Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 827

MELANESIA:

1) Fiji politicians scathing about MSG’s regime support

Posted at 16:52 on 10 July, 2013 UTC

The political grouping, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, says that once a democratically elected government is in place, Fiji’s membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group must be reviewed.

In a statement, the UFDF has strongly criticised support for Fiji’s military-led regime from MSG member governments in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu.

It says the MSG has compromised itself by embracing Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s regime, even though he violated the MSG’s guiding principles when he ousted a democratically elected government by force in 2006.

The MSG is the only international organisation to be invited by Fiji’s regime to send an observer mission for the planned election in 2014.

This recent proposal has been rejected by the UFDF which believes observers should be confined to the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the European Union and the Pacific Islands Forum.

The UFDF says the MSG has also ignored the plight of Fiji’s entire population, which for nearly seven years has been deprived of its democratic rights.

Radio New Zealand International

2/3) Vanuatu opposition lodge no confidence motion-Radio Australia/ 11 jul 2013

PORT VILA, Vanuatu — A motion of no confidence has been lodged against Vanuatu’s prime minister and is scheduled to be debated in parliament next week.

The motion comes as Vanuatu’s Supreme Court is hearing a case of alleged bribery by the country’s recently elected prime minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

Multiple claims have been made againstCarcasses, including allegations he and two other ministers engaged in vote buying practices ahead of last year’s election.

Vanuatu’s Attorney General Ishmael Kalsakau alleges three government ministers, including the prime minister, bribed voters in order to win six Port Vila seats during the 2012 general election.

The court has been told Carcasses gave a 25 kilogram bag of rice to people in Seaside Paama. He denies the allegation.

Carcasses is also facing claims he voted at a different polling station to the Port Vila Municipality Town Hall where he was listed.

Vanuatu’s electoral system allows a petitioner to approach the Supreme Court after the election to claim bribery has been committed by the successful candidate.

Carcasses delayed a court appearance to be in Sydney for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with AusAID and cruise company Carnival.

Earlier, Carcasses said the opposition would be likely to move a motion of no confidence against him.

“Well this is the history of Vanuatu, the motion of no confidence. The opposition has only that tool to fight against the government, so of course they are going to try very hard to put a motion. Good luck for them.”

Vanuatu’s Supreme Court also heard claims the current minister of international affairs Patick Crowby gave money directly to people to vote for him.

It is also alleged a member of the campaign team for the minister for youth and sport, Tony Wright, gave money to a bar and invited people to drink for free.

Carcasses took over from Sato Kilman, who resigned just before a no confidence motion was due to be debated in parliament in March this year.

He was the first naturalised citizen to become prime minister since Vanuatu gained independence more than 30 years ago.

Since coming to power, Mr Carcasses has promised to terminate a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia and support Papua’s push for independence from Indonesia.

The move was one of 68 measures contained in an ambitious 100-day plan for the new government.

4) New Caledonia struggles with high cost of living

By Online Editor
1:20 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, New Caledonia

New Caledonia is being urged to trade with its Pacific neighbours, rather than France, to cut the high cost of living.

Thousands took part in mass demonstrations earlier this year, and trade unions called a general strike in response to spiralling costs.

The prices in New Caledonia are on average 34 per cent more than in France, but for food it’s up to 90 per cent more.

Deputy Speaker of the New Caledonia Congress, Roch Wamytam, says the pricing is a political problem because of the country’s reliance on European trade.

“France and Europe are situated 20,000 kilometres from our island,” he said

“If…the people here in New Caledonia understand that New Caledonia is in the Pacific.

“Next door [is] Australia on the one hand, on the other New Zealand, Asia, Indonesia, China, Melanesian countries.

“It will be very easy for us to organise trade with these, our neighbours.”

In response to the demonstrations, the French High Commissioner gathered all the parties together, agreeing to a 10 per cent cut in the prices of 300 items and a yearlong price freeze.

Director of the French Pacific Central Bank in New Caledonia, Thierry Beltrand, says the price freeze is only a temporary solution.

“The best thing to lower the prices is to…be competitive,” he said.

“The salaries are too high here, so if you begin to lower the salaries here maybe prices will also lower.

“Of course, it’s very politically difficult to explain to the people that you will cut their salaries, so, for now, politicians don’t want to touch it.”

The chief of staff from New Caledonia Labour Minister, Pierre Chauvat, says one of the reasons prices are so high is that the French public servants posted to New Caledonia are paid significantly more than if they were back in France.

“When a public worker works here he gets [his pay] multiplied by 1.73,” he said.

“It’s disproportionate because of these public services – between public and private the gap is too much.”

On a recent trip to New Caledonia the Governor of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer, said the current wage structure was unsustainable.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

5) New Caledonia rallies oppose Djaiwe sanctioning

Posted at 06:51 on 10 July, 2013 UTC

Hundreds of people in the north of New Caledonia have rallied in support of the vice-president of the northern province, Jean-Pierre Djaiwe, who is banned from contesting next year’s election.

In May, France’s constitutional council rejected his accounts of last year’s campaign for a seat in the French National Assembly and declared him ineligible for public office for three years.

According to the Nouvelles Caledoniennes, this has led to rallies in his support in Hienghene, Kone and Canala.

Those at the rally have asked the French president to intervene and review the punishment.

In last year’s election, Mr Djaiwe of the pro-independence FLNKS Movement was narrowly defeated by Philippe Gomes, who is the leader of the anti-independence Caledonia Together Party.

Radio New Zealand International

6) Fiji AG Halts Forced Evictions At Ba Settlements
Special administrator allegedly threatened residents

By Jyoti Pratibha

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, July 10, 2013) – A timely intervention by Fiji’s Attorney-General and Acting Minister for Local Government, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has stopped the forced eviction of hundreds of people living at Clopcott and Valele in Ba.

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum visited the settlement on Monday evening after concerns of bullying tactics used by the special administrator-Ba, Arun Prasad, were raised with him.

After visiting the Clopcott Subdivision, Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said he was very disturbed by the treatment given to the people living in those areas.

“I cannot believe the insensitive way in which the Ba Council and its special administrator have treated the legitimate concerns of these poor and vulnerable Fijian families. It is very upsetting that this was allowed to happen,” he said.

A resident, Halith Ali, said they were forced to leave their homes so that the land could be sold off for development.

According to the residents, the special administrator had threatened to cut off water and electricity to some of the residents if they did not follow his orders.

“Apart from the fact that it is unbecoming of the special administrator to make such threats, he clearly has no legal authority to do so,” Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Hundreds of residents told Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum how their gardens were destroyed by the Ba Town Council.

“The Bainimarama Government will not tolerate such an outrageous assault on the basic rights of ordinary people and we have ordered an immediate stop to it,” the Attorney-General said.

“The special administrator claims that he had widely consulted the residents before all this happened. The truth is that he didn’t and, as Minister, I have been misled,” he said.

Stop order

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said that contrary to normal procedures, no environmental impact assessment had been finalized for the proposed subdivision before the bulldozers were sent in.

“We can assure local residents that we are now ordering a complete halt to this development and there will be no forced removals until the entire project has been reassessed,” he said.

He said he had been struck by the willingness of residents to cooperate with the authorities and there was no question that they were being unreasonable or that they were opposed to development.

“We are now going to sit down calmly and work our way through these issues. But as far as the Bainimarama Government is concerned, people come first.

If the special administrator wants to exploit this land then he will need to ensure that these long term residents are given a viable option which ensures their dignity, rights and sustained livelihoods,” he said.

The Minister visited the settlement after the community-formed Clopcott/Valele Squatter Settlement Residents’ Committee wrote to him seeking his assistance.

FijiSUN: http://www.fijisun.com.fj/

7) Cost Of Fiji PM’s Visit To Solomons Allegedly Pricey
Vehicle to transport Bainimarama reportedly cost $41,340

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 9, 2013) – The invitation made by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to Fiji PM Commodore Frank Bainimarama as a guest of honor for the country’s independence celebration has not come cheap.

Sources revealed the Government had to dig deep in the coffers to meet the expenses of getting the group here.

“It is done at the expense of tax payers,” the source said.

Asked to disclose total funds spent to get the group over, the source declined but said it has hit the millions.

“Traveling expenses and accommodation are met by the Government.”

To add to the millions, the Government before Mr. Bainimarama’s arrival quickly purchased a vehicle last Friday from Kosol Corporation.

Another source told the Solomon Star the vehicle was used to pick up Mr. Bainimarama at the airport on arrival and was used in transporting him around while in Honiara, which cost the Government SB$300,000 [US$41,340].

“In fact it was Kosol’s most expensive vehicle,” the source said.

A spokesperson from Kosol confirmed the purchase was made on Friday.

A complainant who tipped to the Solomon Star about the pricy invitation said the Government was spending huge money while vital services and students and teachers’ plights were ignored.

“A lot of clinics have no medicine; teachers have been crying for a fair share from the Government and USP sponsored students in Fiji are begging for their allowances.

“The Government seems to take little notice, if not no notice at all, on these aspects and prioritize its spending on things that we never heard of.”

But commenting on the visit, prominent businessman Yoshi Sato said the visit beautifully demonstrates Melanesian solidarity at its best.

Fiji’s honorary consul in the Solomon Islands, Atunaisan Balekana, also described the visit as historical
Solomon Star

8) Fiji Regime Delays Disclosure Of Government Salaries
AG: information will be released after constitution finalized

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 9, 2013) – The Fiji regime leaders have again delayed the publication of their salaries, saying calls for disclosure are just political posturing by opponents.

In April, the attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum promised he would disclose his in July after political parties claimed the Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, receives more than US$700,000 a year.

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum now says salary information will be released after the finalizing of the constitution, which has also been delayed.

He says there was a duty in the 1997 constitution to form a code of conduct and no previous government complied with it.

“None of them actually developed a code of conduct and none of them declared their salaries, none of them declared their assets and liabilities. The Bainimarama government has taken the responsibility and has said we will do that. And we will do that and in fact we are developing a code of conduct.”

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says once the legal framework is completed, the Prime Minister will have to comply with as he has indicated he will form his own political party.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

9) August deadline for Fiji’s new Constitution- Fiji Live 10 jul 2013

SUVA, Fiji —-Fiji’s government is now targeting the month of August to complete and release the country’s new Constitution.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Radio New Zealand that the release of the new Constitution will depend on when the translation of the text are done and they have targeted the month of August to complete everything.

“We hope to have that done fairly soon; we have targeted the month of August.

But as you may have seen we have also taken the approach that we need to translate the draft constitution into the vernaculars after taking into account some of the submissions we’ve received. So that will be distributed to the population in vernacular also before the president assents to it.”

He said the constitution will put in place a code of conduct and an office of accountability and transparency.

The new Constitution which will replace the 1997 constitution was expected to be released by the end of June as revealed by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to Radio Tarana.

MICRONESIA:

10) Guam Senator Introduces Bill To Repeal Gaming Law
Michael San Nicolas ‘only responding’ to public’s call

By Louella Losinio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, July 10, 2013) – Barely a day after Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo allowed Bill 19 to lapse into Public Law 32-060, another bill has been introduced by Sen. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas totally repealing the controversial piece of legislation.

San Nicolas’ Bill 149 ensures the continuance of gaming activities for man’åmko’, veterans, cockfighters, sports teams, non-profit organizations, and mayors, and will also put the matter of gaming machines directly in the hands of the Attorney General’s Office for the AG to resolve in the courts.

In introducing the bill, the senator said he was only “responding to the call of the people” and taking action on their behalf.

“Our people have taught us all a valuable lesson, that responsible leaders must always be willing to respond to the people with clear action, even if it means correcting our mistakes,” San Nicolas said in a statement accompanying the release of the new measure.

San Nicolas was the one who introduced an amendment supporting Sen. Ben Pangelinan’s amendment on Bill 19 that would ban all gaming activities once Guam Memorial Hospital’s vendor debt is fully satisfied.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Calvo has reportedly vowed to veto any repeals to the new law.]

