Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 878

MELANESIA:

1) Fiji, PNG and Vanuatu start MSG duty free trade

By Online Editor
5:25 pm GMT+12, 25/06/2013, Fiji

Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have started trading duty free amongst themselves under the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA).

They have reduced duties on goods in their negative list, an achievement for the MSGTA, since it was formed in 1986, initially between Solomon Islands, PNG and Vanuatu. Solomon Islands has assured that it will revisit the timeline for its tariff reduction schedule.

MSG Leaders at their recent meeting in Noumea last week welcomed the significant progress made in the implementation of the MSG Trade Agreement.

“This is a milestone achievement for the MSG in this anniversary year, said the Leaders communiqué.

Leaders also approved the legal text of the revised draft MSGTA3 including its proposed architecture, as a basis for the negotiations of a new legal framework for broader and deeper trade and economic relations amongst MSG members.

“The draft MSGTA3 will not nullify but build on the progress made under the MSGTA2.

The Eminent Persons Group Report recognised the need for intra-MSG trade to increase manifold and unrestricted flow of trade, services and labour.

“MSG has to leverage on the opportunity that exists in the sub-region and in the region at large.

An immediate target is to facilitate New Caledonia in its integration in the Pacific.

“Given its advanced economy, it can be envisaged that the benefits to the Group can be considerable, said the EPG report.

On the Skills Movement Scheme (SMS), which entered into force in September last year, the EPG suggested the inclusion of semi-skilled and under skilled labour under the temporary movement of natural persons.

“The SMS is a means therefore in making skills available to those who need them and the same skilled personnel can also impart the same skills through appropriate training programmes that can be set up as part of the Scheme an supported by scholarships granted by MSG Leaders.

The group recommended a national volunteer scheme be connected to SMS for greater impact, to supply jobs, to countries of deficit.

“The onus is on national governments to get the system in place – professional qualification framework, with or without concessions awarded to MSG, recruitment agency, policies and regulations, to allow free movement of people, said the EPG report.

Skills Movement Scheme has a great potential, to be developed as a tool for the MSG outreach programme.

Under the MSG Skills Movement Scheme, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are already implementing the scheme.

On kava, MSG Leaders have agreed to scale up political efforts to secure regional and international market access for kava to the Australian and the European Union (EU) markets.

“MSG Leaders will raise their objections to the kava restrictions imposed by Australia and call on Australia to withdraw their unjustified restrictions, said the Leaders Communiqué.

For the first time, the MSG will hold an Investment Roadshow to be launched at the Pacific Islands Development Forum in Fiji in August this year.

Papua New Guinea has offered to host the 2014 MSG Roadshow and Trade Fair.
SOURCE: PACNEWS

2) FLNKS membership of MSG raises question of membership and intergovernmental nature of group

By Online Editor
1:52 pm GMT+12, 26/06/2013, Fiji

The inclusion of the pro-independence, Front de libération nationale kanak et socialiste (FLNKS) as a member of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) has created a precedent for membership of non-state entities and raised questions about the intergovernmental nature of the sub-regional bloc.

And, the Eminent Persons Group in its report to MSG Leaders tried to provide possible guidelines on how to deal with these two issues.

The proposed guidelines are in response to the declaration by Leaders to increase membership of the five member group.

Currently, the MSG is made up of four independent MSG states, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and a pro-independence political movement, FLNKS of New Caledonia.

“Strategically, MSG would probably we well served, if it adopted the general position that it is not averse to expansion of its membership, said the EPG report.

However, since the precedent has been set by the membership of the FLNKS, the group suggested that there ‘exist other forms and categories of association/links with the MSG that applicants can be granted in preparation while waiting a determination on membership application.’

The growth in membership should generally be preceded by a period of consolidation, before new members join.

This period of consolidation should include formal delimitation of members national borders where warranted, to avoid possible future territorial border conflicts over resources, said the EPG.

“Consideration of resources and affordability should precede the finalisation of any application for membership.

On the intergovernmental nature of MSG, the EPG said, ‘the question is valid only if such a configuration is constraining the activities of the MSG, in terms of intervention from outside organisations, such as development partners, donors and funding agencies.’

Should this be the case, the EPG provided two possible scenarios for justification.

“The existing MSG configuration could be viewed as an intergovernmental organisation ‘in transition.’

“The FLNKS is essentially a government in waiting should the Noumea Accord processes result in an independent status for Kanaky-New Caledonia.

“If this happens, then there will be suitably-orchestrated transformation of the FLNKS in the context of a new state, which will take its rightful place in the organisation, suggested the EPG report.

In the event that it is not, then the current configuration – membership of FLNKS will continue.

“The FLNKS is a founding member of the MSG and it would be relevant therefore that an innovative solution be found, said the EPG report.

Given this situation, the EPG recommend that a possible solution is to regard a mix of state and non state membership as a precursor for the future – an intergovernmental plus entity.

“This means broadening the representation in the sub-regional organisation to include non-governmental organisation/non state actors to widen legitimacy and diversify funding sources, said the EPG report.

The only new application before MSG Leaders is from the Port Vila based West Papua National Coalition for Liberation. A decision will be made after the MSG ministerial mission returns from Jakarta and Jayapura before the end of the year.
SOURCE: PACNEWS

3) More women up to the challenge

By ROSALYN ALBANIEL-EVARA

OVER 2000 candidates have nominated to contest the 2013 Local Level Government Elections in Madang Province.
At the close of nominations on July 14, 1,890 contestants had nominated to contest the 451 wards in the 19 LLG’s in the province, while 443 had done so for the Presidents Seats.
As a show of gender equality, 36 women had taken a bold step to challenge the men with seven of them opting for the presidents seats.
This and more were revealed by the provincial returning officer Philip Enn in his weekly update.
Mr Enn said it had taken him a while to update his records because he had to wait for his Assistant Returning Officers from the remote LLG’s to send in their nomination figures.
He said there was a big increase in the number of candidates for this election compared to 2008 which was 1,800.
He said all districts had recorded an increase in the number of candidates, with Madang District recording the highest with 419, just edging Bogia which had 418.
He said the number of female candidates had also spread across the province with all 19 LLG’s recording the participation of a woman candidate.
Mr Enn said Madang and Usino/Bundi Districts had the highest with ten women each, in which three are vying for the Mayors Seat in Madang.
In Usino/Bundi, two had nominated to contest the Usino President Seat which is currently held by the Deputy Governor Bob Wati.
Meanwhile, 42 of the 1,800 candidates contesting the LLG wards are now waiting to be sworn in as members of their respective LLG’s having contested unopposed at the close of nominations.
The 42 candidates have already been declared winners by their AROs but Mr Enn said they will have to wait until the counting of votes have ended in order to be sworn in together with the other winners.
In other election related updates Mr Enn said the Madang Government is yet to reveal whether or not it will be assisting the PNG Electoral Commission in sharing the costs that will be involved in running the elections.
The PNGEC, during a weeklong training workshop it had organized, recently revealed that it was their view that because these elections were for the people, it was obliged to chip in and share some funds, mostly to assist with the security opearations and other related costs that were likely to be incurred during this exercise.
He had also apologetically stated that voters were likely to run into similar problems faced during the 2012 National General Elections, as the Election officials were set to use the same common roll for the coming elections.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

4) A wealth sharing formula

By LAWRENCIA PIRPIR

THE National Economic Fiscal Commission has to come up with a formula for equitable wealth sharing among provinces, particularly for the development budget to be shared among all provinces as directed by the Minister responsible.
Given the Commission’s success in impacting the internal revenue of provinces through the impact of Reform of Inter Governmental Financing Arrangement (RIGFA) on fiscal capacity of the 3 – 4% goods and services budget, the Minister for National Planning Charles Abel directed commission Chief Executive Officer Hohore Suve and his team to come up with a formula that would calculate the disbursement of the development budget that makes up 97% of an annual appropriated budget equitably in all our provinces.
This development budget includes the Provincial Support Improvement Program (PSIP), District Support Improvement Program (DSIP) and Local Level Government Improvement Program (LLG SIP).
Under the new GoPNG implementation directive, more money needs to go down to the LLGs. This is the responsibility of the Department of Implementation and Rural Development and the Department of Planning and Monitoring who distribute the development budget are now being assisted by the commission to see the distribution of these grants equitably through the development of a formula that is expected to be due at the end of this week. The monitoring techniques of the development budget rests with the Department of Planning and Monitoring and the department of Finance has distributed the guidelines.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

5) Judge Orders Solomons PM Excluded From Judicial Review
Opposition challenged vote on no-confidence motion in parliament

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 26, 2013) – Solomon Islands Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer has ordered that the application by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to be excluded in the constitutional case lodged by the Leader of the Opposition be granted.

A statement from PM’s office said in a court order dated 20 June (Thursday), Sir Albert Palmer ruled that upon hearing submissions from Mr. Lilo’s lawyer Nuatali Tongarutu the Prime Minister is to be removed as a party in the proceedings.

“The High Court has struck out Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo as the second defendant.”

The news has been welcomed by the Prime Minister yesterday.

“I welcome the court’s decision as that speaks for itself,” Mr. Lilo said yesterday in a statement.

The Leader of the Opposition Dr. Derek Sikua sought judicial review following a decision by the Speaker of Parliament to allow a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Lilo to be voted on during the November 2012 seating whilst the mover (Sikua) was not present in the chambers.

The drama unfolded after Dr. Sikua failed to show-up in the morning session, the Speaker adjourned the hearing in the afternoon but the Opposition leader still did not attend.

Speaker of Parliament Sir Allan then ruled that a vote be taken on the motion regardless of Dr. Sikua’s absence.

As a result of that, the Opposition has challenged the ruling in the High Court, naming the Speaker of Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza as the first defendant, Mr. Lilo as second-defendant, whilst the Attorney General as the third defendant.

Following the order to have the Prime Minister out of the case, the High Court has also penalized the Opposition by ordering them to pay for the costs.

The high court registrar yesterday confirmed to this paper, that the decision on the case has been deferred.

High court has given time for the Chief Justice Palmer to look through all the submissions before he make the ruling.

In a recent interview the speaker to National Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza told the Solomon Star his decision to allow the no-confidence motion to be debated last year was based on advice from the Attorney General.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solomon Star

6) New Caledonia Commemorates Matignon Accords
Matignon agreement served as predecessor to Noumea Accord

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 26, 2013) – New Caledonia today marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Matignon Accords which ended years of political discord and violence.

The deal was reached between the anti-independence leader, Jacques Lafleur, and Jean-Marie Tjibaou of the pro-independence camp.

It lasted for ten years when, again under French leadership, a successor agreement, the Noumea Accord, was signed to provide the current roadmap to the phased and irreversible transfer of power from Paris to New Caledonia.

The Noumea Accord provides for a possible referendum on independence between 2014 and 2018.

The day has been marked by one signatory, the Rassemblement-UMP, which says that since the party’s inception in 1977 its only target has been to retain New Caledonia within the French republic.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

7) Rabi Island Council dissolved

By Online Editor
10:27 am GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Fiji

The Rabi Island Council has been dissolved for allegedly not meeting targets set by the government.

This was confirmed to FBC NEWS by Salimoni Karusi of the Prime Minister’s Office

Karusi says the government and the council had an agreement for some works to be carried out but this has not been done.

Karia Christopher has been appointed the interim administrator of the council.

According to Karusi, the government has worked hard to develop projects on the island and everything will go to waste if the council members are not active.

Karusi says this is why they council and appointed an Interim Administrator.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama is the Minister Responsible for the Rabi Island Council.

The former president of the council, Dr Paula Vanualailai could not be reached for a comment.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

8) Fiji AG Urges Municipal Officials To Cooperate With FICAC
Sayed-Khaiyum holds meeting with special administrators

By Jyoti Pratibha

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, June 26, 2013) – The government of Fiji will not tolerate instances of municipalities refusing to cooperate with the country’s anti-rort body, the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC).

Attorney-General and acting Minister for Housing and Local Government, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, met with special administrators from around the country in Lautoka over the weekend.

He said that ending corruption in Fiji was of utmost importance to the Bainimarama Government and no special administrator should stand in the way of any investigation by the commission.

This was Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum’s first meeting with special administrators since assuming the acting post.

