Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 833

MELANESIA:

1) BOUGAINVILLE NIUS:

080413SIWAI MEETING
By Aloysius Laukai in Siwai
The Bougainville Autonomy Review team in South Bougainville this morning met with the people of Siwai at the Ameu District Office.
The meeting attracted a big crowd because all stakeholders in Siwai were combined due to the tight schedule the review team is following at the moment.
The meeting was attended by youths, the ex combatants, Coes members, women, district administration staff,former ABG member for Kopi, Michael Komoiki and the current ABG member for RAMU, Thomas Pataaku.
This was the biggest crowd the review team as met since the review started last week.
The team would be meeting with the people of Bana tomorrow before travelling onto Panguna.
The people of Bana are requested to attend the two meetings in Bana tomorrow.
According to the schedule for tomorrow the team would have its first meeting at the BABA COE office in the morning and would meet at the Bana District office in the afternoon.

080413BUIN MEET
By Aloysius Laukai
The Bougainville Autonomy Review team currently visiting south Bougainville yesterday held three consultations in Buin before winding their visit to Buin last night.
The team headed by DR.NAIHUWO AHAI first met the people of Oria and Paghui villages befor returning to Buin where it met with chiefs from the Baubake COE in the afternoon.The meeting with the chiefs was held at the Turiboiru parish outside Buin town.

Former ABG member, CHARLES LAIA and the former IRC Computer expert, MICHAEL LUAKENU dominated the meeting giving valuable information to the review team.
The team is expected to present their findings to the ABG and the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT by the end of May, 2013.
The team later in the evening talked to the students of the Buin Secondary School.
Principal, TONY MALAMO welcomed the team and said that the school really appreciated the visit as most of these students would be reaching the age of 18 required for voting by the time the vote for Referendum would be taken in 2015.

He said as future leaders these students need to know
when and how the vote will be taken.
Ends
Pictured are Buin Secondary School girls showing off their school uniforms this morning.
The school recently introduced the BHS school uniform.
They are from left, SUSAN DISIN, CELESTINE IAU,
HILDAGARD KITARE and GISSEL KAKATA.
Our attempts to get a pic of the whole school did not eventuate as the photographer had to move to Siwai,

Buin Inn the place to be when in Buin.
By Aloysius Laukai.
If you are planning to visit Buin in the near future,then Buin Inn is the place to be.
With fully secured accommodation, in the heart of Buin town, near to the Stores,the Police station and the Buin Health centre.
Buin Inn provides cash out facilities as well to its customers.
It has ten rooms that has 15 beds and the fees are lower than the other operators.
For contact, Please email them on
buin.inn06@gmail.com or you can get them on Digicel +67572360342.
Buin inn your home away from home.
Manageress of Buin Inn
DENISE NUKUITU .

060413NORTH BOUGAINVILLE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

By Aloysius Laukai
The North Bougainville Human Rights Committee (NBHRC) strongly condemns the recent
murder of Helen Rumbali and ongoing kidnap and torture of her sister Nikono in Bana
District, South Bougainville both accused of sorcery.
A committee member of the NBHRC said: “This is a complete violation of these two
women’s human rights: their right to life, as well as their right to live a life free from
violence and torture.”
If Helen’s sister is still alive, NBHRC calls on Police, local peace officers and local civil
society organisations to facilitate her immediate relocation to a safe house and provide
access to urgent medical treatment, legal assistance and counseling.

“Spreading false rumours of witchcraft, as well as the torture or killing of anyone accused
of witchcraft, is against our Bougainville culture, against the teaching of the Bible and
against the law. If you have suspicions of sorcery, report it. Don’t take the law into your
own hands,” one NBHRC member said.

The NBHRC says that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (‘ABG’) must do better to
protect its own people and ensure adherence to the law.

In resolving this situation, the
NBHRC calls on the ABG to use its own Police Service in incidents like this, and not
private security firms, especially those which employ ex-combatants. If ex-combatants
are injured or killed while attempting to resolve community disputes this will only add fuel
to the fire and lead to more needless death and violence.
Instead, the ABG must educate and train its Police, Village Magistrates, Peace Officers to
intervene as soon as rumours begin and to prosecute those who spread them. Spreading
false rumours is against the law in Papua New Guinea. Victims of false rumours should
contact police and the Courts.
‘When someone is sick or has died we need to find out why from a doctor – NOT from a
witchdoctor!” said another NBHRC member.
The NBHRC calls on the ABG to act urgently to save the life of Nikono and allow the law to
take its course.

Note from the editor…
The situation is now under control as per our earlier news

050413REGIONAL MEMBER’S HELP COMING
By Aloysius Laukai
One hundred Bougainville students will now under go training in Hahela, Buka island under the Independent Fellowship Scheme which the Bougainville Regional member allocated 30 Thousand kina to sponsor.
The one hundred students selected will attain skills and training in Textiles starting this week.
New Dawn Fm saw the announcement on the newspaper and talked to the regional member, JOE LERA who said that he was putting education and skills training as a priority for Bougainville.
He said the International Training School will also start in June this year.
The Regional member said that work on the IT Centre at Kubu was also progressing well.

