Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 854

MELANESIA:

1) MSG solidarity has never been stronger: Fiji AG

By Online Editor
5:04 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) over its 25-year history has become a strong and cohesive regional bloc and is now becoming a vibrant economic grouping, with great potential, says Fiji’s  acting Prime Minister and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking at the inaugural MSG Trade Ministers Meeting in Nadi Monday, Chairman Sayed-Khaiyum said MSG solidarity has never been stronger and the leaders share a bold vision for a truly integrated Pacific, beginning with a truly integrated MSG.

He said the meeting comes at the end of a very eventful period for the region as Fiji hosted the MSG Trade Officials, the meeting of eminent persons of the G77 and the Pacific ACP Trade Officials and Trade Ministers for a series of meetings over the past two weeks.

“Together, we represent 98.8% of the region’s total landmass, 30.3% of the region’s exclusive economic zones, and 87% of the region’s population. We have advanced skills and knowledge as well as a strong manufacturing base. It is up to us to make sure we make the most of these resources,” he said.

“Historically, intra-MSG trade has been low.

However, we have seen remarkable signs of progress over the last few years. It has been noted that between the period 2005-2009, intra-MSG trade has increased substantially – with exports amongst the MSG rising by more than 300%.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji’s total trade with the Pacific Islands countries has increased from less than 1% in 2000 to 4.5% in 2010 and more than 40% of this trade is now with the MSG countries. In 2012, Fiji-PNG trade alone was more than $23 million.

He said a further boost in intra-MSG trade is expected in 2013 and 2014, with the removal of tariff barriers by PNG last year and all of Vanuatu’s tariffs being reduced to zero this year.
“Our vision is for a ‘common economic union’ and a ‘single common market’ with the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital.If we are willing to work together, this is the future.”

“We have already made much progress in this direction. The MSG Skills Movement Scheme will provide for the free movement of skilled personnel within the region.”

He said the most important issue for our sub-region is the MSG Trade Agreement.

“Although the Agreement has already become an effective tool that is enhancing MSG trade, we must not loose sight of our goal: common market and economic union. The support and commitment of each member state is needed to make this happen.”

“Therefore, one of the main tasks of this new forum will be to review the MSG Trade Agreement. We must ensure that the new trade agreement builds on our achievements, and that is does not nullify the substantial progress that we have made as a sub-regional group.”

“As Trade Ministers we have an important role to play in providing guidance to our officials and advise to our Leaders, and it is therefore important that the MSG Trade Ministers Forum be institutionalized in the MSG Constitution,” he added.

Attending the meeting at the Sofitel Resort in Denarau are PNG’s Trade Minister Richard Maru, Vanuatu’s Trade Minister Mercellino Pipite and Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji John Patterson Oti.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

2) Company outlines difficulties rescuing trapped Papuan miners

Posted at 03:45 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

A spokesperson for Freeport McMoran’s mine operations in Indonesia’s Papua province says an emergency response team is inching closer to the bodies which remain trapped underground at the mine.

38 workers were trapped when an underground tunnel, w

hich is part of a training facility, collapsed following a landslide almost a week ago.

So far ten people have been rescued alive and 14 bodies recovered.

A Freeport spokesperson, Daisy Priyamanti, says that due to debris and falling rocks blocking access, the response team faces huge difficulties in reaching the remaining workers.

“They are now quite close to the location as they were able to bring in heavy equipment to basically get rid of the heavy rocks so that they’re able to get access to the location. They’ve actually mentioned that they could see bodies from a distance and that they’re trying to get closer to those and evacuate them as soon as possible.”

Daisy Priyamanti

Radio New Zealand International

3) PNG Gives Solomon Islands 20 Million Kina To ‘Strengthen Ties’
PM O’Neill says funds contribute to ‘maintaining a stable region’

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 19, 2013) – Visiting Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neil says his country stands ready to help Solomon Islands as he presented 20 million kina [US$9.17 million] to the nation on Friday.

The funding was part of a multi-million kina aid assistance agreed to by previous governments.

One Friday, O’Neil, who left the country yesterday, also signed a memorandum of understanding with Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to further strengthen ties between the two countries.

“PNG stands ready to assist Solomon Islands as a neighbour and Melanesian brother despite the challenges we face,” he said.

“Like Solomon Islands, we have our own challenges but our commitment to our bilateral relationship will be always there.

“This is my government’s contribution to maintaining a stable region,” he said.

PNG is also providing similar assistance to Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Philippines and has pledged to assist Fiji conduct its elections next year.

In reply, Prime Minister Lilo said the assistance is a reflection of the continuous friendship shared with Papua New Guinea as Melanesian brothers and long time friend.

He thanked PNG for the assistance.

“I assure you that the money will be spent and managed in a responsible manner to ensure it benefits the people.”

Solomon Star

4) PNG Foreign Policy Nearly Ready For Cabinet Review, Parliament Told
Country currently does not have a comprehensive foreign policy

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 17, 2013) – Papua New Guinea does not have a current foreign policy, Parliament was told yesterday.

Responding to Southern Highlands Governor William Powi’s concerns about a foreign policy direction, Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato said a draft was completed but needed to be further reviewed.

“The policy has been reviewed in the past 10 years by consultants, including some very smart Papua New Guineans and the process has been completed,” he said.

“My intention is to bring the draft foreign policy paper to be endorsed by cabinet.

“But after going through it, I feel it should be further reviewed.

“Some important aspects like capacity-building, investing in stronger economies and where to obtain funding need to be included in it and there needs to be clear goals and aspirations outlined,” Pato said.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

5) B’ville Day set in May

By ROMULUS MASIU

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has officially declared May 17 as Bougainville Day.
It will be Gazetted in the Government’s calendar to remember those who died during the Bougainville Crisis, the devastating civil war which took place from 1989 to 1999.
The declaration of the official day will go through the final Bougainville Executive Council (BEC) decision in the next parliamenaryt sitting.
Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President Chief Dr John Momis announced this at the Dawn Service of the 23rd Remembrance Day Commemoration at Arawa, Central Bougainville on Friday.
Dr Momis also urged ex-combatants from the war to honour the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the Bougainville Constitution.
He said they must put aside their differences and work with the ABG for the future prosperity of the region.
The Dawn Service commenced in the early hours at the Our Lady of Mercy Cathedral in Arawa, Central Bougainville. A parade of former combatants in full military attire took place with a gunfire salute under the command of Greg Busu. There were speeches by former Bougainville Revolutionary Army General Sam Kauona and President Momis.
Three wreaths were laid to remember the those from Bougainville, Papua New Guinea and neighbouring Solomon Islands – when the war spilled across the border.
Nature also showed its sorrow, with light rain drizzling down over the event to commemorate those who died.
During the 10 years of civil war, more than 20,000 lives were lost.
The greatest casualties came from civilians who suffered and took the full brunt of warfare. Many lives are still unaccounted for today with many more not laid to rest in proper burial ceremonies.
Many elders, mothers and children died of curable diseases and many pregnant mothers died at child birth during the blockade of Bougainville by the PNG Government in Waigani.
In Arawa, the observance continued on to 3 Rocks Club where a very moving and symbolic crisis breakfast for the veterans was organised.
Bananas were cooked on an open fire in their skins and eaten by veterans with coconuts, symbolising the crisis period where such rudimentary cooking was the order of the day. It was a time of war and basic subsistence. Then the veterans proceeded down to Toborai Primary School where they performed another moving parade, gun salute and laying of wreaths at the monument at the school premises.
Former BRA commander representing South Bougainville Peter Naguo and former BRA Planner representing North Bougainville Ben Kamda gave their speeches during the gathering (see separate stories).http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

6) Vanuatu Prime Minister Makes Official Visit To Thailand
Carcasses to meet Thai PM, private sector, address Water Summit

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 18, 2013) – The Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, leaves today for an official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand, on the invitation of the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawara as his special guest.

The Prime Minister and his delegation leave today for the visit which will take them to certain parts of Thailand, according to a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the same time the Vanuatu leader will attend the 2nd Asia/Pacific Water Summit to be held in northern Thailand, during which he will deliver a speech on behalf of the countries of the South Pacific islands region.

As well, the Prime Minister will hold his first ever high level talks with the Thai Prime Minister and witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Cooperation between Vanuatu and Thailand.

Carcasses is also scheduled to meet with the Thai private sector including the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand, the Thai Overseas Fisheries Association, and the Thai Food Processors Association.

“The red carpet treatment that the Government of Thailand will be putting out for me and delegation signals a big step forward in bilateral relations,” Carcasses said.

The Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, Simeon Athy said the Head of Government is also very content that the Government of Thailand through its International Development Cooperation Agency has recently announced 18 fellowships for Masters Degrees under the Thai International Postgraduate Program (TIPP) for 2014.

He said he understands the work of securing visits to other countries in Asia and the Middle East is progressing well.

“The Prime Minister has praised the excellent work that the newly-appointed Vanuatu High Commissioner in Canberra, Kalfau Kaloris, has done in just one year saying that the official visit to Thailand was an initiative of the High Commissioner to Canberra, Australia,” Athy said.

“At our development stage, we need to establish more cooperation around the world like what the Canberra Office is doing,” Carcasses said.

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

7) New Caledonia Strike Continues
Fuel shortages, flight delays results

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 17, 2013) – A general strike by most New Caledonian unions is now in its fourth day, with the unions behind it saying it will last until prices have been lowered.

Friday’s action has again been aimed at high supermarket prices which the unions say are inflated by excessive margins.

Reports say road blocks in the far north of the main island have led to fuel shortages.

There have been few disruptions to public life has been limited, although Thursday’s Australia-bound flights were cancelled.

On Wednesday, thousands of people staged a march to the seat of government amid accusations by the unions that politicians have failed to reform the economy and implement agreed measures aimed at cutting prices.

The president, Harold Martin, has called a meeting with the major wholesalers and importers to ask them to consider dropping their prices.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

8) Lift restrictions on parties: SODELPA

By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Social Democratic Party (SODELPA) wants all restrictions on political parties to be lifted.

“We want to start our campaigning and we want all restrictions to be removed so we can consult with our members and start our work,” party general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu told FijiLive.

“We have been looking at the situation and we think that people are still scared to come up and speak to us so we need to sense of insecurity to be removed and for people to know that they are free to choose any party they wish to choose,” he said.

He said as far as the party is concerned all their members are willing to comply with whatever they have to do in order to reach the 2014 elections.

SODELPA will be meeting next Thursday to finalise issues regarding the declaration of their assets and liabilities.

“Our meeting last week was cancelled because we wanted someone to bless the party so we have shifted it to next Thursday,” Tabaiwalu told FijiLive.

