Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 812


1) Wok blong chekim ol kar imas wok blong polis

Updated 22 February 2013, 9:55 AEST

Polis  long Southern Highlands long PNG ilaikim wok blong chekim ol kar na trak igo long Southern Highlands i bringim hait ol alcohol imas wok blong polis.

Southern Highlands Provinsel Gavaman ibin putim tambu long alcohol long 2010 bihain long ibin kisim toksave olsem pipol drink spak i hap blong ol heve blong loa na oda  long provins.

Long las yar, nupela lika Laisensing Komisin ibin kamapim ol jek-points blong chekim ol kar na trak na ibin makim ol pipol nating i mekim ol wok wuas.

Tasol Provinsel Polis Komanda Kaiglo Ambane ibin tok dispela tingting ino stret long loa long ol pipol nating i lukautim ol kain wok olsem. They can assist us,” emi tok.

Polis bos blong provins itok emi taim long polis i kisim na lukautim dispela wok  long wanem, ol kar i karim ol kago nogut, olsem ol gans em oli nogat tok orait long igo insait  long provins.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-02-21/wok-blong-chekim-ol-kar-imas-wok-blong-polis/1092018

2) Gunmen kill eight soldiers in Indonesia’s Papua

Updated 22 February 2013, 0:57 AEST

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead eight soldiers and seriously wounded another in two separate incidents in Indonesia’s Papua province.

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead eight soldiers and seriously wounded another in two separate incidents in Indonesia’s Papua province.

Papua military spokesman Jansen Simanjuntak says the first incident took place in the district of Puncak Jaya, when an armed group opened fire on a military post in Tingginambut village, killing one soldier and injuring another.

The second attack occurred an hour later in the neighbouring district of Sinak, when armed attackers shot at nine soldiers walking to a nearby airport, killing seven.

Mr Simanjuntak says the perpetrators have not been identified.

Gun attacks are common in Papua, where poorly-armed separatists have for decades fought a low-level insurgency on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population.

The mountainous Puncak Jaya district is a known hideout for armed separatists.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-02-21/gunmen-kill-eight-soldiers-in-indonesias-papua/1092022

AFP

Phils Note: If no one is willing to help West Papua…… The UN,Australia,Melanesian Spear head and other Groups Organisation for these past 3 decades then this is the only way to go. Revenge….this kind of killing attack is the only way to get attention from The Universal Media .I support Melanesian West Papuan fight for FREEDOM……MERDEKA!)

3) Huit soldats indonésiens abattus en Papouasie

Posté à 22 February 2013, 9:17 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est dans cette province indonésienne, lors de deux incidents séparés, que des hommes non-identifiés ont attaqué le poste militaire du village de Tingginambut dans la région de Puncak Jaya. Un soldat a été tué et un autre sérieusement blessé.

Un porte-parole de l’armée indonésienne, Jansen Simanjutak, précise que lors de la seconde attaque, qui s’est déroulée une heure plus tard dans la région voisine de Sinak,  des hommes armés ont ouvert le feu sur  9 militaires qui marchaient en direction de l’aéroport. 7 soldats ont été tués.

Des attaques de ce type se déroulent ponctuellement en Papouasie où des séparatistes piètrement armés mènent une insurrection depuis des décennies, principalement au nom de la population mélanésienne.

La région montagneuse de Puncak Jaya abrite depuis longtemps des séparatistes armés.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-02-22/huit-soldats-indonésiens-abattus-en-papouasie/1092152

4a) National Alliance Party withdraws contempt charges against MPs of last Parliament
By Online Editor
08:21 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

The National Alliance Party (NA) in Papua New Guinea under the leadership of Patrick Pruaitch has announced that it is officially withdrawing contempt charges against Members of the last Parliament.

NA was an intervener in the Supreme Court reference challenging the validity of the O’Neill-Namah government following the events of the political impasse of August 2011. The party at that time supported the East Sepik provincial government in filing contempt charges against some members of parliament.

Party leader and Minister for Forests and Climate Change, Patrick Pruaitch said the withdrawal of the contempt proceedings was a demonstration of the consolidation and support for the new reconciliation and national unity government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“While the events of late 2011 and early 2012 have been embedded into the memory of our political history as a developing democracy, it is important for us leaders today to also move forward for the sake of our people and our country,” Pruaitch said.

Shortly after the results of the 2012 national elections, Sir Michael Somare, as the then leader of NA, accepted the choice of the people of Papua New Guinea, and subsequently supported the proposition of a reconciliation and national unity government and aligned himself and the NA Party with the majority party in accordance with the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates.

Pruaitch said: “The impasse ended when the new government of Prime Minister O’Neill was formed and work began behind the scenes towards repealing the law we held to be unconstitutional, namely the Judicial Conduct Act and the amendments to the Prime Minister and NEC Act, both of which had retrospective effect, thereby raising the concerns for bad law and bad precedents.

“As the incumbent leader of the NA Party, I want to assure the government of the day that NA will continue to support the leadership of O’Neill as Prime Minister and will therefore, with the consent of East Sepik MPs and the Governor Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, today proceed to withdraw the contempt charges laid against certain Members of the last Parliament.

“I want to assure the people of East Sepik that your noble act of upholding our constitution by supporting the actions of the East Sepik provincial government, under the stewardship of the previous Governor Peter Wararu, will be treasured by the NA Party and I am sure Papua New Guinea will hold them in high regard for being selfless.

“I have the assurance of the Prime Minister that East Sepik province will receive the same support like any other province.

“Sir Michael placed his trust in me as a senior Minister during the two terms of his government. I therefore assure the people of East Sepik that I will continue to support Sir Michael in his efforts to bring development to his province of East Sepik during this term of government.”.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

4b) Swiss nun fights to save women branded as witches in PNG

Published: February 21, 2013

This woman was accused of using black magic to kill her son. His friends dragged her to a pigsty, where she was tortured

The shout went up from a posse of children as they raced past the health clinic in a valley deep in the Papua New Guinean highlands. Inside, Swiss-born nurse and nun Sister Gaudentia Meier — 40-something years and a world away from the ordered alps of her homeland — was getting on with her daily routine, patching the wounds and treating the sicknesses of an otherwise woefully neglected population, reports The Global Mail.

It was around lunchtime, she recalls. Sister Gaudentia knew immediately the spectacle the excited children were rushing to see. They were on their way to a witch-burning. There are many names for dark magic in the 850 tongues of Papua New Guinea, sanguma resonating widely in these mountains. The 74-year-old sister hurriedly rounded up some of her staff, loaded them in a car and followed the crowd, with a strong foreboding of what she would find.

