Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 853

MELANESIA:

1) Officials prepare for next month’s MSG summit

Posted at 07:49 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

Senior officials with the Melanesian Spearhead Group have been meeting in Vanuatu’s capital this week to finalise the agenda of the annual MSG leaders summit next month in New Caledonia.

The chairman of the MSG Senior Officials meeting, Amena Yauvoli, who is also Fiji’s permanent secretary of Foreign Affairs, says issues for the agenda include the MSG trade agreement and the group’s chairmanship.

“There are other issues relating to memberships, associated memberships and observers. We are aware that there are a number of organisatins that are applying to become members of MSG and we are deliberating on those. And there are some minor issues relating to the secretariat that would improve the operations of the secretariat.”

Amena Yauvoli in Port Vila.

A formal decision on a bid for full MSG membership by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation is expected to be made at the June summit.

Radio New Zealand International

2) ‘Keep POM colourful’ drive launched

By IMELDA WAVIK

Residents and Cooperate houses in and around Port Moresby have a reason to celebrate following the launching of ‘Keep Port Moresby Colorful’ campaign yesterday.
The campaign initiated by Island Breeze Limited which involves turning graffiti into art work will be aimed at youths and school children in every suburb around Port Moresby.
Island Breeze Managing Director Sallyanne Mokis said she was glad she initiated this campaign to back what NCD Governor has already have in progress, ‘to keep the city clean.’
“We can turn graffiti into something positive; we can teach these youths to change and make the city beautiful with what they already have, “art”.
She said as soon as one wall was washed and dried, another wall would have been vandalised with Graffiti; if they (children and Youths) couldn’t be beaten then why not join them.
The campaign has also attracted the Dulux Group who has come in as partners with Island Breeze and will help in the campaign with acrathane, a chemical that works as a coat to protect walls from graffiti; any form of graffiti on walls/or paintings coated by acrathane can be removed by simply using soap and water.
Governor for NCD Powes Parkop commended Ms Mokis for taking the initiative to help in changing Port Moresby for the better.
He said graffiti was one of the biggest problems in Port Moresby and for someone or a corporate house to come up with the idea of turning it into artwork was a great step to moving forward with the scheme of cleaning up Port Moresby.18/5/13- http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

Sallyanne Mokis and NCD Governor toast to the launching of Keep POM Colorful ( Phils Note: I do like the look of Sallyanne ( Simple but Elegant! Melanesia Represent )

3) Separatist base in Oxford causes diplomatic tension

By Sophie von der Tann

The opening of the Oxford headquarters of Indonesian separatist group Free West Papua has caused a rift between leading British diplomats and the Indonesian government.

Launched in 2004, the Free West Papua Campaign seeks independence from Indonesia for the indigenous people of West Papua. On its website the organisation describes itself as “a peaceful, public campaign, whose aim is very simple: to give the people of West Papua the freedom to choose their own destiny”.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa summoned British Ambassador Mark Canning to question him over the rise of the separatist group. In a statement issued prior to the meeting, Natalegawa argued that the opening of the office was “clearly incompatible and contrary to the friendly relations that have existed between the two countries”.

Canning said after the meeting: “The Minister conveyed to me in clear terms the strong concern of the Indonesian Government”.

However he emphasised that the British Government could not take responsibility for the opening of the headquarters, since “such an office does not require our permission to open, and does not therefore reflect the British Government’s views.”

He however assured the Foreign Minister: “we recognise the sensitivity of this issue for Indonesia” and “respect the territorial integrity of Indonesia and do not support calls for Papuan independence”.

The ambassador added that Britain supports Indonesian efforts “to address the problems of Papua and hopes to see it enjoy the same level of peace, stability and prosperity as the other parts of this nation.”

Mike Atkins, a volunteer with the Free West Papua Campaign, finds it “frustrating to see that the UK Government maintains this line.” He sees a “stark contrast between the democracy Indonesia claims to be and its attitude towards basic rights such as freedom of speech that it displays here”.

He added: “Our goal is to build up public pressure to make the UK Government recognise the illegitimacy of Indonesian rule over West Papua and the human rights issues there, so that it will change its foreign policy”.

Atkins remains positive about the campaign, commenting: “Support for our cause is growing rapidly all around the world.”

West Papua, the western part of the island of New Guinea, was a Dutch colony until it was handed over to temporary UN administration in 1962. It became part of Indonesia in 1969 after the Act of Free Choice, a referendum on the inclusion of West Papua. Independence activists question the legitimacy of this election, arguing that only an unrepresentative number of about 1000 people were selected to vote and were put under pressure to decide in favour of West Papua’s inclusion.http://oxfordstudent.com/

4) ABG rep: We need help

By LAWRENCIA PIRPIR

There is a need to educate all the parties that play a part in service delivery on the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) on their respective roles and responsibilities.
Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Chief Executive Officer Planning Leslie Tseraha said this after the completion of the Department of Personnel Management NGI Consultative Workshop in Kokopo recently.
He said the ABG was initiating a lot of new initiatives and one example was rehabilitating trunk roads with the current focus on feeder roads that was reportedly slow.
Mr Tseraha said this called for the need to educate both ABG officers and contractors to understand project management, procurement and implementation of delivering services. There is even a need to help to monitor if services were reaching the people.
He said this would provide an enabling environment towards effectively managing issues and navigating through them with smart practical solutions to strengthen effective service delivery.
He said education and health sector services were the most effective services delivered with room to improve mechanisms to improve these and all other sector services.
He also said there was a general misconception where people think the Autonomous Region of Bougainville was okay because of autonomy and there had been a lot of criticism about how the ABG was delivering services.
He said they still needed help because autonomy was something new for the ABG and when it came to service delivery Bougainville took heed of what other provinces were doing because it was crosscutting. It needed a lot of help to strengthen its service delivery, he said. 15/5/13- http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

5) Ousted Vanuatu minister against huge airport scheme

Posted at 07:52 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s former finance minister, Willie Jimmy, says one of the reasons he was dumped last week was his refusal to back government plans to underwrite a huge airport development, estimated to cost 350 million US dollars.

That is nearly double the country’s current annual budget and Mr Jimmy says it would have given the Singaporean company involved a management agreement allowing it to run up to five airports around Vanuatu for 50 years.

Mr Jimmy says the company wanted government backing in the form of a promissory note for 35 billion vatu, or about 350 million US dollars, to cover its investment.

“They will not be able to make that sort of income to cover their costs, at any one point in time. I am just scared that if they have just raised the funds [and] didn’t finish the project, they walk away [and] the country is left with a debt of 35 billion [vatu] to pay to whoever provided the funds to the company.”

Willie Jimmy, who has spent several years as Vanuatu’s ambassador to Beijing, says he preferred a scheme with a Chinese company that would have cost about 150 million US dollars.

Radio New Zealand International

6) Construction Of New Vanuatu Convention Center Delayed
Government reportedly wants to move site from parliament park

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 15, 2013) – Construction work on the new Vt1.3 billion [US$13.9 million] national convention center in Vanuatu which was supposed to have started already is now put on hold awaiting another Council of Ministers (COM) decision by the new government.

The current government wants the project to be relocated to another area and not the current parliament park site.

So far a definite relocation site has not been announced.

The new national convention center has become a controversial issue between the previous and the present government over the parliamentary green park where it was planned to be built.

When the present government was in opposition it said Vanuatu already has an International Convention Center at Le Lagoon Park Royal where the 8th ACP-EU International Convention was staged in 2012.

It also stated that the then government which is now in opposition should re-negotiate with the funder which happens to be the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Vt1.3 billion to be spent on other important national dire projects such as education, health, agriculture and infrastructures.

Having said so, the opposition which is now in government has decided that the proposed project be reconsidered by the Council of Ministers in the current government.

The Opposition leader Ham Lini said recently that he feared if the present government does not proceed with the Chinese funded project with the amount of funds of that magnitude, China could pull out of this project and possibly other similar future projects.

In the meantime, heavy machineries and tons of sandy beaches are already on the parliamentary park site for the work to go ahead but will now have to wait for the Council of Ministers new decision and directives.

Daily Post also understands that Chinese workers are already in the country waiting for the green light to be given by the government to start construction on the Vt1.3 billion project.

