Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 857

MELANESIA:

1) Papua focus for Australia’s Democratic Labour Party

Posted at 02:02 on 27 May, 2013 UTC

A minority party in Australia has made the plight of West Papuans the main thrust of its foreign policy ahead of the September federal election.

The Democratic Labour Party, whose leader John Madigan was elected to the Senate in the 2010 poll, says the Indonesian government should immediately allow United Nations observers and international journalists into West Papua.

It also says Indonesia should be called to fully implement the special autonomy provisions enacted by its own laws in 2000 and remove all military personnel without delay.

The party is calling for a new vote for independence by the indigenous people of West Papua, after a period of autonomy.

Mr Madigan says a greater proportion of Australia’s aid provided to Indonesia should go to assist West Papuans, particularly for matters concerning poverty and health, such as combatting the high level of AIDS.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Indonesian Anti-Terrorism Unit Accused Of Papua Killings
Activists say mass killings occurred, police deny allegations

By Peter Lloyd

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, May 26, 2013) – An elite counter-terrorist police unit in Indonesia has been accused of carrying out a mass killing in a village in the central highlands of Indonesia’s disputed Papua province, according to ABC radio.

Activists says 11 people were killed and 20 more are missing after a combined military and police crackdown on support for the Free Papua pro-independence movement (OPM) in April.

The names of victims and several grisly photographs have been provided to ABC’s PM programme by the armed wing of the movement, Pacific Media Watch reports.

It is impossible to verify the claims, but Indonesia’s Embassy in Canberra has agreed to take up the matter.

Indonesian police say the claims are untrue. The Papua police spokesman, Inspector Gede Sumerta Jaya, says the killings did not happen and that unit does not operate in the Papua provinces anymore.

The disputed Indonesian Papua province is the least populated but most restive corner of Australia’s vast near neighbour.

For 50 years Papuans have agitated for independence from their Javanese masters in a campaign fought bitterly on both sides.

Pace of violence

In recent weeks the pace of violence has quickened, especially in the central Highlands.

Shootings have become so frequent that locals have taken to calling it the “Gaza Strip”.

It is from this territory that the shocking claims of extra-judicial killings are emerging.

The ABC conducted an interview with the spokesman for the military wing of the Free Papua organisation, Jonah Wenda, via an exchange of text messages after telephone communications failed.

He said that an entire village was targeted.

“Indonesian government fear this village is a strong hold of Freedom Fighters in the centre highlands of West Papua,” he said.

Taken from homes

“TNI and police did this. They were picked from different places like school, gardens, on the road and even taken from their home and kill them and throw them in the bush, side of the road and through in the river.”

Wenda emailed the names of the 11 people he says were killed in the crackdown, all civilians.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reported that some of the bodies may be those of missing West Papuan activists, members of the West Papua National Committee or KNPB. There are alsoreports that human rights groups ” say at least 18 headless, mutilated or amputated bodies have since been confirmed found in roadside ditches and drains, and named as victims from around the Mulia and Pirime areas of Tingginambut, with unconfirmed reports putting the total toll of the killings at over 41 people.”]

He also provided several photographs of corpses that appeared to have been beaten and suffered serious injuries.

He also said there were two instances of rape.

None of the claims can be verified, though they are strikingly similar in nature to allegations of human rights abuses by the Indonesian security forces.

One of the most notorious units, known as Densus 88, is partially equipped and trained by the Australian Federal Police.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

3) Papuan political prisoners reject Indonesian clemency offer

Posted at 08:03 on 27 May, 2013 UTC

Jailed West Papuan leaders have reportedly rejected the Indonesian President’s promise to free all Papuan political prisoners.

In a statement signed by 30 political prisoners in Abepura Prison, the inmates say they do not need to be released, but that rather the whole of Papua should be released from the colonisation of Indonesia.

The signatures include long-serving Filep Karma as well as West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, leader Victor Yeimo who was arrested and detained earlier this month.

He was arrested with four others during a peaceful demonstration to mark the 50th anniversary of Indonesia’s takeover of the province.

At least three protestors were killed by police and up to 20 arrested.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised last week to free all Papuan political prisoners, as part of the government’s planned so-called special autonomy plus programme.

There are estimated to be up to 50 Papuan political prisoners jailed for taking part in rallies and raising the banned Morning Star flag.

Radio New Zealand International

4) PNG Police: Money laundering rife

By Online Editor
1:40 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Politicians and bureaucrats have been siphoning public funds overseas over the years to be deposited in their banks, a conference in Papua New Guinea has been told.

And concern has been raised that the extent of money laundering is setting the country at the edge of an “economic disaster” which will have a major impact on investment in the country.

This was revealed at a police commissioner’s conference at the PNG Forest Research Institute in Lae last week.

Director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Division Chief Supt Mathew Damaru said the siphoning of public funds for personal gain had been rife over the years.

However, Damaru said the police financial intelligent unit was unable to investigate.

“It requires in-depth investigations and perpetrators brought to justice while properties and assets be frozen,” Damaru said.

Australian Federal Police senior liaison officer Supt Steve Mullins said politicians and top bureaucrats had over the years been siphoning half a billion kina annually which were converted into dollars and invested in Australian banks annually.

They have been mapping money movement between PNG and Australia and found that transactions of large amounts were moved out from PNG annually.

He said responsible financial institutions especially the Internal Revenue Commission must be vigilant.

