to find the listing had been changed.

“Around 10 or so returning UNC students turned up at the Scholarships office on Monday 28th January, 2013 and were advised by Scholarships Officer, Mr. Peter Tari, that they are no longer on the approved list”, said the Spokesperson.

The listing was being modified on instruction from the Minister. VACC sees this as a direct interference in the studies and future development of these young people and strongly condemns the actions of the Minister.

VACC urges the government to ensure that the USP students who are due to travel to Fiji and those new and eliminated UNC students be allowed to further their studies this year and to stop modifying the approved students listing for further studies on scholarships and improve the Scholarships Unit with qualified and professional staff.

It is obvious that there is much political and friend/family ties interferences in the selection of scholarships and should be stopped immediately. Scholarship awards should be based on merits and other areas of requirements as stated on scholarship criteria and not on political or family ties.

This is a violation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Children and “the right to education.” Article 25 – Everyone has the right to be educated. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and Professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

It is obligatory for the Ministry of Education to comply with the UN Human Rights Conventions ratified and signed. This political/family interference in scholarship awards must be discontinued and awards granted on criteria based factors only.

Vanuatu scholars are victims of this education saga and we demand that all scholarship funds be utilized accordingly and justly to allow all returning students to resume their studies.

VACC is strongly calling on the Minister of Education to make sure that those responsible are accountable for their actions. This cannot continue to happen as the number of students every year is increasing and the Vanuatu Government must make sure that the Government policy on Education for All is for every citizen of this country especially the future generations of this country.

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

13) Foreign Criminals Slip Past Authorities In Vanuatu
2 Bulgarian men will be dealt with by New Caledonian police

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 12, 2013) – The two Bulgarian men who were charged with attempting to obtain money by deception at Westpac Bank ATM in Port Vila successfully fled Vanuatu borders, undetected by Vanuatu Immigration Authorities on Monday, January 4, 2013.

The Police Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) in Port Vila say the pair were arrested by Immigration Officials in Noumea, New Caledonia on January 4, 2013 for travelling with false passports and documents.

The Police Media Centre said the two Bulgarians will be dealt with by the Immigration and Police in New Caledonia by their laws and will have to be extradited to Vanuatu to appear before the courts and answer the charges against them.

The TCU has also confirmed that the two men have forged stamps on departure in Fiji and on arrival in Vanuatu and that their original passports are being held on bond in Vanuatu courts.

Warrants of Arrests documents for the two men have been sent to New Caledonia and both law enforcements agencies are working together with information for the possibility of having them brought back before the courts in Vanuatu to face justice to answer charges against them.

The two men are on bail conditions in Vanuatu, one of which not to leave the country and to appear in court on 6th February 2013 for a Preliminary Hearing (PI).

Their passports had been surrendered to the Chief Registrar of Vanuatu Supreme Court.

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

14) Australia police to return to Vanuatu

Posted at 06:15 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

Australian Federal Police are set to resume their training programme in Vanuatu nine months after they were expelled as part of a diplomatic row.

Vanuatu expelled 12 AFP officers last May after the AFP arrested one of its officials, Clarence Marae, while he was passing through Sydney airport with the Prime Minister Sato Kilman.

At the time, Mr Kilman described Marae’s arrest as kidnap and breach of diplomatic protocol.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade labelled the expulsion a retaliation for Mr Marae’s arrest.

But the Foreign Minister Bob Carr, on a brief visit to Vanuatu, says the two countries have now struck an agreement that will result in nine AFP officers returning to the country in the next few weeks.

Mr Marae was charged over allegations he was involved in a 4.5 million US dollar tax fraud.

He remains in custody after a Brisbane court denied him bail because it judged him to be a flight risk.

Radio New Zealand International

15) US$40m urban development project launched for Vanuatu capital

Posted at 06:05 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

A huge redevelopment of Port Vila has been launched by the Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, and the Director General of the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Department, Xianbin Yao.

The Port Vila Urban Development Project is worth 40 million US dollars.

