Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 860


1) Pacific Forum head sees no threat from bodies like MSG

Posted at 07:10 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna, says he has no doubt the Forum will remain the overarching structure in the region.

Recently the Melanesian Spearhead Group has assumed a higher profile on issues such as trade, security and regional politics – matters that might once have been the preserve of the regional body.

But Mr Puna says sub-regionalism has to be encouraged and he welcomes the moves being made by the MSG within its zone.

“The reality is that initiatives like that cater to the realities of the region. There are many, many similarities that are shared by sub regional groups and we need to be aware of these and respect them. At the same time of course the Forum remains the over arching structure if you like for us all here in the Pacific. It is important that we in the Pacific stay together and work together.”

Radio New Zealand International

2) International NGO voices concern for West Papuan prisoner

Posted at 19:20 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture has voiced concern over the condition of a West Papuan prisoner at Indonesia’s Abepura prison

The Geneva-based Secretariat says it’s been informed about the deteriorating health of Matan Klembiap by the British-based Indonesian human rights group, Tapol.

Mr Klembiap was taken into police custody in the Papua provincial capital Jayapura in February and allegedly tortured by police, beaten with rattan sticks on the back and electrocuted in the face.

Facing weapons-related charges, the 41-year old has not received medical care since he was detained.

Furthermore, he reportedly does not have legal representation and he has been denied family access.

The Secretariat has urged Indonesian authorities to carry out a thorough and independent investigation into the allegations, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Torture to which Indonesia is a State party.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Amnesty International Slams Death Penalty In PNG
Representative says capital punishment ‘violates right to life’

By Liam Fox

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 29, 2013) – Amnesty International says Papua New Guinea’s move to revive the death penalty is “barbaric” and will not deter violent crime.

After a spate of horrific murders and gang-rapes, PNG’s parliament yesterday voted to make murder, aggravated rape, robbery, treason and piracy punishable by death.

The sentence can be carried out in several ways, including hanging, lethal injection, firing squad, electrocution and “medical death by deprivation of oxygen” or poisonous gas.

Amnesty’s Pacific researcher Kate Schuetze says the death penalty is a cruel form of punishment.

“It violates the right to life as well as freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” she told AM.

“It doesn’t matter if a person has been beheaded or burnt in a village or killed by the state. It is just as barbaric.”

She says statistics show the death penalty has not reduced violent crime in countries that enforce it.

“If the government is serious about reducing crime, I’d say there’s a number of measures which they can take immediately to do that,” she said.

“One of them would be to invest in the law and justice sector, including the police force.”

‘It’s about time’

PNG has always had the death penalty thanks to its colonial past, but not the means to carry it out.

The amendments to the Criminal Code passed on voices, without a vote required, after a brief debate.

One of those who said “aye” is the member for Manus, Ron Knight.

“I wasn’t thinking lightly about this,” he said.

“But that horrific murder that happened in the western islands in Manus where a mother was decapitated and raped and her two children – one was about four, one was 13 – they were also slashed to death – the whole community stood behind that and said that they reckon it’s about time for the death penalty to be implemented.”

As well as implementing the death penalty, the newly-amended Criminal Code has harsher penalties for a range of other offences.

Crimes that can now attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment without parole include kidnapping for ransom, rape that is not considered to be aggravated and the theft of 10 million kina (US$4.4 million) or more.

Parliament also repealed the Sorcery Act, which critics said legitimized so-called sorcery killings.

Radio Australia:

4) Papua New Guinea Moves to Repeal Sorcery Act


Published: May 29, 2013

SYDNEY, Australia — The Parliament of Papua New Guinea has voted to repeal the country’s Sorcery Act and to reinstate the death penalty in certain cases to help stem an increase in violence against people accused of practicing black magic.

Such violence is endemic in the South Pacific island nation, and a rise in the number of public killings in the last year has prompted international condemnation and embarrassed the government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Last month, he vowed to repeal the 1971 Sorcery Act, which criminalized the practice of sorcery and recognized the accusation of sorcery as a defense in murder cases. He made the pledge after the highly publicized decapitation of an elderly former schoolteacher by a mob whose members accused her of using witchcraft to kill a colleague.

Under the amendments passed on Tuesday, rape, robbery and murder will be among the crimes that can now draw a death sentence. Although death by hanging has been legal for decades in Papua New Guinea, a former Australian colony, no hangings have been carried out since 1954. A variety of new methods of execution — lethal injection, asphyxiation, firing squad and electrocution — were stipulated as part of the new legislation.

Daniel Korimbao, a spokesman for Mr. O’Neill, said in a statement that the decision to reinstate capital punishment was difficult but ultimately necessary to combat a culture of lawlessness and violence in the impoverished country.

“These are very tough penalties, but they reflect the seriousness of the nature of the crimes and the demand by the community for Parliament to act,” he said.

Papua New Guinea has come under increased international pressure to end a growing trend of vigilante violence against people accused of sorcery. Last July, police officersarrested 29 members of a witch-hunting gang who were killing and cannibalizing people they suspected of being sorcerers.

The killing in February of Kepari Leniata, 20, who was stripped, tortured, doused with gasoline and set ablaze, caused an international outcry. The United Nations said it was deeply disturbed by her killing, which was reportedly carried out by relatives of a 6-year-old boy who, they claimed, had been killed by her sorcery.

This month, Mr. O’Neill publicly apologized to women for the high rates of sexual and domestic violence in the country, and he said he supported making crimes like aggravated rape and gang rape punishable by death.

Amnesty International, which has campaigned loudly against sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea, praised the repeal of the Sorcery Act but assailed the reintroduction of the death penalty.

“Papua New Guinea has taken one step forward in protecting women from violence by repealing the Sorcery Act, but several giant steps back by moving closer to executions,” Isabelle Arradon, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement.

“The taking of a life — whether a person is beheaded by villagers or killed by the state — represents an equally abhorrent violation of human rights,” she said.

5) PNG Border Development Authority to develop post
By Online Editor
5:22 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Border Development Authority (BDA) plans to develop the Kangu border post in Bougainville to monitor the movement of people and goods along the PNG-Solomon Island (SI) border.

BDA acting Executive Chairman Fred Konga said this yesterday to rebut media reports, which claimed the national governments and the Autonomous Bougainville Government through the BDA were lagging behind in developing the border posts at Kangu while the SI government had commenced work on its border post on Taro Island.

Kangu Beach is a popular landing spot for people from Solomon Islands, mainly fishermen from the nearby Shortland Island.

Konga said in a statement that BDA had so far built an office/accommodation for BDA and Customs at Buin.

“BDA will build the border post where officers form line agencies like Police, Customs, National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority and Immigration will be housed. This border post is vital for enforcing border security to deter illegal activities along the maritime borders PNG and Solomon Islands,” Konga said.

“Currently the national government through BDA is developing a K90 million (US$40.18 million) trades and investment border pilot project at Wutung along the PNG-Indonesian border. This project is funded by the Asian Development Bank. The project is now in progress and will be completed in mid 2014.

“This project once completed will cater for the office administration complex and housing. The complex will have offices for the border line agencies. Under the housing component, 26 new houses have been built and 10 existing houses have been renovated at the Wutung station to accommodate these officers and their families.

Konga said the Wutung project would also be used as a model to develop the Kangu border post.

He added that BDA had requested K15 million (US$6.69 million) in the 2012 and 2013 budgets for the counterpart funding but due to government priorities, the funds have not been allocated.

Konga said BDA also planned to establish a maritime surveillance post in Tasman Island in the Atolls to assist Defence, Police and the National Fisheries Authority to monitor the PNG-SI border.


6) Prime Minister warns against supplementary budget requests

Posted on May 30, 2013 – 9:55am

Jonas Cullwick

Prime Minister Moana Carcasses has expressed surprise that even though it is not quite halfway through the year yet some Government Ministries were already requesting supplementary funding.

He warned that since no additional revenue was expected to be collected in 2013 against what has been forecasted in the 2013 Budget Books, all supplementary budget requests would most likely be rejected.

In a memorandum addressed to the Director Generals, Heads of Departments and Statutory Bodies, and Finance Officers, dated May 16, the Prime Minister pointed out that it has come to his attention that a number of ministries have been submitting or enquiring about submission of supplementary budget requests in recent weeks. He questioned the timing of such requests and called for all such requests to follow the due process.

“We are not half way through this financial year yet and even restricted operational warrant release until the 2013 Budget was passed. So, I am surprised to learn that ministries are now requesting supplementary funding,” Carcasses said.

“Indeed, the normal practice is that supplementary budget requests may only be considered in the remaining few months of the year following a mid-year review of the economic and fiscal forecasts. Even then, unless it is clear that extra revenue will be collected, all supplementary budget requests will most likely be rejected,” he warned.

Again, the prime minister stressed that all supplementary budget requests should be submitted to the Departmental Committee of Officials (DCO) and subsequently the Council of Ministers (COM) through a COM paper. This paper should include a sound justification for why the ministry has overspent and the need for additional funding, as well as an associated revenue raising initiative to be implemented in order to help fund this additional funding request, he added.

“However, please note that the DCO and COM will automatically reject any papers that do not include attached advice from the Treasury Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management as well as the State Law Office,” the Prime Minister continued.

On a positive note, the prime minister said he was happy to report that after four months of the year, revenue collections were on track with 33% of the Budget 2013 target having already been collected. However, he pointed out that revenue collections are just “on target”, but are not currently forecasted to exceed the Budget 2013 target.

7) MP Willie Jimmy replies to Government

Posted on May 29, 2013 – 3:52pm |

Len Garae

While it was an error on our part and we apologise to MP Willie Jimmy for carrying the story under the heading, “Government replies to MP Willie Jimmy” again in yesterday’s issue, it has allowed MP Jimmy to reply to the eight allegations made against him by the Government.
MP Jimmy:

• “Allegation leveled against me to form a bloc with other MPs from the Government side is baseless and a blatant lie to the public to cover the real truth behind my termination by the Honourable Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

• “I demand the Government Press Officer to reveal the names of a dozen MPs that approached the Prime Minister, including some Presidents of other political parties that were approached by me to form a bloc for the purpose of electing me as Prime Minister. This will prove to the public where the truth is behind my termination.

• “Can you also provide the names of LDP Executives who were at the camp in Erakor Island Resort with the Opposition? I was not aware of this.
• “Before performing a custom ceremony with the Prime Minister referred to in a Press Statement, I asked the Prime Minister to also have all the MPs who were talking to him about this issue so that I could question each of them to confirm when and where did I hold a meeting with each of them. The Prime Minister did not have those MPs present as well during the ceremony. It’s a set up to be used as a reason for my termination by GJP and VP.

• “Originally the Ministerial Portfolio which was allocated to me while in Mangoes Resort at a Caucus Meeting was the Ministry of Justice and Social Affairs. I immediately refused that Ministry and said that if we were going to make a change it had to be for the better and not worse therefore in a frank and open manner, I refused the ministry but that I would remain with the group to vote for the motion. That was my statement at the meeting.

• “It was Vanua’aku Pati that gave me the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and took the Ministry of Justice, which I now believe was the arrangement as a trap to keep me on board for one month then later reshuffle me out. I am not new to this type of dirty political game.

• “The issue of Vt50 million referred to in the press statement. I had no knowledge about the State Law Office advice at the time of signing the COM Paper when it was presented to me by the Honourable Mokin Steven the Parliamentary Secretary to the PM.

• “The allegation of poor knowledge about legal and commercial view concerning Mega Yacht Phocea, I must refute your allegation in the strongest terms because there’s no member of the Cabinet that has the guts to come out publically about the legal status of the Yacht Phocea.