“I want to make it clear to all of you that there should never be any doubt in your minds about the need to comply and collaborate with FICAC and work with it to eradicate corruption.

“The Government insists on fair, honest and transparent governance and will not tolerate unscrupulous or dishonest behavior, favoritism or nepotism,” he said.

Capital projects

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum has also asked the special administrators to submit a report on all capital projects that are being undertaken by the various councils.

He outlined his plans for the portfolio and received a briefing from the individual administrators on the financial situation in their various municipalities and the challenges they face.

Also discussed were opportunities to streamline the business activities of councils from a practical and legal perspective to provide ratepayers with better value for money.

Service to rate payers

He said there was a need to reform the system of fees and charges imposed on local businesses, describing the present arrangements as “very unfair” on small business owners.

“It is clearly iniquitous when small business people such as shoe repairers are saddled with exactly the same charges as large business houses when it comes to obtaining business licenses, paying for health inspections or obtaining certificates from the National Fire Authority.

“This goes against a fundamental principle of the Bainimarama Government – which is to create a fairer, more equal society – and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency”, he said.

The meeting also discussed ways in which the various municipalities could deal with problem rate payers.

The Special Administrators were reminded of the significant responsibility they carried to facilitate the Bainimarama Government’s vision for a better Fiji.

The Lautoka meeting covered a range of other local government issues, including road and footpath maintenance, the extension of existing market places to cope with an increasing number of vendors, proper drainage systems, squatter settlements, garbage collection, recreational parks and other council projects.
FijiSUN: http://www.fijisun.com.fj/

MELANESIA CUSTOM/CULTURE/TRADITION/ART+:


9) Record-setting PNG artefact has Savage roots
By Online Editor
1:17 pm GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Australia

It once graced the shield and spear-laden rooms of Melbourne’s exclusive Savage Club but now a wooden ceremonial sculpture from Papua New Guinea has set a record at auction for a piece of Oceanic art.

The one metre-tall “roof figure”, carved by the Biwat people of PNG’s east Sepik region sometime between 1600 and 1890, sold last week at a Christie’s auction in Paris for $3.5 million, smashing through its estimated top price of $1.4 million.

According to notes on the piece’s provenance, the Savage Club is likely to have acquired the sculpture in the 1930s and sold it in 1977. It was ostensibly a time of “great financial hardship” when the money was needed for the club’s extensive renovations.

However Chris Deutscher, from auction house Deutscher and Hackett, remembered the decision to sell the sculpture was still contentious for some members when he joined in the late 1970s.

“It really was controversial,” he said.

The sculpture made it into the hands of US collectors John and Marcia Friede who eventually donated it as part of the Jolika Collection to the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts.

Biwat sculptures were incredibly rare, said Robert Bleakley, a former Sotheby’s Australia chairman and collector of PNG art who once evaluated the Savage Club’s collection of “tribal” art.

“Small population, loss of other items over time and the fact that any such works that have previously come up have been sold in to institutions and therefore don’t come back on to the market,” he said. “It’s the power of the object, the force, the sculptural values. You could find other objects of equal age and of roughly similar appearance which might sell for a lesser price – so people really do identify and recognise the individual sculptural quality in these sort of works.”

In a statement, Christie’s said the sale marked a new world record for art from the region. The auction house’s specialist in African and Oceanic art, Charles-Wesley Hourde, said only a dozen figures of this kind were known to experts. “Three are of comparable quality and are all part of museum collections,” he said.
SOURCE: THE AGE/PACNEWS

10) SP continues to support cultural shows

THE preservation and promotion of PNG’s diverse cultural values is one of the reasons why SP Brewery continues to support cultural shows and festivals throughout the country.
The Warwagira and 19th Mask Festival to be held in Kokopo from the 17th – 22nd of July is no different. SP Brewery is
proud to assist with K10,000 for the successful staging of this event.
The Warwagira and Mask Festival is an exciting event for the province.
While, it attracts many visitors and tourists each year, it is an occasion that also showcases
the various cultures of New Britain and New Ireland.
SP Brewery believes in creating something special for future generations to cherish. Cultural shows like the Warwagira and Mask Festival is one way the company will continue to protect and promote the diverse cultures of this beautiful country.

POLYNESIA:

11) French Polynesia Government Accused Of Overpaying Adviser
Former president Temaru claims new hire paid $27,000 a month

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 26, 2013) – The French Polynesian government has reacted angrily to a televised opposition claim that a new French advisor is being paid US$27,000 a month.

The claim was made by the opposition leader, Oscar Temaru, after the government hired a former French overseas territories minister, Brigitte Girardin, as an advisor and representative for the territory in both Paris and Brussels.

The government says Mr. Temaru’s assertion is grotesque, however its statement gives no other figure.

It says Mrs. Girardin will help French Polynesia erase the huge debt which is Mr. Temaru’s legacy to the territory.

It accuses him of having done nothing for the people and being busy with the decolonization issue as his new toy.

The government says Mr. Temaru is parading around to deliver counter-truths about French Polynesia abroad and creates hate and division within society by proffering racist comments of a gravity that the government condemns with force.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

AUSTRALIA:


12) Rudd sworn in as Australian PM after Gillard rolled
By Online Editor
1:32 pm GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Australia

Kevin Rudd has been sworn in again as Australia’s 28th Prime minister, as it appeared likely the country will go to the polls earlier than planned 14 September election.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce, acting on the advice from the solicitor-general, swore in Rudd and his deputy Anthony Albanese in a brief ceremony at Government House in Canberra this morning.

Bryce wished him well in serving the people of Australia.

“I will do my absolute best,” Rudd replied.

Chris Bowen has also been sworn in as treasurer, replacing and former deputy prime minister Wayne Swan who resigned from cabinet on Wednesday night.

The swearing-in followed Rudd’s 57-45 caucus vote victory over Julia Gillard, who ousted him in June 2010 and narrowly held onto power with the backing of the Greens and independents after the 2010 election.

Bryce secured an assurance from Rudd that he would announce his appointment to the House of Representatives today.

The parliament would then be able to take whatever action it chose to do, including a no confidence motion.

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott talked down the prospects of moving a no-confidence motion in the Labor government.

“Plainly one-third of the cabinet has no confidence in Rudd, they’ve resigned, it’s the biggest exodus from the cabinet in memory,” Abbott told the Nine Network.

“But we’re not into parliamentary games … let’s let the people decide.”

Should a motion go forward Rudd appeared likely to get support from crossbenchers Andrew Wilkie, Peter Slipper, Craig Thomson, Bob Katter and Adam Bandt.

Rudd was expected to announce an August 24 election. He has to fill five other vacancies in the cabinet.

Labor’s new Senate leader Penny Wong revealed she voted for Kevin Rudd, having told Gillard just hours before the ballot.

“I had to decide who I thought would offer the best contest at the next election against Tony Abbott,” Senator Wong told ABC Radio.

She described Gillard as a friend, which made the decision even more difficult.

Gillard supporter, Resources Minister Gary Gray, said Rudd had asked him to stay on and he had agreed to do so.

Environment Minister Tony Burke was also staying on, despite offering his resignation to Rudd.

Abbott said Rudd had “had his revenge”.

“But is this all about Kevin Rudd’s ego or is it about the Australian people?” Abbott said.

Albanese said there would be a “proper discussion” about changing the election date, but any change would not be too far from the existing September 14 poll.

“The party will unite behind Kevin Rudd’s leadership,” Albanese said.

In a day of high drama yesterday, Rudd defeated Gillard in a party-room vote.

Rudd’s promotion marks a stunning turnaround for the former prime minister and polling suggests the election scheduled for September will be more closely fought than was expected.

Gillard will return to the backbench and will leave politics altogether at the election. She congratulated Rudd and advised that she would see Bryce later in the evening to resign her commission and advise her of Rudd’s election.

Rudd praised Gillard. “’She is a woman of extraordinary intelligence, great strength and energy,” he said.

“She has been a remarkable reformer and I acknowledge those contributions.”

He criticised Abbott as ”a man steeped in the power of negative politics”.

“I very simply do not have it in my nature to stand idly by and allow an Abbott government to come to power by default,”’ he said.

Gillard’s demise brings to an end a tumultuous three years in which she broke through the ultimate glass ceiling, but saw Labor’s vote slump to a position where it faced almost certain defeat.

But it has also plunged Labor into more  turmoil, with several senior figures resigning in protest and the party showing few signs of being able to present a united front.

Gillard reflected on her role as Australia’s first female prime minister, and attributed in part, her political troubles to her gender.

“It doesn’t explain everything, it doesn’t explain nothing, it explains some things,” she said.
SOURCE:SMH/AAP/PACNEWS

13) Kevin Rudd ponders his new Cabinet line-up while election date remains uncertain

Updated 28 June 2013, 8:54 AEST
By Naomi Woodley

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to shift the policy debate concerning climate change and asylum seekers, but the make-up of his new front bench remains uncertain. The election date also remains a closely guarded secret, but with the Senate holding the final planned sitting of the 43rd Parliament today, an election sooner rather than later is looking likely. With seven ministers departing the frontbench, Mr Rudd’s Cabinet will see a significant reshuffle and could be announced as early as today. AM understands the new team will discuss carbon pricing and the key question of whether the Government should move to a floating price sooner than 2015.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to shift the policy debate concerning climate change and asylum seekers, but the make-up of his new front bench remains uncertain.

The election date also remains a closely guarded secret, but with the Senate holding the final planned sitting of the 43rd Parliament today, an election sooner rather than later is looking likely.

Former ministers Kim Carr and Simon Crean are tipped to be promoted to the ministry, along with other key Rudd supporters.

With seven ministers departing the front bench, it is a significant reshuffle which could be announced as early as today.

New Treasurer Chris Bowen told 7:30 there would be a commitment to existing policies, but he was not ruling out some changes.

Key points

Former ministers Kim Carr, Simon Crean tipped to return to Cabinet, along with other key Rudd supporters
New ministers will be sworn in on Monday, provide the Governor-General is available, before the first Cabinet meeting of the new Rudd Government
Ministers will have to help Mr Rudd decide when to have the election – with August 24 firming as the new date
Rudd Government will seek to shift debate on climate change and asylum seekers

“You’ll see continued commitment to disability care, for example. You’ll see continued commitment to carbon pricing. You’ll see continued commitment across the board to many of our important policies.

“But Kevin will bring, of course, both in presentation and policy terms, his own approach.

“Every new prime minister, every new treasurer, every new minister will have a fresh set of eyes and a fresh approach to some questions.”

As long as the Governor-General is available, the new ministers will be sworn in on Monday before the first Cabinet meeting of this Rudd Government.

Carbon price on agenda for new Cabinet

AM understands they will discuss carbon pricing and the key question of whether the Government should move to a floating price sooner than 2015.

Labor frontbencher Jason Clare has told Channel Nine the Government wants to move to a flexible carbon price as soon as possible.

“The Government has always supported an emissions trading scheme. We tried to do that in the last Parliament, but the Liberals, the Greens stopped us doing that,” he said.

“That’s why Julia Gillard put in the carbon tax. We want an emissions trading scheme – we want to move to that as quick as we can.””

But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told Fairfax radio that even if Labor changes its policy, it would still hurt household budgets and Australian jobs.

“The only difference between the current carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme is that this is a carbon tax with a fixed price,” Mr Abbott said.

“An emissions trading scheme is a carbon tax with a floating price.”

Greens leader Christine Milne says she does not think people trust Mr Rudd on climate policy.

“He has back-flipped on climate so much that I don’t think people would really trust him to actually respond to the science and to be rigorous about climate change,” she said.

And with no sign of a slow-down in the number of asylum seeker boats trying to reach Australia, that too will be one of Cabinet’s key priorities.

August 24 firming as new election date

Ministers will also have to help Mr Rudd decide on an election date, with August 24 firming as an early favourite.

“We’ll wait and see. We’ll have a discussion with the Cabinet,” Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

“It’s not like there’s a whole lot of options in terms of when the day could be.”

Video: Chris Bowen gives first interview as Federal Treasurer(7.30)

Mr Albanese says unlike Julia Gillard’s strategy, they will reserve the right to surprise.

Mr Bowen says the Prime Minister has concerns with the September 14 date proposed by his predecessor as it coincides with the Jewish day of Yom Kippur.