The Australian Government is providing about half the money with the balance from the ADB in the form of a soft loan.

The project involves the modernisation of the sewerage system and the redevelopment of Port Vila Wharf to cater for the increasing number of visiting cruise ships.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Crab Bay setting the baseline for Vanuatu mangrove management

Posted on February 13, 2013 – 9:32am

By
Bob Makin

Amal, Crab Bay, Malekula, is soon likely to receive international publicity because of its forest management – of mangroves, or natongtong.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is trying to strengthen the management of mangrove eco-systens along the foreshore of the islands of Oceania. Our best mangrove forests exist in small stands of 15 – 210 hectares of the trees on Efate, Santo, Hiu, Ureparapara, Vanualava and Aniwa islands. However, the Amal, Crab Bay pilot management project has been so good, so far, in starting to set up a baseline study, it may become the place where Vanuatu officials decide to accede to the Ramsar convention.

This is an inter-governmental treaty that embodies the commitment of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance. And remember we celebrated World Wetlands Day just a week ago. Ramsar Convention membership will also help to plan for the “wise use” of wetlands by Vanuatu. In the South Pacific its active local ingredient is called MESCAL (Mangrove EcoSystems for Climate Change and Livelihoods). It is funded by Australia, France, the UN Environment Programme and the EU and is looked after by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

No need to be too fussy with the names and acronyms. However, at Amal, Crab Bay, Fisheries, Forestry and Environment personnel listed all the life forms of the sea, land and air in setting up their first major baseline study. They even found a native inhabitant never seen on Maleklula, so thorough was their survey. It is the Vanuatu lepidodydactus, a sort of gecko, not previously found on Malekula, although it is on other islands. MESCAL’s Vanuatu coordinator, Rolenas Baereleo, is hoping to co-author a publication on their finds.

MESCAL will combine science, policy, and economics to strengthen mangrove resource management as a climate change adaptation measure and set the “wise use” plans in action for Crab Bay. Since we are almost the last last Pacific country which has agreed to join the Ramsar Convention, but not yet done so, it is high time we joined, and with an achievement already in its comprehensive listings of its life forms, where better than Amal to actually mark our membership?

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/crab-bay-setting-baseline-vanuatu-mangrove-management

17) Lack of political debate in Fiji feared as new rules take effect

Posted at 06:16 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

Observers of Fiji politics fear the country could face a lack of political debate over coming weeks as political parties await registration under a controversial new decree.

Existing political parties have until midnight on Thursday to lodge their applications with the Registrar of Political Parties, which must satisfy strict new criteria.

So far only the National Federation Party has applied.

The registrar has two weeks to publish notice of any application and another week is allowed for objections before political groupings can operate legally and not incur fines of up to 28,000 US dollars and five years in prison.

A senior lecturer in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland, Dr Steven Ratuva, says a lot depends on how strictly the regime interprets the law.

“They might use the decrees as a means of clamping down on political parties. A lot of power still rests in the government to determine the way in which political parties will have to either register or behave or say things at this point in time.”

Dr Ratuva says it’s important for debate to continue in the run-up to discussions on the draft constitution in the yet to be appointed Constituent Assembly,

Radio New Zealand International

18) Women’s Forum Announces Intentions For Fiji Assembly
13 women recommended for constituent assembly

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb.12, 2013) – One of the country’s most vocal groups, the Fiji Women’s Forum is hoping to be part of the Constituent Assembly.

Speaking to FijiLive forum member Adi Finau Tabakaucoro said they have applied to be part of the assembly and have also given in 13 names as recommendations to the Prime Minister. “We would like women to be part of all the processes going on in the country,” she said.

Meanwhile, invitations to individuals and organizations to be members of the Assembly have been sent out while the last invitation is expected to be sent this Thursday.

The Assembly is scheduled to have its first sitting this month and political parties that register under the Political Parties Registration Decree 2013 will be invited to the Assembly.

The Assembly has the duty to review and approve the draft constitution as required under the relevant Decree.

