Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 835

MELANESIA:

1) Companies in Solomon Islands invited to showcase during MSG silver jubilee
By Online Editor
09:53 am GMT+12, 15/04/2013, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government is encouraging both local and foreign companies doing business under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade Agreement to showcase their products and services during the upcoming MSG Silver Jubilee celebrations in Honiara.

The Celebrations will take place from April 24-26 at the National Museum Auditorium and Art Gallery Grounds. The venue has been shifted from the Mataniko Show Ground as previously planned due to some unexpected circumstances.

The Celebration will commemorate the birth of the MSG since its inception in 1988 under the Theme “25 years of Melanesian Solidarity and Growth”.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Joy Kere said the celebration provides an opportunity for both the Government and People of Solomon Islands to acknowledge business houses that trade and benefited from the MSG Trade Agreement.

“These companies have contributed significantly to the economic development of Solomon Islands over the years by providing revenue and employment to the government and people of Solomon Islands,” Mrs Kere said

She added that many people in the country are not aware of the activities and benefits of the MSG and this is an opportunity for people to come out to interact, learn and celebrate after 25 years of the existence the MSG.

Key highlights of the 3-day event will include trade exhibitions, music and cultural performances, art and craft displays, a public panel discussion and a quiz competition for students.

The event is only 9 days away and the public is encouraged to join in the celebrations.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS

2) Study highlights torture in Indonesia’s rule of Papua

Posted at 07:21 on 12 April, 2013 UTC

A researcher says torture has become a way for the Indonesian state to establish and maintain its control over Papua.

An Indonesian PhD researcher at the Regulatory Institutions Network in the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, Budi Hernawan, says in Papua torture is used to demonstrate power and mark the bodies of its citizens.

He says the use of torture is persistent, widespread and has been used by the state as a means of controlling locals for 50 years.

Mr Hernawan cites a case in February of six Papuans who were detained by local police near Jayapura.

During the interrogation, all six were allegedly tortured to confess that they knew the whereabouts of two pro-Papuan independence activists.

Mr Hernawan says while there was no evidence that the men knew the activists, their treatment was more about police displaying Indonesia’s sovereign power than collecting intelligence.

He says the justice system seems unable to hold the state accountable for its torture practices.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Young Australians urged to make friends in PNG

Posted 15 April 2013, 10:27 AEST
Jemima Garrett in Port Moresby

World Vision CEO Tim Costello is calling for more young Australians to visit Papua New Guinea to improve relations between the two countries.

World Vision CEO Tim Costello is calling for more young Australians to visit Papua New Guinea to improve relations between the two countries.

Mr Costello, who is in PNG for Australia Week, told a gathering of diplomats, politicians, and business leaders that friendships are the glue that hold the two countries together.

“Deep relationships, not governed as important as government is; not directed just because there is a profit to be made, as important as business is,” he said.

“People to people relationships, who actually take the time to understand each other’s culture and story and dreams and aspirations, and dream of the possibilities that can be.”

As PNG’s resources boom picks up pace, more and more young Papua New Guineans are travelling to Australia to work or study but very few are going in the other direction.

Lavarah Haihavu, who studied in Newcastle, says few of her students at PNG’s Pacific Adventist University get a chance to meet Australians.

“Papua New Guineans have this mindset, they’re so into their culture – we tend to view that our way of doing things is better than other people’s way of doing things,” she said

“But once we get the opportunity to mingle with other people, and especially with Australians, then our world view changes.”

World Vision’s Tim Costello says more young Australians should consider going to Papua New Guinea.

His organisation is doubling its investment in PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and East Timor to tackle poverty, and he wants some new thinking from Australians.

“The truth is that if we talk about poverty, people in Australia immediately think of an African child,” he said.

“There’s poverty in the Pacific – there’s poverty in the Solomons and Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea and places where we work, and it’s a lot harder to raise money.

“There seems to be a factor that the closer the country is to Australia, the less interest we have in it or in giving.”

World Vision already has 140 staff in Papua New Guinea.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-04-15/young-australians-urged-to-make-friends-in-png/1116126

4) $4.2 Billion Missing From PNG Trust Accounts, Minister Alleges
Awesa seeks investigation, fears losing LNG money in the future

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 12, 2013) – A Minister last night revealed that K9 billion [US$4.2 billion] appears to have disappeared from government-held trust accounts between 2007 and 2011.

Works and Implementation Minister Francis Awesa said much of the money could have been applied to urgent infrastructure projects around the country.

Awesa said an investigation must be conducted and quickly to uncover where the money had disappeared to.

“Some K9 billion is missing in trust accounts,” Awesa said.

“Nobody can account for it. There are no records to verify how the funds were used.

“When my money from the LNG project comes in 2015, I don’t want the same thing to happen.

“We have missed out big whenever we took in big windfalls from major projects. I want to address issues of infrastructure,” he said.

The minister made the same remarks when he addressed a gathering in Wabag, Enga, last Friday.

Last night Awesa said: “We seem to be forgiving and forgetting all the time even though we talk forever about corruption.”

In his own area, he said he had uncovered instances where companies and individuals had been double dipping in contracts.

He said if a donor funded a project, companies that won contracts would collect money from the donor and then go to treasury or finance departments with the same claim and, using their cohorts within the system, would extract payment and he would not tolerate such actions.

A few companies and individuals would be made an example as soon as his own investigations were complete, he said.

Awesa said the government would not relax its push to expose people abusing public funds.

“The government is trying to change the attitude of leaders, including senior public servants, who abuse their authority and apply public funds for their personal gains. They will pay their price dearly.”

Awesa has directed acting works secretary David Wereh to ensure contracts, mainly on construction, were awarded to companies with good track records.

He said he would travel around the country to ensure that projects worth millions of kina were carried out properly so that people in rural areas would benefit.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

5) New Bill Would Keep Former Solomons PMs On State Payroll
9 officials would be entitled to $17,580 a year until death

By Ben Rakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 11, 2013) – A new law that will keep the Solomon Islands’ former prime ministers on the government’s payroll is before parliament.

But the Prime Minister’s (Pensions and Benefits) Bill 2013 received sharp criticisms from Solomon Islanders yesterday.

“Where are we heading folks, it seems all these laws are self-serving and of no interest to the public except the people passing them,” one prominent Solomon Islander wrote in social media.

The bill comes days after Government pushed the controversial Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Bill through parliament despite stiff public opposition.

The CDF bill will give MPs authority over the use and administration of constituency development funds.

The Prime Minister’s (Pensions and Benefits) Bill 2013 will benefit all prime ministers who have served since 1978.

A total of 11 prime ministers have served since independence but two – Solomon Mamaloni and Bartholomew Ulufa’alu – have since died.

The nine survivors who will benefit under this new bill are Sir Peter Kenilorea, Ezekiel Alebua, Francis Billy Hilly, Manasseh Sogavare, Sir Allan Kemakeza, Snyder Rini, Dr. Derek Sikua, Danny Philip and Gordon Darcy Lilo.

The bill stated that the pension payable shall be at an annual rate of eighty percent of the current salary payable to the serving prime minister.

According to the Members of Parliament (Entitlements) Commission (Amendment) Regulation 2010, the prime minister’s basic salary is SB$160,875 [US$21,975].

Eighty per cent of the above amount would give any former prime minister a pension allowance of SB$128,700 [US$17,580] annually for his entire lifetime.

If a person dies while he is the Prime Minister or while he is entitled to receive a pension, his spouse shall be entitled to receive the pension.

Besides, they shall receive annually an ex-gratia payment calculated on the terminal grant payable to Members of Parliament under the Members of Parliament (Entitlements) Commission Regulation plus an additional 40 per cent of the amount as one off payment.

Other benefits provided under the bill are free residential accommodation, medical treatment, water, gas and electricity, free vehicle or outboard motor if the person settles in the village.

They would also be entitled to a driver, gardener and domestic helper, to be met by tax-payers.

The bill was tabled for debate yesterday and is likely to be passed before the week ends.

Members of the popular Facebook page Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) who commented on the bill yesterday said the bill borders on greed and selfishness.

“I would only agree if the so-called prime minister served his full term in office.

“Otherwise, this is greediness at its best,” said one contributor.

“A prime minister is an MP, and MPs have Entitlements under the Constitution.

“All MPs have entitlements and benefits under the MPs Entitlement Regulation.

“If the Bill is passed, I think it will become unconstitutional or inconsistent with what has been provided for under the Constitution,” wrote another.

Solomon St

6) Vanuatu Director General Of Lands Suspended Pending Termination
Ligo accused of interfering with investigation into public land sales

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 15, 2013) – Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, has issued the Director General of Lands, Joe Ligo, with his letter of suspension yesterday.

A report from the Interim Spokesman of the Government, MP Ralph Regenvanu who is also the Minister of Lands said an official complaint was also submitted by the Prime Minister on Thursday, to the Chairman of the Public Service Commission seeking the DG’s termination.

The Spokesman said the DG received his letter of suspension yesterday and “has already vacated his office”.

A quote from the letter from the Prime Minister to the Director General said, “I am undertaking this action as your employer because it is alleged that you were involved in attempting to pervert the cause of the current investigations, being undertaken by the Public Service Commission, concerning the leases of state lands issued to public servants”.

Director of Lands, Jean Marc Pierre, has been appointed Acting Director General of Ministry of Lands.

Meanwhile in a strongly worded letter to the Director of Lands dated April 8, under the heading “Urgent and Important”, suspended DG Ligo said, “I write with concern in regard especially to the Government houses and vacant residential state land sold and transferred to private individuals under the instructions of the former Minister of Lands, and leases approved and executive by the former Minister of Lands.

“Last Saturday’s Daily Post newspaper again reported the sale of Government property above the old joint court area. I note that you made available to Daily Post, the letter I sent you in regard to my opinion in regard to those properties which I did not expect you to do because the powers to register or not to register a lease or to cancel a lease rests with you as Director of Lands under the Land Leases Act, and not myself as DG and also not with the Minister for Lands.

Urgently advise me how the three leases you registered concerning the above properties were processed?
Were they processed through your Department?
If not processed through your Department, how were the survey plans approved (without identifying that they were important Government houses)?
Did you make due diligence and did you make your own checks to satisfy yourself that it was safe to register those leases?
Did you check to satisfy yourself as Director of Lands that the leases had followed proper and due processes before you registered them?
Did you check to satisfy yourself as Director of Lands that proper valuations were done on the properties before you registered them?
Or did you register them because I wrote to ask that you register them.