2)NCRA vows to end political instability syndrome

TUESDAY, 09 APRIL 2013 04:33
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Philip Tagini says the NCRA government vows to end political instability syndrome.

Appearing before the Bills and Legislation Committee Dr Tagini said the National Parliament Electoral Provisions (Amendment) Bill 2013 is a step forward to create stability in county’s political systems.

“We cannot legislate integrity of individuals if there is no integrity with processes in government institutions,” Dr Tagini said.

He said the Bill once passed plays an important role in establishing strong political parties in the country.

“Because election will be conducted with integrity, it will prevent political influences to election process.”

He said the Bill is will rid previous practises of poor voter registration and ensure fairness.

“The government fully supports this Bill and want to ensure it is passed to ensure proper mechanisms for free and fair election.

Responding to the Committee’s question on why voting is not compulsory in Solomon Islands, he said it is people’s right but government is looking at education awareness as a tool to ensuring everyone takes part.

“At times people refuse to vote because politics has hijacked the system, discouraging people.

“But if there is integrity in the election process, people will be encouraged.”

Permanent Secretary Fred Fakari added, the ministry encourages eligible voters to vote but for now, it is their right.

“There are other countries such as Australia that already made voting a compulsory exercise.

“We might get to that stage in the future when we have proper electoral systems in place.”http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/17554-ncra-vows-to-end-political-instability-syndrome

By Elliot Dawea

3) Likely Indonesia out, West Papua in

Posted on April 9, 2013 – 9:57am |

By
Godwin Ligo
Vanuatu Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, holding the West Papua Freedom flag flanked by the West Papuan delegation.

If Vanuatu national leaders, and some top brass in the opposition, mean what they say of the support to the West Papuan cause, towards self-determination, Indonesia will likely be voted out, and West Papua will be voted in, as observer to the Melanesian Spearhead group at June 2013 MSG Meeting in New Caledonia.

On Wednesday last week, Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses assured a West Papua delegation during a meeting in his office that he will support West Papua request to grant and admit West Papua as an observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Meeting at Noumea in June.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini already pledged his support in the last government to move for Indonesia to be stripped off the MSG Status and West Papua to be granted the MSG Observer status.

The current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nipake Natapei also already publicly made his views clear on his stand on the issue. He told Daily Post two weeks ago that he will support West Papua to obtain MSG observer status in the upcoming June MSG Meeting in Noumea New Caledonia.

The Shefa Provincial Government came out loud and clear also supporting West Papuan cause.

Even the Pacific Conference of Churches’ recent Assembly in Honiara, Solomon Islands, was very vocal on the issue and declared it to the regional political and civic leaders as well as to the world that it supports the cry of the West Papua Melanesians.

The Chiefs in Vanuatu have, on a number of occasions called on Vanuatu governments to take up the issue of West Papua in the regional and international forums to pressure Jakarta to hand West Papua Melanesians their political freedom- and to stop the killings of the Melanesians in West Papua by the Indonesian military forces, as alleged in numerous media and independent reports around the region and beyond.

Then there’s the question of which side of the fence will the other MSG members are likely to support.

On March 6, 2013, Papua New Guinea National Capital District Governor, Powes Parkop, told West Papuan, Benny Wenda, at a concert in Port Moresby before a crowd of 3,000 people that: “There is no historical, religious, or moral justification for Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua.”

Civil Society groups and activists in Melanesian countries have come out loud and clear on the issue- for Indonesia military to stop killing West Papuans and for the MSG Leaders to dispose Indonesia from MSG Observer status and accept West Papua instead.

While Daily Post could not get comment from the MSG Headquarters in Port Vila on the issue, DP understands that the issue of removing Indonesia from the MSG observer status and handing over the status to West Papua is likely to be high on the agenda.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/likely-indonesia-out-west-papua

4) No motion: Lini

Posted on April 9, 2013 – 11:01am | Category:

Politics

The new Opposition Leader, Ham Lini, has confirmed to Daily Post at the end of the parliamentary meeting last Saturday that the Opposition has not deposited any Motion of No Confidence against the current government.

He however confirmed that the Opposition bloc had planned a motion of no confidence but held this back because of the lack of numbers that the Opposition now has on its side.

“The problem is that some MPs keep on changing their minds. They moved to us and then shortly you see them again on the other side- with the government. This is the reason why we have not deposited a motion at this point in time,” Lini told Daily Post.

Last week rumours circulated in public that the Opposition had the numbers and was to deposit a motion of no confidence in the current leadership of Prime Minister Moana Carcasses.

But the Opposition Leader has confirmed to Daily Post that there is no motion.

During last Saturday’s Extra-Ordinary Session of Parliament, the Government led by Prime Minister Carcasses commanded 33 MPs with one of his MP backbencher Robert Bohn, absent as he was on an overseas trip while the Opposition had 16 MPs on its side.http://www.dailypost.vu/content/no-motion-lini

5) Vanuatu Public Utilities Ministry Faces $867,209 Debt
New minister to focus on improving infrastructure

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 8, 2013) – Vanuatu’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU) is currently in debt of approximately Vt80 million [US$867,209] in unpaid contracts incurred since 2009.

