Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 836

Bonjour,

Hope you are all well.
Phils Opinion :  Notice that the Melanesian areas, I focus on at this moment in time is 1) Fiji with its Political turmoil. 2) New Caledonia with its 2014 a yes or no to referendum/autonomy or independence from France. 3) West Papua and its rights to Independence from Indonesia before 2020 (1000+ GODS WILLING) and on the top of Smol Nius page is always a space for 
THE MELANESIAN SPEAR HEAD GROUP.


If you do have a moment? Please cruise by VOM – http://www.voiceofmelanesia.com/
For a few photos/music and more longer news that I cant email it to you space wise!

Last but not least…If you do have any news,information,music etc that you want to share? Please do send them through to moi…….for FREE and I will credit your name if you want to or can remain anonymous saraga!

Best Regards and Moce Mada 4 Now – Phil Wantok.

EMBONG from Sydney City.

MELANESIA:

1) Fiji, PNG nationals don’t require visa to travel
By Online Editor
4:42 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

A historic decision was made by the Government of Papua New Guinea and Fiji today.

Starting on a date to be confirmed soon, nationals from both countries travelling between PNG and Fiji or vice versa can do so without a visa.

In a joint press conference, the Prime Ministers of both countries announced various assistance programmes highlighting the need to strengthen existing relations between the two countries.

PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil said this decision was designed to go straight between the two countries and allow for the easy movement of nationals from both countries.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama said this development would boost relations.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

2) New Caledonia FLNKS Pledge Support For West Papua
FLNKS ‘happy’ to welcome West Papua to MSG: Tutugoro

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 15, 2013) – New Caledonia’s pro-independence FLNKS has pledged its full support for the cause of the West Papuan people for freedom and independence.

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation visited Noumea recently as part of an official political tour in the Melanesian region to seek support among Melanesian Spearhead Group countries.

The delegation presented its official application for full MSG membership to Victor Tutugoro, the Executive of the FLNKS and the incoming MSG Chairman.

Mr. Tutugoro said the MSG is only for Melanesia and Liberation Movements within it, and the FLNKS leadership would be happy to welcome West Papua as a new member in the Melanesian family.

The delegation will next travel Honiara to meet the prime minister of Solomon Islands and other Government officials to present the MSG official application there.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

3) New governor of Papua will empower separatist groups

Posted at 03:24 on 17 April, 2013 UTC

The newly elected governor of Indonesia’s Papua province says he will approach separatist groups and offer to empower them.

Lukas Enembe says the government needs to listen to separatists and he expects better communication through his new approach.

He says the ongoing problems for citizens are injustice and a lack of prosperity.

The Jakarta Post reports that Mr Enembe’s administration will focus on education, welfare and development, and will use the special autonomy funds to finance the programmes.

Papua has received 2.9 billion US dollars of special autonomy funds in the last decade.

Successive governments have often been criticised for not using the funds to solve basic problems such as welfare and access to health services.

Radio New Zealand International


4) PNG pledges $40 million to help run Fiji elections

By Online Editor
08:46 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill  Tuesday announced that PNG will provide K50million (FJD$40.36million) to assist Fiji prepare for elections in 2014.

Prime Minister O’ Neill made this announcement following bilateral talks between him and Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama at Parliament House in PNG’s capital Port Moresby.

Following that, both parties signed a joint communiqué calling for stronger relations between the two countries.

The funding is grant which is allocated as K25million FJD$20.15million) for next year(2014) and the same amount for the following year( 2015)

Both countries agreed that more opportunities exist to boost their economies and this could only be achieved through strengthening relations.

Earlier, the two governments agreed to allow their nationals entry into PNG and Fiji without a visa.

Commodore Bainimarama and PM O’Neill also announced various assistance programmes highlighting the need to strengthen existing relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Bainimarama stated that these significant developments would boost relations between the two Melanesian countries.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

5) Specialists Arrive In Solomons To Tackle Dengue Outbreak
SPC health official warns fever could spread elsewhere

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 15, 2013) – A team of health specialists from Australia and Fiji has arrived in Solomon Islands to tackle an outbreak of dengue fever.

Since the first case was reported four months ago, the virus has continued to spread quickly.

Three people have died and there are at least 2,500 suspected cases of dengue fever, mostly in the capital Honiara.

However Dr. Yvan Souarès, who manages the Health Protection program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, says the virus could easily spread to other regions.

“Population movements between the capital city and the various provinces are of course are very important in countries like the Solomon Islands and especially of course you are aware of the tsunami and all the damages that affected the province of Temotu,” he said.

“Currently the public health systems in the Solomons [are] very stretched out.”

The strain of dengue fever is one which hasn’t been seen in the Pacific for 30 years.

Dr. Souares says it’s also never been reported in Solomon Islands.

“You have to exercise some caution in interpreting these facts – because the recording in some countries like the Solomons is not fully reliable,” he said.

“Historical data never mention this strain in the Solomons in the past, but that does not mean it do not reach there.

“But… it seems that a lot of the population is not immune to the virus – hence the high number of cases and the spread to a lot of provinces now.”

Dr. Souares says it’s important to reiterate that the current virus in the Solomons is no different to any previous outbreak.

“It’s a little bit like influenza virus, which circulates amongst a population…and when it reaches a population which has not seen that virus for a while, the fringe of that population is therefore susceptible to the virus,” he said.

“There’s no specific harm that’s being caused by this virus because of its changes in genetics for example – there’s no such thing going on.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

6) AG: Ghai Constitution Missed Views Of Fiji’s People
Sayed-Khaiyum says regime’s draft incorporates best elements

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 15, 2013) – The Fiji regime says the draft constitution, written by the Yash Ghai-led Constitution Commission, did not capture the views of the majority of people in Fiji.

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says most people in Fiji are concerned about socio-economic issues.

He was responding to questioners at government-run sessions in Fiji’s west, who wanted to know why the earlier document was dumped.

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said the Ghai draft also opened the door for people to challenge decrees and create chaos and it undermined immunity provisions.

“It is said that you can only get immunity if everybody that’s been involved, including Ratu Epeli Nailatikau who is the President, all go and swear taking notes that what I did was wrong, they would not have agreed to that.”

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum says the regime’s document incorporates the best of the Ghai draft and the 1997 constitution and some new elements.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

7) Fiji National Federation Party Denies Impersonation Claims
Registrar called on parties to explain registration anomalies

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 15, 2013) – Fiji’s proposed National Federation Party (NFP) has denied impersonation claims relating to the registration of their members in Kadavu.

The proposed party had been asked by the Registrar for Political Parties Mohammed Saneem to explain anomalies in the registration of members, again including names that do not exist in the Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) Database.

“We will be responding to this allegations made by the Registrar this Friday and we deny the fact that our officers had posed as impersonators when they went out to collect signatures,” proposed NFP leader Raman Pratap Singh told FijiLive. “We have already had our meeting to discuss all this claims and we have also spoken to our field officers.”

The Registrar last week called on the three major proposed parties to explain anomalies in their applications to register as a political party for the 2014 elections.

Registrar Saneem said they have dealt with the applications transparently under the principle of natural justice and all of the evidence in his possession have been given to the three proposed parties so they know what they have to respond to.

All proposed parties have until midday April 19 to respond.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

8) $1.1 Million In Fiji State Land Rentals Collected Since January
Lands department ‘fine-tuning’ processes for better management

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 15, 2013) – Fiji’s Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources collected around FJ$2 million [US$1.1 million] of revenue from state land rentals in the first three months of this year.

Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral resources Tevita Boseiwaqa said they are fine tuning their processes so they can better manage state land in line with government’s expectations of making more land accessible for productive use.

Boseiwaqa said this is part of a review system and processes put in place to monitor state leases.

“This includes developing an inspection report form for all our lease inspectors in the various divisions, development of a standard operating procedure for state land dealings and harmonizing of our state land data to ensure it is consistent with what we have on the ground,” said Boseiwaqa.

He said this would add value to the decision making process and while some of their clients would be frustrated because of some delays they are hopeful the new exercise will bridge the gap.

He also said poor policing of state land denied them the opportunity to generate revenue that could contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

9) Fiji PM hints early elections
By Online Editor
11:26 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has hinted, the country could have early elections, depending on how quick the draft constitution is finalised.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by Fijians living and working in PNG last night, Bainimarama also revealed the approach by the United Nations, for Fiji to serve in the Golan Heights.

Commodore Bainimarama was welcomed by a traditional ceremony by the PNG Fijian community.

He briefed the community on the draft constitution and urged them to register to vote in the elections and to read and understand the draft constitution.

Bainimarama thanked the PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neil for his government’s fifty million kina assistance towards elections in 2014.

Bainimarama further explains, his administration is working to root out the type of politics that existed after the 1987 and 2000 coups which promoted racial intolerance.

The Prime Minister had hoped a new constitution was ready before his visit to PNG, hinting there could be early elections, depending on how quick the draft constitution becomes the supreme law of the country.

Today Bainimarama will open the Fiji – PNG Trade Show at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby where more than forty Fijian businesses will showcase their products to potential PNG investors and also look for new business opportunities in PNG…

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

10) Fiji AG assures women, Indigenous rights protected in draft constitution
By Online Editor
11:21 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Fiji

Women have more protection under the draft constitution than ever before, said Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Responding to questions raised by a Nadi-based women’s group at consultations in Nadi on Monday, Sayed-Khaiyum reassured that women’s rights were protected in the draft constitution.

“In fact, you now have more protection for women, constitutionally speaking, than ever before, coupled with the fact that the Bainimarama government has brought about a number of changes to the law. We have made it more gender neutral.

“There’s also the rape of men which has also been recognised.

“The Domestic Violence Decree was just sitting on the shelf, we picked it up, tweaked it a bit, made it more modern and we implemented it.”

He said in the same way defacto relationships have also been recognised.

“When the Family Law Act was originally drafted, it recognised the right of defacto relationships for women.

“Spousal maintenance was taken out and we’ve brought that back in.

“So now women who are not legally married to a man but live as husband and wife, if they get separated, women can get spousal maintenance.

“Now if you turn to the Bill of Rights in Section 26, I have mentioned that we have brought in some new elements.

“We’ve brought in culture but we’ve also brought in marital status and pregnancy. These were not in the 1997 Constitution.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said women fall pregnant and generally got discriminated against because of their marital status.

Meanwhile, indigenous rights was one of the main issues highlighted during the draft constitution consultations in Nadi on Monday.

Concerns were raised by many people on whether native rights were protected in the document.

“If you look at the non-discriminatory provision in section 26, you did not have culture before, you now have culture. You did not have social origin before. Now you have social origin,” said Attorney-General Sayed-Khaiyum.

“A lot of people talk about the International Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Unfortunately, a lot of people talk about it but they don’t really know why it started. Fiji is one of very few places where the indigenous population owns 91 per cent of the land and they’ve actually had political control of the country.

“You cannot discriminate against anybody on the basis of their culture.

“The 1997 Constitution did not provide you that safeguard and that provision, as you know, is now under the draft and if the draft becomes the new constitution, your cultural rights cannot be taken away from you. It’s protected in every single law.

“It’s not just in the Native Lands Trust Act or whatever.

“If we make any law regarding women, garbage collection, whatever it maybe, it is protected in the constitution.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

11) FBC reports Fiji may have early elections

Posted at 03:24 on 17 April, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation says the country may have early elections after the regime initially scheduled them for September next year.

The FBC says this was hinted by the prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, in a speech at a dinner in Papua New Guinea.

It says according to the Commodore, this depends on how soon the new constitution is ready.

This comes as the country’s attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says there are time constraints to have a referendum on the new constitution as suggested by the political leaders ousted in the 2006 coup.

Commodore Bainimarama says he hoped the new constitution was ready before his current visit to PNG.

Submissions can be made for another two weeks after the regime extended a deadline twice.

Three months ago, it dumped an earlier draft, which had been drawn up to replace the 1997 constitution that the regime scrapped four years ago when the court of appeal ruled that the interim government was illegal.

Radio New Zealand International

12) EU to discuss ban on Fiji aid
By Online Editor
11:23 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Fiji

The European Union has confirmed that it will look into discussing bans imposed on financial assistance to Fiji’s sugar industry.

Visiting local sugar cane farmers in Lautoka yesterday, the European Union’s Pacific Ambassador, Andrew Jacobs, said the assistance that the EU provided through government was suspended until there was a return to full democracy.

“The European Union in Brussels is going to be looking later in the year at whether or not we will be able to review the suspension of direct financial support,” said  Jacobs.

“We are looking forward very much to the elections being held. We are looking forward to them being free and fair elections. We are available under certain circumstances to provide support to help the elections get underway.

“We are just observing very closely and I said looking forward to elections taking place and Fiji return to full democracy.

“I think we would look at providing money for the future.

“The money which was not spent in the past would not be able to come back but if there is a full return to democracy and the European Union restarts the full development program there would be additional money for Fiji from next year (after elections),” he said.

He said they looked forward to resuming aid however this was dependent on a satisfactory return to democracy.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA:

13) Objections raised to huge Hawaii telescope project

Posted at 03:23 on 17 April, 2013 UTC

Some native Hawaiians plan to appeal against the U.S. state’s plan to allow the world’s biggest telescope to be built on the summit of Hawaii’s tallest volcano.

Pua Case is one of six petitioners from the island of Hawaii, who have been opposed to the 1.5 billion US dollar project on Mauna Kea.

She says it’s not the first telescope to go up there, but its sheer size threatens the landscape, and will destroy burial sites.

She says it doesn’t bode well for many who consider the land sacred.

“If you just think about the construction, the desecration, the destruction, of our sacred mountain by building that 30 meters telescope it just goes beyond anything we could ever agree to, could to even fathom at this time to leave our children and our children’s children, that is not what we can allow.”

Petitioner Pua Case.

Opponents have until early May to file an appeal with the state’s Land and Natural Resources Board.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Native Rapa Nui Urged To Work Together With Chile
Council member favors autonomy, but not independence

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 15, 2013) – Indigenous Rapa Nui are being urged to work together with Chile rather than pursue independence in order to overcome the island’s environmental and economic challenges.

Mai Teao is a member of the Easter Island Town Council and part of a delegation that visited New Zealand last week to look at how Maori have negotiated with the government over marine conservation.

Mr. Teao says other Rapa Nui are more radical than him, but he doesn’t believe it would benefit his island to become independent of Chile.

However he says Rapa Nui needs more autonomy.

“We need autonomous decision-making, that’s the priority and we need the Chilean government to respect that. Today we are children of Chile and we need Chile to move forward but we also need to make our own decisions. I think that Rapa Nui need to move forward as brothers, as companions, walking hand in hand.”

Mai Teao says Rapa Nui must protect their sea and land for their children.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

15) Norfolk Islanders Want Clarity In Territorial Operations
Island seeking more funds from Australian government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 15, 2013) – The chief minister of Norfolk Island, Lisle Snell, says the community wants assurances from Canberra there will be more clarity in changes to the way the island is to operate.

The Norfolk Island economy has dived in recent times and two years ago its government and the Australian federal government developed a road map to try and correct it.

It included Norfolk entering the Australian taxation system and public sector reform in exchange for more financial assistance.

Some of these changes are not yet in place while the island is seeking additional money.

The federal Minister of Territories, Catherine King, is on Norfolk this week and Mr. Snell says the islanders want to hear from her what opportunities they have to discuss details of the proposed changes.

“To give the island some certainty in the progression forward. What we need to plan. Some of the timelines that have been introduced as part of the funding agreements – we need those to be better clarified,” Snell said.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

WORLD:


16) Boston Marathon explosions: 3 dead, more than 100 hurt
By Online Editor
4:30 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2013, United States

Two bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people, maiming others and injuring more than 100 in what a White House official said would be treated as an “act of terror.”

It was the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and President Barack Obama promised to hunt down whoever was responsible for the attack on a day when tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets to watch the world-famous race.

No one has been arrested and the White House official said it would have to be determined whether the attack came from a foreign or domestic source.

Investigators found what could be five additional, undetonated explosive devices around the Boston area, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing two unnamed people briefed on the investigation. The evidence had yet to be fully analyzed, the Journal said.

The blasts a few seconds apart knocked some runners off their feet and shattered what had been a resplendent spring day with the state of Massachusetts celebrating Patriots’ Day, which commemorates the U.S. war of independence on the third Monday in April.

April 15 is also the deadline for U.S. taxpayers to file their annual income tax returns.

Many runners were heading for the finish when a fireball and smoke rose from behind cheering spectators and a row of flags representing the countries of participants, video from the scene showed.
The cheers turned to screams and panic.

“I saw people who looked like they had their legs blown off. There was a lot of blood over their legs. Then people were being pushed in wheelchairs,” said Joe Anderson, 33, a fisherman from Pembroke, Massachusetts, who had just run the race holding a large U.S. flag.

Many of the victims were gravely injured, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said.

Some suffered shrapnel wounds and amputations and will require repeat operations in the coming days, said Peter Fagenholtz, a trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ambulances, fire trucks and dozens of police vehicles converged at the scene, and spectators could be seen crying and consoling each other.

The dead included an 8-year-old boy, the Boston Globe reported, citing two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation.

A 2-year-old was being treated with a head injury at Boston Children’s Hospital, the hospital said in a statement.

“It sounded like a sonic boom. I haven’t stopped shaking yet,” said Melissa Stanley, who watched her daughter cross the finish line four minutes before the explosions.

The blasts put police on alert in major cities across the United States, including in Washington, D.C. and New York City, sites of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis called them “powerful devices.”

Davis told a news conference at least three people died and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said more than 100 people were wounded.

FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers declined at the same news conference to comment on media reports that police found unexploded devices.

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

17) China points finger at U.S. over Asia-Pacific tensions
By Online Editor
08:37 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, China

China’s defense ministry made a thinly veiled attack on the United States on Tuesday for increasing tensions in the Asia-Pacific by ramping up its military presence and alliances in the region, days after the top U.S. diplomat visited Beijing.

China is uneasy with what the United States has called the “rebalancing” of forces as Washington winds down the war in Afghanistan and renews its attention further east.

China says the policy has emboldened Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam in longstanding territorial disputes with Beijing.

China faces “multiple and complicated security threats” despite its growing influence, the Ministry of Defense said in its annual white paper, adding that the U.S. strategy meant “profound changes” for Asia.

“There are some countries which are strengthening their Asia Pacific military alliances, expanding their military presence in the region and frequently make the situation there tenser,” the ministry said in the 40-page document, in a clear reference to the United States.

Such moves “do not accord with the developments of the times and are not conducive towards maintaining regional peace and stability”, ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters.

The official People’s Liberation Army Daily went further, saying in a commentary on Monday that China needed to beef up its defenses to deal with a hostile West bent on undermining it.

“Hostile Western forces have intensified their strategy to westernize and split China, and employed every possible means to contain and control our country’s development,” it said.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended the re-orientation of U.S. foreign policy towards Asia as he ended a trip to the region dominated by concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program.

While China has been angered by North Korea’s behavior, including its third nuclear test in February, it has also made clear it considers U.S. displays of force in response to Pyongyang’s behavior to be a worrisome development.

China is North Korea’s most important diplomatic and financial backer — the two fought together in the 1950-53 Korean war — although the ministry’s Yang would not be drawn on the subject aside from repeating a call for peace and dialogue.

China’s own military moves have worried others in the region, too.

China unveiled another double-digit rise in military expenditure last month, to 740.6 billion yuan ($119 billion) for 2013, and is involved in protracted and often ugly disputes over a series of islands in the East and South China Seas.

“On the issues concerning China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, some neighboring countries are taking actions that complicate or exacerbate the situation, and Japan is making trouble over the Diaoyu Islands issue,” the white paper said.

Japan’s government said it had lodged a protest with Beijing about that comment. “There exists no territorial issue to be solved over the Senkaku”, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko said in Tokyo.

The dispute with Japan over the uninhabited islands, which China calls the Diaoyu and Japan calls the Senkaku, has escalated in recent months to the point where China and Japan have scrambled fighter jets and patrol ships shadow each other.

The waters around the islands in the East China Sea are rich fishing grounds and have potentially huge oil and gas reserves.

Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines also have conflicting claims with China in parts of the South China Sea. China lays claim to almost the whole of the sea, which is criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes.

The U.S. shift comes as China boosts military spending and builds submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernization, and has tested emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air.

China has repeatedly said the world has nothing to fear from its military spending, which it says is needed for legitimate defensive purposes in a complex and changing world, and that the sums spent pale in comparison with U.S. defense expenditure.

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

18) PNG Kalsa i stopim ol yangpela meri long kamap lida

Updated 16 April 2013, 17:36 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol yangpela meri long Papua New Guinea igat bikpela laik long kamap lida long ol grup na komuniti blong ol.

Unia Api na Dr Lalen Simeon long PNG Leadership Symposium long Geelong, Australia (Credit: ABC)
Odio: Dr Lalen Simeon na Unia Api blong Pacific Adventist University PNG i toktok

Despla toktok ibin kam long Dr Lalen Simeon Director blong  Research na  Postgraduate Studies long Pacific Adventist University long PNG na wanwok blong en, Mr Unia Api.

Tupla ibin autim despla toktok blong tupla long namba tri PNG leadership Symposium em Deakin University ibin hostim long Geelong long stat blong despla mun.

Stori blong ol ibin bihaenim wanpla wok painimaut em oli bin mekim long Goroka long Eastern Highlands, New Ireland na Hanuabada long Central provins.

Dr Lalen Simeon i tok ol meri i lukim ol yanpela meri husat i gat kain achivmen long wok blong ol, oa wok blong sios, komuniti oa long sports olsem lida.

Tasol long publik speaking em samting oli lukim olsem oli no strong longen na sapos oli oli kisim training longen bai em i halivim ol gut long kamap lida.

Caroline Tiriman ibin toktok wantem tupla na pastem tru emi bin askim Mr Unia Api long lukluk blong en.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-04-16/png-kalsa-i-stopim-ol-yangpela-meri-long-kamap-lida/1117094

FRANIS:

19) Fidji-PNG: les deux “grands frères du Pacifique” se rencontrent à Port-Moresby

Mis à jour 17 April 2013, 14:35 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Franck Bainimarama est en visite officielle en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, à la tête d’une délégation de 70 politiques et hommes d’affaires.

Lundi sa visite s’est ouverte avec l’annonce d’une simplification des déplacements. Désormais l’obtention de visas ne sera qu’une formalité pour les ressortissants des deux pays, qui pourront obtenir un visa à leur arrivée à l’aéroport.

Autre annonce faite par Peter O’Neill hier mardi devant le Parlement papou :

«La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a toujours soutenu Fidji et nous aidons Fidji dans la mesure du possible. Nous annonçons donc le déblocage de 23 millions de dollars américains pour le gouvernement fidjien, afin de l’aider à organiser les prochaines élections. Notre don s’étalera sur deux ans, 11.5 millions en 2014, et 11.5 millions en 2015.»

Le Premier ministre papou a donc promis une assistance technique et administrative à son homologue fidjien pour les premières élections démocratiques à Fidji depuis 2006. Une situation qui ne manque pas de sel dans la mesure où les élections papoues de juin 2012 ont été entachées par une série d’irrégularités, dont des bourrages et vols d’urnes.  ‘

Mais le clou de la visite officielle de Franck Bainimarama, c’est la signature d’un accord de coentreprise dans le secteur des télécommunications.
Le Fond de Prévoyance National Fidjien (FNPF), en clair, la caisse des retraites, prend une participation de 40% dans Bemobile, l’opérateur de téléphonie papou. Le FNPF est actionnaire majoritaire de Vodafone Fidji, qui assurera donc la gestion de Bemobile. Les précisions de Franck Bainimarama :

«C’est un grand honneur pour moi d’être ici avec notre délégation d’hommes d’affaires fidjiens, pour la signature de cette coentreprise historique entre Fidji et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Le FNPF prend une participation importante mais minoritaire dans l’opérateur de téléphonie papou, Bemobile. Parallèlement, le management de Bemobile sera désormais assuré par Vodafone Fidji. Bemobile entre donc dans Vodafone, un des premiers groupes mondiaux de téléphonie mobile, avec 440 millions de clients dans 80 pays. C’est un investissement crucial pour le peuple fidjien.»

Cette coentreprise historique entre les deux pays n’est qu’un début. Car Franck Bainimarama voit grand pour la Mélanésie :

«Nous resserrons nos liens économiques avec la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, avec un objectif en tête : celui de créer un marché unique entre les pays mélanésien du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance. Fidji est la locomotive de la région, notre pays instaure une nouvelle ère de prospérité et de développement dans les pays mélanésiens et les autres pays du Pacifique.»

Franck Bainimarama, au micro de Firmin Nanol, le correspondant de Radio Australie en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Le Premier ministre fidjien va aussi rencontrer l’ancien Premier ministre Michael Somare avant de s’ envoler pour Suva aujourd’hui jeudi. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-04-17/fidjipng-les-deux-grands-frères-du-pacifique-se-rencontrent-à-portmoresby/1117628

BUSINESS:


20) Fiji inflation at 3.6pc
By Online Editor
12:28 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s average annual rate of inflation for the 12 months to last month stands at 3.6 per cent while the month-on comparable-month inflation rate stands at 3.3 per cent.

This was revealed by government statistician, Epeli Waqavonovono, in the Fiji Bureau of Statistics’ recent release of the Consumer Price Index.

“The All Item Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of March, 2013 registered an increase of 0.5 per cent over February 2012 (146.7) and stands at 147.4,”Waqavonovono said.

He said the CPI — which covers price changes in urban areas such as Suva Lami, Nausori, Lautoka, Nadi, Ba and Labasa — had weights derived from the Household Income and Expenditure Survey of 2002 and 2003. There are two measures of inflation used in Fiji.

“One compares the average CPI over the past 12 months with the average CPI over the previous year. The other, used in most countries, compares the CPI in the current month with the CPI in the comparable month of the previous year”

Higher prices were recorded at 1.2 per cent for bakery products, wheat products, cereals, fresh and preserved meat, fruits, fruit juice, dairy product, fats and oil, coffee and so on.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

21)Dr Jack says no to seabed mining in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
11:15 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Solomon Islands

A lecturer in education at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Solomon Islands Campus has petitioned the Temotu Provincial Government against underwater mining.

Dr Jack Maebuta made the petition through online appealing for all members of the Temotu Public Forum on facebook to submit their names for support.

Dr Jack said many people are  ignorant about the likely impacts of such mining and thus the Temotu provincial government should not prey on our people’s ignorance as leverage into rushing off the implementation of the project.

He said prior to implementation of this project there needs to an impact assessment study undertaken and results should be communicated to the people.

“Such study needs to be undertaken by an internationally reputable independent body so as to maintain ethical and neutral reporting.

“The province should not buy into presentation done by the company as this only promotes their hidden agenda.

“Temotu is a sea of mostly atoll islands, you mine our seabed you mine our life. Studies have proved that deep seabed mining has associated environmental problems.

“We do not want to be fooled by scientific explanation and the use of advanced and sophisticated technology to justify the no-harm operation of the project.
“Our people’s livelihood depended on the environment and the deep sea mining project must not be allowed,” he said.

The other point is that Temotu is a disaster prone region and the recent deadly tsunami that devastated parts of Santa Cruz should be a turning point that we must look after our environment.

“If the province does not stop this project now it will be the recipe for violent conflict in near future,” Dr Jack warned.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

22) Vanuatu to restrict foreigners in business sector

By Online Editor
08:35 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Vanuatu

A dormant plan to only allow ni-Vanuatu to operate retail and wholesale businesses in Vanuatu is to be implemented by the new government as part of its 100-day plan.

The Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, says the plan will restrict foreign ownership in an effort to stop the sector becoming the sole domain of the Chinese.

Meanwhile, the Department of External Trade has held workshops on legislation being drafted to protect domestic industries from increased imports and what is being described as unfair international trade.

The workshop is part of a government plan to protect those involved in producing, processing or participating in international trade.

It is hoped the planned legislation will provide Vanuatu with tools to protect its national industries and improve their competitiveness.

The first draft for submission to the Law Commission is expected to be ready by the end of May.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

23) PNG and Fiji seal Vodafone deal

By Online Editor
08:41 am GMT+12, 17/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Vodafone Fiji will take over management of PNG mobile phone carrier BeMobile, as the nations’ leaders announced closer economic ties.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, signed off on the Vodafone Fiji venture in Port Moresby on Tuesday.

The plan will see the Vodafone brand brought to PNG and the Solomon Islands.

“We have more mobiles than people,” Bainimarama said.

“The term historic is often over-used, but not in this instance. The two leading island nations, Fiji and PNG, have joined hands in a joint commercial venture that promises to revolutionise the lives of all our people for the better.”

About 35 per cent of PNG’s roughly seven million people currently have access to a mobile phone, compared with 110 per cent coverage in the smaller Fiji islands.

Fiji’s National Provident Fund will take a 40 per cent share of BeMobile, while the PNG government’s commercial arm, the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), will take 51 per cent.

The remaining nine per cent of shares will be spread between the PNG Sustainable Development Program and superannuation providers Nambawan Super, Nasfund and GEMS (PNG).

“This is an exciting venture and an important milestone in the new relationship Fiji is building with Papua New Guinea,” Bainimarama said.

“We are pursuing closer economic ties with the view of eventually creating a single market for the countries of the Melanesian Spearhead group.”

The Vodafone deal is part of a broader package of economic ties.

PNG and Fiji will engage in annual trade talks and relax visa requirements for travel between the two nations, while PNG will hire Fijian public servants to bolster its ailing public service.

“We will be sending a team to go to Fiji within this year to start recruiting Fijians to come and work here to take up positions where we have a huge chronic shortage in our public service structure,” O’Neill said.

He also announced PNG will grant 50 million kina ($A22.2 million) in two tranches to Fiji to help it prepare for elections in March 2014.

The pair did not take questions from the press.

Bainimarama arrived in PNG on Monday for a four-day state visit..

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

24) Fiji hosts first World Oceania International Film Festival

Posted at 03:24 on 17 April, 2013 UTC

The Director of a new Pacific film festival says he hopes the event will expose film makers in the Pacific to the rest of the world.

The inaugural World Oceania International Film Festival was launched at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji on Monday.

The Festival Director, Larry Thomas, says the week-long event showcases 46 documentaries, short films and feature films from the Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, France and Hawaii.

He says the aim is to give Pacific film makers a platform to showcase their work and to garner support for future projects.

“You know because aside from Australia and New Zealand, we don’t have that much support. And so we are hoping that this will generate interest. And through the interest, some kind of support, whether it’s from the private sector, from government and from university.”

Larry Thomas says he hopes the film festival will become an annual event.

Radio New Zealand International

25) Plan For New University In Highlands Approved In PNG
PM says approval due to lack of space in existing schools

By Kolopu Waima

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 15, 2013) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that the Government has approved a plan to have a new university established in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands region.

This is hoped will create more space for grade 12 school leavers.

Speaking at the University of Papua New Guinea’s 58th Graduation at Waigani campus last Friday, Mr. O’Neill said the Office of Higher Education would soon commence preparatory work for the new university.

The Prime Minister said that the Government’s move to establish the new university was largely due to lack of space in existing higher institutions.

“Let me just give you what is a sad situation. Last year, 17,000 young people finished their grade 12 education and only 4,000 were absorbed into the higher education system,” he said.

“This is unacceptable. How can any responsible government live with this, denying our children the right to a decent life? Our Government is not going to deny our children, we are committed to ensuring that the opportunity for decent and quality education is available to all citizens,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. O’Neill also stressed the importance of the current higher learning institutions and he said the government would make reforms, reconstruct and rebuild for a better learning system.

“Our Government has begun to focus on institutional reforms and reconstruction as part of our overall public infrastructure development program,” he said.

“We will repair and renovate our universities and training colleges and to restore them as our highest learning institutions.

“Our oldest universities, the University of Technology and University of Papua New Guinea are our national icons, our national pride and identity.

“Their prestige must be restored and that is what our Government has undertaken to do.

“We will overhaul administrations of these institutions. We will weed out a culture of inefficiency, nepotism and complacency,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. O’Neill said that the ongoing administrative crisis at Unitech in Lae was a good example of years of frustration expressed by the community, including staff and students.

He said it was a serious concern to his Government and every parent that the premier institutions had been reduced to a state-of-hopelessness by those who were trusted to manage and administer them.

“I want to reassure our citizens and parents in particular that our Government will do everything in our power to restore dignity of these institutions. We will make the tough but fair decisions for the good of country and our people,” Mr. O’Neill said.

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT:

26) PNG hit by powerful earthquake

Updated 17 April 2013, 12:32 AEST
Liam Fox, PNG correspondent and wires

A strong earthquake off Papua New Guinea’s north coast has sent people running for higher ground, fearing a tsunami.

A strong earthquake off Papua New Guinea’s north coast has sent people running for higher ground, fearing a tsunami.

The US Geological Survey says a magnitude 6.8 quake struck at around nine o’clock this morning at a depth of just 13 kilometres.

Its epicentre was 19 kilometres from Aitape, which was struck by a tsunami in 1998 that killed more than 2,000 people.

Max Kamave at the Aitape Resort Hotel says it felt like the quake lasted for three minutes, and the ground shook strongly, sending stock tumbling off the shelves.

He says many people ran to higher ground.

“They were all running around the street,” he said.

“They were frightened maybe the sea will come up.”

Mr Kamave says there have been no unusual waves and the earthquake didn’t cause any significant damage.

No destructive tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center but it cautioned that earthquakes of this size could sometimes generate local tsunami waves within 100 kilometres of the epicentre.
“Authorities in the region should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action,” it said.

Personnel at Wewak Hospital, about 150 kilometres from the coastal epicentre, said they felt the tremor but there was no damage to the building or any immediate reports of damage from the town of Wewak.

Hospital spokesman Morris Iuandu said there had been no news yet from Aitape and no casualties had presented to the emergency department in Wewak at this early stage.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-04-17/png-hit-by-powerful-earthquake/1117432

27) SPC and Kiribati government work on new strategy

Updated 16 April 2013, 16:44 AEST

The Government of Kiribati has just completed discussions with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) on developing new government plans for 2013-2015.

SPC and Kiribati government work on new strategy (Credit: ABC)

The talks which were held last week in Tarawa were led by Mike Batty, Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division in Noumea.

The joint country strategy between SPC and Kiribati is part of yearly plans that the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has with member countries assisting them with services that each member needs.

Transport, climate change and food security are some of the areas covered by this collaboration between Kiribati and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Caroline Tiriman asked Mr Batty about the discussions.

Presenter: Caroline Tiriman

Speaker: Mike Batty, Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division in Noumea

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/spc-and-kiribati-government-work-on-new-strategy/1117068

28) Tuna industry in climate change hot water, say researchers

Updated 17 April 2013, 10:32 AEST

Marine scientists say climate change is set to create both winners and losers in the Pacific, with some countries seeing a gain in tuna stock at the expense of others.

Tuna industry in climate change hot water, say researchers (Credit: ABC)

In research published in the Nature Climate Change journal, scientists say the ‘Pacific Warm Pool’, an immense area of hot water north of Papua New Guinea, is expected to expand.

They say this may cause a decline in the plankton on which tuna feed and could consequently shift breeding towards the south and east Pacific.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Morgan Pratchett, study co-author, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/tuna-industry-in-climate-change-hot-water-say-researchers/1117332

29) Abuse of Marine Protected Areas a major problem

By Online Editor
12:46 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2013, Fiji

Overfishing and fish poaching of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are common fishing grounds around Fiji.

And this continues to be one of the major problems for villages and communities that own these fishing grounds.

University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Science marine biologist, Ron Vave, said while some of the communities were respecting and protecting their marine resources, others were abusing it.

Vave said this would happen if there was a problem of increased population.

He said there were two types of MPAs — community managed and legally gazetted MPAs — with most communities advised to stick to the latter.

This, he explained was because community-managed MPAs could be opened to fishing when villagers needed urgent money for genuine problems such as school fees.

He said one village could have two to three MPAs and they were often advised to manage their fish well.

“Our part as an organisation is to advise the villages and communities but the sole decision rests in the hands of the owner. We want them to be the driver of their MPAs and we only advise them on how to manage it sustainably,” Vave said.

He said there were 410 fishing grounds in Fiji of which 143 were MPAs or tabu (taboo) areas. The Department of Fisheries echoed similar sentiments, saying they had witnessed poaching in MPAs.

“Once villages and communities established protected areas, they should know the conditions. It is illegal by law to fish in these areas according to the management plans,” the department said.

The department said they had witnessed cases of poaching in the Lau Group during their assessments adding the fish wardens in the islands were not fully equipped to monitor these MPAs.

However, the department said they were working round-the-clock to solve this issue.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

30) USGS sounds sea-level alarm for Pacific

By Online Editor
09:17 am GMT+12, 16/04/2013, United States

New computer modeling indicates low-lying Pacific Islands may be underwater sooner than expected, the U.S. Geological Survey finds.

Conventional inundation models used to forecast increases in sea levels suggest some low-lying Pacific Islands may still be above water in 150 years.

“By taking wave-driven processes into account, we forecast that many of the atolls will be inundated, contaminating freshwater supplies and thus making the islands uninhabitable, much sooner,” USGS oceanographer Curt Storlazzi said.

The new USGS research takes storm winds and wave action into account when considering what sort of effects climate change could have in Pacific Islands.

Storlazzi’s teams said at least twice as much land would be underwater in parts of the region when compared with data from the old research model.

Rising sea levels attributed in part to melting sea ice and warmer temperature trends are threatening low-lying regions.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., reported that the polar ice cap measured about 1.3 million square miles in late 2012, 18 percent less than the previous low noted in 2007.

Unilateral interests in natural resource development have stalled various treaties aimed at curbing long-term climate change

SOURCE: UPI/PACNEWS

31) Britain considered evacuation of Kiribati and Tuvalu
By Online Editor
4:31 pm GMT+12, 16/04/2013, United Kingdom

Documents released for public view show that Britain’s foreign minister was advised to evacuate people from Kiribati and Tuvalu in the last years of the colonial administration.

It was suggested that the entire population of some islands could be resettled in other countries by 2025.

The views were expressed by John Smith, governor of what was then the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony.

What he says is startling, for it suggests he had little interest in helping the locals maintain their traditional way of life.

In hindsight however it appears prescient, given how the atolls are now threatened by the rising sea levels attributed to climate change – and the president of Kiribati has recently asked for help to resettle his people.

In the mid-Seventies, John Smith was saying that I-Kiribati and Tuvaluans needed to move off the islands to work in a modern economy and maintain their standards of living.

The alternative, he said, would be for the rest of the world to pay for the technology to keep the islanders at home.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

YOUTH:

32) Youth to have a say in new Commonwealth charter

Updated 17 April 2013, 11:15 AEST

Young people are to be consulted about the way the new charter of the Commonwealth should be implemented.

The Charter aims to express the values and aspirations of the two billion people in 54 countries that make up the Commonwealth.

It was approved late last year and significantly for the Pacific it recognises the special needs of small and vulnerable states.

Commonwealth Youth Ministers are beginning a three-day meeting in Port Moresby.

Australia is being represented by the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Senator Matt Thistlethwaite.

Presenter:Jemima Garrett

Speaker: Senator Matt Thistlethwaite, Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/youth-to-have-a-say-in-new-commonwealth-charter/1117328

SPORTS:


33) Bougainville Boxer murdered in cold blood
By Online Editor
10:35 am GMT+12, 16/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

The PNG boxing fraternity is in mourning after popular Bougainvillean boxer/coach John Bolemak , was murdered in cold blood on Friday.

Balmak, 39, of Bougainville/Manus heritage, got into an argument with a relative outside Kokopau market on Friday.

Members of the public stopped the argument and as Bolemak walked away, the man stabbed him from behind with a WWII bayonet.

The knife went all the way through the boxer’s body, coming out through his stomach.

A fit and strong man, Bolemak pulled the knife out of his own body and was accompanied by friends to Buka hospital where he was sewn up.

But he later started bleeding internally and doctors operated.

Despite their efforts Bolemak died at 12.39am on Saturday after 18 bags of plasma were used in an attempt to save him.

Locals are shaken at the death of the popular local sportsman who also operated an agriculture store in Buka town with his wife Barbra.

He was also about to open a new sportswear store soon.

Bolemak ran a small boxing gym at the back of his house in Kokopo where he trained local youths and others.

PNG Boxing spokesman Lohial Nuau, himself a Bougainvillean, was shocked when Post-Courier informed him of Bolemak’s death.

“I can’t believe the news,” a distraught Nuau told Pos Courier.

“My condolences to the family – he was such a good guy.

”I knew John as a young kid. He was a very keen boxer and was also coaching young boxers.”

Nuau said Bolemak had represented PNG internationally at the Arafura Games and the Oceanic Boxing level – winning a bronze medal.

Before his death, Bolemak told this reporter that he was planning a boxing bout in Port Moresby in the near future. He had been training hard, was in great physical and mental condition and looking forward to getting into the ring again.

The murderer was beaten up by witnesses but managed to escape. Local police have been made aware his identity and will bring him in soon.

Bolemak is survived by his wife and son Brendan 10.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

34) Wisil wins 100m
By Online Editor
10:32 am GMT+12, 16/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

Toea Wisil is the first Papua New Guinean to win an Australian Athletics title after she won a closely contested 100m final in Sydney on Saturday.
The likes of Takale Tuna and Mowen Boino have come close.

Toea herself has won the Under-20 Championships but not an open title and Lillyanne Beining won the U18 heptathlon in 1991 or 1992.

After comfortably negotiating the first round on Friday in 11.65s,  and registering a quick 11.47s in the semi-final, Wisil held off a strong challenge from Ashley  Whittaker of Victoria  to breast the tape in 11.49s.

She finished ahead of Whittaker (11.53s) and Margaret Gayen of South Australia third in 11.83s.
Wisil missed out on claiming the sprint double yesterday when she came second in the 200m final behind Victorian Monica Brennan.

Wisil ran 23.70s while Brennan’s time was 23.41s.

The Jiwaka lass did post the fastest qualifying time of 23.53 but  could not back up in the final.
The next major event for Wisil will be the Oceania Championships in Tahiti from June 3-5 .

Winning an Oceania title will give Wisil automatic entry to the World Championships in Moscow from August 10-18.

However  coach Sharon Hannan is confident that Wisil can  run the qualifying times in the 100m   (11.36s)  and 200m (23.30s).

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

35) Tug-of-war over Pacific talent

By Online Editor
10:38 am GMT+12, 16/04/2013, Fiji

Who will play for the islands, a hot issue

Pacific players with dual eligibility hold the balance of power ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup. All eyes will be on two important matches in April—the ANZAC test between Australia and New Zealand in Canberra on 19 April and a clash between two fierce rivals, Toa Samoa and Mate Ma’a Tonga in Penrith, the following day.

The Tonga versus Samoa game has been given full international status by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF), which means all NRL clubs will have to release their players.

With the game’s biggest showpiece looming in October, that status should force the hands of many players undecided on their loyalties.

Currently under the RLIF rules, players who have represented one country in World Cup qualifiers are not permitted” to play for a different one in the World Cup tournament.

When a player with dual eligibility plays a Senior International Match for a country, he is deemed to have elected to play for that country. He may not play for another country until the end of the next World Cup tournament or the expiry of two years, whichever is earlier (this is called an election period).

After the expiry of an election period, the player may elect to play for another country if he is eligible, and so forth. But a player can only change once in each election period.

Just who will play for the Pacific nations is a contentious issue and a hot subject in rugby league circles right now. It’s not just about the money now—pride in their heritage is also influencing the choices of the players.

Traditionally, Australia and New Zealand have had first choice in the selection of players. They’ve taken the cream of the crop and left the islands nations with the scraps. But with a third of all players in the NRL of Maori and Pacific descent and a further 36 percent now playing in the Toyota U20 National Youth Competition, that talent base is now overflowing. So has the demand. Pacific players are simply just built for the game—big, strong and fast.

The five Pacific islands nations competing in the World Cup—Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga—have been busy recruiting for their respective campaigns, determined to send their best possible team to the UK.

While Australia has the depth to cope with any player loss, New Zealand officials are fearful—not surprising considering close to 80% of the Kiwi team is made up of Maori and Pacific players.

Last year, Kiwi rugby league bosses were up in arms at the increasing number of New Zealand-born players being wooed to play State of Origin—a stepping stone to representing Australia.

The lure of Origin is strong as players can earn up to AU$20,000 a game. North Queensland Cowboys player, James Tamou, who shares Cook Islands ancestry, was enticed to play for New South Wales and subsequently got selected for Australia.

Another New Zealand-born player, Josh Papalii, also turned his back on the Kiwis to make himself available for Origin selection for the Queensland Maroons. Big Bulldogs prop, Sam Kasiano, the other player caught in the middle of a tug-of-war between Australia and New Zealand spurned Origin and made his debut for the Kiwis in 2012.

New Zealand officials now fear losing even more players to the islands nations with the World Cup around the corner, particularly if Toa Samoa gets its way. Samoa Rugby League has set their sights on high profile former Kiwis internationals: Roy Asotasi (Rabbitohs), Frank Pritchard (Bulldogs) and Thomas Leuluai (Warriors) with Ben Te’o (Rabbitohs) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters) also on their radar.

However, it is the prospect of gaining the services of the game’s most marketable player that has tongues wagging. Roosters’ star recruit, Sonny Bill Williams has returned to the game where he first found fame after a successful stint in rugby union; winning a World Cup with the All Blacks and a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs. Though he played for the Kiwis before his defection to union in 2008, reports now suggest Williams wants to team up with good friend Reni Maitua (Parramatta Eels) in the Samoa team.

“If the cards—or the coconut—fall our way, we could potentially have the greatest Samoan team ever,” says former Kiwis player and current NRL Education and Welfare officer, Nigel Vagana, who is also an ambassador for Samoa Rugby League, and a member of the 2008 Toa Samoa World Cup squad that beat Tonga.

New Zealand Rugby League high performance manager Tony Kemp remains bravely defiant however, calling the reports rumour and a “smoke screen”.

“It’s World Cup year,” he says. “The Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa want the strongest team possible. If you look through our team, we have a raft of Polynesian players so their heritage is being challenged but, as far as we are concerned, these guys want to play for New Zealand. They are currently New Zealanders.”

Similarly, Fiji has their eyes on several players with Australian connections. Parramatta Eels flyer, Jarryd Hayne, is at the top of the hit list for Fiji Bati officials.

Though he is a near certainty for Kangaroos selection, the depth of talent Australia currently has at fullback and wing means Hayne may opt for Fiji if he misses selection, which will be nothing new for him.

Hayne played for Fiji at the 2008 World Cup and was one of the stars of the tournament leading the Bati to the semis. Newcastle Knights speedster Akuila Uate is on the hit list while West Tigers and former Wallaby star Lote Tuqiri and former Kangaroos prop, Petero Civoniceva, have reportedly already confirmed their availability for Fiji.

“Fiji would love to have the services of Hayne and Uate…We want to have the two in our side if Australia drops them,” says Bati official, Jo Rabele.

Fiji plays Ireland first on 28 October in what will be a very tough group. Fiji then faces a tough test against world number one Australia in St Helens on 2 November, then a date with host team England at Hull on 9 November.

Tonga is reeling from the loss of Warriors’ utility Feleti Mateo, who was slated to lead Mate Ma’a into battle at the World Cup. Mateo has thrown in his lot for Australia to realise a goal of playing in the State of Origin. However, the huge depth of Tongan talent in the NRL will see other players step into the void. Players such as Michael Jennings (Roosters), Brent Kite (Manly), Willie Mason (Knights), Sika Manu (Panthers) and Konrad Hurrell (Warriors) will likely be named if they miss selection for the Kangaroos and Kiwis.

Tongan officials will be happy with the draw which sees Mate Ma’a pooled with minnows USA and Italy. The crucial game will be against island rivals Cook Islands, where a win should seal them a quarterfinal appearance. Papua New Guinea is the team least affected by the loyalties of players with dual eligibility. The Kumuls are strong and experienced, especially up front with the likes of Neville Costigan and UK based captain, Paul Aiton in the pack.

However, the Kumuls are perhaps lacking the X-factor talent that Samoa, Fiji and Tonga have.

But with former Kangaroos stars Adrian Lam and Mal Meninga in the coaching team, they will be no easy beats. PNG will most likely battle it out with France and Toa Samoa for a second quarterfinal spot with the Kiwis favourites in Group B.

The Cook Islands may not have the depth Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea or Tonga have. But coach David Fairleigh is still confident they’ll be up for the task.

Fringe Kiwi players such as Alex Glenn and Ben Henry and Warriors signing Dominique Peyroux would be great assets if they were available for the Cooks.

“We’ll be competitive. I don’t think anyone expects us to win the World Cup, but certainly we want to be competitive within our pool and we think we can do that if we’ve got all our best players on the field,” he says.

There is no question Samoa, Fiji, PNG and Tonga can cause an upset or two. But the odds are still stacked heavily in favour of Australia, New Zealand or England contesting the World Cup final on 30 November.

Outside Australia’s NRL and the UK Super League and annual test fixtures between the big three, the international game remains dormant.

The RLIF appears to be protecting the interests of the big three by keeping the status quo and the islands nations quiet so that players with dual eligibility are likely to remain loyal to the big three. However, player power is slowly but surely having a say off the field.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

36) Trans-Tasman drubbing ends drought
By Online Editor
3:39 pm GMT+12, 15/04/2013, Australia

A 12-year Super Rugby drought is over after Australian sides this weekend claimed a rare 3-0 trans-Tasman drubbing in a heartening sign heading into the British and Irish Lions tour.

The table-topping Brumbies, red-hot Queensland and battling Western Force all combined to turn the tables on New Zealand sides in a round which has reshaped the Super Rugby standings.

The Brumbies, who beat the Highlanders 30-19, and Queensland, upset 31-23 winners over the defending champion Chiefs, started with successes on Kiwi soil before the Force produced the shock of the weekend with a gutsy 16-14 home win over the Crusaders.

The results give Australian teams a remarkable 6-1 advantage in trans-Tasman battles at the midway point of the competition.

The last time New Zealand outfits suffered a three-game whitewash was the penultimate round of 2001 – the season the Wallabies claimed their first series against the Lions before John Eales led them to the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks have had the Bledisloe under lock and key since 2003 and the Wallabies have won just three trans-Tasman Tests from 18 since Robbie Deans took charge in 2008.

The only round eight disappointment for Australian rugby was the Melbourne Rebels conceding a 10-point lead to fall 30-27 to the Southern Kings at home to continue their winless run against South African opponents.

A late ground invasion in Perth, which saw Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty tackle a drunken fan, was another low point but still couldn’t sour the 12th-placed Force’s celebrations as they triumphed for just the second time in 2013.

The Reds’ bonus-point win over the Chiefs (29) helped the Brumbies (33) regain the competition lead and also set up a season-defining clash between the leading sides at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Brumbies coach Jake White has already started the mind games.

“The Reds must have all the pressure,” White said. “The reality is they’re at home and they’ve probably got the best home record of any team in the competition.

“They’ve got players who have won championships. The pressure will be on everyone but we must not underestimate they must be king favourites, every guy in their starting team is a Wallaby.”

White added the Rod Macqueen Cup clash is “about testing ourselves against a team that have been the best, are considered the best, have no injuries, have won the conference two years in a row”.

“They’ve even got a better coaching staff after adding (former Force coach) Richard Graham. They must be better off than they were this time last year.”

The South African conference tightened up with the pace-setting Sharks (26) beaten 22-15 by the Stormers (20) while the Bulls (23) ended the Cheetahs’ five-match streak with a 26-20 win in Pretoria.

The Blues (27) jumped to fifth with a four-try 28-6 shutout of the Hurricanes in Auckland.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

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