The DG ordered the Director to reply to the questions before close of business on April 11.

He also reminded the Director, “The power to register a lease or not to register a lease or any dealing with any land be it private land or public land rests with you as Director of Lands under the Land Lease Act and not with the DG of Lands and not the Minister of Lands.

“I am also sure that as a professional in your field as Director of Lands, it is also expected of you that before you register any lease, you do your own checks to satisfy yourself to make sure that any such lease is not against public interest considerations”.

In another strongly worded letter dated also on April 8, the DG wrote, “Re: First written warning to you regarding my instructions to issue leases to protect Government property at Independence Park & in Port Vila, Police and VMF housing & facilities, Vila Central Hospital housing (Seaside Police), sports facilities, education and training facilities, and parks in Port Vila and Luganville”.

He said he met with the Director and Department Section Heads many different times on the public concerns about the “above state land”.

The DG said they agreed at the meetings that the best way forward for the time being was for the Director to issue new leases over the above Government properties and have the relevant Government Ministries/Agencies to sign with the Minister of Lands as Lessor and them as Lessees with “non-transferable” conditions in the lease schedules so those Government Ministries and Agencies cannot on sell those leases but must hold them in the public interest, and at the same time corresponding amendments to the Land Leases Act to make it criminal offices with heavy penalties for those Ministers or any other officials who try to or sell those properties.

The DG continued, “We also agreed that you would at the same time, work on corresponding amendments to the Land Leases Act to protect the same. I have heard nothing from you on this important matter to date. Why are you not doing anything?

“It is now months, and I have not seen any sign of any action on your part as Director of the Department responsible for Lands to carry out our common decision to protect Government properties and stat assets.

“This is my first written warning to you for failing to carry out this important decision. If I do not get any formal advice from you within seven days of this letter I will consult the Public Service Commission to consider a suspension because you are not a junior officer to be reminded every time, of such important matters of Government and public concern”.

The DG wrote the two letters after Daily Post revealed the sale of government land at Joint Court and three days before he was suspended.

Daily Post would like to clarify that Mr Jean Marc Pierre did not provide the information about the Joint Court land sale to this newspaper as implied by Mr Ligo but its reporters obtained it from the Land/Lease file, which is available for the public to access.

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

7) Vanuatu to terminate Indonesia defence agreement

By Online Editor
1:38 pm GMT+12, 15/04/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s new prime minister has promised to terminate a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia and support independence for Papua province.

The move is one of 68 measures contained in an ambitious 100-day plan for prime minister Moana Carcasses’ new government.

The termination of the defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia is item 32 on a 68-point list of what he hopes to achieve in his first 100 days in power.

Carcasses has also promised support for the “Free West Papua” movement’s bid to become full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The previous Vanuatu government had developed warmer relations with Indonesia and under the soon-to-be-cancelled defence agreement Indonesia had provided some material support and assistance to the paramilitary Vanuatu mobile force.

Carcasses also wants to hold a special session of parliament to change the constitution to give Vanuatu’s Council of Chiefs a veto power over any laws dealing with customary land.

Other items on his list include creating a special ministry for climate change and allowing legal action to be taken against political leaders for recovery of misappropriated funds.

A complete audit of the Hong Kong-based Vanuatu residency scheme under which wealthy Chinese investors could become virtual citizens of Vanuatu is also proposed.

Carcasses replaced Sato Kilman as prime minister, who resigned from office in May.

He is the first naturalised citizen to become prime minister since Vanuatu gained independence 32 years ago and is the leader of Vanuatu’s Greens party.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

8) Vanuatu – Job Alert 15-Apr-13
Blong moa infomesen long ol vakensi we i stap anda go long website ia
http://www.wokikik.com
Sendem aplikeisen blong yu i go stret long employer nomo!
.
4055 Automotive Service Manager
Prestige Motors Limited
Source: Daily Post (Weekender) 13-Apr-13 Due: 04-May-13
.
4054 Engineer (3)
Lin Ping Store
Source: Daily Post (Weekender) 13-Apr-13 Due:
.
4053 Technical Building Advisor
Employer Name Not Given
Source: Daily Post 12-Apr-13 Due:
.
4052 Consultant
Ministry of Education
Source: Direct from Employer 11-Apr-13 Due: 19-Apr-13
.
4051 Training Officer
Vanuatu Rural Development & Training Center Association
Source: Daily Post 11-Apr-13 Due: 19-Apr-13
.
4050 Wash Project Officer
Vanuatu Rural Development & Training Center Association
Source: Daily Post 11-Apr-13 Due: 19-Apr-13
.
4049 Guitar Tutor
Wan Smolbag Theatre
Source: Daily Post 10-Apr-13 Due: 22-Apr-13
.
4048 Sales Representative
Vanuatu Beverage Ltd
Source: Daily Post 10-Apr-13 Due:
.
4047 Manager Programs & Content Development
Vanuatu Broadcasting & Television Corporation
Source: Daily Post 10-Apr-13 Due: 19-Apr-13
.
4046 Front Office Supervisor
Le Lagon Resort & Spa Vanuatu
Source: Daily Post (Weekender) 13-Apr-13 Due: 19-Apr-13
for more details on these jobs please go to –
www.wokikik.com
If your an employer and would like to advertise please email me!

Credit : Etha Kaltapas. 
11:06 (1 hour ago)

to job-alert

8) British files show colonial grip on Banabans

Posted at 01:43 on 15 April, 2013 UTC

Declassified files from the British colonial era show how leaders from Rabi island in Fiji were denied cash they said they needed to build an economy.

Officials tracked the islanders’ movements in the fear they were buying arms and ammunition for an insurrection.

Ben Lowings reports from London.

“The Rabi islanders had many causes for grievance against the British. They were originally from the island of Banaba. They allowed a British monopoly over its lucrative phosphate deposits. When deported from Banaba by the Japanese during the Second World War, the British persuaded them to move to Rabi Island, which was to become part of Fiji. They could build a new life on Rabi, using a share of the depleting mineral riches of Banaba. But the Rabi islanders said their phosphate royalties were not enough to build a capital fund to meet their needs. Britain, they said, had written off them off with contempt, as an obscure Pacific people. Officials in London noted the islanders’ discontent. They refused to accept the Banabans’ demands. Securing the minerals was their priority. They worked to ensure the islanders could not co-ordinate resistance, declare independence or acquire weapons if their struggle became violent.”

Radio New Zealand International

9) Fiji government extends constitution consultation deadline
By Online Editor
10:04 am GMT+12, 15/04/2013, Fiji

The deadline for submissions on Fiji’s draft constitution has been extended by four days.

It follows what a Ministry of Information statement said was the overwhelmingly positive response to the draft constitution and the process of public consultation.

People can now make their submissions on the draft constitution until April 30, which gives them an extra weekend and two more business days.

And the government also said it was open to suggestions about how the draft constitution could be improved.

The statement also said that it gave the government’s legal team more time to hold public meetings in other parts of the country and to conduct more talkback radio sessions.

Prime Minister Commodore  Frank Bainimarama said the program of public consultation, which includes Nadi and Sigatoka today, would be extended to Taveuni and Savusavu later this week.

The consultations will also be held in Kadavu, the Yasawa Group and other parts of the country at dates to be announced.

“The existing provisions of the draft have been warmly accepted but, of course, people are asking for clarification on some aspects and we want to engage with them personally,” said Commodore Bainimarama.

He said the public meetings held in Suva, Labasa, Lautoka and Ba had been a great success.

“When people have the provisions explained to them, it’s clear that a great many are satisfied with the document.

“But as we’ve said all along, we are open to suggestions about how it can be improved.”

Commodore Bainimarama said while he would have preferred a longer consultation process, time was of the essence.

“We need to get the constitution finalised as soon as possible. So it’s a balancing act between this process and our absolute need to meet the election deadline of September next year.

“We have 17 months at the most to process the public’s submissions on the constitution, implement the document, organise the mechanics of the election itself, conduct public education and awareness of the electoral system and begin the political phase.”

Commodore Bainimarama also said that “despite the claims of some politicians, the decision to take the draft document direct to the country has been a great success”.

“The meetings conducted by the Attorney-General and his team are being well attended and conducted in a spirit of co-operative nation-building.

“The quality of questions and the submissions also demonstrate that ordinary citizens are not only engaged with the process but have given our constitutional future a lot of thought.

“I commend them for their interest, their ideas and their desire to move forward and I urge everyone to take advantage of the extended deadline for submissions.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

10) Fiji President Encourages Students To Analyze Draft Constitution
University graduates told to submit their views to government

By Maciu Malo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 15, 2013) – Students and academics have been encouraged to engage in constructive analysis of the draft constitution and to submit their views to the government so that the same could be taken into consideration for the final outcome.

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau made the request while addressing the 250 University of Fiji graduates and their close family members during the institution’s graduation ceremony at its Saweni campus in Lautoka on Friday.

He said the draft constitution was based on fundamental and internationally accepted values.

“One of the important values is accountability and transparency,” he said. “I am happy to note that the draft constitution establishes an independent accountability and transparency commission which will implement, monitor and enforce a code of conduct for all government officials including the President, the Prime Minister, ministers and senior public servants.

“The provision on parliament is a lot more transparent. Through an open list proportional representation system, we Fijians will have the opportunity to elect our parliamentarians on the basis of one person, one vote, one value.”

Ratu Epeli said the draft constitution also revamped the civil and political rights, including extending the non-discrimination provisions.

“For the first time, discrimination on the basis of culture, social origin, religion, marital status and pregnancy is prohibited.

“Furthermore, better protection is provided against arbitrary expropriation of property of any person or group, whether it be land, personal property or intellectual property.”

He said the government had charged the responsibility for the new constitution to the Ghai Commission, however, after the receipt of the draft constitution, and a period of due consideration, it was felt that the draft constitution had to be fine-tuned.

[PIR editor’s note: Fijilive reported that the deadline for comments on the draft constitution has been extended from April 26 to April 30.]

“… for the first time in Fiji’s history the draft constitution contains an extensive range of socio-economic rights for all Fijians.”

