Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 842

MELANESIA:

1) MSG team in Fiji

By NASIK SWAMI
Sunday, April 28, 2013

Update: 2:25PM THE MSG’s Eminent Persons Group is in Fiji to hold consultations with stakeholders.

During the five-day national consultation, the group’s main objective will be to review the performance of MSG for the past 25 years and formulate a vision and a roadmap for the next 25 years.

A government statement said the EPG would meet State officials, civil society, NGOs, academia, development partners and different interest groups during their consultations.

Other members of the group comprise distinguished and highly respected individuals from MSG countries.

They include the former Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogovare, Joe Natuman of Vanuatu, Leonard Louma of PNG and president of the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) Roch Wamytan.

The EPG report is expected to be tabled at the 19 MSG Leaders Summit in June in Noumea during where the 25 anniversary of the MSG will be celebrated.http://www.fijitimes.com/

2) PM Lilo meets West Papua delegation
By Online Editor
5:47 pm GMT+12, 26/04/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo says he supports the inclusion of West Papua on the agenda of the June summit of the leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)

He made the assurance to representatives of the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation in Honiara Wednesday, when he met with the group.

PM Lilo said he was aware of the West Papuan struggles which has been going for more than 50 years.

Vice Chairman of the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation Dr Otto Ondawame said he was happy with Prime Minister Lilo’s assurance.

Dr Ondawame said given the important role that MSG plays in regional politics it is vital that the West Papuan issue is discussed at the leadership level.

He said they are rallying for support in Melanesia and beyond to ensure that the West Papuan issue is discussed at all opportunities available at the regional and international level.

SOURCE: SIBC/PACNEWS

3) Wantok Women Share Peacebuilding Experiences in Suva (26/4/13)

Women Peace building Leadership Program participants from West Papua, Papua NewGuinea, Bougainville and Solomon Islands were yesterday given a rare glimpse into the work of two leading women’s advocacy organisations in Fiji.

The nine participants who are currently awaiting their departure to the Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia visited the Femlink Pacific and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement in Suva as part of an orientation program organised by the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding.

“The visit to Femlink Pacific and FWRM was greatly appreciated by the women. I think it gave them the opportunity to connect with these organisations because the work they do are similar,” PCP executive director, Koila Costello-Olsson.

“This group of Melanesian sisters is quite diverse in age as well as backgrounds but I think they all enjoyed the presentations made to them at the two organisations. Sharing experiences is one of the best ways to build solidarity in regional peacebuilding efforts particularly as we grapple with the same issues,” Costello Olsson said.

Georgia Molia, 37 of Solomon Islands said she valued the sharing of lessons made during the visits.

“Visiting FWRM gave us ideas about how to improve our outreach to young girls. I like the fact that their Emerging Leaders Forum program gives its participants the freedom to design their own advocacy materials,” Molia said.

WPL participant and former Bougainville Minister for Women, Magdalene Toroansi during the visit to Femlink Pacific urged the organisation to reach out to other parts of Bougainville and capture stories of women outside of Buka.

“I like it that you have established focal points in the countries that you work in but I urge you to expand those networks beyond the business centres. There are many stories to be told of the women, living in those areas,” Ms Toroansi said.

Paradise Tabucala, Community Radio Coordinator at Femlink said she was awed by the
experiences and stories shared by the women during the visit.

“I’m humbled by their stories and the experiences they have shared. We have shared contact details and certainly look forward to working with them into the future,” Tabucala said.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding will tonight host a cocktail at the 5 Princes Hotel in Tamavua to introduce its 16 participants for the WPL program to its partners. This will include the nine Melanesian women and seven other Fiji participants.http://www.solomontimes.com/

4) B’ville peace efforts lauded

By ROMULUS MASIU

A former Australian peace-keeper has congratulated the people of Bougainville for maintaining and progressing with the peace process in the region.
James Bartley, who served in Bougainville as an Australian Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) in 1990 and then 1997, said much had changed since he was in Arawa in those years and congratulated the people of Bougainville for bringing about peace this far.
“I would like to congratulate you on the achievement since PMG was here with you till now. I want to thank you, the people of Bougainville for working together in partnership to build this peace which is enjoyed by all at the moment,” Mr Bartley said when he visited Arawa two weeks ago.
This time around, in his third visit to Bougainville, Mr Bartley came to Arawa as the Deputy Director General for AusAID based in Canberra.
He put aside his busy schedule to step on Arawa soil for the third time to officiate at Tupukas Primary School’s official opening of the AusAID funded buildings which included a double classroom, an ablution block and a teacher’s house.
Mr Bartley said it was a positive sign for the people of Bougainville to really embrace and safeguard the peace process which was something very unique worldwide, especially after going through such a very bad time in the warfare.
He said the funding from AusAID in schools, roads, bridges or any infrastructural development were a sign or mark that showed the support Australian people and its government was giving to Bougainville and its people.
“It’s a small help but is sign of big support and commitment Australian Government and its people through AusAID gives through education, health and infrastructural services for Bougainville,” Mr Bartley told the packed Tupukas Primary School Hall.
Mr Bartley said Australia through AusAID wanted to support and help people of Bougainville restore their island after the crisis, adding that these infrastructure in the schools was a sign that Australia was just doing that. “We through AusAID are committed to helping Bougainville realise its dreams of a bright future.”
Tupukas Primary School which was ranked second by the Bougainville Education Division in last year’s Grade 8 National Examination, is one of the lucky recipients in Bougainville to benefit from this Schools Infrastructure Development Program funded by AusAID. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

5) Panguna Lo’s want mine reopened

By WINTERFORD TOREAS

THE landowners of the Panguna Mine in Central Bougainville have reaffirmed their stand that they want the mine to be reopened.
The assurance was delivered by an executive member of the United Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (UPMALA) during the 3rd Regional Forum on Panguna Negotiations that was held in Buin, South Bougainville, early this week.
The UPMALA is an umbrella organisation made up of the nine landowner associations from the mine’s affected communities.
UPMALA executive Chief Michael Pariu said they supported the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s decision to reopen the Panguna mine because they see that it will generate and boost the ABG’s revenue which will then be used to bring about tangible developments in Bougainville.
The ABG has identified the reopening of the mine as a priority issue because it will generate the revenue which could be used to address all pressing needs and issues currently facing Bougainville.
At the moment Bougainville is only raising about K6 million annually which is not enough to address and sustain Bougainville’s needs before the referendum period.
Chief Pariu said they understood the financial situation of the ABG, therefore they were also supporting the decision to reopen the mine.
Mr Pariu added that they would stand behind any decision which would benefit the landowners, all Bougainvilleans and the ABG.
He also clarified misleading reports, saying that it was the Me’ekamui faction and their supporters who have been going against the reopening of the mine, and not the landowners as what many people have been thinking.
He, however, said UPMALA had already started discussions to try and lure them to their side to support the reopening of the mine.
Chief Pariu is now appealing to all factions and people in Bougainville to be united with the ABG in its drive to facilitate moves towards the reopening of the mine.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

6) ABG stand on mine supported

By WINTERFORD TOREAS in Buin.

