Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 847

MELANESIA:

1a) Indonesia says Solomon Islands PM impressed with Papua

Posted at 03:30 on 13 August, 2013 UTC

The prime minister of Solomon Islands Gordon Darcy Lilo says he is impressed with progress he’s seen in Indonesia’s Papua.

Mr Lilo has been in Indonesia since Sunday and Antara News reports he made the comments meeting the president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in West Java.

Mr Lilo is the first Solomon Islands prime minister to visit Indonesia.

The agency reports a presidential special aide for foreign relations, Teuku Faizasyah, as saying the Solomon Islands delegation has witnessed the serious efforts made by the Indonesian government to develop Papua.

He said the visit has opened their eyes to the Indonesian government’s serious commitment to improving regions like Papua and they could help stop the spread of negative information.

Solomon Islands and Indonesia work together in the fields of energy, fishing, development, media and culture, and trade has increased on average by 17 percent over the last five years.

Radio New Zealand International

1b) Papua police ban rallies to mark New York Agreement

Posted at 03:30 on 13 August, 2013 UTC

Police in Indonesia’s Papua region have reportedly banned a number of protests and cultural parades planned to protest against the signing of the 1962 New York Agreement.

The deal between the UN, the Netherlands and Indonesia was a precursor to the Act Of Free Choice seven years later which led to Jakarta imposing its rule on the former Dutch colony.

The protests by the pro-independence West Papua National Committee have been planned throughout Papua in Wamena, Yahukimo, Nabire, Biak, Sorong, Manokwari and Timika.

The rallies are also to show support for the opening of the Free West Papua Campaign office in the Netherlands.

Radio New Zealand International

2) PNG Inquiry Into Madang Government Uncovers Big Issues
Committee finds defects, failures, weaknesses largely unaddressed

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 13, 2013) – The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiry into Papua New Guinea’s Madang provincial government yesterday found a serious lack of accountability and reporting.

The inquiry, citing an Auditor-General report of 2011 and 2012, has found gross abuse of public funds while the province lacked accountability issues.

PAC chairman John Hickey said the province has breached the Public Finances (Management) Act, Appropriation Act and the Financial Instructions.

He said the committee has carefully studied the audit report for 2017-10 and found that the provincial government has made slight improvements in a few areas but generally the defects, failures and weaknesses remain unaddressed.

“Today, we consider the state of provincial accounting and reporting and governance in 2011,” Hickey said when resuming the inquiry.

However he said the report indicated that the province failed to furnish financial statement.

A statement from the provincial government was not correct and has errors such as the statement of balance not being certified.

In 2011, the reconciled balances of the provincial revenue and grants revenues did not agree with the revenue fund balance, while other inconsistencies were identified.

The PAC found other irregularities such as funds totaling K805,000 [US$341,682] not being properly acquitted.

It was revealed that one officer in the provincial government was paid more than K388,508 [US$164,902] as advance but did not acquit the funds, which is illegal.

Hickey directed that those officers who received these funds be charged and repay the money within 14 days.

It was also found that funds have been used outside the budget while the province lacked monthly budget reviews and reporting, meaning that it failed to monitor the budget.

Hickey said the reports were not correct while the province lacked competent paying and receiving officers as casual and retired officers were engaged to carry out the duties.

He said revenue collection was not done properly as they do not have records while the 2011 records indicated an under-collection of K97,400 [US$41,341] from liquor licenses against the budget while there were not database to monitor fees.

“It seems clear that budget control, revenue collection and accounting is in a mess,” Hickey said.

“The law is not obeyed, criminal activities exist, no oversight is in force, public money and properties are treated with contempt and still the PA (provincial administrator) and treasurer hold the positions. All these are clear breach of financial instructions.”

Hickey has directed that a full report containing accounts of fees collected from each district is submitted to the committee.

[PIR editor’s note: The inquiry also announced that, because the provincial government failed to properly gazette decisions since 1994, all laws, appointments and contracts since that time are now null and void.]

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

3) Bougainville Government Will Reject Panguna Mine Agreement
Momis: MOU between Landowners, Chinese company ‘act of bad faith’

By Todagia Kelola

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 12, 2013) – The Bougainville Autonomous Government will reject an agreement that was recently signed between Panguna landowners and a Chinese firm, says ABG President John Momis.

The Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association and the Beijing Aerospace Great Wall Mineral Investment Ltd signed an MOU last week to vet the involvement of the latter in negotiations relating to the reopening of the defunct Panguna mine, especially on mine waste management.

However, Mr Momis says the agreement was “an act of bad faith” as it was not done in consultation with the landowners, the ABG, Bougainville Copper Limited and the Papua New Guinea National Government.

The four make up the membership of the ABG’s Joint Coordinating Committee which makes all decisions relating to the mine.

“If the ABG or BCL made a decision on their own to get an unknown company to work on an important aspect of the Panguna project, the landowners would be very angry. The four parties in the JCC are a partnership.

“All decisions about preparations for the negotiations must be made jointly, through the JCC. If any one party acts on their own, it undermines the trust between that party and the other parties. We have all agreed to work together and to respect one another. We must honor that commitment,” the ABG president said in a statement over the weekend.

The signing in Buka last week was facilitated by the PMALA chairman Lawrence Daveona and Jimmy Miringtoro, the Communications Minister in the O’Neill Government and the Central Bougainville MP in the PNG National Parliament.

But the deal with the Chinese firm is already raising eyebrows within the autonomous region and appears to have caught both the ABG and the PNG National Government by surprise.

The decision by the landowners to unilaterally strike the deal compelled Mr Momis to emphasize all Bougainvilleans were affected by the 20-year Bougainville conflict and not just the landowners.

“All Bougainvilleans were affected by Panguna, both when it operated and as a result of the Bougainville crisis which started because of Panguna.”

Mr Momis said the ABG rejected the agreement and if landowners wanted the Chinese company involved they should bring it to the JCC for its consideration.

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

4a) Vanuatu Government Doubles Down On New Airport: MP
Willie Jimmy says no consultations with public, landowners

By Bob Makin

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 13, 2013) – Sacked MP Willie Jimmy is totally opposed to the construction of an entirely new jumbo jet airfield in Vanuatu when the long-sought upgrading of the present airport can achieve the same objectives.

At Friday’s hugely attended public meeting on the subject, and to this writer later, he kept pointing out that the government is doubling the cost of expanding tourism by these means and taking a much longer period than is necessary.

MP Jimmy, knowing something of the identity of lease-holders in the Rentabau area, sees a great conflict of interest arising between the government and the state. “We will be liable to compensate, and we want to know how much will go to the leaseholders of the area concerned,” he says.

“How much will go to them, the lease-holders – and then how much will get to the custom owners?” Jimmy asked.

MP Jimmy is also wanting precision on the breakdown of the allocation of Vt33 billion for Vanuatu Trade Development Private Limited (VTDPL), such as how much for Bauerfield repair, how much for Pekoa, Whitegrass and each of the other airports and how much for the new airport VTDPL wants to build on Efate. Mr. Jimmy alleges that much of this money going to prime ministerial business and personal contacts for land acquisition in a project over which there has been no public or custom owner consultation of any kind.

Despite the meeting addressed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Friday, MP Jimmy, a former minister, still wants the government to explain the connection between VTDPL, the Vanuatu registered company set up by government personnel to build the new airport and a Queensland Sunshine Coast (Slippy Downs) company, Leading Edge Aviation Planning Professionals (LEAPP) Pty Limited which started life in Malaysia. It will provide aviation consulting services for the Vanuatu company.

Whilst LEAPP do have a web site to advertise their existence, there is little professional information concerning this company.

Mr. Jimmy still insists and alleged there is a connection between the two Chinese persons who signed the contract for VTDPL and the Singapore based GMR company described by the India Times as “cash strapped.”

There has not been any tender process involved in awarding the construction contract, whether to Vanuatu Trade Development Private Limited or in hiring the Queensland company. Under other legislation, every government contract must ensure there is no conflict of interest, even though the Act was changed 12 years ago to require the responsibility of only one minister rather than the Tenders Board or Council of Ministers. Such contracts were needed for any provision of services valued in excess of Vt5 million.

Readers are reminded that the tenders process was recently also by-passed in the provision of schools materials by the minister concerned from the previous government. Newspaper criticism followed.

Willie Jimmy: “What do these companies (VTDPL and LEAPP) know of airport construction and what are the airports they have built? How come VTDPL is forcing the government to issue a promissory note? Why do they need a promissory note before they even begin work?”

In 2008 then Public Works Minister Natapei was faced with an unsolicited proposal from private sector parties, and with appropriate advice the Privately Financed Airport Infrastructure Projects Act of 2008 was passed. It was to start in August of that year. This gazetted Act of Parliament enables the legitimate Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) construction method for privately financed airports because of the complexity of the procurement processes. BOT side-steps normal tendering processes.

However, it does so for privately financed airfields. No private financier has yet emerged for Rentabau International.

Deputy Prime Minister Natapei, who took responsibility for the government project Friday, admits the question of the promissory note must go before Parliament. And it is the promissory notes which cause the biggest problem of all. Especially because they require public financing, not the private finance envisaged in the Privately Financed Airport Infrastructure Projects Act of 2008.

Parliament is only a week away and there has not yet been any consultation with the general public of Efate or Vanuatu as to the desirability of a brand new 747 airport on this island, already 85% leased out and with insufficient space for grazing needs. The Vanuatu Tourism Office admits it does not have the resources to adequately promote tourism in the countries where most tourists bound for Vanuatu come from. Government does not have the resources to maintain the tarmac of the existing main airport. Nor has it been able to maintain town or rural roads, or even repair buildings like Malapoa College or the Police houses. MP Willie Jimmy will continue opposed to there being a new airport in next week’s parliamentary sitting. The public will likely be given the chance to be heard in talkback programmes during the week.

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

4b) Vanuatu Airports staff unaware of possible sacking 

Posted at 03:37 on 14 August, 2013 UTC

The general manager of Airports Vanuatu Ltd, Kevin Abel, says there has been no communication from the government to the company about plans for radical changes to the country’s airport services.

The government has a deal with a Singaporean oil palm and tobacco producer to have it build and operate airports around the country for the next 50 years.