“There are Australians of the Jewish faith who would have great difficulty with an election on that date, and that is a factor that he’s indicated very clearly that we will be taking into consideration,” Mr Bowen said.

“But the important principle he’s underlined is he believes in the traditional constitutional convention, that the Prime Minister goes to see the Governor-General, recommends a date and then announces it.”

Last night, senators debated and passed legislation to set up a charities commission, change private health insurance loadings and amend the Fair Work laws.

The Senate will sit again today in order to pass the main budget appropriation bills and the Government’s tougher approach to the use of 457 visas for skilled migrants.

There will not be amendments, but it is understood the Government will try to soften business anger by reviewing the way the 457 changes will be put in place.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

NEW ZEALAND:


14) Immigration New Zealand says Samoa quota system works

By Online Editor
4:43 pm GMT+12, 27/06/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand’s immigration department has defended its record on processing Samoan migrants under the quota scheme.

The area manager Michael Carley says 64 percent of quota applications are processed within 30 days and sometimes there are delays as people may have issues meeting the criteria, which include good health and real job prospects.

Labour MP Su’a William Sio says many find their job offers have dried up by the time they arrive.

But Carley says as new residents, the migrants have the same support as other New Zealanders through Work and Income.

He said this year, New Zealand published 536 successful ballot numbers, which represents about 1300 people who have been granted the chance to apply to migrate this year.

“We work closely with employers and with the Pacific community here to try and ensure that as many jobs as possible that are offered are sustainable. If there are delays, which can be caused by health issues, for example, that might impact on whether a job’s available. But remember people can submit a second job offer if their original job offer is no longer available.”..
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

PASIFIK:


15) Governments meet in Brisbane to identify a road map for a Pacific free of unexploded ordnance

By Online Editor
09:58 am GMT+12, 28/06/2013, Australia

This week, governments of Pacific Island States, including those affected by WWII ordnance, join Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, civil society and mine action agencies, to identify a road map for a Pacific free of unexploded ordnance.

The Pacific Regional ERW Workshop is jointly hosted by ICBL-CMC member organisation Safe Ground (recently renamed from the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions), and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat with support from AusAID.

Nine Pacific Island countries remain heavily contaminated with explosive remnants of war (ERW), including limited landmine and cluster munition contamination – a dangerous and long lasting legacy from WWII.

The affected islands are Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tuvalu and Nauru.

Of the Pacific Island Forum countries, two countries – Micronesia & Tonga – have yet to join Mine Ban Treaty, and the Marshall Islands, a signatory to the Treaty, has yet to accede. With respect to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, six countries have yet to join the Convention, namely, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and signatory Palau has yet to accede.

Building on the regional meeting on the ‘Implementation of the Pacific Islands Forum Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Strategy’, which took place in Palau last October, the Brisbane workshop is expected to foster a regional approach to the problem of ERW and encourage states to come on board the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
SOURCE:CLUSTER MUNITION COALITION/PACNEWS

16) A call for Pacific unity to benefit from seabed mining plans

Posted at 05:54 on 27 June, 2013 UTC

A commissioner with the newly formed Global Ocean Commission says island countries in the Pacific must have a voice in discussions on seabed mining in the international waters that surround them.

Former Ulu of Tokelau, Faipule Foua Toloa, says island countries are not ready for the impact of mining on the sea floor, whether it is in their coastal waters, within their exclusive economic zones or the high seas.

He says companies expect to make billions of dollars from the mining of minerals deposited on the seafloor and the island countries should receive some of this.

Faipule Foua says there are also concerns of environmental impact that need to be answered before mining starts.

He told Don Wiseman the small island states must have a say.

FAIPULE FOUA: They must have a say. It’s the Pacific. The area where the mining is happening, is occurring, that’s where most of the deposits are. So if it’s the international waters, this particular area runs through the Pacific, almost the rest of the Pacific. So it’s not only an EEZ, but also in international waters. And that is the function – when it comes to international seabed mining – that is the function of this UN agency, International Seabed Authority. It’s their job to actually licenses, as well as exploration licenses, and also come up with a formula of how the revenue from this is divided amongst developing countries. I know they haven’t come up with any, but this is the area whereby the Pacific has to be united in whatever approach will be taken because it’s just at their back door.

DON WISEMAN: The commitment by the International Seabed Authority is that the money should go to developing countries.

FF: It’s in the convention. It is a part of the convention of the international Law of the Sea that whatever proceeds you get from actually the mining of the seabed, it should be distributed equally to all the developing countries. Now, the definition of all those has to be sorted. Who are the developing countries? And what formula are you going to use to split that up? So this is why the issue of a united Pacific has come up, because they will come down so hard, they want to make sure that their huge investments will be covered and a little bit of profit. Where would the Pacific come in, in terms when they don’t have a say, they’re not aware of these issues and they cannot engage these particular issues to actually talk about?

DW: So is this a role for the Pacific Islands Forum?

FF: Absolutely, absolutely. It has been discussed in a few forums. I think also it’s also in the agenda of the Pacific Islands Forum. The mining project up in PNG, I believe it should be operational now, you know? They have been creating futuristic machines to actually go underneath the water and begin extracting these things.

DW: There are a lot of concerns about the environmental damage in a pristine piece of water.

FF: You look at the biodiversity convention, you look at the pharmaceutical resources that we can get from the ocean. Now, if you begin extracting it from the ocean, what are the adverse affects? Now, there are living things living at that depth and we all understand that whether it be the depth of 1,600 feet, whether it’s the 200 miles Economic Zone and whether it’s territorial waters or inshore waters, there is a connectivity of the system that biological assists each other, in terms of the current, the movement of all the food, plankton and everything. So there is connectivity. You think of the blooms that may come as a result – sedimentation, siltation, when you begin extracting these things. We have to also look into the problems of environment degradation.

DW: The other thing is if the small island countries can win a significant percentage of profits from this is what to do with that and to ensure there’s money in perpetuity.

FF: You know, I think the Norwegians gave us a very good example. The oil that they were rigging from the oil rigs way back all these years ago, they invested a percentage of that into a trust fund which is sitting at more than $700 billion. What a decisive, future-looking thought for those people that did that. So the Pacific, this is an opportunity for our people, our future generations. We’re struggling with getting money for climate change and all that kind of stuff. What a good decision for the Pacific to look at.

DW: So the Global Oceans Commission, with you on it, this is very much a central concern now.

FF: The Global Oceans Commission was set up with a mandate to make recommendations because of the status of the ocean focusing on high seas and international waters. This is where all this cowboy business is going on, because it’s so degrading. There is nobody directly responsible for managing them, so it’s everybody’s land and nobody is responsible. So it’s focusing on international waters. Because there are so many things – illegal fishing is happening, slavery is happening… all sorts of things, even drugs and smuggling is happening in the high seas. I think the formulation or the establishment of the commission, although it’s short-lived, it has to be done. Everyone has to put up his hand to be part of this global initiative because we don’t know where to push this responsibility because the international Law of the Sea doesn’t address the management aspect of high seas.

Radio New Zealand International

TOK PISIN:

17) Wok faming iken helpim ol Yut

Updated 27 June 2013, 10:03 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol yangpla pipal blong Pacific iken painim moni long wok blong agrikalsa.

Odio: Dr Shane Tutua soil scientist na farmer blong Solomon Islands itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla mansave na farmer blong Solomon Islands i mekim pinis bikpla askim igo long ol yangpla pipal blong Pacific long lukim wok farming olsem wanpla gutpla wok bisnis.

Dr Shane Tutua, husat i wanpla soil scientist i tok wok didiman inap bringim gutpla moni na kamapim gutpla sidaon igo long ol yangpla pipal.

Toktok blong en i kamap bihaen long wanpla oganic farming wokshop long Vanuatu long wik igo pinis.

Sampla yangpla pipal blong Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati na Tuvalu ibin stap long despla wokshop.

Dr Shane Tutua ibin helpim long givim treining long despla wokshop long Vanuatu.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

BAHASA:

18) Kevin Rudd pikirkan bentuk Kabinet baru, tapi tanggal pemilu belum jelas

Diperbaharui 28 June 2013, 10:50 AEST
By Naomi Woodley

Perdana Menteri Kevin Rudd ingin mengalihkan perdebatan kebijakan ke arah perubahan iklim dan pencari suaka, tapi bentuk kabinet menteri di bawah kepemimpinannya masih belum jelas. Tanggal pemilu juga masih dirahasiakan, tapi diperkirakan tanggal pemilu akan lebih awal setelah Senat bertemu untuk terakhir kalinya bagi parlemen ke-43 hari ini.

Setelah tujuh menteri mengundurkan diri, reshuffle kabinet akan sangat signifikan dan kemungkinan akan diumumkan hari ini.

Bendahara negara yang baru Chris Bowen mengatakan pemerintahan yang baru berkomitmen untuk melaksanakan kebijakan yang sudah ada, tapi tidak menolak kemungkinan adanya perubahan.

“Komitmen terhadap perawatan disabilitas akan terus berlanjut. Begitu juga dengan pajak karbon. Jadi komitmen kami tidak banyak berubah terhadap kebijakan-kebijakan penting kami.

“Tapi Kevin akan membawa pandangannya sendiri baik dalam presentasi ataupun kebijakan secara mendetail.

“Setiap perdana menteri yang baru, bendahara yang baru, dan menteri yang baru akan memberikan padangan yang baru mengenai isu-isu tertentu.”

Selama Gubernur Jenderal masih bisa hadir, para menteri baru akan dilantik pada hari Senin sebelum pertemuan Kabinet pertama pemerintahan Rudd.

Tanggal pemilu yang baru mungkin 24 Agustus

Para menteri akan membantu Rudd memutuskan tanggal pemilu, 24 Agustus dikabarkan sebagai tanggal favorit.

“Kami masih harus menunggu sampai diskusi diadakan dengan Kabinet,” kata Wakil Perdana Menteri Anthony Albanese.

“Tidak banyak pilihan mengenai tanggal pemilu.”

Albanese mengatakan, tidak seperti strategi Julia Gillard, mereka akan menunggu.

Bowen mengatakan Perdana Menteri kurang setuju dengan tanggal 14 September yang ditetapkan oleh Julia Gillard karena hari itu bertabrakan dengan perayaan hari Yom Kippur bagi kaum Yahudi.

“Warga Australia beragama Yahudi akan kesulitan menghadiri pemilu pada hari itu, dan itu adalah salah satu faktor yang akan kami pikirkan.”

“Tapi prinsip terpenting yang akan diterapkan oleh Perdana Menteri adalah tradisi konstitusi, dimana Perdana Menteri bertemu dengan Gubernur Jenderal, memberikan tanggal kemudian mengumumkannya.”

Taid malam, para senator berdebat dan menetapkan undang-undang yang akan membentuk komisi bagi badan amal, mengubah muatan asuransi kesehatan pribadi dan undang-undang Fair Work.

Senat akan bertemu lagi hari ini untuk meloloskan RUU apropriasi anggaran utama dan pendekatan tegas pemerintah mengenai penggunaan visa 457 bagi para pekerja migran terampil.

Tidak akan ada amandemen, tapi pemerintah akan mencoba memperhalus pendekatan terhadap bisnis yang geram terhadap kebijakan visa 457 itu.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH:

19) Création d’une banque alimentaire aux îles Fidji

Posté à 28 June 2013, 8:34 AEST
Pierre Riant

Cette initiative repose sur le 8ème Pilier de la Charte du peuple qui souligne que le gouvernement s’engage à réduire la pauvreté à un niveau négligeable d’ici 2014.

Joseifa Koroivueta, Secrétaire d’État permanent à l’aide sociale, nous a expliqué le fonctionnement d’une banque alimentaire.

KOROIVUETA : «  C’est un entrepôt ou des organisations à prédominance alimentaire, des grossistes, des détaillants, des traiteurs, peuvent venir en bon samaritain et donner de la nourriture qui sera ensuite distribuée aux familles dans le besoin.

Un réseau en mesure de le faire existe déjà à Fidji. Nous, nous officialisons le concept pour faciliter la distribution vers les familles dans le besoin. »

Et pourquoi avoir choisi l’option de la création d’une banque alimentaire pour réduire la pauvreté ?