This is one of the main challenges up for newly appointed Minister Esmon Simon, who will be trying his hands on the Infrastructure and Public Utilities Ministry as his first ever ministerial portfolio.

During a briefing with his new cabinet staff and the MIPU civil servants yesterday afternoon, Minister Simon said “proper management measures will be established to meet this financial commitment subject to budget provisions.”

“The government is well aware of the challenges faced by this sector such as the urging need of availability of resources in terms of financial, infrastructure, equipment and human resource capacity.

“Considering these challenges, the Government takes note of the Public expectations for the pressing need of repair and maintenance of national roads, feeder roads, bridges, ports, aviation infrastructure facilities, telecommunication networks, and maritime services and safety standards.”

In yesterday’s meeting, Simon revealed his policy vision for the Ministry which is part of the Government’s 100 days plan.

“It is the Policy Vision of the Government to give focus in improving infrastructure service in the Country while we reflect on the past performance as we continue to strengthen the governments Partnership and alliances among our stakeholders in growing the economy and well-being of the nation of Vanuatu,” the newly appointed Minister told the Ministry staff.

According to the new Minister, it is the government’s most priority to review the present structures, practices, process and policy, objectives and goals to ensure programs produce measureable results.

“In order to grow our economy, we need to improve infrastructure,” he said.

The new Minister said government wises to also address internal needs and issues within the government statutory institutions, calling for more transparent management practices and accountability.

Statutory bodies under the MIPU include Air Vanuatu, Vanuatu Post Limited, Northern Island Stevedoring Company Limited, Airports Vanuatu Limited which Minister Simon said will be expected to remain profitable in order to contribute financial returns to the national budget.

“The Ministry will continue to stay focused on its priorities despite these challenges and pursue its development plans to ensure competitiveness in this industry,” he added.

During yesterday’s briefing the new Minister introduced a total of 19 political appointees to the ministry’s civil staff who were also introduced to the new ministry.

Represented at the brief are Directors and senior managers from the respective departments under the MIPU.

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

6) Parliament Appoints New Speaker In Vanuatu
Sitting also confirms government of new PM Carcasses

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 8, 2013) – Vanuatu’s parliament has appointed Philip Boedoro as the new speaker of the House.

Thirty-three MPs voted with the government and eight voted with the opposition during the parliament sitting on Saturday.

The editor of the Vanuatu Independent, Tony Wilson, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the session went relatively smoothly.

“The sitting went surprisingly according to plan, for Vanuatu politics,” he said. “The former speaker, George Wells, was voted out of his position and the new Speaker Philip Boedoro is now in situ.”

[PIR editor’s note: Carcasses, meanwhile, claims that Wells was suspended for behaving unconstitutionally.]

Mr. Wilson says the meeting also effectively confirmed the government of Moana Carcasses.

“Any talking in previous weeks about some new motion against the current government just failed to happen. The numbers were still very strong and very similar to those that voted in the new leader a fortnight or so ago.”

Mr. Wilson says former speaker and Luganville MP George Wells, has been suspended from parliamentary sittings for 12 months, adding such a motion was not “unusual” in Vanutu politics.

Meanwhile, Vanuatu’s acting police commissioner has been officially appointed to the top job.

Arthur Caulton has been acting commissioner since October following the end of Joshua Bong Bong’s four-year contract.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

MICRONESIA:

7) Shark species disappeared from Kiribati reefs

Posted 9 April 2013, 8:51 AEST

Researchers say the disappearance of two species of shark from the reefs surrounding Kiribati could be linked to shark-finning.

Researchers say the disappearance of two species of shark from the reefs surrounding Kiribati could be linked to shark-finning.

The researchers have been studying a collection of vicious weapons made of shark teeth and dating back to the 1840s.

Ichthyologist Joshua Drew from Columbia University says the findings reveal two species of sharks – the spotfin and dusky sharks – started disappearing from the Gilbert Islands about 100 years ago.

He’s told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that’s about the same time as the practice of shark-finning became popular.

“We do know by 1910 there is already a well established shark-finning industry and by 1950, almost 3,500 kilograms of shark shark fins alone, not whole shark bodies, but fins alone were being exported out,” he said.

“So, you connect the lines as you were, and it looks like human exploitation was probably a very key reason why these species were no longer found.”

The researchers found the nearest population for a spotfin is in the Solomon Islands, while the dusky remains in Fiji.

Dr Drew says other shark species in Kiribati may also be showing signs of stress.

“It certainly is a case that you don’t find many large sharks near the capital, and you have to go to fairly remote and distant islands to be able to find healthy shark populations,” he said.

“So there does seem to be the relationship that the more people you have, the less sharks you have.”

In their study, the researchers identified teeth from 8 species of shark on 122 weapons and teeth collections from the Gilbert Islands.

Dr Drew says the the cultural links with sharks are also being lost as species come under threat.

“We’ve got a really great case study about people who care about sharks, who have a really personal relationship with sharks,” he said.

