Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 846
1) Reports that six Papuan protesters were killed by police
Updated 7 May 2013, 17:46 AEST
A US-based West Papuan activist group says it believes six protestors were killed by Indonesian security forces about a week ago.
Several protests were held on May the first to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations handover of West Papua to Indonesia.
The West Papuan Advocacy Team says some protestors were attacked by Densus 88, a special counter-terrorism unit of the Indonesian police which has received equipment and training from the Australian Federal Police.
Edmund McWilliams, a retired US senior foreign service officer in Indonesia and spokesman for the West Papua Advocacy Team, told Cathy Harper he’s received credible information about multiple deaths.
However, it’s difficult to verify information out of Papua and the claims haven’t been independently confirmed.
Police were contacted, but were unavailable for comment.
The Jakarta Globe quotes Indonesian police in Papua as defending the fatal shooting of two activists, saying they attacked police with sharp weapons and the officers were acting in self defence.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has released a statement expressing concern about claims of excessive force by police in the province.
Presenter: Cathy Harper
Speaker: Edmund McWilliams, a retired US senior foreign service officer in Indonesia and spokesman for the West Papua Advocacy Team
MCWILLIAMS: It was an attack by the security forces, apparently included Densus 88, which is a special anti-terror unit, against peaceful demonstrators. As far as we know these were peaceful demonstrations in which Papuans were raising the Morning Star flag, which is essentially a nationalist but also a cultural symbol for Papuans, and in a number of places this took place, and apparently there was widespread attacks on these peaceful dissenters.
HARPER: What’s your best information about what exactly happened and where and how many people were involved?
MCWILLIAMS: Well the first report we had was that in Sorong that two people were killed and then subsequently we have seen reports which we regard as credible, that there were also four people killed in Timika and a number of people arrested. But then also additional people shot elsewhere, I believe on the island of Biak, which is on the north coast. And then we believe there were also some arrests or at least potentially detentions, we’re not sure if these people are still under arrest, in the Jayapura area around the grave of Theys Eluay, the former Papuan independence figure.
HARPER: And when you say dissent, the protests were not even directly related to a West Papuan independence movement were they?
MCWILLIAMS: What we understand of course is that the event on May 1st was supposed to coincide specifically with Indonesian annexation of West Papua 50 years ago. That annexation took place without obviously the consent of the Papuan people, and this was a Papuan protest commemorating that event.
HARPER: You mentioned that you believe the forces responsible for the violence, Densus 88, can you explain what that is and I understand there’s an Australian connection?
MCWILLIAMS: Yes there is, there’s also a US connection. I should say we’re not convinced that the Densus 88 forces were involved in all of the attacks, but certainly in some of them. Densus 88 was formed as anti-terror unit within the security forces of Indonesia at the behest of the United States with funding from the United States, but also with training and funding assistance from Australia among others. So there’s a certain degree of US and we have to say Australian culpability, complicity in the acts that Densus 88, which has been a source of human rights organization criticism for many years.
HARPER: What do you know about the feeling on the ground at the moment?
MCWILLIAMS: Well we understand it’s a very tense situation. What we’re pleased with is that there has been a significant international reaction. The UN Human Rights Commissioner has spoken out very strongly, as have a number of organisations. So essentially we’ve seen a good international reaction. But unfortunately as in the past the security forces seem to be insensitive to such international criticism. They operate essentially in a rogue fashion not responsive to civilian government in Jakarta.
HARPER: Do you get any sense from the international community, particularly from governments like the US and Australia that there is or will be any sort of appetite to support any sort of independence movement in West Papua, because there doesn’t seem to be any sort of those kind of messages coming from the Australian government at all at the moment, quite the opposite?
MCWILLIAMS: No I think what we’re seeing unfortunately is consistent stand by governments of the United States and Australia, also the United Kingdom, which essentially say that they respect the territorial integrity of Indonesia, which of course is code for including Papua as part of Indonesia. These statements are very similar to what we saw of course with regard to East Timor as well. Those of us who are defending human rights in West Papua are simply calling for essentially the right of self-determination for the Papuan people, a right that’s been denied them now since Indonesia assumed control of West Papua 50 years ago. But I think it’s unlikely that we’re going to see any effective change in US or perhaps a position of other governments with regards to territorial integrity of Indonesia. But we do hope that over time they will come to recognise that these
people, the Papuans, deserve the right to self-determination via referendum or whatever means would be possible.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/
2) Indonesian legislature accuses UK of interfering in West Papua
Posted at 08:42 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
Indonesia’s House of Representatives is urging the government to ask the United Kingdom to not interfere with affairs in West Papua.
The Jakarta Post reports the House deputy speaker, Priyo Budi Santoso, as saying the legislature is deeply disappointed with the British Parliament whom he accuses of supporting the separatist Free Papua Movement.
Mr Santoso says he believes the UK has interfered with Indonesia’s internal affairs, which he compares to the UK’s problems with separatist elements in Northern Ireland.
The newspaper reports that anti-UK protests have been mounting since the mayor of Oxford and an opposition MP attended a ceremony at a West Papuan office in the English city.
But the British Ambassador to Indonesia, Mark Canning, says the British Government recognises Papua as part of Indonesia and does not support calls for Papuan Independence.
Meanwhile, the newly elected Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, is meeting with House leaders to discuss separatist sentiments in the province.
Radio New Zealand International
3) Growing optic fibre links creating PNG’s broadband network
Updated 7 May 2013, 16:32 AEST
Papua New Guinea is a step closer to having a high-speed broadband network with a new fibre-optic cable connecting the Gulf Province to the country’s LNG plant, just 20 kilometres from Port Moresby.
This cable was laid under a joint venture agreement between ExxonMobil, Oil Search Limited, the Southern Highlands Province and the Independent Public Business Corporation.
The Corporation is the government body which manages state-owned enterprises.
Its Chairman Doctor Thomas Webster explained the network to Phil Kafcaloudes.
Presenter: Phil Kafcaloudes
Speaker: Chairman of PNG’s Independent Public Business Corporation, Doctor Thomas Webster
4) Former President in-depth on Bougainville’s future
Updated 7 May 2013, 16:28 AEST
Papua New Guinea’s island of Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on independence some time between 2015 and 2020.
The referendum is one of the key provisions of the 12-year-old Peace Agreement which brought an end to a decade-long civil war.
The conflict left more than 10,000 people dead, destroyed much of Bougainville’s infrastructure and closed schools, hospitals and the Rio Tinto-owned Panguna copper mine.
Former Bougainville President, James Tanis, fought with the separatist Bougainville Revolutionary Army and played a key role in the peace process.
He explained to Jemima Garrett why he is still in favour of independence.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speaker: Former Bougainville President, James Tanis
TANIS: I believe in independence because independence is not something that started with the Bougainville conflict. It has a long history, Our forefathers struggled for Bougainville Independence as early as the 1960s. We are different. We are ethnically part of the Solomon Islands but I am not a racist but independence is always something that our society believed we can express ourselves in the form of a modern state.
GARRETT: Why will it be better than what you have got now?
TANIS: I still believe independence will be even better than autonomy because then we have control over everything.
GARRETT: How would you like to see the process towards independence unfold?
TANIS: As a believer in independence I also worry about the process and I think the process should continue to move. Different parties under the Peace Agreement have different obligations. We have Bougainville obligations on reconciliation, weapons disposal and unity on Bougainville and the national government has obligations to make sure Bougainville, there is a draw down of powers and functions as agreed under the peace agreement so I believe in a process where it should be moving. Different parties keep their commitments made under the Peace Agreement and the process must be transparent. People must be informed as to what is happening and if there is a certain obstacle they should know what that is, so that everybody should be empowered ready to resolve whatever the problem is. In fact, that is the way we managed the early part of the peace agreement. The early part of the Peace Agreement involved a lot of awareness raising a lot of consensus, a lot of consultations between different groups. Let me say this. At the start of the peace process we had more factions that what we have now but at least the peace process was moving very fast, much faster than what I see now.
