Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 853


1) Indonesia warns it may use force against West Papuan Freedom Flotilla

By Online Editor
1:32 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Indonesia

The Indonesian government has said it hopes it will not be necessary to use lethal force against a boatload of activists planning to land illegally in Merauke, West Papua, in the coming weeks.

The West Papuan Freedom Flotilla is sailing from Australia to raise awareness about the abuses faced by Indigenous West Papuans under Indonesian rule. They have been denied permission to enter Indonesian territory.

Indonesia’s deputy co-ordinating political, legal and security affairs minister, Agus Barnas, told the Guardian on the phone from Jakarta that “the use of weaponry may not be necessary. We won’t threaten them with guns, but we want to send them away from Indonesian territory.”

He said the government had ordered the navy commander and the air force commander to patrol the area near where the boats are planning to land.

“We’re paying special attention, and intensifying [our patrols]. If they enter Indonesian water, the armed forces will take measures,” he said. “The order is to direct them away from Indonesian territory.”

Barnas said the government had made it clear to the Australian ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, during independence day celebrations last week, that Indonesia viewed the flotilla as a direct attack on its sovereignty, telling him: “No country should allow … use [of] its territory as a base to launch a disturbance to another country.”

But a spokesman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs told the Guardian that “the flotilla will not be prevented from leaving Australia. It is not illegal to depart an Australian port.”

The spokesman confirmed that Moriarty had discussed the Freedom Flotilla with the Indonesian government, including members of the foreign ministry, but he declined to say whether Australia had sought an assurance that deadly force would not be used against the activists.

“The Indonesian government has made it very clear that the flotilla would be breaking Indonesian law should it attempt to enter Indonesian waters – under no circumstances will the Australian government condone the breaking of another country’s laws,” the spokesman said.

Izzy Brown, one of the flotilla participants, said she was not surprised by Indonesia’s reaction.

“We knew something like that was potentially on the cards so we’ve been preparing for it,” she said.

“We do have contingency plans – we have planned different courses of action depending on what arises.”

But Brown said the plan was to attempt to land in West Papua regardless.

“West Papuans live in fear every day, in fear of the Indonesian military,” she told the Guardian. “We are embarking on a peaceful journey to bring awareness and compassion about an issue that has for too long been ignored in the Australian and international media.”.


2) West Papua activist accuses Indonesia of not honouring its promise

Posted at 22:13 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

An activist from the Indonesian province of West Papua says Indonesia is lying and not honouring its promise to the leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The secretary-general of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation Rex Rumakiek says Indonesia is now dictating to MSG leaders what they should do.

He says during the MSG summit in New Caledonia, it was agreed that all foreign ministers visit Indonesia and West Papua to see the situation themselves.

Mr Rumakiek says now Indonesia is inviting the MSG leaders one by one.

He says the Solomon Islands Prime Minister was the first MSG leader to visit Indonesia this month.

Mr Rumakiek says dealing with leaders individually creates a risk of bribery, and it’s another tactic by Indonesia to divide the MSG and impose its agenda.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Solomon Islands election candidate says women want change

Posted at 06:16 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

A Solomon Islands politician says women in her country are fed up with not benefitting from any of the money that passes through the hands of her male counterparts.

Rhoda Sikilabu is a former deputy premier of Isabel province and now a provincial assembly member who is standing in next year’s general election.

She has just completed an exchange to Melbourne under the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships scheme – something she says is proving vital in helping her to improve the lives of her constituents.

Mrs Sikilabu says she does not have the cash that men politicians have to fund their campaigns so she has focused on building relationships with donors and agencies that can deliver services.

RHODA SIKILABU: The only solution for me to get to the provincial assembly was to improve projects for women like sanitation, water tanks, water supply. ’Cause I did not have the resources, I did not have the money, like what they’re playing now in politics. Women do not do that kind of thing. I see that is corruption and I see that it’s not good. And because women do not like to be seen as vote-buying and all these kind of things, I did things in a much different way, and that was to deliver services for women, youth and children in the communities. Development is a good thing because it embraces the peoples’ mindset that they see a woman doing positive things, impacting their lives. And that is a very, very good thing for people to put in their minds. Rather than giving them money, cash, I give them development and service delivery.

ANNELL HUSBAND: Yes. And yet when it comes to the election the cash is such a strong influential factor, isn’t it? And men’s influence over their wives and how they’ll vote.