The deputy prime minister, Edward Natapei, has been quoted as saying staff of Airports Vanuatu Ltd will be dismissed but most would be re-employed by the new company.

However Mr Abel says all his staff know is what they have heard through the media.

“We have been kept in the dark for most of the discussions, so we just want the government to come and talk to us or someone to talk to us and tell us what is happening.”

The general manager of Airports Vanuatu Ltd, Kevin Abel

Radio New Zealand International

4c) Vanuatu villagers don’t want airport in their backyard

Posted at 01:13 on 14 August, 2013 UTC

Residents of Vanuatu’s biggest village are against government plans to upgrade the Bauerfield international airport near Port Vila and want it relocated.

The Chief of Mele village, Simeon Poilapa, says they already experience air pollution and hearing problems as a result of planes landing and taking off.

The Moana Carcasses-led coalition government has signed a controversial deal with a Singaporean company which may include an upgrade of Bauerfield or the construction of a new main airport and upgrades of others around the country.

Chief Poilapa says as the person responsible for a village of five thousand, his biggest concern is the increased risk of a plane crash.

“And this has happened already once or twice, when there’s almost a plane crashing in the village. Just imagine how many people would be killed in this crash. With the extension of the current Bauerfield Airport I think it’s not the right locations.”

Simeon Poilapa says he supports the government plan to build a new international airport elsewhere.radio NZ.


5) Fiji activist sentenced to prison for reprinting report

Updated 14 August 2013, 9:02 AEST

A Fiji human rights activist has been sentenced to a prison term for reprinting part of a report which contains criticism of Fiji’s judiciary.

A Fiji human rights activist has been sentenced to a suspended prison term for reprinting part of a report which contains criticism of Fiji’s judiciary.

Reverend Akuila Yabaki, head of the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum, has been sentenced to three months jail, suspended for 12 months, for an article published in the organisation’s Tutaka newsletter in April 2012.

The article quoted London-based Law Society Charity’s 2011 report, “Fiji: The Rule of Law Lost”, which questions the independence of Fiji’s judiciary.

Nigel Dodds, Law Society Charity chair and author of the report, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the sentence is being used to silence Reverend Yabaki in the lead up to Fiji’s elections.

“The sentence is really quite clever. It’s what I would call ‘light touch’ oppression,” he said.

“By sentencing him to a relatively short but suspended sentence of imprisonment, which is going to last for a year, it’s effectively silencing him and CCF until the elections.”

Fiji’s elections are scheduled to be held before September next year.

Audio: Nigel Dodds speaks to Pacific Beat (ABC News)

Mr Dodds says the prosecution against Reverend Yabaki for the report’s republication is ill-founded.

“Their report was simply a summary of what I had said with no comment beyond what was in it,” he said.

“Certainly the report is at my door and should be my responsibility.”

He says the prosecution has been a lost opportunity for Fiji’s judiciary to demonstrate independence from government.

“Unfortunately they’ve failed in that responsibility,” he said.

Mr Dodds says the country’s judiciary has been undermined since the dismissal of all judges in 2009.

“There is a difficulty over tenure and there is by-and-large a problem in relation to international perception, and I would say the reality of the independence of the judiciary.”radio australia

6) Fiji Constitution To Be Released This Month
Bainimarama says document will be in iTaukai, English, Hindi

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, August 12, 2013) – Fiji’s Constitution is expected to be released by the end of this month.

According to Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama the Constitution will be available in the iTaukei, English and Hindi languages and will come into effect by the end of the month.

Bainimarama earlier said the new Constitution will include the right to economic participation and the inclusion of the right in the new constitution means that Government must do everything in its power to help people achieve a decent living for themselves and their families regardless of their occupation.

He said the new Constitution will guarantee and protect every person’s right including housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, adequate food, clean water, a just minimum wage, social security schemes, and education.

He also said these rights cannot be tampered with or weakened in any way because Fijians know that different governments have delivered very different results, especially for ordinary people.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

7) Fiji Citizens Constitutional Forum Fined For Contempt Of Court
CCF CEO receives prison sentence over criticism of judiciary

By Dawn Gibson in Suva

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Aug. 10, 2013) – Fiji’s Citizens’ Constitutional Forum has been fined $20,000 for contempt of court over criticism of the judiciary in the newsletter Tutaka and given 28 days from yesterday’s date to pay.

Presiding over the case was High Court judge Justice William Calanchini, who ordered CFF to pay an additional $2500 in costs to the Attorney-General within 28 days.

CCF was also ordered to arrange for a draft apology to be prepared and approved by the court before being published in the next issue of CCF’s newsletter, Tutaka, reports Pacific Media Watch.

The organisation’s CEO, Reverend Akuila Yabaki, who is editor of Tutaka, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, as well as a $2000 fine to pay within 28 days.

Rev Yabaki was also ordered to pay additional costs of $2500 to the applicant within 28 days.

Justice Calanchini had earlier, in a judgement on May 3 this year, found CCF and Rev Yabaki guilty of contempt for an article which was published in the April 2012 edition of Tutaka.

The article was about a report published by the chair of the Law Society Charity of England and Wales and commented on the independence of the judiciary in Fiji.

“The fine is to be paid to the High Court (Civil) Registry in Suva. The costs are to be paid to the Office of the Attorney-General in Suva,” Justice Calanchini told the respondents.

Dawn Gibson is a graduate journalist from the University of the South Pacific working on The Fiji Times.

Pacific Media Watch story

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 – pmc@aut.ac.nz

8) Fiji Citizens’ Forum Conviction Setback To Freedom: Amnesty
International organization says case attacks freedom of speech

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 12, 2013) – Amnesty International says the contempt of court conviction given to a prominent Fiji civil society group is chilling and a setback to freedom of expression in the country.

The head of the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF), the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, has been given a three month suspended jail sentence following CCF’s reprinting of an overseas report on Fiji’s judiciary.

Amnesty is calling for the case to be dropped on appeal.

The watchdog says international human rights law protects the freedom to make comments regarded as critical of government institutions including the judiciary.

Amnesty’s Pacific researcher Kate Schuetze says the case follows a pattern of attacks on freedom of expression and on human rights defenders in Fiji.

“They have been pulling back for some time and this is just a further incident which is going to create a climate of fear and people will be afraid of speaking out therefore they will self-censor.”

Kate Schuetze says the case was also an attack on Fiji people’s right to freedom of information.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reports that CCF may appeal the ruling, according to lawyer John Apted. Meanwhile, a partnering international charity that works with CCF, Conciliation Resources, has expressed concerns that the legal action brought against the Forum will curtail freedom of expression and public debate in Fiji.]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

9)August deadline for Fiji’s Constitution
By Online Editor
1:33 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Fiji

The Fijian government is looking at an August deadline for the completion of Fiji’s new constitution.

And translation of the new constitution into the Hindustani and iTaukei languages is still ongoing.

This was revealed by Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Monday.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the government was still looking at the August deadline as translations were continuing.

He also said the government would make an announcement soon on processes that would be undertaken for registration of Fijians abroad.

“The numbers that you already know about, 530,000 Fijians, have already been registered.”

Sayed-Khaiyum also revealed the study that would determine what the Elections Office needed to successfully conduct the 2014 general elections had been completed.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the government expected the team to submit one report but it submitted two.

“At the moment, we were expecting one report but we have received two.

“One has been put together by the Commonwealth and one has been put together by the EU and the New Zealand’s Elections Office, they have combined theirs,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We have received that and we are yet to study them. We will be having meetings on them.”

He outlined the whole point of having the needs assessment team was to have one proper report.

“Also I understand that they may be amalgamating them — once that is amalgamated then it will be prudent for us to make a comment,” he said.

The team includes Commonwealth specialist Carl Dundas, Melissa Thorpe of the Elections Office of New Zealand and Etienne Claeye of the European Commission.

They are charged with identifying the capacity needs of Fiji’s Elections Office which will assist countries and development agencies to identify how they can contribute to the election process.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA:

10) American Samoa Begins Preparations For Inter-Samoa Talks
Governor Lolo appoints cabinet members to identify key issues

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, August 11, 2013) – Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga last week appointed three cabinet members to work on issues that American Samoa wants to include in the next inter Samoa talks set for later this year. Last year, the talks were hosted in Pago Pago and it’s now Samoa’s turn as host.

Over the first seven months of the new administration, Lolo says the government has had time to assess the status of ASG and “I think we are in a better position to engage in meaningful dialogue with the leaders” of Independent Samoa.

“However, to ensure that the meeting is focused on issues significantly impacting both Samoas, it is prudent for us to invest our energies to methodically identify issues [that will] achieve our expectation for positive outcomes consequential to this [inter Samoa] Summit,” he said in an Aug. 7 memo to cabinet directors.

To “accomplish this aspiration”, Lolo says Chief Election Officer Tuaolo M. Fruean; Human Resources director Le’i Sonny Thompson; and Commerce director Keniseli Lafaele are tasked with the responsibility to prepare agenda items for discussion and start the dialogue with Samoa’s counterparts on “issues of interest to us with the expectation that they will inject matters of interest to them.”

He says the three member organizing team will explore with their Samoa counterparts a suitable date for the summit along with the venue and planning to ensure achievement of the summit’s goals.

Lolo has given the organizing team 60-days to accomplish its mission culminating with the presentation of a final report for review and approval. However, it is recommended that periodic reports be submitted to gauge the progress of the work by the organizing team, he said.

The Samoa News: http://www.samoanews.com/

11) Tahiti President Accuses Oscar Temaru Of Defamation
Opposition leader said French Polynesia has ‘convict as its president’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 11, 2013) – The French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, has decided to lodge a defamation case against the opposition’s Oscar Temaru.

This follows a news conference at which Mr Temaru said French Polynesia was for the first time governed by a gang of criminals, with a convict as its president.

Mr Flosse says the comments are offensive and pathetic.

Mr Temaru accused Mr Flosse of being the nation’s most corrupt person.

Only months before being elected president this year, Mr Flosse was given two long jail sentences and hefty fines for corruption.

Mr Flosse was briefly jailed twice in 2009 as part of a probe in one of the cases.