“How can you make such ridiculous and malicious statements against me, the Minister responsible for International Maritime Act (Cap 131).

“I wish to confirm to the public that the most legal and sensible thing to do about Phocea is to transfer Cap 131 to the Ports and Harbour Authority Officials to deal with the yacht, rather than the committee of TAC or even the Minister.

“The Prime Minister refused to allow me to transfer the power under the Act to Ports and Harbour Authority and instructed me to withdraw the COM Paper. I know a lot of things that many of you will never have the opportunity to know about Phocea because of the meetings I had with both Senior Customs Officials and Ports and Harbour Senior Maritime Officials. The Government Press Officer is too young in knowledge and capacity for Government Administration.

• “Refusal to recruit GJP staff is not a national interest matter, accusing me of appointing personal friends and family. Just look around you, who is the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary? Is Marie Louise not a Prime Minister’s current partner?

• “What about unjustified huge pay-outs to PM’s closest cronies like Jean Paul Virelala, his former First PA Gilles Daniel and payment to Snoopy over Vt100 million by the Government when he was Finance Minister? There is a saying “Look before you leap” or put your house in order first before telling others what to do.”

8) SODELPA welcomes Fiji govt’s move
By Online Editor
5:23 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has acknowledged government’s efforts in lifting restrictions that were recently placed upon political parties in the country.

“There have been no restrictions for now and we are happy that we are have been allowed to set up our branches in the four divisions without any opposition from government,” SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu told FijiLive.

“Government has given us freedom to do our normal operations and we hope it will continue to be this way,” Tabaiwalu said.

He said at the moment everything is running smoothly in the party and they will be meeting on Thursday to discuss ways in which they would be able to interact with other members.

“This is meeting will be just to plan out what we have to do but our main meeting will be held on June 20 and major decisions are expected to be made during the meeting.”

“We are also looking at appointing a new party but we will be waiting for the court’s decisions regarding Qarase’s appeal before we can make any changes.”

Meanwhile in an earlier interview with New Zealand’s Radio Tarana Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama said government was not monitoring any political parties however they are just looking out for the security of the country.


9) Fourth Political Party Successfully Registers For Fiji Elections
People’s Democratic Party moves forward with 6,269 members

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 29, 2013) – The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has become the fourth party to register under the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree for the 2014 Fiji elections.

The party was successfully registered today by the Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem.

Saneem said that after the irregularities in the party’s membership list were discounted, he was satisfied that the party’s application met the minimum requirements of the Decree.

“As of today, the PDP will be able to operate, function, represent and hold itself out to be a political party,” he said.

The PDP applied for registration with 6,808 member signatures, 539 of which were discounted as anomalies, with the remaining total being 6,269.

The party now has thirty days to submit to the Registrar a written declaration giving details of all assets and expenditures including all contributions, donations or pledges of contributions or donations, whether in cash or in kind, made or to be made to the initial assets of the political party.

Party officials and party candidates will also have to disclose personal incomes, assets, business connections, directorships, gifts, and liabilities.

Former FLP member and Minister for Commerce and Industry in the multi-party cabinet in 2006, Adi Sivia Qoro is leading the party as its president while former cabinet minister Poseci Bune has been listed as its secretary.

The National Federation Party, Fiji Labour Party and the Social Democratic Liberal Party were successfully registered under the Decree earlier this month.

Fiji Times Online:

10) 28,000 register for employment(Fiji)

Repeka Nasiko
Thursday, May 30, 2013

ABOUT 28,000 people have signed up with the National Employment Centre seeking jobs, says NEC director Viliame Cagilaba.

“Of this 11,860 are youths between the ages of 15 to 25,” he said, adding that youth employment was one of the centre’s main priorities.

“We provide training, we provide avenues for them to go out for attachments and assist them in setting up their own businesses,” Mr Cagilaba said.

According to NEC, as of December last year, 16,633 clients successfully completed the professional counselling program, one of three mandatory training programs a client needs to undertake.

About 9000 clients have successfully completed a third mandatory prerequisite called the Life Skills Training program since 2010 while 563 were placed for permanent employment in the first half of 2012.

The total number of those absorbed into formal employment since December 2010 is 1579. Organisations involved in providing employment and upskill training for NEC clients totaled 226.

11) Lands secured under the Land Bank(Fiji)

Salaseini Moceiwai
Thursday, May 30, 2013

ABOUT 50 landowning units in the country have so far secured their lands under the Land Bank with 60 per cent of landowners giving their consent.

Lands Ministry permanent secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa yesterday said they expected the number to increase. He said most of the units had their lands developed not only by foreign investors but also local investors.

“Some of the local investors who are interested in commercial farming approach us to lease such lands where we consult the landowners first before giving the green light to them,” Mr Boseiwaqa said.

“We co-ordinate the lands but it still belongs to the landowners. We find ways to help landowners by identifying investors to invest in such lands.”

He said the landowners would be the only ones to benefit from the revenue earned from such investments. “If a land is being invested, the revenue earned from it will be given directly to the landowners.

“The landowners still have the full right to their land and we are just here to assist them with the utilisation of their land.”

12) Steadfast vision

Timoci Vula
Thursday, May 30, 2013

PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says the government is in the process of completing open dialogue for Fiji’s new constitution in preparation for the national elections next year.

This, he said was the culmination of his government’s reform agenda and a new beginning for the island nation.

Commodore Bainimarama made these remarks to Chinese Government dignitaries including President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday.

“The vision of my government has been steadfast,” he said.

“Excellency, I firmly believe that you will empathise with our cause to build a better Fiji. With your unwavering commitment, we will realise our vision.”

While acknowledging the invitation — making him the first Pacific Island leader to meet Mr Xi since the latter’s appointment as president of the PRC — Commodore Bainimarama said it was a clear demonstration of the “warm and cordial relationship between our two countries that has grown from strength to strength for over three decades, particularly in recent years”.

He also acknowledged China’s assistance which had provided support and impetus for the country’s socio-economic growth and development.

“With China’s assistance, we have witnessed increased access to essential services like health and education, bridges linking communities, upgrading of infrastructure and public utilities, which are significantly contributing to the improvement of our livelihoods and empowering Fijians.

“In this connection, you might recall the Legalega Mushroom project which your excellency brought to Fiji and no doubt when implemented, will bring in positive developments to our Fijian people.”


13) Nauru president defends state of emergency

Updated 30 May 2013, 18:57 AEST

Nauru’s president Sprent Dabwido has defended his decision to declare a state of emergency and bring forward the country’s elections.

Mr Dabwido declared the state of emergency emergency on Monday, after Nauru’s parliament was dissolved last week, saying the country was in financial crisis.

He has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat he acted after the country’s health minister advised he needed funds to provide Nauruans with overseas medical treatment.

“There’s a big list of overseas patients who need to be referred overseas and he’s worried that he won’t be able to send them all due to lack of funds,” he said.

Audio: President Dabwido speaks to Pacific Beat (ABC News)

“And since the closure of the house has been activated, there is no other means for him to access funds to ensure… I think there were about 18 or 20 patients to be able to be sent overseas.”

The declaration releases public funds to ensure government services continue to function.

Earlier this week Nauru’s finance minister Roland Kun resigned from the country’s caretaker government in protest at the declaration.

“As far as I’m concerned the state of emergency has no basis and I cannot validate it,” he said.

Mr Dabwido’s declaration has brought forward Nauru’s election date by two weeks to June 8.


14) Australia is ‘happiest’ nation

Thursday, May 30, 2013
AUSTRALIA has been ranked as the world’s happiest nation among developed economies for the third year running.

Australia won the top position, because of the overall strength of its economy, in the Better Life Index compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Sweden, Canada, Norway and Switzerland also made it to the top five.

The survey ranked more than 30 countries on criteria like income levels, health, safety and housing.

“Australia performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index,” the OECD said on its website.

More than 73 per cent of Australia’s 23 million people aged 15 to 64 have a paid job, above the OECD average.

Life expectancy is also higher, at almost 82 years. Australia’s economy has had more than two decades of growth due to demand for its natural resources.

The nation also managed to sidestep the worst of the financial crisis and was the only major developed nation to avoid the global recession in 2009.

The country’s economic strength has been reflected in the Australian dollar, currently trading close to 30-year highs.

However, the government is starting to see challenges to growth as the mining boom tapers off, including rising unemployment.

As a result, the Labour government is now looking to move the economy away from its dependence on mining towards sectors such as construction and manufacturing.

Australia is also facing a widening income gap.

According to the OECD, the top 20 per cent of the country’s population earn six times more than the bottom 20 per cent.

15) Loan probe

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, May 30, 2013

AUSTRALIAN National University director of the Development Policy Centre Prof Stephen Howes has made startling allegatons that the Australian Government had been vetoing loans to Fiji worth hundreds of millions of dollars from the World Bank and ADB.

His revelation, reported by The Australian newspaper yesterday, also noted that on the other hand, Australia had doubled to $58million its own annual aid since December 2006.

And Fiji’s Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they were not surprised.

He said the policy of the Australian Government towards Fiji reflected its unwillingness to understand what was happening here.

“Representatives of a number of developed democracies have confided to us that they consider the Australian posture unwarranted, counterproductive, and not supported by the facts in Fiji,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said the victims were the Fijian people “who could have benefited from new water works, roads, hospitals and schools that these loans might have funded”.

A spokeswoman for the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told The Australian that the World Bank and ADB were independent institutions with their own decision-making processes.

In the media report, Prof Howes said he did not see the rationale for the ban, adding that it “seems hypocritical”.

“Better in my view to have these institutions active in Fiji trying to promote economic reform and development, including through sound lending,” the economist said.

He said “some are worried about Fiji turning to China”, which the newspaper said was another potential reason for letting the banks operate in Fiji.

Prof Howes was also reported saying that Canberra’s influence over the banks was not formal but “like a gentleman’s club -but one in which you have to have influence, which Australia does because of the extent of its support for the bank’s activities in the Pacific”.

Australia opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop told the newspaper that she would seek to find out from the government whether it had influenced the banks to suspend loans to the Fiji government.

“It seems incongruous to be secretly preventing other forms of assistance while we have been increasing ours,” Ms Bishop said.

“This could be because we are funding health or education directly, rather than in the form of money directly to the government.

“But even if so, that would be a benefit for the Fiji Government, which could redirect its spending elsewhere as a result.”

Prof Howes said there was also an international cost to having the World Bank and ADB impose sanctions on Australia’s behalf because it would reinforce the impression that those organisations were the instruments of rich countries.

16) Australia Accused Of Spying On Timor-Leste Government
Minister Carr maintains neighboring nations ‘on good terms’

By Karen Barlow

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 29, 2013) – Foreign Minister Bob Carr insists Australia and East Timor remain on good terms despite reports the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) broke into and bugged East Timorese cabinet rooms nine years ago.

East Timor’s foreign minister, Alfredo Pires, alleges that the ASIS breached international law and Timorese sovereignty by secretly listening during the negotiations over multi-billion-dollar gas revenues.

The allegations of spying prompted East Timor to notify the Australian Government that it was launching a process of arbitration to have the Timor Sea Treaty declared invalid.

While East Timor is furious, Senator Carr insists the two countries are good friends.

“Nothing can rupture the bonds between the people of Australia and the people of Timor Leste,” he said.

“I am bound by convention that says Australian Government ministers don’t comment on matters of security, intelligence, espionage even when what was said is plain untrue.”

Mr. Pires’s lawyer, Bernard Collaery, says the evidence of spying is irrefutable.