In a recent interview with ABC Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat, San Nicolas also reiterated his stance on ending all forms of gaming on Guam, saying: “In the past, the people of Guam rejected gambling five times, and now the Legislature is making sure it never happens again.”

However, he also gave assurance that continued support will be given to activities that depend on gaming money, such as sports and non-profit work, but “without the gambling element.”

“We are a community in transition now,” San Nicolas emphasized, adding that part of the transition is to tax gaming to create trust funds which will allow community activities to continue after gaming ends.

Pro-gambling

Calvo’s move to allow Bill 19 to lapse into law also generated a wave of reactions from concerned groups, with non-profit organization Keep Guam Good questioning why an anti-gambling governor would allow a pro-gambling law to pass.

Bill 19 became Public Law 32-060 without the governor’s signature – a move that was criticized by the organization, which said a true leader is someone who takes an unwavering stand on an issue.

Jackie Marati, the non-profit organization’s spokesperson, said: “Calvo failed to act like a leader in allowing the bill to lapse into law. He claims that he is ‘anti-gambling’ but he refused to sign the bill and at the same time refused to veto it. That’s not leadership, that’s cowardice.”

The group also scoffed at the governor’s claims that Bill 19 is not about gambling and that it’s about funding the hospital.

“Has he read the bill? The title of the bill reads that it adds a new chapter to Title 11 ‘Relative to Gaming.’ Section 1 states that the bill intends to place, in statute, the policy of regulating gaming activities allowed by law, collecting fees and taxes that would be due from duly licensed operators, and making funds available for improvements to Guam’s sporting facilities.”

The group added that Calvo is hiding behind his legal counsel’s opinion, which stated Bill 19 merely allows for limited gaming activities already authorized by statute.

“This is the same legal counsel who authorized the licensing of gaming machines when the Attorney General of Guam halted those licenses because such machines were illegal,” Marati said.

Review

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has responded to the governor’s action by saying both the governor and AG Leonardo Rapadas from the onset have agreed with the intent of Bill 19-32, which is to find a much-needed funding source for Guam Memorial Hospital Authority’s urgent care services and other government activities, projects and programs.

However, Rapadas also maintained that the licensing and possession of gambling devices is illegal, adding, “Their Office has always taken the position that the laws prohibiting the licensing of gambling devices and their possession are clear.”

“Now that Calvo has allowed Bill 19-32 to lapse into public law, the AG plans to review and possibly amend a complaint filed on June 14, 2013,” Rapadas said in a statement.

According to the AGO, an additional 200 illegal gambling devices have been issued licenses, bringing the total of illegal gambling devices to 400. The AG intends to communicate with the Department of Revenue and Taxation to confirm how many machines have been licensed, and to whom and at which locations.

Rapadas also responded to the governor’s concern that the case regarding the gaming machines have “buried” other important criminal cases that the AGO is handling.

“I want to thank the governor for his concern, but let me assure him and the public that my office, with its several divisions, can multi-task and handle not only civil matters, but criminal matters,” Rapadas said pointedly.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com

TOK PISIN:

11a) West Papua rebel lida Danny Kogoya i promis long paitim Indonesia maski em i kisim bagarap long lek blongen

Updated 10 July 2013, 17:04 AEST
By Liam Cochrane

Wanpela Komanda blong West Papuan rebel grup husait ol i katim lek blongen bihainim bagarap em i kisim long gan-pait i givim tok promis long em bai go bek long bus na bai gohet long paitim Indonesia atoriti.

Vidio: Papua rebel komanda i promis long paitim Indonesia long bik-bus

Wanpela komanda blong West Papua rebel grup i tok promis long go het long pait wantaim Indonesia soljia, maski ol i katim rait sait long lek blongen.

Ol i katim haf long rait lek blongen bikos long ol bagarap em i kisim long gan, samting em i tok, Indonesia ino askim em pastaim long ol i katim.

Promis em i givim em bai go bek long bus na bai ino isi long paitim Indonesia soljia na atoriti.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11b) Solomon Museum i hostim intenasenal film na monument wantaim Fiji

Updated 10 July 2013, 17:10 AEST
Sam Seke

Solomon Islands Nasenal Museum i hostim wanpela Intenasenal Film Festival na wanpela Solomon Islands-Fiji Monument.

Odio: Tony Heorake, Direkta blong Solomon Islands National Museum i toktok
Piksa: Monument blong wokporoman namel Fiji na Solomon islands long Honiara
Piksa: Haus blong Fiji Solomon Islands Monument long Honiara

Nasenal Museum blong Solomon Islands i wok long hostim wanpela intenasenal film festival long Honiara – na tu wanpela monument blong makim wok poroman namel Solomon Islands na Fiji.

Direkta blong Solomon Islands National Museum, Tony Heorake itok ol kantri we i tek pat long dispela film festival nau i New Zealand, United Kingdom, Amerika, Japan na Australia.

Mr Heorake itok dispela “Honiara International Film Festival” oli holim long National Museum Theatre stat long aste na bai em i pinis long Sarere dispela wik.

Em itok as tingting long dispela film festival nau em blong promotim wokporoman na save long kalsa blong ol narapela kantri we Solomon Islands i dil klostu wantaim.

Em itok planti long ol sumatin nau i save go lukluk long ol “feature” na “drama” film ia na interes longen i wok long kamap bikpela.

Mr Heorake i tok nasenel museum i hostim tu wanpela momument oa mak blong gutpela wok poroman namel long Solomon Islandsd na Fiji stat long bipo taim yet.

Praim Minista blong Fiji, Commodore Frank Bainimarama na Gordon Darcy Lilo blong Solomon Islands nau i opim dispela monument ston mak long Honiara long Mande.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11c) Australia mekim isi long PNG pipol i aplai long visa nao: Australia Hai Komisin

Updated 10 July 2013, 16:19 AEST

Hai Komisin blong Australia i tok em i givim moa visa long ol Papua New Guinea pipol i aplai long go long Australia insait long dispela 12-pela mun i pinis.

Odio: Tim Bryson blong Australian Hai Komisin long Papua New Guinea

Hai Komisin blong Australia i tok em i givim moa visa igo long ol pipol blong Papua New Guinea insait long displa 12-pela mun i pinis.

Tim Bryson blong Australia Hai Komisin long Papua New Guinea i tok em i lukim bikpela namba blong Papua New Guinea pipol i wok long iusim intanet long aplai long visa blong ol.

Em i tok visa aplikeisin blong Papua New Guinea i wankain olsem long ol pipol blong ol narapela kantri tasol, wantaim ol nupela sanis long visa aplikesin, em i em i isi long pipol i aplai long go long Austalia.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

Long June 24, Australia Hai Komisin ibin lonchim e-Visa. Dispela imin husait igat intanet, em bai isi long em i salim kuik visa aplikesin igo long ol.

“Pastaim long dispela ol sanis, ol pipol blong narapela provins imas igo long Lae na Port Moresby long putim aplikeisin blong ol,” Tim Bryson i tok.

Em i tok nau em i isi long ol pipol i putim visa aplikeisin na wanem ol wari ol i pipol i gat long visa, ogleta infomesin i stap long web-sait.

BAHASA:

12) Polisi Inggris minta Australia tuntut presenter radio di Sydney

Diperbaharui 11 July 2013, 10:46 AEST

Pihak kepolisian Inggris, Scotland Yard, meminta Kepolisian Australia mempertimbangkan tuduhan pidana terhadap stasiun radio 2Day FM di Sydney dan dua presenternya terkait kasus telepon hoax yang mengakibatkan seorang perawat bunuh diri.

Mel Greig dan Michael Christian menelepon sebuah rumahsakit di London tempat isteri Pangeran Willliam, Duchess of Cambridge, sedang dirawat pada bulan Desember tahun lalu.

Kedua presenter itu berpura-pura sebagai Ratu Elizabeth II dan Pangeran Charles, ayah dari Pangeran William.

Perawat yang menerima telepon, Jacintha Saldanha, meneruskannya telepon ke kamar perawatan Duchess of Cambridge. Beberapa hari kemudian Saldanha bunuh diri.

Kejaksaan Inggris memutuskan tidak mengenakan dakwaan terhadap Greig and Christian. Tapi Scotland Yard kini mengirim rincian investigasinya kepada Kepolisian Federal Australia dan Kepolisian Negara Bagian New South Wales untuk diperiksa apakah kedua presenter itu melanggar hukum Australia.

Jurubicara Kepolisian New South Wales mengatakan, kepolisian tingkat negara bagian dan federal akan menilai rincian investigasi tersebut.

Pada bulan Februari, Kejaksaan Inggris mengatakan, tidak ada bukti yang mendukung tuduhan pembunuhan tanpa direncana.

Kejaksaan memutuskan tidak ada gunanya mengenakan tuduhan yang lebih ringan menyangkut perlindungan data dan komunikasi yang menyesatkan.

Greig dan Christian diskors menyusul telepon hoax itu, tapi Christian sudah kembali mengudara dan bulan lalu memenangkan sebuah penghargaan.

Greig masih cuti panjang dan kemarin Fair Work Commission menegaskan, tim pengacaranya mengajukan gugatan hukum terhadap Southern Cross Austereo, dengan alasan perusahaan itu gagal memberikan lingkungan kerja yang aman.

Fair Work Australia mengatakan akan membawa kedua pihak ke perundingan rekonsiliasi, tapi jika masalahnya tidak terpecahkan, Greig perlu mengajukan kasusnya ke Pengadilan Federal.

ABC/AFP

FRENCH:

13a) Rugby à XIII : mêlée mortelle en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée

Mis à jour 10 July 2013, 10:10 AEST
Pierre Riant

Une bagarre sanglante collective a éclaté lors d’une rencontre dans la ville de Wabag, dans le centre du pays. Une personne est morte et de nombreuses autres ont été sérieusement blessées.

Le match entre Lae Snax Tigers et Enga Mioks était sur le point de finir quand un spectateur a attaqué un garde de sécurité avec une machette.

Cet incident a tourné à l’émeute dans les tribunes alors que des spectateurs paniqués tentaient de quitter le stade pour sauver leur vie.

Le véhicule d’une équipe a été brûlé mais les joueurs ont pu quitter la ville sous bonne escorte.

Les organisateurs de l’évènement ont suspendu toute nouvelle rencontre jusqu’à nouvel ordre dans cette ville et ont demandé aux autres stades de redoubler de prudence tandis que les finales se rapprochent.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13b) Santé : « Vous n’avez qu’un créneau de 72 heures pour agir »

Posté à 10 July 2013, 8:51 AEST
Pierre Riant

Médecins sans frontières a établi un impressionnant réseau de cliniques orientées vers les soins destinées aux victimes de la violence sexuelle et familiale.

Tout a commencé en 2007, à Lae, la deuxième ville la plus peuplée de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Depuis, 13 000 victimes de ces violences ont été soignées.

Le concept est le suivant : l’organisation Médecins sans frontières arrive dans une ville, s’intègre à un hôpital. Des centres de soins sont construits et des stages de formation sont proposés à l’ensemble du personnel médical. Une formation spécialisée dans les violences intrafamiliales et sexuelles.

Quand les centres en question sont jugés viables et fonctionnels, ils sont remis aux autorités locales.

Paul Brockman, est chef de mission de Médecins sans frontières en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Et se souvient de Lae.

BROCKMAN : « Oui, ce fut notre première intervention dans cette région de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Nous avons travaillé à l’hôpital général de Lae à partir de fin 2007 et il y a une semaine ou deux, nous avons remis à l’hôpital ce centre de soutien aux familles.

Pendant le temps où nous étions là, nous avons soigné plus de 13 000 patients de la région de Lae, des victimes de la violence familiale et conjugale.  Des gens qui ont survécu à des viols ou des sévices sexuels de la part de leur partenaire. »

Depuis, le projet a fait tâche d’huile et du personnel soignant et administratif formé par Médecins sans frontières est en opération dans presque chacune des 22 provinces de la région.

