Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 856


1) Human Rights Groups Allege Mass Killing In Papua
Bodies reportedly found in ditches, some mutilated

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 23, 2013) – Human rights groups in Indonesia’s remote province of Papua have expressed fears about an early report of a mass killing.

The KNPB or National Coalition for West Papua has alleged the Indonesian military is responsible for the disappearance of 41 people in a remote farming area around Puncak Jaya.

Alex Perrottet reports.

“West Papua Media Alerts have published the names of 13 people suspected of being hacked to death in Tingginambut, but the area is remote and controlled by Indonesian Kopassus troops, making it hard to verify the scanty details. It was the same area in which eight Kopassus troops were killed by suspected guerilla fighters in February. The KNPB, a pro-independence group, has published accusations that have been re-printed in newspapers in Papua. They say bodies were found in ditches, some mutilated and found in bags and sacks, and there could be up to 41 victims. Paul Mambrasar from the Elsham Papua human rights group in Jayapura says people are in fear and he has called on Indonesian authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly.”

Radio New Zealand International:

2) Bodies discovered in Papua could be those of missing activists

Posted at 21:48 on 24 May, 2013 UTC

Details emerging from Indonesia’s Papua province indicate that mutilated bodies discovered in recent days could be those of missing members of the pro-independence activist group, the West Papua National Committee or KNPB.

West Papua Media Alerts this week published the names of 13 people whose bodies have reportedly been found in Puncak Jaya regency displaying signs of violent deaths.

Unconfirmed reports from activists in the region say some of the victims have been identified as local West Papuans who went missing in April, including KNPB members.

The KNPB, whose leader Victor Yeimo is detained by police following a demonstration in Jayapura earlier this month, has alleged Indonesian military are responsible for the disappearance of 41 people in the remote farming area around Puncak Jaya.

Eight Indonesian troops were killed by suspected guerilla fighters in this area in February and reprisals were widely expected.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Indonesia to release Papuan political prisoners

Posted at 03:26 on 24 May, 2013 UTC

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has reportedly promised to free all West Papuan political prisoners.

A deputy speaker of the Papua Provincial Legislature, Yunus Wonda, says the prisoners will be offered clemency as part of the government’s planned so-called special autonomy plus programme for Papua and West Papua provinces.

The Jakarta Globe reports Mr Wonda as saying the President had made the promise in a recent meeting with Papuan leaders including Papua Governor Lukas Enembe.

There are estimated to be up to 50 Papuan political prisoners incarcerated for offences such as taking part in rallies and raising the banned West Papuan Morning Star flag.

The Papuan legislator said the president would declare the promised clemency in August to coincide with his visit to Papua to inaugurate the special autonomy plus programme.

Radio New Zealand International

4) PNG MPs to debate tough new laws

By Online Editor
3:51 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Sorcery-related killings will attract the death penalty under amendments to the Criminal Code to be tabled in Papua New Guinea Parliament soon.

Aggravated rape will also attract the death penalty.

So too will stealing and corruption which involves amounts of more than K10 million (US$4.5 million).

The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code are part of the Government’s promise to change the law and increase penalties to combat widespread killings, sexual violence against women and rampant corruption.

Amendment to Section 299A of the code will see any person who intentionally kills ano­ther on account of accusation that the person is practising sorcery is guilty of wilful murder.

Penalty for wilful murder of a person on account of accusation of sorcery is death.

Sorcery under this amendment includes what is known in various languages in PNG as witchcraft, magic, enchantment, puripuri, muramura, dikana, vada, mea mea, sanguma or malira whether or not connected with or related to the supernatural.

Section 347A is proposed for amendment to make aggravated rape punishable by death.

The new law covers any person who sexually penetrates the vagina or anus or such other body part of another person with any body part, objects or implements, without consent and while armed with a dangerous weapon or offensive weapon; in the company with one of more other persons and causes grievous bodily harm to a person, before, after or in the course of the offence; or if the victim is under the age of 10 years.

Most striking are the changes proposed for sections covering stealing, misappropriation and robbery.

Under these amendments any person who steals amounts between K1 million and K9.99 million will be imprisoned for life without remission and without parole.

The amendment bill proposes that if the amounts stolen or misappropriated are over K10 million, the penalty shall be death.

Amendments have also been proposed for the execution of sentence of death law.

The punishment of death shall be carried out by:

*Hanging the offender by the neck until the person is dead;

*Administration of anesthetics followed by lethal injection;
*Medical death through anesthetic administration and deprivation of oxygen; or
*Death by a firing squad.


5) PNG Opposition’s Numbers Continue To Decrease
46 parliamentarians now stand with ruling PNC Party

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 23, 2013) – In Papua New Guinea, Opposition numbers have dwindled to only six following the latest defection by Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang.

Lelang, who was fined for breaches of the Leadership Code earlier this month, has joined Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress (PNC) Party, boosting its strength to 46 MPs.

His move follows on the heels of another West New Britain MP, Francis Marus (Talasea).

Earlier in the week, Marus left the PNG Party led by Opposition Leader Belden Namah to join the People’s Resources Party of Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma. PRP is a major coalition partner with nine MPs.

The six MPs left in the Opposition are Namah (Vanimo-Green), deputy leader Sam Basil (Bulolo), Tobias Kulang (Kundiawa-Gembogl), Dr. Allan Marat (Rabaul), Ross Seymour (Huon Gulf) and Madang Governor Jim Kas.

An Opposition spokesman last night described Lelang’s move as a total surprise, saying that Namah would make a statement on the recent defections before the end of this week.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday welcomed Lelang to the PNC, saying he had a wealth of experience as a former secretary for National Planning who contributed to the drafting of key development plans.

O’Neill assured the country that his party and the government would not abuse their powers, despite increasing their numbers to an absolute majority in Parliament.

“We assure the nation that we will not abuse the country using our numbers and we will do things correctly to address issues in the country that have never been addressed before,” he told a media conference in Parliament,” he said.

He added that the government was ready to work with the opposition.

West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel, who defected to the government last year, said he was pleased that Lelang and Marus had joined him as they would all work together to develop the province.

PNG Post-Courier:

6 )PNG Public Advised To Save Money Instead Of Borrowing
PM: interest rates for PNG higher compared to neighbors

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 23, 2013) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has encouraged Papua New Guineans to learn to save their money for the future instead of borrowing due to very high interest rates charged by banks and finance companies.

The Prime Minister said during Question Time in Parliament that interest rates charged by banks, financial institutions and private individuals are far too high despite high liquidity (amount of cash) in the finance sector.

He called on the banks and financial institutions to improve their efficiencies in order to pass the savings to the customers.

O’Neill was responding to questions from the Anglimp South Wahgi MP about high interest rates that are forcing small people on to the verge of bankruptcy.

PM O’Neill in response agreed that the interest rates are far too high despite high liquidity of around K7 billion [US$3.1 billion] that is circulating in the finance system.

“We are now working closely with Treasury in terms of financing our own budget deficit. We are borrowing from the domestic market because of the excess liquidity that is there to finance this,” he said.

“But in terms of the interest rates, I want to say these are monitored by the Central Bank which is independent of government because we must have some levels of independence in the management of the monetary policy because if we do not, we will get into situations like many other countries in the world where governments have interfered with the monetary policies as a result because of the poor management of the economy, banking and financial systems collapse and get into crisis that we are now seeing in many parts of the world.

“We are fortunate so far that we are able to sustain a very good high safety network which has been able to protect our banking system and we are not exposed to many of the shocks that financial communities are facing in many parts of the world.

“Interest rates regardless are very high compared to many other countries in the region. Margins that as a customer you put into IBD and what the banks put out, the margins or difference is very high.

“This is where the banks are passing on their inefficiencies to the customer meaning that some of us who are borrowing high beyond our limit and sinking in what we call over borrowing. The spread is too high and the banks had to make sure that they get their own efficiencies better so they can pass on the savings to the customer.