THE people of Siwai and Buin districts in South Bougainville are rallying behind the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s decision to reopen the former giant Panguna Mine in Central Bougainville.
Their stand was made known during the 3rd Regional Forum on Panguna Negotiations which was held in Buin early this week.
Speaking during the two-day forum that was held at the Buin Secondary School hall on April 22-23, representatives from these two districts said they fully supported the ABG’s decision to reopen the mine because it would generate revenue which would be used to bring about much needed developments on Bougainville.
Their only main concern, which many had raised during the forum was that they wanted the Panguna landowners to make their stand clear whether they were also supporting the ABG’s intention of reopening the mine or not.
However, the executives of the United Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (UPMALA) who also attended the forum had told the participants that they fully supported the ABG’s decision.
The Me’ekamui faction in South Bougainville are also supporting the mine’s reopening.
Their stand was revealed by one of their representatives who also attended the forum. However, their only main concern is that they want all Bougainvilleans to be united and work together towards bringing long-lasting peace and developments on Bougainville.
Speaking during the closing ceremony, ABG Minister for Finance, Treasury and Planning Albert Punghau thanked everyone who had attended the forum.
Mr Punghau said their involvement was important because their decisions would contribute towards Bougainville’s future.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

7) Briefing sessions on draft constitution

By NASIK SWAMI
Sunday, April 28, 2013

Update: 3:43PM THE Attorney-General’s Chambers will be holding briefing sessions on the draft constitution for the general public, rural advisory councillors and other provincial administrators in Rakiraki and Vunidawa.

A statement from government said the briefing session in Rakiraki would be held at the Shiu Prasad Complex at 9am tomorrow while the Vunidawa session would be held at the Naitalacagi Hall on Tuesday at 6pm.

Facilities will be provided for organisations and individuals to make their submissions.http://www.fijitimes.com/

MICRONESIA:

8) Nauru Parliament Elects Godfrey Thoma As New Speaker
Thoma defeats rival Baron Waqa by only two votes

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 25, 2013) – Godfrey Thoma has been elected the new Speaker of Nauru’s Parliament.

He won a ballot on Thursday morning, defeating fellow nominee Baron Waqa by ten votes to eight.

Mr. Thoma, who is the second longest serving MP in Nauru, replaces Ludwig Scotty who resigned last week.

Shortly after taking the Chair, Mr. Thoma adjourned the House until Friday morning.

The parliament is expected to debate motions to dissolve the house, put forward by Mr. Scotty and President Sprent Dewido last month, which were overruled by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Thoma has previously served twice as the speaker of the House: once in 2003 for 24 hours, and again in 2010 for just a week.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

AUSTRELIA:

9) Australian reef rescue plan involves farmers

Updated 26 April 2013, 16:38 AEST

Like many reefs throughout the Pacific, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is under threat from a number of human activities, including farming on coastal land.

To hep farmers mitigate some of the damage the Australian government has a Reef Rescue Program that has wide implications for the region.

Farmers in far north Queensland have welcomed the Government’s decision to will commit another 200 million dollars to the project for another five years.

Since it began in 2008, the program has proved successful at reducing soil and chemical runoff into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Suzannah Baker from ABC Rural in the Queensland city of Mackay reports.

Presenter: Suzannah Baker

Speaker: Prime Minister Julia Gillard,Australia’s Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig,Nick Heath Reef Program Director WWF

Cane growers Mackay Chairman Paul Shembri. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/australian-reef-rescue-plan-involves-farmers/1122268

TOK PISIN:

10) Ol painim hap bilong balus long 9/11 attack

Updated 27 April 2013, 21:39 AEST

Polis long New York i tok oli painim wanpela hap bilong wanpela bilong tupela balus ibin bam igo insait long World Trede Senta long September 11, 2001.

Polis i tok , despela hap bilong balus ol bilip hap bilong wanpela  landing gia ,i mas bilong wanpela bilong tupela  pasinjia balus” ibin pas istap namel long tupela  offis building insait long  Lower Manhattan.

Wanpela tokman bilong  New York Polis  Depatment (NYPD)  i tok , ol bai sekim gut despela eria bilong traim painim sampela hap hap nambaut bilong pipol.

Wanpela stement i itok, NYPD i banisim despela eria na i lukim olsem ples igat btrabel longen, ol bai kisim ol piksa na raitim daun olgeta samting ol painim longen na bai tabu long pablic raun long despela hap, igo inap ol ofis bilong  Chief Medical Examiner i pinisim ol health na safety chek longen.

Bihain longen ol bai skelim tingting long sapos  ol iken digim graun na traim painim ol hap hap nambaut bilong pipol.

Despela hap bilong balus i soim klia  Boeing identification namba.

Despela balus i wanpela bilong tupela ol lain trabelman bilong  Al Qaeda ibin tek over na flaim na kamapim birua 12 yiar igo pinis na bam igo insait long tupela bigpela building lbilong kantri.

Lain papa bilong wanpela long despela building ibin toksave long ol authoriti long trinde bihain long ol  surveyors or masta mak ibin painim .

Pastaim ol ibin bilip olsem em wanpela olpela masin i bagrap pinis longen .http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRANIS:

11)PNG: l’épidémie de chikungunya progresse

Mis à jour 26 April 2013, 13:29 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le virus, transmis par des moustiques diurnes, a été d’abord détecté en juin dernier dans la province de Sandaun, au nord-ouest, à la frontière avec la Papouasie indonésienne.