Mullins said when such cases of mismanagement and corrupt practices were discovered, the visas of those responsible were cancelled.

Damaru said a review in April on money laundering and terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region made 49 recommendations on money laundering.

“If these recommendations were not fully executed, it threatens international financial institutions that will likely ignore investing in the country and PNG will head for economic disaster despite the LNG project,” Damaru said.

He said the government had been vocal about fighting corruption but did not provide adequate funding for the fraud and anti-corruption division.

SOURCE” THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

5) Formal Talks About Reopening Bougainville Mine Begin
Landowners to be consulted about future of Panguna

By Jemima Garrett for Pacific Beat

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 27, 2013) – Formal talks will begin today on reopening the Rio Tinto-owned copper mine on Papua New Guinea’s island of Bougainville.

It is the first time landowners will be formally consulted about the mine’s future.

Rio Tinto’s Panguna copper mine was the spark that lit the civil war but now it is being touted as the island’s best chance for development.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) is holding a series of Mining Forums to consult the island’s population before starting negotiations for the reopening of the mine.

Hundreds of landowners from the Panguna area are expected for the two-day meeting which gets underway in Arawa on Monday.

The consultations come after three years of lead-up talks and is part of a series of forums across the island. The government has held three previous mining forums.

The deputy chairperson of the Panguna and Affected Resource Owners Association, Theresia Jaintong, says many people in the community will be attending.

“All the landowners and all the Council of Elders, the chiefs, the women, the churches, the disabled, the youths, everybody will be there,” she said.

“It is the way forward for the Panguna mine to be reopened and also the people must speak.

“We will encourage them to speak positively about what they think, and with a lot of common sense, looking into the future for the younger generation.”

AGB Mining Minister Michael Oni has told Radio Australia more consultations will take place over the next few months.

Local impacts

The Panguna copper mine was opened under a colonial era agreement, with little regard for local residents.

Bougainvilleans are still suffering from the impact of the mine and its closure during the civil war.

This time as they consider re-opening the mine, locals are making sure they are involved in the decision process.

Mr Oni says he is hoping for a positive outcome for the Bouganvillean people, government and infrastructure.

“I am expecting that proper consultation must occur,” he said.

“Also there should be some kind of…future generation fund to be allocated to support the people, especially children.”

Ms Jaintong says many people are still misplaced from their villages after the war ended 12 years ago.

“Part of our land we are just occupying in the meantime before this process taking place so we can be re-integrated back into the village some way or the other,” she said.

The Panguna mine was the PNG Government’s major source of revenue when the country became independent in 1975 but landowners were unhappy with the way benefits were shared.

This anger eventually developed into a decade-long civil war which brought Bougainville to its knees and left more than 10,000 people dead.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

6) Solomon Islands govt funds PNG-SI border post
By Online Editor
4:08 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands government with the backing of donor agencies has started building houses for their border post at Taro, Choiseul Province.

The houses will be used by agencies that will monitor the PNG-Solomon Islands border.

The staff houses have been funded by AusAID in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government. The ten houses are near completion and are being built within the premises of the Taro Police Station.

Post-Courier visited Taro Island last week — a four hour boat ride across the PNG-SI borderline — and noticed the Solomon Island government has wasted no time in pumping much needed funds and establishing its border post at the far-flung Choiseul Province.

The Choiseul Province is one of the nine provinces of the Solomon Islands. It lies between the island of Bougainville and Santa Isabel in the west of the Solomon Islands.

Taro, which is the main town for Choiseul Province has a population of more than 10,000 people, is known as Solomon Islands’ ‘last frontier.’ The province is the closest to Bougainville and shares the same border with PNG.

The small township of Taro has been frequented by Bougainvilleans since before the crisis to do business and visit relatives for barter. The border to date has no agencies monitoring it and is open to both countries especially Bougainvilleans going over to Solomon Islands and vice versa. During the Bougainville Crisis, Bougainvilleans took refuge at Choiseul with the establishment of a care-centre at an area known as ‘Bougainville Point’.

Locals in Bougainville are now questioning the much-talked about Border Development Authority (BDA) plans for an earmarked border post to be built at Kangu in Buin, South Bougainville and Sirovai in the Kieta District of Central Bougainville. To date there is no sign of infrastructures or a BDA team on site at the two planned border post.

While the PNG-Bougainville Governments through BDA are lagging behind in developing the two border posts on Bougainville, the Solomon Islands government with the backing of donor agencies have kicked-off their campaign with the Taro border post which will be completed next month.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

7) Web of corruption

MONDAY, 27 MAY 2013 09:40

…engulfs our legal system, scaring investors away

Solomon Islands legal system faces total collapse under the weight of corruption, unless urgent steps are taken to immediately clean up the judiciary.

Sources said corruption which stemmed from illegal dealings within the logging industry has worsened in the last few years, but the nation’s law enforcement agency is ill-equipped to deal with the bad guys.

And foreign investors have warned that unless corruption is dealt with head-on, Solomon Islands will lose investors and potential foreign investors.

“Corruption has engulfed the nation’s entire legal system, scarring away foreign investors because of the high costs of doing business here,” one industry source said.

“It has worsened in the last few years, engulfing the entire government machinery, including the judiciary.

“There appears to be an entrenched network, linking private legal firms with the Judiciary, the Attorney General’s chambers as well as the ministry of forests and research,” one concerned forestry industry source claimed on the weekend.