“I will ask the Treasurer to bring it up with the Governor of the Central Bank to reduce spreads. We need to take control of back-door finance companies that are operating outside Central Bank; people with access money who are lending to others in the community.

“It is very hard to regulate against individuals lending money. I understand interest rates are up to 150 percent; nobody can afford that. I discourage our people from borrowing money from people who are not registered as financial institutions through the Central Bank Act,” PM O’Neill said.

PNG Post-Courier:

7) Workers head out to Australia

SUNDAY, 26 MAY 2013 07:50

ANOTHER 14 Solomon Islanders will leave for Australia today to work in farms there.

The group was given their briefing on Friday by officials in the Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) within the Trade Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and from their recruiting agent.

The six women and eight men are traveling under local recruiting firm SLN Business Solution bound for Kenley in Victoria on a six-month engagement.

During the briefing they were told and advised on issues that they may face when they are working in the orchid farms in Australia.

LMU coordinator Jack Oi’oi warned the workers that they must change their mindsets and attitudes towards how they manage their time.

“I must strongly warn you workers that you must be always punctual to your jobs,” Mr Oi’oi said.

“Do not take the Solomon time style to Australia as this would only result in your employee reducing your wages or even sending you back.

“This attitude of being late for work has always been in our blood but you must change this attitude before you step on the plane on Sunday.”

The recruiting agent Patrick Jameau told the workers that they must manage their money well and not to spend unnecessarily as the Australia Seasonal workers program is all about trying to help the workers improve their living standards.

He said that in some past experiences some workers have not saved well the money they earned and this resulted in them bring back little money.

He also advised the workers to always keep together and listen to their team leader.

“I must also stress to you that as part of your engagement, your employer must always know your whereabouts so I advise you all to always notify your group leader whenever you want to travel out from your work place,” Mr Jameau said.

Team leader for the group Godfrey Eric took the opportunity to thank the LMU and their recruiting agent for facilitating their travel to work in Australia.

He assured the officials from LMU that they will do their best to be good ambassadors for the country while in Australia.

“I assure you that I will be strict with my group at all times as I know that anything bad that we might do will bring a bad name to our country.

“I will therefore ensure that my group portrays a good image of Solomon Islanders and not a bad one,” Mr Eric said.

This is the third group to leave for Australia under the Seasonal Workers Program (SWP).

The first group left December last year.

8) Solomons Police Defend Release Of Chinese Businessman
Authorities say man held for questioning, but no charges made

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 23, 2013) – Honiara City police say their decision torelease a Chinese businessman from custody at the weekend was based on established Solomon Islands police procedures.

Xu Qiang was taken in for questioning on Saturday by Rove Criminal Investigations Division (CID), over money laundering allegations.

After being questioned, CID officers took him to the Central Police watchhouse and detained him there without any charges.

Crime manager for Honiara city police Inspector Leslie Simao told the Solomon Star that after Qiang was brought to the watchhouse, his lawyer David Lidimani called in and questioned police on their action.

“Firstly, Qiang was not arrested, he was only taken in for questioning,” Mr. Simao explained. “Secondly, although he was interviewed under caution, he was not charged. And thirdly, there was no remand order from the court.

“Based on these facts, when Qiang’s lawyer came and questioned police about his detention, we realized that we have no grounds to keep this man in the watchhouse. If we do so, we would be sued for illegally detaining someone without legitimate grounds,” Mr. Simao said.

He said after they realized they have no legal grounds to detain Qiang, he contacted his superiors about the matter.

“We even called the investigators dealing with the case to come over and discuss the matter. Unfortunately, some have their mobile phones switched off, while one answered his phone from a night club.

“We then consulted the acting police commissioner and explained the situation to her. After she was satisfied with the information we provided, she gave us the permission to release the suspect,” Mr. Simao said.

However, he said Qiang was released on SB$2,000 [US$274] cash bail, which his lawyer Mr. Lidimani came and paid at the Central Police Station in front of duty officers.

“We released him on a cash bail and on the understanding that he will return to Rove police on Monday morning for further questioning.

“And that’s what exactly happened. He returned to Rove police on Monday before he was formally charged and now put in Rove police custody.

“But the action taken on Saturday to detain him at the watchhouse was deemed illegal so we have to avoid any legal repercussions that may arise due to police illegally detaining him.”

Mr. Simao explained the decision to release the suspect came after wider consultations with all ranks within the force.

“This is why it took us the whole of Saturday night and into early Sunday morning before we released him at 4am,” he said.

He added his officers have no vested interest in the case as some people have been implying.

“Let me clarify it to the public that we have no interest in this case when we decided to release this man. Our decision was based on established procedures and after proper consultations with our superiors. Also, the public must know this case has nothing to do with the beche-de-mer issue.

“It was a case about Qiang and his former business partner over some millions of dollars that we sent from China into the country. So to imply our decision was made because some of us have vested interest or have connections to the suspect was simply untrue,” Mr. Simao said.

He said what the public should be questioning is why the Rove CID was prompt in investigating this case while many other cases reported to them by locals much early are yet to be investigated.

The Solomon Star understands the allegation against Qiang was reported to the police by his former business partner Jerry Hongsun.

Mr. Qiang has since been remanded in custody.

Solomon Star

9) Speaker defends decision

THURSDAY, 23 MAY 2013 07:32

PARLIAMENT Speaker Sir Allan Kemakeza has defended his decision to engage a private law firm at tax payers’ cost.

Sir Allan is engaging Sol-Law to defend him in a case Opposition leader Dr Derek Sikua filed against him, the Attorney General, and the Government.

Dr Sikua is challenging Sir Allan’s decision to allow a motion of no confidence to be debated despite his absence, last year.

Observers said Sir Allan’s decision to engage a private law firm other than the Attorney General’s office is unwarranted and costly.

“Sol-Law is the most expensive law firm in the country so tax payers must prepare to foot the legal bills,” one observer said.

“I would have thought as an arm of the Government, Sir Allan should use the service of the Attorney General’s office,” he added.

But Sir Allan told the Solomon Star his decision to allow the no-confidence motion to be debated last year was based on advice from the Attorney General.

“It would be best therefore now that my decision has been challenged in court, to have two legal opinions in this case. This is why we decided to engage Sol-Law,” he said.

He confirmed tax papers will have to meet the legal cost of engaging Sol-Law.

The Attorney General and the Prime Minister, who are two other parties named in the case, will be represented by the Office of the Attorney General.

It’s understood Sir Allan ignored advice Parliament’s legal team provided to him when Dr Sikua failed to show up in parliament.

The advice is for him to strike off the motion from the Order Paper on that day since the mover is not present in parliament.

And if the motion is to be reintroduced, then it has to be re-noticed.

But Sir Allan opted instead to follow written advice Attorney General Billy Titiulu provided.

Mr Titiulu’s advice is that Dr Sikua’s non-attendance in parliament to move the no-confidence motion does not render the motion invalid.

Nor does the non-attendance of the mover disallow other MPs from speaking on the motion.

Dr Sikua filed the case last year challenging Sir Allan’s ruling, which resulted in the no-confidence motion debated in his absence and eventually defeated.

By Elliot Dawea

10) Vanuatu MP Warns Against Possible Airport Contracts
Foreign company reportedly lost appeals for work in Maldives

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 23, 2013) – Former Minister of Finance and Economic Management and Leader of the Vanuatu Liberal Democratic Party, MP Willie Jimmy has produced a 46-page legal evidence showing that the Indian company called GMR, which is understood to be interested in building airports in the provinces worth approximately US$350 million or Vt35 billion, has in fact lost its appeal case against the Maldives Government in a contract worth over US$500 million or over Vt46 billion to repair Maldives’ Male Airport and build it a new air terminal last year.

MP Jimmy said the purpose of providing this information to the media is to confirm his concern that while the Government might consider clinching the deal with GMR, the company in fact lost its court case and its investment in Maldives Male Airport.