He has appealed against one of the convictions in France’s highest court, but should he lose, the 82-year-old politician may have to quit public office.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

MICRONESIA:


12) Marshalls parliament committee wraps up three weeks of accountability hearings
By Online Editor
1:31 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Marshall Islands

A parliamentary oversight committee in the Marshall Islands wrapped up three weeks of intensive accountability hearings with a warning from the chairman that government departments need to ensure proper service to the public.

The Nitijela (parliament) Public Accounts Committee reviewed virtually every government ministry and agency of government during its annual oversight hearings that are held just prior to the start of the August session of parliament.

The committee took Ministry of Health officials to task, recalling them for a second hearing to demand answers to audits that Committee Chairman Kenneth Kedi said showed repeated violations by the ministry of the government’s procurement code, including the purchase of expensive “smart” cell phones for administrators.

Kedi said the committee received positive feedback from the public, and added that taxpayers have entrusted government ministries and agencies with the resources to manage services for the public good. The public deserves to know how these resources are managed and delivered to the people, he said.

“The government has announced loudly and clearly that the public sector needs to deliver the right services to the people,” Kedi said.

The committee’s mandate is to publicly scrutinize government spending action to uphold accountability, Kedi said. The daily hearings were aired live on the government’s AM radio station.

Kedi and other committee members expressed concern with a number of agencies, in particular, with established funds like the health fund and heath revenue fund under the Ministry of Health. Numerous questions were raised about “serious bypassing of procurement procedures and spending beyond legal limits.”

The committee recalled Ministry of Health administrators to explain the purchase of 12 smart phones, which Kedi said violated the government policy on cell-phone purchases. According to the audit findings, the 12 smart phones were purchased at different times in the Philippines with each phone costing US$600 to US$800.

Ministry officials defended the purchase of the cell phones as helping with their work at the ministry, while Kedi complained that they could have purchased smart phones in Majuro at a fraction of the cost.

Committee members also expressed concern with the administrative costs exceeding the 10 percent requirement for the health fund, and the 5 percent ceiling for the health care revenue fund.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

AUSTRALIA:


13) Three million votes ‘may go to waste’, says Australian electoral commission
By Online Editor
1:23 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Australia

Election officials fear a record three million Australians either won’t vote or will cast an informal vote this election as the deadline looms for enrolments.

Voters have until 8pm (AEST) today to register their details with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Spokesman Phil Diak said there were 14.6 million on the roll at the weekend, out of a total pool of 15.9 million.

He said 900,000 people didn’t vote last federal election and about 700,000 spoiled their ballot papers resulting in informal votes.

“’This all adds up – the unenrolled, not turning out, spoiling their ballot papers – to something like three million. That is broadly around one in five eligible electors across the country,”’ he told ABC radio.

Diak said there had been about 80,000 enrolments since the election was called.

It’s now too late to post an enrolment form, but the AEC says the quickest and easiest way to enrol is online where applications are processed electronically.

You can also fax, scan, or drop off the form in person to any AEC office before 8pm.

Those who have moved house since last voting are also encouraged to check their details online to make sure they’re up to date.

All Australian citizens aged 18 years or over are required by law to vote, with a fine being issued to those who do not.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

NEW ZEALAND:

14) McCully denies any NZ lobbying against new forum

Posted at 23:26 on 12 August, 2013 UTC

The Foreign Minister of New Zealand has denied instructing any of his officials to lobby Pacific countries not to attend the recent Pacific Islands Development Forum in Fiji.

The new forum, initiated by Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has been seen as a rival to the Pacific Islands Forum, from which Fiji is still suspended.

Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says Australia and New Zealand lobbied behind the scenes in an effort to discourage the event, which was attended by 14 countries.

Mr McCully denied the accusations from his Fijian counterpart.

“I’m not aware of any attempt to dissuade people form participating in that forum. Certainly it wasn’t done at my request or on my instructions and if I had heard about anything of that sort happening, I would have made sure it stopped.”

Mr McCully says the timing of the visit of Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to New Zealand had nothing to do with keeping him away from Fiji.

Radio New Zealand International

15) Fiji can’t change the geography, says New Zealand Foreign Minister
By Online Editor
3:34 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister says Australia and New Zealand are part of the Pacific and important relatives to Pacific nations.

His comments come after Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said Fiji would not seek to rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum in its current structure.

At last week’s inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Ratu Inoke said Australia and New Zealand were donors and as such they wield too much influence on the regional grouping.

Murray McCully, who is on a Melanesian tour, says greater harmony is needed between the countries and next year’s election will be an important juncture.

“Every now and then he makes these speeches about the success of their Look North strategy and how successful Fiji’s been without working with the Forum, but I respond to that by telling him that you can change a lot of things but you can’t change geography.

We are all interdependent in the Pacific region and I think one way or another we’ll see the countries of the Pacific find a way of working in greater harmony.”

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

16) Pacific island development focus of New Zealand mission: FM
By Online Editor
10:58 am GMT+12, 12/08/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will head to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu this week to discuss the aid and development challenges facing the island nations and to expand trade.

The 2013 Pacific Mission would be an opportunity to meet leaders and see first-hand the challenges confronting the region and the impact New Zealand was having, McCully said in a statement Friday.

“New Zealand’s investment in projects such as the runways at Munda and Nusatupe and the Noro-Munda road in the Solomon Islands have been attempts to significantly lift our development efforts as the RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands) initiative transitions,” said McCully.

“Munda is the gateway to the Western Province, an area with significant tourism and fisheries potential to which access has been very difficult. This 25 million NZ dollar investment in these three projects is our largest in the region, and demonstrates our commitment to boosting economic growth in the Solomon Islands.”

New Zealand’s last remaining military personnel in the RAMSI mission are currently pulling out after 10 years.

RAMSI was agreed by the governments of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2003 after five years of civil unrest in the Solomon Islands.

The delegation for the annual mission was made up of parliamentarians, leaders from non-government organizations and business people representing New Zealand companies with an interest in the Pacific.

In Papua New Guinea, they would meet Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill to discuss opportunities for commercial partnerships, particularly in agriculture and energy.

“In the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the delegation will see the difference the New Zealand Police Community Policing Initiative is making, and discuss the issues the region faces in the lead up to a referendum on its status,” McCully said.

The Vanuatu leg of the mission would focus on how New Zealand could support sustainable economic development through tourist infrastructure in Port Vila.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

17a) Moa PNG bisnis laik go set ap long Solomon: SICCI

Updated 12 August 2013, 16:29 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Solomon Islands Chamber blong Commerce na Industry i welkamim ol PNG kampani we i laik go mekim bisnis long Solomon Islands.

PNG igat Oil Palm bisnis pinis long Solomon Islands na sampela moa kampani i laik go setim ap bisnis (Credit: ABC)
Odio: Tony Koraua, Chairman bilong Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce na Industry i toktok

Sampela small na medium sais business ona blong Papua New Guinea itok i pinis bai oli go long wokim bisnis long Solomon Islands.

Oli toksave long dispela laik bihain long oli go long wanpela Trade Fair long Honiara long wik igo pinis.

Chairman bilong Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce na Industry Tony Koraua itok planti long ol itok oli lukim gutpela opotuniti long wokim businis long Solomon Islands.

Mr Koraua itok ol Solomon Islands bisnis ona tu bai go long PNG long dispela yar long lukluk long wanem i stap long oli save wokim bisnis longen.Radio Australia.

17b) Ol West Papua pipal i tok PNG imas helpim ol pastem

Updated 12 August 2013, 15:37 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Oli tok PNG i kamap gut wantem halvim ikam long ol  West Papua pipal  stat iet long ol yia 1960’s na PNG imas luksave long despla.

Ol West Papua pipal itok PNG imas helpim ol pastem emi helpim ol foran refugee
Odio: Fred Mobasa man West Papua itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Ol West Papua refugee i helpim na strongim Papua New Guinea long kamap olsem wanpla kantri, tasol PNG ino luksave long ol bikpla wok em oli save mekim.

Despla toktok i kamap long wankaen taem em planti toktok iwok long kamap bihaenim plen blong Australia Praim Minista Kevin Rudd na PNG Praim Minista Peter O’Neill blong putim olgeta asylum seeka husat isave kamap long ol bot long Australia long go stap olgeta long PNG.

Fred Mombasa, wanpla West Papua refugee husat istap pinis long PNG long 36 yiar itok planti tausan ol wantok blong en isave stap iet long ol bush kemp long moa long 50 yiar na PNG na Australia ino save helpim ol.

Emi tok planti West Papua pipal iwok olsem ol dokta, enginia, tisa, nurse na oli helpim gut divelopman long PNG.

Mr Mombasa itok tu olsem oli sore tru long lukim olsem PNG na Australia i hariap tru long helpim ol refugee blong ol narapla kantri, tasol oli lus tingting long ol West Papua pipal em planti long ol istap pinis long PNG moa long faifpla ten yia.Radio Australia.

FRENCH:

18a) Fidji: un gouvernement d’intérim pendant la campagne

Mis à jour 12 August 2013, 16:18 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Ce week-end le Parti Travailliste a tenu son congrès annuel à Lautoka et a demandé la formation d’un gouvernement transitoire pendant la campagne électorale de 2014.

Cinq ans après avoir suspendu la Constitution, Franck Bainimarama promet des élections démocratiques pour septembre 2014. Le Parti Travailliste réclame la formation d’un gouvernement d’intérim, afin de ne pas fausser la campagne électorale.

C’est d’ailleurs ce que réclamait la Commission constitutionnelle dissoute par le Premier ministre, et dont le travail a été remisé dans un tiroir. Elle craignait que le pouvoir en place n’accapare les médias et fasse campagne avec toutes les cartes en main.

Les dirigeants du parti ont également réclamé le rétablissement de la Constitution de 1997, suspendue par Franck Bainimarama trois ans après son coup d’État. Le Premier ministre fidjien a cependant bien l’intention de soumettre à référendum un nouveau projet de Constitution.

Le Parti Travailliste a lancé un appel au Secrétariat du Commonwealth, à l’Union européenne et au Forum des Îles du Pacifique, pour qu’ils supervisent la transition vers un régime démocratique à Fidji. Radio Australia

18b) Australie: « Attention, la nourriture halal finance le terrorisme! »

Mis à jour 12 August 2013, 14:26 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Elle a de quoi faire pâlir Sarah Palin, l’ex-candidate républicaine à la vice-présidence américaine, spécialiste des gaffes et des approximations. L’Australienne Stephanie Banister, candidate d’extrême-droite, est devenue la risée du monde entier.

