Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 809

1) Sorcery killings violate rights

THE UNITED Nations (UN) system in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is gravely concerned by the torture and killing of Ms Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old woman who was accused of using sorcery to kill a six-year-old boy in Mount Hagen on February 6, 2013, and other cases of sorcery-related violence reported by the national media in recent days.
The case of the late Ms Leniata is unfortunately one of many, and illustrates the need for urgent attention and action to address this serious human rights violation. Many such cases go unreported and grave injustice is done to the citizens of PNG.
The UN system in PNG is deeply disturbed with the rising number of cases of violence inflicted upon persons accused of sorcery across the country, the impunity shown to perpetrators of such acts, and the lack of support available for victims and their families.
Great concern is also expressed for the large number of women, men and children who are accused of practicing sorcery and subsequently attacked, tortured and killed or banished from their communities. During her 2012 visit to PNG, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Ms Rashida Manjoo, described the gravity of the situation as a “pervasive phenomenon” and stated that sorcery is often used as a pretext to mask abuse of women and children. The UN is shocked to learn that within a week of the murder of Ms. Leniata, yet another media report appeared on the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Mount Hagen. In this case, two women were initially accused of using sorcery to cause the death of the young girl and were subsequently tortured until the post-mortem of the child determined the cause of the death was not sorcery related. These cases also highlight the blatant, brutal and inexcusable acts of physical and sexual violence inflicted upon women and children across the country; a culture of violence which is both undeniable and rampant.
“We urge the Government to take urgent action to end these harmful phenomena and to conduct fair and thorough investigations to arrest and prosecute perpetrators through the Criminal Code, and in accordance with its international obligations and the human rights principles enshrined in the National Constitution.
“PNG is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). During the first periodic reporting on the CEDAW Convention in 2010, the Government made commitments to address sorcery-related violence against women as a priority. Unfortunately, this has not happened and a large number of citizens remain at risk of violence and possible death through sorcery-related accusation.
“We urge the Government to implement the recommendations made by the UN CEDAW Committee.
“We welcome the work and research by the Constitutional Law Reform Commission and the Department for Justice and Attorney-General on sorcery in Papua New Guinea and their review of the Sorcery Act.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130218/mohome.htm

2) Papua New Guinea government orders urgent military deployment to Indonesian border

Posted at 01:52 on 18 February, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s cabinet has approved 2-point-5 million US dollars to deploy defence force soldiers to patrol and protect the border with Indonesia.

The newspaper, The National, reports that the national executive council has moved with urgency to address problems between PNG citizens living in the border area and the Indonesian military.

PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the situation requires immediate national government intervention and for appropriate strategies to be adopted to ease the tension at the border.

Mr O’Neill ordered the Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato to issue a protest note to Jakarta expressing the government’s concern about the construction of Indonesian military posts in the border area.

He says Mr Pato is also to inform Indonesia’s government about continuous harassment of PNG people by the military and other illegal activities as reported by the National Security Advisory Committee’s investigation team.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Namah: Border issues are serious

By ISAAC NICHOLAS

OPPOSITION Leader and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah has warned that more than 10,000 PNG citizens from the border have moved to Indonesia and may next demand they move with their land to Indonesia.
Mr Namah told grievance debate in parliament that successive governments have failed to address the border issues.
He said the Indonesian side is more developed in terms of services, which is luring Papua New Guineans to move across the border to access these better services.
“If we are not careful, many of our citizens living near the border who are already attracted by Indonesian government services on the other side of the border, especially the 12 to 15,000 people in my electorate of Vanimo-Green, may move to the Indonesian side of the border, basically because successive PNG governments have not provided necessary services on our side of the border,” Mr Namah said.
“If the Indonesian government so desires to attract our citizens to the other side, our citizens will demand that they move with their land and become part of Indonesia.
“As responsible leaders we must take serious action and that is for both governments to sit with landowners from both sides of the border and clearly define where the border should run to make sure we protect our resources and land.”
Mr Namah said he welcome the announcement by the Prime Minister to increase trade and investment between Indonesia and PNG, but urged both governments to do first things first, which is a permanent determination and demarcation of the international border between Indonesia and PNG.
“Once the landowners identify their traditional boundary both governments must take careful note and create a permanent border once and for all.”
He recommended that a north to south border highway be built right across the entire land border, and PNG should build two border townships in the south and northern ends.
“Without this strategic infrastructure, nothing meaningful will happen on the border.”
Mr Namah said the landowners along the border have initiated the move in a petition to the Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion on the issue of permanent demarcation of the border. He said the current Batas market in Indonesia is in fact sitting on PNG land and permanent demarcation should be along the Tami river.
Mr Namah said there were recent raids on the southern end of the border where there is poaching by Indonesians, and recent joint patrols by police and PNGDF discovered that the Indonesian navy has built a jetty on Torrasi River inside PNG border.
“While I welcome PM’s announcement for increased trade and investment along the border, we as a country need to have a serious look at the demarcation of our border.”http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130218/mohome.htm