“I am trying to help the Government to take appropriate precaution to make sure it goes not fall into the same trap,” MP Jimmy said.

“This is the danger that if we give the company promissory note to raise funds but because it already knows the game that should the Government not agree with the way it implements the contract and terminates it, then it would pack up and go leaving us with its debt.”

That is its case in Maldives which is much bigger than the approximate total cost of the airports in Vanuatu which stands at US$350 million or Vt35 billion.

In a write up under the heading “Maldives has authority to take back airport from GMR: Singapore Court of Appeal” by Niticentral Staff on December 6, 2012, which appears on the front page of the Legal Document, the fifth paragraph states, “The (Maldives) Government had said it was terminating the contract because it was signed under “dubious conditions” and was void, a charge hotly contested by the infrastructure major.”

Asked if the company advised the Vanuatu Government of its failed contract with Male Airport, MP Jimmy said the company did but that it “used it the other way around” knowing that the Maldives Government had broken its contract and it took the Maldives Government to court and lost its case (as a result of its own mistakes).

MP Jimmy explained, “Now the company has learned its lesson and recommended that if the Vanuatu Government should agree for it to build the airports in Port Vila, Norsup, Lonorore, Longana and Luganville then it would need to be assured of access to promissory note.

“Our risk is this; if we give the company what it asks for and it raises enough money then starts to operate contrary to its contract and we take the case to court and it loses, it may pack up and depart the country leaving behind a huge debt and no project. This is my main concern of what could eventually happen if the company should be given the contract.”

While the MP was looking beyond the horizon in his concern, the Government was quick to defend its decision to send the delegation to Singapore led by Deputy Prime Minister Edward Natapei, explaining that it was a preliminary fact finding mission without naming GMR as the company the delegation talked to.

The Government press statement said the Opposition MP’s concerns were premature as nothing concrete “has been decided upon yet.”

It suggested that MP Jimmy was trying to accommodate a Chinese company towards taking the contract.

In the latest position of the Government, Government PRO Letty Kaltonga could only confirm the delegation holding talks with representatives of GMR saying because of its sensitive nature, the Government will issue an official statement on the delegation’s preliminary talks in Singapore at a time of its own choice.

“All media outlets were invited to the delegation’s arrival from Singapore at Port Vila International Airport last Saturday on May 17 at 11:30pm. However none of you was present to get firsthand information from the Deputy Prime Minister for your outlets so the Government will issue a press statement to you at a time of our own choice,” she said.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

11) New Caledonia Strike Leads To Dropped Local Flights
Despite government efforts, no indication as to strike’s end

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 23, 2013) – New Caledonia’s domestic airline has cancelled all of today’s flights because of a general strike organized by most unions.

The strike is in its second week and is aimed at forcing the government and big business to lower prices, which are far higher than in mainland France.

A group of protesters went to the international airport and persuaded the President, Harold Martin, not to leave for French Polynesia where he was due to celebrate the link between his hometown Paita and Pirae on Tahiti.

A union leader says someone has to take charge of the situation as the vice-president, Gilbert Tyueinon, already is in Paris as are the politicians who are members of the French legislature.

The strikers blocked the port of Noumea and the fuel depots yesterday after targeting the city’s biggest supermarkets last week.

Despite the government’s undertaking to cut tariffs on food stuffs from non-European Union countries, there is no indication when the strike will end.

Radio New Zealand International:

12) New Caledonia Group To Study Development In Fiji
Delegation focusing on relations between tourism, local people

By Rosi Doviverata

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, May 23, 2013) – A visiting delegation from Lifou, New Caledonia, are here to observe and study the way Fiji has managed to develop economically whilst keeping local traditional values intact.

The group of some 30 people, is made up of individuals from the economic, traditional and socio-cultural sectors.

The Embassy of France hosted the group to a morning tea at the Holiday Inn, Suva yesterday.

Led by Mayor Rone Kaudri, the group has a particular interest in tourism.

“We are here to see the construction of tourism and how things are developing as far as tourism is concerned because we want to go back home and do exactly like how it’s done in Fiji, or better.

“We have a lot of money, but we don’t know what to do with that money.”

Lifou Island is the largest and most populous of the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia. With a population of a little over 10,000, tourism is a major industry on the island.

Seeking tourism connection

Currently only three hotels operate on the island and they are all 3 star hotels.

“Lifou is nothing like Fiji. In Lifou, it’s just the people and their land. While here we are trying to see the connection between tourism and the local people.”

Mr. Kaudri said the visit is important because of the ideas of development they hope to take back with them. “We are looking at tourism that connects right down to the grass roots people, the villages,” he said.

Since their arrival last Saturday, the group has visited the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, the mud pool in Sabeto, Viseisei Village and Lautoka.

Embassy of France first Counselor-deputy head of mission Jules Irrmann said the visit was an initiative by the group themselves.

“They had precise questions about Fiji and after my meeting with them I could tell they are very interested in Fiji.”

“This is important for us because one of our objectives as an Embassy is to improve the regional integration of the French Pacific territories. I think this could be a beginning of something good for Lifou Island – a good cooperation in the future,” Mr. Irrmann said.

The group is expected to visit the beche-de-mer drying factory in Vatuwaqa on Friday before returning to New Caledonia on Saturday.


13) Fiji Courts Now Able To Confiscate ‘Unexplained’ Assets
Authorities say new decree strengthens tax compliance

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 23, 2013) – Fiji’s courts can now confiscate any property or benefit that is owned or controlled by any individual who cannot give a reasonable explanation about how he or she acquired that particular property.

This now has been made possible following the introduction of a new unexplained wealth provisions in the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) decree which was introduced last September.

Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Razim Buksh said a person has unexplained wealth if the value of the person’s total wealth is greater than the value of the person’s lawfully acquired wealth.

The value of the person’s total wealth is the total value of properties, including services, advantages and benefits that together constitute the person’s wealth.

Buksh said those who fail to provide a satisfactory explanation to the Court as to how they have acquired properties and maintain a standard of living beyond their means and lawful emoluments will be ordered to pay the value of his or her unexplained wealth to the State.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) chief executive Jitoko Tikolevu said the new Decree would further strengthen tax compliance in Fiji whereby persons and businesses that have been evading tax will be now forced to declare their correct income and lodge accurate tax returns.

Also present during the conference was Police Commissioner Ioane Naivalurua who said they have committed substantial resources in investigating complex financial crimes and the new unexplained wealth provisions empower Police to take away the wealth that is generated from various criminal activities. This can now be achieved without a criminal.

The new unexplained wealth provisions are now in effect and law enforcement agencies are considering a number of cases that will be investigated.

The public and businesses are encouraged to report suspected cases of unexplained wealth to the FIU, FRCA or the Police.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reports that all three of Fiji’s currently registered political parties have been given two weeks to declare their assets and liabilities. Party executives, along with their spouses and children, will be required to submit their income details, directorships, business transactions and any gifts received.]


14) Fiji’s Political parties told to comply or get deregistered: Saneem
By Online Editor
1:51 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Political parties that have already registered for the 2014 elections need to fully comply with the Political Parties Decree or else they will get deregistered.

This was confirmed to FijiLive by Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem.

“It is under the decree if they do not declare their assets and liabilities they will be deregistered,” Saneem said.

Saneem said the Decree is clear and all requirements need to be followed. Parties that have registered include Fiji Labour Party, Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the National Federation Party.

Meanwhile FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry has confirmed that they will comply however it will be up to their officials on the decisions they will make regarding the declarations of their assets

SODELPA and NFP have also stated that they have no problems with declaring their assets.

The three parties now have two weeks to declare their assets and liabilities to the Registrar of Political Parties.


15) Culture kept alive

Felix Chaudhary
Sunday, May 26, 2013

THE richness of Fijian culture and creativity of local artistry will be kept alive and become known around the world because of the unique designs of Makareta Matemosi that adorn Air Pacific’s brand new Airbus A330 aircraft.