Il s’est depuis propagé aux provinces de Madang, de la Nouvelle-Bretagne Ouest et Est, de Morobe, et de l’Est des Hauts-Plateaux. Le chikungunya serait aussi déjà arrivé en Nouvelle-Irlande et dans la province d’Oro, selon le Dr Paul Horwood, de l’Institut de Recherche Médicale de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, qui estime à plusieurs dizaines de milliers le nombre de personnes contaminées par ce virus.

On ne peut pas soigner le chikungunya, une maladie très handicapante. Chikungunya est un mot d’une langue africaine, le makondé, qui signifie «maladie de l’homme courbé». En clair les malades souffrent de fortes douleurs articulaires associées à une raideur qui leur fait courber l’échine.

La maladie se traduit aussi par des maux de tête, de fortes fièvres, des éruptions cutanées. Fort heureusement, les décès liés au chikungunya sont rares, souligne le Dr Horwood. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

WORLD:

12)Two shot as Italy’s new PM sworn in

Updated 28 April 2013, 20:46 AEST

Two policemen have been wounded in a shooting outside government offices in Rome, as Italy’s new coalition cabinet was being sworn in a kilometre away.

The attack occurred about a kilometre away from the presidential palace where prime minister Enrico Letta and his ministers took the oath of office.

One of the officers was shot in the neck and is in a serious condition, a police official said.

One man was arrested at the scene of the shooting, and it is believed he is also injured.

It is unclear whether the attack was linked to the launch of the new government, which should bring fresh hope to a country mired in recession after two months of bitter post-election deadlock watched closely by European partners.

Mr Letta was the first to take the oath of office at a ceremony led by president Giorgio Napolitano, who appointed him after the centre-left won February elections but without the majority needed to govern.

The 46-year-old, one of the European Union’s youngest prime ministers, is expected to unveil his program in a parliamentary session on Monday, before the government is put to a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday.

The deadlock had thwarted efforts to end the worst recession in Italy in 20 years, and Mr Letta has said he wants to move quickly to tackle unemployment – currently 11.6 per cent – and boost growth.

The leftist leader also wants to move away from the austerity imposed by his technocrat predecessor Mario Monti to protect Italy from the eurozone debt crisis – a promise which will be followed closely by investors concerned about Italy’s two trillion euro debt mountain.

Unveiling his new cabinet on Saturday, Mr Letta said he was proud to have included younger ministers and more women to help renew a tired political scene and rebuild confidence in the discredited political class.

The new coalition will bring his party together with their centre-right arch rivals, the People of Freedom Party, which counts former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi as a prominent member.

The scandal-plagued ex-leader will not be in the ministry, but his close ally Angelino Alfano will serve as deputy prime minister and interior minister.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13)G77 chair calls for debt ‘real payment capacity’
By Online Editor
6:07 pm GMT+12, 26/04/2013, Fiji

The Chair of the G77+China Group, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on the international community to implement measures to address debt restructuring and debt resolution mechanisms.

The head of the Fijian government addressed the Special High Level Meeting of the ECOSOC on External Debt Sustainability and Development this week at the United Nations in New York.

The meeting addressed lessons learnt from debt crises and ongoing work on sovereign debt restructuring and debt resolution mechanisms

In his address to the meeting, Prime Minister Bainimarama noted that total external debt of developing countries reached US$4.5 trillion over the year 2010-2011. He said that the Group of 77 was seriously concerned by the substantial increase in the financial stability risks of many developed economies. He said the Group called for urgent and coherent solutions to reduce sovereign risk in developed economies to prevent contagion and to mitigate its impact on the international financial system.

Addressing the vulnerabilities of developing countries to external financial shocks, the Prime Minister said,

“The international community must realise that no path to growth can be construed or fostered with unsustainable debt overhang. As such, any debt restructuring exercise should have as its core element a determination of real repayment capacity”.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that the Group of 77 would like to reiterate its support for the setting up of an independent international system of debt arbitration, in which countries facing risks of debt distress can have recourse to a debt standstill. It is envisaged by the Group of 77 that such a system would facilitate debt work-outs with burden-sharing procedures.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister met this week with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the margins of the meeting.

SOURCE:MINFO/PACNEWS

MEDIA+:

14) Samoa PM Advises Police To Do Press Releases, Not Interviews
Tuilaepa reminds commissioner talk ‘twisted’ by local newspaper

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 25, 2013) – Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has written to Samoa’s Police to advise them on how to deal with the press.

In a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo, Tuilaepa advised him to write press releases and hand them over to the press when they are asked for comments, instead of agreeing to be interviewed.

Tuilaepa’s letter, written in Samoan and dated 11 April 2013, warns the Commissioner about certain “strategies” that journalists could use to attack” the Ministry.

He says those “strategies” could not be used if “press releases” were used since they are a means to “control comments that would later be printed in newspapers.”

Writes Tuilaepa: “I advise you to prepare written press releases for all matters where the Police are asked and stay away from interviews.

“A written press release is how you can control comments being printed in newspapers.”

Tuilaepa reminded the Commissioner that “when it’s all talk the Observer will twist the comments.”

His advice: “Don’t be too eager to appear on television since there are many strategies that journalists will use to attack you when you are unprepared, and when that surfaces, it humiliates the Police.”

Tuilaepa also points out that “there has been much confusion from the Public Relation Officer.

“It is all because he wanted to appear in front of the television and on radio.”

Tuilaepa says “journalists are used to asking questions on issues that were not expected and the Ministry might have not been prepared to answer.”

Every Tuesday in the recent past the Police has been holding press conferences at the Apia Police Headquarters where the media was invited.

Assistant Police Commissioner, Fauono Talalelei Tapu, has been conducting those conferences.

But then yesterday there was no press conference.

The Assistant Police Commissioner’s secretary advised the media that the weekly conference was cancelled.

It was not possible to get a comment from Fauono who is apparently on an overseas trip.

Attempts to get a comment from Commissioner Lilomaiava yesterday were unsuccessful.http://www.solomontimes.com/

BUSINESS/TRADE+


15)New National Cocoa Strategy to Benefit 20,000 Households(26/4/13)

Solomon Islands aims to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of cocoa by 2020 under a new Cocoa Policy to be launch by the government on Friday 26th April 2013 at the Honiara Hotel.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Hon David Tome will launch the policy and says it would help increase the incomes 20,000 cocoa growing households.

