Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 838


1) Vanuatu will be celebrating the 25th Silver Jubilee of the MSG with a Melanesian Week from 8 – 9 May, 2013.  Other MSG countries have held theirs, however, Vanuatu will have theirs during this date.
Thx Cuz Mo for this information.More news later re dates,events, location etc.
Vanuatu Pipol eNjoY!

2) Fiji proposes a PNG/MSG Observer Mission for 2014 polls

By Online Editor
6:00 pm GMT+12, 18/04/2013, Fiji

Fiji has proposed a joint PNG/MSG Observer Mission to monitor elections in Fiji next year.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama put the proposal to his PNG counterpart, Peter O’Neill at a dinner he hosted in Port Moresby last night.

Commodore Bainimarama said he does not want a repeat of the events of 2006 when despite glaring anomalies and fraud, the European Union Observers said the elections were credible.

Fiji, he said will need an observer group with integrity.

On the proposal for a PNG/MSG Observer Mission, Bainimarama said details will be worked out later.

He thanked his counterpart for the wonderful hospitality accorded to the Fiji delegation, which has resulted in a successful conclusion of his first state visit.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil reiterated that Fiji should take advantage of PNG’s economic boom and the two countries should work together to create jobs and improve the living standards of their citizens.

O’Neil said PNG forecasts a win-win partnership and encouraged joint venture opportunities between the two Melanesian nations.

At the end of the State Visit, PM Bainimarama will fly to the United Nations to attend the G77 meeting in New York. Fiji is current chair of the group.


3) Bougainville Government Owed $86.7 Million By PNG
ABG finance minister claims grants underpaid since 2005

By Winterford Toreas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 18, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s National Government still owes the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) more than K188 million [US$86.7 million] for its Restoration and Development Grants (RDG).

This was revealed by the ABG Minister for Finance and Planning Albert Punghau during a special one day ABG Parliament Sitting on Tuesday this week.

Mr. Punghau said the National Government had been underpaying the ABG since its establishment in 2005, resulting in these outstanding RDGs funding amounting to over K188 million.

“A recalculation of ABG’s entitlements shows that ABG has been severely underpaid by the National Government.

“It has been calculated that since 2005 to 2013, total RDG payable to the ABG is K87,000,000 [US$40.1 million]. This leaves the ABG with an outstanding amount of K188,048,726 [US$86.7 million] that is owing and payable to the ABG,” Mr. Punghau said.

Mr. Punghau however said the ABG officials and their counterparts from the National Government were currently discussing over this matter.

Mr. Punghau also announced that ABG officials were currently in the nation’s capital to present the High Impact Projects (HIPs) and RDG report to the Departments of National Planning and Finance.

During their meetings, they will also be discussing on the release of the second batch of K100 million and K15m RDG for Bougainville.

Meanwhile, Mr. Punghau when commenting on the ABG’s High Impact Projects for last year said four infrastructure projects had already been awarded funding as of the 31st of December last year.

The delay in the awarding of funding and implementation of these projects is due to the late drawdown of K100 million [US$46.1 million] grant funding from the National Government.

Apart from the above four projects, seven other infrastructure projects are currently being undertaken by the Division of Technical Services.

These projects are categorized under the transport infrastructure and building infrastructure sectors. Those in the transport infrastructure sector include the Buka ring road upgrading and sealing (survey tender already given out), economic feeder roads (contract awarded for two feeder roads while another three still on tender), Buka town roads, Bougainville bridges projects (design and scoping), Bougainville wharves and jetties and Siara-Korepovi (survey, design and construction).

The building infrastructure sector involves the tendering of classroom steel-frame buildings for three high schools in Bougainville.

Mr. Punghau said 28 HIP non-infrastructure projects for last year had also been awarded funding.

These include monitoring and evaluation, Torokina Oil Palm Development, Peace Building initiatives and Bougainville sports development.

Despite the late implementation of the HIP projects, Mr. Punghau said there is a positive indication from the first two months of this year that there has been an increase in the number of projects being appraised and an increased expenditure.

PNG Post-Courier:

4) IMF praises Vanuatu government’s economic management

Posted at 04:22 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

The International Monetary Fund says Vanuatu’s economy is gradually turning around with growth last year at about 2 percent after tourism recovered strongly.

It says inflation remains low at 0.8 percent, and in 2013 continued growth in tourism and the bottoming out of construction are projected to increase growth to three percent.

The IMF group says it was encouraged by the Government and the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu’s conservative approach to macroeconomic and prudential management.

They also added that maintaining low debt and high reserves should be a policy priority.