4) Morauta says PNG wealth needs to go to sustainable development

Posted at 16:49 on 17 February, 2013 UTC

A former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta says it is vital the country uses the income from resource projects to underpin sustainable development.

When Sir Mekere was leader at the turn of the century, PNG was on the brink of financial failure but now he says it has become a wealthy country.

He says already the growth in the mining, petroleum and gas sectors is having astounding impacts on incomes and government revenue.

But Sir Mekere says the lesson from his era in charge is the need not to squander the resources.

“Because we can come down from being a very wealthy country to a country that is on the brink of disaster. And it is very possible, so the lesson is to use what we are receiving now creating social and economic infrastructure to underpin more sustainable development.”

Radio New Zealand International

5) PM meets visiting NZ minister

MONDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2013 04:17
PRIME Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has met with visiting New Zealand trade minister Tim Groser on Thursday.

At the meeting Mr Groser expressed the condolences from Prime Minister John Key and the people of New Zealand to Mr Lilo.

He reflected on the deaths and economic losses during the earthquake that impacted Christchurch and assure PM Lilo of continuous support and cooperation in such sad times.

Mr Lilo thanked the Minister for the condolences to his Government and Solomon Islanders who suffered as a result of the tsunami.

In acknowledging these condolences, PM Lilo stated that this is a sign of the close and cordial relationships that exists between the two peoples and countries.

Mr Groser also informed the Prime Minister about New Zealand’s assistance mostly from the private sector, which is expected to be shipped to Lata soon.

Meanwhile, Mr Groser has also used the opportunity to express to Prime Minister Lilo of his candidacy for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General position which will become vacant in June.http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/17158-pm-meets-visiting-nz-minister

6) Visitors impressed with developments here

MONDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2013 04:50
Head of the visiting Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation Baroness Ann Taylor says she was impressed at the robust developments in various sectors in the country.

She made the statement when speaking to the media on Saturday.

“I was incredibly impressed with the structure of Solomons Parliament, which was an indication of a healthy democracy,” Tailor said.

She explained the purpose of their visit is to learn and explore issues that affect the nation such as domestic violence and other social problem.

Taylor said CPA plans to assist the country through the provision of training for political institutions.

“We learn a lot when we met Speaker of National Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza about the development of Solomon Islands democracy”

“Our purpose of coming is to learn and exchange ideas on political and economic development within Solomon Islands context.”

The delegation visited the World War Two monuments at Skyline and Mt Austen.

Taylor said these two monuments show Solomon Islands is a nation born out of war.

The delegation will today meet Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

They leave the country to Papua New Guinea today.http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/17167-visitors-impressed-with-developments-here

By Elliot Dawea


7) Security concerns in quake-stricken Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
09:13 am GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands police say they are disappointed with people from quake-hit Temotu province who have been trying to disrupt the distribution of relief supplies.

In one incident last Wednesday, locals set up a road block in an attempt to extort supplies from emergency services.

The Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force says he has sent his deputy to Temotu, and the road block has now been removed.

John Lansley has told Radio Australia that locals need to understand supplies must go where they are needed most.

“Primarily our job is to help with the security of the distribution of the relief supplies, and I have to say it’s disappointing that we’re being diverted from this task by people causing criminal activity.”

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the Solomons Island more than a week ago, triggering a metre-high tsunami that devastated coastal villages on the remote Santa Cruz Islands.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

8a) Commonwealth Parliamentary Association impressed with developments in Solomons
By Online Editor
1:17 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Solomon Islands

Head of the visiting Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation Baroness Ann Taylor says she was impressed at the robust developments in various sectors in the country.

She made the statement when speaking to the media on Saturday.

“I was incredibly impressed with the structure of Solomons Parliament, which was an indication of a healthy democracy,” Tailor said.

