Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 813

Melanesia:

1) Gavana Powi mobile phone wari

Updated 22 February 2013, 14:29 AEST

Gavana blong Southern Highlands Province long PNG, William Powi itok ol nogut samting i save kamap long yusim mobile phones long kantri i bikpela tumas.

SHP Gavana Powi i tokaut long mobile phone wari (Credit: ABC)

Na em i singaut long gavman imas kirapim sampela kain lo long meksua pipol ino yusim mobile phone long wei we i save kamapim heve long komiuniti.

Gavana Powi ibin tokaut long dispela wari blongen long palamen long dispela wik.

Em i tok em i tru mobile phone i mekim isi long komunikesen na igat planti gutpela samting long developmen blong kantri.

Tasol em i tok igat planti ol kainkain nogut samting tu i save kamap na i save bagarapim sindaun blong pipol long kantri.

Ol dispela i inkludim long kolim or texim tok nogut, ol tok poretim narapela or salim nogut piksa.

Minista blong Communications, Jimmy Miringtoro itok gavman bai lukluk long kamapim ol rul long rejistarim na yusim ol SIM Card long kantri.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-02-22/gavana-powi-mobile-phone-wari/1092374

2) Concern that Papua killings will be manipulated by Indonesia

Posted at 20:07 on 22 February, 2013 UTC

There are concerns that the killing of soldiers in Papua province will be used to gain international support for increased military aggression in Indonesia’s eastern region.

Eight Indonesian soldiers are reported to have died in two separate attacks in Puncak Jaya.

The US-based Octo Mote, who is part of a group of exiled West Papuans promoting dialogue with Jakarta, says Indonesian security forces have staged such attacks in the past in order to create instability.

However he cannot rule out that the separatist OPM’s military wing is to blame for the killings.

“Regardless of how many military personnel were killed in this kind of attack, the Indonesian government and especially the military will use this incident to gain their political and military agenda where you get the support from all these western countries, support for Indonesia’s war on terror.”

Octo Mote

Radio New Zealand International

3) Culture responsible for acts of sorcery in PNG

I wish to write in response to so many critics and condemnations by our law enforcement agencies, international human rights groups and the general public alike both locally and abroad.
There has been so much critisism about the torture of two women and burning alive of a young women in Mt Hagen in recent weeks in relation to allegations of sorcery.
Now, from a westernised point of view, this act is barbaric and inhuman. Well, that is absolutely true from an outsiders point of view and views of few westernised Papua New Guineans who deliberately try to ignore the fact of their age old cultural belief systems.
It is also understood that our laws are derived from the Westminster legal system or the British common laws which do not have room for such culturally related offences at a cultural level in a Melanesian context.
For decades, culturally related practices such as sorcery and black magic in particular have been very difficult to dealt with in the Westminster legal system.
However, every Papua New Guinean including the Prime Minister comes from a cultural society and there are certain cultural values, practices and belief systems that constitute these diverse cultural societies.
Now, being Papua New Guinean and Melanesian, let us be realistic with sorcery and see this cultural practice from both sides of the coin.
Black magic and sorcery is real because that is what our ancestors have been doing and it has been passed on from generations to generations.
We cannot pretend to the outside world and deny the existence of such practices and giving the fake impression to the world that sorcery is not the real cause of many deaths in our society, though some deaths could be caused by the western or introduced diseases and illnesses such as HIV/Aids, TB, or cancer to name a few.
The real issue is that, we are applying alien’s laws to deal with our own issue which seem inappropriate in our cultural context and looking at it culturally, there may be less avenue for justice.
Sorcery is actually the use of super natural powers to protect oneself from harm and danger or even to acquire benefits in materials and fortunes or any other benefits that come with it.
Interestingly, Christians refer to sorcery and black magic as the works of the devil and they literally believe that with their hearts because the devil or Satan is real.
Now, if you read the article about the lead up to the torturing and burning alive of the young mother in Mt Hagen, you will confirm that as the suspects interrogate the two elderly women accused of their involvement in the death of a young boy through sorcery, the two elderly women literally admit that they ate part of the boy’s heart and they claimed it was the young mother (deceased) who actually took his heart out and shared it with them.
Does that make any sense in believing that sorcery is real in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia or is it still not real after the accused women have themselves admitted it?
It would be frightening if a survey is to be carried out right across the country to find out about peoples’ beliefs in sorcery and the type of sorcery that differs from culture to culture.
Talking about sanguma, poison man, kambang man, and the black magic from the Tolais, Samarais, Koiaris, Papuans, Morobeans, and so and so.
It would be interesting to see how many people actually believe in all those black magic even at this present times.
This, as we know, involves some kind of supernatural powers that only our belief can help us come to terms with it.
It is time now the government immediately review some of our laws to cater for culturally sensitive cases.
As it is today, once accused to be a sorcery, many such people might continue to be tortured because that is what people believe in.
The main issue now is that a western law cannot be used to bring justice over such offences, it will rather make the problems worse for people who feel have lost their loved ones through such tragedy.
Finally, let us be realistic and look at issues about sorcery related killings in Papua New Guinea from two different angles.
I welcome any comments. Email me on trango91@yahoo.com.
T. Rango Port Moresby