The IMF says to seize growth opportunities, public investment needs to be complemented by enhanced competition, reform of government business enterprises, a strengthened and reformed civil service, and active promotion of private sector investment, especially in tourism and agriculture.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Vaturisu Conference to discuss Land Reform Policy Initiatives

Posted on April 19, 2013 – 11:27am |

Chairman of Efate Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, Chief Andrew Kalpoilep, has called on all its member Chiefs to start preparing now to attend the 9th Vaturisu Conference which will be declared open on Sunday afternoon, April 21st at the Epau Chiefs Nakamal.

Chief Kalpoilep has confirmed that during an Executive meeting held last week, Vaturisu had to delay the Conference to allow all its six Area Council of Chiefs to nominate five Chiefs from each of its areas, who will be eligible to be nominated to the new Vaturisu Executive to be chosen on April 24 2013.

Chief Kalpoilep has also confirmed that the conference programme has already been finalised and one of the main highlights of this year’s conference will be that the Efate Chiefs are taking a strong approach to passing customary policies which will assist in enhancing the customary governance system of Efate Chiefs from the Vaturisu level to the respective area councils and to the member villages of Efate and its offshore
Secretary General of Vaturisu, Chief Jimmy Meameadola has stated that on April 23, Efate Chiefs present will be hearing a presentation from Levi Tarosa who is submitting on behalf of Vaturisu, a proposed land reform policy initiative to address Efate’s land problems.

Because of the many land issues being experienced, Efate Chiefs have a moral responsibility to advice the Vanuatu Government through the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs where the Minister of Lands can consider as part of its 100 Day Government Plans.


6) Former Samoa MP jailed for fraud, ordered to pay damages

Posted at 20:16 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

A former Samoan politician, Toluono Feti Toluono, who is serving a jail sentence on charges of fraud over the purchase and transfer of a piece of land, has been ordered by the court to pay damages of 60 thousand US dollars after a separate legal action.

The latest decision involves Toluono role in the purchase and transfer of a piece of land owned by a New Zealand woman, Rosita Burke.

Toluono’s jail term was the result of another parcel of land that he illegally acquired from another New Zealand woman, Theresa Taufau Stowers.

The defendant had represented the constituency of Palauli for one term before losing his seat in the last general election.

Radio New Zealand International


7) Nauru remains in political crisis with MPs continuing to boycott parliament

Posted at 22:33 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

Nauru’s political crisis continues with MPs again boycotting Parliament on Thursday.

For the second time this week the legislature lacked a quorum.

But the President, Sprent Dabwido, released a dissolution notice that will come into force automatically on Thursday next week if the next scheduled meeting, on Tuesday, fails to draw in enough MPs.

A Nauru government spokesperson says if Parliament is dissolved an early election would be held on May the 25th.

Radio New Zealand International


8) Oxfam Australia calls for national refocus on Indigenous health

Updated 19 April 2013, 10:47 AEST

In Australia, state and territory government leaders are gathering in the national capital Canberra to try to nut out agreements with their Federal counterparts.

Oxfam Australia calls for national refocus on indigenous health (Credit: ABC)

It’s part of COAG, the meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, which aims to develop policy reforms of national significance.

The international aid agency Oxfam says Indigenous health funding is one issue that needs to be on the agenda.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Dr Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia’s chief executive


9) Britain looks to renew Pacific ties

Posted 19 April 2013, 10:39 AEST

Britain says it wants to renew its relations with the Pacific as part of a broader emphasis on the Commonwealth.

Hugo Swire says Britain’s trading legacy will also help as Pacific countries develop new industries (Credit: Reuters)

Britain says it wants to renew its relations with the Pacific as part of a broader emphasis on the Commonwealth.

In the past decade, the British Government has closed its diplomatic missions in Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu and pulled out of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, says the closures should be seen as part of the UK’s economic legacy, and not a lack of commitment to the region.

He’s told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat while countries like the United States are also looking at the region, he hopes the the shared history with Britain will help.

“We’ve been here a very long time, but I think in a sense, we’ve rather undersold our presence,” he said.

“We’re just trying to I think remind people that we’re here and we want to be a bit more public about what we’re doing here, and to help Papua New Guinea on this amazing journey on which it’s about to embark in terms of its transition from where it’s been to a very prosperous modern state.”

“They’re being courted by many countries from around the world now as they embark on this extraordinary period of economic development and I think they want to see their old friends, the Brits, be part of that.”

Audio: Britain embarks on Pacific pivot (ABC News)

Mr Swire is on a trade mission to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

He says he thinks Britain’s trading legacy will also help as those countries look to develop new industries – particularly in areas outside the urban centres.

“Some of these areas are going to benefit more from agriculture, others from tourism, eco-tourism, and others from natural gas exploration and so forth, so it’s going to have to be carefully managed here,” he said.

“Britain at it’s best is an international trading country and that’s what we are, we’re a maritime nation, that’s what we did, that’s how we forged an empire.

“After all, we went to took risks, we went to new places and I think this government’s very committed to trying to rediscover some of that spirit that made Britain great in the first place and that means trade.”