Stephanie Banister interviewée sur Channel 7 jeudi, a assimilé l’Islam à « un pays ».

« Je n’ai rien contre l’islam comme pays, mais j’estime que ses lois ne sont pas les bienvenues en Australie ». Cette phrase, malencontreusement articulée jeudi dernier lors d’une interview sur la chaîne de télé australienne Channel 7, a fait le tour du monde. Face au scandale et aux menaces d’anonymes, le parti de Stephanie Bannister, One Nation, a du lui retirer son investiture samedi.

Stephanie Banister, 27 ans, était candidate au siège de Rankin, un quartier de Brisbane.

L’ex candidate d’extrême droite a produit d’autres perles durant son interview jeudi, entre autres « les Juifs ne suivent pas le haram, ils ont leur propre religion et croient en Jésus-Christ », une confusion avec le mot “halal” peut-être, mais un lapsus de choix car haram signifie “interdit par le Coran”.

Stephanie Banister a récemment été mise en examen pour son raid dans un supermarché de Brisbane, où elle a posé des autocollants portant le slogan: « Attention, la nourriture halal finance le terrorisme! ».

Les élections générales auront lieu le 7 septembre et One Nation, parti anti-aborigènes et anti-immigrés, devrait faire un score anecdotique – il a plafonné à 0.4% au dernir scrutin en 2010. Radio Australia.

PASIFIK:


19) Vanuatu nominated to represent Pacific ACP Region in new CDE Board in Brussels
By Online Editor
1:19 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Belgium

The Government of Vanuatu has once again, with the support and endorsement of the Pacific ACP Ambassadors in Brussels been nominated to represent the Pacific region in the newly established Board of the Centre for the Development of Entreprises in Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium.

The Centre for the Development of Enterprises (CDE) is one of the 2 ACP /EU Joint Institutions under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and is established principally to provide assistance and technical support to the provide sectors, particularly the small and medium sized entreprises SME’s in the 80 ACP states within Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Group.

Vanuatu has continued to draw on substantial benefits from the CDE since the early 1990’s when the initial CDE antennae was established firstly in the then Vanuatu Development Bank and later on to the Department of Industry.

The first CDE antennae was  Japin C. Tari, Director of the Department of Industry and subsequently was replaced by Howard Aru who until this very day, provides substantial technical and back up support to the Vanuatu small and medium sized Entreprises and other entities.  Aru’s contribution in the CDE is highly commended and recognized by the CDE management and the ACP secretariat.

John Atkins Aruhuri currently Manager of the Rural Banking Services in the National Bank of Vanuatu /NBV and formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been nominated to represent Vanuatu and the Pacific ACP region in the new CDE Board of Directors for the period 2013 to 2018 respectively.

John Atkins Aruhuri’s nomination was submitted by Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the ACP Group of States Roy Mickey JOY at the end of July to the Pacific ACP Ambassadors for consideration.

In the process, Aruhuri’s nomination was unanimously accepted and endorsed to the ACP Secretariat as the Pacific’s nominee to the new CDE Board.

When commenting on this nomination from Brussels, Ambassador Joy said ‘ he was very pleased and encouraged that Aruhuri’s nomination and candidature could be fully accepted by his colleagues and went on to add that Aruhuri’s nomination was based purely on his very strong credentials particularly as it relates to private sector development and his keen interests in the export sector and vast knowledge and experience in the ACP /EU Cotonou framework” he underscored.

Aruhuri will join his two other colleagues representing Africa and the Caribbean region in the new CDE board and will amongst other important issues, ensure that the Pacific region’s interests in the CDE board, specifically those from the private sector and non government entities are accorded adequate attention by the CDE board in facilitating technical and financial support to the Pacific region.

One of the key and most important issues that the new CDE Board is confronted with is of course that relating to the future financing of the CDE operations budget from the EC as wells as the need to salvage and retain the status quo of the CDE against the EU ‘s on going commitment to rationalize and restructure the CDE from its present configuration.

The first meeting of the new CDE Board is expected to convene in Brussels on the 15th September this year whereAruhuri is expected to attend and meet his CDE colleagues. The CDE board as 3 meetings every year in its headquarters in Brussels and our nominee is expected to attend all these events.

The mandate of the CDE Board is 5 years and in Brussels  Aruhuri will be assisted by Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy and his team.

SOURCE: EMBASSY OF VANUATU/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

20) Kiribati Students’ Truancy Linked To Lack Of Transportation
Education ministry investigating why students skip class

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 13, 2013) – A lack of school transport could be one of the main reasons that truancy is becoming an issue in Kiribati.

The Ministry of Education has put some work into researching why students are skipping school and the Ministry’s Danietta Apisai says one of the challenges they have is communicating with parents.

Ms. Apisai the senior education officer for secondary schools, says phone connections can be unreliable and many students who reach high school level have to move away from home to attend schools on the bigger islands.

She says the other issue is the lack of a regular school bus service.

“We do have problems with transportation because private transports usually don’t encourage picking up of students because they pay less. We are trying to provide school transport but there is the issue of providing enough for all the students.”

Apisai says parents can be fined for not making their children go to school but because they don’t have dedicated truancy officers it’s often difficult to follow up on each case.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

21) Solomon Islands students moan death of colleague in Fiji
By Online Editor
1:21 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands students studying in Fiji woke up on Saturday to unexpected grim news.

One of their colleagues was allegedly bashed to death in the early hours of Saturday during his night out.

Social network groups named the deceased student as Collin Maepara of Manawai village, east Are’Area, Malaita.

Reports from Fiji said Maepara, who is studying at the Fiji National University, was attacked by a security guard of a night club. He died later in a hospital.

As of last night, his body was still kept in the hospital morgue awaiting post-mortem to determine the cause of death.

It’s understood Fijian police have begun investigation.

Attempts to talk to Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji Patteson Oti yesterday were not possible.

President of the Solomon Islands Students Association in Fiji could not be reached for comments as well.

Students spoken to via email and facebook expressed shock at the incident.

“We are still reeling over the government’s delay to pay up our allowances and this news does not help.

“It caused more grief especially to Maepara’s close friends and relatives,” one student said.

Maepara is said to have married to a Fijian and they have a daughter.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

22) Ethnic Clash At PNG University Spills Out Into Street
Drunken brawl between UPNG students closes Waigani Drive

By Todagia Kelola

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 12, 2013) – A drunken brawl at the country’s premier learning institution, the University of Papua New Guinea has led to an all-out ethnic clash between two provincial groups over the weekend.

Acting NCD Metropolitan Commander Godwin Dukaduka told the Post-Courier that the two groups from Chimbu and Enga had staged an all out tribal warfare on Saturday in the campus which spilled over on to the main Waigani Drive road.

“For one full hour the Waigani Drive road from the University roundabout to the Botanical Garden roundabout was blocked off as the two groups chased each other with knives, sharp objects and stones. Police were contacted in which we manage to drive the students back into the campus and the road was cleared for the public to use” said Mr Dukaduka.

He said Police moved in to the campus and spoke to the leaders of the two groups who agreed to meet yesterday at 3pm to resolve their problem.

“The situation at the campus is tense but my men are patrolling the area and I am appealing to the leaders of the two groups to restrain their members from participating in this warfare.”

He also warned that his men will not hesitate to arrest and charge any student who goes out of the campus and tries to cause inconvenience for the travelling public using the Waigani Drive road.

A member of the public who was caught in between with his family members during the clash by the two provincial groups said “It is very unbecoming of our future leaders and those we thought are the brains of our country to be involved in such primitive way of solving a problem, shame on them, they should not be in there”

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

23) PNG Education in crisis: Report
By Online Editor
1:17 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

A comprehensive report on the Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) has painted a damning picture of the entire education system in Papua New Guinea.

The report, prepared by a government task force, contained 48 recommendations for a complete overhaul of the system, including a new standards-based curriculum focused on increasing the teaching of English and Mathematics at elementary and primary school levels.

It found that teachers had very low reading and writing skills, and should be given additional training in reading, writing, and Mathematics.

The report noted that there were striking similarities between the South African and PNG experience of OBE.
Both countries had inadequate teacher training and support, leading to poor implementation, and more alarmingly, a decline in standards of literacy and basic Mathematics.

The task force, while concluding that an outcomes-based approach should be retained, suggested that recently-published text books should be used and adapted.

The report was presented to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in May and approved last week by Cabinet, which has directed the Education Department to implement it.

Las week, O’Neill said it was now up to the department to take the lead in implementation of the report.

“We are now referring it to the bureaucrats to implement the recommendations.

“They (task force) have made 48 specific recommendations. Cabinet has accepted all the recommendations made by the task force.

“We have directed the department and their officials to implement that fully,” the PM said.

The terms of reference for the task force were to review the OBE and if necessary, develop an exit strategy, particularly at the elementary level.

Its primary findings include the need for a new curriculum framework.

The task force summarised the failure of the OBE as:

*originated by ‘outsiders’;
*hard to lead and manage;
*inadequate resourcing and planning to implement;
*teachers did not understand the framework; and
* parents did not understand the changes.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

24) FSM recognizes volunteer teachers
By Online Editor
1:15 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Micronesia, Federated States of

In response to an invitation from the president of the FSM, Manny Mori, 27 volunteer teachers and educators from across the State of Pohnpei visited him on Friday at the FSM national capital complex here in Palikir.

The volunteers consisted of teachers and educators from several different countries, and from numerous organizations, including: the Peace Corps, the Seventh Day Adventist church, Japan International Cooperation Agency, World Teach and Jesuit volunteers.

Mori offered his profound thanks and gratitude on behalf of the nation, and commended the volunteers for committing their time, education, and efforts to assisting the children of the FSM in their educational endeavors.

SOURCE: FSMIS/MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

BUSINESS/TRADE+:


25) Simberi eyes 100,000oz of gold output
By Online Editor
1:22 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

Simberi mine is expected to produce between 85,000 ounces and 100,000oz of gold for this year to June 2014, operator St Barbara Ltd forecasts.

