Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 828

MELANESIA:

1) Women urged to work together

MINISTER for Finance and Education James Marape has urged all women to work together to address women issues in the country.
“Your voice will be heard if you work together to present your issues to the Government and all stakeholders,” he said in Port Moresby yesterday when he hosted a breakfast to commemorate National Women’s Day.
Mr Marape said that while the day was a time to celebrate women’s achievements, it was also a time to reflect on how PNG had addressed the issues that were affecting its women every day.
He further stressed the need for all women to work together to achieve their goals. “Women yourselves are sometimes your own obstacles. You have to have one voice to overcome the stereotypes,” added Minister Marape.
He urged all men in Papua New Guinea to see women as their helpmates.
He drew on the creation story in the Bible, saying that if God didn’t have a plan for women, he wouldn’t have created the first woman, Eve.
“So if God has a plan for women, let’s all work together to achieve and do our best to help our women,” said Mr Marape.
He added that the Government was committed to giving women their place in society and as leader of Government Business, he pledged his support for the National Council of Women’s bill and other laws to protect the vulnerable in PNG society.
Mr Marape paid tribute to the men who have helped the women in their fight for equal rights and also urged more men to support the cause.
“We all have to do our bit to help women progress and I am pleased to note that there has been an increase in the number of female enrolment in our schools and tertiary institutions,” he said.
He added that to help the women progress, “we need to start small in our families, our communities and our workplaces’’.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130326/tuhome.htm

2) NCW bill promotes women’s cause

By Paeope Ovasuru

THE National Council of Women’s (NCW) bill is aimed at promoting women representation at all levels of Government in the country.
Secretary of Constitutional Law Reform Committee Dr Eric Kwa explained this yesterday.
He said the bill had gone through two readings in Parliament and was hopeful that it would be passed this week.
Dr Kwa said the bill would enable women to have representation at all levels of government – national, provincial, district and the local level government.
He said NCW currently had representation at only the national and provincial levels.
“We want to involve women at the rural level so that they can come out and speak up about the challenges and issues that they face,” he said.
He elaborated that the NCW bill was drafted in 2007 but was put on hold when the then Minister for Community Development and Religion Dame Carol Kidu asked his committee to draft the bill for 22 reserved seats.
He said in addition to promoting women’s representation, he hoped that the bill would also help women take up leadership roles in all government levels.
“We hope that through this bill, more women leaders will come through that system to speak up for equal representation and equal rights,” he said.
However, Dr Kwa pointed out the Government needed to support the women’s cause financially.
“We hope that with the passing of the bill, the Government will look at increasing funding for NCW,” he said.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130326/tuhome.htm

3) Thailand and PNG to bolster bilateral ties

By ISAAC NICHOLAS

PAPUA New Guinea and Thailand have opened a new chapter in expanding cooperation and forging partnerships at the bilateral, regional and international levels.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill also gave his undertaking that PNG will establish an embassy in Bangkok during a joint media conference with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra at Parliament House yesterday.
Mr O’Neill also accepted an invitation from the Thai Prime Minister to make a reciprocal visit to the country to cement this relationship between the two countries.
“I want to take the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister of Thailand for making this historic visit at the invitation of the government and the people of Papua New Guinea,” PM O’Neill said.
“Today we talked about bilateral issues and at the same time we talked about increasing trade and investment and the need for the two governments to do more for business and for people-to-people relations to be strengthened,” he said.
The two prime ministers also witnessed and signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) that will further cement the relationship between the two countries.
“Papua New Guinea proposes to establish a fully-fledged embassy in Bangkok on behalf of the country and we hope Thailand sometime in the future will do the same in PNG,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Thank you for joining me in Port Moresby and I will look forward to seeing you in Thailand and I thank you for the invitation you have extended to me and the people of Papua New Guinea,” PM O’Neill told his counterpart.
Thailand PM Yingluck expressed her and the delegation’s appreciation to the Prime Minister, the government and people of PNG for the warm welcome on her first official visit to PNG.
She said during the visit there were 30 private sector and business people accompanying her to look at investment opportunities in PNG.
The Thai PM said PNG is a large trading partner and has great potential among other Pacific Island countries.
She said the two leaders agreed for an increase in trade in areas such as agricultural goods like rice, fisheries and seafood, automobile products, and to improve trade in concluding the agreements on double taxation and investment protection and promotion.
The Thailand PM said her country would also be looking at opportunities with PNG’s private sector in the areas of mineral, energy, agriculture, fisheries and food production.
Prime Minister Yingluck expressed the government of Thailand’s preparedness to provide its expertise and experience in key development areas of priority to PNG such as public health, agriculture, fisheries, small and medium enterprises and tourism.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130326/tuhome.htm

4) Warning on acquittals

By ISAAC NICHOLAS

NATIONAL Planning Minister Charles Abel has urged members of Parliament and their district and provincial administrations to furnish all their acquittals for their district and provincial service improvement program (DSIP/PSIP) funding for 2012.
Minister Abel also instructed the Office of Rural Development (ORD) to be proactive in imposing compliance and ensure that MPs who fail to provide acquittals are reported to appropriate authorities for investigations and action.
“All government agencies are required by law to present annual audited accounts to their respective ministers for tabling in parliament,” Minister Abel said.
“The Auditor General is required to audit and present reports on Government accounts to the Public Accounts Committee for tabling in Parliament.
The problem is this process is years behind and many of the reports are incomplete and ‘qualified’, meaning they have outstanding audit issues.
“Our Government has provided K10 million in 2013 for the purpose of auditing of the DSIP and PSIP programs. This will require timely acquittals by respective administrations which can then be audited,” the Member for Alotau said.
“Clear guidelines have been provided as to the appropriation of this money and the procurement process. Subject to audits, relevant authorities will have to enforce compliance and prosecute offenders,” Minister Abel said.
Mr Abel said this when presenting his DSIP and DSG acquittals for the Alotau District for 2012 to the ORD Secretary Paul Sai’i in Parliament yesterday.
The Alotau MP thanked his acting District Administrator Johannes Papi and electoral officer Leleki Tarosomo and the district administration for their hard work in implementing these programs and reporting on them.
He encouraged the members of parliament and their administration to put together their acquittals of DSIP, PSIP, district and provincial support grants.
Minister Abel said there were standard formats for the acquittals and the MPs have no excuses for not acquitting their 2012 funds.
“There is a requirement by law that public funds must be acquitted. I am calling on all of us to work together and report on public funds.”
He said this was a public investment program and it was also an obligation of the ORD to also report on these programs to National Planning for a final report for public consumption.
“It is my desire that Planning puts together reports on all PIP programs, including DSIP that I will report to Parliament, but in order to do this we need acquittals to come in,” Mr Abel said.
“Now that there is more money going down to the provinces, districts and local level governments, it is even more important that we get these processes going,’’ he said.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130326/tuhome.htm

5) Solomons Electoral Office To ‘Clean-Up’ Voter Registry

Officer says 2010 lists to be abolished, new registrations to come

By Ofani Eremae

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 25, 2013) – A major exercise to clean up the Solomon Islands’ voter registry will be launched soon ahead of next year’s nation elections.

Chief Electoral Officer Polycarp Haununu said the undertaking was aimed at stopping voters registering twice and ensuring a clean and credible election.

“For a start, the voters’ list used in the 2010 national election will be abolished,” Haununu told reporters yesterday.

“Instead, we will be conducting a new registration process which will start later this year,” he added.

“But instead of going house to house as was the previous practice, we will set up registration centers right across the country.

“Those who want to vote in the 2014 national elections must register at their nearest centre. If you fail to register, you will not participate in next year’s election.

“We hope this process will prevent double registration and remove names of those who already died, from the voters’ list,” Haununu said.

This exercise, which will cost around SB$40 million [US$5.5 million], will see the establishment of over 700 voter registration centers across the country.

Haununu said the Government will meet the cost of this new registration process.

He said the exercise will be preceded by a massive nation-wide educational awareness to ensure the public is well aware of the process.

Haununu said when they looked at the voters’ list used in the 2010 national elections, the total number of registered voters was almost the same as the country’s total population.

“This may be due to double registration and the fact that names of those who have already died are still on the list.

“So we need to clean this up to ensure a credible voters’ list and therefore a clean and credible election.”

He added that they are also looking at introducing identification cards during election but this has yet to be worked out.

Haununu said he believed this new voter registration process will clean up the voter registry and will result in a fair and transparent election.

Solomon Star

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 8:12 AM

6) Teachers Encouraged to Return to Classroom

Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) is encouraging teachers to return to classrooms while responsible authorities are working to sort out their salary payments.

Teachers went on strike last Friday after losing patience and claiming the government has failed to pay their salaries according to a new re-leveling scheme of teachers’ conditions of service.

Permanent Secretary, Fred Rohorua explained that the delay in processing teachers’ re-leveled salaries was due to administrative procedures and the slow information flow from Provincial Education Authorities to the Teaching Service Division.

This situation has slowed down the process of forwarding the right information or data to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT) in time for preparation of the teachers’ payroll.

“The delay in teachers receiving their re-leveling during last Thursday’s pay period was due to administrative procedures and the slow information flow from provincial Education Authorities to the Teaching Service Division which in turn affected the slow process of forwarding the right information or data to MOFT in time when the payroll was being run or prepared” Mr Rohorua said.

On criticisms leveled against the Ministry for failing to honor its commitment to teachers, Mr Rohorua said the Ministry of Education is neither ignorant nor deaf to the welfare of teachers in this country.

“We recognized that teachers have real issues relating to their profession and conditions of service such as housing allowances and leave or holiday travel passages. But these issues have to be worked through in a systematic and orderly manner,” Mr Rohorua said.