GARRETT: What role does the re-opening of the Panguna copper mine have in independence?
TANIS: The opening of the Panguna copper mine is an important part in enabling Bougainville to meet one of its conditions of the Peace Agreement before the conduct of the referendum. That is on meeting financial self-reliance to demonstrate that Bougainville can survive as a nation. But on the other hand I hold the personal view also, that independence and Panguna mine should not be mixed. That the political process should follow its own path and the process in Panguna should follow its own path. If you look back into the roots of the Bougainville conflict I see 2 agendas; the first agenda is the Panguna mine, the second agenda, the independence agenda. And I always held the view that in terms of resolving the Bougainville conflict the political agenda has a peace agreement and it sets up a time frame and a road map on the process to independence and the second agenda is Panguna and I think we should do a little bit much more work to resolve the issue.
GARRETT: What other options are there in Bougainville for economic self-reliance other than the Panguna copper mine?
TANIS: We have plantations. If we take for example, where Bougainville was before the conflict. We have to start where we were, meaning we had plantations, smaller holder cocoa gardens and Bougainville is a small island. I think we have enough money. Even without opening Panguna we can start at an advantage position because we are a small island, we have a lot of money. My observation in the last few years has been that there is a lot of money going in and out of Bougainville, with scrap metal, with alluvial mining, with trade stories and even with vehicles, and the administration is not collecting taxes. So even without the mine there is a lot already but the question of the Panguna mine is a question that is unavoidable. Bougainville must resolve it and we must decide on the future of the Panguna mine.
GARRETT: Could Bougainville get independence without the Panguna mine re-opening?
TANIS: That is what I am saying. Bougainville independence should not be conditioned on the opening of the Panguna mine but at the same time the trick is this: the opening of the Panguna mine will obviously contribute to the economic self-reliance of Bougainville that will be very important to the future independent state of Bougainville, if Bougainville choses to be independent.
GARRETT: Bougainville Copper says the re-opening of the mine will take six years. How can you keep those 2 processes, the process towards independence and the process towards re-opening the mine separate, if they are going to be taking place at the same time?
TANIS: If I may turn this the other way around and tell you this. The question of Panguna mine will not go away, whether Bougainville becomes independent or Bougainville choses to remain part of PNG. Panguna mine is a decision that must be made regardless of which ever way the vote goes. So we have to be careful on how we put relationships on the political future of Bougainville and how we condition it to Panguna.The two processes are important; Panguna mine issue must be resolved and independence issue must be resolved.
GARRETT: You are in favour of re-opening the Panguna mine why?
TANIS: I am in favour of opening Panguna mine and I come from a guerrilla army that fought against the Panguna mine but I have come to notice that there is already mining on Bougainville. While the Panguna mine is shut there are other mining activities happening on Bougainville. Panguna mine was opened in the early days when Bougainvilleans did not know much about the value of the yellow stone and all they knew in those days was cocoa and there was not much alluvial mining. After the conflict people now know the value of the stone under the ground. So I see even small activities, panning along the tailings and even small interests groups doing bits and pieces here and there on Bougainville. It has made me realise that mining is an industry that will be an important part of the Bougainville economy so yes, I am in favour of re-opening Panguna but again I come to the question of the process, the process must be transparent, the process must take its time and all the stakeholders must be consulted and the people must be given a chance to debate it properly instead of rushing it because if we rush it we might risk problems along the way.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/i
5) B’ville people urged to unite
A former employee and one-time permanent fleet trucking contractor to the Bougainville Copper Mine has urged the people of Bougainville to unite in order for them to progress.
Kandaso Napi says Bougainvilleans needed to come together as one voice and stand united to fight for more physical development which in turn would bring better social and economical benefits for them instead of living in the past and endeavouring to perpetuate their parochial interests to suit a minority whose vain attempts to achieve their dreams of yesteryears only prolongs the sufferings of the Bougainville people.
Mr Napi, who has a longstanding relationship with the people of Bougainville through his association with the Panguna landowners and others, and one who still concerns himself with the ongoing situation on the ground, has called on those splinter groups and individuals who are hell-bend on pursuing their goals without dialogue and a collective approach for peace and normalcy, to realise the real world of politics, law and commerce.
He said those people should instead humble themselves and learn from history as well as from both national and international events of the recent past to try to negotiate with all affected parties with a view to achieving amicable solutions that would bring lasting peace and very importantly, create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
Mr Napi said now that BCL had committed itself to reopening the abandoned Panguna mine and opted for negotiations, the immediate landowners and mine affected communities, former combatants, politicians including the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the four national parliamentarians and all other suffering Bougainvillians must put their differences aside and whole-heartedly welcome this positive move by the mining company so that they may put forward their demands, views, ideas and expectations of a prosperous Bougainville. “So many landowners and resource-owning tribal leaders have died in many parts of PNG without realising their dreams so when the opportunity presents itself, you must grasp it with open arms and build on it to derive maximum benefits for everyone and strive to arrive at that destination of your choice,’’ he said.
Mr Napi added that BCL or Rio Tinto for that matter, was a mere participant in the resources extraction industry under those existing mining and environmental laws, policies and guidelines at that time and therefore must not be squarely blamed for all the problems associated with the mine. He stressed that to this day, many former employees and Bougainvillians agree that BCL’s mining operations set the benchmark for all other future mining activities in this country.
This self-made businessman and ardent nationalist who started off from humble beginnings on the island of Bougainville, went onto remind the people of the region that they are still a part of PNG and that they will continue to do so as long as they freely choose to remain under a united and democratic PNG during their planned plebiscite of 2015.
Mr Napi added that the general populace of Bougainville must be made aware of the future effects of climate change and population growth on the main island and the surrounding atolls so that they may question themselves if an independent island nation with a tiny land mass would be able to accommodate its people and sustain itself if it happens to break away from PNG. He also questioned if an independent Bougainville would have the capacity to absorb many of the Bougainvillian professionals working in other parts of PNG in both the public and private sectors because by then they would be regarded as foreigners and only God knows what would happen to these people.
This man, who considers himself a Bougainvillian at heart, wants critics and others to know that he is where is now because of Bougainville and its people and he still has high respect and hope for the people of the island. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/
6) Anti-corruption watchdog praises new Vanuatu government
Posted at 03:13 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
The Vanuatu Anti-Corruption Commission says the new government is making good progress in establishing an official anti-corruption body for the country.
In 2011, Vanuatu signed a UN Convention that provides a framework for the country to fight corruption.
The chair of the NGO, Phil Manhire, says previous governments have largely ignored the framework, but the new Moana Carcasses administration is increasing the momentum in the fight against corruption and working hard to create the body.
He says he has been meeting with the government to work out how to make it happen as quickly as possible.
“The other governments have shied away from these processes and from their obligations under the UN Convention and of course we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Phil Manhire says the new body will need to have an appropriate level of resources and capabilities to make a difference to the level of corruption.
Radio New Zealand International
7) Vanuatu plans to increase bio-mass energy production
Posted at 08:42 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
Vanuatu is to expand its use of bio-mass energy to supplement the production of renewable power from hydro, wind, solar and geothermal sources.
The country already produces some energy from coconut oil.