“To the people of Kiribati, sharks aren’t the ‘faceless man-eaters’ that are out there – they’re part and parcel of their culture.

“The people of the Gilbert islands involved their culture with these two sharks being present…and we have to think that when we have practices which harm shark populations, we’re also harming the people who have special relationships with sharks.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-04-09/shark-species-disappeared-from-kiribati-reefs/1113260

WORLD:

8) Former British PM Margaret Thatcher dead

Updated 8 April 2013, 23:20 AEST

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87 following a stroke. As Britain’s longest-serving 20th century prime minister and the only woman to have held the job, Lady Thatcher presided over a decade of radical change in Britain. Lady Thatcher died peacefully on Monday morning, according to a spokesman for the Thatcher family. British prime minister David Cameron paid tribute to Lady Thatcher as “a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton.” Queen Elizabeth said she was sad to hear the news of Thatcher’s death and sent a message of sympathy to her family.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-04-08/former-british-pm-margaret-thatcher-dead/1113146

FRANIS:

9) Pêche : des scientifiques canadiens accusent les pêcheurs chinois

Posté à 9 April 2013, 9:38 AEST
Pierre Riant

Chaque année, la chine déclare officiellement une prise globale de 368 000 tonnes de poissons mais pour les chercheurs canadiens, 4,6 millions de tonnes seraient plus près de la vérité.

Un thonier chinois dans les eaux japonaises (Credit: ABC)

La plupart de ces prises viennent des eaux africaines, mais une bonne partie vient de l’océan Pacifique où se trouvent d’importants stocks de thon.

Nous avons eu en ligne, le responsable de cette équipe de chercheurs canadiens, Daniel Pauly, de l’Université de Colombie Britannique.

PAULY : « Notre méthode ne permet pas de différencier la pêche illégale de la pêche légale. C’est le problème avec les Chinois, ils ne dévoilent pas le contrat qui leur permet d’opérer dans les eaux d’autres pays, même quand ils pêchent légalement.
Nous retraçons leur présence à travers la presse, des articles, des sites web et autres sources d’information indirectes. Nous évaluons ensuite le nombre de bateaux et nous multiplions le nombre de ces bateaux par la prise moyenne de ce type de bateau. Ainsi, les prises des thoniers sont inférieures aux prises des chalutiers qui sont principalement déployés au large de l’Afrique.
Pour l’Afrique, nous avons 300 bateaux qui prennent 3 millions de tonnes de poissons. Et 600 autres bateaux dans différentes partie du monde, notamment dans le Pacifique qui prennent le reste. »

C’est-à-dire, 1,6 millions de tonnes de poissons. On est donc loin des 368 000 tonnes que la Chine déclare annuellement à la FAO : l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture.

Est-ce que ces plus de 4,6 millions de tonnes de poissons servent à alimenter le marché intérieur de la Chine :

PAULY : «  Nous estimons qu’un tiers des prises est débarqué localement, tout spécialement en Afrique. Un tiers est distribué sur les marchés internationaux ; en Europe, en Amérique du Nord, dans le sud-est asiatique et un tiers repart en Chine. »

La Chine profite bien aussi de ses liens diplomatiques et joue sur son statut de pays donateur pour s’imposer.

PAULY : « Ils font comme d’autres pays européens. Ils vont quelque part, ils font irruption et proposent différentes choses : je viens d’apprendre qu’ils construisaient  un centre commercial et une salle des congrès. En Afrique, ils font beaucoup de choses comme ça, ils construisent des complexes sportifs, des routes, des lignes ferroviaires et ceci en contraste avec les accords européens  qui offrent du cash principalement utilisé pour soutenir les budgets des pays concernées. »

Difficile dans ces circonstances de dire non à un pays qui vient de vous construire des ponts et une salle de conférence. La seule solution pour Daniel Pauly : faire front commun.

PAULY : «  Le seul moyen d’obtenir une meilleure part des ressources et de s’unir et de faire front commun et c’est ce qui commence à se passer dans le Pacifique, mais pas en Afrique. C’est pourquoi la situation est un peu meilleure dans le Pacifique. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-04-09/pêche-des-scientifiques-canadiens-accusent-les-pêcheurs-chinois/1113276

BUSINESS:

10) Markets report shortage of cassava

Iva Danford
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

THERE is a shortage of cassava in markets around the country.

Ministry of Primary Industries extension director Uraia Waibuta confirmed this yesterday and attributed the shortage to the nature of the production system in the market and the cyclone earlier last year.

He said the shortage had been going on for some time now and the ministry was aware of it.

He said because 80 per cent of the cassava producers were small farmers, the market substantially ran short of it.

“When the price of the cassava is low in the market, farmers don’t want to plant it and it has always been the nature of production,” Mr Waibuta said.

He said another reason why there was a shortage of cassava was because of the increase in dalo export.

“Dalo has substantially increased in terms of export, which means there is shortage of dalo in the market which makes people opt for cassava,” he said.

Mr Waibuta said because people bought cassava over dalo, there was shortage of cassava.