RHODA SIKILABU: That is correct. That is still largely practised in a chiefly strongman leadership. The chiefs normally influence relatives, families and people to vote for who their candidates are and what candidate they want. But for me I have done a lot of education in many ways to my community. They have their rights to vote and they see things that are correct and right for them to choose. And I have been influencing women of the communities that a woman is like a mother. It’s so close to you. You can sit near, face to face, and discuss things the way you can’t do with men. Although I don’t have money to do this, I have the influence of women, that coming to a woman is a great connection that you cannot do with a man. So that is the way I went impacting these women, that woman-to-woman is a very close link, that they can go as far… There is no limits. We can go as far as developments can bring us.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Civil Society groups continue push for Solomons PM to resign

Posted at 22:13 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

Civil society groups in Solomon Islands say they will relentlessly push for the Prime Minister to resign, after he rejected their claims as ridiculous.

The groups, including Forum Solomon Islands International, Anti-Corruption Network of Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands National Teachers Association and Malaita Ma’asina Forum, urged the Prime Minister to step down two weeks ago, after accusing him of lying about his trip to Indonesia.

They say Gordon Darcy Lilo had claimed it was funded by the Indonesian government, but local media reported his government had footed the bill of more than one million Solomon Islands dollars.

A spokesperson, Barnabas Henson, says they will fight for the Prime Minister’s resignation.

“Well part of our strategy is to maximum exposure of the evidence that we’ve got against the allegations that we’ve got against him. So part of the strategy is to come out and expose it in the media. And this is to put pressure on him, and to actually call on the conscience of the people to actually support in telling him you need to go.”

Barnabas Henson.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Call for Solomons leaders to work with people they serve

Posted at 22:13 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

Solomon Islands politicians are being urged to live and work with the people they serve.

A former deputy premier of Isabel province and a current provincial assembly member, Rhoda Sikilabu, says to get the backing of her women constituents she had to leave a good job in the capital Honiara and return to a modest village life.

She says she believes she has a strong chance of winning a parliamentary seat in next year’s general election.

Mrs Sikilabu also says she always knew that she would only be able to improve the lives of rural people – who make up 80 percent of the population – by returning to her community.

“To know the core problems and the insides of the needs of people, I have to be where they are. And it was a great leaning for me: to be able to make impacts and changes is feeling their pain.”

Rhoda Sikilabu says she and other women putting themselves forward for election want to see between six and eight women get into parliament next year.

Radio New Zealand International

6a) No endorsement from Vanuatu opposition for task force change

Posted at 06:16 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s opposition bloc says it is not going to support a planned motion by the government to include opposition members in the task force it has set up to make recommendations on a controversial new international airport.

The opposition leader Ham Lini says the government wants to change the format of the task force by including four members appointed by the opposition.

The government is yet to reveal details of a 350 million US dollar deal with a Singaporean company to build and operate Vanuatu’s airports for the next 50 years, including a new international airport on the main island, Efate.

Mr Lini has told the Daily Post newspaper it is not normal for the prime minister and deputy prime minister together to sign such an agreement, as it should have been the minister responsible for airports.

Mr Lini says unless the government can show a breakdown on how the money is going to be spent, the opposition will remain suspicious of the project as a scam on a grand scale.

Radio New Zealand International

6b) New post on Vanuatu Daily Digest

Vanuatu daily news digest | 26 August 2013

by bobmakin

Following yesterday’s news of the Opposition taking the Government to court over the new airport project, Prime Minister Carcasses Kalosil saw the Opposition parties certain to lose their case and considerable legal fees. Former Minister Pipite and VRP are clearly on the Opposition side pointing out in VBTC News the previously established wisdom of any 747 airport, if one is necessary, being at Luganville. Opposition Leader Lini has concentrated his attack on the absence of any feasibility study and no breakdown of the various commitments subject to the USD 33 million promissory notes. Lini has in Daily Post this morning labelled the airport contract a scam similar to the Swanson scam of the Sope Government. In an attempt to save his Government, Carcasses is this morning offering a Thursday parliamentary discussion and the formation of a Government (4 members) and Opposition (3) committee to examine the concessionary agreement signed by him and Natapei with the Asian investors on 27 July. Daily Post sees this as a change in membership of the airports renovations task force. Lini feels insufficient background checks have been done on the Singapore company signed to do the work. He has grave concerns over the land issue.

