Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 818

Melanesia:

1) MSG forum urged to stregthen climate change agenda on international stage
By Online Editor
1:10 pm GMT+12, 07/03/2013, FijiThe issue of climate change and environment awareness for countries that are part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), need to be continuously pushed onto the regional and international stage.

This underlying theme and objective behind the MSG Environment and Climate Change Ministerial Meeting which began Wednesday is a reminder that MSG countries need to adopt stronger measures to achieve this.

Fiji’s Department of Environment acting permanent secretary and chair of the working group, Saverio Baleikanacea said it’s time MSG countries to push for a collective presence on the world stage where climate change is concerned.

“Melanesia is recognised as one of the world’s most significant biodiversity areas – both terrestrial and marine,” he said.

“The MSG members constitute over three quarters of the population and land area of the broader Pacific group of nations, the land area cover greater than 5000, 000 km2 and include almost 2, 000 islands, the flora and fauna of our region are species rich and numerous species are endemic to Melanesia.”

“However despite these facts, the Environment Ministers and officials were concerned that the environment and climate change interests of MSG members have not been accorded the priority it deserves at the regional and international level.”

Baleikanacea said the Ministerial meeting by MSG Ministers which begins later this week, provides the opportunity to re-look at how the MSG as a region can address these environmental and climate change issues.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s roving envoy to the Pacific Islands, Ambassador Litia Mawi recently paid a courtesy visit to the President of Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, in the country’s capital, Majuro.

While Ambassador Mawi met with other senior government officials including Marshallese Foreign Affairs Minister Philip Muller, her visit to the island nation was to brief the President on the concept of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).

PIDF, formerly known as the Engaging with the Pacific meet was endorsed by the Pacific Islands Leaders and Representatives that attended the third Engaging with the Pacific meeting in Nadi in 2012.

Fiji’s Pacific envoy is visiting 22 Pacific Island countries including territories to brief senior government officials and heads of governments in the lead up to the PIDF meeting in 2013.

The meeting is targeted at engaging Leaders from key sectors in implementing the concept of green economic policies in Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).

The Roving Ambassador’s first PIDF briefing visit was to the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, His Excellency Emanuel Mori and his senior Government officials in Pohnpei, and also presented in Honolulu to the East West Centre, Pacific Islands Development Programme, Co-Directors Dr Gerard Finin and Dr Sitiveni Halapua and other senior members.

While Ambassador Mawi briefed Pacific leaders on the PIDF meeting, it allowed her to update them on the developments taking place in the country including the progress of Fiji’s Roadmap to Elections and Parliamentary Democracy in 2014.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

2) MSG nations push for clean energy sources
By Online Editor
4:08 pm GMT+12, 07/03/2013, Fiji

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has urged the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to consider using natural resources to invest in sustainable energy.

The IUCN’ Energy Programme coordinator Anare Matakiviti presented to member countries currently attending the MSG Environment and Climate Change Ministerial meeting in Nadi.Matakiviti pointed out that the abundance of natural resources that make it possible to provide sustainable energy is something that member countries should consider.

“There is so much natural resources in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia,” he said.

“Within these countries there are a lot of water sources and we (IUCN) are urging these countries to make use of these resources for energy purposes.”

Those present at the meeting said they would return to their countries to carry out the proposal process as part of their own commitments to provide cleaner source of energy and at the same time, reduce fuel import bills in their countries.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met this week with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) deputy director general Poul Pedersen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Suva.

The meeting focused discussions on Green Growth and Sustainable Development aspirations. The meeting further provided mechanisms where Fiji could contribute effectively on these issues.

Minister Kubuabola informed Pedersen that the IUCN agenda will complement the initiatives of the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) and welcomed IUCN’s assistance through this Forum.

Pedersen will be attending the MSG Climate Change Ministers meeting this Friday where he is expected to provide a presentation on the same to the Ministers.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

3) West Papua i strong long independence

Updated 7 March 2013, 16:31 AEST

Wanpela lida blong West Papua itok belkrae blong ol pipol blong West Papua long bruk lus long Indonesia i stap strongpela yet.

Image: West Papuans raise independence flag Image 2011-12-16

Bipo piksa blong ol West Papua i flaim independence flag blong ol (Credit: AFP)
Odio: West Papua tokman long Australia i toktok long strongpela laik blong Independence

Wanpela tokman blong ol pipol blong West Papua long Australia, Ronnie Kareni i mekim dispela toktok long bekim wanpela tokwin blong Ambassador blong Indonesia long Australia.

Long wik igo pinis, Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema ibin tokaut long Canberra olsem ol laen husat i laik bruk lusim Indonesia em ol liklik laen tasol.

Ambassador Kesoema ibin mekim despla toktok bihaen long sampla West Papua pipal ibin kilim 8-pela Indonesian soljia tupla wik igo pinis.

Tasol West Papua tokman, Ronnie Kareni itok gavman blong Australia imas noken harim ol giaman toktok blong Indonesia long ol wari blong West Papua.

Em itok, emi no kirap nogut long dispela kaen toktok blong ambassador ia.

Mr Kareni itok, trutru samting i olsem ol pipol blong West Papua igat bikpela laik long buruk lusim Indonesia na sanap olsem wanpela independent kantri.

4) Solomon Islands 2014 ileksanUpdated 6 March 2013, 14:48 AEST

United Nations i halvim Solomon Islands long wokredi blong nasenal ileksan.

Polycarp Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer blong Solomon Islands i toktok (Credit: ABC)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) bai helpim Solomon Islands wantaim ol wokredi blong nasenal general ileksan long 2014.

Long wik igo pinis, UNDP ibin sainim wanpla tok orait wantaim gavman long givim moni igo long Solomon Islands long displa ileksan long yia bihaen.

Sampla long ol dispela moni bai go long Electoral Commission long helpim em long registarim nem blong ol vota long kantri.

Lastpla taem ol pipol blong Solomon Islands ibin vot em long 2010 nasenal ileksan.

Polycarp Haununu Chief electoral Officer blong Solomon Islands itok igat nid long mekim gut moa vota rejistresen blong ileksan long kantri.

Mr Haununu itok wok blong rejistarim ol vota bai stat long bihain long mun June dispela yia.

5) Focus on border: PNG
By Online Editor
4:00 pm GMT+12, 06/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

A high-level government delegation to the southern border of PNG and Indonesia has agreed that one of the immediate measures that need to be taken is to restore vital infrastructure and services to serve the people there.

“One of the key immediate strategies that we need to work on is to bring back public servants and infrastructure development to these border post and villages,” Finance secretary Steven Gibson said.

Gibson said there are no government services and this is the reason why people are crossing the border to the Indonesian side to access health, education and other services as well as goods.

However, he said to get this started, the provincial government has to work together with the national government to restore the much needed infrastructure and services.

“The national government can deliver the services but the provincial government has to take the lead in rehabilitating these programmes,” Gibson said.

He urged Western provincial government to post public servants to the border area to serve the people.

“The provincial government has to look at maintaining the service delivery mechanism so we can have public servants living and working at Torasi, Weam and Bula,” he said.

Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Local Level Government, Munare Uyassi pointed out that a provincial affairs representative will be posted to Weam very soon.

He said in order for the public servants to be deployed to the border stations, a conducive environment for economic opportunities had to be created.

“We need a conducive environment for public servants to attract them to live and work at the border stations,” Uyassi said.

Environment and Conservation Secretary Gunther Joku echoed  Uyassi’s sentiments when he pointed out that one of the key issues that needed to be addressed immediately was a legal trade system.

“These people have rich fertile soil to grow food and many hunting grounds.

“All they need now is an innovative system to trade their produce,” Joku said.

With regards to conserving the environment and wildlife, he said the demand to sell produce to sustain their livelihood is making it difficult.

“But these people need to be educated on how to preserve their environment and wildlife and at the same time harvest them to sustain themselves,” secretary Joku said.

Romilly Kila Pat, the secretary for Lands and Physical Planning, said proper infrastructures needed to be built to cater for the people’s immediate needs.

However, land is one of the many factors that need to be looked into.

“Proper planning is one of the key issues and I will be making a recommendation to the Lands and Physical Planning minister to dispatch technical officers to Torasi, Weam and Bula to assess the situation,” he said.

He stressed that to bring effective services and proper infrastructure to the people, it was important for all key agencies to work together.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

6) PNG Delegation Makes Visit To Indonesia Border Station
Officials hope to address needs of PNG citizens along border

By Paeope Ovasuru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 6, 2013) – Collective efforts from all key government agencies are needed to address issues along the southern border of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia in the Western province.

The land border stretches for 82 kilometers, but has been lacking vital basic infrastructure and services for almost 38 years.

Over the weekend, a government delegation led by Ian Jinga, director general of National Security Advisory Committee Secretariat, went to visit the border post at Weam government station, Torassi and Bula.

The delegation consisted of the acting Foreign Affairs secretary, Ambassador Lucy Bogari, Finance secretary Steven Gibson, Lands and Physical Planning secretary Romilly Kila Pat, Environment and Conservation secretary Gunther Joku, Provinicial Affairs secretary Munare Uyassi, Border Development Authority chief executive officer Fred Konga, Deputy Commissioner Police Operations Simon Kauba and PNG Defence Force Chief of Operations Colonel Walter Enuma.

They were accompanied by the deputy provincial administrator for Western province, Gull Gorgom.

The team was sent to assess the needs of the people and to come up with an immediate, medium and long term strategy to present to the national government. This directive was given by Prime Minister Mr. Peter O’Neill and the National Executive Council (NEC) after assessments by the PNGDF along the border found that there was a jetty that was built in PNG’s land boundary by Indonesia and other issues that needed to be addressed immediately.

[PIR editor’s note: Government coordinator Richard Aria reports that monuments marking the border have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance. The monuments helped to mark the border, but as some deteriorated, Indonesia allegedly built new sign boards and flags on PNG soil. Locals near the border have also reportedly been using the Indonesian rupiah in village matters, since nearby PNG settlements are much farther away than Indonesian villages.]

“The two day fact-finding mission presented an opportunity for the departmental heads to see what really happened on the ground and to make recommendations to the government that will help it to take a proactive decision on the issue,” explained Ambassador Bogari.

She added that the group’s main areas of concern were to establish the immediate needs of the people and to provide a proactive and informed recommendation to the government.

“The national government’s intervention is to assess issues affecting government stations and the people along the southern part of the border and report back to the Chief Secretary.

“Mr. Zurenuoc will then present this report to the National Executive Council for consideration and deliberation,” Mr. Jinga said.

He said this is the first time for senior government officials to actually go over and gather views of our people living along the PNG-Indonesian border.

“As announced by the PM, this year is the ‘year of implementation’ and the Chief Secretary is very serious about it.”

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

7) PNG’s Bougainville to pass world first mining law
By Online Editor
10:21 am GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s copper-rich island of Bougainville plans to introduce legislation that will see traditional landowners share mineral rights with their government.

President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government John Momis has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the re-opening of Rio Tinto’s giant Panguna copper mine will be on his terms.

“Rio Tinto will have to deal with us,” he said.

Dissatisfaction over the sharing of benefits from Rio Tinto’s Panguna mine in the 1990s led to a 10-year civil war on Bougainville, leaving thousands dead.

The mining legislation will be a world first, allowing landowners and the government to share rights to sub-surface minerals.

Approval of mining and resolution of disputes will be negotiated in an all-inclusive landowner forum process.

President Momis says landowners will have a power of veto over exploration and will also have a right to object once the development process begins.

“The underlying philosophy for our new mining act is empowering people,” he said.

“Giving people the power to make political decisions about development, not just being mere passive recipients of benefits.”

President Momis says the legislation is unlikely to adversely affect Rio Tinto, the owner of the Panguna mine, but warns small mining companies on Bougainville that their operations are in breach of a mining moratorium.

Bougainville’s new mining legislation is due to go to the autonomous region’s parliament next week.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

8) Solomons PM Holds Resource Management Discussions
Communities reportedly not receiving monies for mining rights

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 5, 2013) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has called for a new, more sustainable approach to management of his country’s mining, fisheries, and forestry sectors.

Prime Minister Lilo is holding a three-day high-level Roundtable on Development, Society and Environment in Honiara.

Poul Engberg-Pedersen, International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s deputy director general, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat he will be promoting the forging of partnerships with local landholders and mining companies before mining begins.

“What are the possibilities for the Solomon Islands to engage in a different development strategy?” he said.

Mr. Engberg-Pedersen will be speaking at the roundtable and says he will be encouraging the Solomon Islands to embrace the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

“We have to rely on governments, this is their responsibility to make sure that… the wealth from the natural resources, including mines, are being distributed equitably,” he said.

“The complaints we hear, communities say that the money being paid for mining rights is not getting down to them.”

Mr. Engberg-Pedersen says, through the EITI, Solomon Islands can ensure there is a public discussion about where the money goes.

He says there should also be sanctions in place for companies who don’t meet transparency standards.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

9) New Zealand employers commends Solomon Islands Seasonal workers
By Online Editor
3:51 pm GMT+12, 07/03/2013, New Zealand

Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Clay Forau was pleased to hear positive feed backs and comments from various Employers in New Zealand on the work output and performances of Solomon Islands nationals employed under the Recognized Seasonal Employers Scheme.

“I am pleased as well as the Government to hear that our workers are doing well in New Zealand”, says Minister Forau. Our workers are settling in well and are adjusting to the New Zealand culture and environment.

On Monday, the Minister and his delegation were in Nelson on New Zealand’s South Island, where they met with two of the employers and both have commended highly Solomon Islands seasonal workers.

“This is positive news for the country and our seasonal workers and those intending to be recruited under the Recognized Seasonal Employers Scheme (RSE) in New Zealand in the future, must maintain that professionalism and dedication in their work in New Zealand’, added Minister Forau. They must continue to perform to the best of their ability and to the expectation of their employers, stated Minister Forau.

“The success of our participation in the RSE in New Zealand depends entirely on the trust, good behavior, professionalism and dedication by our citizens working under the scheme in New Zealand,” added Minister Forau.

On Tuesday morning in Wellington, Minister Forau, also paid a courtesy call on the New Zealand Minister for Immigration, Hon Michael Woodhouse and the Deputy Chief Executive, Immigration Group,  Nigel Bickie, both of whom have also spoke highly of Solomon Islands seasonal workers and their overall contribution to the RSE for both New Zealand and Solomon Islands.

The Minister and delegation are currently in Napier where they will meet more Solomon Islands Seasonal Workers and their Employers.

The Minister’s delegation includes officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade as well as Labor and Immigration Divisions.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS

10 ) ‘No Stone Left Unturned’ In Vanuatu Lands Investigation
Public service commission will search for issues as early as 1980

By Ricky Binihi

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 6, 2013) – The Public Service Commission (PSC) investigation into allegations that Vanuatu’s Department of Lands officials acquired public land that was not tendered will track the public land dealings since Independence.

This could mean the investigations will go back to 1980 when the Vanua’aku Pati was in government and people who opposed Independence were deported and their properties were obtained by Vanuatu citizens.

But many of the properties had not been tendered. For instance, a prominent former government minister at that time acquired the property of a deportee in Luganville, Santo but the question the Commission is probing is whether that property was put on public tender.

The probe is headed by the Commissioner of Public Service, Mr. Holi Simeon at the helm of government and properties date back to 1980.

The Daily Post has copies of the land title numbers, the names of deportees, the names of the new registered lessees, the location of land and the description of the properties of all the list of the Urban Deportees Properties already sold in Luganville and Port Vila.

The PS Commissioner was contacted Monday to comment on the outcome of but he could not be reached.

However the government spokesman Mr. Jeff Patunvanu said the Commissioner was busy as he was expected to compile a report of the investigations that should be presented to the Council of Ministers for a decision.

“It’s obvious that Lands Department officials recently acquired land that was not put up for tender or not for sale according to resolution 60 of 2010 Council of Ministers Meeting.

“And the Prime Minister Sato Kilman has demanded a comprehensive report of all public land sales since 1980 and there will be no stones unturned,” Mr. Patunvanu told the Daily Post.

Vanuatu knows that Prime Minister owns a property of a deportee in Port Vila but which other leaders own properties in the two towns that were never tendered will be made public in a PSC inquiry sanctioned by the Prime Minister Kilman.

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

11) Woman Dies Amidst New Caledonia Dengue Outbreak
Second death follows initial fatality reported in December

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 6, 2013) – A dengue outbreak in New Caledonia has claimed a second life.

The territory’s daily newspaper says the victim was a 36-year-old woman who died in intensive care after suffering from a high fever for several days.

In December, a 55-year-old woman died of dengue.

The outbreak has infected several thousand people this season, with estimates of 200 new infections every day.

In January alone 965 people were diagnosed with dengue.

People are advised to eliminate the breeding grounds of the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

There is no vaccine against the disease but there are hopes one will be developed within two years.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

12) Fiji police order women march ban
By Online Editor
10:42 am GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Fiji

Just days after a graphic video of prisoners being severely beaten, Fiji police have ordered a ban on a street march planned for the capital, Suva today.

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) was holding a “Reclaim the Night” march in the city today to mark International Women’s Day.

“We received a call from the police informing us that our permit that we received on 19 February had been withdrawn due to security reasons,” centre coordinator Shamima Ali says.

“The march is about claiming spaces for women and girls in particular around the issue of sexual assault and the violation of their rights, so where is the threat?”

She said in previous years families had joined the march.

The FWCC says that while the police are concerned about the security situation surrounding the march, they should give some credit to the centre.

“We have been doing these activities for nearly 30 years and we have done it in all different circumstances, including during times of instability. We understand the conditions of our permit and unlike other organisations and institutions we recognise the rule of law,” said Ali.

A brief statement issued by Police this morning confirmed the march has been cancelled.

“Recent information received by the Police indicates that there are threats to public order and the march may represent a significant security risk both for the wider public and those involved.

“We invite the Women’s Crisis Centre to resubmit its application to hold the march at a later date, said a statement released by Police spokesperson, Inspector Atu Sokomuri.

Earlier this week a nine minute long video was revealed showing an escaped prisoner being severely beaten and a man who had harboured him also abused.

The Fiji Government has still said nothing of the abuse while the Fiji Police say they are investigating.

Social media in Fiji has already identified the key players in the abuse; most of them are police officers with a special Suva based unit and there is also a military officer.

Several of the people identified in the video have played for Fiji in international rugby sevens and league.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/ PACNEWS

13) Fiji to be nominated in world heritage map
By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 06/03/2013, Fiji

Calls made by UNESCO for the nomination of sites in Fiji to the world heritage map, have been given the green light by the government.

Permanent Secretary for Education Dr.Brij Lal says, the government has nominated Levuka, as it feels the need to preserve culture and the heritage sites in the old capital.

“We have to strengthen our outreach programs, displays at various activities functions, festivals pottery making and all this things.Another key area that we have looked at is Levuka heritage site all the documents and other things that have been submitted and we are looking forward for UNESCO to declare as a world heritage site.”

Meawnhile, Fiji Arts Council Director Laisiasa Veikoso said there are programs to encourage youths in activities to support heritage preservation.

SOURCE: FBC/PACNEWS

14) Heavy Rainfall Leads To Flooding In Fiji’s Western Division
Flash flood warnings issued, rain to continue till next week

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 5, 2013) – Continuous rainfall in Fiji’s Western Division led to widespread flooding of low-lying areas and the closure of 30 roads and half the schools in the region.

Bus services were also disrupted as a result of flooding and landslides, leaving hundreds stranded and struggling to find their way to school and work.

The Fiji Meteorological Service said with rainfall not expected to clear until next week, flash flooding was a serious concern.

“We are urging people to take heed of the heavy rain warning we have issued for Fiji,” said acting weather office director Aminiasi Tuidraki.

“Rain is expected to continue for the rest of the week, over the weekend and things should start to clear up sometime next week.”

Mr. Tuidraki warned that while there could be breaks in the weather for a few hours during the day, there was a very high likelihood of thunderstorms and showers in the afternoons.

“So far we have recorded 60-70 millimeters in 24 hours, which is a lot of rain. If rainfall hits the 70-80 millimeter mark, then we will be issuing flood warnings for major rivers. At the moment, we have issued flash flood warnings because the ground is saturated with the continuous rainfall that we have experienced, and flooding is expected to be localized and in low-lying areas.”

Pacific Transport Limited’s West manager Jaswant Kumar said bus services to some areas were affected but his organization was attempting to service routes as far as safely possible.

“Despite the flooding, we are trying to serve the communities in the Western Division by going as far as we possibly can,” he said. “This is to enable kids to go to school and workers to travel to and from the city and town centers.”

Rakiraki interim special administrator Seini Raiko-Vunivutu said schools in the sugar-producing centre were closed as a precautionary measure after the Nakauvadra River reached critical point.

Likewise, the Ba Municipal Market was also closed yesterday as the river level rose in the morning. The authorities in Nadi are also monitoring waterways in the tourist centre as rain continues in the division.

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

15) EU willing to send observer mission for Fiji elections
By Online Editor
4:05 pm GMT+12, 06/03/2013, Fiji

The European Union (EU) is willing to send an Elections Observation Mission to Fiji for the 2014 elections.

The new Head of the EU Delegation to the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs says the mission will be similar to the one sent to Fiji during the 2006 elections.

Jacobs says they are closely following the developments taking place in Fiji.

“In 2006, as you may recall, the European Union did provide an electoral observation mission. We would be very pleased to consider doing that same again were we to receive an invitation from the government to do so. That is something we are looking to talk with – with government partners over the next few weeks.”

He adds, they also have financial support available for Fiji’s constitutional process.

Jacobs replaces Wipke Van der Goot and will hold the post for four years.

Jacobs presented his credentials to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House in Suva Tuesday.

SOURCE: FBC/PACNEWS

16)Diplomatic impasse with Fiji
By Online Editor
10:27 am GMT+12, 07/03/2013, New Zealand

As Australia attempts to fully restore diplomatic ties with Fiji, the New Zealand Government has confirmed it also wants to appoint a permanent high commissioner to Suva.

Australia and New Zealand agreed with Fiji in July last year to exchange high commissioners, ending a three-year hiatus and signalling a significant thaw in relations that have been frosty since Commodore Bainimarama seized power in a 2006 coup.

Fiji kicked out Australia’s last high commissioner and New Zealand’s acting head of mission in 2009.

New Zealand appointed Phillip Taula as acting head of mission in March 2010 and he is currently acting high commissioner.

“We are seeking agreement from the Fijian authorities for a permanent high commissioner and are awaiting a response,” Foreign Minister Murray McCully told NZ Newswire.

Fiji’s high commission in Wellington is run by acting head of mission Mere Tora.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Opposition says countries in the Pacific region will expect meaningful action from the Fiji government in response to the brutal treatment of prisoners in Fiji as captured in a graphic video circulating on the internet.

The Labour Party is seeking cross party support in New Zealand’s parliament to condemn the incident, in which escaped two Fiji men are beaten and tortured.

Fiji police have ordered a thorough investigation but Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff wants to also see Fiji’s government ensure those responsible are held to account.

Goff said most New Zealanders who see the footage would be appalled at the calculated assaults.

“While this will be a decision I think by people that go to Fiji rather than by governments, there will be many people that love to holiday in Fiji who will look at this and say do I really want to be associated with a regime that allows these sort of things to happen in their country?”.

SOURCE: TV3/RNZI/PACNEWS

Polynesia:


17)Tongan economy facing pressure: report
By Online Editor
10:14 am GMT+12, 07/03/2013, TongaA new report by the Asian Development Bank says Tonga is facing increasing pressure to create jobs for out-of-work youth, with only 26 per cent of the population over 15 having paid employment.

The report also shows that technician, professional, skilled agricultural and fisheries and craft and trade worker jobs are disappearing.

Asian Development Bank Country Economist for Tonga, Laisiasa Tora, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that emigration and the resulting remittances are vital to economic growth in the country.

“Continued migration is quite important,” he said.

“It’s been quite beneficial for Tonga for some time now and it’ll continue to be.”

But he said the government has been looking at new sources of growth.

“The Governor of the Central Bank pointed out that Tonga really needs to start thinking about a landscape… where Tonga’s not overly reliant on remittances,” he said.

“The government’s been doing quite a lot of work to identify new sources of growth in addition to trying to improve the performance from these sectors as I mentioned like agriculture and fisheries.”

Tora said with the slowdown in overseas economies such as the United States, demand for unskilled labour has dropped.

“The report, one of it’s recommendations is that… semi-skilled or well-qualified Tongans migrate rather than unskilled Tongans.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

18) Samoa Censor Board Investigating Locally-Made Films
Chairman says misleading board can result in criminal charges

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 6, 2013) – Excessive violence is amongst criticisms of locally-made films which are under investigation by Samoa’s Censor Board.

It is alleged that films not yet approved by the board have been screened all over the country, chairman, Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, said.

Masinalupe said, the producer of the “Li’a i Mealilo” film was told to pay his business license first before the board can grant him a permit to allow his film to be screened.

“He never returned then we heard people talking about his film,” he said.

That matter is under investigation by the board.

Another film under investigation is “Ta Lelava Pologa” after complaints that it is too violent.

Another investigation involves a producer who gave a copy of his film to the board to scrutinize which is different from the version being screened publicly.

“Misleading (the Censor Board) is very serious in this business and a person can be charged under the Police Crime Ordinance Act,” said Masinalupe.

Copies of films under investigation by the Censor’s Board have been confiscated from shops around town, he said.

Work is underway on a draft of a public notice to remind film makers of their obligations under the law and for parents and families to work together with the authorities.

“It’s not about money anymore, but the impact of these movies on the children and community,” said Masinalupe, who is also chief executive officer of Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration.

He believes the board cannot control or monitor the flow of movies just by censoring, especially when parents allow their children to pick up movies from movie rental businesses.

“Our focus is to educate the people on the impact of movies.”

Filipino Series

Masinalupe is also concerned by the length of time allocated for Filipino movies aired by television stations.

“It goes on for three to four hours at night and then again the next day,” he said.

“This is not healthy for the children especially when it’s shown during school days.”

Film Control Board Act

Under the Film Control Board Act, all films require a permit from the Ministry of Justice before it may be lent out or shown in a movie theatre.

Failure to comply attracts a fine of $1000.

Talamua: http://talamua.com/index.php

Micronesia:

19) Nauru parliament adjournment risks constitutional crisis

By Online Editor
10:37 am GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Nauru

A Nauru Government spokesperson says the speaker of parliament may have set a dangerous precedent if he does not reconvene the House.

This week , the Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames QC declared last week’s adjournment by the speaker Ludwig Scotty as unconstitutional.

He upheld a challenge brought by eight MPs including a former President Marcus Stephen.

Rod Henshaw says contrary to news reports, there is no problem with the dissolution of Parliament, but the nature of the adjournment last week was declared unlawful.

He said the court cannot order the speaker to reconvene and it doesn’t appear Scotty will do so.

Henshaw said there could be ramifications for the next parliament.

“The thing that is of concern if anything at the moment is the feeling of some members that if this isn’t rectified it’s setting a dangerous precedent for future parliaments. The other one is if we do go to an election which is expected in April what is the status of that election result if the house is unlawfully adjourned and the dissolution went ahead. I guess it’s a legal constitutional minefield at the moment.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

20)First woman cabinet minister in Palau takes her oath of office

By Online Editor
4:16 pm GMT+12, 07/03/2013, Palau

The first woman cabinet member for Palau’s ninth constitutional government has officially taken her oath of office.

Baklai Temengil was sworn in last month to head north Pacific island nation’s Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs. She becomes President Remengesau’s second cabinet appointment to take office.

It is unclear whether Temengil will continue her tenure as Secretary General of the Palau National Olympic Committee as she is now officially the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs.

Meanwhile, on Monday this week, the Palau Congress unanimously confirmed Greg Ngirmang as the new Minister of Health.

Ngirmang, former Social Security Administrator is the third ministerial appointment confirmed by the Senate.

On the same day, President Remengesau re-submitted Secilil Eldebechel for the Finance Ministry and Andrew Tabelual for the Education Ministry.

Two other ministries – Ministry of State and Ministry of Public Infrastructures, Industries and Commerce are still without appointments.

SOURCE: OCEANIA TV/PACNEWS

21)Guam Military Buildup May Be Completed By 2020
Navy commander recommends accelerated funding for shift

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 7, 2013) – The commander of the Navy’s Pacific Command, Adm. Samuel Locklear, yesterday encouraged Congress to accelerate funding for the realignment of forces in the Asia Pacific region, including providing money to move about 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam and Hawaii.

Based on current planning estimates, Locklear said, the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam may be completed by 2020. The relocation of forces to Hawaii has a 2026 completion target, he said.

He testified during a House Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday on “The Posture of the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Strategic Command.”

The new estimate for the relocation of 5,000 Marines to Guam reflects a six-year delay from the original goal of 2014. The relocation plan has met delays, in part because of questions over U.S. funding availability and Guam’s ability to handle a sudden influx of military-buildup-related construction projects given the island’s limited infrastructure, Pacific Daily News files state.

Mark Calvo, director of the Guam Military Buildup Office under the governor’s office, said Locklear’s estimated 2020 completion date for the military buildup on Guam has a “silver lining.”

Before Locklear’s statement, it wasn’t clear when the buildup would happen after the earlier goal of 2014 was pushed back, Calvo said.

Under the revised buildup plan, Calvo said, about 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents would be relocated to Guam.

Reaffirmation

Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo said Locklear reaffirmed the Obama administration’s support for, and focus on, the rebalance of U.S. forces toward the Asia-Pacific region.

“Adm. Locklear said he was hopeful the buildup would remain on track and noted in his statement that it may be completed by 2020. This is only a rough estimate of when the realignment on Guam will occur. However, his statement provides greater certainty in the future of the buildup and is consistent with previous discussions on the topic,” Bordallo said.

“It is critical to prioritize investments in the realignments in the Pacific, given our agreement with the government of Japan, as well as the uncertainty and volatility of the region,” Bordallo said.

Under the revised buildup, Japan is committed to giving a $3.1 billion cash contribution, Calvo said. The rest of the funding for the Guam portion of the realignment, more than $5 billion, would need U.S. congressional appropriation.

On Guam, more than $900 million worth of military construction projects for fiscal 2013 and 2014 also await congressional appropriation, a Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas list shows.

Locklear Tuesday urged Congress to support the military’s plans to focus on the Asia-Pacific region, where he said concerns have arisen over China and North Korea’s military muscle-flexing and the history of violent extremist activities in places such as the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

“After a dozen years supporting wars in the Middle East, (the U.S. Pacific Command’s) permanently assigned forces are resetting to focus on the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” Locklear testified.

Locklear said Chinese military operations in particular have been “expanding in size, complexity and geographic location.” Locklear said the Chinese Navy last summer “conducted its largest-ever exercise outside the first island chain and into the Western Pacific.”

“Chinese maritime intelligence collection operations increased in 2012 as well; with historic … missions into the Indian Ocean and within the U.S. exclusive economic zones off of Guam and Hawaii,” Locklear said.

Sequestration

Locklear’s recommendation for funding support comes as the Defense Department is dealing with automatic spending cuts, called sequestration, which went into effect Friday.

As a result of sequestration, and the lack of congressional appropriation, the Defense Department’s spending levels are set back to 2012 levels, Defense Department documents state.

Locklear emphasized the need to focus on positioning rapid response forces in the Western Pacific, in part because of what he called the “tyranny of distance.”

As an example, a carrier strike group takes three weeks to transit from the West Coast to the Philippines, and it takes 15 hours to get there in a C-17 aircraft, he said.

“The U.S. requires a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable posture that allows persistent presence and, if needed, power projection,” Locklear said. “As many of you who have frequently visited Asia know, the tyranny of distance imposed by the size of both the Pacific and Indian Oceans and intervening land masses requires the United States to operate forward in order to achieve rapid response.”

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

Pacific:


22) Pacific churches must be sanctuaries for HIV/AIDS

By Online Editor
10:32 am GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Solomon IslandsPacific churches must become sanctuaries for HIV carriers and people living with AIDS.

Theologian Reverend Dr Cliff Bird says church members must have full access to the facts on HIV-AIDS so they could become more sympathetic.

And he told regional church leaders that HIV-AIDS were neither divine punishment nor the cause of sinful lifestyles.

“This attitude is un-Christ like and must therefore stop,” Rev Dr Bird told the Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands.

“The stigma (associated with AIDS) is not simply from social and cultural corners but most unfortunately from theological corners. (People living with) HIV and AIDS are made to feel guilty because of supposedly sinful lifestyles.”

Rev Dr Bird – a lecturer at the Pacific Theological College – said church leaders must make an effort to become better informed on HIV and AIDS-related issues and engage their members in awareness and advocacy activities.

“When asked by his disciples on more than one occasion if sin was the cause of someone’s illness, Jesus replied in the negative,” Rev Dr Bird said.

“Second, we must remember that many women and young girls contract HIV not because they chose freely to engage in risky sexual relations but due to situations and a combination of factors beyond their control.

“Many young girls and women are forced by extreme economic and financial hardships, or poverty and destitution, into dangerous and vulnerable sexual situations where they contract HIV; many contract HIV in situations of war, violence and hostilities and rape; many contract HIV due to cultural expectations and practices of marriage, and so on.”

Rev Dr Bird said the church had a responsibility to show sympathy for and solidarity with all AIDS sufferers and to show “love and non-judgmental acceptance and to demonstrate that love through a massive practical effort to alleviate their physical and emotional suffering”.

On the issue of sexuality was a taboo in Pacific societies, he said such statements were true and false because gender specific gatherings often discussed sexuality in non-seriousness and fun but this changed in mixed groups.

He said churches must formulate educational and advocacy programmes centred on sexual morality instead of suppressing the subject.

The assembly is expected to hear a submission from young Christians calling on their leaders to put in place church-based activities to combat HIV-AIDS.

SOURCE: PCC/PACNEWS

23)Unemployment, landlessness, marriage breakdown an emerging threats to regional instability
By Online Editor
10:11 am GMT+12, 07/03/2013, Solomon Islands

Unemployment, landlessness and the failure of the institution of marriage have been described as emerging threats to regional instability.

Tongan cleric, Reverend Dr Tevita Havea, said the growing number of unemployed young people would have an impact on services, infrastructure and the nature of politics.

“The crux of the matter is there are not enough employment opportunities and hence, they do not feel that they are meaningfully participating and gaining from the economy, our highly educated young people will turn to violent means to fulfil their aspirations,” Rev Dr Havea said.

“(If they) move overseas we will lose the gifts of our young people. This will undermine not only our fledgling democracies, but the source of creating and distributing wealth – our economies.

“We should not forget the political upheavals in Fiji, Solomon Islands and even my own country Tonga in the past 12 years. Indeed, there is a fine line between education and ethnic and class violence, and terrorism.”

Rev Dr Havea was speaking at the Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands.

He said the unemployed youths wandered the streets, experimented with sex and generally loitered in urban areas.

On the breakdown of the institution of marriage, Rev Dr Havea said recent statistics suggest that about one in five marriages did not last for 10 years.

He said people affected by broken families and other social issues would soon form their own sub-culture that c¬hurches have not been taught how to handle.

“Is this another factor contributing to a context of insecurity?” Rev Dr Havea asked.

He called on churches to take joint efforts on governance, social justice and stewardship at regional and national levels.

“Ecumenism is not just about church relations; in its centre, it is about home (oikos) relations,” Rev Dr Havea said.

He warned that an explosion of squatter settlements in and around the urban centres in the Pacific had been caused by people had lost their land leases,  moved because of increasing rural poverty or to give their children a better chance of a quality education.

“Consequently, there is an increase in the population of homeless and landless families, street children, and the violent physical and or sexual abuse of women and children in some of our island countries.”

Rev Dr Havea said churches had an important role to play in stopping violence against women and children.

“If our Christian faith is enlisted in the cause of  conflict and hatred, we must equally and in contrast raise a clear voice in the name of peace, justice and compassion for our people,” he said.

For further information: Contact Netani Rika, Pacific Conference of Churches, and 4 Thurston Road, Suva.
Email netrika66@gmail.com Mobile 677-7736953

SOURCE: PCC/PACNEWS

24)Pacific tuna catch may be record high

By Online Editor
10:15 am GMT+12, 07/03/2013, New Caledonia

Early figures for the 2012 show the Pacific tuna catch is likely to be bigger than ever before.

As tuna numbers in other regions of the world decline, more and bigger boats are heading for the Pacific.

The Heads of Fisheries Agencies meeting taking place in Noumea this week has been told 2012 is shaping up as a year of record catches.

Figures just out for 2011 show that year’s catch of more than 2.3 million tonnes was the lowest since 2006.

Dr John Hampton, Manager of the Oceanic Fisheries Program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says even skipjack tuna, the species with the most robust numbers, needs close scrutiny.

“It may well be that as we start to fish these species a bit intensively, particularly skipjack tuna, that we will see a bit more year-to-year variability in the performance,” he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.

“That’s probably a good sign that indeed we are reaching the sort of sensible limits of what we should be taking out of these stocks.”

Dr Hampton says an limit of around 1.5 million tonnes per year for skipjack would be appropriate.

He says this would allow the population to maintain a level of around half of its ‘pristine’ levels of abundance – the level the population would maintain if there was no fishing.

“[This] should enable the stock to certainly be viable going forward but also provide profitable levels of fishing activity as well,” he said.

He also says there are concerns around levels of yellowfin tuna.

“We do think there are certainly signs in this key core area of the fishery that we need to introduce restraints on the harvest of yellowfin,” he said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSRALIA/PACNEWS

25)PSIDS tells UN economic empowerment of women should be a focus
By Online Editor
10:24 am GMT+12, 07/03/2013, United States

The Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) have told world leaders there should be more focus on the economic empowerment of women.

Leaders are meeting in New York at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women.

Samoa’s minister of women, community and social development, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, says food and water insecurity caused by climate change is a root cause of gender-based violence.

“[The] productivity and contribution of our women is continuously reduced and we need a global mechanism to guarantee their survival and halt the reduction in women’s status as they become landless in matrilineal societies and hopeless as our traditions and culture wear thin as we migrate out of our communities.”

He called on the UN to put more resources into the region.

Meanwhile, Pacific leaders have told the United Nations that violence affects all aspects of the lives of women and girls in the region.

Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Willie Telavi, addressed the commission on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum.

He said studies across the region have shown that two out of three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

“The studies have also revealed high levels of severe abuse and strong correlations between childhood and adult experiences of violence, signalling the need to address violence in the family much earlier, and to prevent violence from happening in the first place. We are also concerned about the impact of conditions under situations of armed conflict and political instability which intensify sexual and gender based violence, rape, and sexual assault.”

Telavi called on the international community to strengthen its political and financial commitment to help the Pacific.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

Franis:

26) Partage des droits miniers entre les propriétaires et le gouvernement

Posté à 8 March 2013, 9:43 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est une première mondiale, les autorités de la région autonome de Bougainville, en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, vont déposer un projet de loi qui prévoit le partage des droits des substances minérales entre les propriétaires coutumiers et le gouvernement.

Le Président de Bougainville, John Momis, indique que le but de cette législation est d’éviter les conflits en partageant plus équitablement  les bénéfices de l’exploitation minière avec les propriétaires fonciers.

Le mécontentement à propos du partage des bénéfices de l’exploitation de la mine de cuivre de Panguna par le groupe Rio Tinto est l’un des facteurs à l’origine d’une guerre civile qui a déchiré Bougainville pendant une décennie et fait des milliers de morts.

Le projet de loi sera présenté au Parlement la semaine prochaine.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-08/partage-des-droits-miniers-entre-les-propriétaires-et-le-gouvernement/1098690

27) 8 mars 2013 : Journée Internationale des Femmes

Posté à 8 March 2013, 9:37 AEST
Pierre Riant

Une journée musicale également puisque des artistes de 20 pays ont participé à l’enregistrement d’une chanson de ONU Femmes intitulé tout simplement ‘One Woman’.

Au nombre de ces artistes la chanteuse montante du Vanuatu : Vanessa Quai.

Cette chanson sera lancée aujourd’hui à New York et sera mis à disposition globalement sur : <http://song.unwomen.org>. La chanson, mais aussi des scènes dans les coulisses du tournage de la vidéo de la chanson.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-08/8-mars-2013-journée-internationale-des-femmes/1098688

28) Des passeports de Kiribati vendus à des Nord-Coréens

Mis à jour 8 March 2013, 9:49 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Président, Anote Tong, a reconnu que des passeports ont bel et bien été vendus aux directeurs d’une société de Corée du Nord.

Société qui, selon les Nations Unies, ne serait qu’une façade pour la contrebande d’armes a l’échelle mondiale. Les directeurs nord-coréens ont approché des petits pays pour acheter des passeports ; notamment les Seychelles et dans notre région, Kiribati.

Le Président de Kiribati a indiqué que cette affaire avant mis son gouvernement dans l’embarras et a indiqué que des passeports de Kiribati ont été vendus en Chine dans les années 90 dans le but de générer des revenus.

Anote Tong souligne qu’il a mis fin personnellement à ce système de vente de passeports peu après son arrivée au pouvoir en 2003.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-08/des-passeports-de-kiribati-vendus-à-des-nordcoréens/1098700

Health:

29) Global Fund for TB will cease in PNG
By Online Editor
3:59 pm GMT+12, 06/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

The national TB program is in crisis as Global Funds that resource the TB program will come to a stop by end of March this year.

This sends an SOS to the government as the National TB program manager Dr Paul Aia stated yesterday in a media luncheon organised by World Vision International in the nation’s capital.

The national program is funded by a US$ 21 million for a period of five years but ends this month at a time when PNG joins the globe to celebrate World TB day on March 23.

The government provided a bridge funding of only K4 million this year to assist the program, but Dr Paul Aia said this is way too small and admitted no other funding sources have come aboard.

When queried by the media if there were any other funding sources that may have shown interest in carrying out the program after Global Fund ended, Dr Paul said there was none and he fears losing partners such as World Vision in the fight against TB.

He also stated it takes US$1 million a year to maintain TB programs.

Dr Paul clarifies that despite the government’s provision of hospitals (TB clinics), medicines and medical equipment to treat TB and salaries for health workers, funds were needed to implement programs and transport consumables to facilities.

A notification report for 2012 stated that reported cases of all forms of TB stands at 22,145 for the whole country; but Dr Paul Aia stated this could be higher in the 30,000 region because of unreported cases.

“Provinces and districts need to come aboard in the fight against TB as human resources at the national level within the Department of health is seriously lacking,” Dr Paul said.

Four people are confirmed with Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) TB in Western Province, according to the National TB program. There are also 90 confirmed cases of Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) TB in Western province

Multi-Drug Resistant TB or MDR-TB is a form of TB that is difficult and expensive to treat because it fails to respond to standard first line drugs.

Extensively Drug Resistant TB or XDR-TB occurs when resistance to second-line drugs develops on top of MDR-TB. XDR-TB is virtually untreatable.

According to Stop TB program, five percent of all TB cases have MDR-TB, based on data from more that 100 countries collected during the last decade. Each year, an estimated 490,000 new MDR-TB cases occur, which have caused more than 130,000 deaths.

Preventing MDR-TB must begin by ensuring patients take their medication every day until cured.

Inconsistency, is the predominant means by which a resilience to first line drugs is developed.

In a media visit to two TB clinics in the nation’s capital yesterday, Sister Miriam Avae, a TB nurse at 6 Mile clinic confirmed 800 patients were reported to the clinic last year.

She stated new cases are recorded and on the rise but did not compare with previous years.

Currently, the clinic sees 40-50 patients every day, from within 6 Mile, Gordon, and parts of Central Province.

Badili clinic sees about 10 patients daily.

Sr Miriam said her main frustration is patients defaulting from TB treatment. Her frustration is shared by many other people in the fight against TB.

TB partners are preparing for International TB day on 23 March which will be celebrated the 22 provinces. The theme for this year is “Stop TB in my lifetime”.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

Education:

30) Solomons urged to help with contraception among teens

Posted at 03:16 on 07 March, 2013 UTC

A New Zealand MP Maryan Street says her counterparts in Solomon Islands could make a real difference to escalating teen pregnancies if they invest in effective contraception services.

As the Vice Chair of the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development, Ms Street is in Honiara to launch a report into adolescent sexual health after a Pacific-wide forum in Wellington last year.

She says contraceptive education is the key to preventing pregnancies but reaching teenagers early is problematic as 70 per cent of them don’t attend high school.

She says she would like to see the politicians step in and stop the practise of expelling pregnant girls from school.

“And that’s something that could be addressed by MP’s saying to the schools ’This isn’t fair.’ The boys who are the fathers of these children are allowed to continue with their education but the girls are expelled and are told not to come back. And so they drop out of the system altogether.”

Maryan Street says investing in contraception advice gives a ten-fold economic return.

Radio New Zealand International

Sports:


31) Fiji coach urges players to look beyond Europe

By Online Editor
1:31 pm GMT+12, 07/03/2013, AustraliaFiji’s top players should look for contracts in Australia and New Zealand rather than Europe if they want to improve their game, national coach Inoke Male said on Wednesday.

While Europe remains the most popular destination for Fijian internationals playing club rugby, Male said its restrictive style often cramped the natural flair the Pacific islanders bring to the game.

In contrast, he said, the type of game in Australia and New Zealand suited Fijians better and they often settled in those countries more readily than in European nations.

“From what I’ve experienced, the loneliness, environment, weather, these are contributing factors and some of our boys lose their touch of brilliance when they are playing in Europe,” he told AFP.

“It is only in Europe where we lose out because it’s like two different types of play altogether.”

He said southern hemisphere nations also included a proper off-season in their competitions, unlike Europe.

“It (an off-season) is a must if you want to become a professional athlete,” he said. “In Europe, it’s a 12-month competition in which you rest only at Christmas, then off you go again.”

Male said having players based in New Zealand and Australia would also make it easier to assemble them for international duty, particularly given the reluctance of some European clubs to release players for Test matches.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

32) Australia National Academies squads take on Fiji and Samoa

By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 07/03/2013, Australia

Australian Rugby Union’s Sydney and Brisbane-based National Academy squads are gearing up to face international development sides from Fiji and Samoa in the second round of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup.

Sydney’s National Academy side will meet Samoa A today at TG Milner Oval in Eastwood at 4:00pm (local time) while Brisbane’s Academy will take on Fiji A at Ballymore at 6:00pm (local time).

The two games will provide Australian Rugby Union’s 2013 National Academy players with an opportunity to showcase the skills they have been developing since coming together as a group in November.

National Academy Sydney coach Sean Hedger said the match offers players a great opportunity to further develop their skill set.

“This will be a very high standard of Rugby,” Hedger said.

“They’re playing an international team and our players will learn from this. Games like this are invaluable for our player development.”

Both matches will feature numerous Australian Schoolboys and Australian Under-20 representatives who are utilising the National Academy to further their development as they build on their Rugby careers.

The Brisbane National Academy side will feature 2012 Australian Under-20 representatives Maile Ngaumo and Sam Reiser along with 2012 Australian Schoolboys representative Jonah Placid.

The Sydney National Academy side includes 2012 Under-20 players Alan Alaalatoa, Hugh Roach, Apolosi Latunipulu, Steve Cummins, as well as 2012 Schoolboys player David Horwitz.

National Academy Brisbane coach Paul Carozza said while he hoped both sides were successful in their matches on Thursday, there was a bigger picture at play.

“Obviously we want to be competitive, but from a big picture perspective it’s all about development,” Carozza said.

“We want the players to put what they’ve learned into practice in a game context. The National Academy is about physical, skill and game knowledge development. We’re teaching these young men to prepare to be professional athletes.”

Carozza’s point about development is a poignant one, with 12 members of the 2012 Australian Rugby Union National Academy graduating to Super Rugby for the 2013 season.

From last year’s Academy, Ruan Smith joined the ACT Brumbies; Jordy Reid, Trent Dyer and Tom English joined the Melbourne Rebels; Matt Lucas, Sam Lane, Jed Holloway and Ben Volavola joined the NSW Waratahs; Blake Enever and Jarrad Butler joined the Queensland Reds; and Solomoni Rasolea and Ed Stubbs joined the Western Force.

The second round of the Pacific Rugby Cup also features Brumbies development side ACT XV taking on Tonga A at Vikings Park in Canberra at 4:30pm on Thursdasy 7 March. ACT XV will be looking to continue its winning ways after defeating Samoa A 58-19 in the opening round of the tournament.

The annual Pacific Rugby Cup features development teams from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and now Japan playing three fixtures each in Australia before travelling to New Zealand to face its Super Rugby development sides.

The Australian leg of the tournament features development teams from all five Australian Super Rugby sides as well as the Sydney and Brisbane National Academy teams.

The tournament, funded by the IRB, sits one level below the Pacific Nations Cup and is a key Rugby development pathway for participating nations, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and now Japan.

The 2013 Pacific Rugby Cup champions will be determined by points accumulated across the tournaments in Australia and New Zealand, and the final round played prior to the northern hemisphere Test window..

SOURCE: VOXY/PACNEWS


33) Japan launch exciting new Tokyo Sevens

By Online Editor
4:13 pm GMT+12, 06/03/2013, Japan

The Japan Rugby Union has officially launched the Tokyo Sevens, round 7 of the HSBC Sevens World Series on 30-31 March, announcing some exciting changes to the event for 2013.

In its second year back on the Series, the Tokyo Sevens will feature the concept of ‘Japanesque’, JRFU officials announced at the press conference held in Tokyo on 4 March.

“For spectators, Sevens is not just about watching the matches on the pitch, so at the Tokyo Sevens we will provide a great Sevens experience both on and off the pitch throughout the day and night,” said Tokyo Sevens Tournament Director, Junichi Inagaki.

For the two-day tournament an area of artificial turf measuring more than 2,000 square metres will be turned into a ‘Sevens Garden’, allowing fans not in their seats to watch the matches on big screens, and offering refreshment and official merchandise outlets.

The centrepiece of the ‘Sevens Garden’ will be a real cherry blossom tree, which is the emblem for Japanese rugby and also for spring time in Japan.

It was also announced that the popular Japanese festival dance YOSAKOI will feature heavily in proceedings. YOSAKOI’s origins lie in western Japanese folklore and date back to the 1500s, and around 70 YOSAKOI dancers and 80 cheerleaders will perform at the opening ceremony on the first day of the tournament.

“A Sevens tournament is a great festival and at the Tokyo Sevens we will show a Japanese style of festival to the world,” added Inagaki.

Nineteen of Japan’s finest men’s Sevens players are currently in camp at the Ajinomoto National Training Centre preparing to compete in both Hong Kong and then a week later in Tokyo on home soil. The team was represented at the press conference by Katsuyuki Sakai.

“It will be a great honour to be selected for Japan Sevens team and to play in front of our home crowd. That’s why all 19 players are working very hard to get a national jersey,” said Sakai, who captained the Japanese to the Asian qualifiers for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Singapore last November.

The Tokyo Sevens will be played at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground on 30-31 March. Australia will start as defending champions, having won the title in 2012.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

34) Draw announced for Guangzhou Women’s Sevens

By Online Editor
4:10 pm GMT+12, 06/03/2013, China

The IRB has announced the pools and match schedule for the third round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, the Guangzhou Women’s Sevens in China on 30-31 March 2013.

Twelve international sides from six continents will compete at the Guangzhou University Town Stadium, with tournament hosts China facing both Cup finalists from round two in Houston – winners England and runners-up USA – in pool play, as well as Oceania qualifiers, Fiji.

The landmark event for Rugby in China gives the host nation a second outing this season and hands Series debuts to the Fijians, Ireland and Tunisia, all of whom have also qualified to compete at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow on 28-30 June.

Having won the opening round of the Series in Dubai, and finished fourth in Houston, New Zealand’s women lead the Series at the halfway stage. Sean Horan’s side heads pool A and faces another core team, the Netherlands, as well as South American champions Brazil and African qualifiers, Tunisia.

Aside from the kiwis, Australia are the only side to have reached both semi-final rounds this season and they head Pool B, which also features seventh-ranked Canada, Japan and Ireland.

After victory at round two in the USA, England’s women currently lie third in the standings and they head the third and final pool featuring the hosts China, USA and Fiji.

IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: “We are extremely excited to bring the game of Rugby and this exciting new IRB Women’s Sevens World Series to China, a country with such massive potential for success and growth in the game.

“After two rounds we already have two different Cup champions and at the halfway stage any one of five or six teams could still win the first Series, which shows the competitiveness that has quickly developed in the women’s game. The level of professionalism and dedication from the teams is outstanding and that has already produced a dramatic improvement in the standard of play across all the teams.

“Just three years now remain until many of these women prepare to compete in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games and this Series is a major step forward, while closer in the future there is also the allure of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow at the end of June.”

New Zealand currently lead the standings on 34 points with a slender lead from Australia (30) and England (28), and only 10 clear of two surprise packages, Russia and South Africa (24).

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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