The main distributor of electricity in Vanuatu, Unelco, has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture for a pilot project to plant tree species for energy production.
The chief executive of Unelco, Yves Maurault, says it will not only help the country reduce its diesel imports but also allow farmers to develop their own energy.
He says the project aims to develop seven species suitable for energy production.
“Maybe not planting one species, but different species. Maybe doing what they call inter cropping – this means you can grow wood for biomass in the middle of the coconut trees or something like that. So it is a very interesting experience, coming in.”
Radio New Zealand International
8) Fiji politician criticises Bainimarama’s G77 leadership
Posted at 08:42 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
A spokesman for the SODELPA party says it is unfortunate that Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, is leading the world’s largest association of developing countries.
Fiji is currently hosting a two day meeting of United Nations G77 + China, a group which aims to promote economic co-operation among developing countries.
But Dr Tupeni Baba says it’s unfortunate that the organisation is being chaired by a non-elected President.
He says it should be chaired by an elected Prime Minister, and not a military ruler.
Dr Baba says he will be sending his protest to the UN Secretary-General.
“Next time we should not allow any leader of the G77 to be a non-elected leader who contravenes the rights and freedoms that is endorsed by the UN.”
Dr Tupeni Baba from Fiji’s SODELPA party.
Radio New Zealand International
9) Fiji unionist defends against criticism from interim government
Updated 7 May 2013, 16:33 AEST
Fiji’s coup installed military government has called the country’s union movement selfish and irresponsible for backing an international campaign aimed at potential tourists.
Tourism minister and attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is quoted in local media as saying the international campaign by trade unions to raise awareness among tourists about the country’s political situation will hurt families who depend on the industry for a living.
But Fiji Trade Union Congress general secretary Felix Anthony tells Bruce Hill that’s not what the campaign is trying to achieve.
Radio Australia approached the Fiji interim government for comment, but they did not respond
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary Felix Anthony
ANTHONY: He has made allegations that we are trying to sabotage the economy and the tourism industry as a whole. This is absolutely untrue. All we in the trade union movement are doing is trying to make people aware of what is actually happening here in Fiji. We believe that people have a right to make informed choices about holidays and where they go, and all we’re doing is telling people what this government has been up to. And I don’t see why the Attorney General is offended by us telling the world what he’s doing.
HILL: But what would you say to say a waitress at a resort near Sigatoka who loses her job because tourists stop coming and the resort has to let a few people go, and she comes to you and says this is your fault, this is the trade unions, because of you and this campaign which you are supporting, I’ve lost my job?
ANTHONY: I think we need to understand a couple of things here, first is that this campaign is to make this government understand that workers rights and trade union rights are human rights. They need to do the right thing. Because they’re not doing the right thing we need to raise this awareness at every opportunity that we get. Secondly all we are seeking is the restoration of workers rights, so workers in Fiji understand what this campaign is about and will not be swayed by the allegations and claims that are being made that people will lose their jobs. I think we need to be very clear that we’re not telling anyone not to come to Fiji. All we’re saying is that please be aware of the situation on the ground here in Fiji. That’s all we’re doing, and if what this government is doing is all that bad, then it should take responsibility and not blame the trade unions for telling people what they’re doing.
HILL: Well what is it that the interim government is doing to unions that’s so bad, I mean no one’s being dragged off to jail, unionists aren’t just picked up off the streets and chucked in jail for no reason? So what really is it that the government is doing that you say is so wrong when it comes to trade unions?
ANTHONY: Well we have a number of decrees as you know that have been imposed by this government and this includes the Administration of Justice decree and their amendments, which actually disenfranchises all civil servants of any collective bargaining, freedom of association or any access to the dispute settling machinery under the law. It imposes arbitrarily a retirement age and of course terms and conditions of employment of civil servants have been altered and are inferior to what it used to be. And this includes the imposition of individual contracts in many areas of the civil service.
HILL: Well that’s happening in a lot of countries, people are moving away from mass union memberships towards individual contracts. Is it so different in Fiji to other countries?
ANTHONY: It is different when you impose laws of this nature. We will totally respect workers individual choices, but if you impose these laws and disallow collective bargaining, then that becomes very different.
HILL: Yeah but this doesn’t exactly sound like North Korea or Zimbabwe or Sudan or something?
ANTHONY: Well do we want to wait until we get there? That’s the big question and the answer is no to that. If these are violations of workers rights and trade union rights, we must act on that. And we must ensure that these rights are restored. Quite apart from that we also have this more latest decrees that actually disallow trade unionists and trade union employees from participating in any form of political activity, including even declaring support for political parties. Again, a violation of freedom of association. And this is attempting to ingrain in the constitution of the country and also including in that is the retirement age. I mean which constitution in the world would want to deal with retirement age or participation of trade unions in the political life of the country, except for Fiji. So in this respect I think we’ve gone beyond Zimbabwe.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/
10) Tahoeraa Huiraatira Wins French Polynesia Elections
Gaston Flosse’s party unofficially secures absolute majority
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 6, 2013) – The Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse has completed its victory in French Polynesia’s run-off election to choose a new 57-member territorial assembly.
It has emerged the clear winner in unofficial results after yesterday’s second round of voting, beating the Oscar Temaru-led Union of Democracy which had been in government.
It won more than 45 percent of the votes, beating the Union of Democracy, which won less than 30 percent.
The newly formed A Tia Porinetia of Teva Rohfritsch has come third, winning just over 25 percent of the vote.
The Tahoeraa has won the 19 bonus seats under French Polynesia’s new electoral system, allowing it to secure an absolute majority.
It has 38 seats, the Union for Democracy 11 and A Tia Porinetia eight.
Following a big loss in the previous elections in 2008, it’s a stunning comeback for the Tahoeraa as well as for Mr. Flosse personally after being shunned for years by the French elite.
The new assembly is due to elect its president next week and then proceed to choose a president who will have until early June to present a government for a five-year term.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
11) Little being done to improve ‘human wrongs’ in Pacific, rights campaigner says
Updated 7 May 2013, 14:49 AEST
It’s not so much human rights in the Pacific but “human wrongs” and women and girls are always at the receiving end, long-time campaigner Graham Leung says.
He’s a human rights campaigner from the Secretariat of Pacific Community as outlined to a Human Rights conference in Auckland.
He says domestic violence, rape, rape in marriage, rape of children or incest and child and spousal abuse are linked to gender inequality and customary notions of women and children.
Leung’s catalogue of of human wrongs continue with human rights violations of many kinds occurring on a daily basis.
Prison conditions are appalling. There’s unreasonable use of force and in some cases, torture by the police, military and other uniformed officers. There are also major ‘rule of law’ and democracy challenges.
Presenter: Campbell Cooney
Speaker: Graham Leung, Secretariat of Pacific Community
12) Planti tausan pipol i bungim heve long Wara Sepik
Updated 7 May 2013, 16:40 AEST
Wara Sepik long Papua New Guinea i pulap oa flad na planti tausan pipol i bungim heve longen.
Wara Sepik i pulap na kosim heve (Credit: ABC Licensed)
Odio: NBC niusmeri Ruth Maino i toktok
Samting olsem 11,500 pipol long Sepik Plains long Papua New Guinea East Sepik provins nau i bungim bikpla hangre bihaenim ol bikpla hai wara oa flad.
Ol despla hai wara i ibin stat iet long mun December ikam inap nau long wanem planti ren ibin pudaun long dispela taim.
Laen blong international aid agency Oxfam itok despla flad iwok long bagarapim stret sidaon na laif blong ol pipal long Sepik wara.