Vanuatu has no legislation able to protect people and the environment from solid, gaseous or liquid pollution says Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu. There are more and more polluting activities happening.There will be a Pollution Control Act and regulations drafted to give a grace period of three months before legal action is taken against polluters, fees for permits and lists of prohibited activities. The first pollutant identified by Regenvanu was that produced by motor vehicles.

Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) sales of permanent Vanuatu residence status to Chinese business people seeking residence in Hong Kong is said by the VFSC Legal Department Manager John Tungkon to be ready to reach one billion vatu by December following two years of operation. Sales under the Vanuatu Permanent Residency Scheme for mainland Chinese are such that Tungkon has been able to tell the Vanuatu Times they are transferring about VT 13 million to VT 15 million to the Vanuatu Government revenue account per week. New products are being created.

The sitting of Parliament continues this morning. For those unfamiliar with the practice, Parliament continues to be broadcast on national radio, VBTC, from 8.30 am, as a state commitment to the electorate.

bobmakin | August 26, 2013 at 8:49 am | Categories: The News, Digested |
7) Fiji constitution an important step: Aust

By Online Editor
10:07 am GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Australia

Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making steps towards a return to democracy, Foreign Minister Bob Carr says.

Senator Carr says the Fiji government’s released its constitution and that’s an important step forward for that nation’s commitment to hold elections by September 2014.

“Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making credible steps towards a return to democracy,” Senator Carr said in a statement on Saturday.

“We’ve provided $2.65 million to support development of Fiji’s electoral processes and will continue consultations with other donors and the Fiji authorities to identify further needs.”

Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum released Fiji’s new Constitution on August 22. It is expected to be formally promulgated on 06 September.


8) Political parties answerable to voters: Fiji AG

By Online Editor
1:37 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Fiji

Political parties will be answerable to voters for not attending the briefing on the new constitution says Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it’s unfortunate that politicians see the new constitution as a political document instead of taking the opportunity to participate.

He says at the end of the day there is a process that needs to be followed and the constitution will be put into effect.

“They (Political Parties) and organizations like CCF talk about the Yash Ghai draft as the people’s draft. Frankly we do not know of any person who made a submission to the Ghai commission that said let’s have 140 member people’s assembly that’s going to be unelected. How can that be the people’s view? In fact the Ghai draft would have allowed for same sex marriage. Majority of the people that you would go to in Fiji will say that they don’t agree to same sex marriage so these three political parties are they advocating same sex marriage?”

Political parties boycotted the briefing on the new constitution last Thursday.

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) stated they did not attend on the grounds that they feel the process lacks credibility.

The UFDF has since rejected the new constitution.

Meanwhile, the constitution provides that elections must be held no later than September 30, 2014, says Sayed-Khaiyum.

And while Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed he will form a party before that date, Sayed-Khaiyum neither confirmed nor denied his interest to contest the elections.

“At the moment our minds are focused on what we need to do to ensure all the right rules and regulations are put in place for a successful conduct of elections,” he said when pressed for a comment on whether he would participate in the elections or join Commodore Bainimarama’s soon-to-be-formed political party.

In terms of proportionate representation, he said like any election, the preferred political party would get more votes and more seats in parliament.

“But this is a more fair elections. You may recall in the 1999, 2001 and 2006 election, a party like the NFP won a major percentage of the votes but they didn’t get a single seat,” he said.

“And the reason being the electoral system was alternative votes.

“In this system, as long as you get at least five per cent of the votes from the people who cast the votes, you are assured of at least one seat. So it’s in proportion to the number of votes you get, that’s the number of seats you get in parliament.”

Hypothetically, he said, if a political party received 60 per cent of all the votes, they would get 60 per cent of the seats in parliament.

He said the fundamental principles had been included in the constitution regarding proportional representation, single constituency and the five per cent cut off.

The mechanics of it, he said, would be put into the election rules.

“The fundamental principles need to filter through to the election rules,” he said.


9) Unite now plead Fiji’s former leader

By Online Editor
10:08 am GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s former Prime Minister and ex-Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), Sitiveni Rabuka, has called on all Fijians to support the new constitution.

He said people should be glad that the Bainimarama Government had stuck to its promise on Fiji’s new constitution.