“Cocoa is a major revenue earner for Solomon Islands and represents the second major agriculture export for the country. More than 20 per cent of Solomon Island families are involved in cocoa production and the majority of income from cocoa production goes back into rural communities”.

At the moment Solomon Islands produces around 4,000-6,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually, but the Ministry believes the new strategy will help bring the amount to 20,000 over the next seven years.

According to Dr John Konam, an AusAID funded cocoa adviser to the Ministry, cocoa trees in Solomon Islands are only producing 25 per cent of their yield potential.

“Many of the 23 million cocoa trees in this country are more than 30 years old. They are neglected, over-grown and are not producing their yield potential of 23 million kilograms of dry beans per year. In addition, cocoa farmers lack basic management skills and are relying on poor material”.

“The genetic material used throughout the country is also highly variable. We estimate that 70 per cent of the national genetic material in cocoa has been lost since 2000. Seedlings are currently produced from open pollinated sources”.

But the barriers to increasing production can easily be addressed said Dr Konam.

“The focus of the strategy is rehabilitating cocoa crops, planting improved crop varieties with higher yields and developing better market linkages, so that farmers are better managing and benefiting from their cocoa”.

“A key focus will be training farmers on the importance of integrated pest and disease management in cocoa gardens, which was first introduced by the AusAID funded CLIP program. This system involves targeted pruning, weeding and tree management practices that can help farmers to vastly improve yields from their cocoa trees.”

“We also need to bring plantations back in to production that were abandoned during the tensions and increase access to credit for the industry”.

The Cocoa policy aligns to the Solomon Islands Government’s National Agriculture and Livestock Sector Policy 2009-2014.

Press Release: Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock

16)PNG phone, data charges set to fall
By Online Editor
5:43 pm GMT+12, 26/04/2013, Papua New Guinea

The new management structure for PNG’s mobile phone company Bemobile is set to bring down the price of telephone calls and data.

Before Vodafone Fiji took over management of Bemobile earlier this month, the government-owned Bemobile had fallen to just 10 per cent of the market, leaving the only other operator, Digicel, a free hand.

Syd Yates has been Bemobile chairman for the past year, and was one of the crucial figures in putting together the new ownership and management structure.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speaker: Syd Yates, outgoing Bemobile chairman

YATES: One of the main reasons that the deal was constructed was to be able to be an effective competitor to Digicel, and make Papua New Guinea we give better service, more coverage and competition throughout Papua New Guinea and the mobile phone network.

GARRETT: Digicel has got right out into the rural areas, it’s a really big company. Will it be possible to catch up for Bemobile?

YATES: Look Digicel have been a very strong competitor, I think they cover a significant part of Papua New Guinea already, and it is a very difficult terrain as people know. But the new Bemobile, Vodafone Bemobile will have a very strong coverage around Papua New Guinea, with the main aim of delivering across Papua New Guinea as far reaching as possible.

GARRETT: One of the crucial parts of this deal is having Vodafone as the manager. Why does that make so much difference?

YATES: Well look it’s a difficult place to operate here in Papua New Guinea, and when we were constructing the deal and asking what we wanted to do for people to invest their money we wanted to have someone that had expertise in managing mobile phone companies. And who better than we could have is have someone at Vodafone which is basically the biggest mobile phone operator in the world, I think it operates in about 52 countries, over 400-million subscribers. So they know what they’re doing. And the business is that we’re having is that will be Vodafone Fiji, which is 51 per cent owned by the Fijian Provident Fund through Telecom Fiji, and the other 49 per cent is Vodafone PLC. So it’s very strongly influence by Vodafone worldwide.

GARRETT: Digicel is reported to make very good profits here, does that mean that customers can start to anticipate costs coming down for their mobile phones?

YATES: Cost of mobile phone operations here have been a little bit high here for the subscribers compared worldwide. But obviously it is an expensive place to operate, and competition always brings about effective pricing and fairness in pricing, and hopefully that we will see that we’ll be very competitive. Since the deal’s been announced you’ve seen that Digicel have offered different deals and packages to subscribers in the marketplace, and also more recently Telecom announced a 70 per cent reduction in the national broadband of wholesale of the internet to wholesalers. So just those couple of things have already started and made an impact on competition and pricing which the subscribers will benefit from.

GARRETT: So what’s Vodafone’s plan in terms of roll-out of more and better services?

YATES: Look it’s a pretty detailed plan and I can’t go into great detail on it, but what they’re looking at doing, they’ve got a very comprehensive roll-out plan around the country and that will be announced in the coming weeks and from what we’ve seen it will be very effective I believe, and hopefully they’ll be a strong competitor in the years to come.

GARRETT: Surprisingly when you look at the number of people in Port Moresby who are constantly using their mobile phones, the mobile phone penetration, the number of people who actually have mobile phones isn’t that big in the rural areas. Can people in the rural areas expect to have more choice and affordable phones as a result of this deal?

YATES: Of course, I think in Port Moresby it’s probably already 100 per cent, throughout the country it’s probably in the range of 40 per cent from numbers, it’s a bit loose, 35-40 per cent. In countries like Fiji for instance already 110 per cent, so they’ve got opportunities to come here. We hope that we’ll be able to roll-out and obviously have more network throughout the country, so subscribers will have a choice and hopefully that choice will be based on service and pricing.

GARRETT: Government ownership through Telecom was one of the things that held Bemobile back because government agencies can tend to be a bit slow and cumbersome. Bemobile will still be 51 per cent owned by the independent Public Business Corporation. Will that cause problems for Bemobile?

YATES: Look I think that there’s been a shareholder agreement put in place. All the parties concerned have agreed to have Vodafone as manager for five years. They’re based on very strong KPIs and performance based and we are sure that they will deliver. The shareholder agreement took many months to get together and put together, so I believe that sort of pre-nuptial agreement if you like is being put together and hopefully that will resolve a lot of issues going forward because of discussions that have already taken place. So I believe it’ll probably be a good marriage.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

17) Politician Slams Planned New Caledonia Coal Power Plant
Mayoral candidate says plant would increase air pollution

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 25, 2013) – A senior New Caledonian politician has called on France not to grant any tax exemption for a coal-fired power plant to be built for the nickel smelter in Noumea.