“The evidence is irrefutable and Australian authorities are well aware that we are in a position to back that up,” he said.

“Of course, we would not have formed our international litigation team unless we knew where we were.”

Greens say Coalition has questions to answer

While Senator Carr remains positive about relations between the two nations, Greens leader Christine Milne does not share his optimism and has suggested that the Coalition had some explaining to do.

“I have absolutely no doubt that East Timor is furious,” she said. “The Coalition needs to come clean on the motivation and try and persuade anybody that there is any ability to justify it.

“I don’t think there is any ability to justify it [but] let’s hear what they have got to say.

“I don’t think Australians are going to be very impressed to hear that there was authorized bugging of East Timor.

“It certainly damages relations with our nearest neighbors and no doubt other countries will be asking: what else did the Howard government resort to in relation to our neighbor?”

Alexander Downer, the foreign minister at the time the alleged bugging happened, also said he could not comment on security matters.

But Mr. Downer says the 2004 negotiations were robust and says the new allegations may be about getting a better deal.

“They want to do even better, that is human nature, but the fact is by getting into this endless dispute with the companies and also with the Australian Government they are denying themselves any revenue at all, because the project is not going ahead,” he said.

East Timor seeking to tear up treaty

Earlier this month Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus confirmed that East Timor was seeking to tear up the treaty which is used to split revenue from the “Greater Sunrise Gas” project between the two nations.

Mr. Dreyfus said East Timor alleged the CMATS treaty was invalid because the negotiations were not fair.

“[East Timor alleges] in the course of negotiating this treaty back in 2004, Australian officials were aware of confidential information belonging to Timorese negotiating team,” Mr. Dreyfus said.

“We can’t comment further on the matter because these issues are going to be dealt with in the course of the arbitration.

“Australia has always conducted itself in a professional manner in diplomatic negotiations and has conducted those CMATS treaty negotiations in good faith.”

The Australian Government said then that neither East Timor’s claims about the treaty nor its allegations of espionage were new and that the treaty remains in force.

Radio Australia:


17) PCC renews call for self-determination in the Pacific
By Online Editor
5:43 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Fiji

Pacific Island countries must be commended for their work which has seen Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) return to the United Nations’ list of territories for re-inscription.

The call came from PCC General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, after the UN announced that Maohi had been returned to the list after a motion supported by Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Nauru.

In letters to the heads of the three nations, Rev Pihaatae said self-determination for Pacific territories which remained under colonial rule would be a PCC priority.

“The cries for self-determination of our brothers and sisters in Kanaky (New Caledonia) and West Papua also feature prominently in the resolutions of our recent General Assembly,” Rev Pihaatae said.

“May we join hands in our continuing effort to strive for peace and justice in the Pacific countries which are most in need.”

Maohi is one of three French territories in the Pacific, the other being New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.

France – with the support of Australia and New Zealand – had blocked moves by Maohi to seek greater autonomy from Paris.

A motion by Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Nauru saw Maohi return to the re-inscription list last week.

It is likely that this will open the door to a United Nations-supervised referendum allowing Maohi’s people to decide whether they want greater autonomy, independence or direct rule.

Rev Pihaatae said self-determination meant people could decide their future for themselves.

“The right of the people of Maohi Nui and other non-self governing territories in our region to decide for themselves on their future and do so in a manner that is truly free as equal inheritors of God’s dignity is central to the PCC’s mandate and work programmes,” he said.



18) Ikonomist itok Australia i stopim loan moni long Fiji

Updated 30 May 2013, 10:50 AEST

Wanpela ikomonist blong Australia itok Australia i save hait na wok long stopim ol moni loan igo long Fiji from World Bank na Asian Development Bank stat long taim blong military coup long 2006.

Stephen Howes, ikonomist blong Australian National University Development Policy Centre itok nogat wanpela long tupela moni lain ia i apruvim wanpela loa igo long Fiji stat long taim blong coup.

Em i tokim Pacific Beat blong Radio Australia olsem long wantaim taim, mak blong loan oli givim go long ol narapela Pacific kantri i go antap tru – bikos long Australia i pusim oli apruvim.

Professor Howes itok em i stap long pablik rekod – espesili long sait long ADB wea Fiji i askim loan na ADB president itok nogat longen.

Em itok i luk olsem New Zealand tu i gat interest long stopim ol moni loan igo long Fiji.

Professor Howes itok oli toksave gutpela longen trutru olsem Australia ibin wok long blokim ol loan igo long Fiji.

19) Bikpela wok long PNG Law Reform

Updated 29 May 2013, 15:26 AEST
Kelvin Kaspar

Constitutional na Law Reform Commission opis bilong Papua New Guinea igat bikpla wok dispela yiar, long lukluk na mekim ol ripot igo long Parliament long senisim sampela ol lo bilong PNG.

PNG CLRC igat bikpela wok long ol lo blong kantri

Blong redi long mekim ol dispela senis CLRC ibin mekim wanpela liklik skul long last Sarere bilong soim ol 4-pela ol niupela Commissioner bilong em, wanem kain wok ol ibai mekim taim ol istap wok insait long dispela bikpela opis.

Secretary bilong Constitutional na Law Reform Commission Doctor Eric Kwa itok, CLRC ibai lukluk long ol kainkain lo bilong kantri long traim na mekim senis long ol.

Doctor Kwa i mekim singaut tu olsem ol manmeri bilong PNG imas givim tingting bilong ol tu long ol dispela lo, na halivim ol long kamapim ol senis.

Kelvin Kaspar bilong NBC News long Port Moresby, i ripot olsem igat 7-pela Commissioner istap insait long dispela CLRC opis long lukluk long ol lo bilong kantri na mekim ripot long wanem kain wei ol lo bilong kantri iken kamap strong.

Namel ol ol dispela 7-pela Commissioner, igat 4-pela em ol niupela memba bilong CLCR.

3-pla blo ol dispela nupela Commissioners em ol memba bilong Parliament, na em long Chairman bilong Constitutional na Law Reform Commission yet Benjamin Poponawa, husait emi memba bilong Tambul-Nebilyer, memba bilong Nipa-Kutubu Pesab Komal na memba bilong Gazelle Malakai Tabar.

Namba 4 nupela Commissioner em Gerard Linge, husait emi wanpela loya na saveman bilong mama lo bilong PNG.

Sekretari bilong CLRC Doctor Eric Kwa itok namel long ol lo ol ibai lukluk long em, emi lo bilong ol manmeri isave salim kaikai na ol samting nambaut long strit na ol narapela hap, ol kolim long lo bilong informal ikonomi.

Em tok Commission ibai lukluk tu na skelim ol lo bilong tambuim ol bikpela mining kampani long toromoi ol pipia bilong ol igo insait long solwara na ol wara tu.

Dr Kwa itok Commission ibai lukluk tu long ol lo we i lukautim ol liklik taun na ol bikpela siti bilong PNG.

Em tok CLRC iwok long askim tu tok orait bilong gavaman long galasim gut wanem kain ol mekim save, lo isave givim long ol kainkain raskol man.

Doctor Kwa itok tu olsem wok bilong ol ibai lukluk tu long wanpela bikpela lo we i lukautim olo Provincial na Local Level Government insait long kantri.

Na antap long olgeta dispela wok, Doctor Kwa itok Commission ibai lukluk tu long senisim planti ol lo bilong PNG we ibin stap longtaim yet pastem long PNG ibin kisim independence.

Em itok dispela kain pasin i nogut na em i givim sain long wolrd olsem ol kain institusen olsem ADB na World Bank i save bihainim tasol toktok blong sampela rick na powerful memba kantri.

Australia bai givim $58 million dola long halvim go long Fiji long dispela yar ikam.


20) Efate affiche complet pour les réfugiés du changement climatique

Posté à 30 May 2013, 8:25 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Premier ministre du Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, a récemment annoncé qu’il aimerait que son pays devienne une terre d’asile pour ceux et celles qui fuient la montée des eaux dans le Pacifique.

L’ancien président du Vaturisu Efate [Le Conseil des chefs de l’île d’Efate], le chef, Kalkot Mormor, n’est pas de cet avis  et il nous dit pourquoi.

MORMOR : « Nous sommes des gens très respectueux au Vanuatu, surtout ici sur l’île d’Efate. Et cette île d’Efate est déjà pleine de monde en ce moment. C’est une petite île et il n’y a plus assez d’espace.
Quant au Premier ministre qui veut faire venir ici des réfugiés du changement climatique et bien je dis qu’il faudrait peut-être faire des consultations avec le Malfatu Mauri [le Conseils des chefs], avec le Parlement, avec les provinces peut-être, les villages.

Ce serait bien de rencontrer tous ces gens au lieu, comme l’a fait le Premier ministre, de s’exprimer directement en public en souhaitant la bienvenue aux réfugiés du changement climatique. »

Le chef Kalmot Mormor précise également que le Vanuatu est en pleine croissance démographique: ” Nous avons plus d’enfants qui eux aussi vont faire des enfants, dit-il, et nous avons besoin de nos terres pour eux.”

MORMOR : « Je ne pense pas qu’il y ait assez de terres ici pour les réfugiés à moins de trouver un autre moyen. Je veux dire que c’est le créateur qui a créé la terre et il n’y a pas d’extension. »

Bon mais il n’y as pas que l’île d’Efate au Vanuatu, il y en a plus de 80. Peut-être que d’autres îles pourraient accueillir ces réfugiés du changement climatique ?

MORMOR : « Si c’est vrai que des terres sont disponibles, le Premier ministre devrait alors en parler. Mais personnellement, je ne pense pas qu’il y ait des terres quelque part qui accepteraient des réfugiés. »

Notons que habitants du village de Latwa, dans les îles de Torres au Vanuatu, ont dû en 2004 se déplacer de plusieurs centaines de mètres face à la montée des eaux. Les habitants de cette localité sont en fait devenus les premiers réfugiés du changement climatique dans le Pacifique.

21) Tension entre la RAMSI et Malaita

Posté à 30 May 2013, 9:41 AEST
Pierre Riant
Le gouvernement de la province de Malaita accuse la Mission d’assistance régionale aux Îles Salomon, (RAMSI), de ruiner les efforts de paix.

Le gouvernement reproche à la RAMSI d’avoir effectué une descente de police dans un village.  La police était à la recherche d’un fugitif, Edmond Sae, recherché pour le meurtre présumé en 2003 de l’ancien chef des forces de police, Fred Soaki.

Le Vice-premier ministre du gouvernement de Malaita, Alick Maeaba, estime que la police met en danger la vie des villageois : « Des coups de feu ont été tirés, des gens innocents ont dû se réfugier dans la jungle, des femmes et des enfants effrayés par ces coups de feu tirés en l’air. »

Dans un communiqué, la RAMSI dément ses allégations  mais précise que « des dispositifs de distraction non létaux ont été utilisés. »
La police demeure persuadée qu’Edmond Sae se cache dans la jungle.

22) Fiji : augmentation des exportations de kava aux États-Unis

Posté à 30 May 2013, 9:44 AEST
Pierre Riant

Une augmentation substantielle de 18 000 kilos de kava qui pourraient être exportés tous les mois vers les États-Unis.

Cette entreprise deviendra réalité dès que les Services de commercialisation agricole de l’archipel et la société américaine concernée auront approuvé l’accord final.

C’est un investisseur américain qui désire importer ces 18 000 kilos de kava sur le marché américain.

Fidji exporte déjà du kava vers les États-Unis, l’Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande, Kiribati et le Royaume Uni ; des exportations qui rapportent au pays entre 7 et 8 millions de dollars par an.


