Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 849

MELANESIA:

1) Amnesty International speaks out after Papuans killed

Posted at 01:54 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

Amnesty International says the people of Papua in Indonesia must be allowed to express their views without harassment, threats or the fear of criminalisation.

The comments come after 3 deaths following rallies on May the 1st, marking the day that Indonesia controversially took control of the former Dutch colony.

Amnesty also says at least 22 people have been detained since the rallies.

The agency says it is does not take a position on the political status of Papua or any other province of Indonesia, but says Papuans should be free to peacefully express their views.

It says there should be a prompt, independent investigation into allegations that the unnecessary use of firearms by the security forces resulted in the 3 deaths and injuries to at least 7 others.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Rainbow Warrior in Papua to highlight bio-diversity

Posted at 03:29 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

The Rainbow Warrior, the campaigning vessel for the environmental NGO, Greenpeace, is in Papua in Indonesia, to highlight the country’s biodiversity.

The Jakarta Post reports that the iconic vessel got a warm welcome when it docked in Jayapura, the provincial capital.

Its skipper, Peter Willcox, says Indonesia has globally important biodiversity but deforestation and marine destruction is threatening its sustainability.

He says all industrial players, especially Freeport in Papua, should stop harmful extractive practices and move toward a sustainable business for the sake of the country’s people, environment and economy.

Radio New Zealand International

3) MMF disagrees with Guadalcanal premier

FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2013 04:18

PRESSURE group Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) has slammed comments made by the premier of Guadalcanal Stephen Panga on the leaking of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

MMF president Charles Dausabea said the premier comments on the leaking of the report was baseless.

Mr Panga recently condemned the leaking of the report and stated that there needs to be reconciliations conducted before the TRC report is released.

Mr Dausabea said meaningful reconciliation must happen after the report is made public.

“We are dealing with unhealed wounds. Any reconciliation must happen between the very people directly affected by the conflict.

“We do not need reconciliations between top echelons such as premiers. That doesn’t mean anything to the real victims.

“Besides, there is no provision in the TRC Act that said premiers have to reconcile before the report is released.”

The MMF president said the matter reconciliations must be approached bottom-up.

He said added that people directly affected by the report must take it with honest hearts.

“That we must leave the past be the past.”

General Secretary of the group Charles Ashley urged people to understand that the report was meant to reveal the truth that people should accept in order to forgive and forget.”

“For now, the law is there and if anyone takes outside of law, they can be punished but the Government must know that they will be responsible for any repercussions if they do not deal with the matter head on immediately.”

By Ednal Palmer – http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

4)MMF blames Aust

SATURDAY, 11 MAY 2013 04:13
PRESSURE group Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) has warned members of the police force and the public to not bark at the wrong tree.

President Charles Dausabea claimed the instability of the top police post (Police Commissioner) is orchestrated by Australia.

“They are watching behind the scene. It would make them happy if members of the Senior and Subordinate Police Officers Association (SPOA), and the public continue to divide over the issue,” Mr Dausabea claimed.

With the support of his General Secretary Charles Ashley, the president said they have documents to prove Australia is lobbying to have an Australian to lead the force.

“Therefore, our plea to SPOA and the public is to remain united and asked that someone reliable other than from Australia is appointed.

“If the prison and public service commission appoints a local, makesure he/she is not someone that can be easily influenced.

“Otherwise, we support the idea to look to Fiji, Papua New Guinea or England.

“We gathered from the past three police commissioners from England, Frank Short, William Morrell and John Lansley that during their term, Australia refuse to render support force them especially when it comes to important aspects such as logistics and etc.

“Another interesting thing we observed when an Australian was appointed commissioner, Australia devoted their support.

“Even during his interview for the post, the then Australian High Commissioner was at the interview table with a selected panel that no other people were supposed to join.”

Mr Dausabea said there were things Shane Castle did to manipulate the force, that they have in their records.

General Secretary Charles Ashley claimed there were a lot of documents to prove these activities that Australia through RAMSI is sheltering under the immunity they enjoy.

“We need to protect our sovereignty. That we must never be used or manipulated.

“Anyone for the top job must not be an easy touch or someone that can easily be dictated from Canberra.”

The two MMF executive members claimed that the none- renewal of Mr Lansley’s contract is the work of outside influence.

“Therefore, let’s be clear and stop barking the wrong tree. We urge the force to remain united and demand that someone neutral that has a heart for this country should lead the force.”

When comments were sought from the Australia High Commissioner in response to those MMF claims, Matt Anderson said the appointment is a matter for the Government of Solomon Islands.

“Australia’s long-held position on the appointment of the Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has been that it is matter entirely for the Government of Solomon Islands.”

By Ednal Palmer – http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

5a) Sacked Vanuatu Finance Minister feels betrayed by PM

Posted at 22:08 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Moana Carcasses has sacked the Finance Minister Willie Jimmy amid reports the veteran politician was in talks with the opposition about a possible defection.

Mr Jimmy, who is the leader of the Vanuatu Liberal Party, is to be replaced as Finance Minister by Maki Simelum of the Vanua’aku Pati, who had been Justice Minister.

The Justice portfolio is to be taken up by Silas Yatan, who belongs to the Prime Minister’s Greens Party.

Mr Jimmy says he had had no intention of leaving the government coalition but his sacking has changed his view.

“We have been a friend for a long time with Mr Carcasses since back in 1983, I have been a very good friend to Mr Carcasses since then, and I never dreamed he was going to listen to others and betray me as he did today, so his action today poses a great question on our future relationship with Mr Carcasses.”

Vanuatu’s former Finance Minister Willie Jimmy.

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

5b)Incoming Tahiti government promises unemployment benefits

Posted at 17:23 on 12 May, 2013 UTC

The incoming French Polynesian government says it will give money to the unemployed as promised in the lead-up to the territorial election.