“We cannot be continuously distracted by such illegal activities as orchestrated by SINTA as this side distraction only makes us lose focus on what we want to do and supposed to do,” he added.

In the meantime, the Government is urging teachers to return to classrooms as their action will affect all children’s right to education.

“Lost time in teaching through unnecessary strikes or work stoppages is a loss shouldered by our own children of Solomon Islands and if teachers go on strike, no-one else in the world will come and teach our children,” Mr Rohorua said.

The Ministry of Education is also encouraging teachers to maintain their professionalism by ignoring SINTA’s call for any illegal strike action which only leaves Solomon Islands children as the real losers.

“It’s time parents and the wider public should call for greater responsibility and accountability from teachers who are supposed to be responsible for the education of the children of this country,” Mr Rohorua added.

Meanwhile, teachers are assured that the Government remains committed to honor its duty to pay their salaries as soon as administrative issues that delayed the payment process are sorted out.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit

7) Vanuatu’s new Lands Minister keen to reform way country manages land

Posted at 23:02 on 25 March, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s new Lands Minister says he’s determined to reform the way the country manages land after an earlier attempt in a brief previous stint in the role.

Two years ago, Ralph Regenvanu halted all registration of land leases in an attempt to overhaul the system before being sidelined as Minister less than a month into the job.

However ongoing land issues in the Ministry, including the sale of public land at discount rate to department staff, have magnified the need for reform.

Mr Regenvanu says heading the lands ministry presents a big challenge.

“But at least I’ve been preparing for it for a while, to get into this Ministry. We’ve done a lot of work, when I was formerly in Lands and especially in Justice, to look at what is required legislatively and policy-wise. There’s going to need to be a lot of looking at human resource issues within the Ministry and departments. I think eighty percent of my time will be taken up with cleaning up the mess that’s been left.”

Ralph Regenvanu.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Nation’s interest first: Carcasses

Posted on March 26, 2013 – 9:06am | Category:

Featured Article

Politics

By
Godwin Ligo
Moana Carcasses, new Prime Minister of Vanuatu.

Vanuatu now has a new Prime Minister. He is the Port Vila MP and the President of the Green Confederation political Party, Moana Carcasses.
The newly elected state ministers appointed by the Prime Minister and their respective portfolios are:

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and External is Edward Nipake Natapei, Port Vila MP and the President of the Vanuaaku Party; Finance Minister is Willie Jimmy Tapangararua, MP for Port Vila Town and President of the Liberal Democratic Party; Education Minister is Bob Loughman, Tanna VP MP; Lands, Geology, Mines, Energy and Water resources minister is Ralph Regenvanu Port Vila MP and Graon mo Jastis Pati President; Minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities is Esmon Sae, Malekula MP, Minister for Internal Affairs is Patrick Crowby, UMP Port Vila MP; Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity is David Tosul, Pentecost MP; Minister for Tourism and Commerce is Marcellino Pipite, Santo Rural VRP MP; Minister for Health is Serge Vohor, the Santo Rural and UMP Party President; Minister for Justice and Social Welfare is Maki Simelum, who is Ambrym VP MP, Minister for Youth Development amd Sports is Tony Wright, who is a Port Vila UMP MP and Minister for Planning and Climate Change Adaptation is Thomas Laken, Tanna MP.

The Ministry of Ni-Vanuatu Business Development and Ministry of Trade have been merged into a new Ministry of Tourism and Commerce.

The Ministry of Youth Development and Sports has been re-instated as the Ministry Civil Aviation created by the former Sato led government was removed. And a new Ministry of Planning and Climate Change was created.

Daily Post understands that the position of Speaker could be given to the Maewo VP MP Philip Boedoro.

“I know there are one or two MPs who are not happy with the portfolio sharing, but I want assure them that there are parliamentary committees positions including the position of Parliamentary Secretary I held that are yet to be filled,” Prime Minister Carcasses assured the senior ranking MPs that were not given ministerial portfolios.

His nomination to be the new Prime Minister of Vanuatu was moved by the Vanua’aku Party President, Edward Natapei and was seconded by the Santo Rural MP and the President of UMP, Serge Vohor.

When Speaker George Wells asked for further nomination from the floor, a former Kilman government side MP was stopped when raised a point regarding the nomination of MP Moana Carcasses relating to his status as a naturalised citizen.

The speaker George Wells said this was not relevant in accordance of the Standing Orders for the election of a new country’s Prime Minister.

The then and former Prime Minister Sato Kilman and former government ministers and MPs left the parliamentary chambers after a remark by one of his MP that there was no need for them to remain for the election of the new Prime Minister because they did not have the number.

However, two former Kilman ministers and two MPs remained and moved to the Opposition side and joined force to elect the new Prime Minister Moana Carcasses. They were former Internal Affairs Minister Toara Daniel, former Civil Aviation Minister Samson Samsen, Santo rural MP Arnold Prasad and Paama Natatok MP Jonas James.

Their move strengthened the Opposition numbers to 33 that remained in the parliamentary chambers for the election of the new prime minister.
As there were no further nominations, the Speaker proceeded with the election of the Prime Minister through secret ballot in accordance with the relevant section of the standing orders of the Parliament.

The result of the votes cast gave MP Moana Carcasses a total of 34 votes with no invalid votes which meant that the Speaker George Wells also voted for Moana Carcasses as the new Prime Minister of Vanuatu.

Immediately after his election as the new Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses took his oath of allegiance in parliament supervised by the Acting Attorney General, Freddy Gilu and then made a short remark inside the parliamentary chambers before moving outside to the parliamentary arena where he then appointed his new cabinet Ministers.

In his short remark inside the parliamentary chamber the New Prime Minister Carcasses said: “The interest of the nation comes first. And I thank the MPs and political party leaders especially the VP and the UMP leaders for the confidence and the trust that each of you have in me. I will deliver my first speech to the nation after the appointment of the new cabinet ministers,” the new Prime Minister told the 33 MPs including the Speaker who voted him in as the new Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu.

As he stepped out of the Parliament Chambers, Carcasses was greeted with leis and hundreds of supports from all political parties and well-wishers including the Lord Mayor of Port Vila town Reuben Olul, members of the diplomatic corps and church and civic leaders, the Acting Commissioner of Police and senior police and VMF Officers before he took position and appointed new members of his cabinet.

The Carcasses-led government has now taken over the executive running of the country as of last Saturday and today he assumes the chair in the Vanuatu’s Prime Minister’s Office as his cabinet ministers resume official duties as well on the first week of their term of the national government and the governing of the nation.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/nations-interest-first-carcasses

9) New Vanuatu Administration To Focus On ‘Core’ Policies
West Papua relations, improved service among key concerns

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 25, 2013) – Vanuatu has a new government after the removal of the Sato Kilman-led administration at the weekend.

On Saturday, the Greens’ leader Moana Carcasses Kalosil was elected as Prime Minister to replace Sato Kilman who resigned last Thursday, shortly before the opposition was to bring a vote of no confidence in him.

Johnny Blades reports on what change the new government may usher in for Vanuatu:

Atop a coalition which includes a number from the previous administration, Moana Carcasses faces anunprecedented budget deficit and declining public confidence in government.

Sato Kilman was able to cobble together a patchwork coalition following last year’s election but struggled to fend off continued corruption allegations against his cabinet.

A specialist in Vanuatu land and governance issues, Siobhan McDonnell of the Australian National University, says the former government’s lack of transparency impacted on service delivery.

She says that in a departure for local politics, the new government has formed around some core policies.

“So one of them is about changing the position on West Papua which is incredibly important to a lot of ni-Vanuatu; the second one is about transparency – so this coalition has formed in opposition to what the previous government was doing; and then the third one is better service delivery. So part of the implications of spending a budget in all kinds of inappropriate ways is that you can no longer provide services like health and education.”

Kierry Manassah of the Port Vila-based Pacific Institute of Public Policy says Sato Kilman’s move to forge closer ties with Indonesia was deeply unpopular with a public which has long supported West Papuan self-determination.

He says that as opposition leader until the removal of Kilman, Edward Natapei signaled these closer ties would be cut if his Vanua’aku Pati formed government.

“Natapei now has the Foreign Affairs portfolio so it remains to be seen whether he will fulfill what he has promised, but I’ve just seen some media reports here of the government outlining certain actions they would like to carry out, and one of them is to review Vanuatu’s position with Indonesia, and Indonesia’s place in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.”

Siobhan McDonnell says prospects for reform in the area of land management have improved with the change of government.

She says the new Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu will try again to reform the way the Lands Ministry manages custom land after he made an earlier attempt in a brief previous stint in the role.

“He put a probation on leases in that time and that was responded to very badly by members of his own government. There are a lot of investor interests that are heavily involved in politics in Vanuatu. They can be quite powerful and quite assertive. But I think the thing is that Ralph has built quite a momentum for change around this issue. There’s a big popular momentum and I think politicians are going to need to respond to that.”

A former senior Vanuatu bureaucrat and now Ph.D. student in the role of customary practices in modern Vanuatu government, Greg Nimbtik, feels it will be hard to implement reform.

“Well going back to Sato’s government, he spent all his time managing his political numbers. I don’t think there would be a lot of difference with the current government given the fact that there are a lot of independent members who move to the government blocs and they come with a lot of demands. I don’t think the government will be able to meet them, everyone.”

Greg Nimbtik says it is very difficult to stabilize Vanuatu politics while it is driven by leaders who are focused on self-interest.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

10) Farmers register to join Vanuatu Chamber of Agriculture

Posted on March 26, 2013 – 9:55am | Category:

Local News

By
Jonas Cullwick

About 5,000 farmers throughout the country have registered with the new Vanuatu Chamber of Agriculture which is in the process of being established.
Members of the Interim Board of the chamber have been out in some of the agriculturally-strong islands during the past two weeks registering both small and large holder farmers.