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

11) Fiji is a partly free nation: Research
By Online Editor
1:10 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2013, Fiji

A U.S based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Freedom House which conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights has declared Fiji a partly free nation.

The organisation’s annual Freedom in the World report assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties.

Freedom House in its research found the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations in 2012, which had been in place since 2009 had eased restrictions on freedom of assembly giving the country a five out of ten for freedom.

For civil liberties which are civil rights and freedoms that provide individual specific rights, Fiji has been given a four while a ranking of six has been given for political rights in the country.

Freedom House in its research found that academic freedom is respected however the education ministry suffers from lack of resources and that freedom of assembly has improved in the country stating that meeting can now be held as long as it is not held in a public road, public parks or arenas.

The research has also noted that access to the internet has increased but remains limited outside the capital due to cost and infrastructure constraints.

SOURCE” FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

12) Bill of Rights protects all: Fiji PM Bainimarama
By Online Editor
4:50 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s draft Constitution incorporates a number of first time provisions including an extensive Bill of Rights, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Addressing farmers and stakeholders during the opening of the first milk chilling centre for the Western Division in Ba today, Bainimarama said the proposed Bill of Rights includes a number of first time socio-economic rights.

This he said includes the right to economic participation which means that every Fijian will have the right to freely and fully participate in the “economic life of the nation which includes the right to choose their own work, trade, occupation, profession and other means of livelihood.”

“While the expansion of the Bill of Rights will place an obligation on future elected governments to cater for these rights, my Government has already started work in this area – a manifestation of that is today. By expanding the Dairy Industry to the Western Division and providing the resources to our citizens, we are increasing their ability to participate in the economic life of our nation,” said Bainimarama.

“We of course want a just society, a prosperous society, a caring society, one in which all of us enjoy equal opportunity for ourselves and our children and are judged on our merits as individuals.”

The Prime Minister again urged all citizens to make their submissions on the draft Constitution so a final copy can be drawn up soon and elections can take place by 30 September 2014.

Meanwhile, the new draft Constitution is here to stay and it is what the government will work on, says Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum was responding to comments made by the United Front for Democratic Fiji (UFDF) a group made up of former politicians calling for the reinstatement of the Ghai draft. “What they (UFDF) have been saying publicly in the media and with the Commonwealth is not an option,” said Sayed-Khaiyum.

“The path has been laid out that this is the draft constitution that we will work from and people have already been making submissions on that,” he said

“For them to say to wind back the clock and go back to the Ghai draft is not an option but this is the option the way forward.”

“The Ghai draft had so many fundamental flaws and we need to be focused on this draft and we look forward to any constructive submissions they would like to make.”

The UFDF which comprises of former politicians Mahendra Chaudhry, Ratu Jone Kubuabola, Mick Beddoes, Attar Singh, Raman Pratap Sing and Tu Peni Baba in an earlier statement has condemned the way government has handled the Ghai draft constitution and has called on its reinstatement

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

13) Tighter border security control

By Online Editor
1:09 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2013, Fiji

Security at the Nadi International Airport and all other entry or departure points in the country has been increased with the implementation of the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).

Operated by the Immigration Department, the new system will see efficient movement of passengers into and out of the country, increased monitoring of wanted persons and the systematic adoption of documentation into one system.

Director of Immigration Major Nemani Vuniwaqa said the new system would eliminate problems resulting in a more efficient and productive department and ensure that security at borders were enhanced through the state of the art technology.

“As of 5am on Monday, the new system has been used by our immigration officers at the Nadi airport,” he said.

“It will allow for a quick flow of all of our immigration processes and ensure there is quick turnaround time for each passenger that enter or leave our country.”

Major Vuniwaqa said security features of the IBMS technology would also provide for a more strict monitoring system that would allow the department to identify people on local or international wanted lists.

“It strengthens our security system at all of our borders and ensures that we find people that may, in the past, slipped through,” he said.

Sri Lankan company Public Sector Solution of Informatics International Limit was given the contract to implement the system by government.

Company general manager Vignaraja Manoharan said the new system had many features that would benefit the department and Fiji.

“The features included in this system include visa and permit modules, citizenship, security and border control, enhances passenger profiling, visual verifications, data and passport information among other things,” said  Manoharan.

“It is used to authenticate a passport. It sees certain security features that is not visible to the naked eye and can identify people who are on wanted lists all over the world.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA:

14) Tonga Government Seeks To Help Fisheries, Agricultural Sectors
Fisheries operators to be except for 15% consumption tax

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 14, 2013) – Tonga’s Fisheries Sector is to be exempted from the 15 percent Consumption Tax on sales, the Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano told a gathering at Tu’imatamoana Wharf on Tuesday, 9 April.

At the same time a government fund originally set up to help agricultural exporters by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Lisiate ‘Akolo, would be reallocated to the Ministry of Agriculture, under Hon. Sangster Saulala, to help increase agricultural production.

The Prime Minister said that the Cabinet decision to offer these initiatives to the Fisheries and the Agriculture sector, “emphasized the commitment of government to reviving the struggling Tongan economy”.

The World Bank has predicted a half of a percent growth for the Tongan economy in the coming years.

Individuals in the Fisheries Sector welcomed the announcement and hailed it as a success to their plea to government for tax exemption, to be in line with what government had offered the Agriculture Sector and the Tourism Industry in the past.

New group

The Tu’imatamoana meeting was hosted by a new group, the Tonga Economic Growth Council (TEGC), made up of individuals from the Fishery and Agriculture sectors, and the Tourism industry.

The TEGC, according to one of its members Teisina Fuko, has not been officially formed, but it has brought together individuals from the Tourism, Agricultural and Fisheries Sectors. They include Saia Moehau, Tu’i Uata, ‘Eti Palu and others. He said that the invitation to the Prime Ministers and members of parliament to the announcement of the tax exemption on 9 April was a move by people from these industries to be recognized by government, so that they could effectively pressure government to take firm action to revive economy.

He said that, tentatively, the TEGC has a broad agenda, including the managing of the fisheries wharf and the Tu’imatamoana Fish Market, and the establishment of an auction facility for Tonga’s niche fisheries products such as Sea Cucumber.

Consumption Tax Act

Teisina Fuko, is a former Minister for Revenue Services who was responsible for administering the Consumption Tax Act.

He said that the exemption offered by government would help revive the fisheries industry, which has fallen apart, as shown by the number of fishing boats which had been abandoned to sink at Faua Wharf and on reefs at Nuku’alofa Harbour.

The former taxation leader believed that most beneficial to the fishermen is the tax exemption on fuel, new boats, and motor parts.

National Fisheries Council

Meanwhile, Semisi Fakahau, a former senior officer with Tonga’s Ministry of Fisheries, who is currently working as a fisheries consultant with the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, said that the proposal for government to exempt the Fisheries Sector from Consumption Tax was, in fact, initiated by the National Fisheries Council in cooperation with the National Growth Committee, a committee that was formed following the National Economic Dialogue that was held in March 2012, hosted by the National Reserve Bank of Tonga.

Semisi was very surprised to hear of the proposed mandate of the TEGC, and admitted that he had never heard of the new council until he was invited to attend the meeting on 9 April.

With regards to the management of the fisheries wharf and the Tu’imatamoana Fish Market, Semisi said that it is the responsibility of the National Fisheries Council, as approved by Cabinet, and for the meantime the Council is still negotiating with the Nuku’alofa Harbour Board Authority on the boundaries.

Traditional sectors

The intention of the March dialogue, according to the Governor of the National Reserve Bank, Siosi Mafi “… to focus on the three traditional sectors of agriculture, fisheries and tourism, to identify how they can dismantle the blocks to allow these sectors to realize their full potential.”

During the dialogue it was also revealed that the flow of foreign remittances to Tonga was declining by $82 million annually since 2008, and agricultural and fisheries exports had also declined by about 70 per cent.

Proposed mandate

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Finance expressed her surprise when she was told of the Tonga Economic Growth Council and its proposed mandate.

She pointed out that the Cabinet decision to extend a tax exemption to the Fisheries Sector was based on proposal from the National Fisheries Council, and the National Growth Committee, which is headed by the Secretary for Finance, Tiofilusi Tiueti.

She said that though the Tax Exemption was a Cabinet Decision and it can be implemented but it has to be enacted by parliament.

(Under the new system of government, a Cabinet Decision is similar to the former Ordinance of the former King in Council. It can be enforced once is passed by the Cabinet but it has to be enacted by Parliament in their next session).

Reallocation of funds

She said that the reallocation of a portion of the $1 million Agricultural Export Marketing Fund that has been managed by the Ministry of Finance and to give it to the Ministry of Agriculture was a new development.

“The Agricultural Export Marketing initiative is still in progress and out of the 11 applicants three were approved. A portion of the $1 million has been allocated to two of the three approved applicants, and the third one has been scheduled to starting exporting soon”.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said that one of the two applicants that the ministry had lent money to was having a bit of a problem with the packaging of their product for the overseas market.

The Agricultural Export Marketing Fund aimed at providing short term loans to exporters who buy exportable produce from farmers. Three agricultural produce exporting companies have been selected to access the funds. Produce that the fund will give priority to are taro, tapioca, watermelons, and yams.

The three agricultural produce exporters who had been selected to access the fund were the Pacific Exotic Foods, Hammah Consulting and the Young Farmers Federation Ltd.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

15) Speaker Says Samoa MPs May Lose Seats After Investigation
3 Members face alleged charges serious enough to warrant removal

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 15, 2013) – The Legislative Assembly will investigate the conduct of three Members of Parliament who have been implicated in Court cases in the not too distant past.

And the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, La’auli Leuatea Polta’ivao told the Sunday Samoan the outcome of the investigation could cost some MPs their seats.

One such member is Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, who the Supreme Court found to have “misappropriated” funds that belong to the Samoa Red Cross Society.

The Speaker said he has requested a copy of the ruling from the Registrar of the Courts so he can decide their next step. The ruling is in relation to a $600,000 lawsuit brought by Muagututagata and others against the Society’s lawyer, Lei’ataua Jerry Brunt and General Manager, Namulauulu Tautala Mauala has failed. The decision was made on 20 February 2013.

“We will know where Parliament stands when we get the decision (from the court),” he said. “All will depend on what we find in the ruling.”

But the Speaker said the rules are clear under the Electoral Act and Parliament’s Standing Order.