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

7) Owners of troubled-plagued Phocea to sue Vanuatu

Updated 16 May 2013, 9:22 AEST

The luxury yacht, Phocea, the centre of a major political controversy in Vanuatu, has been forced to return to Noumea after its main generator broke down.

Owners of troubled-plagued Phocea to sue Vanuatu (Credit: ABC)

The yacht was sailing to Phuket in Thailand to under go extensive repairs after its 10 months detention in Port Vila.

Agent for the Phocea, Captain Guy Benard says the yacht’s owners are planning to sue the Vanuatu government over damage to Phocea.

Presenter: Hilaire Bule

Speaker: Captain Guy Benard, Noumea agent for the luxury yacht, Phocea.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

8) New Vanuatu PM looks to shake up foreign relations

Posted 17 May 2013, 7:46 AEST
Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney

Vanuatu’s new prime minister says his first hundred days in office will bring significant change to the country’s foreign relations.

After his first 100 days in office, Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil is shaking up foreign affairs. He’s tearing up a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia, has told China to relocate a major aid project and is revoking the visas of a (Credit: ABC)

Vanuatu’s new prime minister says his first hundred days in office will bring significant change to the country’s foreign relations.

Moana Carcasses Kalosil became prime minister by leading a mass defection in late March from a loose coalition government of six parties and independents that was patched together just five months earlier after Vanuatu’s national elections.

The then Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, resigned knowing he would lose a Vote of No Confidence.

Mr Carcasses has spelled out a 68-point plan for his first 100 days in office, and says in a country which often faces political instability, he has the support to see it through.

“I have the support of the main two parties, which is the Vanua’aku Party and UMP,” he said.

“They decided to support me not on a racial level, I think on the quality of leadership, someone who can bring everyone together.”

Community cabinet

One of the first acts of the new prime minister was to haul his cabinet ministers, senior officials and even the diplomatic corps out of the capital, Port Vila, to a part of the country they don’t often visit: the northernmost province of Vanuatu, which borders Solomon Islands.

It’s the first time that’s been done and they held meetings with community leaders.

But Moana Carcasses Kalosil is used to breaking the mould – Vanuatu’s first non-indigenous Prime Minister, he was born in Tahiti and his parents moved to Vanuatu in 1965 when it was still a colony jointly administered by France and Great Britain.

“I went to school here, and I remember my father was sick,” he said.

“At the age of 14 I had to stop school and look after the plantation.

“So I’m a self taught man with lots of experience whether it’s to build a road, whether it’s to build a house, whether it is to manage a company.”

The Opposition Leader, Ham Lini, is critical of the cost of taking the whole Cabinet and senior bureaucrats to the provinces.

He questions whether it provided real benefits for the people there or if it was just a stunt.

“The interesting thing is to see after what benefits has done this, has this done to the provinces or the people in the grassroots because all the money that will be spending on this meetings and then no money to go for services,” he said.

‘Satisfy the people first’

Prime Minister Carcasses invited to Sola, the capaital of the Toba Province, some of those who do have access to funds – the heads of diplomatic missions who provide aid to Vanuatu.

The donors were presented with a list of projects in need of funding, and a Church youth group closed off the meeting with a song saying their province was poor but the donors could solve all their problems.

One notable absence was the Chinese Ambassador, the latest apparent snub in the wake of Mr Carcasses decision to ask a Chinese construction company to relocate a convention centre planned for the capital.

“This is the request of the supporters of the town,” he said.

“They say, ‘We don’t have much of what you call green space. The only green space that is available that we can have is the one in Parliament.’

“So the majority of the citizens of Port Vila are asking us, ‘What are you doing in government? We don’t want a Convention Centre here!’.

“What we want and I am sure the Government of China will want that investment, their investment will satisfy the people first – not political leaders or someone else like this.

The Opposition Leader, Ham Lini, says the sudden cancellation will spoil Vanuatu’s relations with China.

“They have done everything and have signed with the government and were ready to start the job, but then this government comes in and says they have to relocate that,” he said.

“What that means is to cancel the whole thing – not only that, but also it will ruin the relationship between Vanuatu and the Chinese Governments.”

West Papua

Another project that has been cancelled is a Defence Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia, under which Indonesia was supplying uniforms and other assistance to the Vanuatu police.

Mr Carcasses has long been a supporter of the Melanesian people of West Papua who want independence from Indonesia are claim they are being oppressed.

“I remember calling the then commissioner of police,” he said.

“[I said] to them, ‘You are signing an agreement with the people who are killing the West Papuans. You going to sleep at night?’.”

The West Papuan Council for Liberation has an office in Vanuatu and its Vice President, Dr Otto Ondawame, is delighted.

“Melanesia is not for Indonesia – it’s for Melanesia and therefore the Government of Vanuatu made it clear his position that Melanesia is only for Melanesia,” he said.

“Indonesia is not allowed to come here in whatever form.”

Mr Carcasses is supporting the West Papuans’ application to become full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries when their leaders meet in New Caledonia next month.

He says that ten years ago as foreign minister he tried to set up a peace conference in Vanuatu between the Indonesian Government and the West Papua freedom movement.

“We should have the government of Indonesia and the people of West Papua discussing their issues,” he said.

“I’ve been going around the world to support the issue of West Papua, and today, I’m the prime minister.

“I believe that Vanuatu should stand on its two feet and support the West Papua struggle.”

Passport Act

Mr Carcasses has also announced to the foreign diplomats that the Council of Ministers would amend the Passport Act.

His government is revoking the diplomatic passports that the previous government had given to a string of roving ambassadors.

One of these was the roving Ambassador to Russia who had struck a deal to keep fifteen percent of whatever aid money she could attract.

“That was pushed because some politician thought that through her they’re going to get further money,” he said.

“You see, for the last 12 months the Vanuatu foreign reputation went down and down.

“Lots of passports were given to strangers – more than 187 passports were given to whether they are what you call Honorary Consul or for whatever reason.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

9) New Caledonia general strike continuing

Posted at 03:22 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

Unions in New Caledonia calling for lower prices have continued their general strike for a second day.

In the Noumea area, some of the strikers have gathered outside large supermarkets, which are accused to be among the businesses charging excessive margins.

Local media reports say a road block has been set up in the north of the territory’s main island and a number of boarding schools have closed.

Today’s flights to Australia have been cancelled.

Yesterday, thousands of people marched through Noumea to express their frustration about the politicians’ inaction to implement reforms to the economy.

According to the organisers, there were 20,000 people while the police figure is fewer than 8,000.

The mainly Kanak USTKE union has distanced itself from the strike, saying it is part of the Caledonian Union’s campaign to blame other parties for the problems.

The high cost of living has been an issue of public interest for years, triggering two years ago territory-wide protests, which attracted about 25,000 people.

Radio New Zealand International

10) Fiji Union Leader Dismisses Falling Unemployment Claims
Felix Anthony says unemployment at ‘highest level ever’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 15, 2013) – A peak union body in Fiji says it strongly doubts the government’s claims that unemployment in the Pacific nation has fallen.

Earlier this week Fiji’s Labor Minister, Jone Usamate, told local media that the unemployment rate has dropped based on the number of vacancies available in the market.

But the national secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Felix Anthony, believes unemployment and under-employment is at its highest level ever.

He has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat there has been a “drastic reduction in employment” in every sector including the sugar, tourism, mining and construction industries.

“In fact, the most affected is the construction industry,” he said. “We hardly have any major projects on-hand other than government infrastructure development programs, but these are mostly done by foreign workers and very little local employment is provided in these areas.”

Although there are currently no official figures on Fiji’s employment rate, Mr. Anthony says the country has seen a significant rise in poverty.

“We have seen more than 60 percent of workers are paid below the poverty line, and some well below the poverty line…this has been a major concern for us,” he said.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

POLYNESIA:

11) Concerns Raised Over Changes To Definition Of ‘Samoan’
New Zealand reverend urges overseas Samoans to weigh in

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 15, 2013) – A community leader in Auckland is worried about a proposed law change being considered in Samoa to tighten the definition of a Samoan person.

New Zealand-based Samoan Reverend Uesifili Unasa, who also sits on the Pacific Advisory Board for Auckland Council, is urging people to voice their concerns, with many living outside of Samoa directly affected by such a change.

He says any changes to do with identity and its impact on subsequent entitlements, titles, family inheritances and customary land and its possible implications for future generations need to be debated and carefully considered.