Technical Consultant engaged by the Ministry of Agriculture to set up the Vanuatu Chamber of Agriculture (VCA), Georgie Calo, says so far they have registered 1,000 farmers on Malekula, nearly 1,000 farmers on Santo, 200 on Gaua, and approaching 1,000 farmers each on Ambrym and Tanna. This number does not include those farmers on other strong farming islands such as Efate, Pentecost, Epi, Malo, and Ambae.

Smallholder farmers are paying Vt1,000 each when they complete and lodge their registration forms and the larger holder farmers are paying Vt5,000.
Mr Calo said that at the same time as the registration of farmers is progressing, the Interim Board is working to have the first Board of the Vanuatu Chamber of Agriculture installed and holding its first meeting on Monday, April 15, 2013.

Calo who is also Chairman of the Interim Board says that due to budget constraints the first Board of the VCA, to have 25 members, will be drawn from six islands representing the six provinces. Gaua Island in Torba Province will have 2 members, Santo for Sanma – 6, Malekula for Malampa will have 5, Pentecost for Penama – 3 members, Efate for Shefa – 6, and Tanna for Tafea will have 3 members. According to Calo, the farmers registered on those six islands will hold their general meeting and choose the people who will become members of the Board of the VCA.

“After the Board is in place, it will set up a management team to comprise five people whose task will be to fully commit the chamber to assisting farmers with improving their business and marketing their products,” Georgie Calo said.

These 25 people will also take over from the Interim Board and continue the task of registering farmers in other islands of their province.

In the meantime, also included in the Interim Board are four big name farmers in the country today. They are Dinh Van Than, Robert Monvoisin, David Russet and Andrew Leon. Mr. Calo said the men have been chosen for their extensive input to farming in the country so that they can assist with setting up the chamber. Additionally, it is envisaged the chamber may be able to utilize these men’s vessels to ferry products to markets in Efate and Santo or markets in other islands, he said.

“When fully operational, the chamber plans to provide a shipping service once every two weeks to assigned pickup points in the islands to assist farmers ferry their products to the markets,” Mr. Calo said.

He also explained the purpose and the role of the VCA which is covered in an Act of Parliament No 19 of 2010.

“The chamber will provide technical backup for farmers, act as a network for farmers to market their products, and set up and protect an accounting system for farmers to use the National Bank of Vanuatu to save money which in turn can be used to develop their business.”

Former Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Kalvao Moli tasked the Interim Board early this month to help establish the Vanuatu Chamber of Agriculture. His reason being that after 32 years of independence the country needed such an entity to help farmers get produce to the markets.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/farmers-register-join-vanuatu-chamber-agriculture

11a) Fiji Government proposal for new constitution

Fiji – Constitution#14AE493

Source: www.fiji.gov.fj (march 26 2013)

Phil’s Note: The Bainimarama Government rejected the new constitution proposed by the Yash Ghai commission.This is the Bainimarama Government’s alternative proposal.

( Problem’s opening the file?  please go to http://www.voiceofmelanesia.com/ )

11b) Draft constitution way forward for new Fiji: PM
By Online Editor
2:15 pm GMT+12, 26/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the draft Constitution spells the way forward for a new Fiji.

Bainimarama says people who believe in good governance, will admire the provisions in the draft Constitution.

“Many of the provisions of the Ghai draft that dealt with women separately have been removed, including that which required a certain number of women to be on a political party’s list of candidates. As a nation we need to encourage more women to get involved in the upcoming elections, but the Constitution should promote equality in all forms, not encourage division of any sort.”

Bainimarama adds iTaukei land is given more protection than ever before and members of the public should not be misled by rumours.

“Please do not be misled by certain politicians and NGO’s that are trying to sow the seeds of fear and mistrust. This is the sort of old politics that we must not allow to creep back into our national dialogue.”

The draft constitution was drawn up by a legal team at the Solicitor General’s Office.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

11c) Changes To Fiji Constitution Possible Through Referendum
Three-quarter decision by voters can push bills through

By Indrani Krishna

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 25, 2013) – Fijians will have the right to change the country’s Constitution via a referendum if there are no amendments made to the Draft Constitution which was made public last Thursday.

Moreover, a Bill for the amendment of the Constitution must be passed by Parliament in accordance with the following procedure that it read three times in Parliament, during the second and third reading it must be supported by at least three-quarters of the members of Parliament.

Furthermore, an interval of at least 30 days elapses between the second and third readings as each reading will be fully debated upon and the third reading of the Bill in Parliament does not take place until after the relevant standing committee has reported on the Bill to Parliament.

After the amendment of the Constitution is passed by the Parliament, the Speaker will inform the President who will refer the Bill to the electoral commission who will than conduct a referendum for all registered voters in Fiji to vote on the Bill.

The President will be notified of the outcome of the referendum by the Electoral Commission and will also publish the outcome in the media.

If the outcome of the referendum is that three-quarters of the registered voters who have participated in the referendum have voted in favor of the Bill then the President must assent to the Bill, which will come into force on the date of the Presidential assent or on such other date as prescribed in the Bill.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, FijiLive reports that the amended draft does not provide for any form of the now-defunct Great Council of Chiefs, and it no longer contains provisions directed towards mandating a certain number of women representatives in political parties. Meanwhile, military commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says the army is only involved in Fiji’s political scene out of “love for country,” reaffirming the announced role of the military to ensure national security as stated in the draft constitution.]

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

11d) Fiji women’s group wants change to draft constitution

Posted at 02:51 on 26 March, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Women’s Forum says the new draft constitution ignores the calls made by women during the consultation process.

The Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is defending removing provisions from the previous draft, including that political parties would be required to have a certain number of women candidates.

He has told local media that the constitution should promote equality in all forms.

The head of Femlink Pacific, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, says that’s an easy thing to say.

“But if you look at the reality of the status of women in Fiji, the state must look at how they are going to improve the status of women. And they can include these rights, on the grounds of the need to support women’s participation in political processes, in futhering the issue of democratisation.”

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls says the invisibility of women in the draft is in direct contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, which Fiji ratified in 1995.

Radio New Zealand International

12) AG offers no clues on possibly contesting elections
By Online Editor
6:42 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has refused to confirm or deny whether he will contest elections next year.

Following the announcement by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last week that he will stand in the 2014 elections, FBC News asked Sayed-Khaiyum if he had similar intentions.

The Attorney General didn’t give a definite answer.

“There’s a lot of work to be done from now until the elections and we’re all focused on ensuring that we have transparent systems, that the elections office conducts in a transparent manner and there are lots of regulation that need to be put in place and that’s what we’re focusing on.”

Last week, Commodore Bainimarama was confident of a win in the September 2014 election.

Meanwhile, the interim government has announced the new constitution will be ready by April 12.

Fiji Live has reported that interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimirama, has confirmed the date.

Fijians have until April 5 to make their submissions on the draft constitution.

Public forums will be conducted around the country to assist people in having their say before the final version is ready.

Fiji’s former human rights commissioner, Shaista Shameen, last week told Radio Australia the timeframe for public submissions was too short.

“People are going to have to make their responses within the appropriate time and within the public holiday period that’s just not going to happen,” she said.

“People spend time with their families over Easter, they go away over Easter and they’re not likely to be concentrating on the Constitution which is a very serious subject for the future of Fiji, said Shameem.

SOURCE: FBCTV/ FIJI LIVE/ RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA: 

13) French Polynesian parties submit lists for April election

Posted at 02:51 on 26 March, 2013 UTC

Reports from French Polynesia say ten lists of candidates have been handed in by the midday deadline today to contest the territorial election on April the 21st of a new assembly.

Among the parties to so today were the ruling Union For Democracy and the opposition Tahoearaa Huiraatira.

The other main opposition force in the assembly, the A Tia Porinetia, registered its list last week.

To move to the second round of voting, a list must secure 12.5 percent of the votes.

The winning list in the run-off on May the 5th will get a third of the seats as a bonus, with the remaining two thirds to be divided in proportion to the parties’ relative strength.

The bonus seat provision was brought back in the expectation that a substantial and stable majority will emerge.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Parliament Staff Not Fully Paid As Tonga Budget Overspent
‘Unplanned drains’ include MPs’ medical expenses, salaries

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 25, 2013) – The Speaker of Tonga’s Parliament, Lord Fakafanua, says parliamentary staff cannot be fully paid because it has overspent its budget by seven percent.

Matangi Tonga news reports the House’s budget allocation of two and a quarter million U.S. dollars became a topic for discussion after Lord Nuku reported staff were unhappy with their pay.

Unplanned drains on the parliamentary budget include the medical expenses for MP Uliti Uata, who was hospitalized with a stroke nine months ago.

As well, the government has agreed to keep paying the parliamentary salary of Lord Lasike, who lost his seat after being convicted of illegally possessing ammunition.

That conviction was overturned on appeal.

The news site reports another major expense has been the Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into how funds for the rebuilding of Nuku’alofa were spent.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

MICRONESIA:

15) Kiribati TV closes amid money and production woes

Posted at 03:18 on 26 March, 2013 UTC

State-owned Television Kiribati has been shut down by the government.

The President, Anote Tong, says that apart from the broadcaster’s serious financial problems, it lacks expertise and knowledge in programming and production.

Mr Tong says TV Kiribati has reached a point where it could no longer meet its operating expenses.

He says government is reviewing the station’s financial status and will also consider whether the closure poses a risk to the public.

Kiribati media say the outcome of these considerations will determine the government’s final decision on the station’s future.

TV Kiribati is the only channel in Kiribati that broadcasts local and foreign programmes to viewers in South Tarawa and Betio.