“The web of corruption has reached a point where there needs to be a total clean-up of the entire legal system,” the source said.

He said that in the last few years some private legal firms have adopted the bad habits of hijacking the court system, including the blatant and fraudulent use of High Court orders.

In one instance earlier this year, a certain legal firm wrote to one of the commercial banks in Honiara, requesting it to “restrain” the bank account of a logging company, alleging it was in line with a High Court order.

However, subsequent investigations found the High Court had no record of an application nor an order to freeze or restrain the company’s bank account, according to a sworn statement filed at the High Court last April.

“It’s fraud – there is no doubt about that. And that is happening inside the highest court in the land,” one source said.

“The whole system needs to be cleaned up. You cannot have people running around with orders which were either fraudulently obtained or were never granted by the High Court, let alone sought by an application,” the industry source said.

The same legal firm appears to be knowingly allowing one of his clients to use two men wanted on warrants of arrests for more than two years, engaging them in criminal activities including terrorizing workers of a foreign company on Malaita.

The client has been hand-picking rogue police officers from Honiara and Auki without proper police authority to do his bidding.

Last week the four policemen threatened to arrest company workers, saying they have orders from the High Court to assist the legal firm’s client.

It was later discovered that there was never a court order.

However, by then the four police officers have fled the scene after they had supervised the removal of company machines and equipment from company premises under the falsified order.

Both Honiara and Auki police are fully aware of the situation, which includes threats to murder company workers and officials but to date police have done little or nothing at all.http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

By Alfred Sasako

8) Vanuatu PM Accused Of Involvement In Passport Sales
Opposition leader Ham Lini says Carcasses should resign

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 26, 2013) – Vanuatu’s opposition MP Ham Lini has asked the Prime Minister Moana Carcasses to resign for allegedly involving himself in a scheme to sell Vanuatu passports overseas.

He has vowed to investigate the matter and signaled that if Carcasses’ involvement is confirmed the prime minister could be stripped of his citizenship and evicted from the country.

But speaking at Bauerfield Airport yesterday afternoon on arrival back from his official visit to Thailand, the Prime Minister said the passport documents in question were fake and that the documents had been around since 2002 when he first went into Parliament.

The opposition says it has what it considers irrefutable proof that Mr Carcasses is implicated in the passport sales scandal and says it has confirmation of a website from China which offers Vanuatu passports for sale with citizenship certificates.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

9) Price freeze in New Caledonia following strike

Posted at 03:49 on 27 May, 2013 UTC

A price freeze has come into effect in New Caledonia for all products and services, in response to a 12-day general strike called to protest against the high cost of living.

A protocol to end the strike was signed in the small hours of Monday after a weekend of negotiations led by the French high commissioner and involving local politicians, unions and employers.

Walter Zweifel reports.

“The agreement came as petrol stations had run out fuel and access roads up north were blocked by the union group determined not to quit until it had results. On top of the price freeze, the protocol provides a price drop of ten percent by the end of this week on 300 food and hygiene products plus 200 other items that make up 80 percent of the needs of the average consumer. The deal also lowers phone and internet costs as well as bank fees amid public anger that prices are about a third higher than in France. Transport costs for those living in remote area will be subsidised. The deal provides for a tax reform by mid-2014, introducing a tax on activities that will absorb a range of current levies.”

Radio New Zealand International

10) Unions declare ‘free and fair’ election deadline for Fiji

Updated 27 May 2013, 23:16 AEST

International trade unions are giving Fiji’s coup installed military government until September to prove the country’s elections next year will be free and fair.

Unions in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States say they will pressure their governments not to fund the polls if evidence of “free and fair” polls is not provided.

Ged Kearney, Australian Council of Trade Unions president, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat Fiji’s interim government wants the financial backing of Australia and New Zealand so it can claim the vote is legitimate.

Audio: Ged Kearney speaks to Pacific Beat (ABC News)

“By supporting that process, we believe that our governments are giving a legitimacy to those elections that it does not deserve,” she said.

“All the indications show that these elections will not be fair, they won’t be free definitely in terms of democratic processes.”

Ms Kearney says the unions are asking governments to withdraw all financial and in-kind support for the elections.

“We expect that there will be support from the electoral commission for the elections, education, money for training,” she said.

“But we think that support should not even be offered until the regime can show they are committed to free and fair elections.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11) PM Bainimarama visit to China underlines Fiji’s regional leadership

By Online Editor
1:42 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s visit to meet with China’s top leaders this week highlights the strengthening of the already close relationship between the two countries and recognises the rising importance of Fiji as a regional leader in the Pacific.

The Prime Minister leaves for Beijing today and is scheduled to hold meetings on Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

The visit to Beijing – at the invitation of the Chinese leadership – precedes a state visit to Moscow next month for a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

These meetings, along with Fiji’s current leadership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the G-77 and the International Sugar Organisation, underline Fiji’s robust foreign policy, aligned with other Pacific island nations, focusing on new opportunities beyond its traditional regional partners.

The Prime Minister returns to Fiji on Friday to chair a meeting of the International Sugar Organisation next week in Nadi.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

12) Kuwait, United Arab Emirates To Fund Development Forum In Fiji
Inaugural PIDF evolved from Engaging with the Pacific Meetings

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 27, 2013) – The governments of Kuwait and United Arab Emirates have supported Fiji with more than $800,000 [US$435,000] to host the inaugural Meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Forum in August.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola made the announcement from Abu Dhabi last week and commended the two governments for their early support.

