Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 823

Melanesia:

1a) Vanuatu oposisan itok Indonesia imas lusim MSG

Updated 19 March 2013, 11:58 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Oposisan lida itok oli imas larim West Papua i kamap memba blong MSG na ino Indonesia.

Laen oposisan long Vanuatu nau iaskim strong gavman blong Mr Sato Kilman long rausim Indonesia long Melanesian Spearhead Group pastem long bikpla miting blong MSG em bai oli holim long  New Caledonia long mun July.

Oli bin givim Indonesia kaen mak olsem Observer pastem long bikpla MSG miting long Fiji long yia 2011.

Tasol lida blong oposisan long Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, itok ol Melanesian kantri ino ken larim Indonesia long stap insaet long ol wokbung blong ol, na oli mas givim full membasip igo long West Papua.

Gavman blong Mr Sato Kilman ibin sainim wanpla tok oraet long wokbung wantem Indonesia long 2011.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-03-19/vanuatu-oposisan-itok-indonesia-imas-lusim-msg/1103642

1b) Bougainville militants oppose Panguna re-opening without independence from PNG

Posted at 02:34 on 19 March, 2013 UTC

A leader of the Me’ekamui militant group in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville Province, Chris Uma, says his group is opposed to any re-opening of the Panguna mine until after independence has been achieved.

Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on possible independence from 2015.

Mr Uma has told the Post Courier newspaper that discussion on re-opening Panguna is non-negotiable until that vote and independence is gained.

The huge mine was at the centre of the province’s civil war and has been closed for 24 years, but there is a drive from several quarters for it to eventually resume production.

Mr Uma, who controls the Me’ekamui faction in central Bougainville where the mine is located, says only after independence is achieved can there be talk about opening the mine.

Last week, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the ABG, began considering a new Bougainville mining bill, which President John Momis says is being widely circulated for public discussion.

He says the Bougainville constitution requires that the ABG ensures widespread consultations before it makes major new laws.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Solomons Group Calls On PM To Defer Development Fund Bill
ANSI does not oppose bill, but says current version ‘poorly drafted’

By Alfred Sasako

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 17, 2013) – The newly-formed Anti-Corruption Network of Solomon Islands (ANSI) has written to the Prime Minister urging the Government to defer its controversial Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Bill 2013 to the next sitting of Parliament.

At the same time ANSI has proposed a SB$700,000 [US$95,970] budget to pay for nationwide consultations, allowing the village people to contribute to the Bill.

A deferral would allow for wider consultations including visits to the villages, according to ANSI’s letter, signed by its founding president, Leslie Kwaiga yesterday.

It was hand delivered at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon.

The two page letter was copied to the Bills and Legislation Committee Chairman, the Opposition Leader, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the Leader of the Independent Group as well as to all Members of Parliament.

In the letter, ANSI made it clear that it did not oppose the Bill, per se.

“Rather it is supportive of the proposed legislation but not in its present form.

“Given financial resources including in-kind support, ANSI is willing to assist in the redrafting of the Bill, which in its present form reflects badly on the machinery of Government as the drafting was done rather poorly,” the letter dated 15th March 2013, said.

“There is an urgent need to defer tabling the Bill to the next sitting of Parliament. In seeking a deferral, ANSI is willing to lead a Taskforce to undertake (1) country-wide consultations; and (2) help redraft the Bill so that it reflects fairness, equality and access to the CDF grants by all voters of Solomon Islands,” it said.

ANSI President Mr. Kwaiga told Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo that his group believed it “has the expertise, capacity and competence to lead the Taskforce in producing a quality outcome in terms of a Report within three months (1st April – 30th June 2013) of Government approval.”

“In support of its position in helping the Government and indeed Parliament move the CDF Bill 2013 forward, ANSI submits for your urgent consideration, support and approval, a project proposal outlining the scope, composition, cost estimates and timeline for the task.

“ANSI sees the wider consultations approach as an important pillar in establishing the foundation for the Bill, which when passed into law, would serve all our peoples and their interests well.

“Please be assured that ANSI remains committed to ensuring the integrity of Members of Parliament is protected at any cost at all times.

“In its present form, the Bill has far too many loopholes which have the potential to call into question the very thing we all are working hard to protect – the integrity of Parliament as an institution and the integrity of Members of Parliament.

“It is our sincere hope that ANSI and other like-minded entities are given the opportunity to be a participant in this all-important task,” the letter said.

Comments are being sought from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Solomon Star

3) Extra clinics set up in dengue-hit Solomons capital

Posted at 00:45 on 19 March, 2013 UTC

Four extra clinics have been set up in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara to ease pressure on the hospital as health workers continue to deal with an outbreak of dengue fever that began several weeks ago.

A state of emergency is in place at the national referral hospital to enable staff to defer all non-emergency patients in favour of those with the Aedes mosquito-borne disease.

The ministry of health’s permanent secretary says dengue fever has now killed two people and there are more than 900 suspected to have the illness, which typically causes very high fever and severe headache.

Dr Lester Ross says 74 people have been admitted to hospital and the disease has been confirmed in more than 200 people.

“We actually opened four clinics in Honiara City Council. One of the clinics is where we stabilise the patients. Kind of referral clinic for the people here in Honiara. We also opened up a good samitaritan hospital which is operated by the Catholic church in Guadalcanal Plains.”

Dr Lester Ross says doctors are on a roster for visiting the clinics.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Vanuatu Minister Reveals Unbudgeted Spending From 2012
Millions in extra expenditures contributed to $13 million deficit

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 18, 2013) – Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Charlot Salwai, this week in Parliament revealed and highlighted some alarming unbudgeted spending in 2012, as for the first time since Independence Vanuatu reported a third consecutive budget deficit increase.

“We spent Vt84 million [US$910,964] on new vehicles which were not budgeted for; we budgeted Vt103 million [US$1.1 million] for fuel but spent Vt148 million [US$1.6 million] on fuel for vehicles,” he said.

“Vt148 million was spent on repair and maintenance of government vehicles whereas the budget for this was only Vt65 million [US$704,913].

“We spent Vt407 million [US$4.4 million] on scholarships whereas the budget was only Vt270 million [US$2.9 million]. We spent Vt65 million on legal fees when the budget for this was only Vt8 million [US$86,758].

“The government’s decision last year to put the Director Generals on contract was also not budgeted for and had to cough up Vt73 million [US$791,671] severance payout.

“The government also spent over Vt100 million [US$1 million] in Deeds of Releases and legal obligations which was not in the 2012 budget.”

The total revenue collected in 2012 was Vt13.9 billion [US$150.7 million] (excluding donor funds) and is a 6% increase from what was collected in 2011.

The increase follows the strong performance of Value Added Tax and other taxes, compliance improvement to and revenue from the recently introduced Permanent Residence Program in Hong Kong.

The total revenue collected plus donor projects fund in 2012 was Vt16 billion [US$173.5 million].

The Finance Minister said 2012 was a challenging year for Vanuatu budget wise, where it has to meet major commitments like the National elections, hosting of ACP meeting, MP gratuities and also some unbudgeted, unexpected legal obligations.

“I confirm the Government made a fiscal deficit in 2012,” he said. “Following the economic slowdown it is the government expenditure which supports economic activity to protect citizens from the impact of global economic crisis so the private sector could not invest.

“Government spending enabled our economy to grow, however like other economies worldwide we cannot continue with this trend of fiscal deficit because it is not sustainable.

“Vanuatu has incurred a total fiscal deficit of Vt1.2 billion [US$13 million] in 2012, these includes both government and donor funds.

“If we exclude donor funds and projects and look at government financial operations the government still made a deficit of Vt600 plus million [US$6.5 million].”

Minister Salwai said there are three major factors contributing to this. The first is direct budget support which Vanuatu expected but did not receive.

“We managed to get only 10%, which is Vt70 million [US$759,137] out of the expected Vt700 million [US$7.6 million]. Secondly the government did not receive project funds because of delays and lastly because the government had to meet unplanned spending.

“The total government expenditure in 2012 was Vt17.2 billion [US$186.5 million], including donor spending on projects and programs.

“If donor funds are excluded the government spend Vt14.5 billion [US$157.3 million].”

But he said no matter the big events involved the government managed to control its spending at the end of 2012.

He said Vanuatu continues to record a current account deficit in 2012 and it is the reason behind its small export base and dependence on imports.

The recovery of the tourism industry helped to cut down the deficit by 2% compared to 2011.

Meanwhile the service sector is a driving force that continues to dominate Vanuatu’s economy.

Finance Minister Salwai said tourism is a big component in this sector and the number of tourists coming in by air and ship continues to grow allowing Vanuatu people an opportunity to utilize their resources to generate revenue.

“The tourism industry is growing at an average of 3.6%,” he said.

The Opposition meanwhile has strongly condemned “man-made disasters” digging deep into government coffers and hampering service delivery to the people of Vanuatu.

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

5) Vanuatu opposition calls for Melanesian bloc changes
By Online Editor
1:12 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s Opposition is calling on the government to revoke Indonesia’s observer status within the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

The group, known as the MSG, is a regional bloc which deals with trade and other development issues.

Indonesia was granted observer status in 2011.

But Vanuatu’s Opposition Leader, Edward Natapei, says Melanesian countries shouldn’t allow Indonesia to meddle in their affairs.

Natapei has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat full membership should instead be afforded to West Papua.

“Indonesia should not have been admitted as a member or observer of the MSG,” he said.

“Rather it should have been the Melanesians in West Papua, because the Melanesian group – as I said – was formed basically to assist Melanesians in the region with their struggle for independence.”

Vanuatu has long been a refuge for many from the Indonesian Province of West Papua.

Natapei has called for West Papua’s inclusion into the regional bloc to be discussed at the MSG summit in New Caledonia in July.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

5a)) New Vanuatu Citizenship Commission warned against corruption
By Online Editor
1:06 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Vanuatu

The new members of Vanuatu’s Citizenship Commission have been warned against bribery or corrupt practices.

The new chairman and members of the board were announced on Thursday, after the former commission was terminated in May last year for engaging in illegal practices, including granting full citizenship to Chinese nationals who had not met the requirements.

The Prime Minister’s first political advisor Richard Kaltonnga says the new members must be honest and show responsibility for their roles.

“Ensuring that the Citizenship Commission applies its role diligently. They have to make sure that anyone who is granted citizenship has fulfilled the requirements under the law. And they’ve just got to clean up the face of the citizenship commission because after the last commission there was a lot of irregularities.”

Kaltonnga said the Prime Minister’s office will be closely monitoring the actions of the new team at the Citizenship Commission.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

5b) Chinese factory will extract kava lactones for export: Lini

Posted on March 19, 2013
By

Jane Joshua

More than a decade of research and hope waiting for Europe to lift its ban on kava is now hinged on dialogue on the heels of Vanuatu’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini and Minister of Trade told MPs in the 1st Ordinary Parliament Session of 2013 that his trip with a delegation (then Director of the Department of Industry Jimmy Rantes, First Political Adviser Clifford Bice and President of Vanuatu Manufacturers and exporters association, Samuel Grant) last year to China was for “a Chinese Company to set up a factory in Vanuatu”.

“They will extract kava lactones to export to China so they can mix it with some of their drinks and drink it like a juice. It will have the same effect as kava.”

DPM Lini was responding to a question by Pentecost MP David Tosul on the government’s plans relating to Agriculture Commodity- Kava development, which has an allocation of Vt46million.

The objective of this activity is to encourage farmers to plant 10 noble varieties identified and improved processing. The focus of this activity in 2013 will be to improve quality, working through producers and associations.

“Under kava development we recently passed an Act in Parliament to improve kava quality and said the Act was to ensure the 10 noble varieties are grown by the farmers while simultaneously tackling the Kava market in Europe,” he reiterated.

“Are there some people focusing on this while we continue the push at the higher level meetings for the ban to be lifted? How many people are on the field to ensure the farmers are planting the 10 noble varieties and at the wharves to confirm kava coming in is from these noble varieties?”

Lini who is charge of kava negotiations in Europe agreed a law has been passed by Parliament but to date it has not been properly monitored to see the actual kava variety being produced.

“While the law decreed the varieties to be planted there are buyers who say they pay for any kava variety thus it is a problem in Vanuatu.
“But we are fortunate that after Europe to Australia banned Vanuatu kava, the Australian government donated a small machine, now at the Food Centre which identifies our kava.

“Through the hard work of Dr Vincent Lebot the machine indicates whether or not the kava is passable for export. However our problem is we mix too much kava.

“Now the government is negotiating to re-open kava market in Europe but with these problems, there is also not enough kava, an agreement is yet to be reached.

“We have started and will pursue dialogue with WTO.”
It was in September 2012 that the Deputy Prime minister and his delegation attended the China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen City in Fujian, where they requested the Chinese Government for help and support towards the Vanuatu-China Kava Project and revealed plans are in the pipeline with a major Chinese State-owned company to introduce kava into the Chinese market as a canned beverage.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/chinese-factory-will-extract-kava-lactones-export-lini

5c) West Papua must become member of MSG: Lini

Posted on March 19, 2013
By

Godwin Ligo

“I want to see West Papua admitted into MSG in the upcoming MSG meeting in New Caledonia in July this year,” Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini told Daily Post when West Papua Freedom Campaigner Benny Wenda addressed MPs at Parliament House.

He said the West Papuan people have been seeking this assistance long enough and it is time they are admitted into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

“We have heard the cry of their plight to be free from Indonesia for too long. The MSG will give them a stronger platform and the rightful platform to make their voice heard,” DPM Lini said as he shook hands with Benny Wenda.

The Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister recalled that during the reign of the first and former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Grand Chief Michael Somare, and the late and first Prime Minister of Vanuatu Father Walter Lini, West Papua freedom issue was one of the priorities of the Melanesian countries but today less attention is given to the struggle of the West Papuan people.

On the question of West Papua becoming a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), DPM Ham Lini replied: “Yes, we want the MSG to accept West Papua into its full membership in the upcoming MSG Meeting in Noumea New Caledonia in July this year, “said DPM Lini.

West Papua Campaigner Benny Wenda spoke to the MPs at the Parliament House about the suffering, the murdering, the struggle and the cry of the West Papuan People for a political freedom from the political and military grip of the Indonesian government.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/west-papua-must-become-member-msg-lini

5d) MI Harem Se…

Posted on March 19, 2013 – 10:36am | Category:

# Mi harem se rumours have circulated that Air van have had problems with two engines. Their original Boeing engine had problems and needed repairs and a second engine was leased out of Melbourne. The original engine was quickly repaired and Air Vanuatu decided to reinstall it rather than continue payments on the leased one which is why flights were disrupted recently. However when they inspected the borrowed engine iron filings were found in the oil of the replaced engine which needed work done to fix. Qantas continues to maintain Air Vanuatu’s aircraft every Monday and will continue to do so. Silip!

# Mi harem se the cult Kenny Everett Captain Kremmen radio series is drawing a huge amout of listeners on 96 BUZZ FM every morning Monday to Friday at 7-10am. The first series is over and a new one called the Big Banana where Carla has to stop a huge banana in outer space sounds an even bigger laugh. Get ready for it on Monday. Silip!

# Mi harem se a certain statutory body CEO regularly travels overseas and gets double per diem from organization funding his trip and also from his organization. When Government is complaining about financial problems and even raised at the Parliament by MP for Port Vila, this CEO thinks he has that special privilege from his employer….no wonder investment level is dropping and has yet to figure out the reason…mai karanke!!

# Mi harem se a certain Finance Officer has allegedly misused more than VT1million from a government Department and still manages to be employed because of financial controller for a project working with her partner getting paid by Government on a donor funded project…..kanao yu traem talem se yu mekem olsem wanem????

http://www.dailypost.vu/

6) Journalists strike at New Caledonia’s only newspaper
By Online Editor
4:05 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, New Caledonia

Journalists at New Caledonia’s only daily newspaper have gone on strike to express their disquiet at the alleged sale of the paper to local business people.

Last year, the Nouvelles Caledoniennes was bought by a French businessman, Bernard Tapie, and the Hersant family, who jointly spent 68 million US dollars to acquire a range of papers across France and its overseas territories.

They were sold by the Groupe Hersant Media, which had already shed its dailies in French Polynesia, to pay off debts.

Although there is no official confirmation, the journalists say the business has been bought by a local wholesaler, a car distributor, a nickel company and an engineering business linked to the centre-right politicians.

The journalists say they still fear a loss of what they see as their hard won editorial independence.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

7) Fiji solution

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama with Sir Michael Somare at the MSG 25th Anniversary celebration in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

LET Fiji and its people decide on how to navigate through their political challenges.

These were the sentiments of chief guest at the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s celebrations yesterday, Sir Michael Somare, who said Fiji required close attention and understanding.

“Whatever the end product, it is for Fiji and its people to decide and no one else. We must respect this,” Sir Michael, a former prime minister of Papua New Guinea said in his keynote address yesterday morning.

The veteran PNG politician said given the country’s “complex maze of challenges”, it was best to minimise the input of those on the outside.

“I have always spoken out against a quick fix and have criticised attempts to impose prescriptions from outside.

“I have counselled others not to pressure Fiji to artificially tinker with the constitution simply to appease development partners or to quell criticisms from our big boys in the region. I have argued that, that solution would be short-lived,” Sir Michael said.

He added that pleas were made with the Pacific Forum and the Commonwealth to show characteristics of patience and compassion when dealing with Fiji.

“I have always held the view that working our differences and disagreements from within is less antagonistic and therefore more helpful to lasting solutions and enduring relationships.

“I have pleaded with our friends at the Pacific Forum and the Commonwealth to show patience, compassion and understanding on Fiji and not exclude her from their membership,” he revealed yesterday.

Sir Michael said the role the MSG should play was one of patience and understanding.

“The choices MSG members make on Fiji as it grapples with its complex maze of challenges strikes at the very heart of how we want to resolve problems in our region,” he said.

“I have pointed out that a one-fits-all solution risks being counterproductive if local conditions are not factored in.”

Sir Michael said given the country was concluding its new constitution, this was a time to harvest patience and co-operation.

“Fiji is almost at the end of the process on the new constitution aimed at restoring democracy. The Fiji government requires our patience and the Fiji people deserve our trust in their judgement,” he said.

“I for one have no doubt in the wisdom of the Fiji leaders and people to arrive at a responsible outcome,” he concluded.

The celebrations yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the MSG.

The University of the South Pacific hosted Sir Michael, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and USP’s vice chancellor and president, Prof Rajesh Chandra to a traditional Fijian welcome ceremony at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre in Suva.

The celebrations continue today and conclude tomorrow evening at USP.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=228305

8) Anxious wait ahead for Fiji’s proposed National Federation Party

Posted at 03:15 on 19 March, 2013 UTC

One of those applying to re-register Fiji’s National Federation Party says there is an anxious wait ahead as the group nears the end of the objection period.

The NFP had to reregister more than a month ago, under the Fiji regime’s changed rules for political parties.

The registrar said it would be about mid March before the parties concerned would know if they had been successful.

An applicant, Raman Singh, says after the NFP’s application was gazetted earlier this month, his group has since been asked to clarify how it signed up the decreed 5,000 members.

Mr Singh says because the decree does not specify a time limit for final approval, there could be an anxious wait ahead.

“I’d just like to say that the clarifications are easy enough for us to clarify and we are in the process of replying to them and at the moment we don’t have any objection to the timetable but would anxiously wait for the decision after the objection period is over.”

Raman Singh of the proposed National Federation Party

Radio New Zealand International

Polynesia:


9) Cook Islands traditional leaders call for tax breaks
By Online Editor
1:02 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Cook Islands

Cook Islands traditional leaders have given the Government a proposal seeking tax relief for low income workers and help for the elderly.

The Koutu Nui want tax relief for those earning less than NZD$30,000 per annum, including no tax for those on less than $15,000, and want the minimum pay raised to NZD$6 an hour.

They suggest that those earning over NZD$50,000 have tax increases to balance the Government books.

The traditional leaders say the current tax rate is contributing to the exodus of Cook Islands from the country and say they are concerned for the welfare of their people.

They have also called for more assistance to the elderly and for value added tax (VAT) on food to be frozen.

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

10) New ship for Tokelau
By Online Editor
09:50 am GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Tokelau

NZ-administered Tokelau is looking for tenders to design and construct a new ship for the tiny islands.

The Matua, which is on a short term lease, is currently operating the Apia – Tokelau route.

A marine engineering company was appointed by the NZ Government to find out what the people wanted and designed a concept based on that.

The result was the new vessel is to be 40-50 metres long and seat sixty people.

Tenders close on April 7 and there will be a two year time frame to complete the process.

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

11) More progress on Tongan visa fraud
By Online Editor
1:08 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Tonga

A Tongan investigation into how convicted criminals had their records wiped by police so they could travel will be completed within a month.

The Solicitor General, is leading the investigation involving the actions of fifteen police officers over the space of a year.

Of the 172 people who had their records wiped, 52 got visas and made it to New Zealand.

Immigration authorities have deported three of them who were overstayers and another left voluntarily. They will decide the fate of the others – some of whom are now holders of residence and temporary visas – on a case by case basis.

It’s also been confirmed that 18 of the criminals fraudulently obtained Australian visas.

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

Franis:

12) Vanuatu: Edward Natapei veut exclure l’Indonésie du Groupe Mélanésien

Posté à 19 March 2013, 14:14 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance a octroyé le statut d’observateur à la voisine Indonésie en 2011.

Le chef de l’opposition vanuataise Edward Natapei demande au gouvernement d’exclure l’Indonésie du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance, où elle a un statut d’observateur depuis 2011.

Dans un deuxième temps, l’ancien Premier ministre estime que le Groupe devra ensuite accueillir la Papouasie Occidentale comme membre de plein droit. Ces questions seront peut-être discutées lors du prochain Sommet du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance, qui se tiendra en juillet en Nouvelle-Calédonie.

www.radioaustralia.net.au

13) Australie: les visas 457 dans le viseur

Mis à jour 19 March 2013, 14:41 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le Ministre de l’Immigration promet de sanctionner les employeurs qui embauchent trop facilement des travailleurs qualifiés étrangers sous visa 457.

En Australie, le visa 457 attire de plus en plus de travailleurs venus des Etats-Unis et d’Europe.

Il s’agit d’un visa de travail renouvelable tous les quatre ans.

C’est la Première ministre sortante, Julia Gillard, qui a lancé ce thème de campagne il y a trois semaines. Sur les 125 000 visas 457 accordés en 2012 – un record, elle affirme qu’il y a eu trop d’abus. Et selon Julia Gillard, le secteur de la technologie est particulièrement friand de travailleurs étrangers, les tricheries y seraient courantes.

Une affirmation contredite par le Groupe de l’Industrie Australienne, qui lui, fait part d’un manque de travailleurs qualifiés dans les postes techniques en Australie. En cause : le nombre des diplômés australiens dans ces disciplines, divisé par deux en 10 ans.

Voilà qui a créé un malaise au gouvernement. Alors vendredi, le Ministre de l’Immigration est monté au créneau. Brendan O’Connor, au micro d’Alexandra Kirk sur l’ABC :

«Je n’ai pas vu les chiffres. Chaque partie dans cette affaire a un point de vue dicté par ses intérêts. Et en disant cela, je ne veux manquer de respect à personne. Mais je n’ai pas vu ces chiffres. Mes services m’ont communiqué des chiffres qui montrent que dans certains secteurs il y a eu énormément de demandes de visas 457 et énormément de visas accordés. Ce qui suggère qu’il y a des abus.»

Peter Anderson, le directeur de la chambre de commerce et d’industrie australienne, rentre d’une tournée en Asie. Il redoute un retour de balancier désastreux si le gouvernement australien s’attaque aux travailleurs étrangers. Car beaucoup d’Australiens qualifiés sont employés dans les pays d’Asie. Ce serait cher payer pour un problème monté en épingle, selon lui :

«Il n’y a pas plus d’abus sur les visas 457 que dans tout autre domaine du monde du travail, certains employeurs qui embauchent des Australiens commettent aussi d’autres types d’abus. Il n’y a pas plus d’irrégularités dans l’embauche d’étrangers sous visa 457 que dans l’embauche d’Australiens.»

Le gouvernement n’avance toujours aucun chiffre sur les abus, et le nombre d’emplois occupés par des étrangers mais qui devraient être pourvus par des Australiens. Brendan O’Connor:

«Je ne cible pas un secteur en particulier. Il faut analyser tous les secteurs et dans chaque secteur, évaluer chaque profession. Le plus important, c’est que les employeurs tentent d’abord de trouver des employés locaux, d’investir dans leur formation, au lieu d’avoir recours tout de suite à la solution de facilité, qui est d’embaucher un travailleur étranger sous visa 457. Plus ça va, plus on risque de créer une sous-classe dans notre pays, comme le fait si justement remarquer l’opposition. Dans certains secteurs, le nombre de visas 457 est totalement disproportionné par rapport à la croissance du marché de l’emploi et à la demande de travailleurs qualifiés. L’immigration a contribué à la construction de ce pays, mais nous ne permettrons pas les abus.»

Mais pour Peter Anderson, ce débat n’a qu’une motivation : la campagne électorale ouverte en janvier et qui va s’éterniser jusqu’au 14 septembre, date du scrutin:

«Nous sommes tout à fait prêts à en parler avec le gouvernement et à réfléchir sur des réformes s’il nous apporte la preuve qu’il y a des abus. Mais des changements introduits hâtivement, en pleine campagne électorale, ne vont pas dans l’intérêt de long-terme de l’économie australienne, du marché du travail, et ils empêcheraient l’émergence d’un débat public constructif sur les travailleurs étrangers.»

Peter Anderson, le directeur de la chambre de commerce et d’industrie australienne, interrogé par Samantha Donovan sur l’ABC.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

14) Tonga, le pays où les casiers sont vierges

Mis à jour 19 March 2013, 14:35 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le Ministère de l’Immigration australien pourrait expulser une partie des 18 Tongiens dotés de visas frauduleusement obtenus.

Entre 2001 et 2011, 172 anciens délinquants ou criminels tongiens ont pu faire effacer leur casier judiciaire.

Entre 2001 et 2011, 172 délinquants et criminels tongiens ont réussi à faire effacer leur casier judiciaire. L’un d’entre eux avait purgé une peine de prison pour homicide volontaire. D’autres pour coups et blessures.

Munis d’une lettre officielle de la police tongienne, ces candidats à l’exil, ont pu obtenir des visas et venir travailler ou étudier en Australie et en Nouvelle-Zélande.
Après enquête, les autorités australiennes n’ont pour l’instant retrouvé que 18 de ces Tongiens. Dans la foulée, elles ont annulé 3 de ces 18 visas.

Quant à la Nouvelle-Zélande, elle a déjà expulsé 4 Tongiens et enquête toujours sur le parcours de 48 autres ressortissants.

Parallèlement, à Tonga, le commissaire de police Grant O’Fee, qui a révélé l’affaire il y quelques semaines, mène sa propre enquête:

«A Tonga nous n’avons pas de loi prévoyant l’effacement automatique des casiers judiciaires au bout d’un certain temps, comme c’est le cas en Nouvelle-Zélande, en Australie et au Royaume-Uni. Il semble qu’un ancien ministre de la police, aujourd’hui décédé, ait autorisé des officiers supérieurs à effacer les casiers judiciaires de Tongiens qui souhaitaient émigrer. Ça partait sûrement d’une bonne intention, il voulait donner une seconde chance à des jeunes qui avaient fait des bêtises et effacer leurs condamnations pour des actes de petite délinquance. Il n’y a jamais eu de trace écrite de cet ordre, c’est devenu une règle tacite. Mais clairement, c’est très mauvais pour la réputation de Tonga, de mentir ainsi aux autorités d’un autre pays! C’est très préoccupant, mais j’essaie de traiter l’affaire en prenant en compte le contexte de l’époque.»

15 policiers tongiens sont ciblés par l’enquête, dont 6 seraient toujours en activité:

«Quelques policiers ont effacé beaucoup de casiers judiciaires, l’un d’eux est soupçonné d’en avoir effacé une trentaine. Nous enquêtons sur ces officiers. Mais à ce stade de l’enquête, nous n’avons pas trouvé de preuves d’un échange d’argent entre les policiers et les délinquants blanchis.»

Le commissaire tongien Grant O’Fee, au micro de Dominique Schwartz sur Radio Australie.  http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

Health:

15) Court: Pay nurses

By TODAGIA KELOLA

WHILE the O’Neill-Dion Government through its Health Minister Michael Malabag is doing everything under the sun to attract qualified nurses back to public hospitals, actions of a Chief Executive Officer of a hospital and the Secretary for Health may be opposite as found by the National Court.
The National court in its deliberation on a Judicial Review application last week by three retired nurses against the CEO of the Port Moresby General Hospital, Sam Vegogo and the Health Secretary Pascoe Kase, found that the retired nurses were treated badly in their final payouts.
THE three former nurses, Jomino Holee, Paula Vuvu and Gauealele Samuel are women now aged in their sixties.
They were employed as nurses at Port Moresby General Hospital for more than 40 years before being required to retire in 2009. They took the view that they should be paid retrenchment benefits in addition to normal retirement benefits but the CEO of the Hospital disagreed, and they left employment without being paid those additional benefits. Being unable to resolve the dispute, they complained to the Public Services Commission which inquired into their complaints and made decisions in their favour.
This required the chief executive officer of the Port Moresby General hospital and the Health Secretary to include the three additional categories of benefits in their final entitlements.
But the chief executive officer and the Secretary failed to comply with the decisions resulting in the three nurses bringing a judicial review proceeding seeking a declaration that the decisions of the Public Services Commission were binding and an order in the nature of mandamus compelling the defendants to comply with the PSC decision and damages.
Justice David Cannings in his decision said “The PSC decisions of 28 March 2012 have not been set aside or amended or revoked. They have remained in place but they have been ignored. The failure of the chief executive officer and the Secretary for Health to comply with the decisions is manifestly unlawful. It is also contrary to the principles of natural justice as no reasons have been given for the failure to comply.”
He had no hesitation to grant the reliefs sought by the three retired nurses and awarded them K10,000 each for damages.
“This is not a normal case. The court is faced with an extraordinary case. Three women who have served the people of this country and the patients of our largest public hospital with distinction (evidence of which is before the court) in a profession of such critical importance as the nursing profession have been treated with disdain and neglect by their former employers, the very persons who should have applauded and thanked them. They have been forced into court unnecessarily. Why the Solicitor-General did not concede this case upon its commencement is unknown. The plaintiffs worked as nurses for more than 40 years and they deserve to be compensated for the suffering that they have had to endure over the last four years, and in particular over the last ten months, in getting their just rewards for the enormous contribution that they have made to the health and well being of the People” said Justice Cannings.
He ordered that the lawyer for the defendants and the lawyers for the plaintiffs meet forthwith to settle on the precise amounts of money that must be paid to the three former nurses.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130319/tuhome.htm

16) Poor nutrition a growing problem

By Maureen Gerawa

POOR nutrition affecting children is a problem in Port Moresby but also a growing problem in many rural areas.
Dietician/nutritionist at the Port Moresby General Hospital Evelyn August, when commenting on the issue, says the signs are obvious in many communities, with some more obvious than in others.
She says parents should not be giving junk foods to their children before proper meals because they need good food to build their bodies up.
She says, when the children are full with junk food, they can’t eat their meals.
She was speaking at a small but significant event at PMGH’s Family Support Centre on Thursday, in which she did a demonstration on the preparation of food for a patient who wasn’t able to eat her food as a normal person would.
Six-year-old Salome Mark, originally from Hela Province, is bedridden and is currently on ventilator at the Intensive Care Unit where she is being fed through a tube.
Her parents have been advised that they would be taking her home, but unlike before, she would have to rely on them to take good care of her, including preparing her food carefully so it can be taken in through the tube as it is done at the hospital.
The mother was with Salome at ICU while her husband Mark Andrew attended the demonstration.
Ms August has used this opportunity to educate Mr Andrew on the importance of ensuring that the food was nutritious, so that it will build the child’s body and protect her from illnesses. Processed food was discouraged as it could be harmful to her.
Salome’s illness was diagnosed as Guillain-Barre syndrome (a disorder affecting the nervous system), and has almost crippled her.
While doctors may have their own explanation on the cause of this illness, she says she has her own based on the patients she’s talked to, as well as from a small survey she conducted at a settlement in Port Moresby a few years ago. From this, she says she has come to the conclusion that some of these cases were due to poor nutrition.
She said a growing child needed good meals, however, due to poor nutrition many children as well as adults were falling prey to such illnesses and others that could not be treated with drugs.
When Salome’s legs began to grow weak for an unknown reason, her parents took her to Mt Hagen Hospital where she was put on tuberculosis treatment and when this did not work, she was referred to PMGH late last year.
Not long after she became bedridden.www.postcourier.com.pg

Law & Order:

17) 60 caught in 30 mins

Nasik Swami
Tuesday, March 19, 2013-Fiji Times

NEWLY-INSTALLED speed and red light cameras around the country are capturing up to 60 motorist offences every 30 minutes, it has been revealed.

Land Transport Authority spokesman Iliesa Sokia said the figures were shocking as the cameras were only on a trial basis at the moment. Mr Sokia said between the Suva and Nausori corridor, the cameras captured up to 700 offences in a day prompting the authority to issue a stern warning to drivers to be cautious of the law.

“The infringements are serious and the motorists should be cautious with the new cameras in place,” he said.

Mr Sokia said the speed and red light cameras could identify up to four infringements at a particular time. He said LTA was in the process of getting approval from the Department of Weights and Measures before the cameras go live on the roads lawfully.

“This will take a few days. After the machines are certified, fines will be issued to offenders,” he said. The fines for speeding and crossing the red lights range from $80 to $100 and up to $250 for a range of four infringements committed by one motorist.

18) PNG Law Reform Group Advises Repeal Of Sorcery Act
Chairman says act irrelevant, ineffective and unenforceable

By Elizabeth Miae

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 18, 2013) – The Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) has recommended to Papua New Guinea’s government that the Sorcery Act 1971 be repealed.

A report titled “Review of the law on sorcery and sorcery-related killings” was given to the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Kerenga Kua last Tuesday to bring to cabinet before being tabled it in parliament.

CLRC chairman Benjamin Poponawa announced this at a press conference in Port Moresby last Friday.

“Anyone involved in killing, even an alleged sorcerer will be charged under the criminal law,” he said. “The Sorcery Act is irrelevant and ineffective and cannot be enforced as sorcery in itself is hard to prove with evidence and remains a belief.”

Poponawa said that on April 17, 1977, the then minister for justice, late Sir Ebia Olewale, issued a reference to the former law reform commission on the same issue. But the commission did not complete the report and the reference lapsed.

Then in 2009, former justice minister Dr. Allan Marat issued the terms of reference to enquire into and report on the extent of enforcement of the Sorcery Act.

It was to identify problems and if any in the enforcement of the act, the commission would propose and recommend appropriate action.

“The law and justice sector program in one of their scoping exercises on sorcery, expressed concern over media reports of the countless people being accused, brutally tortured and killed right across the country but more prominently in Chimbu, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands,” Poponawa said.

He highlighted the findings of study which stated that many of the victims of sorcery related killings as reported in the media were elderly people who were incapable of defending themselves.

He said the study found that more women than men were being accused of practicing sorcery with a ratio of 6:1.

“Sorcery Act gives preferential treatment through reduction in sentencing when sorcery is claimed as a mitigating factor-alleged sorcerers get away with lighter penalties,” he said.

“The time has now come for us to clamp down on the practice of sorcery and in particular sorcery related killings

Poponawa said the courts thought that people were using sorcery as an excuse to kill other people.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

19) Leader calls for tough penalties for rape

CONVICTED rapists should be given tougher penalties, says a women’s leader in the Rabaul District of East New Britain Province.
Businesswoman Rosemary Sovek said this in light of the recent incident at Tavui Number One Village near Rabaul where a young woman was raped by a group of men.
She condemned the incident, adding that their actions were unjust and inhuman and questioned if the men who were involved in raping the woman were either married, had mothers or sisters.
To date, a number of suspects have already been arrested by Rabaul police while some were still on the run.
The woman, from Ramale village in Kokopo, was pack- raped by a group of men earlier this month after she had gone with her cousin sister to her husband’s village at Tavui Number One.
Mrs Sovek, who is a women’s leader under the Rabaul Urban Local Level Government, also condemned another pack-rape incident which occurred at Malaguna Number One village in Rabaul.
She said a woman from Navunarum was raped by 22 men last weekend but ward leaders decided to resolve the matter at the ward level.
Mrs Sovek said some of the suspects were related to her but said that it was out of the ward leaders’ jurisdiction to deal with this criminal matter at the village level.
“This should be taken up and investigated by police,” she said.
She said the suspects were fined over K1000 each by the village leaders but questioned if the young men had money to pay the fines. She was now calling on the ward leaders to bring the matter up with police to investigate and arrest those culprits involved.
“This case cannot be heard at the ward level. It should be exposed. For 22 men to rape a woman is very inhuman,” she said.
Mrs Sovek said they would be celebrating the National and International Women’s Day this weekend and such incidents, especially against women should be reported so justice could prevail. www.postcourier.com.pg
Education:

Business:

20) Crowd at Melanesian market

By DAWN GIBSON
Tuesday, March 19, 2013-Fiji Times

Shoppers at the Melanesian market at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. Picture: DAWN GIBSON

Update: 2:51PM STUDENTS came in the hundreds to witness the Melanesian Market Day at the University of the South Pacific (USP) today.

The market, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), is a display of fresh fruits, island print materials and accessories for sale.

Former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare made an appearance at the market, sighting the different displays of food, fresh produce and Pacific island fabrics.

The market continues throughout the day and opens again tomorrow.

21) Multi-million dollar Bollywood movies to be shot in Fiji

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, March 19, 2013-

Manisha Bajaj, left, the producer of the movie Page No.217, with Tarsem Antil talks to The Fiji Times in Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA

THE production of two multi-million dollar Bollywood movies is expected to start in the country in a few months.

One of the movies will be based on a love story with a suspense angle and murder mystery while the other would be on Fiji.

Manisha Bajaj of Harikrit Films in India said the first movie titled Page No.217 had a budget of between $7million and $9m.

“The other movie which we are planning to make straight after the first one will be more expensive and the two movies are budgeted at around $30million,” she said.

The producer and director was introduced to Fiji by her friend, Babita Kumar, who also hails from India but has been residing here for the past 10 years.

“She told me about the beautiful locations in Fiji and other things and I came down to do the groundwork for the film,” she said.

Ms Bajaj said half of the cast for the first film would be from India and she planned to rope in Fijians to make up the full cast.

“Fiji has a lot of beauty and it has a lot to show to the world. I wish to explore some islands for my movie.

“The benefit here is there are some untouched locations unlike in India where movies have been produced in almost every corner. I want to add something new to my work and we have a passion to make something different. I believe in doing little but doing good and I believe in quality instead of quantity.”

Ms Bajaj said she found the people of Fiji very nice and she thanked the government for the support.

She leaves the country for India today and will return in June to start the production of her first movie.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=228324

22) High internet costs alarming
By Online Editor
3:50 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

A senior US government official says Papua New Guinea will continue to have serious development problems unless it reduces its internet rates like other Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries.

US Apec official Atul Keshap, who was in PNG for a brief visit last week, told the media that countries that were giving their citizens the opportunity to express themselves were the ones that focused on giving them access to internet.

“It’s making sure that people have the opportunity to have access to all the information on the internet, on things such as weather data, crop planting, crop prices, maternal and child health care,” he said.

“For instance, in countries like Bangladesh or India, or in Africa, they have created a regulatory or a business environment in which people have access to very low cost internet, usually through telephone networks and using very inexpensive smart phones. You have access to the entire world of communication, to information and everything else.

“This has a great democratic effect because all of a sudden, people are empowered, they have access to a tremendous amount of information at their fingertips.”

He said countries that gave their citizens access to cheap, broadband internet were reaping the rewards.

“They figured out that by giving people access to this incredible, empowering information right in their hands, and making it easy for them to pay for it, actually has an amazing flow-on effect in terms of prosperity, health, transparency, and so many other different things.

“It creates an empowered citizenry, and an empowered citizenry is one that can really contribute to the nation’s well-being.

“Lowering the cost of internet is something that other big economies have found really helped for the wellbeing of the people.

“You can find (internet) suppliers in other countries who can supply things cheaper than what might be available (in PNG),” Keshap said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

23) Delay in landing rights for airline a shame: PNG Trade Minister
By Online Editor
5:52 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

PNG’s delay in reciprocating a landing rights agreement with Filipino airline Cebu Pacific was a major national embarrassment, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said.

“We are behaving in a disgraceful manner by frustrating Cebu Pacific Air from bringing in three weekly flights into Port Moresby,” Maru said in a statement.

Maru said he was keen to see more competition as “Air Niugini charged one of the highest airfares in the world for both international and domestic routes”.

Air Niugini has been granted landing rights in the Philippines under the agreement and has been sending flights there since last year.

Maru pointed out that airfares, high hotel costs and a poor communications infrastructure were some of the major hindrances to PNG’s tourism industry.

“Any attempts to frustrate Cebu Pacific Air and interest from New Zealand and Indonesia to have direct flights into PNG will not be tolerated,” the minister said, adding that the government felt obliged to reduce costs for the public and the industry.

“Now you have a responsible government and we are committed to introducing more competition to reduce the cost of air travel for both our domestic and international routes consistent with our ‘Open Sky Policy’.”

Maru added that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Transport Minister Ano Pala and Civil Aviation Minister Davis Steven had assured him that appropriate action would be taken this week to grant landing rights to Cebu Pacific Air.

He said the government would no longer be soft on state monopolies but rather serve in the best interests of the people.

Documents from Cebu Pacific indicated that the Transport Department was requested last October to approve 240 seats on an extra-bilateral basis and also permit Cebu Pacific to fly into PNG three times a week but these requests had not been granted.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

24) Airworks to service Solomon Airlines’ international flights
By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Airlines has announced that it is leasing a 737-400 aircraft from Airworks of New Zealand to service its international routes which started on Sunday 17th March.

The lease will last until the end of March while Solomon Airlines’ Airbus A320 undergoes additional maintenance work in the Philippines.

Solomon Airlines General Manager Operations and Commercial, Gus Kraus says the arrangement will ease disruptions in flight schedules faced by international passengers in recent weeks.

“The lease will normalise the airlines international flight schedule and we can renew it should the maintenance work on the Airbus take even longer as we must abide by these maintenance planning issues and ensure we have a clean Airbus on its return to our operation. This added period is mainly trying to source additional parts and ensuring compliance with all the directives from Airbus”

Over the past two weeks, Solomon Airlines has relied on partner airlines Our Airlines (Air Nauru) and Air Vanuatu to provide international support flights after an agreement with Alliance Airlines fell through due to regulatory issues with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia.

“Although costly for Solomon Airlines, this arrangement with Airworks is necessary so that we can continue to provide service to our passengers and the public at large.”

Solomon Airlines also advised that its Dash 8 aircraft, which was unserviceable from Sunday 10th March, 2013 whilst waiting for parts from overseas, had commenced flying again on Friday 15th March, 2013 and is currently maintaining its scheduled operation.

“I would like to thank our passengers for their understanding continued support as well as their patience through this trying time,” said Kraus.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

25) Fiji Airways gets first Airbus A330 as part of rebranding
By Online Editor
4:02 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s elite gathered with hundreds of spectators at Nadi International Airport today to watch the delivery of the holiday’s destination’s first Airbus A330.

There was a carnival atmosphere as aircraft, sporting striking new Fiji Aiways livery, performed a fly-past, and then landed to applause and cheers.

The A330 is a big step for Fiji’s Air Pacific and the island state and is one of three to be delivered this year.

The three planes have a list price of $US600m and sport the latest lie-flat seats in business class and on-demand video throughout the plane. .

Air Pacific, which is rebranding as Fiji Airways, hopes the planes will help the airline better compete against Australian and New Zealand carriers.

It it is the first time Air Pacific, 46 per cent owned by Qantas, has purchased wide-body aircraft and its first Airbus aircraft. Christened The Island of Taveuni, the new plane will go into service on April 2 to Auckland.

Air Pacific chief executive David Pflieger said the national carrier’s success would help create more jobs and bring additional visitors, as well as boosting exports for the Fijian economy. Tourism accounts for about a third of Fiji’s economy and Air Pacific flies in almost two-thirds of the nation’s visitors..

“The arrival of our first Airbus A330 carrying the new Fiji Airways brand and Island of Taveuni name represents an exciting future that is rooted in our more-than-60-year history and service to the people of Fiji as the nation’s flying ambassador,’’ he said.

Another new plane arrives in May, with the third due in November. The Rolls Royce-powered planes will replace two 24-year-old Boeing 747-400s to give the airline a new level of operational efficiency.

The carrier’s rebranding to Fiji Airways will officially take place in June and is part of a strategy aimed at capitalising on high global consumer awareness of Fiji as a holiday destination.

Officials believed airline’s current name and brand were not working because travellers did not associate Air Pacific with Fiji.

The carrier’s research had shown that online holiday-related searches for the word ‘Fiji’ were 10 times greater than those for Air Pacific and that the Fiji Airways name also drove interest in long-haul markets.

In China, a key growth market, the airline was forced to refer to itself as ‘Air Pacific, Fiji’s International Airline’ to avoid confusion with Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific and a Chinese air conditioning company.

Meanwhile, people gathered in numbers at the Suva Foreshore to witness the first ever A330-200 Air Bus fly over Fiji’s Capital this morning.

The Airbus made its maiden voyage from France to Nadi via Hong Kong this morning with President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the First Lady Adi Koila Nailatikau onboard.

Before touch down, the A330 did a fly-by-over to certain locations to allow the people a chance to take a first glimpse of the aircraft.

FijiLive was at the Suva Foreshore and caught up with a few people.

68-year-old Sulueti Waqa of Lutu, Naitasiri who was in the city to sell her produce at the Suva market said when she came to hear about the Airbus this morning, she became very excited and decided to be part of the group to witness the aircraft fly over them.

“It is a proud moment for me to be part of this historic occasion and see the plane fly over us,” she said in the Fijian language.

“I will proudly go home tomorrow and tell my grandchildren and others in the village about the plane and how special I felt to see it fly over my head.”

Benjamin Prasad, 7, a class two student of Suva said since hearing about the aircraft on radio yesterday, he was eagerly awaiting the moment with his grandmother and mother.

“I want to be a pilot when I grow up and I want to fly a Airbus. It was very nice to see the new plane and I just want to fly in it sometime soon,” he said.

Rosemary Barry, a tourist on holiday from Australia said she had read about the Airbus and seen pictures of it on the website and in papers but to actually witness it live over her head was something different.

“The aircraft is simply beautiful. The outside features look great. The design is just amazing and I guess it truly reflects the culture and wonderfulness of Fiji and its people.”

“For sure I would love to grab a flight on the Airbus in the near future,” she added. The aircraft is the first of three ordered in 2011 by the soon to be Fiji Airways while the other two are scheduled to be delivered in May and November.

Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum officially welcomed the new Airbus at the Nadi International Airport.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/ FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

26) Samoa Air delays flights to Pago by a week
By Online Editor
5:50 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2013, Samoa

-Samoa Air’s inaugural flight to American Samoa did not take place last Saturday as scheduled.

A delay of a week has been decided, Chief Executive Officer, Chris Langton told Talamua today.

After discussions with Government, they decided to allow time for everybody to settle down – for officials Customs, Immigration, quarantine at both ends of the inter-Samoa flights to adjust,” Langton said.

“So just to give everybody time to be comfortable we decided to put back the start by a week,” he said.

It involves Government officials to set themselves up at Maota Airport, Savai’i Island, to process what will be international flights.

Government officials in American Samoa will need to prepare themselves similarly.

When Samoa Air received approval from the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority to fly to American Samoa, the first flight was scheduled for last Saturday – from Maota to Pago Pago International Airport.

The inaugural flight is now scheduled for March 26.

But Langton said they can do charters for American Samoa now.

As well as Maota-Pago Pago flights Samoa Air also announced ones between Pago Pago and Fagali’i airport five times weekly between Pago and Fagali’i on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays Samoa time.

The Pago-Fagali’i route might not be opened to Samoa Air however with objections from rival Polynesian Airlines highly likely.

“They should ask us first if they can land at Fagali’i for Pago,” said Chief Executive Officer, of Polynesian Airlines, Taua Fatu Tielu, today.

Polynesian owns Fagali’i Airport.

Samoa Air has permission to use Fagali’i for flights to Savai’i Island, said Taua, but not for flights to Pago Pago.

Nor have they asked to, he said.

“Should a request be put forth, it will be up to the board of Polynesian Airlines to decide if permission is granted of not,” said Taua.

If permission is granted conditions must come into it, like Samoa Air be allowed to land at Fagali’i for Pago only on certain days, a maximum number of flights a day.

“Otherwise we’ll be shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Fagali’i is crucial to the survival of Polynesian, said Taua.

The airport was closed for several years.

It was re-opened in 2009 to give Polynesian an advantage because Fagali’i is closer to town and to American Samoa than Faleolo airport.

The truth is if that hadn’t been done Polynesian would have collapsed by competition at the time from South Pacific Express and Inter Island Airways and their bigger planes, said Taua.

Samoa Air started life as an airline June last year with domestic flights – between Savai’i and Upolu islands.

But from that start it has planned for services to go international.

The airline says it has obtained Cabotage rights from the U.S. Department of Transport to fly domestic flights between the islands of American Samoa.

The American Samoa government strongly supported Samoa Air in that because there is no air link to the Manu’a group.

The airline is also in its final stages of approval for services from Samoa to both Niuatoputapu and Vavau with extensions of service to Niuafoo Island under an agreement with Tonga.

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

Enviromental Issues,Climate Change+

27) An invitation to Afternoon Tea for the Future: Coal Seam Gas- a cleaner future?

Please join us at the Edmund Rice Centre, 15 Henley Road, Homebush West, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm, 21st March 2013 for friendly discussion and interesting, eye-opening, short videos.

Are we heading to a secure, cleaner and brighter future? Is Coal Seam Gas a solution to the limitless demand for energy?  What could be the outcome of ambitious and unrestricted exploration for coal seam gas? Could it be another huge threat to Environmental Sustainability? So many questions to be answered before it’s too late.

Join us to talk about this burning issue that our nation is facing today and its implications for our water, land and agricultural resources, human habitat, biodiversity, climate, landscape and our economy.
Facilitated by Chitra Bedekar.


Should anyone in Canberra be interested….

Climate change: avoiding a 4 degree warmer world
Rachel Kyte, Vice President for the Sustainable Development Network, World Bank
Thursday March 21 @ 5.30pm
Barton Theatre, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU

According to the World Bank, the world will likely heat up by 4 degrees at the end of the century if the global community fails to act on climate change, triggering a cascade of cataclysmic changes.  Drawing on the influential report on the subject which the Bank released in November of last year, World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte will speak at the ANU next Thursday about the risk a 4 degree warmer world poses for development, and what we need to do to avoid it. She will also outline the World Bank Group’s efforts to catalyze climate-smart development and green growth. This event is co-sponsored with the ANU’s Centre for Climate Economics and Policy.

Edward Boydell   |   Climate Change Advisor   |   CARE Australia

ACFID President returns from visiting Kiribati with Pacific Calling Partnership
We had a debriefing meeting with Phil about his reflections on his week in Kiribati leading a delegation consisting of Dr Meredith Burgmann and two senior journalists. He expressed his deep gratitued for all the help he received from our friends and partners in Kiribati.  Phil is preparing a detailed report and we will let you know of other articles and actions that flow form the trip. In th emeantime Phil has suggested that some ways PCP could effectively follow up here in Australia. They include:

Sr Geraldine Kearney will be visiting Kiribati next week becasue of her work for the Good Samaritan Sisters and she will be following up some of Phil’s work by meeting with as many people as she is able to.
Phil and Dr Meredith Burgmann will visit heads of NGOs in Australia to discuss with them the need for more adaptation and development projects that are community driven and small scale.
Try to make contact with the ‘Sea Shepherd’ to see if they might consider going to the Phoenix Islands with a film crew.
Continue to try to get a celebrity to visit Kiribati
Try to  make a range of links with interested organisations in the U.S.
Phil to take up the need for ‘migration with dignity’ as an important and urgent need for Kiribati with his contacts through his role as President of the Refugee Council of Australia.

Encounter the Frontlines of Climate Change: Your chance to experience Kiribati

Encounter Kiribati imersion trip: 13-25 April or 12-25 November 2013
Palms Australia has been preparing, supporting and placing skilled Australian volunteers in communities across Africa, Asia and the Pacific for over 50 years. This year, join Palms on an Encounter journey to visit volunteers in the field, and learn how Australians can work in solidarity with overseas communities to reduce poverty, and assist to mitigate the effects of climate change. As you will travel with a small group, spaces are limited. Reserve your space now for 13-25 April or 12-25 November.  For more information contact Sarah on 02-9518 9551orsarah@palms.org.au or visit www.palms.org.au

Jill Finnane Eco-Justice Program Coordinator

Edmund Rice Centre 15 Henley Rd Flemington – PO Box 2219 Homebush West 2140

Ph: 02 8762 4200   www.erc.org.au

Sports: 

28) Fiji to play open 7s
By Online Editor
1:15 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Fiji

The Digicel Fiji 7s team will this weekend adopt an open pattern of play in a bid to lift the prestigious Hong Kong 7s for a record 14th time.

The national 7s team departed for Hong Kong yesterday seemingly confident of defending the title.

Pressure has been mounting on the team after failing to make an impact in the last leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Coach Alifereti Dere said while the pressure had been bothering them, they would have to rise to the occasion and overcome the obstacles. Dere said they would play to their strength which was open rugby.

He said they had worked on their defence an area which was their downfall in past tournaments.

“We have to lift our performance from Las Vegas,” Dere said.

“We have to build up from there. The focus will be on each team as we face them and we will not underestimate any side.”

“We have worked on our defence and attack and will try to play open rugby. We saw a bit of that in Las Vegas. That is where our strength lies. We will try to maintain that game plan.”

Fiji faces Hong Kong in Pool D at 9.06pm on Friday. The second pool match is against Spain at 2.06pm on Saturday followed by the final pool match at 10.54pm against Canada.

Dere said they would have a couple of scrimmaging sessions in Hong Kong.

“When we get to Hong Kong we will see which teams are available for the hit outs,” Dere said.

“Going in as defending champions always puts pressure on the team. It has been bothering us because in the last leg we did not perform that well. We hope to improve our defence as this was one of our downfall last time. The boys have been quicker at the training sessions.”

“The fans should back the team. We are going out there to perform to our strength and ability.

“For these 12 players and the nine players who make up the training squad, we will work with them for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia. There are some other players who are out there. When we get back from this leg we will discuss our options with the selectors.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

29) Fiji Warriors remain unbeaten
By Online Editor
1:17 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Fiji

The Fiji Warriors rugby side continues their unbeaten run in the Pacific rugby cup after a 37 all draw with the Highlanders development yesterday.

Nemani Nadolo scored two tries with Apisai Domolailai and Aisea Natoga grabbing a try each while nippy Nadroga first five eighth Ratu Naisa Vatu-i-ranuku converted four penalties and three conversions.

The Otago Highlanders development side showed glimpses of brilliance with Lima Sopo-aga leading the charge.

Sopoaga scored 27 of his team’s points with accurate goal kicking and he also scored one of his side’s three tries.

The Warriors will play the Blues development side this Saturday.

SOURCE: FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

30) Sonny Bill in Samoa Rugby League’s wish list
By Online Editor
1:18 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2013, Samoa

Sonny Bill Williams holds Samoan citizenship so qualifies to play for Toa Samoa.

“He’s in our long list for the World Cup,” said president of Rugby League Samoa Incorporated, Tagaloa Fa’afouina Su’a.

Otherwise there is no need to get excited.

The long list sounds a bit like a wish list.

But you never know with Sonny Bill.

When Sonny Bill quit rugby league he came to Samoa, got himself a Samoan passport and used that for travel so as not to be noticed along his journey to rugby union in France.

There was uproar.

Now he’s back in rugby league for the Sydney Roosters, for which he quit the All Blacks, and speculations have arisen again as to his next move because he is a Samoan citizen.

He might just hand out another shock and make himself available for Toa Samoa.

The matter has come up because Toa Samoa is scheduled to meet Tonga in a test on April 20.

Tagaloa said the clash with Tonga is “preparation for the big war” – the World Cup in October.

Toa Samoa has no coach.

Daniel Anderson left the job to take over the NRL referees.

Tagaloa said for a replacement they have two candidates in line, one of whom will be picked as coach on either 27 or 28 March.

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

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