Radio New Zealand International

PACIFIC:

16) Economic growth to slow in Pacific: ADB

Updated 26 March 2013, 10:17 AEST
Jemima Garrett for Pacific Beat

The Asian Development Bank says economic growth in the Pacific slowed in 2012 and is expected to slow further in 2013.

Chris Edmonds, senior economist with the Asian Development Bank, speaks to Jemima Garrett about the latest Pacific Economic Monitor figures on regional growth. (Credit: ABC)

The Asian Development Bank says economic growth in the Pacific slowed in 2012 and is expected to slow further in 2013.

The ADB’s latest Pacific Economic Monitor shows growth dropped to 7.3 per cent in 2012.

The figure is well down from its post-global financial crisis high of 8.3 per cent in 2011.

This year’s growth is forecast to be 5.2 per cent.

ADB senior economist Chris Edmonds says the slowdown is due to the imminent completion of major investment and public infrastructure projects.

Mr Edmonds has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are likely to see the biggest fall-off in their growth rates.

“The wrap up of the work on the energy pipeline in PNG [is] really driving a much lower growth forecast in that country,” he said.

“In Solomon Islands, we see declining logging revenue is driving economic growth a little lower.”

Tourism is bucking the trend with record numbers expected again this year.

In 2014 growth is expected to pick up slightly.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-26/economic-growth-to-slow-in-pacific-adb/1107072

17) Pacific gets US$533m energy project commitment

Posted at 03:18 on 26 March, 2013 UTC

The co-hosts of the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, New Zealand and the European Union, have announced that 533 million US dollars has been secured for renewable energy projects in the Pacific.

The two-day summit has put Pacific nations in touch with international donors and the private sector to try to boost investment in their energy roadmaps.

Donor countries have responded by committing 212 million US dollars in aid and 317 million in concessional loans to support more than 40 proposed projects.

As well as New Zealand and the EU, donors include Australia, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, Japan, the World Bank and the United Arab Emirates.

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says clean and efficient modern energy services are the cornerstone of sustainable development, economic activity and poverty reduction.

He says the projects earmarked for development will help many Pacific nations increase their power generation from renewable resources to close to 50 per cent of their total supply.

Radio New Zealand International

18) Pacific push to cut diesel reliance
By Online Editor
6:37 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, New Zealand

Several Pacific Island Prime Ministers are in Auckland today for a summit to drum up money to reduce the islands’ dependence on diesel for energy.

But the failed attempt to roll Australia’s Prime Minister last week resulted in one last-minute no-show after the country’s representative at the event, MP Richard Marles, quit his portfolios after publicly backing Kevin Rudd against Julia Gillard.

Marles was Australia’s Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and was scheduled to speak at the Pacific Energy Summit and moderate a session this morning.

Marles was one of five Labor ministers and frontbenchers to lose their portfolios after the botched leadership spill.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Australia’s High Commissioner might step in and he did not expect it to disrupt the meeting, which was organised and hosted by New Zealand and the European Union.

Most of the Pacific Island leaders arrived last week, before being taken by the air force to Tonga for two days of meetings.

McCully said using the air force for the Tonga talks was appropriate given the EU had helped cover the costs for the leaders to get to New Zealand.

“We felt it was appropriate for us to take care of the Tonga leg. There aren’t that many flights to Tonga and there aren’t that many seats available for the number of people we had to travel.”

The summit is one of the largest international meetings to be held in New Zealand and tens of millions of dollars of donor and loan funding is expected to be announced. The EU alone is expected to announce more than $14 million for energy projects, and McCully said the summit was also to encourage more private sector investment.

He said many Pacific countries relied on diesel for more than 95 per cent of their energy needs, spending on average about 10 per cent of their GDP on importing it. About 80 renewable energy projects had been identified to help slash that back.

Others attending include Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Programme.

SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEW

19) Eminent Persons Group launched to rethink ACP
By Online Editor
2:51 pm GMT+12, 26/03/2013, Belgium

By Pita Ligaiula in Brussels, Belgium

As the future existence of the 80 member African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group is now being mapped out by the Group Council of Ministers, the ACP has launched an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to reinvent the ACP as a meaningful player in the world stage.

The 14 members of the EPG were inaugurated in the Belgium, capital Brussels Monday.

The EPG put together by the outgoing ACP Secretary General Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas have been selected from across the various regional communities of the ACP; men and women known for their high integrity, wisdom and experience.

The EPG Group members include two distinguished regional civil servants from the Pacific – Fiji’s former foreign Affairs Minister, Kaliopate Tavola and former Samoan Financial secretary, Kolone Vaai.

Other members include former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Dominican Republic Fernandez Reyna, Former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, Valentine Rugwabiza, deputy director General World Trade Organization(WTO), Former Namibia deputy Prime Minister  Dr Libertine Amathila, Professor Sebastiao Isata, Special representative and head of African Union, Professor Ibrahima Fall, former UN assistant secretary general, Patricia Francis, Executive Director International Trade Centre, Ambassador Nureldin Satti former acting Special representative for UN Secretary General to Burundi, Sylvain Maliko, Former Minister of Economy Planning and International Cooperation in Central African Republic, Dr Daousa Bichara Cherif former Minister Public Works, Transport, Housing and Urbanisation in Chad, and Peter Gakunu, former executive director IMF.

“We have no doubt that you will bring your intellectual and moral capital to bear on the crucial dilemmas facing the ACP today, so that, together we can forge a common path towards a brave new future,” Dr Chambas said in his remarks during the EPG inauguration.

Dr Chambas said the EPG will work during 2013- 2014 to come up with new ideas and concepts to further strengthen the ACP and to provide guidance to the future.

“The EPG will have a very busy schedule over the coming two years. You do not need any lectures from us about the crucial choices that you will lay before our leaders. We trust that you will avail us the benefits of your collective wisdom and knowledge.

“In our age of upheavals, we face major choices on how to reinvent the ACP – how to make it better serve the needs and aspirations of our nearly one billion people. There are things we will have to jettison; there are time – tested assets that we would have to keep. And I trust that we shall marshal the wisdom and the courage to make a difference.

Dr Chambas also laid out the challenges facing the ACP in the years ahead and the need to reinvent the ACP as a meaningful player on the world stage.

“As you well aware, the Lisbon treaty came into force in December in 2009. The treaty seeks a major overhaul of the European system and far reaching restricting of its key institutions. What has been rather troubling for the ACP is the fact that the treaty makes no express reference to the long standing partnership between EU and the ACP. It is also unclear whether the EDF will come under the Commission budget and if the ACP countries can feel entitled to a predictable source of development assistance as has been the case hitherto.

Global realignments and major shifts in EU policy orientations have given the rise to concerns of possible downgrading of the importance of the ACP – EU partnership,” Dr Chambas explained.

He said the rise of the emerging economies and Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa (BRICS) – offers new window of opportunity.

“The ACP feels that they can leverage on their numeric strength and moral authority to promote their collective interests while building new alliances with economies of Asia and Latin America. A collective strategy to tap these opportunities has been part of the overall future orientation of the ACP.

“Equally crucial is the need to reform the workings of our principal organs and to streamline many of our core functions. It seems evident that the ACP can be most effective when it sets out not to replicate what others are already doing but when it concentrates  in those niche areas in which it enjoys a high comparative advantage,” Dr Chambas said.

He said unlike the Chinese, the European mindset continues to view the ACP as a problem rather than an opportunity.

“The EDF has been strong on the public sector but rather weak in the area of private sector development. While facing financing instruments such as budget support have been well received by a good number of countries, concerns have been raised about their long term development effectiveness.

“With Europe’s aging population and its current fiscal and institutional challenges, the growing economies of the ACP constitute a potentially huge market and investment opportunity that could help restore the old continent to the path of long-term growth.

“I am persuaded that Europe will not be Europe if it abandoned its moral obligations – those ideals that have been inherent in her civilisation role since the Enlightment. At the same time we that ACP must rise to the occasion and take full responsibility for our own future, building on our own inner resources and collective strength and leveraging on our moral capital as the largest coalition of the world’s poor,” Dr Chambas concluded.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

FRANIS:

20) Moana Carcasses nouveau Premier ministre du Vanuatu

Posté à 26 March 2013, 8:25 AEST
Pierre Riant

L’opposition est parvenue à ses fins et c’est un ancien ministre des Finances qui s’est emparé du pouvoir.

Moana Carcasses, dirigeant du Parti des Verts, a la réputation d’être un homme d’action. [Vanuatu Sporting Pulse]

Sato Kilman, le prédécesseur de M. Carcasses, a démissionné de son poste la semaine dernière, 40 minutes avant que les députés ne puissent déposer une énième motion de censure à son encontre.

Le Président du Parlement, George Spell, avait alors ajourné le Parlement pour huit jours mais l’opposition a réussi à convaincre la Cour suprême qu’un nouveau Premier ministre devait être élu dans les plus brefs délais.

Parlons des dessous de la crise avec Tony Wilson, le directeur de publication du Vanuatu Independent, un hebdomadaire.

WILSON : « L’opposition a manigancé et planifié le dépôt d’une motion de censure pendant des semaines. Tout s’est déroulé avec une précision d’horloge, mais le Président du Parlement, George Spell, n’a pas voulu qu’ils votent. Il a tout simplement fermé le Parlement.
Et cela a fait beaucoup de tapage. L’opposition a fini par saisir la Cour suprême. Et après des heures et des heures de délibérations, la Cour suprême a fini par dire aux députés de retourner au parlement samedi à 10 heures, d’aller faire leur travail et d’élire un nouveau Premier ministre. »

Les députés ont donc pris le chemin du Parlement, un Parlement sans Président et sans Sato Kilman qui en fait avaient décidé de faire appel de la décision de la Cour suprême. La Cour suprême a refusé et pour finir, tout le monde s’est calmé.