This was the message from Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama at the welcome ceremony of the national carrier’s second state-of-the-art aircraft.

“The arrival of our second A330 can never be as exciting as the first,” he said.

“But I believe this is equally special because we are reminded of the richness of our culture and the wonderful creativity of artisans like Makareta who keep it alive and display it to the world.”

Commodore Bainimarama said because of Ms Matemosi’s unique teteva, her homeland had gained world renown.

“Before it landed in Nadi, the plane flew low over Namuka-i-Lau to give the people there a closer look.

“We can be sure it was a thrill they will remember for the rest of their lives.

“Because now Namuka-i-Lau isn’t just a small obscure island in Lau but the name on a state- of-the-art aircraft that millions of people will see at airports around the world.”

Air Pacific board chairman Nalin Patel acknowledged the PM for suggesting the second Airbus be named after Ms Matemosi’s traditional home and echoed his sentiments that the new design would make a positive impact for Fiji at airports around the world.

“The ‘Island of Namuka-i-Lau’, whose traditional arts inspired Makereta to create the designs that adorn our new aircraft, will now be seen in some of the world’s biggest and busiest airports,” he said.

“We believe the stunning new livery, with her memorable masi artwork, and ‘Fiji’ proudly outlined on the sides and at the bottom of the fuselage will be a flying ambassador for all Fijians.”


16) Samoa Police Statements Allegedly Lacking Content
Non-specific information, ‘confusing old news’ being provided

By Alan Ah Mu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 23, 2013) – Instead of issuing clear statements to the media as advised by the Prime Minister, Samoa’s Police have gone mute altogether.

In April Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi advised the Police it was best to respond to media queries through prepared releases.

“This is to ensure that the Police reports and position is clear, succinct and concise in all matters raised by the media,” Press Secretariat of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet explained.

The Commissioner of Police, Lilomaiava Fou Taialo, took the advice at least to the extent that regular briefings of the media stopped, so did interviews.

But written questions submitted have been ignored.

It led to the Samoa Observer Newspaper to publish a story about it on Tuesday under the headline, “Where are our answers Police Commissioner?”

A report was issued about a couple charged with importation of drugs which left a lot to be desired in terms of details like the type of narcotic found and the value of the haul – normal information required for the public to be informed as fully as possible.

Previously a Police media officer of a high rank would’ve provided such details.

On 9 May a release was issued which contained three reports of events that were months old, namely the sacking of two officers following the death of Hans Dalton in prison, that the results of forensic tests from New Zealand on the bullets that killed “Rapi” (no last name) of Faleasi’u were being awaited.

Surely a mistake was made and wrong information was released.

The release also mentioned a report Police received of a murder in Faleasi’u in 1970 which was being investigated.

Follow up questions to clarify matters over the confusing old news provided and for additional information about the 1970 killing were not answered.

The questions seemed to have fallen into a dark hole which has replaced a regular flow of information from Police which had made them a leader in transparency amongst Government ministries for several years.

Of the few releases issued since the start of this month, instead of being clear and concise, they were inadequate and confusing.


17) Government Frequent Flyer Miles To Benefit Am. Samoans
Employees’ miles will help students, patients fly off-island

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 23, 2013) – Frequent flyer points earned by American Samoa government employees will be put into an account which will help patients and students travel off island from the 1st of June.

The governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, says Hawaiian Airlines has accepted his request to create an account for frequent flyer miles earned by government employees.

He says the mileage will be used to help pay for patients who are referred off island for medical treatment or for students who need to travel for educational programs.

The governor says it is morally wrong for a government employee to gain further benefits from the privilege gained by virtue of their job with the American Samoa government.

Radio New Zealand International:


18) Palau Cabinet Lacks State, Education Ministers
President ‘working hard’ to finalize possible appointees

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 23, 2013) – Five months since the installation of Palau’s 9th Constitutional Government, President Tommy Remengesau Jr.’s cabinet membership is still incomplete.

Two ministries, including Ministry of State (MOS) and Ministry of Education (MOE), have remained without ministers.

Asked if he would be making the appointments soon for the MOS and MOE, Remengesau said, “We are working hard at this. I want this to be done as soon as possible. With regard to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of State, we are still finalizing the appointees. One thing needs to be very clear, I really need people that are capable and experienced to run the ministries. I need people that we can share the same vision and the same management style. When you begin to concentrate on those two things then you find that there is really not a whole lot of room for people who are available.”

The president made it clear that that he has not stopped in contacting people for the vacant cabinet positions. “I want to assure the people of Palau that we are moving with these appointments. It is not that we have stopped looking. We are still looking and actively pursuing this. We have contacted some people but for one reason or another, they have respectfully declined,” Remengesau added.

Meanwhile, in the absence of ministers for MOS and MOE, Remengesau said that the people on board as directors, chiefs and supervisors continue to do their responsibilities. “I have the Chief of Staff and assistants. One of my senior advisors is Mario Katosang, former Minister of Education, so he also keeps in touch with MOE staff and the people as we move forward on these issues,” Remengesau said.

As to the SP position, Remengsau said his office has asked former Associate Justice Foster to help Palau spread the word and solicit interest on people who may want to take the job of SP.

The president disclosed that there are two nominees who have submitted their interests and applications. “But again, we would want to see as many as possible so we can have a broader list of people to review and choose from,” he said.

Remengesau is hopeful that before the next regular session in July, the appointees for MOS, MOE and SP would have been made.

On Wednesday, the president appointed Palau Supreme Court Administrator Francis Llecholch as ombudsman.

The ombudsman receives grievances regarding improper administration of services, programs and activities provided by the government and its agencies.

The ombudsman investigates maladministration of government services and seeks resolution of disputes that can arise from it. Contrary to the special prosecutor, the ombudsman addresses issues of unfairness and social injustices that are not necessarily legal matters to be resolved in court.

Llecholch’s appointment no longer needs confirmation by the Senate, according to the Office of the President.

Island Times:


19) Renewed push to recognise Indigenous Australians in Constitution

Updated 26 May 2013, 14:40 AEST

The Government says it will not call a referendum on recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution until it can be sure the vote will be successful.

The Government says it will not call a referendum on recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution until it can be sure the vote will be successful.

Events are taking place around Australia today to mark National Sorry Day, which acknowledges the historical mistreatment of Aboriginal people, including members of the Stolen Generation.

Among the events – which are pushing for a referendum on Indigenous recognition in the Constitution – is a national relay.

The foot, bike and car relay kicked off in Melbourne this morning and will head to Adelaide before travelling up to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory over the next 11 weeks.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, is one of three federal ministers joining today’s relay leg.

Ms Macklin says the Government is committed to changing the constitution but it is not the right time to ask the Australian public.

“We want to have a referendum when it has the most chance of success,” she said.

“This really is the strong view of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We don’t want to have a referendum that goes down.

“We want to make sure that we get this referendum through with as much support as possible.”

But Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, says there is strong public support.

Mr Gooda says, however, there is a lack of understanding about what changing the Constitution will mean.

“We have a bit of a conundrum where we have polling that shows 75 per cent of Australians say ‘yes, we should recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution’,” he said.

“But then there’s a very low level of awareness of the detail of that.

“This is a chance to raise awareness before we get to the point where we have Parliament decide what sort of questions are put to people in a referendum.”

AFL legend Michael Long is leading the first leg of the Journey to Recognition relay, which will then be continued by other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants.

Recognise campaign director Tanya Hosch says the Constitution needs to be changed to recognise the first Australians.

She says the first step is to convince the Federal Government to hold a referendum.

Our intention is to travel as far and wide across the country until we get to referendum day.

Tanya Hosch

“The only way to have a successful campaign on a question as important as this is to reach out to as many Australians as possible, make sure that they know all about this,” she said.

“It’s really important that the whole part of Australia’s history and the wonderful things about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures actually become included in our founding documents.

“Our intention is to travel far and wide across the country until we get to referendum day.”

Ms Hosch says the campaign is also calling for changes “to deal with some of the racially discriminatory elements”.

20) Australia Denies Alleged Meddling In Solomons Police Affairs
Pacific affairs secretary says no basis to claims by Dausabea

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 23, 2013) – The Australian government has denied allegations it tried to have an Australian appointed as the Solomon Islands’ next police commissioner.

Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite is visiting Solomon Islands this week.

He has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat there is no basis to claims of interference made by Solomon Islands politician Charles Dausabea.

“There’s no truth to that at all and that’s a matter for the Solomon Islands government,” he said.

“We’ve been working on very much building capacity within the local police force here.

“Having been here for the last couple of days, witnessing first hand the great work that the Australian Federal Police are doing, that our RAMSI officials are doing, it’s working.”

Australia leads the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), which has provided security in Solomon Islands since ethnic tensions broke out in the early 2000s.

Mr. Thistlethwaite says the mission has seen a great reduction in the amount of unrest in the community and greater comfort among residents about the role of Solomon Islands police.

RAMSI partners have agreed on the final details of a transition program, which will see the first troops in the remaining military contingent leave the country in July.

Radio Australia:


21) Vanuatu Chief: lukluk long lokol refugee pastaim

Updated 24 May 2013, 15:42 AEST
Hilaire Bule

Wanpela kastom chief long Vanuatu i itok gavman imas lukluk long kantri pastaim long em i go toktok long bringim insait long kantri ol Climate Refugee long narapela hap blong Pacific.

Chief Kalkot Mormor blong Mangaliliu long North Efate i  mekim dispela toktok bihain long Praim Minista Moana Carcasses Kalosil ibin mekim toktok long ovasi olsem Vanuatu bai mekim polisi long kisim ol Climate Refugee.

Tasol Chief Mormor itok, ol pipol blong ailan blong Efate yet we i lusim pinis 80 percent long graun blong ol long ol arapela, bai nidim niupela peles blong stap longen tu.

Vanuatu gavman ibin muvim pinis ol pipol long Tegua, wanpela liklik ailan long Torba Province long north blong kantri bikos long solwara i karapapim peles blong ol.

Niusman long Vanuatu, Hilaire Bule itok igat planti toktok i kamap pinis long kantri long pipol i agensim dispela toktok blong Praim Minista Kalosil.

Mr Kalosil bai go bek long Vanuatu from ovasi long tede, Friday.

22) Ol Aborigine pipol i holim wanpela relay
Updated 26 May 2013, 18:00 AEST

Ol Aborigine pipol blong Australia ibin holim wanpela relay long mekim Federal gavaaman i senisim mama loa long givim ol moa luksave.

Ol as ples Australiaem ol Aborigine pioo ibin statim wanpela national relay long strongim tingting blong mekim mama loa blong Australia i luksave moa  long ol.

Dispela ron ibin stat tede moning  long Melbourne.

Nius meri Gloria Kalache itok Ibin gat sampela hundret pipol ibin bung long Federation Square long Melbourne tede moning long stat blong kempein blong luksave .

Oli hope dispela event bai bringim sampela kain luksave na strongim Federal gavaman long holim referendum  long kamapim senis long mama loa blong Australia.

Dispela relay lukim ol memba blong tupela sait blong Australia politiks ibin stap insait long en,wantaim tu lida blong Australia Oposisen lida Tony Abbott,
independent memba Robert Oakeshott na Federal Labor memba Jenny Mclean.

Namba wan wokabout bai stat  long Melbourne igo long Adelaide na bai pinis  long Arnhem Land  long namba 9 de blong mun August.


23) PNG : des têtes tombent au ministère des Finances

Posté à 24 May 2013, 8:19 AEST
Pierre Riant

Peter O’Neill, le Premier ministre est excédé et se dit prêt à fermer le ministère tant que l’affaire ne sera pas tirée au clair.

Une affaire au parfum de scandale qui a éclaté hier devant le Parlement : le versement non autorisé de 30 millions de dollars australiens au cabinet d’avocats Paul Pakara.

Des têtes sont déjà tombées : le secrétaire d’État adjoint aux Finances, Jacob Yatai, et le secrétaire d’État aux finances, Steven Gibson, ont été suspendus.

O’NEILL : « J’ai suspendu le secrétaire d’État aux finances et le secrétaire adjoint et j’irais jusqu’à suspendre le préposé au nettoyage s’il le faut. J’irais jusqu’à fermer le ministère des Finances pendant 1 ou 2 mois mais nous irons jusqu’au bout de cette histoire. »

C’est ce qu’à déclaré Peter O’Neill au Parlement. Le Premier ministre a ensuite ordonné au Garde des Sceaux et au ministre de la Police d’ouvrir une enquête et, le cas échant, de réclamer l’assistance de la Police fédérale australienne et d’Interpol.

Le ministre des Finances, James Marape, affirme qu’en dépit des instructions données contre le versement de 30 millions de dollars à la firme Paul Pakara, les versements ont continué.

Les avocats pour leur part disent que ces paiements, délivrés pour services rendus au gouvernement par le cabinet d’avocats depuis 2006, ont été autorisés par  l’ancien Gouverneur général.

L’enquête est ouverte et on écoute le ministre des Finances, James Marape.

MARAPE : « À l’heure où je m’exprime, je peux vous dire que la Commission d’enquête que mettent en place le Garde des Sceaux et la Police permettra de déterminer les paiements effectués par le ministère des Finances. Laissez-moi vous dire que le secrétaire d’État adjoint aux Finances, qui aurait joué un petit rôle dans les versements au cabinet d’avocat, est suspendu [de ses fonctions]. Il n’y a que l’enquête qui puisse déterminer la légitimité des paiements qui ont été effectués pour les services qu’auraient rendus cette firme au gouvernement. C’est ce qu’elle affirme.

En attendant ce gouvernement a pris des mesures correctives, nous allons combattre toutes les faiblesses et je peux assurer au public que toutes mesures correctives nécessaires seront mises en place. »

24) L’Australie condamnée par Amnesty International

Posté à 24 May 2013, 8:43 AEST
Pierre Riant

La situation des demandeurs d’asile inquiète l’organisation humanitaire qui qualifie de ‘malavisée’ la politique du gouvernement de Julia Gillard.

L’Australie fait tout son possible pour empêcher des bateaux de réfugiés à mettre le cap sur l’Australie.  Le gouvernement a récemment décidé d’extraire l’Australie de sa zone de migration.

Il ne s’agit plus de quelques atolls, territoires ou îles au large de l’Australie, c’est la totalité de l’île-continent qui a été excisée de cette zone de migration.

Résultats : tous les demandeurs d’asile qui parviennent à rejoindre les côtes australiennes par bateau seront automatiquement envoyés dans les centres de détention off-shore de Nauru et sur l’île de Manus en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Widney Brown, directeur des services de droit international et de politique internationale chez Amnesty International, fait remarquer que les demandeurs d’asile qui ont les moyens de se payer un billet d’avion sont accueillis en Australie et bénéficient des lois australiennes, alors que ceux qui n’en n’ont pas les moyens et qui arrivent par bateau sont envoyés dans des centres de détention à l’étranger. « Ça n’a pas de sens », a-t-il souligné.


The Guardian (UK): ‘Indonesia is seeing a new corporate colonialism’

25) Multinational companies have been encouraged to seize and deforest land owned by indigenous people, say human rights groups

John Vidal

Saturday 25 May 2013

The Observer

Land conflicts between farmers and plantation owners, mining companies and developers have raged across Indonesia as local and multinational companies have been encouraged to seize and then deforest customary land – land owned by indigenous people and administered in accordance with their customs. More than 600 were recorded in 2011, with 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The true number is probably far greater, say watchdog groups.

The Indonesian national human rights commission reported more than 5,000 human rights violations last year, mostly linked to deforestation by corporations. “Deaths of farmers caused by the increase in agrarian conflicts all across Indonesia are increasing,” said Henry Sarigih, founder of the Indonesian Peasant Union, which has 700,000 members.

“The presence of palm oil plantations has spawned a new poverty and is triggering a crisis of landlessness and hunger. Human rights violations keep occurring around natural resources in the country and intimidation, forced evictions and torture are common,” said Sarigih. “There are thousands of cases that have not surfaced. Many remain hidden, especially by local authorities,” he says.

Communities complain that they are not warned, consulted or compensated when concessions are handed out and that they are left with no option but to give up their independence and work for minimal wages for the companies.

At fault are badly drafted laws, unclear regulations, corruption and heavy-handed security and paramilitary forces – all of which favour large business over the poor. Illegal land purchases and logging are mostly supported by police, armed forces and local government staff. Companies are even allowed to work with security forces.

Feelings run high when land is taken and livelihoods are wiped out by deforestation. In December 2011, 28 protesters from a logging concession area on Padang island in Sumatra sewed their mouths shut in front of the parliament building in Jakarta in a protest against having their land “grabbed” by a giant paper and pulp company.

Last year, three people were killed in a clash with security forces during a protest over gold prospectors in Bima on the island of Sumbawa. Farmers from Mesuji in Sumatra claimed that security forces murdered residents to evict them from their land.

Over 10m hectares (24.7m acres) of land has been given away and converted to plantations in the last 10 years, forcing thousands of communities to give up forest they have collectively used for generations. Politicians offer land to supporters and give permission to develop plantations with little thought for the human or ecological consequences. In addition, government attempts to move landless people from densely populated areas to less populous areas with “transmigration” policies have caused major conflicts with indigenous groups in provinces like Papua and Sulawesi.

“Who controls the land in Indonesia controls the politics. Corruption is massive around natural resources. We are seeing a new corporate colonialism. In the Suharto era you were sent to prison for talking about the government. Now you can be sent there for talking about corporations,” says Abetnego Tarigan, director of Friends of the earth Indonesia in Jakarta.

Three of the group’s staff members, including its south Sumatra director, are in prison following protests at the involvement of the police and military in a land dispute involving a state-owned palm oil plantation firm. “The scale of the conflicts is growing. Every day new ones are reported. More and more police are now in the plantations. Government is trying to clamp down on mass protests,” said Tarigan.

“These developments are classed as ‘growth’ but what we are seeing is the collapse of communities of fisherfolk or farmers and increasing poverty. We are exchanging biodiversity for monocultures, local economies for global ones, small-scale producers are becoming labourers and community land is becoming corporate. This is the direction we are going.”

Article ends.


26) More than 8,000 PNG teachers in limbo
By Online Editor
4:01 pm GMT+12, 23/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

More than 8,000 teachers have yet to complete their duty resumption forms in order to receive their salaries, PNG Education Minister James Marape said in Parliament yesterday.

Responding to Wabag MP Robert Ganim’s questions, Marape said the teachers who had failed to submit their forms would be put off payroll and blamed for delayed or non-payment of salaries.

He called on the teachers to return to their districts and provincial education offices to complete new resumption forms so they could be restored on the payroll in Port Moresby.

Marape said the Education Department would not process salaries unless their forms were endorsed by their district and provincial education advisers.

“Teachers are causing disaster for the students,” he said and added that since the government prioritised education, it had disbursed about K652 million of free education fees.

As a result of the policy, student numbers had increased from 53% to 70% nationally, with focus on increasing the enrolment. It was likely that PNG would achieve its United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Marape said.

A major setback, Marape said, was the lack of  a reporting system from schools, districts and provinces and that teachers would be paid according to their qualifications.



27) Japan interest in PNG gas grows as Osaka partners Horizon

Posted at 21:48 on 24 May, 2013 UTC

Japan’s Osaka Gas Ltd. has agreed to pay 204 million US dollars to acquire stakes in natural gas assets in Papua New Guinea owned by Australia’s Horizon Oil Ltd.

Horizon has made a series of discoveries and is considering a new gas-export facility on the south coast of PNG’s mainland.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Horizon will receive 74 million dolars in cash up front from Osaka, and a further 130 million if a decision is made to build an LNG export project.

Horizon has already partnered with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp and Canada’s Talisman Energy in looking to combine natural gas from several fields in PNG’s flat forelands region.

Reflecting Japan’s growing interest in PNG gas, Mitsubishi took a foothold in the country last year, spending 280 million to buy stakes in several discoveries and exploration blocks from Talisman.

Horizon’s Chief Executive Brent Emmett says that together, they have enough reserves to underwrite a planned plant at Daru in Western Province.

Radio New Zealand International

28) Dirty money circulating in Fiji: Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority
By Online Editor
3:37 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Fiji

An estimated $200 million ( US$108 million) to $300million (US$163 million) in dirty money has been circulating in the country for the past three years, the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority revealed.

This, the authority says is dirty money generated through money laundering, tax evasion and the underground economy.

And authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu says the amount is expected to increase.

“Tax evasion recorded $30million (US$16 million) and it also brings to mind the underground economy. The amount is recorded from three years ago and maybe the amount is much bigger now,” Tikolevu said.

It was also revealed that this year, the Financial Intelligence Unit is investigating two companies and two individuals in relation to “unexplained wealth” totalling about $1million.

FIU director Razim Buksh said the money had been derived from criminal activities that were difficult to prove. The government is expected to, through the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Decree 2012, ease the burden of solving this complex crime. The new unexplained wealth provision in the decree enables the court to confiscate assets owned or controlled by a person that cannot be reasonably explained in relation to their lawful income.

“Most part of this decree talks about unexplained wealth,” he said.

Basically, if a person fails to provide a satisfactory explanation to the court as to how he or she was able to acquire properties and maintain a standard of living beyond his or her midst of lawful emoluments, he or she will be ordered to pay the value of his or her unexplained wealth to the state,” Buksh said.

DPP Christopher Pryde said if a person had $1m (US$543,000) in his account and he earned $30,000 (US$16, 300)a year, he would need to explain how he accumulated the sum.

Pryde said the forfeited assets would be directed to the forfeited assets fund administered by the Ministry of Finance.

Police commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said the new legislation would help reduce investigation time.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies and International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) investigators are able to travel without visas when assisting transnational cases or urgent deployments.

This was made possible after the Minister for Defence Joketani Cokanasiga and Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua signed the INTERPOL travel document at the Fiji Police Force headquarters at Laucala Beach yesterday.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the signing would enable the government to adopt the two formats of INTERPOL travel documents and its subsequent ratification,that is, the minister to exercise his powers to invoke provision of the Immigration Laws to exempt visas upon arrival of other Interpol users of ITDI.

She said with the rapid growth of transnational crimes, the signing was a significant step towards strengthening relations with the 46-member countries that ratified and accepted the INTERPOL travel documents — passport booklet and identification card — to be used with a valid national passport.

“The Fiji Police Force has played a vital role in assisting their foreign counterparts with investigations and the commissioner of police believes this latest development will further boost their working relationship with INTERPOL,” Ms Naisoro said.

“One of the most significant hurdles faced by international law enforcement officials in the fight against international crimes is the lack of speed and ease with which assistance can be provided to the requesting countries.”.



29) Pacific people must live with dignity: Cook Islands Speaker
By Online Editor
3:39 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Cook Islands

Pacific people must be allowed to live in dignity on their own islands instead of relocating due to climate change, says Cook Islands Parliament Speaker Nikki Rattle.

Speaking at a regional climate change and relocation summit in Rarotonga, Rattle said relocation must be the final option for communities.

“There is no one way to do this. We must ensure that we look at every possible aspect of climate change and natural disasters before decisions are made to relocate people,” Rattle said.

“There are recent Cook islands experiences which show that it is important to be flexible when making decisions on whether people move from their homes to other areas whether they be within or outside their countries of residence.”

Rattle, a New Zealand-trained nurse, was speaking at the Nansen Initiative-Secretariat Pacific Regional Consultation on Human Mobility, natural Disasters and Climate Change in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. It is supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

This is the first in a series of international summits organized by the Nansen Initiative which is a joint effort of the Norwegian and Swiss governments.

Rattle said hundreds of people moved from Manihiki Atoll in the Cooks after Cyclone Martin claimed 19 lives in 1997 and never returned to their homes.

“It’s important that we move the injured people, pregnant mums and others seriously affected by natural disasters,” Ms Rattle said.

“At the same time we need to provide the survivors with food, water, shelter and other supplies but try to keep them (on the island) as much as possible.”

Rattle told the 50 delegates at the roundtable that survivors of natural calamities must be allowed – if they wished – to remain within their environments.

She said decisions on relocation could only be made after consultation with local communities and based on the type of disaster, extent of damage and availability of alternative sites.

In the Cook Islands, each island group has a hostel in the capital where islanders can be temporarily relocated.

The summit ends on Friday.


30) Pacific communities must retain ownership of their Exclusive-Economic Zones
By Online Editor
3:44 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Cook Islands

Displaced Pacific communities must retain ownership of their Exclusive-Economic Zones (EEZ) and fishing rights, a regional summit heard in the Cook Islands Thursday.

Andrew Teem of Kiribati told delegates that while communities could move due to rising sea levels, the international community must not forget that ownership of fishing rights should remain with the outgoing citizens.

“In group discussions this issue really came through. The fishing rights provide a livelihood not only for villagers but also for the entire country,” Teem said.

“The revenue from the EEZ can help support communities even if they no longer live on their islands.”

He made the comments at the Nansen Initiative-Secretariat Pacific Regional Consultation on Human Mobility, natural Disasters and Climate Change at the Edgewater Resort, Rarotonga. It is supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Most delegates supported the views of  Teem’s group and recommended that the view be taken to the international community in multi-lateral summits outside the Pacific.

The Pacific Conference of Churches representative told delegates that every possible move must be made to ensure that displaced communities be allowed to do so with dignity.

“That is the central theme of the Moana Declaration adopted by church leaders in Nadi in 2009,” Netani Rika said.

“If Pacific people decide that their best option is to relocate because of climate change, governments must take a human right approach to fishing rights, land ownership, social justice and community welfare.

“This means a phased relocation moving the most vulnerable first, ensuring the elderly are cared for, meeting the spiritual needs of the displaced and providing food and water at the new site.”

Delegates supported the PCC approach and called for greater involvement of churches in the issue of preparation, awareness and other relocation topics.

Speakers also addressed the need for relocated communities to be allowed dual citizenship where possible.


31) Vanuatu shares key achievements since the last global conference on disaster reduction

By Online Editor
10:20 am GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Switzerland

By PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai in Geneva

Vanuatu has shared key achievements since the last UN Global Platform on disaster reduction in 2011.

Like other Pacific Island Countries, Vanuatu has implemented policies to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change (CC).

In October 2012, the Vanuatu Government formed a national advisory board on climate change and disaster risk reduction. This new body will act as a supreme policy making and advisory body for all DRR and CC related programs in the Pacific Island nation.

“The new body will engage with provincial authorities to undertake policy consultations and carry out stakeholder and climate finance mapping, said Florence Kuali-Iautu, delivering Vanuatu’s country statement at the 4th UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction conference in Geneva.

Kuali-Iautu said the advisory body will co-ordinate the effective use of resources to address challenges of disaster.

“To further demonstrate recognition of disaster risk reduction in the country, government has placed disaster risk management (DRM) as an integral part of its national development plan.

The current Prime Minister, Moana Carcasse Kalosil, is the head of the Greens Party. When he came to power in April this year, PM Kalosil established a government ministry to be responsible for climate change, disaster and environment.

“This is a further demonstration of Vanuatu’s commitment in addressing DRR and climate change issues, said Kuali-Iautu.

Another initiative was co-locating two key government departments, the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazard Departments to enhance access to hazard risk knowledge and provision of timely warnings.

The country’s National Disaster Management Office has established a network of provincial disaster committees (PDCs) and community disaster committees (CDCs) in all the island’s six provinces to strengthen dissemination of disaster information awareness.


32) Mistakes made with the relocation of the Banaban people must never be repeated

By Online Editor
3:43 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Cook Islands

Mistakes made with the relocation of the Banaban people to Rabi must never be repeated, Pacific climate change and relocation experts heard in the Cook Islands Thursday.

Kiribati delegate Penilesi Alofa said the Banaban people had undergone a traumatic experience and two relocations immediately after World War II.

“The Banaban people were moved to camps by the Japanese during the war – some to Kosrae in the Marshall Islands, others to Tarawa in Kiribati – and in 1945 they were moved to Rabi,” Ms Alofa said.

“They were not consulted – the British just moved them to somewhere colder and wetter than Banaban’s home of Ocean Island.

“No other community should have to undergo this kind of experience.”

Alofa was speaking at the Nansen Initiative-Secretariat Pacific Regional Consultation on Human Mobility, natural Disasters and Climate Change in Cook Islands.

The summit – supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme – is the first in a series of international summits organized by the Nansen Initiative which is a joint effort of the Norwegian and Swiss governments.

Alofa said the Banabans had been weakened during their forced labour in Japanese camps and the quick move to Rabi dramatically affected their health.

“Stories are told of people dying every week in the first few months on Rabi because they were sick, had little shelter, supplies were inadequate and they were not strong,” Ms Alofa said.

Rabi was bought by the British colonial government from European settlers to whom it was sold by Tui Cakau, Goleanavanua in the late 1800s.

The original inhabitants now live in Lovonivonu on Taveuni.

Alofa said the Rabi people were deeply grateful to the people of Fiji for accepting them but the island could never be home for some islanders who considered themselves to be Banaban.

“Our home is Banaba and even though we have been accepted in Fiji we still feel that we are visitors and not indigenous,” she said.

“We still have to buy fishing rights. It’s only right that we should do so but these are things that must be considered when moving people around the Pacific.”.



33) Rugby on rise in PNG
By Online Editor
11:07 am GMT+12, 23/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Oceania Cup regional rugby union tournament has now been given national billing.

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko has rewarded the efforts of the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) management with the confirmation that the National Executive Council (NEC) has classed the forthcoming tournament as a national event.

“It will be bigger and better than it already is,” Tkatchenko said.

“The National Government now recognises this regional tournament and for that rugby union will benefit twice over with the opening of new doors,” he said.

The Oceania Cup is slated for July 1-14 in Port Moresby.

The tournament will feature visiting sides the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tahiti with the winner securing a World Cup qualifier against Fiji.

To add icing to the cake and not to mention the cheek to cheek grin from elated PNGRFU president Richard Sapias, Tkatchenko committed a further K200,000 towards staging the event.

The funding has been sourced from the office of the Sports Ministry sports enhancement programme.

The Moresby South MP said rugby union is a classic example of a sport that has gone out of its way to get its house in order administratively.

“This is why rugby union is now reaping the rewards to enhance their code,” he said.

During the announcement made on Monday night, the Moresby South MP commended the PNGRFU management and people behind the scenes for their role in cleaning up their image.

He further clarified that the K20 million approved NEC funding for the sports enhancement programme is not only for national sports but also for competitions and facilities at all levels.

He confirmed that they have already rolled out up K1 million in the last few weeks, specifically towards sports preparations towards the 2015 Pacific Games.

Sapias thanked Tkatchenko for being positive towards their administrative efforts as the funding plays an important role in building their blocks in the 15s game.


34a) Lam talks up PNG talent

By Online Editor
4:03 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Former Wigan Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Queensland and Papua New Guinea halfback Adrian Lam reckons Super League clubs will be falling over themselves to snap up emerging talent from Papua New Guinea when he brings the Kumuls to England in October.