She explained the purpose of their visit is to learn and explore issues that affect the nation such as domestic violence and other social problem.

Taylor said CPA plans to assist the country through the provision of training for political institutions.

“We learn a lot when we met Speaker of National Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza about the development of Solomon Islands democracy”

“Our purpose of coming is to learn and exchange ideas on political and economic development within Solomon Islands context.”

The delegation visited the World War Two monuments at Skyline and Mt Austen.

Taylor said these two monuments show Solomon Islands is a nation born out of war.

The delegation will today meet Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

They leave the country to Papua New Guinea today.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

8b) Baiting multi-millionaire ‘investors’ with Work Permit Exemptions

Posted on February 18, 2013 – 10:29am |
…Hong Kong PR projected Vt1.2 billion for 2013: Kaluat
By

Thompson Marango

The Labour Work Permit Exemption for the Hong Kong Permanent Residence Program (PR) is a strategic Government initiative to attract “mostly multi-millionaires to be able to come and invest in Vanuatu”.

Labour Commissioner, Lionel Kaluat gave this explanation as to why these PR investors are exempted from “Labour Work Permit” when Vanuatu’s original interest was attracted by their status as “Investors”.

Exempting its holders from Vanuatu Labour Work Permit is the second stage of the Hong Kong PR program initiated back in 2011 by the Government to establish new avenues to raise revenue.

According to Mr Kaluat, the initiative is projecting to generate over Vt1.2 billion if the current trend of Vt100 million a month can be sustained.

In 2011 the Program generated Vt4,500,000 for the Government budget, Vt 311,400,000 in 2012 and Vt 103, 500,000 in January 2013 alone.

“Given the success of this initiative, the Ministry of Internal Affairs consulted with relevant stakeholders through official channels and initiated the implementation of the second phase of the program to engage Labour and VIPA after close consultation with the Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong on the potential of raising further revenue for the government through second phase,” stated Labour Commissioner Kaluat.

He said under the initiative “the main intention of the new policy is to provide an attractive package for these PR investors who are mostly multi-millionaires to be able to come and invest in Vanuatu.

“Under this arrangement, VIPA office will be the main key stakeholder to provide a “One Stop Shop” service to these investors and become the main revenue arm of this initiative by way of raising certain fees to compensate for these exemptions through consultation fees.

“An example is to set the current threshold of VIPA from Vt 5 million to Vt25 million to be able t0o attract genuine investors who are ready to seriously invest in Vanuatu.

Although the original objective of the PR Program is to assist its holder with a second permanent residence visa to allow then to invest in Hong Kong, the second phase is an attempt to convince these investors that Vanuatu is also a good place to invest.

The initiation of the Hong Kong Permanent Resident Program involves the appointment of a Vanuatu Trade Commissioner in Hong and the official opening of the Vanuatu Trade Commissioner’s Office in Hong Kong to accommodate an officer from the VFSC and an Immigration Officer to occupy permanent postings in Hong Kong to facilitate the registration of international companies and also issue visa under the PR Program.

Although concerns have been raised over the second phase of the project, Immigration Visa regulation No. 180 of 2011 strict eligibility requirements for the PR Program who applicants must have a Vanuatu International Company, a clear Police record, and at least Vt100,000,000 in his or her bank account.

Meanwhile Kaluat is calling on the public including the Members of Parliament to be “proud that after 32 years of Independence, Ni Vanuatu technical people in the public service and Government statutory institutions especially from VFSC, Immigration, Labour, Customs and VIPA are taking these initiatives on their own without any advice from any foreign consultant to make a breakthrough into the international arena in doing business outside of Vanuatu in a transparent and accountable manner”.

“Relevant stakeholders are still packaging and putting together the necessary formalities within the system to enable a swift and effective service delivery to these genuine investors to be able to attract them to come and invest in Vanuatu in bigger scales of investment particularly in areas of Infrastructure, Tourism, Agriculture and Mineral Resources just to name a few.

“The recent news of Vanuatu having an international airport is already a “shockwave” in Asia and around the region and would seem to mean that all these initiatives are quite timely and need the full support of all relevant stakeholders, including Members of Parliament.”http://www.dailypost.vu/content/baiting-multi-millionaire-‘investors’-work-permit-exemptions

9) One political party application in Fiji did not qualify: Vuniwaqa
By Online Editor
09:18 am GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Elections Mere Vuniwaqa has confirmed that one of the three applications they received for re-registration of political parties did not qualify.