“The issue around what constitutes being a Samoan are around your birthrights, and your bloodlines. But those things are not necessarily going to guarantee the safety and security of people’s inheritance.”

Reverend Uesifili Unasa says he also doesn’t understand why Samoans living abroad are ineligible to vote, given most contribute money and remittances back into the Samoan economy and maintain close ties to families there.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

12) Drug Parcel Leads To Treasury Manager’s Arrest In Am. Samoa
About $10,000 worth of marijuana found in shampoo bottles

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 14, 2013) – A manager with American Samoa’s Department of Treasury was arrested over the weekend when he picked up a box from the post office that contained marijuana, which had an alleged street value of $10,000.

Customs K9 dogs alerted near the parcel during the Customs Inspection of mail at the U.S. Post Office and this same box was picked up by the Treasury employee. A Customs officer opened the package for inspection as per their usual procedure and saw two bottles of shampoo. It is alleged that each shampoo bottle contained seven rolled up plastics containing marijuana inside. There were a total of 14 plastic rolls found.

Customs agents then contacted Vice and Narcotics Division, who arrested the manager on Friday. The suspect was released from jail Sunday evening after the 48 hours were up, given that no formal charges had yet to be filed by the Attorney General’s office.

Last week Monday, another package, which Customs K9 dog alerted to, was picked up by a 25-year old man from Tafuna who was also arrested and later released from jail, also due to the fact that no formal charges have been filed in that case either.

According to sources, the 25-year-old man picked up the box and during usual customs inspection, Customs Officer found four sandwich baggies stuffed with marijuana with a street value of close to $20,000. The baggies were found at the bottom of the box inside a bag.

Samoa News understands that a police report in both cases has been forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Samoa News also reports that both Customs officer Francis Maluia andChief Customs Officer Glen Lefiti have been sent letters from American Samoa’s Human Resources Director Le’i Sonny Thompson, placing each on forced leave while the incident is investigated by local authorities.]

The Samoa News: http://www.samoanews.com/

13) Concern over effect of Samoa law change on land rights

Posted at 01:48 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

A retired Samoan lawyer is adamant proposed law changes in Samoa will have a detrimental impact on customary land rights for many Samoans living outside of the country.

Maua Faleauto, who is now living in New Zealand, says the Acts Interpretation Bill 2013 is an affront to many who fall outside a proposed legal definition of a Samoan person, who must be both a Samoan citizen and have a certain percentage of Samoan blood.

He says this bill, coupled with the Torrens system of land registration passed in 2008 requiring the registration of public land, freehold land and customary land leases, is still a worry.

He says these law changes appear geared towards alienating many people’s rights and entitlements, while paving the way for the state to allow more foreigners access to customary land.

“Laws do not have to be notified in the government paper or gazetted. Now this is a real worry and an indication of a movement away from democracy, because having of course lived in Samoa myself and looked around to read laws, the laws are really only held by the Attorney General’s office or the government. But effectively we are seeing laws being passed that are unconstitutional and are unavailable, largely. Also they are in English. In order to preserve your land rights if your an overseas Samoan, you have to be so aware of what is happening.”

Maua Faleauto

Radio New Zealand International

14) Temaru off to UN for French Polynesia decolonisation debate

Posted at 03:22 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

The outgoing French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has flown to New York for the UN General Assembly debate of a resolution, seeking to reinscribe the territory on the UN decolonisation list.

The vote in New York in two days is poised to coincide with the planned election in Papeete of his successor, who is likely to be Gaston Flosse.

Mr Flosse, whose Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party triumphed in last week’s territorial election, has reportedly written to the UN, asking the General Assembly to postpone the vote.

Last week, he said the first sitting of the newly elected assembly would adopt a resolution to ask France to intervene at the UN to stop the decolonisation bid.

France withdrew its Pacific territories from the UN list in 1947 but the UN returned New Caledonia to the list in 1986.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA
:

15) Covenant Consultation To Include CNMI Visa Waivers
Current setup ‘choking’ possibility of bigger investments: Inos

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, May 16, 2013) – Governor Eloy S. Inos’ letter to President Barack Obama on a proposed Covenant Section 902 consultation will add the Northern Marianas’ push for a permanent U.S. visa waiver for Chinese and Russian tourists to the islands, four years since the 2009 grant of a “discretionary” waiver that is still causing uncertainty among investors and visitors to the Commonwealth.

Chinese and Russian tourists are an emerging lucrative market for the CNMI, whose main market are Japan and Korea.

However, under the current setup, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary can at any time lift the waiver for a U.S. tourist visa to Chinese and Russian tourists, and this poses significant risks to the still delicate tourism industry.

“We’d like to see if we can have some sense of permanence as opposed to just discretionary thing. We don’t know if it’s going to succeed but we’re going to give it a try because it’s really choking our ability to get bigger investments here,” the governor said in an interview at yesterday’s 2013 peace officer memorial ceremony in Susupe.

Russian and Chinese tourists are allowed to enter the CNMI without a U.S. visa for up to 45 days.

In early 2010, then-governor Benigno R. Fitial said he was assured by DHS that the CNMI would have indefinite access to Chinese and Russian tourists “as long as there are no major security incidents involving these visitors.”

Birth tourism, however, has become a concern. Pregnant tourists, especially from Asian countries such as China, fly to the CNMI under the visa waiver program, to give birth here and enable these children to obtain automatic U.S. citizenship.

Inos said yesterday he also considers bringing up the needed extension of the federalization transition period beyond Dec. 31, 2014.

Without such extension, the CNMI could lose access to over 12,000 skilled and professional foreign workers.

Rep. Trenton Conner (Ind-Tinian), in a separate interview yesterday, said a joint resolution supporting the transition extension will be taken up in the House’s session next week, to help add weight to the CNMI’s request.

“We need to show the federal government we are unified in our position. The governor and the delegate already made it clear they are supporting the five-year extension, and the House leadership feels the same way too,” he said.

The governor said the law requires the U.S. Labor secretary to decide on any transition extension but it could also be pushed during 902 talks.

“We’re hoping that we should just do it through the administrative regulations but then we want to solidify the issue of the parole situation. It can’t just be a very temporary thing. We need to see if we can solidify that because we’re out trying to get more tourists here, to get more investments, so there has to be some degree of certainty,” he added.

Businesses in the CNMI especially hotels have made additional investments to also cater to Chinese and Russian tourists since the visa waiver program started, but there is still a degree of uncertainty whether the islands would continue to have access to these tourists.

These issues are in addition to the governor’s plan of bringing up the planned U.S. military use of Pagan and Tinian in the proposed 902 talks.

There has been a growing opposition to the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) planned use of Pagan for live-fire training exercises.

Taking this into consideration, the governor asked DoD to separate into two distinct environmental impact statements the proposed Tinian and Pagan ranges “to prevent the downfall of one because of the other.”

Inos reiterated that the CNMI would want to benefit from Pagan’s resources even before the military uses it for their training requirements.

He said the CNMI wants to see “what we can do between now and then, especially if by then the whole island would be destroyed, so we want to see what we can do now-not to exploit but to harvest-whatever resources we have out there.”

Inos was referring to the long-planned mining of pozzolan and the development of eco-tourism on Pagan.

The governor said he has yet to send the letter to Obama because he is still “trying to refine the issues” to be included in the proposed 902 talks.

“On the military issue, we need to be specific because not all military issues may be negotiated. We got pretty much the Covenant provisions regarding military, defense responsibilities, but it’s within that area. Like for example how do we get in and acquire property, stuff like that,” he added.

Section 902 of the CNMI’s Covenant with the U.S. allows for periodic consultations between the Commonwealth and federal governments “on all matters affecting the relationship between them.”

The 37-year-old Covenant establishes the unique relationship between the Northern Marianas and the United States.

Either party can initiate Covenant Section 902 consultations. The U.S. president and the CNMI governor directly appoint representatives to these 902 discussions.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

16) Nauru MPs fail to topple president

Posted at 08:12 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

A protracted political stalemate in Nauru may be close to ending with the speaker, Godfrey Thoma, announcing the House will dissolved in seven days.

This comes after weeks of little action in the legislature, mostly because not enough MPs have been turning up to form a quorum.