The territory has had no unemployment benefits, with joblessness running at an estimated 30 percent.

Walter Zweifel reports.

“The leader of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party and likely the president by the end of this week, Gaston Flosse, says those without work in the age group 18 to 30 will get 870 US dollars a month. And he says those above 30 will be given just under 1,100 dollars a month. Making the announcement on Tahiti Nui TV, he says to put the scheme in place and to help the most deprived, big business will be taxed. Mr Flosse’s party won the biggest election victory in its history, securing double the number of seats of the opposition parties combined.”

Radio New Zealand International

5c)Tonga proposed labour law to introduce fundamental rights for workplace

Posted at 17:23 on 12 May, 2013 UTC

Tonga’s Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour says the proposed Employment Relations Bill is aimed at introducing fundamental rights and principles into the workplace.

The government last revisited the issue in 2006, but currently no employment relations legislation exists in Tonga.

The Ministry’s chief executive, Tatafu Moeaki, says the draft bill outlines employee and employer entitlements and gives provisions for equal employment opportunities.

Mr Moeaki says employer representatives have strongly objected to the additional cost to businesses, but the government is willing to be flexible.

“Most of the provisions are good governance provisions. I think the concern from the businesses is the cost implication to their business. The government is committed to work with businesses to ensure there is a pro-growth bill, rather than a bill to suffocate businesses. The important aspect, the government as a responsible government, it must put in place or legislate these fundamental rights and principles.”

Tatafu Moeaki says the ministry views the absence of labour legislation as a continuing failure of government.

Radio New Zealand International

AUSTRELIA:


6) Australia and PNG agree to broaden diplomatic ties

Posted at 22:08 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

Australia has agreed to help Papua New Guinea improve its policing, as both nations move to broaden their diplomatic ties.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her PNG counterpart, Peter O’Neill, signed a joint declaration on Friday for a new partnership between the two countries.

The pair also signed an enhanced defence cooperation arrangement that will see the nation’s defence ministers meet annually.

At a joint media conference following discussions with Mr O’Neill, Ms Gillard said the two had talked about enhancing PNG’s policing capability through the third phase of the PNG-Australia Policing Partnership.

Ms Gillard said it’s a model where police would be made available to participate in advisory roles.

Mr O’Neill said there had been a 10-year gap in police training, and the scheme would also focus on training police in prosecution and investigation.

In 2005, PNG’s Supreme Court ordered out Australian police who had been brought in to walk a beat in PNG, ruling their appointment unconstitutional.

Mr O’Neill said the new programme would be different.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Easier entry to Australia for Papua New Guineans on cards

Posted at 21:59 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

Australia’s Prime Minister says it will soon be easier for Papua New Guineans to apply for visas to come to her country, but has stopped short of promising swift access.

Julia Gillard on Friday morning told a breakfast event hosted by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry that a new online registration system will help reduce the lengthy process around visa applications.

PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told her at an official ceremony Thursday night that PNG is frustrated at being excluded from a list of about 40 countries with swift travel access into Australia.

The Chamber’s chief executive David Conn says Ms Gillard indicated that Australia is trying to move away from that list.

“There was no commitment to add PNG to that list. That’s what they’re saying and it’s especially for online business applications, longer term visas for people going in and out of Australia, they were basically saying that (the online registration system) is going to solve most of these problems.”

David Conn.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Australia and PNG talking about extending police links

Posted at 03:29 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

The Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, says more Australian police personnel could be sent to Papua New Guinea.

Ms Gillard, who is on a 2 day visit to PNG, says one of Australia’s roles in PNG is to see a strengthening of police.

In 2005 a comprehensive scheme that saw dozens of Australian police sent to PNG, the Enhanced Co-operation Package, was abandoned after a court ruling that the Australian officers would not have immunity from prosecution in the local courts.

But Ms Gillard has told PNG media her government wants more police co-operation.

She also says despite PNG’s brightening economic prospects the country will need aid assistance for some time.

Ms Gillard says even though modern PNG is growing and changing there is still work to do to realise the Millennium Development Goals and to give the people of PNG opportunities through areas such as education.

Radio New Zealand International

PASIFIK:

9) Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme
Suva, Fiji

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SPREP Welcomes $10.5 Million Agreement With AusAID

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) today renewed their close partnership with the signing of a multi-year agreement to support Pacific Island countries in their efforts to manage their environment and ensure sustainable development.

AusAID Regional Counselor Solstice Middleby signing the multi-year funding agreement with SPREP’s Director General David Sheppard

The multi-year funding arrangement will enable Pacific island countries and the Secretariat to significantly increase delivery on longer-term environment programs to benefit the countries of the Pacific region. This will play a critical role in the sustainable development in the Pacific.

AusAID Acting Minister Counselor Ms. Solstice Middleby, and SPREP Director General Mr. David Sheppard, signed a new multi-year AU$10.5 million [US$10.7 million] agreement that continues Australia’s partnership with SPREP.

Ms. Middleby stated: “Australia’s partnership with SPREP is central to our support for Pacific island countries’ efforts across a range of environmental issues.”

“We look forward to continuing our close relationship with SPREP over the next three years.”

Australia is a founding member and development partner of SPREP, and provides core budget and program funding in recognition of SPREP’s role in supporting Pacific countries to manage their natural environment. Addressing environmental pressures is fundamental to reducing poverty. In many developing countries, the natural environment is the foundation of people’s wellbeing and livelihoods, particularly the poor in rural areas.

“To date, SPREP has relied on year-to-year funding, which has meant that we often could only plan for 12-month periods. Real and lasting environment change requires far longer time frames,” said Mr. Sheppard.

SPREP provides national-level technical advice, program support, capacity building and coordinated regional responses to global environment issues and agreements. The Australian multi-year funding will better enable SPREP to assist countries with this long term challenge.

David Sheppard notes: “SPREP welcomes this commitment of the Australian Government to continue this collaboration and partnership in the environment sector. To achieve the outcomes of SPREP’s Strategic Plan (2011-2015), both members and the Secretariat must commit to working together. We applaud the commitment of the Australian government as a member and donor of SPREP in assisting us ensure we achieve these outcomes.

The signing of the agreement took place at the Australian High Commission, Suva, Fiji.

10) International Union for Conservation of Nature
Nadi, Fiji

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

IUCN Warns Pacific To Plan Green Energy Carefully

Pacific energy and climate change experts are discussing key energy issues facing Pacific Islands such as access to modern and affordable energy services particularly for remote and rural island communities. This meeting is set to finalize several aspects of SIDS DOCK, Small Islands Developing States Sustainable Energy Intiative, including the design of its Support Programme Platform and the implementation of 14 planned projects with an estimated investment of US$40 million.

What has been proposed at this meeting is a new pathway for energy sector development in the Pacific and that is a renewable energy pathway.

“While renewable energy is deemed by many as ‘clean energy’ we must remember that they depend on nature and its ecosystems and the exploitation of these resources must be done responsibly and with respect for the services they provide to support human livelihoods,” said Anare Matakiviti, Energy Programme Coordinator at IUCN’s Oceania Regional Office at the meeting on Tuesday.

Renewable energy interventions also have negative impacts on the environment like the carbon based fuels that are driving our economies. While the carbon based fuels are emitting Greenhouse Gases into the atmosphere, increase use of renewable energy resources impact on natural resources. And in a region that is culturally, socially and economically dependent on nature, careful planning and management is crucial.

“The ecological footprint of the energy sector with respect to exploration, extraction and infrastructure development is significant and can all lead to substantial habitat degradation,” added Matakiviti.

Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal can impact nature in various ways. For instance, wind turbines can cause migratory disruptions for migrations of bird species, use of toxic chemicals in the manufacture of photovoltaic cells presents a problem both during use and disposal and wastewater from geothermal plants may cause significant pollution of surface and ground water supplies.

“We are not discouraging the use of renewable energy interventions, we simply encourage that countries tread with care by planning and managing well and make informed decisions,” emphasized Matakiviti.

IUCN is implementing several renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the Pacific that demonstrate the use of energy systems that are economically efficient, ecologically sustainable and socially equitable.

The SIDS DOCK Pacific Regional Meeting is the second in a series of three SIDS DOCK Regional Meetings. It is called SIDS DOCK because it is designed as a “DOCKing station,” to connect the energy sector in SIDS with the global market for finance, sustainable energy technologies and with the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) carbon markets, and able to trade the avoided carbon emissions in those markets. Estimates place the potential value of the US and EU markets between US$100-US$400 billion annually.

SIDS DOCK was established to accelerate the transformation of energy sectors of small islands, increase energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate resources for investment in climate change adaptation.

TOK PISIN: ( Papua NiuGini,Autonomous Bougainville,Solomon Islands & Vanuatu)

11) PNG Lihir Musik long Australian Sho

Updated 10 May 2013, 15:07 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol Australian pipal i lukim ol tumbuna singsing wantem ol stringband musik na ol carvings blong Lihir Island.

Kalsa na musik blong ol Lihir Pipal long New Ireland provins istap nau long wanpla exhibition oa sho long University of Queensland Anthropology Museum long Brisbane.

Oli kolim despla show long Musical Landscapes of Lihir na emi soim ol pasin tumbuna na laif blong ol Lihir pipal nau.

Lihir Island, i wanpla ples emi wok long lukim planti senis long laif blong ol pipal bihaenim ol wok mining, olsem na kaen show olsem despla long Brisbane i impotant long soim ol narapla pipal long despla kalsa blong ol Lihir pipal.

Sampla long ol carving emi stap long despla sho ibin kam long wanpla Museum long America, na sampla tumbuna singsing ibin kam long Museum long Germany.

Meri husat ibin redi-im despla show em Dr Kirsty Gillespie, Research Fellow long Centre for Social Responsility in Mining long University of Queensland.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

12) Vanuatu Indipendant Helt

Updated 10 May 2013, 15:25 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla Ni Vanuatu Dokta itok planti wari isave stopim wok blong bringim gutpla helt sevis long ol pikinini na pipal long Vanuatu na ol narapla Pacific kantri.

Vanuatu bai iken indipendant tru tru sopos emi gat ol sevis we emi ken katim ol sikman-meri na pikinini oa operatim ol na noken lukluk tumas long ol narapla kantri long kisim halvim.

Despla em toktok blong wanpla Ni-Vanuatu surgeon Dr Basil Leodoro, emi bin mekim despla toktok long Royal Australasian College of Surgeons konfrans long New Zealand emi bin pinis tede.

Dr Basil iwok liklik olsem Registra wantem Christchurch hospital na em bai go bek long Vanuatu long pinis blong despla yia.

Taem emi go bek long Vanuatu em bai halvim long givim treining igo long ol narapla Dokta long ol nupla save emi kisim long New Zealand.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

MEDIA:

13a) Noted Fiji academic stopped from speaking to USP students

Posted at 22:08 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

A former University of the South Pacific professor says he was stopped from addressing journalism students on World Press Freedom day last week.

A former economics professor, Wadan Narsey says he was invited to speak to students and had accepted.

He says the invitation was then rescinded, and he was told that USP management instructed the school of journalism to remove him from the programme.

“There were no reasons given, there was nothing even in writing. One day there was a programme on the students’ website, and the next day the programme was on. The real programme is that the occasion was very important, in the sense that it’s to celebrate world press freedom day and you’ll notice that none of the media in Fiji have reported this incident where the university interfered with a programme.”

Dr Narsey says he was planning to talk about censorship and media ownership in Fiji.

The USP Vice Chancellor has been unavailable for comment.

