Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 832


1)Five MSG countries to hold trade expo in Fiji

By Online Editor
3:52 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Fiji

Representatives of five Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries will converge in Nadi next month for a trade exposition.

Investment Fiji chief executive, Ravuni Uluilakeba says the expo will include products from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

“The market in MSG countries you’re looking at eleven almost twelve million. That is a big market though there are others outside of Fiji and hence that is one key element. Second when you look at working together with MSG countries what this government is doing is it’s a catalyst to ensure not only that we work side by side with MSG countries but at the same time we can beef up the strength in MSG to elevate ourselves outside the MSG countries,” Uluilakeba said.

Investment Fiji will invite private companies to the expo and create awareness about investment opportunities in Fiji and the other MSG countries.

“There are gaps that each of the countries has and where we can work to address them and similarly in areas where we can look at new investments in Fiji or outside of Fiji, those are opportunities that we have. There are trade agreements where each of these countries can work together to ensure that we elevate ourselves much more,” he said.

There are plans also for the four countries to join Fiji in its trade missions to China and India later in the year.

Meanwhile, a review of Fiji’s Trade Policy Framework will begin soon by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, with assistance from Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The permanent secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali says the first stage of the process involves consultations from the public and private sectors and the civil society.

He says the purpose of a national Trade Policy Framework is to enhance the participation of the private sector in the Fijian economy and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The ultimate goal he adds, is to create employment and raise the standard of living for all Fijians.

It’s envisaged that the Trade Policy Framework will assist in identifying Fiji’s trade priorities and directing resources where it is needed.


2) PNG Parliament urged not to fear change

By Online Editor
3:57 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea must not fear moving forward with changing laws and policies to suit current needs to benefit people, Parliament was told Wednesday.

Hela Governor Anderson Agiru said the country had been for some time it had not undergone improvements and developments regarding laws and policies that promoted substantial growth.

Agiru was among MPs who supported the Government proposed amendment of sections 142 and 145 of the Constitution.

He said the Constitutional amendments should not be feared by the Government and Opposition members.
“The Parliament is here to make laws to give confidence back to the people,” Agiru said.

“The country and the Parliament must not fear to take steps like this to amend laws that will benefit the people today and in the future.

“Stability is gained when such a move is taken and by giving stability we give hope and chance to our country to compete and find its place in the global scene.

“We should not fear the amendments.

“What we should fear is fear of the unknown. Before we move forward, we have to arrest that fear. And with this amendment it triggers these two things, continuity of service delivery and continuity of good policies.

“The amendments here entrenches that continuity of processes so we develop.

“Stability, respect for the people and responsibility were also other points emphasised to be positive factors that drive the move to make amendment to sections 145 and 142.

“A government elected by the people cannot be removed unecessarily.

“Leaders must respect the people and do the right thing to lead them the right path to prosperity.

“This constitutional amendment is a way the government must change to suit the needs of the people,” Agiru said.

Meanwhile, leaders with integrity should judge and vote for any bills in Parliament as their decisions reflect the views of the people they represent, Komo Margarima MP Francis Potape says.

Potape, who supported the constitutional amendment bill on sections 145 and 124, said that leaders should make informed choices on important legislation.

He referred to the constitutional amendment as a “new era’ in PNG politics.

“We have highly-qualified and educated leaders, including myself, and former prime ministers who are constitutional fathers. We have a duty as legislatures to make appropriate laws relevant and suiting to the changing of times for our people,” Potape said during grievance debate.

“Anyone can express their view but by the end of the day it is Parliament  that makes such law.

“The laws I help to pass in this Parliament are relevant and necessary for our people today and tomorrow for the future generation.

“The laws we make must also reflect the true intent of the Constitution and the thinking of the Constitutional Planning Committee and our forefathers, who have desired for PNG to be a progressive sovereign country, blended with diversity who shall live in harmony as one people, one country and one nation as per our national pledge,” the MP said.

3) Address growth of population


The country’s population is experiencing a rapid and substantial growth during the present and the next decades, a growth that is described as unprecedented in human history.
Predications indicate it will grow by million by 2020s and more than 11 million by 2050.
Yesterday, the National Government was called on to seriously address the ever growing PNG population. The call came from one of PNG’s leading obstetrician and gynaecologist Professor Glen Mola while giving a graphic presentation on historical world population, while capturing PNG’s population growth over a certain period of time. He was making a presentation at the PNG Parliament on Population and Development Meeting. The meeting organised by UNFPA was a lead up towards creating a population policy and a way forward towards setting up a formal parliamentarian committee on population and development.
The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Treasurer Don Polye and a number of ministers and governors were at the luncheon presentation.
Professor Glen described the population to be growing at a rate of 2.7-3.2 per cent, adding that it can not match up with resources, making it difficult to provide services. His presentation showed that births did not equal deaths. Every year in PNG, there are 215, 000 births and 68,000 deaths or 34 per 1000 births while deaths were at 11 per 1000 deaths. Even health and education systems cannot grapple the population.
His presentation further showed that cities are growing three times as fast as the rest of the country. Half of mankind lived in conditions worst than 100 years ago.
Professor Glen said if this is not addressed PNG would be trapped in issues surrounding tribalism, poverty, corruption, sickness and climate change.
“Population has a potential to destroy a nation. It is a looming issue for the next generation.”
His presentation was presented to previous governments but the population issue had been always “left until later”.

4) PNG parliament approves no-confidence amendments

By Online Editor
10:35 am GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s parliament has given preliminary approval to amend the country’s constitution to make it harder to raise motions of no-confidence.

Its political system has often been destabilised by no-confidence challenges against the prime minister, toppling the government.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill presented the changes to the country’s parliament for debate on Wednesday.

The changes propose that a no-confidence motion should require a fifth of MPs to support its introduction, and then one month must pass between the challenge and the vote.

Currently a challenge requires a tenth of MPs and a wait of one week.

O’Neill says they aim to prevent constant instability.

“We as members and leaders of this country, we must not be part of this recklessness and totally negative approach that is undermining our country continuously,” he said.

The amendment was debated in Parliament and passed a first vote 87 to 3.

A second vote will be held in two months, at which point the amendments could become law.

O’Neill says accusations he is using the amendments to hold onto power are “laughable”.

“I will remain in this office as long as I retain the confidence of the majority of the elected members of this honourable house,” he said.

“These changes are not about protecting Peter O’Neill, they are about strengthening a long-term government stability and confidence.”

O’Neill says the amendments will not prevent motions of no-confidence but will ensure “sufficient notice” is given before a motion can be moved.

“It will guarantee that the vote of no-confidence motion is treated as a very serious matter for our people and our country,” he said.

PNG politician Ken Fairweather said in parliament he supported the change.

“With the amount of money that the government has… we need to take a better look at the way we do things,” he said.

“Whilst it might go against my natural instinct at having a bit of fun at everybody, I’ll support the bill, the amendments, and I think everyone should too.”.


5) Party bill sets for Solomon Islands parliament : PM Lilo

By Online Editor
10:32 am GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government will bring a new bill to regulate the country’s political party system when parliament resumes on July 25.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo confirmed this during his address marking the country’s 35th independence anniversary last week.

The bill is to be called the Political Parties Integrity Bill 2013.

Lilo said in the area of political stability and integrity, some progress has also been made in 2013.

“Consultations have also found the desire to have strong, vibrant and disciplined political parties,” Mr Lilo said.

“Improvement of political integrity and stability institutions is my government priority,” he added.

The bill aims to provide for the orderly registration and management of political parties. This should set in place some good structures for the 2014 general elections.

The objects of this Bill are to establish an authority (the Commission) to regulate political parties; to provide for registration of political parties, including the rules for amalgamation of political parties and to regulate the constitution and rules of political parties.

The bill will also look into regulate coalition agreements, and encourage political parties to enter into pre-election coalition agreements, to provide for rules for selection of candidates; and to regulate campaigns and other electoral activities of persons other than political parties and candidates.

It will also deal with preliminary provisions.

It sets out the objectives of the proposed Act in relation to the development of political parties and their roles under our democratic parliamentary system and the governance of the peoples of Solomon Islands.

It will regulate activities of persons who are not political parties contesting elections, during a general election.

Such non-contesting parties or groups are required to have a licence to undertake any activity, such as campaigning and fund raising for another political party or candidate.

National Parliament said the bill is yet to reach their office.

6)Vanuatu govt awaits decision on opposition’s motion of no confidence

By Online Editor
1:12 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu government is awaiting a court decision to determine whether a motion of no confidence by the opposition party is legal.

The speaker, Philip Boedoro, ruled last week that the motion was not in order.

Radio New Zealand International Vanuatu correspondent, Hilaire Bule, says the government claimed that signatures on the motion had been forged by the opposition.

The Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industries, Marcellino Pipite, was also sacked for signing the motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

Bule says the opposition sought an urgent court order, and the outcome of this will determine whether the no confidence vote against the Prime Minister can go ahead.

“That is the question, because last week they were claiming 28 members of the parliament, so if they still got that support, it is likely that if the court is making the ruling in favour of the opposition, the parliament will meet.”

Bule says if the ruling goes the way of the opposition parliament could meet to vote on the motion as early as today.

7) Fiji Commerce Commission can’t rule on complaints political in nature

Posted at 05:19 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s Commerce Commission says it can’t make any ruling on the complaints received by political parties regarding the cost of publishing the declaration of their assets and liabilities.

This week, the Labour Party was suspended for failing to pay a bill for the publication of its financial records, a requirement parties have to meet in order to register.

Last week, three of Fiji’s four parties were sent a 14,000 US dollar bill from the Fiji Sun newspaper, through the registrar of political parties, for publishing the information.

The main objection to the Commerce Commission was that the registrar chose the Fiji Sun without calling for tenders.

But the chairperson of the Commission, Dr Mahendra Reddy, says since the introduction of the Political Parties Decree, the Commission no longer has jurisdiction to deliberate on complaints that relate to political processes.

Dr Reddy says the only avenue now would be to take the registrar of political parties to court.

Dr Reddy says they did find on comparing quotes with other newspapers that the Fiji Sun charged less than the market rate.

Radio New Zealand International

8) China pleased with Fiji election progress

Posted at 05:19 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

The Chinese government says it is delighted to see Fiji’s progress towards the general elections next year.

The Chinese ambassador Huang Yong has told the Fiji Sun that Beijing is willing to provide necessary assistance for the election, with details to be decided by both parties through consultation.

In April, Papua New Guinea announced that it would provide more than 11 million US dollars to assist Fiji’s elections.

Two weeks ago, Fiji praised the United States for its immense support for Fiji’s proposed elections.

Last week, France said it was pleased with the actions taken by the current government towards the elections.

The Fiji military regime, which seized power seven years ago, says it will have a new constitution next month after failing to abide by its own decree for the document to be finalised in March.

Four parties have lined up so far, but one was suspended by the regime this week amid a tendering dispute.

The regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has said he will stand but is yet to form a party.

Radio New Zealand International

9) New wealth mapping assists AusAid in targeting poor and vulnerable communities

By Online Editor
3:53 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Fiji

A Fiji Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank survey shows 53 per cent of people are living in poverty in the country’s north.

John Davidson, minister counsellor for the Australian Agency for International Development, says they are using the world’s best wealth mapping techniques.

“We can drill right down to the crown level and know where the poorest people are living in Fiji,” he said.

“We can also see where the largest number of the poor are living in Fiji.”

Davidson says the mapping has led to AusAid setting up a new office in Labasa, as part of a comprehensive community development program in Fiji’s north.

“The focus of the program is on the poorest 25 per cent of schools, the poorest 25 per cent of health centres and health facilities, and then also working very directly on the whole community resilience and economic opportunities,” he said.

Michael Brown John, team leader of the Fiji Community Development Program, says the AusAid funded program will provide support to the increasing number of civil society organisations in northern Fiji.

“The program supports civil society organisations reaching out to thousands of poor Fijians helping them find ways to increase incomes and develop their communities,” he said.

“This activity is the largest program we’ve got here in Fiji supporting civil society organisations with around $US4 million over five years.”

Brown John says the program aims to enable the organisations to provide more services to people in the area.

“They range from counselling services to vulnerable groups, women, young people, people with disabilities, support to the visually impaired as well as people living with HIV,” he said.


10) Fiji Constitution to be finalised by next month: AG

By Online Editor
3:56 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Fiji

Acting Fijian Prime Minister and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has confirmed to FBC News, that the constitution will be finalised next month.

He says the constitution will be available in three languages, English Hindi and i-taukei.

“As we said we have given some time frames, for the constitution to be completed, and the main part is that we also getting it completed or translated in the vernacular languages. The Bainimarama government believes that the constitution needs to be made available in the vernacular. So everybody has a good understanding and they don’t necessarily get misled,” said Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the public will be able to review the document in the next few weeks.

“We would like the public have access to the constitution, in the vernacular languages and of course in the English language, at least for couple of weeks.”

He said the constitution will be finalized after it’s translated into the two vernacular languages

Meanwhile, Sayed-Khaiyum says the Commerce Commission doesn’t have the legal authority to deliberate on the complaint by the now suspended Fiji Labour Party (FLP).

The FLP had earlier written to the commission on the high fees for the publication of its assets and liabilities in the Fiji Sun.

“The question of whether the Commerce Commission has jurisdiction over this particular issue, whether they have the legal ability to make a determination regarding it. It does not, and the commerce commission has already written to the Labour Party saying it does not have that legal authority to make a determination, but none the less they have in-fact gone ahead and compared the rates that was charged by the Fiji Sun in respect to their advertisement and they also found the fact the rates that Fiji Sun charge were cheaper.”

The suspended Fiji Labour Party was required to pay about $6,300 to the Registrar’s office by 15 July.

“The fact is that the registrar of political parties has obviously taken the decision for the suspension for the Fiji Labour Party on the basis that there was non-compliance to the actual law in place. Should the Political Party in question remedy the breach then obviously they can again operate as a political party and they are given sixty days to remedy their breach.”

A representative of the suspended Fiji Labour Party Surendra Lal, told FBC News that arrangements are being made to pay the Registrar of Political Parties.



11) Samoa’s cabinet awards Fugalei market contract to Chinese company

Posted at 20:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

Samoa’s cabinet has awarded the rebuilding of the Fugalei market on Upolu to the Chinese company, Qing Dao Construction.

The company has an office in Apia but recruit all their workers from mainland China.

The editor of the Samoa Observer newspaper Keni Lesa says Qing Dao was one of two Chinese companies among locals bidding for the contract.

He says the two Chinese companies had the lowest bids.

“These guys bring in everyone from China obviously the money goes back to China. It is one of the biggest in Samoa now, I mean you’ve got Qing Dao and then you’ve got another Chinese company called Shanghai Construction.”

Keni Lesa says the rebuild of Upolu’s main market at Fugalei has been badly managed and plagued with delays.

He says funds were also misspent on the first design of the new market that ended up being scrapped, and new plans drawn up.

Radio New Zealand International


12) Labor to lean on Papua New Guinea for help

By Online Editor
12:59 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Australia

Labour will aim to stem the flow of asylum boat arrivals by campaigning to make the UN Refugee Convention more effective while expanding the role of Papua New Guinea to accommodate “economic refugees” from Iran.

Amid speculation that Kevin Rudd could call the election as early as next week, Labor is moving quickly on a suite of reforms to asylum policy in the hope of neutralising what has become its greatest electoral liability.

The reforms, likely to be announced within days, will take a three-tiered approach, attempting to tackle the problem at the global, regional and national level.

At the centre of the reforms will be a focus on PNG, with an expectation the impoverished Pacific state will agree to significantly expand the scope of its processing operations.

It is understood Australia hopes to transfer failed Iranian asylum-seekers, considered by the government to be economic migrants, to PNG, creating an incentive for them to voluntarily return home.

There are plans to construct a permanent facility housing 600 asylum-seekers on PNG’s Manus Island. The government may seek to expand Manus Island or build a new centre near Port Moresby, although reports out of PNG last night discounted that option.

The Australian has been told the package will contain “different initiatives” with a tougher, more rigorous refugee assessment process another key feature. It is understood one of the options is eliminating entirely the role of the Refugee Review Tribunal – the first layer of appeal for failed asylum-seekers. Instead, asylum-seekers whose claims failed would appeal straight to the courts.

“The emphasis is on speed,” one source familiar with the review told The Australian. “A huge amount of work has gone into it.”

The emphasis will be on harmonising the assessment of claims at the primary and review stage and eliminating the often wildly divergent conclusions decision makers and reviewers draw, despite examining what is essentially the same material. The Department of Foreign Affairs will compile “country information assessments” for countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, and insist they play a major role in assessing individual refugee claims.

A ministerial directive requiring both Immigration Department decision makers and the Refugee Review Tribunal to utilise the Foreign Affairs material was issued by previous immigration minister Brendan O’Connor on June 21 and came into force the following day.

Driving the process is a belief inside the Rudd government that the success rate for refugee claims in Australia, or the “recognition rate” as it is known, is too high and has become a major incentive for people-smugglers and boatpeople.

It is understood Australia has been in discussions with Indonesia about the possibility of returning asylum-seekers who have sailed from Indonesia, back to Jakarta. The outcome of those discussions is unknown.

However, such a policy, described by one government source as “the holy grail” of policy options, would resemble the Malaysia people-swap agreement in its intended effect.

The policy would also be difficult for the Coalition to oppose given Tony Abbott’s plans for something similar using boat tow-backs.

Labor, particularly Foreign Minister Bob Carr, has recently changed the language on asylum-seekers, labelling many “economic migrants” rather than refugees genuinely escaping persecution.

The shift was viewed as a sign of a tougher line on asylum-seekers from countries such as Iran, which has been the source of more than 5000 arrivals this year alone.

Kevin Rudd said yesterday the government would have more to say about refugee policy “in due course”.

“Action at the global level, the regional level, the national level, that’s the correct response to a problem which is not uniquely Australia’s,” the Prime Minister said.

Rudd also flagged changes to how the government applies the UN Convention on Refugees, to which Australia is a signatory. “On our policies we are looking at this right now globally, in terms of the effectiveness of the Refugee Convention,” he said. “We’re looking at it regionally in terms of our cooperation with regional states in Southeast Asia and the southwest Pacific, hence my visit to Indonesia, discussions I’ve had recently in PNG and elsewhere in order to strengthen our regional cooperation as folk move their way through this region.”

The Opposition Leader said the boats issue now constituted a “national emergency” that needed to be addressed immediately, attacking Mr Rudd for his decision to relax border protection in 2008.

“Be man enough to admit that you got it wrong, you caused this problem,” Abbott said.

“Bring back the parliament, let’s debate this issue and let’s make the changes now to stop the boats.”

The urgency of new measures was underscored yesterday with confirmation that at least four more asylum-seekers had died at sea after their boat capsized under escort into Christmas Island.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said 144 people had been plucked from the water in a mass rescue conducted by Customs personnel in treacherous conditions.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison dismissed the proposed Labor reforms, saying the government had had five years to stop the boats.”.


13) Chinese museum with fake artifects

A Chinese museum has been forced to close after claims that its 40,000-strong collection of supposedly ancient relics was almost entirely composed of fakes.
The 60 million yuan (£6.4 million) Jibaozhai Museum, located in Jizhou, a city in the northern province of Hebei, opened in 2010 with its 12 exhibition halls packed with apparently unique cultural gems.
But the museum’s collection, while extensive, appears ultimately to have been flawed. On Monday, the museum’s ticket offices were shut amid claims that many of the exhibits were in fact knock-offs which had been bought for between 100 yuan (£10.70) and 2000 yuan (£215).
The museum’s public humiliation began earlier this month when Ma Boyong, a Chinese writer, noticed a series of inexplicable discrepancies during a visit and posted his findings online.
Among the most striking errors were artifacts engraved with writing purportedly showing that they dated back more than 4000 years to the times of China’s Yellow Emperor. However, according to a report in the Shanghai Daily the writing appeared in simplified Chinese characters, which only came into widespread use in the 20th century.
The collection also contained a “Tang Dynasty” five-colour porcelain vase despite the fact that this technique was only invented hundreds of years later, during the Ming Dynasty.


14) Veteran journalists, UN deputy chief urge Security Council to do more to protect reporters

By Online Editor
10:23 am GMT+12, 18/07/2013, United States

With journalists working in dangerous corners of the world being thrown in prison or murdered in record numbers, the Deputy Secretary-General joined veteran reporters today urging the United Nations Security Council to stand up against all acts to suppress media freedom wherever and whenever they occur.

“When journalists are killed, information about threats to international peace and security is often buried,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the Council in a special meeting devoted to the protection of journalists in armed conflict. He added that the 15-member body may wish to consider the targeting of journalists and other threats to freedom of expression when addressing situations on its agenda.

Every time a journalist is killed or intimidated into silence, “there is one less voice to speak on behalf of the victims of conflict, crime and human rights abuses…one less observer of efforts to uphold rights and ensure human dignity,” said Eliasson.

Today’s meeting is the first time the Council specifically considers the issue of protection of journalists in armed conflict since it adopted resolution 1738 on the issue in 2006, and the first time four international journalists directly address the UN body.

Those providing often chilling accounts of the dangers they and their colleagues faced in the field included Kathleen Carroll, Associated Press executive editor and vice chair of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Richard Engel of NBC News, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad from the Guardian, and Mustafa Haji Abdinur of AFP, a self-taught reporter working in Somalia, who told the Council sombrely: “I’m here simply because I’m lucky; because the gunmen who have killed so many of my friends have not yet found me. Still, it’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Eliasson said that in the past decade, more than 600 journalists have been killed, the majority local journalists and media staff often reporting on corruption and other illegal activities. It is “shocking and unacceptable” that more than 90 per cent of the assassinations on journalists go unpunished, he noted, urging that “the least we can do when a journalist is murdered, is to ensure that the death is investigated swiftly and justice is served.”

The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issues of Impunity aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, as a prerequisite for freedom of expression and democracy. The Plan was approved in April 2012 by the UN Chief Executives Board and led by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A multi-dimensional, multi-actor approach, the Plan requires cooperation from Governments – particularly through Ministries of Information, academia, as well as media houses and civil society to conduct awareness about threats to journalists.

Eliasson encouraged all UN entities to submit information which could contribute to journalists’ greater safety.

Stressing the importance of freedom of expression, Eliasson highlighted that the fundamental human right at the heart of journalistic work is in the report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The report aimed to outline a new framework building on the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In her remarks, Ms. Carroll stressed that journalists represent the ordinary citizen. “An attack on a journalist is a proxy for an attack on the people, an attack on their right to information about their communities and their institutions.”

Citing CPJ figures, she noted that 5 in 6 murdered journalists are killed in their own hometowns covering local stories, often related to crime and corruption, and that 90 per cent of the cases go unpunished.

Engel argued that protecting journalists is harder than ever because of the blurred delineation between who is a journalist and an activist.

“If the discussion today is about protection journalists, you have to decide who gets protection? Who deserves it? And who forfeits it,”Engel asked, noting that professional journalists for State and private media, as well as freelancers who join rebel groups and carry guns, are often lumped in the same category.

“We’re all troublemakers,” Engel said stressing how journalists are perceived by Governments. “The guild of professionals isn’t recognized anymore. It should be. Just like you in the diplomatic community need protection to be objective. If you want professionals who are also objective we need protection as well.”

Saying that war-time reporters were often referred to as “dead men walking”,Abdinur said that scores of journalists had been killed covering the decades-long conflict in Somalia. He longed for the day when the perpetrators of such crimes were prosecuted and punished, as the vast majority of perpetrators today continued to kill with impunity.

“When a journalist is killed, the news dies too,” he said. The question today was, how long could that bravery continue? Indeed, “we are few remaining.” The Council’s discussion today would play an important role in answering that question, and in helping to encourage States to support journalist. In the meantime, the work of telling the truth would continue. “We will not fail the dream, we will never be discouraged.”

For his part, Abdul-Ahad echoed many of the same sentiments, saying there is a sense of immunity for all those who captured journalists; they were never questioned and they never paid for it. That created a sense that professional journalists were “asking” for trouble just by being on a particular scene. “But we have to be there; we are telling the story,” he said.

“We would happily be sitting in our countries and writing from our desks,” he said, but by covering conflicts today, journalists became part of them. When he had been detained in Afghanistan and Libya, certain groups helped with his release, but other reporters had been left behind. Professional journalists were part of a community of informers who deserved protection. If the Security Council could do more to recognize journalists as a part of a “humanitarian effort to tell a story”, perhaps the 15-member body could foster their protection, he suggested.


15) Volunteer Eye Specialists To Provide Services On Majuro
Team of Americans expects to perform 200 cataract surgeries

By Giff Johnson

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 18, 2013) – An American volunteer team of eye doctors arrives in Majuro this weekend and will provide cataract operations and other services for nearly two weeks.

This month’s ophthalmology team visit, organized by California-based Canvasback Missions, is following up on a successful visit made about the same time a year ago.

It will be followed in August by the arrival of a team of ear, nose and throat specialists, who will also spend two weeks screening patients and conducting surgeries.

According to Canvasback team coordinator Jacque Spence, the eye team will focus on doing cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy laser treatments and dispensing glasses.

The team expects to do about 200 cataract surgeries. Majuro Hospital medical staff has been pre-screening scores of patients in preparation for the visit.

“We are honored that Dr. Jeffrey Ing is the chief ophthalmologist on this team,” said Spence. “His father, Dr. Clarence Ing, was medical director of Majuro Hospital in 1981-1982. Jeff Ing was a young boy at the time and has had a desire to come back home to Majuro and use his skills to help the people of Majuro.”

Canvasback recruited four surgeons to help Majuro Hospital address the overwhelming need for eye surgeries. Many of the cataract and related eye problems are for diabetic patients, who make up the majority of patients at Majuro Hospital.

“One of the challenges of bringing a retinal specialist is having the necessary equipment that is portable enough to bring to the islands,” said Spence. “We were so pleased when Synergetics agreed to loan Canvasback Missions a VersaVit for this trip and the necessary supplies to treat ten patients.”

The Canvasback Missions ear, nose and throat team will be working in Majuro August 19-30. When a similar ENT team visited Majuro Hospital last year, it examined 437 patients and performed 43 surgeries. The ENT team also identified 37 patients who still needed to have surgery. So Spence recruited the ENT team that will arrive next month.

Canvasback Missions has been providing medical and dental services to the Marshall Islands since the 1980s. At that time, it employed catamaran sailing vessels to transport medical teams to remote outer islands. In recent years, it has sent specialized medical teams to Majuro and Ebeye that have targeted specific needs identified by local medical officials.
Marianas Variety:

16) Health Workers Combat Pasifika Gambling In Auckland
New service helping islanders dealing with gambling problems

By Khing Chadwick

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, July 17, 2013) – Pacific health care workers are hoping to turn the tables on problem gambling with a series of workshops for the community in South Auckland.

Sunita Nua who works in healthcare promotion at South Seas Healthcare says Islanders are at the top of the gambling table in New Zealand.

“Of those Pacific Island numbers, Samoans are leading followed by Tongans and Cook Islanders according to The Department of Internal Affairs records,” he says.

Nua who also heads Pasifika Ola Lelei services says raising awareness should help change this record.

Pasifika Ola Lelei and other Pacific problem gambling services are working towards Gamble Free Day on the September 1.

Nua says it begins with a special program about gambling on Saturday August 31, at the Mangere Town Centre.

The program will focus on preventing and minimizing gambling harm in the Auckland region, Nua says.

“We want to raise the awareness and the harm done to our people by gambling. It can be lotto, casino, housie, sports betting and TAB. All of these are forms of gambling.”

Raise awareness

Pasifika Ola Lelei based in Otara is a free and confidential service funded by the Ministry of Health. It raises awareness in the Pacific Island community by targeting groups at the top of the table through community engagement.

“We work with our people in our community with elderly groups, the youth, the church and sports groups,” Nua says.

According to Nua, Pasifika Ola Lelei is the only healthcare provider in New Zealand which has this service.

If gamblers are identified, they are referred to a partner healthcare service, Raukura O Tainui, which provides counseling clinics.

“As part of our program we have screening questions to assess whether they are addicted or not.”

Nua says the program is not restricted to addicted gamblers but to those who are affected by it.

When asked about the Government’s recent deal with Sky City Casino including the 500 new slot machines Nua is philosophical.

“We will still do our educational programs and raise awareness of the harm it can do to our community. As long as they know and understand the harm caused by pokies.”

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre –

17) Nurses and dentists in Kiribati benefit from Pacific Partnership mission

Posted at 20:32 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

Nurses and dentists in Kiribati are learning new skills and several clinics are to be renovated as part of the Pacific Partnership aid mission.

The New Zealand defence force led mission in Kiribati has a focus on school and health infrastructure.

The acting deputy secretary of the Tungaru Central Hospital Tekoaua Temaroa says they are grateful to have the Pacific Partnership in Kiribati, as it’s a great opportunity for dentists and nurses to upgrade their skills.

He says the renovation of several clinics will make services a better environment for both staff and patients.

“We are thinking of trying to provide services that are more efficient, more comfortable for them and they can be having an impact on their lives. We are more concentrating in trying to upgrade. Most of our staff they have been able to help us out in certain training, certain procedures maybe on resuscitation or any other medical procedures that are required for the benefit of our people.”

The acting deputy secretary of the Tungaru Central Hospital Tekoaua Temaroa.
Radio New Zealand International


18) Big push for bilum industry

By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

The informal bilum business in Papua New Guinea will be commercialised to penetrate the international markets, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru says.

He said the bilum project would be funded by the International Trade Centre’s  US$3 million (K6.7 million) Women in Trade programme with additional funding support from the Australian government.

He disclosed this in Port Moresby following a recent trip to Geneva where he attended the 4th Global Review for Aid for Trade last week.

The ITC is a joint initiative of the WTO and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) based in Geneva.

Maru said the ITC supported developing countries in boosting their export capacity and enhance participation in global trade.

The bilum project could be initiated next month with a preliminary mission from ITC due to visit the country.
Another potential project Maru hoped to collaborate with the ITC was to develop a national export Strategy for PNG.

He said: “This project would identify constraints in the supply chain that hinder PNG’s ability to maximise value from its traditional exports.”

The ITC has developed a plan of action to address these constraints and assisted the government to carry out the plan, Maru said.

“I will seek financial support from international development partners for this project,” Maru said.

Maru and ITC also discussed a possible agreement between his ministry and ITC for long term collaboration on other trade-related assistance.

Meanwhile, Maru also met with the European Union in Brussels last Thursday and held consultations on the implementation and future development of the Interim EPA between the Pacific states and the European Union.

He also held a trade dialogue with the EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht on the margin of the trade committee meeting in Brussels.

Maru praised the EU for its market access to fisheries products under the interim EPA and EU’s trade related development assistance.

He also reaffirmed PNG’s commitment on effective implementation of the agreement and to explore other opportunities in agro-based food processing and manufacturing, beyond fisheries with the European Union.

Maru also stressed the country’s desire for more European investors to come to PNG.


19) French Senate poised to expand New Caledonia powers

Posted at 05:19 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

The law commission of the French Senate has approved an amendment to the organic law to allow New Caledonia to set up new administrative authorities.

The move is aimed at allowing the territory to establish a competition watchdog as part of efforts to help combat the high cost of living.

A further amendment calls for communities to be allowd to set up public companies.

The amendments will go to the Senate next week.

This comes as the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, is due in New Caledonia next week for a three-day visit.

Radio New Zealand International

20) PNG’s support of regional trade agreement unclear

Posted at 05:19 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

An MP representing New Zealand at the Pacific Islands Trade Ministers Meeting in Samoa says it’s important for Papua New Guinea to discuss the benefits of a regional trade and economic development agreement.

The private secretary for Foreign Affairs, John Hayes, says New Zealand is committed to supporting increased trade, investment, and economic opportunities in the Pacific and therefore progress on the negotiation of the PACER Plus agreement will be a key topic.

PNG’s minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, has told Radio New Zealand International, that the government has withdrawn from any future discussions on the trade agreement as it wasn’t seen as beneficial.

But Mr Hayes says that doesn’t appear to be PNG’s official position, based on talks in the last 24 hours with a PNG representative in Samoa.

He says it’s in PNG’s interests to at least come to the table.

“The PACER Plus agreement helps to facilitate trade and I think it’s really important for Papua New Guinea as a part of the region to be engaged in that process because of the size of its economy.”

The New Zealand MP John Hayes.

Radio New Zealand International

21) PNG urged to come to table to discuss trade agreement

Posted at 05:45 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

An MP representing New Zealand at the Pacific Islands Trade Ministers Meeting in Samoa says it’s important for Papua New Guinea to come to the table to discuss a regional trade and economic development agreement.

PNG’s Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, told Radio New Zealand International that they’ve withdrawn from any future discussions on the PACER Plus agreement.

But the private secretary for Foreign Affairs in New Zealand, John Hayes, says that doesn’t appear to be PNG’s official position, based on talks in the last 24 hours with a PNG representative in Samoa.

He told Bridget Tunnicliffe it’s in everyone’s interests to at least form part of the discussion.

JOHN HAYES: We want to engage in this because we think it’s a way for facilitating the growth of trade between Pacific Forum countries. And that’s, of course, important for creating jobs in Pacific economies – our own, as well.

BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: Papua New Guinea has voiced, or Richard Maru has voiced, concerns about what they would get out of the PACER Plus agreement. How are you going to convince these countries that it is going to be mutually beneficial?

JH: The PACER Plus agreement helps to facilitate trade, and I think it’s really important for Papua New Guinea, as a part of the region, to be engaged in that process because of the size of its economy.

BT: One of the criticisms has been that it’s just too one-sided and they’re not going to get anything out of it, and Australia and New Zealand are the ones set to benefit. How can you convince them otherwise?

JH: Well, I don’t think that’s the case at all, and I also would feel that better to have a seat at the table and be putting on the table what you would like to get out of it than standing outside the room and having no say on what the rest of the Pacific is up to.

BT: Some members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group have talked about developing trade amongst themselves first, consolidating that before looking at the wider region, are you concerned that that attitude could undermine PACER Plus?

JH: As in Papua New Guinea, the region has a lot of diversity, and that gives us a unique strength. And I think it’s more important for all of us in the region to work together, because doing that will help the interests of our small brothers who are not as well-endowed as Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia or Fiji. We’re a big region and we have a lot of large ocean space separated by a lot of sea, a lot of distance. And meetings like this help bring people together and help them to engage with each other. That’s why I think these meetings are so important because of the tyranny of distance. What I think is really important is that as a region we remain a tight cohesive group and don’t splinter. And whether you’re living in Tahiti or you’re living in Guam or you’re living in Papua New Guinea, we’re all part of the same Pacific ocean. And I think it’s really important that we work as a group for the benefit of all of us. Because if we don’t do that we just split our ability to deliver really good economic rewards, jobs, and those sort of things for the communities that we represent.
Radio New Zealand International

22) Mining executives urge Solomons’ Temotu to open up sea bed

Posted at 05:45 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

Mining executives are urging people in Temotu province in Solomon Islands 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 Mr Harvey Cook – say their company is more than ready to extract seabed minerals for the benefit of island nations using safe, environmentally friendly technology.

Our correspondent in Temotu province, George West, told Annell Husband the local people are angry with the government for granting a mining licence without talking to the community.

GEORGE WEST: Most of these complaints by the people are to do with legislation, the laws of the country, so they are best addressed by their national leaders and provincial leaders. But at the moment, or at this time, what is available to the community… there’s nothing available. The company, or any company, can go through the national government, get prospecting licenses, even mining licenses, and extract minerals in the provinces in the communities. The state owns everything under the top-soil.

ANNELL HUSBAND: So what is at risk in Temotu if this mining does go ahead?

GW: The people have a lot of assumptions, fears, about what might happen if something goes wrong during the mining. The main fear involves damaging their livelihoods – the coastal areas and the reefs.

AH: The company has assured people, though, that their technologies are completely safe, hasn’t it?

GW: Yes.

AH: But people don’t believe that?

GW: People, maybe they don’t believe that, or they do not know it. But the people have heard, have read, about events in other countries, in other places. Even in Honiara – the people are aware of what’s going on there, those … failings out there, and people fear such things happening in Temotu.

AH: Is there going to be any sort of action to stop the mining company going ahead and doing the prospecting work?

GW: At the moment there are no legal avenues to stop the companies doing this?

GW: People can petition, people can march, but there are no legal avenues. Maybe they can use political leaders on a national level, but the political leaders, the provincial government are just like lame ducks.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Joint group to oversee Solwara 1

By Online Editor
3:50 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

A joint working group has been established to oversee the development of the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project in the Bismarck Sea.

The group called the New Ireland Nautilus Mineral Working Group (NINMWG) consists of three representatives from the New Ireland provincial government (NIPG) and Nautilus Minerals Ltd.

The group was established under a memorandum of understanding signed yesterday in Port Moresby by representatives of the provincial government and Nautilus Minerals.

New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan described the MoU as “historic, first of its kind and penetrating into new time” involving the NIPG from the initial stages of the Solwara 1 project.

“We want to set the cornerstone for future arrangements in similar extractive industries.

“Before anything happens, NIPG, the elected representatives of the mine affected areas will directly involve from the start.

“Spirit of cooperation is very vital. I’m very pleased that from here on, the spirit of misunderstanding is removed.

“Here we are upholding the spirit of consultation as required by the Constitution and Organic Law of Provincial and Local Level Government.

“Life after development (mine life) is important. This is an aspect the stakeholders must consider in the whole process,” Sir Julius stressed.

Ministers Ben Micah (State Enterprises) and Byron Chan (Mining) pledged their support and cooperation with all stakeholders for the maximum benefit of the people of West Coast, New Ireland and PNG.

Country Manager for Nautilus Minerals Mel Togolo stressed that “what we do must be of greater benefit to the people”.

CEO of Nautilus Minerals Niugini Ltd, Mike Johnston thanked Sir Julius for being the driving force in ensuring that the people and provincial government gained maximum benefit from the project.

“It is important to understand the challenges and issues involved at the early stages of the project so that all stakeholders benefit,” Johnston said.

Previously, the provincial government opposed any new mining and exploration activities in New Ireland following continuous failure by the National Government to honour its financial obligations and project commitments under the Lihir Memorandum of Agreements (MoA) of 1995.

That MoA specified for, among others, the National Government to allocate each year major infrastructure grants, special support grants and major infrastructure projects.

The infrastructure projects include an international airport, an international seaport, a modern well-equipped hospital at Namatanai and major redevelopment and sealing of the Bulminski Highway.

To date, none of these projects have been undertaken and Sir Julius has warned on a number of occasions that “the agreement you sign is not worth the paper you’re signing, if the State is not going to honour its obligations”.



24) State crime expert bemoans skewed discourse over Bougainville mine

Posted at 05:45 on 18 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 copper and gold 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. He spoke to Johnny Blades.

KRISTIAN LASSLETT: I don’t think the people on the ground have been privy to the full story on what Rio Tinto did during the conflict. They haven’t learnt about what the executives have admitted to. They haven’t learnt about the depth of Rio Tinto’s support of the PNGDF or what they said to the government. And I think that would be absolutely vital information that would then [help us] make an informed decision about their future. I also think we need to see a more diverse range of experts going to the islands to advise people and the government about their options. At the moment there seems to be very much one voice and that voice is talking about the mine reopening. And there are not other options looking at sustainable forms of development that might provide a less divisive way of generating revenue, given the mine’s history on the island.

JOHNNY BLADES: So you feel the whole discourse about the reopening of the mine is being skewed at the moment?

KL: Yeah. I think at the moment the debate about the mine is being very much skewed. The ABG and Bougainville Copper Ltd have developed a very strong narrative, and that narrative is that independence and autonomy hinge upon there being enough revenue coming in, and that owing to the conditions on the island the only source of revenue is the mine reopening. In addition to that, there have been suggestions by ministers from within the ABG that were the mine not to open, other catastrophic consequences could arise, including the reoccupation of Bougainville by the PNGDF. You could imagine it would have a frightening effect.

JB: Standing up for the rights that were infringed upon and all the abuses and so forth also can be seen, surely, as asserting statehood, which is all part of this autonomy question.

KL: Yes, that’s right. There is clearly a very strong case for a civil action, and I would also suggest there is a very strong case for criminal liability. This is another avenue – getting the resources to rebuild the island. Because as we know Rio Tinto is one of the wealthiest mining conglomerations in the world at the moment.

Radio New Zealand International

25) PNG students to march against military violence

Posted at 05:45 on 18 July, 2013 UTC

University of Papua New Guinea students are planning to march on parliament in Port Moresby today.

The march is to protest against the violent attack by soldiers on university students at the weekend.

Dozens of students were reportedly injured when more than 30 soldiers assaulted students and staff of the Medical and Health Sciences campus connected to Port Moresby General Hospital on Sunday.

Two soldiers have been arrested and police say they expect more arrests to be made in the coming days.

Radio New Zealand International


26) Vanuatu flag hoisted in Vetagde Island

By Online Editor
1:07 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Vanuatu

The flag of Vanuatu was hoisted on the northern-most island of Vetagde, in the Torba Province last week by local young men from Sola, Torba Province.

They travelled to the Island by a  yacht.

Vetagde Island lies north in the  Torba Province and more closer  to Tikopia Island in the Temoutu  Province of the Solomon Islands but  inside the Vanuatu maritime boundary.

Historically the Solomon Islands has acknowledged the island as belonging to Vanuatu and Vanuatu vice versa acknowledged it as belonging to the Solomon Islands.

However, Vetagde which is estimated to be the size of the Iririki Island in Port Vila harbor happens  to be inside the maritime boundary of the Republic of Vanuatu.

The Island is estimated to be 55 meters high and covered with rich  soil and green vegetation.

The mission by young men from Sola to the island last week reported that the island is filled with white wood trees, coconut trees and many natural plants and other findings that they have not revealed.

A Daily Post source at Sola said the Island of Vetagde is geographically part of the Torba Province. He said although it is uninhabited by people from Torba, the province still has a claim over the ownership of the Island which is the reason for raising the nation’s flag on the island last week.

The National Coordinator of the Vanuatu Maritime Boundary, Tony  Tevi, confirmed to Daily Post hat the name Vetagde derives from Torba language and that while Vanuatu does not want an immediate diplomatic tug of war with the Solomon Islands over the ownership of the Island, the people of Torba and Vanuatu must be informed that Vetagde is inside the Vanuatu maritime boundary.

“It is historical and interesting because 30 years ago, Vanuatu hoisted her national flag on the islands of Matthew and Hunter in the Southern most end of the Republic of Vanuatu and this month- 33 years after another national flag is raised on the northern-most end, and last Island of the Republic of Vanuatu,” Tevi told Daily Post.

He added that he is now planning a visit with the Torba Provincial officials as early as next week to further explore the Island and collect information about life on Vetagde.

27) Sea level rise study shows each degree of warming could bring 2.3 meter shift

By Online Editor
3:43 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Germany

By Erik Kirschbaum

Sea levels could rise by 2.3 metres for each degree Celsius that global temperatures increase and they will remain high for centuries to come, according to a new study by the leading climate research institute, released on Monday.

Anders Levermann said his study for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research was the first to examine evidence from climate history and combine it with computer simulations of contributing factors to long-term sea-level increases: thermal expansion of oceans, the melting of mountain glaciers and the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for the melting ice. A U.N. panel of scientists, the IPCC, says heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels are nudging up temperatures. A small number of scientists dismiss human-influenced global warming, arguing natural climate fluctuations are responsible.

“We’re confident that our estimate is robust because of the combination of physics and data that we used,” Levermann told Reuters. “We think we’ve set a benchmark for how much sea levels will rise along with temperature increases.”

Sea levels rose by 17 cm last century and the rate has accelerated to more than 3 mm a year, according to the IPCC. A third of the current rise is from Antarctica and Greenland.

Almost 200 governments have agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times and plan to agree, by the end of 2015, a deal to curb emissions.

Global average surface temperatures have risen by 0.8C (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution and the IPCC has said temperatures are likely to be 0.4 to 1.0 degrees Celsius warmer from 2016-35 than in the two decades to 2005.

“In the past there was some uncertainty and people haven’t known by how much,” Levermann said. “We’re saying now, taking everything we know, that we’ve got a robust estimate of 2.3 meters (7 feet, 6.6 inches) of rising sea per degree (Celsius) of warming.”

Some scientific studies have projected sea level rise of up to 2 metres by 2100, a figure that would swamp large tracts of land from Bangladesh to Florida.

David Vaughan, head of the Ice2sea project to narrow down uncertainties about how melting ice will swell the oceans, has said sea levels would rise by between 16.5 and 69 cm under a scenario of moderate global warming this century.

Vaughan told Reuters the biggest impact rising seas will have is that storms will be more destructive in the near future.

“It’s not about chasing people up the beach or the changing shape of coastlines,” he said. “The big issue is how the storms will damage our coasts and how often they occur. That’ll increase even with small levels of sea rise in coming decades.”


Climate sceptics, however, say the evidence is unconvincing. Measurements of changing temperatures are unreliable, contradictory and unsupported by solid historic data, they say.

They question the accuracy of computer climate forecasts and point to historic, cyclical changes in the world’s temperature as evidence that global temperature changes are natural. Others say the evidence shows temperatures have stopped rising and that the sun plays a bigger role than human activities.

“Continuous sea-level rise is something we cannot avoid unless global temperatures go down again,” Levermann said. “Our results indicate that major adaptation at our coastlines will be necessary. It’s likely that some currently populated regions can’t be protected in the long run.”


28) Greenpeace Calls For Stop To Deep Sea Mining Licenses
Political advisor says no exploration before assessments

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 17, 2013) – Environmental organization Greenpeace International has called for a suspension in the granting of deep seabed mining licenses.

A new report from the organization has found that deep seabed mining could have a serious impact on the ocean environment and on the livelihood of coastal communities.

“We have some traditional medicines found in that sea area and as soon as explorations started, the communities began to see that this traditional medicine in the sea was eroding,” Seni Nabou, the political advisor for Greenpeace in Fiji, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.

Ms. Nabou says a license has already been granted for deep seabed mining in Papua New Guinean waters.

She says a lot more work needs to be done to protect the world’s oceans before companies should be allowed to start operating.

“We don’t believe that seabed mining applications should be granted,” Ms. Nabou said.

“Environmental impact assessments are not priority prior to any of this exploration taking place, nor are they being made public.

“No exploration or exploitation should take place unless or until the full range of marine habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem functions are adequately protected.”

Ms. Nabou says many of the habitats on the deep sea floor are yet to be studied by scientists.

“The habitats are dark, previously thought to be lifeless by scientists, but we know now that this is not true,” she said.

“There are still too many unknowns out there, which is why we are joining the Pacific Conference of Churches…in calling for a moratorium on these applications until we know more.”

Ms. Nabou says she wants a network of marine reserves to be set up in 40 per cent of the world’s oceans, where no extractive activities can take place.

“We particularly want to see rules to ensure that environmental and cumulative impacts of seabed mining as well as potential impacts, alternative uses and livelihoods have been thoroughly assessed,” she said.

Radio Australia:


29) Kumuls Rugby League World Cup prep going well

By Online Editor
12:49 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

The PNG Rugby Football League and the Team Kumul High Performance Unit yesterday announced a 24-man squad for Kumul Camp 4.

The high performance camp to be held in Port Moresby from July 22-25 will focus on the progression of the skills, attitude and knowledge of the Papua New Guinea-based players.

Lae Tigers Fijian prop Petero Sanivalu has been named in the squad along with Tigers teammate George Benson and Goroka Lahanis lock Bernard Tatsim.

Enga Mioks prop Esau Siune makes a return to camp after missing out on camp three. Albert Patak and Mark Mexico were not considered because of injury.

Team Kumul coach Adrian Lam said the players were building well to World Cup.

“We are continuing to build on what we’ve done in the previous camps and what the players have been tasked to do in between camps.

“We are getting closer to the business end of the year where we plan to have several matches, which will culminate in the selection of our PNG National team to go to the Rugby League World Cup.

“The National selectors have done a wonderful job in keeping us informed and have recommended a couple of new players to be invited to attend this camp, which Mal and I are excited about,” Lam said.

The camp will see the attendance of the national selectors who will get to experience first hand what the invited players get put through.

Chairman David Tinemau said that it would be a great opportunity to experience the camp environment and how the players cope.

“It will be good to see the players in a highly professional environment which will prepare them for representing PNG.

“It gives us a different perspective on the players attitude and attributes compared with the usual 80 minutes that we see them playing against each other.

“We have bolstered the numbers of this camp to 24.

“There have been a few injuries, notably Albert Patak and Mark Mexico, but we also want to have a closer look at a few new players as well and how they perform under the high performance camp training.

“Having said that, we are still keeping a close eye on a large group of players who won’t be attending this camp.”

The players will assemble in Port Moresby on Monday following their Round 15 commitments with the PNGNRL competition.

Kumul Camp 4 squad:   Josiah Abavu, Richard Kambo, Charlie Wabo, Enoch Maki, Sebastian Pandia, Larsen Marabe, Israel Eliab, Dion Aiye, Ase Boas, Wartovo Puara, Joe Bruno, Adex Wera, Tatsim, Jason Tali, Tiger Emery, David Loko, Siune, Sigfreid Gande, Thompson Teteh, Mogi Wei, Wellington Albert, Sunivalu, Willie Minoga and Benson.

30a) Queensland make it eight straight series

By Online Editor
12:54 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Australia

A decade of State of Origin dominance stands before Queensland after the Maroons overcame NSW and an untimely streaker to secure an eighth straight series win with a 12-10 victory in Wednesday night’s decider.

Hailed as one of the most talented sides ever assembled, the Maroons relied on grit to withstand a NSW team which punched away but struggled to take its chances.

Hammered in the penalty count before a game three record crowd of 83,813 at ANZ Stadium, the qualities which had carried the Maroons to seven series wins came to the fore.

The Blues wasted opportunity after opportunity, their three scoring plays including the crucial Justin Hodges try just after the hour mark all coming on the back of the only penalties they had received to that point.

Even when Trent Merrin scored to close the gap to just two points nine minutes from time, Queensland stood firm, and not even the controversial intervention of a streaker – whose length of the field run denied Maroons prop Matt Scott a try – could deny them their first win in Sydney since 2010.

“I just gave them a quick reminder of who we are, where we come from and what we’re about,” skipper Cameron Smith – who claimed the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series – said of his pep talk post the Merrin try.

“Queensland’s built on never giving up no matter what’s tossed in front of them – you just keep turning up for each other … that’s what we built this side around.

“We’ve been in that situation many times before as a team and we knew we’re a good enough side to withstand that last nine minutes of whatever NSW were going to throw at us.

“We didn’t play our best football … but what we did was tough.”

Added coach Mal Meninga: “We understood we had to handle adversity to its utmost tonight – I was very proud of the players in the way they played and the way they committed to each other.

“That was a true Origin game – true grit, showed fantastic character and desire to get the result we were after.”

For the Blues it was the one that got away, and it will do little to quell the criticism that has been aimed at halfback Mitchell Pearce, who said before the game this was make or break for his Origin career.

“It felt like we were coming to get them for the last 60 minutes, but we just weren’t clinical enough to get there,” NSW coach Laurie Daley said.

“When Trent scored that try with ten minutes to go I was feeling very confident.

“But then a couple of silly penalties took the momentum away from us.

“We’re disappointed, it’s another loss – what do you do.”

In a game which stood on a knife’s edge for much of the contest, the Maroons jumped out of the gates quickest when Johnathan Thurston ducked past both Blues props to dive over next to the posts, before adding a penalty after a careless James Maloney shoulder charge.

The momentum changed with the injection of bench forwards Anthony Watmough and Andrew Fifita, with James McManus, playing his first Origin game since 2009, scoring what was just NSW’s second try in 150 minutes of football.

The onslaught continued but the Blues were repelled, Darius Boyd’s fingertips to thank when he ground a ball as Josh Morris threatened.

Crucial knock-ons by Watmough and McManus and a poor Pearce grubber hurt the Blues, Cooper Cronk’s deft pass put putting Hodges over for what proved the match-winner.

With NSW not hosting two games in a series again until 2016, the Maroons will now fancy their chances of a decade-long streak.

Queensland 12 (Johnathan Thurston, Justin Hodges tries; Thurston 2 goals) New South Wales 10 (James McManus, Trent Merrin tries; James Maloney goal). HT: 8-4

Game 1: NSW 14 bt QLD 6
Game 2: QLD 26 bt NSW 6
Game 3: QLD 12 bt NSW 10

Series: QLD win series 2-1


30b) Upgrade Basketball facilities in the region: Fleur

By Online Editor
12:47 pm GMT+12, 18/07/2013, Fiji

International Basketball Association (FIBA) Oceania Zone Development manager, Annie La Fleur’s main motive is to develop facilities in the region.

Fleur was in the country to assess development programmes of Basketball Fiji from last week.

She told SUNsports during her farewell at the Australian High Commissioner’s residence Tuesday that the region would have to upgrade the facilities to improve competition.

“Players need to train and play in good facilities and resources should be well maintained and if we get funds to do that the regions will prosper.

“I believe the region is moving towards the right direction and I’m sure if things remain this way and get better, they will be ready to battle with other top teams in the world,” Fleur said.

Fleur was impressed with the development programme in Fiji starting from grassroot level right up to the national level. She applauded Basketball Fiji’s development officer, Laisiasa Puamau for what he has contributed to the sport.

“Fiji’s development officers are doing a great job and I can see that there is a lot of hard work being done and basketball in Fiji is just growing magnificently to the level we expect,” she added.

“I really enjoyed the students competition in Fiji; they will be having their annual competition in August and this weekly competition is assisting them to familiarise themselves with the rules.”

The former Australia basketball rep believes if the Oceania region puts in extra hard work then all teams will be successful.

“This is my first year as region development officer and I will continue to work with all island teams to do well in international level.

“My main message to these teams if they put their minds onto the sports and take pride in developing the sport in their own areas then they will be successful.”

Fleur was a member of the Australian team at the 2000 Olympic Games that won silver and have also participated in the Women’s World Championships in 1994 and 1998 in Germany.

She also played for the Sydney Flames team in the Australian basketball league from 1994-2001.


30c) 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.


30d) Three Fiji swimmers will compete at World champs in Spain

Posted at 20:34 on 17 July, 2013 UTC

Three Fiji swimmers will represent the country at the 15th FINA World Championships in Spain later this month.

In a statement, Fiji Swimming revealed that Caroline Puamau, Douglas Miller and Matelita Buadromo from the Dolphin Swimming Club were confirmed after a rigorous selection process.

Fiji Times online says the team manager is Lucy Erasito and team coach is Sharon Smith.

The team departs for Barcelona on July 22 for an intense week of competition events during which the swimmers are aiming for personal bests as they continue to build up towards the Pacific Games in 2015 and Olympics in 2016.

Radio New Zealand International

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