WILSON : « Finalement, aux alentours de l’heure du déjeuner, samedi, tout le monde est reparti vers le Parlement, puis la nomination de Moana Carcasses au poste de Premier ministre a été annoncée.
Dès cet instant, le groupe du gouvernement a quitté le Parlement et les autres ont pu voter.  La cerise sur le gâteau a été George Spell, le Président du Parlement, qui à la fin a voté pour Moana. Le vote a été de 34 pour [sur les 51 députés] et aucune voix contre puisque le reste des députés avaient quitté le Parlement. »
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-26/moana-carcasses-nouveau-premier-ministre-du-vanuatu/1107014

21) PNG : Les services de santé au bord de l’effondrement

Posté à 26 March 2013, 8:33 AEST
Pierre Riant

Installations vétustes, manque de personnel et plus de 14 000 nouveaux cas de tuberculose à traiter chaque année.

14 500 nouveaux cas de tuberculose signalés chaque année en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. (Credit: ABC)

Pendant ce temps, de l’autre côté du Détroit de Torres, les autorités australiennes de la santé tentent d’empêcher la propagation de cette maladie infectieuse depuis la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée vers l’Australie.

14 instituts de la région Asie – Pacifique sont impliqués dans un projet visant à réduire l’impact de la tuberculose dans les pays voisins de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Bernadette Saunders, du Centre of Research Excellence, est l’une des responsables du projet en question.

SAUNDERS : «  L’idée est de réunir des chercheurs de toute l’Australie et de chez nos voisins en Asie et dans le Pacifique pour tenter de créer des nouveaux médicaments contre la tuberculose et élaborer de nouvelles politiques de gestion de la tuberculose.
La tuberculose est une bactérie que nous pouvons éliminer avec des antibiotiques. Mais c’est une maladie difficile à traiter puisque la thérapie nécessite 6 mois de traitement ininterrompu. E t ça,  c’est un problème dans les pays pauvres en ressources et qui n’ont pas de bonnes infrastructures.
Nous,  nous essayons de mettre au point de nouveaux régiments de médicaments en mesure de traiter plus rapidement la tuberculose. Le but est de traiter les patients pour les guérir avant qu’ils ne développent une tuberculose pharmaco-résistante. »

À part des infrastructures défaillantes, quels sont les problèmes qui empêchent la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée d’administrer un traitement performant ?

SAUNDERS : «  Ils ont des difficultés avec leur système de santé qui n’arrive pas à mettre un traitement à la disposition de tout le monde.
L’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé et l’Australie tentent de financer un programme de gestion de la maladie et travaillent, et c’est important, avec les autorités locales pour livrer des médicaments à toutes les personnes atteintes de tuberculose.
La grande difficulté est de s’assurer que les patients prennent des médicaments pendant 6 mois contre la tuberculose primaire. »

Et quel est le risque de propagation de la tuberculose dans la région si la situation n’est pas maîtrisée en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ?

SAUNDERS : « La tuberculose est un problème majeur à travers l’Asie et le Pacifique. L’Australie affiche l’un des niveaux de tuberculose les moins élevés du monde, environ 1 200 cas par an. La situation est bien gérée, les infrastructures sont bonnes, tout le monde a accès aux médicaments et tout le monde prend ses médicaments…

Mais dans toute la région Asie – Pacifique, c’est un gros problème, en Chine, au Vietnam, en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et en Indonésie.
Il nous faut donc travailler ensemble à titre de région pour que les gens aient accès aux médicaments et surtout les prennent pendant six mois. Parce que c’est à cause des interruptions d’un traitement, parce que des malades ne peuvent pas suivre un traitement pendant six mois, que la tuberculose pharmaco-résistante se développe et qu’elle devient alors beaucoup plus difficile à traiter. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-26/png-les-services-de-santé-au-bord-de-leffondrement/1107016

22) Hostilité grandissante envers la communauté chinoise des Salomon

Posté à 26 March 2013, 8:53 AEST
Pierre Riant

L’Association chinoise des îles Salomon l’affirme et s’inquiète d’une augmentation du nombre de commentaires anti-chinois publiés sur les réseaux sociaux de l’archipel.

Matthew Quan, membre de cette Association, estime que ces commentaires ciblent injustement la communauté chinoise et qu’il faut tout faire pour mettre fin à cette hostilité pour ne pas revivre les émeutes de 2006.

En avril 2006, une foule s’est déchaînée contre le quartier chinois de la capitale Honiara, un quartier qui a été pour ainsi dire rasé.

La foule en question n’avait pas apprécié la nomination de Snyder Rini au poste de Premier ministre et avait retourné sa colère contre les commerçants chinois.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-26/hostilité-grandissante-envers-la-communauté-chinoise-des-salomon/1107030

WORLD:

23) China in danger of financial crisis

Updated 26 March 2013, 13:51 AEST
Elysse Morgan and Karon Snowdon

A leading Asian investment bank has warned that a new financial crisis is emerging in China, as debt levels rise to unsustainable levels.

Michael Pettis, Professor of Finance at Peking University and author of The Great Rebalancing, warns China faces a looming debt crisis if it doesn’t re-balance its economy. (Credit: ABC)

A leading Asian investment bank has warned that a new financial crisis is emerging in China, as debt levels rise to unsustainable levels.

Debt in China is believed to be between 150 and 200 per cent of GDP, pushed up by easy monetary policy the government has used to foster economic growth.

Nomura’s chief economist Rob Subburaman says there is a real danger of China being engulfed in a financial crisis similar to what has happened in the United States and Europe.

“If it’s not dealt with this year and policies remain easy, I think it’s a significant risk,” he said.

“The international experience now is littered with examples where if you have a quick run up in debt, the effects on the real economy can be very severe.”

Micheal Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University, agrees China’s public debt is a key issue.

“I think by now there is a consensus that if this continues another 3 or 4 years we run the risk of a debt crisis,” he said.

Mr Pettis told Radio Australia that China’s growth rates have probably been significantly overstated.

“It’s been growing in real terms less than the official numbers which have been 10-12 per cent. And that’s part of the problem.”

China’s economic growth is largely dependent on investment, including the building of property and infrastructure – which equals more debt.

But Mr Pettis says Beijing needs to greatly lift its efforts at rebalancing the economy now to avoid a financial crisis in the next few years.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-03-26/china-in-danger-of-financial-crisis/1107252

BUSINESS:


24) PNG to grant gas concessions to Thai firms

By Online Editor
2:09 pm GMT+12, 26/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has agreed to grant natural gas concessions to the Thai private sector during talks with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra.

The decision applies especially to PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP), Thailand’s sole oil and gas explorer.

Yingluck was on a two-day visit to Papua New Guinea which ended yesterday.

Her trip was aimed at forging closer ties between the two countries and boosting cooperation in energy investments.

PM O’Neill praised Yingluck for being Thailand’s first female prime minister, who came to power through an election, and being a role model for Papua New Guinean women.

She thanked her Papua New Guinea counterpart for the praise.

The two government leaders also agreed to cooperate in agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

Papua New Guinea wanted Thailand to transfer technological knowledge on agriculture and Thai rice species as Papua New Guinea was Thailand’s second largest rice importer after Australia, she said.

During the talks, Yingluck said O’Neill wanted Thailand to run direct flights to his country, which has many popular diving sites.

Papua New Guinea also offered to remove tax obstacles to Thai businesses, she added.

Thailand wanted to use Papua New Guinea as a gateway to the Pacific islands, said Ms Yingluck, who led a Thai delegation comprising representatives from 30 businesses. The countries have also agreed to hold a joint parliament meeting annually.

The Thai Prime Minister has invited her Papua New Guinea counterpart to visit Thailand.

SOURCE:BANKOK POST/PACNEWS

25) O’Neill spruiks PNG resources to Japanese investors

By Online Editor
4:58 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Japan

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has told investors in Tokyo that his country is well placed to become a strategic supplier of Japan’s long-term energy needs.

Japan is the world’s biggest importer of Liquid Natural Gas and Papua New Guinea’s second largest aid and trade partner.

Prime Minister O’Neill says the start of shipments from PNG’s huge ExxonMobil-led LNG project next year will herald an “unprecedented” period of gas exports to Japan.

O’Neill has urged Japanese investors to get more involved in the booming gas and mining industries, as well as other sectors.

He also told them to seriously consider taking on local joint-venture partners and contractors.

O’Neill and a delegation of ministers and senior officials are on a three-day visit to Japan at the nvitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The prime minister says PNG is at a critical stage in its development as a nation, especially in the mining petroleum resources.

“The record capital spending now under way in the petroleum sector will slow significantly from this year unless we bring new projects to the approval and development stages soon,” O’Neill said.

“My government is fully committed to that happening, but we don’t just want projects that have an export focus alone…We need the right mix of more LNG projects.

“I know some Japanese firms have an interest in this area and have been consulting relevant partners and government.

“I urge you to work with us to make it happen.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

26) Economic hopes as Kiribati signs solar deal

By Online Editor
2:03 pm GMT+12, 26/03/2013, New Zealand

The President of Kiribati says an Australian-funded solar energy project could lead to a turnaround in the economic fortunes of the small Pacific nation.

At the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, Kiribati President Anote Tong and the World Bank signed an agreement for a $4 million project to deliver solar energy to the main atoll of Tarawa.

Australia is providing most of the money to install the solar panels which will provide 15 per cent of the nation’s electricity, currently generated by expensive, imported diesel.

President Tong says his country cannot process its valuable fish catch onshore because of the high cost of diesel.

“Kiribati faces big challenges – it is remote, it is at risk from the effects of climate change, and it is vulnerable to economic shocks,” he said.

“Shifting Kiribati’s focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure, more sustainable power source for the country’s people.”

Solar power, he says, will not only provide clean, cheaper power, but lucrative economic opportunities.

World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross, says it is hoped the solar panels will reduce diesel fuel use by up to 230,000 litres a year.

“The residents on Tarawa are completely reliant on imported oil for their energy needs, which is expensive, inefficient and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“This project is a win-win for Kiribati and sets an important precedent for renewable energy development in the country.

27) Solomon Airlines dominates business awards

By Online Editor
6:05 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands national carrier, Solomon Airlines has won the top award at the inaugural Business Excellence Awards.

Winning the Prime Minister’s Business of the Year Award capped a successful night for the national carrier that saw Solomon Airlines walk away with the Business Contribution to the Community Award, Most Innovative Business Award and the airline was co-runner up in the Green Award.

Receiving the Business of the Year Award from Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, the Airlines’ General Manager Commercial and Operations Gus Kraus said, “The award encouraged the airline to work even harder to improve the quality of its service and business to all who use its services and encouraged the staff to get on board to give their best.”

Kraus says the award was a special one for the Airline, its board, management and staff following the celebration of the Airline’s 50th anniversary last November.

“The last 12 months has been a big one with the airline reaching a new phase in its life with the opening of our new headquarters in Henderson and the purchase of our new Dash 8 aircraft.

“We work really hard at the airline to improve our schedule reliability and services to our travellers and it is never as easy as it appears, with weather issues or runway issues, the airline gets the blame but we persist to ensure we recover from disruptions and communicate as best we possibly can.”

Kraus says Solomon Airlines has been working hard to improve its operations following the ethnic tension period and began a rebuilding process in 2007 under the leadership of CEO Captain Ron Sumsum.

“We are very grateful for the recognition we have received from the business community and I would like to urge other businesses to take part in these awards by telling their story.”

In the category of contribution to the community the airline has been active in its in-inflight collection for infants which is run in support with the Rotary Club of Solomon Islands which has raised $130,000 since it started in the second quarter of 2012. Other charity work include $140,000 raised for the Airline’s 50th anniversary fundraising drive for the National Referral Hospital’s Gynaecology and Emergency Ward which was tied in with the charity work for Solomon Airlines Miss Solomon Pageant. These efforts are apart from its weekly efforts through participation with other organisations and their fundraising efforts in which the airline; gives through the value of its air ticket prizes and raffles amongst those mentioned.

In the Green Category; Solomon Airlines was recognised for its new energy efficient headquarters at Henderson which will be fully sustainable by next year including the use of solar powered air conditioners and the rolling out of its new Green policy.

For Business Innovation; the airline was recognized for adopting new technology such as the Airbus A320, its new Dash 8 aircraft, energy efficient office, its new in-house training scheme, and its innovative partnership with its staff union.

The Prime Minister’s Award winner was chosen by a select panel of Chamber appointed judges based on the most outstanding nominations across all categories.

SOURCE: SOLOMON AIRLINES/PACNEWS

28) Our Airline launches Kiribati and Marshal Islands promotional campaign

By Online Editor
6:08 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Australia

Our Airline (formerly Air Nauru) in partnership with the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest, Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA) and the Kiribati National Tourism Office (KNTO)has launched its Australia Marketing Campaign at the Novotel Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.

Scheduled to run until the end of May with travel to the end of June 2013, this dual destinational campaign focuses on the these destinations’ niche products such as fishing, diving, surfing and as well as unique and authentic cultural experiences.

As a strategic partner in this initiative, Our Airline has introduced fortnightly schedule from Tarawa (Kiribati) and Majuro (Marshall Islands) with one – way fares as low as AU$585 from Brisbane.

Activities for this marketing campaign will include participation in the Brisbane Holiday and Adventure Travel Show from the 22 – 24 March 2013; the setting up of Google Adworks that will be promoted throughout Australia; dedicated micro sites that will feature the special offers, advertorials in niche market publications such as Get Lost magazine and printed and online tactical promotional campaigns.

Our Airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Bowmaker in addressing partners present at the launch, reassured them of the airline’s commitment to providing the vital link between Australia and the two (2) island destinations.
SOURCE: SPTO/PACNEWS

29) ANZ launches ‘ANZ Complete’ – a new retail deposit product range in the Pacific

By Online Editor
5:27 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Fiji

ANZ has launched ‘ANZ Complete’, a new retail deposit product offering across the Pacific that provides customers with a simplified range of products, replacing most of ANZ Pacific’s current transaction and savings products.

The new deposit product range now includes two transaction accounts: Access Everyday, Access Premium, and two savings accounts: Pacific Savings and Priority Cash Management.

As part of the new offering, ANZ is also providing junior and senior account holders with fee exemptions on the Access Everyday account.

ANZ CEO Pacific and CEO Fiji, Vishnu Mohan said: “We are serious about providing our customers with simple, easy to understand and affordable banking solutions, and today’s announcement is another example of our focus on making sure we are responding to our customers’ needs.

“Customers have told us they want simple and straightforward banking products, so we have reviewed and reduced the number of products we offer. This is a significant change and will streamline our product offering.

“We are also making strong inroads in finding different ways to serve and engage our customers. We are investing heavily in our electronic channels such as intelligent ATMs, wireless POS terminals and the ability to make deposits and withdrawals through our large merchant network, so that our customers can bank with us when and where it suits them,” Mohan said.

The new retail product range was also launched in Vanuatu and Tonga last week, following similar launches in Samoa in January 2013, and the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Kiribati in December 2012. Papua New Guinea will launch the product range in the coming weeks.

For media enquiries contact: Lancaster Fong, Communications Manager, Fiji, Tel: +679 3213122 or +679 9908231

SOURCE: ANZ/PACNEWS

30) Three Samoa tourism businesses honoured at traveller’s choice awards

Posted at 22:20 on 25 March, 2013 UTC

Three tourism properties in Samoa have been honoured at the TripAdvisor 2013 Traveller’s Choice Awards.

Seabreeze Resort, on the south coast of Upolu was chosen as one of the winners in the Top 10 Hotels for Romance in the South Pacific and the Top 25 Bargain Hotels in the South Pacific.

Litia Sini Beach Resort, on Lalomanu Beach was placed in the Top 25 Bargain Hotels in the South Pacific.

Savaii Lagoon Resort placed in the Top 10 Hotels for service in the South Pacific.

Now in its eleventh year, the annual TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards honour the world’s best hotels and are chosen based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world.

Radio New Zealand International

MEDIA+

31) Media associations failing the Pacific

Updated 26 March 2013, 12:07 AEST

A report on strengthening national media associations in the Pacific has slammed the groups, saying they are ineffective, under-resourced and unable to support journalists.

Media associations failing the Pacific (Credit: ABC)

The presence of media associations around the region is varied, with groups set up in some countries post independence, while in others they’re newly-formed or non-existent.

The report, undertaken by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme, shows the groups are unable to keep up with the growing influence of digital communication and have lost their way in advocating for an independent and ethical media.

But it’s not all gloom and doom, with recommendations to bring the groups together to give them a new focus and help support journalists.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Pesa Fonua, Tongan-based publisher and one of the report’s authors

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/media-associations-failing-the-pacific/1107116

32) New Tongan newspaper to cover neglected stories

Updated 26 March 2013, 12:09 AEST

A new bi-monthly newspaper has been launched in Tonga in an effort to educate people about important issues facing the country.

New Tongan newspaper to cover neglected stories (Credit: ABC)

The publisher’s of the Kaivai newspaper hope to draw attention to women’s issues, climate change, tourism and non communicable diseases.

The paper is free and is available in Tongatapu as well as the outer islands.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Salote Sisifa, Tongan journalist

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/new-tongan-newspaper-to-cover-neglected-stories/1107114

HEALTH:

33) Diabetes kills many

DIABETES is a growing killer disease, but there has been very little funding by successive governments and donor agencies to contain its destructive path in this country.
Minister for State Enterprise and Public Investment Ben Micah wants to change the status quo. Mr Micah was diagnosed with pre-diabetic condition in 2005, then a private citizen. He says the healthy hints from Health Guru Jamie Maxton Graham has helped enabled him to regain his health.
At a press conference at Grand Papua Hotel yesterday, he introduced research scientist Dr Gabriel Cousens, who he has invited to help the Government draw up a National Plan on Diabetes prevention and treatment.
Mr Micah said as the minister responsible for major economic projects in PNG, he was worried that massive income earned could lead the citizens of this country to live an unhealthy lifestyle. Mr Micah said the experience of the Pacific Island country, Nauru, was “one we must not repeat’’. Million of US dollars was received by Naru islanders over 50 years of mining phosphate in royalties and taxes, and was the richest nation per capita but today it has the highest rate of blindness, cancer, heart and kidney diseases due to diabetes.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130326/tuhome.htm

LAW&ORDER:

34) Air Vanuatu Deputy CEO Accused Of ‘Gross Misconduct’
Virelala allegedly released confidential financial information

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 25, 2013) – Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Air Vanuatu and Internal Auditor, Jean-Paul Virelala, is facing the likelihood of being sacked by the Board of Directors of the airline for gross misconduct.

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Vanuatu, Joseph Laloyer, wrote to Mr. Virelala Friday advising him that the Board of Directors Air Vanuatu (Operations) Limited is considering terminating his employment for serious misconduct following a resolution of the Board on Monday, March 18.

The letter to Virelala states that the Board considered that his action in releasing the report he himself prepared titled “Air Vanuatu (Operations) Limited Recovery Plan February 2013” was a “clear and very serious breach of the terms of your employment agreement with Air Vanuatu, the Corporate Policy and Procedures of Air Vanuatu, and amounts to gross misconduct by yourself because you did so without authorization from Air Vanuatu.”

Then the letter detailed the allegations or grounds for serious misconduct against Virelala.

These were: 1. That he breached clause 8 of his employment contract with Air Vanuatu by releasing confidential information that included details of loan agreements between Air Vanuatu and various financial institutions and profit and loss figures that had not been audited or approved by the Board of Directors; 2. that Mr. Virelava acted in breach of clause 9 of his employment contract by causing to be published the report that concerns the duties and business of Air Vanuatu without the consent of Air Vanuatu as his employer; 3. that he acted in breach of the line of responsibility he has which is to the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors; 4. preparing a controversial report which is beyond his scope of responsibility; 5. that Mr. Virelala acted in breach of the Code of Conduct of Air Vanuatu by disclosing confidential Air Vanuatu information without the prior consent of the Chief Executive Officer and for failing to maintain the confidentiality of Air Vanuatu documents.

The letter states that the fact that Mr. Virelala divulged confidential information in that report to the public has jeopardized the financial position of Air Vanuatu and put the Board of Directors in an awkward position and painted Air Vanuatu in a very negative light.

Consequently, the letter advised him that “Air Vanuatu (Operations) Limited is considering terminating your employment for serious misconduct, and is now giving you the opportunity to as required under Section 50(4) of the Employment Act to respond to the grounds or allegations 1-5 above.”

Mr. Virelava has been given until 9am Monday, March 25, 2013 to answer to the allegations in writing.

Virelala’s report directly blames expatriates and previous managements for losses, without any mention of losses incurred under his own management.

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

35) Human Trafficking Reportedly ‘High’ In PNG
Girls found more vulnerable to trafficking than boys

By Armstrong Saiyama

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 25, 2013) – The domestic and transnational trafficking of adults and children is occurring at a high rate in Papua New Guinea for forced labor, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

IOM chief of mission Giuseppe Crocetti said this last Friday in Port Moresby during the launch of the country’s first report of human trafficking.

Titled “Trafficking in Persons and People Smuggling Baseline Data Assessment Report,” it establishes a baseline assessment of current trafficking statistics in the National Capital District, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, West Sepik and Western.

The report’s research was a partnership between the IOM, the Department of Justice and Attorney General and was funded by the United States government to combat human trafficking in PNG.

Crocetti said the report showed that irregular migrants entered PNG assisted by organized crime rings whereas the organizer provided onward travel, employment and accommodation to smuggle persons in PNG.

“Therefore, the report analysis data collected on issues associated with both trafficking in persons and people smuggling, two very distinctive crimes, due to the high susceptibility of people smuggling leading to trafficking in persons as a result of the exploitation of the position of vulnerability in which irregular migrants are often found,” Crocetti said.

He added that the logging industry received the highest results by survey respondents as a business sector that exposes persons to risks of trafficking.

“Persons who work in and around market places, bars, restaurants and gaming clubs, were also indicated as being at heightened risk of exposure to trafficking,” Crocetti said.

He said that female children were indicated as being over twice more vulnerable to becoming victims to trafficking than male children.

“Survey results also indicate that children who do not attend school are at greater risk to be targeted for child trafficking,” Crocetti said.

He said persons engaging in prostitution were arrested and were not assessed to determine whether they were victims of domestic trafficking and sexual exploitation.

U.S. embassy deputy chief of mission Bryan Hunt added that the U.S. government had a particular interest in combating human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is essentially another term for human exploitation, and it can occur domestically or internationally, and it occurs any time a person is coerced or forced or deceived into involuntary servitude.

“Trafficking victimizes perhaps as many as 27 million men, women, and children worldwide, persons essentially enslaved and exploited for sex or labor,” he said.

Hunt added that human trafficking was facilitated by porous borders, the absence of the rule of law, the failure to prosecute traffickers and the complicity of corrupt officials.

Hunt said that the U.S. government would work with the PNG government to combat trafficking and corruption and increase transparency and improve governance in extractive industries.

“Trafficking in persons can impede efforts to improve health, impede efforts to increase economic growth, impede the efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, and trafficking can pose a threat to lifetime prospects for youth. It is in all of our interests to end trafficking,” he said.

Deputy Secretary for Justice Jack Kariko agreed that human trafficking was a major problem for PNG. He added the department was confident that parliament would legislate to criminalize human trafficking.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

36) Guam should prepare for N Korea strike: Senator
By Online Editor
2:20 pm GMT+12, 26/03/2013, Guam

A Guam senator is urging the island’s government to advise people on what to do in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack.

Tensions have been rising on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea issuing a series of threats aimed at South Korea and its main ally, the United States.

Guam is the nearest United States military base to North Korea and Senator Brant McCreadie has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the administration should prepare for the worst-case scenario.

“I am hoping that it’s not likely… but when someone threatens an attack I think you have to take that into consideration, you need to take that seriously,” he said.

Senator McCreadie has called for the government to establish an advisory council to give information to the island’s population, including whether it would be safe for people to remain in their concrete houses during an attack.

He says Guam needs to to be proactive and establish a “readiness program” to avoid mass panic in the event of an emergency.

“I want a strong message out to the people saying this is what would be the safest for the people of Guam, this is where you should go, this is what you should do,” he said.

“I’m just looking for an answer so that people won’t have to be in a panic mode, said Senator McCreadie.

SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN NETWORK NEWS

EDUCATION:

37) American Samoa’s Governor threatens to close down a public school

Posted at 23:02 on 25 March, 2013 UTC

The Governor of American Samoa has threatened to close down a dilapidated public high school unless the Department of Education takes immediate action.

Lolo Matalasi Moliga told a Cabinet meeting that at a recent culture day, students from the affected school, Fagaitua, sang a Samoan song calling on the government for help.

He says the students sang that it takes two hours for one student standing in line to get to use the bathroom.

The governor also says the students claimed that many classrooms were unusable after 11am because they are too hot and the air condition system does not work.

The governor says a crew from the Department of Public Works is being sent to the school this week to start working on fixing bathrooms.

The Education Department is yet to comment on the Governor’s complaints.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT ISSUES:

38) Heavy flooding destroys Bougainville food gardens

Posted at 23:02 on 25 March, 2013 UTC

Heavy flooding in the central region of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville has destroyed houses and food gardens.

The regional disaster co-ordinator for Bougainville, Franklin Lacey, says they have a team on the ground assessing the scale of the damage and expects a full report by Wednesday.

Mr Lacey says he knows of gardens and houses destroyed around Roroban, and this is having a devastating impact.

“Since the situation has happened there’s been people going out to other areas to look for food. People at the moment are scavenging for food everywhere they can find it. There are people who are going out to relatives on the other side of the village to look for food. The situation is very bad at the moment.”

Franklin Lacey says he hopes to have relief supplies in the region by next weekend with assistance from the United Nations and AUSaid, but he says it will take months to restore the gardens.

Radio New Zealand International

39) New Caledonia set to become top polluter

Posted at 03:17 on 26 March, 2013 UTC

Two environmentalist organisations say the expansion of New Caledonia’s nickel sector will make the territory one of the worst per capita polluters.

The World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International have written to the territory’s president, saying the annual per capita CO2 emission of 13.7 tonnes is set to rise to 36.8 tonnes.

The expected pollution increase is linked to the planned opening of two large nickel plants, which will be powered by coal-burning electricity sources.

The existing SLN nickel plant in Noumea is known for its large emissions but is due for an upgrade.

The two environmentalist organisations say efforts should be made to curb emissions.

They say the current plans will place New Caledonia into the top polluter group that includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.

Radio New Zealand International

40) Vanuatu’s new PM creates Climate Change ministry

By Online Editor
4:36 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s former minister of finance in the Sato Kilman government, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, is the country’s new Prime Minister.

The Greens Party leader was voted unanimously by 34 Members of Parliament on Saturday. Kalosil becomes the first naturalised citizen to become Vanuatu Prime Minister, since the Pacific island nation became independent 32 years ago.

Included in his 13 member cabinet are two former Prime Ministers, Edward Natapei and Serge Vohor. Natapei of the Vanuaaku Pati is the deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs while Vohor of the UMP Party takes over the health ministry.

Former Vanuatu Ambassador to China Willie Jimmy is the new Minister for Finance and Economic Management.

A new inclusion in the cabinet line-up is a ministry to look after climate change and environment. Its new minister will be Thomas Laken, an independent MP from Tanna.

Responding to the change in government, the newly appointed minister of finance, Willie Jimmy, says Kilman’s resignation as Prime Minister Thursday was the honourable thing to do.

“I think that was the most honourable thing for him to do, because in politics, there’s already been a shift in numbers, the shift in power is already imminent before the people of Vanuatu, so the most honourable thing for him to do is to resign. I think if I’m in the same position, I would do the same, Jimmy told Radio New Zealand International.

However, Jimmy said he will continue his legal battle over whether the former PM fulfilled the requirements to contest the 2012 general election.

SOURCE: PACNEWS/RNZI


41) Pacific to suffer worst climate change impacts

By Online Editor
6:30 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Australia

The World Bank is urging the international community to heed the plight of Pacific island countries and take action on climate change.

The bank’s vice president for Sustainable Development, Rachel Kyte, says Pacific nations will suffer higher sea level rise than other parts of the world.

She says the impact of climate change will threaten the very existence of some countries in the Pacific.

Kyte also warns Australia will see some of the most extreme droughts, with summer temperatures of over 40 degrees becoming commonplace.

She has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat a lack of action on climate change is undermining efforts by the World Bank to address global poverty.

“Imagine we’ve laid the table, ready for the economic and social solutions to ending poverty and building prosperity,” she said.