Radio New Zealand International

EDUCATION:
13b)Academics develop regional history course

Posted at 17:23 on 12 May, 2013 UTC

Academics in the Pacific are developing a new online course on early-Pacific history.

Dr Max Quanchi a history lecturer at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, and a colleague are creating an undergraduate online course in pre-European Pacific history for tertiary institutions across the region.

Mr Quanchi says most universities in the region focus on colonial history but says it is important for students in the region to learn about the history of their Pacific neighbours.

“We felt that it was important to balance the contemporary, modern histories, against the deep ancient histories of the Pacific. And the people, the students could miss out on a deep understanding of their own cultural construction unless they took or had access to this type of a course.”

Dr Max Quanchi says the online history course will be trialled at the USP and will be made available to Pacific Island universities by the end of next year.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International

BUSINESS:

14) Governor happy with preparations for Aussie cruise ship

MILNE Bay governor Titus Philemon has expressed delight at the progress being made on the preparations to host the first cruise ship by Carnival Australia in early November.
Mr Philemon particularly lauded the work being undertaken by the PNG Ports Corporation to extend the Alotau port with the construction of a new berthing, land mooring and new decking on the existing port.
K40 million is being spent on this project and when completed, it will add 290 metres of berthing space, making it the largest port of call in the country for cruise ships.
The rebuilding of the Alotau port infrastructure compliments the hydrographical survey that is being conducted by Carnival Australia in the province.
The survey is funded by Ports PNG and involves the sea bed around the Trobriand Islands from which navigational charts will be produced to guide cruise ships to move safely in and out of islands. Apart from Alotau, the cruise ships will also visit Kiriwina and Kitava Island.
On its part, the Milne Bay Provincial Government has allocated K100, 000 for preparatory workshops and training of local operators and tour guides.
The preparatory workshops and training is being undertaken by the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and the Milne Bay Tourism Bureau.
The first of the Carnival Australia cruise ships, Pacific Dawn, will arrive in Alotau on November 4, carrying with it about 2000 tourists.
The popular Kenu & Kundu Festival, which celebrates its 10th festival this year, will be extended by a day to cater for the tourists coming ashore in Alotau town. The festival committee has decided that the festival will now run from November 1-4.
“I want to thank the National Government and also the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority for recognising the potential that Milne Bay Province has in tourism development. The decision to make Milne Bay as a major destination for cruise tourism is the right one,” governor Philemon said.
“I want to assure everyone that the people and Government of Milne Bay will play our part to ensure the cruise visits are successful. We have a lot of activities going on that will support the cruise tourism program, including the Samarai Restoration project,” he said.
The governor said because Milne Bay was regarded as a major tourist destination and because his Government understood the benefits that tourism could bring to the province, he had assured that his government would facilitate and support this development.
Milne Bay Province has also been selected by the National Government to pilot eco-tourism development because of its richness in culture, diverse wildlife, history and the best diving in the world.
“The best of everything that we can offer tourists is our hospitality and our peaceful and friendly nature as the people of Milne Bay,” governor Philemon said.
“The cruise ship project will compliment the eco-tourism focus our governments are pursuing. I am excited about this and hope that the project can also be extended to other parts of the province, as there is much to see and experience,” he said.
Samarai Island could regain its former “Pearl of the South Pacific” tag, with the provincial government finally allocating funds in the 2013 budget to begin rehabilitation of the historic facilities on the island.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

15) Timor-Leste playing for high stakes over oil and gas
By Online Editor
4:53 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2013, Australia

By Anthony Bergin

Australia has negotiated a range of maritime boundaries with our neighbours.

We’ve always preferred negotiations over formal dispute resolution mechanisms for setting our ocean frontiers. So it’s significant that

Timor-Leste notified Australia late last month that it had initiated arbitration of a dispute related to the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea.

Treaties can be rendered invalid for reasons such as restrictions on a state’s authority to express consent, error, fraud, corruption, or coercion.

Timor-Leste argues that CMATS is invalid because it alleges Australia didn’t conduct negotiations in 2004 in good faith by engaging in espionage. Alfredo Pires, Timor’s Natural Resources Minister, has said that that during negotiations, there were exercises of ‘covert operations’ that allowed Australia to have information which assisted our negotiators.

Both Foreign Minister Carr and Attorney General Dreyfus point out that Australia conducted the treaty negotiations in good faith.

There was considerable speculation earlier this year that Timor-Leste would walk away from CMATS, that covers the 80 per cent of the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea. (Twenty per cent of the Greater Sunrise Unit area is in the Joint Petroleum Development Area.)

It’s an interim agreement that doesn’t finalise maritime boundaries. The treaty states that neither Australia nor Timor-Leste shall assert its claims to sovereign rights and jurisdiction and maritime boundaries for the period of the treaty, which is 50 years. The treaty divides the revenue derived from resource extraction in the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field equally between Timor-Leste and Australia.

CMATS provides that if no development plan is agreed to within six years from when the treaty entered into force (23 Feb, 2007), then either country can give notice to terminate the treaty.

So given there isn’t an agreed development plan for Sunrise, termination is now a live option, where either side could give three-months of notice. But neither party has exercised that option. The treaty continues, even after Timor-Leste’s initiation of arbitration last month.

There’s a strong view in Timor-Leste that the allocation of oil and gas revenues from the Timor Sea is unfair. In particular, that the processing plant for the Greater Sunrise field should be located on Timorese soil, rather than in Australia or constructed as a floating plant. Onshore processing is part of Timor-Leste’s national strategic development plan.

Woodside and its joint venture partners prefer floating platform technology. (Woodside announced last month that it wouldn’t pursue its proposed Browse LNG development in north western Australia. Browse was a land-based development, not floating technology.)

A three-person arbitral tribunal will be established to settle this dispute. It’ll consider whether it has jurisdiction to resolve the matter and assuming it decided it did, then move to judge the merits of Timor’s claim. Proving espionage will be a difficult evidentiary requirement.