Market vendor Fane Lotu said there was shortage of cassava now because there were fewer farmers planting it.

“We have been told most of the time by our consumers that the price of cassava is really expensive,” she said.

Mrs Lotu said if she had to buy a 25kg bag of cassava for $60 which cost her $40 at times, she would only get a profit of $10.

She said the shortage cycle began from the farmers or the producers themselves.

Losalini Vuki, a frequent cassava buyer said it was cheaper to buy a 10kg bag of rice because it could sustain her family for a longer period of time.

Cassava is now being retailed at $5 to $7 a heap, which before used to sell at $3 to $4 a heap.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=230522

11) BCL set to re-open Panguna mine

By PAEOPE OVASURU

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) announced yesterday that it is ready to re-open the Panguna mine in Bougainville at its annual general meeting (AGM).
The company has estimated that it will cost about K11 million to start-up the mine and it will take about six years to start production.
According to chairman, Peter Taylor, BCL conducted an Order of Magnitude Study (OMS) last year and the key findings revealed that the project is economically viable, based on key assumptions of mining up to 100 million tonnes of copper per year and processing up to 60 million tonnes of ore per year.
“The capital cost is high at $US5.2 million (K11 million) and it has been assumed that most mine site facilities will need to be replaced,” Mr Taylor said in his opening statement.
He said the study considered a wider range of development and production options, including higher mining and processing rates, alternative power, infrastructure and tailings options.
“I emphasise the study has a degree of accuracy of positive or negative 30 per cent and is not a substitute for the feasibility study that will be needed to support redevelopment,” he said.
He said the mine has the potential to process 60 million tonnes of ore per annum, a similar rate that it achieved prior to the mine being suspended.
“The project is very dependent on copper and gold prices. Lower metal prices may still be economically viable but the cut off grade would have to rise and the size of the resources would reduce, as would mine life,” Mr Taylor said.
He said the study revealed that the mine life would be approximately 24 years.
Mr Taylor also said although the study was based on particular assumptions and infrastructure, there are many choices and final decisions that have to be made.
“The study assumes a workforce of approximately 2500 direct employees,” he said.
“These options will be given more detailed attention at the appropriate time and in consultation with government regulators and landowners,” he added.
He said the purpose of the study was to determine the technical and financial feasibility of redeveloping the Panguna operation.
The study does not address landowner, community, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the PNG government’s issues and considerations, Mr Taylor said.
He said the relationship between ABG and BCL was cordial and engaged.
“President Momis maintains his support for the reopening of the mine,” Mr Taylor said.
A series of regional forums are being held across Bougainville to allow all stakeholders to discuss the re-opening of the Panguna mine.
Meanwhile, Dame Carol Kidu was voted to the board of directors of BCL yesterday.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130409/tuhome.htm

12) PNG must step up ..!

By ISAAC NICHOLAS

FOUR Australian Federal MPs have called on Papua New Guinea to step-up and take a greater leadership role in the region.
The four parliamentarians made the call yesterday after paying a courtesy call on Treasurer Don Pomb Polye at his Parliament office in Port Moresby.
The Australian MPs are led by Sharon Grieison (Federal Member for Newcastle, NSW), Jane Prentice (Federal Member for Ryan in Brisbane), Mike Symon (Federal Member for Deakin, Victoria) and Senator Ian Macdonald, representing Queensland in the Federal Parliament.
Team leader for the Australian MPs, Sharon Grieison, said right now Papua New Guinea is an emerging economy and leader in the region.
“Right now is an exciting time for Papua New Guinea in terms of economy and growth. We very much would like to see Papua New Guinea step up and taking up greater leadership role in this region,” she said.
Ms Grieison said the PNG-Australia relationship is very deep, sincere and very warm.
“I realise in your media today that one of your original Fuzzy Wuzzy angels passed away at age 101, and we will make sure that we recognise him; we will never forget and we will always remember this friendship”.
“Right now is an exciting time for PNG in terms of its economy and growth, and that’s what we take a great deal of pride for you, because we have a very strong trade relationship and your economy is growing.
“It is an emerging economy and leader in this region and we very much would like to see PNG taking a greater role on this stage in this region,” she said.
The Australian MPs, accompanied by new Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Ms Deborah Stokes, held discussions with Treasurer Don Polye on a number of issues including Australian assistance, trade, commerce, security issues facing the region and climate change.
Treasurer and Kandep MP Minister Polye thanked the government and the people of Australia for showing keen interest in the affairs and future of Papua New Guinea.
“Australia has been a very close partner to Papua New Guinea for a very long time. We have a historic relationship.
“PNG’s relationship with Australia is unparalleled, very unique and very important…,” Mr Polye said.
Treasurer Polye was accompanied at the discussions by Vice Minister for Treasury and Finance and Sohe MP Delilah Gore and Deputy Secretary AnthonyYauieb.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130409/tuhome.htm

13) Bank in PNG says more women keen to get involved in running businesses

Posted at 22:37 on 08 April, 2013 UTC

The National Development Bank in Papua New Guinea says more rural and urban-based women are keen to get involved in running businesses.

