Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 831


1) MSG chairmanship comes at critical time for FLNKS

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

A veteran leader in New Caledonia’s indigenous Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front, or FLNKS, says the group’s recent assumption of the Melanesian Spearhead Group chairmanship comes at a pivotal time in the territory’s history.

New Caledonia is entering the final phase of the Noumea Accord which provides for a possible referendum on independence.

As a former MSG chair, Roch Wamytan, told Johnny Blades that assuming the MSG chairmanship is very important for the FLNKS.

ROCH WAMYTAN: Because we are in the process of the Noumea Accord, emancipation and decolonisation process. And I think it’s very important, as well, to be supported by the MSG, by the Melanesian countries for us to achieve our independence in the few years coming.

JOHNNY BLADES: So will the role of MSG chair, will that significantly boost the bid for independence here?

RW: Yes. I think that it’s a good opportunity for us. It’s a good opportunity. We know that all the Melanesian countries within this sub-regional organisation continue to support us. So I think the help, the assistance, on the framework presented by the Noumea Accord, the framework will come to hand with independence.

JB: So this MSG chairmanship is really at a critical time for the FLNKS in terms of this decolonisation process?

RW: Yes, I think here in New Caledonia, when Kanaki heard about this question – to achieve or not the chairmanship of the MSG – we had a lot of discussion, internal discussion, within the political bureau of the FLNKS to know if we take it or not. It was a real issue for us, to know if it’s the ideal time to take it or not. And when we decided this chairmanship could boost the process to assure our independence, maybe next year or in the years coming after between next year and 2018.
Radio New Zealand International

2) Fiji Company to be the shipping link for MSG

By Online Editor
09:35 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Fiji

There is no direct shipping link between all MSG countries in the region.

Speaking to FBC News Fiji’s High Commissioner to PNG, Romanu Tikotikoca says they have spoken with the MSG Secretariat and says hopes are high.

Tikotikoca says a Taveuni family owned business operating in Solomon Islands, Douglas Construction is taking up the opportunity.

“In the MSG block you have Fiji and PNG as the biggest manufacturers and the shipment of those goods goes from Fiji to Australia, Australia then to this part of the world, there’s no direct link between MSG countries,” Tikotikoca said.

Company Director Reginald Douglas says they’re planning shipping services to fill the vacuum in all MSG countries, and improve trade.

“That for SI to fly the flag of being the MSG country carriers to carry the MSG products so when we have the MSG countries its just like being a inter island shipping but on a bigger scale.”

Douglas started as a logging company in 1994 in Honiara but has now diversified into other sectors like civil construction, shipping, land transport and others.

It employs four hundred people with twenty-two expats – fourteen of them are Fijians.

Meanwhile, Fiji Government Shipping Services (GSS) needs as many as ten new vessels to maintain services to the maritime zone.

This was revealed to FBC NEWS by Director GSS – Ilisoni Tuimabualau.

“We have only 4 vessels that are operating, but the demand that is out there in the island is far greater than the amount of vessels that we have, it would be nice to see that each province have at least two vessels servicing the province,” said Tuimabualau

People in remote islands have often complained about poor services and supplies running out, however, finding new boats isn’t easy.

“It’s not really the delay in getting vessels, it’s just that the amount of vessels that is out there and that is available overseas, we have to visit a few countries in order to get the right type of vessels that suits our purpose here,” he said.

The government shipping services is now planning to buy a landing craft next year.

The government plans to purchase new vessels every year until there are enough to maintain a steady service for outer islands.


3) ICAC will fight corruption in PNG: PM O’Neill

By Online Editor
3:40 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea will take giant strides in the fight against corruption once the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is set up, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

O’Neill said this when commenting on the 2012 ranking of PNG on Transparency International’s Corruption index released last week.

The report acknowledged slight improvement in PNG’s work against corruption, although it was ranked at a low 150.

“It is pleasing that Transparency International has acknowledged the work our government has gone about doing since taking office.

“When we took office in August 2011, one of the first things we did was set up the Task Force Sweep to tackle corruption.

“The resources we provided to the sweep team and other government agencies is improving detection, ensuring perpetrators are prosecuted, and enabling us to close weaknesses in the system that allowed corruption to flourish for a long time.

“One of the first decisions of cabinet after the general elections was to approve the national anti-corruption strategy,” he said.

“A task force set up to implement this strategy is headed by Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc. One of their tasks was to develop the ICAC legislation.

“This legislation is now ready for endorsement by cabinet before it is brought to Parliament by year’s end.”

O’Neill said a key feature of the ICAC and associated legislations would be a law to protect those who gave information to expose corrupt and criminal practices.

“Those who blow the whistle on corrupt practices are key to us winning this fight, so it is important to guarantee them protection.

“The task force will soon launch a website can be accessed by all to see what the government is doing, and to contribute ideas in this fight.

“Remember, a collective effort is required if we are to eradicate this cancer, so we must all take ownership and contribute the best we can,” the prime minister said.


4) New asylum centre proposed


A large new detention centre for asylum seekers, to be built alongside Jackson’s International Airport in Port Moresby, is being proposed by the Government.
Talks have been underway for several months over the prospect of building a new, bigger and more conveniently located detention centre in the capital, in addition to the one at Manus.
A site near PNG’s military Air Transport Wing has been identified as an ideal place, on the northern side of the airport.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and Department of Immigration Chief Executive Officer Mataio Rabura are alleged to have been involved in discussions with the National Airport Corporation, the government body which owns the land.
The proposed land extends into the hillside for about 10 hectares – on which about 3000 squatters from the Oro, Gulf, Western, and several highlands provinces have settled.
They will need to be relocated, posing a major challenge for them.
However, the National Airport Corporation CEO Joseph Kintau in a recent interview said he was not aware of the plan of establishing a detention centre close to the airport.
“I am not aware of the plans, but what I know is a processing centre will be built to hold illegal immigrants entering the country without a proper visa or work permit. They will then be sent back to their country of origin,” he said.
If such developing plans are finalised, they would reinforce the further crucial regional support that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd secured on his visit to PNG.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said during Kevin Rudd’s visit that we all had a responsibility to work together on regional security.
“Papua New Guinea has seen an increase in the number of illegal arrivals and visa breaches; we see no reason why that won’t continue to grow,’’ he stated.
“My government is keen to work with your government and our other regional neighbors, to ensure border protection and regional security is managed the right way.’’
Mr O’Neill wants to extend the remit of Manus, as work begins on permanent buildings there in order to hold 600 people and to become a regional asylum seekers centre.
“This would be equipped to include not only asylum seekers targeting Australia, but those who attempt to enter PNG itself, and other island countries,” he added.
The Prime Minister said discussions would continue with both countries to strengthen and further practical co-operation against the common enemy and that was people smugglers.
Both leaders stressed that they would take careful note of the UN’s report on the Manus asylum seeker processing centre published last Friday.
This listed a number of improvements on Manus since the agency’s previous visit, “including progress towards establishing a legal framework for processing, and some improvements in the physical setting’’.
However, the current arrangements still do not meet international protection standards.
He said at a private lunch held for Mr Rudd on Monday that the level of political stability and certainty in PNG had never been greater. He said he hoped Mr Rudd’s visit would result in the early commencement of the contruction of a new detention centre in Manus.

5) Bougainvilleans unaware of Rio Tinto’s PNG past, says criminologist

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

A criminologist with a particular focus on Bougainville says many grass-roots communities in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province have not been given access to information about Rio Tinto’s role during the civil war.

In recent months, Rio Tinto’s subsidiary Bougainville Copper Ltd has been among the principles discussing expectations that its huge Panguna mine, which has been shut for 24 years, will re-open.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government says it hopes to begin negotiations with BCL soon.

Dr Kristian Lasslett from Ulster University’s State Crime Initiative says any decision on the long-term future of Bougainvilleans must take into full account, the long list of unresolved abuses from the civil war sparked by problems around the mine.

“They haven’t learnt about what the executives admitted to, they haven’t learnt about the depth of Rio Tinto’s support of the PNGDF or what they did to the government. And I think that would be absolute vital information.”

Dr Kristian Lasslett

Radio New Zealand International

6) Vanuatu trade minister sacked for siding with opposition

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

The Vanuatu prime minister, Moana Carcasses, has sacked the minister for trade and tourism, Marcellino Pipite, for allegedly siding with the opposition.

The Daily Post newspaper reports Mr Pipite was sacked last Thursday while he was out of the country.

The paper says he signed the opposition’s no confidence motion, which has however been rejected by the speaker, Philip Boedoro.

The speaker claimed that the opposition had forged the signatures of three government MPs.

A replacement for Mr Pipite is yet to be named.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Vt5 billion road rehabilitation and construction for Tanna and Malekula

Posted on July 17, 2013

By Glenda Shing
The people of Malekula and Tanna will be able to enjoy road rides in the future, as this was confirmed through a signing of the contract agreement for Design and Construction of Road Rehabilitation and Construction Project by Minister of Public Utilities and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (ECC).
Thanking the Chinese Contractor for approving to offer the Vt5billion for road construction of the two islands, Minister Sai mentioned that it is the wish of the government of the day to ensure that road infrastructure is upgraded in the islands in Vanuatu.
“Despite the challenges we face, it is the duty of the government, in its every possible way to ensure roads are upgraded. Be reminded that proper road infrastructure contributes to the economy of this country,” the Minister said.
To the people of Tanna and Malekula, the minister made it clear that while the government played its part to ensure the roads are maintained, people must cooperate with the government and ECC to ensure that the work is carried out.
“We do not want to hear land owners disputing the land, resulting in no developments taking place as we see in some of our islands in Vanuatu.”
In response, the Vice President of ECC confirmed to ensure that the outcome of the road project produces excellence results.
“We will be using the latest technology to construct the roads on the two islands,” he said.
Also given the opportunity to speak, Prime Minister Moana Carcasses acknowledged the partnership between Vanuatu and China.
“We want to build our economy, not in Port Vila only, but in the islands as well, that is why we need good infrastructures,” the PM said.
Before concluding his short remarks, PM Carcasses reminded the Vice President of ECC of skilled people in Vanuatu who would be happy to work with the company as soon as the project starts.
The Vt5billion road project on Tanna and Malekula is expected to begin next year.

8) Fiji interim government suspends opposition party

Updated 17 July 2013, 12:16 AEST

Fiji’s interim government says it has suspended one of country’s main opposition parties for failing to meet its financial obligations.

Mohammed Saneem, the political parties registrar, says the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) has refused to pay a FJ$6,400 bill to cover the cost of publishing its financial data.

“Unfortunately, this seems to have been a deliberate decision by FLP leadership to not abide by the decree,” Mr Saneem said.

“It is now up to them to remedy their breach.”

The FLP is one of only three opposition parties the regime has approved to contest elections scheduled for September next year.

Fiji had 17 opposition parties until the interim government tightened registration criteria earlier this year, lifting the membership required to qualify from 128 to 5,000.

Only three parties met the new benchmark, the FLP, National Federation Party and the Social Democratic Liberal Party.

Mr Saneem says the FLP will be deregistered unless it pays the bill within 60 days.

The party’s leader Mahendra Chaudhry could not be contacted for comment.


9) UFDF says group unaffected by suspension of Fiji Labour Party

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the group is not affected by the suspension of the Fiji Labour Party for failing to pay the Fiji Sun for publishing its asset declarations.

The Labour Party was told to pay 3,000 US dollars by last Monday amid a dispute over tendering the asset publication which is still before the Commerce Commission.

While being suspended, the Labour Party can, by decree, not operate or hold itself out to be a political party.

A spokesperson for the UFDF, which comprises four political parties and the Council of Trade Unions, Mick Beddoes says he can’t imagine the suspension will have any effect on the group.

“I suspect that when Mr Chaudhry returns from overseas, where he’s currently at, obviously he’ll work towards resolving the matter. So at this time it’s not going to have any effect on the movement.”

Mick Beddoes says the regime’s threat to deregister the Fiji Labour Party is part of its ongoing scaremongering and tactics to gain political power and discredit its opponents.

Radio New Zealand International

10) Labour suspended

Avinesh Gopal
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

THE Fiji Labour Party has been temporarily suspended for failing to comply with a key financial requirement of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013.

A Ministry of Information statement said the FLP was required to submit a payment of $6375.60 to the Registrar for Political Parties office to pay for the cost of the publication of its declaration of assets and liabilities due on July 15 but failed to do so.

“The financial responsibilities of the political parties and possible repercussions set out in the decree have been clear all along,” said the Registrar for Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem in the statement.

“All the parties must follow the same set of rules.

“Unfortunately, this seems to have been a deliberate decision by FLP leadership to not abide by the decree. It is now up to them to remedy their breach,” he said.

The statement said FLP had 60 days to pay or face deregistration as a political party.

During the suspension period, the FLP cannot operate, function, represent or hold itself out to be a political party, it said.

Meanwhile, the statement said the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the National Federation Party (NFP) met the payment deadline.

In a letter to the Registrar for Political Parties on Monday, NFP’s registered officer Dalip Kumar raised concern on certain issues concerning the advertising and payment issues.

Mr Kumar said in the letter that the party had decided to make the full payment of $5796 under protest.

“The party will await the determination of the Commerce Commission before deciding on what steps to pursue in seeking redress in this matter,” he wrote to the registrar.


11a) Australia Federal Polis inap bungim heve long PNG Kot

Updated 17 July 2013, 12:07 AEST

Igat wari olsem ol Federal Polis ofisa blong Australia husat bai wok long Papua New Guinea inap kisim taem long ol kot long PNG.

Odio: Luther Wenge, Gavana bif blong Morobe Provins itoktok wantem Pius Bonjui

Luther Wenge, Gavana bif blong Morobe Provins itoktok wantem Pius Bonjui (Credit: ABC)

Praim Minista blong Australia,  Kevin Rudd, itokaut olsem Australia bai salim faifpla ten ol Federal Polis ofisa igo long PNG pastem long pinis blong despla yia long halvim long daonim ol wari blong Load na oda.

Long yia 2005 Gavman blong John Howard bifo ibin kisim bek ol AFP Ofisa husat ibin wok long PNG bihaen long wanpla kot ibin painim olsem tok oraet em oli bin kamapim blong larim ol despla AFP ofisa ino ken sanap long kot sopos oli brukim loa blong PNG ino bin bihaenim mama loa blong PNG.

Gavana bifo blong Morobe Provins  Luther Wenge, ibin go pas long bringim despla wari igo long Supreme Court na despla ibin mekim Australia i kisim bek moa long 160 Australian Federal Polis ofisa lusim PNG.

Mr Wenge itok long 2005 emi no bin egensim tingting blong larim ol AFP ofisa iwok long Papua New Guinea, tasol emi no bin ting olsem tingting blong larim ol AFP ofisa ino ken sanap long kot long PNG sopos oli brukim loa  ibin bihaenim mama loa blong PNG.

Mr Wenge itok sopos ol despla nupla AFP ofisa igo long PNG na bai stap aninit iet long ol tok oraet blong bifo, na ino nap sanap long PNG kot sopos oli brukim loa, oraet despla kaen tok oraet bai brukim iet mama loa blong kantri.

Mr Wenge i lusim ol wok politik pinis, tasol emi tok em bai sapotim wonem kaen tingting blong strongim wok blong Supreme Kot.

11b) Fiji bai opim nambawan mental haus sik

Updated 17 July 2013, 12:37 AEST

Fiji iwok long lukluk nau long opim nambawan ples long Pacific rijan blong ol pipal husat igat sik long hed oa ol pipal husat i mental.

Dr Neil Sharma, Minista blong Helt long Fiji itokim Radio Australia  Pacific Beat progrem olsem ol Pacific kantri ino gat planti ples oa haus sik blong lukautim ol pipal husat igat sik long hed oa oli mental.

Emi tok Pacific rijan i sot tru long  despla kaen sevis, na tu ino gat nes husat igat save long lukautim ol despla sikman-meri.

Dr Sharma itok planti ripot nau iwok long kamap olsem sik mental iwok long go antap nau long Pacific.

Emi tok despla kaen sik iwok long go antap long rijan long wonem planti kaen kaen senis iwok long kamap olsem, climate change, ol kaen sik olsem sik suga, kensa, poveti na planti ol narapla kaen sik.

Dr Sharma itok tu olsem planti yangpla pipal nau iwok long painim had long stap insaet long ol despla senis iwok long kamap nau long laif blong ol, na oli no save long mekim wonem.

Emi tok Fiji i gutpla ples long kirapim wanpla kaen haus sik olsem long rijan.

Dr Sharma itok oli statim pinis wanpla kaen treining progrem long givim treining igo long ol sumatin long wok long mental helt sevis.


12) Edward Snowden minta suaka sementara di Rusia

Diperbaharui 17 July 2013, 12:45 AEST

Pembocor intelijen Amerika yang buron, Edward Snowden, telah meminta suaka sementara di Rusia, tiga minggu setelah ia tiba di bandara Moskow.

Pria 30 tahun itu masih terkatung-katung di zona transit bandara Sheremetyevo, yang dianggap sebagai wilayah netral.

Ia terbang ke Rusia dari Hong Kong bulan lalu, mencari perlindungan setelah ia membocorkan program pengintaian intelijen pemerintah Amerika.

Pengacara Snowden menegaskan, ia telah mengajukan permintaan suaka sementara, tapi pada akhirnya nanti ia ingin pergi ke Amerika Latin.

Ditambahkan, jika Snowden berhasil mendapat suaka sementara, ia seharusnya mempunyai hak yang sama dengan warganegara lain dan bebas untuk bekerja dan melakukan perjalanan di Rusia.

Kepala Dinas Migrasi Federal Rusia menegaskan, pihaknya telah menerima permohonan suaka dari Snowden.

Suaka sementara dapat diberikan hingga setahun, dengan kemungkinan diperpanjang.

Kasus Snowden semakin menjadi masalah mengganjal bagi Presiden Vladimir Putin, saat Moskow dan Washington berusaha memperbaiki hubungan. Apalagi, Putin bersiap-siap menggelar KTT dengan Presiden Barack Obama di Moskow awal September, menjelang KTT para pemimpin G20 di Rusia.

Pemerintahan Obama sudah berulang kali minta kepada Rusia untuk mengirim kembali Snowden ke Amerika Serikat.



13) Bousculade mortelle lors d’un match de boxe en Papouasie occidentale

Posté à 16 July 2013, 8:58 AEST

Pierre Riant

17 personnes sont mortes et 38 autres ont été blessées à l’issue du match, selon la police de cette province indonésienne, la partie ouest de l’île de Nouvelle-Guinée.

1Dans les 1 500 personnes ont assisté au combat et les supporteurs de l’un des pugilistes n’ont pas été contents de la défaite de leur boxeur et se sont mis à jeter des chaises. Les spectateurs paniqués se sont rués vers la sortie et des dizaines de personnes ont été piétinées.

12 femmes sont au nombre des 17 morts.


14) Broad benefits seen in Pacific Partnership mission

Posted at 03:51 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

The New Zealand Defence Force says regular missions to the Pacific are helping it prepare for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and gain cultural awareness.

The Pacific Partnership undertakes regular missions in the Pacific and Asia area to build up national capacities to deal with natural disaster.

The US, Australian and New Zealand partnership is currently in Kiribati, working on strengthening infrastructure and awareness of natural disasters.

Major Alistair Mitchell from the New Zealand Army says any improvement they can make to government services will help improve the quality of life for local people.

And he says the benefits of such missions go both ways.

“A lot of the activity is designed or initiated in order that we practise working in the Pacific and deploying in case we need to do that in a short notice situation, practising our mobilisation and deployment into a relatively remote location. It’s an excellent opportunity for us to gain cultural awareness and build links up with the local population here.”

Major Alistair Mitchell from the New Zealand Army.

Radio New Zealand International


15) Asian Pacific Caucus plans meeting with Obama

By Online Editor
3:36 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, United States

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus are planning to raise the issues of immigration and appointments in a meeting with U.S President Barack Obama.

California Democrat Mike Honda’s spokesman, Anthony Kusich, says the meeting is on schedule for next week but did not specify a day. The White House declined Tuesday to confirm the meeting.

The caucus, led by California Democrat Judy Chu, has been concerned about the lack of Asians and Pacific Islander candidates for Cabinet positions in Obama’s second term. The number of Asians moving to the U.S. is one of the nation’s fastest growing immigrant groups.

A caucus priority is keeping intact immigration policies allowing relatives to join family members in the U.S.

Obama met with black and Hispanic caucus members last week.


16) Obama says bill must resolve immigrants’ status

By Online Editor
12:55 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, United States

U.S President Barack Obama is suggesting he would not sign an immigration bill without a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

Obama tells the Spanish-language television network Telemundo that, quote, “it does not make sense to me.”

Obama says the effort to finally fix the system must resolve the status of these immigrants or the U.S. will end up with two classes of people: full citizens and those permanently resigned to a lower status.

A comprehensive bill passed by the Senate would allow these immigrants to eventually become citizens. Many House Republicans are against that.

Obama also says the House will probably pass a bill in the autumn. He had pressed to have a bill to sign before the August congressional recess.



17a) PNG Media Council President passes away

By Online Editor
3:28 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Respected senior public servant and Papua New Guinea Media Council president Joe Kanekane has died. He was 44.

Kanekane, from the Kowengil village in Ialibu, Southern Highlands, was director of the PNG Law and Justice Sector Secretariat (LJSS) at the time of his death from a suspected heart attack at Tabubil Hospital in Western on Sunday while he was on vacation.

His body was flown to Port Moresby from Tabubil yesterday with funeral arrangements being made.

News of his death has shocked the law and order sector, as well as the media industry, as Kanekane was a well-known journalist and writer before he joined the LJSS.

Kanekane held an MBA, a degree in arts with honours from the University of PNG and a post-graduate diploma from the University of Wales.

He was president of the PNG Media Council, chairman of the Individual and Community Rights Advocacy Forum (ICRAF) board, a member of the National Scouts Association Board and was the chairman of the PNG Censorship board.

He was also on the Caritas PNG board, was co-chairman of the Community Coalition against Corruption and was an accomplished poet and writer.

His mother Cecilia told The National at his haus krai at Rainbow Village in Gerehu yesterday that Kanekane was born in Maprik, East Sepik, on Sept 9, 1968.

Kanekane went on to the Madang Teachers’ College where he trained for two years and in Western Highlands before taking up studies at UPNG.

“He said he loved writing and wanted to become a journalist,” his mother recalled.

He did, with a successful career at Word Publishing before joining LJSS.


17b) Puputauki charged over French Polynesia journalist disappearance

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

The jailed former head of the disbanded GIP militia in French Polynesia, Leonard Puputauki, has been charged with kidnapping in connection with the 1997 disappearance of a local journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

This comes three weeks after two of his former militia subordinates, Tutu Manate and Tino Mara, were charged with the journalist’s murder – nine years after his family lodged a complaint with police.

The journalist’s body has never been found but it is alleged the GIP attached breeze blocks on his limbs and drowned him off Tahiti.

Leonard Puputauki, who is also known as Rere Puputauki, is currently serving a jail sentence for involuntary homicide over the sinking in 2003 of the Tahiti Nui IV which claimed seven lives.

His lawyer says he wants the charges to be dropped, saying the case amounts to no more than an accumulation of rumours.

He says it is more likely that Yeti exists than that Mr Couraud was killed.

Radio New Zealand International


18) Fiji to open region’s first mental health facility

Updated 17 July 2013, 12:13 AEST

Fiji plans to open region’s first mental health facility to combat rise in reported depression and anxiety in the Pacific.

Fiji plans to open the region’s first mental health facility to combat a rise in reported depression and anxiety in the Pacific.

Dr Neil Sharma, Fiji’s minister for health, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat mental health services are lacking in the region.

Audio: Dr Neil Sharma speaks to Pacific Beat (ABC News)

“We are very poorly served as far as mental health services go,” Dr Sharma said.

“There’s not even a trained nurse to look after mental illness.”

Dr Sharma says reports of mental illnesses are on the rise in the region.

“There’s a lot more depression and anxiety in the communities now with all the changes taking place, climate change and NCDs and premature deaths and mobility” he said.

“A lot of young people are finding it difficult to cope with circumstances, the modern way of living and sort of losing hope.”

He says Fiji is the ideal place to develop a mental health facility in the region.

“Suva will probably be a good choice, because we have a university here, we have a volume of people and a range of diseases,” he said.

“We would be able to provide a teaching service and sector facilities for our research facility.”

Dr Sharma says a post-graduate program has been launched to train mental health professionals in Fiji.

“This year we have seven registrars from Fiji and we have three registrars from the region,” he said

He says the function of the program is to train individuals to be able to provide services to their communities.

“At this point in time, we don’t want to be transplanting patients from one country to the other,” he said.

“The purpose is to train our people, our nurses, our doctors and our paramedical people to be able to recognise mental illness at a much earlier stage to be able to intervene and be able to bring quality of life to our people in the region.”

Dr Sharma says the strategy for the mental health facility has been met with approval among health ministers in the region.

“We have had a fairly extensive discussion with the various ministers of Honiara two years ago and at the recent Pacific Ministers of Health meeting in Apia, where there was wide support and endorsement,” he said.

“We’ve had our groundwork ready for about a year now, and we’ll leave it to the other parts of government to take forward to the international agencies.”


19a) Uni founder passes away

Shayal Devi
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A FORMER Fiji citizen who contributed greatly to the welfare and education of Fiji students died after a road accident in Adelaide, Australia on Sunday.

Originally from Labasa, Dr Umanand Prasad was the founder of the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine at the Saweni Lautoka-based University of Fiji.

He served as a doctor in Fiji before moving to Adelaide.

Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji media relations officer Kamlesh Arya said the inception of the university in 2004 set the platform and Dr Prasad got involved with the establishment of UPSM, which he personally funded.

“In April this year, Dr Prasad made the final payment towards his promised $1million to establish the medical school along with $45,000 worth of scholarships,” said Mr Arya.

“The medical school began operations in 2008 with Dr Prasad as the honorary dean, resulting in his relocation from Adelaide to Saweni.

“Dr Prasad had plans to build a hall of residence for the students and in consultation with the Sabha, he had bought a piece of land adjacent to the university’s Saweni Campus.”

With Dr Prasad’s help, Fiji was able to have its second medical school.

“UPSM will graduate its first batch of graduates in December and Dr Prasad had been eagerly awaiting the event to be present and participate.

“The news of his tragic passing has shocked the Sabha and its members.”

Mr Arya said Dr Prasad was a good Samaritan who had left an indelible mark in the history of the university and the Sabha.

19b) Pacific Partnership Mission Helps Kiribati Teachers College
U.S., Australia, New Zealand focusing on infrastructure

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 16, 2013) – Improvements to the Kiribati Teachers College, as part of this years Pacific Partnership mission, are expected to allow more teachers from the outer-islands to receive training.

The Pacific Partnership undertakes regular missions in the Pacific and Asia area to build up understanding, and national capacities to deal with natural disaster.

The U.S., Australian and New Zealand partnership is currently in Kiribati, working on strengthening infrastructure.

Major Alistair Mitchell from the New Zealand Army says renovation of two extra classrooms for a secondary school will allow the school to deliver more lessons.

They are also working on renovating the dormitories and eating area at the Kiribati Teachers College.

“And that will enable the teachers college to be able to bring teachers in from the outer-islands in order to deliver programs that will increase the knowledge and ability of the teachers that are then in turn providing the education systems in Kiribati.”

Major Alistair Mitchell says they are also teaching communities health skills, like learning CPR.

Radio New Zealand International:

19c) 28th Pacific Educational Conference begins in CNMI

By Online Editor
09:38 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Northern Mariana Islands

Cutting- edge solutions and advances in raising student achievement and educator effectiveness will highlight the 28th Pacific Educational Conference which begins today on Saipan which last hosted the event 10 years ago.

The three-day event will be held at Marianas High School and is the largest gathering of the Pacific region’s top leaders, policymakers and stakeholders in education. The CNMI Board of Education and Public School System are jointly hosting the conference with Pacific Resources for Education and Learning.

Today’s event is expected to draw 700 local and off-island participants.

“When we educators and education advocates, along with our stakeholders, talk about preparing our children for the future, we talk about education and the opportunities that we are making available for our children,” Board of Education Chairman Herman T. Guerrero said.

The conference is also an opportunity for the region’s educators to reaffirm their partnership and sustain growth in student learning, Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan said.

“This conference is truly an innovative and exciting opportunity for all educators and stakeholders in the field,” she added. “Unlimited resources and opportunities will be made available through interaction with respected and prominent education researchers, practitioners and consultants.”

According to Sablan, “The conference is a gathering of education leaders and researchers who will discuss what matters for our students.”

Throughout the three-day conference, educators and experts will discuss various topics highlighting policy, leadership, parent and community engagement and instruction. This year’s theme is “What Matters Most: Every Child, Every Single Day.”

The delegates are from American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, the CNMI and the U.S. mainland.

The speakers include globally recognized education think tanks and industry leaders such as Dr. Tim Waters, president and chief executive officer of Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning; Dr. Mark Elgart, president and CEO of Advance Education; and Dr. Tim Boals, executive director of World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium.

Also participating are 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki of California as well as her counterparts from various Pacific jurisdictions: Jesse Cornelius of Kosrae, Owen Tharngan of Yap, Connie Joel of the Marshalls, Emmy-Rose Gilmete of Pohnpei, Juliet Ngotel of Palau, Karen Ktsuni of Hawaii, Iose Mausau Afu of American Samoa, Mary Anne Angele of Guam, Florencia Afituk of Chuuk and Peter Loken of the CNMI.

Among the region’s education officials who will be in CNMI are Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii state superintendent; Emery Wenty, Palau’s director of school administration; Vaitinesa S. Hunlan-Finau, American Samoa’s director of education; Hilda Heine, Marshal Islands minister of education; Jon Fernandez, Guam education superintendent; Vincent Parren, Yap state superintendent; Lyndon Cornelius, Kosrae director of education; Gardenie Hisek, Chuuk director of education; Rufino Mauricio, FSM secretary of education; and Joseph Villazone, Pohnpei director of education.


20) Temotu calls on govt to endorse trade link with Vanuatu

By Online Editor
3:23 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Solomon Islands

Temotu provincial government is calling on the national government to quickly endorse the proposed trade link between Vanuatu and Temotu province.

Speaking to the Solomon Star , Temotu provincial trade and commerce minister Edwin Meibu said the provincial government and Vanuatu have already signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Vanuatu last year but the national government had delayed the endorsement of the deal.

“Its now a year and we are waiting for the national government to do its part to ensure we could be able to start our trade activity with Vanuatu.

“The national government always assures but nothing has been forth coming until today,” said Meibu.

The minister said if the national government continue to delay this trade link this year the then Temotu provincial government would have to find alternatives to ensure this trade link comes into reality.

“We are so tired of assurance from the national government,” he said.

Because of that the Temotu provincial government will send some officers to consult with national government concerning the trade link.

This is expected to happen in the coming months.


21) Inter Island Airways taked over American Samoa government plane

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

The American Samoa-based carrier Inter Island Airways has taken possession of a government-owned nine-seater aircraft to provide daily flights between the main island of Tutuila and Ofu island in the Manua island group.

Ofu island has been without commercial air service for more than three years after Inter Island Air pulled out.

The airline’s executive president, Barney Sene, has signed a memorandum of understanding on the side of Manua Cession Day.

“We are pleased to sign this with the government, promote the travel, the consistent sustaining travel Manu’a deserves and I believe with what the administration is doing today, that will also help work with us the business to sustain this travel and for the economy here in Manu’a”

The agreement requires Inter Island to provide daily flights between Tutuila and Ofu with a round trip fare of 140 US dollars.

Radio New Zealand International

22) Mining executives urge Solomons’ Temotu to open up seabed

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

Mining executives are urging people in Solomon Islands’ Temotu province to open up their seabed area for minerals exploration.

The Australia-based Bluewater Metals was granted an exploration licence last year to search for gold in 12 sites near Temotu Province and has said if it is successful, it will upgrade Lata’s airport and hospital.

The company’s founders, Timothy McConachy and Harvey Cook, say their company is more than ready to extract seabed minerals for the benefit of island nations using safe, environmentally friendly technology.

But our correspondent in Temotu province, George West, says the local people are very unhappy that the national government is allowing undersea mining to go ahead.

“The communities want more consultations and even in the long run maybe they are going to demand some – something for what they think their share of the natural resources is in their seas or bordering their seas.”

George West says he understands students are using social networking to organise some sort of protest action.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Positive signs for Fiji’s economy

By Online Editor
12:50 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Fiji

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has seen a boost in the level of confidence among local and foreign investors in the economy.

During the re-opening of the newly-refurbished Westpac Fiji MHCC Sales Centre on Monday, governor Barry Whiteside said the business community in general was optimistic about what was happening in the country so far.

“We’ve been going around Fiji with our economics team talking to businesses and individuals. We’ve noticed without exception that they’re all very confident,” he said.

“They are actually putting money down now and investing so this is something that we did not see in the first few years after 2007.

“Our numbers and indicators are definitely showing that consumption and investment activities are very strong.”

He said this was the observation across the board, with foreign investors engaging in hotel development and refurbishment.

Whiteside said locals were also taking an interest in the hotel business, manufacturing and garment sectors.

“It’s all positive at the moment, and these are backed up by the figures we’re seeing from bank lending, cement sales, building applications and building completion certificates.”

Westpac Fiji head of retail banking Nirosh Weerasinghe said they were in the process of announcing another major project, which was “going to be one of the biggest investments” for the bank.

“Since I’ve been here, about seven months ago, we’ve employed 30 people. I’m quite fascinated with the number of graduates that don’t have jobs in Fiji and one of the things I am passionate about is giving those people a chance to come and join us,” he said.

Weerasinghe said of the initial 18 people they hired in their February batch, 14 were tertiary graduates.

Meanwhile, infaltion in Fiji advanced to 1.5 per cent year-on-year while most inflation profiles for the Pacific region remained low compared to historical norms.

According to ANZ’s Asia Pacific Research — Pacific Monthly, which was released yesterday, this was led by price increases in food, alcohol drinks and tobacco, suggesting price pressures were coming from the supply side rather than the demand side.

“In the Solomon Islands, inflation was flat at 5.9 per cent year-on-year after spiking earlier in the year, helped by the delayed effect of falling fuel prices. All urban areas reported increases in prices,” the report said.

“In terms of trade flows, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu released the first look at 2013 trade over the past month — all underperforming.

“For Fiji, trade was weighed down by the cyclone while traditional exports such as sugar and gold performed below historical norms.”

The report said export receipts in Vanuatu fell further, weighed on by declines in shipments of copra, coconut oil, beef and live fish.

“Vanuatu’s imports posted a 4 per cent increase, widening the trade deficit to Ni-Vanuatu Vatu 1.4billion ($F0.02b),” it said.

The report said risks to Pacific growth were tilting lower on a less supportive major trading partner growth profile.

It said growth in China and Australia had softened while further downside risks remained.


24) New Caledonia considers microalgae as business opportunity

Posted at 22:23 on 16 July, 2013 UTC

New Caledonia plans to produce microalgae on a large scale for use in aquaculture and industry.

A two-million US dollars research project, called Amical, has been launched with the hope of producing prawn feed.

These micro-organisms consume carbon dioxide and offer a raft of possible applications.

Nicola Morezzi of the economic development agency in New Caledonia is in charge of the programme and he says it promises economic benefits.

“The shrimp farming is really important aquaculture industry in New Caledonia and protein from fish oil to produce shrimps aliments is really expensive so we would like to remove oil fish and replace it by microalgae to reduce the importation and use the local source of proteins”

These microalgae could also be used in cosmetics, pharmacology, biofuel and by mining companies to recycle carbon dioxide emissions.

Radio New Zealand International


25) Seminar on peace efforts on Bougainville

By Online Editor
09:37 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

A two day seminar planned for next month will enable Bougainvilleans to get an update on the implementation of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The untapped potential of the autonomous region’s economy and the ability of crisis-affected communities to move on with life will also be brought to the fore at the seminar scheduled for August 29-30 in Port Moresby.

The Port Moresby-based Bougainville Association chair Paul Nerau told the Post-Courier in a recent interview the two-day seminar would revolve around the theme “Bougainville’s sustainability going forward,’’ and its outcomes would be a win-win for all stakeholders.

“The program is still at the draft stage but at the seminar’s conclusion it should be a win-win situation (in terms of information disseminated) for all stakeholders including Papua New Guinea and the autonomous region of Bougainville,” he said.

Some of the seminar presenters are considered experts on the peace agreement and have played key roles in its formulation.

These include Australian constitutional lawyer Anthony Regan and academic Dr Edward Wolfers from the University of Wollongong.

Respected Pacific Island economist Dr Satish Chand will also give a presentation on the economic aspirations of the autonomous region.

While award-winning Catholic nun, Sister Lorraine Garasu, will give seminar participants an insight into the challenges she faces in her attempts to rehabilitate conflict-affected Bougainvilleans.

PBA deputy chair and former MP Sam Akoitai appealed to national parliamentarians to attend the two-day seminar to appreciate the complexities of the peace agreement.

“It is important for all levels of government to understand the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” he said.

While the association has and will take the lead in disseminating as much information as possible through the planned seminar and in the lead-up to the referendum, PBA executive Salome Rihatta said they have not forgotten Bougainville’s next generation who were born after the crisis.

“We are working with student associations from UPNG (University of PNG), DBTI (Don Bosco Technology Institute) and the high schools as a lot of them don’t know the background to autonomy as they were born after the crisis,” she added.

26) Australian Federal Police could be vulnerable to prosecution in PNG

By Online Editor
09:45 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Australian Federal Police (AFP)officers deployed to Papua New Guinea could be vulnerable to prosecution in PNG’s courts.

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, announced the plan to send fifty AFP officers to PNG by the end of the year to help tackle law and order problems.

A similar deployment was withdrawn by the Howard government in 2005 after a constitutional challenge against immunity from prosecution for the officers.

Former governor of Morobe Province on PNG’s northern coast, Luther Wenge, headed the Supreme Court challenge, which led to the withdrawal of more than 160 Australian Federal Police from the country.

Wenge says at the time he didn’t believe the AFP should not be deployed in PNG, but making them immune to PNG law was unconstitutional.

“What I said simply was that [parts of] the agreement which was signed… by Papua New Guinea and Australia… did not comply with the Papua New Guinea constitution,” he said.

“That is, they were going to give them immunity from prosecution, and I said that was completely unconstitutional.”

Wenge says any proposal for AFP officers to have immunity in the country remains unconstitutional.

The ex-governor has retired from politics but says he would support any moves to reinforce the Supreme Court order.

“I wouldn’t have the standing because the constitution gives certain institutions standing,” he said.

“But I would encourage the institutions with the standing to file reference in the Supreme Court again to get the Supreme Court to reinforce its order.”

The Australian Federal Police says an AFP scoping team will develop arrangements for the deployment of its officers in the coming weeks with the PNG Government and PNG’s Police Commissioner

27) Fijians Farewell service for Golan-bound 318, 150 Irish troops to deploy to Syria/Israel border

By Online Editor
12:58 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Fiji

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces Tuesday held a farewell church service for 318 soldiers who are expected to leave for the Golan Heights soon to join the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

RFMF Land Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga confirmed the troops would join the 182-member Fiji contingent already at Camp Faouar at the Golan.

“We are awaiting the confirmation date for their departure from the United Nations,” Lt-Col Tikoitoga said.

At the Golan Heights, 120 members of the Fijian contingent, who left last month, are deployed to the northern part of UNDOF’s area of operations that was once looked after by Austrian troops.

The arrival of the Fiji contingent has relieved Indian and Filipino contingents from manning these positions.

Fijian UNDOF headquarters staff officers and the Fijian medical team are also positioned there.

The remaining Fijian (guard) platoon is being inducted as guard platoons in the new Camp Faouar fire brigade.

Meanwhile, up to 150 Irish troops will be deployed to the Middle East to protect a sensitive border crossing.

Defence Minister Alan Shatter revealed he has secured Government approval to send Defence Forces personnel to a UN mission in Syria.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, is a neutral border zone between Syria and Israel.

The Irish troops will replace the Austrian soldiers who pulled out when two peacekeepers were injured as Syrian government and rebel fighters battled.

Shatter said UNDOF remains an important element in ensuring some level of stability in the region.

“It is important that UNDOF has at its disposal all necessary means and resources to carry out its mandate safely and securely,” he said.

“The support of troop contributing countries, such as Ireland, to UNDOF, allows the mission to continue implementing its mandate in a safe and secure manner.”

“The proposed deployment of an Irish contingent to UNDOF, if approved by Dail Eireann, would bring the strength of the mission up to the authorised level of 1,250.”

UNDOF was established in May 1974 following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.

The Defence Forces already have more than 10 soldiers with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation’s (UNTSO) Observer Group Golan in Syria, with hundreds in Liberia and Lebanon

Three members were also deployed to UNDOF mission headquarters at Camp Faouar earlier this month, with a fourth to be deployed to the mission HQ shortly.

28) Corrections unions want New Caledonia inmates sent to France

Posted at 17:24 on 16 July, 2013 UTC

Unions at New Caledonia’s prison have asked for the most dangerous inmates to be transferred to France.

This comes after a weekend riot at the Camp Est prison which was quelled by 100 police using rubber bullets and tear gas.

The unrest was triggered amid a protest by dozens of inmates against the poor conditions at the jail, with some of them setting fire to the library and wrecking the canteen.

An initial assessment has put the damage at more than 300,000 US dollars.

The unions say for security reasons, they want the most violent inmates to be sent to France.

They say in the past six months there has been an increase in the number of attacks on personnel, recording at least 15 such assaults.

Last year, there were two mutinies at the prison which local politicians have described as the worst French-run prison anywhere.

A mission sent by the French justice minister deemed the conditions as unacceptable and Paris announced plans to extend the jail by 2016 but the city of Noumea has refused to issue a building permit.

Radio New Zealand International

29) Solomons police say alcohol-related crime serious problem

Posted at 22:23 on 16 July, 2013 UTC

The commander of police for Guadalcanal province in Solomon Islands says alcohol-related crime is creating huge problems throughout the country.

The comment affirms the findings of a recent survey by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands on causes of conflict in the community and other issues.

An overwhelming majority of those surveyed said conflict in the community is caused by alcohol, kwaso – or homebrew – and drugs.

David Diosi says crimes committed either to obtain alcohol or under its influence are especially prevalent among people between the ages of 15 and 29.

“Most are no longer attending to schools and most have nothing much to do around and unemployed and so the increase in alcohol-related crimes becomes now a serious concern for not only the police but the general public, the general communities now at large.”

David Diosi says the sentences issued by the courts are not long enough to be a deterrent.

Radio New Zealand International


30) WWII bombs cleared in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
3:37 pm GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Solomon Islands

Four tonnes of unexploded World War Two bombs, mortars, projectiles and grenades have been cleared by New Zealand Defence Force experts in Solomon Islands.

The crack team found hundreds of unexploded weapons nestled among villagers homes and surrounding jungle before safely detonating them.

NZDF commander Trevor Leslie led the multi-national military Operation Pukaurua with more than 150 personnel from New Zealand, Solomon Islands Police, Australian Defence Force, the United States and Canadian Navies.

The team found more than 1500 90mm high explosive projectiles off Sasavele Island alone.

“We then shifted our focus to Rendova, which was cleared of all known ordnance, and then turned our attention to the village of Munda, where we found explosives around peoples’ homes and in the surrounding jungle,” said Commander Leslie.

“It’s a tough job, but at the same time it’s a fantastic adventure. I was in the middle of the tropics, blowing up bits of old bombs and making a community a safer place to live in.”.

31) Call for for Solomon Islands to focus on agriculture for youth

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

A commentator in Solomon Islands, Dr John Roughan, says the government has to put a focus on agriculture to create employment for the country’s youth.

Dr Roughan, who started the Community Development Trust, and has been an advisor to former prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, says Solomon Islands has enormous advantages for food production but the sector needs investment.

Commenting as the country marked 35 years of independence, Dr Roughan says unless the government grapples with issues like youth unemployment and the loss of land in Honiara to foreigners, more unrest is likely.

JOHN ROUGHAN: These problems have not gone away since independence time. They just become deeper and deeper. They have to be responded to, and they don’t seem to be being responded to.

DON WISEMAN: In terms of unemployment, I guess there are efforts to try and stimulate the economy, but clearly you’ve got a very large number of people coming on to the job market every year, and essentially, nothing to absorb the great majority of them.

JR: I wish I could argue with you, but I think you’ve hit it right on the head.

DW: What can the government do?

JR: I think we have to go with our strengths, and one of our strengths is we have arable land, we have good climate and we have masters at growing food. To me, this whole agricultural idea is to make it a full industry, not just simply growing more and better food, but the whole production cycle, the whole infrastructure needed to keep this food flowing, preserve it. In other words, let’s put on our thinking caps and say, ’How can we make agriculture a more productive industry?’ That means investment.

DW: Can you see where that would come from? Is there money within Solomon Islands that could be directed into agriculture or does it have to be foreign investment?

JR: I think the most important thing, Don, is the investment, for sure. But [the idea is] to get our leaders’ minds around the idea that it would go with our strengths. And one of our strengths is that we have the great potential to great more and better food, which will never go out of style.

DW: This problem, in terms of the unemployment that exists coupled with the land issues, you suggest that if government doesn’t confront these they’re going to face more unrest. How would you see that manifesting itself?

JR: For unemployment, for instance, I don’t want those who have got some kind of a degree to go back to the land. I don’t mean that. But make agriculture an industry. The transportation sector, the information sector could be expanded greatly because our people have the basics of growing better and more food, but perhaps they need more information. They need more research, more understanding of how important food is. Talk about food security, yes, great. But what does food security mean to an islander? That whole issue has to be explored.
Radio New Zealand International

32) Organic Agriculture helping Pacific families

Posted at 05:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

Organic agriculture is being credited by community groups in Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu as helping families rise out of poverty and grow their local economies.

The groups are all partnered with Oxfam New Zealand to train communities to improve their livelihoods, and are in New Zealand to meet with some of the companies that sell their products.

Leilani Momoisea reports:

Oxfam and the Tonga National Youth Congress have been working together to equip the outer islands and some isolated islands, to produce their own export quality virgin coconut oil. The chairperson of the Tonga National Youth Congress, Drew Havea, says they started the Virgin Coconut Oil units in very remote islands first, because these are the poorest areas.

“DREW HAVEA: We want to make sure that we can make a difference in the lives, especially the poor and the marginalised community, and coconut is one of those product that everybody owns in the islands. If you are rich or poor, we all have coconuts. So we feel that this would be a very good commodity to develop.”

Mr Havea says they strongly believe that agriculture is the area that they can best engage young people, and it’s also helping attract them back to their home islands, rather than moving to urban centres. He says one of the biggest difference is in people’s attitudes – there is now enthusiasm and excitement about the future.

“DREW HAVEA: They were saying, ’Hey, this is the first christmas we didn’t have to ask for money from our relatives from overseas. We’ve covered all our school fees for our children, we didn’t have to ask for money’. We are energising them to do more in the community, where they feel before there was nothing else they can do, they see the potential, I think they can dream about better things which was not there before.”

Samoa’s Women In Business Development has also been helping farmers sell organic coconut oil, dried bananas and fine mats. A programme manager with the group, Alberta Vitale, says there is a market for fine mats in New Zealand, USA, the UK, Tonga and most recently Japan. She says it’s a great way to revive tradition, as well provide women with the means to make money, with the highest-quality mats being sold at 7,000 tala each.

“ALBERTA VITALE: It’s very good to see this knowledge of weaving the finest mat in Samoa coming back because a lot of our people have lost knowledge or information about this particular fine mat. But we’re now able to train new weavers to do this particular fine mat. The best thing is having a market. They’re not just weaving a mat and waiting around to sell, they have a market for it.”

An associate director of the Vanuatu Farm Support Association, Peter Kaoh says they have been working with Oxfam to help women and youth raise rural incomes. He says providing seeds to women to grow in their own home gardens, means they can sell produce at the market, so they earn enough to improve their living conditions and become self-sufficient.

“The farmers that we are working with, I call them semi-commercial farmers, which means part of their farm is sold for money – the produce that comes from the farm is partly sold for money – and part of it is used for house consumption.”

Meanwhile, in Tonga, the National Youth Congress is gearing up for their first export shipment in September with over 200 young people involved, and over 1,000 families benefitting from coconut sales.

Radio New Zealand International


33) Fiji ranked 7th on IFNA rankings

By Online Editor
10:47 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Fiji

Fiji Netball is ranked above Wales, Samoa and Scotland in the latest IFNA rankings.

Fiji is ranked seventh with 122 ranking points from 24 matches played till up to 1 July 2013.

The updated list which was released earlier this week is headed by the Silver Ferns with 186 rating points followed by Australia on 173, England come in third with 159, Jamaica is fourth with 143, Malawi is fifth on 135 and South Africa is sixth on 133.


34) Vanuatu Open Confirmed for September

By Online Editor
10:48 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Vanuatu

The 2013 Tusker Vanuatu Open is set to be one of the best contested events in the country’s history as players from across Australasia will compete for the $40,000 prize-money.

The Championship will once again be held at the picturesque Port Vila Golf & Country Club, a layout which delivers some stunning South Pacific views.

Vanuatu Brewing Ltd. has been a proud sponsor of the event for several years. This sponsorship continues to enhance the golf landscape in the country and will once again be a major partner of the tournament.

The PGA of Australia continues to promote golf in the South Pacific, providing local players with international competition and an experience they would not have readily available.

Executive Officer of the NSW/ACT Division David Barker commented on the success of the event in recent years.

“It’s exciting to see the tournament continue to grow in popularity. Every aspect of the tournament is planned to perfection and it really does provide a unique island experience for professionals and amateurs alike”

“The event has had some great champions and I’m certain 2013 will be no different” added Barker.
In 2012 it was Brad McIntosh who ran away with the Championship with a superb closing round of five-under-par 67 and a total of 12-under-par to win by four shots ahead of New Zealand’s Nick Gillespie.

McIntosh and Gillespie have featured as the front runners in the past two years as Gillespie won the 2011 Title by a record eight strokes over McIntosh.

The event has become a highlight reel for the left-handed-McIntosh who has won the event three times including his repeat wins in 2007/08.

Entries are now open for the 2013 Tusker Vanuatu Open.

35) Rudd in support for PNG to join Queensland rugby league state competition

By Online Editor
10:49 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has put his support behind Papua New Guinea’s inclusion in the Queensland rugby league state competition.

He said that would pave a way forward for a team to eventually enter the National Rugby League.

Rudd, who follows the NRL and  backs the Queensland Maroons, said that he wants a PNG national rugby league team to participate in the Queensland Intrust Cup to gain experience before entering what is arguably the best rugby league competition in the world.

The PNG Rugby League Foundation has been tasked by the Government to enter a team in the Qld Cup by next year. The process will see the PNGRLF bid to the QRL with another expansion hopeful from North Queensland for the privilege of playing.

“Rugby league is in my heart and so I support and want PNG to play in the Queensland state competition and later enter the National Rugby League competition,” Prime Minister Rudd said.

The endorsement by Australia’s political head can only be a positive with predecessor Julia Gillard also voicing her support for the game in PNG on a trip to Port Moresby last year.

Gillard on that trip announced a A$20 million (K41 million) funding of junior rugby league through the AUS Aid programme.

Rudd’s latest gesture is also seen as a continuation of support the Australian governemtn has for sport as a tool for change and development in PNG.

During the press conference O’Neill and Rudd exchanged jerseys with the Australian PM receiving a Team Kumuls jersey while handing a Maroons jersey to his PNG counter-part.

36) Home is where the chance is for Blues

By Online Editor
10:43 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Australia

NSW have their best opportunity to end Queensland’s dominance on Wednesday night or face the very real prospect of a decade-long series drought with Sydney not having two home games again until 2016.

Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will host two games next year with Sydney holding game two. The Origin cycle means NSW will have to wait three years before hosting two home games.

NRL director commercial and marketing Paul Kind said the 2015 schedule had not been confirmed. ”One game will be in NSW, one in Queensland and a third to be determined [will be] outside of NSW or Queensland,” he said.

Melbourne is again favourite to host one game in the three-match series. Etihad Stadium attracted 56,021 fans to Origin I last year. It also drew more than 50,000 people to each of its games in 2009 and 2006.

The Blues have a modest record in Victoria, winning three of seven matches in the garden state, but none since 1997. Gold Coast is also planning to secure an Origin before it hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2018. ”We have an exclusive negotiating window with Victoria,” Kind said. ”That is the only place currently being considered.”

Any matches away from Sydney would come as a blow for a Blues side desperate to halt Queensland’s seven-year Origin domination on Wednesday night. ANZ Stadium has turned into a fortress for the Blues with crowds streaming into the venue in record numbers this series.

A near sellout crowd of 83,000 is expected for the series decider, which will help surpass the overall attendance record for an Origin series set in 2004. NSW back-rower Luke Lewis is the only Blues survivor from that series, which NSW won 2-1. After two games this year, the aggregate crowd of 131,070 is just 72,239 short of the 2004 record.

Despite Queensland’s series dominance, the Maroons have won just four of 20 matches at ANZ. A move away from Sydney would almost be welcomed, with Queensland skipper Cameron Smith acknowledging his side’s history at the ground is ”not great and we would love the record at ANZ to be better”.

37) Fear of failure driving Queensland Maroons

By Online Editor
10:33 am GMT+12, 17/07/2013, Australia

The Maroons have a clean bill of health on match eve for the first time this series.

With both their previous preparations threatened by the fitness of Johnathan Thurston, coach Mal Meninga joked about being delighted at finally having his star five-eighth fit for Wednesday night’s decider.

Thurston played through a painful groin injury in Queensland’s Origin I loss and was hospitalised with a virus before their Origin II win.

Meninga’s Queensland team trained strongly Tuesday afternoon at ANZ Stadium, their final session before Wednesday night’s game three.

Unlike the Blues, Queensland’s preparation has been faultless with Greg Inglis overcoming a minor sickness last week to train strongly Tuesday.

Meninga said fear of failure was a motivator as Queensland attempts to win eight straight series.

“John is unscathed… at this stage so that is fantastic,” Meninga said Tuesday.

“Our challenge tonight is to play to our ability.

“This is a great Queensland side that has moved mountains in recent times but at some stage we will lose and I hope it is not tomorrow night but we will be happy we just hope we can look ourselves in the mirror and know we did a fantastic job.

“Fear of failure is always in the back your mind. At the back end of your career that is a motivating factor.

“I’m sure it is in the back of some player’s minds.”.

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