Australia could decide not to participate, but a tribunal could still be formed by Timor- Leste asking the President of the International Court of Justice to appoint an adjudicator. So the tribunal could make a ruling even if Australia defaults.

The arbitration move is a very high risk play for Timor-Leste. Invalidating the treaty won’t provide much incentive for the private sector to develop the Sunrise area. Timor’s natural resources minister claims that ‘when you have a field that is big and it’s world class, the bees always come to the honey.’

Trouble is that there’s more than one honey pot: gas prices have come down in recent years and shale gas is creating interest worldwide.

And more ominously for our poorest neighbour, honey pots also attract hornets and other wasps.

Anthony Bergin is Deputy Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS


16) New K85 million tuna facility to open in PNG

By Online Editor
5:07 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Majestic Seafood’s new K85 million (US$38 million) tuna processing facility at Malahang in Lae will be commissioned next month by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Plant manager Ronel Paredes put June 10 as the official opening date after being given the approval by the Morobe building board’s senior building inspector Jacob Kumsoro yesterday.

Kumsoro said the facility had met all safety, sanitation and waste disposal requirements.

Engineering manager Edwin Mendoza said the Malahang cannery was a state of the art tuna processing facility and boasted the most advanced waste disposal management system.

He said waste from the processing plant went through a vigorous water treatment regime closely monitored by a computerised system.

“The water that will be released from the treatment wells will be completely safe and odorless,”Mendoza said.

Plant manager Paredes said at optimal production the facility would employ 2,000 workers and process 350 tonnes of fresh tuna making it the largest in the country.

That volume is eight times bigger than sister company Frabelle’s 40-tonne production and twice more than Madang-based RD Tuna cannery’s 150-tonne production.

Paredes said they were awaiting approval from the National Fisheries Authority before they secured the lucrative tuna markets in the European Union.

Meanwhile, the K1 billion Madang industrial project will be built soon to create 20,000 jobs once completed, Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru says.

He said the project was important to the country because of its sustainability, export value and job creation for locals.

Maru said the three parties who had objected to the project were in court yesterday to withdraw their objections.

“The lawyers are in court now (yesterday) for the three plaintiffs to withdraw the case so the government can move ahead with the construction phase of the very important project.

“During a recent trip to Philippines, I was told by some big tuna companies that they estimated that PNG exports around US$ 2 billion worth of unprocessed tuna to Philippines and Thailand and some of the biggest tuna factories in the world.

“We are losing in terms of export value up to K20 billion or more.

“The Madang Industrial Park has an export value of between K10 billion to K20 billion if we process our own fish and can create 20,000 jobs plus.

“This is combining all jobs in the mining and petroleum sectors.

“The mining and petroleum sector directly does not employ many.

“The Madang Industrial park development is a sustainable project provided we don’t over-fish.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

17) Officials in Chinese company behind Samoa casino accused of corruption

By Online Editor
10:22 am GMT+12, 10/05/2013, Samoa

Officials in a Chinese company given a casino licence in Samoa have been accused of corruption.

The Samoan Government had big hopes for a proposed 500 room resort, complete with a casino.

“It would be the first big resort for Samoa and could be the take off point for the development of our tourism industry,” Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told ONE News.

The Chengdu Exhibition and Tourism Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Samoan Government last year.

It has been involved in big hotel and development projects across China.

“They’ve been extremely good to deal with as they do it in a business-like manner and they are very prompt and efficient,” casino project advisor Robbie Kearney told ONE News in March.

“We are very happy with them as an operator.”

However, according to Chinese media reports Chairman Deng Hong, along with his Chief Executive, were already being investigated over corruption linked to land deals.

Communist Party anti-corruption officials have kept him in custody since March, while the Samoan Government had been expecting him to visit with an update.

“I am disappointed,” said Malielegaoi.

“What transpires at the present moment has something to do with domestic politics so what we can do is wait and see.”

The Government is cautiously optimist the project will still go ahead.

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

18) American Samoa governor sued over pension fund
By Online Editor
1:03 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2013, American Samoa

The board of trustees for American Samoa’s US$200 million pension fund is suing the governor of the Pacific island chain.

The trustees filed their complaint this week against Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who is the highest ranking local official in the U.S. territory in Polynesia.

A spokesman for Moliga referred questions to the attorney general’s office, which said it would respond in court.

The trustees say Moliga didn’t consult them before nominating new board members for the retirement fund in February, despite a legal requirement to do so.

The trustees want the governor to rescind his nominations until the he has consulted with the board.

The board’s chairman, Aleki Sene, said the requirement exists to ensure nominees are well qualified and not politically motivated.

“There is just too much to risk when you consider the fact that this fund represents the life savings for most of our current and retired employees and their beneficiaries,” Sene said. Sene said the group has a duty to take legal action.

The trustees say Moliga has already asked his nominees to begin working, although they haven’t yet been confirmed by the territory Legislature. Lawmakers won’t meet to confirm the nominees until July.

Trustees say the retirement fund board is the latest in a series of boards over which Moliga has exerted power without legislative approval. They say other boards he has targeted affect immigration, utilities and health care.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

19) Vanuatu National Provident Fund team visits SINPF
By Online Editor
12:55 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2013, Solomon Islands

A delegation from the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF), comprising its chairman, general manager and investment director is on a familiarization tour of its Solomon Islands counterpart, the National Provident Fund (SINPF).

The three-day visit started Tuesday with a courtesy call on SINPF chairman Baoro Laxton Koraua and General Manager Tony Makabo.

Welcoming the delegation to Solomon Islands, Koraua offered SINPF’s full support.

“We are more than happy to help by sharing with you our successes,” he said.

The visiting VNPF team met with the SINPF board on Wednesday before they toured SINPF investments and businesses around Honiara including the Heritage Park Hotel, South Pacific Oil, Our Telekom and NPF’s new executive apartments.

VNPF general manager, Santos Vatoko said the aim of the visit was to learn about SINPF’s strategies and business investments.

“VNPF is about the same size as SINPF and our economy is about the same size so it made sense to come to Solomon Islands and to learn from SINPF.

“SINPF has managed to turn around its business after the ethnic tension and we want to learn from them about their strategy.”

In addition, Vatoko said VNPF would seek to build relations through potential joint investments, partnerships and capacity development.

With over 28,000 active members, VNPF has been working on strengthening its capacity with the establishment of a new investment department.

SINPF general manager, Tony Makabo, offered support to VNPF’s investment department, through work attachment with SINPF’s investment department.

This was welcomed by VNPF’s general manager and chairman.

“This is the type of relationship we want to build through the exchange of resources and knowledge, said Vatoko.

The team returns to Port Vila at the end of the week.

SOURCE: SINFP/PACNEWS

HEALTH:

20) Free breast screen program gets budget boost

Updated 12 May 2013, 14:12 AEST

Tanya Plibersek announces a $55 million boost to the free breast screening program, as thousands take part in Mother’s Day fun runs to raise money for cancer research.

The Federal Government has announced a $55 million boost to the free national breast screening program in a bid to save more lives.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek made the announcement as thousands of Australians took part in Mother’s Day fun runs to raise money for breast cancer research.

“In Tuesday’s budget the Australian Government will contribute an extra $55.7 million to invite more women to undergo mammography,” she said.

The free service is currently only available to women aged 50 to 69, but over the next four years women aged between 70 and 74 will be eligible for the free screen.

“Expanding the age range by five years will mean an extra 70,000 women will be invited every year to have a mammogram,” Ms Plibersek said.

“We expect to find an extra 600 cancers every year.

“Cancers that are detected with a mammogram are much smaller and often are able to be treated with breast preserving surgery.”

With one in 11 Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 75, head of Cancer Australia Doctor Helen Zorbas says the strongest risk factor for cancer is getting older.

“By increasing the age range more women will have the benefit through the breast screen program,” Ms Zorbas said.

Actress Noeline Brown, who is the government’s ambassador for ageing, falls into the top age bracket and said she would be taking advantage of the free screening.

“I know that I’m one of those people who’ll be taking it up so I think it’s a wonderful initiative,” Ms Brown said.

‘Extraordinary response’

An estimated 130,000 people took part in the Mother’s Day Classic fun run in 70 locations across Australia.

National organiser Sharon Morris says there has been an extraordinary response this year.

“People are wanting to do something significant on these days like Mother’s Day,” she said.

“We are noticing a real trend for families wanting to get out there and do something.

“They’re wanting to get together and do some exercise but also support a really good cause.”

The money raised will be used to fund breast cancer research and awareness programs.

Ms Morris says they were 30,000 entrants in Queensland.

“We’ve had spectacular results from Queensland this year,” she said.

“In fact, our regional growth across the nation has been quite phenomenal.

“It’s quite extraordinary the amount of people who will get up on Mother’s Day to support this incredible cause.” http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

21) Qld scientists develop test for new bird flu strain

Updated 12 May 2013, 14:23 AEST

Queensland scientists have developed a test for the new bird flu strain H7N9.

The test was developed by laboratory technicians at Pathology Queensland’s microbiology department in conjunction with the Queensland Paediatric Infectious Disease Laboratory at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

The State Government says the test, which is the first developed in Australia, will be vital in keeping the flu out of the country.

Four more people died from the virus last week in China, bringing to 31 the number of deaths from H7N9.

First appearing in March, the new bird flu strain has so far only been detected in eastern China and Taiwan.

The head of the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says the current strain of bird flu cannot spark a pandemic in its current form, but that there is no guarantee it will not mutate and cause a serious pandemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has no evidence that the new strain is easily transmissible between humans.

However, WHO reports suggest that 40 per cent of people infected with H7N9 appear to have had no contact with poultry.

Australian developers say the test is an essential part of the preparedness for a potential bird flu pandemic.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT:

22a)  Event:  “Climate Justice and Human Development in the Pacific”

Pacific Calling Partnership Workshop
Thursday May 16, 2013 from 6pm- 8pm.
Carslaw Tutorial Room 360
Eastern Avenue, near the City Road entrance,
University of Sydney
Camperdown Campus,
http://sydney.edu.au/maps/campuses/?area=CAMDAR (Building F07)
Light refreshments will be provided.
Admission is free but donations are needed!
Summary:
Kiribati and Tuvalu are Pacific Island nations unjustly suffering from the effects of climate change- on their culture and livelihoods, which are exacerbating their existing development challenges and making effective adaption both more difficult and more necessary.
More information:
The workshop will be an informative and interesting evening at which people can hear from Meredith Burgmann, the President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) about her recent trip to Kiribati, and from Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, a Kiribati woman, and the Pacific Outreach Officer at the Pacific Calling Partnership- to put a human face on climate change, its effects on the developing countries of the Pacific and the need for climate justice. Please come along and learn how you can contribute to ending the injustice.

b) Article:Kiribati: A Nation Going Under 

The Global Mail:  Bernard Lagan April 15, 2013

Running out of options, and water, a nation’s leader enters an end game against climate change.
The President of Kiribati urges an orderly evacuation — “migration with dignity”.
Link: http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/kiribati-a-nation-going-under/590/
Some excerpts from this article.
(a) The waves are slowly seeping over Kiribati, which is at the frontline of the climate-change-induced rise in sea levels striking low-lying nations all over the world. Formerly part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands — a British protectorate until the mid 1970s — Kiribati is lower, frailer and more defenceless. It may be the first nation to enter an end game against climate change.
(b) Kiribati’s leaders now face wrenching questions: How many of its 100,000 people will need to leave? Where will they go? How will it feed those remaining? And, as its islands become uninhabitable, can Kiribati remain a nation at all?
(c) Kiribati’s fresh-water security looks grim. The world’s main climate-change monitor — the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change — has published data which predicts that the underground freshwater supply of South Tarawa could shrivel by 65 per cent within 40 years, due to reduced rainfall and sea inundation. Desalination plants are, of course, an option. But their running expenses are assessed to inflate the operating costs of the atoll’s fresh-water system by 16 times.

c)  National Alliance to End Polluter Handouts

A group of Australia’s leading and environment and community organisations is initially building pressure on Government in the advance of the Federal budget, but plans to campaign on further opportunities as they arise.   In the Australian Financial Review  last week there were rumours than one more fossil fuel subsidy might be removed – those providing tax concessions for exploration by resources companies.
In Australia these subsidies are often highly technical and obscure (accelerated depreciation anyone?), but are estimated to add up to $10billion a year – with a substantial portion going to coal, oil and gas companies.  But we are slowly winning the battle to remove all fossil fuel subsidies – previous wins include the removal of tax breaks on oil condensate in 2008 and reform of fringe benefits tax on company cars in 2011.
You can let the Treasurer and your local MP know what you think of subsidies for fossil fuels here:http://paidtopollute.org.au/takeaction

Statement from Australia’s leading environment and community organisations.
During the past financial year, the Australian Government has subsidised fossil fuels to the value of more than $10 billion.
These subsidies make fossil fuels (like coal, gas and petroleum) artificially cheap. This means companies use more fossil fuels than they would with a level playing field – creating more pollution, blocking clean energy and fuelling the threat of climate change to all Australians.
If our politicians are serious about stopping climate change, they need to stop funding it. The first step is to end fossil fuel subsidies in this year’s federal budget.
Leading international organisations including the World Bank, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations have all called for an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels. The IEA has stated that eliminating these handouts globally would provide half the carbon emissions savings required to stop dangerous levels of climate change beyond two degrees, and has called for them to be phased out.
As Australia’s leading community and environment organisations, representing hundreds of thousands of Australians, we now call on all political parties to commit to cut fossil fuel subsidies at the upcoming 2013-14 federal budget.

d) Event:  Bill McKibben’s ‘Do the Math’s’ Australian tour

Bill McKibben is an award winning author, educator, environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org.  The concept behind this tour is as follows:  “Climate change is basically a big maths problem, involving the quantity of carbon we wish to burn and the capacity of the atmosphere to contain it. The question is-how much more can we burn before we’re in trouble?”
Public Meetings are being held in the following cities: Sydney 4th June (see details below), Canberra 5th & 6th June, Melbourne 7th June and Brisbane 9th June.
Information & booking details for tour is available on the website: maths.350.org/australia
Sydney 4th June 6pm York Theatre, Seymour Centre, Cnr Cleveland Street and City Road Chippendale
Presented by Sydney Ideas and 350.org.  Bill McKibben will be welcomed by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
A Q&A session will be moderated by Sydney University’s Rosemary Lister.

SPORTS:
23) Serevi appointed Fiji 7s assistant coach for RWC in Moscow
By Online Editor
5:18 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2013, Fiji

The ‘Special One’ is back. Sevens legend Waisale Serevi will be in Moscow with the Digicel Fiji sevens team as assistant coach for the Rugby World Cup in Russia next month.

Serevi, who led us to two sevens world cup victories in 1997 and 2005, is already in London assisting head coach Alivereti Dere as trainer.

The International Rugby Board Hall of Fame inductee earlier informed the Fiji Rugby Union of his intentions to assist the Fiji sevens team in London and Moscow. Yesterday, FRU chief executive officer Manasa Baravilala confirmed to Times Sport the ‘sevens magician’ will be part of the team management to Moscow.

He said FRU was pleased with Serevi’s intention of supporting Fiji.

“I can confirm that Serevi has kindly offered his services to the Fiji Rugby Union and he will be travelling to Moscow with the Fiji sevens team as assistant coach,” Baravilala said.

He said FRU accredited the sevens maestro as trainer for the London 7s tournament, which kicks off tomorrow, following a discussion at Rugby House with head coach Dere.

“In a recent telephone call from Seattle, Serevi indicated his willingness to help and support Fiji’s rugby efforts at the London 7s and 2013 RWC Sevens in Moscow.

“He will assist Dere and Tomasi Cama Sr will be our trainer at the world cup. But for London, FRU has accredited him as trainer.”

Serevi and Cama were influential in helping Dere and the Fiji 7s team defend the Hong Kong 7s tournament last March.

The former Fiji 7s coach joined the team in London yesterday.

Baravilala said Serevi’s presence would be a huge motivator to the players.

Baravilala said: “FRU records its appreciation to Waisale Serevi and his family, for his continued passion and support for our national sevens team despite the fact that he now resides in the USA.

“The presence of ‘The King of Sevens’ will be a great morale booster for our players and team management in Moscow and, is an added bonus to our Rugby World Cup 7s campaign.”

Former Fiji sevens assistant coach and Tonga sevens coaching director Etuate Waqa said Dere would need technical assistance in Moscow if Fiji was to win the Melrose Cup again.

“Dere will have to be assisted with good rugby brains who can assist on game analysis, body conditioning during the tournament and of course opinions on team selections for each game,” Waqa said.

“In Fiji’s second Melrose Cup victory in 2005, Fiji had a good technical team. Wayne Pivac was the head coach, Serevi was on the field as captain, Paul Feeney was the team conditioner and Malakai Finau was manager and a qualified coach.”

Fiji team manager Semi Rogoyawa said plans to have Serevi with the team in London was done before the team left Fiji.

“His presence is a big boost for the side and the knowledge and experience he has will definitely help our campaign in this tournament,” Rogoyawa said..