The Banks’s relationship manager for women in business, Janet Kaule, told hundreds of women who attended a road show in Lae last week that women are also better than men in repaying loans.

According to The National, the road show aimed to promote the bank’s business desk for women by encouraging them to tap into a 25 million Kina programme provided by the government through the bank.

Ms Kaule says the Bank’s target is to get 400 women this year to get loans to start or expand their businesses as well as enjoy its 6.5 percent flat interest rate on all its different loans.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Chevron hoping to drill for oil and gas in West Papua

Posted at 22:39 on 08 April, 2013 UTC

The US-based energy multinational Chevron is hopeful of beginning drilling for oil and gas in West Papua after completing a seismic survey of two exploration blocks in the eastern Indonesian province.

The Jakarta Post reports that Chevron aims to review the results of the survey as soon as possible before deciding when it could start drilling.

The leading crude oil producer in Indonesia, Chevron holds a 51 percent operating interest in the two West Papua exploration blocks in Kaimana and Fakfak.

The remaining interest is held by British corporation BP, which currently operates the massive Tangguh gas project in Teluk Bintuni, West Papua.

According to data from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Chevron has invested almost 7 billion US dollars into its West Papua interests since winning exploration rights for the two blocks in 2008.

Radio New Zealand International

15) PNG to restructure major assets

By Online Editor
09:54 am GMT+12, 09/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea will restructure all its petroleum and mining assets as well as other state-owned enterprises by September.

PNG’s Petromin Holdings and the Independent Business Corporation will be wound up, and assets and interests transferred to three new “Kumul” entities to be set up.

All of PNG’s mining interests – including in Bougainville Copper, OK Tedi Mining Limited and in the Ramu Nickel project – will be transferred from the Mineral Resources Development Council to Kumul Mining Holding Limited.

All petroleum assets, including PNG’s 16.575 per cent interest in the massive Exxon Mobil-led PNG LNG project, will be transferred to Kumul Petroleum Holding Limited.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the restructure is necessary to remove inefficiencies and duplication in state-owned assets.

“It will result in efficiency that will maximise benefits that will flow to the state,” O’Neill said.

“The state’s position is not made any better with the duplication and overlapping of participation in the PNG LNG project, with Kroton holding 16.57 per cent in the project, while Petromin holds 0.2 per cent, both for the state.”

Under the restructure a “Kumul Trust” will be created.

The prime minister will hold what’s called a Kumul share, while former prime ministers will hold an ordinary share.

“By having former prime ministers as shareholders/trustees, we will be drawing from their wisdom and vast experience,” O’Neill said.

“I’m confident this structure will have political and commercial integrity.”

Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker said the scheme would need to be answerable to parliament for it to work.

“Throwing it all into another untried model is cause for concern,” he told AAP.

“As long as it’s not a separate empire, so long as it’s integrated into the government system and it’s managed properly and has systems of accountability … then it may be a positive action.”.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

LAND:

16) Furious over land sales

TUESDAY, 09 APRIL 2013 04:06

STephen Panga unhappy with current selling of land plots in Lunga, Henderson, Sun Valley and Tenavatu.

Guadalcanal provincial premier is unhappy with current selling of land plots in Lunga, Henderson, Sun Valley and Tenavatu.

In a statement yesterday Stephen Panga appealed to the national Government, Commissioner of Lands, Levers Solomon Ltd (LSL) and their agents to rethink their decision to sell any land on Guadalcanal.

Mr Panga said, responsible authorities should not forgot that one of the main causes of ethnic tension is about land and land related issues.

“With no major reconciliation between the Guadalcanal province and Solomon Island Government (SIG) and Guadalcanal province and Malaita Province, this exercise of land sales would be a step backwards from the fragile peace that we now enjoy,” Mr Panga said in the statement.

Premier said the advertisements that offers discount for the sales of the lands is not good because land is not a cheap manufactured goods.

“This is an act of provocation and disrespect to the people of Guadalcanal. To the people of Guadalcanal all land is a mother and should not be regarded as cheap commodity.”

Meanwhile the premier issued a strong appeal to the Solomon Island Government and all members of parliaments from Guadalcanal province to act upon the concerns of the people and the Guadalcanal provincial government.

“The sales must be stopped forthwith as it is provocation and a slap on the face of the people of Guadalcanal.

“I will be consulting the leaders in my province and executive committee before conveying an official stand of our province and the peoples,” he said.

The current land area is currently under the custodian of Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL).http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/17544-furious-over-land-sales

By Denver Newter

17) Land law

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum listens to the views of farmers at the draft constitution consultation in Labasa yesterday. Picture: Serafina Silaitoga

NO government has the right to override a protection law even if it’s for economic purposes, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He made the comment at a constitutional consultation in Labasa yesterday after a resident claimed the Laisenia Qarase government converted iTaukei land in Momi to freehold land for economic reasons.

“What was done in Momi, I think, the idea was for economic benefits to the government,” said Labasa resident Timoci Bulitavi.

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum responded: “No it wasn’t. It wasn’t for the economical benefit of the government.

“Government’s economical benefit is subservient to the landowners’ and if you are turning iTaukei land for a private investment, how come government benefits?”

Earlier Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama raised his concerns via an Information Ministry statement at the conduct of the previous government in orchestrating the alienation of iTaukei land from iTaukei landowners at Momi and its subsequent conversion into freehold.

Commodore Bainimarama said in the case of Momi, despite the so-called entrenchment in the 1997 Constitution of the iTaukei Land Trust Act (“Act”), it did not in any way prevent the previous government from permanently alienating iTaukei land.

“The supposed rationale for the entrenched provision in the 1997 Constitution and the related laws was to stop the permanent alienation of iTaukei land,” he said.

Yet despite this, he said, the former minister for the then Fijian Affairs, who was also the Minister for Lands, presented a Cabinet paper that did completely the opposite.

Commodore Bainimarama said Section 5 of the Act expressly states that iTaukei land shall not be alienated, whether by sale, grant, transfer or exchange except to the Crown. iTaukei land cannot be alienated even if individual members of the landowning unit enter into agreements with private companies to alienate iTaukei land. The iTaukei land, he said, was not exchanged for the use of the State or for any public purpose, as required by the State Lands Act but was exchanged solely for the purpose of converting it into freehold for the benefit of a private company.

Yesterday, former prime minister Laisenia Qarase said in response to the Minfo statement that the land transaction in question involved the swap or exchange of 68.7 hectares of native land owned by tokatoka Nasau with freehold land of equivalent value owned by Matapo Limited, the developer of the Momi Bay Resort Project.

“Upon exchange, the native land was to be converted to freehold and the Matapo freehold was to be converted to native land and registered under tokatoka Nasau,” he claimed.

“There was no ‘loss’ of native land in the transaction because of the equivalent freehold land and other benefits in exchange,” Mr Qarase claimed.

“The terms and conditions of the land swap are recorded in an agreement between the two parties dated 31st May, 2005,” he claimed.

At yesterday’s consultations, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said only the Bainimarama government had introduced a compensation for swapping of land from State land to Freehold.

“People will come and want land to build a hotel in a particular area but they won’t put in money unless it is freehold. So, even though the swap of land may happen, there is now a compensation to pay.

“So, if you came along and wanted State land, the law says you must give government 20 acres of land to swap but a compensation needs to be paid because the piece of land you are swapping with the State might be in a bush where no one goes.

“And the Bainimarama government has changed that and so apart from the swap, we must pay compensation.”http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=230484

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT:

18) Drive under way to help Pacific states deal with climate change

Updated 9 April 2013, 9:30 AEST

Pacific island states are being affected by climate change in a range of ways, and the region’s peak environmental cooperation body SPREP is increasingly involved in efforts to ameliorate the impact of that change.

Presenter:Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Taito Nakalevu, head of SPREP Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/drive-under-way-to-help-pacific-states-deal-with-climate-change/1113250

19) Narikoso village to be relocated due to sea level rise
By Online Editor
10:07 am GMT+12, 09/04/2013, Fiji

A Fijian government team is making preliminary assessments for the relocation of Narikoso Village on the southern-most island of Kadavu to a new site.

According to the Mata ni Tikina, Kelepi Saukitoga, sea level rise had become a significant fact of life for Narikoso villagers after the continual receding of shoreline since early as 1960s.

”A consensus was reached to erect a sea wall from rocks and the initial portion along the shoreline was completed with assistance from neighboring villages of Naqara and Waisomo,” Saukitoga said.

A portion of the seawall has been encroached by rising sea level and land area between the sea level and land area between the first row of houses became inundated during high tide.

From late 1990s, it became apparent seawalls would not be the sustainable solution to sea level rise and discussions were centred on the current site. The only setback was the topography was steep in most places and needed levelling to ease access for housing and infrastructure development.

Consequently, a request for development of relocation site was considered as a priority and forwarded to the Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama during his visit to Kadavu in June 2011.

A series of surveys and site visits were carried out by the RFMF Engineers and consultations continued with the village community on aspects of relocation like land tenure and emotions arising from displacements.

The assessment team includes officials of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs who will be responsible for cultural mapping and boundary demarcation, RFMF Engineers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Climate Change Unit, Mineral Resources Department, Department of Environment and Housing, National Disaster Management Office, Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Information.

The RFMF Engineers started with earthworks for the new site in June 28, 2012 at a cost of $200,000 (US$112,000).

From late December 2012, the village development committee has had consultations with various government agencies and NGOs seeking advice and possible financing for the development of a relocation site.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

20) Torres Strait traditional fishing methods under spotlight

Updated 9 April 2013, 9:31 AEST

Australia’s Torres Strait indigenous communities are allowed to hunt dugongs and turtles for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs.

But the methods can be brutal.

Harpooning and drowning are common methods, and are allowed under the Queensland Animal Care and Protection act, which governs traditional fishing.

Presenter:Sam Bolitho

Speaker: Dominique Thiriet, a lecturer at James Cook University’s School of Law

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/torres-strait-traditional-fishing-methods-under-spotlight/1113254

21) Rights activists call for more action to halt anti-witchcraft violence

Updated 9 April 2013, 9:36 AEST

Human rights activists have called on authorities in Bougainville to do more to protect people from anti-sorcery violence.

Rights activists call for more action to halt anti-witchcraft violence (Credit: ABC)

The calls comes after a woman in her fifties was beheaded last week, after being accused of sorcery.

North Bougainville Human Rights Committee says the woman, Helen Rumbali, died on Friday, after being attacked with knives and axes in the village of Lopele.

The committee says Ms Rumbali’s sister was also attacked, and was seriously injured.

Presenter:Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Helen Hakena, chairwoman of the North Bougainville Human Rights Committee

HAKENA: Last week on Friday the North Bougainville Human Rights Committee first from very reliable sources, from women leaders in Bana that four women were kidnapped and tortured. That was on Friday last week. And while we were still sitting during the meeting we again got stories that one of them, Helen Rumbali, was beheaded after being tortured for three days along with her sister.   So yesterday the Human Rights Committee again (?head out) and people spoke out condemning the horrific killings of these women. And we called on authorities in Bougainville to respond faster when things like that happen, when women or other people risk their lives, and to move them to locations away from the risk areas. We called on authorities to beef up the police in south Bougainville to assist victims, and especially their families who have been dislocated from their villages.

COONEY: Alright we’ve heard what happened to Ms Rumbali, it’s tragic, I’m curious, how many other reports would you get in a year or a set period that are similar to this, women being attacked, accused of sorcery? We hear about it up in the Highlands on the PNG mainland, but I’m curious do you hear many other cases of this happening?

HAKENA: Yes we hear in Bougainville about other cases as well but they’re not reported to the police. But we know that there are people that are suspected of sorcery are at risk. Here in Buka where I come from there are so many stories like that and many in Bougainville. Like in central Bougainville last year there was a killing of a family, sorcery related killing. And in Buka similar things have happened here. Like sorcerers have been made to climb trees and come down to kill themselves or made to run through the villages, things like that. And in one of the areas here in Buka as well, a group of sorcerers about eight of them were beaten by the entire village, some of them had been paralysed.

COONEY: There is a concern being put forward in other cases like this again in the Highlands and on the mainland as well that sorcery is often the excuse that’s given for these killings, but really they have other reasons. They might have a family reason, there might be a dispute between two village groups or a family dispute between a man and his wife and sorcery is used as the excuse for a killing. Is that a concern for you as well that that might be a little bit more to it than just sorcery?

HAKENA: Yes, yesterday a lot of people who spoke out were concerned that sorcery is used as an excuse, there are other things to it, we saw businesses from the crisis and there are land disputes, there are so many things. So sorcery has been used as an excuse to hurt families, to hurt clans, to hurt tribes, even women or even (words indistinct) , sorcery is just an excuse. People are so jealous of those that are  are moving up front in  family development and education, so we think yesterday that the sorcery is just an excuse to hurt people, to destroy communities.

COONEY: You mentioned police there and a call to get people to take more action, I suppose the concern or the allegation would be that they have sat by the side and let this happen?

HAKENA: We call on the police to beef up their presence, there are two vehicles in Bana, we ask the police to get more vehicles to that area and we ask the government to be proactive in other changes as well. We ask the police to do more in investigating and to bring those people who have participated in the killing to court, because Helen was defenceless and her sister were defenceless against a group of people or men or young men who had guns and knives and axes. So we ask the police to be active in carrying the investigation and bring those perpetrators to court.

COONEY: Has anyone at any time ever been prosecuted in relation to their involvement in the killing alleged to be involved in sorcery?

HAKENA: No most times people get away with it. Here in Bougainville the police tried their best to apprehend those people involved, but there are so many guns still around the police lives are at risk, they’re always outnumbered. There has not been any prosecutions here that I know of related to sorcery killings.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/rights-activists-call-for-more-action-to-halt-antiwitchcraft-violence/1113248

22) New Zealand advisors to improve policing in Pacific nations
By Online Editor
10:00 am GMT+12, 09/04/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand Police advisers will be sent to seven Pacific island nations as part of a four- year program to strengthen policing in the region, the New Zealand Police announced Monday.

The Partnership for Pacific Policing (3P) program will involve training and mentoring by New Zealand Police officers of police services in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

“The 3P approach is about building operational capability and capacity plus the flexibility to respond to emerging Pacific policing needs,” Assistant Commissioner (international) Malcolm Burgess said in a statement.

“New Zealand Police has significant strengths in community and prevention based policing. We will use this knowledge to encourage greater collaboration between Pacific police services, their communities and stakeholders.”

The advisers would work in areas such as road policing, prosecutions, community policing, forensics, investigations and case management.

They would focus particularly on technical help, ethics and human rights, leadership, operational development and community engagement initiatives.

“I’m confident it will bring long term benefits to New Zealand as we help build further policing capacity with our Pacific neighbors,” said Burgess.

The New Zealand government will fund the program with NZ$4.19 million(US$3.53 million).

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

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