“And we’re about to rip the table cloth from underneath all of the plates and sauces, because climate change is going to not only halt the progress we’re making but actually, in some cases, perhaps roll it back.”

Kyte says the World Bank’s new president Jim Kim has put climate change high on the organisation’s agenda.

She says putting a global price on carbon, including removing harmful fossil fuel, would be an important first step in tackling climate change.

“And really working on the way in which we build cities, because 75 per cent of humanity will live in cities and 80 per cent of global emissions will come from them, and then learning how to farm differently.

“Agriculture or climate-smart agriculture by changing the technologies and the approaches that we use in farming actually offers us the opportunity to take carbon out of the atmosphere, while providing livelihoods and increasing agricultural productivity.

“So cities, agriculture, carbon and subsidies are a good place to start, said Kyte.

SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN NETWORK NEWS/PACNEWS

KOROR, 25 MARCH 2013 (PNA) —

SPORTS:

42) New Caledonia challenges defending OFC U-20 champions New Zealand

Updated 26 March 2013, 12:02 AEST

New Caledonia came very close to upsetting defending champions New Zealand who had to come from behind for their 3-2 win while Vanuatu ran six goals past Papua New Guinea to take a 6-1 victory on day three of the OFC U-20 Championship at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Fiji, this afternoon.

New Caledonia challenges defending OFC champions New Zealand (Credit: ABC)

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Daniel Markham, the OFC’s Head of Communications

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/new-caledonia-challenges-defending-ofc-u20-champions-new-zealand/1107126

43) Kumuls set to camp

RUGBY LEAGUE

By KEVIN TEME

REAPPOINTED Telikom PNG Kumuls Coach Adrian Lam is expecting the PNG Resident XIII Kumuls select side to go into camp after the long Easter weekend.
Lam said this during the official announcement of Queensland Maroons head coach Mal Meninga as the Team Kumuls high performance coaching director last week.
“I want all the selected (players) to be in camp two weeks from now in the lead up to the World Cup. This will be the first camp for the local boys and I am expecting them to be fit because we have given them the training schedule and what to do after the match in Sydney,” Lam said.
Lam also warned that copies of the program were given out after the Redfern match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the coaching team expects all the players to be fit for the several tests that will be given during the training camp.
In an historic announcement by Minister for Sports and Pacific Games, Justin Tkatchenko said on that night the selected players to represent PNG in the black, red and white jumper will be on full pay and a huge sponsorship package has been revealed to make things happen, including the implementation of the high performance program.
TKATCHENKO said he has never played any sports in his life, however given his position as the Sports Minister, he has nothing to hold back but to “let the walk do the talking”.
So far the member for Port Moresby South has done wonders for rugby league in the country and has put this national sport back on track by taking the bull by the horn after the national sport was in great chaos for the last four years.
“I congratulate you, my good minister. It was very tough getting things back on (track) and you never gave up. You’ve made us, the Peter O’Neill and Leo Dion Government, proud. I congratulate you,” said Minister for State Enterprise Ben Micah.
Responding to Micah, Tkatchencko said: “Thanks to you, my big brother, for allowing me to be the Sports Minister. Rugby League is our national sport and needs all the support from all of us, including the stakeholders, and for allowing me in this position. It gives me right to captain this ship in the right direction and I have nothing to hold back.”
High Performance Coaching director Mal Meninga said with the good leadership that is currently in place now, he was happy to take the offer to be on board the Team Kumuls ship.
“I commend all those people involved, especially the government of PNG, for getting behind rugby league to have it back on track. It is a national sport of this country and having the right people to lead, it gives vision and direction and I am honored to come on board to help the Team Kumuls,” Meninga said.
The Kumuls are all set to return to Port Moresby for phase one of their preperations after easter.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130326/tuhome.htm

44) Kolinisau: Special successive Hong Kong title

By Matai Akauola
4:14 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Hong Kong

Fiji came from 19-0 behind at half time to lift the 2013 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Cup, successfully defending their title and becoming the first side to win two Cups this season.

Osea Kolinisau came off the bench to score a remarkable hat-trick to give Fiji an eventual 26-19 win against a Welsh side performing in their first ever Cup final.

“We just said that we needed hope and we need to keep the faith, to keep on working because 10 minutes is a lot of time in Sevens,” said Kolinisau on what was said at half time.

“It is a really good feeling to go back to back here and especially to be the first team to win two Cups this season. It is really important, so we hope to continue this in Japan.”

Watched on by the most recent inductee into the IRB Hall of Fame, Waisale Serevi, the Fijians celebrated with his son on top of their shoulders as Serevi had done at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2005 in the same stadium.

“I feel great,” added Serevi. “It is an honor to win this Hong Kong title. It is important for Fiji. It is like winning the World Cup. It is the pinnacle of the Series.”

“When I come to Hong Kong it is like I am 18, I would love to run on the field. This is where it all began and I wanted to keep playing every year. I saw the boys with Junior, they know him, so that was great.”

Tomasi Cama Snr, Fiji assistant coach, on reaching the Cup final: “We are looking forward to the final. It is a special place for us, this is a place where our name has been well known in the world in Rugby Sevens, and it is special for us and the whole of Fiji. We are waiting for the great time to come and we will give everything we have got.”

Lee Williams, Wales, on reaching first Cup final: “It is a great feeling. We were in the group of death, we have come out of that full of confidence and managed to pay off today.

So special to do it here in Hong Kong especially with the group we had. We have one more step now. Ifan wrote a letter for us, which touched a few of the boys and we are going to do it for him.”

England coach Ben Ryan on why England have improved on day three: “Mindset. We didn’t have it in the first two games. For the last three games the minimum standards have been there, we have suffocated teams. I’m really angry. Every time we get better I get angrier.”

On facing Hong Kong in the Bowl final: “They’re a faceless opposition, we’re just trying to improve our performance to another level.”

IRB Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper on sevens and RWC Sevens in Moscow: “We’re loving intensity of global competition exemplified here in Hong Kong. We’ve had some real surprises here.

“23 of these teams will be in Russia for Rugby World Cup Sevens and we’re looking forward to a great RWC Sevens in Moscow. It’s a big event and a huge stadium, which will have a huge festival atmosphere around it.”

Hong Kong sevens captain Rowan Varty after victory over Argentina in the Bowl quarter final:

“It’s one of the best (sevens results), beating Wales back in 2010, winning the Shield the same year and now beating Argentina in 2013 especially after days one and two for us, which weren’t too sharp.

Hopefully we can prove to the other teams here that we are in amongst them and gain a bit of respect from them.

“I feel sorry for all the other teams in Hong Kong because the crowd is unbelievable, they really get behind us and it must be a nightmare to play against.”

Pre-qualifier

Russia coach Alexander Alekseenko after securing a place at the HSBC Sevens London qualifier: “We’ve worked hard for this tournament. We realise the importance of it because it is a qualifier for London.

“Unfortunately we have six players in our national team who are injured so we were a bit concerned coming into the tournament. However, the new guys played really well with the older players remaining. Overall I’m really pleased.

“The preparations for the Rugby World Cup Sevens will begin for us from tomorrow. We are really looking forward to this tournament and each sevens world series tournament is  a stepping stone for us towards this historic event for Russian rugby.”

SOURCE: IRB/ PACNEWS

45) Samoa grab silverware but hard work lies ahead
By Matai Akauola
4:18 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2013, Hong Kong

Samoa might have walked away with the Plate after winning a bruising final 12-7 over Canada but captain Afa Aiono said the tournament left his squad with plenty of unresolved problems.

The Samoans ground out their wins all weekend and it was much the same yesterday in a game marred by a nasty incident in the second half that saw substitute Alatasi Tupou fall awkwardly and have to be stretchered off after lying on the turf immobile for five minutes.

“It’s hard sometimes to concentrate after that,” said Aiono. “But we have to deal with our lack of concentration. It is a problem and we also made silly mistakes that lost us the ball.”

Samoan coach Faamaoni Lalomilo left the pitch almost immediately after the Plate presentation to check on his injured player and the reports from the changing rooms were that Tupou had been left groggy but otherwise okay.

The Samoans came to Hong Kong sitting in third place in the world series standings and while the Plate victory was enough to see them retain that position, Aiono said they had targeted bigger and better things from the Cup competition. “It was a good end to the tournament, but overall it’s been quite a disappointing result,” he said. “We’ve played our hearts out and we had set ourselves a goal of coming here and winning the [Cup] final, so we haven’t made it as far as we wanted, but we’ve taken what we could take from it and you have to look at that as a positive.”

Two first-half tries to Levi Asifa’amatala laid the groundwork for the win and some stubborn defence as the clocked ticked down ensured the Canadians were kept at arm’s length. But Aiono was left wanting more.

“We made a lot of mistakes in the basics and that is something we really need to go away now and look at hard,” he said.

“When you are playing the top teams there’s no margin for error and we just can’t keep giving other teams easy opportunities.”

Samoa won the second leg of the world series in Dubai with a stunning 26-15 Cup victory over New Zealand and finished third in the Cup competition in Las Vegas before turning their attention on this sixth leg in Hong Kong.

An early loss to Portugal and a draw with Scotland meant Samoa were playing catch-up and a 28-7 win over England allowing them to sneak into the morning Cup quarter-finals. But they had the misfortune of meeting a fired-up New Zealand outfit who made the most of a series of ball-handling errors to win 21-14, meaning the Plate was going to be as good as it would get for the Samoans.

“We seem to keep losing concentration in the last few minutes of games and that’s something we need to rub out,” said Aiono.

“We have to keep looking forward and now it’s Tokyo, Scotland, London, and then the World Cup. You want to take them one at a time and keep building and getting better, so winning the Plate is good but there’s work we still have to do.”

SOURCE: IRB/ PACNEWS

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