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

24) Fiji Bati coach hoping to attract more NRL players ahead of World Cup

Posted at 21:57 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

Fiji rugby league coach Rick Stone says he’s hoping to recruit a few more big-name players before the World Cup in the Northern Hemisphere later this year.

Former Queensland and Australia front rower Petero Civoniceva will lead the Bati at the global tournament, with Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri also committed to turning out for his homeland.

Rick Stone has run a couple of camps in Sydney for NRL based players over the past couple of months and says he’s always on the lookout for top players that can add to the team.

“Probably we will have a little bit more of an idea once the State of Origin series is finished. There’s some players that might be on the fringe and maybe Johnny Sutton from South Sydney might be one of those particular players. The Sims brothers – obviously Korbin is playing here at the Knights but also his brothers Tariq and Ashton so they’re a couple of players who definitely could make a massive impact for Fiji.”

Rick Stone says Fiji have good depth in the forwards but could do with more options at halfback, hooker and five eighth.

Radio New Zealand International

25) Fiji RU says overseas based players must stick to contracts

Posted at 21:57 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Rugby Union has advised overseas based players to abide by their contractual agreements and not play in the local provincial competitions.

The local news had reported earlier this week that Joeli Lutumailagi and Metuisela Talebula who are both in the country have stated that they will play in the local 7s tournaments.

But National Academy Programs Manager Franck Boivert has come out strongly saying that according to their contracts they can only play for their overseas club and the national team this is due to the risk of injury.

No penalties are imposed on players that play in the local competitions but the club cannot register a player unless he has been released by his union and there is also a risk of players losing their contracts.

Radio New Zealand International

26) Tonga face tricky challenge in Londond 7s qualifiers

Posted at 21:57 on 10 May, 2013 UTC

Tonga sevens coach Tevita Tuifua says his team have been dealt no favours ahead of the London qualifier tournament, which kicks off this evening.

The Kingdom one of eight teams competing in the qualifier event playing for three permanent places on next year’s World Series.

In their pool are Spain and Portugal, who’ve spent the past year as full members on the global circuit, along with Russia, who will host next month’s Sevens World Cup.

Their build-up hasn’t been helped by the absence of regular coach Etuate Waqa, due to visa issues, and a lack of game-time.

Tevita Tuifua says they have a big task ahead of them and just have to get on with it.

“I think we do have the strongest pool out of the two but I guess everyone will have second life for the final day as well so we will give it our best shot on the first day and hopefully we will achieve our goal on our pool games. We’re only looking forward now for the weekend. I know it hurts for the boys but what else are we going to do – we’re here to play to give it our best shot on the day – so I’n sure the boys have been looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile in the main London Sevens tournament Fiji and Samoa are in the same pool, alongside hosts England and Argentina.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Tietjens looks back on 11th Series title
By Online Editor
5:16 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2013, United Kingdom

-By reaching the Cup semi finals at the 2013 Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, New Zealand were crowned the champions of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.

It has been another remarkable season of success and achievement for New Zealand and this title is their 11th in 14 years and coach Gordon Tietjens has been at the helm for all of them.

The All Blacks Sevens may have only won one Cup, compared to South Africa’s three and Fiji’s two, but they have never finished lower than third, and are the only side to have made every Cup competition all season.

“It has been a great season for us in terms of consistency and also in that we have brought in new players,” said Tietjens.

“We currently have a squad with nine players that have just 30 odd tournaments between them, and then 150 between three that are our experience core, so to be in six finals, and to be convincingly ahead to win the Series at this stage is a great achievement for us.

“I have always said you can win the World Series without winning a tournament, but it is about being consistent. W ehave made every Cup semi final which is great for us, but we see every game we play and I think that has been our key.”

Tietjens’ side won their only Cup in Port Eliabeth, at the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens, to make it a record four consecutive titles in that tournament.

In that final Tim Mikkelson, who Tietjens admits has been one of his standout players this season, set up one of the tries of the tournament for Kurt Baker.

Mikkelson will lift the Series trophy at Twickenham in DJ Forbes’ absence through injury and he agrees with his head coach.

“it feels good to have won the Series,” added Mikkelson. “All the hard work has paid off and to go in with one tournament to spare means we can go in to play without any pressure, to play footy and try and win the tournament.

“There are nine tournaments, so you have to turn up every game and that is what we try to do. I think we would have liked to win more tournaments, but to win it being the most consistent is good and lifting the trophy at Twickenham will be the ultimate way to finish the Series.

“We have a big squad and it took the depth of that to win the Series. We know who comes in can do the job, and that is great looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics knowing there is pressure for spots.”

Meanwhile while the top 12 teams in the Series standings contest the Cup competition of the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham this weekend, for eight other nations the prize on offer is arguably even greater: a ticket to compete at every round of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.

Scotland will line up in London along with Portugal and Spain needing to win back core team status next season after finishing outside the top 12 in the Series standings after last weekend’s eighth and penultimate round in Glasgow.

The Scots face pool matches in London against Hong Kong, Zimbabwe and Georgia, while Portugal and Spain line up in Pool B with Tonga and RWC Sevens hosts, Russia.

The extra qualifying dimension has grown the number of teams competing in London to 20 and also brought an uplift in the number of people watching the event. While the organisers are expecting another world record crowd for Rugby Sevens over the weekend, the international broadcast is also reaching new heights.

The 2013 Marriott London Sevens will be broadcast live and as-live by more broadcasters than ever before, with NTV Plus set to air live World Series coverage in Russia for the first time, just one month out from the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.

This year 24 broadcasters will air 179 hours of live and delayed ‘as-live’ action from London, up from 151 hours from last year. Live coverage will reach 241 million homes across 141 countries, six more than in 2012.

An additional 15 broadcasters will show the official ‘IRB Sevens World’ highlights programme, boosting the audience to over 330 million homes in 152 countries. .

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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