Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 840

MELANESIA:

1a) Vanuatu marks Independence Day

Posted at 07:32 on 30 July, 2009 UTC

Celebrations have been taking place in Vanuatu to mark 29 years since the country gained independence.

Schools and businesses were closed as many ni-Vanuatu took time out to celebrate the national day.

Sara Vuitalitu reports from Port Vila

“The day began with a flag-raising ceremony at Independence Park where hundreds gathered in the rain to watch the military and police parade and to hear the Prime Minister Edward Natapei’s address calling on everyone to celebrate together as one nation. July the 30th marks the day in 1980 when Vanuatu gained independence from britain and France. A number of music, dance and sports events are going on to mark the occasion.”

Radio New Zealand International  ( Phils Opinion : I was there July 30th 1980! Name Changed from The New Hebrides Islands to Vanuatu.
Wishing all Ni-Vanuatu People and Friends of Vanuatu a very Happy 33rd Independence Anniversary!..……& not to forget Our New Hebridean’s (Majority French subjects) that are now Diaspora’s in other parts of the world – France,New Caledonia,La Guyanne,Canada,England,Australia,New Zealand etc .We will always love Vanuatu.…Best Regards) 


1b) Bishops wage war on sorcery

THE Catholic Bishops from the Highlands region in PNG have raised concerns about the growing problem of sorcery.
The bishops have written letters to all parishes in PNG’s Highlands region expressing grave concern while encouraging parishioners to defeat evil and follow Christ’s example.
The letter states, “Sorcery is a growing concern, especially when some people accuse others of using sorcery or ‘sanguma’ to kill or harm other people.”
“This stems from a modern corruption of some traditional beliefs.
“When people following such beliefs get involved in torturing innocent people and even killing them, we have not only a crime against humanity, but a serious betrayal of the Gospel, our faith in the supreme Lordship of Christ, and of the liberating work of the church.
“There is often an issue of justice here also, since it is well known
that many allegations are based on old grudges and target the
weak and vulnerable,” the statement read.
Furthermore the Bishops have stated that when people follow sorcery beliefs, torture and kill innocent people, there is a serious betrayal of the Bible.
“People of faith who want to defeat evil should follow the example of Christ.”
The letter advised faithful parishioners to teach children not to believe in sorcery or ‘sanguma’.
The bishops also challenged Christians to join in taking a clear, unambiguous, and strong stand against all talk about sorcery and all attempts to lay the blame on anyone, especially at the time of a funeral. Quoting the Bible (Rom 12:21) they say that we must conquer evil with good.
In the coming months the bishops plan to launch a program of renewal of faith in the supreme Lordship of Christ. They are convinced that when people have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, there will be no room for sorcery. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

1c) Calls to overhaul Vanuatu electoral system

Posted 8 hours 14 minutes ago

PHOTO: Members of the public read local media coverage of the Vanuatu election on October 27, the last day of campaigning. (Sam Bolitho)
MAP: Vanuatu

There are calls for a complete overhaul of Vanuatu’s electoral system after the release of a report on last year’s national election.

Transparency Vanuatu’s report says the problems range from large scale fraud involving proxy votes to a lack of transparency during vote recounts.

The report also shows major flaws with voter registration, estimating nearly 40 per cent of eligible voters were either invalid, disallowed or fraudulent.

Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, Transparency Vanuatu’s president, says the entire electoral system needs to be reviewed.

“The politicians are used to the system the way it operates and they have found their way around it,” Ms Ferrieux-Patterson said.

“Every time we speak about electoral reform we get the opposition of everyone, because they all have their little system in place and they know how to get what they want.”

Vanuatu’s elections were held in October last year, the 10th elections held since the country’s independence in 1980.

The report’s findings were made after Transparency Vanuatu observed the election process in Port Vila and Efate constituencies.http://www.abc.net.au/news/

1d) Consultations Underway For National IT Policy In Vanuatu
Information officer calls for public opinion on draft policy

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 29, 2013) – Consultation works are currently underway by the Office of the Chief Government Information Officer as part of the preparation for Vanuatu’s own comprehensive national policy of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) sector.

While briefing members of the Media Association of Vanuatu (MAV) this week, Chief Government Information Officer, Fred Samuel said his office is working to get as much public opinion as possible on the draft ICT policy before it is presented to the Council of Ministers.

“We are calling for public opinion and input on the draft policy and will be using all accessible means to reach the public for consultation purposes,” Samuel told members of the media including MAV President, Evelyn Toa early this week.

Mr. Samuel said his Office is consulting with Provincial Secretary Generals of the 6 provinces to gather people to the provincial headquarters where they can be consulted through the existing Government conference facilities.

If all works according to current plan, Vanuatu should be able to launch the ICT Policy by the end of August. But the Vanuatu Chief Government Communication Officer said the aim is to get a wider people interaction over the draft policy before that will happen.

Representatives of the MAV are the second to be consulted for the draft policy after a presentation was made to the National ICT Committee and next in the coming days will be the general public.

“The ICT Policy will be a road map which will obviously be more intense than the policy statement of 2007 that has paved way to neutralize the telecom market because it will be more comprehensive and intensive,” said Samuel.

He said the policy aimed to cover a broad range of issues including ICT and telecommunications development in Vanuatu, as well as new and emerging ICT issues including cyber as a sub component.

But he emphasizes that to be successful, the ICT policy and sector will require a multi-sectorial input from all the ministries and key departments of government, private sector, citizens, academia and civil society.

The purpose of such presentations is to facilitate discussion and debate on the draft ICT policy.

Meanwhile the both the past and current government acknowledges the importance of ICTs and has continued to provide required support.

“ICTs have direct impact in the economic growth of a nation and one of the most success reforms of the Vanuatu Government which make a huge impact in the country is the neutralization of the telecom market,” said Samuel.

“The growth of ICT will have a direct impact on the country’s GDP, a good example is the broadband, which is fast internet connection, and according to a recent World Bank study, every time there is a 10% increase in broadband penetration it actually triggers almost 1.4% GDP growth.

“According to a recent research by the Public Institute of Pacific Policy in 2011, 99.4% of household surveyed use mobile phones and 4 out of 5 people respondents own phones showing that mobile phones are currently the most common used electrical appliances in households in Vanuatu.

“This figure is better any than country in the region outside Australia.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

2) Watchdog says politicans complicit in Vanuatu election breaches

Posted at 04:31 on 30 July, 2013 UTC

Transparency International Vanuatu says major fraud took place in last year’s election and it wants a complete overhaul of the electoral system.

The organisation has completed a report which found discrepancies in voter registration and a lack of transparency in the second count of the votes.

The chairperson Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, believes politicians over the years have made sure the Electoral Commission is starved of funds because they want to retain a system that can be mis-used.

She says an accurate voter registration roll is desperately needed.

“We found that from the electoral roll that there were 192,000 registered voters when in fact compared to the population that is more than 18 years old we should have only 120,000 people.”

Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson says electoral officers whose job it is to ensure voter registration, need to be screened because they were originally chosen by politicians a long time ago.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Vanuatu Opposition fails to prove MPs’ corruption in court

Posted at 01:46 on 30 July, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu MPs in Port Vila have failed to prove in court that several MPs including the prime minister were improperly elected to Parliament.

Six MPs brought a petition, led by attorney-general Ishmael Kalsakau, against the election of prime minister Moana Carcasses, internal affairs minister Patrick Crowby and sports minister Tony Wright.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports the Supreme Court heard allegations the representatives made separate inappropriate gifts to constituents prior to the election.

Judge Robert Spears dismissed the petition, saying the applicants did not prove the gifts had an effect on the outcome of the election.

He also said amendments made in 2012 make it harder to overturn the election of a candidate, although there are still fines and prison terms if electoral corruption is proven.

The result means the Parliamentary Opposition will most likely not have the necessary support for a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Need for more male models

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

POTENTIAL male models are being encouraged to make their way to the FJFW office for audition as soon as possible.

This is the message from the organisation which is, at the moment, struggling to increase the number of male models for the October show.

At present, FJFW has managed to obtain five male models but are aiming to get closer to 20 as the show nears.

“It’s still quite a struggle for Fiji Fashion Week at the moment because guys don’t seem to have the same kind of confidence that girls do in Fiji. Right now we have around five guys, we need about 20,” said FJFW communications manager Lice Movono-Rova last week.

One of the male model requirements is that they must be of an average height of 5ft 9in to take part in the MHCC FJFW show on October 1 at the Vodafone Arena.http://www.fijitimes.com/

5) Stand up for your rights: Fiji PM urges women

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

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has encouraged women to stand up for their rights and be empowered.

“We need to make them more aware of their own importance in their families and communities. They are the backbones of their communities,” Bainimarama said.

“Too many men in Fiji still think it’s their right to demean and mistreat women. Domestic violence is still a major problem. And far too many women are exploited.”

“Women are generally regarded as someone only to do the cooking and look after the children. We can never be an equal and fair society if even a single Fijian woman is discriminated against.”

Bainimarama said government has introduced a raft of new laws to promote gender equality and also the first domestic violence laws.

“We have strengthened the rights of the women in this country who live in “de facto” relationships.”

“We have removed the old Victorian rules for corroboration for rape. Our criminal laws are modern and gender neutral.”

He said they are still working hard to modernise all laws to make sure they reflect equality between men and women.

SOURCE:  FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

6) Fiji’s UFDF blasts Bainimarama’s comments against Australia

Posted at 04:51 on 30 July, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s bloc of four political parties says prime minister Frank Bainimarama’s comments about Australia’s refugee policy with Papua New Guinea are self-serving.

Commodore Bainimarama has been critical of Australia’s recent deal with PNG to take all asylum seekers heading to Australia on boats, and Fiji’s foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubabola blasted the policy yesterday in a speech delivered in Brisbane.

But the United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the matter is between PNG and Australia and all the regime has done is undermine PNG and the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

A statement from the United Front says the prime minister is using the asylum seekers controversy to further his own vendetta against Australia.

It says Commodore Bainimarama has no right or mandate to speak for other Melanesian countries, or the people of Fiji, and called him the worst example of national leadership in the Pacific region.

Radio New Zealand International

7) As Strike Looms, AG Cites Reforms To Fiji Sugar Industry
Sayez-Khaiyum hopeful ‘common sense will prevail’

By Timoci Vula and Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 30, 2013) – Given the enormous investment and the importance of the sugar industry to Fiji’s economy, the government cannot allow the industry to collapse because of the actions of a minority.

Further, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the government’s chief concern was the 200,000 Fijians who depended on the sugarcane industry for their survival.

“We have made a substantial investment to rescue the industry from collapse,” Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said in a statement yesterday, in response to revelations of a secret ballot by mill workers, 90 percent of whom voted to go on strike.

“This investment has begun to turn around the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) without a single job being lost, and it is in the national interest for this to continue.

“We have also renewed more land leases, given confidence to farmers, and put more money into research, which has resulted in better yields.”

As a result of the government reforms, Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said FSC employees received a 5.3 percent pay rise and improved benefits, and could look forward to better job security and more opportunities as the FSC continued to improve its performance.

“We hope that common sense will prevail and that the workers who have voted to go on strike will not do so.”

He said one way or another, the mills would need to continue to operate even if some people abandon their jobs.

The Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union issued a press statement yesterday saying that 67.5 percent of its 770 members participated in a secret ballot and 90 percent had voted to go on strike for better pay and employment conditions.

This, despite an announcement two weeks ago by the FSC of a 5.3 percent pay increase for all mill workers.

Union general secretary Felix Anthony said the increment amounted to FJ$8.35 [US$4.46] in gross wage per week and failed to acknowledge inflation and the rising cost of providing basic necessities for workers’ families.

“Workers in the industry have seen a decline in real wage by more than 40 per cent over the last seven years,” he said.

“All these workers earn below the poverty line and a great number live in extreme poverty with no employment or income for periods of six to eight months each year.”

Mr. Anthony added that the union had attempted to understand the financial difficulties faced by the FSC but was forced to take industrial action after exhausting all avenues for negotiations with the miller.

He further said the union had fulfilled all legal requirements under the Employment Relations Promulgation for strike action.

“The National Executive Committee of the Union will now decide on the next course of action.”

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

POLYNESIA:

8) Tonga MP wants more information about controversial plane

Posted at 01:48 on 30 July, 2013 UTC

An opposition MP in Tonga says people should be presented with technical information about the country’s controversial new aircraft, rather than just political statements that it is safe.

The MA60 plane, gifted by China, went into operation in Tonga this week but New Zealand has suspended tourism aid amid safety concerns about the aircraft.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua says people in Tonga are also worried about whether it is safe and transparency is the best way to deal with the issue, especially with memories of the 2009 Princess Ashika ferry tragedy still fresh.

“A lot of the relevant technical information was made available after the Princess Ashika sank, but we need it beforehand so parliament as well as the people can make informed decisions.”

Dr Halapua says it is a public transport and country development issue and the public is entitled to the information.

Radio New Zealand International

9) Tuvalu PM Expected To Face No-Confidence Motion Today
PM Telavi, opposition engaged in political tug-of-war

By Campbell Cooney

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 30, 2013) – Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Willy Telavi is expected to face a no-confidence motion when the country’s parliament sits today, for the first time this year.

The country’s opposition has been trying to force Mr. Telavi to allow parliament to sit all year, and it is claiming it has the support of a majority of the country’s MPs.

Following the death of Tuvalu’s Finance Minister Lotoala Metia in December last year, Mr. Telavi has refused to allow a by-election.

The High Court ordered that it be held, and was won by Opposition candidate Elisala Pita, giving it a majority of eight in the 15 seat parliament.

But Mr. Tevlavi then refused to reconvene the house until Governor General Lakoba Italeli accepted a request from the Opposition to use his reserve powers to order it to reconvene.

The Opposition has repeatedly stated it will be tabling a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Telavi, and it is expected to be the first issue dealt with when parliament sits later today.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

FRENCH:

10) Vanuatu: hommage aux Insulaires des Mers du Sud

Mis à jour 30 July 2013, 13:08 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Lundi, le Premier ministre était en tête du défilé célébrant les 150 ans de la fin du blackbirding.

Des blackbirders en compagnie de leurs travailleurs capturés, officieusement esclaves, mais pas officiellement.

Aux côtés de Moana Carcasses, il y avait une centaine d’Insulaires des Mers du Sud, des descendants australiens de victimes vanuataises du blackbirding.

Les blackbirders étaient des colons, des aventuriers qui sillonnaient le Pacifique au XIXème siècle pour recruter de la main d’œuvre pour les plantations du Queensland, principalement de canne à sucre. Pour ce faire, soit ils enlevaient des insulaires, soit ils les manipulaient et leurs faisaient signer un contrat de travail avec un salaire absolument dérisoire, mais nécessaire car la marine britannique n’autorisait pas l’esclavage.

Actuellement un peu plus de 9300 Insulaires des Mers du Sud vivent encore dans le Queensland. En mai dernier, ils ont manifesté devant le Parlement du Queensland, aux côtés des Aborigènes et des indigènes du Détroit de Torrès, pour réclamer le versement des salaires de leurs ancêtres, au temps où ils étaient esclaves.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11) Immigration: la politique « arrogante » de l’Australie

Mis à jour 30 July 2013, 13:03 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Le plan Rudd contre l’immigration illégale déclenche la colère de Fidji. Hier Ratu Inoke Kubuabola a administré une fessée sonore et peu diplomatique au gouvernement australien.

Bob Carr, le ministre australien des Affaires étrangères, et son homologue fidjien, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, le 30 avril 2012 à Suva, lors d’une visite du groupe de contact du Forum des Îles du Pacifique. (Source: ministère australien des Affaires étrangères)

Le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères s’est exprimé dans le cadre du forum économique australo-fidjien organisé à Brisbane lundi matin. Ce forum était un rendez-vous annuel avant 2006 et le coup d’État de Franck Bainimarama. Il a ensuite été suspendu par l’Australie en signe de protestation contre le non respect de la démocratie à Fidji. C’est la première année que ce forum économique ressuscite. Et il a servi de tribune à un Ratu Inoke Kubuabola passablement remonté :

« Le gouvernement fidjien est décidément moins que satisfait du projet de l’Australie d’installer ses réfugiés en Mélanésie, chez nos voisins. Il s’agit d’un problème australien et l’Australie opte pour une solution mélanésienne, qui risque de remettre en cause l’équilibre économique et social déjà bien fragile dans nos sociétés. Le gouvernement australien promet des avantages économiques pour convaincre l’un des gouvernements mélanésiens d’accepter sur son territoire des milliers de gens qui ne sont pas des Insulaires du Pacifique – et ce de façon permanente, pour une grande partie d’entre eux. C’est la réponse à un problème de politique nationale australienne, afin de permettre une victoire politique sur le court terme, mais sans considération aucune pour les conséquences de long terme. »

Le Premier ministre Kevin Rudd a en effet annoncé son plan papou pour frapper un grand coup dans cette campagne électorale dominée par les questions d’immigration. Mais même l’ONU n’a pas apprécié.

« Le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés de l’ONU a mis en garde contre des risques associés à l’installation de milliers de demandeurs d’asile et de réfugiés en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, dont l’existence sera subventionnée par l’Australie. Cela pourrait créer un ressentiment au sein de la population papoue, moins bien lotie, et engendrer une grande insécurité dans le pays. L’Histoire nous a montré qu’une telle instabilité aurait des répercussions sur toute la région, pas uniquement en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Donc, cette affaire nous concerne également, et avant de passer à l’action, nous demandons une consultation régionale. Nous voulons, non, nous demandons, à ce que nos voix soient entendues. »

Le climat s’est à nouveau tendu entre l’Australie et Fidji récemment. Ce week-end Franck Bainimarama a déclaré qu’il n’accepterait aucun nouveau haut-commissaire australien – l’équivalent d’un ambassadeur- tant que l’Australie se permettrait de critiquer son gouvernement. Et en matière de critiques, Fidji n’est pas en reste:

« Les élections australiennes, ce n’est pas notre problème. Ça ne concerne que les Australiens, mais nous sommes très inquiets de l’impact de la politique australienne sur nos pays. Malheureusement, du point de vue de Fidji, cet accord entre l’Australie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée est inconsidéré, prescriptif, autoritaire et arrogant. »

Aujourd’hui le chef de l’opposition australienne, Tony Abbott, a déclaré qu’il n’y avait aucun besoin de mener une consultation régionale au sujet de la politique de l’immigration de l’Australie. « Nous continuons de faire ce que nous avons toujours fait », a-t-il expliqué.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

12) Timor Leste: ils n’ont pas repoussé le bateau

Posté à 30 July 2013, 12:58 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Le Timor Leste nie avoir repoussé de force un bateau de demandeurs d’asile hors de ses eaux territoriales début juillet.

C’est pourtant l’accusation des 95 passagers Rohingyas birmans de ce bateau, qui faisait route vers Darwin, la ville tout au nord de l’Australie, mais qui a dérivé et s’est retrouvé près des côtes du Timor Leste.

Selon Jose Luis Guterres, le ministre est-timorais des Affaires étrangères, les autorités auraient aidé à réparer le bateau puis l’auraient escorté vers les eaux indonésiennes, d’où ils venaient.

Il affirme aussi que les 95 passagers n’ont jamais demandé l’asile au Timor-Leste, comme ils le prétendent. Jose Luis Guterres a déclaré qu’il soutenait les initiatives australiennes et indonésiennes en matière de lutte contre l’immigration illégale.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

MEDIA/FILM+:

13) PNG Media Barred From Reporting On Correctional Services
Court order restricts Post-Courier, National newspapers

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 29, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s Correctional Service has obtained a court order stopping the country’s two daily newspapers from publishing any stories on the department.

Commissioner Martin Balthasar has been listed as the complainant with the National and Post-Courier first and second defendants.

Under the court order the two newspapers are (1) restrained from publishing any unauthorized information regarding Correction Service Department and its instrumentalities pending the outcome of the substantive matter; (2) any information relating to the Correction Service Department will be authorized by the commissioner only for publicity; (3) the two newspaper companies seek the approval of the commissioner before publishing information about the department and; (4) the two newspapers must from the date of the order consult the office of the commissioner pending the outcome of the substantive matter.

The court order was dated July 28, 2013.

No further information was attached to the court order which is returnable at the Port Moresby district court on August 27, 2013 and was dropped off at the South Pacific Post Ltd head office yesterday afternoon.

The department has over the last three months come under public scrutiny following the escape of convicted bank robber and murder William Kapris from the Bomana maximum prison facility outside the National Capital District.

It is not known if the court order is connected to the stories which both newspapers have published on the issue in separate special reports last week.

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

HEALTH:

14) World Hepatitis Day prompts calls for greater immunisation

By Online Editor
12:42 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Australia

-Health authorities in Australia have used World Hepatitis Day to call on the federal and state governments to rethink their current immunisation policies because of the growing number of people being diagnosed with liver cancer and liver disease.

Helen Tyrrell, CEO of Hepatitis Australia, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the disease is a global epidemic that needs urgent attention.

“Within Australia we have around 218,000 people living with chronic Hepatitis B,” Tyrell said.

“That means there’s about 9 people with chronic Hepatitis B for every one person with HIV.”

Tyrrell says globally more than 240 million people have the virus and about two billion people are estimated to have been exposed to it.

“Hepatitis B is a highly infectious virus,” she said.

“It’s 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.”

Tyrrell says about half of the infected population aren’t aware they have the virus.

“We think there’s about 100,000 people living unknowingly with chronic Hepatitis B just in Australia,” she said.

“That’s about 50 per cent, that’s probably at least that level in many other countries.”

Tyrrell says the main ways it’s transmitted globally has been from mother to child.

“That child does not necessarily have any symptoms of infection until they’re in their late teens or 20s.”

Hepatitis B can also be passed between people through any form of blood to blood contact and through sexual contact.

Recent Hepatitis Australia research shows that over half of those surveyed that came from the Asia Pacific or Africa where Hepatitis B is very widespread weren’t aware there was a Hepatitis B vaccine and they also didn’t know they were at much higher risk of infection.

“The vast majority of the world’s burden of chronic Hepatitis B is within the Asia Pacific region,” Tyrrell said.

“What we’re doing…is to call on the Australian Government to rethink their Hepatitis B immunisation strategy, in particular to ensure that they reach those families coming from high prevalence regions like the Asia Pacific to increase vaccination coverage within those communities in Australia.”

Tyrrell says while progress has been made in ensuring more infants and children are vaccinated against the virus, it’s vital governments support testing programs to diagnose more people.

She says if people are undiagnosed they may unknowingly pass the virus on to others and they’re also at much greater risk of dying from complications of liver disease and liver cancer.

“Deaths from liver cancer in Australia are rising faster than for any other cancer and Hepatitis B is a major contributor of that trend,” she said.

“That number’s growing each year so we’ve really got to do something to reverse that trend.

“Engagement with clinical care is obviously essential because without it what we do know from research worldwide is that 1 in 4 adults who acquire chronic Hepatitis B early in their life, usually from their mother or early in childhood from household transmission, will die of complications.”

Tyrrell says while there are highly effective, potentially life-saving antiviral medicines very similar to the ones given for HIV, only about 3 per cent of Australians and very few people globally are accessing them.

“Australia probably is ahead of many other countries in the Asia Pacific, we’re obviously in a better position economically than many countries in the Pacific region to be addressing Hepatitis B,” she said.

“So if we’re not doing very well I think we can assume that many other countries are not doing very well in terms of vaccinating, in terms of testing for in terms of ensuring access to medicines.”

Tyrrell says many sufferers of chronic Hepatitis B were in the past wrongly told not to worry about a diagnosis as they were a a healthy carrier.

“We now know that every single person who has chronic Hepatitis B – more than 240 million people globally – need to be regularly monitored,” she said.

“They need to have their liver health monitored to prevent the risk of liver cancer and the risk of chronic liver disease.”

Tyrrell says she would like to see Australia doing more to help its regional partners within the Asia Pacific region address Hepatitis B within their countries.

“Obviously many people come to Australia from the Asia Pacific region,” she said.

“There are very good reasons why Australia should be concerned about Hepatitis B not only within our own country, but within the region.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

15) Solomons Students In PNG Frustrated By Inconsistent Funds
Student body leader says allowances should already be budgeted

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 30, 2013) – University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Waigani Campus Solomon Islands Students Association (SISA) President Jack To’ofilu has described the response given by the Ministry of Finance as ‘mere excuse.’

Deputy accountant general of the Ministry of Finance Marilyn Kodoleke, in response to repeated calls for allowances by the students, said they only received payment instructions on Monday last week.

“We have problems with the budget. As soon as the budget is settled, we would transfer the payments,” Mrs. Kodoleke said.

Another problem she said is the delay of the students’ first semester academic performances.

“We were advised by the National Training Unit (NTU) not to release the payments unless they (NTU) receive the students’ first semester academic results.”

But Mr. To’ofilu said the explanation does not make sense because some of the students already received their full allowances.

“If NTU wants our semester results before payments are made, then why is that some of our students already given their full allowances, others half and some nil?

“And excuses that the budget needs to be settled is interesting because we thought our allowances for this year have already been budgeted for. The Government must explain what they use this money for. It seems this Government has been using different budgeted money for different things.”

He said the Government should not expect good results when it is the root cause of problems faced by students in recent years.

Mr. To’ofilu added that the delay of their academic results is not the students’ problem.

“It is the institution that may have been delaying the results, but we have no influence over that so you cannot use that to punish us.

“This is a serious matter because it will only affect us students in terms of our academic and social welfare.”

When the Director of the National training Unit NTU Selu Maezama was contacted, he denied giving any directive for the Ministry of Finance to hold up payment awaiting results.

“We put to the Ministry our payments requests on June 27, for all our students both in the country and abroad, not Monday 22 as the Ministry of Finance said was received.

“What we have been waiting for now is the feedback from Ministry of Finance as to whether the payments have been released or not; but payment should have already been processed and made.

Mr. Maezama said they have no idea why the payment has been delayed.

“For the issue of the students’ academic results, we only received it from individual students and we understand that different institutions have different timing to release the results, but yes we really need those first semester results.”

However he asked the Solomon Star to confirm with the Ministry of Education’s permanent secretary whether he was the one who gave the directive.

The Solomon Star contacted Fred Isom Rohorua who said he has no comments on the issue.

The SISA president urged the Government to put aside whatever their political issue are and settle their problem.

“We call on the Government and those leaders responsible to act responsibly and do the right thing.”

The students are now in their sixth week of studies this week.

Solomon Star

BUSINESS/TRADE+:

16) Bill to liberalise banking in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
08:42 am GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Minister of finance and treasury Rick Hou has introduced the Bill to permit the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) to issue an interim license to carry out limited banking service.

Minister Hou introduced the Bill in his second reading debate speech on the Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill 2013 in Parliament on Monday.

He said under the new Bill an applicant can carry out limited banking service for a period of 6- 12 months while the Central Bank considers their application under the Act.

Hou told Parliament under the current legislation, once an application for a banking license is received, the Central Bank must consider a range of factors.

The Central Bank also considers governance and prudential arrangements around the proposed banking business.

He stressed once these factors are considered, a full licence is either granted or rejected.

“On the amendments, what will change is that the Central Bank will be able to issue an interim licence, following an initial assessment that will permit applicant to begin establishing their business pending the license itself being granted.

“These amendments are intended to improve flexibility in the market in a way that is not provided under the current legislative arrangements.

“I assure this nation this Bill should provide better opportunity to those of our entrepreneurs who are keen to invest in banking business. They will in no way compromise the regulatory requirements for banks under the existing legislations.”

Parliament passed the Bill after a marathon of debate.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

17) PNG trade with China on the rise

By Online Editor
08:43 am GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Growing interest from China in the Asia-Pacific region has driven up investment in Papua New Guinea (PNG), helping to accelerate economic expansion.

PNG has notched up 12 consecutive years of growth, supported by the ExxonMobil-led liquefied national gas (LNG) project, which has received $19bn in investment and galvanised a long list of national development projects.

The resource-rich nation remains a favourite among emerging market investors, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. China, in particular, has reaffirmed its commitment to investing long term in PNG, which has become the prime beneficiary of soft loans distributed by China to South Pacific nations. The funding was made available after China’s then-premier, Wen Jiabao, pledged in 2006 to grant the countries a total of RNB3bn ($485m).

While Australia remains PNG’s key trade partner, China is closing the gap, with combined imports and exports hitting $1.2bn in 2011, according to the latest available data. Trade is expected to increase from 2014, as China’s standing agreement to purchase 2m tonnes of LNG per year takes effect.

China’s interests within PNG are expanding rapidly. More than 20 of its firms are established in PNG’s infrastructure development and property construction, while the $1.5bn Ramu Nickel and Cobalt mine leads China’s resource extraction interests. The mine is owned by SOE Metallurgical Corp of China, an offshoot of the Chinese Ministry of Metallurgy.

China has teamed up with PNG to roll out a wave of big-ticket developments, led by the 9700-sq-metre International Convention Centre in Port Moresby, which marks the largest, single Chinese-backed project in the South Pacific.

China’s autonomous state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have also been at the forefront of PNG’s development, with lower margins, home-sourced materials and imported labour giving them a competitive edge and making them an attractive proposition for the Port Moresby government.

“China is trying to use its major SOEs to do the construction work for some of our major infrastructure projects,” PNG’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, told the Wall Street Journal in December 2012. “We are working together with the Chinese companies which are in the Fortune 500 to develop many of the infrastructure [projects] for us.”

China is well-placed to tap into the PNG government’s new wave of national infrastructure and development projects, which have been allocated PGK12.1bn ($5.38bn) in the 2013 budget. Private developers, including the property arms of both Steamships Trading and superannuation fund Nambawan Super, have already awarded contracts to Chinese firms. Companies from China are also playing a major part in the PGK1bn ($444m) overhaul of PNG’s Lae Port and national road rehabilitation projects, which are being co-financed by the Asian Development Bank.

More partnerships are expected on the back of a PGK6bn ($2.67bn) China EXIM Bank loan, which was announced last year. While the loan was originally set to target infrastructure projects, it looks likely to evolve into a comprehensive credit package of up to PGK10bn ($4.44bn).

If approved, such a loan could have significant implications for Chinese firms. “What first appears to be state-run aid often turns out to be company-driven outward direct investment, and international aid projects are simply assimilated into these companies’ overall business dealings,” Graeme Smith, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sydney, recently wrote in EastAsiaForum. “Indeed, these types of infrastructure projects are increasingly dominant in Chinese investment in PNG, overtaking China’s longstanding focus on natural resource acquisition,” he noted.

However, PNG’s resources are still in demand, and China would be well-placed to benefit should PNG decide to take up a concessional commodity-for-finance agreement, along the lines of what has been done in Africa.

PNG’s minister for works, Francis Awesa, has already indicated that China’s largest integrated energy company, China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), is likely to have a role to play in the EXIM Bank loan deal. CNPC, together with China’s national oil corporation, Sinopec, have both signed supply agreements to purchase LNG from PNG. The state-owned shipbuilding conglomerate, China State Shipbuilding Corp, meanwhile, has begun work on four LNG ships to carry gas from PNG and Australia.

Former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has already spoken of the challenge that China poses to US interests in PNG. While competition isn’t yet rivalling American interests, US-backed LNG investment in PNG is poised to accelerate activity levels in China’s businesses. For PNG, however, rising investment from both China and the US likely spells a win-win scenario

SOURCE: OXFORD BUSINESS GROUP/PACNEWS

18) PNG remains firm on PACER Plus withdrawal

By Online Editor
08:44 am GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea still remains firm on its decision to consider withdrawing from the Pacer plus Trade Agreement says Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru

Maru said PNG should not enter into such trading blocs that will have no benefit to PNG.

PACER Plus is a proposed trade, development and economic cooperation agreement currently negotiated by the thirteen Pacific Forum Island Countries (FICs) with Australia and New Zealand to create a comprehensive trade and development agreement.

The Pacific’s Chief Trade Advisor Dr Edwini Kessie to 15 Pacific Island nations told Radio Australia that Papua New Guinea’s concerns about the proposed PACER plus trade agreement have not had any impact on negotiations, in fact quite the opposite, he says, and the negotiations are making remarkable progress.

Dr Kessie recently said the Pacer Plus Trade negotiations would not be affected by PNG doubts on considering withdrawing from the trade agreement.

Maru said PNG’s focus now is on developing and making the Melanesian Spearhead Group work.

He said unless he’s convinced that the trade bloc would benefit PNG, PNG was not joining PACER Plus.

Maru said apart from the gold and copper that PNG sells to Australia and New Zealand, PNG sells nothing to these two countries so it will be a one sided trading affair and PNG will lose substantial revenue.

Maru also reiterated the same message to other Pacific Island countries during the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) ministerial meet in Fiji in May.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

19) Trade Show to strengthen export prospective for the Pacific

By Online Editor
09:06 am GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Fiji

“Trade Pasifika will facilitate the growth of the export potential of our Pacific Island products,” said Kaliopate Tavola, the Ambassador for Trade Pasifika 2014 at its official launch in Nadi, Fiji.

In speaking to the media and regional participants attending the two-day Pacific Private Sector Trade Workshop in Nadi, the former Fiji diplomat and Trade Minister said that the event in 2014 will boast an array of the best the Pacific has to offer in agriculture, aquaculture and tourism. “It’s more targeted and focused, he said. “And this will ensure that we focus and explore more niche products from the region”.

The Chief Executive Officer for the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) Mereia Volavola said the launch was a special occasion for PIPSO because representatives from their 14 of their member countries were present. PIPSO hosts the Secretariat for Trade Pasifika 2014 and is responsible amongst other things for providing technical advice and assisting private sector businesses.

“For those of you who were with us at the inaugural Trade Pasifika event in June 2012, that was for many of us big learning curve,” Tavola further mentioned. He acknowledged the support of UNDP Pacific Centre, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the MSG Secretariat, the Pacific Leadership Program, Investment Fiji and Fiji’s Ministry of Industry and Trade for coming onboard for the 2014 event.

“We guarantee that preparations are underway to ensure that Trade Pasifika 2014 will be even bigger and better,” Tavola said. He said that the Secretariat has also gone out of its way to offer travel scholarships to facilitate the participation of selected businesses from the region at Trade Pasifika 2014.

Women in Business will also be a special focus of Trade Pasifika 2014 and organizers are hoping to attract an even bigger number of women entrepreneurs come April next year.

He said for exhibitors in 2014, a criteria has been developed to assist the Secretariat in selecting businesses that wish to exhibit to ensure it builds on the tagline of “showcasing the best of the region”.

The launch now sets in motion a comprehensive sponsorship, marketing, promotions and communications program leading up to the event on 2 to 4 April, 2014.

To be held at the Vodafone Arena in Suva, organizers are targeting more than 80 exhibitors and close to 60 buyers from across the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.

“We understand the reservations that some may have with our ability to attract international buyers and investors,” Tavola said. “In spite of this, the Secretariat has confidence in the assistance and guidance of the Steering Committee and our respective international and regional associates and affiliates to bring you an event which will in turn be value for your money,” he added.

He said the programme design for the 3-day event covers a range of activities including, General Exhibition, Workshop and Plenary sessions, Pre-planned meetings and appointments, Lunch and Learn Sessions as well as organised networking events for exhibitors and buyers and invited guests. Registration for Trade Pasifika 2014 is now open.
SOURCE: PIPSO/PACNEWS

20) Joint ID card tackles bureaucracy, abuse in Fiji

By Online Editor
12:34 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Fiji

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) and the Fiji National Provident Fund’s (FNPF) joint cards are a way forward in having a national identification card for all citizens.

The card, which was launched yesterday in Suva, will benefit all working Fijians.

Speaking at the launch, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said it was important for Fiji to have a national ID card.

“This is a good project because it puts in place the way forward in having a national identification card,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said modern day countries had a national ID and it removed bureaucracy.

He said government had been working on the concept of the national ID card in the past.

“We have another important ID card which is the voter’s registration card, which was acceptably used around the country as a form of identification.

“We could at some stage also have a common identity card or number for employers or corporate taxpayers.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said there had been a lot of instances of identity theft in Fiji — whether it was at the electro-polling level, tax or FNPF level.

For instance, he said FRCA had been printing tax identification number (TIN) letters upon request most of the time and this initiative was another way to save more paper and the environment.

FRCA CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said the card would ensure the smooth facilitation of queries for both parties and protect some abuse that had been recorded by both authorities in the past by members.

FNPF CEO Aisake Taito said this would further enhance the relationship between the two institutions.

In a joint statement recently,Taito said the two institutions would endeavour to explore opportunities that arose from the synergy and in particular adding value to the joint identity for the convenience and benefit of members and customers alike.

The initiative was an extension and enhancement to the memorandum of understanding reached on September 12, 2011 which was aimed at maximising revenue and contributions through effective and efficient information sharing.

“The card will be rolled out in phases and by locations as the process will affect over 700,000 taxpayers. The card will be issued first to 250,000 FNPF members, who also have a Tax Identification Number (TIN),” the statement said.

“Both organisations share a common database, which contains only the necessary details for the issuance of the card.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

21) Vanuatu Opposition pettion dismissed

By Online Editor
4:31 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Supreme Court has dismissed the Election Petition against Port Vila MPs and in effect crumpled any Opposition plans for a motion of no trust on Prime Minister Moana Carcasses.

The Opposition had hoped that if the Attorney General, Ishmael Kalsakau’s Election Petition against Prime Minister Carcasses, Internal Affairs Minister Patrick Crowby and Sports Minister Tony Wright had been successful the Opposition would have the numbers to topple Carcasses.

But Attorney General’s lawyers in court failed to substantiate evidence in Court that Prime Minister Carcasses gave a bag of rice to a Donald from Seaside, Sports Minister Wright gave money for kava at Seaside, and how a Vt1000 Minister Crowby gave a close family would affect the poll for Port Vila.

The petition was against the processes employed by the Principle Electoral Officer and the six Port Vila MPs although no allegations of corrupt practices were made against Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu, Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Natpei and President of Vanuatu Liberal Democratic Party MP Willie Jimmy.

During the week-long trial it became evident in the face of the court when lawyers for the petitioners presented their case that Carcasses, Wright and Crowby faced separate and individual complaints that could risk their election to Parliament.

And the PEO role was questioned when the Attorney General’s lawyers provide evidence in Court that some voters who were registered in Port Vila also voted in the Constituency of Tanna. And some Port Vila voters had duplicate cards.

But after cross-examinations and the calling of witnesses by the counsel s representing the PEO, Robert Sugden and Ronald Warsal for Wright and Crowby and Nigel Morrison for PM Carcasses it dawned in Court that it became very difficult to overturn an election by way of an election petition.

In his ruling Judge Robert Spears said “a petitioner is required to establish that non-compliance with the Act, the prohibited gifts or such like must have had an effect on the outcome of the election. That will in most cases be very difficult indeed to prove particularly given the short period of time that a petitioner has to define the scope of his or her petition.”

“One of the more far-reaching consequences of the 2012 amendments was the repeal of s.61 (2). That provided that the election of a candidate subsequently convicted of an offence of corrupt practice (personification, bribery, treating and undue influence) shall be declared void. This leaves the consequences of committing such an offence to be penalties specified in s. 48 of a fine not exceeding Vt100, 000 or to imprisonment for a term exceeding five years or both. There is now no means by the Act to overturn the election of a candidate unless it is proven that this must have had an effect on the outcome of the election under s 61 as amended,” Justice Spears said concluded in his statement.

On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled against the Opposition by upholding the Speaker’s decision that the motion of no confidence on Prime Minister Carcasses was not in order.

And on Friday the Supreme Court dismissed the Port Vila Election petition involving 5 government MPs.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

22) Calls to overhaul Vanuatu electoral system

By Online Editor
4:38 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Vanuatu

There are calls for a complete overhaul of Vanuatu’s electoral system after the release of a report on last year’s national election.

Transparency Vanuatu’s report says the problems range from large scale fraud involving proxy votes to a lack of transparency during vote recounts.

The report also shows major flaws with voter registration, estimating nearly 40 per cent of eligible voters were either invalid, disallowed or fraudulent.

Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, Transparency Vanuatu’s president, says the entire electoral system needs to be reviewed.

“The politicians are used to the system the way it operates and they have found their way around it,” Ferrieux-Patterson said.

“Every time we speak about electoral reform we get the opposition of everyone, because they all have their little system in place and they know how to get what they want.”

Vanuatu’s elections were held in October last year, the 10th elections held since the country’s independence in 1980.

The report’s findings were made after Transparency Vanuatu observed the election process in Port Vila and Efate constituencies.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

23) Vanuatu marks 150 years since end of blackbirding

By Online Editor
12:49 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s prime minister Moana Carcasses and his cabinet led a parade to commemorate 150 years since the end of blackbirding in the Pacific.

Among those that took part in the parade yesterday were about 100 members of South Sea Islanders from Australia who are part ni-Vanuatu.

The parade commemorates the end of the practice of kidnapping Pacific islanders for forced labour in Australia in the 19th century.

The Prime Minister said those who caused so much suffering including death among the workers should have been ashamed of themselves.

Carcasses encouraged leaders to come up with suggestions on how the governments of the two countries can reach an amicable understanding over the issue.

The parade also took place a day before the country celebrates its 33rd anniversary of independence today.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

24) Survey Reveals Bribery, Corruption Rife Within PNG
85% of respondents say police ‘most affected’ by corruption

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 29, 2013) – The majority of Papua New Guineans are paying bribes to get services, a Transparency International global corruption barometer (GCB) survey has found.

And Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) chairman Lawrence Stephens says that bribery needed to be stamped out in PNG.

Stephens said in a statement on Friday that 76% of the survey respondents noted that corruption was a serious problem in the public sector.

“Institutions that people rely on to fight corruption and other crime are not trusted,” he said.

He said most of the respondents said they were asked to pay a bribe when interacting with key public institutions such as police, registry, permit services and land services.

“Eighty-five percent of the respondents viewed that the police were the most affected by corruption,” Stephens said.

He said 70% of the respondents said public servants and political parties were also corrupt while 63% felt the Parliament was also affected by corruption.

“Public institutions, law enforcement agencies and politicians have a lot to do to regain the trust of the citizens of PNG,” Stephens said.

“The GCB shows a crisis of trust and there is a real concern about the capacity of those institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice.”

He said the Government needed to make sure that there were strong, independent and well resourced institutions to prevent and redress corruption.

“Too many people are harmed when public services are undermined by corruption.”

He said 1,044 people in PNG participated in the survey and nearly half of the respondents agreed that ordinary citizens had the will to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and other forms of corruption.

He said citizens also had a social responsibility to minimizing corruption by saying no to bribes and reporting an incident of corruption to appropriate authorities.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

25) Fiji Police Force told to stay professional

By Online Editor
4:36 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Fiji

Fiji Police officers have been told to always be at their professional best.

Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns, Tuesday opened a two day workshop in Suva, aimed at preparing the Fiji Police Force to effectively engage the media in the lead up to the 2014 elections.

“The traditional role of the media has always been to ensure that checks and balances are in place. In the context of government and in the case, you the police, their role is to report what you deliver, making sure that you work within the guidelines, and ensure your actions reflect what the Fiji Police force aspires to carry out, that is, to serve the people of our nation.”

She adds that after this training the force should be able to strengthen its relationship with the media.

“These next two days will allow you to look to closely at media trends. It will look at ways of developing and strengthening your relationship with those in the media sector. It will be an opportunity to position the Fiji Police in a way that will allow the public to trust you and to work with you.”

The workshop is facilitated by the Pacific Island News Association (PINA).

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

26) 150 Charged, Out On Bail Over House Attack In Tonga
147 minors, 3 adults charged, case adjourned till October

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 29, 2013) – A total of 150 accused, including 147 students from Tupou College and three adults, have been charged in relation to the violent attack at a home in Tofoa on July 18. A new charge of unlawful assembly has been filed against each of the accused who have all been released on bail until October.

The Deputy Police Commissioner ‘Unga Fa’aoa said they had charged 147 students, a Tupou College teacher and two bus drivers in relation to the attack, and each accused had been charged with conspiracy to commit willful damage and a new charge of unlawful assembly.

The 22 accused who were held in police custody were released on bail today, after they were variously charged with trespassing, housebreaking and causing grievous bodily harm, while one student was charged with attempted arson last week.

He said the three adults are also facing aiding criminal damage. Most of the students were released on bail last week until October.

Committal

The Deputy Commissioner said the case was adjourned to October to allow prosecutors time to prepare their case and evidence to be submitted to the defense side.

The case would then be submitted to the Magistrate’s Court under a new procedure of paper committal to decide whether there is a case for trial at the Supreme Court. The former procedure of holding a Preliminary Inquiry in open court had been done away, he said.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

REFUGEE:

27) Nauru struggling with criminal cases resulting from riot – chief justice

Posted at 04:51 on 30 July, 2013 UTC

Nauru is struggling to cope with the challenge presented to the court system by the number of criminal proceedings that have followed the riot at the island’s asylum seekers’ camp.

At least 150 people were involved in the disturbances and fire at the Australian run Regional Processing Centre that caused an estimated at 55 million US dollars of damage.

The chief justice in Nauru, Geoffrey Eames, says discussions will have to be held with Australia over the costs involved and how to deal with this number of cases, given the limited number of legal professionals, holding cells and just one courtroom.

Justice Eames says he couldn’t rule out the possibility of cases being moved offshore

“There’s plainly a whole range of considerations which would be relevant to be discussed in this context and that’s one option that might be considered”

Justice Eames says two Australian lawyers have offered their services pro bono, but there is still the questions of expenses and the very limited legal aid availalbe in Nauru is likely to go to local practitioners.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT:

28) RMI Calls On Australia To Support Climate Change Initiative
Australia ‘crucial’ to success of Majuro Declaration: de Brum

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 29, 2013) – The Republic of the Marshall Islands Government has called on Australia to support its new global climate change initiative.

The Marshall Islands is hosting this year’s meeting of the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum in September.

It wants leaders to agree to approve the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, an initiative for urgent action on climate change.

Tony de Brum, the Minister in Assistance to the Marshall Islands President, is in Canberra to highlight the unprecedented droughts and floods that have hit his country and to seek support from the Australian Government ahead of the Pacific summit.

He says Australia is crucial to the success of the Majuro Declaration, especially with its new role on the United Nations Security Council.

“We think that anything that the Pacific Islands do in terms of climate change must have the blessing, the support and the voice of Australia and New Zealand to the outside world,” he said.

“You have circles of diplomatic friends far wider and much more powerful than each of us, or even of the small island states of the Pacific put together.

“Those important connections must be used to draw attention to the fact that climate change is now, it needs the attention of the world now, and the sacrifice of the large developed countries must be part of that solution.”

Senator de Brum warns rising sea levels will create a humanitarian crisis in the region, with many people eventually seeking asylum in Australia.

“If you look further down the line there are two million people – potential refugees – from the Pacific should climate change continue the way it is now, and that will be an overwhelming problem.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

SPORTS:

29a) Times and records fall for Fijian swimmers at the 2013 World Championships

By Online Editor
12:53 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, Spain

Matelita Buadromo was thrilled to have ranked first in her heat, smashing her qualifying time by almost 10 seconds with a result of 2.27.56 in the 200m Individual Medley. “I just maxed it all the way, and it turned out well!”

The 17 year old viewed this victory as the icing on the cake of an already fantastic experience:“I’m just so honored to represent my country and to be in the World Championships. It’s great to be swimming amongst the world’s best.”

Matelita thought that her coach would be very happy with her performance after having helped a lot with her race plans – hard work which has clearly paid off today – but there’s no rest for the wicked as Matelita looks ahead, not just to the 200m Freestyle on Tuesday, but to further competitions:

“We are all really geared up towards Rio and the Pacific Games, and the Oceania Championships are next, so as soon as we get back I’ll be straight back in training.”

Fiji also saw Caroline Puamau, who trains with the Dolphin Swimming Club alongside Matelita, in the 100m Butterfly, with a time of 1:04:72, 0:00:81 outside her qualifying time. Caroline will be back in the pool on Wednesday for the 50m Backstroke, trying to beat her personal best.

In the men’s events, Douglas Miller broke the Fiji national record for the 100m Breaststroke, shaving 0.27 of a second off previous record holder Calum Liew’s time, with 1:09:19.

“I got it just in the nick of time, so I’m pretty happy with myself.”

This is the 20 year old’s second national record of the year, after breaking Fiji’s 200m Breaststroke record in April with a time of 2:36:84.

Douglas is also competing in the 200m Individual Medley on Wednesday and is feeling confident.

“The IM is my best and strongest event, so I feel I will put up a better time. I’m looking forward to it.” Douglas hopes to break his second national record of the week on Wednesday, and will have to beat Carl Probert’s time of 2:12:18 to do so.

Despite today’s success, Douglas remains determined to continue progressing. Describing this World Championships as a stepping-stone in his progression towards future games, Douglas is focused on continuing to improve his times in further training after the event.
SOURCE: REPORTERS ACADEMY/PACNEWS

29b) Britain passes baton to Brazil for 2016 Olympics

By Online Editor
12:59 pm GMT+12, 30/07/2013, United States

A year after the summer Olympics in London, Britain’s U.N. ambassador handed a baton to Brazil’s U.N. envoy, whose country will host the next summer games in Rio in 2016.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled running in London’s torch relay and said he was happy to witness Monday’s passing of the baton “the great relay that symbolizes our common goals and values, and our commitment to use the games as a platform to promote mutual understanding and peace.”

Britain’s Mark Lyall Grant said International Inspiration, London 2012’s international sports legacy program, has “enriched the lives of more than 11 million children in 20 countries” through physical education, sport and play.

Brazil’s Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado said Rio will promote sustainable development at the 2016 Olympics.
SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

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