Two days earlier she had tried to rescue Angela (not her real name), an accused witch, when she was first seized by a gang of merciless inquisitors looking for someone to blame for the recent deaths of two young men. They had stripped their quarry naked, blindfolded her, berated her with accusations and slashed her with bush knives (machetes).

The “dock” for her trial was a rusty length of corrugated roofing, upon which she was displayed trussed and helpless. Photographs taken by a witness on a mobile phone show that the packed, inert public gallery encircling her included several uniformed police.

In Papua New Guinea, the Pacific nation just a short boat ride from Australia’s far north, 80 per cent of the seven million-plus population live in rural and remote communities. Many have little access to even basic health and education, surviving on what they eat or earn from their gardens.

There are few roads out, but a burgeoning network of digital-phone towers and dirt-cheap handsets now connect them to the world — assuming they can plug into power and scrounge a few kina-worth of credit.

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=35078

FULL STORY It’s 2013 and they’re burning witches (Global Mail)

5) Despite border issues, Singirok says PNG/Indonesia links strong

By Online Editor
08:13 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

A former head of Papua New Guinea’s Defence Force says the country’s relationship with Indonesia is cordial enough to work through issues about their common border.

The comment from Major General Jerry Singirok comes as PNG’s cabinet ordered a deployment of troops to patrol and protect the border.

This follows tensions between PNG citizens living in the border area and the Indonesian military.
Major General Singirok says recent incidents have exposed PNG’s inability to adequately manage the border.

“But the relationship between Indonesia and PNG is cordial. The actions by a few elements of the Indonesian military does not really reflect a breakdown in our relationship with Indonesia.”

Major General Singirok said PNG’s troop deployment should help ease the tensions.

But he admits that the construction of Indonesian military posts on PNG territory is a serious infringement which requires diplomatic action.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

6) Mining Associations Discuss Re-Opening Panguna Mine
Landowners say reconciliation must come before any action

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 20, 2013) – The leaders of the six mine lease associations in Panguna in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville (ABG) say they should be fully funded through the new Panguna Peace Building Strategy.

Launched with Australian assistance last week, the Strategy aims to foster reconciliation around Panguna, where the mothballed copper mine that sparked the ten-year civil war is located.

There is widespread interest in re-opening the huge mine but the lease association’s chair Chris Damana, who is heading an interim landowners’ umbrella group, says nothing can happen before a full reconciliation within Panguna communities.

He says they are in Buka for talks with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the ABG, about key issues that need to be addressed.

“One of those issues that we will be talking [about] is for ABG government to fully fund Panguna landowners’ associations. We have done our in-house preparation and I think are the things that need to be funded from this Panguna Peace Building Strategy.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

7) Solomon Islands to host Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly
By Online Editor
08:04 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Solomon Islands

Preparations are underway in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, for the Pacific Conference of Churches general assembly from  03 – 10 March.

An advance party from the PCC Secretariat in Suva arrived in Honiara Tuesday, to finalise details of the meeting with the Solomon Islands Christian Association.

More than 200 people from the region are expected to attend the week-long assembly which will be preceded by three workshops specifically designed to address issues faced by young people, women and regional engagement.

The central theme of the women’s workshop will be Walk Justly: Stop Violence Against Women and Girls.

Participants will share experiences and strategise on gender development issues – including the eradication of violence against women – for the next five years.

Women delegates will also be prepared during the workshop to effectively take part in the main assembly.
They will be briefed on assembly rules and consensus-building through a series of presentations, discussions and rehearsals.

PCC Women’s Animator Akanisi Tarabe said it was important that the views of women be communicated effectively during the general assembly.

“If the views are communicated well and understood by the delegates there will be a greater possibility for women’s issues and concerns to be addressed by members,” Tarabe said.

A simultaneous youth workshop will dwell on issues facing young people across the Pacific.

The two-day activity will allow regional youth to share difficulties they face and their hopes for the future.

PCC Youth Animator Manasa Vatanitawake said the event would allow young Christians to find common goals and identify areas in which they could help each other.

“We wish not to spend time on past achievements but instead learn from the past and find paths which take them forward into a bright future in which they can realize their hopes and aspirations,” Vatanitawake said.

The regional engagement programme will be convened by Reverend Doctor Rosalyn Nokise of the Pacific Theological College.

The event will review development of mission work in the region and discuss opportunities for churches to cooperate in the areas of development, mission and resource sharing.

For further information: Netani Rika, Pacific Conference of Churches, 4 Thurston Road, Suva.

Email netrika66@gmail.com Mobile 679-9990439

SOURCE: PCC/PACNEWS

8) Guadalcanal To Elect New Provincial Premier In Solomons
Veke resigns over alleged abuse of public funds

By Jennifer Kakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 21, 2013) – Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly will elect a new premier on Friday.

Two candidates are confirmed to contest the top job following the resignation of Premier Anthony Veke on Tuesday.

Speaker for Guadalcanal Province Abel Arabola said the member for Ghaobata Ward Stephen Panga and member for Malango Ward Walton Naezon are the candidates nominated.

Mr. Arabola said the election for the premier’s seat will be held this Friday.

According to the speaker, Mr. Naezon was nominated by member for Paripao ward Andrew Rayboy and member for Valasa Ward Godfrey Raubola while Mr. Panga was nominated by member for Tandai Ward John Nano and member for Saghalu Ward Michael Papari.

He said at the close of nomination, both groups have set up camps at Honiara Hotel and Pacific Casino.

“Panga-led group camped at Honiara Hotel which consists of former executive members including the resigned premier Anthony Veke,” Mr. Arabola said.

“Backbenchers camped at Pacific Casino led by Mr. Naezon.”

The speaker said it is too early to predict which group has the number however said the group with more than 10 members is likely to win take the government as the assembly as 21 members.

Mr. Veke resigned over allegations of abuse of public funds, which he denied.

Solomon Star

  1. 9) Australia Increases Support For Vanuatu Women’s Center ,National program will receive $5.5 million over 4 years

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 20, 2013) – In his two-day visit to Vanuatu Australia’s Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, Vanuatu took the opportunity to unveil the plaque marking the opening of the new Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC).

Australia has been a proud partner of VWC since 1994 and has agreed a new program of support (AU$5.3 million [US$5.5 million]) for VWC from 2012 to 2016.

Its funding assistance will see the Women’s Centre purchase a permanent facility in Port Vila to help expand counseling, legal and training services, open a new branch in Malampa Province, provide counseling services, access to legal assistance and emergency accommodation, for 15,000 survivors of violence, reach 80,000 through community education and awareness programs and provide counseling and human rights training to 650 members of the Centre’s nation-wide network.

In the last 5 years the Centre assisted 10,000 survivors of family violence with, counseling, legal assistance and accommodation and its community education and awareness activities reach over 100,000 women and men throughout Vanuatu.

In addition to its Port Vila premises, the Women’s Centre has three provincial branches, and 41 island-based committees VWC also has an active national network of over 100 male advocates who work actively to promote human rights and prevent and address violence against women and children in their communities.

Australia, under the regional gender equality initiative Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development, supports the Vanuatu Women’s Centre in its efforts to end violence against women in Vanuatu.

Violence against women is, sadly, very common in Vanuatu. A comprehensive 2011 national survey found that 60 percent of women experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner, more than 20 percent of women injured are left with a permanent disability.

The Vanuatu Women’s Centre was set up as an independent civil society organization in 1992, providing counseling, support and legal services to survivors of violence in Vanuatu.

They have centers in: Port Vila, Luganville, Tanna and Vanua Lava and also have a vibrant rural network of 41 Committees against Violence against Women and a national network of male advocates.

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

10) Moderate earthquake – Vanuatu Islands on February 21, 2013

Last update: February 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm by By Ashish Khanal

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 4.4

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-02-21 19:40:39

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-02-21 08:40:39

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 221 km

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11) Super-yacht issued provisional registration by Vanuatu
By Online Editor
2:55 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s Maritime Affairs Technical Advisory Committee has issued provisional registration to the mega yacht, the Phocea.

The vessel has been detained in Port Vila harbour since last July when it was seized by officials, originally on suspicion of drugs and guns smuggling.

Despite efforts by the government to release the boat, the Ports Authority has kept the Phocea detained due to false documentations and its lack of registration.

Now, a six-month registration with restrictive conditions has been signed by the Deputy Commissioner of the Committee, Guy Benard.

The Committee says the registration allows the Phocea to sail to Thailand for further permanent registration on the Vanuatu International registry after full survey.

A copy of the registration certificate identifies Vanuatu’s honorary Consul to Vietnam, Pascal Anh Quan Saken, as co-owner and operator of the Phocea.

Saken has previously accused Vanuatu authorities of detaining the Phocea in order to charge exorbitant berthing fees.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

12) New Caledonia Nickel Mining Industry Issues Remain
Increased overseas processing criticized by local leaders

By Nic Maclellan

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Feb. 20, 2013) – New Caledonia’s nickel industry is being transformed as new joint ventures and exports to Asia challenge France’s control of the strategic minerals sector.

New Caledonia holds more than 25 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, as well as other strategic metals. The mining, processing and export of these ores are central to New Caledonia’s political as well as economic future, as the country moves to a new political status after 2014.

The FLNKS independence movement sees the control of the islands’ major industry as a key part of their struggle.

Historically, New Caledonia’s nickel sector has been dominated by Société le Nickel (SLN), a subsidiary of the French corporation ERAMET, which in turn is controlled by the French government through its FSI strategic investment fund.

But there has long been tension between the French state and local New Caledonian interests over the management of the industry.

During the nickel boom of the late 1960s and 1970s, SLN lobbied the French government to restrict investment from overseas competitors.

Changing times

SLN’s dominant position was assisted by the 1969 Billotte laws, which increased Paris’ control of mining regulation, transferred the authority to set export quotas to the French Ministry of Industry and effectively restricted access by Canadian and Australian nickel companies.

For decades, SLN has operated New Caledonia’s only nickel smelter at Doniambo in Noumea, powered by the Yate hydro-electricity scheme. But in a period of European economic woe and expanding Asian economies, times are changing and SLN is not the only game in town.

Today, the Brazilian corporation Vale is building a major processing plant at Goro in the south-east of the main island Grande Terre.

But the major breakthrough in “economic rebalancing”—a central pillar of the 1998 Noumea Accord—is the new industrial activity in the Northern Province, where the population is largely Kanak.

Recognizing the importance of the mining sector for economic development, the FLNKS independence movement negotiated to break ERAMET-SLN’s control in the 1990s.

Boom times in north

The Noumea Accord was only signed in May 1998 after ERAMET and the French government agreed to a préalable minière (mining pre-condition), with the signing of the Bercy Accord in February that year.

Under this deal, SLN ceded major nickel reserves at Koniambo to Société minière du sud Pacifique (SMSP), a mining company majority controlled by the Northern Province’s local government.

New Caledonia’s three provincial governments also obtained shares in SLN, as a contribution to economic “rebalancing” that is a core element of New Caledonia’s decolonization process.

New Caledonia’s capital Noumea and the surrounding Southern Province have long hosted much of the country’s economic infrastructure.

But today, driving north to the provincial capital of Kone, you can see a range of activities which are transforming the rural north.

There are new roads and roundabouts, industrial construction, housing estates and commercial operations along the corridor known as “VKP”, linking the west coast towns of Voh, Kone and Pouembout.

The centre piece of all this change is the “projet du nord”—the construction of a processing plant in the north, which will end SLN’s long-held monopoly of nickel smelting.

Wide spinoffs

But there are spinoffs in all directions, with new cultural, sporting and educational facilities across the province.

In 2012, the Agence de Développement de la Culture Kanak (ADCK) opened a branch in Kone, as did the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI).

In early 2013, the Pentecost group will complete the giant Teari commercial centre with supermarkets and shops at Green Acre (a new subdivision south of Kone), costing 1.4 billion Pacific francs.

The pace of construction is so great that a subsidiary of the Australian corporation BlueScope Steel is building a steel fabrication plant in the Northern Province to complement its existing factory in Noumea.

As the project got underway in 2008, the President of the Northern Province, Paul Neaoutyine, outlined his vision: “Building the Northern smelter has long been an objective of the FLNKS, not only to rebalance the economy between the provinces, but also to show that New Caledonia can be independent.

“We need projects of sufficient weight to turn things around. This is the whole challenge of economic rebalancing, which we started discussing in the Matignon-Oudinot Accords of 1988.”

The driving force of the Northern Province’s transformation is the Société minière du sud Pacifique (SMSP), led by president and CEO Andre Dang.

Friend of Tjibaou

Dang is a long-time supporter of the FLNKS and a close friend of the late independence leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou.

Starting as a garage owner, Dang made his fortune importing cars and trucks to New Caledonia.

He moved into a leading role with SMSP after the November 2000 death of SMSP president Raphael Pidjot in a helicopter crash – an accident that many Kanaks still regard as suspicious.

Controlled by the Northern Province’s holding company SOFINOR, SMSP has diversified its operations through a number of joint ventures and subsidiaries.

The Northern smelter project is run by Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS), a partnership between SMSP and the major UK-Swiss corporation Xstrata.

Along with Cotransmine (shipping and stevedoring), SMSP also has two joint ventures with the Korean group Posco: the Nickel Mining Company (NMC) and the nickel processing company Société du Nickel de Nouvelle-Calédonie et Corée (SNNC).

Although it relies on overseas technology, capital and expertise, SMSP has retained a 51 percent interest in all its joint ventures.

Leading exporter

In recent years, SMSP has become a leading exporter of nickel ore on the global stage, with exports to Australia, Japan and Ukraine.

Since June 2006, SMSP has also been supplying the Chinese market through a deal with China’s Ningbo Corporation.

But the centerpiece of SMSP’s re-alignment of the nickel industry is the Koniambo project. SMSP is developing mineral reserves from the Koniambo massif, with an estimated 21 sq km of high grade nickel in this central mountain range.

The ore is transported over the mountains to a newly constructed processing plant at Vavouto. This complex, located north of the provincial capital Kone, includes a smelter, processing plant, power station, port and industrial zone.

Since 2008, the joint venture KNS has been sending local Kanak workers to French-speaking Quebec for training, but now the project is moving from the construction phase to preliminary testing of the smelter, with production to begin early this year.

The ore preparation plant and overland conveyer are in operation, with a second production line scheduled to be complete by mid-2013.

Deals with Korea, China

To raise capital for its share of the US$5 billion Koniambo-Vavouto project, SMSP has struck two major deals, firstly in Korea and now in China.

SMSP has increased exports of lower grade base minerals that are unsuitable for processing by KNS and will use the profits to invest in operations at Vavouto. Dang’s strategy has been denounced by some anti-independence leaders, who have criticized the increased export of ore without value adding.

But SMSP is seeking to provide an alternative to reliance on French capital, by feeding the booming economies of Asia.

So far, the joint venture SNNC project has been a major success for SMSP and its Korean partner Posco.

Through its subsidiary Nickel Mining Company (NMC), SMSP exports up to 1.8 million tons of ore to Korea each year from mines at Ouaco, Poya, Nakety and Kouaoua (there are nearly 90 million tons of reserves, allowing exports to continue for decades).

SNNC uses these lower grade ores to feed a processing plant at Gwangyang, producing crude ferronickel (which contains about 20 percent nickel and 80 percent iron).

Although production only began in 2008, SMSP and Posco have already agreed to expand operations at Gwangyang from mid-2014.

Second smelter

Using a $450 million investment to build a second electric smelting furnace and rotary kiln, with extra port and storage facilities, SNNC aims to increase production from 30,000 to 54,000 tons of ferronickel each year.

Last June, members of the Northern Province assembly travelled to Korea to inspect the proposed expansion of the Gwangyang plant.

Two months later, a Korean delegation arrived in New Caledonia to inspect new mine sites in the Northern Province.

The rapid growth of the Korean operation has sparked interest in other quarters, leading to a new deal with the state-owned Chinese corporation Jinchuan (the third largest nickel producer in the world, after Norilsk Nickel and Vale).

After nearly four years of discussions, SMSP signed an initial partnership MOU with Jinchuan in June 2011.

In a rare coup, SMSP retains a 51 percent majority in the partnership after Chinese authorities amended a law last year that bans majority control by a foreign corporation in China’s metallurgy sector.

Through the Caledonian Chinese Mining Company (CMCC), SMSP and Jinchuan will build a nickel processing plant in Guangxi, located in southern China near the border of Vietnam.

The plant, scheduled to begin operations in 2017, will use laterite minerals from the east coast of New Caledonia’s Northern Province.

The project, worth US$1 billion, aims to produce 30,000 tons of nickel hydroxide and 3,000 tons of cobalt a year.

Debate over future

In spite of these successes, there is still extensive debate in New Caledonia about the scale and timing of the SMSP initiatives.

The decision to process more resources offshore has been criticised by anti-independence leaders like Frogier and Pierre Bretegnier of the Rassemblement UMP party (RUMP).

In turn, FLNKS leaders have criticised ERAMET-SLN for its failure to develop processing capacity for lower grade minerals.

In the Northern Province, there is some community concern about the rapid development along the VKP corridor, and how economic benefits will be shared with Kanak tribes along the east coast and in the vast mountain range that divides New Caledonia’s main island.

A key priority is to expand opportunities for local contracting, provide employment opportunities for women and training for young Kanak villagers.

Local NGOs seek better regulation of the inevitable environmental impacts from the mining and industrial production.

Since 2010, the Comité stratégique industriel (CSI) led by French public servant Anne Duthilleul has been looking at strategic options for the future of the nickel industry.

Widely criticised

But Duthilleul’s recommendations, issued in late 2012, were widely criticised by a range of New Caledonian leaders for favoring the interests of SLN’s existing operations, rather than the SMSP’s new initiatives.

SLN’s major shareowners are ERAMET (56 percent) and Japan’s Nisshin Steel (10 percent), with New Caledonia’s three provinces controlling the remaining 34 percent through a public company Société Territoriale Calédonienne de Participation Industrielle (STPCI).

To further challenge control by the French government, independence leaders have suggested that the STPCI stake could be increased to 51 per cent. However, according to RUMP’s Pierre Bretegnier: “If the STPCI takes 51 percent of SLN, ERAMET will leave. It won’t have any reason to stay if it is a minority stakeholder.”

French attitudes to the Koniambo project have also been complicated by corporate maneuvering between Xstrata and the Swiss-based corporation Glencore (the world’s biggest private metals trader), which already owns 34 percent of Xstrata’s shares.

Within months, a merger between Glencore and Xstrata should be finalized (Koniambo will start production regardless of the corporate restructuring).

The newer technology used by KNS and SNNC will produce more profitable results than SLN’s ageing Doniambo smelter in Noumea.

In recent months, President Harold Martin and other politicians have criticised SLN for its plan to construct a new 180-MW coal-fired power station to support Doniambo, at a time when New Caledonia is increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change on rural bushfires, cyclones or the World Heritage-listed reef ecosystem.

Expansion plans

However, SLN has its own expansion plans, looking at the development of new mine sites on the east coast, with the Stamboul mine (near Kouaoua) to feed the Doniambo smelter.

Future expansion of the sector will be governed by the global market for nickel products—a drop in demand in 2012 has raised some tremors.

In spite of all this, the deals with emerging Asian economies have threatened France’s long-time stranglehold over the strategic minerals sector.

This ongoing challenge to French power has significant implications as supporters and opponents of independence head to the polls in 2014.

Nic Maclellan is an independent Australian journalist specializing in Pacific affairs. This article was first published in Islands Business magazine and has been republished with permission.

Pacific Scoop

13) New Caledonia general strike threatened in May
By Online Editor
08:10 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, New Caledonia

The union movement in New Caledonia has threatened to start an unlimited general strike on May the 15th in protest at the high cost of living.

The umbrella group of unions wants the government to implement measures that have been agreed upon since its protest movement was formed nearly two years ago.

For a number of reasons, such as high import levies, inadequate taxation of capital, a lack of competition among wholesale distributors as well as high costs of transport and energy, the cost of living in the territory is far higher than in mainland France.

The movement has intermittently complained that only little steps have been taken to address the concerns.

Two years ago, 25,000 people took to the streets in an unprecedented territory-wide action to push for economic reforms.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

14) New Caledonia restricts smoking

By Online Editor
2:39 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, New Caledonia

Smoking restrictions have come into force in New Caledonia today.

It is now forbidden to smoke in public places, affecting 380 restaurants and bars territory-wide.

An exception as been granted to casinos which have been given a two-year grace period.

France banned smoking in public places in 2007.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

15) Move! Residents told

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, February 22, 2013

Eleveti Waqa, left, and Isaac McGoon watch the water level rise at their home at Vunato settlement in Lautoka. Picture: JAI PRASAD

THE Nadi District Office issued a directive yesterday for residents living near major rivers to move to higher ground.

At 11am yesterday, district officer Peni Koro said residents living near the Nadi River, Sabeto River and Qeleloa River were informed to prepare for the worst and move to higher ground.

“We have sent out a directive to residents in these areas to be alert while rainfall continues. Although rainfall in the lower parts of Nadi have ceased for now, the highland areas continue to experience rainfall, which will cause water levels in the rivers to rise,” said Mr Koro.

“We have sought the assistance of the police to inform residents to move if the need arises.”

Nadi Police Station officer-in-charge Assistant Superintendent of Police Simione Bale said officers were assisting with traffic flow.

“The bus stand experienced some flooding and we had to move in to help with the traffic,” said ASP Bale.

“We are working on alerting people and just informing them that if they need to move, they should move to higher grounds. Traffic along the Nadi Back Road is normal and we expect it to be that way unless something changes.”

Businesses have also been asked to take precautionary measures. Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Doctor Ram Raju said businesses in Nadi were kept informed of the changing weather.

“I have given out an advisory that should the weather change, they should start moving their things and secure their businesses. Most of them are not leaving anything to chance,” said Dr Raju.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Meteorological Service reported an active trough of low pressure lies slow moving over Fiji.

Associated cloud together with moist north-westerly wind flow is expected to cause heavy rainfall over the western parts of the country, says the weather office. The forecast for midnight tonight showed that the western half of Viti Levu, Yasawa and the Mamanuca group would experience heavy rains and squally thunderstorms.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=225890

16) Fiji Volunteer Scheme to be extended to PNG, Timor Leste
By Online Editor
12:28 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, Fiji

Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS) is set to be extended to Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.

In a statement, Public Service Commission secretary Parmesh Chand said the opportunity had been the result of successful consultations between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, officials of the Fiji Volunteer Scheme and relevant counterparts at the named countries.

Timor Leste has requested for volunteers within the field of English teachers, nurses, ambulance drivers, English translators and legal officers.

Under the scheme, local volunteers will be given a weekly allowance of $100 (US$50). Chand said the concept of volunteering under FVS relates to nation building..

SOURCE:FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

17) EU wants access to fish in Fiji waters
By Online Editor
12:32 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, Fiji

The Industry and Trade Ministry is negotiating with the European Union for European fishing vessels to fish in Fiji waters.

This was revealed by the ministry permanent secretary Shaheen Ali.

Ali said the development is part of the rules of origin that set the rules for trading or the rules for entry under preferential arrangements, such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Director of trade Sovaia Marawa said the EU was the biggest single market for Fiji’s fisheries products.

“The EU purely wants our fish. It wants access to our fisheries resources. They just want to come and fish,” said Marawa.

“They don’t want us to send our fish. They want to enter our fishing ground with their fishing boats and take advantage of our fishing grounds.”

Marawa said there had been different views within the region on EU accessing fisheries resources.

“For Fiji, we are willing to look at access but there has been some progress in looking at global sourcing on fresh, frozen and chilled fish,” she said.

The progress was possible after Fiji presented a case study to the EU that Fiji would benefit economically.

She said the presentation did make a difference. “We just have to come with facts and figures,” she said.

Ministry of Fisheries and Forests permanent secretary Inoke Wainiqolo said they were still negotiating with EU on the EPA.

“What they really need for fishing is the simplification of ownership and crew requirements linked to vessels used to harvest fish,” he said.

This means that some additional flexibility has been extended by ACP exporters.

“For the rules of origin, Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZs), from what we have known, is not as rich as other regions in the Pacific like those in the north and west of Fiji.”

However, Wainiqolo said Fiji had processing plants, cannery and connectivity via air and sea.
For the rules of origin, he said regional countries could source their fish through Fiji.

“Not only do they want to buy from us but they also want to participate in the catching of these resources in Fiji waters.”

While some Pacific islands do not want the EU to access their resources, he said Fiji was negotiating with them.

“That is the requirement they want for our waters,” Wainiqolo said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

18) Business as usual for Fiji Times after it was fined for contempt of court
By Online Editor
08:19 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Fiji

The editor of the Fiji Times says it is business as usual after it was fined $170,000 for contempt of court.

The newspaper was fined for reprinting an article by New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times, which quoted Tai Nicholas of the Oceania Football Confederation questioning the Fiji judiciary.

The editor, Fred Wesley, said the fine is hefty but no meetings have been planned to consider whether the paper will appeal the court’s decision.

“We haven’t deliberated over this. We haven’t discussed this yet. For now it’s about attending to other issues and that’s where we’ll leave it. It will come in its own due time.”

Wesley said staff have always strived to protect the integrity and credibility of the paper and he says they will continue to make this a priority.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

19) Fiji Court To Hear First Domestic Sex Trafficking Case
Women’s center coordinator says trafficking ‘hidden’ in Fiji

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 20, 2013) – A court in Suva is hearing what is believed to be the first case of domestic trafficking for prostitution in Fiji.

The case involves two teenage girls, aged 16 and 17, and a 20 year old woman.

One man has been charged with nine counts of trafficking children and prostitution, and another man charged with three counts of domestic trafficking and prostitution.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator, Shamima Ali, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that concerns over domestic human trafficking in Fiji have been growing.

“It has been there for quite a while, you know, girls being taken from one town to another, from one area to another for the purposes of exploitation… and particularly for prostitution,” she said.

“But it’s very hidden, people are very quiet about it, you hardly hear about it, but it’s been going on for a long time.”

Ms. Ali says she is glad the issue is being brought into the spotlight because of the case.

“The authorities have, particularly the police, have become very vigilant about issues of sexual assault and prostitution of young people and so on so that’s a good thing,” she said.

“There’s a lot more talk now in the country about sexual assault and so on. It shows that the more people talk about it, the more we bring these things out in the open, the greater the chances that we can curb it.

Ms. Ali says some families sell their daughters into prostitution out of poverty and “desperation”, but others just do it because they are “lazy” and don’t want to work.

“In some families it is easy money and there are some useless men around staying at home who do not go out and work.”

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji’s Immigration Department has called on the public in remote areas of the country to be on the lookout for yachts, adding that some vessels are believed to be involved in human trafficking.]

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

20) Fiji Times Fined $168,564 For Printing Controversial Article
Editor and publisher fined, paper ordered to make apology

By Nanise Loanakadavu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 20, 2013) – The Fiji Times Limited has been ordered to pay a fine of FJ$300,000 [US$168,564] and court costs of FJ$2,000 [US$1,123] within 28 days.

This after the High Court in Suva convicted the company of contempt of court.

In his judgment handed down this afternoon, Justice William Calanchini also convicted the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Fred Wesley, of contempt and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment suspended for a period of two years.

He convicted the former publisher, Brian O’Flaherty, and ordered him to pay a fine of FJ$10,000 [US$5,618]. Both Mr. Wesley and Mr. O’Flaherty were also ordered to pay costs of FJ$2,000 each to the Attorney-General within 28 days.

Justice Calanchini further ordered The Fiji Times and Mr. Wesley to arrange for an apology directed to the judiciary of Fiji to be first drafted and submitted to the court for approval prior to being published in The Fiji Times within the next 28 days.

The convictions were entered for the re-publication in the sports pages of The Fiji Times on 7 November 2011 of an article originally published in the Sunday Star Times, a New Zealand newspaper.

The article contained a statement from Mr. Tai Nicholas, the general secretary of the Oceania Football Confederation, about the judiciary in Fiji.

Justice Calanchini had earlier found that this article scandalized the Fiji courts.

Justice Calanchini said an “aggravating factor” of the contempt was the publication by The Fiji Times of a story in June last year which conveyed “the impression that the judiciary was not independent from the government.”

The Fiji Times Limited, Mr. Wesley and Mr. O’Flaherty, who were not at work on the day the article was included in the newspaper for publication, had all pleaded not guilty.

A fortnight ago, Justice Calanchini convicted Mr. Nicholas, who had pleaded guilty, and fined him FJ$15,000 [US$8,428] for making the original statement about the Fiji judiciary.

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

21) PINA sympathetic to toughened Fiji media decree
By Online Editor
2:58 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, Fiji

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) says it is normal that the Fiji government puts in place laws in preparation of what it calls the country’s first democratic election.

The administration in Suva has tightened a decree, which now threatens jail terms of up to five years for media referring to defunct political parties.

The PINA President, Moses Stevens, said the Fiji media and the government need to have an understanding of how to get people ready for the elections.

“PINA cannot change governments, PINA cannot be involved in national issues. PINA will be there just to ensure whatever is going on it must be in an open-minded position. With whatever happens, if there is a will there is a way. And we believe that Fiji will pull through the current situation. 2014 is just around the corner.”

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

22) Tongan Seasonal Workers Held Up By Visa Processing Hold
Employment in New Zealand delayed till police clearances reviewed

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 20, 2013) – A group of 35 Tongan seasonal workers who were due to leave for New Zealand on Monday remain on stand-by in Nuku’alofa, under an Immigration New Zealand hold on some Tongan visa applications. Another 120 workers who are scheduled to leave over the next two weeks will also be affected by the new rule.

The workers under the New Zealand Recognized Seasonal Employers program are affected by the NZ immigration minister’s recent decision to hold Tongan visa applications that require police clearances.

Lopeti Senituli the CEO of Tonga’s Ministry of Internal Affairs who runs the program said that the 35 workers were ready to depart for New Zealand on Monday, February 18.

“But they are on stand-by until Tonga Police and New Zealand Immigration gives the all clear,” he said.

His ministry was working in close cooperation with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and Tonga Police to have the 35 police clearances re-checked and approved. “We are hopeful they can leave today, Wednesday February 20,” he said.

The Ministry has another 40 workers who were scheduled to leave on Friday February 22. Again their police clearances need to be re-checked and cleared by Tonga Police and INZ.

“At the same time another 80 workers are scheduled to depart next week. We hope the backlog is cleared up for them to depart as scheduled,” he said.

Lopeti said they are grateful to Immigration NZ and Tonga Police “for their ready cooperation in order to ensure there is minimal disruption to the seasonal workers travel schedule. But of course this is the height of the harvest season,” he said.

Clearances

NZ Immigration Minister Hon. Michael Woodhouse in a statement on February 19 said, the visas would be held “until Immigration New Zealand can be satisfied with the integrity of the police clearance process.”

Applications for residence and most work visas need a police clearance. This is not needed for short term visas such as a visitor visa.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

23) Education key to Kiribati’s future
By Online Editor
3:00 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, Kiribati

The President of Kiribati says education is the key to the future of his people threatened by climate change.

President Anote Tong told Australia Network’s Newsline that if some of the Kiribati population has to relocate he wants them to qualify as skilled migrants, not climate refugees.

Last week President Tong made a joint statement to the United Nations Security Council with Australia’s foreign minister, Bob Carr.

“We are asking for assistance from Australia to try and put this across… to the international community, to make the point that… climate change for some countries is a very serious security issue,” he said.

President Tong said his government’s purchase of land in Fiji is an investment for the future.

“The view that we’ve taken is we should diversify, and we should diversify into land investments,” he said.

“I’ve often been asked: ‘Did Kiribati as a government buy this land as somewhere to locate the people?’

“I’ve never said yes and the reason is because it is not, that won’t be the case now.

“I won’t be here when the time comes to relocate our people and I think the leaders of the day…will have to answer that question.”

Tong says he sees education as providing a more secure future for his people.

Last year Australia’s Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, unveiled a five-year Australian aid program of assistance for vocational training in Kiribati.

President Tong said he’d asked Australia’s former prime minister why Australia was taking in migrants from elsewhere and not the Pacific.

He said he was told that ‘We need these people because they’re skilled’.

“My response was ‘Why don’t you help us train our people so that we can contribute to your development this way’,” President Tong said.

“The issue of climate change must be addressed very, very soon… as far as Kiribati and a number of countries are concerned, it is an event and it is a catastrophe that is actually happening now.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

24) Nauru MP Alleges Government Has Lost Mandate
Resignations, sacking have left parliament split into factions

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 20, 2013) – A Nauru opposition MP says the President, Sprent Dabwido, may be eyeing an early election as he tries to cope with a constitutional crisis.

Mr. Dabwido has just two cabinet ministers after two resignations and a sacking in the past two weeks, leaving the 18-member parliament split into three factions.

MP Baron Waqa says the government has lost its mandate and cannot fulfill its constitutional functions.

No one in the government, including officials, is commenting on the situation but Mr. Waqa says everything is at a standstill and that is not good for the country.

He says elections are due in the middle of the year but the president may bring the date forward.

“At the moment there are a lot of people arranging transfers from one constituency for another in readiness for the election because maybe they can see that elections will be very, very soon now – probably become a stronger option for the President if he cannot arrange anything soon.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

24) Décès d’une grande artiste et peintre aborigène

Posté à 22 February 2013, 9:11 AEST
Pierre Riant

Une icône australienne, véritable trésor national, Jean-Baptiste Apuatimi, est décédée cette semaine à l’âge de 72 ans sur Bathurst Island.

Elle était considérée l’essence même du mouvement artistique de Tiwi Islands. (Credit: Getty Images)

Des hommages du monde entier affluent pour saluer des œuvres et une carrière reconnue à travers toute l’Australie mais aussi aux États-Unis et en Europe.

Elle était considérée l’essence même du mouvement artistique de Tiwi Islands, comme l’âme et la culture  de ces îles au large de Darwin, là où la mer d’Arafura rejoint la mer de Timor.

Son ami Tim Hill a déclaré: « Elle peignait avec tellement d’honnêteté, elle était très proche de sa culture. C’est elle qui a réussi à la garder vivante. Cette honnêteté intérieure se reflète dans chacune de ses peintures. »

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-02-22/décès-dune-grande-artiste-et-peintre-aborigène/1092150

25) Geomapping to monitor Pacific sea levels

Posted 22 February 2013, 9:25 AEST

A project to map the typography of Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Samoa to monitor rising sea levels has begun.

A project to map the typography of Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Samoa to monitor rising sea levels has begun.

The project uses laser equipment to create a 3D map of the islands showing ground elevation, vegetation, canopy height and building placement.

Technical advisor from the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information, Nathan Quadros, said the project will ultimately allow locals to monitor changes in the environment.

“Pretty much it’s the most detailed mapping you can do at this stage,” he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.

Mr Quadros recently travelled to Tonga as part of a four-member team to meet with government representatives and discuss the project.

He said the mapping is done by aircraft, which fly over the islands and map millions of different points, creating a detailed 3D map.

“We can use models of sea level rise to detect low-lying areas or areas that may be at risk on each one of these islands,” he said.

He said a repeat survey would need to be done in the event of a major change in the islands, due to erosion or earthquake damage.

The Australian aid-funded project will also train locals in how to monitor the changes in sea level.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-02-22/geomapping-to-monitor-pacific-sea-levels/1092176

26) Art from Pacific on show in Sydney
By Online Editor
08:07 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Australia

Thirty-seven artists from seven Pacific Island nations have launched the most broad-ranging exhibition of contemporary Pacific art ever mounted in Australia.

Thirty-seven artists from seven Pacific Island nations have launched the most broad-ranging exhibition of contemporary Pacific art ever mounted in Australia.

Radio Australia reports that the Maketi Ples exhibition opened in Sydney before 200 people in an inner-city gallery.

Art lovers sifted through five rooms of works ranging from Papua New Guinea sand painting through to photography, prints, textiles, carving, sculpture, jewellery and weaving.

This is the third time the exhibition has been staged.

Curator Giles Peterson says Maketi Ples has become a globally significant event.

“There is a lot of international interest in this exhibition as well, not just in Australia and New Zealand and the South Pacific, but further, into the United States and in Europe.”

Maketi Ples is at Sydney’s Global Gallery until 10 March.

SOURCE:RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

Phils Note: Yes, I was there and had a lovely time, looking at the colours of art inside the the 4 corners of the Pacific Ocean..you dont get these colourful Art work in Australia or the Western World so to speak ! SP- PNG Beer was good too!).Also get to meet my Sydney Pacific Diaspora collegues & Friends which was a blessing on its own under one roof @ the Opening of Marketi Ples.Latai(Tonga),Karen(Maori NZ),Sevu,McTrey,Kini @ Junior(Fiji),Emelda,Graham,Moolimoo ( Australian Melanesian South Sea islanders ),Swit Conchita blong Samoa,Ruth Cholai Papua New Guinea  Meri Motu,..thank you Ruth for being Our Pacific Representative withhttp://www.pacifictradeinvest.com/ in Sydney and help bring Our Pacific Art to Sydney City 3rd year in a row. Jif Jerry (Arromango Island/Southern Vanuatu doing more work/research for a few months @ the Sydney Australian Museum with Arromago Arts & Crafts and also viewing other Melanesian Art.Melanesia Art/Products @ the Sydney Australian Museum covers 4 levels of the building…Jif Jerry is working with Honorary member of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre and the Sydney Australian Museum Kirk Huffman. To name a few. Academics,Students,Ausaid,NGO’s plus people of the Pacific and Friends of the Pacific…Not to foget the Cook Islander dance group also entertain for the night.Thank you Pacific Islands Trade & Invest and for all that attended the opening of the exhibition/Market Ples.) Oh last year I bought a billum from PNG ( Highlands ) and this year I bough a lovely hand design fabric from the Solomon Islands by artist Ms Frances Do’oro ( Meri Western province ) and I will go back to the Exhibition next week!)

26) Lets unite for the good of the game: Kumuls GeneBy Online Editor
3:05 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Long -serving Kumul Stanley Gene is calling on all rugby league stakeholders to work together and prepare the best team to the 2013 World Cup in England in October.

Speaking exclusively to The National from Hull, in the United Kingdom, Gene said everyone should support government’s effort through Sports Minister Justin Tkatchencko and back the PNG Rugby League Foundation and the interim executive headed by Don Fox.

Gene said previously he had other thoughts about PNGNRL Bid, now renamed PNG Rugby League Foundation, but was convinced during PNGNRL Bid Legends games that they had done a good job, especially the All-School Rugby League programme.

“We all should support the minister’s focus and if they want Mal Meninga as coach, we all must support them,” he said.

Gene, a former Kumul captain, said he did not share the views of fellow former Kumul Marcus Bai, who called on the country to be wary of interference by Tkatchenko.

He asked what Bai had done for the game in terms of helping players secure contracts in Australia.

He called on Bai to stop bad-mouthing the PNG Rugby League Foundation and offer something constructive to help prepare a strong Kumuls outfit.

Gene said he fully supported and was happy with government’s involvement in the country’s most popular sport.

“They basically tried to get the PNG’s number one sport back on the right track,” he said.

Gene challenged the PNGRFL to support s representative players in life after football.

“I strongly believed that PNGRFL has failed its players big time. PNGRFL does not look after them after their representative careers are over,” he said.

“That is something the national body should work on to help Kumul players,” he said.
He said the national body should help the players find alternate jobs when they retired from playing.

He suggested the PNG Rugby League Foundation and PNGRFL employ Kumuls as development officers.

“They have been great ambassadors of the country playing rugby league but need jobs after they hang up their boots. Currently the bulk of former Kumul players are jobless and have nothing to do compared to Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“It is very sad to see a lot of Kumuls now walking the streets of our major cities and the towns they come from, literally doing nothing.”

Gene, who singlehandedly supported Kumuls like Charlie Wabo, Jessie Joe Parker, Nicko Slain and Michael Mark to play in England, said those players had changed their lives, mentally and become better players by playing overseas.

He singled out Wabo as a player who had matured in the game.

“Wabo was outstanding among the lot. He always pays a courtesy call when I am in Port Moresby. His wife cooked and dropped in to visit me, and this was very kind of him,” he said.

Gene said he helped players contracted with clubs in England without any recognition from PNGRFL.

He said it was PNGRFL that should be finding contracts for players overseas.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

27) Soccer Sisters welcome one and all

By Online Editor
10:29 am GMT+12, 20/02/2013, Samoa

Football Federation Samoa is hosting the first Soccer Sisters Festival of 2013 this weekend at the FFS headquarters in Tuanaimato and women of all ages and abilities are invited.

The federation successfully held two of the female-focused festivals in 2012 and were set to hold a third in December before being forced to cancel the event due to Cyclone Evan.

The football festival, which is taking place on Saturday from 9am, is an introduction to football for many young females and is set to kick off what organisers are hoping will be an eventful year for women’s football.

In the past, FFS CEO Sarai Bareman has called women and girls precious members of the Samoan community, and dedicating this type of event to them is making a step towards recognising their important role in society.

“As a sport, football can be discriminatory and the Football Federation Samoa wants to provide opportunities for every girl and woman in Samoa to take part and be involved,” Bareman said.

“Through football we can unite women, families, villages and communities.”

Traditionally, Samoa has not been one of the Oceania region’s strongest performing senior women’s sides. Last year, a squad travelled to Tonga for the OFC qualifiers for the London Olympic Games and, despite their best efforts, managed just one win from four matches.

FFS has recognised that without a solid programme at Youth and Grassroots level their women’s teams will continue to struggle at senior and international level.

The Soccer Sisters programmes are a step forward for women’s development and have attracted over 100 participants in the past, which the FFS is hoping will create the foundations for regular competitions.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

28) Pools confirmed for Hong Kong Sevens
By Online Editor
09:25 am GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Hong Kong

The IRB has confirmed the pool draw for round six of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the 2013 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, on 22-24 March.

The draw took place at Hysan Place in Hong Kong and also included the core team pre-qualifier draw alongside the main 16-team competition which features the 15 core sides and Asian Sevens Series champions and hosts Hong Kong.

The hosts will play matches with Spain, Fiji and Canada in Pool D, while USA Sevens champions South Africa meet reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Wales, Argentina and Australia in Pool A.

Current Series leaders New Zealand were drawn alongside USA, France and Kenya in Pool B, while Samoa, Scotland, England and Portugal make up Pool C.

So far this season, five different teams have won the five tournaments. Fiji won the Series opener in Australia, Samoa lifted the Dubai Sevens title, New Zealand won in South Africa, England won in Wellington and South Africa were crowned champions at the most recent tournament in Las Vegas.

As the Series heads to Hong Kong, New Zealand top the table with 96 points, ahead of South Africa (76), Samoa (71) and Fiji (66).

With the addition of the core team pre-qualifier, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens remains the largest tournament on the HSBC Sevens World Series with 28 teams.

The 2013 tournament marks the largest field ever hosted in the 38-year history of the Hong Kong Sevens and the first increase in the number of participating teams since the 24-team format was adopted in 1984.

The HSBC Sevens World Series pre-qualifier being played in Hong Kong will comprise 12 teams, including two regional champions from all six Rugby regions recognised by the IRB.

In the pre-qualifier, the participating teams will be playing for the right to advance as one of the top four teams from that competition to the London Sevens at Twickenham in May 2013.  Those four teams will be joined by Hong Kong, who earned an automatic exemption to the London Sevens as Asian champions.

In London, these five teams will pair off against the bottom three placed teams on the Series standings in an eight-team final qualification tournament after the penultimate Series event in Scotland. The top three teams from the London Sevens qualifier will gain core team status on the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2013/2014.

Core team pre-qualifier

Pool E: Tonga, South America 1, Tunisia, Chinese Taipei
Pool F: Japan, Georgia, South America 2, Jamaica
Pool G: Russia, Zimbabwe, Cook Islands and Mexico

The South American teams will be known after the CONSUR Sevens Championship in Rio de Janeiro on 23-24 February.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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