The Decree requires that the Assembly be diverse, and in addition to political parties, be composed of members who represent faith based organizations, trade unions, employers, the business community, government, rural and agricultural communities, the RFMF, national organizations, women, youth, people with disability, pensioners, and other Fijian-registered civil society groups, amongst others.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

19) Refugees and asylum seekers in Fiji
By Online Editor
1:18 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Fiji

Seven asylum seekers and more than ten refugees are taking shelter in Fiji.

The Immigration Department’s Manager Compliance Investigation Naibuka Vuli says the refugees came into the country on tourist visas.

Naibuka says this could have been avoided if Immigration officials were stationed in Fiji’s missions overseas to vet, approve or reject applications outside of Fiji.

“One of the examples here is seven nationals from Afghanistan who came through our mission in India. They claimed asylum here. We couldn’t do much…they claim protection we have an obligation to provide while they’re here or while they claim asylum”.

The refugees have been allowed to work and their children attend school here while the asylum seekers have been denied employment in the country.

SOURCE: FBC/PACNEWS

20) Fiji approves agreement on military cooperation with Russia
By Online Editor
09:11 am GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s cabinet has agreed that the Fijian government through the Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration enter into an agreement with Russia through its Russian Federal Services for Military-Technical Cooperation, Fiji’s Ministry of Information announced Tuesday.

The cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration, Joketani Cokanasiga, said a statement from Fiji’s Ministry of Information.

The cooperation “will assist the Fiji Military Forces in improving its capacity and capability in acquiring the appropriate technologies and equipment for its troops as part of the respective mandates for the United Nations and Multi Forcers Observers”, said the statement, without giving further details.

Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said Sunday the Fijian government “is adamant in strengthening its relation with other countries”, and in doing this, Fiji “hopes to diversify and broaden its international partnership”.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

21) New venture to create 200 new jobs in Fiji
By Online Editor
4:30 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Fiji

A negotiated joint venture between Tropik Wood Industries Fiji Limited and Korean company GIMCO to export biomass chips to the global market is expected to generate 200 new jobs.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Tropik Wood chief executive officer and chairman Faiz Khan and GIMCO Company Limited’s chairman Sang Sun Lee.

GIMCO is a limited liability company specializing in cogeneration plants based on LNG, biomass systems in the multi-MW range, ESCO schemes, high efficient industrial furnaces, biomass gasification and air pollution control systems.

GIMCO’s sister energy company Kenertec has existing biomass and co-generation operations in Korea, China, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The joint venture agreement will initially involve the export of biomass chips or pellets. Later on, the joint venture is also expected to expand into rural gasification and Independent Power Production (IPP).

Bainimarama said the joint venture will have full support of government and emphasized that with the technological advantage possessed by GIMCO and the resources by Fiji Pine and its subsidiaries, the JV must also look at developing biomass gasification projects for rural Fiji.

Tropik Wood chairman Faiz Khan said the JV provides a good opportunity for Tropik to utilize all forestry and agriculture waste.

“Tropik Wood will sell this waste to the JV that in turn will process it for exports thus maximizing on pine wood usage.

The JV will sell to the highest bidder in the open market,” he said.

“This is in line with the company’s strategic policy of diversifying our product base as well as our customer base.”

“With Kenertec’s technology in cogeneration and our resources, the match is excellent for the future as we look at developing new power schemes in Fiji”, Khan said.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

22) Tonga police officer implicated in writing false letters
By Online Editor
4:36 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Tonga

Tonga’s police chief has confirmed some officers have been writing letters clearing people of a criminal record.

Grant O’Fee says his staff are now checking records after the Kele’a paper reported instances of convicted criminals applying for New Zealand visitors’ visas and asking a senior police officer to provide letters stating they have no criminal record.

He says he knew this practice had occurred prior to the new Police Act coming into force in 2010, and that it supposedly involved just minor offences.

But O’Fee says he is now aware at least two officers are continuing to write the letters.