23) Nauru’s media banned from reporting on politics during national election

Updated 29 May 2013, 17:20 AEST

Nauru’s minister of finance, Roland Kun has resigned from the country’s caretaker government in protest at the declaration of a state of emergency earlier this week.

Nauru was preparing for national elections on the 22nd of June.

But President Sprent Dabwido has announced a state of emergency, claiming the country was in economic crisis, and as a result of the declaration the election have been bought forward to the 8th of June, less than two weeks away.

Mr Kun says there is no logical basis for the decision, claiming the country did have the money needed to operate in caretaker mode till the end of next month, and that he was kept out of cabinet deliberations on the declaration.

As well Mr Kun has confirmed that Nauru media, which is government owned, has been ordered by the President not to cover anything of a political nature in the days leading up to the election.

And just to repeat, we have tried on a number of occasions to talk to President Dabwido about the election and the state of emergency.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Nauru’s former Minister of Finance Roland Kun

COONEY: Until Tuesday this week, Roland Kun, was Nauru’s Minister of Finance in its caretaker government.

Last week, the island nation’s Parliament was dissolved and elections called for the 22nd of June. But on Monday night, President Sprent Dabwido announced the country was in a state of emergency as it could not guarantee to supply the funds government departments and services needed to operate.

The decision Mr. Kun said was made without referring to him or his department and one he doesn’t support, leaving him with little choice but to resign from Mr Dabwido’s Cabinet.

KUN: There was possibly a Cabinet meeting on the day that the declaration was made. I was not called to the Cabinet meeting, nor was another minister, so there was only Minister for Health, Minister for Education and the President, our   P resident.

The reason I disagree with. I only learnt of the state of emergency that evening when the President delivered a statement on the national television. I was unaware of the reasons. I disagreed with the reasons and as far as I’m concerned, the state of emergency has no basis and I cannot validate it.

COONEY: My understanding that when a government is in caretaker mode, funding is available.

As Finance Minister, were you confident that that would have been the case?

KUN: Yes, funding is available. It is normal towards the end of the financial year, that we may have to call on what’s legally provided for to cover subheads which are nearly exhausted through intersubhead transfers and we’ve monitored the situation of the budget and we are very confident that we would have been able to cover the total provision requirements to the end of the financial year.

COONEY: Mr Kun also disagrees with the other reason given for bringing forward the elections, that is, if they were held on the 22nd, they would clash with Nauru’s budget processes.

The ABC has also received unconfirmed reports that Treasury officials in Nauru have refused to endorse the President’s declaration of a state of emergency for any of the reasons he’s given.

But it also appears President Dabwido and his supporters don’t want politics or electoral issues covered by the country’s government-owned media.

Mr Kun has confirmed reports received by the ABC that Nauru’s media has been ordered that it cannot cover anything of a political nature up to the election on 8th. June.

KUN: I did try to contact media today, Nauru media, because I wanted to get the opportunity to fix the media, a Minister leaving office and to explain the situation behind the state of emergency. And I’ve been advised that the media has been directed not to conduct any interviews that are political in nature led up to elections, which I think is a  disgrace.

COONEY: The ABC has tried repeatedly to contact Mr Dabwido’s office for a comment, but so far hasn’t received any response.

The current situation in Nauru, comes after a month of political standoff in its parliament, which follows seven years of political infighting and four changes of President, one of which was only in office for around four days.

This election voters will decide on 19 members of parliament, instead of 18, which is hoped will give one side an absolute majority.

Roland Kun says it’s no guarantee deadlocks won’t happen in the future, but it is an improvement.

KUN: The first function of newly elected parliament is to put up a Speaker of the House. So this way there will be no deadlock in the election of the Speaker.

Once the Speaker is installed, then there maybe a deadlock in the election of a President. There maybe some improvements in the mechanics, that there should be changes in the mechanics of the House once a Speaker is installed.

24) RBF: Financial journalism vital for development

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A local journalist browses through recent economic reports from the Reserve Bank of Fiji. The central bank organised a workshop for members of the media in Suva yesterday as it stepped up efforts to raise awareness about the importance of financial

FINANCIAL journalism is relevant and vital for the development of financial institutions in Fiji.

And the Reserve Bank of Fiji organised a workshop for mainstream media representatives yesterday on the importance of reporting the financial status of the country.

The central bank’s governor, Barry Whiteside, said the purpose of the workshop was to provide journalists and media representatives with a fair idea of what they were doing on the ground to keep the economy on track.

Mr Whiteside said they were working in line with policies and legislations to assist government towards economic growth.

“We have a corporate responsibility and take ourselves seriously on what we can do in the community,” he said.

He said they would conduct the workshop on a yearly basis depending on the demand.

RBF financial institution chief manager Vilimaina Dakai said financial stability was important for a developing country like Fiji.”We are here to protect the interest of the public and we are relying on the media to create awareness and identify challenges by financial institutions,” she said.

Ms Dakai said maintaining market confidence and the promotion of consumer protection were vital for growth.

25) Call on Indonesia to free detained Papua radio host

Posted at 03:23 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

A media freedom group is calling on the Indonesian authorities to release a radio host held in West Papua.

Abert Dimas Anggoro, a talkback host from Penyiar Radio FM, was arrested for criticising officials and claiming the district office in Papua was dilapidated, on his Matoa public affairs programme.

When he was detained over three weeks ago, colleagues from an alliance of Independent journalists, accompanied him to the police station.

The chair of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Titi Gabi, says each day Mr Anggoro is held further weakens the credibility of Jakarta, and warns that the whole world is watching.

“Sending out your men to arrest reporters and media workers is a bit heavy handed and that should be discouraged. We think the Indonesian government and the officials should use the system in place because there is one.”

Titi Gabi says there is a media complaints process and authorities have no reason to arrest and detain journalists.

Radio New Zealand International


26) China ready to step up links with Pacific region

Posted at 06:51 on 30 May, 2013 UTC

China’s president Xi Jin Ping says China is ready to step up its links with Pacific Island countries.

He was speaking during a meeting in Beijing with the leader of the Fiji regime, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Sally Round reports.

“Mr Xi says China treasures its friendship with Fiji and it’s ready to strengthen ties not only with Fiji but other Pacific Island nations. He says the Asia Pacific region can’t achieve as a whole without the development of Pacific Island countries.”

“China’s Xinhua news agency reports Commodore Bainimarama is the first Pacific Island leader to visit China since its new leadership came to power. The Fiji regime leader also met China’s Premier Li Keqiang who called for deals with Suva on fishing, visa exemptions and cultural exchanges and wants to see more Chinese businesses investing in Fiji. China’s also called for stronger links on agriculture, minerals, telecommunications and infrastructure and it’s stressed its support on issues of energy security, climate change and protecting sea resources. Commodore Bainimarama also updated the leaders on moves towards elections next year.”

Radio New Zealand International


27) Vanuatu HPV program needs funding boost

Updated 30 May 2013, 11:58 AEST

The Australian doctor whose research led to the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine says a program trying to cut death rates from cervical cancer in Vanuatu needs more funding to be sustainable.

Professor Ian Frazer says he wants to make the five-year vaccination program he is currently overseeing an ongoing program.

“The ideal would be that the Vanuatu government would be able to take over the funding,” he said.

“Whether that’s realistic…depends on how much the vaccine costs and at the moment Vanuatu isn’t eligible for the really cheap vaccine.”

Audio: Geraldine Coutts speaks to Professor Ian Frazer (ABC News)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds cheap vaccines in developing countries, but Vanuatu is not included in that program.

High incidence

Professor Frazer found during recent in-country research that cervical cancer is the biggest killer of women in the Pacific nation.

Cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus.

“We don’t know the exact figure, that of course is one of the problems,” he said.

“What we do know is that when we surveyed amongst apparently healthy women in Vanuatu a couple of years ago, one in 100 women walking the streets in Vanuatu actually had cervical cancer.”

“That makes it right up the top of where we expect to see worldwide in terms of cervical cancer prevalence.”

Systematic screening

He says there are no statistics explaining why rates of death from cervical cancer are so high in Vanuatu while rates of HPV infection are comparable to other countries.

However, he says countries with pap smear screening programs can catch the infection and treat it before it develops into cancer.

“In Vanuatu it’s not been possible to mount a systematic screening program,” he said.

“Although we have been helping out with the development of a screening program which the Vanuatu government itself has instigated.”

Professor Frazer says one of the problems faced trying to setting up a HPV screening program in Vanuatu is a lack of resources.

“It’s a matter of technology,” he said.

“To run a screening program you need a lot of support from pathology services, a means of keeping records across the whole country…and then you have to have the ability to treat abnormal smears.”

Professor Frazer says there is now a much easier way of screening for cervical cancers and his team is in the process of finding funding.

28) Fiji Cancer Society funds frozen
By Online Editor
5:02 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Fiji

The Fiji Cancer Society is trying to ascertain why their accounts with the banks in Fiji have been frozen.

Society chairman Dr Tukaha Mua said they could not access their joint account with the Walk On Walk Strong (WOWS) containing half a million dollars.

He said they had been informed by the bank to hold an annual general meeting and appoint new office bearers within 28 days to allow access to the funds.

“We’ve done that already but whether the bank will release these funds is another story,” Dr Mua said.

WOWS newly-elected chairman Makrava Wilson said a memorandum of understanding was signed to allow their funds to be kept with the society’s account.

WOWS had been unable to operate normally for many months because of the prolonged internal difficulties the society was experiencing and delays in resolving the matter.

Wilson said they had about $500,000 in the joint account.

Dr Mua said when the former chairman and treasurer left the society, their administrative and financial records were also erased.

He said they did not have any duplicate or backup of those records.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro confirmed they had received a report from the Fiji Cancer Society and that the Cyber Crime Unit was now investigating the matter.


29) Academic warns English replacing Samoan

Posted at 07:10 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

An academic who is in the process of launching a Samoan language dictionary on the web in excess of one million words warns that the language is under threat in Samoa itself.

The programme director of Samoan Studies at Victoria University, Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin, has already loaded more than 300,000 words onto international website Sketch Engine, alongside other world languages.

Galumalemana says the collection will be built up with the assistance of other scholars over the next few months.

He says it’s an opportunity to make sure the language doesn’t die globally but says it’s also an issue for the community in Samoa.

“Because of the power of English over the last hundred plus years you’ll find a whole lot of young people walking around the streets in American Samoa and Apia, in independent Samoa, not talking Samoan but talking English. That’s the phenomena that’s been happening over a period of time and those are signs that there is a transition going on from Samoan to English.”

Galumalemana says he’s pleased at efforts to arrest the trend, with moves in Samoa to encourage people to use the language in government settings and in American Samoa to have the language used alongside English in school.

Radio New Zealand International


30) Three mining companies granted mining exploration licences in Fiji

Posted at 05:54 on 30 May, 2013 UTC

Three mining companies have been granted licences to explore the deep-sea mining potential in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Fiji Mineral Resources Department has granted a total of 17 exploration licences for Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology or KIOST, a Canadian company, Nautilus Minerals, and the Australian firm Bluewater Minerals.

Beverley Tse reports.

The Director of KIOST, Jang Wan Bang, says the company believes there is potential for mining copper, gold, silver and zinc and hopes deep-sea test drilling will confirm that.

“JANG WAN BANG: Through that process we will know how deep its working tide. And then with that we can estimate the recuperable deposits. So that is very, very important for us to find out whether it is commercially viable or not.”