Phils Note : I agree with T.Rango and yes Nakaimas/Black Magic does exists throughout Melanesia from 40,000+ years ago till present )

http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130221/thhome.htm

4) Mald warns on urban drift

THE migration of people from rural communities to the city of Port Moresby is massive today compared to the past and this is a “time bomb” waiting to explode, the former MP for Moresby North East, Andrew Mald said.
Mr Mald said plane loads of people are flying into the city to look for jobs, security and a better life than the one they are living in their villages but the city is not able to provide for all the visitors.
“There are many young people who are coming to the city looking for work, there are entire tribes who are migrating to the city because of tribal fighting in their villages and there are families who move to the city because they want their children to go to school, be close to health and other government services.
“The Governments at all levels have a huge task on hand to provide for all these people and it is certainly a huge problem,” Mr Mald said.
He said employment opportunities created in the city is just not enough to accommodate everyone and many are forced into situations where they have to fend for themselves.
Mr Mald said the informal sector needs to be regulated properly because this is one sector that is absorbing a lot of the migrants and more efforts must be put in to generate work for a lot of the young people with grade 10 to 12 education who are coming into the city.
“You just go around Port Moresby today and see the number of young people roaming the streets, market places and settlements.
“We are sitting on a time bomb, I say,” Mr Mald said.
Mr Mald who was the Minister for Youth, Religion and Community Development in the last O’Neill Government said he had introduced a National Youth Plan which was approved by the National Executive Council and relevant government institutions should work together to draw up a program to implement this plan.
A long term approach to dealing with the urban migration is to make the village more attractive, he said, adding that serious investments must be made in infrastructure to support people in the villages to market their produce and make an honest living.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130221/thhome.htm

(Phils Note: Again these Migration problem rural to towns, is throughout Melanesia today-Hope Governments/Chiefs can help to set up a program in order to keep the young ones in their provinces through Agriculture etc) problems about Melanesian towns these days, is there is not enough jobs.)

5) PNG MP pushes women’s legislation
By Online Editor
3:33 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

SOHE MP Delilah Gore wants parliament to approve the women’s council bill and says she is determined to push for its legislation after it went through the first reading in parliament last Friday.

The women’s council bill was first introduced by former Moresby South MP and Minister for Community Development Dame Carol Kidu in 2010. However, it was shelved until current minister and Lae MP Loujaya Toni reintroduced it as women’s issues came into the spotlight again.

In condemning the recent brutal killing of a woman accused of sorcery, Gore said she would support the bill to ensure there was a body that would look into women’s issues in the country and also protect their rights to be heard.

“The women’s council bill before parliament is well structured because it ensures there are sub-divisions that will handle women’s issues at all levels.”

“The national council of women is at the top of the ladder, and then there is the provincial women’s council, then goes down to the district and the local women’s groups,” Gore said.

She said voices of women could now be heard from the LLG level and then be carried through the sub-levels, then finally reaching the floor of parliament through the minister for community development for action.

Meanwhile, Gore is calling on the attorney general to look at tougher penalties for such brutality.

“With regards to sorcery, are these ‘glassman’ or people who use supernatural instincts to point out the sorcerer have the licence to do this job or are they legalised because, in such a case, they are pre-meditating the murder and should be charged?

“On the other hand, we live in a society where our customs and traditions incline us to believe so much in sorcery, but we call ourselves as a Christian nation and where do we put all those godly beliefs?

“All Papua New Guineans must move forward. If you are walking on the dark side, it’s time to change and adopt Christian values. Judgment and punishment belongs to God, for now, let us grasp our economic boom, move forward, improve our livelihood and be on par with the rest of the world,” Gore said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

6) PNG joins Green Group
By Online Editor
3:26 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea joins other Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) countries following the ratification of its membership to the international organisation recently.

The confirmation was signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato on Jan 31 when a compliance certificate was issued by the speaker of parliament.

Minister for Forestry and Climate Change Patrick Pruaitch extended his ministry’s gratitude to Pato.

Green Growth is a term to describe a path of economic growth which uses natural resources in a sustainable way.

GGGI’s primary purpose and objective is to assist emerging and developing countries that seek to develop rigorous green growth economic development strategies through policy formulation, capacity building, research and financing of national programmes to achieve low carbon growth.

The executive director for office of climate change and development Varigini Badira thanked the Korean ambassador Whie-Jin Lee for his government push on green growth.