“I thank the government of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates for showing their early support for the inauguration of the PSIDS in such a generous way.

“It is an acknowledgment of their deep interest to partner with PSIDS in the sharing of development experiences through South-South co-operation.”

Ratu Inoke said the Fijian government looked forward to working with Kuwait and United Arab Emirates for the purpose of engaging leaders from key sectors in implementing green economic policies.

“A changing global and regional environment requires new and innovative approaches to problem solving. Fiji’s successful foreign policy to engage with the rest of the world has provided the PSIDS with a voice among new friends who have already made progress in their pathway to sustainable development.”

Leaders from public and private sectors and civil society from the 20 PSIDS and self-governing territories are expected at the Inaugural Meeting of the PIDF.

The call for a PIDF was endorsed by the leaders at the 2012 “Engaging with the Pacific” meeting in Nadi. The three day PSIDS meeting will begin on August 5 at the Sheraton Hotel in Denarau Island.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

POLYNESIA:

13) Two Tahiti self-determination resolutions to be tabled this week

Posted at 08:03 on 27 May, 2013 UTC

French Polynesia’s two pro-autonomy parties will each table a draft resolution in the assembly this week, asking France to organise a referendum on self-determination as soon as possible.

This comes after the assembly president last week turned to Paris on the matter in an effort to quash the UN resolution adopted ten days ago, which reinscribed the territory on the UN decolonisation list.

However, the pro-independence Union For Democracy says the proposed referendum is of no consequence for the UN process.

It says all it does is ridicule the pro-autonomy camp and heap opprobium on the colonies wishing to remain colonies.

France boycotted the UN vote and is yet to indicate whether it will hold a referendum as provided for in the French constitution, bypassing the UN process.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Attorney General: Samoa Finance Minister Can Not Be Charged
Embattled Liuga ‘has not breached any “offence provisions”’

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 26, 2013) – The Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga has not breached any “offence provisions”.

This is word from the Attorney General Aumua Ming Leung Wai in response to the Tautua Party(Opposition) as to why he has not prosecuted the Minister given widespread allegations of corruption and misuse of office listed in a petition by some MPs of the Human Rights Protection Party against the Minister.

“If he has not breached any offence provisions, then he cannot be prosecuted,” says the AG in a press statement released in the weekend.

The AG says he has just been back from overseas duties and delayed his response.

“I have been asked to respond to comments made by the Tautua party as to why I have not prosecuted Hon. Faumuina Liuga.

“Please let me qualify my response by stating that my comments are restricted only to the legal side of things. And before I can answer, let me first explain the two main types of proceedings that can be brought before the Court: criminal proceedings and civil proceedings.

“Criminal proceedings arise because someone has allegedly breached an offence provision in our statute laws. An offence provision is a generally a statutory provision which provides for penalties, usually a monetary fine or term of imprisonment.

“Not all provisions in our laws are “offence provisions”.

“There are also provisions that I would call “quasi-offence provisions” relating to surcharges that can be enforced by the CEO of the Ministry of Finance. Again, from my preliminary review of the Hon. Minister has not breached any such provision,” the statement ended.

Talamua: http://talamua.com/index.php

MICRONESIA:

15) Nauru leader declares state of emergency

Posted at 08:18 on 27 May, 2013 UTC

The president of Nauru, Sprent Dabwido, has tonight declared a State of Emergency, saying it is needed to allow his government access to Treasury funds and to bring the date of the election forward by two weeks.

In a state of the nation address Mr Dabwido says now that parliament is dissolved the State of Emergency is needed to release treasury funds for departmental use and overseas medical referrals as well as to buy food supplies for the hospital.

He told the island the declaration was also necessary to bring forward by two weeks the date for the general elections.

He says it will now be on June the 8th.

Mr Dabwido had advised the Speaker more than 3 weeks ago to dissolve parliament but the Speaker, Godfrey Thoma, refused to do this since the advice had not been debated, and could not be since Mr Dabwido ensured his group of MPs boycotted parliament denying it a quorum.

Mr Thoma eventually dissolved parliament last week but Mr Dabwido says the delay will cause a clash with the budget process so the vote has to be earlier.

Radio New Zealand International

16_)Kiribati Welcomes Chance To Focus Attention On Climate Change
Nansen Initiative looks to develop legal framework for displaced people

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 24, 2013) – The vice president of Kiribati, Teima Onorio, says consultations on legal protections for those displaced by natural disasters are an opportunity for Kiribati to focus attention on climate change.

One of those involved in the Nansen Initiative, Swiss academic and human rights expert, Professor Walter Kaelin, says people forced to cross borders by natural disaster are not refugees because they are not being persecuted.

He says the Nansen Initiative aims to develop a legal framework to cover these people.

Teima Onorio says many i-Kiribati have already had to re-locate because of climate change.

“And we feel that this Nansen Initiative provides us that forum to discuss this further and especially to discuss with the donor community and other countries also affected by the impact of sudden and slow onset disasters. Currently there is no legal framework to protect our people when or if they migrate.”

The first consultations on the Initiative are being held in the Cook Islands this week.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

17) Reverse Osmosis Units Ease Drought Impacts In RMI
Isolated atolls begin to get relief as machines arrive

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, May 27, 2013) – The arrival of reverse osmosis water-making units has eased the impact of an ongoing drought in Marshall Islands.