Nous avons demandé à Paul Brockman pourquoi ces cliniques spécialisées dans la violence sexuelle étaient si importantes pour la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ?

BROCKMAN : « Et bien je pense que l’important dans cette violence familiale et sexuelle est qu’elle représente une crise médicale immédiate pour chaque individu.
En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et un peu partout ailleurs, on perçoit cette violence comme un problème social, un problème de loi et de justice. Ce sont bien sûr des facteurs, mais c’est avant tout une personne, un individu en proie à une crise médicale.

Les blessures peuvent être graves : des coupures profondes, des contusions et parfois des os cassés.
Les risques d’infection sont aussi immédiats. Risques de maladies sexuellement transmissibles, du VIH. Mais si vous intervenez rapidement, une infection par le VIH  peut-être évitée.

Toutefois, vous n’avez qu’un créneau de 72 heures pour agir alors il faut que les patients le comprennent et qu’ils viennent se faire soigner tout de suite. »

Paul Brockman nous expliquera qu’en apprenant l’existence de ces cliniques MSF, une jeune fille s’est présentée à l’une de ses cliniques en expliquant qu’elle avait été violée. Et quand l’infirmière lui a demandé quand ? Elle a répondu : il y un an.

Encore beaucoup de travail donc pour Médecins sans frontières.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13c) Vanuatu : le ministre de la Justice exclut la peine de mort

Posté à 10 July 2013, 8:43 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est à la suite de plusieurs meurtres que le débat a refait surface dans l’archipel.

En mai dernier, un couple de Hollandais, des expatriés du troisième âge, a été tué. Le Vanuatu n’est pas épargné par la petite délinquance et la criminalité, mais les meurtres sont plus rares.

En 2011, le taux d’homicide volontaire au Vanuatu était de 0,9%, selon les chiffres de l’Office des Nations Unies contre la drogue et le crime. 0,9% comme en Nouvelle-Zélande. En Australie ce taux est de 1%. À Fidji, il est de 2,8% et de 3,7% aux îles Salomon. C’est la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée qui affiche le plus fort taux dans la région avec 13%. La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a d’ailleurs récemment rétabli la peine de mort.

Au Vanuatu,  le ministre de la Justice, Silas Yatan, aurait laissé entendre dernièrement que le gouvernement pourrait imposer la peine de mort.
Faux nous a répondu Emily Tunukon, conseillère politique auprès du ministre de la Justice.

TUNUKON : « Le Vanuatu est un petit pays et nous avons des problèmes à résoudre et des défis à relever. Mais ils sont moins importants que ceux que l’on trouve dans pays occidentaux plus grands, comme l’Australie. Nous croyons aussi aux principes chrétiens. Peut-être que l’on tuait pendant les temps anciens du cannibalisme mais cela ne se faisait pas pour le plaisir. »

En fait, selon Emily Tunukon, les propos du ministre sur la peine de mort auraient été mal interprétés.

TUNUKON : «  Le ministre voulait simplement faire comprendre aux gens que la violence engendre plus de violence. Comme en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée qui a réintroduit la peine de mort. Mais au Vanuatu, le ministre a tout simplement voulu dire que la violence engendrait plus de violence. »

Le ministre est contre donc, mais est-ce que des appels ont été lancés en faveur de la peine de mort ?

TUNUKON : « Non, nous sommes un pays chrétien et notre Constitution confirme notre attachement aux principes chrétiens et à nos valeurs coutumières qui n’encouragent pas cette pratique. »

Le Vanuatu est donc un pays on l’on n’a pas trop à craindre pour sa sécurité ?

TUNUKON : « Oui, comme je l’ai déjà mentionné, il y a des problèmes et nous faisons de notre mieux pour solutionner ces problèmes. Conformément à nous principes chrétiens et valeurs coutumières. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

WORLD:

14a) Bush promotes benefits of immigration reform
By Online Editor
1:04 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2013, United States

Making a rare return to the political arena, former President George W. Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to reach a “positive resolution” on immigration reform, an issue that eluded him during his presidency and now confronts fellow Republicans in the aftermath of a 2012 election drubbing.

In brief remarks at a naturalization ceremony at his presidential library in Dallas, Bush avoided wading into the merits of specific legislation pending in Congress, but said it was important for lawmakers to recognize the benefits of immigration to the nation’s future. While he didn’t directly endorse a Senate-approved plan his comments suggested the need for Republicans to deal with immigration reform in a broad way.

“I don’t intend to get involved in the politics or the specifics of policy, but I do hope there’s a positive resolution to the debate,” he said. “And I hope, during the debate, we keep a benevolent spirit in mind, and we understand the contributions immigrants make to our country.”

The former president spoke as House Republicans consider how they should respond to comprehensive immigration reform approved last month by the Senate. Some Republicans have said the party needs to help fashion immigration reform following President Barack Obama’s sweeping victory in the 2012 elections among Latino voters. But many House Republicans remain unconvinced that endorsing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million unauthorized immigrants would be the right approach.

Bush helped make inroads with the growing population of Hispanic voters during his presidency but Republicans have since lost ground and some worry it could irreparably harm their ability to win future elections.

The former president has largely avoided the political spotlight since leaving the White House in January 2009 but has advocated for immigration reform in the past. During his second term, he pushed for similar legislation that would have given immigrants living in the United States unlawfully a pathway to citizenship.

In his comments, Bush noted the importance of upholding current immigration laws. “We’re also a nation of laws. And we must enforce our laws. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time,” he said.

“We can uphold our tradition of assimilating immigrants, and honoring our heritage of our nation built on the rule of law. But we have a problem. The laws governing the immigration system aren’t working; the system is broken,” Bush said.

It was unclear if Bush’s public encouragement would help spur House Republicans into action or potentially undermine reform efforts. While his public approval ratings have improved, the 43rd president was deeply unpopular when he left the White House and many conservatives rebelled against his push for immigration reform.

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., who served as a campaign and White House aide to Bush, said most House members agree with the points that Bush made “but now we have to get into the details of legislating and that’s a different deal.”

“I applaud him for not backing the Senate bill but look, we in the House represent our constituents who are very vocal on this issue, and I don’t think it has any bearing one way or the other,” Griffin said.

The latest attempt to address immigration reform cleared the Democratic-controlled Senate last month. It would spend US$46 billion on border security, create new legal avenues for workers to come to the country, require employers to verify their workers’ legal status and offer eventual citizenship for those here illegally.

But the vote in the House is likely to be much more difficult. Many conservative Republicans represent districts with few Hispanic voters and may be less-inclined to act on immigration. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he will not bring the Senate bill to the House floor and has said no legislation will move without the support of a majority of his Republicans.

Boehner has said border security must come first and many Republicans in the House support a piecemeal, step-by-step approach, rather than a single big bill like the one the Senate passed.

Panel discussions on immigration were being held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center following the naturalization ceremony for 20 people from 12 countries. One of the panels centered on how immigrants help drive the Texas economy.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

14b) Indonesia rights violations placed in spotlight at UN session

By Online Editor
10:08 am GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Indonesia

Indonesian and international groups highlighted the continuation of rights violations and the failure of Indonesian law enforcement to uphold the protection of human rights, despite eight years passing since the government ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Human Rights Committee launched a formal session with non-governmental institutions on Monday in Geneva and asked for input on the implementation of civil and political rights in Indonesia.

More than 15 Indonesia and international rights groups attended the session to present their concerns on several issues to the 18 members of the committee consisting of experts on human rights.

Amnesty International highlighted ongoing violations by security forces, restrictions on freedom of religion and the continuing impunity of perpetrators of past violations.

It also raised concerns over the rights of women and migrant workers’ and the death penalty.

“Amnesty International is extremely concerned about the number of laws and regulations used to criminalize peaceful political activism,” Papang Hidayat of Amnesty International said.

The Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) focused on freedom of religion, belief and association in Indonesia, pointing to the most recent incident on July 5, when a house of Muslim worship — Al Muhajadah — in South Aceh Province was burnt down by a mob.

It was instigated and justified by a public statement from the Local Ulama Council (MPU) in Aceh, saying that the house belonged to Shia followers, who were considered deviant.

“It reflects the continuation of violence based on hatred toward religious minority groups in Indonesia,” HRWG’s executive director Rafendi Djamin said.

Yuli Rustinawati of Arus Pelangi demanded formal affirmation from the government to recognize the LGBTIQ and people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities.

Meagan Lee of Reprieve in London raised concerns about Indonesia’s death penalty, which she said was inconsistent with the ICCPR.

She urged the government to immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty in light of serious and frequent violations of due process and fair trial safeguards, under Article 14, and urged the government to accede to the second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

“Indonesia should ensure that the death penalty, if used at all, is applicable only to the most serious crimes […] and should be repealed for all other crimes, including drug offences,” Lee said.

Patrick Mutzenberg of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights in Geneva, said the session was crucial for the committee since it was the only way for the committee to be informed of the issues faced by the government.

“Civil society has a critical role to play, not only now but also once concluding observations are issued by the committee,” Mutzenberg told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He noted that the NGO session was even more important since the government would present the initial report on Wednesday and Thursday and have dialogue with the committee regarding the implementation of civil and political rights.

SOURCE: THE JAKARTA POST/PACNEWS

MEDIA/FILM+:

15a) NBC PNG board approves new structure

By Online Editor
4:25 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) board has approved a new structure for the national broadcaster during a meeting in Kokopo, East New Britain, at the weekend.

Board chairman Kain Wosae said after the two-day meeting the corporation had been without a board for 18 months and that had affected the organisation.

He said since the appointment of managing director Memafu Kapera and members of the new board, the NBC had taken a tough stand to restore pride in the broadcaster.

Wosae said his board had to ensure radio communication reached the vast majority of people in the remote regions of the country.

He urged provincial radio stations to deliver communication services to the rural population and provincial governments to take ownership of funding for radio stations.

He said under the 1996 reforms, several functions of provincial stations, including funding from the provincial government budget, was approved to support the stations.

“I must say that the East New Britain provincial government is the only government that has been supporting the work of NBC by financially backing the provincial radio station and I am very proud of this government,” he said.

Wosae said funding had been challenging and many provincial stations had gone off air as a result.

East New Britain radio manager Terry Longbut welcomed the board’s decision but said many of their broadcasting facilities were wearing out and they needed new equipment even though they have been a model radio station.

Longbut said staff housing has also been a chronic problem.

“The staff are living far away and they need to be relocated by building new houses in Kokopo.

“I call on the NBC board and management to seriously consider building staff houses in Kokopo,” he said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

15b) amoa Judge Orders Media Gag In Perry Tuilaepa Case
Only vital statistics, judge’s ruling may be reported

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, July 9, 2013) – The District Court has issued a suppression order preventing media in Samoa from reporting details about the hearing of an inquest into the death of Perry Tuilaepa.

The order means the media cannot tell you the evidence being relayed by witnesses appearing before the Inquest. We also cannot tell you who gave evidence.

The order was made by District Court Judge, His Honor Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai yesterday.

It was in response to an application made by lawyer, Brigitta Fa’afiti Lo Tam, of the Attorney General’s Office.

She sought to suppress reporting of details from the inquest hearing, citing the Coroners Ordinance Act.

The Act, she argued, highlighted that the media reports should only be about the name, address and cause of death.

Other details were deemed “confidential”; His Honour Vaepule agreed.

“It’s not common for media to report the findings of an inquest unless there is interest in a particular case,” he said. “No one is charged in this case even though there is suspicion but those suspicions (are) heavily mitigated by (the) Coroner report from New Zealand.

“The media can report on the date, time and cause of death of Perry but are to refrain from reporting other evidence.”

Lastly, His Honour Vaepule instructed that the media can report on his ruling.

“The ruling is adjourned to Friday 12th July.”