Jang Wan Bang says KIOST will begin deep-sea test drilling for sea-floor massive sulphides in about three years time and hopes the company will gain a commercial mining licence in about six years. He says the company acknowledges there may be environmental effects from the deep-sea drilling and says it plans to hold consultation meetings with stakeholders on the matter. The Deep Sea Mining Campaign – an organisation opposing the world’s first deep sea mining project by Nautilus Minerals in Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Sea – has great concerns about licences being issued in Fiji. The campaign’s co-ordinator, Dr Helen Rosenbaum, says although the licences are for exploration only, the group is worried about the lack of legal security for Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

“DR HELEN ROSENBAUM: They’ve been licensed without any safeguards around environmental protection and about the protection of community health being agreed upon.”

Dr Helen Rosenbaum says the campaign finds it interesting one of the companies given the green light to explore Fiji’s ocean floor is Nautilus Minerals.

“DR HELEN ROSENBAUM: The same company that has produced very shonky science in Papua New Guinea within its own environmental impact statement there and because of the public outcry against the approach taken by Nautilus in Papua New Guinea, it’s had to suspend its operations there.”

The Director of Fiji’s Mineral Resources department, Malakai Finau, says the government will monitor the activities of the mining companies to ensure they comply with its Environmental Management Act which aims to protect the country’s EEZ.

“MALAKAI FINAU: What we do is we identify the risks and then we require them to mitigate against environmental risks that we identify. And that’s one of the ways in which we protect the environment from potential environmental impacts of advanced exploration.”

Malakai Finau says an advantage of granting the exploration licences is the government will get updated information on Fiji’s sea bed minerals.

Radio New Zealand International

31) SIEA Auki: Coconut oil generator doing fine

WEDNESDAY, 29 MAY 2013 08:15
Solomon Island Electricity Authority (SIEA) in Auki says the use of coconut oil as substitute fuel to its modified generator has been operating without much problem.

Auki has been undertaking a trial to use both coconut oil and diesel to its fuel to its generator since late last year.

“And so far so good,” the SIEA Auki provincial manager Michael Pitakesa told the Solomon Star in an interview yesterday.

Mr Pitakesa said the use of coconut oil as fuel in this modified generator has been rewarding with the continuous flow of power supply to Auki township because there were less disruptions to power supply.

He further explained the use of coconut oil is also saving them money while making their service more reliable.

But the unsteady supply of coconut oil for the generator is a problem the SIEA Auki currently faces.

“The supply of coconut oil is our major problem we face because supply was unreliable so sometimes we could not use the coconut oil.”

He said there is a need for steady supply of coconut oil to help with the flow of service.

Because of this SIEA last week had issued a tender to allow for reliable supply of coconut oil to their generator in Auki.

By Denver Newter
In Auki

32) NZ to manufacture Solomon’s cocoa value added products

WEDNESDAY, 29 MAY 2013 10:58

The first export of Solomon Islands cocoa bound for New Zealand was shipped from Honiara last week with cocoa exporter, Solomon Commodities Exports (SCE) shipping 6 tonnes of its premium SI cocoa beans to its newly established NZ processing facility at Tauranga, in the North Island.

C-Corp NZ will initially manufacture and distribute cocoa block, liquor and nibs products to New Zealand chocolate manufacturers and catering industry consumers. Chocolate samples were initially produced in Honiara early this year and were judged by consumers to be of premium quality with delicate but full flavour.

The Tauranga manufacturing facility has been constructed to meet all domestic and international food grade standard manufacturing requirements. The facility design allows for modular expansion of production capability. The facility will be commercially commissioned over the coming months.

C-Corp managing director, Clive Carroll said, “The Tauranga manufacturing facility will now give SI cocoa specific origin identity, something our cocoa has never enjoyed before”.

“We are hopeful to move from being a producer of intermediate product to a producer of a 100% Solomon origin chocolate bars sometime during 2014. However, in the meantime it’s very much a step by step process”.

By fourth quarter of 2013 C-Corp NZ hopes to be producing approximately 10 tonnes of value added product per month requiring approximately 15 tonnes of dry cocoa beans. Apart from NZ, C-Corp has also received request for commercial samples from chocolate manufacturers in Australia, Japan and Switzerland.

From a longer term perspective, Mr Carroll believes that with appropriate marketing support, up to 2,000 tonnes per annum of quality SI dry cocoa beans can find their way into high quality, Solomon Islands Single Original chocolate bars.

C-Corp NZ also plans to act as fulfilment centre for other Pacific Islands agricultural product producers and distribute these products into NZ, Australia and the US. Already, heads of agreement have been reached with Vanuatu coffee producer, Tanna Coffee in Port Vila and discussions are underway with others.

Numerous NZ government agencies have been assisting C-Corp NZ to reach the strict international food grade standards necessary to fulfill C-Corp NZs ultimate vision to manufacture and export internationally a range of quality added cocoa products sourced from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The NZ High Commissioner, Mark Ramsden commented: “it is great to see another Solomon Islands firm step up exports to New Zealand, deepening the economic partnership between the two countries. Increasing two-way trade between Pacific countries and New Zealand is a firm objective of the New Zealand Government, and this is another step towards that”.

He said its a success story for Solomon Islands have its locally grown cocoa being used to produce chocolate.

Mr Carroll said the next export will be next month with the focus to export every month.

He said they are planning to increase the export consignment within the next few months.

33) Training for jobs

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A COMPANY offering occupational health and safety training for workers in selective industries like mining and construction has revealed the possibility of securing employment for participants in Papua New Guinea.

OPS Atlas, an international technical and consultancy services company, will open its OPS Pacific division in Fiji on June 19 offering short courses for interested participants.

OPS Pacific vice president Simione Tugi said the relaxing of visa requirements between Fiji and PNG was a milestone achievement that made the employment facilitation process convenient.

“The easy access of movement without visa will definitely create a great opportunity for employment for our unemployed Fijians to work in the oil and mining industry in PNG,” he said.

“If participants train with us, we will deal with our counterparts in PNG to give them jobs straightaway — that is one area I think will be very good for our people in terms of placement.

“Some employers in PNG are willing to sponsor once the training is complete. We facilitate the arrangements to send the participant to work in PNG.”

Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate said good training in OHS would help achieve their vision of decent and productive workplaces.

“We support high quality OHS training and we welcome any opportunity that provides employment for our people,” he said.

“OHS is critical. Training in OHS has been provided by the National Training and Productivity Centre of the Fiji National University, and also a number of smaller providers.”

34) Deep concern about the amount of the EDF and the ownership of the projects: ACP Ministers
By Online Editor
5:18 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Belgium

In a meeting held in Brussels on 17 and 18 April 2013, the ACP Ministers in charge of the ACP-EU Development Finance have expressed their regret for the 10% decrease of the EU financial envelope allocated to the cooperation with the ACP in the framework of the 11th EDF European Development Funds (2014-2020), compared to the EC initial proposal.

The main item in the meeting’s agenda of this meeting chaired by the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives of Mauritius, M. Jangbahadoorsing Iswardeo Mola Roopchand SEETARAM, was the allocation of 11th EDF. The exact distribution rate between the aid to the ACP,  the support to Overseas countries and Territories (OCT’s) and the running cost for the European Commission, is not yet known. But it is clear that on an annual basis, the final figure of the part earmarked for the ACP will decrease.

The ACP want to ensure that:

* No measures will be taken that could have a negative impact on the efforts undertaken in the framework of regional integration;

*Commitment of resources under the RIPs will be accelerated before the sunset clause;

*Consideration will be given to the fact that climate change is a factor of vulnerability of countries, particularly fragile states, landlocked states, LDCs, small islands, countries in post-conflict situations. There is a need to allow them greater access to resources;

*The amounts decommitted under previous EDFs and the 10th EDF (2008-2013) will be made available to ACP countries and regions to cover the transitional period between the 10th and the 11th EDF. These amounts should not be treated as an advance on the 11th EDF, but added to it;

*The ACP countries will have ownership in the choice of core sectors during the joint programming exercise and they will be consulted before any new eligibility criteria are established.

* No country receives less NIP resources under the 11th EDF than the initial amount obtained under the 10th EDF.

As regards the “differentiation” considered by the EU Commission  the ACP Ministers stressed that in the 2nd Revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement, there is no legal provision for such a measure. Its application could lead to a sharp reduction in EU bilateral development aid and. It could be a kind of penalty for the countries which are progressing along their development path.

The ACP Ministers have also discussed the new policy on budget support to ACP countries under the 11th EDF: Implementation of the Millennium Development goals MDGs in ACP countries and post-2015 prospects; Mobilisation of internal resources in ACP countries; the South-South Cooperation.


35) PCC calls for halt to seabed mining

By Online Editor
5:35 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Fiji

The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) has renewed its call for a stop to all sea bed mining research in line with a resolution by regional church leaders in Honiara last month.

PCC General Secretary Reverend Francois Pihaatae made the call after regional governments began to design laws which will allow them to engage in mining activities on and beneath the sea bed.

“The PCC member churches were unequivocal that no further action should be taken by regional governments until there is empirical evidence on the effect that deep sea mining and exploration will have,” Rev Pihaatae said.

“These churches represent 6.25 million Pacific people who have serious concerns about the environmental and socio-economic impact of deep sea mining.

“We urge governments to engage – not merely consult – with their people and ensure that proper studies are made before any work is done.”

In April the representatives of 15 Pacific governments met in Nuku’alofa, Tonga to discuss development and resource management issues linked to seabed mining.

Recent indications show that at least two multinationals – one Korean and a Unite States-based firm – want to conduct exploration in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Tonga meeting was facilitated by the joint Secretariat of the Pacific Community-European Union Deep Sea Minerals Project.

Representatives of the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu attended the meeting.

One objective of the Tonga workshop was to provide government officials with the knowledge, skills and confidence to negotiate effectively with well-resourced deep sea mining companies.

Under SPC-EU project regional countries are urged to put in place robust law and regulatory mechanisms for the national management of deep sea minerals.

But Rev Pihaatae said the move appeared to be an attempt to validate exploration and mining before it started.

“We are deeply concerned and call for an immediate moratorium. The people of the Pacific have a right to determine for themselves what they want done on the ocean floor and they must be allowed to speak,” he said.


36) Nautilus meets NIP Governor, leaders

By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Nautilus Minerals President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Johnson was in New Ireland Province last week, where he met up with the Governor Sir Julius Chan and the Provincial Executive Council.

A briefing took place at the Kavieng Hotel last week Tuesday and it was the first high level meeting between Nautilus Minerals Limited, the developer of the Solwara I deep-sea mining project and the New Ireland Provincial Government. “To meaningfully talk of development of any kind in New Ireland, we must involve our people, making sure of a win- win for everyone” emphasized the New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan during an open dialogue with Nautilus Executives.

The meeting marks a watershed in the relationship between Nautilus Minerals and the New Ireland Government.

For the first time Nautilus has at the most senior level addressed the issues and requirements of the Government and people of New Ireland.

The outcome of this meeting will see the establishment of a Working Group consisting of representatives from the company and the New Ireland Government.

The Working group will address many issues including, identification of a series of high impact projects that would benefit New Ireland, and particularly the people of the West Coast, with focus on road works and most importantly Bridges.

New Ireland Officials expressed concern that the project must be implemented with full care and due diligence for possible environmental problems and has requested Nautilus ensure safeguards are in place to immediately address any environmental problems.

The Working group will ensure an independent internationally recognized environmental specialist conducts regular assessments of environmental issues and review of the EIS.

New Ireland Provincial Administrator Amani Monovi concluded the meeting by saying; “This has been a productive exchange, and the possibility that New Ireland could be at the forefront of technology is promising. As long as we continue through the newly established working group to openly and transparently consult, we can ensure that benefits are shared by all parties


37) Exxon prefers PNG to Australia

By Online Editor
5:16 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is an attractive investment destination compared with Australia, which has high labour costs and low productivity, Exxon’s Middle East and Australian vice president Mark Nolan says.

He told reporters in Brisbane on Monday that ExxonMobil prefers to use natural gas fields in PNG owned by InterOil to expand the country’s US$19 billion PNG LNG gas export project, rather than build a second export facility.

Last week, Exxon began talks with InterOil to invest in the latter’s gas assets in PNG.

However, it did not specify at the time whether the assets would underpin a new LNG plant, or support an expansion of the gas project that was already under construction.

He said: “We are interested in it because it could potentially provide an expansion of our existing facility.”

The PNG LNG project, which counts Oil Search Ltd and Santos Ltd as shareholders, is currently being built with two gas processing units, known as trains.

Exxon and partners have already found more resources in PNG that could underpin an expansion of the project to three trains, including the recent P’nyang discovery.

Exxon has estimated that it would need another four trillion or five trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas to add another train to PNG LNG.

“The resource will determine the size of the project, and, at the end of the day, the market will as well,” Nolan said.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil in PNG told The National yesterday the agreement on Gulf LNG project remained unclear as it was in initial stages.

“It is too early to see, we have only just begun exclusive negotiations with InterOil last week so the finer details on the agreement have not yet been confirmed,“ the company spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed decision by InterOil last week to start talks with ExxonMobil as a potential partner to develop its Elk and Antelope gas reservoirs.


38) Only 10% of SMEs owned by PNG nationals
By Online Editor
5:30 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Only about 10% of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Papua New Guinea are owned by locals, National Development Bank (NDB) managing director Moses Liu says.

He told participants at the PNG business and information expo in Port Moresby yesterday the country’s SME sector needed to grow.

More emphasis was placed on the small business market, which is a vital sector in all countries, Liu said.

He said 70% of the world economy was controlled by SMEs, which is the engine room of the developed world.

“Unfortunately in PNG, only 10% of the SMEs are owned by nationals … we got a huge challenge in our hands but we need to start now and NDB supports the local SME sector to grow,” Liu said..

In 2011, NDB organised and held the inaugural indigenous business summit in Kokopo to promote and empower local business in the SME sector.

It was attended by more than 1,000 local entrepreneurs.

Liu said: “NDB has been tasked with the responsibility of providing affordable credit, financial services and financial literacy to the people through the various products it has to offer.

“These services must help in improving the lives of the bulk of our people who live in the rural areas.
“Small business operations failed due to lack of skills … more business know-how is required”.

NDB will launch the stret pasin business scheme this year to boost the sector.


39) Solomons firm on new beche-de-mer harvest ban

Posted at 03:23 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands government has reconfirmed that the ban on beche-de-mer harvesting will be re-imposed at the end of this month.

The minister of fisheries and marine resources, Alfred Ghiro, says any harvesting after May the 31st will be illegal.

A ban, which had been in place for several years over concerns the resource was being over-exploited, was lifted at the beginning of March to allow a three-month harvest.

Mr Ghiro says there have been numerous requests to extend that three-month window but he says the original decision stands.

Radio New Zealand International

40) Vanuatu grower points to nut farming potential

Posted at 03:23 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

A wild nut expert in Vanuatu, Charlot Longwah, says the country’s farmers could earn thousands of dollars from the natapoa trees growing in the country.

The trees grow wild throughout Melanesia but Mr Longwah, who sells the nuts, has encouraged villagers to grow both natapoa and another nut tree, nangae.

He has developed a method for preserving the nuts and says farmers could earn much more from this crop than copra.

“The tree has a lot of nuts and it can contribute about 2000 [US] dollars of nuts in kernels for the farmers – one of the most important ways for them to get money because at the moment they are working on low value crops like copra, root crops, and all that. They are not making money and this nut is growing well and growing fast in Vanuatu.”

Charlot Longwah

Radio New Zealand International


41) Vanuatu law enforcement officers participate in drugs awareness

Posted on May 30, 2013 – 11:24am

Customs and Inland Revenue

Mr Ross Arden from NZ Police and Mr. Andrew Walker from NZ Customs handing over the new test kits to Ben Leeshi, Director of Customs and Uriel Leo from Vanuatu Police Drugs Unit”.

From May 20 to 27,officers from the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue, Vanuatu Police Force, Vanuatu Mobile Force, Security Officers from Airports Vanuatu, Customs Brokers and other front line agencies were part of a training organised jointly by the New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Police Force and Environmental Science and Research Limited. The awareness that was conducted in both Vila and Santo involved over 150 participants. The awareness was fully funded by the New Zealand Government including drug test kits which is worth over NZD2,200 or Vtt170,000.

The Pacific which Vanuatu is part of, has long been the play ground for criminals in the transportation and transhipping of illicit drugs as well as humans and money laundering. Thanks to our counterpart with more experience in the field of combating, such trainings are organised mainly to help our law enforcement agencies to be better equipped to intercept, detain and deal with such illegal activities.

Topics covered in the awareness included; drugs trafficking in the pacific region, methods of concealment carried out by criminals when using boats to transport illegal goods, changing domestic drugs situation in the pacific, effects of methamphetamine and effects it causes on individual, families and communities. Other related topics covered also included how to use presumptive test kits to test drugs intercepted and detain by border agencies, clandestine methamphetamine laboratories and evidential drugs testing.

The sessions concluded with presentations of drugs test kits to the Director of Customs and Police unit that deals with drugs.

42) Rotu: We are ready

THURSDAY, 30 MAY 2013 04:39

Mr Rotu said he has no reservations on the capabilities of local police to take over from RAMSI.

AS the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) scales down, local police say they are ready to take on the task.

Assistant police commissioner operations Selwyn Rotu confidently announced their readiness to take over security when RAMSI leaves.

Speaking during an awareness session organised by RAMSI for the media yesterday on the transition of the regional mission, Mr Rotu said he has no reservations on the capabilities of local police to take over from RAMSI.

“I am very confident we can take it from here. We have been taking over responsibilities for quite sometimes now and with the help we received from RAMSI over the years, we can now do it,” he said.

Asked if they will still rely on RAMSI during public disorder incidences, he said they have been in the frontline in past incidents, therefore are confident in themselves.

When asked how they can rebuild public confidence when calls for help were always hindered by lack of vehicles, the assistant police commissioner said logistic is still a problem.

“RAMSI has donated a lot of vehicles, but maintaining these machines is another problem we have.

“Besides, some of our vehicles are always damaged during our routine patrols.

“But we encourage the public to continue to seek police assistance. We hope authorities will rectify this situation sooner than later.”

Mr Rotu added that Solomon Islanders must see the RSIPF as their own force.

“Therefore, we have to take up the responsibilities ourselves and not depend on our friends forever.”

Members of the Participating Police Force under RAMSI will remain in the country for the next four years, but the military will leave by the end of June this year.

Development assistances that come under RAMSI would be reverted back to AusAid and NZAid….

By Ednal Palmer

43) Death laws passed in PNG
By Online Editor
5:47 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Parliament Tuesday gave a resounding aye to amendments to the Criminal Code Act that raised penalties for serious crimes including stealing and misappropriation.

The death penalty will apply for crimes such as aggravated rape, sorcery-related killings and robbery with violence.

The Criminal Code Act (Amendment Bill 2013), which was passed on a voice vote, repealed the Sorcery Act 1971.

Killings connected with sorcery will now be treated as wilful murder and the penalty is death.

Aggravated rape is defined as rape using dangerous weapons or rape in the company of one or more persons or where grievous bodily harm is caused and where the victim is a child under 10 years.

The new laws have increased the penalties for kidnapping which will now carry a maximum prison term of 50 years without remission or parole while kidnapping for ransom, a new kind of crime, now carries maximum penalty of life imprisonment without remission and parole.

As for stealing of monies between K5 million (US$2.2 million) and K9.99 million (US$4.million, the maximum penalty is 50 years without remission and parole while for stealing K10 million or more, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment without parole or remission.

Misappropriation worth K10 million (US$4.4 million) or above now carries a maximum of life imprisonment.

Parliament also amended section 597 of the Criminal Code Act, which allows for a number of modes of execution. These include hanging by the neck, administration of anesthetics followed by lethal injection, medical death through anesthetic administration and deprivation of oxygen, death by a firing squad and electrification.

The method of execution will be determined by the Head of State acting on advice from the National Executive Council.

Justice and Attorney General Kerenga Kua told Parliament that the laws were tough and reflected the crime situation and demands by the community.

Kua said current laws have not deterred people from committing serious crimes and the amended laws would give a strong warning to offenders.

He added that the death penalty on sorcery related killings would send a strong message to perpetrators.

Kua said violent crimes such as armed robbery and stealing had increased and were an impediment to development.

The new penalties would act as a deterrent to such crimes, he said.

Meanwhile, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed the Government’s package of new laws to deal with rising crime.

“These measures are the toughest and the most-wide ranging, introduced by any Government since Independence.

“They are a direct response by my Government, and the National Parliament, to the demands many citizens have made,” O’Neill said.

“Now the tough measures are law – and they include procedures for the actual implementation of the death penalty and much higher penalties for stealing and misappropriation.

“I am appealing directly to all our fellow citizens to join with the Government to begin the demanding task of significantly reducing crime, and making our communities safer and free of corruption.

“If we work together, if we support our police in their difficult work and if our police do so with discipline and commitment, then we can make Papua New Guinea what we all want it to be – safer, happier and peaceful.

“I want to stress that by introducing the death penalty, and tougher penalties for a range of crimes, it is just the start of the fight against crime.

“And it is a fight we are only going to win if we all work together.”

Some of the steps being taken by the Government include:

*Recruitment and training of new police personnel;

*Prime minister negotiating a hands-on policing assistance programme with the Queensland Government in Australia for up to 150 police personnel, with experience in fighting crime to work side by side with Papua New Guinea police men and women in police stations across the country.

A similar number of our police personnel will gain experience working in police stations in Queensland;

*The Government giving priority to the establishment of at least one island, or remote prison, which will house the most dangerous criminals. Work will be done to improve security at all major prisons.
*Establishing an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission to fight corruption; and

*Involving churches and community groups more closely in the fight to make our communities safer.

“With these and other measures, we are already committed to implementing,” O’Neill said.

“They give us a real hope of reducing crime and lawlessness, and making our cities, our towns and our villages, much safer for all.”

The prime minister urged all to help make these measures work across our nation.

“Criminals must not be protected; it is important that when you see criminal behaviour, you should contact the police immediately.

“It is also important that the private sector, including major mining and other resource companies help the police fight crime,” he said.


44) ‘Death for drug crimes’ in PNG
By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Government is considering imposing the death penalty on people who produce homebrew and cultivate marijuana, Police Minister Nixon Duban says.

He told a gathering in Ramu, Madang, this week that homebrew and marijuana had contributed to the deteriorating law and order situation in the country.

“People who produce homebrew and cultivate marijuana will be put to death,” Duban, who is also the Madang MP said.

“The government is looking for ways to implement the death penalty.”

He said the proposed legislation was being reviewed by the National Executive Council and would be implemented if it was approved.

“People who spy around on our mothers and young girls will be hanged or face the firing squads.

“There are too many lawless people in the country. This will teach them a lession,” Duban said.

He said the urgency to implement the policy came from the people themselves after many women became victims of violent and horrific crimes in recent times.

Duban said his electorate was no longer one of the peaceful places in the country.

“The standard of discipline in Madang has dropped. People who came to settle in Madang brought in their own ways and have created problems,” he said.

The minister said according to reports he received, a number of Caucasian students who came to do their research in Madang were attacked by thugs on Sunday.

He said the current police ratio to civilians in the country was nowhere near the United Nations recommended ration of one policeman to 450 people.

He said police were stressed out and the community must assist police to ensure law and order was maintained.


45)Solomons provincial government condemns raid

By Online Editor
4:59 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Solomon Islands

The provincial government of Malaita in the Solomon Islands has accused RAMSI of undermining peace efforts after police raided a village looking for a fugitive.

Police were searching the village in Central Kwara’ae for Edmond Sae, who is wanted for the alleged murder of former police commissioner Sir Fred Soaki in 2003.

Deputy premier Alick Maeaba has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat villagers are being put at risk.

“When the shots were fired, innocent people were escaping into the bush, for example, women, children, were escaping into the bush because they were afraid because of the gunshots that were first in the air,” he said.

Police believe Edmond Sae is hiding in the Malaitan jungle.

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), in a statement, has denied reports shots were fired but said “non-lethal distraction devices” were used.

The statement said no RAMSI military personnel were involved.

Although no casualties have been reported, Maeaba says the raid has disturbed peace efforts in Malaita province.

“What I would like RAMSI to do is… not to threaten people with this kind of gunfire, because it really jeopardises the whole peace process in Malaita Province,” he said.

“While the peace process is still a very fragile situation, gunfire must not be practiced.

“We are dealing with human beings who have been traumatised by ethnic tension.”.


46) Criminal charges for Papua mine owners if negligence proved, say police

Posted at 03:23 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

A police spokesperson in Indonesia’s Papua says criminal charges will be laid against a mine company if negligence is found to be the cause of the tunnel collapse that killed 28 workers this month.

According to the Jakarta Post, Senior Commissioner Gede Sumerta Jaya says they have interviewed 12 witnesses, including mine owners Freeport McMoRan and the survivors of the incident.

Investigations are underway at the mine, and Mr Sumerta Jaya says based on preliminary investigation, the collapse seems to be due to natural factors, such as cracks caused by erosion in the limestone of the tunnel’s ceiling.

The newspaper reports workers have returned to the mine to check equipment but there has been no production yet.

In 2009, a worker died and four others were injured in another mine collapse and in 2008, at least 20 miners were buried when the mine’s tailings heap collapsed on them after two days of heavy rain.

Radio New Zealand International

47) Fire destroys another boat of New Caledonia party leader

Posted at 07:10 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

Police in New Caledonia have opened an investigation into a fire which destroyed a boat belonging to the leader of the Labour Party, Louis Kotra-Uregei.

According to local media, the fire was discovered at the wharf around midnight.

Two months ago, a fire destroyed a pleasure boat belonging to Mr Kotra-Uregei, who at the time said he had no doubt it was the result of a crime.

Also a leading unionist, he said not everybody agreed with his ideas.

Radio New Zealand International

48) Catholic Bishops in PNG and Solomons criticise death penalty decision

Posted at 19:20 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

The Catholic Church is dismayed at the Papua New Guinea government’s decision to reinstate the death penalty.

The Catholic Bishops Conference has reacted angrily and accused the Government and Parliament for ignoring the public debate on the death penalty and fast tracking their own agenda in parliament.

The General Secretary for Catholic Bishops’ Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands Father Victor Roche says it is indeed a sad day for the country when the Parliamentarians decided to give the death penalty for its own citizens.

He says they do agree that the leaders want to put a stop to the merciless killing of innocent people especially of rape, sorcery and murder.

But he says the death penalty is not the solution.

However he adds the church has welcomed other amendments to the criminal code on penalties for abduction, murder, and the misuse of funds of over 2 million US dollars.

Radio New Zealand International

49) Fisheries officers investigated for corruption involving sea cucumber

By Online Editor
5:34 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Tonga

Four fisheries officers in Tonga are being investigated for alleged corruption involving sea cucumber.

According to Radio & TV Tonga News, the sea cucumber was confiscated by Police and later sold by the Ministry of Fisheries.

The Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food, Sangster Saulala said investigation will also look at claims that money generated from purchasing of illegal sea cucumber, confiscated by Police, is far too small when compared with the normal price.

Minister Saulala is concerned with the alleged abuse of authority by his officers involving sea cucumber confiscated from one of the remote islands earlier this year.

“The cost of all sea cucumber depends on its weight.  So the sea cucumber confiscated by Police in Ha’apai should be worth around $200,000 (US$113,000).  But my officers sold it for only $40,000 (US$22,000).
The Police have their doubts regarding the price used when selling those sea cucumbers,” Minister Saulala told Radio & TV Tonga News.

“All proceeds generated from such sale belongs to the government.

“All money collected from confiscated goods involving sea cucumber has been transferred to the Ministry of Finance as part of the government’s income. But in regards with the recent investigation carried out on the fisheries officers, I am worried about our ministry’s reputation and integrity. However it is important that we sort this out and see what’s next after the investigation,” the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food said.

A separate body is carrying out the investigation involving officers from the Crown Law Department, Tonga’s Sea Cucumber Association and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries & Food.

The Minister said the investigation should be finalized this week.

On a separate matter, Minister Saulala confirmed an investigation is underway to determine how 26 bags of dried sea cucumber were found at a home in Halaleva last week.

Harvesting of sea cucumber in Tonga is currently suspended to allow for the stock to replenish.


50) Dirty money

Nasik Swami And Ropate Valemei
Friday, May 24, 2013

AN estimated $200 to $300million 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 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,” Mr 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,” Mr Buksh said.

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


51) Explosive activity of Vanuatu’s Mt Yasur increases

Posted at 06:51 on 30 May, 2013 UTC

Explosive activity at Vanuatu’s Mt Yasur volcano has increased in recent days.

According to observations by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards department, the activity level of the volcano on Tanna island is still at alert level 2 but an increase to 3 in the near future is possible.

The risk of volcanic projections near the volcano crater remains as thick steam and ash is being emitted from active vents, with ash fall in communities downwind.

An increase in activity was noted in early April when bombs were ejected from the volcano to the parking area below the summit cone, and the activity status was raised from 1 to 2.

It is recommended that all communities, visitors and travel agents take the current situation seriously.

Radio New Zealand International

52) Persistent problems as Marshalls drought continues

Posted at 06:51 on 30 May, 2013 UTC

The drought in the Marshall Islands is being described as dire, as thousands of people are still affected.

The government’s National Water Advisor, Tom Vance, says international help has allowed 17 water purifying units to be distributed throughout the atolls.

He says while the units are helping hydrate the population, this isn’t helping with food.

Mr Vance says government officials visited people on Likiep island yesterday.

They have been suffering from health problems like diarrhoea and fevers as a result of the high salinity in the wells.

“Most of the breadfruit trees have died and the local food has decreased as a result of the drought. Also one of our islands, it’s called Enewetak, that’s the driest island, they’ve had such a problem with the drought that all of their local food crops have collapsed, and they’ve had an extreme problem trying to get any food into the island.”

Tom Vance says New Zealand has offered assistance to deliver food to Enewetak, and two water makers have been put on Likiep island, producing 360 gallons of water a day.

Radio New Zealand International

53) Climate change is everybody’s business

THURSDAY, 30 MAY 2013 08:53
CLIMATE change is everybody’s business, principal scientific officer of Samoa’s meteorological division says.

Mr Seuseu was speaking to regional journalists attending the Pacific Media and Climate Change Training Workshop, Tuesday.

“The public must not take it wrong to think that since climate change is an environmental problem, only the environmental people should be dealing with the issue,” he said.

“Everyone in the society and sectors within the country are all vulnerable to climate change, therefore must take the responsibility to act together to address the issue.

“It is everybody’s business because the impacts of climate change do not only affect the environmental people, but it affects everyone,” Mr Seuseu said.

He added that despite the different sectors and roles and functions they do, they all face climate change challenges because of climate variability both in the short and long term.

Mr Seuseu said a good example was the case of Samoa in the 2008 flooding in Apia which had a great impact to the agriculture, business, infrastructure, education, health, and resulted in a huge economic toll on the country.

“Just imagine the amount of damage one particular event would cause to one particular sector, if one would calculate.

“In the case of Samoa, its impact is on the country’s Gross Domestic Product are huge (GDP),” Mr Seuseu stressed.

He reiterated that everyone is vulnerable to climate change therefore it is important that all sectors take serious steps to formulate action plans to address climate change in Pacific island countries….

By Daniel Namosuaia
In Apia, Samoa

54) East Timor weather data rescued from turmoil
By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Timor-leste

The Australian Government has returned two decades of weather data to East Timor, after it was rescued by a Darwin meteorologist amid civil unrest during the small island nation’s move to independence.

Meteorologist Sam Cleland arrived in Dili in 1999 to help restore weather services in the country, and was shocked to find 20 years of records left in an abandoned office.

“There was a lot of paper records strewn over the floor, a foot deep in places, I spent the next few hours sifting through trying to gather what I could”, he said.

He then spent hours collecting what papers he could before taking them to the airport and sending them to Darwin for safekeeping.

The records are being returned in their original paper form to the country’s national archives, but also in a digitised form so local agencies and scientists can access the data for research and modelling.

Australian and East Timorese scientists say the 20 years of records fill an important gap in knowledge about the country’s weather and its climate.

They say it has been difficult for Timor to understand potential climate change and impacts because of the missing information.

The digitisation of the records is also part of a broader project to convert all of Timor’s weather data from paper to electronic format.

There are still decades of data missing from the periods when Portugal and Indonesia colonised the small island nation.

East Timor has applied to Portugal and Indonesia to obtain those records


55) Pacific Parliamentarians at climate change talks in Australia

Updated 29 May 2013, 17:21 AEST

Representatives of four Pacific nations’ parliaments are in Australia this week for meetings and workshops on climate change.

The trip is organised with the help of the United Nations Development Program, which says MPs are often overlooked when critical decisions on climate change policy are being made.

MPs from Kiribati, Tonga, Marshall Islands and Samoa have already met academics from Sydney University, and scientists from Australia’s peak science body the CSIRO.

They’re also scheduled to meet Australian government and opposition climate change and environment representatives.

Presenter: Bo Hill

Speaker: Hon Tusa Misi Tupuola, Associate Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, chairman of the Environment Committee, Samoa, Tonga’s parliamentary speaker, Lord Fatafehi Fakafanua

HILL: This week’s meetings are focused on exchange of ideas and information on climate change and the environment, with the aim of involving local MPs from Kiribati, Tonga, Marshall Islands and Samoa. Lord Fatafehi Fakafanua is the speaker in Tonga’s parliament.

FAKAFANUA: We’re here to talk to scientists and also legislators in Australia about issues pertinent to the Pacific and climate change. It just gives a good perspective for the legislators, and more information for them to make decisions when they make the policies back home.

HILL: The study exchange was organised by the United Nations Development Program. UNDP officials say parliamentarians provide a crucial link between national development priorities and implementation at a local level. Lord Fakafanua is chief of three villages in Tonga. He says more needs to be done to ensure climate change knowledge is widely shared.

FAKAFANUA: I think climate change is a household word, a lot of people are aware of what it is, but I think that people under-estimate its’ effects and the immediacy of the challenge we have to face. I that think the villagers in Tonga need to be more aware.

HILL: Lord Fakafanua says the Tongan government is moving to get information out into the villages, and workshops like those held in Australia this week will help. And he says, there is a lot of help needed when it comes to climate change.

FAKAFANUA: I don’t think the Pacific can do much but adapt to it. And this is one thing we have to learn from Australia because Australia is the leading donor in the Pacific and they can give us assistance in that way.

HILL: And those contributions from donors to Pacific nations is vital, says Samoan MP, and chair of its environment committee, Tusa Misi Tupuola.

TUPUOLA: I only want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to the government of Australia, parliament of Australia as well, and the United Nations, the UNDP for their assistance, endless assistance.

HILL: The Samoan economy is currently under a cloud – with reports it’s slid into recession. The Samoan finance ministry is subject to accusations of mis-management, including allegations targeting the Finance Minister for costs relating to the refurbishment of his office, and money spent on a market that remains basically unused. Neither the finance minister, or Samoa’s prime minister, have commented on the allegations. Tusa Misi Tupuola says he can’t comment either, but says he is not concerned about whether Samoa can afford it’s climate change policies.

TUPUOLA: As I said that is why we are here, because the Australian people, the Australian government, parliament, has proposed some assistance, financially for Samoa to fund all those things.

HILL: But you’re in the government, you’re chair of the environment committee, you need funds to do what you’re doing. Do you feel you are being supported enough by the government, and do you see future planning for these programs?

TUPUOLA: Exactly. We need some more funding to fund all these, especially the environment and climate change issue, and not only from government but from overseas donors like Australia.

HILL: Tongan parliamentary speaker, Lord Fakafanua, says his nation is concerned about the long-term costs of climate change, but is also looking to Australia for help.

FAKAFANUA: We’re very grateful for the Australian government. The current budget shows an allowance of $384 million over the next four years in their Pacific Island assistance. In terms of the actual cost, I mean, one cannot quantify the effects of rising sea levels because you’re looking at local communities being threatened and whole island states – their very existence is on the line. I can’t answer whether that’s reversible, but they’re important questions that the Pacific and Australia should consider for the future.


56) Pacific Games preparations set with K1b support
By Online Editor
5:52 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Parliament was told yesterday that with 750 days to go, the 2015 South Pacific Games is going to be delivered as scheduled with the government’s funding of almost K1 billion support in preparations.

The deadline is July 4, 2015, the start of the South Pacific Games.

Minister for Sports, Pacific Games and National Events Justin Tkatchenko said this when presenting his ministerial statement on the status and progress of the 2015 Pacific games in parliament.

He said for three years after the bid to host the Games was won, the country sat on it without any progress, and was in the verge of having the host contract revoked by the Pacific Games Council, until the O’Neill government took on the  task.

He said although time was not on PNG’s side, so far, preparations were progressing well and would be ready for the Games in 2015.

He said in order to showcase the country to over 4000 visitors from 22 countries, in 28 sports and disciplines three main entities were established to deliver the games.

They were;

The venue infrastructure and equipment committee:  they would be responsible for construction of new sporting venues and infrastructure and the rehabilitation of existing sporting venues and facilities. It will also be responsible for building a new Games Village at the University of PNG and providing sporting equipment. By 2015 they should have four projects completed, Games Village, Taurama aquatic centre and indoor complex, Sir John Guise stadium and Rita Flynn courts rehabilitation.

Games Organising committee: they would be responsible for the organising of the Games, covering security, Games support services, ceremonies, cultural events, marketing and communication and human resource among others, and;

The grassroots to gold programme that would be responsible for talent identification of athletes to participate in the Games, and the talent development of the success of the Games. They come under the PNG Sport Foundation.

Tkatchenko said the successful delivery of the Games was critical of PNG’s leadership in the Pacific and beyond and it had to be facilitated well, meeting international standards.

He added that the preparing and facilitating a big event like that, meeting international standards, would  also leave a legacy.

57) Pacific support for softball and baseball’s Olympic return

Posted at 23:02 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

The American Samoa Softball Association has applauded the International Olympic Committee for recommending that softball, baseball, wrestling and squash be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games.

The sports were selected by secret ballot from a shortlist of eight that also included karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.

ASSA President Larry Sanitoa say that the local baseball and softball organizations were taken by surprise when the two sports were dumped from the Olympic programme four years ago and the recommendation is welcome news for local avid fans and aspiring athletes.

Wrestling has been given another lifeline three months after the IOC announced that it wanted the ancient sport ejected for the 2020 Games.

The full IOC membership will vote on which of the three sports to add to the programme in September.

Radio New Zealand International

58) Build-up for cricket U19

Arin Kumar
Thursday, May 30, 2013

THE national under-19 cricket side will play weekly games against the Army Cricket Club as part of their build-up towards the Men’s U19 ICC East Asia Pacific (EAP) Championships to be held on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Yesterday, Cricket Fiji revealed the names of the 14 players that will take part in the tournament to be played from July 1 to 5.

Team coach Josefa Rika hopes the tournament will be an enriching experience for the young team which has an average age of 17.

He said right now they were training every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with camps every Friday and Saturday.

“They will play games every Wednesday against the Army Cricket Club as a lead up to the tournament,” Rika said.

He said they were working on improving the players’ knowledge of the game and getting them to read the game better.

“We want them to be smart cricketers as well as great cricketers.

“We will be based a lot more out on the pitch working on game-based scenarios to assist them as well as more 50 over matches during training.”

Cricket Fiji hopes the tour will provide the team with a valuable developmental experience and provide a pathway for players to reach the national men’s team.

The 14-member squad:

Jack Aaran Smith, William Tagilala Nawai, Manase Moce Tikotikoca Ravula, Sakiusa Vahid Dokosobau, Netani Ledua Waqavakatoga, Metuisela Beitaki, Metuisela Daucakacaka, Qalo Kau, Sagaitu Jotama Konusi, Tuinamoli Makutu Koroi , Saimoni Soko Tuitoga, Josaia Baleicikoibia, Sowane Puamau, Cakacaka Tikoisuva Cokovaki.

59) Toa Samoa continue World Cup build-up in Hawaii

Posted at 23:02 on 29 May, 2013 UTC

Samoa Residents rugby league coach Ponifasio Vasa says this weekend’s one-off match against the USA in Hawaii is a big opportunity for local players to press their World Cup claims.

The squad is made up of Samoa and New Zealand-based amateurs and follows on from the full Toa Samoa’s Pacific test against Tonga last month.

Residents coach Ponifasio Vasa even though the team isn’t at full strength it will be a valuable hit out.

“We’ve told them to prove themselves that they can do the job in the top level. Not so much looking forward for the World Cup – that is the ultimate goal – but this is the priority for them. They have to win this one, they have to do it right and do better for Samoa and definitely there will be a chance for them at the World Cup.”

The ’friendly’ match takes place on Saturday local time in Hawaii, which coincides with Samoan Independence Day.

Radio New Zealand International

60) Tonga U20s confident ahead of Junior World Rugby Trophy kickoff

By Online Editor
5:50 pm GMT+12, 29/05/2013, Chile

Tonga’s bid return to the top echelon of age-grade rugby kicks off on Wednesday against Canada in Chile.

The Kingdom are vying with seven other teams for the Junior World Rugby Trophy, and with it promotion to the elite Under 20s Junior World Championship.

Tonga finished third at the same tournament last year and head coach Fe’ao Vunipola says they’ve definitely been given the tougher side of the draw.

“We are confident in our abilities. I know the pool is a bit strange given that we have the most hard teams to play – we have Canada and Japan and Uruguay, whereas Italy have Chile and Portugal and [Namibia]. But what do we have to say, just play what’s in front of us.”

Meanwhile in the games played so far, Japan thrashed Uruguay 40-20 and Italy beat Namibia 33-7.


61) England wins series

Thursday, May 30, 2013

LEEDS, England – Graeme Swann bowled England to a commanding 247-run win in the second Test against New Zealand in Leeds yesterday with rain unable to save the tourists.

Offspinner Swann took 6-90, for a Test-best match return of 10-132, as New Zealand — chasing an improbable 468 for victory — were dismissed for 220.

The win gave England the two-match series 2-0 after their 170-run triumph in the first Test at Lord’s.

Swann’s figures topped his previous best Test figures of 10-181 against Sri Lanka in Colombo last year.

Rain, as much as New Zealand’s lower-order batting, was the biggest obstacle to England recording a thumping win on the final day at Headingley.

But they grabbed the four wickets they needed in the 86 minutes’ play that took place either side of delays for bad weather.

New Zealand, 6-158 overnight, resumed with captain Brendon McCullum yet to score and paceman Tim Southee not out four.

But McCullum was out for one when he chipped a full toss back to Stuart Broad, the tall fast bowler getting down well to hold the low chance.

That was followed by a 56-run eighth-wicket stand between Southee and Doug Bracewell.

Southee defiantly hooked fast bowler Steven Finn for six. But on 24, he was dropped by Jonathan Trott at slip off Swann. Next ball, Southee belted Swann for six.

Bracewell joined in by cover-driving Finn for four and pulling him for six to bring up the 50 partnership from just 35 balls.

But Swann had his fifth wicket of the innings, and ninth of the match, when Southee, on 38, edged to slip and this time Trott held the catch.

When rain forced an early lunch, New Zealand were 8-219.

Play resumed at 3pm local time under leaden skies and with drizzle falling.

Bracewell was out soon afterwards, well caught at silly point by Ian Bell off Swann to leave New Zealand on the brink of defeat.

No.11 Trent Boult gamely made a 26-minute nought before he was last man out, caught behind off paceman James Anderson’s third ball.

England’s first innings 354 featured Joe Root’s 104, the Yorkshire batsman scoring his maiden Test century on his home ground.

In reply, New Zealand made 174, with Swann taking 4-42.

But although England captain Alastair Cook was in a position to enforce the follow-on on Sunday, he decided to bat again.

Cook extended his own England Test century record to 25 on Monday with an innings of 130 – seven of those tons coming in the 11 matches since he became captain – before declaring at 5-287 after lunch on Monday.

62) Lions in Hong Kong

Thursday, May 30, 2013

HONG KONG – The star-studded British and Irish Lions touched down in Hong Kong on Tuesday for the first Asian tour match in their 125-year history, ahead of the three-Test series with Australia.

The 37-man squad, which combines the cream of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, were given a warm welcome as they arrived at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport wearing red Lions T-shirts.

Captain Sam Warburton and Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg posed with local schoolchildren who displayed a banner in Chinese saying “Welcome British and Irish Lions to Hong Kong” alongside the Lions’ mascot Billy.

The Lions, who visit one southern hemisphere rugby nation every four years, kick off their tour on Saturday when they play the Barbarians at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium – venue for the annual Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

The Lions’ first game in Asia adds to rugby’s steadily growing presence in the region, including Bledisloe Cup games between Australia and New Zealand in Hong Kong and Japan’s hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Saturday’s match is a warm-up for the Lions’ tour of Australia, where they will try to end a three-series losing streak since defeating South Africa in 1997.

In their last visit to Australia in 2001, they were edged out 2-1 in the gripping final instalment of a brutal series against John Eales’ Wallabies.

Subsequently, the Lions have suffered a thumping 3-0 loss to New Zealand in 2005 and a 2-1 reverse against South Africa in 2009.

After their first run-out on Saturday against the “Baa-Baas”, who lost 40-12 to a young England side at Twickenham on Sunday, the Lions will fly to Perth to face the Western Force on Wednesday.

They will then play five more warm-ups before the Test series begins in Brisbane on June 22.

The second Test is in Melbourne a week later and the series wraps up in Sydney on July 6.

Coach Warren Gatland has selected 15 Welshmen in his squad, Wales’ largest Lions representation in 36 years.

Ireland contribute 10 Lions since the inclusion of hooker Rory Best as a late replacement for suspended Englishman Dylan Hartley. The England contingent drops to nine and there are three from Scotland.

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