10) Merits of a Pacific Parliament raised during Wellington forum

Posted at 07:30 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

The New Zealand Opposition Labour Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, says there would be real benefits from a Pacific parliament.

He says it could confront issues, such as climate change, which cross national boundaries.

Mr Goff, speaking during the Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Wellington, says the idea of a Pacific parliament was first mooted by former New Zealand prime minister Mike Moore about 20 years ago.

He says people are saying there is a need to come together and co-operate in solving problems affecting the region.

“Who knows what the model of a Pacific parliament would be, but we know that it doesn’t make sense for 22 relatively small countries to work separately rather than collectively to address the problems the Pacific faces. And there needs to be a democratic element in that, and getting elected parliamentarians together is an important part of the solution.”

Phil Goff.

The Speaker of Papua New Guinea’s parliament, Theo Zurenuoc, says interaction with the parliaments of other regional countries helps his work to reform PNG’s diverse legislature.

Mr Zurenuoc is one of the more than 60 delegates to the Wellington forum.

He says it provides opportunities for significant regional co-operation that hasn’t always been available until now.

“It is a great opportunity to bring to a particular or single venue leaders from throughout the Pacific. Unlike maybe the (Pacific Islands) Forum, this is more like an informal forum but it gives an opportunity for ordinary members of parliament or leaders in the Pacific to be able to share ideas on some issues that are common to all the Pacific nations.”

Theo Zurenuoc says PNG’s government believes strongly in regional co-operation, and has already engaged the help of Solomon Islands and the Queensland parliament to review the state of PNG’s parliament.

Radio New Zealand International

11) Pacific MPs discuss New Zealand aid programme

Posted at 22:31 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

A Tonga opposition MP says parliamentarians need to discuss the sustainability of New Zealand’s overseas aid.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua was speaking during the Wellington Pacific Parliamentarians Forum.

He says traditionally aid has been given to the government of the day, but he would like to see New Zealand take the lead in terms of thinking differently.

“Their counterpart governments are important but it is very important to know that the sustainability of what we are doing in the Pacific Islands because at the end of the day if we are not doing very well, that would also affect New Zealand. In terms of exploring how New Zealand foreign aid can be used by non government projects and organisations.”

Sitiveni Halapua says the dependence on overseas loans for many Pacific countries is unsustainable.

Radio New Zealand International


12) Solomon Islands bai gat nupla University

Updated 18 April 2013, 15:26 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Tede gavman blong Solomon Islands ibin statim oa lonchim wok blong kirapim nambawan University blong kantri.

Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutaulaka, Associate Profesa long Center for Pacific Islands Studies, long University blong Hawai’i na wanpla man iet blong Solomon Islands itok tingting blong kirapim despla university i wanpla gutpla tingting tru.

Solomon Islands i gat wanpla senta oa campus blong University blong South Pacific long Honiara, tasol despla em nambawan University tru tru blong Solomon Islands.

University  blong Papua New Guinea igat wanpla ofis tu long Honiara, tasol Dr Tara itok  olsem National University blong Solomon Islands bai halvim gut ol papa-mama na ol sumatin blong kantri.

13) Toktok kros long moni blong Solomon MP i go antap

Updated 18 April 2013, 16:38 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Igat ol strongpela toktok koros i kamap long sampela moni na entitlemen blong ol memba long Solomon Islands i go antap.

Odio: Daneil Fenua, Executive Officer blong Transparency Solomon islands i toktok

Anti-corruption Network Solomon Islands itok dispela inkris blong moni blong ol memba taim oli pinis wok from 100 tausan igo antap long 400 tausan em i rong.

Parliamentary Entitlements Commission ibin givim ol memba tu inkris long Discretionary Fund, Fuel moni, moni blong ol memba taim oli go long ovasi na sampela moa.

Dispela anti-corruption network long Solomon Islands we i inkludim Transparency Solomon Islands itok, dispela bikpela inkris long Terminal Grant oa moni ol memba i save kisim taim oli pinis em ino fea na oli mas rausim.

Daneil Fenua, Executive Officer blong Transparency Solomon islands itok i luk olsem ol memba oli wari long moni blong ol yet na ino tingting long pipol blong kantri.


14) États des lieux : interview du Premier ministre de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée

Posté à 19 April 2013, 8:29 AEST
Pierre Riant

Peter O’Neill s’est embarqué dans un plan ambitieux dont le but est d’améliorer les conditions de vie de la population. Des conditions parmi les plus précaires de toute la région Asie – Pacifique.

Pour ce faire, il faudra gérer le boom minier et terrasser la corruption.

Jusqu’à présent, la forte croissance économique associée au boom du secteur minier n’est pas descendue en bas de la pyramide : l’éducation et les services de santé laissent à désirer, les opportunités d’emploi pour les Papous Néo-Guinéens ne sont guère nombreuses et selon les statistiques, 40% de la population vivent avec un dollar par jour.