There was a quorum briefly today and attempts were made to stage a vote of no confidence in the president, Sprent Dabwido, who is out of the country.

But this required a suspension of standing orders and needed an absolute majority of the 18 members which could not be achieved.

The parliament is due to sit again next Tuesday but Mr Thoma told MPs that he will dissolve the House next Thursday – for the past several weeks he has adamantly refused to take such a step.

Radio New Zealand International

PASIFIK:

17) EU should not use Global sourcing as a bargaining tool to access fisheries resources
By Online Editor
08:45 am GMT+12, 17/05/2013, Fiji

By Pita Ligaiula

The Pacific ACP Trade Ministers Chair and Fiji’s Trade Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum  has called on the European Union not to use global sourcing as a bargaining tool to access fisheries resources in the region.

“Through global sourcing for the fisheries industry, the region will be able to pool its resources and enter into joint ventures to attract onshore investment and develop infrastructure.

This will allow all the countries of our region to share the benefits of our fisheries more equally.

“It is not acceptable, therefore, for the EU to try to tie global sourcing for fresh, frozen and chilled fish( as well as global sourcing for processed and cooked fish, which is already granted under the interim EPA), to gain access to our fisheries resources. The development benefits of global sourcing are obvious, and therefore global sourcing for these products should be extended to the comprehensive EPA without restriction,” Khaiyum told the Ministers.

The Pacific ACP countries is lobbying the EU for the extension of the preferential rules of origin on fishery products to include fresh and chilled fish fillets in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Only PNG and Fiji, through ‘global sourcing,’ are allowed to export duty free and quota free access canned and cooked tuna loins to Europe.

Other PACPs want a similar preferential rule offered to PNG and Fiji to be extended to chilled fish fillets.

“Fish is an especially important export for Pacific ACP States. So it is worth returning to the EPA for a moment to discuss the global sourcing provisions for fresh, frozen and chilled fish and the fisheries chapter. These are absolutely key components of a development – friendly and balanced agreement.

The EU needs to recognize the fact that each Pacific country has sovereign rights over territorial and archipelagic waters and we will not allow the EPA to be used to undermine these rights in any way,” Khaiyum said.

He said PACP states know how important it is to conserve and manage its valuable natural resources.

“As a region, we understand that a prosperous future depends upon being responsible with the resources we are blessed with, so that they can continue to support our peoples for generations to come. Our national, sub regional and regional conservation policies are good – or better – than international measures and should not be undermine in the EPA.

“In terms of EPA we must keep in mind that the next round of PACP – EU technical negotiations in Brussels in June could be the last. By that time, our officials needs to be fully prepared to explore negotiation options, following our guidance, in order to progress and finalise a favourable EPA

SOURCE: PACNEWS

18) Rewards are high if Fisheries Issues negotiated well in EPA

By Online Editor
1:30 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2013, Fiji

The Pacific region’s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union could be an important vehicle for sustainable development of our region. This is the message that was conveyed to the Pacific ACP Trade Ministers at their Meeting currently being held in Nadi, Fiji.

“The core objectives of the Economic Partnership Agreement have always been economic development, the reduction of poverty, and the smooth and gradual integration of Pacific ACP States into the world economy” the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said.

Fisheries resources are the key shared resource common to all the Pacific islands. The fisheries sector has immense potential to contribute significantly to economic growth and development across the entire region.

It is therefore important for the region to negotiate a meaningful arrangement in the comprehensive EPA that supports the growth of Pacific fisheries industries.

The Pacific ACP Leaders have directed that the Pacific ACP States conclude a development friendly comprehensive EPA as a single region in 2013. There has been some progress on the technical aspects of the negotiations with the Pacific region showing significant flexibility to reduce the number of outstanding issues. Similar flexibility is required on the part of the European Union to progress the EPA negotiations.

“Issues relating to fisheries remain as one of the most complicated in the negotiations, but the potential for rewards are high if the fisheries aspects in the comprehensive EPA are negotiated successfully,” Slade confirmed.

In anticipation of the conclusion of the comprehensive EPA this year, the Secretariat has been working with regional technical agencies on the implementation of the agreement so that the trade-related constraints that the Pacific ACP countries face in exporting to international markets such as the European Union are addressed.

Slade noted that in this regard the region is seeking support from the European Union in providing the Pacific region development assistance that helps the region in implementing the Agreement. A coordinated approach, through the revision of the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy, is being undertaken to ensure that resources are consolidated and that development partners such as the EU are able to make firm commitments to meeting the region’s Aid for Trade needs.

The importance of regional economic integration in the Pacific was also emphasised. “Engagements such as the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) can drive regional integration through trade. A new momentum and a refreshed commitment to implement PICTA trade in goods and services is necessary”, Slade urged.

Pacific ACP Ministers responsible for Trade are meeting in Nadi, Fiji, to provide political direction to Senior Trade Officials as they prepare for technical negotiations with the European Commission in late June/early July in Brussels.

source: PIFS/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

19) Planti sapot long haus krai long PNG

Updated 16 May 2013, 14:24 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Haus Krai dei i mekim planti man long Papua New Guinea i krai na sem long pasin em ol man isave mekim long paitim nating nating ol meri na pikinini.

PNG Praim Minista Peter O’Neill tu itok olsem emi sem tru na emi sore long bikpla mak long vailans egensim ol meri long kantri.

Mr O’Neill i mekim dispela toktok long makim dispela Haus Krai de long Port Moresby long aste we planti tausan pipal nau i stap longen.

Esther Igo, memba blong Women Arise PNG husat ibin redim despla bung itok oli hamamas tru long lukim planti pipal long kantri ibin makim Haus Krai.

Em itok Praim Minista O’Neill i kisim petition oa askim blong ol meri long PNG na em i toktok tu long ol samting we gavman i wok long wokim long dispela krai blong ol meri long kantri.

Ms Igo itok, ol meri i filim olsem dispela Haus Krai blong ol i “pulim tingting blong ol man, pulim luksave blong ol man, pulim bel na lewa blong man go insait long dispela toktok long stopim vailans.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRANIS:

20) Fidji: chômage en hausse ou en baisse ?

Mis à jour 16 May 2013, 9:13 AEST
Pierre Riant

Pour le gouvernement, le chômage est à la baisse mais pour la grande Centrale syndicale de l’archipel, c’est tout le contraire.

Le ministre du Travail, Jone Usamate, affirme que le chômage recule puisque le nombre d’offres d’emploi augmente : « Au cours de ces dernières semaines, j’ai vu beaucoup d’annonces d’emploi, il y a donc du travail. Ça n’augmente pas peut-être pas aussi vite que nous l’aimerions, mais je pense que quand la nouvelle Constitution sera en place et que les élections auront eu lieu, tout cela va changer. »

Faux, répond Félix Anthony, le Secrétaire national de la Centrale syndicale: Fiji Trade Unions Congress,

ANTHONY : Nous nous opposons vivement aux propos du gouvernement sur le chômage. En fait, nous sommes persuadés que le chômage à Fidji n’a jamais été aussi élevé.
C’est un problème sérieux et tous les secteurs sont affectés à Fidji. L’industrie sucrière, le tourisme, l’industrie minière ; des secteurs où l’emploi diminue fortement. Donc, je ne sais pas sur quoi se base le ministère du Travail pour dire que le chômage a baissé. »

Selon Félix Anthony, le secteur du bâtiment serait aussi en crise suite à l’absence de grands projets de construction et quand un projet prend forme, ce serait de la main d’œuvre étrangère qui prend la pelle et la pioche.

D’un côté, le gouvernement s’appuie sur un nombre accru d’offres d’emploi pour dire que le chômage est en baisse. De l’autre, Félix Anthony nous parle de ce qu’il perçoit dans les divers secteurs d’activités du pays. Il semblerait que l’on ne s’appuie pas sur des chiffres concrets puisqu’il n’y a pas de statistiques sur le taux de chômage.

Toutefois, personne ne conteste que la pauvreté existe et qui dit pauvreté dit chômage… L’avis de Félix Anthony.

ANTHONY : « Et bien oui, nous avons assisté à une brusque augmentation de la pauvreté. Et nous savons que plus 60% des travailleurs fidjiens vivent en-dessous du seuil de pauvreté et certains très en-dessous, notamment ceux qui travaillent dans l’industrie sucrière.