KOROIVUETA : « En premier, parce que de toute évidence il fallait répondre à un besoin et deuxièmement parce qu’il fallait consulter les parties prenantes pour en faire une réalité. C’est une initiative supplémentaire qui vient en complément des efforts faits pour réduire la pauvreté à Fidji. »

Notons que cette banque sera gérée par une organisation non-gouvernementale rassemblant plusieurs ONG intéressées par la distribution de vivres parmi les familles en situation de précarité.

Le gouvernement fidjien a également fait des recherches pour identifier les secteurs où se trouvent les familles dans le besoin.

Joseifa Koroivueta confirme.

KOROIVUETA : « Oui et nous mettrons un réseau en place dans les deux îles principales pour une question de logistique. Une carte de la pauvreté a été identifiée ainsi que les communautés concernées en fonction d’une étude crédible de la Banque mondiale qui a été en mesure de déterminer comment les couches défavorisées étaient distribuées à Fidji. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

WORLD:

20) Family tensions as Mandela remains critical

NELSON Mandela’s close family huddled at his rural homestead to discuss the failing health of the South African anti-apartheid icon who was fighting for his life in hospital.
Family members including one of Mr Mandela’s daughters and at least two grandchildren were seen gathering for a meeting in the village of Qunu, where the charismatic former leader spent his childhood tending cattle and living in mud-walled huts.
The meeting was called “to discuss delicate matters’’, according to South Africa’s SAPA news agency, amid speculation that the location of his possible gravesite was on the agenda.
Tensions emerged between elder clan members and Mr Mandela grandchildren during the talks, according to sources close to the family, although it was unclear exactly why.
Messages of support poured in from around the world for the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who spent 27 years behind bars for his struggle under white minority rule and went on to become South Africa’s first black president.
Mr Mandela remained in a critical condition, the South African presidency said.
“We must keep him in our prayers and leave the rest to the Almighty to decide on,’’ said South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Nelson Mandela’s family have reportedly gathered to discuss “delicate matters” relating to the failing health of the South African icon, who remains in critical condition in hospital.
The 94-year-old’s condition appeared to take a significant turn for the worse over the weekend with the presidency announcing on Sunday that he was “critical’’.
Flowers and messages of support piled up outside the Pretoria hospital where Mr Mandela was admitted on June 8 with a recurring lung problem dating back to his time at the windswept Robben Island prison camp near Cape Town.
“He is a man who changed the world,’’ said Vusi Mzimanda, who was among the well-wishers.
“He brings hope to everyone,’’ he said. “I just hope that he will get better and come to us. We don’t want to lose him even though we know it’s late.’’http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

21) Barack Obama says there will be no ‘wheeling and dealing’ over hunt for Edward Snowden

Updated 28 June 2013, 9:06 AEST
By North America correspondent Lisa Millar, wires

US president Barack Obama has downplayed the hunt for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, saying he will not start scrambling jets to have the former American spy agency contractor extradited.

US president Barack Obama has downplayed the hunt for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, saying he will not start scrambling jets to have the former American spy agency contractor extradited.

Mr Obama made the comments at the start of a three-country tour of Africa, which he began in Senegal.

He was asked if he had called Chinese president Xi Jinping or Russian president Vladimir Putin, but he said he should not have to because extraditing Snowden is a routine matter for law enforcement.

“I have not called president Xi. I have not called president Putin. The reason is because, number one – I shouldn’t have to,” Mr Obama said.

“We’ve got a whole lot of business that we do with China and Russia, and I’m not going to have one case of a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues simply to get a guy extradited.”

Mr Obama said regular legal channels should suffice to handle the US request that Snowden be extradited on espionage charges.

Snowden is wanted for leaking details of an American surveillance program called Prism, which seizes vast amounts of phone and internet data.

Mr Obama also dismissed suggestions the US would take more drastic action.

“No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” he said.

Snowden, who has just turned 30, fled the United States to Hong Kong this month after leaking details of the program.

He then flew to Russia on Sunday, and officials say he remains in transit at a Moscow airport.

He has requested political asylum in Ecuador.

Diplomatic tensions rise with Snowden on the run

The case has caused a diplomatic spat, with the US accusing Russia and China of helping Snowden, but Beijing has accused Washington of hypocrisy on the issue of cyber security.

“This double-standard approach is not conducive to peace and security in cyber space,” ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said.

Ecuador is considering Snowden’s asylum request, but it says asylum could not be granted until he enters Ecuadorian territory.

In a deliberately cheeky touch from the leftist government of president Rafael Correa, Ecuador offered a multi-million-dollar donation for human rights lawyers training in the United States.

The country has also announced it is pulling out of a trade agreement with the US, saying it has become a tool for blackmail.

The United States has warned there would be “grave difficulties” in bilateral ties if Quito grants asylum to Snowden, but officials denied the trade pact was being used as blackmail.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

ABC/wires

MEDIA/FILM:

22) Two Charged With Tahiti Journalist’s Disappearance
Jean-Pascal Couraud went missing over a decade ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 26, 2013) – Two men in French Polynesia have been charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with the 1997 disappearance of a local journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, who was known under the acronym JPK.

Reports from Tahiti say the two are free but are not allowed to leave the territory as their former boss at the now disbanded presidential GIP militia is also due to be interrogated.

Walter Zweifel reports.

“The charges come nine years after the journalist’s family lodged a police complaint for murder. Tutu Manate and Tino Mara have long been alleged to have attached breeze blocks on the journalist’s limbs and drowned him off Tahiti as part of an operation by the GIP militia, led by Leonard Puputauki. In 2004 when a former spy, Vetea Guilloux, first made the claim, he was immediately arrested and jailed for slander, but last year repeated the allegations, which have reportedly been backed up by additional testimony. The president at the time of the disappearance, Gaston Flosse, swore in the territorial assembly in 2004 that he had never ordered anybody’s death. The journalist’s brother has said a possible motive for the killing would have been that he had documents that could have damaged Mr. Flosse and his associates in Paris.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

HEALTH+:

23) Milne Bay health authority highlights report

By NELLIE SETEPANO

POSITIVE highlights are captured in the first ever report from the Provincial Health Authority in the Milne Bay Province, since the authority’s inception in 2011.
Major achievements in governance and various operational areas, including curative health and public health for 2012, are indicted.
The authority has introduced a new corporate plan which covers a number of issues.
They include introducing a board of governors to oversee and monitor progress against the achievements of key performance indicators, thereby meeting PNG’s millennium development goals.
The plan also addresses human resource issues in the long term following a major restructure.
A new payroll system will be introduced where staff will be paid through one system. A specific stand alone system will be introduced for accounting purposes, enabling health funds to be channeled to district treasury and down to each health facility.
The authority is a health reform that is part of the overall national government reform process to improve service delivery.
The authority hopes to strengthen areas such as finance, human resources, medical supplies, information and communication and governance.
“The positive highlights from the report are an indication of good things to happen,” Billy Naide Chief Executive Officer for Milne Bay Provincial Health Authority said.
Pleased with the report, an officer with the authority’s executive management team described reaching achievements as when people with the right attitude are in the right environment, with the right mind and with the right leadership.
The report will be completed when a meeting with provincial stakeholders and the general public takes place allowing them the possibility of offering their views on the report.
That meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, at the Cameron Secondary School in Alotau.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

24) Voice for HIV/STI sufferers in the Pacific
By Online Editor
09:59 am GMT+12, 28/06/2013, Fiji

Fiji  and the Pacific will be able to get a glimpse of the real-life experiences of people living with HIV thanks to a report titled, “Treatment is My Life Now”: Experiences of treatments among people living with HIV in the Pacific Islands.

The report by the Pacific Islands HIV and STI response fund recorded the daily struggles and triumphs of 49 HIV sufferers from Fiji, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Guam — chronicling their experiences with treatment as well as the stigma attached to living with HIV.

In launching the report Thursday, FijiPresident Ratu Epeli Nailatikau commended it for giving HIV sufferers a definite voice.

“The milestone, in my view, is that we now have a recorded, yet moving glimpse into the real-life experiences of our people who are living with HIV,” Ratu Epeli said of the report.

“Suffice to say, this component was sorely missing in the past.”

He also encouraged Pacific Island governments to utilise the report in order to achieve Millenium Development Goal 6 and the ultimate UN Goal of attaining the three zeros — zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero aids-related deaths.

“What I particularly like about the report is that it not only brings to the fore and emphasises the importance of treatment but it also talks about the many challenges that people living with HIV face regularly, if not on a daily basis.”

Ratu Epeli said being diagnosed with HIV was not a death sentence, emphasising to all present that there was life after diagnosis.

“For many of those infected by the virus, it was only after when they had agreed to be treated that they fully realised that they could live a much longer and productive life.

“I am happily aware that many people living with HIV, particularly couples, while receiving ART have gone on to have healthy children and who are living normal lives.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

25) POM schools go online

EARLY years of learning for children is critical as it sets a foundation for their lives in future.
If it is a good learning environment all the better and if it is not, then that is detrimental to them and something needs to be done to set the foundation for better growth and development for these children.
And that includes ensuring that the children at school have access to quality education.
Telikom Foundation Inc. is already adding value and laying the foundation for the children of PNG, through its ‘Clean Internet’ online library program.
So far more than 20 schools have been connected to Internet and are using the program.
Tokarara Secondary and Sunrise Bethel School in Port Moresby became the latest beneficiaries of the Clean Internet initiative when TFI officially handed over the CleanIT service to the schools this week.
“At this age where you have access to internet as a tool for learning; make the best use of the facility. Stay focus. Be determined to achieve your dream and goal in life,” TFI volunteer Ray Itana told students of Tokarara Secondary.
Sunrise Bethel Primary School is a small establishment of 196 students, but has big dreams. It is a model school for beginners with kids already learning to use the internet in class. More than 10 student laptops were connected to the internet.
With much enthusiasm to get students online, school principal Roger Tumes is a happy man. He spoke highly of the wonders of using the internet and how it has helped a lot of kids and teachers.
“I am excited using the internet as I get more information about my project on rocks, gold mining in Africa, water pollution and a whole lot more.
“I am learning a lot by going online.” Grade five student, Enston Alo said.
Regina Akuru, a teacher, was the first to get her laptop connected to the internet which has eased her workload in class.
“I have learnt new things through the internet on how to teach my students. Since I take Grades four and five the workload is no longer there, many times I tell students to go online and research for their projects. The program has helped me and the kids a lot in the classroom.’’
The Telikom foundation is helping many schools that cannot afford to access internet on their own.
Some of those schools are found in rural areas and are thankful for this assistance.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

26) Australia has worst record of language killing, Professor Zuckermman
By Online Editor
1:29 pm GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Fiji

A visiting world renowned professor in linguist, Ghil’ard Zuckermann says Australia is the worst place in the world for ‘linguicide’ or language killing.

He attributes this to the monolingual mindset in Australia, where English is the preferred language.

At the time of white settlement in Australia, there were an estimated 250 distinct indigenous languages. Over half of these are no longer used. Many of those remaining are known to only a handful of elders and face obvious extinction without urgent steps being taken to record them.

“There is a 93 percent language loss in Australia, the worst in the world.

Professor Zuckermann is heading a project to revive some of the dead Aboriginal languages in Australia.

“We have found that reclaiming language results in people being empowered. There is a feeling of well being related to the revival of a language.”

“We now have funds to travel to some remote parts of Australia to revive some of Aboriginal languages. We are like linguist doctors, similar to flying doctors, Professor Zuckermann said.

He was guest speaker at the University of the South Pacific in Suva Wednesday night on the ‘Kaise Baat – Reloaded Non Indo-Fijian Articulations of Fiji Hindi – Conversations and Performances’ series organised by the Faculty of Law, Arts and Education, funded by the Embassy of Israel in Canberra.

Loss of language is more severe than loss of land, said Professor Zuckermann.

“Language death is equal to loss of cultural autonomy. It also results in loss of spiritual and intellectual sovereignty.

“Language is a repository of ideas, values and experiences, said the visiting linguist expert.

Another trend now that is killing language is what he termed ‘glottophagy’ or ‘language eating.’

“This is when parents refuse to speak to their children in their mother tongue.”