“So I am still very concerned that we have historically several instances of – and we don’t know how many as we are still having inquiries to figure out just how often this has occurred – several instances of individuals whose records have been cleared, and I’m most concerned that this has happened.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

23) Wallis voters to choose new member of French Assembly next month
By Online Editor
1:10 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Wallis and Futuna

Voters in Wallis and Futuna have been called to the polls next month to elect a new member of the French National Assembly.

This comes after the constitutional court of France last month annulled the results of last June’s legislative election because of campaign irregularities.

As a consequence, David Verge lost his seat and was banned from running for office for a year.

Fresh elections have been scheduled for 17 March.

Voters will also be asked to choose four new members of the territorial assembly after four members of the electorate of Alo were struck off last year in a French Supreme Court decision.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

24) CNMI Hotel occupancy rate at 91 percent in January 2013
By Online Editor
12:51 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI) reported 91.05 percent occupancy among its 12 member hotels for January 2013, a 6 percent increase from January 2012.

“Last month we saw the highest occupancy rate since 1997 and the highest hotel rate since 1998. This is a very positive sign of recovery in the industry,” said HANMI Chairman Nick Nishikawa.

“However, we should not sit back and be satisfied. We must continue to improve our islands by cleaning up our tourist sites and villages, ensuring the safety of our visitors, and making visitors feel welcomed. We are grateful to those community groups, government offices, businesses, and individuals who are already doing this.”

67,794 of 74,462 available room nights sold in January 2013, compared to 63,586 of 74,462 of available room nights sold over the same period last year. Room rates were US$128.53 during the month, compared to US$124.02 last December.

In 2012 HANMI initiated a private-public partnership with the Marianas Visitors Authority and other private entities for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Tapochau viewing summit, a project expected to be completed this month.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

25) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders recognised as first inhabitants of Australia
By Online Editor
4:44 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Australia

The Australian House of Representatives has passed legislation recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first inhabitants of Australia.

The bill is considered an interim step on the path towards an eventual referendum for constitutional change.

Its passage through the Lower House this morning came on the five-year anniversary of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described the legislation as a “sign of good faith” that Parliament is committed to righting the wrongs of previous actions.

“No gesture speaks more deeply to the healing of our nation’s fabric than amending our nation’s founding charter,” she told Parliament.

“This bill seeks to foster momentum for a referendum for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

The legislation passed with unanimous support.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says constitutional recognition for Indigenous people is long overdue.

“We need to atone for the omissions and for the hardness of heart of our forebears, to enable us all to embrace the future as a united people,” he told Parliament.

Abbott has paid tribute to those who have worked to achieve reconciliation over a long period of time, including former prime ministers Gough Whitlam, Harold Holt, John Howard and Kevin Rudd.

He has also recognised the efforts of Gillard.

“So often in this place, we are antagonists. Today on this matter, we are partners and collaborators,” he said.

The preamble to the legislation notes that further consultation is necessary to refine plans for a referendum and to grow community support for the change.

“The Parliament is committed to building the national consensus needed for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution,” the preamble states.

“The Parliament believes this Act is a significant step in the process towards achieving constitutional change.”

Very few referendums have been successful because any change to the Constitution requires the support of a majority of people in a majority of states.

Gillard has indicated that the referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Constitution is likely to be held next year.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says there now needs to be a full and frank discussion about the proposed wording to go into the constitution.

“We also need to make sure that we get the question right and that this referendum doesn’t fail,” Senator Siewert said.

“The Greens are totally committed to achieving this.”

An expert panel set up to consider the options for constitutional change recommended amendments to recognise that Australia was first inhabited by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It also suggested there should be an acknowledgement of the need to “secure the advancement” of Indigenous people.

The panel recommended English be declared Australia’s national language, but that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages be recognised as the country’s first languages.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

26a) Bill for running Australian immigration centres passes AUD$90 million
By Online Editor
08:56 am GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Australia

The Australian Immigration Department has confirmed that just over AUD$90 million (US$92 million) has been spent operating the temporary immigration detention centres at Manus Island and Nauru.