“Now we have a constitution that we all contributed to and we must support it,”Rabuka said.

He said the new constitution would boost investor confidence; something that he said had been affected by the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution.

Rabuka said more investors would now have the confidence to invest in Fiji because of the constitution.
With the new constitution in place,  Rabuka said a new journey would start and we should all be part of it.

He said he was not happy that the political parties had decided to stay out of the constitution briefing that was called by the Government.

According to Rabuka, their decision was uncalled for and they should have gone to the briefing to hear what was in the constitution.

“To stay out of the briefing is really uncalled for especially when they will be major players in the 2014 elections.”

He said staying out of the briefing would not help them as they prepared for the elections.

“The constitution has set the way for the 2014 elections.”

Rabuka said changes could be made in the constitution but there are proper procedures to be followed.

“There will be no changes made by airing their concerns and seeking the support of their international counterparts.”

Fiji’s main opposition political parties – the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the National Federation Party (NFP) are rejecting the constitution.

Rabuka has urged these political parties to lend their support and contest the elections as changes can only be made in parliament.


10) Supervisor of Elections post to be advertised

By Online Editor
4:29 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s supervisor of elections position will be advertised in the coming days with the position – for the first time – open to applicants from outside the legal fraternity.

Attorney General and Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there are many countries around the world who have held successful elections without having a lawyer as the supervisor of elections.

He says the position will be advertised globally to attract a person of international experience.

“We have removed for example people may not have picked this up but previously to be a supervisor of elections you had to be a lawyer this does not say that you have to be a lawyer in the new constitution that was an old school of thought. You need a very good administrator with a lot of experience as we have said earlier on that we hope to have elections conducted in one day and that can be done and obviously there will be a lot more resources but we need to build a very strong independent elections office.”

Two reports on a gap analysis and needs assessment of the elections office has been submitted to the Minister for Elections.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they hope to have a meeting this week with development partners who want to help Fiji with the elections.

He says Fiji will have free and fair elections unlike the past where ballot boxes were tampered with.

Elections are scheduled to be held no later than September 30th next year.


11) New code of conduct for Fiji’s Public office holders

By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s new Constitution establishes an accountability and transparency commission that will cover public office holders.

And according to Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, the office holders would be subjected to a new code of conduct.

“We will be ruthless in enforcing it. We want that same transparency and accountability in the private sector,” he said at the Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) congress in Nadi last week.

“I appeal to the business community to match government’s commitment to higher standards of propriety and accountability.”

He said it was the job of an accountant to take stock of the financial positions of individuals and companies.

CPA Australia-Fiji president Ravendran Achari said the congress theme A World of Opportunity acknowledged and recognised the fact that their increasingly inter-connected global marketplace presented a wide range of possibilities and challenges for business and business leaders to navigate.

“This is on the backdrop of the phenomenon we term globalisation,” he said.

“The ability to transform entire organisations and to achieve ambitious goals comes from the mastery of a specific set of leadership skills, not from any inherent set of personality traits.”

He said the moment those leadership skills were connected with an opportunity they created something even more powerful.

The congress would continue today with an opening address by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and presentations on learning from a mining boom as well as strategic thinking and implementation.


12) With constitution released, Fiji leaders to end pay secrecy

Posted at 06:16 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

The Fiji regime leaders are expected to reveal their salaries after last week’s release of their new constitution.

Political parties have repeatedly called for the public disclosure of the top leaders’ taxpayer-funded pays.

They have said the regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, receives more than 700,000 US dollars a year, but the regime has said the figure is wrong.

In January, the attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said he and the interim prime minister were not officials of a political party and therefore not obliged to divulge their pay.

In April however, he said he would disclose his pay in July.

In July, he said their pay would be made public after the constitution was finalised.

Commodore Bainimarama has run the government since January 2007 – one month after he carried out a coup, which briefly installed Jona Senilagakali as interim prime minister.

Radio New Zealand International


13) Pitcairn diaspora to be gauged on resettling island

Posted at 06:16 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

Far-flung Pitcairn Islanders are about to be surveyed about what made them leave the isolated territory and what would make them return.

The United Kingdom government wants to see Pitcairn’s population increase from the 50-odd there at the moment to about 80 by 2016.

The Deputy Governor of the Pitcairn Islands, Kevin Lynch, says there are believed to be several thousand Pitcairn Islanders scattered around the world.