He shared the experiences of Jews in the United States where parents refrain from speaking Yiddish to their children for fear that it will affect their aspiration to succeed in a foreign environment.

“Bilingual creates diversity and studies have shown that a person that knows more than one language is a better decision maker than one who speaks only one language.
SOURCE: PACNEWS

27) CNMI School System Plans To Merge 8 Institutions

Elementaries would be reconfigured into middle schools

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 27, 2013) – The Public School System (PSS) of the Northern Mariana Islands bared yesterday its plan to merge not only the Gregorio T. Camacho (GTC) and Tanapag elementary schools but also six other public schools on Saipan.

Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Ed.D., told the Board of Education (BOE) yesterday that the merger of the GTC and Tanapag elementary schools will be the initial phase and she recommends that this be done by school year 2013-2014, which starts in three months.

Under this proposal, GTC will house all kindergarten to fifth grade for the two schools while the Tanapag campus will become a new middle school for sixth to eighth graders.

Sablan is convinced that doing this will not only reduce overcrowding in two junior high schools but will give students in these areas equal educational opportunities.

She pointed out that junior high school students in these communities currently travel 12 miles each day to their campuses in Hopwood and Chacha Oceanview. The creation of a new Tanapag Middle School will lessen these students’ travel time and give them greater opportunities for interscholastic activities, programs, and competitions.

“We have a high school and elementary school approximately in every community, so why don’t we do that in middle school? Let’s give them that equal share of the education that is needed for them to be equipped and successful in their puberty age,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

The GTC-Tanapag merger is also expected to result in the much-awaited expansion of the kindergarten program as more classrooms are identified to accommodate the increasing number of kindergarten students.

“The key characteristic of this plan is that our middle schools will have smaller student-teacher ratio, interdisciplinary team-teaching, purposeful community within the context of where children live, thereby encouraging more family engagement and community involvement,” said Sablan.

She believes “it’s the right time” for PSS and the BOE to consider transforming some elementary school campuses into middle schools to address the needs of students between the ages of 11 and 13.

Sablan said the decline in student enrollment at GTC and Tanapag indicates that now is the right time to consolidate and transform Tanapag Elementary into a middle school.

At present, GTC has 211 students while Tanapag Elementary has 180. These two has students from kindergarten to 6th grade.

The GTC-Tanapag merger is the first phase of a bigger reconfiguration plan.

Once GTC and Tanapag are merged, GTC is projected to have 338 students from kindergarten to fifth grade, 14 classroom teachers, one principal, one counselor, and one special education teacher. Student ratio is expected at 20:1 in kindergarten to third grade and 25:1 in Grades 4-5.

The proposed Tanapag Middle School for sixth to eighth graders will have 13 teachers, one principal, one counselor, and one special education teacher, Sablan said. Students-to-teacher ratio is projected at 21:1.

Phase 1 also includes the proposed reconfiguration of Kagman Elementary School (KagES) and Chacha Oceanview Junior High. Sablan wants Kagman elementary for kindergarten to fifth grade students while Chacha will house sixth to eight graders. Chacha will be renamed the Chacha Oceanview Middle School, effective upon the opening of the new school year in September.

If this happens, KagES is expected to have 430 students and 19 classroom teachers while Chacha will have 274 students and 11 classroom teachers.

Phase 2

Sablan also disclosed yesterday plans to consolidate students of San Vicente (SVES) and Dandan elementary schools and the creation of another middle school. SVES will become home to students from kindergarten to fifth grade while the Dandan school will become the Dandan Middle School for sixth to eighth graders. This plan is recommended for enforcement in school year 2014-2015.

Under this plan, SVES will be home to 738 students and 33 teachers, for a students-to-teacher ratio of 20:1 for lower graders and 25:1 for upper graders.

For the Dandan Middle School, student enrollment is projected at 487, with 19 classroom teachers and a student-teacher ratio of 25:1.

Sablan also plans to make Koblerville Elementary School the home for kindergarten through fifth graders while converting the San Antonio Elementary School into the San Antonio Middle School.

Sablan said that Koblerville will have 27 teachers for some 598 kindergarten to fifth grade students, while the San Antonio Middle School is projected to have 343 students and 14 teachers.

Phase 3

Sablan also wants to convert the proposed Koblerville Junior High School into the Koblerville High School once the project is completed. The aim is to reduce enrollment at Marianas High School, which has over 1,400 students each school year.

Target

According to Sablan, all proposed reconfigurations are related to the system’s objective to reduce the overcrowding at Hopwood Junior High School.

“This proposed transformation of some elementary schools into middle schools will eventually reduce the enrollment of Hopwood by 50 percent at the end of 2015,” she said.

PSS records show that Hopwood enrollment increased by 9 percent from 2008 to 2011. In school year 2012, student population increased by 2 percent. This school year, Hopwood had 1,192 students, making it the largest junior high within the Commonwealth.

According to Sablan, these proposed mergers, reallocation of school resources, and transformations will have a positive impact on the school district.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

28) 700 sit for entry test in Enga

By PHILIP KEPSON

MORE than 700 students from Enga sat for an entry test to be selected for special skills training in the Philippines yesterday.
This was following the signing of a landmark agreement between Enga student’s education welfare organisation Ipatas Foundation and two well-known training specialist companies, Site Group of Australia and Port Moresby based Orion Group.
The Enga Provincial Government has paid a total of K4.5 million last month as part of the agreement to send a total of 120 students to the Philippines to undertake specific skills training including heavy equipment mechanic, mental fabrication, hospitality and related courses which are in high demand in the country’s booming mining, gas and oil industries.
But the number of interested students who applied for the program, mostly those who did not receive offers to further their studies and training in tertiary institutions in the last two years, increased by five times more than the spaces available within a week before the test.
Site Group general manager Shane Osullivian, who was in Wabag with another company executive Brett McPhee and Mon Aisir of Orion Group, to facilitate the entry test at Wabag Primary School, said they would trim the number down to 120 after assessing requirements of every student that applied for the program.
Osullivian, who also described the move by the Enga Provincial Government under the leadership of Governor Peter Ipatas as first of its kind in Papua New Guinea, said the prospect of employment for the 120 students was promising because of the world class training that they would receive during a six month of intensive training.
“We have trained more than 5000 people in our facility in the Philippine and more than 30,000 in our various training centres in Australia. However, we have done none in this country and this is going to the first. Those who pass out of this program will be Australian equivalent,” he said.
Orion Group operations manager Mon Aisir, whose company is responsible for facilitating skilled workforce in the country, said his organization would assist in industrial engagement for another six months in PNG after their training in the Philippines.
He also said the partners of the program were trying to make the program successful as they planned to encourage the national and other provincial governments to take up the initiative as part of their recurrent human resource development programs in the future.
Aisir said the first 120 students were expected to leave PNG for the Philippines late next month.
Governor Ipatas said when paying the K4.5 million recently that the program would cost a lot of money but his government was confident that it was a valuable investment that would contribute meaningfully to human resource development in the country.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

BUSINESS/TRADE+:

29) Talks on mine underway:

By ROMULUS MASIU

IT’S an all go for the Panguna Mine re-opening with all stakeholders in Central Bougainville reaffirming their support for the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
All stakeholders in the three districts of Central Bougainville – Wakunai, Panguna and Kieta – spoke out during the two-day 4th Mining Forum on Panguna Mine Negotiations held in Arawa, saying it’s time to boost the region’s economy in preparation for the vote for Referendum to Independence 2016.
All opted for the mineral rich mine pit (Panguna) along the Crown Prince Range to bank roll the region’s independence.
The only stumbling block now is the Me’ekamui government of unity under the leadership of Philip Miriori who still has reservations and wants the mine to be opened after Independence is granted for Bougainville.
The Me’ekamui Government of unity represents the other side of the landowners of Panguna who are opposing the re-opening of the mine on environmental grounds and more importantly on where they will be relocated to and placed if BCL or any other mining company re-opens the mine.
Mr Miriori stood firm questioning the forum on where the Government ABG will relocate them to if they are to open the mine.
“Where will you put me and my people of Panguna if you start operations on our land again? We have nowhere to go now our land has been spoilt, taken away from us and you’re still pushing us away by not considering our plight and forcing the re-opening of the mine,” Mr Miriori had said.
President Chief Dr John Momis sympathised with Mr Miriori and the people of Panguna, telling the forum that he has been deeply touched by the statement of Mr Miriori and assured them that ABG as the legitimate government of the day has this very important obligation to take care of its people.
“Yes, Miriori and the landowners of Panguna have a genuine point, we have to give them new land, a new place to live as they have given us their land, their God-given land for all of us to benefit –even PNG benefited from their land therefore, we’ll accord them a special compensation, that will be stipulated in the new mining law for Bougainville.”
However, President Momis reminded the people of Bougainville to be realistic when talking about the issue of Panguna.
“All the things that have happened to us in the past is history now, we’ve learnt from them and moved forward.
“Your government ABG is taking care of the loopholes in the system – the colonial laws have been thrown out where there was no consultation at all, now everything is very different and more importantly we need money to run our government since National Government of PNG is not honouring its commitment as stipulated under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.”
However, Bougainville Veterans Associations throughout the island have put up a firm stand that Panguna Mine must be re-opened so that all Bougainvilleans – more than 20,000 lives that perished during the Crisis must be compensated.
Former late Francis Ona’s side-kick Glynn Tovirika challenged those who are negative about the mine re-opening to tell the former combatants who are responsible for the permanent closure of the mine that where will they get the money from and how will they pay the compensation for those killed.
Mr Tovirika challenged the Me’ekamui that what will they offer to the people of Bougainville – to the families of those who died during the crisis – they are still crying for the family members who have died.
“Whether you like it or not, we will still open the mine. We (ex-combatants) are the ones who close the mine and we are the ones who will open the mine because this is the dream and wish of late leader Francis Ona, who told us that the mine is not permanently closed, but will operate back after we’re ready to gain independence. That time is now, we are ready,” Mr Tovirika said.ttp://www.postcourier.com.pg/

30) Farewell to Air Pacific, welcome Fiji Airways
By Online Editor
10:25 am GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Fiji

AIR Pacific officially bid goodbye to the rainbow colours and welcomed a new era as it took on the name that it was previously known by when the airline began in 1951 — Fiji Airways.

In a lavish ceremony held at the Sheraton Fiji Resort Wednesday, Fiji Airways board chairman Nalin Patel ushered in a new look national carrier, one that was distinctively Fijian and in touch with modern aviation standards.

“This momentous day is a capstone on a tremendous amount of work to make sure Fiji’s national airline flies with the strength, pride and recognition of the country we are honoured to represent,” he said.

“Our team has worked incredibly hard to ensure our airline will be in a position to do the name Fiji Airways justice.

“It’s a great honour, and we know that with it comes a great responsibility, to serve as Fiji’s flying ambassador to the world.”

Acting CEO Aubrey Swift acknowledged the contribution of management and staff in making the transition possible.

“It has been an incredibly successful and satisfying journey, and with the arrival of two of our three brand-new A330s and our beautiful new identity, we are just getting started.

SOURCE” FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

31) Coppermoly! Miner bags PNG deal
By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 28/06/2013, Australia

Coppermoly marked yesterday as “a significant turning point” for the company after it sealed a $5 million deal to take full control of three mining tenements in West New Britain.

The deal will give Coppermoly immediate access to the Papua New Guinea tenements, one with a 40 million tonne copper resource.

The Gold Coast-based junior minerals explorer announced it had entered into an agreement with Canadian mining giant Barrick to re-acquire Barrick’s interest in the tenements.

Coppermoly has been working since late last year to stitch up financing arrangements to fund a buyback of the Nakru, Simuku and Talelumas tenements from Barrick, which earned a 72 per cent stake through a farm-in deal.

The $5 million acquisition will be funded in three tranches, with payments staged over five years.

Coppermoly said the acquisition was conditional on it raising $2 million by August 14.

Coppermoly will place 3.7 million fully paid ordinary shares with underwriter Jelsh Holdings, at an issue price of 4.5c, to raise just over $166,000.

Jelsh Holdings also has agreed to underwrite a 1-for-4 non-renounceable offer to shareholders at 4.5c a share to raise a further $1.95 million.