“There have been some questions being brought up regarding the declaration of assets and liabilities of our members and we have to seek some clarifications on this,” he said.

“We have no problems in declaring our assets but if our children who are married do not want to do so then what can we do?” he asked.

“So far we have no issues with our assets and liabilities and it will be easy for us to declare it since we do have much.” He also said during their meeting they will also be discussing other matters such as setting up their offices in the four divisions around the country.

Meanwhile, Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said everyone knows that there are no restrictions in place and an example of this is the recent public gatherings that have been held by political parties around the country.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

9) Fiji Political Party Wants All Restrictions Lifted
Social Democrats says people are intimidated, party can’t campaign

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 19, 2013) – Fiji’s Social Democratic Party (SODELPA) wants all restrictions on political parties to be lifted.

“We want to start our campaigning and we want all restrictions to be removed so we can consult with our members and start our work,” party general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu told FijiLive.

“We have been looking at the situation and we think that people are still scared to come up and speak to us so we need to sense of insecurity to be removed and for people to know that they are free to choose any party they wish to choose,” he said.

He said as far as the party is concerned all their members are willing to comply with whatever they have to do in order to reach the 2014 elections.

Meanwhile, Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said everyone knows that there are no restrictions in place and an example of this is the recent public gatherings that have been held by political parties around the country.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

10) Mediate the way, says Fiji CJ

By Online Editor
1:46 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Chief Justice Anthony Gates believes that it was the failure of the non-confrontational approach widely used in Fiji that contributed in some part to the first two coups of 1987.

Speaking at the Alternative Dispute Resolution International Seminar and Business Summit held in Kochin in India, Justice Gates said mediation had begun to play a more significant role in Fiji today.

But he felt that much more needed to be done, especially at High Court level.

Justice Gates told the participants of the conference that Fiji had its own mediation system in the past.

He said the mediation system was in place even way before the missionaries arrived and it was known as ‘i soro’.

“It involved intermediaries, speaking through heralds, acknowledgement of wrong doing and acceptance of the need for at least some reparation,” he said.

Justice Gates said many disputes, political or personal, were resolved by sitting down and talking together.

“They talked and talked until finally all was resolved.

“Fiji like many of the island groups of the South Pacific, preferred the non confrontational approach.”

Justice Gates said if the mediation principle was to be extended to the fields of employment relations, politics and international diplomacy, the world would be different.

‘For a start, confrontation would be avoided,” he said.

“Gone would be the posturing, those gestures or measures that are resorted to in pique, but which are sterile at birth and in conclusion bear no fruit.”

He said in mediation the two parties would walk away content and satisfied that each has obtained some advantage over the other.

Justice Gates said the conflict in the Middle East would not have gone for 60 years if mediation was adopted by Israel and its neighbours and the same could be said about the isolation of Burma.

Meanwhile, Justice Gates believes that many disputes can be solved through arbitration and mediation and do not necessarily need to go through the courts.

And he agrees that arbitration and particularly mediation is essential to the justice system and to modern economic progress.

Justice Gates said he would like to drive ADR in his jurisdiction.

“I confess I am completely sold on ADR and I am here to learn more about it and to drive it in my own jurisdiction.”

While he agreed that most cases demand the decision of the courts on points of law, most could be best sorted out alternatively.

Justice Gates said mediation was swift, cheap and efficacious and it involved a far less scarring process than court action.

“At the end of the mediation, parties might still trade with each other again and even remain on friendly terms,” he said.

That, he believed, was an important part of business.

“As far as possible, we should avoid the ill-will brought by litigation and seek rather to encourage smoother, easier and healthier relationships to aid business and commerce.”

“After all an important aim in a system to resolve civil and commercial disputes is to see if it is possible that resultant settlements can send both parties away with some measure of satisfaction.”

Justice Gates said most cases only go through the courts not because they sought legal opinion but were really after the quantum of damage or compensation and the contest was over more or less.

He said some required a formula of saving face, repair of hurt, restoration of amour propre (self respect) or the readjustments of contractual or personal arrangements.

He told the participants of the conference organised by the India International ADR Association that going through the courts was hectic as most jurisdictions could not provide for more judges and building disputes notoriously could occupy a hefty slice of a civil judge’s calendar and most experts would be needed to give evidence.

It would also involve volumes of drawings, documents and exhibits and the judgment would take time to collate and written.

“There are through the labours of counsel, legal issues arising.”

He said the case would be easily disposed of by arbitration and mediation and the legal issues put aside.

Justice Gates is attending the conference with Magistrate Mosese Naivalu, Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman and Magistrate Mohammed Ajmeer.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

11) Fiji Prime Minister Invited To Visit China
Bainimarama says Chinese ‘understand reforms’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 19, 2013) – The interim Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, will meet with the Chinese President and Premier in Beijing later this month.

“I have been invited to visit China late this month to meet with the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping,” Mr Bainimarama said.

The self-appointed prime minister says the Chinese understand reforms he has been attempting to implement prior to democratic elections scheduled for 2014.

Mr Bainimarama announced a week ago he will also hold talks with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, while in Moscow for the Rugby Sevens World Cup next month.

He has said in the past he wants to move diplomatic and trade ties away from Fiji’s south Pacific neighbours, New Zealand and Australia, and towards China.

He recently chaired a Group of 77 developing nations meeting which China attended.

Australia and New Zealand have both banned the Fijian ruler from their countries since he took power in a 2006 coup.

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

12( Fiji turns to Russia, China amid strained regional ties

By Online Editor
10:18 am GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s  Prime Minister said he would meet Beijing’s leaders in China this month, a week after unveiling an official trip to Russia, as he looks beyond strained regional ties in the South Pacific.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been banned from Australia and New Zealand since seizing control in a 2006 coup.

His announcement that he would hold talks with Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping came a week after he said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next month when he is in Moscow for the Rugby Sevens World Cup.

“I have been invited to visit China late this month to meet with the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping,” Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun from France.

Commodore Bainimarama has previously said he wants to ditch traditional ties with regional powerhouses Australia and New Zealand and align his Pacific Island nation with China.

He said the Chinese understood the reforms he has been trying to implement before a return to democratic elections scheduled for next year.

He also chaired a recent meeting of the Group of 77 developing nations and China.

In the continuing stand-off at a regional diplomatic level, Australia last year agreed to restore full diplomatic ties with Fiji, but Fiji has refused to endorse Australia’s preferred choice for high commissioner.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA:

13) UN puts French Polynesia back on UN decolonisation list

Posted at 22:29 on 17 May, 2013 UTC

The United Nations General Assembly has put French Polynesia back on the UN list of territories to be decolonised at a meeting boycotted by France.

The resolution, passed by consensus, was sponsored by Solomon Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu last February but not tabled until today.

It calls on France to intensify its dialogue with French Polynesia to include a fair self-determination process.

France withdrew its Pacific territories from the UN list in 1947 and resisted the re-inscription bid by the French Polynesian government, whose term is set to end in a few hours after its election loss two weeks ago.

The campaign was driven for decades by the pro-independence politician, Oscar Temaru, who flew to New York to attend today’s vote.

The newly-elected majority in the French Polynesian assembly held its first sitting yesterday and controversially changed the agenda to hold a vote wishing an immediate end to the decolonisation process.

France has immediately condemned the UN move, describing it as a glaring interference in its affairs and a total lack of respect for the choice made by Polynesian voters.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Flosse elected as French Polynesia president for fifth time

Posted at 22:29 on 17 May, 2013 UTC

The French Polynesian assembly has elected the veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, as the territory’s president for a five-year term.

The 81-year of leader of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party was elected with 38 votes in the 57-member assembly – 12 days after his party triumphed in the territorial election.

He defeated the two other candidates, Antony Geros of the Union For Democracy and Teva Rohfritsch of the A Tia Porinetia.

Mr Flosse has named Nuihau Laurey as his vice-president and confirmed the choice of his eight-member government, which includes only one woman.

Mr Flosse has been elected to the top post for the fifth time, replacing Oscar Temaru, who has been in New York for the UN session putting French Polynesia back on the decolonisation list.

After being convicted to a prison sentence for corruption this year, Mr Flosse risks losing his office this year, should the highest court in France reject his appeal.

Radio New Zealand International

15) Indonesia providing aid to American Samoa

Posted at 03:34 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

The Indonesian government is building basketball courts and a youth centre in American Samoa, with a ground breaking ceremony planned for next month.

Last March when the governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga met with Jakarta’s ambassador Dr Dino Patti Djalal in Honolulu, he sought Jakarta’s assistance to renovate Korea House and convert it into a youth centre for the eastern district of Pago Pago.

However an assessment of Korea House, which was most recently a farmer’s market, has found that it’s beyond repair and it will be pulled down.

Its demolition will make way for the new youth centre and basketball courts to be constructed by the Indonesian government.

A team from Indonesia, which included an engineer, was on island last week to check out the site.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Chief Justice Refuses To Review Tonga Parliamentary Report
Former PM Sevele claims report has damaged his reputation

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 18, 2013) – Tonga’s Chief Justice has refused an application by a former Prime Minister Lord Sevele and a former Minister of Transport Paul Karalus, for a judicial review of a report of a special parliamentary committee, because he did not find that the Supreme Court had any jurisdiction to review the internal proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga.

The applicants were claiming that their reputations were damaged by a report of the parliamentary committee that investigated how a multi-million pa’anga loan from China was spent on the reconstruction of Nuku’alofa.

Chief Justice Hon. Michael Scott said in his judgment dated May 14, that since the only evidence before him was from the applicants, “I do not know whether an enquiry would reveal that the applicants have in fact been unfairly and unjustly treated.

“If in fact they have been then that is a cause of regret and something which the House may well wish to put it right. In my judgment, however, it is not a matter for the Supreme Court,” he stated in refusing the application.

In the decision, Chief Justice Scott stated that as far as the proceedings of Parliament (and its committees) are concerned his opinion is that an alleged breach of the rules of natural justice which does not directly result in a breach of a discrete provision of the constitution does not afford a jurisdictional basis upon which the Supreme Court can intervene.

Breach

The Chief Justice referred to clear statements of the law in Tonga and said it seemed that only two questions arise. “Are the applicants asking the court to enquire into the validity of the Assembly’s internal proceedings; and is a breach of the Constitution alleged?”

He believed that before any of the orders sought could be granted there would have to be an investigation into the way in which the parliamentary committee and its members were appointed and a further investigation to determine whether in fact, as claimed, the committee’s terms of reference were exceeded. These investigations would involve consideration of the effects of Rules 159 (2), 169, 170 and Rule 3.