Ruth Maino, redio brodkasta blong NBC Radio East Sepik ibin go lukluk long Sepik wara na i tok mak blong wara i stap antap yet, tasol em ibin kam daun liklik nau.
Ms Maino ibin toktok wantaim ol pipol long peles husat itok wara i bagarapim gaden kaikai blong ol na oli stap hagare.
Sampela ripot itoks evenpla pipal idai pinis stat long taem ol despla floods ibin stat long pinis blong 2012.
13) Le G77 renouvelle ses énergies à Fidji
Mis à jour 7 May 2013, 15:22 AEST
20 personnalités éminentes, des universitaires, des diplomates et des politiques, sont arrivées ce matin. Les énergies renouvelables sont au centre des discussions aujourd’hui.
Poignée de mains entre les Ministres fidjien (Ratu Kubuabola) et algérien (M. Medelci) des Affaires étrangères le 28 octobre 2012, quand la présidence tournante du G77 pour 2013 est passée de l’Algérie à Fidji.
Fidji est le premier pays du Pacifique à prendre la présidence tournante du G77 pendant toute l’année 2013. Le G77, créé en 1964 et qui compte en réalité aujourd’hui 132 États-membres, tous des pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et d’Asie-Pacifique, car la finalité du G77 est de promouvoir la coopération sud-sud, qu’il s’agisse par exemple de transfert de technologies ou de la réduction des émissions de CO2.
Dans les pays du Pacifique en moyenne, 10% du PNB est consacré à l’importation d’énergies fossiles, pour les transports et la production d’électricité. Cela représente un coût exorbitant et le seul moyen de le faire baisser, c’est de passer aux énergies renouvelables, hydraulique, éolienne, solaire, estime Vince Henderson. Il est l’ambassadeur et représentant permanent de la République dominicaine auprès de l’ONU et il préside le comité sur la sécurité énergétique du G77:
«Les pays du Pacifique n’émettent que 0.03% des gaz à effet de serre dans le monde. Donc ce n’est pas parce que ce sont de gros pollueurs qu’ils devraient passer aux énergies renouvelables, c’est avant tout pour faire des économies et importer moins d’énergies fossiles, mais aussi pour montrer leur capacité à donner l’exemple et leur capacité de leadership. Ils doivent montrer que le passage aux énergies renouvelables est possible.»
Mais les situations sont diverses selon les pays du Pacifique et leur force de frappe économique. Certains sont plus ou moins avancés.
«Fidji produit 60% de son électricité à partie d’énergies renouvelables, principalement l’énergie hydraulique. Et le gouvernement s’est lancé récemment dans la construction d’une nouvelle centrale hydroélectrique d’une capacité de 50 mégawatts. Fidji fait mieux que la plupart des autres pays du Pacifique, qui n’ont pas nécessairement les mêmes moyens financiers pour passer aux énergies renouvelables. Mais par exemple le Vanuatu a un gros potentiel pour développer l’énergie éolienne. Investir là-dedans, permettrait vraiment d’alléger le budget d’importation d’énergies fossiles et ce permettrait même d’étendre l’accès à l’électricité y compris aux zones très isolées, pour les familles rurales.»
Lors de la Conférence sur le climat à Cancun en 2010, l’accord final contenait un rappel aux pays les plus industrialisés qu’ils se sont engagés à Copenhague à verser, collectivement, 30 milliards de dollars aux pays les moins avancés d’ici… 2012, pour les aider à diminuer leurs émissions au profit d’alternatives moins polluantes et développer l’adaptation à un réchauffement moyen de 2°C. Mais ces promesses n’ont pas toujours été tenues, loin s’en faut.
«Un certain nombre d’engagements ont été pris au Sommet de Cancun, puis à celui de Duban, et Doha. Le Danemark a promis 50 millions de dollars américains pour le développement des énergies renouvelables dans les petits pays. Il a tenu sa promesse. Idem pour le Japon, qui a donné 15 millions. Mais globalement, les pays riches apportent peu de soutien aux petits pays. Mais le gouvernement norvégien, par exemple, a lui promis 250 millions de dollars il y a deux ans pour développer les énergies renouvelables dans les pays en développement. Et enfin il y a aussi l’agenda du Secrétariat général de l’initiative de l’ONU baptisée « Energie durable pour tous » d’ici 2030 qui contient de grandes promesses.»
Vince Henderson, l’ambassadeur de la République dominicaine auprès de l’ONU, répondait à Geraldine Coutts sur Radio Australie.
L’initiative « Énergie durable pour tous » est un partenariat composé de multiples parties prenantes auquel participent 70 États, mais aussi le secteur privé et la société civile. Lancée par le Secrétaire général en 2011, l’initiative vise à atteindre trois objectifs interdépendants à l’horizon 2030 : assurer un accès universel aux services énergétiques modernes ; doubler la part des énergies renouvelables dans l’approvisionnement énergétique mondial ; multiplier par deux le taux mondial d’efficacité énergétique.
14) Australie: la «mafia catholique» sur la sellette
Mis à jour 7 May 2013, 15:13 AEST
L’expression est de Troy Grant, un ancien policier de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, l’État de Sydney. Il affirme que la police a couvert des prêtres pédophiles.
C’est l’inspecteur Peter Fox, de la police de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, qui a révélé le scandale.
Troy Grant a quitté la police et s’est fait élire député de Dubbo pour le Parti National, un parti conservateur. Il témoignera aujourd’hui devant la Commission Royale d’Enquête sur les manœuvres de la police de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud pour couvrir les prêtres accusés de pédophilie. La «mafia catholique», selon Troy Grant, c’est la police de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, et non les prêtres eux-mêmes.
La Commission Royale d’Enquête pourrait recevoir près de 100 000 plaintes de présumées victimes de prêtres catholiques pédophiles. En novembre dernier, ce sont les révélations de l’inspecteur Peter Fox qui ont tout déclenché. Il a témoigné hier, expliquant aux six juges de la Commission comment son bureau avait été fouillé par deux de ses supérieurs de la police de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, alors qu’il enquêtait sur des centaines de plaintes de victimes d’abus sexuel par des prêtres. Son supérieur direct a finalement exigé que l’inspecteur lui remette tout le dossier. Quand Peter Fox lui a demandé l’assurance que l’enquête se poursuivrait, le supérieur lui a répondu que ce serait une enquête courte et minimale.
Peter Gogarty a été violé pendant des années par le défunt prêtre catholique Jim Fletcher. Il se rend tous les jours aux audiences de la Commission Royale d’Enquête et se dit heureux de savoir que la Commission va entendre toutes les victimes:
«Leurs souffrances vont enfin être reconnues. Pour moi et pour beaucoup de gens, le plus important c’est que plus aucun enfant n’ait à subir ce que nous avons subi. L’idée que ces abus puissent continuer m’est extrêmement pénible. Et le fait qu’une institution, la police, ait laissé faire et couvert ces crimes, c’est épouvantable.»
Devant l’ampleur du scandale, la Commission Royale d’Enquête aura du mal à terminer ses travaux avant la fin 2015 comme cela était initialement prévu. Selon l’un des principaux avocats des victimes, maître Peter Kelso, l’Eglise catholique australienne devra vendre une partie de ses terres et bâtiments pour verser des dommages et intérêts aux dizaines de milliers de victimes. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/
15) Pentagon accuses China over cyber-espionage
Updated 7 May 2013, 13:34 AEST
A Pentagon report says China has engaged in widespread cyber-espionage in a bid to extract information about the US Government’s foreign policy and military plans.
In its 83-page annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments, the Pentagon said China’s cyber snooping was a “serious concern” that pointed to an even greater threat because the “skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks”.