Sonia Lagarde, who has a seat in the French National Assembly and is a possible candidate for the Noumea mayoralty, says such a project would have a huge environmental impact because of a massive increase in CO2 emissions.

Studies have shown that such a power station at the SLN smelter would increase emissions to make New Caledonia the world’s top polluter per capita.

The French ecology and energy minister, Delphine Batho, says the government has been trying to persuade SLN’s parent company, Eramet, to use gas instead of coal despite its higher costs.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

18)Vanuatu To Conduct Sea Cucumber Management Plan
Fisheries department collaborating with SPC

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 25, 2013) – Vanuatu’s Department of Fisheries is currently defining a National Management Plan for sea cucumber fisheries with the assistance of the SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community).

Management must urgently be changed due to the failure and lack of enforcement of past regulations thus this plan will update the minimum harvest size limits of the species and set new additional rules of harvest.

In particular stock assessments will be requested prior to opening sea cucumber fisheries in order to determine which species and quantities can be harvested on a site-by-site basis. Areas where sea cucumber stocks are to low should indeed not be opened to fishing to prevent the total collapse of the resources (as it happened before the 2007 ban).

Other specific rules will apply to processors and exporters of beche-de-mer. A similar management strategy has been launched by the Northern Province of New Caledonia in partnership with the Vanuatu Fisheries Department and the IRD.

The Department of Fisheries is now working closely with coastal communities around Vanuatu regarding sea cucumber fisheries to enforce the sustainable use of these commercial resources.

No harvest is currently authorized in the country. Any fishing of sea cucumber is illegal and should be reported to the Fisheries Department. The expected positive effects of the moratorium on the stocks will be monitored over the years through further assessments in other islands in Vanuatu and also in the previous survey sites.

In 2013, the resources will be assessed in South Efate (Eratap & Erakor area) in Shefa province, Aneityum in Tafea province, West Pentecost in Penama province, and Malo & Aore islands in Sanma province. Other communities who would like their resources to be assessed should contact the Department of Fisheries Research Division or Management and Policy Division.

Sea cucumbers are one of the high value inshore fisheries species found in Vanuatu. As top choice delicacy on plate in Asian country, the pressure of harvesting increased over the past years forcing a vast depletion in the stock size of these species throughout the Pacific.

Vanuatu Fisheries Department as the authorized government institution responsible for the overall conservation, management and development of fisheries resources in Vanuatu took further steps in sustainably managing the fisheries by putting in place new management arrangements since the mid-2000s.

Sea cucumbers, commonly known as ‘beche-de-mer’, are leathery skinned sluggish body shaped invertebrate marine species.

They are mainly scavengers feeding on rich organic matters lying on the coastal sea beds. They are found along the near shore areas at depth not exceeding 40 meters.

They are distributed all over the inshore bottom areas which cover reef areas, lagoons, sea grass beds, reef drop-offs and beyond. Their distributions and abundances vary among sites and islands in accordance to species characteristics.

Harvesting of sea cucumbers started with the arrival of the first Europeans in the early 1600’s. Sea cucumbers were pre-processed through ‘boil and dry’ methods and exported overseas (mainly to China) for proper processing, value adding and consumption. They are rated as high value species mainly because of delicacy in China but some species (eg. Lollyfish) can also be used for medicinal purposes.

The huge effort in harvesting of sea cucumber since the arrival of the first Europeans in the New Hebrides triggered the attention for proper management. Sea cucumber fishery “boomed” in the 1990s with production peaked at around 70 metric tons of dried beche-de-mer. It used to generate several millions VT per annum to local communities in the past.The boom period however indicated that the pressure from the industry to exploit the resources was beyond the control of communities which resulted in the depletion of the resources in most islands in Vanuatu despite the support of the Fisheries Department. Since the 1990s beche-de-mer exports have continued to decline until the situation prompted the government to declare a total ban in 2007. The first national moratorium was put in place from 1st of January 2008 until the 1st of January 2013.

At the period of five years moratorium, the Department of Fisheries in partnership with the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) has conducted several sea cucumbers stock assessment surveys in some islands in Vanuatu. These islands include Reef Island from Torba province, East Santo (Port Olry, Hog habour, Oyster island, Mavea island, Ice island and Palekula) from Sanma province, South and Northeast Malekula (Maskelynes archipelago and Uri, Litzlitz, Urpive & Crap bay) from Malampa province, and Northern and Western part of Efate (Pele island, Paunagisu, Emua, Moso island, Havanah harbor, Tanoliu, Lelepa and Hat islands, Mangaliliu) from Shefa province. There are 13 main commercial species of sea cucumbers around Vanuatu waters. The stock assessments results have indicated that all sea cucumber species have not recovered despite the non fishing period over the past years. In the sites that have been surveyed, the resources weighted only a few tonnes of live animals, which mean that they could not support any commercial harvest. The status of the Lollyfish resources was slightly better in the Maskelynes area than in the other survey sites and than any other species, however this is a low value species compared to sandfish, black teatfish, white teatfish or prickly redfish that were found in very low numbers.

Based on these assessments, the Department of Fisheries through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity has extended the total ban in sea cucumber fisheries for another five years in December 2012.

The ban started on 1st January 2013 and will be enforced until 1st January 2018.

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

LAW&ORDER+:

19)Border control

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, April 27, 2013

Consumer rights frontliner and Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Singh takes her place at the helm of Fiji Performing Rights Association members who were part of the World Intellectual Property Day workshop in Suva yesterday.

THE Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has joined in the fight to curb piracy in the country.

During the World Intellectual Property Day celebrations at the Holiday Inn, Suva yesterday, FRCA investigation team leader Salemo Roko said they were working round-the-clock to stop infringement copies of music, DVD and other counterfeit products at the border.

“We have procedures to follow if we suspect counterfeit goods at our ports, including airports. This is part of our border control measures,” he said.

Fiji Commerce Commission chairman Bobby Maharaj said they were willing to work with stakeholders on the issue but needed evidence of the ever increasing crime.

“When it comes to the commission’s enforcement, the critical element that we always long for is if someone could come on board and provide us with hard core evidence,” he said.

“We cannot take this matter up just because of hearsay but we need to fight piracy in Fiji.