“Under the Electoral Act, it defines reasons that cause the seat to be voided such as being found guilty in court, bankruptcy and bribery,” said La’auli.

“But I can’t comment further until those decisions is provided and passed on to us for our investigation.”

The investigation, the Speaker said, will also target other MPs, including:

Associate Minister and MP for Fa’asaleleaga No. 4, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga. He appeared in Court earlier this year for negligent driving causing death. The case has been adjourned to August.
MP for A’ana Alofi No. 3, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster who has been charged in relation to a road block at Satapuala where armed Police officers were called to disburse.

During an interview with the Sunday Samoan, Speaker La’auli said since the matters involving Peseta Vaifou and Toeolesulusulu Cedric are still in Court, they will have to wait until they are completed.

As for the case with Muagututagata, the Speaker said he is “waiting for the ruling”.

“I haven’t made a public announcement as a Speaker of the House on the matter,” he said.

“After I get a full report (ruling) from the Court, the Legislative Assembly will carry out its investigation and it will be handled by identifying the laws that the MPs have broken.”

In the matter involving Muagututagata, Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson said; “There is ample evidence President Muagutu misappropriated Society funds and conflicted his interests with those of the Society in relation to his management of the Lotopa house.”

In another incident, Justice Vui conceded that the procedures adopted by the Society under the leadership of Muagututagata “left much to be desired.”

For instance, Justice Vui said: “There is also the evidence concerning Muagutu’s hiring of his security firm without National Executive’s approval.”

Lastly, Justice Vui also backed the decision to dismiss Muagututagata from the Samoa Red Cross Society.

“What is clear is there were sufficient grounds for the dismissal of President Muagutu for mismanagement of the Society’s affairs and advancement to the detriment of the Society of his personal and business interests.”

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

16) Islanders Want A Say In New Zealand Constitutional Review
Auckland group says Cooks, Niue, Tokelau should be consulted

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 11, 2013) – Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans in Auckland want special status for their countries and people if New Zealand adopts a written constitution.

The three countries are part of the Realm of New Zealand, and their people are automatically New Zealand citizens.

A Tokelauan member of the Auckland group, Salapima Everdina Fuli says citizenship hasn’t conferred the benefits their elders were promised by New Zealand.

“In terms of health, education, social welfare, justice, we are at the bottom of the pile, and this is one of the key as to why the realm countries came together was that citizenship, what has it actually done? Well it actually hasn’t uplifted by people, it’s actually kept them lower.”

Salapima Everdina Fuli says Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands should also be consulted about the constitutional review.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

AUSTRALIA:

17) Australia backs research into sustainable palm oil

Updated 15 April 2013, 11:07 AEST

Around the region, the palm oil industry has been roundly criticised on a range of environmental, social and health grounds.

Australia backs research into sustainable palm oil (Credit: ABC)

But in Papua New Guinea, it’s viewed as something of a success story.

Palm oil has become the nation’s most important cash crop, supporting many thousands of small holder families as well as a big plantation sector.

To help ensure the industry remains sustainable, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research has been backing a four- year project looking at practical measures to boost yields, protect the environment and guarantee future food security.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Dr Murom Banabas, who leads an Australian funded project in PNG looking at the sustainable management of soil and water resources for palm oil production.

BANABAS: To put it into some kind of perspective, the oil palm industry in Papua New Guinea is actually the number one agriculture export crop earner for  the country, so out of coffee and cocoa and the rest it’s the number one, that’s one. And then, it’s also the at the moment, the second highest  employer, second to the Public Service, so that’s the value of it at the moment in Papua New Guinea. So and it’s across or it’s established across some five provinces, five, six provinces, so it’s very important for the economy of those provinces where it is established.

COUTTS: And how much of that industry is conducted by smallholders, rather than by corporate plantations?

BANABAS: OK. The set up is like the smallholders sell their crop to the bigger companies or to the two big companies that which they extract oil and export and they also provide the infrastructure, the milling capacity, the credit for tools and so forth. So the smallholders make up some 40% to 46% of the whole industry in terms of hectarage planted..

COUTTS: And what kind of living does it give a small plantation holder, a smallholder?

BANABAS: OK.  There are three types of  smallholders.  The first lot  lot is (words indistinct) the government set of schemes. They have up to plant up to four hectares of land. They would be allocated six hectares and then two hectares for gardening, food crops and then the four hectares for oil palm. The other smallholders are the village landowners. They would own up to two hectares, yeah, so it’s between two and say six hectares of oil palm (words indistinct)

COUTTS: And is there a problem with so much of the industry being in the hands of smallholders?

BANABAS: They do have their problems like every other industry. It’s mostly, generally speaking, it’s mostly socio-economic issues within the blocks, like land disputes, disagreements between the farmers and so forth. But having said that,   they have ways around it in many of the areas, or it has led to negligence of the  block and the industry works around, try to assist them to overcome some of these problems so they can produce palms, and at the same time, adding some improvements in their standard of living.

COUTTS: And so the education and the sort of best methods. Are there training programs for that and how’s it going?

BANABAS: OK. We do have extensive extension methods for the farmers. We do provide trainings on farm visits, that’s run through the extension arm of the industry. So what happens is they call up field days.   We do on as the research organisation on how to provide technical information to the farmers, that happens in the form of team field days, field days, organised field days, radio broadcasts through the local radio stations, provincial stations and so forth.

COUTTS: And what about the environmental issue. I mean how’s that being handled, because it’s been criticised for the impact that it has on the local environment, soil degradation and habitat loss and run offs. Is that all being managed?

BANABAS: OK. This is so far addressed, yes. They address, we actually have this ACIAR- funded project that we are looking into, that is looking into coming up with environmental indicators that will be used by the industry to manage the very issues that you’re mentioning. However, the current industry has strict guidelines in establishing and running the industry. It’s just several years back, joined up with the RSPO, the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil Production, which is an international group of stakeholders that monitors the performance of the industry. So yes, it is addressing those issues.

COUTTS: All right. And so in your project, your four year project, you’re halfway through now. Are you happy with the way it’s going?

BANABAS: Oh, yes sure. We are, I’m happy. We  have identified many of the what could be issues and we are looking at coming up with way that could address these issues by providing information to the industry or that they will use as they’re indicators to address those issues both in the soil and the water environment.

COUTTS: And, with climate change, how much of an impact is that having, because PNG, of course, has its share of problems with, shall we say, extreme weather events. Does that have any impact on the palm oil industry?

BANABAS: OK. Yes, we do have a instances of impact on the oil palm industry, like what people claim like floods and all that due to climate change affecting the roads, washing off some of the oil palm blocks. So yes we are not isolated from factors that would be or are caused by climate change.

COUTTS: And the lessons that you’ve been learning in your program, are they applicable to any other crops in PNG. Can those lessons be passed on?

BANABAS: Oh yes, sure. In many ways the techniques or the methods of working in collecting samples, analysing samples and developing the whole all, what will I say, involving the industry and others, the methods of work and so forth. Yes, it’s applicable to many of the tropical crops,  put it that way, not only tropical crops, but it could be used elsewhere.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/australia-backs-research-into-sustainable-palm-oil/1116044

PACIFIC:

ECONOMICS

18) Cosgrove calls for EU-style Pacific Islands link

BY:BRENDAN NICHOLSON
From:The Australian
April 12, 2013 12:00AM

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AUSTRALIA should embrace the Pacific Island nations in a regional economic structure based loosely on the European Union, says former Defence chief Peter Cosgrove.

General Cosgrove, now chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, delivered the annual Sir Paul Hasluck Foundation lecture in Melbourne last night on the subject of “Shall our kids have bullets or beans — Australia’s future security”.

He said Pacific Island nations were entitled to expect Australia to share the good fortune of its wealth, both monetary and in terms of cultural, social and technological benefits.

In an economic sense, Australia was at present the region’s major supermarket.

“Theirs is very much a supplicant or ‘take it or leave it’ relationship,” General Cosgrove said.

Australia should contemplate a closer and interdependent economic relationship with the countries of the Pacific, he said.

“Perhaps it need not be as comprehensive or as close as the European Union, but I would start with the objects in and the operations of the EU in mind,” General Cosgrove said.

“It would not only flow into commercial arrangements but in to labour markets and thus into social and cultural areas.”

To allow those nations to stagnate economically would be to invite a plethora of vexing social and cultural issues that might come home to roost with future Australian generations.

“If we do embark on something positive, significant and transformational with our friends in our closer neighbourhood, then we really will have contributed to peace and security in the region.”http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/economics/cosgrove-calls-for-eu-style-pacific-islands-link/story-e6frg926-1226618613266

TOK PISIN:

19) Vanuatu Difens wok wantem Indonesia bai pinis

Updated 13 April 2013, 17:46 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Nupla gavman blong Vanuatu bai rausim ol tok oraet blong mekim ol militari wokbung wantem Indonesia.

Foto blong Vanuatu haus palaman (Credit: ABC licensed)

Ol ripot ikam long Port Vila itok narapla tingting blong gavman em blong sapotim ol West Papua pipal long kisim indipendans.

Ol despla tingting istap insaet long ol bikpla wok em gavman i laik mekim insaet long nambwan 100 dei blong gavman em Mr Moana Carcasses Kalosil igo pas long en.

Gavman bifo blong Mr Sato Kilman ibin sainim tok oraet blong wokbung wantem Indonesia long ol wok blong difens we Indonesia bai save skulim ol para militari ofisa blong vanuatu.

Despla tok oraet wantem Indonesia ibin kirapim bikpla protes mas long Port Vila.

Planti pipal blong West Papua istap nau long Vanuatu.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-04-13/vanuatu-difens-wok-wantem-indonesia-bai-pinis/1115784

Australia givim moni long Secretariat blong Pacific Komuniti

Updated 13 April 2013, 15:32 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Australia givim 18 million dollar long Secretariat blong Pacific Communtiy (SPC) long igo hed long strongim ol wok blong en long rigin.

Dr Jimmy Rodgers SPC Dirketa General na Mr John Davidson, Australian Minister Counsellor, Pacific blong AusAID (Credit: ABC)
Odio: Dr.Jimmy Rodger ,Director general bilong secreteriat bilong Pacific komuniti i toktok wantaim Caroline Tiriman

Australia em yet tu, i wanpela long 26 memba kantri bilong SPC, na tu Australia ibin wanpela long 6-pela ol kantri ibin statim despela organisation long 1947.

Three million dollar bilong despela moni,  Australia ibin peim olsem memba contribution bilongen na ol narapela bilong halavim SPC long kamapim ol wok divelopment insait long ol kantri na territori bilong Pacific.

First Assistant Direkta general blong Pacific wantem Ausaid ibin sainim wanpla tok oraet wantem Direkta General blong SPC Dr.Jimmy Rodgers insait long Noumea New Caledonia long last wik.

Dr.Jimmy Rodgers i toktok moa long hau ol bai usim despela moni.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-04-12/australia-givim-moni-long-secretariat-blong-pacific-komuniti/1115504

FRANIS:

20) 320 millions de dollars pour les femmes du Pacifique

Posté à 15 April 2013, 8:30 AEST
Pierre Riant

À raison de 32 millions de dollars par an sur 10 ans, cette initiative a l’ambition d’améliorer les conditions de vie des Océaniennes.

C’est la Première ministre australienne, Julia Gillard, qui a annoncé ce programme au sommet du Forum des îles du Pacifique en août 2012. Le Comité consultatif du gouvernement australien en charge de cette initiative  vient de se réunir pour la première fois à Canberra pour mettre en place un programme d’actions.

Le vice-directeur de l’agence d’aide australienne AusAid, James Batley, préside ce Comité consultatif et nous en dit plus sur cette initiative qui a pris son élan et qui, dit-il, va maintenant prendre de la vitesse.

BATLEY : «  Aucun doute que tout le monde est d’accord pour dire que toute une série de problèmes affectent les femmes dans le Pacifique. Une région où les statistiques sur la violence conjugale, la violence contre les femmes et les agressions sexuelles sont parmi les plus déplorables du monde.

Mais il y a aussi la représentation des femmes dans les parlements qui est en fait la plus basse de la planète.

Sans oublier les secteurs de l’économie où très peu de femmes occupent un emploi salarié. Ce sont ces questions qui ont interpellé tous les membres du Comité et qui sont  déterminés à trouver des solutions concrètes. »

C’est ainsi que 32 millions de dollars vont être débloqués chaque années et dans quelques secteurs vont-ils être dépensés en premier ?

BATLEY : « On ne peut pas imposer un modèle à travers tout le Pacifique. C’est très important d’analyser la situation des femmes pays par pays. Quels sont, par exemple, les grands défis en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ? Quelle est la situation au Vanuatu, à Tonga, au Samoa et ainsi de suite. Il faut adapter nos interventions et nos activités en fonction d’une bonne connaissance de la situation pays après pays. »

Cette initiative en est donc encore au stade de l’analyse et de la consultation mais James Batley souligne la complexité de certains problèmes.

BATLEY : « Quand vous parlez de changer des habitudes sociétales par exemple, c’est un secteur assez difficile et délicat. Et c’est justement le genre de conseil que le Comité consultatif peut donner. Comment approcher ce problème ? Faut-il prendre en compte le point de vue des églises ? Qu’est-ce que les églises peuvent apporter ? Ou alors, comment faire pour impliquer les dirigeants et les chefs coutumiers dans les discussions ? Une grande partie de notre travail consiste actuellement à analyser.

Mais ça ne veut pas dire que rien de concret n’a été fait. Nous avons déjà commencé à améliorer  les conditions de vie sur les places de marché du Pacifique. 80% des personnes qui vendent sur les marchés sont des femmes. Et l’autonomisation économique des femmes est une grande priorité pour qu’elles puissent soutenir leur famille.  Que cela soit la construction de toilettes ou l’amélioration de l’éclairage ou la mise en place de meilleures réglementations, tout cela contribue à aider les femmes. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-04-15/320-millions-de-dollars-pour-les-femmes-du-pacifique/1116000

21) Fin probable de l’accord de défense entre le Vanuatu et l’Indonésie

Posté à 15 April 2013, 8:41 AEST
Pierre Riant

Moana Carcasses, le nouveau Premier ministre du Vanuatu, s’y est engagé.

L’article 32 d’un plan ambitieux en 68 points échelonnés sur 100 jours prévoit la résiliation de l’accord de coopération militaire avec l’Indonésie.

Moana Carcasses s’est aussi positionné en faveur du Mouvement pour la Papouasie libre et la pleine appartenance de ce Mouvement au Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance. La Papouasie occidentale est une province indonésienne, la partie ouest de l’île de Nouvelle-Guinée.

Le précédent gouvernement de Sato Kilman s’est montré beaucoup plus enclins enclin à entretenir des relations amicales avec les Indonésiens et l’accord de défense a permis à l’Indonésie d’offrir une assistance financière et technique aux forces mobiles paramilitaires du Vanuatu.

Moana Carcasses désire également convoquer une session extraordinaire du Parlement dans le but de modifier la Constitution pour donner au Conseil des chefs coutumiers un droit de véto sur toutes les législations relatives aux affaires foncières.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-04-15/fin-probable-de-laccord-de-défense-entre-le-vanuatu-et-lindonésie/1116010

22) Des difficultés de l’harmonie interethnique aux îles Fidji

Mis à jour 12 April 2013, 10:12 AEST
Pierre Riant

Un nouveau rapport du Minority Rights Group International de Londres indique que beaucoup reste à faire pour rassembler tous les Fidjiens.

Tout le monde n’est pas égal sous le drapeau fidjien. (Credit: AFP)

Frank Bainimarama s’est emparé du pouvoir en 2006 et a ensuite abrogé la Constitution basée, a-t-il souligné, sur des critères raciaux. Depuis, le Premier ministre fidjien ne cesse de proclamer l’égalité entre tous les Fidjiens.

L’auteur du rapport, le professeur Vijay Naidu, indique que les relations entre les différentes ethnies, notamment entre les Fidjiens de souche et les Indo-Fidjiens, ne peuvent pas s’améliorer à l’aide de décrets ou de clauses constitutionnelles qui disent que tous les Fidjiens sont égaux.

Vijay Naidu estime qu’il faut s’attaquer concrètement aux  problèmes de discrimination et d’exclusion basés sur l’ethnicité.

Un exemple : il faut prendre des mesures pour mettre un terme à la domination des Fidjiens de souche dans les grandes institutions comme la police, l’armée et la fonction publique.

NAIDU : «  Si vous parlez des institutions, 99% des militaires sont des Fidjiens de souche et depuis 6 ou 7 ans rien n’a changé. Dans la fonction publique, la prédominance des Fidjiens de souche est indéniable, notamment dans les échelons supérieures où 90% des postes sont occupés par des Fidjiens indigènes. Dans le secteur privé, les commerces et les petites entreprises sont aux mains des personnes d’origine indienne ou des Fidjiens non-indigènes. »

Les divisions interethniques persistent depuis tellement d’années à Fidji qu’il faudra probablement beaucoup de temps pour que les communautés en présence se rapprochent.  Mais est-ce qu’il y a déjà eu des améliorations ?

NAIDU : « Et bien des changements ont eu lieu. Le pays n’est pas resté statique. Nous n’avons plus d’écoles réservées à certaines ethnies mais il y a encore des progrès à faire dans l’éducation.
Après le putsch de 1987, nous avons assisté à une ethnicisassion de l’État et il faudra du temps avant que ça change de ce côté.
Je dirais qu’en fonction de la volonté politique, la situation pourrait s’améliorer au cours de ces 10 ou 20 prochaines années. Mais ceux qui nous dirigent ne semblent pas avoir la volonté politique de changer certaines choses. »

Ce serait pourtant le rôle d’un gouvernement qui a abrogé une constitution pour souci d’égalité de prendre des mesures antidiscriminatoires… Est-ce que ce rapport du Minority Rights Group International en association avec le Forum constitutionnel des citoyens des îles Fidji va changer quelque chose ?

NAIDU : « Nous avons effectué une recherche pour le Minority Rights Group et le Forum constitutionnel pour apporter des faits qui pourront servir à élaborer des politiques. Souvent, des politiques sont décidées  sans s’appuyer sur des références et sur des faits. Donc cette fois, nous avons fait une recherche, nous avons apporté des faits  et des recommandations au gouvernement et avec un peu de chance elles seront prises en  compte. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-04-12/des-difficultés-de-lharmonie-interethnique-aux-îles-fidji/1115190

HEALTH:


23) Hypertension and heart diseases are killers

By NELLIE SETEPANO

IT IS estimated that over 31,000 deaths are related to heart diseases and hypertension in Papua New Guinea.
Based on 2008 figures on mortality due to heart diseases, 39 percent of these deaths were heart failure, and the next two leading killers are hypertension and heart diseases on 13 percent and the rest of the other heart problems following. These are shocking statistics announced by the head of World Health Organisation, Dr William Adu-Krow in Port Moresby yesterday.
While observing the World Held Day which fell on April 8, Dr Adu-Krow further stated, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, all combined, were now a major and growing burden on health and development in the Western Pacific Region including PNG.
He said in PNG, 772 people per 100,000 population or 57,900 people died from NCDs every year.
He added that NCDs were the leading causes of death and disability in the region and responsible for 80 percent of all deaths.
“It is projected that by 2020, 12.3 million people will die from NCDs in the Western Pacific Region,” the WHO head said.
When giving this statistic, Dr William Adu-Krow said the country needed to seriously do something about it by collaborating to fix this numbers.
High blood pressure is a silent killer, now on global scale affects one in every three adults over 25.
Minister for Health and HIV AIDS Michael Malabag, yesterday also pointed out that high blood pressure was a real condition with too many young Papua New Guineans dying.
He noted that also in 2008, 20 provinces in the country recorded 524 patients admitted to public hospitals. In 2009, the figure increased to 624 and in 2010 statistics stood at 496. The statistics shows the figures steadily increasing every year.
He gave figures stating young people below 25 admitted to Sir Buri Heart Foundation, while at Pacific International Hospital up to 20 percent patients visited hospital annually were diagnosed with lifestyle diseases. Further more, PIH recorded 40 percent of patients with elevated blood sugar levels and 70 percent with elevated blood pressure reading of patients diagnosed with lifestyle diseases.
With this year’s theme; “Hypertension. Know your number,” Papua New Guineans have been called to regularly check their blood pressure and live healthy lifestyle by having; a healthy diet, regularly exercise, take less salts and alcohol, and no smoking.
The Executive Dean and Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, UPNG, Sir Isi Kevau made presentation on hypertension to Health Department staff.
He highlighted the causes and effects and expressed that a trend in lifestyle disease was worrying.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130412/frhome.htm

EDUCATION:

Mamose Post

Friday 12th April 2013

24) Record receive honours

The Papua New Guinea University of Technology is setting a new record when it graduates over 1000-plus students in its 45th graduation ceremony today.
The total number of graduands for this year is 1047. The number of graduands with higher degrees has escalated over the years and today, a total of 23 will receive various higher awards.
There are no doctorates to be conferred this year but Masters in several disciplines and postgraduate diplomas. It will also be history in the making for the Surveying and Land Studies Department when a pioneer student will be conferred a Master of Philosophy in Geomatics
A total of 534 students will receive degrees while 356 will receive diplomas.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130412/frhome.htm

25) Awareness on free-fee policy

By ROMULUS MASIU

THE Bougainville Catholic Education Office is facilitating the O’Neill-Dion Government sponsored free education policy awareness for the head teachers and board of management chairpersons in the region.
The Catholic Church Agency is taking the lead in working in partnership with the Government to make sure the head teachers throughout Bougainville receive first-hand information on the free education policy, especially on how the subsidies (money) dished out by the Government can be well managed and spent.
Since the O’Neill-Dion Government came into power, the free education policy for the whole country has become its major policy.
Catholic Education Secretary for Central and South Bougainville Ephraim Samuel said the free education policy awareness was aimed at getting school authorities, especially the Catholic Agency run schools to appreciate this very important government arrangement.
The Catholic Church in Bougainville owns 80 per cent of the schools and according to Mr Samuel this free education policy awareness program compliments the education programs in their schools. The agency has more than 500 institutions starting from elementary to technical schools.
Present also at the awareness was Bougainville Catholic Education Secretary John Narebo and Kieta-Panguna-Wisai District Education Standard Officer Lillia Sarea.
Catholic Education Agency is spearheading this very important awareness program in partnership with the Horizont 3000, an Austrian Non Government Organisation, which is specialised and heavily involved in the education sector in Bougainville. The program will be carried out in all the Catholic agency schools throughout Bougainville, starting off with the Tupukas Primary School hosting for all the schools in Kieta District.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130412/frhome.htm

26) Uni promotion

Maciu Malo
Sunday, April 14, 2013

THE President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has urged resident high commissioners and ambassadors to encourage their students to seek university education at the University of Fiji.

Speaking during the sixth graduation at the university’s Saweni campus in Lautoka on Friday, Ratu Epeli said the institution offered quality affordable education to students from the Pacific Island countries.

“This, I believe, is a worthy expression of goodwill from the university to the communities of the Pacific Island countries,” said Ratu Epeli, who is also a chancellor of the university.

“I have no doubt that this worthy expression of goodwill will be of great mutual benefit to all of us.

“It is, therefore, encouraging to note that the university has gone regional by recruiting students from other Pacific Island countries — the Solomon Islands being the most prominent.”

Ratu Epeli said the institution marked another successful conclusion entering its sixth graduation ceremony.

“Each year the list of graduands has increased,” he said.

“This graduation ceremony will witness conferment of degrees and award of certificates and diplomas to 250 graduands.

“Our national vision is to make Fiji a knowledge- based society and I note with appreciation that the university is contributing positively to this important far reaching vision.

“I am constantly advised of the unwavering focus of the council and the founders and of its combined determined will to construct the facilities for the centre for iTaukei studies.

“In this respect, the council has launched a fundraising drive. I note with much appreciation the $52,135 contribution received from the foundation trust of Malaysia.”

Ratu Epeli said he hoped the government would soon assist in financing the centre for indigenous studies project.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=231022

BUSINESS:

27) Big investment forum kicks off in PNG

Updated 15 April 2013, 11:06 AEST

The Australia PNG Business Forum gets under way in Port Moresby.

Big investment forum kicks off in PNG (Credit: ABC)

It is the biggest business event of the year for the two countries and attracts many of the heavy-hitters of business and government.

The event was to be opened with a keynote address from PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Jemima Garrett, Pacific Economic and Business reporter

GARRETT: Oh, this is a very big one, because Australian investment in Papua New Guinea is by far the biggest of all the countries that invest in Papua New Guinea and, that, of course, is a swelling number, so this is quite an important event.

COUTTS: And attracting people from what quarters?

GARRETT: Oh, all over really, a who’s-who of business. We’ve got CEOs from big companies like the Exxon Mobile led PNG-LNG Project which, of course, is a 19 billion dollar investment, which is due to come onstream next  year, but there’s also a lot of small companies, first timers coming to see what opportunities there are in PNG and that’s everything from agriculture, to engineering, training, recruitment companies, hotel chains, solar energy. If there’s a gap, it’s that there’s not many businesses owned by indigenous Papua New Guineans here at the meeting. There’s a lot of talk about partnering with PNG businesses, but that will clearly have to be done outside the meeting.

COUTTS: Well, the agenda has obviously been published. What’s caught your eye?

GARRETT: Well, I think the big agenda item is infrastructure, and in fact the Forum’s isn’t hiding its light under a bushel, it’s going under the title of “Infrastructure: Time for Action” and that’s pretty much in keeping with the O’Neill government’s plans. It allocated a record increase in infrastructure spending in this year’s budget. And on Friday, we saw that in action with Prime Minister O’Neill announcing $200 million of new work on the roads in Port Moresby, that’s certainly been warmly welcomed by the business community and probably everyone else here in the capital.

The other thing that people are keen to find out about which isn’t on the agenda is about the O’Neill government’s plans to state-owned enterprises and for restructuring its multi-billion dollar mineral and petroleum assets into two big trust funds. Now I understand this is to some extent been modelled on Temasek,  the very successful investment fund owned by the government of Singapore, that delegates here will be very interested to hear more details from that and I hope they’re. I think they’re hoping to hear that from the Prime Minister about just how it’ll work.

COUTTS: And this year there’s been a big trade mission from North Queensland’s City of Cairns attending the Forum. What are they up to?

GARRETT: Yes, indeed, and that group includes politicians from all three levels of government and both sides of the political fence, as well as business people. They’ve been over to Lae, where the Cairns Mayor re-signed a Cairns Sister City Agreement with the authorities there and they’re hoping to reinvigorate that relationship. But, of course, Lae is the industrial hub of Papua New Guinea, and it looks north.  Many of the exports, all the shipping etc. tends to go out of there.

Another interesting thing about the Cairns mission is that they use this opportunity to launch Cairn’s new international trade and investment campaign and their new Cairns brand, which is called “Cairns Perfectly Positioned”. I think that’s because they’re looking north. The next country they’ll tackle will be China and it’s clearly testament to the scale of the economic boom going on here that they chose to come here first and China second.

COUTTS: Now, well Jemima, you’ve mentioned infrastructure and it obviously will be centred on the mining industry of course. But another event that’s coming up in 2015 where there’s infrastructure required and they’re the games. Are they talking about that as well?

GARRETT: Oh, absolutely. There are a lot of opportunities in the games and I’d have to say the infrastructure is not only focused on mining. It’s very much focused on getting infrastructure out to the people, because agriculture is so much more of a big employer than something like mining and with the current state of the infrastructure, it’s actually stopping indigenous Papua New Guineans from getting into business. So it’s as much about getting that sort of business going as it is about getting mining going. So certainly the Pacific Games is a really big thing. In fact, we had a I went to an event with the Cairns delegation and Peter Stewart  from the Games talking about just how many meals, just how many chairs, just how many everything they’re going to have for the games and it runs into the thousands of everything and in some cases, the tens-of-thousands.

COUTTS: And Australia’s new Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Matt Thistlethwaite?

GARRETT: Yes, he’ll be there and in fact he’s not the only one in town this week. It’s a very busy week in Port Moresby. We’ve got Fiji’s interim prime minister, Frank Bainimamara, arriving this morning. We’ve got the Commonwealth Youth ministers and the British Hugo Swire  turning up. And, of course, next week, we’ve got the Australian Governor-General, so it’s a hot time in Port Moresby.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/big-investment-forum-kicks-off-in-png/1116042

28) New Caledonia’s Koniambo plant starts operations
By Online Editor
09:45 am GMT+12, 12/04/2013, New Caledonia

New Caledonia’s huge Koniambo nickel plant has been fired up to produce its first metal.

Work on the US$5-billion plant began six years ago as part of a long-standing French-backed plan to help develop the economy of New Caledonia’s north.

51 percent of the plant is owned by SMSP, which is the nickel mining arm of the northern provincial government, with the rest being held by Swiss-based miner Xstrata.

Noumea media report that last night a smelter in Vavouto was heated up to 1,000 degrees to transform 230 tonnes of ore into a liquid.

It is hoped the first official production of nickel can be made next week.

New Caledonia has vast nickel ore reserves and is already a key producer with its SLN plant in Noumea.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

29) Bougainville cautions Chinese ‘investors’
By Online Editor
4:36 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Chinese and other foreign business owners planning of coming into Bougainville to conduct their business activities must be involved in wholesaling and manufacturing and large scale or technologically advanced business activities.

According to the vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Patrick Nisira, Asians must be involved in big businesses that Bougainvilleans do not have the monetary capacity to be involved in.

Nisira stressed that foreign business owners must not be involved in any retailing business activities.

He said this is to protect the interests of Bougainvillean business people and also encourage more Bougainvilleans to start up their own retailing business activities.

When asked about the future of those Chinese business owners already operating in Buka and Buin, Mr Nisira said the ABG, through the Division of Commerce and Industry, has already issued a notice
for them to operate only one retailing business, instead of moving to other locations and expanding their business activities.

He said those who fail to adhere to this directive will be given a second notification letter telling them to abide by this decision.

Nisira warned that those who still fail to comply with this second directive will then be ordered to close their business and move out of Bougainville.

Nisira said these Chinese business operators have also been instructed to re-invest in Bougainville instead of shipping their profits out of Bougainville.

Nisira, who is also the Minister for Police, CS, Health and Law and Justice also highlighted the ABG’s policy on joint venture partnerships.

He said any foreigner, including Chinese business operators, must conduct their activities through joint venture partnerships.

Nisira clarified that this joint venture partnership must involve a foreigner and a Bougainvillean, and not the foreigner with his or her Bougainvillean wife or husband.

He said at the moment foreigners, especially Chinese businessmen based in Buka are mainly involved in family businesses with their Bougainvillean wives.

Nisira also expressed his support over an incident which happened recently in Arawa where a Chinese businessman was ordered out of Arawa by some locals there.

The ABG vice President has already adviced the ABG Minister for Primary Industry Nicholas Daku to urge Central Bougainvilleans not to invite Chinese businessmen into Arawa.

He also clarified that those Chinese investors now operating in Buka were not the right investors from China, but were those who had been previously conducting business activities in other parts of PNG.

Nisira said the Division of Commerce and Industry is now working on a policy that will outline business activities reserved only for Bougainvilleans.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT:

30) Study says sea-level rise in Pacific quicker than thought

Posted at 01:27 on 13 April, 2013 UTC

A new study by the US Geological Survey indicates low-lying atolls in the Pacific Ocean will likely be inundated by sea water sooner than previously anticipated due to global warming.

Researchers studied Midway Atoll and Laysan Island in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument for their report.

Both places have landforms and coastal features common to many low-lying islands in the Pacific.

Earlier research suggested the atolls would remain above sea level for the next 50 to 150 years.

But an oceanographer, Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Centre, says by taking storm wind and wave action models into account, they can forecast that rising sea levels will affect the islands much sooner.

Mr Storlazzi says many of the atolls will be inundated, contaminating freshwater supplies and thus making the islands uninhabitable.

The study didn’t give specific dates.

Radio New Zealand International

LAW&ORDER:


31) Crime in PNG costly: Westpac
By Online Editor
1:36 pm GMT+12, 15/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Criminal activities in the country limit business operators such as commercial banks like Westpac which spends 4% of its revenue to protect assets in PNG.

Westpac manager director Ashleigh Matheson said the threat from criminal activities in the country on private businesses was real and costly to mitigate.

He said it was a real challenge not only for business operators such as commercial banks but also the tourism industry.

“The risk from criminal activities in the country is significant and has impact on private businesses, commercial banks and the tourism industry,” Matheson said.

“PNG is beautiful like Tonga and Vanuatu yet very few tourists come here.

“It is costing the country,” he said.

He said private businesses needed to have armed guards to protect their assets.

For Westpac “we spend 4% of our revenue protecting our assets.

Threat in PNG is not just for banks, it is real and significant cost to mitigate”.

Matheson said because of the risks and the country’s geography, Westpac would continue to partner with local merchants in implementing the in-store banking projects.

He said the in-store project was convenient and was the key to financial inclusion where small village people could access banking services in remote rural areas.

“PNG is a difficult country to expand footprint,” he said.

“There’s no need to expand a network of unprofitable branches when Westpac can partner with small trade store owners which is cheap and can reach more people.

“Westpac’s in-store service allows customers to make a deposit or transfer between their accounts, all from an Eftpos machine at a participating store.

“Westpac has signed up over 40 local merchants.

“And I am confident we will reach 200 merchants by end of September.”

Matheson said in-store banking reflected Westpac’s commitment to taking banking outside the bank’s branches and to local communities for the convenience of communities in rural and remote locations.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

32) Kiwi in Japanese-Vanuatu custody battle
By Online Editor
09:58 am GMT+12, 15/04/2013, Vanuatu

A New Zealand businessman in Vanuatu has been caught up in an international custody battle over two children who he claims his Japanese wife has tried to kidnap.

The Vanuatu Daily Post says local police are now involved with allegations and counter-allegations of kidnapping involving the children of New Zealander Paul Dalley, 39, who runs a seaplane business on Santo, north of the capital Port Vila.

Dalley has also contacted Fairfax Media with his side of the story.

The Daily Post says he has filed a police complaint claiming his wife Yuka Dalley and a Japanese businessman living in New Caledonia had allegedly conspired to kidnap their two children aged 10 months and three years.

They were to remove them from Vanuatu over to Japan which has not signed the Hague Convention which requires the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence.

Dalley states he managed to get the three-year-old girl, Aqua Serene, to a “safe place” before police on Santo managed to travel to Vila to arrest Yuka Dalley who was with the 10-month-old boy Air Calm.

The Daily Post says police are still investigating the case which is now expected to go to court.

Paul Dalley told Fairfax that his wife now has custody of both the children but that a court order prevents her from leaving Vanuatu.

He said police are searching for a Japanese man believed to be involved in the case.

“This situation is still very fluid,” he said.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

33) UN in Papua New Guinea calls for urgent action to stop sorcery killings

Posted at 01:27 on 13 April, 2013 UTC

The United Nations system in Papua New Guinea, in a statement, has condemned the extra-judicial killings related to accusations of sorcery.

It is demanding an end to the practice.

It has also renewed its urgent call for the Sorcery Act to be repealed, to promote and support the prosecution of sorcery cases.

It says provision for the protection of victims of sorcery-related violence must also be increased as a matter of urgency.

The UN says it is deeply disturbed with the increasing reports of violence, torture and murder and says these vigilante killings constitute murder and must not be treated with impunity.

Radio New Zealand International

YOUTH:


Friday, 12 April 2013 10:06 AM

34) Youths Find Future in Food Production

With little more than a bush knife and an axe between them, a group of young Solomon Island boys between the ages of nine and 18 years have taken food security into their own hands.

In Kindu, a community of 5,000 people in the coastal urban area of Munda in the Solomon Islands, these boys, who have been abandoned by their parents, have transformed their lives by establishing a cooperatively run farm.

They now have the largest urban agricultural enterprise in the Munda area on New Georgia Island, Western Province, which is providing them a sustainable livelihood and boosting wider food and nutritional security.

Youth unemployment stands at 45 percent in the Solomon Islands, a developing South Pacific island state east of Papua New Guinea. Securing an occupation and nutrition here is not easy, but with a vision and wisdom beyond his years, 23-year-old Patrick Arathe has managed to do just that.

Arathe’s parents abandoned him when he was just nine years old, and he was sent to live with extended family members, as is the custom here. After completing secondary school, he became deeply concerned about the many children in the area in a similar situation.

With no one to fully support their needs, they suffered from poor nutrition and a lack of clothing, emotional support and guidance. Few could afford to attend school.

“I saw the kids and I knew they were the same as me, fatherless,” Arathe told IPS. Strongly convinced that “kids are the future”, he was keen to find a way to support them, so in July 2012, he gathered a group of 16 youths and embarked on a small farming project.

Under the laws of customary land-ownership, Arathe managed to obtain a plot of land owned by his grandfather, where his youth group now grows cabbage, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, potatoes, cassava, corn, watermelons, pawpaws and bananas.

“I thought that farming was the best idea because there are not enough vegetables at the market and there is a big need to grow more,” he explained.

Though some of the youths were initially sceptical about the project, their doubts have quickly been replaced by a genuine enthusiasm for agriculture, with some members aiming to become full-time farmers once they finish school.

As the group’s leader, Patrick ensures the boys have time to do their homework after school. Then in the late afternoon, when the heat of the sun dissipates, they spread out over the farm to plant, weed, water and harvest some of the crops for the next day’s market.

But the going is not always smooth. “The soil is not very good here,” Arathe pointed out, adding that environmental and climate challenges often plague their cultivation efforts.

The Kastom Garden Association (KGA), a national NGO, is doing its part to help this youth initiative thrive. The NGO believes that rising sea levels caused by climate change coupled with years of “slash and burn” land clearing practices have degraded the soil and compromised food security in Munda.

The KGA, which prioritises smallholder farmers and focuses on enabling village communities to develop their own practical ways of achieving household food security, has helped Arathe and his group implement a composting system and create an organic pest spray, made from locally grown chillies.

According to Arathe, “The cabbages are now growing faster and bigger.”

“We have given the group advice on vegetable nurseries, organic farming methods like composting and mulching, methods to improve their soil and different planting materials to improve crop diversity,” KGA’s Project Officer Mary Timothy told IPS, adding that the NGO mentors youths involved in farming initiatives in other provinces as well.

Despite challenges along the way, there is no doubting the success of this unique agricultural initiative.

In addition to selling their fresh produce directly to the community, the youth take bulk orders twice a week from the local hospital and from four major businesses on the island. In a week, they can produce and sell between 500 to 1,000 “lots” – a local measurement arrived at by eyeballing the produce — of fruit and vegetables, earning an approximate income of between 600 and 1,300 dollars.

Local households also support the initiative, with some purchasing produce directly from the farm.

By December 2012, the boys had earned enough money to pay for their needs and enrol as full-time students. Their levels of nutrition have also improved in leaps and bounds.

“We eat vegetables for a balanced diet, sometimes for lunch or in the evening,” said Arathe. “The children are starting to grow healthy.”

Leslie Kiadapite, principal field officer at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Munda, told IPS, “It is very important to engage young people to become involved in agriculture. Even with an education, not everyone here will be employed in the formal sector. So we encourage young people to cultivate the land.

“This is important for food security, income generation and sustainable livelihoods,” she added.

Eighty percent of this nation’s population of 552,000 reap a livelihood from subsistence agriculture, cash crops and fishing. Yet food production still falls short of meeting the demands of a population growing at an annual rate of 2.3 percent, while the legacy of a five-year civil conflict (1999-2003), which erupted following disputes between communities about access to land and resources on the main island of Guadalcanal, heavily impacted infrastructure and services throughout the country.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 14 percent of children below five years of age, or approximately 5,000 in the Solomon Islands are underweight, and 33 percent suffer from stunting due to malnutrition.

Arathe’s project seems to point the way towards achieving national goals. Beyond attaining nutritional self-sufficiency, farm labour is teaching boys skills pertaining to livelihood generation, food security and better eating habits, which will benefit them throughout their lifetime.

“They now have experience,” Arathe told IPS. “They know how to plant and harvest…They can work at the nursery and do transplanting (of crops). They are much happier, too,” he added.

http://www.solomontimes.com/news/youths-find-future-in-food-production/7607

(Phils Opinion- I 101% support Patrick Arathe with his vision and his team support to work on this Food Project, it will help them, with their standard of living and more,Wishing them all the very best)

SPORTS:


35) Vanuatu counting on home support
By Online Editor
6:00 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu are hosting the much anticipated OFC U-17 Championship 2013 from 17-25 April and the side has plenty of home support they can rely on – including that of the recently elected Prime Minister of Vanuatu Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

The Prime Minister presented the players with new shirts and the national flag in Port Vila Stadium at the weekend ahead of their flight out to Santo, where the tournament is being held.

“I am proud to be here to present these new football jerseys to you,” Carcasses Kalosil said.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Vanuatu, I take this opportunity to wish you all the best in the competition. It is not going to be easy, but remember that we will support you all through to your last game.”

Vanuatu Football Federation CEO Albert Manaroto said it was an honour to have the country’s prime minister come down and show his support for the young side.

“We want to acknowledge the support of the national government in this initiative. Without the government we would have been unable to host next week’s competition in Santo.”

The Etienne Mermer coached side arrived in Santo on Tuesday and have been quick to continue their preparations for the tournament, where victory would assure them a ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates later this year.

The side gave Chapuis Stadium’s second field a workout when they took on Luganville club champions Santos FC in a friendly build-up match in front of more than 300 supporters.

The U-17 national side took the lead in the first half following a Ruben Frank strike, however the home side managed to hit back an equaliser 15 minutes before the final whistle.

“This is our first match in Luganville, Sanot and a win, loss or a draw is ok for the boys because we don’t want to see any players injured before the competition,” Mermer says.

“Our focus is on the competition and we have another friendly here in Luganville on Saturday before we meet Papua New Guinea next Wednesday.

“The boys played well but we missed a lot of chances in front of the goal but I believe they will learn from those mistakes and we will work hard to help them ahead of the match against Siaraga FC on Saturday.”.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

36) Vanuatu volleyballers prepare for World Champs countdown

Posted at 01:26 on 13 April, 2013 UTC

The Vanuatu beach volleyball team leaves for China next week, the first leg of a four month journey they hope will culminate at the World Championships in Poland.

The top-ranked team in Oceania missed out on their target of qualifying for the London Olympics last year but have since risen inside the worlds top 40.

There are five events before the World Championships in July, beginning in China at the end of the month.

The President of the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation, Debbie Masaufakalo, says if they can maintain their ranking, Vanuatu will become the first Pacific team to compete at a World Championships.

“We’re well in the top 48 teams but if we don’t compete in these world tour events prior to the World Championships we will lose our world ranking and it will drop very fast and it will drop outside the top 48. Everybody’s pushing hard to get to these events to do well to qualify or they will miss out.”

Debbie Masaufakalo says the Vanuatu team will spend a few days training in Fiji next week before flying out to China.

Radio New Zealand International

Spinal boards for Pacific Unions
By Online Editor
4:53 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2013, Fiji

The three rugby unions of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga will receive three spinal boards worth more than $22,500 board given by the Ben Kende Foundation.

The official handover ceremony will be done at the Air Pacific hangar in Nasoso, Nadi this morning.

Air Pacific in partnership with the foundation and the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions have flown in the spinal boards and other medical equipment’s from Hong Kong.

The money to fund the donation was raised during the annual Ben Kende Fund Raising Ball in November last year.

Air Pacific managing director and chief executive officer Dave Pflieger said they felt honoured to be part of the generous donation to the rugby loving islands.

“Hong Kong and rugby have a special place in all Fijian’s hearts and this donation will only serve to strengthen those feelings,” Pflieger said.

Fijian rugby legend Waisale Serevi expressed his appreciation to the foundation for their generous support and to the national airline for transporting the spinal boards along with other medical equipment generously given by Event Medical Services to the country.

Doctor David Owens and Lucy Clarke of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union have pledged to further build on this initiative and assist with future pitch side medical training courses in the three countries.

The foundation was established in 2011 to support Kende, a rising rugby star who suffered a spinal injury while representing Hong Kong in the Asian Under-18 Championship in Bangkok in 2010.

Kende, now a quadriplegic, is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Sydney University while working hard with his physiotherapy. In honour of his determination and spirit, the foundation brought together a movement of teachers, doctors, friends and the rugby community who are trying to make Hong Kong a better place for the disabled by challenging mobility issues, raising money to help with medical equipment for other rugby communities in Asia and Oceania, supporting clinical stem cell trial and raising funds to support Kende’s rehabilitation.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

37) Hoffman scores winning NRL try for Broncos

Aap
Sunday, April 14, 2013

BRISBANE – Reluctant winger Josh Hoffman scored the best try of his blossoming NRL career as Brisbane snatched a thrilling 12-10 derby win over a depleted but gallant North Queensland on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Hoffman’s seventh try in his past three games – and his second of the night – in the 72nd minute put Brisbane back in front and required great strength and athleticism after some brilliant passing from Corey Norman and a no-look final effort by centre Jack Reed.

Reed had set up the first of Hoffman’s double just before halftime with a deft kick off the outside of his right boot.

The Cowboys, down on troops after the late withdrawal of match-winning fullback Matt Bowen (knee soreness) and tackling machine Dallas Johnson (concussion), had led 10-8 following a converted try to Bowen’s replacement Clint Greenshields in the 58th minute.

Playing his 37th NRL game but his first for the Cowboys, Greenshields dived over after hooker Rory Kostjasyn found a rare hole in Brisbane’s defence.

The game was played at a cracking finals pace, the huge turnout of 42,556 fans treated to a thrill-a-minute contest featuring desperate scrambling defence from both sides.

Brisbane led 8-4 at halftime.

Both packs were brutal as they punched up the middle all night.

New father Sam Thaiday made 36 tackles and ran 123 metres for the Broncos, while Ben Hannant turned in another amazing effort with 42 tackles and 192 metres.

State of Origin hopeful Corey Parker also maintained his outstanding start to the season with another eye-catching 80 minutes, saving what looked like a certain second-half try and making 52 tackles.

North Queensland’s forwards tried their hearts out, Matt Scott magnificent with 156 metres and 30 tackles alongside his Australian front-row partner James Tamou (118 and 27 tackles). Cowboys centre Brent Tate deserved a win in his 200th game and he did all he could with 19 tackles to shut down Brisbane’s left-side attack.

North Queensland were aiming for a club record fourth-straight win over Brisbane and, despite being down on troops, looked like causing an upset until Hoffman’s second try lifted Brisbane back into the lead.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=231050

38) City hold on to end Chelsea’s Cup defence

Posted 15 April 2013, 6:32 AEST

Manchester City beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley to knock the FA Cup champions out at the semi-final stage.

Manchester City may lose their Premier League title, but they are through to the FA Cup final with a win over Chelsea. (Credit: AFP)

Manchester City withstood a valiant fightback from Chelsea to win a gripping FA Cup semi-final 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on Monday (AEDT) and knock the holders out of the competition.

Goals in each half from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero put City in control, but Chelsea replied through Demba Ba, only for Roberto Mancini’s men to resist the holders’ desperate search for an equaliser.

Fifteen points behind Manchester United in the Premier League, City seem destined to relinquish their league crown, but they will be strong favourites to defeat Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final on May 11 and reclaim the trophy they won in 2011.

“I said before the game, it would be difficult because Chelsea are in a good moment, but we deserved to win,” said City manager Mancini.

“Now we have to win the final and finish second in the championship – that is our target.”

For Chelsea, there will be no fifth FA Cup in seven seasons, and although there is the consolation of a Europa League semi-final with Basel, interim manager Rafael Benitez will hope his tired squad still have enough energy for the battle to win a Champions League place.

Benitez was aggrieved that substitute Fernando Torres was not awarded a late penalty after going down under a challenge from Vincent Kompany.

“Was it a penalty? Yes, clearly. Very clearly. You can see the pictures. We have two situations like that in the second half,” he said.

“But we played against a very good team. If they had scored another, the game would have been over. But we keep going and we had chances to be back in the game, so these decisions were very important.”

In stark contrast to Sunday’s (AEDT) first semi-final between Wigan and Millwall, which took place beneath steady drizzle and in front of nearly 27,000 empty seats, this game was a sell-out played amid balmy spring temperatures.

City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was rewarded with a starting place for his performances earlier in the cup, while Demba Ba returned to the Chelsea line-up after an ankle injury.

City started with intent and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech had to produce a smart early save to deny Aguero when he prodded the ball goalwards after Gareth Barry’s shot was helped on by Yaya Toure.

The Czech goalkeeper also repelled a near-post effort from Carlos Tevez, before the champions began to assert themselves.

Kompany to the rescue

Kompany came to City’s rescue in the 23rd minute, heading the ball off the line after Eden Hazard’s volley into the turf looped over Pantilimon, who had come for a cross and missed.

The Chelsea revival proved short-lived, however, and 10 minutes before half-time, City went ahead.

Toure slipped a pass inside to Aguero, who in turn found Nasri, and when the Frenchman’s attempted return pass bounced back to him off Cesar Azpilicueta, he lashed the ball past Cech from close range.

James Milner then saw a goalbound shot hit Aguero and Kompany spurned a fine chance in first-half injury time, side-footing wide from 10 yards after Cech could only parry Milner’s cross.

It was an opportunity that City were to rue for only two minutes of the second half, as Aguero doubled his side’s advantage in the 47th minute.

After City worked a free-kick wide to the right, Barry swept an in-swinging cross to the back post and Aguero directed a fine header back across goal and into the net via the right-hand upright.

Benitez gave his side a pair of fresh legs in the shape of Fernando Torres, still sporting a black mask to protect his broken nose.

Ba might have been at risk of being withdrawn, but instead it was John Mikel Obi who made way, and the Senegal striker vindicated Benitez’s re-shuffle by reducing the arrears in the 66th minute.

It was a poor goal to concede, though, as David Luiz’s long ball was allowed to bounce behind the City defence and Ba adjusted brilliantly to hook a half-volley past Pantilimon.

The Romanian goalkeeper then produced two important saves in quick succession, first swiping the ball off Juan Mata’s toes and then thwarting Ba from close range after Hazard was allowed to manhandle Gael Clichy to the ground.

City survived, but Aguero was lucky to escape censure for an ugly stamp on Luiz that may yet land him in trouble with the Football Association.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-04-15/city-hold-on-to-end-chelseas-cup-defence/1115978

AFP

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