“The US government continued to be targeted for (cyber) intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” it said.
The report says the main purpose of the hacking was to gain information to benefit defence industries, military planners and government leaders.
“China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the US diplomatic, economic, and defence industrial base sectors that support US national defence programs,” it said.
“In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.”
The report marked the most explicit statement yet from the United States that it believes China’s cyber spying is focused on the US government, as well as American corporations.
Although President Barack Obama’s administration has demanded China stop widespread cyber theft, officials have tended to focus their public comments on the hacking of private business networks and not US government agencies.
The information targeted by the cyber spying could possibly benefit China’s arms and technology sectors, as well policymakers interested in US leaders’ thinking on China-related issues, the report said.
The cyber spying could assist Chinese military planners in “building a picture of US network defence networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis,” it said.
US officials have grown alarmed over what they call increasingly brazen hacking from China that has penetrated defence contractors including Lockheed Martin and a host of other organizations and agencies.
The digital espionage was part of a broader industrial espionage effort that seeks to secure military-related US and Western technology, allowing Beijing to scale back its reliance on foreign arms manufacturers.
“China continues to leverage foreign investments, commercial joint ventures, academic exchanges, the experience of repatriated Chinese students and researchers, and state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage to increase the level of technologies and expertise available to support military research, development, and acquisition,” the report said.
Apart from describing the Chinese military’s focus on cyber warfare, the Pentagon report portrayed a steady build-up of Beijing’s armed forces, with investments in anti-ship missiles, space satellites, a new aircraft carrier and stealth fighter jets.
China in March announced a 10.7 percent increase in its annual defence spending, with a budget of $114 billion.
But the report estimated China’s total military spending for 2012 was much higher, between $135 billion and $215 billion.
David Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia, says although China’s top strategic concern remained Taiwan, its “military modernisation has begun to focus to an increasing extent on capabilities and mission sets that extend beyond immediate territorial concerns”.
The report said much of China’s investments are concentrated on missiles and other weaponry to attack “military forces that might deploy or operate within the western Pacific,” where Beijing stakes territorial claim to an arc of disputed islands.
The Pentagon has been particularly concerned about the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, as well as air defences and other weapons that could hit destroyers or aircraft carriers from a long distance.
“Obviously, something that can hold at risk large surface ships, including aircraft carriers, is something we pay attention to,” Mr Helvey said.
But the report stressed “positive momentum” in military relations between the United States and China, citing more high-level contacts and a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden last year.
16) Pacific media ombudsman to act as backstop to existing self-regulation
Posted at 03:13 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
An independent regional body to regulate the media is intended to act as a backstop to existing journalism associations that address ethics and other issues of public interest.
Pacific Media organisations gathered in Solomon Islands last week for World Press Freedom Day resolved to establish a Pacific Media Ombudsman by the same day next year.
The Pacific Freedom Forum’s co-ordinator, Jason Brown, says over the next six months approaches will be made to donors for set-up funding and to governments for their support.
He says previous attempts to operate media councils at a national level have failed.
“I know we tried very hard in the Cook Islands to set up a media council and did succeed in getting people onto it but it was actively sabotaged by the government of the day a few years back. By raising it to the regional level we hope to get away from that level of state interference.”
Jason Brown says so far the Pacific Media Ombudsman initiative has received support from the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
Radio New Zealand International
17) Train journos: Post Courier Editor
By Online Editor
4:42 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s journalism schools are in urgent need of funding and resources from the O’Neill Government and donors to halt the drop in standards.
Post-Courier editor Alexander Rheeney, who spoke on behalf of the PNG media industry at the World Media Freedom Day celebrations last Friday, said media organisations were employing graduates who lacked the foundation in basic journalism skills.
“A lot of graduates that we are getting out of journalism schools are actually not up to the quality that we would expect to get into the newsrooms. It is only my fifth month on the job as the editor of the Post-Courier and we are really struggling with the quality of the copy that our journalists are putting out.
It actually shows the training and academic tutoring they are getting at the university level is deteriorating,” he told guests and students at the University of PNG as part of celebrations to coincide with the World Media Freedom Day organised by the PNG Media Council.
“How can we be able to address the dropping standards in journalism in Papua New Guinea? I think one of the ways we can be able to do that is to work in partnership.
How can we be able to channel – not only government funding but donor funding – into critical areas in journalism training?”
The inability of the University of PNG’s journalism strand as well as the Divine Word University to recruit quality academics was highlighted as a problem, which Rheeney said could be tackled if donors and the Government channelled funding directly to the various university-run programs.
“I would like to appeal to the O’Neill Government to sit down with organisations such as the Media Council and professionals such as ourselves on how we can be able to come up with an amicable solution to addressing this.”
UPNG journalism student representative Ursula Jane- Bogg later told the gathering that the campus radio, which students use as part of their training program, has been off-air in recent years and needed funding and resources to get back on-air.
“How can we talk about media freedom and its intentions if we don’t have the basic equipment to train students? Our broadcast studio – Campus FM – has been idle for years now.
We struggle to produce Unitavur (journalism students’ newspaper) because we lack proper facilities,” she added.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
18) Vanuatu Journalist Arrested For Comments Made Online
Allegedly wished aircraft carrying officials would crash
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 6, 2013) – Vanuatu police say that a local journalist has been arrested for publishing a seditious statement about the government on the internet.
Gratien Tiona was arrested this morning over his comment on a popular Facebook forum that he was praying that the aircraft transporting the Council of Ministers back to Port Vila following its meeting in Torba would crash.
George Twomey, who heads the criminal investigation division, says the arrest was made following a complaint laid by the Prime Minister Moana Carcasses.
Chief inspector Twomey says Gratien Tiona’s statement was considered unlawful and a threat to the peace.
“And we’re dealing with the case as a serious issue. The Prime Minister wouldn’t accept that kind of statement. He says it’s alright to talk about the government on pretty well anything but if it’s a threat then it becomes a serious issue, and he’s very concerned about it.”
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
By Online Editor
1:55 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, Fiji
A group of landowners from Papua New Guinea are expected in the country soon to meet and finalize details with the Fiji government on the recruitment of locals to work in a Chromite mine in Madang.
Mary Kate’s Travel Limited and Recruitment Agency recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the landowners in Papua New Guinea.
Manager Mere Vakaliliwa told FBC News, she’s finalizing details with the Labour Ministry to ensure the recruitment of locals are in line with government’s policies.
“We had a meeting with the Minister for Labour last week. They’re so happy with that and what he (Minister) said to us is that they will support whatever we’ve been doing so he’s (Minister) waiting for the landowner to come and we will sit together and go from there”.
According to Vakaliliwa the landowners want experienced and certified personnel in mining, office executives and security guards.
The Agency was part of the government trade mission to PNG last month.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
20) Hindu forum looks to the Pacific region
By Online Editor
4:04 pm GMT+12, 06/05/2013, Fiji
The Pacific was highlighted as an area with lucrative trade and investment market opportunities at the World Hindu Economic Forum held in Nadi.
Speaking to about 100 local and international participants at the congress, Ba businessman Jay Dayal said while trade and investment opportunities were many, they also came with challenges.
“The Pacific region is one of the most lucrative markets in the world but it doesn’t come without economic challenges,” Dayal said.
“We believe that we can overcome these challenges with the available resources within the forum.”
He added that any investment or trade with the Pacific from India had to ensure positive spin-offs for the resident country.
He said at the moment they would focus on the structure of the party and also open branches.
He said they would also appoint their youth and women representatives in a meeting next month.
Top positions in the management board and the national executive committee would also be filled.
Fiji’s Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem earlier confirmed the registered parties were able to operate, function, represent and hold themselves out to be political parties.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
21) 10 new midwives graduate
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
TEN students graduated in the postgraduate diploma in midwifery program from the TISI Sangam School of Nursing in Labasa yesterday.
This is the second batch of students to graduate from the program since its inception at the school in 2010.
Chief guest and AusAID’s counsellor development co-operation for Fiji and Tuvalu, Joanne Choe, said midwives played an essential role in any health care system.
“Being a midwife is a very important health profession that provides a valuable service to expectant mothers,” Ms Choe said.
“The graduates today will play a key role in helping hundreds of new lives enter our world safely here in Fiji.
“The work you have ahead of you will undeniably make a huge difference to the lives of your health sisters here. On behalf of AusAID, I would like to thank you for giving up your time to take on this momentous task.
“While the road ahead of you will not always be smooth, know that the time and energy you are sacrificing will go unnoticed.
“Don’t forget how important your roles will be in assisting towards reducing the number of mothers and their unborn children from dying. In years to come, you will be able to stand confidently and say that you are able to save lives.”
The graduation ceremony held at the Friendly North Inn was witnessed by about 100 people.
Meanwhile, Vani Marama took the top award in the postgraduate diploma in midwifery program.
She was among 10 students who graduated from the one-year program and will practise midwifery in their various postings.
Mrs Marama thanked her family, colleagues and lecturers for their support.
The graduates were also involved in rural outreach programs.http://www.fijitimes.com/
22) Samoa Health Authorities Focus On Men’s Sexual Health
Authorities to conduct screenings for STIs, HIV/AIDs
By Alan Ah Mu
APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 6, 2013) – Under the theme “Men’s Health Is Wealth,” Samoa’s Health Ministry today launched a nationwide screening of men aged 18 and over at Samoa Tourism Authority fale at Mulivai, Apia.
“It’s the first of its kind,” said Aaone Tanumafili, Principal National HIV/AIDS Capacity Support Officer.
Whilst it’s a general checkup, Health is keen to see what the results throw up as to incidents of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.
Data taken from pregnant women in 2005 revealed high incidences of STIs which alarmed the Ministry, especially when a follow up study done 2008 showed increases.
Infections cannot occur unless through sex with a partner so it is assumed incidences of such STIs in women would be the same amongst men.
No screening of men for STIs has been carried out before, said Ms. Tanumafili.
With funds from Secretariat of Pacific Community/Response Funds for STIs & HIV it became possible.
The town start of the screening effort aims at “the working men population,” said Ms. Tanumafili.
Males are reluctant to undergo medical checkups and also face time constraints from work, she said.
Members of Parliament were amongst the first men to take up the call for checkups, with four known to have done so this morning.
Checkups are offered for free until Wednesday.
In this month, though the dates have yet to be pinpointed, screening will shift to district health centers in Upolu Island at Lalomanu, Poutasi and Leulumoega – then move to Savai’i Island to the centers at Foailalo, Safotu and Sataua.
Although Samoa is considered as a low prevalence country, however the dramatic increase of STIs in this reporting period is very significant to note. If this goes on untreated and unprevented, Samoa would most likely have a HIV/AIDS explosion in the near future.
It is feared that because of the “dramatic increase of STIs” there are implications for HIV/AIDS infection, namely a likely explosion in HIV in the near future unless the capacity to prevent them is strengthened.
That is contained in a progress report compiled by Ministry of Health for the January 2010 – December 2011 period on the status of the AIDS situation in Samoa.
For now Samoa is a “low HIV prevalence country” with a total 22 victims since the first known case was recorded in 1990, the report says.
But there is cause for alarm because of the prospect for HIV spreading if other sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase.
Says the report:
“The high presence and dramatically increasing rates of Chlamydia and its subsequent implications for the spread of HIV/AIDS is alarming, and highlights the need to improve STI diagnosis and treatment to strengthen surveillance of sexual behavior of the Samoan population.
“In particular, the high and rising prevalence rate of Chlamydia, (27.5% recorded in the 2008 according to the SGS report, 32.6%, and 31.3% recorded for all tests at the NHS (National Health Services) Laboratory for 2010 and 2011 respectively), a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is endemic among pregnant women and their partners, is of major concern.
“Other survey findings further exacerbate this condition increasing the likelihood of new HIV infections, summarized below:
- Condom use is very low (< 15%)
- Low literacy about HIV transmission among youth (59%) is a factor for high vulnerability among the general population for HIV transmission
- Most people presenting with STIs go to private practitioners which if not recorded nationally could greatly affect the known number of PLWHA in Samoa
- Increasing incidence of teenage pregnancy
- High prevalence of specific STIs among antenatal mothers (supposedly a ‘low risk’ population)
- Highly mobile populations including seafarers and police engaged in UN operations
- Unprecedented number of night clubs and associated alcohol abuse
- Low access to prevention and information, education & communication (IEC) materials”
LAW & ORDER:
23) Fiji human trafficking probe draws transnational crime-stoppers’ attention
Posted at 08:42 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
An ongoing investigation into human trafficking in Fiji has drawn the attention of a transnational law enforcement group.
The Pacific Transnational Crime Network, which is made up of police, customs and immigration officers, is concerned about the movement of criminals across the Pacific, particularly in the area of human trafficking and sex trade.
Fiji police say they are still following a group of 20 people, including Chinese businessmen, allegedly involved in the sale of girls for sex.
The Acting Commissioner and the Melanesian representative of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network Arthur Caulton, says he is monitoring the regional matter and hopes for more assistance.
“We understand that there’s a lot of people trafficking in Fiji and we appreciate the actions taken by the Fiji police at the moment and we would look forward to more assistance through other parts of the region with regarding people smuggling in Fiji.”
The Acting Commissioner of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network Arthur Caulton.
Radio New Zealand International
24) More than 7000 teachers suspended
Give us our share of funds, says WNB governor
By TODAGIA KELOLA in Kimbe
A governor of a province that contributes immensely to the national coffers each year has appealed to the national government to be fair when considering requests from provinces for financial assistance.
West New Britain Governor Sasindra Muthuvel says his province is one of the largest contributors to the national coffers through agriculture, forestry, marine resources and other financial contributions but their requests to the national government especially for roads have always fallen on deaf ears.
“It is a sad thing for us to hear and see on the daily media that the government is attending to calls from the mineral and petroleum areas, while little or no prominence is given to an agriculture province like West New Britain,” Governor Muthuvel said.
He made his appeal yesterday to the Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Charles Abel who was in his province to launch West New Britain Integrated Provincial Development Plan and the Electronic Identification System Awareness Program for the New Guinea Islands region.
Governor Muthuvel said he acknowledged that minerals and petroleum resources will propel the nation to a new level, but agriculture will remain the mainstay for PNG and the government should give equal priority to the primary sector as it does oil, gas and mineral sectors.
“Minerals and petroleum resources will finish one day but agriculture will continue. Therefore the government should redirect its focus on a long term strategy and not to give prominence to only mineral and petroleum producing provinces,” he said.
Minister Abal agreed with governor Muthuvel and said every national budget has been factored on gas, oil and gold projects and not on agriculture.
“Every government has sacrificed its budget in following the gas and gold projects. That’s ok but we must understand that we have not gained any one toea from this project as yet, but we’ve been sacrificing a lot from our national budget. We have to be fair and understand that gas will come, but when it comes prices of our agriculture products will go down so we have to be prepared.”