KEVIN LYNCH: We decided we’d ask the diaspora, in the first instance, what they thought about coming back and living on Pitcairn, and also what they perceive as Pitcairn Island to see if we can remove those barriers. And linked in to that is socio-economic survey which will have a look at the opportunities for developing the economy of Pitcairn Island and some of the pinch points to see if we can help the economy of Pitcairn Island.

SALLY ROUND: Are there many Pitcairn Island islanders scattered throughout the world?

KL: How many there are we are not sure at the moment, and we’ve only got a guesstimate. There are disapora living here in New Zealand and in Norfolk Island, maybe small pockets in America and small pockets in the United Kingdom.

SR: And would the aim be to look at what might attract them back to their homeland?

KL: That’s exactly right. As I say, what might attract them back to come back and settle and help Pitcairn’s future. And also if they’ve got thoughts on why they might not settle back – one of the obvious things is the remoteness of Pitcairn Island – and to see what we can do to develop some opportunities. We can’t do anything about the remoteness, but maybe the accessibility to the island.

SR: So, for example, how could you improve that?

KL: We would look at the transport means into Pitcairn Island to see if we can get some private investment. At the moment there are four supply ships three months per year. Obviously, some people might think that is a bit too much trouble to look somewhere along the lines of increasing that frequency. But that obviously involves money and we’d have to look at that very carefully.

SR: So what is the potential for Pitcairn Island? It’s facing increasing challenges of shipping changes and so on. The postage stamps with the internet coming on there. Postage stamps are not so attractive, I guess, anymore.

KL: Yeah, that’s right. The postage stamps have gone down over the years with the advent of internet and email. The goal is to increase the population and that’s part of the strategic development plan that Pitcairn Island Council, along with the FCO and the Department for International Development, have put together. We have some figures in that to try and get [the population] up to 80 by 2016 and these surveys will help us judge how we do that.

SR: So why is Pitcairn Island so important for the UK? Why do they want to put the investment into such an isolated community which some might say is really not worth spending the money on? British taxpayers have spent almost 10 million pounds in aid over the last 4 years.

KL: Yes, well, that’s their reasonable needs and we’ve already published that. And also the people on Pitcairn Island, as all people throughout the world do, have under UK law and international law, the right to live where they want to live. And that’s what we are dealing with.

SR: With more people back in Pitcairn Island, won’t that put more pressure on services?

KL: Yes, indeed, it will. And that’s what we’ll be looking at very carefully. We won’t actually be encouraging thousands of people to come on Pitcairn Island, because it’s an island two miles by one mile and has limited resources. So obviously we’ll be carefully monitoring any growth in population so that it’s sustainable.

Radio New Zealand International


14) FSM ‘forgives’ Kosrae, Chuuk debts

By Online Editor
09:57 am GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Micronesia, Federated States of

Federated States of Micronesian President Manny Mori signed Congressional Acts 18-7 and 18-8 with mixed feelings. The two measures are now Public Laws 18-8 and 18-9.

They will absolve the states of Kosrae and Chuuk from having to repay the remaining balances of the recovery loans extended to them through Public Laws 14-140 and 10-31.

Mori thanked the FSM Congress for passing the acts. However, he observed with “disappointment” that no conditions were imposed to ensure that the two states would fulfill the fiscal reform objectives that were to be achieved as quid pro quo conditions of the loans.

For Chuuk, part of the understanding established with the national government was to return to a unicameral state legislature, install a public auditor and hire special prosecutor within a specified timeframe. None of these has been achieved.

Similar financial reforms were required of Kosrae. However, the cash-flow problem has not improved and continues to haunt everyone.

“The two states’ outstanding debts may be erased from their respective books through these acts, but the needed reforms will remain without being resolved,” Mori said.

He noted that another loan had been extended to Chuuk for U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement in the amount of US$978,860 through P.L. 17-68, for which the state has not indicated intention to repay. This loan could have been part of the absolution act.

All the FSM states received FEMA reimbursement funds through the same public law, but only Chuuk was required to work out a repayment plan with the president in an indefinite timeframe.


15) High allowances irk former Kiribati president

Posted at 17:38 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

A former Kiribati president says it’s not right for a cabinet minister, Taberannang Timeon, and his board members to receive a sitting allowance of 1,000 US dollars and 500 dollars respectively.