Lam is back in the country – for the first time since he left Wigan Warriors in 2004 – on a fact-finding trip ahead of the end-of-season World Cup, checking out training facilities and the form of the six PNG players based in England.

He watched Wakefield Trinity Wildcats hooker Paul Aiton in action against Hull KR on Sunday and is catching up on the progress of Huddersfield Giants second rower Jason Chan as well as Championship players Menzie Yere (Sheffield), Rodney Pora and Jessie Joe Parker (both Whitehaven) and Makali Aizue (Dewsbury).

“Everyone is under consideration,” said Lam, who will be taking part in his fourth World Cup, his second as head coach.

Lam will be able to call on several stars from the NRL but he is more excited by the amount of talent available in the domestic game in PNG, where rugby league is the national sport.

“I think we’ll be the team with the most local-based players outside the big three,” he said.

“I think we’ll bring a squad of 22 and that may include 12 locals, five or six of which are really talented.

“I think once the Super League see them, they’ll be snapped up straight away. Three of them are pretty special, as good as any in the world.

“Once the Super League clubs see these young kids, they’ll be all over them. They’ll be in the shop window and they’ll be cheap.”

The youngsters will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Stanley Gene, who arrived with the 1995 Kumuls and stayed in England after the World Cup to enjoy a long and productive career with Hull KR, Hull FC, Huddersfield and Bradford Bulls.

Gene is now on the backroom staff at Craven Park, where PNG will open their campaign with a group B match against France on Sunday, October 27.

Samoa and holders New Zealand are the other teams in a tough-looking group, with three to qualify for the quarter-finals.

“We’re trying to prepare the best we can,” Lam said. “We know it’s going to be tough but I think we’ll go okay.”

Lam and newly-appointed high-performance manager Mal Meninga, the all-time Kangaroos great, intend to bring their team over early in order to acclimatise and are close to arranging a warm-up match.

“We’ll try to get a lead-up game first, with Scotland hopefully,” Lam added. “We’re a fair way down the track with them.

“We don’t play enough matches as a country. We’ve slipped to sixth in the world rankings. We’ve played New Zealand twice in nearly 20 years which is outrageous when you think about it.

“But we’re starting to do things right in Papua New Guinea and a good result in this World Cup would take us forward.”.


34b) 15s or 7s Fiji rep to decide
By Online Editor
11:09 am GMT+12, 23/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s nationalreps have been given the opportunity to decide whether they want to play fifteens or sevens.

This was after players such as Watisoni Votu and Nikola Matawalu were named in the Flying Fijians and the national 7s team that was due in camp yesterday.

Also, the coaches of the two sides Inoke Male and Alivereti Dere are working together to discuss the schedules and availability of the players.

The 7s side is preparing for the Rugby World Cup 7s that will be held in Moscow, Russia later next month while the 15s team is preparing for next month’s Pacific Nations Cup and against the Classic All Blacks.

Fiji 7s team manager Semi Rogoyawa confirmed the local players were all in camp at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua including overseas-based Watisoni Votu.

“The coaches are working together to ensure the players are given the opportunity to explore options in both codes,” he said.

Rogoyawa confirmed Dere was discussing with Male on Matawalu and Votu’s availability. “The coaches are working on that and we will see what happens. As of now, all the players are supposed to be in camp.”

He said some of the overseas-based players would join the team later this week or early next week. “He (Votu) is the only one here, Metuisela (Talebula) is in the country but hasn’t come in yet and Joeli (Lutumailagi) is also in the country but hasn’t come in because of family commitments.

“(Seremaia) Burotu and the others (overseas-based players) are yet to come.”

The national 7s team will be in camp until Friday where they will be sorting out documentation and registrations of the players.

“This camp is for administration purposes only. There are some new players and we are getting their documents sorted out.

“This is the world cup we are preparing for and we need to fill out everything and send it early.”

He said the training camp would be held next week.

Meanwhile, changes to the Flying Fijians squad could be made after Fiji’s first two games in the Pacific Nations Cup next month.

The 35-member extended training squad which marched in camp yesterday at Crow’s Nest Resort in Sigatoka will be further extended to include more overseas-based players.

In an earlier interview, Flying Fijians head coach Inoke Male said the 35-member squad was for Fiji’s matches against Japan and Canada on June 1 and June 5 respectively.

He said there were some more players in Europe who would remain with their clubs to play in the play-off stages.

“They will be considered for selection once they are available so changes are bound to be made to the squad,” he said.

He said they had named a large squad because they wanted to know who were available and who were injured.

“So that camp is for team-building, medical screening, a bit of fieldwork and just training.”

Male said he was still not sure on who to choose to be the captain of the side for both the PNC and the match against the Classic All Blacks on June 12.

“There are a few experienced players in the squad and some of them who have been captains in the past. So will just have to see what happens in the camp because the final squad will be named on Friday,” he said.

Sionasa Vunisa, Sireli Bobo, Saula Radidi, Netani Talei and Nikola Matawalu are yet to join the camp. They are expected to arrive next week.

Extended squad: Adriu Delai, Iliesa Ratuva, Jolame Bera, Setefano Somoca, Leone Tabuarua, Tuapati Taleimaitoga, Watisoni Votu, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Iliesa Salusalu, Aporosa Kenatale, Wame Lewaravu, George Campese Ma’afu, Kini Murimurivalu, Apisai Naikatini, Rupeni Nasiga, Aisea Natoga, Akapusi Qera, Nemia Kenatale, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Malakai Ravulo, Manasa Saulo, Save Tabanakanalagi, Netani Talei, Viliame Veikoso, Sionasa Vunisa, Samuel Matavesi, Vereniki Goneva, Setareki Koroilagilagi, Jiuta Lutumailagi, Nikola Matawalu, Timoci Nagusa, Waisea Daveta, Nemani Nadolo, Seremaia Naureure and Saula Radidi.


34d) AIBA President Wu joins the race for IOC top job

By Online Editor
3:56 pm GMT+12, 24/05/2013, United Kingdom

-Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, head of the international amateur boxing association, has joined Germany’s Thomas Bach, Singapore’s Ser Miang Ng and Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrion in launching his candidacy for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee.

The full IOC votes on a successor to retiring Jacques Rogge at the session [congress] in Buenos Aires in September. Other candidates are expected, among them former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka and Denis Oswald of Switzerland.

Wu is a 66-year-old architect who has been an IOC member since 1988 and AIBA president since 2006. He was elected to the IOC’s policy-making executive board last year and was a member of the coordination commissions for the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He currently sits on the coordination panel for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and designed the new Olympic museum in Tianjin which he dedicated to the memory of former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.

In announcing his candidacy, Wu referred to his “magical moments” within the Olympic movement, the leadership of “two great presidents” and his belief that the “days of the IOC renaissance have certainly arrived.”

The need now for a sporting Medici meant the IOC needed a leader “who  is able to harmonize all relationships, delegate his responsibilities to the members and support them in the realization of the Olympic ideals and beyond. The next President should inspire members to collaborate, to provide leadership and to represent the IOC in their country.

“The thought and concept to develop the IOC and Olympic Movement beyond the realization of the Olympism is the core principle of my candidature.”

He then echoed concerns expressed by Rogge and also, last week, by Ng in his concern for a lack of connection with young people.

Wu said: “In this fast moving society, I fear that we are losing control over educating our younger generation to fight against all growing social problems – doping, gambling, match-fixing, violence, etc.

“In addition, the environment, poverty, domestic violence, global politics, religious conflicts, are all issues that we care about addressing beyond sports and Olympism and that are parts of our responsibilities.

“Therefore, I would like to propose to all of our colleagues that we pose ourselves as members of an organization that leads the effort in making our world a better place – not only for our athletes and the Olympic family, but also for our neighbours and society at large.

“I strongly urge that we concentrate more on education than ever before. I truly believe that there is no better solution to fighting against these problems than providing young people with education early on. This is one of the best ways to bring the IOC well beyond what it has achieved as of today.”

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