“In Fiji, consumers are price sensitive. The first thing that will normally be considered by an average customer is how much they are paying for these goods.” He said only a few customers would purchase the goods for its quality. Head of the Copyright Enforcement Unit at the Fiji Intellectual Property Office, Terence O’Neill Joyce continued to emphasise the need to protect the creativity of artists and their work.

“Consider the damage to the creative sector. When they lose the interest in being creative, that is a loss to our national identity.”

He said there were more than 300 illegal business operators distributing and selling pirated copies of DVDs and CDs.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said earlier the issue was not on people selling or distributing pirated copies but consumers demanded for the product.

He said they would be ready to assist the community and organisations in their effort to combat piracy.http://www.fijitimes.com/

20) Solomons Ex-Militants Allegedly Hired To Collect Land Rents
Deputy premier claims RIPEL manager training former soldiers

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 26, 2013) – Levers Solomon Limited (LSL) has refuted claims that Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL) has engaged ex-militants to collect rental from people living on their land.

A spokesman for the company speaking on condition of anonymity said this is total propaganda and a tactic to manipulate issues to discredit LSL.

The LSL spokesman was responding to statements made by the deputy premier of Guadalcanal Mr. Michael Ezekiel Papari.

Mr. Papari stated that RIPEL’s general manager John Whiteside had recruited and trained ex-militants at Lunga.

“He engaged these ex-militants to collect rental from people living on the Tenavatu and Tenaru lands.”

Because of the alleged activity the deputy premier said Mr. Whiteside should be deported because what he is doing is trying to reignite the unrest again.

He said Mr. Whiteside should stop doing such activity because the land in question is now on notice by the commissioner of lands.

The Solomon Star cited a document by the ministry of lands of a ‘Notice of intention’ to resume parcels of LSL lands addressed to LSL on the 18th of this month.

The deputy premier then calls on the police to investigate the report of ex-militant recruitment and training.

But the LSL spokesman said what the deputy premier said has no facts to it and is a total lie.

He explained what has been done was that, LSL has contracted Solomon Islanders who have the right to be employed by law to go around, tell people and businesses illegally residing and operating on their land to at least pay something to LSL for using their property.

“Basically these people are contracted to go around and collect money from people and businesses using LSL properties. If not then they should pack up and leave.

“RIPEL and LSL are private companies that have the legal right to undertake its business and are answerable to the laws of this country and not the public.

“What we are doing is legal as ordered by the court in civil case No.114 of 2009,” the spokesman said.

The LSL official added the court order has banned anybody to do any business on Levers land and also given the right to RIPEL and Levers to appoint its agents to sort out issues regarding their use of LSL land and properties.

The spokesman stressed that people must recognise that these are Lever’s property and land and they should respect and understand it.

He further highlighted the idea of this exercise was to get back control over the properties and land which have already been illegally settled and used.

“How would you feel when someone come and build his house on your land?” the spokesman questioned.

He said this is simply what they are doing and nothing as reported by deputy premier who is sensationalizing the issue.

The official further questioned why the deputy premier raised these allegations when representatives of RIPEL have already met with the Guadalcanal premier Stephen Panga on the 13th of last month and already informed him of their program to take back properties on Lunga and Tenaru lands, including informing the premier of the groups that will be contracted to do the work.

“So why did the deputy premier come up with these allegations? We believe there are people whose plans are to create problems.”

Levers said most of the people residing on Levers’ properties and land are illegal and some even went to the extent of renting out to people these properties and making huge money out of it which is unacceptable and illegal.

Solomon Star

21) Fiji Police On The Lookout For Domestic Child Sex Trafficking

20 individuals, including businessmen, allegedly involved

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 25, 2013) – The Fiji Police Force is keeping a close watch on a group of people, including some businessmen, who are involved in the alleged sale of girls for sex in Fiji.

This was confirmed to The Fiji Times by the head of the force’s Human Trafficking Unit, Inspector Aminiasi Cula, yesterday.

He said the discovery followed investigations into Fiji’s first domestic human trafficking case earlier this year.

“About 20 people, including businessmen, are allegedly involved in this sexual exploitation of girls,” Insp. Cula said.

“We are working on them, increasing our surveillance on the men, gathering information and more evidence on them.”

“We are intending to bring them in for caution interview soon and lay charges.”

Insp. Cula said the men were involved in the alleged recruitment of girls, sale of girls, transportation and providing accommodation.

He said the group of people involved was brought to their attention after victims reported the matter to police.

Insp. Cula said the victims complained of not being paid enough by the exploiters.

He said they were also investigating the communication links of the group, and were working on obtaining print-outs of mobile calls from the country’s two mobile operators.

“The job will be hard but the victims are assisting us to identify the exploiters.”

Insp. Cula also highlighted that many people were becoming aware of human trafficking.

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

22) Morobe Residents Threaten Provincial Shutdown In PNG
Protesters call for eviction of all Western Highlanders in Lae

By Pisai Gumar

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 25, 2013) – In Papua New Guinea, Morobeans have threatened to shut down government and business operations in Lae city and the province for one week if the government fails to address their grievances on law and order issues.

Their leaders say that Morobeans, who have always considered themselves to be peaceful, law-abiding and God-fearing people, can no longer tolerate the violence and other illegal activities caused by people from other provinces.

They say they are particularly incensed by the recent brutal killing of seminary student Kewa Michael from the Kabwum district.

Michael is alleged to have been killed by some men from Western Highlands.

In a protest at Bumayong market on the outskirts of the city yesterday, protesters called on the provincial government to respond to their demands, which included the eviction of all Western Highlands people living in Lae within 14 days.

Nawaeb law and order chairman Pesa Takos told the protesters: “If people without respect, kill an innocent pastor, a servant of God, what’s the reason to allow them to live among peaceful Morobeans?”

They called on the government to provide 100 PMV buses to Morobeans, evict and replace all Western Highlanders’ PMV buses operating in Lae city, address grievances being raised related to the killing of five youths during unrest in Nov 5, 2011 and appoint a permanent provincial administrator.

Nearly 2,000 protesters marched to the provincial headquarters and petitioned Deputy Governor Morokoi Gaiwata, provincial law and order chairman Peter Namus and police commander Supt. Iven Lakatani.

Among them were LLG presidents Daki Mao (Umi-Atzera), Jack Kahu (Labuta) and Sam Agi (Ahi), as well as community policing coordinator Peter Gorek.

Takos said Morobeans had reached the end of their tether and “enough is enough.”

“The only hope we have is to evict Western Highlanders and that’s final; Morobeans will never appreciate any compensation for the killing of Michael as it is not our cultural practice and not aligned with the constitution of the country,” he said.

“All we humbly request is the eviction of Western Highlanders from Lae city; it’s not only Morobeans that are affected, other people residing in Lae are also affected.”

Kabwum association chairman Steven Boipe said Michael’s death had brought to 50 the number of Kabwum people allegedly killed by Western Highlanders in Lae.

“Our Kabwum forefathers became evangelists and walked as far as Raipinga, Banz and Ogelbeng to spread the gospel and clothe the Western Highlanders, but you never respected me. I take my clothes off from calling you (Western Highlanders) as a brother and now evict you from Morobe to go back to your home land,” he said.

Gaiwata said a provincial executive meeting would be convened today to deliberate over the petition.

Lakatani said he was overwhelmed by the peaceful protest and reminded people to be responsible citizens “as law and order is everybody’s business.”

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

RELIGION/CULT+

23) Vanuatu Christian Council Dismisses Reported State Tithes
Vice chairman Bosco says government lacks money for offerings

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 25, 2013) – The vice chairman of Vanuatu’s Christian Council, Bishop John Bosco, says it is not the case that the Government has agreed to pay it a 10 percent tithe from the national budget.

It was reported earlier this week that the Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, committed to make the payment but it has since been reported that he said it is the duty of a worker to pay a ten percent tithe to God.

But Bishop Bosco says the Prime Minister said the Government did not have the money to pay its tithe.

Bishop Bosco says the Prime Minister said the Government would work with the Council to find ways to help the country’s churches.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

24) Samoa Catholic Church Slams Free Condoms For Students
Spokesman: contraception is ‘immoral,’ promotes promiscuity

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 25, 2013) – The Catholic Church in Samoa has hit out at a plan to give away free condoms to university students.

Samoan health authorities devised the scheme to combat rising levels of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

The initiative aims to increase access to condoms for students at the National University of Samoa, as well as raise awareness of sexual health.

But Catholic Church spokesman Father Ioane Ono has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the Church intends to launch a formal objection to the plan.

He says contraception encourages promiscuity and is immoral.

“There’s no guarantee that these condoms protect our children from passing on diseases,” he said. “And on the other side of the coin, it is promoting promiscuity and promoting fornication.

“They forget about the moral question, the moral life of young people, the youth who are involved in this. So according to Church teaching it’s not right,” he said.

According to local reports, about one third of the population in Samoa has tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

HEALTH:

25) Chikungunya Virus Still Spreading In PNG Provinces
Medical expert says thousands of cases reported

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 25, 2013) – An outbreak of mosquito-borne virus Chikungunya in Papua New Guinea is continuing to spread around the country.

The virus was first detected in Sandaun province last June and has now been reported in Madang, West New Britain, East New Britain, Morobe and Eastern Highlands.

Dr. Paul Horwood from Papua New Guinea’s Institute of Medical Research is helping track the disease and has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat there are also suspected outbreaks in New Ireland and Oro provinces.

“It certainly is a concern to the medical authorities in the country,” he said. “We’d have to say there have been tens of thousands of cases around the country.”

Dr. Horwood says the dengue-like illness exhibits symptoms including a high fever and “quite debilitating” arthritis pain, usually in the arms, legs and shoulders, which can be ongoing.

He says people with the illness can also present with headaches, rashes on the arms, legs, stomach and chest areas, along with abdominal symptoms.

Dr. Horwood says the mosquitoes spreading Chikungunya are the “day-biting” kind, also known to transmit dengue fever.

There is no treatment to cure the virus but Dr. Horwood says people can avoid exposure by reducing mosquito breeding areas around the house and wearing long clothing and mosquito repellent.

Papua New Guinea’s government has been working with the National Department of Health and provincial health authorities to help distribute information and clean up potential breeding areas.

Dr. Horwood says there have been no reported deaths from Chikungunya in the country.

“Luckily death from Chikungunya is quite rare,” he said.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

26) A third death in New Caledonia dengue outbreak

Posted at 19:40 on 26 April, 2013 UTC

A dengue fever outbreak in New Caledonia has now claimed three lives.

Thge latest victim was a 55-year-old woman from the northern village of Pouembout who was taken to hospital with haemorrhaging.

Two other women have died since the outbreak began in September last year.

More than eight thousand others have suffered the effects the disease.

The World Health Organisation warned earlier this year that the mosquito-borne disease had global epidemic potential, saying it had registered a 30-fold increase in the last 50 years to two million cases world wide annually, due to climate change and increased travel.

Dengue causes high fever, headaches, itching and joint pains.

At an advanced stage it can lead to haemorrhaging and death.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT+:


27) Marshalls fisheries boss: Developed nations must come to the table
By Online Editor
6:09 pm GMT+12, 26/04/2013, Marshall Islands

Small islands must work harder to avoid being “pushed to one side” in global climate change and sustainable-development negotiations, Marshall Islands fisheries Director Glen Joseph said Wednesday at an agenda-setting meeting for the Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, group at the United Nations in New York.

His talk was titled, “Beachfront Property,” and while this may seem an odd name for a speech for a Pacific Island strategy session, it is emblematic of Joseph’s appreciation of the David and Goliath battle small islands face.

“I thought this (title) relevant in the context of framing our SIDS global agenda,” he said. “Developed nations view ‘beachfront property’ as an exclusive, premium property. In our case, (it is) inundation, overfishing, hardship, and challenging as we continue to live on it as ‘home.’”

Joseph sees the agenda of small islands — on fisheries, climate change and development — repeatedly undermined by the weight of policies from developed nations who have been reaping benefits at the expense of small countries. “We have all heard it from the international community on the wide-ranging issues affecting us,” he said. “We have all seen it as first-hand victims of the effects of the global community on food security, overfishing and climate change. Yet SIDS is basically being pushed to one side while issues effecting them continue to be debated.”

The Marshall Islands and other small islands need “to frame and agenda” to gain action from the international community “instead of just rhetoric,” he said.

His talk on “ocean governance” this week was at the Expert Group Meeting on Small Island Developing States and Post-2015 Development Agenda held at the U.N. Headquarters.

Joseph said small islands have to develop strategies to keep their agenda at the center of global discussions and, at least as important, to get the bigger nations to support sustainable-development goals of SIDS.

“What are our rights and what are the obligations of the big developed nations?” Joseph asks. “We have been constantly and consistently undermined by (bigger nations in) our efforts to simply pursue a better life.” Joseph has been an outspoken critic of distant water fishing nations that he says are not supporting the fisheries-management goals or development aspirations of small islands — even while they claim to be on board.

Joseph said he is not trying “to paint a beggar situation for SIDS,” although he said problems faced by small islands are “dire.”

The terms of the global discussion about sustainable development have to change and SIDS must be at the table influencing this, he said. But, so far, interaction between SIDS and bigger nations has been dominated by the agendas of developed nations, he said.

This week’s U.N. meeting is laying the groundwork for refocusing the SIDS agenda, he said in an interview before the meeting.

“A strategic approach needs to be developed in a way that SIDS can influence action-oriented decisions by the international community that deliver and support SIDS requirements and needs,” he said. “No one knows SIDS issues better than SIDS themselves. We want to continue living on the ‘beachfront property, said Joseph.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

YOUTH+

28) Fiji Youth Group Petitions For Draft Constitution Rejection
Group says confidence lost as regime disregarded its own decrees

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 25, 2013) – A petition has been launched on behalf of Fiji’s young people, rejecting the regime’s draft constitution.

The group, Fiji Youth for Democracy, says the young people of Fiji want the People’s Draft Constitution, by the Ghai Commission, to be reinstated.

It says young people, which will make up about 47 percent of Fiji’s voting population by 2014, declare a rejection of the 2013 Government Draft Constitution.

In a news release, the group says the confidence of youth in the current constitutional process has diminished because the government has deviated from its own decrees.

It says Fiji’s youth participated and actively contributed to the Ghai Commission consultations, and the government’s recent action to discard the People’s Draft demonstrates that the input of youth is not valued.

It says the government’s 2013 constitution making process is not inclusive or representative of young people and Fiji’s future.

The regime says it will accept submission to its draft until Tuesday.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

SPORTS:


29) Games will be on time
By Matai Akauola
8:47 pm GMT+12, 26/04/2013, Papua New Guinea
“The delivery of the 2015 Pacific Games will be on time” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill declared at ground breaking ceremony of the new Games village at the University of PNG yesterday.

The Prime Minister said that bureaucratic machinery must not be a hindrance any more to the process of facilitating the delivery of the games.

He said: “whose interest will they serve if they continue to sabotage and delay the enforcement of a government directive because the 2015 Pacific Games is an event of national importance and that position has not changed.

“We have wasted two years already but my government is confident at making this event a success. The government wants no further delays.”

The Prime Minister made it clear on the “opportunity afforded by the hosting of the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby has for PNG and how each of us from the Government down to the public service bureaucratic machinery – to Organising Committees and Sponsors ,even Media and the community at large must all our bit to deliver the games.”

He said “There will be many challenges ahead, however, one thing is guaranteed, our Government sees the 2015 Pacific Games as a National Asset and leaders from both sides of the government have the political will and a clear vision to invest in sports to improve the quality of life of our youth.

We will do everything in our power to assist preparations for the venues for 2015 and to make sure that the vision for a healthy, sporting PNG is upheld and our athletes are ready in 2015 to compete and make PNG proud.”

The Prime Minister said the opportunity to bid for and host future events, sporting or otherwise will be determined by the success of 2015 Pacific Games and “we are very committed to ensuring the success of the 2015 Pacific Games.”

Sports and Pacific Games Minister, Justin Tkatchenko said the Games village will cost nearly K300 million and will have 1,100 rooms for athletes, a dining hall and an entertainment centre.

Tenders for the new village were published in March and close today. Construction is expected to start next month and completion is aimed for March 2015.

“The Games village will be a legacy infrastructure as part of delivering the 2015 Pacific Games,” Minister Tkatchenko said. (PINA)

30) Allowances for Samoa A being paid out

By Matai Akauola
8:58 pm GMT+12, 26/04/2013, Samoa

Cash-starved Samoa rugby union has won the battle for funds to pay Samoa A allowances due for the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup campaign in Australia and New Zealand last month.

Allowances for the team dried up after the first week on tour.

“The good news is that we are now processing allowances for the players and management,” said Chief Executive Officer, Fred Amoa.

“SRU apologises for the delay in paying allowances but there was no doubt that allowances would be paid,” Amoa said.

He said the amount to be paid may not be disclosed.

“With the amount … protection of the privacy of the players is a concern and a contractual matter that only the parties that are privy to the contract should have access to that information.”

A notice to thank sponsors who injected funds into SRU coffers for Samoa A has been published but the CEO of rugby was keen to express gratefulness again today.

SRU relies on the pockets of the business community to fund rugby teams.

The battle for the Pacific Rugby Cup 2013 sees development sides of Japan, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga clash with Super Rugby development teams and academies in Australia and New Zealand.

The tournament lifts development players of the participating countries to a higher level of competition each year.

The 2013 Pacific Rugby Champions will be determined by points accumulated across the tournaments in Australia and New Zealand, and the final round yet to be played..

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

31) Aussie Rules in New Zealand

Updated 26 April 2013, 16:36 AEST

Can New Zealanders be persuaded to watch and even play a game they know as “Aussie Rules”?That’s what the AFL in Australia are attempting with efforts to make the code popular across the Tasman.

Aussie Rules in New Zealand (Credit: ABC)

Last night saw a landmark game in Wellington between the St Kilda Saints and the Sydney Swans attract an estimated crown of 26 thousand, only a quarter of whom were visiting Australian fans.

St Kilda CEO Michael Nettlefold says while AFL is hardly likely to challenge the position of rugby in New Zealand, he’s sure there’s room for a growing interest in the code, as shown by the enthusiasm shown by the Kiwi crowd in the ANZAC Day match.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: AFL club St Kilda CEO Michael Nettlefold

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/aussie-rules-in-new-zealand/1122262

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