The application for suppression was made after several witnesses gave evidence yesterday.

Perry Tuilaepa died in 2011. He suffered from a mental illness.

In November that year, Mr. Tuilaepa was taken to the Mental Health Unit at Moto’otua.

He was referred to the Police Station in Apia since it became difficult to detain him at the Mental Unit. From the Police Station, Mr. Tuilaepa was transferred to Tafa’igata.

A week later, he was found dead in his cell.

His father, Leitu Tuilaepa, strongly believes his son did not hang himself. During a recent interview with the Samoa Observer, he said; “My son was never suicidal…no, he did not commit suicide.”

Perry was 21 years of age when he died.

Upon his death, Mr. Tuilaepa and his family were told he had committed suicide.

There was no investigation at the time.

Last year, the story about the death of Hans Dalton, another mental illness patient found dead at Tafa’igata, brought back painful memories for the Tuilaepa family.

Asked at the time about how he felt, Perry’s father was circumspect.

He said: “It doesn’t matter how long something is covered up for. It will eventually be uncovered one day. I hope they will find out exactly what happened… the truth.”

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

HEALTH:

16a) Regional institute to boost health
By Online Editor
1:01 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Ministry of Health is considering opening a regional mental health institute soon.

Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said a regional institute will enhance the region’s capabilities to provide the best mental health care as well as enhance the research capabilities in the region.

“Interest were shown that Fiji has advanced laws, we have decentralised mental health care and offering post graduate programs for doctors and nurses in mental health training program,” Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said.

“We have three candidates already studying in the country from Palau, Kiribati and Vanuatu.”

Dr Sharma said proposals to send officials to Fiji for further training was presented to them during the recent Pacific Ministers on Non-communicable and Post 2015 Development” meeting held in Apia, Samoa.

He also pointed out that through regional co-operation, countries will be able to further enhance health services and reduce costs that could be utilised in other areas of development.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

16b) Abuse clinic opens in PNG capital to busy reception

By Online Editor
1:18 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

A new sexual and physical abuse clinic has commenced operation in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby.

In its first month, Medecins Sans Frontieres’ Nine Mile Clinic has treated dozens of abuse victims, giving survivors of family and sexual violence greater access to quality medical and psychosocial care in the capital.

Medecins Sans Frontieres’ Head of Mission in Papua New Guinea, Paul Brockman, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program it is already a very busy clinic.

“It was busy before we started working there,” he said.

“In some ways I think it’s getting a reputation already as a place that people can go if they’ve experienced intimate partner violence, family violence or sexual violence.”

The medical aid charity says it has dealt with more than 13,000 cases of family and sexual violence since beginning operation out of Lae General Hospital in 2007.

Brockman says the issue is not just a social problem, as for many victims it is a medical emergency.

“We tend to see this as a social problem, a problem for law and justice,” he said.

“But it’s also for each individual person an emerging medical crisis.

“There can be severe medical injuries, cuts, bruises, sometimes broken bones.

“There’s also emergency contraception, which can be provided if a patient comes quickly enough.

“So the reason to have care available, close to where people live, is simply that for each individual survivor they need to be addressed rapidly.”

After six years in Lae, MSF recently handed over the project to the PNG Department of Health.

They will continue to support the project remotely, as well as continue their training and outreach work across Papua New Guinea.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

16c) PNG Urged To Act On ‘Alarming’ Teen Pregnancy Rates
UN expects higher rates in 2016, calls for more sex education

By Nellie Setepano

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 9, 2013) – The National Government has been called on to seriously address teenage pregnancy in Papua New Guinea.

Parents also have been challenged to impart sex education to young children in order for them to make informed choices when it comes to dealing with their sexuality.

The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) call comes in light of the World Population Day which will be observed on July 11.

In the last National Demographic Health Survey published in 2006, the rate for PNG’s teenage pregnancy (13 to 19 year olds) was at 13 percent or simply 13 out of 100 teenage populations.

The 13 percent is an alarming rate and UNFPA anticipates the rate will worsen by 2016 when the next demographic survey comes out. (The survey is conducted every 10 years).

Representative for UNFPA in PNG Dr. Gilbert Hiawalyer pointed out that in a recent monitoring survey in schools in Wau and Bulolo in Morobe Province it’s been discovered that one out of 20 girl-students fell pregnant each year. Estimates show that nationally on average four or three girls in grade eight fall pregnant each year. “This is a serious crisis if not addressed,” Dr. Hiawalyer said.

“Take a visit to the labor wards and you will be surprised to see how many teenagers are having babies. Children are giving birth to children.’’

UNFPA agrees that for far too many of these girls, pregnancy has little to do with informed choice. Often it is a consequence of discrimination, rights violations (including child marriage), inadequate education or sexual coercion. Adolescent pregnancy is a health issue: the youngest mothers face a heightened risk of maternal complications, death and disability, including obstetric fistula. Their children face higher risks as well.

It is also an issue of human rights. Adolescent pregnancy often means an abrupt end of childhood, a curtailed education and lost opportunities.

While the spotlight on World Population is on adolescent pregnancy, UNFPA stated that there are no public health facilities available to address this situation. Health facilities are not teenage friendly.

“There are no proper public programs in place to address adolescent pregnancy, while we cannot stop people from having sex, considerations have to be taken.” Most parents cannot even discuss sex with children.

On the note of sex education programs, UNFPA stated there are curriculums in place for sexual reproductive issues but it is the Government that has to take ownership and Education Department to implement these programs in schools.

“Also when parents do not do their part, we have young people doing it on a trial and error, as a result pregnancy occurs and teenage pregnancy comes with a lot of complications.”

“We need to take the bull by the horns,” Dr. Hiawalyer said, adding that a structural system has to be in place with curriculums in schools highlighting sex educational issues.

Government needs to take this issue on board and empower the Youth Commission, Health and Education departments with extra resources to play their respective roles in advocating. UNFPA commended NGOs taking a lead in addressing teen pregnancy.

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

EDUCATION:

17) PNG govt pours K500mil into universities

By Online Editor
4:19 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Government is pouring K500 million (US$222 million) into universities to roll out and upgrade programmes for increased intakes of students coming off secondary schools, Higher Education, Science and Research Technology Minister David Arore said yesterday.

Arore, who was given back his ministry yesterday after he voluntarily stepped down to clear his name, said the Government was looking at alleviating the bottleneck that had been imposed by the introduction of its own free education policy.

He said the primary and secondary schools had increased the number of students as a result of the Government’s free education policy but the spaces in tertiary institutions in PNG was very small.

The good news, he said, was that the Government had decided to correct that deficiency by increasing funding to tertiary institutions in PNG.

“I must admit that we are revamping higher education,” he said.

“I must also inform this house that as part of the commitment, the National Executive Council has approved the release of K500 million for the rollout and rehabilitation of programmes at the seven universities in the country,” he said.

Arore made the comments while responding to questions without notice from the Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP Philip Undialu yesterday in parliament.

Undialu asked why several institutions in PNG were charging more than K30, 000 (US$13,350)for tuition fees and if the Government had plans to regulate the fees charged.
SOURCE” THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

18) University launches book on Pacific history

By Online Editor
4:27 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

University of Goroka vice-chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi  Tuesday launched a new book on the history of the Pacific at the 2013 National Education Conference in Goroka.

The book has presentations made at a Pacific history conference held at the UOG from Sept 12-16, 2010.

The sub-themes of the conference featured in the book are history and learning of Pacific history, health and wellbeing of Pacific societies, cultural heritage in the Pacific, global issues and history’s influences on our future and history of mining and resource development in the Pacific.

Onagi congratulated those involved in the production of the book as it would preserve valuable historical information on the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea.

He reminded academics of their responsibility to create knowledge through research, hold conferences, documents and publish books that would strengthen the future.

Onagi, who wrote the forward for the book, said the launch was timely as it encouraged policy makers and education stakeholders to collaborate in publishing similar books.

Co-editor Dr Sam Kari said the book was composed of presentations and papers of the 19th biennial Pacific history conference at UOG.

“If you want to know the history of the Pacific you have to get this book. I thank the AusAID, the Australian High Commission and all those who contributed towards the publishing of this book,” Kari said.

A historian at the launch Dr August Kituwai told participants and presenters it was the first time a Pacific history conference had been held in the country.

He said the biennial event attracted historians from around the world who shared findings, knowledge and interacted with each other.

“The Pacific History Association has membership from all over the world,” Kituwai said.

The book is selling for K50 and will increase to K60. It was printed by local company, Kim Printing of Goroka.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

19) Solomon Islands Teachers threatened to go on third strike

By Online Editor
4:28 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Solomon Islands

Teachers nationwide are again on the edge of a third national strike after their member association body the Solomon Islands national teachers association (SINTA) is unsatisfied with government’s dealing with their members issues.

The threat comes as the government claimed admitted itself not living up to the schedule time line as agreed upon in an MOU signed on 12th April.

The MOU signing ended the long nationwide strike by teachers after many negotiations between the parties.

SINTA President Samson Faisi reemphasized their stance and said SINTA will not allow any more of governments delaying tactics this time around and they are fed up with government’s false hopes.

“SINTA will not allow the government to pull our nose any longer, a clear message to them.”

This recent twist emerges after SINTA executive meeting held yesterday agreed on calling a nationwide strike notice for teachers effective as of midnight 14th Sunday next week.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

20) Merger Could Save CNMI School System $480,000
Elementary, junior high schools to be reconfigured by 2014

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 10, 2013) – The financially-challenged Northern Marianas Public School System (PSS) projects to save up to $480,000 next school year if its plan to consolidate and reconfigure some schools pushes through.

PSS financial consultant Ed Tenorio told the Board of Education’s fiscal and personnel affairs committee yesterday that this savings will come from personnel costs alone.

Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Ed.D., wants the first part of the plan to be enforced in school year 2013-2014, with the merger of the Gregorio T. Camacho (GTC) and Tanapag elementary schools and the reconfiguration of Kagman Elementary School (KagEs) and Chacha Oceanview Junior High School.

According to Tenorio, Phase 1 will impact GTC, Tanapag, Hopwood, KagEs, Chacha, and GES.

Once the Tanapag Middle School is established, there will be a rezoning of schools and this will impact students in Garapan Elementary School (GES) and Hopwood schools.

Tenorio said that PSS had proposed a total budget of $7.7 million for the affected schools in fiscal year 2014. With the merger plan, the personnel budget for these schools will be reduced to $7.2 million.

The difference of $500,000 will be reallocated to other schools. Tenorio said the reallocation of this amount will allow PSS to add teachers to Hopwood, GES, GTC, and Tanapag.

Reallocation will also lower the class size ratios of the affected schools to a more acceptable level. Hopwood, for example, is targeted to have a 26:1 students-to-teacher ratio compared to its current ratio of 41:1.

The reallocation, he added, will also allow the expansion of the kindergarten program from half-day to full-day at GTC and KagES.

“Currently, there are 300 potential students staying at home due to insufficient kindergarten classrooms,” said Tenorio.

“So if you’re asking if the merger plan makes sense for us, the answer is yes. Not only in financial part, but this is one benefit that we need to embark on. We need to change the mindset of funding education nowadays. We know already that we’re not getting the budget we asked for, so we need to adapt to the constraint of our revenue. So this [merger and reallocation] is one way to look at it.”

Also, because it helps lower class sizes, there’s more learning with less money, he added.

Staffing needs

As to how PSS will meet all its staffing needs under the merger plan—on top of current vacancies in other schools—Sablan said that PSS is now working on the staffing pattern for GTC and KagES on the need for more kindergarten teachers.

She said PSS will “switch around” some classroom teacher FTEs with other schools to field teachers at the proposed middle school in Tanapag. It was bared that many teachers in Tanapag have opted to be transferred to other schools like Oleai.

Acting human resources director Lucretia Borja disclosed yesterday that a total of 24 classroom teacher posts are currently vacant due to resignations and relocations.

Borja is optimistic, however, that PSS will get the necessary staffing for next school year, with 18 candidates already in the applicants’ pool, mostly from off-island.

Under the merger proposal, GTC will have 14 teachers while Tanapag Middle School will have 11 teachers.

[PIR editor’s note: Saipan Tribune also reports that the Board of Education plans to meet with students’ parents from Tanapag and GTC before any decisions are made on the merger.]

Head Start

Sablan also disclosed yesterday that the Head Start Center in Tanapag will remain inside the Tanapag campus, even if the school is converted into a middle school.

FPA chair Herman Guerrero instructed the commissioner, however, to seek the approval of the federal government on the issue of keeping the Head Start center inside a middle school campus.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

BUSINESS/TRADE+:

21) Fiji progresses
By Online Editor
1:00 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Fiji

The Fiji Government’s much publicised financial reforms are raising eyebrows with the World Bank who say the reforms will further strengthen the Fiji economy.

World Bank executive director for the South East Asia Group Dr Sundaran Annamalai made the remarks following a meeting with Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca Wednesday.

“There has been a lot of important work that has been carried out on the reform side and I am happy to see that.

“This is the message that I will take back to the World Bank,” he said.

Dr Annamalai was also briefed this week by the Reserve Bank of Fiji on Fiji’s overall financial standing.

He said the economy had recovered well from the global financial crisis.

“The RBF has given me a good overview of the economy and with the changes that have occurred over the last few years.”

“There is quite a lot of optimism and the Fijian economy has recovered well from the financial crisis.”

Highlighting his meeting with the Ministry of Finance, Dr Annamalai said his discussions with the ministry of finance included an overview of macro-economic and fiscal policy issues.

“We know that Fiji has medium-term plans and needs infrastructure such as roads and ports.

“So when the bank starts to engage with the government here, these are some of the priority areas that the bank can consider supporting.”

Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca said the ministry had highlighted certain critical areas that would assist Fiji in growing the economy.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

22) Vanuatu signs development deal with cruise line
By Online Editor
10:45 am GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil has welcomed a new agreement between AusAID and the cruise company Carnival to promote economic development in the Pacific region.

The memorandum of understanding between AusAID and Carnival is the first the development agency has ever made with a private company.

The agreement focuses on sustainable economic development in the Pacific region – with training and support programs in Vanuatu and PNG.

Carcasses delayed a court appearance to be in Sydney for the signing and says it will help Vanuatu’s tourist-driven economy become less reliant on aid.

“Forty per cent of our GDP is derived from tourism and we would like to develop that further,” he said.

“The asset of Vanuatu is the people of Vanuatu – we’ve been blessed by god with having so many beautiful islands… and we have a strong culture.”

Carnival says it aims to train and employ more Ni-Vanuatu staff on its liners and run courses to help develop cruise-related businesses.

CEO of Carnival Australia, Ann Sherry, says she hopes those initiatives can be expanded to other destinations.

“Vanuatu is a logical start point… and I think having Pacific crew on ships travelling to the Pacific has good logic,” she said.

“If we can get the right training and the right support for hiring people in the Pacific, I think there’s certainly more that can be done.

“It’s one of those areas that’s not easy to crack, but once you work with a community there’s so much you can do on the employment front.”

AusAID Director-General Peter Baxter says the deal has the potential to raise local incomes and boost employment.

“We understand that private sector-led growth is the best way to improve people’s living standards,” he said.

“For individuals, it gives them an opportunity to get a job or take advantage of growth in the economy and for governments it generates tax revenue which they can then invest in improving the services to their populations.”.

SOURCE” RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

23) China import tax worries Fiji’s Agro Marketing Authority

By Online Editor
10:47 am GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Agro Marketing Authority (AMA) is holding off buying dalo from local farmers due to problems with Chinese counterparts.

AMA Executive Director Alifereti Yaya says dalo exports to China have dwindled after they introduced the import tax on dalo and other produce sent from Fiji.

“We are currently facing a problem with our Chinese counterparts in terms of Chinese dalo market, due to import tax that is levied on our dalo that is imported to China. Import tax is a way of limiting foreign goods from entering the country,” said Yaya.

Yaya adds they visited the Prime Minister’s Office Wednesday hoping for assistance to get a waiver – at least for Dalo exports

“Since we are in good relations with the Chinese government, we are requesting them to uplift the current import tax, so that the Chinese market can enjoy whatever we can supply them.”

The Chinese government has implemented an import tax of 30%, which is affecting dalo exports to China.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

24) World Bank Commends Fiji For Financial Reforms
Bank, Finance Ministry officials meet in Suva

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, July 10, 2013) – The financial reforms undertaken by Fiji’s government have been commended by the World Bank.

World Bank’s Executive Director for the South East Asia Group Dr. Sundaran Annamalai today met Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca in Suva where he commended the work of the Bainimarama government and stated that the financial reforms and initiatives will further strengthen the Fijian economy.

“There has been a lot of important work that has been carried out on the reform side and I am happy to see that,” Dr. Annamalai said. “This is the message that I will take back to the World Bank.”

The senior official was also briefed this week by Fiji’s central bank; the Reserve Bank of Fiji, on Fiji’s overall financial standing.

“The RBF has given me a good overview of the economy and with the changes that have occurred over the last few years,” Dr. Annamalai said. “There is quite a lot of optimism and the Fijian economy has recovered well from the financial crisis.”

Highlighting his meeting with the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Annamalai pointed out that he now has a better understanding of the growth trajectory of Fiji’s economy.

“Our discussions include an overview of macro-economic and physical policy issues which is also a regular consultation that the bank does with our client countries,” Dr. Annamalai said.

“We know that Fiji has medium term plans and needs infrastructure such as roads and ports so when the bank starts to engage with the government here, these are some of the priority areas that the bank can consider supporting.”

Waqabaca said that the Ministry has highlighted certain critical areas that would assist Fiji in growing the economy.

“There are certain needs from government’s side that needs to be addressed and these needs were presented to Dr. Annamalai during his visit,” he said. “There are normal processes that we have to go through but we have highlighted certain areas that are critical for us in terms of growing the economy.

“We also have the objective of increasing investment and the emphasis is therefore on certain sectors such as infrastructure development.”

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

25a) Hope coconut oil business in Tonga will attract youth back to outer islands

Posted at 00:09 on 11 July, 2013 UTC

It’s hoped that the economic benefits of virgin coconut oil production in Tonga will lure young people away from urban centres, and back to their home islands.

Oxfam New Zealand and the Tonga National Youth Congress have been working together to equip the outer islands and some isolated islands, to produce their own organic virgin coconut oil for export.

The chairperson of the Tonga National Youth Congress, Drew Havea, says the production units were set up in the remote islands first, because they were most in need of a means of income.

He says he also hopes this will attract young people back to their communities.

“Where they can make a difference and they can see that this is a place where not only they make a difference but they should be inspired because this is where their parents and this is where they grew up, rather than moving in to the urban centre.”

Drew Havea says the remote islands also have better quality of coconuts, with less coconuts needed to fill a 20 litre bucket of coconut oil than the larger centres.

Radio New Zealand International

25b) SLN defends decision to build coal-powered plant in New Caledonia

Posted at 00:09 on 11 July, 2013 UTC

The state-owned miner, Société Le Nickel, has defended its plans to build a new coal-powered plant in New Caledonia’s capital.

SLN is facing mounting criticism with nickel mining being blamed for New Caledonia’s soaring carbon emissions and heavy pollution in Noumea.

Johnny Blades reports.

“As the major player in the territory, SLN is being accused of driving New Caledonia’s carbon emissions rate skywards with plans for its new plant. But the company says the plant will use 21st century technology and that its atmospheric emission will be reduced by more than 10 times compared with the existing power plant. SLN says the new plant will comply with the latest French atmospherics regulations which it calls the strictest in the world. Last month, a petition with almost 7 thousand signatures opposing the plant was presented to the territorial government. SLN says the decision to run with the coal option came after shareholders studied a range of possibilities for two years.”

Radio New Zealand International

26) Fly-in fly-out a loss to PNG economy ( 11 Jul 2013 Post Courier)

PORT MORESBY, PNG —The Resource Owners Federation of PNG has applauded Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry Richard Maru for conceding that the fly-in fly-out arrangement practiced by extractive industries have denied nationals of economic, social and infrastructure benefits.

Federation President Jonathan Paraia said Mr Maru and other like-minded parliamentarians are right in their opposition to this deal which he always claimed has deprived local landowners of developmental advantages.

The Porgera landowner said a study conducted by National Research Institute (NRI) in 1997 of the economic impact of fly-in fly-out operations in one mining project in PNG summarised that the direct loss as a result of this system is the personal consumption transferred from the local economy to overseas organisations.

NRI finds reveals that this part mainly consisted of portion of wages and salaries which would have been consumed locally, but has now been transferred elsewhere.

“Using the national income accounting equation, it is estimated that on average the annual loss of national income is approximately between K5.2 million and K13 million. Considering the multiplier effect, (2.2), the annual loss must be approximately K11 million and K29 million,” Paraia said.

araia states that it simply means the fly-in fly-out system is costing PNG between K110 million and K300 million annually in that mine alone.

He said NRI further reveals the indirect impact on employment lost in informal sector, more particularly in the local area must be in the vicinity of about 0.1 per cent that is about 300 jobs in the informal sector. Paraia said the report found that it was economically viable to build a township to accommodate the fly-in fly-out workers from this particular mine.

He said the national government has not taken any positive action to stop this practice since the findings of NRI in 1997.

“During that time, using the report’s formula, the country must have now lost between K253 million and K690 million over the period of life of this particular project through fly-in fly-out system.

The number would run into billions if all projects that practice fly-in fly-out are taken into account,” he said.

He recommended that the government must immediately legislate against the fly-in fly-out operations throughout the country, adding the economic impact of such legislation will be significant.

Paraia said he agreed with Mr Maru that the legislation will immediately promote expansion and improve economic development and growth, grow PNG’s small to medium business activities, create employment opportunities for both formal and informal sectors and double government tax base permanently and cease drainage of cash out flow of national wealth.

“Therefore, we urge the people’s government to stop the fly-in fly-out operation immediately like Australia and other countries have done to protect the loss of national income,” he contended.

27) Air Niugini starts second service to Cebu

By Online Editor
1:13 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Air Niugini will start its second service to Cebu, the Philippines next Thursday.

This is due to demand and a complement to the Monday service.

The second service (PX 016) will depart Port Moresby at 6.20pm and will arrive in Cebu at 9.10pm.

The return service (PX 017) departs on the same night, leaving Cebu at 10.10pm and arrives in Port Moresby on Friday at 05.00am.

The current flight departs Port Moresby for Cebu at 3pm, arriving in Cebu at 5.50pm.

It returns at 10.10pm on Tuesday and arrives in Port Moresby at 5am on Wednesday.

Cebu is the second city in the Philippines that Air Niugini operates to after Manila.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

28) New bank for Tonga- 11 jul 2013

A new commercial bank, the Pacific International Commercial Bank, has been awarded a license to operate in Tonga, according to Matangi Tonga.

The bank, the fifth in Tonga, is expected to open its doors in about six months.

Chairman of the National Reserve Bank Board of Directors Steve Edwards told Matangi Tonga that the main shareholder is a Chinese businessman residing in China. Princess Pilolevu Tuita is also shareholder while a board of directors will oversee the operation of the bank, including Tongans ‘Aisake Tu‘iono and Mishka Tu’ifua with other Chinese directors, he said.

“This is a foreign investment in Tonga and the bank considers there would be a lot of money injected into the economy. The most important issue I am concerned with is the fact that there is no economic activity and we need foreign investment since the economy now is stagnant and stale.”

Competitive

Edwards said the new bank had a lot of business backing behind the main shareholder, which they looked at during the application process.

“The main criteria we considered was the benefit the country will get out of this investment and the benefit side outweighs the negative,” he said.

“We have given them five to six months to set up. The minimum capital structure required to start a bank is T$2.5 million but they have already got $8 million in a local bank here in Tonga. They are going to inject more capital into the economy starting next week as they start setting up its premises and banking system as required under the law,” he said.

He said some of the current banks have set conditions for lending money that made it difficult for anybody to borrow under the current economic circumstances.

“The new bank is expected to offer a six percent interest rate. A lot of the businesses are paying up to 10-13 percent interest rate, which means they can’t improve or grow and all they are doing is servicing debts. We need to have the interest rate down so they can breathe and be able to take out more investment to try and expand their businesses, which will create employment and demand in the economy,” he said.

Other banks operating in Tonga are the Tonga Development Bank, Westpac, Bank of Tonga, ANZ Bank, and MBf Bank. http://www.islandsbusiness.com/

29) Pacific Fishing Observers Recount Abuse Aboard Ships
Number of observers have reportedly tripled over 5 years

By Giff Johnson

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 10, 2013) – As the Marshall Islands and other islands ramp up recruitment and training of fisheries observers, the number of reports by observers claiming verbal and physical abuse aboard fishing boats has escalated.

“We have received observer reports and counter reports from the vessels,” said Marshalls Fisheries Director Glen Joseph.

The more than 200 purse-seine vessels operating in the western Pacific are now required by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to have an observer on board. The observers are trained to collect fisheries catch data and monitor operations of these vessels that haul in tuna worth $3 billion annually.

A group of about a dozen new Marshall Islands observers graduated from a recent course, and Joseph is scheduling another training later this year in a bid to eventually increase the number of trained observers in the Marshall Islands to 100.

Joseph promotes these training programs to young men and women the completion of which will virtually guarantee them a job because of the demand for observers to meet new fisheries management requirements set by PNA.

Joseph views the rise in complaints from observers and from fishing vessels as normal growing pains in a relatively new system. The number of observers has tripled in the last five years, Joseph said.

His department takes all complaints seriously and investigates, he said. In light of the many new observers who have little practical experience, Joseph acknowledges that it could be the observers who are at fault. With many newly minted observers making only their first or second trips on vessels, the opportunity for misunderstandings or problems is obvious in the high-pressure environment of a commercial fishing vessel, he said.

Complaints of abuse against an observer related to a Taiwan and an American vessel are currently being investigated, he said. Everyone takes reports of abuse submitted by observers seriously, he said. “When a case (problem) is reported, Tion (Nabau, the fisheries department’s attorney) looks into it,” said Joseph. The fishing companies pay a lot of attention to any complaint filed by an observer. “It puts a spotlight on our observers,” he said. “Fishing companies fly their lawyers in to take depositions from the observers.”

“On the positive side, observers are here to stay and are an integral part of purse-seine fishing operations,” Joseph said. “They can’t go out without fuel or an observer on board.

“On the negative side, because they are an integral part of the operation, the observers are part of the environment on vessels — it’s not an easy environment especially when they are in hot pursuit (of a school of tuna).”

There are a range of factors that can lead to misunderstandings on a vessel at sea, and many observers being new have to acclimatize themselves to the ways of a commercial fishing vessel.

On top of this, fishermen tend to be superstitious and fishing masters or captains may not want to have a new and untested observer on board, which can cause issues from the outset of a voyage. “If they have a bad fishing trip and don’t catch many fish, they may blame the observer,” he said.

On the flip side of this, some experienced observers — including female observers — are in demand by the fishing masters. “If they are good observers, the captains ask for them to come back,” Joseph said. Some Marshall observers are in such demand that they rarely touch down for more than a couple of days in port. This causes a different kind of challenge for Joseph’s office. “We need to get their reports and de-brief them after each voyage,” Joseph said. “If they make three trips in a row, the data gets old.”

The bottom line for Joseph as he promotes fisheries observers as a career track is the safety of their staff. “From our point of view, the safety of the observers is the foremost consideration,” Joseph said. Observers are provided at the request of vessels to meet the 100 percent coverage requirements of the PNA and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The onus is on the fishing companies to look after the observers, Joseph said. “We expect all safety to be looked after by the fishing companies,” he said. “They should not physically or emotionally abuse the observers.”

There is a huge demand for observers and with only 30 trained observers in its stable, the Marshalls cannot always supply an observer for purse seiners. “It’s an economic opportunity for us,” he said, adding that Papua New Guinea alone has over 300 observers working on vessels in the region and globally. The Marshalls is “on track to have 50 observers by the end of 2013,” he said.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

LAW&ORDER/SECURITY+:

30) Air NZ trial aims to boost biosecurity
By Online Editor
12:58 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2013, New Zealand

A world-first trial involving Air New Zealand flights aims to boost biosecurity at the border.

Passengers travelling on Air NZ flights from Melbourne to Auckland will have their bags screened by new x-ray technology before taking off, New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

The x-ray images will be sent to Auckland while the flight is in the air to allow biosecurity staff to identify potential threats. Passengers will still be subject to checks when they reach their destination.

“Any bag containing biosecurity risk items will then be matched with the passenger, who will face further scrutiny by officials upon landing,” Guy said.

The three-month trial will begin on July 22. If successful, the ministry would look to extend the system to other major Australian airports, Guy added.
SOURCE: APNZ/PACNEWS

31) Fijians willing to report corruption
By Online Editor
1:03 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Fiji

Ninety-nine per cent of Fijians residing in Fiji are willing to get involved in the fight against corruption according to the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB).

Of these, 97 per cent would report an incident of corruption.

The GCB which was released yesterday by Transparency International Secretariat in Berlin was based on 1000 Fijians who were interviewed about their views and experiences of corruption over the last 12 months.

The report also highlighted that 97 per cent of Fijians interviewed agreed that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

A total of 114,000 people in 107 countries including Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea were also interviewed.

Head of Pacific Regional Work Glen Raynor said the data showed that people in Pacific Islands are the most likely in the world to fight corruption.

The report highlighted that public institutions entrusted to protect people suffer the worst levels of bribery.

The democratic pillars of societies are viewed as the most corrupt, governments are not doing enough to fight corruption and powerful groups rather than public goods are judged to be driving government actions.

The report recommended that people should be given the tools and protections to fight against corruption by way of the provision of anti-corruption reforms by government.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

32) Suspected Chinese drug dealer seized in Fiji

By Online Editor
1:08 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2013, China

A Chinese man suspected to be the main culprit of a drug ring was seized in Fiji after spending six years at large, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said Wednesday.

Chen Guoming, a native of Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, fled the country after police busted a drug processing factory, confiscated 400-plus-kg methamphetamine and arrested eight suspects in 2006, according to a ministry statement.

The ministry issued a red-notice arrest warrant for the 48-year-old via Interpol in 2011.

Chen remained missing until late 2012 when New Zealand police reported seeing a man with similar facial features. It was later confirmed to be Chen, according to the statement.

Having received a tip-off that Chen planned to go to Fiji in June, Chinese police, in cooperation with Fijian police and immigration departments, captured the runaway on 04 July and took him back to China on 06 July.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

33) Vanuatu PM accused of corruption- radio australia pacific beat (11 jul 2013)

PORT VILA, Vanuatu –A bag of rice has landed Vanuatu’s Prime Minister in hot water.

Moana Carcasses Kalosil is accused of using rice to buy votes in the lead up to last year’s election.

It is one of multiple claims of bribery against the Prime Minister and two other MPs being heard by the Supreme Court in Port Vila

Reporter: Brendan Arrow

Speaker: Moana Carcasses Kalosil, Vanuata’s Prime Minister.

ARROW: Under Vanuatu’s electoral system a petitioner can approach the Supreme court claiming bribary occurred during the campaign by the successful candidate.

In this case Ishmael Kalsakau Kal-sark-cow, Vanuatu’s State Attorney General, alleges three government ministers, including prime minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil, committed briberies in order to win the six Port Vila seats during last year’s general election.

The Port Villa Supreme Court has been told Mr Carcasses gave a 25 kilogram bag of rice to people in Seaside Paama.

The Prime Minister is also accused of voting at a different polling station to the Port Villa Minicipality Town Hall where he was listed.

Carcassess, was in Sydney Wednesday trying to sure up business deals, and has denied the allegations.

He had little to say when initially asked about the issue by Australian media.

CARCASSES: Because that case is open in court I don’t think it’s proper for me to make any statement about it. We just wait for the outcome of the court. I think that would be much proper.

ARROW: But when pressed on whether the issue could result in a No Confidence motion that could throw him out of office he said he was confident that would happen, but confident he would win.

CARCASSES: Well this is the story of Vanuatu, the motion of no confidence. It is the oppositions only tool to fight against the government, so of cause they are going to try very hard to put a motion. Good luck for them.

ARROW: The Port Vila Supreme Court also heard claims the current minister of international affairs Patick Crowby gave money directly to people to vote for him.

It’s also alleged a member of the campaign team for the minister for Youth and Sport, Tony Wright, gave money to a bar and invited people to drink for free.

Claims of corruption are are nothing new in Vanuatu.

Carcasses took over from Sato Kilman – who resigned just before a no confidence motion was due to be debated in parliament – in March of this year.

That no confidence motion would’ve been the seventh such motion Mr Kilman faced since taking office in 2010.

But these events do not dampen Moana Carcasses Kalosil’s quickfire rise.

When he was elected Prime Minister by 34 of Vanuatu’s 52 MPs, he became the first naturalised citizen to become prime minister since Vanuatu gained independence more than 30 years ago.

And since coming to power Mr Carcasses has wasted little time in making a name for himself, by promising to terminate a defence coorperation agreement with Indonesia and supporting West Papua’s push for independence from Indonesia.

The move was one of 68 measures contained in an ambitious 100-day plan for the new government.

34) No-Confidence Motion Lodged Against Vanuatu PM
Carcasses currently facing allegations of buying votes

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 10, 2013) – A motion of no confidence has been lodgedagainst Vanuatu’s prime minister and is scheduled to be debated in parliament next week.

The motion comes as Vanuatu’s Supreme Court is hearing a case of alleged bribery by the country’s recently elected prime minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

Multiple claims have been made against Mr. Carcasses, including allegations he and two other ministers engaged in vote buying practices ahead of last year’s election.

Vanuatu’s Attorney General Ishmael Kalsakau alleges three government ministers, including the prime minister, bribed voters in order to win six Port Vila seats during the 2012 general election.

The court has been told Mr. Carcasses gave a 25 kilogram bag of rice to people in Seaside Paama. He denies the allegation.

Mr. Carcasses is also facing claims he voted at a different polling station to the Port Vila Municipality Town Hall where he was listed.

Vanuatu’s electoral system allows a petitioner to approach the Supreme Court after the election to claim bribery has been committed by the successful candidate.

Mr. Carcasses delayed a court appearance to be in Sydney for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with AusAID and cruise company Carnival.

Earlier, Mr. Carcasses said the opposition would be likely to move a motion of no confidence against him.

“Well this is the history of Vanuatu, the motion of no confidence. The opposition has only that tool to fight against the government, so of course they are going to try very hard to put a motion. Good luck for them.”

Vanuatu’s Supreme Court also heard claims the current minister of international affairs Patick Crowby gave money directly to people to vote for him.

It is also alleged a member of the campaign team for the minister for youth and sport, Tony Wright, gave money to a bar and invited people to drink for free.

Mr. Carcasses took over from Sato Kilman, who resigned just before a no confidence motion was due to be debated in parliament in March this year.

He was the first naturalized citizen to become prime minister since Vanuatu gained independence more than 30 years ago.

Since coming to power, Mr. Carcasses has promised to terminate a defense cooperation agreement with Indonesia and support Papua’s push for independence from Indonesia.

The move was one of 68 measures contained in an ambitious 100-day plan for the new government.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

35) Future riots and disorders possible in Solomon Islands- Solomon Star/11 jul 2013

HONIARA, Solomon Islands — Local political commentator has warned of future social unrests and disorders in Solomon Islands if governments fail to address some of the pressing issues affecting the country.

The warning came as the country celebrates its 35th years of independence as a sovereign nation this week after gaining independence July 7th 1978.

Dr John Roughan speaking in an interview with the Solomon Star said he doubted that some of the recommendations in the 2006 April riot report have been addressed by successive governments.

“Failing to address these issues is a syndrome for future riots.”

He claimed that some important recommendations in the report have been brushed under the carpet and never tackled.

“This indicates lack of political will in the past and present governments to implement it.”

One of the important recommendations is addressing lack of employment opportunities in the country, he said.

“That was obvious in April 2006 riot where most unemployed people were involved because they don’t have a job and look for opportunity to find something to survive because of no job.”

Dr Roughan said another significant concern now is, the failure by governments to address land issues in the city where foreigners are being allowed to purchase land so easily while Solomon Islanders were pushed out and left to watch.

“It happens in front of our naked eyes where foreign business people are dominating all the land space in Honiara as far as the Ranadi industrial site with new shops and residences being built.”

Dr Roughan also the founder of Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) said government has yet to respond to these many growing social problems with much priority.

He highlighted that high unemployment rates, poor service delivery of quality education, poor health facilities, lack of rubbish collection to name a few are some of the many issues that are still not being addressed by past and present governments. Yet, the city is a rich place, surrounded by poor people.

“This is a clear recipe for more riots and social unrests to happen in the country,” Dr Roughan stressed.

He recalled that the country’s social history over the past four decades revealed that the country had experienced riots and public disturbances due to dissatisfaction.

“And now a survey of hungry school kids shows that Honiara’s social climate is weakening and not getting better.”

He said government, churches or business houses must work together to address these issues affecting the country for the good of this nation and its future.

36) Russia to help arm Fiji’s UN peacekeepers, Military recruits starts next week RNZI/Fijilive/11 jul 2013

SUVA, Fiji — Fiji’s military will receive weaponry from Russia for its peacekeepers under links established last month by Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

During a visit to Moscow, Commodore Bainimarama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, concluded a number of protocols, including one on military and technical cooperation.

Fiji now has a substantial force in the Golan Heights and this is to be bolstered by more than 300 additional troops.

It also has another 500 in both the Sinai and Iraq, prompting the launch of a recruitment drive to beef up the territorial force.

The Land Force Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, says Russia has offered to arm its soldiers for these peace keeping operations.

“The detail of which has not been reached yet, but they have given us that offer that they can help us in the deployment through arming our troops. In what form that has to be determined and had to be worked out – the specifics need to be to be worked out between the two governments.”.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) will be holding its two-day recruitment drive next Thursday and Friday.

Speaking to FijiLive RFMF Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said the recruitment drive will be for their Territorial Force or those that will hold temporary posts within the force.

“We will be conducting interviews in all three camps around Fiji and everyone is encouraged to come for the interview,” Tikoitoga said. He said the recruitment drive is to ensure that they have adequate number of personnel within the force especially now with more missions to be served by soldiers in the future.

Interviews will be conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks (QEB) Nabua, Suva, Duke of Edinburgh Barracks(DEB) in Lautoka and Sukanaivalu Victoria Cross (SVC) Barracks in Labasa.

Those interested should be a Fiji citizen, single male, 18-25 years of age, passed form 6, height of 1.65m, physically fit and be able to swim, medically fit and have no adverse record. Those attending are required to bring a copy of Curriculum Vitae (CV), certified copies of Birth Certificate, Academic Transcript, and a TIN letter from FIRCA.

37) Suspension of Fiji’s defence relations with Australia given rise to Russian partnership

By Online Editor
10:28 am GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Fiji

A former Land Forces commander in the Fiji Army, says the suspension of Fiji’s defence relationship with Australia has given rise to its Russian partnership.

Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka made the comments after Fiji’s Prime minister announced that another 380 Fijian troops will join the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says the contingent will leave Fiji at the end of the month.

He has also revealed that Russia, a key player in the Middle East, offered to assist Fiji with the UN deployment.

“Fiji is not really able to deploy to such UN hotspots without assistance from larger countries,” Baledrokadroka told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program.

“Equipment has been provided by the Russians for the deployment of the battalion.”

Baledrokadroka says the Fiji-Russia relationship will pose a risk to Fijian troops.

“We know that Russia has sided with the Assad government with Syrian forces,” he said.

“Word will get out that the Fiji troops have been assisted by the Russians.

“Fiji will actually be tainted as being sort of siding with the Russians.”

He says Fiji is using Russia as a sovereignty card against its regional neighbours.

“Fiji and other island states, ever since independence, have been playing the sovereignty card quite well against Australia, New Zealand and pretty much every other sort of global power,” he said.

“It’s used China well in the last six or seven years that the regime has been in power.”

On the other hand, Baledrokadroka says this is the first time Russia has played a substantive role in Fiji’s peacekeeping forces.

“Russia has its own interests in the Middle East, and it is using Fiji,” he said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

38) Solomon Islands ‘Family Protection’ Bill Deferred
Ministry secretary: more time for consultation needed

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 9, 2013) – In the Solomon Islands, the newly designed law to holistically address family issues including violence against women and protecting the victims has been deferred for the next parliament sitting as opposed to early expectation for this month of July.

Deferment of the family protection Bill was to give time for further consultations between relevant authorities.

Ministry of women, youth and children affairs permanent secretary, Ethel Sigimanu confirmed this over the weekend.

“The proposed family protection Bill as expected before parliament in the July sitting has been deferred.”

She said deferment of the bill is to allow time for consultations and scrutinizing of the Bill to be done properly by the Attorney General’s office together with the ministry.

Eliminating Violence Against Women (EVAW) Officer, Pioni Boso further clarified the deferred Bill and said that it is important the Bill is properly considered and thoroughly made before it goes to parliament.

“This is important because the Bill itself covers key areas needed to be looked at properly and discussed so it can be outlined clearly.”

Ms. Boso added one aspect of it is, it has been designed in Solomon Islands context thus requires numerous consultations to ensure it is stated clearly and may benefit all the issues surrounding families.

“More so it creates a law that families, women, men and children of Solomon Islands can take ownership of.”

The Bill as understood carries the result from a report that shows high rate of rape and violence cases against women and girls.

It is designed to address and protect those legally and illegally married that faces the challenge of domestic violence in their families.

As for males, this Bill also caters for them in all circumstances thus designing it into the context of Solomon Islands has been the primary focus of this bill.

At the core of the Bill are measures to:

Maximize the safety, protection and wellbeing of people who fear or experience domestic violence, and to minimize disruption to their lives; and
Prevent or reduce domestic violence and the exposure of children to domestic violence; and
Ensure that people who commit domestic violence are held accountable for their actions

Solomon Star

39) Fiji Corrections Mum Over Alleged Beating Video Victim
Victim’s mother reportedly barred from visiting son in prison

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 9, 2013) – The Fiji Corrections Service has declined to comment about allegations that the mother of a prisoner has not been allowed to visit him.

Viriseni Vakarau says she has only spoken to her son, Iowane Benedito, on the phone since he was beaten as shown in a video leaked online in March

The beating was allegedly carried out by Fiji police after they recaptured him.

Ms. Vakarau told FijiVillage that she and her daughter went to Korovou to visit her son in March, but were told that he had been transferred to Naboro, where she was stopped.

She checked again in May with the Officer in Charge and was told she could not visit Benedito.

However, in a statement to Fijivillage, the Corrections Service says Benedito is being allowed visitations but he has not been visited.

Ms. Vakarau says she plans to file an official complaint with the Fiji Police Force.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

40) Protest Held At Site Of New French Polynesia Prison
Demonstrators, including mayor and MP, dispersed by police

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 9, 2013) – Protestors in Tahiti have delayed today’s start of construction of French Polynesia’s new prison.

Police were called to the site in Papeari to end a blockade by opponents, who included the mayor and member of the French National Assembly Jonas Tahuiatu.

Local radio says the group had set up the blockade at dawn in a bid to force a dialogue with the French high commissioner, but once police gave it a three minute deadline, it cleared the access.

The construction of the new jail is expected to take three years and employ 300 people.

Once finished, it will employ 260 people.

The current jail at Nuutania is among the most overcrowded prisons run by France.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

41) Tonga DPM encourages strong partnership between government and communities-radio & TV Tonga/11 jul 2013.

NADI, Fiji — The Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga says the government should work with communities to make them resilient to disasters and impacts of climate change.

Samiu Vaipulu raised this during high level discussions on ‘The vision and Role of Political Governance in Integrating Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change’ in Nadi, Fiji.

Speaking from Tongan experience, he said in the past communities would often wait for government to help them during floods, now that is changing with communities becoming more proactive.

He says government must work to build its relations with communities to help to minimise the risks and damages from disasters, in times of emergency.

The deputy prime minister says, that government should be strategic in planning for times of disasters and emergencies.

For the Tongan government this has included putting aside 6-million pa’anga for disaster response.

42) Vanuatu opens new climate change ministry

By Online Editor
10:04 am GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Fiji

Pacific Island countries can learn from the Vanuatu experience, in terms of mainstreaming efforts to deal with climate change hazards.

Vanuatu has created a new ministry to deal with climate change to see how best to respond climate anomalies.

Minister for Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Environment, Energy and Disaster Management, Thomas Laken says this is important for Vanuatu, because it is listed as among the most high risk Pacific Island Countries to natural disasters.

He says the creation of the Ministry by the new Vanuatu government was timely as they need to mainstream their efforts to address climate change and disaster risk management.

Laken is leading the development of policy and legislation to integrate climate change and disaster risk management.  The Minister was part of a high level dialogue in Nadi on the vision and role of political governance in integrating disaster risk management and climate change.

He says they are proud to take the lead in the region to take the step forward in addressing their development needs.

The Minister recently tabled the country’s national energy roadmap which lays the foundation for Vanuatu to engage with partners in a more systematic way.

The Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change, Jotham Napat said they are consolidating their efforts help them to minimize expenses.

He said they had to look back on their efforts and come up with new ways of dealing with climate change and other related issues, adding that it is a signal for partners and donors that the region is ready.

SOURCE: NBC PNG/PACNEWS

43) Climate resilience infrastructure a must for Pacific Government, says Professor Hay

By Online Editor
4:33 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Fiji

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Nadi

Pacific Island Governments have been urged to insist that climate resilience be built into major infrastructure projects funded by development partners.

Professor John Hay, an AusAID consultant has just completed studies into two infrastructure projects in Samoa and Cook Islands.

In both cases – the re-development of the Samoan Parliament complex and the Avatiu Harbour in Cook Islands, the climate proofing costs are minimal.

“In Samoa’s case, climate proofing is less than five percent of the total cost of the project. One of the things coming out of our study now is that addressing these climate and disaster risks to infrastructure does not add a huge amount of cost to building new infrastructure or improving existing infrastructure.

The climate resilience cost for the Avatiu wharf was NZ$500,000, said Professor Hay.

Proposed changes to the Samoan Parliament complex to be funded at a cost of AUD$17 million by AusAID will have climate resilience built into it, based on the work carried out by Professor Hay.

“My advice to the government of Samoa was that there was extreme risk of tropical cyclone induced storm surge where the current complex stood. This is the major hazard that will test the building to the extreme in the next 50 years.

The Samoan Government was given two options – to protect the site through mangrove vegetation and to raise the building on a platform.

“The option that the Samoan Government has chosen is to raise the ground surface and then construct the Parliament building on this high level. What we found was that in terms of the costs, this is more cost effective than protecting the site, explained Professor Hay.

For Avatiu Harbour, storm surge, which is damaging the wharf building, was identified as a major issue that needed climate proofing.

“In the new design, they have raised the level of the wharf and the container storage area to take into account the projected higher sea level expected in the future and strengthened the foundation of the whole harbour to accommodate these very strong waves that potentially could destroy the structure.

Learning from the experiences of Samoa and Cook Islands, Professor Hay reiterated the need for governments to insist on climate resilience infrastructure that will withstand the impacts of climate change and disasters for the next 50 years.

“We want governments to have a strong resilient infrastructure. If that infrastructure fails, everyone is affected. Making sure that infrastructure is resilient is a responsibility of the government on behalf of its people, said Professor Hay.

The proposed redevelopment of the Samoan Parliament House is a 50 years gift from the government of Australia to the people of Samoa.
SOURCE: PACNEWS

44) Fiji calls on SIDS for support

By Online Editor
4:30 pm GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has called on Small Islands Developing States to work together to address climate change issues.

While opening the SIDS meeting today Bainimarama said Fiji is proud to have taken a lead role in the formation and development of the Pacific Small Island Developing States.

“It has given us all a new voice – a stronger voice – at the United Nations to advance the agendas that matter most to us, like the urgent need to address climate change,” Bainimarama said.

“Where once we were obliged to rely on outsiders to assist with our development, we are increasingly assisting each other. And where once our concerns were ignored, we are increasingly asserting our right to be heard.”

Bainimarama said it will not be an easy task but Fiji is determined as Chair to deliver their objectives by managing these proceedings in a manner that is firm but fair.

“Be bold. Don’t just accept conventional wisdom. Strive to be imaginative. Think of new ways we can do things.”

“The people of our region deserve better outcomes than they currently face. We must never forget that we are their servants. We need to provide them with good governance, strengthen our institutions, and create regional frameworks that place their interests first.”

He said the world was dragging its feet on the need to tackle global warming and this was having a “dire effect” on Pacific nations through rising sea levels and extreme weather events. He also said Pacific nations expected the industrialised world to finally face up to its responsibilities.

“Let me say this to the big polluters – the big carbon emitters: Whatever the science of climate changes, it is you who must respond to global warming, which threatens the very existence of some of our Small Island Developing States.

“You need – for our sakes – to set targets to curb your carbon emissions. Because the majority scientific opinion has it that you are causing global warming.”

The meeting will end on Friday and leaders are expected to discuss issues ranging from climate change, dealing with natural disasters, poverty alleviation, the proper management of resources, human trafficking, the need for better governance, better social protection and the preservation of traditional cultures and practices.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

SPORTS:

45a) Vanuatu Beach Volleyballers placed 9th at World Championship
By Online Editor
11:26 am GMT+12, 10/07/2013, Vanuatu

National Olympic Committees from around the region are congratulating the globe-trotting and high achieving Vanuatu women’s Beach Volleyball team which finished 9th at the World Championships in Poland.

The congratulatory messages have come from Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) president Dr Robin Mitchell, ONOC Executive Director Dennis Miller, Rosie Blake of the Cook Islands NOC, Lorraine Mar of FASANOC.

Cyrille Mainguy reports from Port Vila that Vanuatu NOC officials were at the airport this morning to welcome home Haneitte Latika and Miller Elwin.

This report from ‘Around the Rings’:

Vanuatu Surprises in Poland

One of the success stories at the world championships was the play of Henriette Latika and Miller Elwin, representing the small South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, population 250,000.

Seeking a berth in the quarterfinals, Latika and Elwin battled the 2008 Olympic bronze medalists Xue and Zhang Xi of China, coming one point shy of winning the first set, before ultimately losing a hard-fought two-set match.

“We know that China is the number one team and we played well in that first set,” Latika said after the contest. “We are very happy because we had a good performance in this tournament.”

The pair from Vanuatu achieved a ninth place result and earned $11,000 in prize money in their first world championships appearance.

Latika, 28, and Elwin, 25, who just missed qualifying for the London Olympics, continue to progress within the sport while challenging traditional gender roles and beliefs regarding what is appropriate for women in Vanuatu.

After Latika and Elwin won the 2008 Oceania Championship, the IOC provided a grant to assist the women with travel expenses so that they could attempt to improve their world ranking.

Coached by Australian Lauren McLeod since 2009, Latika and Elwin are hopeful to compete at Rio 2016 provided they have the financial means to continue their dream.

“We were hoping to make an impact here at the world championships,” McLeod said. “It’s our last chance on the world stage to really promote Vanuatu beach volleyball and have people see the girls play.

“Hopefully, someone out there is listening or watching and can see the benefit of what we’re trying to accomplish. They’re representing the entire Pacific – that’s 23 countries in Oceania that they’re playing on behalf of.”
SOURCE: AROUND THE RINGS/PACNEWS

45b) National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands mourns president

By Online Editor
11:35 am GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Solomon Islands

The National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) family has expressed shock and sadness over the death of its current president, Andrew Nori.

The late Andrew Nori was called to rest Tuesday morning at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) after a long illness.

Late Nori is also a former chairman of the Solomon Islands National Sports Council and is one of the first Solomon Islanders to qualify as a lawyer; a politician and the head of the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) until his passing away.

Speaking on behalf of NOCSI, vice president international Ronald Bei Talasasa said the death was a great loss to NOCSI, NSC and the sporting community in general.

“He was a great man, great leader and man of vision.

“This is a loss we will surely find it hard to replace.

“When he fell ill, NOCSI waited patiently in the hope that he will fully recover, that did not eventuate.

“We have lost a rare gem in the world of sports because he was a man of integrity; he was someone we were all looking up to.

“Inspite of his age, he remained strong and healthy.

“He was a disciplined man who loved sports, committed to sports and contributed his knowledge to the development of sports in Solomon Islands,” he said.

Since taking office as president, Nori was sick and taken for treatment at the National Referral Hospital until his passing.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STRA/PACNEWS

45c) PNG rugby league chief denies sport is a magnet for violence after Highlands riot

Updated 11 July 2013, 7:32 AEST

Rugby League officials in Papua New Guinea say the sport is not a magnet for violence despite a riot in the Highlands over the weekend which left one person dead.

Rugby League officials in Papua New Guinea say the sport is not a magnet for violence despite a riot in the Highlands over the weekend which left one person dead.

The brawl happened near the end of a local rugby league game between the Lae Snax Tigers from Morobe Province and the Enga Mioks from the Enga Province.

PNG Rugby League has banned all remaining games at that ground for the rest of the year.

Its president Graham Osborne has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the brawl is an isolated incident which was started by a drunk man.

“It appears it happened outside the ground, but the thing is security…was not very good at the ground and that’s why the suspension was done,” he said.

“These people were allowed inside the grounds with very primitive weapons and other bits and pieces, the fight actually started outside the the ground and then entered inside the ground.”

Mr Osborne says he does not believe this incident is a set back for PNG’s bid to enter Australia’s NRL competition.

He says the people of Wabag have been leading the outcry over the incident, because they want to see more league at their ground.

“We’re not going to tolerate these sort of things,” he said.

“But you know, we live in Papua New Guinea and these sort of things happen from time to time.

“Sometimes we try to take the game to outside areas – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

45d) AFL tour hopes to build Australia-Vanuatu youth links

Posted 11 July 2013, 11:32 AEST
Kristie-Lee Clifford for Pacific Beat

The AFL is hoping bringing together young players from Australia and Vanuatu will help inspire a new generation of Pacific players.

The AFL is hoping bringing together young players from Australia and Vanuatu will help inspire a new generation of Pacific players.

Almost 50 young players from the Olinda Ferny Creek Football and Netball Club will head to Vanuatu as part of a program to promote the game.

President of AFL Vanuatu, Justin Johnson, says along with programs like Auskick and a men’s and women’s league, they are helping to grow the game.

“AFL is a particularly good fit for Vanuatu,” he said.

“It uses a lot of kids at a time, it’s the sort of sport where everyone gets to have a go and it’s a great physical sport to do as well.

“The Ni-Vanuatu people are actually very, very suited to it too, so down the track these sorts of trips really help to put AFL on the map.”

Horizons Sporting Events has organised the latest tour, in the wake of a successful visit by students from South Australia’s Concordia College.

Managing Director Michael Edwards says it won’t just be all about football.

“[They’ll be] doing some basic field maintenance which they just don’t have a chance to do, putting up goal posts are one of the other areas, to paint club houses and build those sorts of things,” he said.

“The real outcome that we’re aiming to do, something that’s lasting for the community there.”

Olinda Ferny Creek President Helen Wositzky says this program will be an opportunity to establish a cross cultural relationship, and encourage participation in sport.

“Every country has problems with youth, in terms of having them be involved in things,” she said.

“We would hope that from both sides, not just the Vanuatu side but our own club, that we can certainly help there with youth being involved in sport, in terms of healthy team orientated activities.”

The Vanuatu visit is the latest move in a push to take the Australian game to the region.

Justin Johnson says playing football gives opportunities to a country struggling to provide options for its youth.

“There’s a lot of social issues in Vanuatu…there’s not a lot of formal jobs for kids and there’s a huge number of youth that are unemployed,” he said.

“There’s a lot of kids that are moving from the outer island and to places like Port Villa and there’s just nothing for them to do.

“At the very least things like sports programs and arts programs are just so critically important, when the kids wake up in the morning they’ve got to have something to look forward to.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

45e) Busy period ahead for PNG cricketers ahead of U19 World Cup

Posted at 00:08 on 11 July, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea cricket coach Peter Anderson says the country’s Under 19 team has a busy six months ahead of them preparing for the World Cup in Dubai.

The Garamuts beat Vanuatu in Monday’s East Asia Pacific final to qualify for their fourth straight World Cup appearance.

Just two players remain from the team that competed at last year’s tournament in Australia and while pleased to have qualified, Anderson says the young squad has plenty of room for improvement.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do over the next six months. We will certainly pull out the bowling machine and the batting cones and play a bit straighter. The end result we’ve made it, we know what our limitations are and we’ve just got to work to fix up those little issues that we’ve got. If we can be competitive, which I know we can be, our bowling is certainly going to put us in good stead.”

Peter Anderson says hopefully 10-12 of the current squad will be able to spend a few months playing club cricket on the Gold Coast later this year, as part of a scholarship program, to help their preparations.
Radio New Zealand International

45f) Tim Sheens insists New Zealand deserve to go into rugby league World Cup as favourites

By Online Editor
11:28 am GMT+12, 11/07/2013, Australia

Australia’s rugby league coach Tim Sheens insists New Zealand are the favourites for the World Cup.

The bookmakers have the Kangaroos at 1-4 to lift the trophy at Old Trafford on November 30 but Sheens, in England to support the Festival of World Cups, believes the competition is wide open.

Sheens took over from Ricky Stuart after Australia lost to the Kiwis in the 2008 final in Brisbane and has been full-time in the role since losing his club job with Wests Tigers a year ago.

“When I took over at the end of ’08, my main aim was to hopefully survive long enough to have a shot at it,” Sheens told reporters at the Rugby Football League’s Leeds headquarters.

Sheens also experienced a final defeat, after New Zealand won the 2009 Four Nations in Brisbane, and that makes him especially wary of Stephen Kearney’s men going into the 14-team tournament, which kicks off in Cardiff on October 26.

“New Zealand are definitely going to be the team to beat, no matter what anyone says,” he said.

“We’re not world champions, New Zealand are and I can tell you they’ll be very strong.

“I’ve seen their squad get stronger and stronger as they’ve blooded the younger blokes over the last two years.”

Sheens also believes the Kiwis have been fortunate with the draw, having been paired with France, Papua New Guinea and Samoa in Group B.

Australia are in the same group as England, Fiji and Ireland and, although three teams qualify for the quarter-finals, the group winners will earn an easier passage through to an anticipated semi-final.

That makes the Kangaroos’ opening game against England at the Millennium Stadium a must-win fixture, according to Sheens.

“Obviously you want to win that first game,” he said. “It pretty much means you not meeting New Zealand until the final.”.
SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

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