He also praised Governor Muthuvel and his administration for putting this five year plan. He said his department will assisto ensure development projects contained in the plan are realised.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/
25) Solomons Government Pays Out UPNG Student Fees
Students acknowledge ‘firm commitment’ to settling issue
By Charley Piringi
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 6, 2013) – Solomon Islands government-funded students studying at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Waigani campus, Papua New Guinea (PNG) have applauded the government for stepping in to sort out their tuition problem.
The Solomon Islands Students Association’s (SISA) president, Jack To’ofil on behalf of the students commended the Solomon Islands government (SIG) for its response to settle their registration fees.
Speaking on behalf of the students at Waigani and Taurama campus, he said as of Friday last week, Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG William Haomae has assured the UPNG vice chancellor thatpayments have been raised on Friday from Honiara to Port Moresby and will be ready by Monday (today).
“Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG Mr. William Haomae have met and assured the UPNG vice chancellor, that payments have been transferred from Honiara to Port Moresby on Friday and will be available by Monday” (today).
Mr. To’ofil said the sponsored students sincerely commended the government for its continuous commitment in fulfilling its obligation.
“We acknowledged our government for the firm commitment it has taken in settling our fees last week which was the final dateline given by the university.”
“A government that invests in its human resource is a far-sighted government because today’s investment is tomorrow’s harvest,” he added.
The president said following the assurance the students have now settled down for their studies and he acknowledged them for their patience and professional approach.
“I am also wish to thank our students for their patient and professional approach when we faced the issue. Our students are now settling back with their studies and normal programs.”
Mr. To’ofilu was the SISA president for the last 3 years, UPNG Waigani campus.
CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT:
26) National workshop a big step on traditional knowledge of weather and climate
Posted on May 7, 2013 – 10:33am
This is an advance in providing seasonal forecast to the communities through indicators that people are used to and will help people better understand seasonal forecast and impact decision at their level.
The National workshop on traditional Knowledge of weather and climate hosted at the Lounamua Community, Pele island from April 15-19 by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazard Department (VMGD) in partnership with the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), Vanuatu Kaljarol Senta (VKS), National Disaster Management, SPC-GIZ and Red Cross Vanuatu was a big step towards the collection of traditional indicators and the integration of climate science with traditional knowledge.
The core funding of this project was from Ausaid through the COSPPac project.
Since the Local communities in Vanuatu have a good understanding of traditional knowledge systems for environmental management and coping strategies, they are able to make their own predictions for weather and climate variables based on traditional knowledge that has evolved through observation and experience over a considerable period of time.
The main objectives of the workshop were to bring together a wide range of participants around Vanuatu for collection of traditional indicators of weather and climate, capacity building and training in basic climate data collection and science.
It also aimed to strengthen the relationship between participants and the Department and introduce the concept of merging science and Traditional Knowledge.
The participants of the workshop were VMGD staff and 30 rainfall collectors, 20 hailing from Torres to Aneityum.
Also participating were representatives from various organizations like Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta, represented by Mr Ambong Thompson, Dr Christopher Bartlett from GIZ, Jesse Benjamin from National Advisory Board, Robert Butal from Red Cross Vanuatu, Lloyd Tahani from Solomons Meteo Department and Dr Lynda Chambers and Dr Savin Chand from the Ausaid COSPPac Project.
Part of the responsibilities of the climate section in Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazard Department and as the leading team at this workshop is to oversee regulative and administrative of the management of climate activities in Vanuatu and to provide climate seasonal forecast to safeguard the lives and properties of the general population, investors, NGOs and the government of the Republic of Vanuatu.
This workshop was an effort by the Department to strengthen the existing rainfall network as a means for ensuring that timely information is passed to the last mile and feedback is also brought back to the department.
The outcome of the workshop included collection of provincial weather and climate traditional indicators, participants returning to their respective communities with a greater sense of satisfaction in their skills as rainfall collectors and agents of climate in their area, as well as having a better understanding of the value of traditional knowledge being preserved and used as a climate or weather indicator to effect appropriate action in their own communities.http://www.dailypost.vu/
27) PNG floods at crisis point
By Online Editor
4:46 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, Papua New Guinea
The international aid agency Oxfam says the flooding situation in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik province has now reached crisis point.
Seven people have been confirmed dead and about 11,500 people have been affected by flooding along the Sepik River.
Phillippe Allen, Oxfam Australia’s associate country director for PNG, says although flooding is a regular occurrence, water levels have risen excessively in this wet season.
He’s told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat communities that are normally dry for most of the year have been inundated, damaging water sources and destroying sustainable livelihoods.
“In the last six to twelve months, we’ve seen such a sustained heavy rainfall that the river level has risen about six metres now,” he said.
“[That is] about three times higher than what it normally is.
“If we do see continued rainfall and, perhaps, even a rise of another metre over the next couple of months, we could see thousands more people affected.”
The flood has given rise to fears of a disease outbreak, if hygiene conditions of water sources are not improved.
Communities defecate in the stagnant water around their houses that are also being used for drinking, washing and bathing purposes.
Oxfam says it plans to distribute hygiene kits, kitchen kits and shelter kits, as well as initiate a hygiene promotion campaign.
Another big risk is the lack of shelter for the affected communities, as houses are sinking due to the continuous inundation over the past few months.
Oxfam has also identified a long term need for the relocation of villages to safe high grounds.
“I think there’s certainly a need for the government and the communities affected to talk about possibly the relocation of some of the villages which have been set up very, very close to the water bank,” said Allen.
“Good practice dictates that you should allow for a few metres at least when you are constructing villages.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
28) State of disaster after extended drought in Marshall Islands
Posted at 08:42 on 07 May, 2013 UTC
A state of disaster has now been declared in the Marshall Islands as a prolonged severe drought in the far north islands worsens, putting lives at risk.
The move elevates a state of emergency that has been in place since April the 19th, and comes after some islands have not had any rainfall since November last year.
The chief secretary for the Marshall Islands government says reverse osmosis water machines are providing some drinking water for households but it’s not enough.
Casten Nemra says outside help is starting to come through allowing the government to send more ships with essential supplies such as food and bottled water, but what is needed most is rain.
“Our Cabinet has declared a state of disaster, which basically means we’ve elevated the situation and this is at the point where life is imminent to threat, and we are doing all we can to address and cope with the situation now at hand.”
Casten Nemra says the drought has affected many crops with many people just surviving on coconuts.
Radio New Zealand International
29) Volcanic eruption in Philippines kills 5
Updated 7 May 2013, 19:21 AEST
Shirley Escalante in Manila, wires
Five people have died and several others have been injured after a volcano in the central Philippines erupted unexpectedly on Tuesday.
Disaster management officials say the dead were among a group of 20 foreign tourists climbing Mount Mayon in the central province of Bicol when it erupted.
The victims have been identified as four German tourists and their Filipino tour guide, the NDRRMC said in a statement.
Two helicopters have been sent to the top of the volcano to rescue the surviving tourists.
It is believed the group was about 1.5 kilometres away from the crater when Mayon spewed a thick column of ash 500 metres into the air.
Volcanologists say steam explosions occur regularly and they don’t expect another major eruption following today’s event.
Residents in towns around Mount Mayon said they were surprised by the sudden activity, which came as many were having breakfast.
Mayon, about 330 kilometres southeast of Manila, is the largest of the Philippines’ 22 active volcanoes.
It has erupted 48 times in recorded history. In 1814, more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa.
In December 2009 tens of thousands of villagers were displaced when Mayon spewed ash and lava.
The volcano also erupted in August 2006. There were no direct deaths caused by the explosion, but the following December a passing typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from its slopes that killed 1,000 people.
30) PNG Volleyball names Mini Games teams
By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, Papua New Guinea
The Papua Guinea Beach Volleyball Federation has named its men’s and women’s beach volleyball training squads for the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna in September.