Dans des temps meilleurs, Fidji produisait dans les 4 millions de tonnes de cannes par an. L’année dernière et l’année précédente nous avons produit quelque chose comme 1,6 million de tonne.

Nous ne pensons pas que le gouvernement s’intéresse sérieusement au problème du chômage à Fidji. »

Le ministre du Travail, Jone Usamate, désapprouve dans les colonnes de la Fiji Broadcasting Corporation : « Vous avez des pays comme l’Espagne et la Grèce où le taux de chômage chez les jeunes et de près de 50%. Alors ce n’est pas si mal que ça ici à Fidji. L’un des avantages que nous avons, ce sont ces champs verts que nous voyons ; les gens peuvent toujours revenir au mode de vie traditionnelle, [l’agriculture de subsistance].  Et d’après une étude du Bureau des statistiques, beaucoup de gens le font. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

21) Des jeunes du Pacifique se font remarquer en Australie

Posté à 17 May 2013, 8:34 AEST
Pierre Riant

Des agressions violentes capturées sur bande vidéo inquiètent les autorités.

Les images diffusées par la Chaîne 7 à Melbourne montrent de jeunes océaniens et des Maoris d’un gang nommé KYR en plein braquage à main armé. Une autre vidéo révèle une attaque violente sur le quai d’une gare.

Écoutons ce que dit le présentateur de la Chaîne 7 avant la diffusion des images.

PRÉSENTATEUR : « Bonsoir. Des images choquantes d’un gang d’adolescents notoire qui terrorisent les Melbourniens et montrent une série de crimes sans limite en termes de violences dans nos banlieues. Ces voyous… »

Ces images montre un membre de ce gang frapper à coups de poing un adolescent sri-lankais sur le quai d’une gare de banlieue tandis que des badauds regardent la scène sans oser intervenir. Pendant ce temps, d’autres membres du KYR, le visage masqué, attaquent et braquent un McDonalds avec une batte de baseball et une hache.

Autre information perturbante, ce que précise le reporter de la Chaîne, Cameron Baud.

BAUD : « La majorité de ces membres du gang sont d’origine maorie ou du Pacifique. Certains ont des parents qui sont en prison ou qui ont des connexions avec des gangs de Nouvelle-Zélande. »

Quelqu’un qui connaît bien les problèmes auxquels doivent faire face les jeunes océaniens du Pacifique à Melbourne, c’est Leon Manuel,  un intervenant social auprès des jeunes.

MANUEL : « J’ai été choqué quand j’ai vu la scène, rien que cette violente férocité sur ce jeune sri-kankais qui était sur le quai de la gare et même l’attaque contre le McDo, c’était vraiment choquant. Et ça va s’aggraver si rien n’est fait. Ces jeunes sont laissés à eux-mêmes et font ce qu’ils veulent et il faut intervenir à ce niveau »

Leon Manuel nous confiera qu’il n’est pas question de stigmatiser qui que ce soit, qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un problème de race ou d’ethnie. Pour Leon, ce sont tout simplement des jeunes désœuvrés. Alors que faire ?http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

MANUAL : « Peut-être que nous pourrions parler avec ces gamins, leur demander ce qu’ils veulent. Mais la plupart du temps, ils ne le savent pas. Ils vivent au jour le jour. Ils ne pensent pas à l’avenir. Ils ne pensent pas aussi loin. Ils sont ici pour survivre et ils ne reçoivent pas d’allocations du gouvernement. Ils n’y ont pas droit. Ils sortent et font ce qu’ils font parce qu’ils le peuvent. »

WORLD:

22) Obama condemns actions

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned “intolerable” behaviour by tax agency staff after a watchdog investigation found they unfairly targeted conservative groups opposed to his administration.
Obama swiftly responded to the report by a Treasury Department inspector general into allegations that Internal Revenue Service staff singled out grass roots groups, including some affiliated with the ultra-conservative Tea Party.
He ordered Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold “those responsible for these failures accountable”.
“The report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable,” Obama said in a written statement.
“The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test,” Obama said.
The scandal surrounding the IRS, an independent agency within the Treasury Department, was one of a clutch of political controversies threatening to halt Obama’s political momentum at the beginning of his second term.
Republicans seized on the episode, revealed publicly on Friday, to claim a pattern of abuse of power and intimidation by the Obama White House.
But the White House said that no one in Obama’s governing or political team had anything to do with targeting the conservative groups, and the president said he only learned about if from news reports last week.
The inspector general’s 54-page report found that the IRS used “inappropriate” political criteria when probing groups over an 18-month span.
It did not explicitly mention acts of criminality, but highlighted an overly ambitious review of applications from groups that could be seen as seeking the defeat of Obama and his Democrats in the 2012 elections.
“Early in calendar year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to review for indications of significant political campaign intervention,” the report said.
The report determined that a specialist had been “asked to search for applications with ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots,’ or ‘9/12’ in the organization’s name as well as other ‘political-sounding’ names.”
Lew said he was “deeply troubled” by the report’s findings. He said he had “zero tolerance” for any action that undermined confidence in the tax code, and urged the IRS to act on the report’s findings.
Attorney General Eric Holder earlier ordered an investigation into the federal tax authority’s treatment of Tea Party groups to see if it had violated any laws.
The IRS, acknowledging the mistakes, said “significant improvements in this area are in place, and we are confident that what transpired here will not recur.”
“We believe the frontline career employees that made the decisions acted out of a desire for efficiency and not out of any political or partisan viewpoint,” wrote IRS acting commissioner for tax exempt and government entities, Joseph Grant.
“And as the report discusses, these issues have been resolved.”
But the inspector disputed that, saying “we disagree” with the IRS claim that the issues have been resolved, and that more needed to be done to prevent a repeat of such abuse.
On Friday, the IRS admitted targeting around 75 non-profit groups associated with the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement, as well as other political non-profits for special examination, as Obama fought a furious battle for re-election against conservatives.
They involved the claim of non-profit status by newly-formed, so-called 501(c) groups, many of which were actively involved advocating political stances both sides of the political spectrum. – AFP.C/-http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

BUSINESS:


23) PNG, Qld ink trade deal

By Online Editor
09:44 am GMT+12, 17/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

PAPUA New Guinea and Queensland have signed a deal in Port Moresby on Tuesday to grow business links and opportunities between them.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman signed the agreement at the Grand Papua Hotel.

Newman arrived in the country on Tuesday with a business delegation, seeking to strengthen links in agribusiness, resources, construction, infrastructure and education.

He said: “Papua New Guinea is Queensland’s closest neighbour and its closest trading partner in the Pacific.

“We share a long standing cultural connection and over the years this friendship has developed into an enduring and highly productive business relationship.

“This relationship was first formalised in 1992 with the signing of the PNG and Queensland memorandum of understanding on Business Corporation.

“We have reached many milestones and now, in its 21st year we have renewed this agreement”.

Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI) chief executive officer David Conn said: “We already have solid links with Far North Queensland (Cairns and Townsville) but this widens the levels of cooperation between Queensland and PNG businesses.

“The premier has stated their priorities and they are very similar to ours – they want to focus on infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and transport.

“They have experience in the ‘smart state’ especially in agribusiness and we need to work together with them on these areas.

Conn said: “Queensland has been a hub for regional tourism and surely we can tap into that expertise and hopefully some of the experienced investors they have.”

In light of consecutive trade missions to the country in the past few months, Conn addded: “This is a great sign of confidence in PNG. Our economy needs to diversify and with all these suitors we can now select from a diverse menu.

“This will be good for PNG especially the SME sector which we need to build to make our economy a full and sustainable economy.”..http://www.pina.com.fj/

24) Bright year for Pearl

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

PEARL production for one of the country’s prestigious companies in the North is improving following the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas in 2010.

According to a recent newsletter, J. Hunter Pearls Fiji’s Justin Hunter said 2012 was an exciting year for the company.

“While our pearl production is still limited because of the damage caused by Hurricane Tomas in 2010, we made positive marketing changes and were pleased to see our healthy oysters producing amazing pearls,” he said in a statement.

“On the farms, we continue to expand having tripled our farm leases and grow out sites. We have two new nursery leases located on the other side of Savusavu Bay and two more grow-out leases from the tikina Nasavusavu where our current leases exist.”

He said the traditional leases were necessary to house the numerous young oysters on the farms from the wild spat collection and their hatchery.

“We have also been working hard to increase the overall quality of our Fiji pearls and have implemented farming methods based on research carried out over the last few years.”

Meanwhile, the company recently secured an exclusive partnership with Jorg Gellner, one of Germany’s largest luxury jewellers.http://www.fijitimes.com/

25) PNG MP raises concerns about illegal fishing by Indonesian vessels

Posted at 23:14 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

The Papua New Guinea MP for Manus, Ronny Knight, has raised concerns during Parliament’s Question Time this week about illegal fishing by Indonesian vessels.

Mr Knight said fishing vessels near Manus are using drift nets that have been banned throughout the world and also long-line fishing methods.

He said reports from people travelling from Manus to Vanimo also revealed that small fishing vessels had also been spotted 200 meters off Mal Island with shark lines that were illegal in PNG waters.

The Post Courier reports him urging the government to do something about this to protect the people’s marine resources and also protect Papua New Guinea’s territorial waters and sovereignty

Radio New Zealand International

26) Business group in Fiji keen to rehabilitate land disturbed by prospecting

Posted at 23:14 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

The Namosi Joint Venture in Fiji, which hopes to mine copper and gold in Namosi and Naitasiri, says it is determined to rehabilitate land area disturbed as a result of the company’s prospecting.

The Namosi Joint venture is a partnership between the Australian mining company Newcrest and Japanese interests.

FBC News reports that as part of their rehabilitation programme, a nursery was opened at Nasevou village in Waidina this week.

The nursery is to provide an alternative livelihood for the villagers, so they can provide plants to the joint venture and also generate income as they sell the plants to other people.

While local villagers from Delailasakau and Nasevou are welcoming the programme, they have voiced ongoing concerns the effect from mining on their environment.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Impact Assessment of the venture has been currently put on hold due to what Fiji Village reports is environmental damage.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Environment audit report recommends a shutdown of Gold Ridge mining operations

By Online Editor
2:58 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2013, Solomon Islands

An independent environment audit into Solomon Islands Gold Ridge Tailings Dam recommends that the Gold Ridge Mining Limited (GRML) should shut down its operations, install the water treatment plant and discontinue any further extraction of water from Chovohio River.

The audit report compiled by an independent environment auditor for Metapona Downstream Association, Kolobisi Tailings Dam Association and Gold ridge community and landowners council representatives recommends that the retained water is of good quality resembling those of the Tinahulu in terms of trace metal concentration.

The report recommends that GRML shut off pumps 1 and 2 from Chovohio River and pump in ‘return water’ to fill the tanks at the processing plant adding that the untreated water could be pumped to the returning water dam.

In addition, the water collection pond at the processing plant should be cleared off the silts and clay that is accumulated should be discharged. The pond should also be filled to its capacity which means the pumping rate should be increased from the current 234 cubic meters per hour.

It states the ore contains about 20 percent moisture which is a positive addition of water into the processing plant and eventually to the Tailings Storage Facility.

The report says the amount of ore feed into the processing plant should be reduced by 20 percent during the crucial period of 10 weeks from now.

It says if GRML does not implement any of these measures then it should shut down its operations immediately.

SOURCE: SIBC/PACNEWS

28) OK Tedi might take Tolukuma
By Online Editor
2:52 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Tokuluma mine in Papua New Guinea’s Central Province is likely to be taken over by OK Tedi Mining Limited.

This was revealed by Central Province Governor Kila Haoda when asked by reporters on his trip to Tolukuma mine on Monday.

Governor Haoda said Tolukuma, despite being in the Central Province, has not done enough for the landowners and his trip to the mine on Monday was to get firsthand knowledge on what the company has done for his people and what they had in store for them.

Governor Haoda had called the news conference to rebut allegations by some Goilala people employees of Tolukuma and their local MP Daniel Mona who had questioned why he bypassed them and went to Tolukuma.

They had alleged that the governor had “by passed” their local MP and went into Tolukuma with “purported” executives of Petromin, despite being briefed of existing issues between Tolukuma mine and Petromin.

“The governor has to explain why he went to Tolukuma last week with Petromin staff without consulting our local MP. He knows very well that our local MP has been opposing Petromin and that was why they were told to turn back at Tolukuma helipad,” said a spokesman for the landowners.

Governor Haoda said he had gone there because he was their Governor and that those who are claiming to be landowners are actually not real landowners.

On the question of Petromin and the Government’s decision to dismantle Petromin, who currently runs the Tolukuma Mines, Governor Haoda said the O’Neill Government is considering Ok Tedi to take charge of the mine.

“I am confident that once Ok Tedi takes over, the provincial Government and Landowners will greatly benefit.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

29) Bula Quo movie premieres in Suva

By Online Editor
1:12 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2013, Fiji

A comedy and action flick ‘Bula Quo’ which stars rock legends Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt premiered in Fiji.

The movie which has been entirely shot in Fiji’s Western Division drew movie goers, prominent business figures and dignitaries to Village 6 cinemas.

The production team, co-actress Jean Heard and the local crew of the movie were also present to share their experience.

FijiLive caught up with Heard who plays the role of a TV news presenter in the movie and heard about her experience.

The British film and television actress said she was excited when she found out that they were going to shoot the movie here.

“It was truly an awesome and amazing experience for me as Fiji and its people have given us a lot of memories and the beauty of this country adds a totally new dimension to the film,” she said.

“This movie will surely promote Fiji in a big way and I am more than confident that more people from Hollywood will come here for their shoots in the near future.”

Executive producer Stuart St Paul said despite facing the 2012 March floods which nearly shut the movie shoot, they came a long way to relive their dream and complete the movie successfully.

“The floods threatened our project and at one point we almost seized production but the amazing support from the locals here just kept us going. Our local crew was amazing and the people of Fiji were always by our side to see that things were running well.”

“The whole team had a fantastic experience here and I would surely love to return someday to shoot more movies.”

Film Fiji acting chief executive Florence Swamy congratulated the production team for a wonderful job and said she would love to see the movie go a long way.

“This is a great movie, it features the world famous Status Quo and our wonderful Fiji has been portrayed so nicely in this film,” she quipped.

“Film Fiji always assists production teams which shoot here and we are looking forward to seeing more Hollywood and English movie makers in our country soon.”

The 90 minute long movie sees the Status Quo visit Fiji to complete their 50 year Celebration tour. After performing their gig at Churchill Park in Lautoka, the pair come off stage to thunderous applause and slip away for a quiet drink.

Suspecting a bigger party is going on in the back bar, Rossi and Parfitt slip through security and gate crash the event. They witness a gambling ring forcing competitors to play Russian Roulette. The winner gets dinner. The other loses their head. They grab evidence of the murder and create a commotion so they can get away. The ring leader catches sight of them and orders their heads.

Parfitt and Rossi are on the run. Simon, their manager and Caroline a cheeky intern, are tasked with keeping the press in the dark while protecting Status Quo.

An ambitious reporter, Dave senses there is a story. Caroline holds him off as long as possible, but as the situation escalates, enlists his help.

Using sea-planes, speed boats, jet skis, golf carts and scuba gear, Status Quo and their entourage evade capture and manage to leave Fiji Islands in the end. Bula Quo will be screened in cinemas from May 20.
SOURCE: FIJILIVE/PACNEWS

MEDIA:


30) NBC has new board

By PAEOPE OVASURU

THE National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has new board members to set a new direction for the organization.
The new board was sworn into office yesterday by the Governor-General Sir Micheal Ogio.
The board consists of chairman Kain Wosae, deputy chairman Paul Reptario, members Esther Igo, Jimmy Veneo and Otto Noruka.
The occasion was witnessed by Communication and Information Minister Jimmy Miringtoro, Information and Communication secretary Paulias Korni and NBC managing director Memafu Kapera and his senior management team.
Mr Kapera said with the new board, NBC is now ready to implement its 2011-2015 corporate plan.
“I am happy that the new board is now in place and we will start implementing some very important policies under our corporate plan,” he said.
Some of the immediate changes that the new board will implement include the restructure of NBC’s human resources.
“We have big work ahead and this board will set the foundation for the new direction NBC will take,” Mr Kapera said.
Outgoing board chairman Paul Reptario pledged his support for the new board, adding that team work was needed to achieve the goals set out in the corporate plan.
He said under his leadership as chairman, the last board ensured that they achieved the corporate plan 2009–2012.
“My board took over at a time when NBC owed a lot of debts to service providers in the country and overseas. I am proud to say that we managed to turn the organisation around to a money-earning entity today,” Mr Reptario said.
New chairman Mr Wosae said the Government has high expectations for NBC and it was vital for the public broadcaster to deliver.
“We will do our best to do what we have to do with the resources that we have,” he said.
He said though NBC was corporatised in 1996, it still depends on the Government for funding.
“We don’t see our constraints; that’s why we have ambitious plans and with my board, we will do what we have to do because there are things that we can do and things we cannot,” Mr Wosae said.
He concluded that NBC had a lot of challenges ahead and called on the Government for support in order to achieve its goals as set out in 2011-2015 corporate plan.16/5/13 – http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

LAW&ORDER+

31) Call for closer PNG/ Australia police links to fight violence against women

Posted at 03:22 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

A women’s leader in Papua New Guinea says they want the country’s police to forge closer links with Australian police as a key step in overcoming entrenched levels of violence against women.

Esther Igo says this was a key element of the petition presented to the prime minister, Peter O’Neill, during this week’s Haus Krai or House of Mourning, in Port Moresby.

It was one of dozens of events, many of them overnight vigils, organised in PNG and overseas after an outcry over a series of gruesome murders of women accused of sorcery.

Esther Igo says the petition focussed on the need for the government to ensure the laws already on the books are enforced.

“That’s what’s really broken and immediately we have asked the government to work with Australia to see if we can have the Australian support in giving help to Papua New Guinea police. So that was one of the major things we had in the petition.”

Last weekend in talks in PNG, the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, indicated that there would be enhanced links between PNG police and the Australian Federal Police.

Radio New Zealand International

32)Alarming PNG child sex abuse figures

Posted at 03:21 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

The Family Support Centre at the Angau Memorial General Hospital in Papua New Guinea reports that more than half the victims of sexual violence and abuse that they see are children.

The officer in-charge of the facility, Anastasia Wakon, says in the first four months of this year, they have attended to more than 100 cases of violence and sexual abuse where the victims are children.

She told a gathering in Lae protesting against violence towards women and children that the national government must take responsibility and pass stricter laws to deter people from committing these crimes.

The Lae event was one of several so-called Haus Krais held throughout Papua New Guinea.

The founder of Arise PNG Women, Serah Haoda Todd, told the crowd there was a great need for change.

She told the gathered women that they needed to begin this process, then extend it to their families, their communities and eventually throughout the country.

One of the organisers of the Haus Krai in Port Moresby, Esther Igo, says they had widespread support, including from men.

She says some perpetrators of violence against women apologised for their actions during the event.

“There were a lot of men who stood up and apologised to the women of PNG saying they are sorry and enough is enough and they are looking at doing something [about the issue]. Because at the end of the day it is the women who are victims, men who are perpetrators.”

Radio New Zealand International

33) Queensland court seizes property belonging to PNG fugitive

Posted at 07:49 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

Authorities in Australia have seized North Queensland properties owned by one of Papua New Guinea’s most wanted men.

The newspaper, The Australian, reports that a judge this week granted an application by the Australian Federal Police for custody and control orders on five properties, four bank accounts and dozens of cars controlled by Eremas Wartoto.

Mr Wartoto owns several rental properties in Cairns and controls a car rental business in the city.

He is wanted in PNG for allegedly misappropriating more than 13 million US dollars from the PNG government.

Mr Wartoto has been living in Cairns since 2011 on a foreign skilled workers visa that has been at the centre of a Federal Government crackdown.

Radio New Zealand International

34) RAMSI Police here for four more years
1:33 pm GMT+12, 16/05/2013, Solomon Islands

The next four years of RAMSI’s police operations have been guaranteed with the allocation, announced in this week’s Australian budget, of nearly AUD 500 million in funding for the Regional Assistance Mission.

The Australian budget announcement confirms plans for RAMSI to operate solely as a policing mission from 30 June this year.

RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) now have funding guaranteed for the next four years,” RAMSI Special Coordinator Nicholas Coppel said.

“This confirms our plans for a gradual transition of the mission.”

“The main focus of the PPF’s work would continue to be the strengthening of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF),” Coppel said.

“However the level of funding also permits the PPF to maintain a security capability to enable it to respond quickly if the RSIPF requests assistance, particularly in maintaining public order.

“This means the RSIPF have more time to build and strengthen their capacity in public order management and I am sure will be welcomed by all Solomon Islanders,” he said.

The budget allocation also confirmed the mission’s military component will withdraw in the second half of this year.

The funding commitment for the police contingent will cover the cost of deploying both Australian Federal Police officers as well as police officers from those Pacific island countries already contributing personnel to RAMSI.

Australian High Commissioner, Matt Anderson welcomed the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to the Solomon Islands – RAMSI partnership.

“Australia is committed to a peaceful, prosperous Solomon Islands.  The Australian Government’s funding for RAMSI, as well as the increase in the bilateral partnership for development, is our concrete expression of that commitment,” he said.

“Australia looks forward to working in partnership with Solomon Islands in coming years, both through RAMSI and through our growing bilateral assistance,” said Mr Anderson.

“Australia’s reduced level of funding for RAMSI in the 2013 – 14 budget is recognition of the mission’s success in restoring normalcy to Solomon Islands and the commitment by the people and government of Solomon Islands to take advantage of the situation to rebuild their nation,” he said.

SOURCE: RAMSI/PACNEWS

35) O’Neill Apologizes For Violence Against Women In PNG
PM attends ‘haus krai’ gathering at Port Moresby stadium

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 15, 2013) –Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has apologized for the violence faced by women in his country and pledged a crackdown on perpetrators including a return to the death penalty.

More than 1,000 people – mostly women – gathered in Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium for a national day of mourning, or “haus krai,” over violence against women in Papua New Guinea.

PNG has been rocked in recent months by a series of internationally condemned attacks on women – including the burning murder of a young mother, the beheading of a former teacher, both women had been accused of sorcery, and the pack rape of an American academic.

Mr. O’Neill said it is not acceptable in this day and age, and the Government stands with them.

He also expressed the Government’s sympathy for all the victims of violence in communities throughout Papua New Guinea.

Mr. O’Neill pledged to bring laws with tougher penalties, including the reintroduction of the death penalty, before the nation’s Parliament in coming weeks.

The reforms will include life without parole for rapists and tougher drug and alcohol penalties.

[PIR editor’s note: Opposition leader Belden Namah, who also attended the national day of mourning, said he would asked PNG’s parliament to observe a minute of silence out of respect for women who have been raped, murdered and violated. “Every leader should stand behind this movement. Enough is enough. It’s time to take action because violence against women and children is not a new thing,” he said.]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

36) Former CNMI attorney general arrested in Colorado

Posted at 08:25 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

A former Northern Marianas attorney general, Edward Buckingham, who has been declared fugitive from justice, has been arrested in Colorado.

A lawyer at the CNMI’s Office of the Public Auditor, George Hasselback, has told the Saipan Tribune the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado has Mr Buckingham in custody.

The lawyer says Mr Buckingham will be brought before a judge in Jefferson County Court for his initial hearing tomorrow.

Mr Hasselback says the Lakewood Police executed an arrest warrant issued by Superior Court Associate Judge David Wiseman.

He says it is the very first step in the extradition process.

Mr Buckingham facing several criminal charges filed by the Office of the Public Auditor.

Radio New Zealand International

HEALTH:

37) Youth diabetes increasing in Tonga, says King
By Online Editor
10:02 am GMT+12, 17/05/2013, Tonga

Diabetes cannot be cured, Tonga’s King Tupou VI said today and expressed concern that an increasing number of youth are being diagnosed with the disease in Tonga.

“Young people are being removed from school because of diabetes and more than half of the case studies have lost their mothers because of diabetes,” he said in launching the 2012-13 Tonga Youth Diabetes Study Report.

These negative impacts of the disease on young people’s quality of life need urgent attention, he said.

King Tupou VI attended the 76th Meeting of the University of the South Pacific Council at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre today May 16, to launch the report of a study commissioned by a King’s Coronation Charity Trust, founded by the late King George Tupou V.

The national study aimed to gather reliable data for the Trust, which planned to undertake a national educational program campaign to help reduce the prevalence of diabetes.

A USP Tonga research team undertook a nationwide quantitative survey of 1,500 youths between the ages of 14-25, with 214 youths and six in-depth case studies of youths with Type 2 diabetes.

The King said that the study showed Tonga’s youths were surrounded by people with diabetes, “so while they are very aware of the causes and consequences, one of the key findings of the study is that 81 percent of the youths have a misconception that diabetes can be cured,” he said.

The case studies showed the impact of diabetes not just on youths concerned but also on their respective families. “The treatment of diabetes is increasingly expensive for Tonga and more so for the future,” he said.

The King also noted the social and economic costs of the disease and lost educational opportunities for those affected.

He said the report contains important findings and recommendations not only for the Trust but for the health and education sectors and community at large.

“The Trust now needs to design a variety of programs and targeted approaches to youths and ensure information is penetrated to them. It’s a daunting task for the Trust to implement the report’s recommendations on its own, it will require a collaboration of the government, our community at large and with potential sponsors,” he said.

Vision

He said it was the late King George Tupou V’s vision that the Trust contributes to work currently undertaken in Tonga to combat diabetes.

Although adults are traditionally the ones diagnosed with diabetes in Tonga there is an increasing number of youth being diagnosed with the disease. In pursing His Late Majesty’s vision the Trust commissioned the study to focus on youth diabetes, he said.

Awareness

The report, which is now available to the public, stated key recommendations for the King’s Coronation Charity Trust, including that the youth of Tonga be the target group for its efforts to help reduce the prevalence of diabetes. These included recommendations:

• To implement a comprehensive community-based program to raise the youth awareness of diabetes and its consequences and to demystify diabetes. A key message for these programs would be, ‘diabetes cannot be cured.’

• Programs to be delivered by the youth who have diabetes, working together with health professionals and other community leaders, among other recommendations.

Attending the launch were Princess Pilolevu Tuita, Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu, USP Council members, including Pacific Education Ministers from member states, with Tonga’s Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano, the Minister of Education Hon. Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki, USP Tonga campus Director Dr ‘Ana Koloto and other guests.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

38) Scripts for cannabis mooted in NSW

16 May, 2013 Kate Cowling

Share on emailShare on print

Doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis to terminally ill AIDS patients, a NSW parliamentary committee inquiry has advised.
If passed, the legislation would allow dying AIDS patients to access 15g of marijuana under the PBS.
“We are very mindful that unless subsidised by the taxpayer under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, this product would be unaffordable to many who will be of very limited means at the most vulnerable time in their lives,” the inquiry committee said.
GPs would not be able to prescribe the drug, but would have to refer patients to pain medicine specialists who would assess whether the patient met very specific criteria.
However, Emeritus Professor Ian Webster, professor of public health and community medicine at the University…http://www.6minutes.com.au/

CLIMATE CHANCE & ENVIROMENT:

39) Mangroves vital for the future

Ana Madigibuli
Friday, May 17, 2013

CUTTING of mangroves contribute to a lot of environmental issues that can haunt our future generation.

With Fiji having only eight different species of mangroves, it is vital to protect and manage our mangroves from developments that can contribute to the depletion of our mangrove ecosystem.

The Managing Mangrove Ecosystem for Climate Change Adaptation and Livelihood (MESCAL) in Fiji project plays an important role in managing the mangrove ecosystem.

MESCAL Fiji project co-ordinator Neema Nand said the project was an attempt to encourage necessary action needed in countries such as Fiji, Vanuatu, and Tonga.

She said this was to promote appropriate management of mangroves for sustainable livelihood and protection of coastal communities.http://www.fijitimes.com/

40) UNICEF Joins Efforts To Deal With Marshall Islands Drought

Lack of clean water reportedly leading to increased illness

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 15, 2013) – The United Nations’ children’s fund, UNICEF, has joined the Marshallese Government in providing emergency assistance to the nation’sseverely drought-affected areas.

More than 5,000 people in the north of the Republic of the Marshall Islands have limited access to clean and safe drinking water, proper sanitation and nutritious food.

The emergency response is focusing attention on health and hygiene with reports of an increase in diarrhea and other infections among children.

UNICEF’s Pacific chief Samantha Cocco-Klein has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the lack of clean water is making it easy for infections to spread.

“What we are seeing is an early spike in diarrhea, gastritis, hepatitis and other infections of that sort…half the cases are children for diarrhea and other infections,” she said. “The idea for us is to get in early before there are any deaths.”

UNICEF has shared radio messages that advise the affected communities to wash hands, boil all drinking water, avoid eating spoiled food and exclusively breastfeed infants under six-months old.

“The first line (of defense) is in the home, when a child gets sick, that the parents know how to start treating [diarrhea],” she said. “The next line… is that they seek medical attention as soon as possible, and that medical providers have the necessary equipment including syringes and oral rehydration therapy.”

Emergency supplies such as hygiene kits, water quality testing kits and oral rehydration salts have been delivered to the government.

“The atolls are spread out over a huge area and this has been the real challenge for the government,” Ms. Cocco-Klein said.

“They have been responding since January at huge cost…and they’re running out of resources to respond and to keep supplying the island.”

The Marshallese Government declared a state of emergency for the northern islands and atolls last month.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

YOUTH:

41) Brush-cutters a lifeline for unemployed youths

Salaseini Moceiwai
Friday, May 17, 2013

Youth groups with brush-cutters they received from DPC North SSP Fulori Rainibogi and the Northern Crime Prevention Carnival committee. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

A GROUP of youths in Macuata yesterday received two brush-cutters from the Duavata Northern Crime Prevention Committee to help them generate income.

The youths from Seaqaqa and Nagigi were all smiles after receiving the equipment from the divisional police commander northern SSP Fulori Rainibogi and the committee chairman Satish Kumar at the market police post in Labasa.

Vunitarawau Youth and Sports Club head Jahend Prasad said this was a form of employment for them as the brush-cutters would help them earn money.

“We are very grateful to the committee for their insight to help unemployed people like us,” Mr Prasad said.

“Before, we use to borrow brush-cutters from relatives and neighbours to use it at our customer’s compound for money but now we are so happy to have our very own.

“This sort of activity will deviate youths from involving themselves in criminal activities.”

Another unemployed youth, Sevuloni Vaniqi, also received a brush-cutter from the committee to help him support his family.

He was also thankful for the assistance.

Mr Kumar said such assistance were aimed at helping youths earn money for their livelihood rather than resorting to criminal activities.

“Cutting grass might be demanding and time-consuming but at least, it is helping these youths earn good income,” he said.

“This is all about preventing crime in the division and we are very happy to contribute effectively to it.”http://www.fijitimes.com/

SPORT:

42) PNG govt gives funds for PMs 13 rugby league match

Posted at 23:14 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

The Papua New Guinea Government has given the country’s Rugby League Federation a cheque for 100-thousand US dollars for upgrades to Kalabond Stadium ahead of the annual match between the Kumuls and the Prime Minister’s XIII in Kokopo later this year.

The investment matches dollar for dollar the contribution also made by East New Britain Governor Ereman Tobaining towards the September 29 fixture.

PNGRFL Chairman Don Fox says the funds will go straight towards increasing the ground capacity to over 5,000 people so as many supporters as possible can be at the match.

It’s the first time the annual fixture has been played outside of Port Moresby and the Minister for Sport, Justin Tkatchenko, says it’s fitting as the New Guinea Islands have the best rugby league program in the country and Kalabond Stadium is one of the best playing venues.

Radio New Zealand International

43) Fiji sevens team to get pick of players for World Cup

Posted at 23:14 on 16 May, 2013 UTC

The Flying Fijians rugby coach, Inoke Male, says the sevens team will get the first port of call on players ahead of their World Cup in Moscow next month.

Fiji open their Pacific Nations Cup campaign against Japan in just over a fortnight, with the squad for that tournament due to be named on Saturday.

Male says everything is pretty much finalised but he will speak with sevens coach Alivereti Dere first to ensure they’re on the same wavelength.

“We are trying to give the sevens the first choice over players he needs to take to the World Cup. After that we will finalise our teams for the coming tournament.”

Radio New Zealand International

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *