Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 873


1) West Papua mum on decision to defer MSG application

By Online Editor
4:42 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, New Caledonia

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Noumea, New Caledonia

The West Papuan free independence movement group based in Vanuatu has arrived in Noumea Tuesday ahead of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit on Thursday.

Led by Dr Otto Ondawame and Rex Rumakiek, the group also has a former Prime Minister of Vanuatu,  Barak Sope as part of its delegation.

When approached by PACNEWS at the Le Surf Hotel where they are staying for a comment on the decision of the MSG Foreign Affairs Minister to defer a decision on their application, Rex Rumakiek preferred that they make a statement Friday after the Leaders Plenary session.

“Dr Otto Ondawame will make a statement to MSG Leaders on Friday morning, said Rumakiek.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting in the Loyalty Islands resolved to defer the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation’s membership until a ministerial mission visits Jakarta and Jayapura before the end of the year.

Fiji’s foreign affairs minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola told journalists in Lifou the ministerial visit is at the invitation of the Indonesian Government, conveyed to Fiji early this month.

No date has been confirmed for the MSG mission but Ratu Inoke assured his foreign ministers counterparts from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and FLNKS that it will be convene before the end of the year.

Vanuatu has welcomed the ministerial visit, on the condition that it happens before the end of the year, said Deputy Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.

An issue that can complicate the WPNC application is the emergence of another group in West Papua that is claiming legitimate representation of the people of West Papua.

PACNEWS was told the group applied directly to the hosts, the FLNKS of New Caledonia to be present in Noumea this week.

Rumakiek didn’t want to comment on this other group while Ratu Inoke could only say, “This is also a reason why this mission is going to determine which group truly represents West Papua.”

The West Papuan application is on the agenda of the MSG Leaders meeting on Friday.

2) Free West Papua Group Bid To Join MSG Deferred
MSG nations desire self-determination for West Papua

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 18, 2013) – It has been recommended that a bid by the Free West Papua movement to join regional Pacific body the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to been deferred by at least six months.

MSG brings together the leaders of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, along with New Caledonia’s indigenous political movement FLNKS.

The Free West Papua movement is pushing for independence from Indonesia and sees membership of the MSG as a step towards international recognition.

PacNews reports foreign ministers gathered in Lifou, the capital of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands, have resolved to defer the decision until they’ve sent a delegation to Jakarta and Jayapura.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Secretary General Rex Rumakiek of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation expressed disappointment with the deferral, saying the 50-year-long suffering of indigenous West Papuans must be considered.]

Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola told the meeting Indonesia extended the invitation earlier this month.

He says Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands take the same position when it comes to the Indonesian province of Papua.

“All MSG countries share the same view that we would like to some form of self-determination for West Papua,” he said.

Vanuatu’s foreign minister Edward Natapei says his country strongly backed the bid to have it discussed at this meeting, but was outnumbered.

“We have to comply with the majority,” he said.

“All we want is some timeline so that we are sure that this issue is going to be dealt within this year – at least that is a start for us.”

Mr. Natapei says Vanuatu’s prime minister will raise the issue with other leaders when their retreat gets underway on Thursday.

The leaders will also consider whether to approve the foreign ministers’ decision to send a delegation to Jakarta and Jayapura.

Radio Australia:

3) West Papua part of Indonesia: PNG PM

By Online Editor
3:44 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Indonesia

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill has reiterated that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia.

O’Neill again told reporters in Jakarta, Papua New Guinea’s position has not changed.

But he says, PNG is happy to have been asked by the Indonesian government to help manage issues in Papua Province, in the areas of autonomy, cultural and economic activities.

O’ Neill says for the first time, the people of Papua Province will be encouraged to attend the Pacific Games to be held in Port Moresby, and the Melanesian Festival of Arts next year.

In related developments, the Secretary General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation Rex Rumakiek has expressed disappointment at signs, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) will defer a decision on the West Papuan application for membership in the group.

A decision on the formal application by the Coalition was expected at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit, which gets underway in New Caledonia.

While the MSG leaders have the ultimate say on the matter, Rumakiek says the suffering of West Papuans must be considered.

A West Papua delegation is in Noumea for the MSG meet


4) New heads appointed to PNG foreign missions

By Online Editor
3:15 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea National Executive Council (NEC) has appointed new heads to three missions abroad.

They are Fred Yakasa, Rupa Mulina and Joshua Kalinoe.

Yakasa was appointed High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands,  Mulina as ambassador to the United States and Kalinoe as ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (EU).
Yakasa takes up the Honiara post left vacant by the recall of Brian Yombon Copio.

Justice Cathy Davani, who was initially appointed to the post, declined the offer and NEC accepted her decision.

Mulina takes over from Evan Paki in Washington DC while Kalinoe fills the position in Brussels vacated by Peter Maginde.

Kalinoe will also hold concurrent accreditation to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

As PNG’s ambassador to the US,  Mulina will also hold concurrent accreditation to Canada and Mexico.

5) Record signings

PNG-Indonesia sign 11 MOU’s for closer ties


PAPUA New Guinea and Indonesia have signed a record 11 memoranda of understanding for closer co-operation between the two countries. The MOU signings comes at the back of a one-on-one discussion between Peter O’Neill, the Prime Minister, and his Indonesian counterpart, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Monday evening. The MOU included workers exchange, education and training, air transport arrangement, petroleum and energy, education co-operation and higher education co-operation.
They were signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato on behalf of the Government of PNG and various sectoral ministers from the Indonesian government.
Attorney general and justice minister Kerenga Kua signed with his Indonesian counterpart the extradition treaty; mining minister Byron Chan signed the MOU in mineral resource development; tourism minister Boka Kondra signed the Tourism Cooperation MOU; and Justin Tkatchenko signed the Sports Cooperation MOU.
The MOU signings were witnessed by Prime Minister O’Neill and President Yudhoyono which took place at the Istana Merdeka, presidential palace in Jakarta.
Mr O’Neill and wife Linda Babao led a delegation of cabinet ministers which also included forest and climate change minister Patrick Pruaitch, public enterprise minister Ben Micah, fisheries minister Mao Seming and the defence minister Fabian Pok.
NCD governor Powes Parkop, Jiwaka governor William Tongamp, MPs and a large business representation all arrived at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on an Air Niugini 767 from Port Moresby where they were met by the chief of state protocol of the Republic of Indonesia, Ambassador Ahmad Rusdi and ambassador of PNG to Indonesia Commodore Peter Ilau.
Prime Minister O’Neill and his delegation on Monday morning visited the Kalibata National Heroes cemetery for a wreath laying ceremony.
In the evening Prime Minister O’Neill was escorted in a long convoy of vehicles to the presidential palace where he was welcome by the President Yudhoyono and wife Ani Yudhoyono and inspected a military guard of honor and 21 Gun Salute.
The delegation will depart Jakarta on Wednesday morning to return to Port Moresby.

6) Jiwaka records 14 women in LLG election

A GOOD number of women in the Jiwaka Province have nominated to contest the 2013 Local Level Government Council elections.
More than 10 women in Wahgi Valley have nominated to battle against their male counterpart for a mandate.
Jiwaka Provincial Election Manager Rossie Pandi (Hau) confirmed a total of 14 women throughout the province were nominated to contest the Provincial Local Level Government Councils elections.
Miss Pandi 1said 2 women nominated were to contest for ward council seats, while the remaining two nominated to contest for presidency.
She said the people would decide whether to give these women candidates the mandate the contest for or ignore them.
Miss Pandi said previously women were scared to nominate and contest in the local level government council elections but this year women had shown interest which was very good.
She said this gave more confident to other women folks in the community to battle with men in the male dominated field.
Miss Pandi said women were reckon as second class in this society therefore they were not given any chance to speak publicly or even given opportunity to share idea in any decision making.
She urged the women to be confident in their campaigning because the people would decide in the poll box.
Miss Pandi (Hau) thanked them for the challenge they have taken, adding they had set a milestone in the province as an avenue for other women to contest in future elections.
She urged youths and other male candidates to show respect and not to intimidate or threaten them during polling period.
Miss Pandi (Hau) said it was the people’s rights choose their candidates and urged the people not resort to force during the polling period.
She said this would show a bad picture for themselves, adding they must allow the women to exercise their powers at the poll too.
and investment relationships between our two countries already exist. Indonesian companies are participating in the growing of the Papua New Guinea economy.
“Indonesian business and investment interests have a substantial presence in retail and the natural resource sectors in the country (PNG).”

7) Agi brothers battle for same seat


TWO blood brothers are battling against their elder brother Sam David Agi, the incumbent Ahi LLG President.
The Agi brothers — Phillip Nathaniel Agi and Manasseh Agi- are challenging their big brother Sam for the presidential seat with other 32 candidates including their cousin sister Judith Gedisa.
Nathaniel had challenged Sam in the 2008 LLG election, where Sam won the election as the president.
Sam told the Post-Courier last Sunday that the Ahi LLG presidential seat should be reserved for the Ahi people.
“We need an Ahi president as landowners to talk about the issues of land in their communities,” Sam said.
He urged the Kaman (outsiders) candidates to respect the political rights of the Ahi candidates.
Sam said he was confident to win his seat.
“The Yanga and Wagang (Sipaia) villagers have respected me by not fielding a candidate in this election.
“It’s only my relatives from Kamkumung and Butibam village who are challenging me in this election,” Sam said.
His small brother Nalau is also confident of defending the Ward 14 council seat.

8) Luganville has new Mayor

Posted on June 19, 2013


Harrison Selmen

Emboi Morris from the Greens Confederation has been elected yesterday as Luganville’s new Lord Mayor.

The election saw the HOPE councilors and National United Party (NUP) councilors boycotting by not casting their votes around 2pm after the suspension of the meeting in the morning.

A dispute by the opposition bloc of NUP and HOPE councilors suspended the morning meeting based on the decision to call a council meeting contrary to the Municipal Act CAP 126 standing orders NO. 7 of 1989 under Part 3, Section 6, which states that, “The mayor shall in writing issue notice of Council meeting to each councilors stating the place and time of the meeting therein”.

Seven of the councilors from the bloc of Green Confederation and UMP came up with the numbers as majority that allowed the Clerk to proceed with the election after further advice from the State Law that the election may proceed.

Based on this advice the new mayor was later elected yesterday afternoon.
The election was conducted by councilor Ian Manu with the assistance of the town clerk and Acting Principal Electoral Officer, Martin Tete.
After the election of the Mayor, the mayor took his seat and conducted the election for his deputy.

James Ulas was elected Deputy Mayor. Both positions are for two years (2013 – 2015).
Meanwhile, the opposition bloc of NUP, MP Toara’s Green, Iauko Group and HOPE said they will challenge the decision at the Supreme Court as to why the election proceeded consideration of CAP 126 standing orders. MP Kalvau Moli, leader of HOPE, said they will make sure the Standing orders powers must continue to prevail.

An instruction from the opposition legal counsel to the State Law and Town Clerk reads, “Your reference to the sections quoted applies when there is fresh election of the Luganville Municipality, but in this case, there already exists a council, so by law, only the Lord Mayor or his Deputy can call a meeting.

“We advise that the current Municipal Meeting should be called by the Lord Mayor or his Deputy and not any other Councilors and it can not be the clerk unless he had taken instructions from the Lord Mayor or its Deputy. We wish to advise the meeting of today 17 June 2013 should not proceed as it is not a notice of council meeting by the Lord Mayor but yourself”.

Newly elected Lord Mayor Emboi said the opposition can challenge the decision in court however, they as elected members relied on the State Law Office on directions and advice. The MOU signed by the Greens has not been disputed and remains solid until the mayor’s election.

9) New Caledonia’s Loueckhote to form new Kanak party

Posted at 05:44 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

A former long-standing New Caledonian member of the French Senate has announced the formation of a Kanak anti-independence party – a year before the next territorial election.

Simon Loueckhote chose to make the announcement the day France commemorated June the 18th 1940 when Charles de Gaulle made his rallying speech in Britain to free his country from German occupation.

Mr Loueckhote says the party is to be known as the other voice to dispel the possible perception that all Kanaks are for independence.

Five years ago, he founded another party, the Movement for Diversity.

He had been the territory’s sole member of the French Senate for 19 years until 2011 when the local chapter of the French centre-right UMP no longer backed him and instead opted for another veteran politician, Pierre Frogier, to hold the Senate seat.

Radio New Zealand International

10) Significant ILO meeting expected to keep up pressure on Fiji

Posted at 06:14 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Trades Union Congress, says the International Labour Organisation’s focus on Fiji at top policy level this week will keep up the pressure on the regime’s treatment of trade unions.

The ILO’s governing body has placed Fiji fourth on its agenda on Friday’s session in Geneva with the aim of getting an ILO mission to Fiji by October.

An earlier mission was asked to leave the country but the government says it is still looking forward to receiving the delegation.

It is just the second time Fiji has been discussed at governing body level and the president of the umbrella Fiji body, Daniel Urai, says that is significant for workers in Fiji.

“Talks are going towards that direction. We are hopeful that good sense will prevail and eventually the regime will allow the ILO team to come in and make its visit and a report according to how workers are marginalised in this country.”

Daniel Urai, of the Fiji Trades Union Congress

Radio New Zealand International

11) Fiji Citizens’ Constitutional Forum Case Heard In Court
CCF denies alleged contempt of court in 2012 publication

By Fonua Talei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, June 18, 2013) – Fiji’s High Court yesterday heard submissions that the head of the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) Limited, Reverend Akuila Yabaki, be sentenced to no less than six months in prison.

During mitigation and sentencing submissions before Justice William Calanchini yesterday, the lawyer representing the Attorney-General’s office, Ropate Green, also said the forum should pay no less than FJ$100,000 [US$54,203] within a specified time period.

He submitted that the owners and directors should go into a good behavior bond of FJ$100,000 on behalf of the forum.

The CCF, and editor of its newsletter ‘Tutaka,’ Reverend Yabaki, were found guilty on May 4, 2013 of the publication of an article in its April, 2012 issue which contained words amounting to ‘contempt of court.’

They denied the contempt throughout proceedings.

While highlighting important points of the appellant’s response to the respondent’s mitigation yesterday, Mr. Green said the CCF’s profile and its publications attract local and international attention.

He said the respondents should have been more vigilant and the assertion that a legally qualified person had authored the published article was irrelevant.

Mr. Green submitted that the actions of the forum had undermined public confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law.

“Referring to paragraph 20 of our response, a plea of not guilty throughout and an apology after being found guilty appears to be a mere formality than sincere regret,” Mr. Green submitted.

He submitted that a proper sentence should be imposed to send out the message that the powers of the court were indispensable and undermining its authority would not be condoned.

“It’s clear that they did not appreciate potential consequences of publishing the article,” he said. “Their regret following conviction is highly questionable.”

Australian lawyer Neil Williams, who appeared for the CCF, submitted that Reverend Yabaki had given his life to the service of others and had no previous convictions.

Mr. Williams relayed an apology in court on behalf of the respondents and revealed their intentions to publish a front page apology on the next issue of their ‘Tutaka’ newsletter.

Justice Calanchini said it would be suitable if he had a read of the drafted apology before it is published.

Mr. Williams said Reverend Yabaki had four children, aged between 32 to 45, and he has been employed as a school teacher, minister, officer of the Methodist Church and currently the chief executive officer of the Constitutional Forum.

The court heard that there was no intention to scandalize the court, as the respondent did not think the article was contemptuous.

“He (Reverend Yabaki) accepts responsibility for the article,” Mr. Williams submitted.

Mr. Williams further submitted that the conviction is in itself a deterrent to the forum.

Justice Calanchini will deliver his sentence on the matter on notice.


12) UN rebuts claims it would not help with Fiji transparency laws

By Online Editor
4:33 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Fiji

A UN agency has confirmed the Fiji government called for help with drafting freedom of information laws but it has denied it was unwilling to assist.

Fiji’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said in April that the United Nations Development Programme refused to help the Fiji government draft the laws including a code of conduct for public officials.

The UNDP’s representative in the region, Knut Ostby, says the issue was raised informally with the agency which didn’t have the capacity to do the job at the time.

“We are not unwilling to provide help for laws that might help with transparency but we have to do what we can based on our capacities and competencies and based on how it fits in to our existing programme.”

Ostby says it would consider, on a running basis, any request for assistance


13) Samoa MP denies in parliament involvement in public tender

Posted at 02:07 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

Samoa’s former associate minister of finance, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga, has denied in parliament he was involved in the public tender process for government projects.

Peseta, who owns a construction company, told parliament that none of the public funded projects has been awarded to his business in three years.

The MP, who is now the new associate minister for the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, also says for the sake of the country and his constituency, he was not removed from the ministry of finance because he stole any money.

Speaking during discussions on the next financial year budget, the MP says he was removed as a result of unfounded allegations by the opposition Tautua Samoa party.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA:14) CNMI ports authority, FAA against military operations on Saipan airport

Posted at 23:54 on 18 June, 2013 UTC

The Northern Marianas’ Commonwealth Ports Authority is in agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration’s position opposing the U.S. military’s planned use of Saipan’s International Airport for training exercises.

The exercises are in tandem with planned military activities on Tinian, linked to the military build-up in Guam.

The Authority wants the Saipan airport to be spared from any military operations because it is a commercial airport.

Last April, FAA officials cautioned against the military’s use of the Saipan airport because of the disruption the activities may have on its commercial operation.

The Authority, however, said it is not against the military’s use of the Tinian airport.

The U.S. military had emphasised that the use of CNMI airports is important to the islands’ defence and security.

Radio New Zealand International


15) Record numbers of New Zealanders deported

By Online Editor
3:42 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Australia

A sustained crack down by Australian Immigration officials is resulting in a record number of convicted expatriate New Zealanders being deported.

New Zealanders who receive jail sentences that accumulate to 12 months or more are subject to Australia’s ‘character test’.

If they fail the test they are then at the mercy of Australia’s Immigration Minister who has the power to send them home.

Over the past three years, nearly 350 convicted New Zealanders have had their visas cancelled and been ordered to leave the country.

Leading Sydney Immigration lawyer Nigel Dobbie told One News the numbers of convicted New Zealanders seeking to avoid deportation are on the rise.

“I get calls from New Zealanders in jail, at Villawood immigration detention centre, from family members asking how we can help and from New Zealanders who come in. Some I can help, some I can’t. Their crimes are just too severe” he said.

New Zealanders arriving in Australia receive a special category visa (SCV) and Australia immigration officers take a hard line with New Zealanders who try to re-enter Australia after they have been deported.

“They’ll be turned around at the airport. I would be extremely surprised if they let a person in who is a behaviour concern non-citizen” Dobbie said.

New Zealand born rugby league player James Tamou could be thrown out of Australia if he’s convicted of a drink driving offence.

The Kangaroo forward was arrested by Queensland police last week after returning a blood alcohol reading of nearly four times the legal limit.

The offence is considered high range and carries a maximum jail sentence of 18 months.

Nigel Dobbie said New Zealanders like Tamou face the real prospect being deported if they are convicted of such an offence.

“If you get a conviction for a year, even if it is suspended, you fail the character test by law and you have to show why you shouldn’t be bounced out of the country” he said.

Australian law regarding visa cancellations also applies to citizenship applications.

Earlier this year, Tamou expressed a desire to become an Australian citizen before the world cup in Britain.

Dobbie says a drink driving conviction would rule Tamou ineligible to become an Australian citizen.

“If the person is not of a good character then the Minister could refuse the citizenship application” he said.

Tamou has already been fined $20,000AUD by his North Queensland club and will appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on July 2.

There are approximately 800 New Zealanders currently serving time in Australian prisons or 3% of the prison population and another 18 in immigration detention centres….PACNEWS



16a) Guide for churches to help combat violence against women

Posted at 05:44 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

There are high hopes a new manual for churches and schools in the Pacific will combat increasing rates of violence against women.

Women theologians at the South Pacific Association of Theological Schools have had an English guide to the scriptures translated into six different Pacific languages.

The co-ordinator of the project, Titilia Vakadewavosa, says the manual for teachers is aimed at getting people to see the Bible from a woman’s perspective and address increasing rates of violence against women.

TITILIA VAKADEWAVOSA: The book is about looking at the issue of violence against women in the different contexts – on the human rights perspective, especially with theological reflections. That is very important for us to look at it from that perspective. How we see the Bible, how we see scriptures. That seems to be a text of terrors that perpetuates violence against women. I can say it’s the first manual that has been translated into Fijian and other Pacific languages to address this issue. We totally believe that people will take it down to the church members, right to the grass roots where they can understand it in their own language.

SALLY ROUND: And can you give us an example of one of the issues that you tackle in the manual that is actually going to change attitudes?

TV: Yes. I think the theological reflection is very important. Most Pacific people are very much patriarchal. There are some that are still very conservative regarding how they treat women in the different cultures, in the different contexts that they come from. We feel that most of this is dictated by how they look at the Bible, and most of them are not very well aware. To look at the Bible in the eyes of God, to look at the Bible in the eyes of women, to look at it in a more liberal way, rather than culturally, rather than being dictated [by] their own traditional cultures regarding women.

SR: And do you think there is a willingness among the men, say, at grass-roots level, to look at the Bible in this way?

TV: It is a very challenging. It’s a good question and it’s something that we know we have to tackle. We have to move on to it. We have to stop being intimidated by how our culture dictates things for us as women. We’re trying to overcome that now.

SR: So there is still some resistance there? You sound like it is a bit of a fight to get this message across.

TV: It is, it is. It’s a very sensitive issue. We believe that there needs to be a change. It needs to be taken to them so they can understand it, because maybe some of them are not really aware of where we are coming from and how they need to look at it in the way that we want them to. We believe that more dialogue and more consultation and more face-to-face discussion regarding the issue will help.

Radio New Zealand International


16b)Australia na Vanuatu i hamamas long bisnis levelUpdated 19 June 2013, 16:39 AEST
Sam Seke

Bisnis level namel long Australian na Vanuatu i wok long gro na tupela i laik long kamapim mo.

Paul Eagleson, Principal Geologist and Commerical leader Nautilus Minerals toktok wantaim Marcellino Pipite,Commerce na Tourism Minista blong Vanuatu . (Credit: ABC)
Odio: Marcellino Pipite, Commerce na Tourism Minista blong Vanuatu i toktok wantaim Sam Seke long Brisbane.

Taim em i toktok long naba tu Australia Vanuatu Business Forum long Brisbane today, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs, Matt Thistlethwaite itok ol business investment blong Australia long Vanuatu i go antap tru long ol sampela yar igo.

Mr Thistlethwaite em i enkaregim tu long bisnis blong Australia long go invest long Vanuatu na ol arapela Pacific kantri long ol eria oli makim.

Long toktok blongen, Minista blong Commerce na Tourism blong Vanuatu, Marcellino Pipite i tok tenkyu long halivim blong Australia start long 1960s.

Tasol em itok sait long foran investment nau i gut moa long wanem em bai stap olgeta taim.

Mr Pipite i tokim Sam Seke olsem as long wae Vanuatu i salim kam ol het blong finance na conomy, em blong tokim ol investa long Australia long wanem i stap long sait long investment opotuniti.


16c) L’urbanisation du Pacifique inquiète l’ONUPosté à 20 June 2013, 7:52 AEST
Pierre Riant

L’exode rural continue et de 800 000 à un million de personnes vivraient actuellement dans des campements et autres squats à la périphérie des villes.

Une zone d’habitation informelle aux îles Fidji. (

Bien souvent, ces zones d’habitation informelle sont dépourvues de services et ne cessent de s’élargir.

Mais que sait-on exactement, de ces zones d’habitation qui champignonnent ? Pour tenter d’en savoir plus, le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) a invité des journalistes mélanésiens à se rendre dans ces campements.

Nous en avons parlé avec Simone Troller, spécialiste de la gouvernance au sein du PNUD.

TROLLER : « Ces zones d’habitations informelle est le terme utilisé pour décrire des zones de vie urbaine qui n’ont pas été planifiées. Et les résidents n’ont habituellement pas de titres de propriétés qui les autorisent à s’y installer.

Ils n’ont peut-être pas de droits de propriété, mais ils ont quand même des droits : l’accès à des services de base par exemple.

Dans le Pacifique, certains campements existent depuis de nombreuses années et les autorités commencent à réagir et à solutionner des problèmes. Des initiatives d’aménagement par exemple et même des titres juridiques pour ces personnes qui vivent dans des zones d’habitation informelle. En fait, il s’agit d’officialiser ces zones. Et c’est positif pour ceux qui vivent dans ces endroits et qui peuvent avoir accès à des services et qui ont moins peur d’être expulsés et de se retrouver sans abri. »

En clair, on amène l’eau et l’électricité dans ces petite colonies et on envisage d’attribuer des titres de propriétés pour les habitations qui ont été construites ?

TROLLER : « Il y a différentes réponses à travers le Pacifique. Mais oui, vous avez des administrations qui ont réalisé que les gens ne partiraient pas. Ils habitent dans ces zones depuis longtemps avec parfois deux ou trois génération qui y ont grandi.
Et les expulser ne veut pas dire qu’ils vont rentrer dans le village qui un jour était leur chez eux.

Il y a donc plusieurs approches pour officialiser les zones d’habitation informelle surtout quand il s’agit de terres appartenant à l’État. Dans ce cas, des gouvernements tentent d’accorder des titres de propriété ou des baux de location et pour officialiser une zone d’habitation qui entrera ainsi dans le giron des services de planification. »

Les journalistes de Mélanésie invités par le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement sont partis en mission cette semaine et nous verrons ce qu’ils rapporteront de la vie dans ces zones d’habitation informelle.


17) Chinese state councilor meets with Pacific Islands officialBy Online Editor
3:14 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, China

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on Tuesday met with Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Yang said during the meeting that China and member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum enjoy friendship and the relationship between them has soundly developed with close high-level contact and fruitful cooperation.

He said China is willing to work with the forum to further promote bilateral relations and bring more benefit to people of the two sides.

Slade thanked China for its support and expressed his appreciation for China’s role in international and regional affairs.

He voiced hope to strengthen partnership with China and work together to achieve stability and prosperity for countries of the Pacific Islands and the Asia-Pacific region.



18a) PNG under strain to tackle drug resistant tuberculosisUpdated 19 June 2013, 23:08 AEST
Kate Arnott

Drug resistant tuberculosis is placing a significant strain on Papua New Guinea’s poorly resourced health system.

Tuberculosis has been largely forgotten in rich, developed nations, but it’s experiencing a resurgence in Papua New Guinea due to medication shortages and the emergence of a drug resistant strain. (Credit: ABC)

Drug resistant tuberculosis is placing a significant strain on Papua New Guinea’s poorly resourced health system.

The World Health Organisation estimates there are around 15,000 cases of tuberculosis (TB) registered each year in PNG, of which there are more than 3,500 deaths.

Audio: Kate Arnott reports (ABC News)

Dr Suman Majumdar from Royal Melbourne Hospital has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the emergence of multi-drug resistant TB threatens to make the situation worse.

“It’s a problem because our current tools to prevent it, to treat it and to diagnose it are not adequate to control it,” he said.

Dr Majumdar says sufferers are now having to survive two years of toxic treatment instead of the usual six months for standard TB.

“It’s a gruelling ordeal with drugs with severe side effects, injections for at least six months every day and often intolerable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, even psychosis and, most worryingly, things such as permanent hearing loss.”

Dr Majumdar says TB is a deadly bacterial disease which is largely forgotten in wealthy nations.

“One of the things that fuels TB everywhere is weakened health systems, poverty, vulnerable people and I think that’s the key driving factor,” he said.

Living with drug resistant TB

Freelance journalist Jo Chandler is one of up to 12,000 people diagnosed with TB in Australia every year.

Most people contract the disease while overseas.

In 2011, Ms Chandler visited hospitals and settlements in PNG’s Western Province for a series of articles about the TB crisis in the area.

“The wards at that point were in quite poor condition,” she said.

“Ventilation wasn’t good – they were extremely crowded – there weren’t many medications available, people were very distressed and extremely sick.”

A year and a half after returning home, Ms Chandler experienced fevers and violent coughing fits, and was put into isolation in hospital.

In March, she was diagnosed with multi-drug resistant TB, and further testing has revealed she most likely contracted the disease in PNG.

“I think I’m currently taking a mixture of about 17 or 18 pills each day spread across morning and afternoon,” Ms Chandler said.

Antibiotics are additionally fed to her intravenously by a nurse, who visits her Melbourne home three times a week.

Ms Chandler describes herself as a “privileged” TB sufferer.

“The reality for the TB patients that I’ve interviewed and seen over recent years has been so profoundly different to this one and mine,” she said.

Ms Chandler is expected to make a full recovery when her treatment finishes in two years.

On the other hand, Dr Emma McBryde, Burnet Institute’s infectious diseases specialist, says the same can’t be said for patients in PNG.

“Occasionally people will turn up to a clinic to be told there are no drugs available,” Dr McBryde said.

“There are other challenges as well, like people might live in a rural community…if they have to use a long boat to get there and that costs money, and takes a long time, then it’s very hard to access healthcare.”

New test under development

Researchers from Australia’s Burnet Institute are developing a new and simpler test for TB, as access to affordable testing in PNG is problematic.

Associate Professor David Anderson, the deputy director of Burnet Institute, says the test may be able to detect if a patient has TB by using just a drop of blood.

“One of the main advantages is that it is so easy to collect samples of blood from large numbers of people, including people who appear to be perfectly healthy but who may have low levels of TB, still enough to infect other people,” he said.

Political will

Burnet Institute’s Dr Emma McBryde says a dedicated TB ward funded by the Australian Government is about to open in Daru Hospital in Western Province.

“There’s a change of perception about the Daru hospital within the community,” she said.

“The treatment that they’re doing in Daru is outstanding in Daru compared with some of the other regions.”

However, Jo Chandler says fixing the TB problem is going to take a lot of political will and money.

“Peter O’Neil, the prime minister, has recognised frequently the obstacle of the declining standards of infrastructure – the roads, the hospitals, the bridges,” she said.

“You can’t begin to tackle TB until you deal with some of those issues as well.”

18b) Mass bird cull for PNG province

Posted at 02:07 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

All chickens and other domesticated bird species in the Sandaun province of Papua New Guinea are to be killed in a bid to eradicate Newcastle disease from the area.

According to the NBC, officers from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and the Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority have been divided into teams to cover seven Vanimo local government wards and villages near the border with Indonesia.

The province was declared a disaster zone early this year after the disease was first detected in chickens and then spread to other domestic birds like duck.

Radio New Zealand International

19) Fijians dying young

By Online Editor
3:41 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Fiji

Fijians are dying young from rheumatic heart diseases (RHD).

This is the finding of Dr Charlie Corke of the Geelong Hospital in Australia.

Dr Corke was part of the Operation Open Heart team that was in the country a month ago conducting open heart surgeries for patients.

He said the team operated on patients between the ages of 15 and 50 years.

“The age group we operate on here is a lot younger than we operate on in Australia. The patients here who are sick are much younger, there is so much infection and there is no antibiotic, that’s the problem,” Dr Corke said.

In response, CWM Hospital head of paediatrics and consultant Dr Joseph Kado said it was a fact that RHD killed people in their youth, especially if they were undiagnosed or if diagnosed but chose not to comply with the treatment.

“RHD or acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is often diseases that are not common in developed countries, except among indigenous populations like the Aborigines in Australia and Maoris in New Zealand,” Dr Kado said.

“They are diseases that are common in developing countries where poverty, poor sanitation, hygiene and overcrowding are the main risk factors. In Fiji, this is a big problem with majority of ARF cases being in the five to 55 years age group but the burden of the complication of RHD being in the 13-35 years age group.”

However, Dr Kado refuted claims made by Dr Corke that there was not enough antibiotics in the country to treat infections.

“The antibiotics needed to treat Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is simply penicillin, the common presentation is with a sore throat and needs either a single injection of benzathine penicillin or 10 days of oral penicillin, which if untreated can cause acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart diseases.”….



20) Eight Year 13 graduate from Rensarie College


Len Garae

Eight Year 13 students from Rensarie College in Malekula, Malampa Province who completed their USP – school based Foundation Programme in the First Semester graduated in the College Chapel last Sunday.

The programme started in 2010 when Rensarie College took the Year 13 students for the Anglopnone stream for the first time.
The school was supposed to offer SPFSC Year 13 programme starting 2010 but due to lack of resources and an allegedly unfair selection system in which the best students seemed to be selected to Malopoa College in Port Vila and Matevulu College in Santo, Rensarie decided to offer the USP school-based programme.

Since then, the school has organised three graduations and so far, a total of 64 students have successfully completed their foundation studies from the school.

“Most of these students are now doing their hundred levels and others are on scholarships,” Damien Hophand, a senior teacher at Rensarie College said.
Looking ahead he said, “As the country is still looking for the way forward to come up with its own education system for the senior secondary level, I see the USP school base foundation programme as one of the best programmes to help the students meet their aspirations for university or teritary education”.

Even the parents have expressed their gratitude especially the relief on their part on school fees compared to those at Vila and Santo centres. “The school-based programme is also good because we keep the students back in the islands and the teachers spend more quality time with the students. The students only move to USP in Vila to complete their hundred levels”, Hophand said.

However he said it is sad that the programme is going to stop at the end of this year because the Education Authority is pushing forward for all senior secondary levels to implement SPFSC Programmes to prepare for the full implementation of Vanuatu’s own Education Curriculum from Primary to Secondary Level in 2015.

In addition he said, “As a senior teacher (originally from Papua New Guinea) teaching in Vanuatu for seven years now, I see a lot of hurdles in the systems. This doesn’t mean the new Curriculum will not work, it’s worth trying it out and seeing it work out for us. There is no one system that is perfect so it’s worth trying out all sysems.

“With a lot of enthusiasm to see how effective the new curriculum will be and what the outcomes will be like, let’s be mindful that a lot of times what appears on paper dosen’t always turn out to be what we see being done. All the stake holders should act together to see the new curriculum implemented starting 2015”.

21) Police identify origin of fake certificates

Ana Madigibuli
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Update: 4:57PM POLICE have confirmed that the origin of the fake certificates that were confiscated by officials of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has been established.

FRCA confiscated 41 fake certificates alleged to have been issued by a local based university.

Police Spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said investigations were continuing and the focus was now on working with the relevant university in clarifying certain information.

22) Concern that PNG government keeping Lae university report quiet

Posted at 06:14 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

There is some concern in Lae in Papua New Guinea that a government inquiry into problems at the University of Technology in Lae will not be made public.

The government ordered the inquiry after a split between the management and the board at the university sparked rioting by students.

The students and many staff have been strongly supportive of Professor Albert Schramm, who was sacked as vice chancellor just a few months after assuming the job.

The acting minister of higher education, Don Polye, says the inquiry’s report is not a public document and will not be made public.

Our Lae based correspondent, Oseah Philemon says the people of Lae had expected the report to be released so everyone would know what had happened.

“The government has seen the recommendations and they are going to pick and choose which ones they can implement and which ones they will not implement. And there are certain things they do not want the public to know, in terms of the recommendations. So that is a bit worrying because if that is the case then problems at Unitech will never be solved.”

Radio New Zealand International

23) PNG University Sued For Acting Registrar’s Reinstatement
Jephta Girinde allegedly dismissed without due cause

By Oseah Philemon

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 18, 2013) – The interim council and administration of Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology (Unitech) have been called on to immediately reinstate the former acting registrar of the university, Jephta Girinde, or risk facing a multi-million kina lawsuit in court.

Private lawyer Ralph Saulep who is also the pro-chancellor in the Phillip Stagg Council, demanded yesterday that Mr. Girinde be reinstated without conditions and with all entitlements dating back to November 2012 when he was sacked by the administration.

“If Jephta is not reinstated immediately, then the university faces a multi-million kina lawsuit which is now being prepared,” said Mr. Saulep in Lae. Mr. Saulep said Mr. Girinde was dismissed from his job for carrying out his lawful duties as acting executive officer to the Council.

“This is grossly unfair. He was persecuted, denied natural justice and the administration and the Bogan interim council refused to grant him a fair hearing when he appealed against his dismissal,” Mr Saulep said.

Mr. Girinde said he was also intimidated, threatened and subjected to harsh treatment by the university which included using security personnel to force him and his family out of their university house.

Mr. Girinde said he now has a court order in place restraining the administration from evicting him and his family until the matter has been properly dealt with.

Yesterday Mr. Girinde met with his lawyers to prepare his case against the university.

“My family has suffered enormously from the ill-treatment from the university and I am seeking justice. I was sacked for merely doing my job. I did not break any laws yet I was sacked for claims of insubordination and causing stress to the administration and the students.

“I have been put under more stress than what I was alleged to have caused the university administration,” Mr. Girinde said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Saulep yesterday called on the Minister for Higher Education Don Polye to immediately release the Sevua Report on Unitech so that the truth comes out for all stakeholders to see.

Mr. Saulep said the delay in releasing the report is not in the best interest of the stakeholders and the minister should release it immediately.

Mr. Saulep said everyone was unnecessarily being kept in suspense by Mr. Polye.

“The Prime Minister publicly stated that the government would implement the recommendations of the Sevua Report so let it be released now,” said Mr. Saulep.

It is understood the government may be reluctant to accept certain recommendations of the report and wants to study it carefully before it is released.

But Mr. Saulep is adamant that the report must be released to the public without delay as the crisis at Unitech has caused so much anxiety and stress for all stakeholders.

Mr. Saulep also called on the university administration to cease payment of salaries for the Australian-based vice chancellor Dr. Albert Schram.

He said Dr Schram has been terminated as of last November and it was illegal for the university to continue paying him salaries.

“Schram is no longer the vice chancellor and three judges sitting in court have upheld the Phillip Stagg Council’s decision to terminate his services.

“It is therefore illegal to continue paying him salaries,” Mr. Saulep said.

PNG Post-Courier:

24) Samoa aviation school to ease access for Pacific pilots

Posted at 05:44 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

One of the aims of the first flight training school soon to be set up in Samoa is to make it easier for would-be pilots from Pacific Island countries to get qualified.

Samoa Air’s chief executive says the new school at Faleolo International Airport will accept its first intake of 24 students at the start of next year for a 12-to-20 month course of training.

Chris Langton says historically the Pacific has produced a lot of pilots, many of whom do their training in Australia, New Zealand or the United States.

He told Annell Husband graduates of the Samoa school will have a Commercial Pilot Licence as well as a multi engine endorsement and instrument rating.

CHRIS LANGTON: There’s a couple of options here. Our resident rules in Samoa are essentially the same as New Zealand, and we align our current licencing and our operation standards to New Zealand. So it makes sense to actually link in with somebody like Massey or other tertiary institutions in New Zealand to provide courses. That’s more than likely the way we’ll go in terms of providing, say, a facilitation between somebody who wants to study to tertiary level, and somebody who’s just going through the process of getting their individual pilots licences to a point where they can take those licences and then go out into the workforce.

ANNELL HUSBAND: You talked about it being more accessible for Pacific students. Will it be more affordable in terms of the fee structure?

CL: Well, I think the overall cost should make it more affordable. There’s another aspect to this, which is, of course, flying training is an expensive professional pursuit. You’re normally talking of anything between NZ$60,000 and over NZ$100,000 as the process. So for a student, it’s just like any tertiary training. You need to have the money there to be able to do the training. Now, New Zealand and Australia and the United States, just looking at the three Pacific Rims, all have systems in place generally for an aviation student, like a tertiary undergraduate, to get access to funding so that they can complete their courses. So this is something that we’re also going to look at from a Pacificpoint of view to see what we can get in the way of assistance from either internal government or external governments to help with the funding process. Because an 18 year old person who wants to undertake flying as a career is going to be faced with the prospect of having to find this money
Radio New Zealand International


25) Indonesian SOEs look to Papua New Guinea for prospects

By Online Editor
3:03 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Indonesia

Indonesian state-owned enterprises are looking east to Papua New Guinea in great number to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the Pacific nation.

Among the SOEs expanding their reach in PNG are energy company Pertamina, telecommunications provider Telekomunikasi Indonesia, electricity supplier Perusahaan Listrik Negara and airline Garuda Indonesia.

Garuda recently announced plans to open a route connecting Port Moresby and Bali, while Pertamina and Telkom on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with PNG counterparts in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Pertamina and PNG National Petroleum Company signed an agreement to explore oil and gas opportunities together.

“It will give us access to PNG’s seismic information,” said Afdal Bahaudin, Pertamina’s director of investment planning and risk management.

The MoU will allow PNPC to learn about the operation and development of liquefied natural gas projects, chairman Frank Kramer said. “Indonesia has over 30 years of experience in the operation of LNG plants,” he said.

Badak NGL operates East Kalimantan’s Bontang LNG plant, Indonesia’s oldest.

Exxonmobil is currently developing an LNG plant in PNG that would be the country’s first, Kramer said, adding that the Pacific country holds some 25 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves.

Telkom signed its MoU with state-owned TelikomPNG.

Arief Yahya, president director of Telkom, said the Bandung-based company has agreed to extend its fiber-optics network from the Indonesian province of Papua to PNG. “The scheme of cooperation still needs to be discussed further, but basically we will build the infrastructure, for which we will receive a fee,” he said.

Telkom is keen to enter the mobile-phone market in PNG, where only half of the country’s 7 million population use mobile phones.

Telkom is currently building a fiber-optic network in Indonesia’s Papua that will cost some Rp 700 billion, Arief said.

On the electricity front, PLN president director Nur Pamudji said the company will soon export electricity to areas in PNG near the Indonesian border. He said the amount would be “not much, only 2 megawatts,” and was an effort to seek friendship rather than revenue.

State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said PNG recorded robust recent growth in gross domestic product, encouraging the expansion of Indonesian SOEs. “Their GDP growth was about 9 percent,” he added.

PNG’s economy last year stood at $16.9 billion, following a five-year annual compound growth rate of 7.3 percent. With GDP per capita at $2,532, the average person engages in significantly less economic activity than their counterpart in Indonesia, where GDP per capita stood at $4,666.

PNG has recently undergone some political stability following claims on government leadership positions by rival candidates. The country is a significant recipient of foreign aid.


26) Building Of $157.2 Million Casino Underway In Fiji
Company chairman lauds Fiji as ‘fantastic location’

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 18, 2013) – One Hundred Sands Limited has finally confirmed work on the FJ$290 million [US$157.2 million] casino complex in Fiji has begun.

In a press release, company board chairman Larry Claunch said they preferred to look to the future rather than focus on the unexpected roadblocks thrown their way in the past.

“Many dedicated people from all over the world and in Fiji have worked together to make this dream a reality,” he said.

“With this venue, we will also be able to attract entertainers from around the world. Fiji is a fantastic location for companies to hold conventions which will bring in a whole new tourist market, up to now these large groups had to be turned away.”

One Hundred Sands was granted an exclusive license to construct and manage Fiji’s first casino on Denarau Island in December 2011.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony in April last year where construction was expected to be completed for the FJ$290 million casino complex to be completed by October this year.

Mr. Claunch said many government ministries and departments had been involved in the decision-making process at the outset and the exhaustive selection process which saw One Hundred Sands being granted the Fiji casino license.

“Putting all this together to achieve the best possible outcome has been an extraordinarily complex process requiring patience and new thinking, and that has been possible only with the contribution and support of all those involved, at all levels.

“The vision of the government to establish a community fund and to administer the very substantial contribution that the casino will make, through a percentage of its profits, will benefit the socio-economical development of Fiji and all Fijians.

“This will carry on throughout the term of the license therefore benefiting current and future generations.”

Last week, Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum issued an ultimatum to the company to start with the development. He highlighted the company would be subjected to hefty fines if the development was not completed by October 1.

Fiji Times Online:

27) Immigration Bill Threatens Foreign Businesses In CNMI
Overseas investors call on government for improved status

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 19, 2013) – Long-term foreign businesses with E2-C status, who have collectively invested more than $20 million and employed at least 1,000 individuals in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for decades, questioned yesterday their exclusion from a sweeping U.S. Senate national immigration reform bill that grants a pathway to citizenship to long-term, legal foreign workers in the Commonwealth.

The immigration bill’s main thrust is to grant a pathway to citizenship to some 11 million undocumented aliens in the United States.

The E2-C, or the Commonwealth-only investor, status expires after Dec. 31, 2014.

After that, these long-term investors will be forced to leave the CNMI. That could mean loss in millions of revenue for the CNMI government and loss of over a thousand jobs.

“We want to be included in the bill. We want improved status. We have been in the CNMI for a long time as investors, we pay our taxes, we contribute to the economy and we employ many people. The CNMI government ignored us. How can we encourage prospective investors to come and invest here if we don’t treat our investors right?” CNMI Chinese Investors Association president Kevin Tang said in an interview yesterday.

Tang and other representatives of the 40-strong CNMI Chinese Investors Association collectively aired their concerns yesterday, hoping there will still be a chance to amend the immigration bill to include E2-C investors.

One of them said they have limited options, but one of those is to hire a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. to work on including E2-C investor visa holders on the groups of long-term aliens in the CNMI.

“But we still believe Kilili will help us; he may have forgotten about us,” one of them said.

Under the U.S. Senate immigration bill now under debate in Washington, D.C., six groups of long-term aliens can apply for CNMI-only permanent residency and later, U.S. permanent residency or “green card”; a green card is a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) earlier said he has not received any information about any amendments to the section of S.744 that deals with the CNMI, “nor was there any discussion or concern about this section, when the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed the bill.”

Sablan added that he has “no plans to try to amend it at this point.”

Because of the time difference between the CNMI and Washington, D.C., Sablan could not be reached for comment on the CNMI Chinese Investors Association’s request for inclusion of E2-C investors in the immigration bill.

Allen Stayman, a staff at the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an email to the CNMI Chinese Investors Association’s president, Tang, said, “The proposal regarding the CNMI is included in the Senate’s ‘Gang of Eight’ proposal and there is no longer a realistic opportunity to modify it.”

“The Senate continues to consider amendments with the hope of a final vote in late June. Then, it will be available for consideration in the House, but prospect there are uncertain,” Stayman said in the e-mail.

Tang, in an interview, said all other E2-C investors in the CNMI, including those from other Asian countries such as Korea, also demand improved status and inclusion in the U.S. Senate immigration bill.

Christine K. Lee, a long-term Korean investor with E2-C status, earlier called for improved status for E2-C investors in the CNMI.

“I believe CNMI investors deserve better and should be granted immediate U.S. citizenship instead,” Lee said.

Another option to avoid the mass exodus of E2-C investors is to extend the E2-C program beyond 2014.

But the CNMI Chinese Investors Association as well as Korean E2C investors including Lee oppose extending the E2C program.

Tang said that extending the program will only prolong the “uncertainty” and “instability” in the CNMI whereas an improved status will help stabilize the economy.

“We want an improved status and we want to stay here in the CNMI,” one of the investors said.

Among those that were interviewed yesterday were a retail store owner since 1997, an owner of retail and wholesale businesses and laundry shop since 2001, one who has been a businessman in the CNMI since 1995, and one since 1996, among other things. The group represents owners of retail stores, wholesale companies, small hotels, spas and massage parlors, beauty shops, tire shops, among other things.

One of them said they are pleased with the approval of an EB-5 regional center in the CNMI, but they said the result of that has yet to be seen.

“There were Chinese investors who came to the CNMI on their own to do research about an EB-5 in the CNMI. They asked storeowners, restaurant owners and other businesses and they were surprised about the instability and uncertainty. At least one decided to invest in Guam instead,” one of the E2-C investors said yesterday.

Many of these E2-C investors have already invested millions in the CNMI throughout the years despite a depressed economy, thus making it harder to come up with at least half a million more all at once to qualify for other types of investor status under U.S. laws.

A separate U.S. House of Representatives bill, H.R. 2200 or the Territorial Omnibus Act of 2013, seeks the continued use of the E2-C investor visa classification for investors in the CNMI so long as the federalization transition period is extended.

Sablan’s bill, co-sponsored by three other delegates of U.S. territories, also seeks a delay in the CNMI’s annual 50-cent increase in minimum wage every other year starting in September 2013 and a five-year extension of the federalization transition period or up to Dec. 31, 2019.

But E2-C investors reiterated their opposition to an extension of the E2-C program, demanding improved status instead.

“We believe extension is a trap. We’re asked to stay for more years, but after waiting for five more years or so, we will still have uncertain status. We’ve been here 10 years, 15 years,” one of the E2-C investors said.

They repeatedly said if the U.S. Congress is giving pathway to citizenship to undocumented aliens, “why not give the same to legal long-term investors” in the CNMI which they said is “a part of the United States.”

They added that they do not plan on running for office when they get improved status.

“We don’t want to wait any more. If there’s only extension, we might as well go to Guam and other U.S. places. But if they grant improved status, we will stay and continue to invest here, continue to hire workers here,” one of them added.

Another one said the U.S. government should have started applying the INA in the CNMI since November 2009, so that those who would have at least five years stay can already apply for improved status.

“From 2009, the five years will be in 2014. Why not apply the INA and allow all legal aliens who are already here to apply for green card? The Interior report in 2010 recommended improved status but nothing happened, the Congress didn’t act on that. We consulted with lawyers, that the immigration bill can be challenged, we are hoping it can still be amended,” one of them said.

They added that once E2-C investors are forced to exit the CNMI, it will be a great loss to the local economy.

“Every year they keep on repeating the problems about the Retirement Fund, CHC [Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.], but they do not do anything about the investors that have been helping the economy,” one of the investors said.

Saipan Tribune

28) Asian Businesses Told To Leave Bougainville By September
Businesses have reportedly failed to comply with regulations

By Winterford Toreas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 18, 2013) – All Asian business owners operating their retail businesses in Bougainville will be given until September this year to close all their businesses and move out of Bougainville.

That’s the direction from the Minister for Commerce in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Wilfred Komba.

This is because these Asians, mostly of Chinese origin and operating in Buka town, have failed to comply with directives issued by ABG regarding their business operations in Bougainville.

Mr. Komba said the ABG Division of Commerce through its chief executive officer, Albert Kinani, has already sent two notices to these Chinese advising them not to operate two or more business operations in town.

However, instead of adhering to these calls, these Chinese are still opening up other stores in different parts of the town, which is a direct breach of the ABG directive.

“After we issued the second letter, we have not received any reply from them. Instead of adhering to the directive, we are seeing some expansions still going on,” Minister Komba and Kinani said, before singling out one of these Chinese who is married to a woman from Nissan Island as an example.

They said this Chinese is not complying because though he was given the notice, he still went ahead and opened his other business in town.

Both Mr. Komba and his CEO added that these Chinese are not operating according to the ABG’s investment policy, which calls for foreign business owners to joint venture with Bougainvilleans.

Instead they are opening up “stand alone” businesses, they said.

“In the letter we also told them that those who are claiming to be Bougainvilleans, after marrying a Bougainvillean wife, [are] not accepted by ABG. In order to adhere to this ABG Policy, they must enter into a joint venture with Bougainvilleans. They are also not allowed to operate in more than one location,” they said.

Mr. Kinani clarified that by marrying a local Bougainvillean does not qualify them to own a trade store.

Mr. Kinani added that he had also advised these Chinese to comply with the laws of PNG.

He revealed that some of these Chinese in Buka do not have proper work permits to conduct their business operations in Bougainville.

He added that some of them have also failed to pay their goods and services tax (GST) to the government.

Mr. Kinani said the non compliance by these Chinese had resulted in the ABG Vice President Patrick Nisira directing him to order these Chinese out of Bougainville.

However, Mr. Kinani has advised Mr. Nisira that he will be issuing a third notice to these Chinese and advising them to close their businesses and move out of Bougainville by September.

Meanwhile, Bougainville is expected to have its new investment legislation governing business.

PNG Post-Courier:

29) Vanuatu copra companies to fight for money owed by Government

Posted at 05:44 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

At least two of Vanuatu’s copra exporters are rallying against the government, which they say owes them huge sums in subsidies.

The government has traditionally paid subsidies in order to help farmers, but says that will end soon, and the minimum price per tonne of the coconut extract will increase again.

But the companies say the subsidy is vital for their survival and they haven’t been paid since last year.

Alex Perrottet reports:

The Vanuatu government’s decision to again raise the price of copra is sure to help farmers in a market down-turn.

But the purchasing companies say it’s impossible to operate when the set price is going in the opposite direction to the global market.

Sethy Lui from Vanuatu Cocoa and Copra Exporter says the government is already way behind in the subsidies it has committed to pay.

“SETHY LUI: The outstanding which we’ve got now is 71 million vatu, which already exceeded demand. So that’s our main concern. I am worried that the government is not telling us where the other part of money will come from to compensate what we already have outstanding.”

The minister, Marcellino Pipite, says Mr Lui is just one buyer and he needs to show more proof of the outstanding debt. He accused Mr Lui of buying copra well below the minimum price and looking after his own interests.

“MARCELLINO PIPITE: He is the one who is not complying and he is the one who is writing things in the newspaper. And I am asking him to co-operate, his company to cooperate, because we must see Vanuatu as a whole country.”

But Wayne Webb from Coconut Oil Production Santo Limited says he and others are out of pocket and he hasn’t been paid since last year. He accused the minister of lies, and says he buyers need to be consulted on the price issue.

“WAYNE WEBB: How can we pay 35,000 vatu for a commodity that when we sell it on the world market we get 22,000 for it? This has to be driven by world prices. We can’t control world prices any more than politicians can control world prices. For him to say you have to pay at 35,000 is just absurd.”

Sethy Lui says the new minimum price per tonne of copra is $US130 above the world market price and is unsustainable for companies without a government subsidy. The Chief Trade Advisor for the Pacific, Dr Edwini Kessie, says susbsidies distort trade and production in the long term, but developing countries don’t have much choice but to protect their industries.

“SETHY LUI: That is the challenge, because of the excess being dumped in world markets, they tend to push down prices and that is why some governments respond by setting minimum prices.”

The minister says if companies don’t stick to the price he will have to revoke their licence. But the companies say they will be put out of business before that if they are not paid what the government has already committed. Wayne Webb says he has been operating in Vanuatu for four years, but will have to go elsewhere if the minister doesn’t face the fact he currently has a large outstanding debt.

Radio New Zealand International

30) Downbeat view of American Samoa economy

Posted at 02:07 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

The Chairman of American Samoa’s Chamber of Commerce says he is not very optimistic about the chances of the territory’s economy improving this year.

David Robinson says since the middle of last year, the economy has taken a dramatic turn for the worse and there haven’t been any signs of things getting better since.

However, he says since taking office, the new territorial government has moved quickly to improve the business atmosphere.

But he says people are finding it difficult to stretch their dollar, particularly when inflation and food and electricity prices continue to increase.

“It’s very difficult for us, particularly at the present time, when globally a lot of economies are finding it difficult to make any progress. It’s difficult in poor global economic conditions for us to find investors who are prepared to come along and spend a lot of money with us here.”

David Robinson says it is going to take some time before any positive change is seen in the economy.

Radio New Zealand International


31) PNG ‘dirty money’ trail leads to Australia

By Online Editor
3:34 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Australia

Millions of dollars allegedly corruptly obtained from the PNG government have been siphoned to Australian banks, confidential banking documents reveal.

Fairfax Media has also confirmed that Australian bank NAB recently increased its due diligence on some money transfers from PNG due to corruption concerns.

The allegedly dirty money stems from a corruption scandal gripping PNG that has led to the suspension of senior government officials and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last month asking the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Interpol to help investigate.

O’Neill also threatened to sack all staff in the country’s Finance Department after allegations in Parliament implicating top officials and prominent lawyers.

Law enforcement sources believe up to $500 million may have been stolen from PNG government legal aid funds over several years.

A NAB spokesman said on Tuesday that the bank late last year ”heightened our due diligence relating to some funds from PNG, as a result of information that became available to us through official channels in PNG”.

“Payments that NAB deems as suspicious will be blocked and reported as required by law,” he said.

Fairfax Media has obtained documents that show the leading lawyer named in the PNG Parliament as one of the architects of the alleged corruption scheme, Paul Paraka, has been regularly transferring large sums of money to several contacts on the Gold Coast and in NSW.

It is understood that one of Paraka’s PNG banks has a business relationship with NAB. The NAB spokesman said the bank could not comment on payments made on behalf of individual customers.

On one day in October last year, a bank account linked to Paraka wired about $80,000 in three transactions to his Australian-based wives and girlfriends, including one who lives in Sydney’s Star City casino complex. Between February 2012 and February this year, almost $3 million was transferred to Australia from bank accounts linked to Mr Paraka. PNG investigators believe most of these funds were corruptly obtained.

The ability of Paraka – who denies any wrongdoing – to transfer suspicious amounts of money raises questions about what Australian banks, the federal police and the anti-money-laundering agency, Austrac, are doing to block or investigate dirty money.

The ease with which allegedly corrupt PNG officials and businessmen can transfer money to Australia is becoming an increasing concern for law enforcement officials in both countries.

Last month, AFP senior liaison officer Superintendent Steve Mullins reportedly told a conference in PNG that tens of millions of corruptly obtained money was being deposited in Australian banks each year. An AFP spokesman said Superintendent Mullins was working with PNG authorities ”on a range of complex issues”.

32) No vetting for Fiji peacekeepers

By Online Editor
4:39 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, United States

Fiji peacekeeping soldiers posted to the Golan Heights will not be vetted for human rights abuses or involvement in military coups, a United Nations watchdog organisation says.

Fiji is sending 170 soldiers to the heights between civil war-torn Syria and Israel.

They will replace 377 Austrian troops in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has monitored a ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974. Croatia has also pulled out after its troops came under Syrian rebel fire.

The Fijians will join 341 troops from the Philippines and 193 troops from India. Eight New Zealanders also serve in the area with another UN operation.

New Zealand and Australia have been pressing the UN since Fiji’s 2006 military coup to stop using Fijian soldiers as peacekeepers.

But, because few nations have been willing to provide the numbers that Fiji has, the only action the UN has taken is to vet Fijian soldiers.

Officers who had joined Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s coup have previously been banned from UN service, as have soldiers accused of human rights abuses, including the deaths of coup opponents.

But the New York based Inner City Press, which monitors the UN, reports today that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has waived a previous restriction on using troops from post-coup Fiji.

DPKO says it is entirely up to Fiji to vet its own troops for “violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law”.

Inner City Press said a UN spokesman told it that the Fiji regime will do its own checking.

“It is the responsibility of the government of the Republic of Fiji, as with all troop-contributing countries, to ensure that its personnel have not been convicted of, are currently under investigation for, or being prosecuted for any criminal offence, including violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law,” the spokesman said.

The new Fiji deployment represents a substantial boost for the still isolated Bainimarama regime, and a failure for New Zealand trying to stop Fiji from earning peacekeeping income with the UN.

A Golan Heights deployment will be a return to the neighbourhood for the Fijians, who from 1978 to 2002 provided 15,000 soldiers for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. Thirty-five Fijians were killed in that service.


33) Effectiveness Of New PNG Sorcery Laws Doubted
Former Bougainville leader: sorcery engrained in culture

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 18, 2013) – A former president of Papua New Guinea’s Autonomous Province of Bougainville has predicted that problems related to sorcery in PNG will probably get worse before they get better.

The horrific torture and burnings of alleged witches in Papua New Guinea have been partly responsible for the introduction of new tougher laws, including five methods of execution for people the courts sentence to death.

President of the province from 2009 to 2010 and former commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, James Tanis, says the idea of sorcery is culturally engrained.

“Sorcery is something… we hear from childhood,” he said.

“The first thing that we hear from our mothers, ‘Don’t go there! Don’t eat that! Don’t do this! The sorcerer is out there!'”

“It’s like a big bogyman that you listen to and grow up in it.”

A recent conference in Canberra on sorcery in Melanesia heard the belief in the power of others to cause harm using supernatural powers is deeply ingrained in the region.

Mr. Tanis says during the 10-year-long civil war on Bougainville, the BRA capitalized on the belief they knew the PNG troops had in sorcery.

“We knew that they would encamp themselves with explosives… set for us,” he said. “What we would do is… throw bones into those traps during the night or some pieces of bones from pork. And you know what would happen? The dogs would fight over it in the night and they would trip it up and it goes off and in the morning the defense force would wake up. What would they see? A dog footprint there and they would then believe that, ‘yes, these BRAs can turn into dogs!'”

Shocking killings

Long-serving PNG parliamentarian, Dame Carol Kidu, was one of many to express shock at an apparent upsurge in public torture and killing of women accused of being sorcerers in PNG.

“I felt physically ill when I read of the first witch burning and the photo in the newspaper, front page,” she said. “I really physically felt ill and horrified. The majority of Papua New Guineans are horrified by what’s happening.”

Dame Kidu moved to PNG in her twenties and married the man who would become PNG’s first indigenous chief justice.

When her husband died, many blamed sorcery.

“Because the question is not, ‘well, he had a heart attack?’… but, ‘who caused it? Why?'” she said. “Many members of the family still firmly believe he was killed by sorcery.”

Reluctance to act

One concern about the recent killings of women alleged to be sorcerers, echoed by Dame Kidu, is the apparent reluctance of the PNG police to take action.

“The hysteria built up in one of those witch burnings. There were police around,” she said.

“Normally police in PNG nowadays carry arms, if you shoot in the air it disperses a crowd normally.

“It would indicate that the police themselves have a deep fear and belief in it all.”

James Tanis says the police sent to investigate believed the women were sorcerers.

“When they came back, they all came back, all saying, ‘oh, my god, it’s true. That woman is a sorcerer,'” he said.

Difficult problem

It’s no wonder the issue of dealing with sorcery in Melanesia is such a complex one.

Nancy Robinson from the United Nations Human Rights Commission says toughening up the laws is no solution if they’re not implemented.

“Implementation is the big obstacle,” she said. “You may have a law but then if you don’t have the police capacity to enforce it, or if the police themselves view the situation of sorcery related killings with indifference then we still have a big issue of how to address impunity.

“Those who perpetrate this violence know full well they’ll get off scot free – this has to change.”

Radio Australia:

34) Locals vandalise Freeport mine in Papua

Posted at 23:54 on 18 June, 2013 UTC

Dozens of people vandalized Freeport facilities and looted ore concentrate at the copper and gold giant’s mining district in Mimika, Papua, Indonesia.

Witnesses say around 70 people came to the mining area on Sunday, looting and vandalizing cars and a security post.

Papua Police spokesman Commissioner Gede Jaya Sumerta confirmed on Monday that the incident had taken place.

He said the perpetrators, residents who are non-employees, also vandalized buses for employees and caused general alarm.

He said after entering the site, the group vandalized passing vehicles and also the office and started to shout, scaring the employees and sending them fleeing.

Security officers, aided by police and military personnel, were only able to regain control of the site two hours later.

Several of the vandals were arrested and taken into the custody of the Tembagapura Police.

The situation has returned to normal, with a heavy security presence in place.

Freeport sent five buses to the site to evacuate some of the employees. It is still not clear what losses were incurred from the vandalism and looting.

Radio New Zealand International

35) American Samoa power company warns of scam

Posted at 06:14 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

The American Samoa Power Authority is advising the general public not to cash any sweepstakes or lottery cheques purported to be issued by ASPA from an off-island company.

One resident received a letter in the mail from a company called Apple Instant Payment Incorporated in Ontario, Canada.

The letter claimed the individual was a winner in a sweepstakes or lottery draw, with cheques issued in their name, from the American Samoa Power Authority.

One cheque was for 45,000 US dollars.

However in order to claim the funds, the winner must contact an off-island number and provide personal information.

In a statement, ASPA says it has received inquiries from people and banks in the US mainland to verify the legitimacy of these cheques.

ASPA says this is a fraudulent cheque scheme.

The power company is working closely with ANZ Bank and Bank of Hawai’i to make sure these cheques are not being processed and that ASPA funds are not at risk.

Radio New Zealand International


36) Customary land must be registered

By Paeope Ovasuru

Land is one of the most important assets in every society and Papua New Guinea is no different.
Papua New Guinean’s value land and depend on it to sustain their livelihoods.
The government recognised the importance of land when a National Land Development Taskforce was set up in 2006 and a land program office was created in the same year under the National Research Institute (NRI) to coordinate the implementation of the taskforce’s recommendations.
The National Land Development Program (NLDP) was established to implement the 2006 land taskforce report.
The plans that have given prominence to NLDP are PNG Vision 2050, Medium Term Development Plan 2010 — 2015, Development Strategic Plan 2010 — 2030 and the Alotau Accord. The program has three components which include improving the systems of land administration, land disputes and customary land development through voluntary customary land registration.
Esekia Warvi, the manager of NLDP, says the program is aimed at voluntary customary land registration which will enable customary land owners to participate meaningfully in the development of their land.
He said the program will be carried out in twenty years.
“We cannot quantify the value of land with monetary value and it will take time for people to accept new processes but we are determined to press on,” said Mr Warvi.
He added that one of the main problems that the program faces is the process of getting the right people to sign important documents to progress further and the need for the corporation from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.
“We are not taking over the functions of the department but rather we are in a position to help customary landowners register their land through the right process,” he explained.
Mr Warvi pointed out that NLDP is a different concept from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning’s Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) program. Dr Justin Ondopa, senior research officer with NRI’s Land Research Program explained that part of the progress made with the NLDP program is the passing of two new amendments to the land act and land group incorporation act.
“The two new amendments now allow the land title to remain with the customary landowners.
“The customary land cannot be owned by anyone else apart from the registered landowners,” said Dr Ondopa.

37) East Rennell region in Solomon Islands placed on UN list of world heritage in danger

By Online Editor
3:46 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Solomon Islands

The East Rennell area in the Solomon Islands was inscribed today on the United Nations Scientific, Cultural, and Educational Organization’s (UNESCO) list of endangered sites due to logging that is affecting the island’s ecosystem.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee determined that “logging is threatening the outstanding universal value of East Rennell,” and asked the national authorities to provide an impact assessment study of this activity, which is taking place outside the site’s core area, UNESCO said in a news release.

East Rennell is the largest raised coral atoll in the world and its dense forest has a canopy averaging 20 metres in height. The forests, which cover most of the land area of the 37,000-hectare site, are an essential component of the atoll, which is considered to be a natural laboratory for scientific study.

Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998, the site makes up the southern third of Rennell Island, the southernmost island in the Solomon Island group in the western Pacific.

The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of threats to the outstanding universal values for which a property has been inscribed, and to encourage corrective action.

In other news, the Committee yesterday removed the Iranian World Heritage site of Bam and its cultural landscape from the list of sites in danger citing improvements in the management and conservation of the site.

Bam was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, shortly after it was struck by a major earthquake. Damage caused by the quake warranted the site’s simultaneous inscription on the List of Heritage in Danger.

The Committee, which is currently holding its 37th session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, noted that remains of the desert citadel had been sufficiently stabilized and its management was sound enough for the site to be declared safe.


38) SPC and IUCN to work closely in developing green economies

Posted at 23:54 on 18 June, 2013 UTC

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Union for Conservation of Nature to work together in areas of conservation and development in the Pacific.

The four-year MOU, signed in Noumea, recognises the expertise that the two organisations possess in sectors related to biodiversity conservation including fisheries and marine protection, forestry, energy, food security, water and climate change.

In working together, the two agencies say they’ll look to foster a more holistic and sustainable regional approach to economic and social development.

The IUCN regional director, Taholo Kami, says closer co-operation will enable them to better engage regional governments in creating green economies.

“If we can do a better job in the next 5 or 10 years, a significantly better job I hope. What do we need to do in terms of management of our fisheries, and what do we need to do in terms of the issue of mining and logging and how do we come together and start to get the right kind of commitments that support communities.”

The IUCN’s Taholo Kami.

Radio New Zealand International

39) American Samoa assesses swapped land in Tonga and Samoa

Posted at 05:44 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

An American Samoa delegation assessing the territorial government land in Tonga will also be conducting an assessment of land in Apia set aside by the Samoa government.

The three-member delegation, which includes two cabinet directors, left for Nuku’alofa to look at the land size, logistics, requirements, permissible use, and other specifics of the territory’s land in Tonga.

The governor’s spokesman Joseph Pereira says it is governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s intention to invite local businesses who might be interested to work with local businesses in Tonga and Samoa, for which these parcels of land could be used.

The land in Tonga is the result of a 1986 land exchange deal between American Samoa and Tonga, while the land in Samoa was an exchange done last year.

Radio New Zealand International

40) Villagers haul in ‘mystery’ underwater creature

Serafina Silaitoga
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

AFTER three years of practically fearing the sea, villagers of Naiqaqi in Cakaudrove yesterday put that anxiety to rest after they caught the scary looking sea creature.

In 2010 villagers had raised their concern with this newspaper after they first sighted the creature.

Unknown to the villagers who have seen it for the first time, the top part of the creature, has features of a sting ray while the bottom is of the shark.

Village headman Jepeca Nakuvu said he went out fishing yesterday morning with a group of men when they saw the creature.

“About 1pm we saw the creature come our way and it was the same one we saw in 2010,” he said.

“We didn’t give it any second chance but chased after it for about 30 minutes until we shot it with our spear gun.

“It is so heavy and we loaded it and brought it home. At least our women can now freely go out to sea to do their fishing again.”

The creature is similar to a giant guitarfish (rhinchobatus djiddensis), previously believed to range throughout a large part of the Indo-Pacific but recent evidence has shown that it, as traditionally defined, actually was a species complex consisting of four different species.


41a) 7s reunion

Maciu Malo
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

THEY struggled together in the same neighbourhood for years before parting ways to make a name for themselves in the rugby arena.

Three years later, it was a fitting reward of their commitment and sheer hard work.

Fiji sevens coach Alivereti Dere brought them back together in his final 12-member team to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.

For Metuisela Talebua, Jasa Veremalua and Joji Ragamate, it was a fitting reward for the hard work they put in during their humble beginning with the Natabua rugby 7s team that raised eyebrows on the local 7s scene three years ago.

The side scooped some of the major 7s title, including the then Fiji TV 7s series in 2010 before being picked up by the big guns.

Talebula sealed a contract in France, Ragamate joined Wardens and Veremalua was recruited by Red Rock.

Despite being separated, they remained committed to their dreams and reaped the fruits of their hard work after being called to team up again.

This time it is a higher calling.

“Being named to represent Fiji at the Rugby World Cup Sevens is a dream come true,” said Veremalua.

“The icing on the cake is to see my two rugby mates, Joji and Metui, in the same team.

“I never imagined we would team up again, especially for the world cup. It will be a moment to cherish.”

Veremalua said he was emotional when their names were announced. He recalled the struggle, tears and pain they endured while at Natabua.

“I still have fond memories of those days when we used to train back in Natabua,” he said.

“While other teams had the luxury of training in gyms and securing good sponsors, we were sweating it out in the Natabua ground almost every day.”

“It was the love of the game that bonded us together until reuniting for this special occasion.

“To be selected to represent our country for the world cup is something I never imagined.

“I thank the Almighty Lord for his blessing and like other players in the team we will give our outmost effort for Fiji and to our fans in Natabua.”

The Natabua community was in jovial mood celebrating the achievements of these heroes after years of heart aches, struggles and commitments.

Like Talebula, Veremalua and Ragamate have secured rugby contracts in France after the Rugby World Cup.

41b)Lions stunned by Brumbies 14 – 12 in Canberra

By Online Editor
4:51 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, Australia

The Brumbies have clung on for a dramatic 14-12 victory over a fast finishing British and Irish Lions outfit to become the first provincial team to beat the touring side in 16 years.

The win in front of a crowd of 21,655 makes the Brumbies the first provincial side to beat the Lions since South Africa’s Northern Transvaal in 1997, now known as the Bulls.

The win delivers a massive mental blow to the visitors, who are just four days out from the first Test against the Wallabies.

The Lions played right into the strengths of Jake White’s Brumbies, the home side winning the kicking dual on the back of the boots of flyhalf Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg in soggy weather conditions.

The Brumbies also applied enormous pressure on the Lions’ lineout, forcing hooker Rory Best to have a wayward night he’d rather forget.

The Brumbies withstood an early Lions attack, winger Shane Williams coming within a metre of scoring in his return Lions match before being bundled into touch.

The home side then worked their way out of danger, Mogg spreading a kick return wide to Andrew Smith, who drew two defenders before putting centres partner Tevita Kuridrani into the clear.

The Fijian-born flyer then made a mockery of the final two defenders, using young English winger Christian Wade as an impromptu shield against fullback Rob Kearney to open the scoring in the fifth minute.

The Brumbies missed three opportunities to extend their lead with one missed conversion and two missed penalties, before Mogg kicked a penalty from 45 metres out to extend their lead to 8-0 in the 39th minute.

Both sides then traded two penalty shots each, before the Lions made four changes in the 57th minute, the substitution of Englishman Owen Farrell for Hogg having significant impact.

Farrell steadied the directionless Lions and the results were immediate, the replacement No.10 knocking over two penalty goals to reduce the deficit to 14-12 in the 72nd minute.

But it wasn’t enough, the Brumbies holding out to become the first side Australian provincial outfit to beat the Lions since 1971.

Brumbies coach White said the Wallabies would take confidence from the win.

“To get a win against the Lions – it doesn’t happen. Even the Brumbies in their heyday couldn’t do it,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to win a junior and senior World Cup. But to beat the Lions. It’s as high as it gets.”

Brumbies captain Peter Kimlin, who was a standout in the upset, said he could take knowledge of the win back into Wallabies camp.

“We went in there with a pretty clear mindset. We just wanted to keep it simple, hard workrate and big defence,” he said.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said he felt his side didn’t have the intensity required in the first half.

“Not the easiest conditions tonight, the Brumbies were really effective with what they did,” he said. “They didn’t play any rugby, they just kicked a lot of the ball and competed really hard at the breakdown and tried to frustrate us and were successful.”

Gatland added the win may be the wake-up call the Lions needed before the Test opener against the Wallabies in Brisbane on June 22. Lions captain Rory Best said his side was smashed at the breakdown.

“They put pressure on us and our confidence started to go,” he said. “We lacked that little bit of composure.”

ACT Brumbies 14 (Tevita Kuridrani try Jesse Mogg 3 pens) British & Irish Lions 12 (Owen Farrell 2, Stuart Hogg 2 pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Jerome Garces. Crowd: 21,655


41c)OFC changes format

By Online Editor
4:49 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2013, New Zealand

The premier regional competition, Oceania Champions League, has reverted to old format with all national club champions meeting in one venue.

In a letter dated June 7 to all OFC executive committee members, member associations and participating clubs in the 2014 season, Oceania secretary-general Nicholas Tai announced there was an amendment to the 2014 format.

Tai said the amendments were made by the OFC executive committee meeting on May 30 in Mauritius and the changes were:

* That the format shall maintain a preliminary stage, and finals stage;

* that the preliminary stage shall consist of 4 teams, one group;

*that the preliminary and finals stage shall be played in one country in a tournament format;
* that the finals stage shall consist of 12 teams in 3 groups.

Tai said the OFC secretariat would like to confirm the revised format which includes preliminary stages to be contested by four club champions from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.

The will play in a round robin league system to take place in Pago Pago, American Samoa in September this year with the winner advancing to advance to join the 12 teams for the 2014 OFC champions League in April, 2014 in Fiji

The teams include the seven club champions of Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, PNG, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu plus the four losing finalists based on the placing of their club representative in the 2013 OFC Champions League season.

As New Zealand finished first and second in 2013 the clubs ranked second to fifth in the overall standings are entitled to a second club team in 2014.

New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tahiti will enter the runners-up of their national league.

The new format would see 12 teams placed in three pools.

In Group A: New Zealand 1, Solomon Islands 1, Preliminary Final winner, Tahiti 2; Group B: New Zealand 2, Tahiti 1, Vanuatu 2, Fiji 2; Group C: Vanuatu 1, Fiji 1, New Caledonia 1, PNG 1 (Hekari United FC).


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