The miner’s June quarter reporter said Simberi operations alone produced 12, 927oz of gold.

And 45,609oz of gold for the year to June of this year under St Barbara’s ownership.

The company also produced a total of 107,363oz in the June quarter, indicating a 24% increase in output compared to the May quarter of this year.

St Barbara also has a strong financial position with A$129 million (K267.5 million) cash at bank as of June 30.
Managing director and chief executive Tim Lehany described the financial 2013 as one of transformation, with the divestment of Southern Cross operations and the acquisition of the Pacific operations.
He said year on year, production has increased 8% to 364,601oz.

Lehany said the company has a number of planning scenarios to operate profitably in a sustained lower gold price environment, given the encouraging exploration results at Simberi and Gold Ridge.

He said the next financial year would be one of further improvement and production growth through continuing to build operational capacity in the Pacific, focusing on reducing costs, and adding to gold inventory through exploration.

St Barbara’s assets include its Leonora operations in Western Australia, its Simberi mine and Gold Ridge mine on Solomon Islands.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

26) Fiji Govt welcomes revised economic growth

By Online Editor
3:27 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Fiji

The Fijian Government has welcomed the revision of the projected economic growth figure from 2.7 to 3.2 per cent by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

Ministry of Finance permanent secretary, Filimone Waqabaca said there was an air of confidence and optimism in the country which augured well for the government’s medium term target of 5 per cent growth.

He said Government would continue to strive for this by working with the private sector, civil societies and other stakeholders to build a better, stronger and sustainable performing Fijian economy.

The 2.7 per cent growth figure announced in the 2013 Budget was derived from estimate figures available at that time.

Waqabaca said the robustness in the wholesale and retail sector was the result of the Government putting more money in hands of the people by increasing the tax threshold from $15,000 to $15,600 (US$ 7,900 – US$8, 200) and reducing the tax percentage from 25 per cent to 7 per cent for the lowest band.

He said the Government had also provided strong support of several sectors such as the textile and footwear sector, the agricultural sector and tourism amongst others.

There were stimulus given to investors at various levels including the declaration of tax free zones and duty free goods.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

27) New Vanuatu Airport Hinges On Parliament Decision
Acting PM gives press conference to explain airport deal

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 12, 2013) – Acting Prime Minister Edward Natapei has stressed the future of the Vt33 billion (US$350 million)concession agreement the Government of Vanuatu signed with the Singapore-based company, Vanuatu Trade Development Limited (VTDL,) on July 27 for the design, construction, operations and transfer of a new airport in Vanuatu, now hinges on whether the Parliament agrees to Government signing off promissory notes to the company for use as a guarantee for it to carry out the work.

He said if Parliament does not agree to the promissory notes, that it would be the end of the road for the deal signed with VTDL.

Acting Prime Minister Natapei made the point in his concluding remarks at a public press conference called by the Government on Friday morning to explain the concession the Government had signed with VTDL and to clarify what the Acting Prime Minister called “ill-founded arguments through the media by some political leaders and others, seemingly influenced by external or private interests.”

In a statement he read at the start of the press conference in the Chiefs Nakamal in Port Vila, Natapei chronicled the process they went through to source the services of an international company to help Vanuatu with its Airports Infrastructure Development needs. This began with the contributions from the former Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, who kicked off the process with the formation of a Task Force to spearhead the technical aspects of the process.

This 17-member Task Force, the Acting Prime Minister, is comprised of five Director Generals, the State Law Office, four First Political Advisors, 6 Directors, and the Head of Government’s Aid Coordination and Negotiation Unit, Benjamin Shing, who is the Chairman of this Task Force.

Natapei explained how that process resulted in three international bidders – International Finance Corporation (IFC), Shanghai Construction Limited and Greenfield being shortlisted. In his explanation and supporting clarification from members of the Task Force, the Acting Prime Minister refuted earlier assertions that the previous Government of Sato Kilman had approved the bid by Shanghai Construction Limited of China. And he detailed the full process thereafter even through the Council of Ministers that ended with the Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, signing the concession agreement with VTDL on July 27.

The Acting Prime Minister explained that “the Greenfield concession contract initiative was done in accordance with the Privately Financed Airport Infrastructure Act enacted in Parliament in 2008, and is based on longstanding national interest” and it has come after six years of the Government trying to utilize this law to improve the airport infrastructures of the country.

He stressed that the failed projects of Maldives highlighted in the local media is a different issue and GRM associated with the Maldives projects is a different company promoted by different people and not the same promoters as VTDL. And that this has been confirmed in a letter from GMR that it has no association with VTDL.

The deal signed with VTDL is for the design, construction, operations and transfer of a new Greenfield airport in Vanuatu with the capacity to accommodate larger long haul direct flights from any country in the world. It also includes upgrading Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila, Pekoa on Santo, Whitegrass on Tanna, Norsup on Malekula and Lonorore on Pentecost.

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

28) Solomons Embarks On $30 Million In Rural Development
World Bank a major contributing donor to development program

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 13, 2013) – The Solomon Islands’ ministry of national planning and aid coordination on Monday signed nearly 170 community projects under the Rural Development Program (RDP) worth at US$30 million.

The signing ceremony was held at the RDP’s conference room, Panatina Plaza.

The projects were funded by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) through Rural Development Program.

These 168 community projects were signed off by the ministry’s permanent secretary Jerry Manele.

During the signing, PS Manele assured the recipient communities of the full support from the ministry and had commended them for their patience.

“My Ministry through RDP will provide all the support necessary for the timely implementation of the projects before the closure of this phase of RDP.”

“I would like to acknowledge the patience of all these recipient communities for the delay in the releases of these funds. Since parts of the funds are now with the RDP, disbursement will commence immediately.”

PS Manele also commended the donor partners in the RDP program.

“I would like to acknowledge the support of our donor partners in RDP, the World Bank, AusAID, IFAD, and EU for who contributed to the early years of this phase.”

The Rural Development Program is a six-year US$30 million program jointly funded by the World Bank (lead donor), Australia, the European Union and the International Fund for agricultural development.

Managed by the ministry, it has three components: build small-scale village infrastructure, build capacity in the agriculture ministry and assist rural businesses with training and finance. Australia is contributing AU$1.7 million [US$1.6 million] a year for the first five years (2008-2013).

The program is raising the living standards of rural households by improving economic and social infrastructure and services, as well as helping the ministry of agriculture and livestock to deliver advice and services to farmers. The program reports that the percentage of villages with improved access to effective agricultural services has gone from 2 percent when the program started to 22 percent in September 2010 with a target of 72 percent in 2013.

Solomon Star

29) PNG PM woos NZ investors
By Online Editor
1:16 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, New Zealand

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has urged New Zealand industries to invest in Papua New Guinea for its sound, secure, profitable and stable economic climate.

O’Neill said: “We are the right destination for your investment and for doing business.
“I know I am biased, and proudly biased, when it comes to this, but I can assure you there has never been a better time to invest in Papua New Guinea, to trade with Papua New Guinea, and do business with Papua New Guinea.”

He said this when addressing the New Zealand business communities in Auckland recently.

O’Neill said New Zealand has been able to maintain a strong and diverse agricultural sector and successful export industries over the years despite having mining resources.

He also stressed that PNG needs investment in mining, gas, tourism, fisheries agriculture and livestock and processing of agriculture to help diversify the country’s economy and private sector.

He said PNG’s stable political climate has allowed investors to make investment decisions with confidence.
PNG’s GDP growth this year would be 6.1% – up from the projected 4% outlined in the 2013 budget.

O’Neill said inflation was contained better than what the government had projected – down to 5.6% from 8%.

“I hope you will appreciate that we must “grow” our own small business sector – and I am very happy for that growth to include partnerships, joint ventures, and other arrangements with overseas small businesses, including those from New Zealand.

“And I again want to stress: New Zealand investment that partners with our businesses and industries will be warmly welcomed.

“We have strong political stability … we have a growing economy

“We have government spending largely under control, and we are focussing on the priorities of delivering services that improve living standards and opportunity; and we are addressing obstacles such as crime, and corruption,” O’Neill said.

He highlighted that PNG:

*has the strongest and most secure level of political stability since independence;
*enjoys GDP growth that is the envy of many countries, including countries far more developed;.
*has sound fiscal management in place, with spending directed towards the right “mix” of delivering basic services, and providing the economic infrastructure needed to secure long term and broadly based growth.
*is rich in the resources the Asia-Pacific region needs such as minerals, natural gas, marine resources and agriculture; and
*is focused on addressing the few impediments that exist to the right investment and business climate, such as reducing crime, fighting corruption and addressing infrastructure costs, including power and transport.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

30) Vodafone Fiji back in talks
By Online Editor
10:55 am GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s National Provident Fund chairman Ajith Kodagoda says they have resumed talks with the Independent Public Business Corporation in PNG over the sale of bemobile.

He said certain conditions critical to the achievement of the business plan projections were not met, resulting in it pulling out of the agreement signed last April to buy off 40% of bemobile.

IPBC managing director Wasantha Kumarasiri was not available to confirm this announcement.

State Enterprises Minister Ben Micah said on Monday that FNPF had decided not to extend the grace period, “meaning that they have pulled out”.

“This effectively means that the State will have to look at the investment strategy for bemobile going forward through other options,” Micah said.

“They (FNPF) advised the chairman of bemobile and IPBC some days ago.

“I was advised and we have since decided not to create any more uncertainty in the business.

“This is why the IPBC board decided to accept the withdrawal of Fiji National Provident Fund.”

The FNPF’s announcement came after Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on Monday that Vodafone Fiji had pulled the plug on the agreement signed with bemobile in April.

O’Neill said the PNG Government would be looking at IPBC and Telikom to fill the void.

Kodagoda said in a statement on Wednesday: “FNPF has recommenced talks with the Independent Public Business Corporation of PNG.

“The bemobile share subscription agreement was not completed as certain conditions critical to the achievement of the business plan projections were not met.

“As custodians of members’ funds, the board is mindful of its fiduciary duties to protect and grow members’ savings and will always act in their best interest at all times.

“The fund remains positive that parties involved would explore all alternative structures going forward.”
News of the withdrawal came as an anticlimax after all the fanfare when Micah signed an agreement worth K88 million with Vodafone in April.

It was the culmination of months of hard work, and would have seen bemobile with the capital and strategic partnerships to enable it to compete and thrive in both PNG and Solomon Islands and bring competition to the sector in PNG, particularly against major player Digicel.

The loan agreement would have seen Fiji’s Vodafone manage bemobile’s telecommunication system.

Under the agreement, the IPBC would share equity of 51% while FNPF would own 40%.

The other 9% would have been shared among PNG Sustainable Development Programme, Steamships and Nasfund.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:


31) New report reveals severe gender violence in PNG
By Online Editor
3:30 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

There are calls for a major shift in attitudes towards gender violence in Papua New Guinea, as law enforcement agencies there have been accused of largely ignoring the issue.

A new report by the NGO, ChildFund Australia, has confirmed previous research showing that at least two thirds of women in PNG experience physical or sexual assault.

It says the brutality of the violence is severe and often involves bush knives, axes, burning, spearing and even biting.

ChildFund Australia’s CEO Nigel Spence says they found many women do try to get help from law enforcement agencies but that all too often, police were not interested in responding and in some instances, were also the perpetrators of violence.

“It is appalling the level of inaction, taken against these instances of violence, and despite recent statements by the Prime Minister, which are very welcome, there’s a huge amount to be done for government to improve its effort, to take this issue seriously,” Spence told Asia Pacific.

Spence says much more needs to be done to “stop the silence” and courts need to use the laws that are available to them.

PNG’s government introduced a bill earlier this year that allows for tougher sentencing for rape and murder.

The report, ‘Stop Violence Against Women and Children in Papua New Guinea’ found there are currently not enough programs that work with men who are the main perpetrators of the violence, in order to change the prevailing social norms.

“We have to start trying to shift attitudes amongst men. This is not an easy task of course, but we have to start trying to shift attitudes,” he said.

“There are some men, some community leaders who’re calling for an end to the violence.

“We need to support their efforts, and we need to conduct some community education programmes to inform men more squarely about the devastating consequences of their actions.”

Spence says another reason violence against women needs to be addressed is because it is also harming their children.

Monica Richards, who manages the women’s shelter Haus Ruth in the capital, Port Moresby, says about 60 per cent of children who come to the refuge with their abused mothers have also been hurt.

“Most [men], when they touch the women, they touch the children as well,” she said.

Spence says they know that can have significant impacts on children’s development.

“It affects their ability to learn, ability to attend school, their ability to develop into productive adults. So this kind of violence has a huge personal and social and economic price for PNG,” Spence said.

The report also found that expensive transport makes it difficult for women from rural areas to access medical attention in the capital, Port Moresby, while district hospitals are not sufficiently equipped to provide adequate medical treatment to rape victims

SOURCE” RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

32) Vanuatu Government Urged To Rethink Capital Punishment
Transparency group reminds Vanuatu committed to UN rules

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 12, 2013) – Transparency International Vanuatu is calling on the government to urgently rethink plans to bring in the death penalty.

Last month after several murders, the then Minister for Justice and Community Services, Silas Yatan, said the government may embrace the death penalty.

His call was later backed by the council of chiefs.

But TIV says the people need to be aware that Vanuatu has committed to a number of United Nations Conventions and allowing the death penalty would contravene these.

The watchdog group says the government, local organizations and individual citizens must ensure that the country does not take such a backward step.

It says it is vital the judiciary and police are properly strengthened and able to undertake their roles to protect everyone and stop violent crimes from escalating, while protecting everyone’s human rights.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

33) PNG government promises real action on corruption

Posted at 07:46 on 12 August, 2013 UTC

The chief secretary to the Papua New Guinea government says there is too much talking and not enough fighting against corruption in PNG.

Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc has told a forum on PNG’s proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption the government is willing to fight corruption head on.

Sir Manasupe says the government is ready to take serious steps to end corruption.

The government of Peter O’Neill was elected on a mandate to tackle corruption and fix the nation’s ailing infrastructure.

In 2011 it set up Task Force Sweep to investigate corruption at the department of National Planning, but its purview was soon extended to cover other departments.

Task Force Sweep Chief Sam Koim said last year that about half of PNG’s multi billion dollar aid budget for the 3 years from 2009 to 2011 had been lost to corruption.

In October last year he called Australia PNG’s “Cayman Islands” for stolen funds.

In February his office in Port Moresby was ransacked.Radio new Zealand Int

CUSTOM/CULTURE/TRADITION+:

34) China Pledges Assistance To Help Fiji Preserve Culture
Both nations hope to maintain uniqueness: Chinese minister

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, August 13, 2013) – The Chinese government has pledged to provide assistance to Fiji’s Department of National Heritage, Culture and Arts as the two countries have a common goal of preserving their cultural uniqueness.

Chinese Minister for Culture Cai Wu who is in the country said in the field of culture, they have done a lot of work in the past and there is still a lot of potential in the future.

Minister Cai said both countries had the common wish to preserve their cultural uniqueness, as well as protecting their sovereignty and independence.

“China has always regarded Fiji as our best friend, best partner and brother among all the Pacific Island countries,” Cai said.

“On the foundation of our bilateral friendship and goodwill relations, we will enhance our cultural connections and interactions in the future. Though China and Fiji have different national situations, we both boast cultural diversity. We treasure our precious traditions and culture,” he said.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was also signed by Fiji’s Minister for Heritage and Culture Filipe Bole and Minister Cai.

“The MOU is the framework with which we will operate for our cultural interaction between the two countries. There are a lot of items in that MOU certainly sufficient enough to keep us busy. The whole idea behind the MOU is for cultural interaction for future. It is something that we hope to follow very quickly to try and get some of the actions that are envisaged in the MOU to be done,” Bole said.

The Chinese government also donated cultural equipment worth 300,000RMB [US$48,652].

The Chinese delegation will leave the country today.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

35) PNG Minister Apologizes For Custom Mask Issues
National museum director says minister did nothing wrong

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 12, 2013) – Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Boka Kondra has apologised to the Tubuan society in Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain and New Ireland for touching their revered masks in public.

Kondra said he had touched the masks not knowing that he was violating the rules, regulations and protocols of the Tubuan people.

“My action to make redress in this case will not only be for the mistake that occurred but at the same time, I feel that it is my responsibility as the Minister of Culture and Tourism to lead by example in showing respect for our peoples’ cultural rules, regulations and protocols,” he said last Friday.

“I would like to apologise most sincerely to the Tubuan society, through its chairman.

“I will do the right thing in future by following rules and regulations and to take measures to correct the mistake that has taken place.”

But National Museum director Dr. Andrew Moutu said Kondra did not do anything wrong as he was actually receiving the mask donated to the museum by the Tanga Island people of Namatanai in New Ireland.

“The minister did not touch the masks. He was actually receiving the mask. But in their eyes, it is touching and against their rules, regulations and protocols,” Moutu said.

Kondra said he would meet with the leaders of the Tubuan society either in Rabaul or Port Moresby this week to resolve the issue with them.

“I have advised my officers to make arrangements for me to go through with any required rituals and protocols to make redress,” he said.

“At the outset, I acknowledge and welcome the concerns of the chairman of the Tubuan society of East New Britain and New Ireland and I apologise for my own actions of touching the masks in public.”

He said the concerns of the Tubuan people expressed in the media highlighted three important matters:

That our cultures are alive and vibrant;
That our people respect their cultures and would like to ensure that they survive into the future;
It draws our attention to the cultural diversity of our country and the need for all of us to understand the rules, regulations and protocols that regulate our cultures and to respect them.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

REFUGEE:

36) Asylum Seekers Could Move Through Torres Strait Islands
Mayor: proximity to PNG provides alternate route to Australia

By Campbell Cooney

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 13, 2013) – The mayor of the local government authority of the Torres Strait islands says he expects to see growing numbers of asylum seekers going through his area in an attempt to reach Australia.

The Australian Government claims the arrival of a group of Somali asylum seekers on an island of the Torres Strait does not mean its close proximity to Papua New Guinea provides an easy alternative for people trying to get into the country.

The Mayor of the Torres Strait Islands Regional Council, Fred Gela, disagrees.

“We’ve had families from Afghanistan sitting on Saibai’s airstrip waiting to hitch a ride on the next plane out,” Mr. Gela told Radio Australia.

“They know that the closest route, the easiest way into Australia, is coming through the doorway, which is the Torres Strait.”

Mr. Gela says they have tried to raised their concerns with politicians about the new asylum seeker detention and resettlement policies, but have had no response.

He has repeatedly urged the Government to bolster the region’s customs and border protection.

“The people that have gone through the strait, they know that there is no level of authority down on ground, there is no level of law enforcement that deals with this particular issue,” he said.

Claims of fear campaign

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has accused the federal opposition of whipping up a fear campaign over asylum seekers coming to Australia via the Torres Strait.

The Coalition seized on the arrival of Somalis in the Torres Strait at the weekend to warn it could be the start of a “torrent” of asylum seekers.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the arrivals prove the border is porous and that customs officials are not equipped to stop asylum seekers.

“Not only does our border crisis continue coming into Ashmore Islands, coming across to Christmas Island, coming in the Cocos and Keeling Islands, Kevin Rudd’s brilliant idea has just opened up another front on the Torres Strait with our northern exposure,” he said.

Mr. Rudd says there have always been a few people who travel across the strait, dismissing the Coalition’s attack on his plan to send asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea.

“The idea that people are going to somehow jump in a canoe and go from Manus Island, around the Papua New Guinea mainland, and down the Torres Strait in any significant numbers is just ridiculous and so I think there’s a deliberate fear campaign,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter by which means people seek come to Australia – if it’s by boat and without a visa you’re not going to be allowed to settle here.”

But Mayor Fred Gela says at least bolstering border protection in places like Saibai Island, just a few kilometers from the PNG mainland with a population of less than 200, would go some way in assisting matters.

“Coming through (Papua) New Guinea undetected, that is very easy to do,” he said.

“In terms of the measures that are in place, in force in PNG – lack of human resources, funding constraints, the skill set – it will forever be an issue.

“I want to be brutally blunt about this, this is the first wave of many to come.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

37) PNG Private Sector Body Disappointed Over Manus Contracts
Neither PNG nor Australia reportedly looked to local vendors

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 13, 2013) – The Papua New Guinea Manufacturers Council yesterday expressed disappointment and frustration at the governments of PNG and Australia over awarding of contracts for the Manus asylum facility.

Chief executive officer Chey Scovell said he was baffled by the silence from both governments on the involvement of PNG’s private sector on everything from the construction of housing and offices to the supply of general goods and services for the processing center.

“Domestic manufacturers of prefabricated housing, which are made to international standards exceeding the Australian requirement, have reported nil contact from either government nor cited any tendering opportunities,” he said.

“We can confirm that some local business had been proactive in seeking opportunities to supply, but the Australian government was simply letting contracts to other foreign firms.

“Foreign firms are getting the contacts and sourcing their goods and materials offshore – effectively excluding our industry twice.

“It is as confusing as it is disappointing that despite offering quality products at competitive prices, local businesses are not even being offered the opportunity to quote on all or part of the supply for goods and services for the processing centre in Manus.”

Scovell said in the wake of the recent small-to-medium enterprises (SME) summit, the PNG government had been vocal in its commitment and desire towards “local content” and developing the small to medium enterprises sector.

“The context in any of these discussions has been the need for any such plan to be comprehensive and not solely focused on the resource extraction sector,” he said.

“The engagement of PNG Made housing and building material for the asylum centre seemed a perfect place for our government to demonstrate its real commitment towards supporting competitive local industries.

“The council condemnation extends to the Australian government for its lack of effort towards soliciting quotations from local businesses, in particular at the front end of these preparations.

“Despite various obligations under numerous treaties and regulations it seems that the Australian government is sole sourcing or selectively tendering the opportunities and giving no consideration towards PNG businesses.”

Scovell said that several of his members had indicated interest, had capacity, offered competitively-priced products above the required standards and further held various environmental accreditations, so there seemed to be no excuses as to why these and other local businesses were being left out.

Australian High Commission spokesman, Tim Bryson said the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has advised all contractors and service providers on Manus Island to use local providers and labour wherever possible.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

38) Iran, not PNG

Australian intelligence reports show the Papua New Guinea agreement is puncturing the flow of Iranian asylum-seekers — the nationality considered most likely to be economic migrants rather than genuine refugees.
Dozens of Iranian asylum-seekers on Manus Island have told officials they wish to return home rather than stay in PNG, a trend the government hopes will allow it to return some back to Tehran before the election.
In a sign the regime in Tehran may be willing to offer some co-operation in stemming the flow of its citizens to Australia, Iran’s state-run media is understood to have approached the Australian embassy for details of the PNG plan.
Australian officials continued to negotiate a return agreement with Iran that could see failed Iranian refugees forcibly returned, something Tehran has so far refused to allow and which has greatly restricted Canberra’s ability to create a deterrent.
The arrangements on Manus Island are a source of growing concern to the UNHCR, with the agency’s regional head, Richard Towle, expressing worry about the ambiguity of the agreement with PNG.
“There are a number of serious and unanswered questions about the arrangements, including the legal protection standards to be applied, the procedures themselves and the fate of all those found to need refugee protection,” Towle said.
Intelligence reports suggest fewer suspected Iranian asylum-seekers have arrived in Indonesia since the PNG plan was announced on July 19 despite new restrictions on visas for Iranians entering Indonesia not coming into effect until August 20. Senior officials said the PNG plan was also impacting on Iranians already in Indonesia, with many asking the International Organisation for Migration about schools and job opportunities in PNG before then requesting that they be returned to Iran.
Officials are concerned these trends have not yet resulted in a notable downturn in boat numbers because of a backlog in demand for boats. Continued arrivals are adding greater urgency to the government’s efforts to find space on Manus Island to house new arrivals.
So far, 157 asylum-seekers have been transferred to Manus under Labor’s PNG policy.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

39) PNG PM says asylum policy is working
By Online Editor
1:28 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

Asylum seekers are starting to realise they are being conned by people smugglers amid early signs some would rather go home than be relocated in Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

O’Neill has told local media some asylum seekers processed at an Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island may be genuine refugees.

“There are already positive signs with some of those processed in Manus now realising that the boat trips are futile,” O’Neill told the Port Moresby based National Newspaper.

“They realise now that they are being conned by people trying to profit from them.”

He said some people being processed in Manus may turn out to be genuine refugees.

“In such instances, our laws and the relevant conventions on refugees will apply,” he said.

Lawyers working for PNG’s opposition have started a legal challenge against the centre, months after a prior challenge was dismissed by the courts.

PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato has said he expects legislation to be introduced in parliament in September to protect the Manus centre from legal challenges.

A special visa class will also be created for asylum seekers resettled in PNG.

So far 223 asylum seekers are being housed on Manus Island, a province of PNG located just two degrees from the equator.

Last week Australian Immigration Minister Tony Burke said there was some evidence asylum seekers in Indonesia were demanding their money back rather than risk the journey.

“When I say the demands for money back are widespread, they are absolutely widespread,” Burke said.

There is no doubt that the message is getting through, he said.

PNG’s opposition whip Tobias Kulang says the scheme is not covered by the Pacific nation’s constitution.

“They are going to use their numbers on the floor of parliament to legitimise (the asylum seeker deal),” he said last week.

“As the opposition, we are very, very concerned.

“This a complete abuse of power.”.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

40) Australian To Build Third Detention Center On Nauru
Building damaged in riot also being rebuilt

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 12, 2013) – The Nauru government says Australian authorities are in negotiations with landholders to establish a third detention centre on the island.

The site is reported to be for accommodation for families and unaccompanied minors.

Meanwhile, new buildings are under construction at the detention centre which was severely damaged in a riot and fire three weeks ago.

The riot has heightened local community concerns about Nauru’s new resettlement agreement with Australia.

“People are scared because we haven’t come up with those kinds of behaviours or things like that happening in our homeland,” resident Eimynora Ageg said.

“All I worry is for the safety of the kids because Nauru is very free and everyone knows each other,” he said.

Most asylum seekers are now being accommodated in a second temporary camp on Nauru.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

41)International community accused of selfishness, $34million needed for climate change in Fiji
By Online Editor
11:30 am GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Fiji

The international community took another broadside from Fiji’s Prime Minister Monday – this time on climate change.

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama accused foreign governments of putting their economic interests ahead of the survival of the Pacific.

“The situation in Tuvalu and Kiribati is critical and it is selfish for big countries to put their economic well-being before our survival,” Bainimarama said.

Bainimarama said there was a lack of political will among developed nations to address the level of greenhouse gas emissions created by large industries.

Speaking at Fiji’s Second National Climate Change Summit, Bainimarama echoed the Pacific Conference of Churches call last week for “action, not words” at the end of the five-day event.

While Bainimarama spoke about the international community in general terms, he took a specific swipe at Australia for what he described as “backing away” from previous climate change targets.

He said climate change must be part of the global agenda and Pacific leaders needed to work together to force the international community to address the issue.

Meanwhile, Fiji will need to spend more than $34 million (US$18 million) on relocation caused by climate change in the next five years.

Studies have revealed that at least 34 villages will need to be relocated as Pacific sea levels continue to rise, Fiji’s Second National Climate Workshop was told Monday.

Director Treaties, Esala Nayasi, of Fiji’s Foreign Affairs Ministry told delegates at Narewa in Nadi that each relocation would cost around $FJD1 million (US$530,000).

“At present we are working on two villages – Narikoso in Kadavu and Vunidogoloa, Kadavu – where excavation alone cost $200,000 (US$106,000),”Nayasi said.

“We are grateful to our partners, including the Pacific Conference of Churches, for the work they have done in helping the communities during these difficult times.”

About 200 people gathered at Narewa – recently affected by the flooding of the Nadi River – to discuss a cohesive approach to climate change.

Among the participants are villagers of Narikoso, Ono, Kadavu, who will share with delegates the difficulties associated with disaster relocation.

Nayasi said he was grateful for the large number of participants from civil society, government departments, development agencies and the United Nations.

Narewa Village was chosen as summit venue because of the devastating effects of flooding in the area last year and in January 20009, forcing authorities to plan a diversion of the Nadi River.

The summit will involve a series of workshops attended by various stakeholders and ends on Friday.

SOURCE: PCC/PACNEWS

42) Climate change reality in Fiji
By Online Editor
3:33 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Fiji

The climate change summit underway in Nadi is intended to build Fiji’s ability to effectively address challenges faced by everyday Fijians.

Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs, Amena Yauvoli says this brings together stakeholders and the community to identify key areas to combat climate change.

Narikoso village in Kadavu and Vunidogoloa in Savusavu are two critical areas that the government is looking to relocate due to the rise in sea levels.

Yauvoli says they have received another possible relocation case, this time far from the coastal areas.

“We have been given one a few days ago that they need assistance as well, so you can see the climate change is not only posing challenges to islands but also to communities that live in the hinterlands and the interiors of the main islands.”

The village is yet to be named.

Meanwhile, 646 communities in Fiji have been identified as being vulnerable to climate change.

According to the Climate Change Unit at the National Summit in Nadi, only 143 of them have active climate change projects.

CCU’s Manasa Katonivualiku says this is one of the biggest challenges, identifying areas that are vulnerable but have no climate change projects.

He says out of the 51 vulnerable communities in Vanua Levu, only one does not have a project underway.

In Viti Levu, there are 462 communities with 71 of them working on mitigation efforts.

These climate change projects include food and water security, health and sanitation, marine, fisheries and forestry.

Katonivualiku says the Lomaiviti Group is another vulnerable area where 106 communities are at risk but only 81 sites have projects

The Fijian government is focused on meeting at least 90 percent of total energy requirements through renewable sources.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

43) Tsunami prepardness workshop for Pacific nations in Wellington

Posted at 03:29 on 12 August, 2013 UTC

National disaster management representatives from fifteen Pacific Island nations are in Wellington this week for a tsunami preparedness workshop.

The New Zealand civil defence minister, Nikki Kaye, says representatives will be shown how to use new Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre information products which can predict wave heights and localise tsunami information.

She says the tools will allow Pacific Island nations to create accurate tsunami threat models.

Ms Kaye says the participating Pacific nations will also have an opportunity to share their local knowledge and hear from various New Zealand government agencies.
Radio New Zealand International

44) Turtle’s remarkable Pacific swim

By Online Editor
3:29 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, French Polynesia

A juvenile loggerhead turtle nearly bashed to death in heavy Tahitian surf is now causing scientific excitement with a remarkable swim across the South Pacific.

Ariti the turtle, complete with two satellite transponders on her shell, has swum in more or less a straight line for 73 days, clocking up 2160 kilometres as she heads to feeding grounds around Fiji.

The tagging work, carried out by the French Polynesian Ministry of the Environment and the US NOAA Agency, is the first time a loggerhead has been tracked from Tahiti where the turtles hatch.

Ariti was found by a fisherman near the village of Teahupo’o on Tahiti – an area famous among surfers for its enormous waves.

She was taken to the ministry’s Sea Turtles Clinic where she recovered.

On May 24 children from Teahupo’o school were on a ministry boat which took Ariti out to sea, southeast of Tahiti and released her.

She has been tracked across the Pacific, passing through the waters of the Cook Islands, passing near Niue and on through Tonga and is now in the Lau Basin, the loggerhead-rich waters southeast of Fiji’s main islands.

Scientists say that she will have eventually covered 3500 kilometres in a little more than two months.

She has been swimming about 38 kilometres every day, at an average speed of 1.6 kilometres an hour.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

SPORTS:


45a) Solomon Islands soccer officials ordered to resign
By Online Editor
1:42 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Solomon Islands

PACNEWS has been reliably informed that the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has ordered the mass resignation of Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) officials.

PACNEWS was told that the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) gave the directive to the current executive of the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) to resign.

The source said. OFC asked all SIFF executive members to resign yesterday.

OFC Secretary General Tai Nicholas says OFC will be releasing a statement today on the issue.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

45b) Vanuatu sprinter gets taste of the big time
By Online Editor
1:29 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Vanuatu

Ni-Vanuatu sprinter Daniel Philimon has recorded a personal best time at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow but has failed to get past the preliminary heats.

In muggy conditions and in front of a sparse Luzhniki stadium crowd on the first morning of the global showpiece, the 18-year-old from Malakula ran the 100 metres in 11.54.

It was the first time he has dipped under 12 seconds but he appeared to be distinctly underwhelmed by his efforts.

“I was expecting to do a better time. I’ve had a hamstring injury the last two weeks. I know I can run 10.7,” he said.

The slightly-built Philimon came to Russia with the slowest registered personal best time of all the 100 metres competitors – and he admitted his training facilities back home “were not good”.

“We only have maybe four sprinters in Vanuatu – preparing themselves for the Commonwealth Games (next year in Glasgow),” he said.

“My coach is back home. I’m here with the (Federation) president.”.

SOURCE: ABC/AFP/PACNEWS

45c) Pacific’s sprint King records best time
By Online Editor
1:31 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Fiji

Pacific’s sprint sensation Banuve Tabakaucoro clocked his season’s best during the 14th Athletics World Championship in Russia on Saturday night.

The former Marist Brothers High School finished seventh in the men’s 100metres heat, stopping the clock at 10.53seconds.

American Mike Rodgers won this heat with a time of 9.98s.

Tabakaucoro went into the race with hope of improving his time.

After clocking his season’s best, he now focuses on his next event, the men’s 200m.

Justin Gatlin and Rodgers produced the first sub-10 time on Russian soil, and Usain Bolt had what could best be described as a stroll to victory in the seventh and last heat.

Bolt clocked 10.07s in his heat, Gatlin won his heat with a time of 9.99s.

Fiji’s other athlete Leslie Copeland will take part in the men’s javelin throw on Friday.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

45d)Jarryd Hayne eyes Fiji World Cup spot if snubbed by Australian coach Tim Sheens
By Online Editor
1:32 pm GMT+12, 12/08/2013, Australia

Jarryd Hayne Hayne has placed himself on standby to represent Fiji at the end-of-year World Cup, raising the prospect of switching allegiance during talks with Australian coach Tim Sheens.

Hayne has been in touch with Fiji coach Rick Stone about representing the Bati for the first time since his life-altering 2008 World Cup campaign.

At this stage, Hayne would only look to make the change if he’s overlooked for the 24-man Kangaroos squad that will tour the UK and France in October.

Sheens spoke with Hayne last week, ahead of the Parramatta superstar’s return from a hamstring injury.

“Fiji did come up in our conversation, but my impression is that his preference is still to represent Australia,” Sheens said.

“I was riding to see how his injury was and what his thoughts were about playing (in the World Cup).

“He told me he was making a comeback this week and wanted to be involved.

“He did mention the fact that he might like to play for Fiji, if he was wasn’t selected for Australia.”

Sheens would give no guarantee of Hayne’s selection, but it’s difficult to imagine the 17-game NSW Origin flyer missing-out if fit.

Nevertheless, insiders at Parramatta are adamant that Hayne is torn about possibly playing against Fiji.

It was during World Cup camp in Woy Woy with the Bati that Hayne found his religious calling after a turbulent year that saw him shot at in Kings Cross.

Stone revealed he’d also had several conversations with Hayne about the possibility of a second outing for Fiji.

“I’ve chatted with Jarryd a little bit and he is a bit torn,” Stone said.

“I think he’s smart enough to realise Australia has to be his first preference, but he could look to make an election change later-on if he’s not picked for the Kangaroos.”

Stone already has a host of talented backs to choose from, with Akuila Uate, Lote Tuqiri, Marika Koroibete and Wes Naqaima all in the selection frame.

The Knights NSW Cup coach also hopes to convince Rabbitohs star John Sutton to join the team.

SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

45e)Busy November schedule for tier two rugby nations

Posted at 23:26 on 12 August, 2013 UTC

Tier two rugby nations will play a record total of 20 test matches in this year’s November window.

Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Russia, USA, Canada, Romania, Japan, Uruguay, Portugal, Georgia, Chile, Brazil and Spain will all be in action, with the three

Pacific Island teams and Japan once again facing tier one level opposition as they enter an important phase in the preparations for RWC 2015 in England.

Included in the schedule is historic first-ever visits by Samoa and Tonga to Georgia and Romania, respectively.

Samoa will also take on Ireland and the French Barbarians, with Tonga to meet both France and Wales, while Fiji will face Italy and Portugal.

Radio New Zealand International

45f) West Coast thrash Essendon

West Coast has capped another bad week for Essendon, beating the Bombers by 53 points at Docklands yesterday afternoon.
In the other afternoon game, Adelaide led by 34 points over the Kangaroos and lost it before fighting back to seal a nine-point win at Football Park.
In the twilight match, Fremantle all but locked up a top-four spot with a 113-point thrashing of Greater Western Sydney at Subiaco Oval.
The Bombers came in as favourites, but they were overrun in a poor second-half performance to lose 18.12 (120) to 9.13 (67).It was a tight contest early on, with the Eagles leading by three points after the opening term.
The teams kicked three goals each in the second quarter, as West Coast went into half-time just two points to the good.
But two goals to Sharrod Wellingham and a single to Matt Priddis broke the game open by the 10 minute mark of the third term.
The Bombers tried to fight back, but the Eagles finished the quarter with six goals to two to establish a 21-point lead going into the final quarter.
A Brendon Goddard goal opened the final term on a positive note for the home side, but the Eagles then kicked the last six goals of the game to cruise to victory.
The Eagles’ Jamie Cripps told Grandstand that the win meant a lot to West Coast.
“We finally played the way we wanted to play, we got our running game going, and in the end we were just running over them,” Cripps said.
“That’s the way we want to play every week, and finally we did it.
“We got a few players back which helps out … our fitness is starting to come in now.”

45g) November Tier Two Schedule announced
By Online Editor
1:41 pm GMT+12, 13/08/2013, Ireland

Tier two nations will play a record total of 20 Test matches in this year’s November internationals as the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015 in England continues.

The strong programme is being financed and supported by the IRB, which invests more than £10.5 million each year in high-performance programmes and competitions for Tier Two countries.

Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Russia, USA, Canada, Romania, Japan, Uruguay, Portugal, Georgia, Chile, Brazil and Spain will all be in action, with the three Pacific Island teams and Japan once again facing tier one level opposition as they enter an important phase in the preparations for RWC 2015 in England.

With plenty of IRB World Rankings points at stake, the November schedule will see historic first-ever visits by Pacific Island Unions Samoa and Tonga to Georgia and Romania, respectively, as well as Portugal visiting Sao Paulo to take on Brazil for a first-ever Test match between the two sides.

Rugby World Cup 2019 hosts Japan will also build their development platform as they play New Zealand in Tokyo before travelling to Europe to play Scotland, Russia and Spain.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This is an exciting time for Rugby worldwide and thanks to the ongoing commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB has been able to invest record sums in the Game.”

“The November 2012 and June 2013 programmes have really showcased the tremendous competitive strides that Tier 2 Unions are making with Samoa defeating Wales, Scotland and Italy, Tonga defeating Scotland and Japan recording a first-ever victory over Wales. I am anticipating a truly captivating November series of matches.”

It has already been an unprecedented year for Tier two Rugby nations, with an extensive June programme witnessing the expansion of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup to include USA and Canada. June also witnessed the launch of the IRB Tbilisi Cup in Georgia, where the hosts welcomed Uruguay and development sides from South Africa and Ireland.

The success of Rugby World Cup as a major global brand has provided the platform for the IRB to finance and deliver an unprecedented annual schedule of matches for tier two nations in the important June and November international windows.

“The November fixtures are playing a massive role in the development of Unions who have been identified by the IRB as part of a major Strategic Investment Programme,” said Mark Egan, IRB Head of Competitions and Performance.

“These IRB World Ranking matches will enable coaches to assess players in a competitive environment, while giving the IRB the opportunity to benchmark the progress of the top ranked tier two Unions against both each other and, in some cases, against Tier One opposition.”

“We are also looking at a number of Test options for Unions such as Namibia and hope to announce some additional November fixtures for our performance group of Unions in the near future.”

The IRB also continues to invest in the now established and successful tournaments including the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup, IRB Pacific Nations Cup, Americas Rugby Championship, IRB Nations Cup as well as the IRB Tbilisi Cup..

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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