Vuniwaqa chose not to reveal the name of the party only saying that the said party has not fully met the requirements as required under the new Political Party Decree.

“Three parties submitted their applications.

Of the three, one did not fully meet the requirements,” Vuniwaqa said.

She did not specify which section(s) of the decree the party did not fulfil adding the public would be able to judge for themselves when the notice of each political party’s application is published.

As of Friday, three registration applications were received by the Registrar among them that for the proposed National Federation Party (lodged on Wednesday, 13 Feb) and the proposed Fiji Labour Party (Thursday, 14 Feb).

The proposed Social Democratic Liberal Party (SDL) is expected to submit its application early this week. They will however first need to de-register the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua as an existing party.

This is likely to be done today. Even though dissolved the old SDL is still being listed as an existing party. The old party will need to be de-registered by the Registrar.

Meanwhile, Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama will announce the members of the full Constituent Assembly after he has been advised of which existing political parties have successfully registered under the New Political Parties Decree.

The Registrar for Political Parties must – within 14 days – publish a notice of each proposed political party’s application, after an initial assessment. The public then has 7 days to lodge serious objections. Should no objections be raised, the party will be entered into the Register of Political Parties.

As the Prime Minister earlier announced, political parties that are successfully registered will be invited to the Constituent Assembly.

However, the Prime Minister notes with concern allegations of fraud committed by agents of a certain political party during the collection of member signatures. He will await the decision by the Registrar for political parties.

The Constituent Assembly has the duty to review and approve the draft constitution as required under the Fiji Constitutional Process (Constituent Assembly and Adoption of Constitution) Decree 2012.

The Decree requires that the Assembly be diverse, and where possible, be composed of members who represent registered political parties, faith based organisations, trade unions, employers, the business community, Government, farmers and members of rural communities, the RFMF, national organisations, women, youth, people with disability, pensioners, other Fijian-registered civil society groups, and individuals, amongst others.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/ MINFO/PACNEWS

10) Forum Ministerial Contact Group to visit Fiji
By Online Editor
09:17 am GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Fiji

The Fijian government and the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) are discussing a suitable date for the group’s visit to Fiji.

The group was to have visited Fiji earlier this week, to catch up on all that Fiji has achieved since their last tour.

However Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns says the Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr was not available due to a budget debate on his ministry’s appropriation in the Senate on the same date.

Forum Secretary General Neroni Tuiloma Slade is hopeful that the next visit will come sooner rather than later.

“There is an engaged interest of the Forum countries in developments in Fiji. The Forum is following it in the context of this ministerial group of foreign ministers which has been established.”

The Pacific Island Forum’s next meeting is likely to be in September in the Marshall Islands.

For now, member countries are likely to keep a close eye on Fiji on it’s progress towards elections next year.

SOURCE: FBC/PACNEWS

11) New Fiji Elections Office Website Goes Online
‘Clear sign’ of commitment to credible elections, says AG

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 14, 2013) – Fiji took another step toward democracy yesterday with the launch of the new Elections Office website – designed to inform Fijians on all things to do with the 2014 general elections.

The website was launched in Suva yesterday by the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, before heads of missions and government representatives.

“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”, Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said people would also be able to download voter registration forms and Fijians overseas would be able to receive updates on government efforts to register them for the 2014 elections.

The website also provides registration forms for political parties and provides the full text of the political parties decree.

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum explained the website had a number of features that not only allowed Fijians to stay informed on the elections but also login and alter their voter registration details if they were incorrect.

“If you believe that the information captured there is not correct and you want that updated, if you may have changed your address and moved to Labasa or Suva, changed streets in Suva, you can download the amendment form and get your information changed,” he explained.

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

12) Land decree amendment to protect iTaukei lands in Fiji
By Online Editor
09:10 am GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Fiji

ITaukei land will now be prohibited to be converted into freehold land.

This is after a government decision to amend the State Lands Act, which was approved by Cabinet and now has been gazetted.

At a press conference yesterday, the Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the move by government was merely to protect the rights of the iTaukei.

“The Bainimarama government’s policy is the absolute protection of the rights of the iTaukei not to have their land permanently alienated from them,” he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the government had strengthened the protection of iTaukei land by closing a loophole that allowed some of it to be converted into freehold land. He also confirmed that the government was carrying out investigations on some allegations relating to this issue.