The squads were selected and endorsed by federation’s executive management.
Two players will be selected from each squad.
The men’s squad pairs are: Richard Batari/Ake, Harry Omoa/Billy Anton, Charlie Maino/Damien, Alphonse/Steven, Moha Mea/Manly Kapa and Elijah/Gerea Kila, while the women’s pairs are Leotine Ono/Kemmy Manoni, Cathy Bird/Geno Hapa, Alice Udia/Agnes Ake, Mera Kila/Alice Ito and Hazel Vovote.
Most of the players selected are internationals or former internationals from the competition in Port Moresby.
The coach is Dorothy Eliakim Kivung, with manager John Paliau.
Paliau said a competition was staged at Ela Beach every Sunday sponsored by Jack Paul and his wife from Tatana Village.
He said prize money of K5,000 was being offered to be divided among the top three winners of the women’s and men’s teams.
“This is an open competition and teams are invited to participate and pay K50 to register. Please ensure the teams have uniforms numbered 1 and 2 only,” he said.
A national volleyball camp will be staged in Port Moresby over May 27-30.
Squad members from Kiunga, Lae and Alotau will join the Port Moresby-based players for the camp in the capital city.
It is believed the squad will be using the indoor hall at the Sir John Guise Stadium from 8am- 4pm daily.
After the camp the squad will be trimmed for the Pacific Mini Games.
The squads – indoor and beach – went through a first fitness test last week at the Sir John Guise Stadium indoor complex.
The results were satisfactory but it was felt they could be better. The squad was urged by the PNGSFOC to be better prepared for the next Test on July 12.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
31) Fiji 7s lost cause
By Online Editor
4:58 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, Fiji
A top former Fiji team official feels our Rugby World Cup 7s campaign is already a lost cause.
Former manager Epeli Lagiloa claims our recent downfall boils down to lack of proper planning.
“All this comes down to poor planning on somebody’s part, be it the Fiji Rugby Union or the coach,” Lagiloa said, referring to the Digicel Fiji sevens team’s poor outing at the Glasgow Sevens in Scotland.
Fiji lost to England 12-15 in the cup quarter-finals and USA 7-22 in the plate semi-finals in Scotland yesterday morning in the second last leg of the IRB Sevens World Series 2012/2013.
Lagiloa, not one to mince his words, was straightforward.
“Do we have a system in place?,” he queried.
“Do we have a database on players? Is anyone keeping a tab on them? The world cup is about seven weeks away and our inconsistency stands out like a sore thumb. Do we even have a fair idea as to who we will use in Russia or will we fall back on overseas-based players? There are so many questions.”
Lagiloa said a system with advanced technology, sports science and administration was the way to go and we could no longer rely on our reputation and flair to rule in sevens.
“I would not want to be coach for the world cup for it’s too late,” Lagiloa quipped.
“I have nothing against Dere but the world cup plan should have been drawn up some four to five months ago. I’d rather start preparing for the Olympics and rope in players aged 18 to 20 like what (Gordon) Tietjens is doing.”
Lagiloa pointed out an example of Tomasi Cama Jr and New Zealand.
“He is an outstanding player and would love to play at the Olympics but the system that they (NZRU) have will not allow him to. Having a system in place means they have everything sorted out, from the world series to the world cup and the Olympics.”
FRU High Performance Unit general manager Mike Ryan said things could change this weekend in England.
“We want to do well in all tournaments in which we play,” he said.
“While it would be great to win in London and build a bit of confidence and momentum into the world cup, each tournament is a separate event and as seen before, poor performances or outstanding performances at one do not necessarily follow onto the next.”
Fiji is pooled with England, Argentina and Samoa in Pool C of the London Sevens that starts on Saturday night. New Zealand, despite losing to South Africa 21-28 in the cup final in Scotland, are series winners with 151 points followed by South Africa on 122, Fiji on 108 and Samoa on 99.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
32) Pacific Games could include Australia, NZ
By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, Fiji
There’s a chance Australia and New Zealand could be a part of future Pacific Games.
Following the Oceania National Olympic Committee gathering in Nadi last month, some talks are in the pipeline to consider such changes to the Pacific’s biggest sporting event.
Fiji Athletes Commission chair, Carl Probert says it’s just a suggestion that’s being considered for now.
“There is a working committee that’s going to look at how we might bring Australia and NZ into the Pacific competition. So I think that committee is underway and once they’re ready with their findings they might comment on it formerly.”
In the meantime, plans are underway to allow athletes in every sport around the Pacific, to have a say through athletes commissions to be formed in every country.
“Objectives just to really coordinate and get athletes involved in all parts of sports, have their voices heard and take info up to board and even up to IOC level and to also have information flowing back down to all grassroot athletes, everything from sporting programs, opportunity, selection criteria, everything that affects the athletes.”
The idea of having Australia and New Zealand involved would be to increase the levels of competition in every sport played at the Pacific Games.
The next games will be hosted in Papua New Guinea in 2015 followed by Tonga in 2019.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
33) South Africa major threat to NZ in cup sevens
By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 07/05/2013, United Kingdom
Finding a way to stop a rampant South African side is now the difficult assignment in front of master coach Gordon Tietjens as his New Zealand sevens side eyes next month’s World Cup in Russia.
New Zealand wrapped up their 11th world series crown in 14 years yesterday at the Glasgow tournament.
That was achieved with a 42-10 drubbing of Argentina in the quarterfinals, such was their lead at the top of the points table for a campaign that still has London to run this weekend.
But it’s Moscow and, more importantly, the “Blitzbokke” with their abundance of sheer pace that will be occupying Tietjens’ thoughts now.
New Zealand’s crown was built around consistency – the only team to reach every quarterfinal stage of the eight tournaments to date and going on to contest six finals.
But they only won one event and lost three of the finals to South Africa who are the only country to be multiple winners on an increasingly competitive circuit.
South Africa have all the momentum heading into the World Cup, winning three of the last four events, in Las Vegas, Tokyo and now Glasgow with their 28-21 win over New Zealand.
The one-off nature of the World Cup is a completely different environment and will be a taste of the pressures to come at the sport’s Olympics debut at Rio in 2016.
The World Cup has rarely been a happy hunting ground for New Zealand teams. They have won just one of the five, in 2001 when Jonah Lomu starred.
New Zealand finished seventh in 1993, third in 1997, second in 2005 and fifth at the last cup in 2009 when the unpredictable nature of these tournaments threw up Wales as champions.
Tietjens made it clear that it’s one down, one to go for 2013: “We set two targets at the beginning of the season – to win the World Series and the World Cup.”
He said injuries had meant he had now built the depth required to be consistent on the world circuit and the building blocks were in place for the long-term future.
“We’ve got about four or five youngsters that will probably become the core of this team in years to come as long as they remain in the game of sevens,” he said, referring to the likes of Gillies Kaka, Sam Dixon, Rocky Khan, Ben Lam, Trinity Spooner-Neera and Belgium Tuatagaloa.
But the short-term goal of reining in South Africa is their challenge.
“We played pretty well at times in the [Glasgow] final, certainly a lot better than when we last played them in Japan. We made some mistakes at crucial times . . . I guess a team like South Africa will punish you for it.”
The ability to bolster his squad with the experience of captain DJ Forbes, Toby Arnold and David Raikuna, who missed the Glasgow tournament, will be heartening.
South African coach Paul Treu feels his side is just peaking as the World Cup looms.
“I think looking back at the season we had our highs and our lows. We had some bad moments, but those bad moments were needed to make up for our results towards the end of the season.”.
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS