Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 826
Updated 23 March 2013, 7:52 AEST
Vanuatu’s parliament is to vote for a new prime minister shortly.
Vanuatu’s parliament is to vote for a new prime minister shortly.
It follows a marathon High Court session to determine when the new prime minister should be chosen.
The vote follows the resignation of former prime minister Sato Kilman on Thursday, 40 minutes before a no confidence motion against him was due to be heard.
Moana Carcasses is expected to become the country’s next prime minister.
It’s believed he has the support of about 30 of the 52 MPs.
The vote will be held at 10am Saturday local time.
2b) Vote for new Vanuatu PM delayed as crisis continues
The political crisis in Vanuatu continues after a vote scheduled for Saturday morning on who will become the country’s next prime minister was delayed.
The political crisis in Vanuatu continues after a vote scheduled for Saturday morning on who will become the country’s next prime minister was delayed.
After a marathon Supreme Court session which ended in the early hours of this morning, parliament was directed to vote for a new PM at 10am Saturday.
However the government requested a stay of the court order while an appeal against the order was heard.
The Supreme Court rejected the government’s request for a stay of proceedings.
Meanwhile the Speaker, George Wells, has refused to attend parliament.
The opposition is asking Supreme Court Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek to issue an order to have Mr Wells arrested.
The drama follows the resignation on Thursday of former prime minister, Sato Kilman.
He quit the top job forty minutes before a motion of no confidence was due to be brought against him.
Local commentators expect Moana Carcasses will become the country’s prime minister when the vote is finally held.
3) Proposed NFP in Fiji optimistic with release of draft constitution
Posted at 20:36 on 22 March, 2013 UTC
The president of the proposed National Federation Party says he is happy a draft constitution has been released.
The regime released a draft document on Thursday night, calling for feedback from the Fiji people over the next two weeks.
Raman Singh says he is disappointed a constituent assembly has been abolished because there will be no chance of debating the draft, and he doubts the public’s opinions will result in any changes.
But he is optimistic.
“It is I think sufficient to start off the process of democracy. It provides for elections and government formed after elections, after heeding the people’s wishes. So I think it’s a start of processes there. And once a new parliament comes in, they can look at all the provisions there.”
Raman Singh says he does not believe the changes to the constitutional process will have any bearing on the re-registration of political parties and is confident the proposed NFP will succeed in its application.
Radio New Zealand International
4) Bainimarama says he will stand in 2014 elections
Posted at 20:36 on 22 March, 2013 UTC
Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama has announced that he will stand in the 2014 general elections.
FBC says he made the announcement to journalists while testing the tracks at the new ANZ Stadium in Suva.
Mr Bainimarama told reporters he is confident that he will win and that is why he is going to contest the elections.
He also confirmed that he will form a political party.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
5) Niue Set To Benefit From New Solar Power Systems
Engineer says schemes should significantly reduce diesel usage
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 21, 2013) – Niue is set to substantially cut back its diesel use with two solar power developments under construction.
One of the schemes is a 74 kilowatt system being built near the airport with the assistance of the European Union.
The second is a joint venture between Niue and the Japanese government for a 200 kilowatt project at the Tuila power station.
An electrical engineer, who is a consultant to the Niue government, Paul Johnson, says the schemes should cut diesel consumption significantly.
“On a bright sunny day here in Niue, at midday, we will have 100 percent penetration of solar power. Of course the sun doesn’t shine for 18 hours of the day so the diesel will always be needed. So solar panels really anywhere in this part of the world are really used as an offset to diesel.”
The first of two regional summits on renewable energy is being held in Tonga today and tomorrow. The second begins in Auckland on Monday.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
6) Pacific Leaders Energy Summit Opens In Tonga
IRENA says Tonga shows leadership in alternative energy
NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 21, 2013) – A two-day Pacific Leaders Energy Summit started in Nuku’alofa today, with eight leaders sharing experiences, while coming up with models to develop the usage of renewable energy in the Pacific.
The summit at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre, is timely as it is held ahead of a Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland on March 24-26, where Pacific Islands will have the opportunity to present their energy plans and seek donor support for their projects.