At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Monday night officials also confirmed that up to December last year, a further AUD$5.2m had been spent transferring asylum seekers to the sites.

Since the Government first announced its plans to re-open the two processing centres – which carry an estimated combined price tag of AUD$2.9 billion – it has been heavily criticised for diverting millions of dollars of aid funding to help pay for the costs of processing asylum claims.

Despite the criticism, Immigration Department officials said they have not ruled out using aid funding to further improve infrastructure and services.

“We would obviously negotiate that at that point in time but we’ve got to make sure it’s relevant to the AUSAID guidelines,” Immigration Department Secretary, Martin Bowles said.

“The potential is there yes, but it just depends on the guidelines and what is the broader use of the facilities and whether it’s fully funded, partially funded or however else the guidelines operate.

“It is still part of the government process that we would have to go through to finalise those costs.”

Of the AUD$34million already been spent on infrastructure, the majority of work has been carried out at the Nauru centre where the first beds are now being used with the site eventually expected to accommodate 900 asylum seekers. The second centre will likely host a further 600.

Four hundred and fifteen asylum seekers are currently being held on Nauru, with a further 274 in Papua New Guinea.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

26b) Special FIFO: “Tongan Ark”, l’arche de Futa

Mis à jour 13 February 2013, 11:50 AEST

“Tongan Ark”, realise par le Neo-Zelandais Paul Janman, est en selection officielle de ce 10eme Festival du Film documentaire Oceanien a Tahiti. Il raconte l’histoire d’Atenisi, une universite du peuple, construite sur des marais, une universite de la libre-pensee, consideree comme subversive au royaume de Tonga. A sa tete, Futa Helu, un maitre a penser qui puisait son inspiration chez les Grecs anciens.

Futa Helu Tongan Ark

Futa Helu, le createur d’Atenisi, apparait sur l’ecran lors de la premiere de Tongan Ark, accompagnee d’un spectacle de danse tongienne.

Le FIFO, Festival International du Film documentaire Oceanien, a souffle ses 10 bougies ce matin. La ceremonie d’ouverture a ete marquee par un beau discours du Caledonien Walles Kotra, l’homme qui a lance cette aventure culturelle dans le Pacifique. Et pour de bonnes raisons:

“Depuis 10 ans le FIFO se pose les memes questions:

– l’Oceanie disparait-elle dans le brouhaha de la mondialisation?

– pourquoi plus il y a de chaines de television, plus il y a de reseaux, et moins l’Oceanie est visible?

La raison d’etre du FIFO c’est donc tout simplement ce combat pour la visibilite, c’est-a-dire l’existence de nos cultures. Merci de venir partage avec nous ces interrogations.”

Walles Kotra n’est pas seul dans son combat pour rendre visible notre continent invisible. Tous les realisateurs selectionnes cette annee apportent leur pierre a l’edifice. A l’instar du Neo-Zelandais Paul Janman. Il a consacre un documentaire a un personnage charismatique qui toute sa vie a fait le pont entre la culture tongienne et la culture occidentale. Bienvenue sur “Tongan Ark”, en francais: l’arche tongienne.

ECOUTEZ L’INTERVIEW DE PAUL JANMAN, AVEC DES EXTRAITS DE “TONGAN ARK”, DANS NOTRE PODCAST DU JOUR- LE JOURNAL.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-02-13/special-fifo-tongan-ark-larche-de-futa/1087982



27a) Academics add their voice to Pacific Plan Review
By Online Editor
09:03 am GMT+12, 13/02/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand’s first Pacific Island woman parliamentarian and now Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) of Victoria University, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban – met with the Pacific Plan Review team last week to share her thoughts on the future of Pacific regionalism.

She was one of several academics to meet with Review Chair Sir Mekere Morauta, consultants Peter Bazeley and Dr Nick Poletti during their consultations in Wellington last week.

“We want to hear a full range of issues that stakeholders feel are relevant and important to the Review”, Sir Mekere said.