“In my view an enquiry plainly would amount to an enquiry into the Assembly’s internal proceedings. Unless a breach of the Constitution is alleged such an enquiry is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court”, he said.

Application

Lord Sevele and Karalus in their application, claimed that the committee departed from the Terms of Reference that was given by parliament, and had engaged in unwarranted criticism of the previous government’s actions, and their calling for a criminal investigation and prosecution had seriously damaged their reputations.

They claimed that the report infringed natural justice, the Constitution and the Rules and Procedures of Parliament and applied for the court to quash the report. They also claimed that the committee was invalidly constituted.

The Parliamentary Committee was established on 26 July 2011 to review “all the works that have been carried out” by the Nuku’alofa Development Corporation, a Cabinet Sub-Committee established in 2008 following the Nuku’alofa riots in November 2006.

The six members of the parliamentary committee who were respondents in this case were Tongatapu People’s Representatives ‘Akilisi Pohiva and Sitiveni Halapua; and Lord Tu’i’afitu, Lord Lasike, the Auditor General Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa and Posesi Bloomfield an independent lawyer.

Petunia Tupou represented the applicants and ‘Aminiasi Kefu acted for the respondents, at the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

17) Samoa PM Wins Battle Over Minister, Hasn’t Won The War: MP
‘Tension’ within ruling HRPP party continues after caucus vote

By Niccola Hazelman-Siona

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 18, 2013) – Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi may have won the battle to keep his Minister of Finance but he is far from winning the war.

That’s the word from a Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) Member of Parliament, who was one of 19 MPs who signed a letter calling for the removal of Faumuina from Cabinet.

The letter was the subject of an emergency caucus meeting held on Thursday night. In the end, the outcome of a secret ballot kept Faumuina’s job.

But during an interview with the Weekend Observer, the MP who spoke on the condition of anonymity said all is not well within the party.

“We are not all stupid and easily fooled by the Prime Minister’s mind games,” he said. “We will continue to voice our concerns when we see things that need to be corrected.”

About the outcome of the secret ballot, the MP said; “I am very disappointed with the outcome of the meeting but what’s done is done, we have been told to move forward and we will.”

The source said for years they (the HRPP caucus) have “watched from the sidelines” while Faumuina “treated the government like his personal bank.”

“No more,” he said. “It was time something was done and we tried but unfortunately the PM has our members swayed, there was not much we could do.”

The source said there is so much tension within the party.

“It is hard to tell who is really willing to stand up and who is not but as long as one person believes, we are not lost,” they said.

The MP said that caucus members were told off and warned about talking to the media and that for the sake of reputation they (HRPP) “should all be united.”

“There was nothing united about the meeting,” he said. “Some fought for what was right, others wanted to protect themselves and their jobs and others just sat on the fence.”

“Everyone knows what Faumuina did was wrong and there is absolutely no guarantee it will not happen again but no one will speak out against the PM.”

The source said there were “many things that he does not agree with” in regards to “decision making within government” and for that reason he hopes that more HRPP members will “join the fight for what’s right.”

“This government was chosen by the people,” they said. And despite what has happened, the MP has vowed “not to give up fighting for what is right within our caucus and government.

“The people put their trust in our hands that we can and will lead government to things that will benefit all citizens of this country. It is them, the people we are letting down.”

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

TOK PISIN:

18) PNG givim 20 milion Kina long Solomon

Updated 20 May 2013, 17:01 AEST
Paulus Kombo

PNG Praim Minista Peter O’Neill i givim K20 milion blong gavman, hap long K100 milion blong faibpela yiar, igo long Solomon IsIands.

Praim Minista Peter O’Neill i givim moni long Solomon Islands
Odio: Robert Iroga, Press secretari na Chief of Staff blong Ofis blong Solomon Islands Praim Minista i toktok

Robert Iroga, Press secretari na Chief of Staff blong Ofis blong Solomon Islands Praim minista i tok  despela K20 milion em hap long K100 million  em

PNG Praim minista i bin tokpromis longen long igo long Solomon islands Praim minista bifo long 2011.

Na Mr Iroga i tok em blong peim ol kain wok olsem blong rural developmen, helt na edukeson sector na ol irot bris hausik na kain olsem long Solomon Islands.

Em i tok Solomon Islands i hamamas long Papua New Guinea Praim Minista, Peter O’Neil ibin igo givim wanpela 20 milllion kina halavim moni long Solomon Islands.

Long Fraide long wik igo pinis PNG Praim Minista i bin wokabaut igo long Solomon Islands na givim despela moni long gavman.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

19) Pacific China, UK wokbung

Updated 17 May 2013, 15:09 AEST

Solomon islands Midia i ripot long China i redim miting em ol Pacific lid bai stap longen

Nau igat wanpla stori ikam long midia long Solomon Islands long  China iwok long redi-im wanpla miting we ol lida blong Pacific bai stap longen long Guangzhou long mun November long despla yia.

Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka, wanpela academic oa saveman blong Solomon Islands em wok olsem associate professor wantaem University of Hawaii Centre for Pacifc Studies i tokim Caroline Tiriman em i no first taim China i askim ol lida blong Pacific long stap long wanpela miting.

Long 2006, China Premier long despela taim, Wen Jiabao i bin holim miting wantaem ol Pacific Island lida long Fiji.

Solomons Star niuspepa i ripot olsem China bai iusim despla miting long tokaut olsem emi gat  one billion American dola olsem loan igo long ol despla lida blong Pacific.

Despla ripot itok tu olsem, Solomon Islands bai go long despla miting long China maski sopos emi nogat wokfren wantem China. Emi gat wokfren wantem Taiwan.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/
FRANIS:

20) Un milliard de dollars pour le Pacifique ?

Posté à 20 May 2013, 8:34 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est à Guangzhou que la Chine envisage en novembre prochain une réunion au sommet avec les dirigeants du Pacifique.

Et selon les infos du quotidien leSolomon Star, c’est à ce sommet que la Chine a l’intention d’annoncer une enveloppe d’aides financières à conditions avantageuses de 1 milliards de dollars américains aux dirigeants du Pacifique.

Les dirigeants des pays de la région qui entretiennent des relations avec Taïwan et non pas avec la Chine sont également invités.

Nous avons soulevé la question avec Tarcissius Tara Kabutaulaka, professeur au Centre des Études du Pacifique de l’Université d’Hawaï.

KABUTAULAKA : « Je ne sais pas si ce rapport et fiable et si c’est vrai, mais je ne suis pas surpris. La Chine, comme nous l’avons vu au cours ces deux dernières années, s’intéresse au Pacifique. Principalement pour des raisons économiques et pour d’autres raisons que nous savons. Mais principalement, pour les ressources. L’exploitation minière des grands fonds dans le Pacifique sont des choses qui intéressent la Chine. »

Les autres raisons que nous savons sont le soutien à la Chine des nations océaniennes du Pacifique dans les grands forums internationaux.
Autre point intéressant, la guerre diplomatique entre la Chine et Taïwan s’est calmée et les relations se sont améliorées depuis l’arrivée du nouveau gouvernement taïwanais.

Revenons à ce milliard de dollars, nul ne doute que personne ne tournera le dos à un aide financière d’un tel montant et qu’elle devrait intéresser tous les dirigeants du Pacifique?

KABUTAULAKA : « Je pense que oui, elle a été appréciée dans le passé. Nous avons vu quelques nations océaniennes du Pacifique quitter Taïwan pour se rallier à la Chine en fonction des aides monétaires offertes par ces deux pays.
Mais les relations entre Taiwan et la Chine ont changé. Un exemple : bien que les Salomon entretiennent des relations diplomatiques avec Taïwan, elles font davantage de commerce avec la Chine. Donc sur le plan économique, les Salomon traitent avec la Chine et non pas avec Taiwan. Je pense même que les relations commerciales avec Taïwan sont pour ainsi dire inexistantes voire insignifiantes. »

Le Lowy Institute, un laboratoire d’idées australien, indique que beaucoup de responsables politiques se font trop de soucis à propos de la présence de la Chine dans le Pacifique et qu’il y a de la place pour tout le monde ; pour l’Australie, les États-Unis, la Nouvelle-Zélande, et les Européens..
Est-ce que M. Kabutaulaka partage cet avis ?

KABUTAULAKA : «  Oui, je le pense. La Chine émerge comme une grande puissance très importante dans la région. Nous sommes probablement très appréhensifs parce que c’est une nouvelle puissance.
Mais je pense que la Chine est une puissance métropolitaine comme les autres, comme les États-Unis. Mais je dois quand même dire que 1 milliard de dollars en aide financière à des conditions avantageuses, c’est beaucoup d’argent. Une aide sous forme de prêts. Alors il faut faire attention que les nations concernées soient en mesure de rembourser ce qu’elles empruntent à la Chine. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

21) La Nouvelle-Zélande courtise les étudiants étrangers

Posté à 20 May 2013, 8:49 AEST
Pierre Riant

Steven Joyce, ministre de l’Éducation tertiaire, a annoncé une dynamique commerciale de plusieurs millions de dollars pour attirer les étudiants, asiatiques notamment, dans les universités du pays.

33 millions de dollars pour convaincre les étudiants de Chine, d’Inde, du Sud-est asiatique mais aussi d’Amérique du Sud, de venir chez les Kiwis.

M. Joyce précise que 100 000 étudiants étrangers se sont inscrits l’année dernière dans des universités néo-zélandaises. 100 000 étudiants qui contribuent à 32 000 emplois et injectent 2 milliards de dollars dans l’économie du pays.

Steven Joyce aimerait bien doubler tous ces chiffres.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

CLIMATE CHANGE:

22) New reports suggests global warming could be slower than first thought

Updated 20 May 2013, 19:25 AEST
By environment reporter Sarah Clarke and Katie Hamann

A new report says the planet may be warming slower in the short-term than had been previously projected.

The study published in the journal Nature Geoscience reveals that while the world has experienced its hottest decade since records began, the rate of average warming has been lower over the past decade.

By using modelling based on data from the past 10 years, the report says that after significant rises in the 1980s and 1990s, the most extreme projections are now looking less likely than before.

The lead author of the report, Dr Alexander Otto from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, estimates that in the coming decades, global average temperatures will warm about 20 per cent more slowly than expected.

“The shorter-term range, which is the rate of warming which we might expect over this century, might actually have to be adjusted down slightly,” he said.

Audio: Listen to Sarah Clarke’s report (The World Today)

Dr Otto says the previous worst-case scenarios predicted by some scientists may need to be slightly revised.

“If we take this hypothetical scenario of doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, then we would see an increase in temperature of 0.9 to 2 degrees,” he said.

“This is lower than the range in the ensemble of models that are being used for example in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which have a range of 1 to 2.5 degrees.