The United States, Australia, Taiwan, Japan and the Asian Development Bank have all contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to relief efforts, and earlier this week reverse osmosis units began arriving on these isolated islands with populations from 100 to 600 people.

Red Cross officials from New Zealand and a Majuro Water and Sewer Co. worker arrived on Ailuk Atoll earlier last week, and immediately set up two portable reverse osmosis units that were producing purified drinking water within hours of arrival.

“These people are pretty resourceful,” said Red Cross representative Greg Johns Thursday of the adaptation of local residents to the drought on the northern atoll, “but they were running out of resources. When it’s down to just coconuts, that’s getting tough.”

Most of the northern of the islands in the country where about 5,000 people live have received virtually no rain since late last year. These small islands depend on rain for their drinking water. In early May, the Marshall Islands government declared a drought disaster on the northern islands, which has paved the way for increased donor support.

In response to the Marshall Islands drought disaster declaration, an eight-member U.S. government preliminary damage assessment team flew into Majuro, and is currently visiting drought stricken islands to determine the severity of the problem. Their assessment could trigger additional emergency aid from the U.S. government.

“The team is working with Marshall Islands government counterparts to identify additional emergency and reconstruction needs in the drought-affected areas,” said U.S. Ambassador Thomas Armbruster on Thursday.

“We’re pumping well water up through the RO unit and then the fresh water into two big tanks we procured,” Johns said of the Ailuk relief effort. A hose leads from the tanks and is available for everyone to use. “All of the children have a water bottle and we’re encouraging them to come and fill them up whenever they want.”

In addition to the New Zealand Red Cross provision of reverse osmosis, or RO, units, the U.S. government has already donated 13 portable RO machines that can produce up to 350 gallons of drinking water daily by filtering well or sea water. A fleet of government and private vessels over the past 10 days have delivered the drought-affected islands hundreds of collapsible water containers filled with water, large empty water containers, and thousands of cases of bottled water donated by local residents.

U.S. weather service officials on Guam predict that rains will not begin returning to the northern islands until July.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

18) Palau President Pushes Legislature To Cut Their Salaries
Remengesau sends pay reduction measure back to House

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 24, 2013) – President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has referred back to the Olbiil Era Kelulau the salary reduction measure for senators and delegates.

The Senate Bill No. 9-16 or the proposed Uniform Compensation Act, which was submitted to the president to sign into law, reduces the salary of the senators only from $50,000 a year to $45,000. The salary for delegates shall remain at $50,000 a year.

In referring the bill back to the OEK yesterday, the president stated in his referral letter that the bill was introduced with the intention of allowing the members of the OEK to make a small sacrifice for the people of the Republic.

The original proposal by the Senate was to reduce the salary of senators and delegates from $50,000 to $45,000 a year. The $5,000 reduction in the salary will save $145,000 a year for the government. But the House disagreed that they get a pay cut, too.

Remengesau said that the Republic has many financial obligations that are currently weighing the country down. He believes that the people of the Republic collectively need to make some small sacrifices.

To the leaders, Remengesau said he believes that the best kind of leadership is that which leads not only with words but also by example.

“The people of the Republic are looking to see what kind of government they can expect from the leadership of the 9th Constitutional Government as it begins its work on behalf of the people. The enactment of this self-imposed salary cut for members of the OEK would serve as proof to the people of the Republic that the leadership of the 9th Constitutional Government understands the financial reality faced by our people and is willing to undergo personal sacrifice in order to effect real change in people’s lives. The people of the Republic will know that this 9th Constitutional Government works for the people,” Remengesau stated.

Remengesau said he is referring the bill back to the OEK as he hopes that both houses will come together to reach an agreement on a salary reduction that will more properly reflect the title of the bill – a Uniform Compensation Act – that will result in the Senate and the House members receiving equal salaries.

“The Senate and the House are equally important institutions in our Constitutional government and there is no reason why there should be any semblance of inequality between the two,” the president said.

In addition, the president asked the OEK to include as a rider his proposal that reduces his salary as well as those of his ministers and the vice president.

The bill reducing the salary of top executive branch officials, which is in Senate Bill No. 9-9, has not been passed yet. The bill, as introduced in the Senate, decreases the president’s salary from $90,000 to $65,000, the vice president’s salary from $65,000 to $55,000, and the ministers’ salary from $50,000 to $45,000.

But the House rejected the Senate’s version. The House agreed to cut only the president’s salary $90,000 to $85,000, not $65,000 as approved by the Senate.

Remengesau asked the OEK to attach Senate Bill No. 9-9, as it was introduced, as a rider to the uniform compensation measure. “So that the leadership of the Republic may act together in a sign of solidarity with our people as we get our financial house in order,” he said.

Island Times: www.islandtimes.us

TOK PISIN:

19) Ol toktok i stat long opim ken Bougainville main

Updated 27 May 2013, 8:13 AEST
Jemima Garrett i raitim

Ol toktok bai stat tede long opim ken Bougainville main long Papua New Guinea em kampani Rio Tinto i papa long en

Dispela bai namba wan taim ol toktok bai kamap wantaim ol papa graun long ol yet bai harim wanem nau bai bihain taim blong dispela main.

Panguna copper main em Rio Tinto i papa long en em samting ibin kamapim ol pait na trabrel tasol nau oli tok emi gutpela jans blong ailan long kamap strong.

Autonomous Bougainville Gavaman nau iwok long holim ol maining forum long toktok wantaim ol pipol blong ailan pastaim long emi holim toktok long opim ken dispela pain.

Planti hundret ol papa graun long Panguna eria oli ting bai kamap long tupela de miting em i stat tede long Arawa.

Audio: Ol papa graun blong Bougainville imas toktok long bihain taim blong main.(ABC nius)

Dispela ol toktok ibin kamap bihainim ol toktok em ibin kamap tripela yar igo pinis i hap blong sampela ol forum em bai kamap long olgeta hap blong ailan.

Gavaman ibin holim kain tripela maining forum pinis.

Deputi chairperson blong Panguna na Affected Resources Owners Assosiason, Theresia Jaintong itok planti pipol long komuniti bai kamap.long dispela miting

Emi tok ol papa graun ol kaunsel of Elders,ol chief, ol meri, ol lain blong lotu,ol disable pipol, ol yut, olgeta blong ol bai kamap.

Dispela em gutpela rot nau long Panguna main imas op ken na tu i taim blong ol pipol long toktok na givim tingting blong ol.

Theresia Jaintong itok ol bai askim ol long toktok na autim wanem tingting oli gat,na autim trupela tingting blong ol,na tu lukluk igo long bihain taim blong ol yangpela.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH:

20) Une force antiterroriste indonésienne accusée de massacre

Mis à jour 27 May 2013, 8:53 AEST
Pierre Riant

Des militants séparatistes de la province indonésienne de Papouasie occidentale affirment que 11 personnes ont été tuées et que 20 autres ont disparu.

Des morts et des disparitions survenues à la suite d’une opération conjointe de la police et de l’armée indonésiennes dans un village de cette province problématique.

Toujours selon les militants, l’attaque s’est déroulée en avril dernier dans le cadre d’une opération policière contre le soutien au Mouvement pour la libération de la Papouasie occidentale.

La branche armée de ce mouvement nous a fourni les noms des victimes et plusieurs photographies macabres.

Ces revendications sont toutefois impossibles à vérifier sur place, mais l’ambassade indonésienne à Canberra s’est engagée à se saisir de la question.

Le porte-parole de la police locale, Gede Sumerta, a démenti les allégations et affirme que l’unité antiterroriste d’élite n’opère plus en Papouasie occidentale.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

21) Travail des enfants aux îles Fidji

Posté à 27 May 2013, 8:57 AEST
Pierre Riant

L’enquête d’une organisation de bienfaisance a identifié  200 enfants dans des camps de squatteurs de la capitale Suva qui sont exploités dans des garages.

En général pour laver des voitures ou vendre des plats à emporter. Certains de ces enfants, affirme People Community Network, ont parfois 6 ans.

Ahmed Ali, le directeur de cette organisation résume : « Quelques-uns le font en dehors de l’école mais d’autres le font 3 ou 4 fois par semaine pendant les heures d’école. En fait, ils ont souvent besoin de gagner de l’argent pour payer les frais de scolarité pour aller à l’école. »

École à laquelle ils ne vont pas tout le temps puisqu’ils travaillent. Un cercle vicieux- http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

EDUCATION:

22) University Of South Pacific Vice-Chancellor’s Contract Renewed
Professor Rajesh Chandra retains position for another 4 years

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 24, 2013) – The University of the South Pacific (USP) has renewed the contract of its current president and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rajesh Chandra, who will continue his position for a term of four years.

The USP council made the decision at its 76th meeting in Nuku‘alofa, 15-16 May.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the USP Council, Mr Ikbal Jannif confirmed the Council’s confidence in the Vice Chancellor’s re-appointment, to continue at the helm of the university.

In a statement released by USP yesterday May 23, Mr Jannif said that “Professor Chandra’s re-appointment will ensure that the objectives of the strategic plan 2013 – 2018 will be implemented in the most effective way on its way to achieving excellence by the USP’s 50th anniversary.”

The Vice Cancellor’s new term begins from mid-2014.

The Council at an earlier meeting in November 2012 set up a joint Committee of Council and Senate to review the performance of the Vice-Chancellor to make a recommendation on renewal of contract. The Joint Committee was chaired by the Deputy Chair of council Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu (Tonga) and included three members of council and two members of the USP senate.

Opposition

Earlier this month, opposition to the re-appointment of Prof. Chandra was led by Dr Fr. Mikaele Paunga, SM, who circulated a petition from a group called “USP-devoted IE for Justice”. Fr Paunga, who works for the Pacific Regional Seminary, was critical of a reform process initiated by Dr Chandra in recent years that had resulted in redundancies and dismissals.

However, the Pacific Regional Seminary management, a neighbouring tertiary institution to USP, issued a disclaimer to the USP, stating that it was “embarrassed and concerned” and had not played any part in the petition.

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

HEALTH:

23) Concern over spread of HIV in Guam
By Online Editor
1:33 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Guam

A non-governmental organisation has warned many residents in Guam are living with HIV without knowing it.

Westcare Pacific Islands runs support groups for those affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States territory.

The NGO currently assists 50 people who have been diagnosed with the disease.

It says HIV infections could spread as more people come to Guam in the coming years.

Vice president Sarah Thomas-Nededog has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that research shows an estimated one in three Asian and Pacific Islanders in Guam are unaware they have HIV.

“People really – even though they think that they may not be positive – should come out and get tested,” she said.

“They should also consider some of the prevention strategies in terms of keeping themselves safe from, first of all of course, having unprotected sex.”

Thomas-Nededog says it is important that support is also given to the families and friends of those affected by the virus.

“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.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:


24) $351m input
By Online Editor
1:24 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Fiji

Investment Fiji has registered 41 new foreign investment projects with an anticipated value of $351million (US$190 million).

The proposed projects marked a 100 per cent increase over the same period last year and would create employment for 1461 people — another 25 per cent increase from 2012.

Investment Fiji CEO Ravuni Uluilakeba said they had seen a positive achievement in terms of what Fiji had done during the first quarter of this year.

“When you look at the number of foreign direct investments that have been implemented over the past three months, we grew by almost 90 per cent, values almost 50 per cent and employment is almost over 300 per cent,” Uluilakeba said.

He said services topped the list of sectors and was followed by wholesale and retail while manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and forestry were at the bottom of the top five.

He said tourism had dropped to number four for this quarter because it took the third and fourth quarter of the year for the tourism industry to boom in Fiji — this was expected to pick up at the end of the year.

Australia, New Zealand and China were the top three countries for new investments in Fiji for the last quarter.

He thanked the government for the support they had provided.

“The first quarter of 2013 was very positive for Investment Fiji in terms of investments registered and received.

“With work nearly complete on Online Payment Gateway for application, registration, monitoring and payment of foreign investment applications, this will enable Investment Fiji to further enhance the service we provide to investors,” Uluilakeba said.

He said future plans included the launch of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Awards, Investment Awareness Seminar and new overseas trade and investment missions.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

25) Kava export to U.S to increase by 18,000 kg
By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s kava exports could soon increase by 18, 000 kilograms per month to the Unites States of America.

This will be made possible once final paper work is completed between the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) and an American company.

AMA sales and marketing officer Alifereti Yaya says they are currently talking to an American investor who is arranging his company before finalising the deal.
“We have been talking to this US Company which wants to start importing Fijian kava for the US market,” Yaya said.

“Currently, we are exporting kava to the States but should this deal follow through, we could see our kava exports to go up by 18,000kgs per month.

That is kava which is not pounded.” Fiji currently exports kava to Australia, USA, New Zealand, Kiribati and the United Kingdom (Fijian citizens) which earns the nation between $7 million to $8m annually.

Exported kava to these countries is for consumption while some use it as research for pharmaceutical needs.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIROMENT:

26) Heavy rain brings weather warning

By REPEKA NASIKO
Monday, May 27, 2013

Update: 1:08PM A HEAVY rain warning is now in place over most parts of the Fiji group.

This was confirmed by the Nadi weather office after a low-lying trough of low pressure located to the west of Fiji caused torrential rain in most parts of the Western Division this morning.

The weather office also revealed a damaging heavy swell alert warning has been implemented for low-lying and coastal areas in certain parts of the country.

At present, Lautoka has been the hardest hit by the downpour with parts of Velovelo, city, bus station and market under ankle deep water.

Other centres have reported showers but no threat of flooding apart from Ba where the temporary causeway across the Moto river is under water.http://www.fijitimes.com/

SPORTS:

27) Brumbies weather Blues storm in Auckland

Aap
Monday, May 27, 2013

CANBERRA – A Brumbies side aided by unpredictable wet weather conditions has fought off a late Blues fightback in Auckland to win 20-13 and snap a two-game Super Rugby losing streak.

It was a scrappy, desperate game at Eden Park, the Brumbies finishing slightly ahead courtesy of their early domination of the scrum and ill-discipline from the Blues.

Brumbies coach Jake White said the wet weather favoured his side’s high percentage game plan, led by mid field bombs and pinpoint corner kicks from fullback Jesse Mogg, halfback Nic White and five-eighth Matt Toomua.

“The weather actually aided us. But at the same time that’s probably the game plan we would have wanted to play against them because we couldn’t afford to make it to loose,” he said.

“We saw how dangerous they were when they got a bit of loose ball and they could run and bump us off.”

White added that the Blues had opted to run against the wind in the first half so they could finish strongly, only to have it switch directions at half time when they were 14 points down.

The Brumbies made the most of their early prime real estate, inside centre Christian Lealiifano kicking two penalties before the 17th-minute mark.

Halfback White then extended the lead in the 22nd minute through a piece of individual brilliance, toeing ahead a loose ball following another Brumbies bomb and sliding six metres in the wet conditions to score.

A third Lealiifano penalty on the cusp of halftime gave the Brumbies a 14-0 lead heading into the break.

The Blues hit back immediately, first through a penalty to five-eighth Chris Noakes and then a 54th-minute try to Rene Ranger to narrow the gap to four points.

However the Brumbies weren’t finished, the two sides trading a penalty each, before Lealiifano kicked over the final three points of the match. Blues captain Ali Williams said his side had lacked passion and desire early on.http://www.fijitimes.com/

28) Stormers victory

Aap
Monday, May 27, 2013

BRISBANE – The Stormers’ brick wall defence has kept Queensland tryless in Cape Town and put the Reds’ Super Rugby finals hopes in doubt.

The injury-hit Stormers won a bruising contest 20-15 at Newlands where only a brilliant set-piece backline try to Springbok centre Jean de Villiers separated the two willing sides.

Fifth-placed Queensland (45) will now return from their two-match South African tour with only a sole bonus point to show for their visit, which has allowed the Brumbies (50) to take a stranglehold of top spot on the Australian conference.

The Reds had a chance to steal the intense match at the death when they relentlessly attacked the Stormers’ line but a desperate ruck steal by hooker Tian Liebernberg in the 85th minute ended the contest.

“It was incredibly frustrating,” said Reds skipper James Horwill. “We did a lot of good things but then turned the ball over and it cost us.”

What also cost them was an inability to secure possession from restarts, highlighted by the immediate loss of a hard-earned lead with 10 minutes left when Rob Simmons was penalised on his 22.

Queensland had the majority of possession but just couldn’t unlock the home side’s renowned defence, even with Quade Cooper at his scheming best in the first half.

Overlooked by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans for his initial 25-man squad for the Lions series, Cooper did what the national coach wanted from him in attack by taking the ball to the line and muscling up.

But one Deans’ prerequisite wasn’t answered as Reds coach Ewen McKenzie positioned the five-eighth at fullback in defence instead of the front-line.

After talking a 3-0 halftime lead, the Stormers grabbed hold of the match with a brilliant 70m try after the break when Elton Jantjies cross-kicked for Gio Aplon who instantly off-loaded to Joe Pietersen who then put skipper de Villiers away.

With Cooper kicking five penalty goals from all over, Queensland did a fine job to take the lead 15-14 with 10 minutes left.

But as soon as they did, the lost it, with Simmons’ continuation of their sloppy work at the restarts.

Queensland played with flair from all points but the Stormers’ defensive system and some clutch handling errors prevented the Reds from doing more.

Not a tackle was missed by either side in the opening 25 minutes and only four defenders were brushed off in the first half.

Flankers Jake Schatz and Liam Gill were tackling standouts for the Reds while Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth was highly influential at lineout time.http://www.fijitimes.com/

29) Flying Fijians anticipate Japan clash

By Online Editor
1:48 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Fiji

The Flying Fijians will be aiming for nothing less than a win in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup competition.

Coach Inoke Male says the team wants to win the PNC for the first time since its inception in 2005.

“I think the PNC, since it’s been on for a long time, Fiji has only come second, so this year the mission is to win it.”

Sam Matavesi, the younger brother of former Flying Fijian Josh Matavesi, is looking forward to representing the country in the Pacific Nations Cup competition.

“The whole family, where I’m from in Cornwall, England, everyone is very happy. It’s a massive thing for Cornwall, my family, myself, as well as my family over here. So hopefully, I get a chance to play and do well.”

In the PNC matches played over the weekend, Tonga beat Japan 27-17 while Canada downed USA 16-9.

The Flying Fijians take on Japan in their first game on Saturday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

30) Solomon Islands basketball ilaik grow strong ken

Updated 27 May 2013, 15:10 AEST

Bikpela tingting blong Solomon Islands Basketball Federaton em long lukim olsem basketball i grow strong ken  long kantri.

Bihainim ol ethnic tension na tu dispela bikpela riot,basketball ibin wanpela long ol sport ibin kisim bagarap long en na nau stat long kamap orait ken.

Dispela em toktok blong Brain Pongotapu President blong Solomon Islands Basketball Federation.

Bikpela samting Brain itok em  long oli laik mekim Basketball i grow strong olsem bifo enthic tension na bikpela riot ibin kamap kantri na bagarapim.

Long halivim ol long mekim Basketball i grow strong, oli bin bringim Oceania Development manager Annie Le Fleur long halivim ol wantaim Honiara basketball lig na tu halivim ol high skul na praimeri skul tim blong ol.

Brain Pongotapu itok bringim  Annie Le Fleur, Oceania  Development Manager long basketball igo na halivm ol girapim bek basketball emi namba wan tingting oli gat nau.

Annie Le Fleur husait i international playa blong Australia bifo na save blong em wantaim dispela sport bai bikpela samting tru long Solomon Islands Basketball.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

31) Japan slump to Tonga defeat ahead of Wales tour

By Online Editor
1:51 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2013, Japan

Japan suffered a setback in their build-up for the Wales tour as they lost 27-17 to Tonga in Yokohama in their first Pacific Nations Cup match.

The Cherry Blossoms travel to Fiji  this week before the two Test series against Wales in Osaka and Tokyo.

Japan had previously steamrollered their way through the Asian Five Nations, scoring 316 points and conceding just eight.

But winger Fetu’u Vainikolo’s two tries set Tonga on their way to victory.

Vainikolo touched down the first two tries in the fifth and 12th minutes to put Tonga in control.

Japan pulled back a try through hooker Takeshi Kizu, but Will Helu’s converted try and a further penalty from stand-off Fangatapu Apikotoa gave Tonga a 22-5 lead at half-time.

The home side scored another try through centre Male Sau, but prop Eddie Aholelei restored Tonga’s advantage before flanker Hendrik Tui added a fourth try to complete the scoring.

“We played the first half like we had a hangover,” said Japan coach Eddie Jones.

“We were still playing like we were playing Asian rugby. Tonga were coming at us in attack and defence and we just sat back. It’s a habit we have to get out of.

Defending champions Samoa have opted out of the Pacific Nations Cup, but the United States and Canada will debut later on Saturday in Edmonton in an expanded competition expected to boost ‘second tier’ nations.

Japan face Wales in Osaka on Saturday, 8 June and again seven days later in Tokyo.

SOURCE: BBC SPORT/PACNEWS

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