Leaders included the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Hon. Henry Puna; the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Hon. Emanuel Mori; the President of Kiribati, Hon. Anote Tong; the Tuvalu Prime Minister, Hon. Willie Telavi; the Samoan Prime Minister, Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi; the Niue Premier, Hon. Toke Talagi; with the Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano. Also attending were development partners, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General Mr. Adnan Z. Amin, and the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Hon. Murray McCully.
Tonga’s Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano said they were to share experiences and plan a united front to face the common problem of energy security and affordability in the region, as people were subjected daily to the hardship imposed by the volatility of the international energy market.
He said leaders in the 2010 Forum meeting called upon its member countries to develop an energy road map as a whole sector approach toward improving energy security, sustainability and accessibility in the region. Tonga with its development partners, invited leaders to share and create ideas together at this summit.
He said the Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) progress would not have come far if it was not for the assistance of its development partners, and it had made significant progress in moving Tonga forward in the energy agenda.
Energy and renewable energy have been identified as a core requirement for development. Some observers had even declared there was no sustainable development without sustainable energy. “The challenge before us is of immense importance and one that has significance and long term implications for our people,” he said.
Lord Tu’ivakano said this summit could be seen as the Pacific’s support to the UN Secretary General’s declaration of sustainable energy for all in 2014-24. Tonga’s Energy Road Map model was presented to participants as a credible model sector approach to energy development.
Tongan leadership in renewable energy
Meanwhile, IRENA Secretary-General Amin told Matangi Tonga the summit is highly significant as it brings together Pacific leaders to discuss a renewable energy future for the region.
“Tonga’s hosting of the event is a demonstration of the leadership it has played in renewable energy in the region,” he said.
Through the work done by IRENA they had seen tremendous opportunity afforded to the Pacific region. “Leaders are 100 percent committed to the target of renewable energy and I think this is the beginning of a new movement hopefully towards transforming to a renewable future,” he said.
“It is our hope at the end of this summit we will achieve a much stronger political commitment in the Pacific to move in the direction. We hope that by bringing major development partners and donors to the table will bring together the political momentum, operational capacity and the knowledge available towards chartering a concrete plan of action for the future in terms of renewable energy in the Pacific.”
Mr. Amin said the Pacific Energy Summit in New Zealand next week was also equally important.
“A lot of development partners will be there, and we expect a number of concrete pledges following up from this meeting of projects to be financed. This meeting is to build the political momentum before moving into an operational plan at the summit in New Zealand,” he said.
The Pacific Leaders Energy Summit is hosted by the Tongan Government and its development partners.
Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/
7) Richard Marles i mekim gutpela wok
Updated 22 March 2013, 16:55 AEST
Igat filing long Pacific olsem Australia Parliementary Secretary blong Pacific Islands Affairs, Richard Marles ibin mekim gutpela wok.
Igat strongpela tingting i stap long sampela kantri long Pacific olsem Australia Parliementary Secretary blong Pacific Islands Affairs, Richard Marles ibin mekim gutpela wok.
Sampela lida na mansave i autim dispela toktok bihain long Mr Marles nau i aut long dispela wok.
Aste Labour Pati na gavman blong Praim Minista Julia Gillard ibin bungim bikpla heve bihaen long sampla memba blong pati ibin sapotim Praim Minista bifo Kevin Rudd long kisim wok olsem lida blong Pati.
Despla heve nau i mekim na Parliamentary sekreteri blong Pacific Island Afeas na Foran Afeas Mr Richard Marles long lusim wok blong en.
Strongpela i stap namel on lida long rijin onsel stat long taem Julia Gillard ibin makim Richard Marles olsem Parliamentary sekreteri blong Pacific Island Afeas na Foran Afeas, emi bin mekim planti gutpla wokbung wantem ol kantri long rijan.
Oposisan lida blong Vanuatu husat ibin prime minister bipo, Edward Natapei nau i tokaut long tingting blong planti lida long rijin long gutpela wok blong Richard Marles.
Na tu, Paul Barker, direkta blong PNG institute of national afeas long Port Moresby itok Mr Marles i wanpela man husat i save long rijin na i save harim tok blong ol lida blong Pacific.
Mr Barker itok tu olsem maski Mr Marles i lusim wok, emi yangpla man iet na em bai gat chance long go hed bihaen taem olsem wanpla lida.
8) Lucky six chosen for Japan scholarships
Saturday, March 23, 2013 ( Melanesia )
Ambassador Eiichi Oshima with scholarship recipients at the Japanese Embassy yesterday. Picture:JONE LUVENITOGA
“THIS scholarship is the seed of all the outstanding achievements the recipients have achieved”.
These were the words of Japanese Ambassador Eiichi Oshima during the farewell of six Japanese government scholarship students yesterday.
Mr Oshima said he was delighted to note that his government continued this scholarship program since its inception in 1982.
He was hopeful the recipients would make use and treasure the opportunity and remember they were chosen out of many applicants all over the world.
Adi Miriama Drauna, a scholarship recipient, said she hoped to be well-equipped with knowledge when she returned to Fiji.
The 21-year-old will undertake research study in health science and nursing at the University of Tokyo from next month to March 2015.
Her proud mum, Losalini Drauna said she was very proud of her daughter’s selection.
“I have been told by the Japanese Embassy that my daughter is very lucky to be able to study at one of the best universities in Japan,” she said.
Prena Chand, a project officer for the Global Climate Change Project at the University of the South Pacific said she was very lucky to be chosen.
is also one of the recipients of the scholarships.
“I am very excited to be chosen as one of the recipients of the Japanese scholarship and I hope to bring back what we lack in Fiji which is being an expert in my field of study,” she said.
9) Teachers in Solomon Islands strike again
Posted at 20:36 on 22 March, 2013 UTC ( Melanesia)
Teachers across Solomon Islands have gone on strike again.
The National Teachers Association says more than 8,000 teachers are on an indefinite strike until the government honours a commitment to pay outstanding salary rises and arrears.
Teachers went on strike earlier this year but returned to work after the government promised to make the payments in three installments over four weeks.
The President of the Teachers’ Association, Samson Faisi, says the government has broken its promise.
“The only proper and most right thing that the government should do is to pay the teachers. That’s all. Go ahead on the re-levelling, pay the arrears then they go back to class.”
Samson Faisi says the government has only paid its dues to about 2,000 teachers and more than 6,000 are still awaiting their pay rises.
Radio New Zealand International
10) Guam Residents Petition To Save University’s Planetarium
‘Friends of the Planetarium’ collect more than 300 signatures (Micronesia )
By Louella Losinio
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, March 22, 2013) – With just several months to go before the closure of the University of Guam (UOG) Planetarium, a local movement has been gathering signatures to urge the university to continue opening its doors.
Planetarium coordinator Pam Eastlick said so far, the “Friends of the Planetarium” has gathered more than 300 signatures on a petition that will eventually be submitted to the UOG administration and the Legislature.
“There are still a lot of people who are very unhappy that the planetarium may close. I don’t think the battle is over yet, but I could be wrong,” she said.
Eastlick said she has received word that the planetarium will close this June.
Last February, Speaker Judith T. Won Pat convened a roundtable meeting with UOG to discuss the impending closure, saying: “Closing the only planetarium in the Marianas without a viable alternative is not an option.”
Won Pat said she trusts that UOG, with the support of the 32nd Guam Legislature, can identify a solution that will allow for the planetarium to continue serving the thousands of students and other interested persons yearly.
Underwood said academic priorities and financial considerations determined the closure of the UOG Planetarium, emphasizing the university does not have infinite resources so it needs to do things that are more clearly connected to its core academic programs.
The UOG president said the planetarium has not been a central feature of the university’s academic planning for several years and the decision to eventually close it was not just to free up space for classrooms.
Eastlick, in a column she wrote for the Variety, acknowledges the university has never had an astronomy program but stressed the planetarium has been useful to the university for 43 years.
Although there are many college courses that incorporate the planetarium in their curricula, Eastlick said there is little question that the main service of the planetarium is not to the university – it is to the community, especially to the schoolchildren and the adults of Guam, the Northern Marianas, and the islands of Micronesia in general.
The UOG Planetarium is the only one in this region, Eastlick stressed, adding the next nearest facility is at least 1,500 miles away.
Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com
11) Tahiti Doctors Strike Over Colleague’s Conditional Salary Cut
Female physician’s pay slashed to gain permanent hospital position (Polynesia)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 21, 2013) – A former president of the doctors union in French Polynesia says a solution to the strike in Tahiti is a new law to stop salary reductions in new permanent contracts.
More than a hundred doctors at several hospitals, including Tahiti’s Taaone Hospital, have gone on strike in support of a female doctor who had her salary cut by about US$22 a month, as a condition of gaining a permanent position at the hospital.
Dr. Jean-Paul Theron, who now works for the agriculture ministry, says parliament should amend or introduce a new law.
“To change the statute of the public doctor in French Polynesia, to avoid the point of the rule which indicates that a new graduate, having passed the contest to become a permanent doctor, must be paid the same salary he had before, when he was a temporary doctor.”
Dr. Jean-Paul Theron says he expects the strike, which began on Wednesday, to be over by the end of next week.
[PIR editor’s note: Theron added that he suspects there is a political motive behind the strike in Tahiti, possibly aimed at attracting attention to next month’s elections. He says almost all of the doctors at Taaone Hospital are from France, and if French Polynesia gains more independence, they may fear their salaries will change.]
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
12) Drug vows broken
Saturday, March 23, 2013 (Melanesia)
POLICE are disappointed with the broken promises of some villagers in the highlands of Navosa.
The comment by police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri follows the uprooting of about 500 marijuana plants so far this year from the area.
Insp Sokomuri said despite extensive awareness programs and the continued fight to stem drug cultivation, the people in the highlands had reverted to drug cultivation.
He said authorities could not supervise villagers all the time so they must learn from the awareness programs conducted by the police and other stakeholders.
“We exhausted almost all avenues last year through drug awareness programs in the fight against drug cultivation and we were promised by the people of Navosa there would be no more marijuana cultivation,” he said.
“We even teamed up with the office of the Commissioner Western, religious organisations and other stakeholders in educating the people of Navosa of the impact of marijuana.
“During our operations, the first phase we put on ‘black gloves’ which was the uprooting of plants and arresting illegal farmers. Then in the second phase, we put on our ‘white gloves’ which included community awareness.
“But all this hard work has been wasted as we have now witnessed marijuana plants being uprooted yet again by our officers.”
Insp Sokomuri said police needed the complete support of all stakeholders in the fight to combat marijuana cultivation.
Assistant roko tui Nadroga Rusiate Raidaveta confirmed there was continuous cultivation of marijuana in the highlands and the uprooting of 290 plants last week was just the tip of the iceberg.
“We have been alerted by some village headmen that many unknown vehicles visited the highlands every week,” said Mr Raidaveta.
“We believe many highlanders have reverted to marijuana cultivation which ceased for some time last year.
“The council is concerned about the continuation of this illegal practice and we are doing our best in educating the people to refrain from cultivating the drug,” he said.
“We believed in these people and the promise that they will leave marijuana cultivation after conducting a series of farm raids and awareness programs.
13) Former Parliament Officer Arrested For Fraud In PNG
Officer accused of stealing $69,711 from state account ( Melanesia )
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 21, 2013) – A major contributing factor towards the high level of fraud in the National Parliament could be due to engagements of unqualified people to hold senior positions within the National Parliamentary Services.
This came to light following the arrest of a former ‘senior officer’ of the parliamentary services yesterday by Police Anti-Fraud Squad for stealing K150,000 [US$69,711] belonging to the National Parliamentary Services.
This is the second arrest following the earlier arrest of his co-accused and former Chief Finance officer of Parliament Charles Aopi. According to police investigations, the accused identified as Lepson Newe was a former security guard of parliament and later engaged as the Travel and Movement Clerk by the former management of Parliament.
He was suspended early last year pending investigations into numerous fraud allegations leveled against him.
Prior to his suspension, and knowing that he would be suspended, he colluded with his co-accused Mr. Aopi and obtained a parliament check leaf. Both accused were signatories to some of the parliament operating accounts prior to their suspension.
While their suspension was affected on September 12, 2012, parliament management on September 14, 2012, instructed the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) on the suspension of the two officers and advised the bank to temporarily freeze transactions on all the seven parliament accounts pending the change of new signatories.
However, police investigations revealed that Mr. Newe and Mr. Aopi allegedly went ahead and used the check leaf they obtained and attempted to transact a sum of K200,000 [US$92,948] from the parliament’s Imprest account, an accounts had revealed as the most abused account out of seven operational accounts of parliament.
According to the investigations, the transaction was done at the BSP’s Paramount Banking branch at Habour City, Port Moresby.
Because the account only had K162,000 [US$75,288] in it, the two accused redrafted the check to K150,000 and successfully withdrew the amount.
The question now fraud officers are asking is the manner in which the bank allowed the transaction when the bank was well informed in advance on the duos suspension and the temporary suspension of parliament accounts.
The investigators said they will launch further investigations into the matter to identify the banking officer that facilitated the payments and further arrests would be made.
The arrests of the parliament officers were in line with the current Speaker’s move to clean up the rot in the parliamentary services.
PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/
14) Fiji Judiciary Established New Tax Court
New court to help fast-track pending taxation cases ( Melanesia)
By Tevita Vuibau
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 21, 2013) – A tax court has been established for the first time in the history of Fiji’s judicial system.
This was revealed yesterday by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) following the appointment of Justice Chandrasiri Kotigalage as the tax judge.
With this appointment, FRCA says all tax cases pending before the courts will be fast-tracked.
Previously tribunals were appointed to attend to tax matters and these included the Court of Review for Income Tax and the VAT tribunal for VAT under the respective Income Tax Act and VAT Decree.
The tax court and a tax tribunal were established in line with provisions in the Tax Administration Decree (TAD). The tax court is a division of the High Court while the tax tribunal is a subordinate to the High Court.
FRCA chief executive officer Jitoko Tikolevu welcomed the establishment of a tax court and the appointment of the new tax judge saying that the authority appreciated government’s support to ensure improvement in processes and delivery of services.
“FRCA is pleased to have Justice Kotigalage as the tax judge. His appointment will greatly assist in expediting tax matters that are pending in court,” Mr. Tikolevu said in a statement yesterday.
“FRCA collects 90 percent of the government revenue and it is important for cases relating to tax to be given top priority,” he said.
Justice Kotigalage’s appointment became effective on February 26.
Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.
15) Former Samoa MP Fined By Court For Illegal Land Sale
Toluono, already in jail for forgery, faces $50,843 ( Polynesia)
By Lanuola Tupufia
APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 21, 2013) – A former Member of Samoa’s Parliament who is in jail for forgery in relation to a land transaction, Toluono Feti Toluono, has been ordered to pay WST$120,000 [US$50,843] to a woman who sued him over another fraudulent land sale.
Supreme Court Justice, His Honor Lesatele Rapi Va’ai yesterday awarded landowner, Rosita Burke, WST$90,000 [US$38,132] for special damages and WST$30,000 [US$12,710] for general damages.
“Exemplary damages are dismissed,” Justice Lesatele said.
Neither Toluono nor Mrs. Burke was in Court for the decision. But their lawyers, Tole’afoa Solomona Toailoa, for Toluono, and Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma, for Mrs. Burke, were present.
The decision was brief. Justice Lesatele said a written ruling would be distributed to both parties once it is available.
Asked for a comment yesterday, Fepulea’i said; “The Court has made its decision and I have no other comment… Mrs. Burke is in New Zealand at the moment.”
Mrs. Burke, of Lano, Savai’i and Hamilton, New Zealand, had sought compensation of WST$80,000 [US$33,895] for the quarter-acre of land that was gifted to her by her aunt, Estelle Churchward, which Toluono had illegally sold. She had also asked for WST$50,000 [US$21,184] for the mental stress caused by the defendant’s dishonesty and an additional WST$50,000 for exemplary damages.
The dubious land deal surfaced in 2010. At the time, Toluono was a Member of Parliament.
It emerged that he was registered in official documents as the owner of the piece of land at Tuanaimato that belonged to Maka Rosita Burke.
According to official documents, the land transfer was witnessed by lawyer Tuimaleali’ifano Eti Va’aletoa. His signature appears in the deed of ownership as the “Solicitor for the Purchaser.”
Mrs. Burke at the time said her signature on the land transfer document appears to have been forged.
She maintained that she did not sell her land. Mrs. Burke was born in Sa’asa’ai, Savaii, on 2 September 1946. Her maiden name is Maka Rosita Stowers.
She went to New Zealand, met her husband there and married; since then they’ve been in Hamilton with their family.
On 16 July 1981, Mrs. Burke inherited a piece of land from her “aunt” Estelle Churchward, wife of a retired accountant; the couple lived in Apia.
Located at Tuana’omato the land is described as “Parcel 1196 being parts of Parcels 973 and 974 Fur V Upolu and part of the land registered in VOLUME 9 FOLIO 151 of the Land Register of Western Samoa as the same is more particularly delineated on Plan 4317 deposited in the Office of the Director of Lands at Apia.”
In one of the relevant official documents Mrs. Churchward is recorded as saying she “gifted” the piece of land to Rosita Stowers “in consideration of the natural love and affection” she had for her. The deed of conveyance was signed by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue on 7 August 1981.
Over the years Mr. and Mrs. Burke visited Samoa on their holidays. And in all those times they drove up to Tauna’imato and went past their land there thinking about the future. One of these days, they thought to themselves, they would build a house there.
But it was always Sa’asa’ai in Savaii where Mrs. Burke was born that her mind was focused. It is where her heart lies. So that after taking a peek at their land at Tuana’imato they traveled to Savai’i and spent most of their holidays there.
On 27 July 2010, the Burkes again visited Samoa for a short holiday. This time they drove up to Tuana’imato to have a look at their land.
“It was the first thing we did when we arrived,” Mrs. Burke said. And what they saw gave them the shock of their lives.
“We were completely surprised,” Mrs. Bourke said. “The land was gone. It was no longer there.”
Instead a house stood on what used to be their land “and all the coconut trees” have been felled and clear away.
“We were shocked,” the Burkes said. “A fence (is installed around) our two quarter acre section and there were no coconut trees anywhere.”
Last year, the former General Manager of the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) was jailed for five years and six months after he was found guilty of 15 charges of false pretense, forgery and uttering forged documents either as a principal, instigator or abettor.
Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/
16) North Korea Threatens U.S. Bases On Guam, Okinawa
Guam officials ‘confident’ in island’s safety (Micronesia)
By Armando Cordoba
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 22, 2013) – North Korea threatened military bases on Guam and Okinawa, saying the United States shouldn’t forget that those bases are within its missile strike range.
A North Korean command spokesman issued a statement to the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency for North Korea, yesterday, naming Andersen Air Force Base.
“The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Andersen Air Force Base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear-powered submarines are deployed,” he said.
Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, in response to the threat, said she “remains confident in our nation’s defense capabilities in protecting the United States and Guam from any threats or attacks to our security.”
North Korea’s threat to attack Guam was made in response to the use of nuclear-armed U.S. B-52 bombers in the recent joint war games between South Korea and the United States.
“This is a vivid expression of the crudest violation of the Korean Armistice Agreement and all the north-south agreements,” the North Korean spokesman said.
Guam’s location is part of the U.S. military platform in the Asia-Pacific region. It’s also the closest U.S. territory to North Korea.
Confident in safety
Mark Calvo, the governor’s director for the military buildup, said his office hasn’t spoken with military officials since North Korea issued its threat.
However, he said, previous talks with the Department of Defense (DoD) have assured the island’s government that the military does have installations in place to shield the island from attack.
Calvo also said the administration has been told by Defense officials the department “does have some resources in the region” to boost the island’s security.
These resources are ground-based missile interceptor programs in the U.S. mainland in Alaska and California, others are on boats and bases in Japan and in Hawaii, according to Pacific Daily News files.
[PIR editor’s note: Pentagon officials, just days ago, assured that Guam, along with other areas away from the contiguous 48 states, are protected by the U.S. missile defense system.]
The threat comes just days after Sen. Frank Aguon Jr. and Gov. Eddie Calvo sent letters to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, questioning Guam’s safety in light of the rising North Korean threat, and to consider the island for ground-based missile interceptor sites.
Aguon and Calvo sent the letters in response to the Obama administration’s announcement it would be installing 14 new missile-interceptor sites at Fort Greely in Alaska, as counter-measures to any possible missile attack from North Korea to the mainland.
And the GovGuam officials wanted to know where Guam fit within that defense strategy.
Aguon yesterday said he hopes nothing materializes from the threats but said the U.S. military can shield the island from a threat.
“I have every confidence in military forces that we’ll be able to defend not only Guam, but all our military assets,” Aguon said.
About two weeks ago, media reported that North Korea threatened the nation.
The first threat came after the U.N. unanimously passed sanctions set out to minimize North Korea’s financial capabilities to further pursue nuclear technology after it ran nuclear tests on Feb. 12.
Since the sanctions North Korea has expressed its anger at the provocations of the U.S. and its complete disregard in complying with the armistice, which ended the Korean War in 1953.
Channel News Asia reported that military tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest levels in years.
“The world will clearly see the provocateurs, who hurt the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, meet a miserable end in the flames of justice kindled by the army and the people of the DPRK to defend its sovereignty,” the North Korean spokesman said in his statement.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, during a visit to Seoul, sent a message to both Koreas: warning Pyongyang over recent threats and reassuring South Korea that military backing won’t be hurt by a U.S. budget debate, according to The Associated Press.
Carter told reporters Monday that Pyongyang’s threats would only deepen Washington’s defense commitment to Seoul. He said that includes a “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee for Seoul, which doesn’t have atomic weapons.
In June 2006, the Associated Press wrote an article marking an agreement between Japan and the U.S. to deploy advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan for the first time, in response to North Korean test-fires of long-range ballistic missiles.
A mock enemy warhead was launched successfully from Kodiak, Alaska, but the interceptor failed to get off the ground from its launch site in the Marshall Islands, according to The Washington Post. The mock warhead crashed into a northwest area near Wake Island, which is about 1,506 miles from Guam.
Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com
17) PM Decides Against Extending Ok Tedi Mine Lease In PNG
O’Neill accuses majority stakeholder of failing in mandate (Melanesia)
By Liam Fox
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 21, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says he won’t extend the lease for the Ok Tedi mine unless there is more government oversight of its major shareholder.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has long criticized Ok Tedi’s major shareholder, the Singapore-based charitable trust PNG Sustainable Development Program or PNGDSP.
Mr. O’Neill has accused the trust of failing to live up to its mandate to use the mine’s dividends to promote development in PNG.
The mine’s lease is due to expire later this year and Mr. O’Neill has told parliament he won’t agree to extend it to 2022 under the current arrangements.
“This partnership is not working. Like any marriage that is not working there must be a time for divorce,” he said.
Mr. O’Neill says the government should have more oversight of PNGSDP, and he wants to restructure its board to include more Papua New Guineans.
Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
Enviromental Issues/Climate Change+
18) Chiefs sign marine protection deal
Saturday, March 23, 2013
TUI Wailevu Ratu Kinijoji Maivalili and the 27 chiefs under his leadership have today signed a memorandum of understanding known as the Wailevu Ecosystem-Based Management Plan.
The plan is aimed at creating marine protected areas to improve the balance of marine life and the marine ecosystem through the wise management of natural resources on land and in the sea.
Ratu Kinijoji said 27 villages in his district had shown their consent and gratitude to him and the Wildlife Conservation Society for the vision in setting up such a plan.
“There comes a time when we all have to realise that we have to also consider the future and this program is about providing more for now and more for the future too,” he said.
“I am grateful to my people for taking this stand and realising the importance in establishing a sustainable ecosystem.
“We have also set up ecosystem management committees that will, from time to time, liaise with their chiefs during their village meetings to highlight any environmental issue that needs to be addressed.”
Ratu Kinijoji also lauded the support from the Wildlife Conservation Society for actively working with them and opening their eyes on the reality that needed to be addressed to keep the balance of nature.
WCS vanua liaison officer Sirilo Dulunaqio said they provided the knowledge and technical support of keeping the management plan intact to the local people but added that at the end of the day, it was up to the resource owners to either stay true to the plan or otherwise.
19) Vanuatu aims for upset against unbeaten New Zealand
Saturday, March 23, 2013
THE Moise Poida coached Vanuatu team is gunning for an upset win over favourites New Zealand today in bid to keep their hopes alive in the OFC U20 play-offs.
The Vanuatu team shocked Fiji scoring two early goals in the opening match before succumbing to a 2-3 loss at the end.
Poida said the loss had made their campaign difficult.
“Three points in the first game would have been beneficial for us,” he said.
“It has become difficult but we always stay positive. There are three more games left so the hope is still there.”
“We will take each match seriously and aim to bounce back. New Zealand will be tough but we will try to upset them. The boys will go out there and give their best shot.”
The afternoon heat in Lautoka should favour the Vanuatu team. The side will be heavily relying on Seloni Iaruel and Jean Kaltack both of whom represented the country in the 2012 OFC Nations Cup. Vanuatu finished third in the 2011 OFC U20 play-offs in New Zealand. The Vanuatu versus New Zealand fixture kicks-off at 2pm at Churchill Park.http://www.fijitimes.com/
20) HK hit hard
Emoni Narawa In Hong Kong
Saturday, March 23, 2013- (Melanesia)
Ilai Tinai runs past the attempted tackle of a Hong Kong player to score Fiji’s first try at the Hong Kong 7s last night. Picture: Ian Muir
ILAI Tinai ignited the Digicel Fiji Sevens team to a firing start at the Hong Kong 7s tournament beating the hosts 36-0 in the opening pool clash last night.
Tinai, who filled in for the injured Joji Ragamate in the playmaker’s position, orchestrated play beautifully to set up the tries in the opening spell which saw Fiji race to a comfortable 26-0 lead at the breather.
The Wardens player scored the opening try in the match followed by a double from sprinter Samisoni Viriviri to lead 19-0.
Returning Osea Kolinisau was sinbinned for a high tackle but Fiji maintained composure and even with a man down scored another try through Tinai to lead 0 at the break.
Coach Alifereti Dere and stand-in trainer Tomasi Cama took turns to psych the players up at the break.
The Nemani Nagusa-skippered side made a slow start in the second half but replacement winger Benito Eremasi added life back into the team’s performance with two tries to seal the 36-0 win.
Nadroga man Sakuisa Gavidi made his debut in the starting line-up while other newcomers Donasio Ratubuli and Emosi Mulevoro came off the bench.
Dere was impressed with the win and thanked Cama and Waisale Serevi for the boost they provided in the build-up.
“The plan was to minimise the rucks and the boys did fairly well in that area,” he said.
Today, Fiji play Spain in its second pool match at 2.06pm and will face Canada at 10.54pm.
21) Solomon Islands to rely on youth against Tahiti
Posted at 18:37 on 22 March, 2013 UTC (Melanesia)
Solomon Islands football captain Henry Fa’arodo is hoping that youthful enthusiasm can cover the loss of some key players in tonight’s Oceania World Cup qualifying match against Tahiti.
With both teams out of the running to top the group, the Solomon’s have sent an under-strength team to Papeete, with Fa’arodo and striker Benjamin Totori the only household names.
Fa’arodo will also handle the coaching duties tonight, with regular boss Jacob Moli remaining in Honiara, and says it will be an interesting test for the new faces in the squad.
“I know how they feel right now sort of thing and it’s just that I hope that it doesn’t affect them in a negative way. I just hope that being called up will give them that extra eagerness and hopefully they soak it in before and seize the moment when they get on the pitch and they’re not too nervous and stuff.”
Radio New Zealand International