“We have a range that’s slightly lower and that certainly would execute some of the more extreme models that are being used for projecting temperatures.”

Longer-term warming trend will not change

But Dr Otto cautions that the longer-term warming trend will not change and it will eventually result in the same higher temperatures as earlier forecast.

“It certainly is no reason to relax or become complacent in terms of climate policy, because the rate of warming that we will see eventually in the coming centuries has not changed from this data,” he said.

It certainly is no reason to relax or become complacent in terms of climate policy because the rate of warming we will see eventually… has not changed.

Dr Alexander Otto

“If we were following our current emission trends… we would still look at temperatures at the end of the century significantly above the 2 degrees target that we are talking about.”

The Nature Geoscience report suggests the slow-down in temperature rises can be explained by the fact that the world’s oceans are capturing heat more rapidly than expected over the past decade.

The IPCC, the United Nations’ chief climate science body, will release its next major report in September.

A contributor to the report, Professor Steven Sherwood from the University of NSW, is sceptical of the latest findings.

He says eventually the ocean will stop taking up the heat.

“Although the surface temperatures are not warming quite as fast, when you look down below the surface at the oceans where all the heat is going, that’s still increasing about the same,” he said.

“What they infer from that is that the ocean is taking up the heat a bit faster.”

Rise may be part of natural and changeable cycle

He also suggests that the rise in ocean temperatures may be part of a natural and changeable cycle.

“They haven’t taken into account the natural variations in the ocean that cause it to temporarily store heat and we know it does that,” he said.

Photo: Some experts say rise in ocean temperatures may be part of a natural cycle. (National Parks NSW)

“For example, an El Nino is when the heat stored in the ocean temporarily glurges out so the surface warms up but the total amount of heat in the system doesn’t change.

“They haven’t accounted for that and I think it may just be that if we repeat this analysis in another 10 years and do this calculation again, the answer is going to go right back to where it was before.”

The lead author of the next IPCC report says their forecasts are consistent with previous long-term estimates.

The IPCC’s draft report indicates that the planet may be on track to reach a temperature rise of up to 4.5 degrees by the turn of the century.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

23) RMI Drought Crisis Expected To Slowly Ease Over Coming Months
Full relief not expected until July, weather officials predict

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, May 6, 2013) – As aid agencies rush funding and water-making equipment to the drought-stricken Marshall Islands, Guam-based U.S. weather officials predict that the drought will not begin to ease until July.

But while the northern Marshall Islands are severely impacted, southern islands are not facing the same conditions, reported the Marshall Islands Journal on Friday.

“Rainfall should slowly build back to normal across the Marshall Islands, starting with Majuro in May, Kwajalein by June, and into the drought-stricken northern islands by July,” said officials with the Pacific El Niño/Southern Oscillation Applications Center in Guam.

Rainfall data for the first four months of the year shows why northern islands are facing drought. Wotje received under two inches of rain the first four months of the year, according to Majuro’s Weather Station. But further to the south, Mili Atoll was awash in rain with over 46 inches for the period — about 11 inches above the normal level of rain.

Guam weather officials noted anomalies in the overall drought picture affecting the northern Marshalls since January. Despite the overall dryness of the first part of 2013, Kwajalein recorded a one-day rainfall record in April. “Very dry conditions were also experienced on Kwajalein Atoll, but an unusual extreme rainfall event occurred during which the Reagan Test Site measured 2.94 inches on the 16th of April and a further 5.56 inches on the 17th.” This amounted to a new 24-hour rainfall record for April.

Unfortunately for other northern atolls, “this major rainfall event at Kwajalein was rather localized, and brought no relief to atolls just a short distance to the north, where severe drought continues unabated,” the weather report said. “Less than one inch of rain fell at Kwajalein during all the other days of April combined.”

As the drought intensifies in the northern islands without apparent relief, the United Nations children’s organization warned about possible outbreaks of sickness from lack of clean water. “It is essential to work to prevent the outbreak of diarrhea and other infections which can be fatal to young children,” said UNICEF’s chief of policy and advocacy, Samantha Cocco-Klein. “Without clean water to drink, wash and prepare food with, infections can easily spread. The emergency response should consider how water is purified, stored and used, and continuously remind affected families of the need to keep children safe.”

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

LAW&ORDER:


24) Alleged PNG criminal loses special Australian visa

Posted at 03:34 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr has cancelled the special skilled worker visa issued by the Gillard government to an alleged Papua New Guinea criminal wanted by authorities in PNG.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Senator Carr’s decision to cancel the 457 visa of Eremas Wartoto comes after media revelations that the powerful PNG businessman was using it to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Mr Wartoto is accused of being one of PNG’s most corrupt figures by the country’s anti-corruption taskforce, and is accused of misusing over 13 million US dollars from the PNG government.

The visa allowed Mr Wartoto to live in Cairns and fly in and out of Australia to several Asian countries despite being the most wanted man in PNG.

Mr Wartoto fled Australia to PNG last week before anti-corruption investigators tracked him down and arrested him.

Radio New Zealand International

25) Long running PNG land suit successful

Posted at 03:34 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

The Papua New Guinea government has been ordered to pay a total of one point 9 million US dollars to 1,281 people who were forcefully evicted by police from an illegal settlement on state land in Madang.

The plaintiffs were affected by an eviction exercise nearly ten years ago and began a legal suit seven years ago.

Police squads entered the settlement and forcefully removed the residents, in the process destroying their houses, other buildings, gardens and other property.

A court has ruled that the police action was unlawful and contravened a deal between the provincial government and the Madang Settlement Committee – which represented the plaintiffs and other settlers.

Each of the plaintiffs will be receiving different amounts ranging from just over 200 US dollars to more than 6 thousand dollars.

Radio New Zealand International

26) Papua New Guinea’s plans to resume death penalty ‘major setback’ – UN

By Online Editor
10:20 am GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

The United Nations human rights office has expressed serious concern over Papua New Guinea’s announcement that it will resume the death penalty more than half a century since it last carried out an execution, stressing this would represent “a major setback” for the country.

“The High Commissioner has written to the Prime Minister stating her concerns about the planned resumption of the death penalty, and is calling on the Government to maintain its moratorium and subsequently join the growing number of Member States that have abolished the practice altogether, including 11 States in the Pacific,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, during a press briefing in Geneva.

Papua New Guinea has maintained a long-standing de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 1954, which was subsequently passed into law in 1970.

“Resuming the death penalty again would be a major setback, especially after so many other States have subsequently abolished the death penalty or adopted moratoriums,”Colville said.

“While recognizing the challenge presented by the recent alarming rise in violent crime in Papua New Guinea, including rape, torture and murder, the use of capital punishment has never been proved to be a more effective deterrent than other forms of punishment,” he added.

In the same briefing, Colville also drew attention to the rise in executions in Indonesia, where four men have been executed since the country resumed the death penalty in March.

“It is a very unfortunate development as Indonesia was close to establishing a moratorium on executions.”

Indonesia had not carried out any executions since 2008. In January,Pillay urged the authorities not to carry out any further executions following the Government’s announcement that it would execute 10 convicted criminals.

Since 2007, the General Assembly has adopted four resolutions calling on States to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition. Today about 150 of the UN’s 193 Member States have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it.

SOURCE: UN NEWS CENTRE/PACNEWS

27) Two Guam National Guardsmen Killed In Afghanistan
Soldiers’ convoy struck by suicide car bomb

By Frank Whitman

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, May 20, 2013) – Two members of the Guam Army National Guard have been killed in Afghanistan, Gov. Eddie Calvo announced Saturday evening as he placed the island in a state of mourning.

Spc. Dwayne W. Flores and Sgt. Eugene M. Aguon died last Thursday morning in Kabul when their convoy was struck by a suicide car bomb. About 600 members of the Guam National Guard arrived in Afghanistan in early May, as part of the largest deployment of Guard members in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Calvo said that he, first lady Christine Calvo, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and Tenorio’s wife, attorney Naoko Shimizu, ask “for the prayers of every Guamanian for the families and friends of Sgt. Eugene M. Aguon, and Spc. Dwayne W. Flores. There are no words to describe the overwhelming grief of our island on this tragic day. May the Lord be with their parents and loved ones to give them strength.”

The governor’s statement also said that Maj. Gen. Benny Paulino, the adjutant general of the Guam National Guard, has committed all resources necessary to take care of the families “as they go through this most difficult time.”

Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo also issued a statement about the deaths. “I am deeply saddened at the loss of Sgt. Eugene Aguon and Spc. Dwayne Flores,” Bordallo said. “These brave men made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and for our entire nation while serving in Afghanistan. We will be forever grateful for their service. My heart goes out to their family and friends, and I ask that our island community surround them with prayers and sympathy during this difficult time. This is a very sad day for our island.”

Altar server

Flores was a member of the Catholic parish of Hagåtña, whose church is the Dolce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. Until recent months, he was an altar server for the 5:45 a.m. Chamorro Mass for at least five years, said Gerry Taitano, parish council president and coordinator for the early morning Mass. He said that arranging servers for the Mass has always been difficult, but that when Flores learned of the need, he volunteered and “was always there, regardless; he showed great dedication and faith,” Taitano said. “He only stopped this past year when his National Guard training became too demanding.”

“The parish is devastated by the news of his death, but we’re also confident that he’s in heaven,” Taitano said. “We have no doubt that he died in a state of grace.”

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Flores’ remains had arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Fifteen people were killed in Thursday’s blast, according to the AP. In addition to the two soldiers from Guam, four American civilian employees of Dyncorps and nine Afghan civilians, including two children, were killed. Thirty-five people were wounded.

Hezb-e-Islami, an Islamic militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the AP. The group said the attack “was carried out by a new suicide unit formed in response to reports that the U.S. plans to keep permanent bases and troops in Afghanistan even after the 2014 deadline for the end of the foreign combat mission,” the AP report states.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com

28) Air Pacific To Investigate Shark Fin Allegations
Airline accused of being major transporter of fins into Hong Kong

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 17, 2013) – Fiji’s national carrier, Air Pacific, says it is looking into reports alleging that it has been exposed as one of the world’s major carriers of shark fins into Hong Kong.

The South China Morning Post says a coalition of environmental groups claims in a letter to the airline that a substantial amount of the shark fins imported into Hong Kong arrive on Air Pacific.

In a statement, Air Pacific says it has acknowledged the concerns raised and is looking into the situation.

Air Pacific states the article exaggerates the situation and is misleading.

Fiji Village online reports the national airline further states that to describe its A330 as a thinly veiled freighter is completely inaccurate.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Shark Specialist Group says shark fining is widespread, and the rapidly expanding and largely unregulated shark fin trade represents one of the most serious threats to shark populations worldwide.