Si rien n’est fait, la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée risque de se retrouver dans la situation de nombreux pays en développement où l’exploitation des ressources est devenue une malédiction au lieu d’une bénédiction.

Cet année, le gouvernement O’Neill a pris le taureau par les cornes et à augmenter de 50% les dépenses dans le domaine de l’éducation, de la santé et le respect de l’État de droit. 6 milliards vont être injectés dans l’amélioration des infrastructures au cours de ces 5 prochaines années

Il faut faire beaucoup et il faut faire vite.  Est-ce que la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée en a la capacité ? C’est la question de notre collègue Jemima Garrett a posé au Premier ministre ?

O’NEILL : « Oui, je pense que nous en avons la capacité mais nous n’avons pas été en mesure de la mettre en pratique. Beaucoup d’agences [gouvernementales] ont trop de personnel qui travaille peu.
C’est la raison pour laquelle nous exerçons des pressions sur la direction de ces organisations, comme les services des Travaux publics, pour qu’elles trouvent des partenariats avec des entrepreneurs et le secteur privé pour concrétiser tous les projets en temps voulu.

Il y a des entrepreneurs locaux mais aussi internationaux. De nombreux projets ont été confiés à des sociétés internationales pour qu’elles amènent les meilleures technologies et le meilleur savoir-faire dans ses projets. »

On sait que la corruption est un grand problème dans le pays, alors comment maintenir la corruption à l’écart de tous ses projets ?

O’NEILL : « La corruption, comme vous le savez, n’est pas une bataille que nous allons gagner en une année ou en un jour. Nous avons maintenant un programme à l’échelle nationale qui se focalise sur la transparence dans la façon dont nous faisons des affaires.

Tous les projets ont donc fait l’objet d’un rigoureux processus de passation de marchés qui permet déjà un certain niveau de transparence,
Nous nous consacrons aussi sur la corruption avec des équipes spéciales anti-corruption comme Taskforce Sweep que nous allons maintenant élargir et appuyer financièrement.
Nous avons débloqué 20 millions de dollars supplémentaires pour recruter des enquêteurs et des spécialistes pour poursuivre en justice les contrevenants.

Notre Garde des Sceaux travaille étroitement avec l’ICAC, une commission indépendante de lutte contre la corruption et je suis certain que nous parviendrons à empêcher les pratiques corrompues dans le pays. »états-des-lieux-interview-du-premier-ministre-de-papouasie-nouvelleguinée/1118598

15) Îles Salomon : les services de maternité affichent complet

Mis à jour 19 April 2013, 8:50 AEST
Pierre Riant

Aucun lit n’est disponible et des femmes enceintes sont parfois obligées d’accoucher à même le sol.

L’hôpital de la capitale Honiara [National Referal Hospital] a signalé une augmentation de 20% du nombre de naissances en mars par rapport au mois de février : 394 naissances en février et 474 en mars.

Cette hausse n’est pas automatiquement due à une augmentation des activités sexuelles mais à l’amélioration des transports.

Les explications du directeur de cet hôpital, George Manimu.

MANIMU : « Le taux de natalité réel est assez élevé depuis 2 ans, mais il n’y pas beaucoup d’augmentation cette année. Le problème est que nous n’avons pas suffisamment de lits ou d’espace par accueillir les mères.
Les transports sont meilleurs maintenant, c’est plus facile de venir à Honiara. Et certaines mères préfèrent venir accoucher ici au lieu d’aller dans les cliniques des provinces. »

Le taux de natalité est quand même à la hausse depuis 2 ans, comme dans le reste de la région d’ailleurs où les mamans  sont de plus en plus jeunes ? Est-ce le cas aux Salomon ?

MANIMU : « Oui, c’est vrai, c’est vrai. Nous voyons des mères aux alentours de 15 ans et quelques unes en dessous de cet âge. Mais oui, nous commençons à voir des jeunes mamans venir ici pour accoucher. Je n’ai pas de chiffres mais c’est réel. C’est quelque chose que nous observons en ce moment mais je n’ai pas de chiffres sous la main. »

Et comment se débrouille l’hôpital d’Honiara en ce moment ?

MANIMU : « Notre problème en ce moment est que nous avons dû fermer les services d’assistance prénatale parce qu’il y des défaillances structurelles dans le bâtiment. 10 ou 15 lits ne sont donc plus disponibles. Alors nous nous débrouillons en faisant sortir les mamans plus vite. Les mères qui peuvent partir. Nous les gardons pendant un jour au lieu de 2. Nous les faisons sortir plus vite. »

30 lits supplémentaires ont en fait été ajoutés dans l’hôpital, mais ces lits sont réservés aux personnes atteintes de la dengue puisqu’une épidémie sévit en ce moment dans la capitale où plus de 2 000 cas de dengue ont été signalés. 500 cas ont été officiellement diagnostiqués et environ 250 patients sont passés par l’hôpital.îles-salomon-les-services-de-maternité-affichent-complet/1118604

16) Loi du silence à Tonga

Posté à 19 April 2013, 8:49 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est lors d’un tout récent atelier de travail que le chef de la police tongienne, Grant O’Fee, a révélé que les policiers du royaume procèdent à environ 2 ou 3 arrestations par semaine pour violence conjugale.