The funds will be used to make the $2 million first payment to Barrick and will allow Coppermoly to begin exploration activities on all three tenements.

“This is a fantastic outcome for Coppermoly to re-acquire 100 per cent of the West New Britain project, and importantly, regain control of the exploration activity,” Coppermoly managing director Maurice Gannon said.

“Barrick has spent well over $20 million acquiring its interest in the project (so) for Coppermoly to re-acquire 100 per cent of the project for $5 million over five years is a significant achievement,” he said.

Gannon said the share placement would be fully underwritten at a 50 per cent premium to the current share price, which was “a remarkable achievement in the current market”.

“Other junior mining companies are raising capital at huge discounts to keep their noses above water, but we are fortunate to have an underwriter who understands our industry and will come in as a strong cornerstone investor in future.”

He said Jelsh Holdings’ Australian representative was a PhD-qualified geologist who had worked for BHP and was a conduit to major Chinese investment funds.
SOURCE: GOLDCOAST.COM/PACNEWS

32) Trade relations on agenda during PNG PM’s Townsville trip

By Online Editor
4:57 pm GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Australia

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister will discuss a possible increase in trade with Townsville during a visit to the city this weekend.

It will be the first time Peter O’Neill has visited the north Queensland city.

His two-day trip will include a tour through the Port of Townsville and watching a Cowboys’ football game.

Dawson Wilkie from the Townsville Chamber of Commerce says it is an important opportunity to develop trade relations.

“We were looking to reinforce that and look at ways that we can improve that relationship,” he said.

“Townsville businesses do a lot of trade in PNG, there’s a lot of PNG students who come to TAFE colleges in Townsville.”

Mayor Jenny Hill has other issues she’d like to raise.

“I want to talk to him about education opportunities here as well as health opportunities,” she said.

She says she also wants to discuss fly-in, fly-out workers.

O’Neill will arrive in Townsville on Saturday.
SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

33) Papua Mine Managers Allegedly Suspended By Company
Workers’ union asked Freeport to stand down senior staff

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 26, 2013) – A mine worker at the world’s biggest gold and copper mine in Indonesia’s Papua region says the mine company has suspended managers pending an investigation.

Darmawan Puteranto says owners Freeport McMoRan have asked four senior staff to stand down while an internal investigation continues into the causes of the tunnel collapse that killed 28 people in May.

Alex Perrottet reports.

“Freeport began operations in its open cut mine this week after receiving the green light from the government, but the underground facility is still yet to re-open. Darmawan Puteranto says most workers are back at work, and doing maintenance in the gold mine until operations can commence. He says many workers were too afraid to start work and asked the union for a letter confirming it was safe. He says the union is happy with the company’s renewed commitment to safety and glad the company responded to their request to suspend four managers. Freeport had denied there were earlier concerns about safety in the tunnel and hasn’t yet confirmed the managers have been stood down. Mr. Puteranto also says a recent riot at the mine was caused by locals, who were used to panning for gold in the nearby river. They stormed the facility to steal ore concentrate when their source of livelihood dried up.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

34) 12-Month Tax Clearance Approved For Businesses In Fiji
Revenue official warns private sector not to abuse exemption

By Jyoti Pratibha

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, June 26, 2013) – Businesses in Fiji will now be given blanket tax clearance for twelve months.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) chief executive Jitoko Tikolevu yesterday announced this new initiative for businesses around the country.

The beneficiary of this exemption would be banks, insurance companies and the 38 gold card holders of Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority.

Hotel managements would also be able to make the most of this initiative.

However, to begin with the initiative, the 38 gold card members would be one of the first beneficiaries of this exemption, before it is rolled out for other businesses.

Mr. Tikolevu explained that providing tax clearance for 12 months would allow them to free up their resources to be utilized elsewhere and would also allow business houses more ease.

Warning not to abuse

Making the announcement at Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa, Mr. Tikolevu warned that people should know better than to try to abuse this new exemption.

“Just to reinforce our need to service stakeholders more efficiently, we had decided to launch this initiative,” he said.

“All gold card members, banks, payment for superannuation, payment of various fees all would be given a blanket tax clearance.

“Meaning, these people would need to visit us every month or every six months. They will only visit us once in 12 months.”

Companies would only need to provide their reconciliation and payment details of tax to FRCA every month and in return, they would be given blanket tax clearance.

Automated tax return payments

A second initiative that Mr. Tikolevu announced yesterday was the automatic payments of tax returns to tourists under the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme.

Under this scheme, tourists who shop in the country are eligible to get their VAT charged on the purchase reimbursed, before they leave the country.

Currently, tourists are refunded their VAT amount manually, where they have to pick their returns from the ANZ Bank tellers at Nadi International Airport and before departing from Suva King’s Wharf.

Mr. Tikolevu said now, when any tourist would make a purchase from the licensed retailers, the details would be loaded up with the authority.

When they leave the country, the money would be deposited into their bank accounts.

This would mean that tourists would not need to queue up and wait for their refunds.

Mr. Tikolevu also said they had come across some instances where this scheme was abused.

However, with the software that has been bought would ensure that cases of fraud are a thing of the past.

The initiatives come into effect from next month.

FijiSUN: http://www.fijisun.com.fj/

LAW&ORDER:

35) Mata Vale urged to help police reduce crime

THURSDAY, 27 JUNE 2013 04:56
The Mata Vale community in Townground, West Honiara has been reminded to be responsible in helping police to reduce crimes in their community.

The awareness was conducted under the Honiara City community policing program of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

This is aimed at trying to reduce crime rates within Honiara City by engaging youths in community and churches.

Speaking to the community, police constable Martin Haga, urged community leaders, parents and youths to be responsible in helping police to tackle the issue.

“One of the things that always steal youth’s time is the involving in anti-social behaviour, which needs co-operative efforts from both the police and communities.”

“We don’t want our youths to be arrested before we try to settle issues, which are too late. We want our youths to more active and engaged in community work.

“It’s all started with us parents to be role model in shaping the lives of our children to be responsible members of the community.”

Advisor to the community policing programme, Sergeant Savita Datt of Fiji also asked the cooperation of the communities, to work together with the police because this program is an ongoing program for churches and communities in an effort to tackle crimes.

“Communities and churches throughout Honiara City, we need your cooperation by working in partnership with us to make our city to be a peaceful place for anyone to live.”

“Seeing that there are increasing crime rate in communities, we can do our best in our work but the equation is incomplete without your assistance which is more important.”

The Police-Church-Partnership program is an ongoing and new approach taken by RSIP community policing to fight against crime rate in Honiara which started earlier this month.

The program is aimed at working close with communities and churches to tackle crimes and domestic violence in Honiara city.http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

By Charley Piringi

36) Kapris bounty up K200,000

By JACOB POK

POLICE have increased the bounty for information leading to the recapture of escapee and notorious bank robber William Kapris and his accomplice Raphael Walimini to K200,000.
Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief of Operations Simon Kauba made this known yesterday at the Police Headquarters in Port
Moresby.
Mr Kauba said police have been having good leads but the two escapees were moving fast due to people aiding and abetting them.
Mr Kauba said three suspects have been arrested and are behind bars for aiding and abetting the two dangerous escapees.
He said the law will come down hard on those people caught aiding and abetting the two escapees. Mr Kauba said according to police intelligence, the two escaped convicts are likely to be in hiding in the National Capital District.
He called on the general public to assist the police and come forward with any leads and information on the whereabouts of the two.
He said the longer the two men are on the run, lives and properties of people would be at risk.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

37) ACP Clarkson promotion a good move for RPNGC

CONGRATULATIONS to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary top management for promoting Superintendent Joanne Clarkson to the newly created position of ACP (reforms).

The RPNGC has in recent years fallen from grace battered by the actions of few ruthless police officers who opt to take the law into their own hands when dispensing justice and often turning to criminal activities to make ends meet. Public confidence in the ability of the constabulary to be their protector has dropped to an all-time low.

Consequently, it could time for the RPNGC top brass to be unorthodox in their strive to restore the trust and confidence that Papua New Guineans used to have in the PNG police force. We believe appointing a senior woman police officer to the rank of ACP within the constabulary could achieve that and bring back belief in the RPNGC.

In fact we believe that promotions within the PNG police force should be based on merit and overall performance in the line of duty – every policemen and women should be given every opportunity to compete to maintain law and order. Having that subtle competition amongst members of the constabulary will not only boost morale but at the end of the day see policing taken to the next level, which would ultimately benefit Papua New Guineans.

The promotion of ACP Clarkson should also augur well for members of the RPNGC Sexual Offences Squad, who work tirelessly to attend to crimes mainly targeting women and children. Female members of the PNG police force (and even those outside the RPNGC considering it as a form of employment) should take confidence in the appointment as it now shows that policing can become a career path.

Looking at the big picture and the issue of gender, PNG remains a male-dominated society but we are making inroads in terms of educating and getting ordinary Papua New Guineans to accept that men and women are equal partners in nation-building. The promotion of Superintendent Joanne Clarkson to the position of ACP is a boost for Papua New Guineans crying out for a level playing field in our development as a nation.

While we are not privy to the specifics of her job description, we appeal to the RPNGC management including Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga to use ACP Clarkson as the public face of the constabulary to restore confidence in its membership as well as assist their human resources division boost female recruitment into the constabulary.

Nevertheless it is early days and it would not be surprising to hear of resistance to the promotion of ACP Clarkson by male colleagues. But we urge the RPNGC top management to stand by their decision and give their support to their newly promoted colleague.

Police forces throughout the world have over the years documented cases of harassment and discrimination against female officers. PNG could be no different.

However, one positive in favour of the new assistant commissioner for police is that the RPNGC is in urgent need of a champion to restore the faith and trust in the blue uniform – it could well be ACP Clarkson.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

38) Lawyer for Ok Tedi LOs stripped of title

By IMELDA WAVIK

THE attorney for the Ok Tedi Mine Area Principal Landowner Group Association has been stripped of his title on the grounds of corruption and abuse of his power.
Paul Eddie is alleged to have abused his rank by acting inappropriately and beyond his normal responsibilities.
Kimka Sepiyan Sub-tribe Land Group Incorporated, a group belonging to the association, announced the attorney’s withdrawal.
The executive secretary of the group, John Clement, stated that Mr Eddie’s removal from his position was necessary for promoting transparency and necessary to prevent abuse of power in the future.
Mr Clement said business dealings carried out with the former attorney since the date of his appointment on March 15, 2013 until now would be disregarded.
“It would be illegal for any persons, companies or organisations dealing with Mr Eddie to acquire services on credit using the group’s name”, he said.
The secretary has urged service providers and government agencies dealing with the association to seriously consider the changes in order to avoid any inconvenience or embarrassment.
He said all business dealings with the association or the group would now be directed to him.
Mr Clement added that the association was also taking steps to urge stakeholders to settle outstanding business development grants and other royalty benefits.
He said directives were issued by the ministry for mining as well as legal clearance by the office of the state solicitors for stakeholders to pay what was rightfully owed to the association.
“Continued defiance by the heads of these agencies to perform their mandate obligations may result in legal action,” he said.http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

39) Three dead in Papua following attack

Posted at 22:30 on 27 June, 2013 UTC

Three people were killed in Indonesia’s restive eastern region of Papua earlier this week in an attack claimed by separatists during which a soldier was shot dead and a civilian killed.

Police told Global Post online that a third civilian died after jumping into a ravine while trying to escape the ambush in the Puncak Jaya district.

Tuesday’s attack was claimed by a local leader of the separatist Free Papua Movement who said only members of the security forces were killed, not civilians.

In February suspected OPM gunmen killed eight soldiers in an attack in Puncak Jaya, known as a militant hideout, in one of the most serious assaults on security forces in the region’s recent history.

Radio New Zealand International

40) Out to stop fraud

Mere Naleba
Friday, June 28, 2013

PUTTING an end to corruption in Fiji is one of the cornerstones of the government and there should be no impediment to any FICAC investigation.

These were the words of Attorney-General and acting Minister for Local Government Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said the government would not tolerate special administrators and council staff refusing to co-operate with FICAC, in any investigation.

“I want to make it clear to all of you that there should never be any doubt in your minds about the need to comply and collaborate with FICAC and work with it to eradicate corruption,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The government insists on fair, honest and transparent governance and will not tolerate unscrupulous or dishonest behaviour, favouritism or nepotism.”

Six special administrators met with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum in Lautoka, marking his first meeting with the special administrators of Lautoka/Nadi, Ba/Tavua, Rakiraki, Nasinu, Lami and Labasa/Savusavu.

During the meeting, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum shared his plans on how best they could work together to deliver the best to the members of the public.

The special administrators also made presentations on the financial situations in the different municipalities and the challenges they faced.

With most councils having problems in collecting taxes from ratepayers, the meeting also addressed issues of how council workers could be more attentive to the collection of rates.

“Some ratepayers are being openly defiant and simply refuse to pay their rates.

“These people are placing an unnecessary burden on their fellow citizens to carry the cost of the services they also enjoy. This is not acceptable.”
http://www.fijitimes.com/


41) Fiji soldiers deployment more dangerous than any mission: PM Bainimarama

By Online Editor
10:32 am GMT+12, 26/06/2013, Fiji

The deployment of the Fijian soldiers for the peacekeeping missions to the Golan Heights will be the most dangerous deployment that Fijian soldiers have ever faced under UN peacekeeping missions.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the task ahead would be a difficult one which is to keep the peace in the Golan Heights that separates Israel and Syria.

“This may be a more dangerous deployment than other UN peacekeeping missions,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“For four decades, the United Nations has been responsible for managing the stage of peace there but because of the increased potential for peace to be threatened in the Golan Heights due to the internal political upheaval in Syria, the UN has called for more peacekeepers and Fiji has answered that call.

“Already certain countries have withdrawn their troops, but let me also be clear, our troops are prepared for the mission.”

He said the deployed personnel have the leadership, training, discipline and attitude they need to see them through.

“Answering the call to restore peace for the protection of innocent men, women and children is the most honourable task a soldier can perform,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“When the UN asks us to help its peacekeeping efforts, Fiji says ‘yes’ because of our commitment to be good global citizens.

“We have told the United Nations that we are willing to provide up to 500 soldiers for this mission if they are needed and will consider requests for more.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

42) Bougainville Police will not tolerate rogue cops

By Online Editor
4:51 pm GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Papua New Guinea

Thomas Eluh, Bougainville Assistant Police Commissioner last week made clear that he will no longer tolerate rogue cops in Bougainville.

While addressing a police parade at the Buka police station last Friday, ACP Eluh bluntly said he will not hesitate to dismiss policemen and women who are tarnishing the image of police by engaging in illegal activities.

Eluh has decided to take this bold move because many Bougainvilleans including the Autonomous Bougainville Government leaders have expressed that they have already lost confidence in the police.

This has been attributed to police failing to address illegal practices taking place.

Eluh said as the head of the Bougainville police, he was very ashamed of such remarks made by people.

The no-nonsense officer from Manus stressed that he does not want to lead and be part of an organisation that is both corrupt and undisciplined.

“This is your police service, it’s not mine. Do you have any pride in the uniform you are wearing? The public are no longer stupid. They know what we’re doing and what we’re not doing. That’s the reason they no longer have confidence in us,”  Eluh said.

The Bougainville police chief said failure to arrest those consuming alcohol and causing a nuisance, as well as selling and consuming drugs in public places, was one of the reasons why people have lost confidence in them.

“As of today I now declare zero tolerance on drinking alcohol in public places. And I was told that some of you policemen are contributing to this, drinking with people in public places. If I catch you, you are dismissed,” Eluh said.

Eluh said he was also told that some policemen have been taking alcohol into the police station during working hours.

“Many of you after drinking, you take your beer and come hide in the police station. My goodness, this is not a bloody hotel! I’m told that some of you are still drinking in police vehicles. Up the highway they drink in police car, pretending as if they are working.”

The same warning was also issued by Eluh to the civilian staff.

He also declared zero tolerance on defective and overloaded PMVs as well as unlicensed drivers and urged the police traffic officers to continuously monitor the movement of vehicles on a daily basis.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

43) Solomons watchdog asked to refer corruption claims to police

Posted at 07:28 on 27 June, 2013 UTC

Transparency Solomon Islands has called on the country’s corruption watchdog to refer serious cases to criminal investigators.

The request came as results were released from the Regional Assistance Mission’s people’s survey on accountability.

The group welcomed the rising rate of reports to the Leadership Code Commission, or LCC, which has climbed from 12 percent in 2011 to 36 percent this year.

But under current rules, the LCC can only issue misconduct fines and Transparency Solomon Islands has asked that it refer more cases to the corruption squad or the public prosecutor.

The survey also showed an increase in the number of people who are too afraid to report corruption.

Radio New Zealand International

44) Solomons minister admits entrenched corruption but vows action

Posted at 17:15 on 27 June, 2013 UTC

A Solomon Islands cabinet minister says there is entrenched corruption in government ministries and a new controversial law is all part of fixing the problem.

Connelly Sandakabatu, the Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination, says the new Constituency Development Funds Act is the best way to channel aid money to citizens.

He says he has been able to help over 80 farmers after receiving funds directly to his office, rather than seeking them from the agriculture ministry.

Transparency Solomon Islands has criticised the law, saying it will give rise to further corruption, but Mr Sandakabatu says it’s a better option than seeing the money swallowed by corrupt government departments.

“That is an issue which has been there for donkey’s years. There is the financial review and all this, and we are not sitting on our back and watching. And I’d like to invite Transparency International to come and visit my constituency as well, if they so wish.”

Connelly Sandakabatu.

Radio New Zealand International

45) Man claiming to have seen slaughter in Papua provides names

Posted at 07:28 on 27 June, 2013 UTC

A man who says he was a witness to a massacre in the remote Indonesian province of Papua has provided names and descriptions of 12 victims.

The list of names mostly corresponds to an earlier list provided by independent media group West Papua Media Alerts.

Alex Perrottet reports.

“The man, whose name has been withheld for his own safety, said he saw the Indonesian military massacre 40 people in the same area that 8 soldiers were mysteriously killed in February and four members of the military were killed on Tuesday. General Goliath Tabuni of the rebel West Papua National Liberation Army has since claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s shooting, to counter claims by the military that civilians are armed. The list of victims has four people with the name Tabuni, prompting speculation that the massacre was planned, and Tuesday’s incident a revenge attack. The Indonesian government has denied any knowledge of the incident.”

Radio New Zealand International

46) Vanuatu Lands Department Files Returned: Regenvanu
State land leases given to department staff under investigation

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 26, 2013) – Vanuatu Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu says he has returned all the files of lease titles purportedly granted by the previous Lands Minister, Steven Kalsakau, in 2012, which he kept in his office after reportedly ordering their removal from the Lands Records Office on May 28.

All the leases in question were said to be of public land in both Port Vila and Luganville, the sale of all of which had been banned by the Council of Ministers in 2010.

The Minister’s critics had said say his actions could be in breach of Section 4 and Section 109 of the Land Leases Act. But the Minister said his decision was made to rectify a situation that had contravened the Council of Minister’s decision.

Following reports of the purported sale of public land to some staff members of the Department of Land, investigations by the Public Service Commission and the Ombudsman into the issue was ordered by the last administration under former Prime Minister Sato Kilman. However, the investigations stalled many times due to their inability to access information regarding this alleged sale because the Department of Lands said they could not surrender the information as this would be against the Land Leases Act.

Soon after he took office in late March, Regenvanu had given the Department of Lands staff members concerned an opportunity to voluntarily surrender these lease titles. When there was a negative response and the investigations by the PSC and the Ombudsman could not progress, he decided to have the files of the land lease titles in question in his possession.

Speaking to the Press last Friday, the Minister of Lands said that as a result of his action, the investigators have now got the information they wanted from the files and he has returned the files to the Department of Lands. He said the Government was now awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

“Now we are also looking at how we can never sell public land again,” Regenvanu added.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:


47) Marshall Islands want firm commitments on climate change at summit

By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 28/06/2013, Marshall Islands

The hosts of September’s Pacific Islands Forum summit, the Marshall Islands, are seeking stronger political commitment and international leadership to deal with climate change.

The northern Marshalls are currently in a grip of a severe drought while the capital, Majuro, has this week been inundated by high seas.

The Marshalls’ minister responsible for climate change issues, Tony de Brum, says it highlights the extent of the threat to Pacific low lying islands.

He says they want the summit to endorse a Majuro Declaration requiring more of the metropolitan countries.

“What do we need from the big countries, we need their commitments to actually put their money where their mouth is, not just say they are going to do something about the threat of climate change but also to do something about their commitments to keeping the level of warming that the world has figured we can all handle – namely two or two and a half degrees and no more.”

He says they are still to hear whether the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, will accept an invitation to attend.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

48) Effects Of Mining Waste To Be Investigated In PNG
Commission to review mining laws, regulations

By Paeope Ovasuru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 26, 2013) – The Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) will begin an inquiry into mine waste tailings and its impact on the health of Papua New Guineans.

Commission secretary Dr. Eric Kwa said the inquiry is part of a reference by the then Minister for Justice Bire Kimisopa in July 2007, in response to a study by a Sylvester Kotapu in which he alleged high toxic levels in the Angabanga River and the surrounding environment was triggered by wastes from the Tolukuma gold mine.

The CLRC used its powers to begin the investigation in February this year after it launched an issues paper on the same matter.

The inquiry will put the spotlight on the PNG mining industry and its regulation of waste tailings into the environment. Various legislation including the Environment Act 2000 and will also come under the scrutiny of the commission.

“The key aspect that we are basing our research on is the impact that these mine waste tailings have on the health of the people in the surrounding project area and the environment impacts.

We want to review the Environment Act 2000, the Mining Act 1992 and other legislations to determine how best we can address the issue. There is no framework in place currently and most mining companies have had to operate on guidelines provided by industry regulators. Most of the mining companies have managed their waste tailings based on the circumstances that they have found themselves in,” said Dr. Kwa.

The reference by the former minister and the commission’s inquiry is in response to the concerns of the people and the potential effects of mine tailings waste disposal systems, he added.

A working committee comprising representatives from the various stakeholders including industry, Government and private sector has been created and will travel to selected mine sites to assess their waste disposal systems and to get the views of community leaders and provincial governments.

The Porgera Gold Mine in Enga province, Ok Tedi Mine, Ramu nickel mine, Lihir gold mine and Hidden Valley in the Morobe province will be visited by the working committee next month.

Dr. Kwa is confident the group will complete its work including reviews of the different mine’s waste disposal regimes and have a report ready for presentation to Justice Minister and Attorney General Kerenga Kua by the end of the year.

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

SPORTS:

49a) Kadau names Kurukuru squad

By Online Editor
11:19 am GMT+12, 26/06/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands national futsal team head coach, Dickson Kadau, has named a 12-man line-up for the upcoming OFC Futsal Championship Invitational to be held in July in Auckland.

After conducting training with a trial selection over the last three months Kadau feels confident enough to name a team to represent Solomon Islands. His line-up reflects an emphasis on experience rather than youth with the Kurukuru mainstays all getting a place. The only new inclusion this year is Atana Fa’arodo Jnr. who comes in for the injured Matthias Saru.

Interestingly, the trio that missed the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup are all back in.

Solomon Islands’ most exciting futsal player, Jack Wetney, along with Lenson Bisili and David Lafai, were suspended for breaking camp just before the World Cup in November. Their inclusion will be good news for fans who lamented over their exclusion from the world cup but on the pitch they are expected to boost the Kurukuru in both defence and attack.

Kadau explains that the recall is based on a mutual acceptance that these players have matured after their ordeal and should be given another chance.

“They made a mistake which they paid for heavily so it is time for them to rejoin the team. I am sure that they still have lot to offer for futsal as players so this opportunity is given to them,” Kadau says.

There is, however, some doubt over whether Elliot Ragomo can travel with the team to New Zealand. The captain and leading goal scorer at the 2011 OFC Futsal Championship suffered an injury in the Honiara Futsal League earlier in the year and has not been training with the national squad.

Nevertheless, Kadau says that he has seen Ragomo playing recently with his local club and it looks promising that he will regain his former futsal prowess.

“Ragomo is a sticking point for our team because only a fitness test can determine whether or not he is fit to go. But in terms of his performance, I was impressed with the way he played with his club and I hope he can be cleared to travel with the national team,” Kadau says.

Ragomo was a star that did not shine for the Kurukuru at the World Cup due to injury and illness. Despite this, Ragomo, led his team to its first win at the FIFA Futsal World Cup and managed to score one goal.

The competition this year will feature eight teams including Australia and Malaysia from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The Oceania teams in the competition are New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The eighth and final team is yet to be named and will be an OFC invitational side.

Solomon Islands futsal team list:
Jack Wetney
Micah Lea’alafa
James Egeta
George Stevenson
Samuel Osifelo
Coleman Makau
Lenson Bisili
Jeffery Bule
Atana Fa’arodo Jnr.
Elliot Ragomo
Anthony Talo (GK)
David Lafai (GK)
Alwyn Hou (non-travelling reserve)
Junior Wane (non-travelling reserve)
Francis Lafai (non-travelling reserve)

Team officials:
Head coach – Dickson Kadau
Assistant coach – Jerry Sam.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

49b) Queensland crush NSW, level Origin series, sin-binnings embarrass the game says Gallen

By Online Editor
11:27 am GMT+12, 27/06/2013, Australia

Punches still flew despite the NRL’s new hardline stance but Queensland delivered a body blow to NSW’s hopes of winning their first State of Origin series since 2005 with a stunning 26-6 game two win at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

Desperate to stay in the fight for an eighth straight Origin series win, the Maroons came out swinging in their must-win clash but initially piled on points rather than punches, scoring four tries to one in front of 51,690.

The stage had been set for more fisticuffs in Origin II after NSW skipper Gallen arrived in Brisbane as public enemy No.1 following his fight with Queensland forward Nate Myles in the Blues’ 14-6 game one win.

Meanwhile, NSW coach Laurie Daley has called for the NRL to ”reconsider” it’s hardline stance on violence after four players were sin-binned for fisticuffs that again overshadowed the game’s marquee encounter.

NRL officials made good on their promise to sin bin players for fighting in a move that game one antagonist and NSW skipper Paul Gallen claimed was an ”embarrassing” over-reaction.

Queensland coach Mal Meninga agreed, describing the call as ”ridiculous” and even called for a fan poll to ensure the rules catered for the fans as well as the players.

NSW forwards Trent Merrin and Greg Bird were marched following a 54th-minute stink, which also cost Brent Tate and Justin Hodges 10 minutes on the sidelines.

Merrin was later charged with striking and faces a one-match ban with an early guilty plea or if he contests the matter and loses. Hodges was charged with contrary conduct and will escape suspension with an early guilty plea.

NRL boss Dave Smith’s zero-tolerance stance on violence was tested when Merrin clocked Tate with a savage right hand. The blow landed after  Gallen took exception to being pushed off following his tackle on Tate.

Referee Ashley Klein adjudicated that Bird was involved in the ensuing melee, stating: ”You both got involved, you’re in the bin.”

This was despite Bird’s protestations, the Gold Coast back-rower claiming: ”I didn’t throw one single punch.”

While Hodges ran in, Tate appeared desperately unlucky to be sent from the field, leaving both teams with 11 players each.

”It’s embarrassing really,” Gallen said. ”I didn’t see it … Justin Hodges threw punches but this game has been so great for 108 years – [so why] go and change it.

”No one goes out to fight but sometimes that’s a bit of the x-factor in the game.

”To be honest, the penalty should have been blown against Brent Tate for pushing me out of the ruck and that’s where it should have ended. That’s the way it is now, I don’t know what’s going to happen with it. It’s certainly going to be a talking point. I don’t think Hodges or Birdy should have been sin binned for it. If you go by the letter of the law as it is now, probably Mez should have been the only one [binned].”

Tempers flared moments earlier, when Billy Slater was placed on report for collecting NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce with his elbow. Pearce suffered a gash under his eye as a result of his tackle.

Daley answered a raft of questions on the incident with the same response: ”I couldn’t give you an honest answer.” However, he finally relented and gave his honest appraisal, believing action should first have been taken against Slater for ”striking”.

”And Mitchell is going to receive some stitches,” Daley said.

”I know that Greg Bird was sin-binned for not throwing a punch. Billy could have left them with 12 on the field when we were in their attacking zone and coming back.”

Daley urged officials to change their stance for the good of the game. ”No one goes out there to fight – if they did it would be on in the first tackle.”

Gallen’s savage attack on Nate Myles was the biggest talking point in Origin I and on-field violence – and the appropriate reaction to it – will again be scrutinised during the fallout.

After another scuffle late in the game, a NSW player was heard saying: ”Why don’t we go play netball?” But for all the talk about the biff, it was the Blues who fell for the sucker punch.

QUEENSLAND 26 (D Boyd 2 G Inglis S Thaiday tries J Thurston 5 goals) bt NEW SOUTH WALES 6 (B Morris try J Maloney goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 51,690.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

49c) Unfair selections in Team Kumul
By Online Editor
11:21 am GMT+12, 26/06/2013, Papua New Guinea

It is unbecoming for players in the Team Kumuls High Performance training camp, who passed all the required tests, not to be included in the next camp.

This was evident when some of the players in Team Kumuls training camp two in Goroka were not included in the third camp in Port Moresby early this month.

Other players, who are still being named in the team, were seen drunk at the Port Moresby rugby league oval straight after the camp.

Selections for the Team Kumuls high performance training camp is now dubbed biased and unjust for most local rugby league players.

Team Kumuls coach Adrian Lam said earlier that the selection of players for the camp was based on merit and it was only through performance that they will make the cut and will be included in the next Team Kumuls training camp.

This has not been done, according to some of the players who were dropped for the Team Kumuls High Performance training camp three in Port Moresby recently.

Team Kumuls manager Mathew Natusch when responding to various questions on the matter said: “Currently what is happening is that a ‘new system’ is being established. Mal, Adrian and others are in the process of formalizing something with the selectors and other ‘scouts’ that they have on the ground up here.

Over the next short while, Adrian and Mal will be discussing with the relevant parties the best approach. There is obviously a long term goal here.”

“As you can probably appreciate that with this new Team Kumuls High Performance Program there are many things that we have to consider that may be a little different to what people have been used to in the past. The main thing is that people are moving forward,” Natusch said.

Players dropped after the second Team Kumuls training camp in Goroka included Easu Siune, Mathew Puke, Felix Tangue and others.

In an exclusive interview Tangue, who was part of the Team Kumuls training camp in Goroka, said he was surprised when he was not named in the third camp in Port Moresby.

“Only six of us passed the tests; the management announced that after the final day of training. We were given K1000 each for passing the tests.

Some of those players included Charlie Wabo, Wartovo Puara Junior, Ase Boas, Sebastian Pandia as well as myself but I was shocked that I was not named in the team for the third camp,” Tangue said.

“If one can perform very well in the Digicel Cup and get selected in the first place for the Kumuls camp, there is no reason he should be dropped after passing all the tests in the Kumuls training camp. They are using us to make their own way around.

This has been happening for years now and I know it very well,” Former blockbusting Kumuls forward Joseph Omae said.

“They will call you into camp, and later you will find out that you are not in the final team.

That’s what Adrian Lam and Mathew Natusch, whom I have known for some years have been doing to our local players.

They will still fill the positions in the Kumuls team with overseas based players while the local boys are given the back seat,” Omae said this, also in an exclusive interview with him on the weekend.

“Some of these so called senior players in the Team Kumuls training camp may have not passed the newly introduced High Performance program but they are still named in the team. This is truly unfair,” Omae said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

49d) Fiji out to create rugby history

Kameli Rakoko
Friday, June 28, 2013

+ Enlarge this image

The Fiji 7s team to the Rugby World Cup in Moscow. From left, Sakiusa Gavidi (non-travelling), Levani Botia, Ilai Tinai, Samisoni Viriviri, Metuisela Talebula, Nemani Nagusa, Jasa Veremalua, Leone Nakarawa, Waisea Nayacalevu, Watisoni Votu, Jone Vota (non

FIJI makes one of the biggest rugby campaigns in history this weekend to try and become the only team to be world rugby champions three times in any code.

At the moment we are the only team to have won the Rugby World Cup Sevens twice while England, New Zealand and Wales are the other members of this elite group of world sevens champions.

In the fuller code New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have also won world rugby titles twice.

But like every other campaign since the inaugural competition in 1993, Fiji is always the crowd favourite and there is a lot of hope hanging on Alivereti Dere’s team this year to bring the Melrose Cup back home.

While the cold of Scotland hampered our first campaign under the late Ratu Kitione Vesikula’s guidance in 1993, we sent one of the fittest sevens teams to leave our shores ever under coach Rupeni Ravonu in 1997 to win our first tournament in Hong Kong.

Those were the days when aerobic fitness and not so much strength and power were needed but the following world cup in Buenos Aires in 2001 saw a shift in the sevens paradigm and power and physicality was part and parcel of the sevens code.

Almost the same team that played in 1997 lost to a physical Australian side in the semi-finals but Fiji caught on quickly and the 2005 team that won us our second title consisted of heftier ruggers and experienced fifteens players.

The seasoned fifteen players included first choice Test players like Viliame Satala, Semisi Naevo, big national fifteens lock Rawaqa, Sireli Bobo and of course Waisale Serevi under the coaching of Wayne Pivac and his assistant Paul Feeney and manager Malakai Finau.

The team successfully blended in a mixture of young home-based players with overseas-based stars and only took two weeks to prepare.

All four sevens world cups had Waisale Serevi and that is why he still holds the most number of points (297) scored in a world cup and the record could stand for ever.

In the last world cup in 2009 the sevens maestro was unceremoniously dumped by the Fiji Rugby Union as coach and Nadi’s Iliesa Tanivula was roped in to take over the team, which was kind of a makeshift side trying to emulate the success of 2005.

But the heroes of 2009 now playing overseas failed to spark and were sluggish and poor preparation and disunity among FRU officials were factors affecting the team’s performance.

Serevi was assistant coach for this team but he opted out because of requirements by US Immigration Department.

In 2011, following our poor performance in the fuller code in New Zealand, there was a major reshuffle in the running of FRU and new board members and officials also saw in new fifteens coach in Inoke Male and sevens coach Dere.

Dere’s sevens philosophy of returning to the old style of free running sevens rugby has proven to be a success and lifted the Fiji team from fifth in the International Rugby Board circuit to second, winning a number of tournaments on the way.

He has also lost several players to overseas clubs but a number of them are back in this team to Moscow including Metuisela Talebula, Waisea Nayacalevu, Watisoni Votu and Alipate Ratini.

The biggest boost to Fiji’s chances was the return of former Fiji captain Vereniki Goneva. Goneva led and almost single-handedly won Fiji the Hong Kong Sevens tournament in his last Fiji sevens match in 2009.

The Nagado man is the vice-captain and he is the surprise package in this side.

Ratini, who was whisked away by the Australian rugby league after his sensational display of speed and defence in the Gold Coast Sevens last year, is also in the side and he will be the gas man with the mercurial Samisoni Viriviri.

This team has speed, strength and great physicality with the forwards of captain Levani Botia, Leone Nakarawa, Votu, Nayacalevu and Nemani Nagusa. Jasa Veremalua is the young player who forced his way through because of his speed off the mark and height.

Joji Ragamate’s incisive running and speed is another plus to the team. Though he may be one dimensional in his attacks the experienced members of the side will guide him through.

Ilai Tinai, Talebula are the other gamebreakers.

Only Goneva has played in a Rugby World Cup Sevens and he still remembers how we lost to Kenya in Dubai.

He has some unfinished business to deal with so does Bukuya’s Votu, who was initially selected for that 2009 team but was injured at the eleventh hour.

This team is made up of players who have tasted victory in international tournaments and perhaps one of the best prepared sides to leave our shores.

They may not have the super fitness of 1997 and experience of 2005, except for Goneva, they have at one time or another all played under Dere in the past HSBC Series and they definitely have a combination in place.

Dere has modified his sevens pattern to suit the changing requirements of the modern game in the past couple of seasons he has been in charge,

On any given day against any sevens team in the world, this is the team that we should be prepared to bet our last dollar on. Go Fiji, go!!.

http://www.fijitimes.com/

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