“Academic perspectives provide an important evidence base for our work, and are a valuable addition to the views of politicians, officials and civil society.”

The Pacific Plan Review team continues their consultation journey around the region this week with a visit to Australia. In Canberra, a large gathering of Pacific-focused academics is planned at the Australian National University.

The Review team then moves to Sydney, where academics and political commentators will gather at the Lowy Institute to hold a roundtable discussion on key issues for the Pacific region.

SOURCE: PIFS/PACNEWS

27b)Foreign policy experts sound caution over US China manouevres in region

Posted at 03:38 on 13 February, 2013 UTC

Foreign policy experts are expecting China and the United States to continue their soft power rivalry in the South Pacific region under the new Secretary of State in Washington and a new leader in Beijing.

But there are warnings Pacific Island countries could find themselves on the rim of conflict with the chance of a clash over disputed territories further north.

Sally Round reports.

A US foreign policy expert at the University of Auckland, Associate Professor Stephen Hoadley, says new Secretary of State, John Kerry, will continue where Hillary Clinton left off, stressing the United States’ steady re-engagement with the region is not an effort to contain China.

He says he’s optimistic relations between Washington and Beijing will continue to be harmonious, barring a confrontation stemming from disputes over islands in the East and South China Seas.

“The United States interest is in making sure there is an unimpeded waterway through international waters through which legitimate commerce and of course United States military can move without any threat. Now if either side impedes this the United States will reassert this deeply-felt traditional view that freedom of the seas is an absolute necessity for any kind of civilised international relations and the US will be there with the seventh fleet opening up that waterway by force if necessary.”

Professor Hoadley says of the United States’ territories in the region, Guam would be most affected.

“It is being built up at the moment as a major staging base. As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down, some of those assets will be relocated to Guam in the event of some sort of Asian crisis which we hope doesn’t happen. But Guam would be affected and the forces in Guam would be standing by to take some sort of action if necessary.”

Further south, the US Army Corps of Engineers is looking to lease up to 15,000 acres of land in American Samoa for training army reserve soldiers.

A former analyst with the US National Security Agency, Wayne Madsen, says it is part of US preparations for confrontation with China and a steady militarisation of US-connected islands in the region.

“This is to train not only US forces for Pacific Rim warfare but also to train the indigenous forces of several countries in the area, Fiji and other states where the US is starting to show a greater interest.”

Wayne Madsen says Hillary Clinton was fond of rattling the sabre at China and it remains to be seen whether John Kerry will follow the same tack.

“I think what we’re seeing here is the circling of the wagons. What is inevitable is a military confrontation between a new right wing government in Japan and China and also more nationalistic governments in South East Asia again against China with the US not taking a neutral position but taking sides and at the same time building up a lot of military forces in the area, in Australia, in the South Pacific, in South Korea, Japan and The Philippines.”

Professor Hoadley says the US-China relationship will also be tested in the Pacific Island region by China’s continued policy of providing soft loans to highly indebted island states, what he calls influence-gathering via VIP visits to Beijing or an increase in the number of warship visits to the area.

“If that happens then I think the United States will try to increase its aid, its diplomatic representation and maybe its military deployments just to send political messages to Beijing that this is not a vacuum of power. This is a vibrant region in which Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States are playing a very constructive role and that the Chinese, if they keep a low profile and do things constructively and in consultation with the traditional partners, they’ll be welcome.”

Papua New Guinea’s Defence Minister, Fabian Pok, is one of the latest Pacific Island VIPs to get red carpet treatment in Beijing, coming away with US$1.8 million in military aid from China.

This year China’s also offered security aid to Fiji and Vanuatu with top defence ministry official, Major General Qian Lihua, visiting Suva and Port Vila.

The latest assistance includes vehicles, uniforms and training opportunities for Fiji’s military and Vanuatu police.

An expert on China’s policies and presence in the Pacific, Associate Professor Anne-Marie Brady of New Zealand’s University of Canterbury, says VIP visits are nothing new as visit diplomacy has been China’s standard practice for a number of years, especially during the days of stronger rivalry with Taiwan in the region.

But she does raise a note of caution.

“As part of the assistance that China’s been giving to the South Pacific which is of interest and concern to countries like New Zealand and Australia has been military assistance. At the moment it’s in terms of non combat kind of assistance but it’s still something to be looked at and kept an eye on because it alters the balance and the level of influence that countries like New Zealand and Australia have in the region and they consider themselves as being dominant states in the region.”

Professor Brady says from her recent talks with foreign affairs officials in Beijing, the South Pacific continues not to be a priority for China.

“China’s not proactive in the region. I think they’re responsive in many ways. They would likely have been approached by the Papua New Guinea defence authorities and the same with Fiji. So it’s not that China’s seeking to interfere in that way but they’ve been approached and asked for assistance. They’re also giving some help to Tonga. China’s not seeking to dominate the region but they’re responsive to requests that they have.”

Professor Brady says Beijing has serious domestic issues to deal with and foreign policy in general is not likely to change markedly under the new leadership of Xi Jinping.

But Stephen Hoadley says there are two schools of thought on the new man at China’s helm.

“One that China will look inwards to social reform, to clean up its atmosphere, to bring greater income equality to the country and therefore Chinese foreign policy will be very cautious and the other school of thought is that China now has a strong military, a strong economy and therefore we’re going to see a much more robust China in the coming six years of the new presidency.”

In Mr Xi’s first foreign policy speech as leader last month he said China would stick to the road of peaceful development but never give up its legitimate rights nor sacrifice core national interests.

Radio New Zealand International
28) New Zealand rugby expert in Fiji to help
By Online Editor
1:25 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Fiji

Newly -appointed Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) High Performable Unit manager Mike Ryan is keen to bring the formula that had brought success to the New Zealand Rugby Union to help improve our national sides.

Ryan, who worked at the provincial franchise and national level in New Zealand, joined FRU last month.
He specialises in rugby development which includes talent indentation and sports science.

“I’m keen to bring that knowledge but not bring it from that environment straight into Fiji,” Ryan said.

“I need to find out what is needed here and bring bits and pieces of things which will actually work in this environment.”

Ryan said he was still observing the ongoing development process to start implementing plans for the development of rugby in the country.

He said he needed to adapt into his new position properly before commenting on the direction the FRU was heading with their development process.

“It’s understanding the situation here before commenting on not what we have done in the past but more concerned on what we are going to do in the future,” Ryan said.

“I don’t think there is going to be instant results. It’s a matter of laying a bit of groundwork and laying a bit of what we can do better and hopefully seeing some results later on in the year and obviously in the years to come.”

Ryan stated he was more interested in building foundation at a young age particularly players around the age of 17 to 18 years.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

29) Vanuatu Amicale bolster their ranks
By Online Editor
1:20 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Vanuatu

Amicale have begun strengthening their side in preparation for the 2013 OFC Champions League which gets underway on March 30.

The Vanuatu club champions have been drawn in Group A alongside Solomon Island champions the Solomon Warriors, Ba from Fiji and Hekari United of Papua New Guinea in the premier Oceania club tournament.

The side had hoped to have the services of Ipswich Knights striker Peter Drager of Australia, however the deal which was announced in January has since fallen through.

Instead the side is looking to add a different Australian player to their ranks in the form of 23-year-old goalkeeper Michael Rutherford.

The young keeper has been playing for 15 years in the New South Wales first division with Leichhardt Tigers and more recently Camden.

Rutherford says he is excited by the chance to represent Amicale in the OFC Champions League.

“I can’t wait to join up with the team and start training for the first match of the competition in the Solomon Islands,” he says.

“Hopefully we can go all the way to the finals.”

Amicale has also added two more local players to their side with midfielder Dominique Fred confirming he has left Shepherds United to sign with the club while defender Samuel Kaloros has joined from Erakor Golden Star.

Fred has already made two appearances with Amicale in friendly matches against Lamap FC and the Vanuatu U-17 side, against which he scored the opener for his new club.

Kaloros meanwhile played a part in Erakor’s rise from the second division just two years ago to coming runners-up in the TVL Premier League in the 2012 season.

Amicale vice-president Andrew Leong says the 24-year-old completed his trial and has also made appearances for the club in the same matches as Fred.

“I am happy because a humble player like Samuel Kaloros has stepped up to join the club to play in the OFC Champions League and he is a very good defender,” Leong says.

The young defender says he is pleased to have the opportunity to live his dream and play in a top competition.

“To achieve my dreams I must find a club and I am very happy because Amicale FC have accepted me to play with them,” Kaloros says.

“My biggest objective now is to train hard and play good football so the coaches and management can recruit me to play for Amicale in the OFC Champions League.”.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

30) Wrestling dropped from 2020 Olympic sports list
By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2013, Switzerland

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to controversially drop wrestling from its 2020 programme has been described as “astonishing” and “hugely disappointing” following the omission of a sport that has featured in every Games except one since the Olympics’ inception 117 years ago.

Fifteen members of the IOC executive board, not including the president, Jacques Rogge, recommended 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympics during a secret ballot vote in Lausanne. The board voted in favour of modern pentathlon, taekwondo and hockey but wrestling was surprisingly omitted for the event in Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid.

However, it could still feature in 2020 should the IOC include it as an additional sport when it meets in Buenos Aires in September. Wrestling will compete with baseball/softball, roller sports, rock climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu, a Chinese martial art, for the remaining place, with each presenting their case for inclusion to the executive board in May.

The international wrestling federation, Fila, said they were “astonished” at the decision. “Fila will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC Executive Board and IOC members of the aberration of such [a] decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games,” it said in a statement.

“Fila has always complied with the IOC regulations and is represented in 180 countries, with wrestling being the national sport in a fair amount of them and the only possibility for athletes to represent their country at the Olympic Games, thus contributing to their universality.”

Great Britain had only one wrestler competing at London 2012, the Ukraine-born Olga Butkevych who lost in the first round, and only expect to have two medal contenders at Rio 2016. Yet despite the dearth of elite performers, the GB Wrestling chief, Colin Nicholson, expressed his dismay at the decision.

“Freestyle wrestling was developed in Great Britain and the United States during the 19th century. It’s something like the sixth most popular collegiate sport in the US, ahead of swimming and tennis, so it’s disappointing,” he said.
“Also wrestling has a huge following across Eastern Europe and Asia. The number of people in Britain able to wrestle at Olympic level is very small, but it’s a sport going in a positive way. Although it will be hugely disappointing not to have the Olympic top level to aspire to, we will be taking part in the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018.”

The executive board reportedly considered 39 factors when making the decision on which event to drop for 2020, including TV popularity, ticket sales, universality, mix of gender and anti-doping efforts. Mark Adams, an IOC spokesman, said: “The executive board made their decision based on their experience. There is a collective intelligence there of people related to federations and they came to that decision.

“In the view of the executive board this was the best programme for the Olympic Games in 2020. It is not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it’s what is right with the 25 core sports.”

Wrestling was an important event at the inaugural Athens Olympics of 1896 and has only missed one Games since, at Paris in 1900. The sport has two categories, freestyle and Greco-Roman, while 344 wrestlers competed at London 2012 with countries from eastern Europe and Asia dominating the medal table.

Golf and rugby sevens will join the Olympic programme for Rio 2016 and were therefore ineligible from expulsion for 2020 at this stage. It was believed that the modern pentathlon, which combines fencing, horse racing, swimming running and shooting, faced the biggest risk of being omitted, although its rich Games history could have influenced the decision.

The GB Modern Pentathlon chief executive, Jon Archer, said: “This absolutely secures the future of the sport, not just at an Olympic level but also in giving us the opportunity to develop and get more people involved. We can relax now and work to continually modernise the sport.”.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN/PACNEWS

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