Hong Kong is the world centre for shark fin trading with the fins used to make an expensive soup.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

EDUCATION:

29) Am. Samoa Education Department Explores Teaching in Samoan/English
Currently English is main language of instruction

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 19, 2013) – The Department of Education has been asked by the Lolo administration to appoint a task force to look into the best way to implement the use of Samoan language to co mingle with English when teaching students at lower school levels.

During last week’s cabinet meeting, DOE director Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau says one of the ways to improve student performance in the classroom is co mingle teaching in both Samoan and English languages from lower levels in school.

She says between 70 and 80 percents of high school graduates are below basic standards of education when entering college prompting the need for them to take remedial courses in reading and math in college.

She says American Samoa spends millions of dollars to educate students but this same problem with below basic student performance has continued to occur over the last three decades. “We’ve not seen significant changes in their reading abilities or the math abilities of children” throughout the last 30-years, she said.

“And we have spent millions on text books and millions in educating our students and still when we test them on these national tests comparing them with their counterparts [in the U.S.], they do not do well,” she said.

According to DOE data, the department’s total FY 2013 budget is $71.42 million with $8.10 million in local revenue and $63.31 million in federal funds. It also states the cost-per-student to be educated in the local public high school system is $4,373 a year while the national average is $10,499 per student.

Hunkin-Finau believes one way to improve student performance is co mingle the Samoan and English languages when teaching students from early childhood education to level three in elementary school.

“One of the things that I believe as an educator over the years, and basically from my training as well, is I believe the instructional language, the language which we use to teach children especially in the early childhood and early elementary school levels, needs to be revisited,” she said.

“And I say this with a passion because I believe we’re teaching our children in a language that they do not understand,” she said.

Hunkin-Finau hopes the Fono will amend local law from the current requirement of English to be used as the language for teaching and Samoan to be used only as clarification. She says the law should be amended to say that English and Samoan should be used as languages for instruction starting from the lower grades. She also says that the governor is supportive of this push by DOE.

Lolo responded that for years the government has forced students to speak and be taught in English at a level they cannot speak and he is supportive of the Education director’s suggestion of co mingling the use of English and Samoan languages in classroom teaching for lower levels.

Lolo said he asked the education director to appoint a task force with members who have insights into the use of Samoan language as a teaching method in classrooms the at lower levels.

“We’ve been saying that we should start teaching Samoan in those levels, but how can we teach when we don’t have teachers teaching Samoan in those levels,” he said and noted that DOE needs to come up with a strategic plan [on] how we can approach that.”

“We cannot just go to the Fono and tell them – use the Samoan language as an official language inside classrooms. Let’s do our homework,” he said. “Get the task force together, get their ideas, then we can move from there.”

He said a full and complete plan should be submitted to the Fono for their review.

Hunkin-Finau has raised this issue at least three times in the Fono over the last couple of months but this is the first time that the governor has spoken about his view on this issue as well as calling for the establishment of a task force.

Early this month, a Samoan educator from a New Zealand university was in the territory, invited by Hunkin-Finau, to discuss with DOE the use of the Samoan language as a teaching tool at the lower levels.

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

BUSINESS:

30) PNG holds trade fair in Honiara

By Online Editor
1:36 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea will host a trade fair in Honiara in two months’ time to look for business opportunities in the Solomon Islands.

Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said in Port Moresby last Friday that plans are underway for the fair to be held in July.

He says that through the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) or free trade block opportunities, PNG can strengthen its dominance in the Solomon Islands market.

Maru said: “It is important for us to go and reaffirm our position in the Solomon Islands, look for opportunities and grow our market there.

“Solomon Islands is now a major aid recipient of our country.”

PNG made products dominate 75% of the Solomon Islands market.

“While preparations are in the initial stages, an advance party to Solomon Islands would be sent to sort out logistic requirements.

“PNG educational institutions, local companies, state enterprises and potential exporters and investors from PNG wanting to export or invest in the Solomon Islands are encouraged to join the trade fair delegation,” Maru said.

Alongside the trade fair, Maru also plans to hold bilateral talks with Solomon Islands counterpart and the foreign affairs minister.

The Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) is working alongside the manufacturers’ council and the private sector in organising the event.

Meanwhile, Maru left last weekend for Fiji to attend the MSG trade minister’s meeting in Nadi.

“The main agenda will include giving MSG countries PNG’s position on the current pacer plus negotiations and trade issues that have already emerged following the new free trade arrangements between all MSG countries,” Maru said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

31) Recruitment agencies cautioned: Fiji High Comissioner

By Online Editor
10:13 am GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

An understanding signed between a Fiji recruitment agency and individuals in Papua New Guinea has come under the spot light.

Fiji’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Romanu Tikotikoca says, it’s prudent for recruitment agencies to go through the High Commission to verify the credibility of companies intending to source workers from Fiji.

Tikotikoca told FBC News, that they’ve found complications with a particular Fijian recruitment agency.

“I’ve done some verification and I found out there has been some complications in some of our recruiting companies that have been-well the recruiting company that has been recruiting here with I’ve seen and discussed with my meeting held so far in Papua New Guinea so whilst I’m here this week I intend to meet up with the recruiting agency and also meet up with those who wish to clarify issues pertaining to the PNG exercise”.

Tikotikoca says, as representatives of the Fiji government in PNG, they want to see things done right.

“The experience that I gained and gone through in the past as a Police Officer what don’t want to see is that some recruiting agencies soon they advertise work overseas they start collecting money from the people and some of the people are still wondering what they have given until today and we don’t want that sort of exercise undertaken for our people going to Papua New Guinea that’s why the Fiji High Commission want to verify all these work contracts, memorandum of understanding and deals”.

An inquiry into the deal is being carried out by government.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

32) NBC PNG plans expansion to cover 80-90% of country

By Online Editor
4:19 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Achieving the five-year corporate plan which calls for a restructure and expansion of services is the main focus of the new National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) board.

The board, officially sworn in on Tuesday and chaired by senior public servant Ken Wosai, is determined to improve the function of NBC by restructuring the organisation, which includes the expansion of its television and radio services to 80 to 90% of the country.

Deputy chairman Paul Reptario said: “The new board is coming in to strategically take NBC forward to fully a corporate organisation. It needs to be self-sustaining and not always rely on government funding each year.
“It is in the best position right now to change the way it operates.”

Reptario said it had been 20 years since NBC underwent restructuring and there was a need to review the Broadcasting Corporation Act.

The five-year corporate plan outlines tasks for the board to achieve and they include expansion,  converting data storage from analogue to digital, upgrading provincial radio stations and improving human resource and welfare.

The new board is Ken Wosai (chairman), Paul Reptario (deputy chairman), Esther Igo, Otto Noruka and Jimmy Veneo as members.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

33) Another airbus for Fiji

By Online Editor
10:12 am GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has officially received the second A330 aircraft from the Airbus outlet in Toulouse, France.

A government statement said that Airbus’ vice president Contracts and Delivery Transactions Thierry Van Der Heyden had met with the Fijian delegation and pointed out they were excited to deliver Fiji’s second A330 aircraft.

The statement said Commodore Bainimarama had thanked Airbus for delivering their promise to have the aircraft prepared on schedule and commended them on a “job well done”.

As a tribute to the designer of the masi motif now used on the aircraft, Makereta Matemosi, the second aircraft will be named after her village, “Namuka-i-Lau”.

The aircraft arrives into Nadi on Thursday 23 May.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

34) Aqorau says tuna can sustain our economy

By Online Editor
4:26 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Solomon Islands

The Director of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Dr Transform Aqorau has highlighted the importance of tuna to economies of PNA countries.

Speaking during the prize presentation of the 2013 PNA World Tuna Day Art and Talent Quest,Dr Aqorau said he believes that if tuna resources are properly harnessed, it can sustain economies, avoiding our reliance on aid money.

“I sincerely belief that this one resource can sustain economies. I truly belief that if we harness this resource properly and we are to capture the entire benefit of this resource, we actually do not need any aid money,” Dr Agorau said.

He said that this country can build its infrastructures, improve its social services like health and education and provide better living conditions for the people with tuna the resource.

Dr Aqorau, who comes from Munda in Western Province, said tuna is the single natural resource that the region has in abundance.

That, he added, was the reason he continued to strongly advocate to the government that there are a lot more this country can do for its people.

“We should remind ourselves of the importance of what can be done. When we walk along the streets we see many of our young people unemployed and seeking opportunities for work.

“We see our mothers and sisters sitting down selling betel nut. I am sure there are other better economic  ways of  building up this whole economy,” Dr Aqorau stressed.

He said this country and its people could have got as much more benefit from this single resource if right decisions and government support are fully realised

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

35) Palau President Continues To Oppose Casino Bills
Remengesau says 2011 referendum proves public opposition to gambling

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 16, 2013) –President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is sticking by the peoples’ decision on the casino issue as displayed in the 2011 referendum.

Earlier reports showed that a bill permitting controlled gaming on the island was again introduced in the 9th Senate. This measure was introduced by Sen. Hokkons Baules.

The bill aims to attract high-end tourists, an idea that the new administration is working on.

But Remengesau, when asked for his position on the bill during a press conference Wednesday at Palau Wave Radio station, stated that the position of the people in the last referendum clearly enunciated what they wanted.

The 2011 referendum on whether or not to legalize casino establishment in Palau showed that 75.5 percent of the voters are against casino.

The president said that every congressmen or citizen has the right to continue to advocate whatever their belief is. However, he will be consistent with the peoples’ position until there is a change of law or another referendum that would show otherwise.

Before the referendum, proposals to establish casino gaming in Palau had also been rejected.

Remengesau first vetoed a casino bill in 2003. In 2009, former president Johnson Toribiong also vetoed a casino bill.

Island Times: www.islandtimes.us

PACIFIC:

36) Put aside suspicions over China in Pacific says think tank

Posted at 03:45 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

The author of a new report on China’s role in the Pacific says established powers in the region like Australia and the United States need to put aside some of their suspicions and better co-operate with China.

Jenny Hayward-Jones of Australia’s Lowy Institute says there is little evidence that China is doing anything more than supporting its commercial interests and pursuing South-South co-operation.

She says Chinese influence in the Pacific has grown mainly due to diverse commercial interests and its ability to seriously challenge established powers in the region is limited.

Ms Hayward-Jones warns it is counter-productive to view China’s activities in the region in purely geo-strategic terms.

“If countries like Australia and the US concentrate too much on the defence and the diplomacy and the potential geo-strategic threat that China poses there’s less ability to look at what can be done in the economic sphere to help Chinese investment have a better impact on the Pacific.”

Jenny Hayward-Jones there is plenty of room for traditional aid donors to improve coRadio New Zealand International

37) Pacific ACP remain positive to conclude EPA with EU

By Online Editor
10:31 am GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

By Pita Ligaiula

The Pacific ACP bloc remains optimistic that negotiations for their Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) can be concluded by the end of this year despite claims by the EU that such a deadline is unrealistic.

Already, Pacific ministers have been warned that Brussels won’t budge easily from its entrenched positions.
Fiji’s trade minister and acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the region is very mindful of the need to conclude a permanent EPA with the Europeans.

“At this stage our approach is to take a more positive approach in terms of trying to conclude an EPA that is acceptable to both parties which is the PACP countries and of course the EU and that’s a position we’ve taken.

“We believe that there is room for negotiation on various aspects, there are some contentious issues. There were some that were contentious issues but are no longer contentious issues. So we hope the negotiating team that will go up to Brussels in June will get some positive traction from there.

“In respect of what will be the final outcome that is obviously something that we all need to try for individually as countries but we are taking a regional approach,” Sayed-Khaiyum told journalist at the conclusion of the Pacific ACP Trade Ministers meeting in Nadi at the weekend.

Sayed Khaiyum said that it’s important for the region to negotiate their EPA as a single region in order to get a positive outcome from the EU.

“The Pacific ACP countries have given a lot of urgency to it. And we believe the next round of negotiation will be very critical as far as timeline is concerned But you also have the EU Ambassador saying that certain things cannot be rushed. So there is a bit of paradoxical situation there. But that is something obviously that will be addressed through the subsequent negotiation at the end of June and July.

“We believe our strength will be in a regional approach, and indeed in many parts of the world have concluded or are seeking to conclude a ratification of EPA at a regional level and that is a Pacific approach.”

The Fijian minister who is also the country’s Attorney General said negotiation positions, which highlighted concession points, red flags and bracketed items have been finalised.

Officials of the Pacific ACP governments will use these positions in their next rounds of negotiation sessions with European Commission officials in Brussels next month, said Sayed-Khaiyum.

“So certain decisions have been made. It was a very fruitful meeting.

“There  were some very open and frank discussions in terms of the way forward, in terms  of the specific country positions  regarding some  of the contentious issues , the general  agreement on the position that  the country wish to take in particular regarding fisheries, global sourcing  and of course there other certain  aspects that were more pertinent to some countries than others,”  he explained.

He highlighted that if PACP countries could not conclude the EPA, it would affect the entire region as a whole and not only Fiji. In stressing that there was no deadline to concluded EPA negotiations, he did not believe however that the EU was trying to exert more pressure on Fiji to ratify the interim EPA it had signed with Brussels in 2007.

“I don’t necessarily think there is a singling out of Fiji per say. Papua New Guinea has also signed the interim EPA, so it does affect  PNG also and in respect of the deadline 15/ 28 set  by EC is applicable to affect everybody not just Fiji,” Sayed Khaiyum said.

Sayed Khaiyum did rebuff claims by the EU that the Pacific ACP bloc had showed “no flexibility including a specific commitment in accessing the islands’ fishery resources” when negotiating fishery clauses.

“No, I think it’s a fact that for many Pacific island countries, fish is the only key resource they have mostly. It’s a matter of great concern for them not just for commercial trade perspective but also in term of sustain livelihoods, in terms of how it will affect future generations.

“So we need to ensure that when negotiation do take place it ensures this valuable resources provide a lot of benefit to Pacific Islanders. I think that’s why there were  lot of commonalities  as far  as fisheries is concerned  amongst  the Pacific island countries  but we believe  that there is still room for negotiation.”

His sentiments were also shared by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade who held the joint press conference with the Fijian minister.

Tuiloma said the same accusations of non-flexibility could be leveled at the Europeans too.

“You will find that first of all we are in a process of negotiation that’s what the Europeans said. You will find that on the sides of the Pacific island countries we can with absolute justification make exactly the same assertion and we can point to facts to support such an assertion from our side,” said the Forum SG.

“We made almost extraordinary efforts on market access offer for example, these things are not simply drawn out of the drawer. These things require a great deal of hard work national consultations and other necessary data collection and contacting communities.

“We have been able to put this together for all Pacific Island countries in good time. Given the circumstances all this offers have been conveyed to other side, and today we are still awaiting for responses,” the Secretary General said

SOURCE: PACNEWS

38)Pacific people suffering, say Salvation Army report

By Online Editor
1:44 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, New Zealand

Pacific people living in New Zealand are now worse off economically than they were before the global financial crisis hit in 2007, a Salvation Army report says.

The 262,000 people of Pacific Island ethnicity have suffered more severely from the effects of the global crisis than other New Zealanders, it said.

The report also warned of a looming disaster for the approximately 60,000 Pacific people in Australia who moved there from New Zealand, saying they were being excluded from many of the benefits of living there.

The Salvation Army’s social policy analysts Ronji Tanielu and Alan Johnson said in the report that unemployment had risen faster for Pacific people than for others and had remained high during the fragile recovery.

Pacific Islanders were losing ground in terms of relative incomes and now earned or received a smaller fraction of the national average income than they did five years ago.

The data showed that while Pacific people had a higher dependency on state benefits, the total payments had not risen with the increases in unemployment, the report said.

This was because Pacific people were keeping themselves going without benefits.

Pacific labour force participation rates were lower than the overall population and Pacific people were over-represented in welfare queues, the report said.

The Salvation Army said the treatment of Pacific Islanders was part of New Zealand’s national story in which society embraced Pacific people some of the time, “but also discriminate and marginalise them at other times”.

In the last decade Pacific communities had flourished in some areas.

“Yet many of the social and health issues that had begun to truly emerge in the 1970s continued to worsen for some Pacific communities,” the report said, adding that at school Pacific children were concentrated in low-decile or poorer schools.

“While these low-decile schools are not necessarily inferior educationally, they typically struggle to meet the educational and pastoral needs of the children they serve, and the educational outcomes achieved are often not as good as those of schools in middle-class communities.”

The report said housing was a critical area for Pacific people but a lack of data meant it was hard to define.

Only 37 per cent of Pacific people owned their own home against the national rate of 67 per cent.

The report noted that over the last 30 years Pacific Islanders were  displaced from inner-city Auckland.

“We are now wondering whether history could be about to repeat itself as areas like Onehunga, Mangere and Otara in Auckland, and possibly some areas in Wellington that are traditionally predominantly Maori and Pacific neighbourhoods, undergo massive shifts as middle-class families buy and move into these areas,” the report said.

The authors asked where the Pacific families would go next as they could no longer afford to rent or buy in the strong communities they had forged.

On Australia the Salvation Army said more Pacific people and other New Zealanders were flocking to Australia seeking employment, higher wages and new opportunities.

Social security rule changes in 2001 meant New Zealand citizens were not eligible to vote in government elections or access student loans or other benefits in Australia.

It said the heart of the change was to block backdoor migration from Pacific Islanders and Hong Kong Chinese people with New Zealand citizenship trying to enter Australia.

The policy was hitting Pacific Islanders who entered Australia via New Zealand harder than other groups.

“There should be huge concerns for the state of Pacific people, and all expat Kiwis, living in Australia and living under these 2001 social security policies,” the report said.

“These expat Pacific Islanders and other Kiwis are effectively being excluded from fully participating in Australian society.”

The report said the future scenarios for Pacific people in Australia “are unclear and potentially dire”.

Pacific people there are working in-low paying and unskilled jobs and crime and anti-social behaviour were being seen from Pacific Islanders in Australia.

“The state of Pacific people, and other expat Kiwis in Australia, shows real danger signs that both the New Zealand and Australian governments must address immediately or continue to face the consequences in the immediate and long-term future,” the Salvation Army said.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

39) Pacific Island Affairs funding cuts will hurt Pasifika people – Labour

By Online Editor
5:01 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, New Zealand

An NZD$861,000 cut to Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs funding will hurt Pasifika people already suffering high unemployment, low incomes and growing inequality, Labour says.

Labour’s Pacific Island affairs spokesman Su’a William Sio said the funding cuts would put further pressure on a community already suffering.

He said the funding cut was a significant reduction for a small agency.

“It comes at a time when Pacific underachievement is at its most severe.”

A report released by the Salvation Army last week showed Pacific people are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to employment and therefore income.

Sio said the report showed Pacific people had been the hardest hit by the recession and without support would risk being left behind when the economy picked up.

Over the past three years, the report showed a steady rise in the rate of unemployment affecting Pacific Island families.

At the end of last year, 16 per cent of Pacific Islanders were unemployed.

Almost 13 per cent of working-age Pasifika received a Work and Income benefit in 2012, a year in which the Salvation Army provided Pasifika clients with 6429 food parcels – a dramatic rise from 1140 in 2007.

There were 983 Pasifika people who accepted help from the Army’s budgeting service, up from 241 in 2007.

Sio said too many Pacific Island people were “unskilled” and “unsupported”.

“Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Hekia Parata, has failed to stem growing inequality and Pacific people are losing out as a result.

“Hekia Parata’s $330,000 cut to community and stakeholder engagement activities [in last week’s Budget] will also undermine efforts in areas like education and ECE participation where significant gains have been made.

“Cancelling $253,000 in funding for business and skills training is short-sighted considering the Pacific community desperately needs to up-skill,” he said.

SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

40) SPC and Pacific Disability Forum merge efforts

Posted at 03:34 on 20 May, 2013 UTC

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says a new memorandum of understanding will help highlight gaps in addressing the needs of people with disabilities in the region.

The SPC has signed a four year memorandum of understanding with the Pacific Disability Forum.

The joint resources will allow research to benefit people with disabilities, and collect more accurate data.

The Director-General, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, says Pacific nations are at different stages with disability programmes, with some countries like New Caledonia doing well, while others are struggling.

“Its a good start. And I think there’s quite a way to go, but I’d like to say that the Disability Forum has actually won the first big battle, and that is to shift the level of consciousness from what used to be a household issue and a problem, now into a broader consciousness of national and regional level.”

Dr Jimmie Rodgers

Radio New Zealand International

AUSTRALIA:


41) Australia’s parliamentary secretary for defence to start four-day PNG visit

By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Australian parliamentary secretary for defence, David Feeney, will begin a four-day visit to Papua New Guinea starting today.

It will be his fourth to PNG as parliamentary secretary for defence, and continues his long affiliation with the country.

“On the visit, Feeney would meet with PNG Government ministers and senior officials to discuss recent developments in the Australia-Papua New Guinea defence relationship,” the Australian High Commission said in a statement.

“This includes the recent signing of a defence cooperation arrangement by prime ministers Peter O’Neill and Julia Gillard.

“This arrangement provides for an enhanced defence cooperation programme (DCP) to further strengthen the defence relationship by deepening practical cooperation.”

The DCP with PNG is Australia’s biggest, with a commitment for A$19.5 million (almost K42 million) for 2013-14.

The recently released Australian federal budget indicates the DCP will grow to A$27 million (K58 million) for financial year 2013-14.

Through the programme, Australia supports PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) maritime and air transport capability, conducts infrastructure improvements for PNGDF barracks across the country, and provides extensive training for PNGDF and Department of Defence personnel in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Head of Australia defence staff Col Dick Parker said: “This week’s visit provides an excellent opportunity for Australia to reaffirm its long-standing commitment to Papua New Guinea, and in particular its defence force.

“Feeney’s visit comes at an opportune time, with the recent release of Australia’s defence white paper and the continuing increase in our defence cooperation programme.”

As part of his visit, Feeney would also walk the start of the Kokoda Track from Ower’s Corner to Goldie River.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

NEW ZEALAND:

42) NZ Green Party try to stop deep sea drilling

By Online Editor
4:59 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, New Zealand

The Greens are trying to halt deep sea drilling by submitting a bid for a the right to drill for oil on behalf of Kiwis.

The stunt involves the party submitting a bid with signatures from New Zealanders in an effort to protect areas likely to be drilled by oil companies.

From May 24, oil companies will begin presenting bids for the right to drill in the sea to the Government with new legislation passed last month.

But the Greens say deep sea drilling is risky and could lead to oil spills on the nation’s beaches.

“By submitting the Kiwi Bid, we give the Government a clear choice,” Green MP Metiria Turei said at the launch of the campaign today.

“Pursue risky deep sea oil drilling that profits the oil companies, or accept the bid from thousands of Kiwis who love our beaches and pristine ocean and want to protect them.”

The Greens say 90 percent of deep sea drilling profits end up offshore.

New legislation restricts anti-mining protests in New Zealand’s seas.

Meanwhile, New Zeland Government is dismissing Labour Party claims that new minerals legislation breaches international law.

However an expert on the international law of the sea has warned that the Government will have to be careful about how it applies the legisation.

A bill amending the month-old Crown Minerals Amendment Act was put though Parliament under urgency over the weekend as part of a Budget legislation package, and comes into effect this Friday.

It extends a crackdown on anti-mining protests at sea to areas on or above the continental shelf.

Labour’s energy and resources spokesperson Moana Mackey said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had advised that governments could not legislate activity in the waters above the continental shelf.

However Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said New Zealand has sovereign rights to enforce in the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf area.

“We have the ability to extract natural resources and also to enforce our rights in relation to that.

“The law that we have passed is very similar indeed to a law that other countries have passed including Australia.”

Bridges says many departments including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade were consulted in the drafting of the bill.

He told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme the law does not take away the right to protest but tackles dangerous behaviour on the high seas.

A senior law lecturer at Victoria University said while the Government is probably on safe ground, it is a grey area in the law.

Joanna Mossop said it’s significant the new law makes it clear that no proceedings will be taken against a foreign ship without the approval of the Attorney-General.

“That’s usually an indication that there’s little intent to apply this to a foreign vessel because of the potential consequences under international law.”

The reen Party has obtained documents under the Official Information Act that confirm New Zealand does not have the capability of dealing with an undersea oil spill.

The party’s energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes says the paper from Maritime New Zealand contradicts statements by  Bridges, that this country is prepared for an oil spill from a deep sea rig.

SOURCE: NZN/RADIO NEW ZEALAND/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE& ENVIROMENT:

43) Pacific to advocate regional strategy on disaster management and climate change at UN conference

By Online Editor
1:49 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Switzerland

By PACNEWS Editor, Makereta  Komai in Geneva

Pacific Island Countries will use the United Nations Global conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which gets underway in Geneva Monday to share their experiences on the development of  a region-wide integrated strategy on disaster risk management and climate change.

The Pacific is the first region in the world to take concrete steps to address disaster and climate risks in an integrated manner.

At a preparatory briefing organised by the United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Pacific delegates were encouraged to ‘use the global platform meeting to showcase the commitments of Pacific governments  in raising the profile of disaster risk management  (DRM) and climate change (CC) within governments and communities.

The Pacific region, delegates were told, is a world leader in this process. An integrated regional framework is now being developed to work across different stakeholder groups to harmonise institutional arrangements to ensure that DRM and CC issues are reflected in national government budgets. Its main objective is to reduce the vulnerability of Pacific communities to hazards by improving the ability to better participate, resist, prepare for and respond to and recover from impacts of a disaster and climate change.

The regional strategy, expected to be in place by 2015, recognises that disaster risk management and climate change adaptation and mitigation are cross cutting issues that should be implemented through policies of others sectors, example water resources, health, land use, environment, energy, infrastructure development and finance and planning. It also recognises important linkages to poverty eradication, planning for sustainable development, vulnerable groups, education and science.

A first ever joint meeting of all regional and national stakeholders will be convened in Nadi next month to start the process of developing a single overarching policy for the region.

The Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, which will bring together  representative of government, civil society, private sector, local communities, donors, development partners and the scientific community, to progress discussions on the proposed regional strategy.

Outcomes of the meeting will feed into the development of global post 2015 framework for disaster reduction (to replace the Hyogo Framework of Action) and the post 2015 Development Agenda (to replace the current UN Millennium Development Goals).

The UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction conference gets underway in Geneva Monday.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

HEALTH:

44) HIV/AIDS community grows on Guam

By Online Editor
10:16 am GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Guam

An estimated one in three Asian and Pacific Islanders are living with HIV and don’t even know it. And with this weekend marking National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness, it’s important to get tested. But how to cope if you come back positive?

Westcare Pacific Islands now has support groups for those affected by the sexually transmitted disease.

Are you positive you’re negative? As WestCare Pacific Islands vice president Sarah Thomas-Nededog reports, the spread of HIV and AIDS is a growing concern locally. “We’re very concerned about the numbers we have nearly 50 people that are currently diagnosed with AIDS or HIV and we’ve had nine recent cases in the last year and a half. We’re especially concerned that HIV and AIDS spreads especially as we anticipate more people coming to Guam in the coming years, I think we need to do our due diligence as a community to make sure we prevent the spread of AIDS or HIV and other communicable diseases on our island,” she said.

To cater to this growing population, WestCare now offers support groups. She said, “We’re really excited that we’re able to now offer our community family support groups for those who have family members who are afflicted with AIDS or HIV, as well as those whose family members are at most risk of having this disease. So we started a group last week and we’ll have one every week until August, and then we’ll reevaluate it.”

Nededog says support groups provide families and friends with information on how to help. After all, it’s not just the person with the virus affected, but their friends and families. “There’s some very practical challenges that family members have who are dealing with a member in their household or someone who lives close by who has AIDS and HIV. And there are practical things like what is it that they need to be eating how are they best cared for – what is it that we can do to ensure that they stay healthy, how can we help support them stay on their medication regimen, and also what are some things that we can do as a family to ensure there is not a spread of AIDS or HIV in our household or in the community,” she said.

Support groups also provide emotional and social support.

SOURCE: KUAM NEWS/PACNEWS

SPORT:

45a) Snubbing of Fiji rugby shows no imagination

By Online Editor
5:13 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, New Zealand

It’s official. The New Zealand Rugby Union lacks imagination and soul.

We knew that anyway, of course. But its snubbing of Fiji – whose request for a home test against the All Blacks to mark their centenary was turned down – typifies the arrogant, ham-fisted running of the national game.

The bottom line is important, but sport should also be an adventure, and that’s what a test in Suva would have been. And you can only imagine the support and excitement in Fiji, which in turn has to be good for the game worldwide, which in turn should benefit New Zealand. (Who knows – it might lead to the development of even more Fijian rugby talent for the All Blacks to pilfer).

But oh no. Expansive, inspirational thinking is way beyond our boofhead rugby bosses, whose policies over the past few years appear to revolve around raiding the public coffers to stage a World Cup and the elitist treatment of our poor, exhausted All Black stars.

Time and time again, New Zealand rugby treats the Pacific Island nations with disrespect. Everyone is expected to bend over backwards for the great God of New Zealand rugby, but the game won’t lift a finger to help anyone else.

As the Herald on Sunday story about the Fijian snub explains, the NZRU is exceptionally good at manoeuvring events when it suits them.

Yet not only does the NZRU refuse to send the All Blacks to our cash-strapped rugby neighbours – who are major contributors to world rugby and New Zealand society – but they offer up an insult instead, namely a team of has-beens.

This is not just a journalistic bandwagon either. I have criticised the NZRU’s failure to play tests in the islands before.

On one occasion, Martin Snedden – the man who made the World Cup happen – emailed, pointing to a passage in his book A Stadium of Four Million which called on the All Blacks to play in the Pacific Islands.
SOURCE: NZ HERALD OPINION/PACNEWS

45b)Money man heads Fiji Rugby Union

By Online Editor
5:16 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, Fiji

The appointment of a new chairman at the Fiji Rugby Union has been welcomed by some of its major affiliates.

Fiji’s Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca was elected chairman by the new FRU board, replacing Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga.

The appointment, which was announced yesterday, follows a dismal performance by the national sevens and fifteens teams and FRU’s poor financial standing, which was highlighted at its annual general meeting last month.

Tailevu Rugby Union committee member Tevita Bolanavanua said Mr Waqabaca was a good choice.

“It is good to see someone with financial and management background coming to lead the FRU. I think it is a good choice,” Bolanavanua said.

Northland RU secretary Tevita Kanalagi, a former schoolmate of Mr Waqabaca, said the new chairman’s sporting background would be an asset.

“I believe he has good operation and financial management and to have him at the helm is very positive. He holds a very critical post in the government, he is a great person and has some sporting background,” Mr Kanalagi said.

“I believe there is no other better person than him to take FRU forward.”

Nadroga Rugby Union president Tiko Matawalu supported the move.

“We and the rest of the western unions appointed Napolioni Batimala as our nominee to the board. He is there on behalf of us so if he agrees in the appointment, we are all throwing our support to him with the motive of moving rugby forward in Fiji,” Matawalu said.

Minor unions Namosi and Ovalau shared similar sentiments.

“We welcome the move. All we ask is for them to also help minor unions like us improve,” Ovalau RU spokesman Seresio Druguta said.

“We were against the old board because they wanted to reduce the teams in the major competition which will not help the minor unions, so we are just asking if they could also think of us.”

Namosi’s Eneriko Cakaunivalu said Waqabaca had their support.

“We support the new chairman and we also believe that he is going to bring a change in FRU. We are asking if the minor unions can also be considered in the selection of the national teams,” he said.

He said FRU should consider taking some Digicel cup matches to be played in rural areas.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

45c) Auckland City book ticket to Morocco

By Online Editor
5:09 pm GMT+12, 20/05/2013, New Zealand

The Oceania region will be represented by Auckland City at the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013 after the New Zealand side beat countrymen Waitakere United 2-1 in the OFC Champions League final at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Sunday.

The win means Auckland have now written themselves into the record books as the first side to win three Oceania titles in a row and they will earn another piece of history when they travel to Morocco in December by becoming the club with the most appearances at a FIFA Club World Cup (five – in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013).

Waitakere could well have been the history makers instead  yesterday afternoon as they were chasing an unprecedented quadruple of titles – after already pocketing three domestic honours – but could only reply to an early two-goal burst by Auckland with a Chad Coombes strike shortly before the break.

There was no further scoring in a tense second half – the most significant moment of which arrived in the 59th minute when Waitakere defender Tim Myers was sent off for a second bookable offence – and those first-half efforts from Adam Dickinson and Alex Feneridis proved to be enough for City to become the first team to lift the newly-designed Champions League trophy.

Having been forced to play second fiddle to Waitakere’s victorious exploits for much of the season, Auckland coach Ramon Tribulietx was delighted to have gotten one over the old foe in the clash that mattered most.

“This was the tightest of our title wins in this competition and we knew it probably would be because all the derbies have been very close this year,” he said.

“We were expecting Waitakere to come at us because a place at the FIFA Club World Cup was on the line – we knew they would throw everything at us and even the ‘keeper was going forward at the end. But we defended very well and the effort from the boys was fantastic,” he added.

“I was pleased with the belief of the players as well, having lost a few times to Waitakere this season it was impressive that they were able to come back and win a game like this. We’ll start to think about the World Cup next week but for now we just want to enjoy this moment.”

The foundations for Auckland’s historic victory – which took place in front of a vocal sell-out crowd of 3,000 – were laid in the first 20 minutes as the defending champions made it clear they had no intention of losing their grip on the title without a fight.

Tribulietx’s men dominated possession in the early stages and gained the reward their bright start deserved in the 16th minute when Waitakere goalkeeper Danny Robinson could only palm down a shot from Japanese fullback Takuya Iwata and Dickinson was on hand to slot the ball home from close range for his eighth goal of the campaign.

The Waitakere defence barely had time to catch their breath again before they fell further behind on the scoreboard, Feneridis firing a spectacular shot from outside the box past Robinson, whose vision looked to have been impaired by the blinding sun in the far corner of the ground, just a few minutes later.

That left Waitakere with plenty of work to do to keep their quadruple dreams alive and coach Paul Marshall set about doing just that with a tactical switch involving his attacking combination of Roy Krishna, Chad Coombes, Allan Pearce and Ryan De Vries. The change of approach paid immediate dividends as ex-All White Coombes benefitted from a determined piece of play from Krishna to get his side back into the game on 40 minutes.

With a record of four wins from six previous encounters in all competitions against Auckland this season, Marshall would likely have rated Waitakere’s odds of going on to complete the comeback but those chances were dealt a blow just before the hour mark when Myers received his marching orders from referee Peter O’Leary.

Ironically, the sending off appeared to kick start Waitakere into life and the latter stages of the game brought their most dominant periods but, despite enjoying an increase in possession, the New Zealand champions struggled to test Auckland goalkeeper Tamati Williams and could not find the goal that would have forced the winner-takes-all match into extra time.

Marshall felt his team’s sluggish start was the biggest contributing factor to the loss.

“We had a 20-minute period in the first half in which we conceded two very poor goals and unfortunately that cost us the game today,” he said.

“And of course going down to ten men didn’t help – that made it difficult for us to get back into it. But I don’t want to take anything away from Auckland City, I thought they deserved their win. It’s a shame because we’ve had a great season and topped our group but we didn’t start the game well enough.”

In the individual stakes, Ba striker Sanni Issa received both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot as the tournament’s best-performed player and top goalscorer while Waitakere’s Robinson earned the Golden Gloves for being the pick of the net-minders. Solomon Islands club Solomon Warriors received the Fair Play Award for ending the season with the best disciplinary record.

Auckland City will now prepare to face some of the best sides in the world at the FIFA Club World Cup, which is set to take place in Morocco from December 11 to 21.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

 45d) Bennett praises Knights

RUGBY LEAGUE

NEWCASTLE: Knights coach Wayne Bennett praised his team for the manner of their performance against Canterbury as the Knights ended a poor run of form with a 44-8 victory yesterday.
The Knights were a shadow of the side that capitulated in the second half against Canberra last week in an almost flawless display that also impressed Bulldogs coach Des Hasler.
Two tries from young winger Kevin Naiqama and efforts from James McManus, Joseph Leilua, Darius Boyd and Kurt Gidley sealed an impressive win in front of a crowd of over 18,000 at Hunter Stadium. “It was a lot better than the way we’ve played over the last two weeks,” Bennett said.
“We needed to come here today and play well and we have done that, which was good as otherwise our season would have been under a fair bit of pressure.”
With Willie Mason leading from the front in a performance that would have given NSW coach Laurie Daley plenty to think about, the Knights forwards dominated one of the best packs in the NRL.
So good were they going forward, Hasler hooked giant prop Sam Kasiano after he lost the ball on the first tackle in the lead up to the Knights’ decisive fourth try scored by Boyd to take the score to 24-8.
“It was the best we have played as a pack, they have got it, they just need to find it sometimes.” Hasler said Newcastle deserved credit for the manner in which they responded to last week’s heavy loss in Canberra but said his side’s inability to keep the ball was their downfall.
“You have to congratulate Newcastle, coming off the back of what they came off last week, they almost pulled off the perfect game,” Hasler said.
“I think they completed 95 per cent of their sets. They were very controlled and very on for the game today. “For us it was the other end of the scale. We were disappointed with how we went today.C-http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

45e) Dragons hail Dugan after good win over Eels

RUGBY LEAGUE

WOOLLONGONG: St George Illawarra coach Steve Price hailed Josh Dugan’s superstar qualities as the former Canberra fullback enjoyed an impressive return to the NRL in the Dragons’ 32-12 win over Parramatta on Saturday night.
Dugan was superb in his first game in two months after being sacked by Canberra in March for repeated discipline breaches.
The former NSW custodian scored two tries and was a constant threat to the Eels defence with ball in hand in running for a game-high 202m before 17,458 fans in Wollongong.
“He is a winner and he expects perfection at all times. For his debut in the ‘red v’ it was a great performance,” Price said of Dugan.
“He fitted in really well during the week and I spoke to a few of the guys after the game and he was really steering them around and telling them where he wanted them to be and that is what you want from a class player.
“It was a great performance but there is a still a long way to go to get where he wants to be and where we want to be but it is a step in the right direction.
“It was great to score 32 points, we haven’t scored 32 points in a while.
“I was pleased because that was our best attacking display of the year, especially in the first forty minutes.” Dugan admitted to nerves before his Dragons debut. “That is a big weight off my shoulder,” he said.
“I was a bit nervous before the game but once I got my hands on the ball I was back in the groove.”
Dugan scored both second half tries for the home side in the 46th and 74th minutes after latching onto crossfield kicks from Jamie Soward and Nathan Fien as the Dragons recorded their fourth win of the year after three successive losses.
The Dragons blew the Eels away in the first half to record a 20-0 lead at the break.
Trent Merrin opened the scoring in just the second minute on the back of an early penalty and St George Illawarra led 6-0 before Parramatta had touched the ball.
Ben Creah scored the Dragons’ second try after 10 minutes after Dugan had sliced through the Eels defence line and burst 40m upfield before being upended by his opposite, Eels captain Jarryd Hayne.
Daniel Vidot then crossed after a lovely long ball from Soward after Parramatta’s left-hand defence was exposed for the third time in the 26th minute.
With their forwards dominating up front the Dragons were taking full advantage and Vidot crossed for a double when he beat some feeble Parramatta defence in the left corner to touch down four minutes from the break.
Parramatta managed two second half tries.C-http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

45f)David Beckham retires

SOCCER

ENGLAND: David Beckham is retiring from soccer, ending a career in which he transcended the sport with forays into fashion and a marriage to a pop star that made him a global celebrity.
The 38-year-old former England captain, who recently won a league title in a fourth country with Paris Saint-Germain, said on Thursday he will retire after the season.
“It’s a good way to go out,” Beckham said in Paris. “It’s every athlete’s dream, every footballer’s dream to go out on the top – on top form or winning a trophy … leaving as a champion.”
Beckham, whose curling free kicks and pin-point crosses became his signature as a player, has two more matches left at PSG against Brest on Saturday and at Lorient on May 26. He has been giving his salary to a children’s charity.
Asked what led to his decision, Beckham replied with a laugh: “Probably when (Lionel) Messi was running past me in that home game,” referring to PSG’s Champions League match against Barcelona last month.
Beckham started his career with Manchester United and also played for Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy, winning titles with all those clubs and also making a record 115 international appearances for an England outfield player.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter described the midfielder as “one of the most iconic figures in global football”.
Beckham’s fame went beyond the field, with his haircuts and clothing scrutinised as often as his play, earning him a string of lucrative sponsorship deals.
“Sometimes that has overshadowed what I have done on the pitch or what I have achieved on the pitch,” Beckham said in a television interview conducted by former United teammate Gary Neville. “And as much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does.
“I am a footballer that has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world and played with some of the best players in the world, played under some of the biggest and best managers and achieved almost everything in football.”
Beckham was even immortalised on the silver screen in the 2002 film “Bend it Like Beckham”, which told the story of a British teenage girl of south Asian heritage struggling with family pressures and cultural expectations to play the sport she loves.
Beckham’s retirement led to a flood of tweets dubbing the day “End it Like Beckham.”
Beckham is now living in London with his wife Victoria, a former Spice Girls singer, and their four children.
“I wouldn’t have achieved what I have done today without my family. I’m grateful for my parents’ sacrifice, which made me realise my dreams,” he said.
“I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period.” With United between 1992 and 2003, Beckham won six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two FA Cups and the Intercontinental Cup.
Beckham left United in 2003 shortly after manager Alex Ferguson accidentally struck Beckham’s eye with a football boot. Ferguson announced his retirement from Manchester United last week.
Beckham spent four years in Madrid – winning the 2007 Spanish title before making the surprise move to Major League Soccer, where he won the title twice, making a fortune the highest paid player.C-http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

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