Le commandant O’Fee a précisé que 49 cas de violence ont été rapportés en janvier et février et que 21 cas ont fini devant les tribunaux.  À noter que sur les 49 cas rapportés, 2 impliquent des coups de couteau.

La plupart des victimes, a-t-il ajouté dans Mantangi Tonga, un site d’infos en ligne, sont dans la tranche de 25 à 36 ans, des femmes en grande majorité mais aussi quelques hommes.

Les dernières statistiques montrent une baisse des cas rapportés aux autorités et Grant O’Fee le déplore : «  Quand le nombre de cas rapportés baisse, les gens pensent que c’est une bonne chose, le signe que moins d’hommes battent leur femme. Mais des exemples sur le plan international ont montré que ce n’est pas le cas. Une baisse signifie que moins de gens viennent rapporter ces incidents à la police, ils n’osent pas ou que c’est la police qui ne fait pas son travail. »à-tonga/1118620


17) Bougainville to legislate to limit foreign involvement in business to joint ventures

Posted at 02:19 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

The President of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, John Momis, says the province fears foreigners could take over the local retail sector, so his government will legislate to restrict their involvement.

Mr Momis says Chinese and other foreigners will be shut out of owning trade stores and eateries but encouraged to form joint partnerships in other sectors.

He says they want to have joint ventures with credible foreign businesses, such as large wholesalers or supermarket operators.

Mr Momis acknowledges that Bougainville needs foreign investment.

“But by the same token you need to offer them comfort by involving local participation because then the people would make them feel welcome. Standalone forms of business, you can be sure that the people would start complaining and they might do silly things as they did before.”

Mr Momis says the fear is that without legislation foreigners could take over all retail such as has happened in other parts of PNG.

Radio New Zealand International


18) Air Vanuatu boss sacked

Posted at 20:16 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

Air Vanuatu’s deputy chief executive Officer Jean Paul Virelala has been dismissed for gross misconduct.

The chief executive, Joseph Laloyer, says Mr Virelala has been sacked for releasing a confidential audit report without the authorisation of the Board and CEO.

Mr Laloyer says the section of the report released highlighted mismanagement by previous management teams at Air Vanuatu but made no mention of Mr Virelala’s periods as chief executive.

Radio New Zealand International


19) Kiribati to hold a national meeting to address climate change issues

Posted at 02:19 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

A public meeting tomorrow in Kiribati, led by President Anote Tong, aims to galvanise the country’s position on climate change and attract international attention to its plight.

It will involve representatives of government, NGOs, and church and youth groups who will address the public’s questions about the effects of climate change in Kiribati.

One of the event’s organisers, Rimeta Beniamina, says he hopes the meeting will enhance public understanding of the issue and the people’s responsibilities as citizens to help fight it.

He says it will be an opportunity for the international community to see how seriously climate change affects Kiribati and he hopes it will lend a hand.

“We hope to entice funding from outside so that donors who are donor partners have the kind of feeling that a whole of NGO and government approach is being organised. We know that climate financing is a little bit late in its process to developing countries but we hope that there is a strong message from the country that we don’t want to wait any more.”

Rimeta Beniamina says the event will be broadcast live around the country so people on the outer islands can take part.

Radio New Zealand International

20) Coastal village in Fiji needs US$1.1m to protect from rising seas

Posted at 22:31 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

A coastal village in Fiji needs more than one point one million US dollars to protect itself from rising seas.

It is hoping its self help approach will attract funds.

The villagers have already raised about 40,000 US dollars towards protecting half the village, with an embankment and floodgates.

Sally Round reports from Daku village in Tailevu Province.

“High tides inundate the rest of the village about four times a month. Their plan is to move upwards by building up the ground level rather than relocate. Village elders say the changing climate has affected fishing and root crops have halved. Only a quarter of their land is now suitable for growing. The village women make fans to sell at the markets to make up for lost revenue and help pay for the works. The village hopes their action plan will bring in more aid and government assistance.”

Radio New Zealand International

21)Barrier Reef snubbed in Lonely Planet’s top 10 dive spots

By Online Editor
5:59 pm GMT+12, 18/04/2013, Australia

Lonely Planet has left out the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland from its list of the world’s top dive spots.

Belize’s Great Blue Hole in central America tops the travel guide’s list, with WA’s Cocklebiddy Cave under the Nullarbor Plain the only Australian mention at number nine.

However, one of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, did not make the top 10.

Dive Queensland spokesman Col McKenzie says he is amazed places like the Yongala wreck off Townsville and Osprey Reef off Cape York have been overlooked.

“I have no idea how they managed to put Cocklebiddy Cave up,” he said.

“I’ve been out there and I certainly wouldn’t rate it as a high-quality dive.”

A Lonely Planet spokesman says the list was put together by the online editorial team in London and was not meant to be definitive.



22) Students Hold Protest At PNG’s Goroka University
Claim administration not addressing grievances

By Zachery Per

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 18, 2013) – Students at Papua New Guinea’s University of Goroka boycotted classes yesterday to protest against the administration’s reluctance to address issues regarding their welfare.

Police officers from Goroka-based Mobile 13 squad were called in to stop the students from burning a bus belonging to the university.

Police fired teargas into the protesters, resulting in one female student suffocating from the smoke and rushed to the Goroka Base Hospital. She was treated and later released.

Police arrested eight male students but they were released after Henganofi MP Robert Atiayafa intervened.

Atiayafa, a member of the university council, assured the students that he would call for an urgent council meeting to discuss their grievances.

The students marched to the residence of Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gairo Onagi in the morning demanding that he step down for failing to address the issues they had been raising.

Onagi was being closely guarded by university security officers yesterday.

He could not be reached for a comment.

The students said they would continue boycotting classes until the issues were satisfactorily addressed.

The issues include the K5 [US$2.30] fee charged for every academic transcript, the declining quality of food served at the mess hall and the absence of a student representative council.

They claimed that book allowances (higher education component assistance scheme) for the first semester had not been paid although they were into the 10th week now.

Their other major concern is the government-sponsored Natschol K30 [US$13.82] fortnightly allowances and extra charges on school fees.

The student council was abolished after the 2010 student boycott and replaced by the Student Voice Council.

The students claim that it offers them no legal basis to raise their grievances at the university’s management level.

Council president Isidore Goveh appealed to the students to calm down and follow due processes in having their grievances addressed.

But the students refused to listen to him because they knew that the issues would never be addressed by the administration.

The National:

23)LAB teaches custom values

Posted on April 19, 2013 – 11:37am |

Len Garae
Expert mat weaver of Pentecost Charlotte Wai teaching student how to weave a mat

For a group of senior lecturers from the Lycee Antoine de Bougainville, their faith and commitment to introduce and teach custom values in the school curriculum is bearing fruit with the opening of the ‘nakamal’ in the school in 2011 and the teaching of essential skills including weaving this year.

Initially the brainchild of Lecturer Bergmans Iati, of Lenakel on Tanna, he has successfully convinced the school management team to also see the importance of such cultural skills taught by professionals in a traditional environment at the school.

Girls learn how to prepare traditional food and how to weave mats and baskets. Boys learn how to weave the wall of a house using bamboo and how to sew natangura for house roofing. “Our custom chiefs are also invited to come to the nakamal on a regular basis to talk to the students about custom and especially the importance of respect”, Bergmans said.

The main idea behind the new programme is to transmit to the students these essential skills to encourage them also to return to the island. “The truth is that if they do not succeed in their examination, many of the students do not even know the basics of life in our communities. For this reason LAB has started inserting the teaching of custom values in its academic programme”, he said.

The lecturer said it is such custom values that can empower young people to contribute meaningfully to sustainable development. “For example, mastering the skills of mat weaving can help a young woman to exhibit her products in Port Vila and even as far away as in the European Union”, he added.

“We believe that knowledge of custom does not belong to the past but the future. We take this opportunity to thank the partners of Lycee LAB in this project; the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, Vanuatu National Council of Women, Vanuatu Cultural Centre and Ministry of Education”, Bergmans said.
LAB is preparing the project for presentation to the Sub-regional Information and Network Meeting for Cultural Heritage Safeguarding in the Pacific in the Vanuatu Cultural Centre Conference Room on April 18, bringing Vanuatu, Federated State of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tongoa, Cook Islands and Fiji into one group.

24)Solomons opens its first national university

Updated 19 April 2013, 8:27 AEST

The Solomon Islands Government has opened its first university.

Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka from the University of Hawaii’s Centre for Pacific Islands Studies has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the Solomon Islands National University will bring new opportunities for young people.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing… the demand for higher education in the Solomon Islands is huge and it is important that we have our own university,” he said.

Dr Tara Kabutaulaka says in the past Solomon Islanders have had the option of sending their children to university in Fiji or Papua New Guinea, but this has been too expensive for many families.

Audio: Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka speaks to Pacific Beat(ABC News)

“There are a lot of Solomon Islanders who are not able to make it to Fiji, not because they’re not capable but just because they can’t afford it,” he said.

“At the moment a lot of parents cannot afford even to pay the airfare.

“It will be, as you can imagine, much cheaper to have education within country.”

Dr Tara Kabutaulaka says the new university will replace the former Solomon Islands College of Higher Education.

He says there is still a lot of work to be done to make it a “credible university” and obtain international recognition.

“But I am certain that with commitment and with the kind of work people in the Solomons are doing we can get there,” he said.

(Phils Opinion: Mi supportem tinktink na view blo Dr Tara kabutaulaka wantok blo yumi blo Solo : MELANESIAN countries should all have their own Universities – (Quote:It will be much cheaper to have education within country) I met Ni-Vanuatu students at the University of the South Pacific (Fiji) and Ni- Vanuatu students in Noumea(New Caledonia) studying in different instituations but all living in a few students appartments in Nouville..I felt sorry for them, as they told me their stories….they like studying but  sometimes ,they dont get their allowance on time, up to 6 weeks or longer which makes it hard for them to survive and study at the same time. if they go to a local home base university then all is COOL….they will have Family and Community pastoral care and support) hem tinktink blo mi tasol, yupla traem scalem ah!


25)Documents show Britain thought about sending soldiers into Vanuatu in 1975 to prevent unrest

Posted at 04:22 on 18 April, 2013 UTC

Declassified secret documents show how Britain and France were prepared to land military forces in Vanuatu in 1975 to prevent ethnic unrest.

Colonial officials wanted to stop what they thought might become a revolution to overthrow white supremacy.

Ben Lowings reports from London.

“In 1975, a British Black Power activist, Roosevelt Brown, was holed up with his supporters in the Vanuatu national party on the northern island of Aoba. British colonial officials had at first let him into the country believing him to be a United Nations employee on holiday. They soon changed their minds, considering him a subversive, who was likely to resist their attempts to arrest him. They called for backup – which in the event, was not required. The Ministry of Defence in London drew up detailed plans to despatch a warship, a landing party, transport planes and soldiers from Hong Kong. But officials were worried about whether Indonesia and the Philippines would allow the use of their airspace. They also feared French forces in Vanuatu had equipment incompatible with the British military. It was also suspected that the French were much more eager to use lethal force.”

Radio New Zealand International

26)Guns smuggling puzzles agencies
By Online Editor
6:02 pm GMT+12, 18/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC), Australian Federal Police and PNG Customs are very concerned about the high number of illegal firearms entering the country.

Former senior police officer Chief Superintendent Donald Yamasombi made this comment following a joint Police and Customs bust of a huge quantity of firearms, gun powder and accessories late last year.

Yamasombi said despite the bust involving a large quantity if illegal firearms, prominent people including high ranking police officers had gone ahead and gave character reference for the people implicated against the state.

As a result the people involved in the illegal importation and smuggling of the firearms had walked away free, he said.

Yamasombi said prominent business houses were alleged to have been involved in the incident.

“We believe there is a syndicate operating in the country that smuggles illegal firearms into the country,” he said.

He said on April 25, 2012, Police and Customs acting on intelligence made one of the biggest busts of smuggled firearms and accessories.

Some of the contraband were incorrectly declared. Gun powder was declared as lead ballast, bullet heads and cylinders were declared as head block and dice, Yamasombi said.

“It was a deliberate attempt to evade detection,” he said.

He said the total number of contraband imported and detained by PNG Customs were 119,800 primers, 1,100 live ammunitions, 228,650 unprimed cells and bullet heads, 1,821 kg of gun powder, five cartons of
bullet assembly machines and 39 pieces of assorted firearms parts.

He said import of such illegal firearms posed a major threat to the country.

Yamasombi questioned why prominent people and police officers give good character reference to bad people.

“Policemen on the ground put tireless efforts to put a stop to such smuggling of firearms but their efforts had gone to waste, with high ranking officers stepping in and giving evidence against the state,” he said.


(Phils Opinion- If you do have a moment please have a look at The Straits because it shows how easy from mainland Australia to the Torres Straits to PNG (Papua NiuGini) great actors,beautiful scenes of the tropical Melanesian North and Drug and Gun trade etc.rating for me 10/10.Similar to Miami Vice and a bit of NCIS! hahaha! EDUCATIONAL. )

The Straits

The Straits is an Australian television drama series for ABC1 [2] filmed in Cairns, the Torres Strait Islands and other Far North Queensland locations.

The series is based on an idea by actor Aaron Fa’aoso and produced by Penny Chapman and Helen Panckhurst from Matchbox Pictures. It is directed by Peter AndrikidisRachel Ward, and Rowan Woods. It is written by Louis Nowra, Blake Ayshford, Nick Parsons, Kristen Dunphy, and Jaime Browne.

The series follows the Montebello family, whose business involves smuggling drugs into Australia as well as guns and exotic wildlife out, making use of ties of blood and loyalty in the Torres Strait Islands. When Harry Montebello, the head of the family, starts to plan his succession, he sparks a vicious family power struggle. While under attack from ambitious bikies and mercurial Papua New GuineaRaskol gangs, the family must hold together through torture, assassination, and imprisonment.



27)Sport: a weekend feast of rugby league and soccer

Updated 19 April 2013, 10:29 AEST

In rugby league, Australia will take on New Zealand in the ANZAC Test in Canberra later on Friday.

Sport: a weekend feast of rugby league and soccer (Credit: ABC)

The Kiwis will take the field with a depleted side but the Kangaroos say they shouldn’t be underestimated.

Also over the weekend, the big rugby league test clash between Samoa and Tonga in Sydney, and the A-League soccer grand final between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Tim Gavel, ABC sports reporter

28)Rough road to Rio for Palais
By Online Editor
6:25 pm GMT+12, 18/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Palais women’s sevens team needs a major turn-around in form if they are to feature in qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

At this stage the PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) said the road was unclear for 2014 and beyond.

The Palais, going on their fourth placing during last year’s Oceania Sevens behind winners New Zealand, runners-up Australia and third-placed Fiji, is a positive sign.

But if their form to win the lowly rated Shield at the Australian State Championships is an indication, they have a huge job ahead.

They now potentially have the Marist Sevens in Fiji and the Borneo Sevens in Malaysia this year to get their act together before next year’s Oceania Sevens in Port Moresby.

PNGRFU operations manager Simon Kerr said the women were PNG’s best chance of qualifying for Rio.

“While the pathway is not clear the Palais need to be consistent in their performances,” he said.

Palais coach John Larry said: “The slow start on day one basically put us off and we never recovered.

“We did not play poorly, we just didn’t choose the right opportunities and we failed to excel in those areas,” Larry said.

He said the team would definitely need to work on their weaknesses if they were to improve.

The Palais beat Northern Territory 64-5 for the Shield at St Ignatius College in Sydney, New South Wales on the weekend.

Margaret Naua and Jillian Yallon featured in the huge win.They lost badly in pool matches against Australian OZTAG, National Indigenous and Aus Touch Footy.

The team, which was mostly made up of experienced players in Naua, Yallon, Cassandra Sampson, Dulcie Bomai, Kymlie Rapilla and Lynette Kwarula, did not do as well as expected.

It was new recruits Naomi Alapi and returning striker Lillian Mulake who performed extremely well, punching
lines and making breaks.


29)Ba makes OFC semis

By Online Editor
6:28 pm GMT+12, 18/04/2013, Fiji

Prolific striker Sanni Issa’s hat-trick helped Ba trounce the Solomon Warriors 5-0 at Govind Park Wednesday and earned the home team a spot in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League semi-finals next month.

The Nigerian starred for the Men in Black finding the back of the net in the second half and pushing his goals tally to seven, enough to lead the chase for the golden boot award.

Malakai Tiwa set the early pace scoring in the second minute.

Ba with the backing of the fans most of them school students produced a sterling second half display to shut out the visitors.

Issa’s solo effort two minutes in the second spell opened the flood gates.

He went on score again in the 63rd and 73rd minute while Laisenia Raura sealed the win with a close range attempt in the 86th minute.

Ba coach Yogendra Dutt said reaching the semi-finals was a proud moment for them.

He said the fans should be satisfied with the result after the shaky 2-0 win over Hekari United last week.

“It is a secret how we are utilising Issa and he is scoring the goals,” Dutt said.

“The fans should be satisfied with the result and especially with Ram Naumi going on, it would be a big talk around the gathering each evening.

“We have to plan out how we are going to tackle Amicale FC next. It will be two games in hot sun within a short period. The most important thing now is that we cannot afford to let the players suffer from fatigue.”

Solomon Warriors coach Brendon Crichton said it was a learning experience for them playing in the competition as first timers. He said they were outplayed by Ba.

“They were too big, too physical and too clinical in scoring those goals,” Crichton said.

“Good luck to them for the next round. They could take it easy in the remaining matches against Amicale FC and resting a few players.

“But in the match we threw everything in the first half. In the second half they overpowered us.

“The aim is to get back in the competition next year. It was our first time.

“It opened the eyes of a few players as to the intensity of the competition.

“We need to work on a few things back at home and have learnt a lot of lessons.

“We still have two matches to go and would love to pick up our first three points in the competition.”

In other matches yesterday Dragon of Tahiti upset Auckland City 3-1 in New Zealand and Amicale FC beat Hekari United 2-0. Ba will face Amicale FC in Vanuatu on Saturday.

Ba: Jone Ralulu, Meli Codro, Jone Vesikula, Mavileko Nakama, Remueru Tekiate, Kiniviliame Naika, Malakai Tiwa, Laisenia Raura, Sanni Issa, Marika Madigi, Scott Gannon.



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