He said before the Prime Minister left for France, he had proposed an amendment to the State Lands Act to end this practice.

“This previous practice was not transparent and had been used by previous governments to profit at the expense of the iTaukei landowners,” he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum said that despite having provisions in previous Constitutions that entrenched iTaukei land laws, this practice was still allowed to happen.

“This demonstrates that having entrenched provisions did not safeguard iTaukei land ownership.”

“The law must always be practical and effective in ensuring the protection rights – including property rights.”

“The new Decree ends this unfair practice once and for all.

“Under this Decree, any iTaukei land which is exchanged for portions of State land can no longer be exchanged for private freehold land.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said 90 per cent of land in Fiji belonged to the iTaukei and the government was committed to end past practices that denied iTaukei landowners clear and transparent process.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

13) Tahiti’s Tuheiava seeks changes to French constitution

Posted at 01:49 on 18 February, 2013 UTC

French Polynesia’s pro-independence member of the French Senate, Richard Tuheiava, says he is seeking two amendments to the French constitution.

Mr Tuheiava says the amendments are linked to the bid to have the territory reinscribed on the UN decolonisation list.

He says he wants to draw up guidelines in the constitution for a possible independence referendum.

Furthermore he wants to revoke a 2003 change that dropped the term people in reference to those living in France’s overseas territories.

“At the time, the language [term] people was dropped down to the language [term] population, to overseas population. And our request is to have this constitution amended again.”

French Polynesia’s Senator, Richard Tuheiava, says restoring the reference to people would be highly symbolic.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Samoa PM calls on police to stop chasing away street vendors

Posted at 16:49 on 17 February, 2013 UTC

Street vendors in Samoa have got the prime minister’s support to continue selling their goods around the town in areas in front of shops.

This comes after police chased away vendors from their usual spots and confiscated most of their goods.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, says police officers should concentrate on other important duties and not chasing the street vendors.

Tuila’epa says these people are working to earn some money to look after their families and the police should seriously consider it.

The assistant police commissioner and spokesperson says it’s clear under the police offences act that people can sell goods, including food on the street, provided they pay a 25 US dollar fee to the police for a permit as well as payment of a business license to the Ministry of Revenue.

However, the prime minister says he suspects a local business operator may be behind the police move.

Radio New Zealand International

15) Nauru in chaos as ministers quit
By Online Editor
09:21 am GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Nauru

Australia’s push to re-establish a detention centre on Nauru has left the island government in chaos, triggering the departure of three senior ministers.

Foreign Minister Kieren Keke and Finance Minister Roland Kun have quit cabinet, and former president and Commerce Minister Marcus Stephen has been sacked by President Sprent Dabwido.

The Australian-trained Dr Keke had been a key figure in the negotiations with Canberra to set up the processing centre.

The departures have forced the government into lockdown, with just two ministers left in cabinet, a situation believed to be unconstitutional. “Nobody’s talking and we can’t comment,” a Nauruan government spokeswoman said.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens this week. Sorry, that’s how it is for now.”

Nauruan opposition MPs said there had been tension and infighting within government ranks since Labor announced it would reopen a detention centre on the tiny Pacific island in August last year. Opposition MP Baron Waqa said the government was dysfunctional.

“At the moment, the government is dysfunctional, nothing is happening, people are confused, department heads and workers don’t know what’s happening,” Waqa said.

Stephen did not return calls or text messages from The Weekend Australian

The current situation of just two members in the Nauruan cabinet means it is likely Dabwido will be replaced.
Nauruan sources described him as a “lone wolf” who is “a step away from losing his seat”.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said while he did not want to comment on Nauru’s internal politics, it was clear Labor had botched the rollout of its detention facility.

“Labor have rushed and bungled the re-establishment of the processing centre in Nauru,” Morrison said.

“For years, Labor spent all their energies trashing offshore processing and demonising Nauru. The fact that Labor had to be dragged kicking and screaming into re-establishing the centre meant that Labor walked into Nauru blind.”

Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor said he was aware of the ministerial departures but they were a matter for Nauru.

“These are matters for that government and it would not be appropriate to speculate on the reasons,” a spokeswoman for Mr O’Connor said.

As of last Friday night, 416 asylum-seekers were being housed on Nauru. A total of 88 were sleeping in the first stage of the permanent facility being constructed.

The centre was opened last year along with an asylum-seeker processing centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island on the recommendation of the expert panel chaired by former defence force chief Angus Houston.

The panel broke the political deadlock over overseas processing after the High Court ruled against Labor’s Malaysia Solution.

Processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island had been key parts of the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, disbanded by Kevin Rudd after Labor won the 2007 election.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

16) CNMI Governor Fitial trial may start next month
By Online Editor
09:11 am GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

The impeachment trial of Governor Benigno R Fitial will start either late next week or early in March after the Senate gave him seven days to answer the multiple charges of commission of a felony, corruption and neglect of duty.

The seven-day period starts tomorrow, the day Senate Jude U. Hofschneider will send a writ of summons notifying the governor of the adoption of House Resolution 18-2 or the impeachment resolution, and the dates of his trial.

Hofschneider R-Tinian, said they will also attach to the summons the impeachment trial rules which the Senate unanimously adopted during a session here on Friday.

Chaired by Senate Vice President Ralph DLG Torres, R-Saipan, the impeachment rule panel came up with a 20-page set of rules, a copy of which had yet to be released, but Variety learned it includes prohibiting the governor from making contacts with any of the senators until the trial is completed. Senators will also be prohibited from meeting with the governor.

Pro-administration Sen. Victor B. Hocog, R-Rota, did not support this particular rule saying there are certain matters concerning the commonwealth that the governor and the Legislature should be addressing together.

“What if there are other urgent matters we need to discuss with the governor?” he asked.

The rules also provide for a speedy trial as promised by Torres last week.

The other members of the committee are Sens. Frank Q. Cruz, R-Tinian; Pete P. Reyes, R-Saipan; and Jovita M. Taimanao, Ind.-Rota.

In an interview after the session, Hofschneider said the writ of summons that he will send the governor “is basically just notifying him about the dates of the proceedings and other details regarding the impeachment trial.”

The Senate would have served the governor the writ of summons last Friday if not for the lengthy discussion on the impeachment trial rules. The Senate session started at 1:30 p.m., adopting the impeachment trial rules at 6:30 p.m.

“We are going to send the summons out as soon as possible,” Hofschneider said.

Because it is a holiday today, the summons will be served to the governor tomorrow.

Now that the impeachment rules are out, the governor should step aside and file for a leave of absence as soon as the trial begins, according to former Senate President Paul A. Manglona.

Anti-corruption activist Glen Hunter, for his part, said Fitial should have resigned a long time ago.

According to Manglona, Fitial should not be allowed to use his position to influence the senators who will serve as judges in the impeachment trial.

The distinction between his functions as governor and his actions as defendant in the impeachment trial will be very slim, the former Senate president said.

He said Fitial can use his functions as governor to disguise his moves to influence the senators.

It will be a disservice to the people, he added, if Fitial is preoccupied by his effort to defend himself, instead of doing his work as governor.

He said the lt. governor can take over while Fitial is undergoing his impeachment trial.

Manglona said the Attorney General’s Office or the Senate legal counsels should look into the experience of other states and jurisdictions in handling similar cases.

In an interview yesterday, Hunter said Fitial is responsible for blatant acts of corruption, neglect of duty and the commission of felonies.

He should not be allowed to make any more decisions on behalf of the people, he added.

The Senate, he said, can ensure this by upholding the Constitution and their sworn oaths, and removing Fitial from office.

“The community has spoken loud and clear about what they expect of the 18th Legislature. The honorable 16 House members who voted to impeach have fulfilled their promise to the people,” he said.

“With the overwhelming public mandate that was established by our recent election, the volumes of evidence and testimony submitted by the House, and the international attention that Fitial’s conduct has attracted over the years, I am confident that our Senators will do the right thing,” he added.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

17) NZ able to support Australian whaling case
By Online Editor
1:20 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has been told it will be able to support Australia in legal action against whaling.

The case is due to be heard at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, possibly in July.

Australia says Japanese whaling is in breach of its obligations under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, as well as others seeking to preserve marine mammals and the marine environment.

New Zealand has been granted the right to take part.

Legal experts say New Zealand is not a party to the dispute, but is getting involved under the legal title of intervener.

This will involve making submissions to the court.

Meanwhile, the Sea Shepherd conservation group has obstructed Japan’s research whaling activities in the Antarctic Ocean for the first time since this season’s research started in December, the Fisheries Agency said.

According to the Institute of Cetacean Research, which undertakes the scientific whaling program, the obstruction took place from 7 p.m. Friday GMT to 9:30 p.m.

Sea Shepherd’s Bob Parker vessel came within 55 meters of the Nisshin Maru, the mother ship for the Japanese whaling fleet, at one point, and its crew threw ropes at the Yushin Maru No. 2 research and patrol ship’s propellers and helm.

SOURCE: RNZ/ JIJI PRESS/PACNEWS

18) PNG Sports Minister opens 2015 Pacific Games Office
By Online Editor
1:35 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

The 2015 Pacific Games organising committee now has a fully equipped office to operate from to deliver the best ever event in Port Moresby.

The office, on the ground floor of Telikom Rumana Building, was officially opened by Sports, Pacific Games and National Events Minister Justin Tkatchenko, organizing committee chairwoman Emma Waiwai and chairman Kosta Constantinou.

Tkatchenko said it was time for enough of talking and time to get the job going with a huge task to ensure that PNG was put on the map by winning the games.

He said as advised by the prime minister the Games was of national importance and all government heads and stakeholders must be involved.

“The office will benefit all stakeholders involved in the Games to work together with one aim and one goal,” he said.

Tkatchenko said tenders were open so work could start on the infrastructure and developments needed for the Games.

Waiwai said the opening of the office marked another milestone as it would operate from near the Sir John Guise Stadium.

She said the Games were growing and it would be much bigger with more sports played and athletes and officials involved in the 2015 Pacific Games than previously.

The opening was witnessed by prominent people from the corporate sector, government officials, PNG Sports Federation and National Sports Federation.
Deputy manager Games operations and venues Clint Flood said the community was involved with great people and athletes and with the right formula winning this Games would be very special.

Meanwhile, FIBA (Federation International Basketball Association) Oceania secretary-general Steve Smith and zone development manager Annie La Fleur arrived in Port Moresby on Saturday.

The FIBA Oceania officials are here to support the country’s preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games.

They were met by Papua New Guinea Basketball Federation president Nick Daroa, his deputy Emma Waiwai and national basketball development officer Ronnie Mea.

Daroa and his team welcomed their help to develop basketball in the country in preparation for Pacific Games as well as other important issues related to the sport.

Smith, who has visited the country four times, said they were here to help with technical expertise and infrastructural development and assessing standards and requirements.

This is Smith’s fifth visit to PNG and the first for La Fleur, who is part Papua New Guinean (Lese Oala Gulf) and represented the Australian Opals in two World Championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

It was revealed that FIBA Oceania Pacific Youth championship 2014 expression of interest, which PNG bids for against Fiji, Tahiti and New Caledonia to host; will be good test for PNG’s facilities towards 2015 Pacific Games.

La Fleur recently joined the body as a zone development manager and they were confident of employing two national basketball development officers under FIBA Oceania and another possibly from the PNG Sports Federation.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

19) Bid now called PNG Rugby League Foundation
By Online Editor
1:33 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

After  failing to deliver the NRL franchise to the people of Papua New Guinea, the PNGNRL Bid has now been re-baptised the PNG Rugby League Foundation.

The new entity basically takes over the functions of PNGNRL Bid but has refocused to have a team in Queensland Cup.

Minister for Sports Justin Tkatchenko announced the name change at a press conference on Friday at Parliament House.

“We want to change the focus of NRL Bid and start with the lower level to get a team into Queensland Cup, which was fully endorsed by the prime minister,” he said.

“One thing was very clear was that we don’t want to lose focus of getting into NRL in future. That is a dream we are looking at.

“The objective of the new entity is getting a team into the Queensland Cup. It is a positive move, it’s got a realistic objective that can be achieved.

“We have support from both sides of the Australian parliament including champion Maroons coach Mal Meninga, who is trying to help us get a team into Queensland Cup.

“Meninga is a legend and has big influence to get a PNG team in Queensland,” he said.
“The PNG Rugby League Foundation is working towards its target, having a PNG team in the Queensland Cup in 2014. By having a team in Queensland Cup, it will expose our PNG players and secondly, NRL scouts will be looking at Queensland Cup competition for players.

“A submission was put before NEC to ratify the change in name from the PNG NRL BID to the PNG Rugby League Foundation, which was unanimously approved by all members,” Tkatchenko said.

“It’s an exciting new era for PNG Rugby League, with the PNGRL Foundation assisting the PNGRFL in its administration and working together to deliver a streamlined approach to the development of the game in our nation.

“For too long have we settled for mediocrity and what has been done in the past it is not the way we want do things in the future. We have taken a fresh look; shaken things up and are bringing our game into the 21st Century.

“There are some big announcements to be made and once the entire plan is revealed and under way, rugby league in PNG will finally get back on track in a massive way,” Tkatchenko said.

Meanwhile, PNG Rugby League Foundation chairman Powes Parkop says the name change is necessary.
Parkop, the National Capital District governor, said: “The NRL have recently announced through the commission that no new teams will be considered for entry into the NRL until 2018 or 2019.

“We have undergone a thorough review over the past 12 to 18 months and have had to adjust our strategy and pathway to eventually achieve our dream of a team in the NRL,” Parkop said.

“We have to focus on the implementation and growth of our national All Schools development programme and inclusion of a senior side into the 2014 Intrust Super Cup (Queensland Cup), followed by inclusion of an U16 and U18 team into the 2015 Queensland Cup competitions.

“This will provide a pathway for our home-grown talent and successful management of these programmes, along with working closely with the PNGRFL will prove that the nation deserves to be strongly considered for an NRL licence in the future.”

Parkop thanked Sir Michael Somare for supporting the PNGNRL Bid as a national project for promoting unity through rugby league.

“The benchmarks are still the same, we got to have stadiums, financial capabilities, junior development to provide us (PNG team) player base to play in Queensland Cup and NRL, and importantly, selling of media rights,” he said.

PNG Rugby League Foundation CEO Brad Tassell, who was a strong advocate of the change in name, said it was vital to get on with the job of what needed to be done now to fix rugby league.

I think that we have for too long focused on the end result and not doing the hard yards and identifying the correct pathway on how to get there, or at least be a position to be considered strongly for inclusion into the NRL in the future,” he said.

“Rugby league has been in a mess the past few years and we must concentrate on getting the PNGRFL back to its rightful mantle as the governing body in this country and managed professionally.

“We must have a strong junior development programme, a strong national domestic competition, a professionally managed high performance programme and a competitive Queensland Cup team in place.”.

SOURCE”: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

20) India women’s skipper not taking unknown Fijians lightly
By Online Editor
1:32 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, India

The Indian women’s hockey team will not take their Fijian counterparts for granted when they meet on Thursday in their Hero Hockey World League Round 2 encounter in New Delhi.

Indian captain Ritu Rani said their aim was to qualify for the World Cup and they were focused on that.

A woman of very little words, Haryana said they would try to leave a big score margin against all their opponents.

Just like her male counterpart Sardar Singh, Rani said they respected all the teams and they knew everyone was prepared for this tournament.

Keeping in mind the preparations for the tournament, the Indian teams started their training camp from January 4 and continued until the commencement of the event, a part of the qualification process for the International Hockey Federation Women’s World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.

Fiji skipper Melba Nautu said her side was trying to acclimatise to the cold Delhi weather.

The side had two training sessions in the weekend, trying out the pitch at the tournament venue at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium before their match against Japan today.

“Most are still jet-lagged and also not used to the weather so we are trying to shake it off,” she said. “We will not let the cold get to us, we will go out there and play our very best It’s very cold here, we are just not used to it, but we will overcome it.”

Meanwhile, National men’s hockey player Jerome Edwards is likely to be ruled out of their first match against India in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi today because of injury.

This was after he sprained his ankle during the team first training session at the tournament venue — the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium — on Saturday night.

The team medical officials were monitoring his condition and would make a decision today.
But it is likely that it would take Edwards a few days to recover.

The 19-year-old has played in eight international matches.

Team manager Senimili Smith said they were keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that Edwards would be able to play in the remaining matches.

The cold rain in the national capital on Saturday made things harder for the national side.

They could not believe that it could get that cold in New Delhi with the temperature plummeting to 13 degrees Celsius from the 22 degrees Celsius when they arrived.

Miller said the team members were not used to the cold but they would not let that affect their performance.

At training on Saturday night, everyone was commenting on the cold Delhi climate.

National women’s coach Shaun Corrie said they needed to get more warm clothes for the players.

“We were told that it was cold, but we didn’t know that it would be this cold,” he said.

“We were shivering out there on the field, maybe because this is our first training session.”

The women’s team will play against Japan in their first match at 5pm (Fiji time) today while the men’s team will take on hosts India early tomorrow morning.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *