Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 820

Melanesian:

1) Wenda hails Vanuatu people as Papuans’ friends

Posted at 03:15 on 12 March, 2013 UTC
A British-based West Papuan activist, Benny Wenda, says the people of Vanuatu are his country’s only beacon of hope in the Pacific.

Speaking in Port Vila, Mr Wenda said his people had no one else to speak out on their behalf against the atrocities perpetrated by the Indonesian military.

Mr Wenda, who is a former political prisoner, says he was tortured and jailed by Indonesian soldiers for two weeks until he escaped and fled his country.

He says this is his first trip internationally after his ban by the Indonesian government was lifted by international lawyers.

On his tour, Mr Wenda also visited New Zealand but failed to speak on the grounds of parliament after the speaker banned him on advice of the New Zealand government.

Radio New Zealand International


2) New Aust High Commissioner to PNG- ( Tuesday 12th February 2012 )

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Ms Deborah Stokes as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea.

In a press statement issued to this paper, Ms Stokes is expected to take up her appointment in March, replacing Mr Ian Kemish AM.

Ms Stokes is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was most recently head of the Department’s International Organisations and Legal Division.She has previously served as Australia’s Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, and as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.

Ms Stokes earlier held positions at the Australian Embassy in Yangon and with the United Nations Development Programme in New York.

She has also held senior positions in AusAID.Ms Stokes holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Australia has a long-term commitment to Papua New Guinea’s development.

Australia is Papua New Guinea’s largest aid donor, providing $491.7 million in development assistance in 2012/13.

Two-way trade between the countries is worth more than $7bn a year, with Australian investment in Papua New Guinea exceeding $16bn.

Australia and Papua New Guinea work closely on regional and international priorities through the Pacific Islands Forum, APEC and the United Nations.Australia and PNG also host regular Ministerial Fora, the most recent of which was on December 6, 2012.Talks included progress on negotiations for an Economic Cooperation Treaty, establishment of a PNG Sovereign Wealth Fund, and cooperation on police, defence, immigration and economic development.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130311/mohome.htm

3) PNG govt to target womenfolk:
By Online Editor
10:02 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

The role of women in the life of our young nation, Papua New Guinea, has been significantly advanced in recent years, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on the occasion of the 2013 Women’s Day celebrations throughout the country.

“After just 37 years of independence, women are holding an increasing number of key positions in the private and public sectors,” the PM said in a media statement.

“We can all be proud that after a long period in which the role of women and their status in our society was inadequately developed and secured, there has been real improvement,” O’Neill said.

But there is much more to be done, he said, and on the occasion of World Women’s Day he outlined key initiatives his government has adopted and is implementing to enhance the status of women and the opportunity for them to participate more actively in the development of the country.

O’Neill said the greatest advance any government and society as a whole can make for the women of PNG would be to reduce maternal mortality rates – when women die during or as a result of childbirth complications – and infant mortality rates – when new born babies die at or soon after birth.

“Our maternal mortality rate is 230 for every 100,000 live births. That puts us in the worst quarter of all nations. Our neighbor, Australia, has just 4 for every 100,000,” the PM said.

“Our infant mortality rate, though it has improved significantly, remains in the worst quarter of all nations, at 45 births per 1,000. Australia has just 4 for every 1,000.

“We have improved, but we must do much more,”O’Neill said.

He said the government, through its massive increased spending on health services, the devolution of the delivery of health services to districts and local level administrations, and the increased role of our churches, is working to reduce both maternal mortality, and infant mortality.

The PM said the other key initiative is to expand the role of women in small business and in some professions.

“Our women will have greater opportunity to participate in small to medium enterprises under my government’s 12-point plan to significantly expand Papua New Guineans’ participation in the economy and in the small to medium business in particular,” PM O’Neill said.

“We will ensure there is no discrimination against women when it comes to securing affordable finance and government assistance to grow existing businesses and start new enterprises.

“We will be proactive in encouraging professional practitioners such as lawyers, accountants, engineers and those in the medical and teaching professions to expand opportunities for women to not only secure professional qualifications but secure managerial and leadership roles,” the PM said.

“My government will require all state-owned corporations and businesses to develop and progressively introduce programs to recruit, skill, and advance women in administrative and managerial roles.

“All state-owned businesses will be required to submit their programs to the government within six months from today.

“We will also seek the cooperation of the mining and gas sectors to expand job and training opportunities for women in the development of our vast natural resources.

“My government will also progressively increase the representation of women on the boards of all government corporations,” PM O’Neill said.

He said his government is proactive in expanding opportunities for women in colleges and universities.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

4) Elections were better: PM O’Neill
By Online Editor
10:09 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Claims by Transparency International concerning the conduct of the 2012 National Elections were an exaggeration and disappointing, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said.

The Prime Minister said there had been problems with every national election since Independence, and there were probably problems with pre-independence House of Assembly elections.

“The geography of Papua New Guinea makes service delivery and communications an enormous challenge day in day out. Staging national elections across the country is no different,” O’Neill said.

“I thought the overall conduct of the last election was significantly better than the 2007 election, and the 2002 election before that.

“When you have so many candidates, and regional as well as open electorates, and the logistics of polling, and counting, elections here are a challenge.

“But I believe that with Australian government funded support, and the presence of international observers, as well as a free press, and a robust political party process, the election process produced a fair, and democratic, result,” he said.

“But there is another important check and balance in the conduct of our elections. The National Court functions as an independent tribunal to hear disputes by unsuccessful candidates – and that process is currently under way,” he said.

“We should have confidence in the judicial process to consider, and where necessary overturn, election results.

“The fact that the great majority of objections have been dismissed basically confirms that the elections were generally fairly conducted.”

O’Neill said he generally applauded and supported the work of TI in fighting and exposing corruption and abuse, but he was very disappointed that its claims regarding the conduct of the elections were an exaggeration.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

5) Bougainville Nius:

a) 110313MOMIS ANNOUNCES REVIEW TEAM
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS last Saturday announced the composition of the panel of experts that will review the Autonomy arrangement for Bougainville.

They are,
Dr. Ahai Naihuwo ABG team leader, Mr. John Mooney for ABG and Mr. Mark Smith for the ABG whilst three from the Papua New Guinea side would be Dr. Lawrence Suase, Mr. Danny Aloi and Mr. Nemo Yelo.

He said that these group will serve as the panel of Specialists within the meaning of the reference in the Peace Agreement.

They will however be supported in their work by three eminent academicians who are well versed on matters pertaining to Bougainville and the history of the process and developments that have led to the Peace Agreement and subsequent events.

This group comprises of Professor Andrew Axline from the University of Otawa in Canada, Professor Ted Wolfers from the University of Wollongong in New South Wales and Dr Anthony Regan from the Australian National University in Canberra.

President Momis said that this group will serve as reference point and as peer reviewers when invited to by the Panel.

Other individuals having particular knowledge of policy, law and economics and other issues in both the National and the ABG governments will also be readily accessible.

He said there must be a strong element of political participation in this work and for this to work, both governments have agreed to establish political oversight by agreeing to support the appointment of respective parliamentary committee.
Such committee will not only monitor and track the review process, but also matters related to the preparation for referendum and going forward.

The ABG President also urged the panel of experts to listen to everyone.
This include the Ex combatants, the Mee’kamui and all other factions across Bougainville.
He said that No group should be denied the opportunity to make full representation of their views and positions.(New Dawn FM)

b) 100313WE CAN DO IT AGAIN- MOMIS
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS says that Bougainville has accomplished much of which the people can be proud of since the Bougainville Peace Agreement was signed in 2001.

He was speaking at the launching of the Joint Autonomous Arrangement Review in Buka last Saturday.

DR. MOMIS said that this was no small achievement as very few thought that the experiment that we have embarked upon would bring us to this point in time.

He said that the Bougainville Peace Agreement (Blue Book) has over the years been the abiding document that has been the source of inspiration and the font of our political creed and practice.
It has given direction to what we now refer to as the Autonomy Arrangements.

The ABG President said that Autonomy has since become a household word in Bougainville.

He said that section 298-308 of the Bougainville Peace Agreement require that the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the National Government, jointly should review the autonomy arrangements every five years and present their report of their review to the National Parliament and the Bougainville Legislature.

This was a very critical element of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in that it calls, as it were for an audit or an evaluation to determine whether we are on course.

The ABG President also said that this review has been a demand of many groups and sectors of our community.

We appreciate that such demands were well intentioned as it was perceived to be an opportunity for all groups in our society to voice their views on the way and many in which the Bougainville Peace Agreement was being implemented.

DR. MOMIS said that his government is an inclusive government and welcomes all views and acknowledge that in a free society there will be differences in opinion.

On the review itself President MOMIS said that the Bougainville Peace Agreement lists four (4) particular aspects that the framers of the Bougainville Peace Agreement considered to be of particular concern as to how the Autonomy arrangements would be developed and consequently on how the review would proceed.

The following broad terms, which are at the heart of the Autonomous Arrangements, will comprise the basis of the review.

Financial Arrangements
Social and Economic Arrangements
Governance and Administration
Technical and Legal.
He said that what we are embarking on is a joint review undertaken jointly by the National Government and the ABG.

This is important because the arrangements of autonomy are equally binding on the National Government as it is on the ABG.
What this means is, essentially, is that the impetus for the success of autonomy rests not only on the ABG but, also, as much on the National Government.

If autonomy succeeds, we both benefit, and if autonomy fails and we are both worse off for it. (New Dawn FM)

c) 100313 NATIONAL GOVT COMMITTED

By Aloysius Laukai

The long awaited review process on the Bougainville Autonomous arrangement leading up to the scheduled referendum was jointly launched by the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, LEO DION and the Autonomous Bougainville Government President, DR.JOHN MOMIS in front of the packed crowed at Buka town’s BEL ISI PARK last Saturday.

In his address to the people of Bougainville, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the Referendum is an important milestone that all men, women and children of Bougainville must be properly prepared for as it will determine their future self determination.

MR. DION assured the people of Bougainville that the O’NEIL-DION government was fully committed to ensure that it provides the atmosphere and an environment conducive to achieve this important milestone.

He said that we must not allow any obstacle along the way that will undermine and derail the smooth progress towards the free and fair conduct of the referendum.

The launching occasion was to give added impetus to the current work of the Referendum and Autonomous Arrangement Review Committee which is chaired by the chief secretary to Government and comprises representatives from both the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

He said that the review of the Autonomous arrangements is a legal requirement that must take place on the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

We can not delay this major exercise that is fundamental and pivotal to a successful referendum to continue to drag on.
If there are any problems the National Government must be advised appropriately on a timely basis so that we can collectively work together to progress in the path towards Referendum in a true bi-partisan approach.

The Deputy Prime minister also said that the National Government demands the review process to be thoroughly done, expeditiously to make up for lost time.

He said that the key component to peace on Bougainville is the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the various constitutional arrangements such as part 14 of the National Constitution(as amended) and the Organic Law on Bougainville Peace Building which give legal effect to that Agreement.

On the three Pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, Autonomy, Weapons Disposal and Referendum, MR. DION said that the three pillars are at various stages of implementation and must continue to be supported.
Under Autonomy, the transfer of powers and functions are now been implemented and different departments in Waigani are working closely with their counterpart divisions in the ABG Administration in trying to fast track the establishment of the Bougainville Public Service and also to look at ways to speed up the delegated powers and functions to the Bougainville Public Service.

The issue of affordability of the Bougainville Public Service to sustain itself and the requisite manpower to support the system is one that will come to the ABG and the National Government for consideration at the Joint Supervisory Body, the Bougainville Executive Council and the National Executive Council.

He said that the O’NEIL-DION Government would like to see a definite deadline on this.

The Deputy Prime Minister also commented on the weapons disposal program on Bougainville.

He said that the Weapons disposal and Good Governance were essential fundamentals of Referendum that we all are working towards.

MR. DION said that the conduct of referendum was contingent upon a weapon free Bougainville.

He also commended President Momis government and past governments for tirelessly working to achieve this mission with the assistance from Department partners as well as the National Government.

It is important as we approach Referendum, the National Government and the ABG must agree on a joint work plan that will essentially oversee in a cohesive manner all the different weapons disposal and reconciliation undertakings.(New Dawn FM)

6) CDF Bill hearing starts today

TUESDAY, 12 MARCH 2013 04:33
By Elliot Dawea
The Bills and Legislation committee would conduct its hearing in Parliament into the constituency development funds (CDF) Bill 2013 today.

The objective and responsibility of the Act is to ensure that the management and disbursement of the fund is carried out with integrity and in a prudent manner with a view to safeguarding the potential recipient of the fund.

National Parliament of Solomon Islands has call for submissions on the Bill that would due today.

The Bill seeks Parliament for there shall be constituency development offices in all 50 constituencies for the management and administration of the CDF.

Some sections of the Bill stated funds allocated to the ministry for constituency purposes shall be administered and managed by the constituency offices and officers.

It stated the signatories of the constituency account shall be the member of parliament (MP) for the respective constituency and the constituency development officer (CDO).

The constituency development fund shall be subject to audit by the Auditor General under the public finance and audit Act.

The constituency development funds has reportedly fuelled corruption amongst Politicians.

According to sources in the government, the Bill is a taste to whether government would support it or would be defeated on the floor of Parliament.

Government sources said most MP’s and Ministers have not agreed how the Bill was tailored.

The National Parliament office said so far only two Bills were received which are the constituency developments Bill and the Police Amendment Bill.

(Solomon Star)

7) Nyus i kam long MP Ralph Regenvanu mo Pati

1st Odineri Sesen blong Palemen blong 2013

Olgeta –
1st Odineri Sesen blong Palemen i stat lo las Fraede.
Taem mifala i go sidaon insaed mifala i faenem se i gat 33 MP long saed blong Gavman (kaontem tu MP Don Ken we i no bin stap), 17 MP long saed blong Oposisen saed, wetem Spika (we hem tu bae yumi kaontem se hemi stap long saed blong Gavman, so 34-17).  Evri MP blong UMP i go long Gavman saed (Serge nomo hem wan i stap yet lo Oposisen saed), Indipenden MP Richard Namel i go, Natatok MP Jonas James i go, VP MP Richard Mera i go, NUP MP Mokin Stephens i go.
Long siting long Fraede Presiden i bin givim ofisel opening toktok blong hem, afta i gat brek blong moning ti, afta Praem Minista i givim rispons blong hem long toktok blong Presiden afta Lida blong Oposisen i givim rispons blong hem tu.
Afta Spika i adjornem Palemen kasem Tyusde (tede) blong givim taem blong ol MP i ridim ol badjet buk bifo Palemen i save tokbaot.
Long moning long Fraede, mifala ol MP i bin risivim ol badjet buk long Inglis, be i nogat yet long Franis.  So Palemen i adjorn blong Gavman i gat taem blong printim long Franis mo givim long ol MP bifo Palemen i save tokabot bajet.
Tede nao bae Minista blong Faenans i givim badjet spij blong hem, afta mifala stat blong tokbaot badjet. Lisen long redio blong save harem toktok blong mifala.
Ta, Ralph


8) Vanuatu opposition MP shocked at defections

Posted at 03:16 on 12 March, 2013 UTC

A Vanuatu MP Willie Jimmy says he is shocked by the latest defections of fellow opposition members to the coalition government of Sato Kilman.

Six members of the opposition, including three members of the Union of Moderate Parties, joined the government in the past week.

Mr Jimmy says with no more ministerial portfolios appearing to be available, he is unsure what lured the defectors.

“I was shocked to learn about the move to join the government side and I’m not really sure and I don;’t understand why they moved to government side. I don’t see any reason unless you have something really, really good to join the government side.”

Willie Jimmy says he is aware of speculation that a government backbencher is lobbying to become Prime Minister.

The leader of the Greens, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, looms as the most powerful government member outside cabinet.

However Mr Jimmy says in his view ni-Vanuatu would be reluctant to have a naturalised citizen as Prime Minister.

Radio New Zealand International


9)  Warning to seek secure shelter as Cyclone Sandra brings gales to New Caledonia

Posted at 03:16 on 12 March, 2013 UTC

People in New Caledonia’s very north are being urged to stay inside until tomorrow morning as Cyclone Sandra passes to the territory’s west.

A red alert applies to Belep and the northern tip of the main island.

A duty forecaster at the Fiji Meteorological Service says the storm is moving south-south-east at just over 11 kilometres an hour.

Amit Singh says Cyclone Sandra’s most destructive winds are not likely to affect land areas.

“You can expect some damage to vegetation and some trees which are not that strong, like the banana tree and the paw paw tree, they may be damaged. Not much damage to houses which are built strongly but temporary sheds, they may get blown off by gale force winds.”

Amit Singh says forecasters are confident Cyclone Sandra will maintain its direction and weaken to a low pressure system by Thursday.

Radio New Zealand International

10) PNG High Commissioner returns

Brian Yombon Kopio left the country on Saturday after receiving his termination letter early last month.

Papua New Guinea’s high commissioner to Solomon Islands left the country over the weekend after being terminated early last month.

Brian Yombon Kopio left the country on Saturday after receiving his termination letter early last month.

Reasons behind the termination of his contract were unknown.

But he said he will pursue the reasons for his recall.

“I don’t know for what reasons my contract was terminated. But I will follow this up to make sure reasons behind the termination of my contract are known,” Mr Kopio said.

Earlier he said his termination will disrupt some of the major projects he had put in place in the country.

“Like the PNG chancery building, it will be affected because I was the one who secured the funding. The introduction of rugby league in the country and the employment training programme which already benefited 32 Solomon Islanders,” Kopio added.

He said after taking the office in the country he had done his best to restore the reputation of the PNG high commission office and establish a good relationship between the two countries.

“I have tried my best shot to show pride and dignity of my country to the people of Solomon Islands,”Kopio said.

However he said it was so unfortunate that he had to leave.

Kopio stressed that is so sad that in past, PNG has sent retirees to the Solomon Islands to be their High Commissioners and that reflected in what they have done.

“But when I came on board, I shifted that around,” Kopio highlighted.

PNG government is yet to confirm his replacement.(Solomon Star)

By Daniel Namosuaia

11) Fiji govt argues that State cannot entertain Fiji Labour Party proposed challenge
By Online Editor
10:15 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Attorney General’s Office has argued in the High Court that the court cannot accept or entertain the legal challenge filed against the Registration of Political Parties Decree by the proposed Fiji Labour Party.

The matter is being heard by Justice Anjala Wati.

Lawyer for the proposed Labour Party, Anand Singh has made submissions that part of the decree breaches international conventions like the United Nations Convention on Human Rights and the Trade Union Convention.

Singh said they are not challenging the powers vested in the President, or the government of the day, but parts of the decree that he says are inconsistent.

He said his client is not saying that the whole decree is invalid but they want some matters addressed.

However, Acting Solicitor General, Sharvada Sharma said this case cannot proceed as the court is established under the Administration of Justice Decree.

The decree states that no court shall have the jurisdiction to accept, hear, determine, or in any other way entertain, any challenges whatsoever including any application for judicial review by any person to the validity or legality of any decrees made by the President from April 10th 2009 and any decrees as made by the President.

Sharma said these decrees cannot be challenged as they are law whether it is interim or permanent.

Justice Wati will rule at 2.15pm Friday on whether the case should proceed in court.

Meanwhile, a new acting Chief Registrar was sworn in by Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

Sri Lankan citizen, Yohan Liyanage has extensive experience in law  having represented as a state counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers in Colombo.

He graduated from the Sri Lankan Law College in 2003 before taking up post of a state prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Department conducting prosecutions at the Magistrates Courts of Sri Lanka.

He then took up office at a state counsel in 2005 and conducted prosecutions involving both civil and criminal cases.

He has worked in many parts of Sri Lanka namely Gampaha, Colombo, Anuradhapura, Panadura, Rathnapura and Kurunegala.

SOURCE: FIJI VILLAGE/ MINFO/PACNEWS

12) Fiji’s Correctional officers sacked after beatings
By Online Editor
10:12 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Fiji

Some Fiji Prisons and Corrections Service officers have been sacked as a result of the recent video footage released on many internet websites as police investigations continue.

Fijivillage has received information that at least three officers were discharged from their duties late last week.

However Corrections Service spokesperson, Ana Tamani confirmed some people have been sacked.

With regards to the September 2012 breakout from Naboro and whether officers involved have been taken to task, Tamani said this was an internal matter.

Commissioner, Lt Colonel Ifereimi Vasu had earlier said that two officers were dishonorably discharged as a result of investigations into the five escapees from the Naboro Medium Facility in September.

Lt Colonel Vasu said their tribunal had found it was negligence on the part of the officers that led to their escape.

He added normal operations procedures were not followed that led to the five prisoners escaping from Naboro last year.

SOURCE: FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

13) Fijian parents of beaten man call for punishment

Updated 12 March 2013, 8:52 AEST
Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney

The parents of a man whose beating at the hands of Fijian security personnel was captured on video want those responsible identified and punished.

Iowane Benedito’s mother, Viriseini Sanawa, has told Radio Australia’sPacific Beat she has not been able to see her son since the incident.

Ms Sanawa says watching the video was a shocking experience for her.

“I start crying when I see the video,” she said. “I think that my son was the one that was beaten on that day.”

“I want (the offenders) to be put in jail.”

Iowane Benedito’s father, retired military officer Vueti Sanawa, says he did not see anyone treated like that when he was in military service.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is urging the interim government to ensure any serious human rights violations are swiftly and effectively investigated by an impartial and competent authority, with the findings made public.

Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has told Fiji media he will “stick by” the police officers and anyone else that might be named in an investigation into the violence depicted in the video.

Commodore Bainimarama has also dismissed concerns expressed by non-government organisations about the video, saying they “are paid by the international community to jump up and down every time we do something”.

The graphic footage posted on YouTube shows one handcuffed man being savagely beaten with batons and metal bars and another being set upon by a dog as the animal’s handler encourages it.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-11/fijian-parents-of-beaten-man-call-for-punishment/1099900

Polynesia:

14) Significant Illegal Alcohol Smuggling Investigated In Samoa
Seven stores implicated in selling illegally-imported whiskey

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 11, 2013) – An investigation is underway in Samoa to find out who is involved in smuggling in a consignment of over 900 cartons of whiskey earmarked for local retailers.

Our correspondent in Apia says customs officials discovered the illegally imported whiskey had been brought in with duties and taxes of 200,000 Samoan tala or more than US$88,000 being paid.

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says seven retailers have been found so far to have been selling the two particular whiskey brands found in the consignment that had false documentation.

He says police are now involved in trying to find the importer.

“The question of how the consignment was released and how much money was paid, that is something the investigation is dealing with, and I believe also that the investigation is also looking at the staff of the customs office, whether they have any involvement.”

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says the investigation should be completed within a week.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

Micronesia:

15) Guam Celebrates Chamorro Language Month
Youth encouraged to learn language of the elders

By Joy White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, March 12, 2013) – Over the past 30 years, the number of Chamorro speakers on Guam has declined steadily – from 35,000 in 1990 to 25,000 as of the last census in 2010.

Such decline, according to scholars and cultural activists, underscores the need to preserve the language that has been pushed to the periphery due to the pre-war ban on the language, coupled with Western influence and the influx of immigrants.

Saving the Chamorro language from the brink of death is the focus of this year’s Chamorro Month celebration with the theme “Learn the Language of Your Elders and Practice It Every Day.”

“It’s all about getting the language taught,” said Joseph Artero-Cameron, director of the Department of Chamorro Affairs. “The theme this year is to get that language to our children in any shape or form.”

The theme, according to Artero-Cameron, seeks to encourage the daily use of the Chamorro language, “whether it’s in the school system or at home.”

Language ban

According to linguists, Chamorro constitutes a possibly independent branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. Unlike on Guam, the language is still common among Chamorro households in the Northern Marianas.

Chamorro language was suppressed on Guam in 1917, when the Naval Government Executive General issued Order No. 243, which banned speaking Chamorro and designated English as the only official language of Guam and ordered that “Chamorro must not be spoken except for official interpreting.”

According to Guampedia, speaking Chamorro was also forbidden on baseball fields, a sport growing in popularity, to encourage English use. “In the early 1920s, ‘No Chamorro’ policies were implemented and enforced within the schools and playgrounds. Public school students were reprimanded or penalized for speaking their native language. This policy continued after World War II.”

In recent years, Guam is seeing a cultural resurgence to learn the language.

School setting

Artero-Cameron believes the key to promoting the language is through the Department of Education’s Chamorro Language Curriculum.

“Students need to be able to use the Chamorro language for real communication by speaking; understanding what others are saying; reading; and interpreting written materials – all in the Chamorro language,” Artero-Cameron said.

“For too long, Chamorro language students in Guam have been judged by the number of years they have spent in the classroom rather than by their actual performance in the Chamorro language,” he said, adding elementary, middle, high school, and higher education instruction programs must be better articulated.

In 2011, Public Law 31-45 introduced by former Sen. Mana Silva Taijeron expanded previous legislation requiring Chamorro language instruction for elementary schools and one year at each level of education, to all grade levels in elementary and middle school and two years in high school. The law also mandates a reformation of the curriculum to incorporate a new curriculum for Beginning Chamorro (Introduction to Chamorro Language), Intermediate Chamorro (Basic Usage and Application of the Chamorro Language), and Advanced Chamorro (Conversational Chamorro).

By the new school year, 2013 to 2014 course work in the 7th grade should start and by the following school year, 2014 to 2015, the course will be included in the 8th grade. High schools should start the required course work by 9th grade, with the 10th grade mandated program starting in school year 2014 to 2015.

In addition, the law requires a Chamorro Language Department and department chair for all programs to be created at all schools to develop and implement the curriculum.

Competition

Rosa Salas Palomo, educator and coordinator of the University of Guam’s Chamorro language competition, stresses that oral competency must come hand-in-hand with social or cultural literacy.

The competition, themed “The Chamorro Language: Learn, Use, and Show,” starts at 3 p.m. today

“Aside from the language, we also have the linguistic competency, where they can speak the language but we also need to focus on the cultural or social competence, because sometimes we have someone who is using Chamorro but behaving like a mainlander and they contradict each other. Sometimes it’s difficult for children to grasp this, but there are mannerisms associated with individual languages. You need to make sure they are intact, that they match,” Palomo said.

“It’s our obligation as teachers to teach this, as well as the language because they go together. Why teach a language if you’re not going to teach how to use it competently?” Palomo added.

Private efforts

Private individuals are also trying to create venues to learning the language more accessible.

For example, Troy Aguon created the Learn Chamorru! DVD and website for children.

Born and raised on Guam, Aguon worked in Las Vegas for about 13 years. When he returned with his two young children, he found there were no kid-friendly learning tools for Chamorro.

After being away for so long, he promised he would learn to be more fluent in the language and teach his children.

“My desire is to put as much Chamorro lessons, games, trivia and challenges on the LearnChamorro.com website for mom and dad to learn with their children in a fun and interactive new media resource tool (Internet audio/video, SMS, email, and smart phone). We believe teaching the language must start in the home and reinforced at home. Without language, there is no culture,” said Aguon, who is also partnering with Pay-Less Supermarkets to promote the Chamorro language.

The partnership promotes the language by identifying grocery items in the store and providing interactive activities, such as a scavenger hunter promotion that will be tied in with the website.

In addition, Aguon is working on volume two of the Learn Chamorro DVD and other technological tools, such as mobile friendly website software that will help children learn the language.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com

16) Archaeologist says migration to Marianas longest ocean-crossing in human history
By Online Editor
10:00 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

The establishment of human settlements in the Marianas 3,500 years ago required long-distance migration and may perhaps have involved the longest ocean-crossing in human history.

Dr. Michael T. Carson and Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung from Australian National University in Canberra continue to make progress with their archaeological study north of the House of Taga.

Carson told Variety that previously, archaeologists concluded that the first remote-distance island settlement occurred in Melanesia and Polynesia about 3000-2800 years ago.

“Now we have found solid evidence of a significantly earlier settlement in the Marianas, plus it required an even longer distance of migration across the ocean, more than 2000 km from the nearest inhabited area,” said Carson.

For Carson, “That constituted the longest ocean-crossing in human history of its time 3500 years ago.”
He said that 3,500 years ago no other place was inhabited in the remote Pacific Islands. “The closest inhabited areas were more than 2,000 km distant in the Philippines.”

The area north of the House of Tage on Tinian where Carson and Hung are currently working was the site where Fr. Marcian Pellette uncovered finely decorated pottery — the earliest pottery of the Marianas — in the 1950s.

Following Fr. Pellete’s lead, Carson and Hung returned to the site in Dec. 2011 where they initially uncovered human remains in six burial sites.

This month, the couple found some more partial human remains in five burial sites.

Carson said, “The only burial features were in the upper layer of the site, associated with the latte sets of this area, dated approximately in the range of 1,000 through 300 years ago. All of the bones are staying in Tinian for respectful re-burial as soon as possible.”

He said that in the lower and older layers at the site, “We found abundant artifacts and midden, as well as remains of house structures.”

Carson said that the primary goal of their research is to learn about the most ancient habitation layer, dated nearly 3,500 years ago.

“We continue to uncover this lowest layer of the site, so we do not yet know all of the final details. So far, though, we are seeing a good picture of the shape of an ancient house floor and living area, composed of cobbles and boulders arranged as paving. Some of the cobbles and boulders were positioned in circular patterns as bracings for house-posts. We are finding concentrations of plentiful broken pieces of pottery, shell and stone tools, shell ornaments, and discarded food remains,” Carson told Variety.

The project is significant, Carson said, for learning about the first people who lived in these islands.

“At that time, 3,500 years ago, no other people were living in the remote Pacific Islands, so these ancient sites in the Mariana Islands give us valuable information about this critical point in human history. Other sites in Tinian, Saipan, and Guam all confirm this early dating and much the same intriguing early artifacts, including a distinctive red-slipped pottery with finely made decorations.”

The Carson couple sees a pottery trail extending from the Philippines to the Marianas.

Carson said, “Based on what we know so far in these different regions, we can trace a ‘pottery trail’ from Island Southeast Asia into the Pacific.”

He said the oldest trace was in the Philippines about 3,800 years ago or maybe earlier.

“The oldest in the remote Pacific Islands, however, was in the Marianas about 3500 years ago,” added Carson.

He explained to Variety that in the decorated pottery of both the Philippines and the Marianas, there were many of the same design motifs shared at the same time 3,500 years ago.

Carson said that the decorative style appeared in the Philippines at least 3,800 years ago or perhaps earlier and this style appeared for the first time in the Marianas 3,500 years ago.

“We do not see the same type of pottery in any other parts of the Asia-Pacific region until slightly later,” he said.

He also described as “vaguely similar” other decorative styles about 3,100-3,000 years ago in parts of Indonesia.

“A more elaborate form of the same core design system is found in ‘Lapita’ pottery of the Bismarck Archipelago (east of New Guinea) about 3,400-3,300 years ago, and then it continues to be found 3,000-2,800 years ago elsewhere in Island Melanesia and West Polynesia,” said Carson.

He told Variety that they are just beginning to learn about these connections.

“We are re-thinking much of what previously was thought about the first people to inhabit the remote Pacific Islands,” he said.

The research being conducted by Carson and Hung is funded by the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation and the Australia Research Council.

The Northern Marianas Humanities Council is inviting the public to listen to Carson’s and Hung’s public presentation at the American Memorial Park on the preliminary findings of their research on the earliest habitation sites in the Marianas on 16 March.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

Australie:

17) Gillard regains preferred PM title: Newspoll

Updated 12 March 2013, 11:24 AEST
By chief political correspondent Emma Griffiths, staff

Labor MPs gather for a Caucus meeting after a Newspoll shows Julia Gillard regaining her lead over Tony Abbott as preferred PM.

A Newspoll shows a rise in support for Julia Gillard, but damaging internal Labor party research has been leaked to the Australian Financial Review. (Credit: ABC)

Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson says he expects his colleagues to be buoyed by the results of the latest Newspoll which shows Julia Gillard regaining her lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister.

The poll, published in The Australian newspaper today, shows the Prime Minister gained six points in the preferred PM stakes and now leads Mr Abbott 42 per cent to 38.

Audio: Gillard enjoys Newspoll bounce (AM)

Her standing has improved by six points from a poll taken in late February, when she had slipped behind Mr Abbott for the first time in several months.

Labor’s primary vote has also climbed three points to 34 per cent, while the Coalition is down three points to 44.

But the two-party preferred numbers have narrowed for the Coalition, which now leads Labor by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – down from a 10-point lead two weeks ago.

Polls explained

Opinion polls influence how prime ministers are judged and how politicians shape policies. Some pollsters don’t like how their data is used or spun, while others believe polls ultimately influence the way people vote. In Off the Hustings, James Glenday explains how to read opinions polls and why they matter.

The poll was taken over the weekend after the Prime Minister had spent the week campaigning in western Sydney, talking about easing traffic congestion and a crackdown on visas for foreign workers.

And it appears to have temporarily quelled the latest round of leadership speculation swirling around Ms Gillard.

But the issue of Kevin Rudd is also still sticking around, with Newspoll showing a potential return to the former prime minister would boost Labor’s chances at the federal election.

A total of 47 per cent of Newspoll voters said they would vote for Labor if Mr Rudd returned as leader, while 39 per cent would vote for the Opposition.

The poll has a margin of error of 3 per cent.

The poll numbers will give Labor MPs a glimmer of hope as they gather today for a Caucus meeting ahead of the parliamentary sitting fortnight.

Dr Emerson says the poll shows Labor’s positive policies are cutting through to voters.

“What I’m encouraged about is that the Australian people do respond when we’re talking about the issues that affect their daily lives, affect the prospects of their children and affect the future of Australia, that’s what we’re doing and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” he said.

What are your thoughts on the results of this Newspoll? Have your say.

An unlikely defender of the Prime Minister has emerged from Opposition benches, with the Nationals member for Gippsland Darren Chester saying this morning that it was time to “lay off the personal attacks”.

He said he had heard disturbing comments as he had been travelling through WA and his own electorate in recent weeks.

“I am disturbed by the tone of the debate and the increasing personal nature of the attacks on our Prime Minister,” he said.

“It’s not Australian to continue to comment in a vicious and personal manner about the Prime Minister. I think we need to focus on the policies.

“I was disappointed to hear comments along the lines of ‘We hope she doesn’t make it to the election’, and I think that’s extremely sad for the Australian people and I think we need to lay off the personal attacks.”

Parliament will resume today, with the Government hoping the Lower House will pass its National Disability Insurance Scheme bill.
On Monday, senior members of the Government urged MPs to keep their concerns about Labor’s fortunes at the September federal election to themselves.

Video: Penny Wong responds to Federal Labor concerns(7.30)

Finance Minister Penny Wong told 7.30 she would not be drawn on the question of Labor’s leadership other than to say it was resolved last year, but she acknowledged the party was in trouble.

“This is going to be a very tough election for the Labor Party and these are difficult circumstances we face,” she said.

Senator Wong said the Government had to “pay heed” to the WA election.

“It’s quite clear from the election result that the message from Western Australians is they want us to do better,” she said.

“We don’t do better by talking about ourselves, we do better by doing the right thing by Australians and their families and that’s what we have to focus on.”

Labor Senator Mark Bishop, who backed Mr Rudd in last year’s leadership contest, insists the former prime minister is not about to challenge again.

“I haven’t had one call from anyone to indicate anything inconsistent,” he said.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-12/gillard-regains-preferred-pm-title-newspoll/1100026

18) Australian unions launch 457 visa campaign

Updated 12 March 2013, 12:03 AEST

Australian trade unions campaign for foreign workers mistreated on 457 visas.

ACTU secretary, David Oliver. (Credit: ABC)

Australia’s union movement is launching a national campaign to highlight the plight of foreign workers employed on 457 visas.

It comes as the Federal Government recently announced moves to crack down on the visa system.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) says it is gathering evidence on the misuse of the foreign worker scheme.

It says the treatment of some foreign workers is tantamount to slavery.

ACTU secretary, Dave Oliver, says in one case a Filipino sandblaster was forced to do menial jobs at his employer’s house.

“[He] was made to clean out office toilets, he was made to clean the bosses house, he had to go over and mow the boss’ son’s lawn,” he said.

Mr Oliver says when the man complained he was sacked and has since been deported back to the Philippines.

The ACTU has launched a national hotline for foreign workers to report ill-treatment by employers.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-12/australian-unions-launch-457-visa-campaign/1100130

New Zealand:

19) Kiwis demand easier path to the Australian dream

Updated 12 March 2013, 8:54 AEST

New Zealanders living in Australia should have the same rights as Australians in NZ, says a Kiwi politician

Beachgoers relax under an Australian flag beach umbrella on Australia Day at Bondi Beach, Sydney. (Credit: Getty Images)

New Zealanders living in Australia should have the same rights as Australians living in New Zealand, says a Kiwi politician

Opposition MP Phil Goff was repeating his call for greater rights for his countrymen and women.

Last June there were estimated to be 647,863 New Zealand citizens in Australia.

Mr Goff, the Labour Party spokesman on foreign affairs, has just visited Canberra to raise the issue directly with Australia’s foreign and trade ministers.

New Zealanders who arrived in Australia after 2001 do not have access to citizenship and some types of government support.

But they do have the right to live and work in the country.

No assurances

Mr Goff says his meetings in Canberra went well, although he received no assurances things would be changing any time soon.

He told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program it is only fair that New Zealanders living in Australia should have the same rights Australians living in New Zealand enjoy.

“We’ve got some 65,000 Australians living permanently in New Zealand. We’re pleased to have them.

“After two years, they have all of the rights that any other New Zealand citizen has: they can vote, they are eligible for social security support in all its forms.”

An Australian Immigration Department fact sheet says the countries have had agreements since the 1920s to facilitate the flow of their citizens.

The 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement has allowed Australian and New Zealand citizens to enter each other’s country to visit, live and work, without the need to apply for authority to enter the other country before travelling.

The department says the number of New Zealand citizens in Australia increases in good economic times in Australia relative to New Zealand, and decreases when economic conditions slow.

Since September 1994, all non-citizens in Australia must hold a visa but New Zealanders can get a Special Category visa (SCV) and are considered to have applied for it simply by appearing at Australian airport immigration with their passport.

Under the 2001 bilateral social security arrangement, New Zealand citizens must apply for and be granted an Australian permanent visa to gain access to certain social security payments; obtain Australian citizenship; and sponsor their family members for a permanent visa.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-12/kiwis-demand-easier-path-to-the-australian-dream/1100092

Pacific:


20) US will remain a Pacific power: Pentagon

By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

Even with budget cuts, the United States will continue to be committed to the Asia Pacific region and will remain a Pacific power.

Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, Defense Press Officer for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, told Variety, “The president has made clear that the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is a whole-of-government effort. The rebalance is a result of our enduring U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region. Those enduring interests will not change, nor will our commitment to the security of our allies and partners. The United States is and will remain a Pacific power.”

For fiscal year 2013, the sequester calls for a total of US$85.4 billion in U.S. budget cuts, US$42.7 billion of which in defense cuts.

Wilkinson said, “The budget constraints of sequestration would require a change in the pace and scope of some of the Department of Defense’s activities in the Asia-Pacific, but not the priority of the region to the United States.”

She said sequestration would require unavoidable reductions in daily operations, readiness, and maintenance activities.

“However, we will continue to deploy our best trained forces to the Asia-Pacific region and maintain our capacity to respond to a full range of possible contingencies,” Wilkinson said.

She acknowledged, however, “Clearly, sequestration would create turbulence across a range of our activities. That turbulence will have to be managed.”

Wilkinson said that over the long term, “we will ensure that our commitments to the region are met.”

The Pentagon, through Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, earlier stated in a release that it has the resources to implement the new strategy despite concerns about tight budgets.

The pivot to Asia and the Pacific will have the U.S. Navy move 60 percent of its assets to the Pacific by 2020, have 2,500 Marines in Australia on a rotational basis, station Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore, and transfer Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

The pivot to Asia strategy, according to earlier reports, aims at building capabilities of U.S. allies and developing a broader politico-military relationship with China.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

Franis:

21) Australie: des centaines d’abus sexuels dans l’armée

Mis à jour 11 March 2013, 13:45 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Jeudi le lieutenant-colonel Paul Morgan, psychologue qui traite les soldats directement déployés dans des conflits, s’en est pris vivement à la tête de l’armée.

Le lieutenant-colonel Paul Morgan dans l’émission “7.30 report” sur l’ABC dimanche soir. (Credit: ABC)

En 2010, le Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Morgan a lui-même été la cible d’une campagne homophobe sur Facebook. Il a reçu des menaces de mort. Et reproche à sa hiérarchie de ne pas avoir eu le courage de sanctionner les militaires australiens qui ont participé à cette campagne homophobe. Paul Morgan :

«Je m’exprime publiquement aujourd’hui parce que je suis inquiet du sort de nos jeunes recrues, or elles sont victimes d’abus dans les rangs de l’armée. Si moi-même, en tant qu’officier supérieur, je ne parviens pas à obtenir le soutien de l’armée, alors eux n’ont vraiment aucune chance. Toutes les formes d’agression sont négligées par l’armée, y compris les agressions sexuelles sur les soldats du rang.»

Le cas de ce haut-gradé n’est qu’un parmi d’autres, qui sont eux, bien plus graves, car il y a eu passage à l’acte. Actuellement l’armée examine près de 1000 plaintes de militaires pour abus sexuel ou agressions. Des faits qui remontent parfois jusqu’aux années 60. Et qui ciblaient des femmes ou des homosexuels, ou encore des lesbiennes.

Le scandale a éclaté en 2011, un rapport a été diligenté par le Ministre de la Défense et un livre blanc pour une réforme de l’armée a été publié il y a pile un an, intitulé  « Le chemin du changement ». L’avocat Adair Donaldson représente 80 victimes d’abus sexuels dans l’armée australienne :

« Le plus inquiétant dans ce que dit le Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, c’est qu’en gros rien n’a changé depuis la mise en place de la feuille de route baptisée le Chemin du Changement. Je note que le Général Hurley semble assez sincère sur sa volonté de changer les mentalités dans l’armée. Mais je préfèrerais que ce message vienne de la tête de l’armée et non pas de la base.»

De son côté, le Général et chef d’Etat-major David Hurley, a affirmé jeudi que l’armée avait pris toutes les dispositions pour mettre un terme à cette culture de violences sexuelles :

«Notre approche des victimes devait changer et j’ai donc créé un Bureau spécial d’enquête et de protection des victimes d’agressions sexuelles au sein de l’armée. Et les victimes y trouvent tout le soutien dont elles ont besoin.»

Et pour preuve que la mentalité de l’armée australienne est en train de changer, le Général évoque le défilé de 120 militaires gays et lesbiennes, en uniforme, au cours du Mardi Gras à Sydney le 2 mars dernier – c’est l’équivalent de la Marche des Fiertés Gay Lesbiennes et Trans.

«Le Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan a défilé à l’occasion du Mardi Gras. J’ai pris la décision la plus difficile de ma carrière en autorisant il y a deux mois les membres de l’armée à défiler pendant ce Mardi Gras, et c’est la décision qui m’a le plus été reprochée. Mais je l’ai prise parce que nous voulons que l’armée australienne soit perçue comme une organisation qui promeut la tolérance et la diversité.»

Le Général David Hurley, au micro de Leigh Sales sur l’ABC. Le Ministère de la Défense n’autorise les gays et lesbiennes à servir dans les rangs de l’armée que depuis 20 ans. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-11/australie-des-centaines-dabus-sexuels-dans-larmée/1099730

Education:

22) Solomon Islands teachers get paid

Posted at 01:10 on 12 March, 2013 UTC

Teachers in Solomon Islands have been paid their re-levelling pay, a week late.

Our correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, says the Ministry of Finance had to wait for the Education Ministry to work out how many teachers there were and what they were owed before payments were made.

The dues were promised by the government after a teachers’ strike in February.

The payment is the first installment of the promised re-levelling pay, with two more due before the 21st of this month.

Last week, the National Teachers Association, SINTA, said that if the money was not paid by then, there would be another strike.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Fearing cuts, Tahiti teachers threaten strike

Posted at 03:16 on 12 March, 2013 UTC

French Polynesia’s primary school teachers have issued a strike notice amid concern that jobs might be cut once the new school year starts.

The union says should there be no agreement by the middle of this week, industrial action will begin on Thursday morning.

A union leader and principal has told Tahiti News that schools are under stress already as some teachers are away because of illness, making it unlikely the schools will be able to manage until the end of the year without getting replacement teachers.

Reports from Paris say 40 jobs are expected to be cut.

A protest march is planned for Wednesday.

Radio New Zealand International

Literacy challenges raised at Auckland conference

Posted at 02:33 on 12 March, 2013 UTC

Finding new ways to improve literacy rates is a priority for educators and observers attending a forum in New Zealand this week.

30 representatives and observers at the Pacific Literacy Forum in Auckland have been discussing interventions in language and literacy development.

The meeting follows last year’s Pacific Forum Education Ministers Meeting.

AusAid attendee, Florence O’Connor, says Kiribati has very low rates of literacy particularly among young children.

“We have to know what interventions that have been practised in other Pacific Islands and just to try and see, identify and see, whatever practise that we can bring back and share with our ministry colleagues in Kiribati.”

Florence O’Connor

Radio New Zealand International

24) School opens new classroom

DIGICEL PNG Foundation has opened a new quality double classroom at Afore Primary School in the Ijivitari District in Northern Province last Friday.
The solar installed double classroom with an office space, separately built toilet blocks and shower rooms, was built at the cost of K210,000, and had its ribbons cut to mark its official opening by the Digicel Foundation’s branch manager in Popondetta Mr Alex Kilus before a capacity crowd of curious students, parents,
invited guests and other participants.
But Mr Kilus had to climb over a tied pig followed through by breaking three sugarcane steps surrounded by first-harvest garden food, which was the local custom signifying uniqueness and appreciation from the Ese tribe, before being handed the pair of scissors to cut the ribbons at the landing corridor of the double classroom.
In a short and meaningful speech prior to the official opening, Mr Kilus said that Digicel Foundation has built 69 elementary schools and 59 primary schools throughout PNG’s 22 provinces since reaching the shores of PNG in 2008 and Afore Primary School was one of the fortunate ones.
He asserted that Digicel Foundation was creating opportunities for access to education and the students and teachers should use the classroom to the fullest. He appealed to the students, staff and other stakeholders to own the facility by looking after it well for their benefit as in these days such projects do not come easily and without costs.
Afore Primary School, which was built in 1962, celebrated its silver jubilee last year and the sponsored double classroom project was embraced as a blessing in its 50 years of existence.
“When the old concrete double classroom fell apart last year, we were worried. But thank God, Digicel Foundation has built a replacement,” said the
chairman of the school Mr Ezekiel Gaboe.
Mr Gaboe thanked Digicel Foundation for the project and also paid tribute to the former Head Teacher Mrs Lashmar Tolulu and the school’s board who worked closely with Digicel Foundation and the Building Contractor DHL from the initial stage.
He appealed to all stake holders to take the responsibility of looking after this classroom and to appreciate services that are provided for the benefit of all.
Other notable speakers who delivered speeches to mark the event included the Deputy Governor Mr Douglas Garawa standing in for Oro Regional Member Mr Gary Juffa who could not make it due to other commitments, assistant district administrator of Afore LLG Alex Uranian, Pr. Richard Arore and the head teacher of the school.
The new incoming head teacher in particular expressed deep concerns that there was no school Standards Officer in the LLG to oversee the standards of the school.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130311/mohome.htm

25)Studying in Philippines on offer

THE Filipino education placement agency, Paradise International Education Consultancy (PIEC), will be touring PNG towns to help students who want to study overseas.
PIEC Executive Consultant, Jensen Chow, will be visiting Alotau, Buka, Rabaul, Lae, Mt Hagen and Goroka in the coming week to do information sessions on how to do high school or university studies in the Philippines.
Mr Chow said more than 50 students from PNG took up University studies last year in Cebu City, the second largest city in the Philippines and where enrolled in 6 different university campuses.
He said prospective students had more than 50 high schools and universities to choose from.
He said in this year, PIEC will help 150 more PNG students complete their education in the country with the fifth largest English speaking population in the world.
The Filipino academic year runs from June to March the following year. Parents can budget K20,000 to K25,000 per year to cover a year’s tuition at a reputable university, food, board, uniform, school supplies, laptop, groceries, a mobile phone, daily allowance, and our facilitation fee.
Mr Chow further said that PIEC had so far worked with PNG’s Office of Higher Education, the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Bougainville External Education Services (BEES).
“Just last week, President Momis and the Bougainville Executive Council sent a K75,000 subsidy to Bougainville students in Philippines. Through PIEC’s facilitation services, per student all-inclusive annual expenses are less than K20,000. This can be compared to university education in Australia where a student would incur up to K80,000 per year in expenses,” Mr Chow said.
PIEC provides PNG students overseas study opportunities.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130311/mohome.htm

Health:

26) Bred Bank Staff donate to Vila Central Hospital (Vanuatu)

Posted on March 12, 2013 – 9:19am |

By
Len Garae
Surgical Ward Staff

Bred Bank may be a new comer to the financial hub of the Capital but its community friendly policies have motivated the Staff and Management to not only recognise the dire needs of Vila Central Hospital but to go ahead to fund and have installed a new air conditioning system in the Surgical Ward.

Undoubtedly the new air conditioning system is a desperate prayer answered for Dr Trevor Cullwick’s dedicated Surgical Team whose work environment also depends on a certain level of temperature.

As part of its community service exercise, Staff and Management of Bred Bank raised funds in-house through staff contributions and funded the purchase and installation of the much needed air conditioning requirement of the Vila Central Hospital Surgical Ward.

A statement from the bank management said they answered the call from the hospital on their dire needs and felt obliged that Bred needed to respond as soon as possible. Staff from the Bank’s Santo and Port Vila Offices made personal contributions towards this charity exercise.

The presentation was made on behalf of the bank by its Senior Relationship Manager Dudley Wai in the presence of Dr Trevor Cullwick, Acting Superintendent of the Hospital and the Surgical Ward Staff on March.

On behalf of the Hospital Dr Cullwick thanked the Staff and Management of Bred Bank for their generous assistance as this solved their problem of the much needed air conditioning need in the Surgical Ward.

The bank also thanked Mr Francois Traniene and his team for installing the equipment free of charge.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/bred-bank-staff-donate-vila-central-hospital

Business:

27) Overseas investors attracted to Fiji

Posted at 03:15 on 12 March, 2013 UTC

The head of investments at the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest Commission in New Zealand says he believes there is a lot of untapped potential for new business ventures in Fiji.

Manuel Valdez has been involved in organising a delegation of business people and investors to head to Fiji next week to explore trade and investment opportunities.

The mission comprises 12 established and successful business people based in New Zealand, with business links in the region as well as outside.

Mr Valdez says the political situation hasn’t turned potential investors away and there’s a real effort to increase investment in the country.

“Fiji is really promoting and encouraging a lot of business people not only from New Zealand but also from Australia and other countries to invest in other private enterprises in Fiji and I believe that there is still some untapped private organisations and industries that investors can delve into.”

Manuel Valdez says through new investment Fiji stands to benefit from fresh money, the creation of jobs and improved technology.

Radio New Zealand International

28) Cocoa, a large earner

By GRACE TIDEN

COCOA is the third most important cash crop in PNG which generates about K300 million annually and over one million people depend on cocoa for their living expenses.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Member for Middle Ramu Tommy Tomscoll highlighted this during the official release of the second series of hybrid cocoa clones, tolerant to the Cocoa Pod Borer in East New Britain Province last Friday.
Speaking to guests and farmers at the PNG Cocoa and Coconut Institute at Tavilo, Minister Tomscoll said cocoa provided employment, income and a venture for business for more than 150,000 rural households in PNG.
However, the CPB pest was the greatest threat capable of killing the cocoa industry and destroying the rural economic system and the welfare of the people.
Mr Tomscoll said the CPB was first confirmed at Kerevat in March, 2006 and seven years on, the cocoa pest had spread to nine other cocoa producing provinces in PNG.
He also said the cost to the growers was many which included the planting, farming, harvesting and transporting costs and despite these difficulties, farmers continued to grow cocoa for export and bring in revenue needed to develop the country.
The minister commended scientists and staff of PNG CCI as well as international donor partners for charting a growth path not only for PNG but also for all cocoa producing countries in the world.
He said the hybrid cocoa clone varieties represented many hours of research invested by scientists and money invested by the Government.
Mr Tomscoll said these new products would be released to cocoa farmers for planting and was tolerant to attacks by CPB and the cocoa tree at harvest would yield more pods with more cocoa beans.
He said investing in research science for managing bio-security risk was a long term investment and the release of the hybrid cocoa clone varieties was the result of the Government’s investment that started 10 years ago.
He also said this Government understood the importance agriculture and planned to help cocoa and copra farmers.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130311/mohome.htm

29) PNG Finance Minister recognises Ok Tedi association

By Online Editor
3:00 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Finance Minister James Marape has stopped Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) from accessing funds under the community mine continuation agreement (CMCA).

Marape had, instead, recognised the Ok Tedi Mine Impacted Area Association (OTMIAA) as the only entity that would have access to the CMCA funds held in the Western Province People Dividend Trust Fund.

He signed the trust on Feb 4 on behalf of the state, which is the major shareholder of the giant Ok Tedi mine in Western.

OTMIAA president Nick Bunn said he was happy with Marape for the change in authority.

He said they have been fighting for years with Ok Tedi Mining Ltd, OTDF and PNG Sustainable Development Ltd for recognition but had been denied access to the use of their own money.

“Since the signing of the agreement in 2006 on the extension of Ok Tedi mine, OTDF has been accessing money belonging to more than 100,000 people in the impacted 165 villages in Western and has been telling them that OTDF was their entity while, in fact, it was owned by Ok Tedi (75%) and PNGSDP (25%),” the OTMIAA said in a statement.

The association said they have been visiting offices of Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) and mining minister for assistance but got little help from them.

Last month, they sought an injunction in the National Court in Port Moresby stopping the use of K139 million held in WPPTDF until all issues were resolved fully in court.

Bunn and other members of the association said the people of the CMCA were promised benefits in 2006 and they signed the agreement for the Ok Tedi mine to continue.

They said one of the promises Ok Tedi made was to create an independent CMCA entity that would give them a sense of ownership and control over their resources (funds) and programmes of which OTMIAA was a by-product.

Association members Steven Wembut and Michael Gen said they were part of the transition group that saw the establishment of this entity (OTMIAA) and was approved by the National Executive Council decision number 272 of 2006.

Wembut said they were told Ok Tedi Fly River Development Foundation (OTFRDF) would replace the role of OTDF after two years but to date, this had not been done.

He also claimed they were mislead by OTDF chief executive Ian Middleton and OTML general manager community and business support Musje Weror to believe that OTFRDP was their entity.

OTML had designed OTDF to “manipulate and suppress” them to access and fund community projects using their dividend money.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

30) House to amend law raising hotel-occupancy tax in CNMI
By Online Editor
09:46 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

The law raising the hotel-occupancy tax by 5 percent was the first signed by CNMI Governor Eloy S. Inos, but the House leadership says it needs to be amended as soon as possible.

Inos and Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider invited members of both houses of the Legislature, officials of the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Hotel Association of Northern Marina Islands to witness the signing of House Bill 18-2, now Public Law 18-1, in the governor’s conference room yesterday.

The governor noted that the measure authored by House Minority Leader George N. Camacho, R-Saipan, “went through three separate transformations.”

It started out as Public Law 17-29 which imposed fees on arriving passengers. The goal was collect funds aimed at stabilizing the air service from Osaka and Nagoya. But it was repealed by P.L. 17-58 that created a tourism air-service-stabilization trust fund which covered flights from South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

It turned out that the law violated certain federal rules so it was repealed by P.L. 17-75 which imposed a $15 fee on each hotel guest. But hotel operators felt they could not enforce the law so they agreed to just raise the occupancy tax by 5 percent instead.

Inos said previous “individual approaches faced challenges. So in the end we all agreed — MVA and HANMI and all stakeholders — that it’s best that we increase the hotel-occupancy tax.”

He added, “So that is how the Legislature revisited the bill and the reason why this is important is because as we understand it, the Japanese tour operators have basically prepared travel brochures and magazines that reflect the increase in the hotel-occupancy tax which should take effect on April 1.”

Time is of the essence as MVA and its travel partners have been waiting for the approval of the bill, the governor said.

There is, however, one provision in the new law that the House leadership does not support.

During the leadership meeting prior to the House session last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Tony P. Sablan, IR-Saipan, raised concern about the Senate amendment to H.B. 18-2.

Offered by Sen. Victor B. Hocog, R-Rota, during the Senate session on Tinian early last week, the amendment allows Finance to withhold 2.5 percent of the revenue to fund the hiring of additional enforcement personnel on Tinian and on Rota.

According to Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, IR-Saipan, the leadership almost rejected the bill because of the Senate amendment.

He said it takes away a portion of the funds from the original intent of the bill which is for promotional marketing and destination enhancement. Second, he added, it circumvents the Planning and Budgeting Act and is an improper way of funding agencies.

Funding for additional personnel, Deleon Guerrero, said is done through the appropriation process.

“So in a way it is kind of funding through the back door and that is not the right way of doing it. We do support…additional enforcement…but the manner in which it was done in the bill is not a manner that the Ways and Means chairman and the rest of the leadership supports,” he added.

Deleon Guerrero said they had very lengthy and contentious discussions but, due to the urgency, they decided to pass it.

However, they also agreed that once it is signed into law, “we are going to propose an amendment to strike out that amendment by the Senate.”

Inos also signed House Bill 18-12 which is now Public Law 18-2.

Authored by Vice Speaker Francisco S. Dela Cruz, IR-Saipan, the measure clarifies the provision of Public Law 17-82 that allows active Fund members who opt to move to U.S. Social Security to withdraw their retirement contributions.

The Fund has held off on the release the contributions because it believes that the waiting period starts on the approval of the withdrawal applications.

P.L. 18-2 now clarifies that “within 30 days of submission to [the Fund] of the members’ request to terminate membership in Defined Benefit plan, the [Fund] administrator or its successor shall disburse 50 percent of the total employee-defined-benefit-plan contributions with interest calculated based on applicable statutory provisions for Class I and Class II members to members electing to terminate membership in the Defined Benefit plan.”

In an interview, Inos said now that it’s the law he expects the Fund to comply with it. The new law directs the Fund to make the payments.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

31) NZ banks face class suit over $1 billion in default fees
By Online Editor
3:01 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, New Zealand

The country’s registered banks have been accused of overcharging one million Kiwis to the tune of  NZD$1 billion in default fees over the past six years.

In what is being billed as New Zealand’s biggest class action, Fair Play on Fees, announced today that it is seeking plaintiffs to join a class suit against New Zealand’s registered banks to reclaim fees charged when customers overdraw their accounts, pay credit card bills too late, or bounce a cheque.

Fair Play on Fees is being led by Auckland-based lawyer Andrew Hooker, Australian consumer law firm Slater & Gordon and Litigation Lending Services.

“Customers are charged an average of  NZD$15 every time they overdraw their accounts, pay their credit card late or bounce a cheque when the cost to the bank is actually just a few cents,” Hooker said in a statement.

“These fees are excessive and add up to around $1 billion over the past six years. It’s time Kiwis fought back.”

Hooker said the market share of the local banks would probably be representative of their share of the suit, with the Australian-owned banks and state-owned KiwiBank the biggest offenders.

He added that the case will be based on a principle of contract law which places a limit on the amount a customer can be charged if they default on an obligation. If a default fee is higher than what it costs the other party then it is an unenforceable penalty.

“We understand that a bank is a business and they have to charge fees. But these fees also have to be fair and lawful. That is what this class action is about.”

A website has also been launched for people who want to be part of the lawsuit to register.

Hooker says banks have been ignoring the principal of contract law for years and customers have been “helpless” to fight them.

“Banks are in the privileged position of having access to customers’ funds and can just extract these fees from customers without much of a right of reply. They have also relied on individuals not making the effort to take the banks to court.

“A class action is the only way banks can be held accountable and prevented from charging excessive fees now and into the future,” said Hooker.

The litigation will be structured so that claimants have no upfront costs and nothing to lose, he explained.
“The entire litigation process is funded by Litigation Lending Services (NZ) so all legal fees will be rendered on a no win, no fee basis,” he stated.

Fair Play on Fee’s proceeding comes as Justice Minister Judith Collins works on legislation to enable faster, better and cheaper class suit actions.

That policy work was expected to be done last year.

The New Zealand action comes after a similar suit across the Tasman, where Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is being treated as test case.

Melbourne-based Maurice Blackburn first issued proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against ANZ in September 2010, in the first of a series of bank fee class actions for repayment of fees they have charged their customers over the last six years.

In December 2011, the Federal Court of Australia found in favour of ANZ account holders who were charged late credit card fees.

Since then, Maurice Blackburn estimates that around 170,000 customers have launched claims worth A$220 million against seven banks, including ANZ, BankSA, Bankwest, Commonwealth Bank and NAB.

“This is by far the largest collective legal action in Australia. The class actions are funded by IMF (Australia) Ltd, on a ‘no win no charge’ basis.”

“This means that IMF covers all the legal costs and only gets paid if the cases are successful. IMF also agrees to meet the banks’ costs if the cases are unsuccessful. There is no cost to class action participants unless they successfully recover money,” Maurice Blackburn lawyers said.

SOUTRCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS


32) Pacific Islands need robust laws to protect their deep sea minerals

By Online Editor
09:53 am GMT+12, 12/03/2013, Tonga

The Pacific Islands need to protect their deep sea minerals, Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister, Samiu Vaipulu told a Pacific-ACP States Regional Workshop on Deep Sea Minerals Law and Contract Negotiations that opened at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre, in Nuku’alofa  Monday .

Representatives of 15 Pacific States are attending the week-long workshop.

Mike Petterson the Director of SOPAC, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), said the workshop will focus on the legislative and regulatory aspects of deep sea minerals.

He said the workshop is aimed at sharing information on a number of developments that SOPAC is working on, including developing legislation for the extraction of deep sea minerals. “What we want achieve is largely capacity building, as like any other economic activity, Pacific states are a little bit compromised by multinational and well-resourced companies coming in,” he said.

“We need to know how to negotiate and drive a hard deal. We have to prepare ourselves as best we can by developing our negotiating skills, along with a network of people that we trust and know, and to work with industries and countries that we feel that will be responsible and want a long-term working relationship, and for our communities to benefit while the environment is protected as best we can.”

Petterson said some Pacific Island Countries already have legislation for deep sea minerals. But it was a new thing for the Pacific Islanders to consider who has the rights to the minerals, who gains from it and how can we put in place a transparent system, while looking at the environmental issues, he said.

He said for decades the main issue had been the lack of knowledge as to where minerals are, what type of minerals are out there, as there are many deposits to discover in the ocean.

“But we are now at a point where there are few areas in the Pacific that have been identified to be attractive and that’s a breakthrough. Now it is becoming an economic reality and to make sure that countries maximize the benefits, which is never easy and requires hard work so we want representatives to walk away armed with more knowledge and be aware of the range of issues we have to cope with,” he said.

Hannah Lily, the Legal Adviser for the Pacific Ocean Deep Sea Minerals Project said on 05 March that the project stresses the importance for countries to put in place robust law and regulatory mechanisms for the national management of deep sea minerals before negotiations take place.

“We strongly recommend that countries have these mechanisms in place before any individual project negotiations start. Dedicated seabed minerals legislation will assist the country to meet under international law, such as protection of the main environment. It will provide clarity, stability to that country’s operating environment and what it expects from mineral companies.”

She said seabed mineral resources represent an exciting new economic prospect for Pacific Islands, but, in order to make the most of this opportunity, governments will need to find responsible exploration and mining companies, and work to set terms that provide sufficient protection and financial return to the country.

The workshop held on behalf of the SPC-European Union Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is the second of five regional technical workshops. It is attended by government officials, non-government organisations, enivronmental groups and others.

The first Regional Workshop on Geological, Technological, Biological and Environmental Aspects of Deep Sea Minerals was held in August 2012 in Fiji.

Tonga has three mineral exploration companies, the Bluewater Metals South Pacific Ltd. of Australia, Nautilus Minerals Tonga Ltd., and KORDI, the Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute.

Tonga also has in place a Minerals Act which started in 1949 to establish the ownership and provide for the control of minerals found within Tonga. It is understood that a Deep Sea Mining Bill was drafted last year.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

Law & Order+

33) Minister: Fiji to be a safer place

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

THE Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni, says Fiji is working towards making itself a safer place for women and children.

In a speech to the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women, Dr Luveni said this was made possible through partnerships between the police and members of the community.

“Fiji is now working with communities and the police to end violence against women and girls through the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Communities program,” Dr Luveni said in a statement.

She said the violence free communities program carried out around the country provided men in involved communities with anger management sessions and behaviour change program for women and child abusers.

Dr Luveni said steps were being taken to address the root causes of violence against women and girls and that Fiji had created legal and legislative frameworks to address the issue.

Following her speech, the minister pledged the support of the Fijian delegation to work with the UN Commission towards the goal of eliminating violence against women and girls.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=227556

34) ALOTAU FEARS ( PNG)
‘WHERE do we go from here?’ laments Milne Bay Governor Titus Philemon. He asked for a Police mobile squad to help clean up the town and now they have become the problem not the solution as peaceful Alotau residents hide in fear from them. The horrific shooting of student Dickson Parou in the head without warning or provocation should make the whole of the RPNGC hang their heads in abject shame that one of their so-called colleagues could act in this way. Where do we go when we cannot trust our own police force? Drum/Post Courier

35) VANIMO ASSAULT(PNG)
AND in the Sandaun province another member of the same RPNGC unit assaulted his girlfriend in front of a shopping centre, while a colleague (in full uniform) watched the crime without intervening. This has got to be another example of one law for the coppers and another for ordinary Papua New Guineans? Ironically, the assault coincided with a Women’s Prayer Day meeting in Vanimo where gender violence was also discussed.Drum/Post Courier.

Enviromental & Climate Change+:

36) 500 families make way

Maciu Malo
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

+ Enlarge this image

Peter Chong Sue and his family are among those who will be relocated from the Natabua Seaside in Lautoka this year. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

MORE than 500 families residing in Lautoka’s informal settlements will be relocated this year, says Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki.

He said the government was working with stakeholders on the resettlement process and identifying contractors who would assist with the movement of families who had settled at Natabua Seaside, Navutu and Velovelo.

“The relocation issue has been an unsolved issue over the past years but we will make sure people are relocated this year,” Cdr Cawaki said.

Plans to resettle people living in Navutu to the new subdivision in Drasa on the outskirts of Lautoka began 10 years ago.

The move was announced to make way for the Lautoka City Council to fully develop Navutu into an industrial subdivision, a plan that had been in the pipeline for close to 20 years.

Like most informal settlements, Navutu is located in an environmentally-vulnerable area and is flood-prone as witnessed during the disasters of last year.

Ten years ago, 30 of the initial settlers of Solomon Island descent accepted government’s proposal and relocated to Drasa. However, those who remained and newcomers to the settlement said they did not want to move when approached by stakeholders last December. About 140 families reside in Navutu today.

Cdr Cawaki said settlers need to accept that the places they reside in were vulnerable to natural disasters.

“So, in order for people to save their lives and belongings, they need to support the government’s initiative of relocation.

“These settlers have suffered enough over the past years and we need to look at ways to best protect them.”

Cdr Cawaki said a piece of land at Drasa, outside Lautoka City, has been earmarked for the resettlement.

“The government is looking at a permanent solution. The government doesn’t support the idea of building homes in squatter settlements.

“At the same time people have been urged not to build new dwellings and instead prepare to be relocated.”

Cdr Cawaki said his office was working closely with the Lautoka City Council on the relocation project.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=227553


37) Climate Change Adaptation professionals examined

Posted on June 23, 2011 – 10:47am |

By
Bob Makin

Tuesday morning saw students from Vanuatu government departments sitting an examination at USP which will test them as the front runners in teaching the rural 80% of the country about how the world around us is changing.

Climate change is on everyone’s lips. We all really know it is happening now, even though some people remain in a state of denial. There are places in Vanuatu, notably on Pele and in the Torres, where sea level rise has been observed – and felt – and written up for the record books.

It is therefore important that government plays a leading role in determining courses of action for people who might be affected by climate change.

Stegler, from Pentecost, was amongst those sitting the exam, and he works in the Livestock and Quarantine section of Agriculture. His main concern is to be able to discuss climate issues with farmers, and all the contributing factors. He will not leave foreign contributing factors out of the discussion, CO2 emissions in other countries as well as Port Vila and Luganville being the most significant element in global warming and sea level rise.

Stegler said that whilst the course participants will not be writing Climate Change Adaptation legislation, they have an educational role themselves.

“We must be able to talk to farmers in a manner they will understand,” says Stegler. “And there is urgency. Vanuatu is trying hard to be as self-sufficient in meat production as it can be, but if we run short on meat supply targets it will mean we have to import more meat from overseas. And that will affect costs.”

Erry from Malo is from Geology and Mines and has already addressed flooding as a problem in the Sarakata / Pepsi area of Luganville.

“Flood mitigation guidelines are being drawn up by our department for the low-lying areas of Luganville and Santo island,” he said.

“We have to look at water quantity and quality. We need to know what the community knows already and possible solutions they have found over time. We need to know about water conservation, and when there are issues of re-location.

“Water is, in fact, the first element to be affected by climate change. There can be flooding – and there can be drought. Severe health problems might result. There is presently the very serious water health problem with the Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands, causing all sorts of fish to die.”

Students sitting the exam were certainly knowledgeable about the challenges they will have to address. To this writer it seemed they will probably do very well in their very first test – the exam on Climate Change Adaptation.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/climate-change-adaptation-professionals-examined

38) Vanuatu rep to attend climate finance talks in Palau

Posted on April 15, 2011 – 7:00am |

Representatives of 10 Pacific governments will gather in Palau later this week to discuss how countries can increase their access to climate funds and use them sustainably.

The workshop, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), complements other recent regional meetings on climate change, as well as work being undertaken by regional organisations on the potential options available to Pacific Island countries to access and effectively deliver climate change adaptation initiatives.

The Vice President of Palau, Kerai Mariur, Vice President and Minister of Finance, Republic of Palau will officially open the national stakeholders meeting on Thursday April 14. Senior government officials from Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu as well as representatives of regional agencies and civil society organisations will attend the meeting.

“Climate change is one of the most pressing development challenges facing the Pacific. While globally there are promises of substantial resources to respond to the impact of climate change, Pacific island countries would benefit from up-to-date knowledge and tools on how to access and use these funds,” said the Deputy UNDP Resident Representative Toily Kurbanov.

“Through this workshop, UNDP hopes that Pacific Island countries can be better equipped with the knowledge of innovative country-level solutions, such as multi-donor climate funds and what they might need to do to gain direct access to multilateral climate funds.”

The two day workshop will also discuss the entry points to ensure Pacific Island countries can most effectively engage in the ongoing international discussions on climate change both collectively and as individual nations.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/vanuatu-rep-attend-climate-finance-talks-palau

Sports:

39) Cakau is out

Emoni Narawa
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A NEW Fiji sevens team captain will be named today.

This is after regular skipper Setefano Cakau (Pictured, right) was ruled out of the HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in Hong Kong and Japan.

The Wardens forward sustained an injury during a scrimmaging session at Nasova last Friday.

He ruptured a medial ligament in his left knee and failed to recover after being assessed by Fiji Rugby Union’s medical co-ordinator and team physiotherapist William Koong.

The 34-year-old was later ruled out by Doctor Eddie McCaig yesterday. Despite not travelling with the team, Cakau says his teammates have his full support.

“I have a lot of faith and trust in the team and just want to wish them all the best. I, of course, will be cheering for them here at home,” he said.

Head coach Alifereti Dere will name his final 12-member team at Kadavu House this morning. Dere will be banking on the experience of Nemani Nagusa, Ilai Tinai and Osea Kolinisau to spearhead their campaign in Hong Kong and Japan.

Nagusa and Tinai are the only survivors from last year’s winning Hong Kong team.

Lanky Army secondrower Leone Nakarawa is expected to replace Cakau as Dere is set to reveal his third skipper for this season.

Wardens forward Levani Botia is the other player who was ruled out because of injury.

The final team will be named at 10am.

16-member squad :

Forwards: Jasa Veremalua, Ulaiyasi Lawavou, Jone Vota, Setefano Cakau, Nemani Nagusa, Mosese Saunivanua, Leone Nakarawa, Peni Ravai.

Backs: Sakuisa Gavidi, Ilai Tinani, Emosi Mulevoro, Manasa Nayagi, Osea Kolinisau, Benito Masilevu, Samisoni Viriviri, Donasio Ratubuli.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=227623


40) PNG Mix team flies out today for Coffs Habour (11/3/13)

TOUCH RUGBY
By KEVIN TEME

IT will be an interesting encounter to see the PNG Open Mix team compete in the Coffs Habour touch tournament which kicks off this Wednesday.
The team flies out today. Preparations have been going very well under the watchful eyes of head coach Michael Imo and Martin Joffey.
Imo and Joffy will also be vying again for the coaching role that the Touch Federation of PNG will be putting out for the open men, women and mix team to the Malaysia tournament in June this year.
“All these championship are lead up preparations for TFPNG to have a very solid team before the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby,” said TFPNG vice president John Aidaboe last week.
The team which returns on the March 17th this year will go for a break and come back into camp in May for the Malaysia tournament.
Post Courier/PNG.

41) Surf meet successful

SURFING
By KILA NAO

SURFING Association PNG (SAPNG) president, Andrew Abel has returned from a successful BLEACH film festival and the 2013 Global surf network conference in Coollangatta, Australia.
Abel presented papers on topics in negotiating communities sustainable cultural surf tourism, which was well received by surf industry leaders and people of influence in Australia and around the world.
“My presentation was complimented by a power point presentation of best high pictures of surfing from all our premier surfing destination around PNG and the conference delegates were tempted to come to PNG.
“I presented our traditional SAPNG Surf Warrior carving to Gold Coast Council mayor Tom Tate whom I met at the opening ceremony and received gift from chairman, John Nielson and other significant people and legends of influence in the surfing world.
“Channel 9 Sports covered the conference whilst they were in the area for the ASP Quicksilver Pro. I was able to give a synopsis on what we have been doing in PNG over the years” Abel said.
“I have also established significant links and added another dimension to our long term development plans with few legendary board shapers whom are keen to work with SAPNG”.
“They will assist us with training of our local talent on board shaping of boards out of timber and standard foam and fiberglass with the help of legends like Richard Harvey, Ian Byrnes and Nev Hyman (firewire boards).
“I believe the media exposure that will come of this initiative, will be huge for PNG Surf Tourism in the years to come complimenting our ongoing marketing efforts with PNGTPA”said Abel.
Plans will be submitted to SAPNG Board and TPA for consideration with a view of them coming up in the 2013/2014 season visiting our main surf destinations to experience our waves and carry out workshops.Post Courier/PNG

42) Tavur get two consolation goals against Hekari

SOCCER
By NICOLE JOANNES

TAVUR FC became the first club in the National Soccer League to score two goals against current champions Hekari United FC in their match on Saturday in Kimbe.
The first Hekari goal came from an indirect kick from Kema Jack that was finished off beautifully by Tamile Waqa who touched it in with textbook precision.
The second goal came from a corner kick by midfield Captain David Muta , who swerved it in like Beckham to land within reach of Peter Bolaitoga.
Hekari scored again through Ericson Komeng, the fourth goal came from Kema and fifth Komeng
Tavur scored two goals and ended the game an impressive 5-2. Fans were thrilled at the amount of goals that were scored.
Hekari team manageress Vonnie congratulated Tavur for their well played game.Post Courier/PNG

43) Tiger Woods wins Florida golf

Aap
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DORAL, Florida – Tiger Woods claimed an incredible 17th World Golf Championships (WGC) event, taking out the Cadillac Championship on Sunday by two shots, with Australian Adam Scott shooting the best round of the tournament to end in a tie for third.

The 14-time major winner notched up a seventh Cadillac Championship trophy and US PGA tour win No.76, leaving him just six wins adrift of Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82.

Woods fired a controlled one-under-par final-round 71 to finish at 19-under-par, two shots ahead of fellow American Steve Stricker (68).

Two bogeys in the final three holes took a little gloss off the win but Woods had given himself a healthy buffer.

It is his first WGC win since 2009 and leaves him in good stead heading to Bay Hill in two weeks where he has also won seven times, before the Masters in early April as a four-time winner.

“I played well this week,” Woods said.

“It was a week where I felt pretty good about everything I was doing and the way I was playing.”

Adam Scott was the best of the Australians after a blistering bogey-free 64 in the final round, the best score of the week, rocketed him into a tie for third, but still five shots behind Woods.(Fiji Times)

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