Papua New Guinea is one of the 18 countries establishing the GGGI.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

7) Lae runs out of state land
By Online Editor
12:34 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Lae city, the country’s industrial hub, has run out of state land to develop.

Morobe administrator Kemasang Tomala revealed this week, saying provincial authorities were at loggerheads with customary landowners over the remaining land in and around the city.

“There is no more state owned land left in Lae city,” Tomala said.

He was speaking at a World Vision meeting in Lae that was attended by Morobe MPs, provincial and district administrators and officials.

He said his administration was under intense pressure due to the current economic boom in the city and province, particularly the increasing demand for land in the city.

“Contrast that with the legality of squatter settlements and you have a very complex and challenging problem to tackle.

“It is a distortion of government functions when considered against the rights of customary landowners.

“This effectively means that unless a mutually a beneficial arrangement is reached between the parties, Lae’s anticipated commercial expansion is on hold indefinitely,” he said.

Tomala added that the lack of basic facilities such as water and electricity in settlements in and around the city was due to customary land issues.

“We cannot go into these settlements and connect these vital services because we do not have the legal rights to do so.”

“The matter is compounded further by increasing external demands exerted by the economic boom.”
Tomala also revealed that by May there would be another six fishing companies operating out of Lae which would boost employment by 25,000 to 30,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers.

“But the province lacks capacity in-terms of skills, machinery and basic utilities to cater for these increasing demands,” he said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

8) Bougainville businesses still hoping for payout of debts accrued during civil war

Posted at 03:11 on 22 February, 2013 UTC

A business leader in Buka in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is demanding the national government pay out millions of kina owed to him and others since the civil war.

The Bougainville Businessman’s Association’s Tomas Raban says he is owed more than 100,000 US dollars for providing accommodation to personnel working for the PNG government during the conflict.

He says the debt has long been recognised by the authorities and allocations to cover it were made years ago but it has been misappropriated.

“We have been given high hopes for the last 15 years and nothing eventuated but from my sources and from my other colleague who has been seeing the finance minister of the ABG – the finance minister has instructed the finance and the administration in Bougainville to pay dues. There is three million [kina] sitting with the Commerce Department for these sort of services to be paid and I am waiting.”

Tomas Raban.

Last month former members of the resistance who had provided security during the war commandeered government vehicles to force payment on outstanding debts, but Mr Raban says the business men would not take that sort of action.

Radio New Zealand International

9) Solomons Teachers May Renew Strike Over Delayed Pay
State allegedly fails to honor agreement made just 3 weeks ago

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 22, 2013) – Teachers in the Solomon Islands have threatened to stage another nation-wide strike after the second lot of payments the Government promised went undelivered yesterday.

Solomon Islands National Teachers Association (SINTA) President Samson Faisi said if this second payment is not made by next Friday, teachers will either go on strike again or take the government to court.

“Government’s failure to pay teachers their due this week was a breach of the agreement we signed some three weeks ago,” Mr. Faisi said.

The first lot of teachers got their re-leveling pay two weeks ago, according to the agreement; the second lot should get theirs this week.

Mr. Faisi said the Government’s failure to stick to the agreement clearly shows its attitude and lack of appreciation towards the teaching profession.

“And yet the prime minister can find it very easy to dish our SB$1 million [US$136,700] in hard cash to a cultural group on Guadalcanal. If they can do that, why is it so difficult to pay teachers their due?”

Mr. Faisi said their lawyer has already written to the government on the issue.

He claimed teachers nationwide are not hesitant to go on strike again if the government wants to play with them.

The president said under their agreement with the government, teachers re-leveling pays would be made during pays days in February.

“Our back-dated pay arrears were scheduled to be paid on March 7. But with this delay, it looks very doubtful.”

Mr. Faisi urged the government to stick to the agreement and meets its commitment.

Supervising Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education Timothy Ngelle said all payments to teachers have been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance to process.

“As far as we are concerned, all payments should be processed and made to teachers as agreed,” he said. “If there’s a delay, it may be due to some hiccups somewhere.”

Mr. Ngelle said the re-leveling dues raised were for teachers between levels 4 and 7.

He explained some teachers may likely to be missed out in the process but this does not mean they are totally left out.

“As soon as an updated date is produced by their responsible education authorities, they’ll be paid their re-leveling dues,” Mr. Ngelle said.

Permanent Secretary of Finance Shadrack Fanega could not be reached for comments yesterday despite attempts to talk to him.

In the agreement between SINTA and the government signed on February 4, the government shall facilitate and complete the appointment of teachers on the following grounds:

By identifying teachers entitled to be appointed in accordance with the structure in the 2012 teachers’ handbook as approved by cabinet; and,
Shall cause the necessary appointments of teachers so identified to be made by the teaching service commission as soon as possible.

Upon completion of the appointment of teachers, government shall cause to be paid to teachers the following salaries and arrears:

All outstanding salaries and arrears due to teachers in 2013 pursuant to the new level shall be paid to teachers in full on the 7th and 21st of February 2013; and,
Arrears accrued in 2012 shall be backdated to February 2012, which arrears shall be paid by 1st pay period of March 2013 being 7th March 2013 but not later than 21st March.

Solomon Star

10) Solomons Police Extend Border Surveillance To Temotu
Authorities on the lookout for alleged criminals from Vanuatu

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 21, 2013) – Solomons Islands police have extended security surveillance at the border between the eastern province of Temotu and Vanuatu.

The police commissioner, John Lansley, says they have posted an officer in Temotu’s provincial capital, Lata, to keep an eye out for criminals crossing the Vanuatu border.

He says it’s the first time the Royal Solomon Islands Police has assigned an officer to monitor possibly illegal activity on the eastern border.

He says they had been concentrating on providing security surveillance at the border between Western and Choiseul provinces and Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville.

He says there are frequent illegal border crossings from Bougainville into the Solomons.

Mr. Langsley also says there is a need for improved border management that includes customs and immigration officials.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

11) Phocea Given Restricted 6-Month Registration In Vanuatu
Decision will allow processing towards permanent registration

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 21, 2013) – 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 harbor 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.

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

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

12) Vanuatu Opposition Makes Cooperation Offer To PM
Natapei wants to work with state to address corruption

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 21, 2013) – The Opposition Leader, Edward Natapei, told Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Sato Kilman in a recent meeting that his group is ready to work with the government to resolve the current corruption issues in the country.

In a telephone interview with Daily Post yesterday, Natapei confirmed he had a meeting with Prime Minister Kilman to discuss a number of issues including corruption in the country.

“I can confirm that we had a meeting with the Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, upon his request and we did discuss a number of issues and how the Opposition can help the Government.

“One of the issues is corruption. The other of course is for Opposition to move in and work with the government.

“I made it clear to the Prime Minister that the Opposition is willing to help but that we have to move in as a whole bloc to work with Prime Minister Kilman.”

On the question of whether an agreement has been reached, the Opposition Leader said he had made an offer and it is now up to the Prime Minister to decide on the offer.

The offer by the Opposition Leader would mean a major reshuffling by the Prime Minister to remove some of the current government coalition partners to make room for the whole of the Opposition MPs to move in with Prime Minister Kilman.

Whether or not the Prime Minister is prepared to accept the offer by Natapei remains to be seen.

The Leader of the Opposition cited a number of issues which he said the Opposition considers practices that need to be stamped out.

“There is the appointment of MP Moana Carcasses which the Opposition considers to be costing the country unnecessary spending because of the level of salary and other privileges that are accorded to him.

“This is a duplication of duties simply to support the government in terms of numbers but without value to the people and the nation.

“Secondly the Opposition considers the issue of the Internal Affairs Director General’s private company dealing with Visa applications as conflict of interest.

This is a corrupt practice by senior civil servant who already gets high salary and package from the government and yet is allowed to carry out a private company especially that deals with the issue of Visa which comes under the Ministry of Internal Affairs which he is the Director General.

“The Opposition is also concerned over the issue of a certain government minister sending his children to do their foundation courses at the University of the South Pacific in, Suva, Fiji and their fees covered from government funds while many parents fund foundation courses at the USP center here in Port Vila.

“This attitude on the part of the minister deprives other children whose parents cannot afford to meet required fees to do their foundation courses here in Port Vila. This is corruption.

“Then there is the issue of the Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu performing a custom reconciliation ceremony with the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

“It clearly indicates that the Government was aware of the Vanuatu Foreign Affairs Minister’s visit to Papua New Guinea which resulted in that reconciliation ceremony performed to clear the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government’s face with Papua New Guinea.

“If it was a private arrangement, then Minister of Foreign Affairs should undertake such a reconciliation ceremony himself.

“I did also mention to the Prime Minister that the Opposition has plans to introduce a number of bills in parliament that would combat corrupt practices in Vanuatu politics.

“One is to legislate for all funds that come from outside Vanuatu for political campaigns to be declared publicly where the funds come from and from what overseas sources and how such funds can be justified to help the people of Vanuatu.

“Another legislation the Opposition would like to have introduced is for a political party that scores the highest number of MPs after a general election to be up front to form a government as opposed to the present system where political parties use money to bribe elected MPs with money to gain number to form government,” Opposition Leader Natapei said of their recent meeting with Prime Minister Kilman.

It remains to be seen if Kilman will politically accommodate some of the views and offers made by the Opposition Leader Natapei at their recent dialogue.

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

13) New Caledonia Unions Threaten Strike Over Living Costs
High import levies, energy costs, inadequate taxes cited

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 21, 2013) – 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.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com (Phils’ Note: I was there 2012 in Noumea and very expensive indeed in supermarkets..funny! Example- just for these past 10 years Noumea has been importing lots of food products from Australia ie Milo,Vegemite,Powdered Sunshine Milk ,Rice etc but the prices are about 200/300+% markups.What about imported goods from France/Europe may be 400% markup kickoff tag! Not good for the local residents of Noumea (grassroots) and visitors) Hope NCU will help find a solution to this problem of high costs of living ASAP.) 

14) Fiji wants Pacific States at Environment meet
By Online Editor
3:31 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Kenya

Fiji’s Minister for Environment, Samuela Saumatua said that small island states must always be included in decision making processes dealing with climate change and sustainable development

Speaking at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Forum in Kenya, Saumatua said that this is particularly important when the vulnerability of small island states is considered.

Saumatua further said that capacity building at all levels was imperative to improve evidence-based decision-making for small islands developing states in view of the competing priorities and the limited resources available to them.

“Fiji supports the need to strengthen UNEP’s co-ordination mandate within the UN system and also with member countries to improve collaboration, interaction and encourage meaningful participation through dialogue in the implementation of UNEP resolutions,” he said.

According to Saumatua, Fiji will continue to be an advocate of an inclusive development in as far as climate change is concerned.

He said that the South-South Co-operation is considered as a catalyst for developing countries to successfully achieve their respective national development agendas.

Fiji has adopted national initiatives such as the National Energy Policy, National Climate Change Policy, the Reduction of Emission from Deforestation & Degradation (REDD+) Policy, the National Biodiversity Strategic Action-Plan, the Solid-Waste Management Strategy and our National Housing Policy, Environment Management Policy and Bio-security policy.

However, Saumatua stressed that some challenges include human resource constraints, the access to the much-needed technology and financial instruments to effectively implement Fiji’s developmental agenda.

Fiji has high hopes of achieving sustainable development in line with the outcome of the 2012 Rio+ 20 conference.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

15) Forum Fears Increased Self-Censorship In Fiji
Pacific Freedom Forum cites Fiji Times case, parties decree

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 21, 2013) – Media watchdog the Pacific Freedom Forum says Fiji’s media has suffered a double whammy this week.

Forum Chair Titi Gabi says the tightening of a decree threatening up to five years jail time for mentioning defunct political parties and a hefty High Court sentence imposed on the Fiji Times newspaper, send a worrying message to journalists.

She says everyone is interested in the 2014 election with people both inside and outside of Fiji wanting reliable information and covering political stories is part of the job.

She also says she would encourage the Fiji’s interim government to use the Fiji Times’ established complaints procedure if there are stories published they don’t like.

Titi Gabi says the combination of the two actions is likely to frighten journalists into self censorship.

“What we fear is that the reporters and media organizations in Fiji will now just go back to censoring themselves heavily. And it starts with reporters, they go out and do jobs and they say to themselves ’No, I can’t touch this, I might end up like that,’ and that’s what we’re fearing. Heading towards elections, you want to really promote a free a fair election, and that’s going to happen only through the media. And if this is how it’s starting, that is a worry.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

16) Mother tongue encouraged

Dawn Gibson
Sunday, February 24, 2013

LAST week marked International Mother Tongue Day whereby strong emphasis was placed on strengthening mother tongue languages.

Held at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs headquarters in Suva, chief guest Dr Apolonia Tamata spoke of the importance of marking the event.

“We must ensure that our mother tongue is not only being used through the media but in other new medium too and of course in our communication within the family or community.

“Let us use our mother tongue in our everyday greetings with families and friends, let’s use our mother tongue in writing notices in our homes, let’s use our mother tongue to record our history and our culture and tradition,” Dr Tamata encouraged at the celebration last week.

The theme for the day, as set out by the United Nations, was “Books for Mother Tongue Education”. International Mother Tongue Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=226105

(Phil’s Note: I support Mother Tongue…Its my Identity..I have been living in Australia for 28 years but will never forget Na Makur (Makuraan) ,Na Kanamang (2 languages of Shefa Province (Vanuatu) & Bislama as a common language plus French and English for me, a tool! .I have travelled to some areas of Melanesia and its SAD to see Town Folks, not being able to speak any of their local languages, especially younger people in their teens,early 20’s? SILIP! Oh speaking of which! When I was last in Vanuatu 2011…The Bislama common language now has more English words added ! taking over from the Solomons Islands Pijin English? Also good to hear Our Minority French speaking Ni-Vanuatu people trying to speak Bislama with a Twist Of French accent!…..Pipol of Melanesia keep your linguistic up to speed, we have over 1,500+ Melanesian languages in Western Pacific and please dont let them die out, like for example of Aboriginal Australian Languages most languages gone and now in some areas they are trying to revive it, But it aint the same?)


Polynesia:

17) Woman Admits Implication In Tongan Immigration Scam
Lolohea charged with 9 offenses in New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 21, 2013) – The New Zealand Immigration Advisor’s Authority says a Tongan national has appeared in court to admit her part in a widespread immigration scam within New Zealand’s Tongan community.

Khadijah Lolohea, who is also known as Khadijah Piu, has admitted providing immigration advice without a license.

The Authority, which takes complaints against immigration advisors, had charged Lolohea with nine offences.

The Authority Registrar, Barry Smedts, says the guilty plea is a significant result.

He says her victims had to trust that making a complaint to the Authority would not affect their visa applications or lead to them being deported.

38-year-old Lolohea will be sentenced on May the 23rd.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

18) Australian Immigration investigates allegations of possible visa fraud
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Tonga

Australia’s  Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Canberra is currently investigating if any of the alleged Tonga Police records that were “cleared” in the past for Tongan citizens, have been put to the department in support of visa applications.

In a statement to Matangi Tonga, the department said they had received information regarding the integrity of at least 172 Tongan police clearances, which did not accurately reflect the individuals’ criminal history.

“This is in line with information being investigated by New Zealand authorities in relation to travel to that country.

“We are currently investigating if any of these clearances have been presented to the department in support of visa applications. We will continue to investigate the affected clearances and will not rule out visa cancellations where a visa holder is found to have failed the character test or to have sought to fraudulently obtain entry into Australia,” they stated.

“A person will fail the character test if they have a substantial criminal record which is considered if a person has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more.

“All non-citizens who wish to enter or remain in Australia must satisfy the requirements of the Migration Act and Regulations, including the character test.

“The department takes very seriously the government’s role in protecting the Australian community from unacceptable risk of harm from criminal or other serious conduct by non-citizens,” the department stated.

The Tonga Police Commissioner has offered assistance to both the New Zealand and Australian High Commissions in Nuku’alofa to investigate this alleged fraudulent activity.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

Micronesia:

19) Guam National Guard Prepares For Afghanistan Deployment
600 personnel to join U.S. troops despite announced withdrawal

By Joy White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Feb. 22, 2013) – Amid the Department of Defense’s (DOD) report regarding a decrease in activated Army National Guardsmen and reservists nationwide, Guam is preparing for its largest deployment of Army National Guardsmen to Afghanistan next month.

The island community will officially give its well-wishes to close to 600 Army National Guardsmen of the 1st battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment at a public send-off ceremony at 2 p.m. today at the University of Guam Field House. Those to be deployed are soldiers from Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Guardsmen will join the more than 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, although during his State of the Union address, President Barrack Obama announced a major reduction in U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, withdrawing 34,000 troops within a year – half the total troops currently deployed there.

The Guam Army National Guard first heard of the deployment plan in April 2011 and received the official mobilization order in August last year.

Nationwide stats

Meanwhile, the Defense Department reported yesterday that the total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 38,447.

“The Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve announced this week a decrease in activated National Guard members and reservists while the Navy Reserve, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve announced an increase of activated National Guard members and reservists,” DOD said in a release.

“The net collective result is 57 fewer National Guard members and reservists activated in comparison to last week. At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease,” it added.

Support

Capt. Ken Ola, Guam Army National Guard public affairs officer, said today’s ceremony will recognize the soldiers and airmen leaving for deployment, and will inform the public on who is going and what the soldiers are doing to prepare.

The event will include the “dog tag” ceremony, where the soldiers wear and display their dog tags, signaling they are prepared to be deployed. There will also be the usual yellow ribbon pinning ceremony, in which the soldiers will pin the yellow ribbon, symbolizing support for the military by their loved ones.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com

Australia:

20) Strike nurses face the sack

BY:PAUL LAMPATHAKIS
From:PerthNow
February 24, 2013 1:03PM

Department of Health director-general Kim Snowball. Source:PerthNow

THOUSANDS of public nurses and midwives have been threatened with losing their jobs over planned strikes for better pay.

The threat of deregistration, which nurses labelled “industrial relations Colin Barnett style”,  was contained in an email sent statewide on behalf of Health director-general Kim Snowball at 5.31pm yesterday.

Mr Snowball said “each nurse will have to make their own decision” about whether they complied “personally” with an order made on Friday by the WA Industrial Relations Commission that nurses cease industrial action, which this week had involved nurses closing one in five hospital beds.

“Nurses who put patients at risk do so contrary to the order of the commission and put their own professional registration at risk,” Mr Snowball said in the email, which focused heavily on the bed closures.

Flash in plan for nurses

His email also said nurses could lose their “indemnity insurance” if they “ignore the (commission’s) orders”.

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Mark Olson said: “It is an absolute disgrace that the Barnett Government would threaten the 10,000 nurses and midwives involved in action in this city with losing their jobs, because that’s what deregistration would result in.

“And especially since we have always ensured patients were not at risk.

“Over the last 15 years nurses have closed beds during industrial campaigns in other states, most recently in Victoria , which used the same guidelines as we are using in WA, which protects patient safety, by exempting critical areas such as intensive care, oncology and coronary care.

“No nurse or midwife was sacked, suspended or deregistered there, even though the Victorian Government took the matter all the way to the Federal Court.

“Here, instead of trying to sort out this pay claim and make nurses a decent offer, they only want to bully harass, threaten and intimidate. Is that how you do industrial relations Colin Barnett style?”

Mr Olson has vowed to proceed with 24 hour’s worth of instant “flash-mob” stop work actions at Perth hospitals tomorrow, which would be directed by orders issued on text messages, and involve about 6000 ANF members.

He warned the actions could be “sustained for months,” and plans had already made about extending the action “for the next two weeks”.

The strategy, designed to keep the Health Department guessing where the next action will occur, would see participants taken by bus or taxi to wherever the Premier was speaking or attending an event.

“We stress we have already put in place safety provisions, so there will be no patients put at risk,” Mr Olson said.

“If a nurse or a midwife receives a flash-mob signal by text or email, but is in the middle of a procedure, then they would complete the procedure and not be part of that event.

“But the action will still be effective because at least 5000-6000 nurses and midwives will be involved each day, so those who miss one can pick up the next one, and the Health Department won’t know what hit them.”

Mr Olson said this morning that one in five beds would remain closed. But he said some beds were being opened for emergencies and cases such as where elderly people were affected, because “we’re reasonable here at the ANF, and that would have happened anyway” (regardless of Mr Snowball’s threats).

But he said because the Government had refused to make a formal offer, nurses were no longer willing to negotiate over a 15 per cent pay rise over three years, from July, and had reverted to a previous demand of 20 per cent.

Mr Snowball also said in his email that there was evidence that delays to access to beds led to increased deaths among patients and that “ceasing elective surgery” would not “resolve the bed capacity problem”.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/strike-nurses-face-the-sack/story-e6frg6n6-1226584441536

Franis: 

21) Scandale dans les hautes sphères de la police tongienne

Mis à jour 22 February 2013, 8:59 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est l’histoire de 172 Tongiens ayant des antécédents judiciaires et qui sont arrivés en Australie, en Nouvelle-Zélande ou aux États-Unis avec un casier judiciaire vierge.

Et c’est le commissaire de police tongien, le Néo-Zélandais Grant O’Fee, qui vient de révéler cette affaire aux Services de l’Immigration de Nouvelle-Zélande.

Si ce scandale vient d’éclater, cela fait maintenant dix  ans que des officiers supérieurs de la police tongienne écrivent des lettres de recommandation et mentent sur les antécédents judiciaires de Tongiens qui désirent s’installer à l’étranger.
Nous avons contacté Grant O’Fee pour essayer de comprendre comment ce système fonctionnait exactement.

O’FEE : « L’un des précédents ministres [de la police], qui est maintenant décédé, a toujours été convaincu du bien fondé de cette procédure ; une procédure officieuse lui permettant d’effacer un casier judiciaire à sa discrétion. Il a ensuite délégué ce pouvoir à des officiers supérieurs en leur disant qu’ils pouvaient faire la même chose. »

Cette pratique d’effacer l’ardoise judiciaire s’est ensuite amplifiée et a continué pendant 10 ans mais a fini par attirer l’attention de Grant O’Fee en novembre dernier.

O’FEE : « Tout cela pour dire que nous pensions que 33 personnes avaient bénéficié de cette procédure et j’ai réclamé une recherche approfondie de nos archives. Le personnel qui travaille dans nos bureaux est très zélé, très appliqué dans son travail. Ainsi, une petite note était systématiquement inscrite dans le dossier des personnes qui avaient bénéficié d’une lettre qui les blanchissait de tout antécédent judiciaire. Cette note stipule également que la lettre a été signée par untel ou untel, c’est-à-dire par l’officier supérieur qui l’a approuvée. »

Pour que tout soit bien clair : des officiers supérieurs de la police tongienne disaient aux services de l’Immigration ou écrivait une lettre disant que telle ou telle personne n’avait pas d’antécédents judiciaires alors qu’elle en avait ?

O’FEE : « C’est exactement comme cela que ça se passait.  Un officier supérieur de la police informait le personnel administratif qu’il avait approuvé une relaxe (c’est comme ça qu’ils disaient). Le personnel administratif notait méticuleusement que tel ou tel inspecteur avait approuvé l’effacement du casier judiciaire et l’employé pouvait écrire un rapport, écrire un mensonge, disant que l’individu concerné n’avait pas d’antécédent judiciaire. »

Selon le commissaire O’Fee, cette faveur n’aurait pas été accompagnée de pots de vin.

O’FEE : « Je n’ai pas de preuves que de l’argent a changé de mains. Je ne dis pas que ce n’est pas le cas, mais je ne peux pas le prouver.
Des policiers de très haut rang sont impliqués et c’est assez problématique avec le personnel restreint dont je dispose. Une enquête judiciaire a été conduite par le bureau du procureur général et j’attends un rapport d’enquête écrit pour déterminer si des actes criminels ont été commis et à quel type de mesures disciplinaires j’ai accès. »

En attendant, des personnes au casier judiciaire chargé, certaines pour crimes graves,  sont installées depuis des années en Australie et ailleurs.

172 personnes ont émigré en Nouvelle-Zélande, en Australie et aux États-Unis sous de faux prétextes. Trois pays qui maintenant se penchent sur le cas de tous les Tongiens arrivés avec un casier judiciaire vierge. La vie de ces gens va être chamboulée et celle de leur famille aussi.

C’est à se demander si les policiers tongiens impliqués dans cette affaire se rendaient compte de l’étendue du mal qu’ils pouvaient faire à la vie de toutes ces personnes.

En tous les cas, ils doivent commencer à le réaliser…http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-02-22/scandale-dans-les-hautes-sphères-de-la-police-tongienne/1092142


Pacific:


22) Pacific Church leaders to discuss Climate Change threat

By Online Editor
3:38 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2013, Fiji

Churches in low-lying Pacific islands will make an impassioned plea for assistance at a regional meeting in the Solomon Islands next week.

Leaders of Kiribati, Tuvalu and Marshall Islands Christian groups will ask their counterparts to consider and address the issue of resettlement in the region.

At the same time there will be moves to consider resettlement within the threatened atolls.

Maina Talia – Climate Desk Officer of the Ekelesia Kelisiano Tuvalu (Tuvalu Christian Church) – said resettlement must be the second option for island communities threatened by rising sea levels.

“As a people we need to pull together and adapt to the changes that are happening around us,” he said.

Earlier, New Zealand academic Dr Paul Kench, said climate change affected islands in many different ways.

“Islands will disappear in the future but others some will grow and others will change profile,” Dr Kench said.

“People need to know which islands will do what and act accordingly.”

Based on this view, some island communities have decided to relocate to areas within their own countries.

Kiribati, however, has purchased land in Fiji for planned relocation and agriculture projects when the need arises.

Ekelesia Kelisiano Tuvalu General Secretary, Reverend Semisi Nimo, said regional governments should give people the option to relocate or remain in their home countries.

“Climate change is a priority for the church and the people need to be prepared,” Rev Nimo said.

A Tuvalu delegation to the PCC General Assembly arrived in Suva Friday en route to Honiara.

The highest point on Tuvalu is five metres above sea level. Meanwhile, the sea is predicted to rise by two metres by the end of the century.

Tuvalu and Kiribati are expected to seek support from the general assembly to assist with programmes which prepare people for relocation in their communities or to other countries.

SOURCE: PCC/PACNEWS

Sport:

23) Origin revived

RUGBY LEAGUE
By KEVIN TEME

The PNG Origin will be revived to select the best players to the World Cup in England this year.
The PNG Origin is a match played between the PNG Resident and PNG Internationals comprising those who play overseas.
PNGNRFL interim Chairman Don Fox said the origin match was a fantastic idea which will give the national selectors a wider pool to select players from.
Fox said the date of the Origin match has not yet been confirmed but it will be held prior to the World Cup.
“We want the best possible Kumuls team, so definitely we will have an Origin match played between the locals and international players to select the best team,” Fox said.
PNG Resident head coach Adrian Lam said: “We will be announcing some major things in the near future regarding the preparations towards the 2013 World Cup.”
Lam confirmed some of the overseas players he would be looking at are; James Segeyaro (Penrith, Neville Costigan (Newcastle), David Mead (Titans), Joe Bond (Broncos), Reece Martin (Roosters), Nini McDonald (Roosters), Tyson Martin (North Qld Cowboys), Rod Griffin (Gold Coast), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles UK), Jesse Joe Parker (Whitehaven UK), Paul Aiton (Wakefield) and other players not mentioned are like Keith Peters (Sydney), Joe Pombo (New Zealand) and Benjamin John (Sydney).
Lam also confirmed players that were scouted by NRL clubs were Mark Mexico (Redcliffe Dolphins/Broncos), David Loko (Penrith), Esau Siune (Melbourne), Larsen Marabe (Penrith), Dion Aiye (Newcastle) Israel Eliab (Newcastle), Josiah Abavu (Newcastle/Penrith) http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130221/thhome.htm


24) 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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