Teburoro Tito says he was informed by several employees about the payment, and they were very upset about the size of the allowances.

Mr Tito says many families are struggling to earn a dollar a day but the minister and his board members earn such money within a few hours.

An Officer in Charge of the Kiribati Port of Authority, Mr Koria, has told the Kiribati Independent that this was an annual general meeting of the board and that’s why they were paid such a special allowance.

Several employees have pointed out that the KPA is not a private company, but a public company.

Mr Tito says that during his presidency, his government made a flat sitting allowance of between 40 and 50 dollars for all board directors in government companies.

Radio New Zealand International

16a) Marshall Islands hurries to prepare for Pacific Islands Forum

Posted at 22:13 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

A week before the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands, Majuro residents have rallied to beautify the capital atoll.

Over 300 people from the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand, as well as representatives from over a dozen donor nations, and a large contingent of media are expected to start arriving on the weekend for the summit to be held next week.

Tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of people hours are going into painting buildings, pruning shrubbery, and cleaning streets.

The Foreign Minister Phillip Muller says he is proud of people’s efforts in the massive clean up.

Local residents are building about a dozen thatched roof huts that are being deployed throughout a park where visiting dignitaries will arrive for welcome before the start of the ceremony that launches the four-day Forum.

This is the 44th annual summit, and Pacific heads of state are meeting on the theme, “Marshalling a Pacific response to climate change.”

The only other time Majuro has hosted a Forum was in 1996, nine years after it became a member of the regional body.

Radio New Zealand International


16b) PNG artist igo long Canada wantaim halvim blong ‘crowd sourcing’

Updated 26 August 2013, 17:07 AEST

Kenya Kala

Ol pipol long North America long stat blong mun August i painim olsem Pacific Islands kalsa ino ol woa danis laen blong New Zealand tasol oa ol naispla waitpla nambis blong Pacific. Displa ol samting olsem i save kamap long ol muvi, turisim buk oa long ol kain Reality TV show.

Vanuatu MP Ralph Regenvanu, Shigeyuki Kihara, George Nuku blong New Zealand na Pax Jakupa blong PNG. Tony Sowersby photos

Piksa: Ol art work blong Pacific artists long Museum of Anthropolgy long Vancouver, Canada

Odio: PNG artist Pax Jakupa, Tony Sowersby, wanpla Australian Artist na Deb Chapman

Papua New Guinea artist Pax Jakupa ibin stap insait long wanpla Symposium em Pacific Artists Association ibin redim long Museum of Anthropolgy long Vancouver, Canada.

Ol i kolim Paradise Lost.

Long hap, em ibin hap blong 13 Pacific artist, husait i kisim wok blong ol long soim long ol pipol blong Canada na tu, long salim. Moa longen, long strongim ol wan wan wok blong ol, ol ibin stori wantaim ol pipol long hao na wai, art wok blong ol stanap strong, maski ol ‘material’ blong mekim ol bilas, i sanis.

Long Pax Jakupa, em i nambawan taim long go long Canada. Em i tok, em ibin bungim ol First Nations, ol as-ples pipol blong Canada we ol i stori long sidaun na laif blong ol, na taem ol i harim stori blong Pax, olsem em i stap long ples stret, ‘oli karai.”

“Ol i karai bikos ol i lusim ples na kastom na mak blong ol, Pax Jakupa i tok.

“Tasol mi laenim planti samting long ol.”

Wanpla samting em i nupla, em long displa trip igo long Canada,, em long kisim halvim long ‘crowd sourcing’ – askim ol frens na artist network long halvim wantaim trevel blongen.

Wantaem halvim blong planti ol artist network olsem Tony Sowersby, wanpla Australia Artist husait ibin igo wantaim em long Canada na Deb Chapman, wanpla long ol meri i sapotim wok blong Pax long PNG na Australia, displa wokabaut ibin kamap.


16b) Cocaïne : la saisie du siècle au Vanuatu

Posté à 26 August 2013, 8:53 AEST

Pierre Riant

Une saisie record de plus de plusieurs centaines kilos d’une valeur estimée à des centaines de millions de dollars.

Port Vila: c’est sur la droite, près de l’île d’Iririki que le voilier avait jeté l’ancre. [Radio Australia – Pierre Riant] (Credit: ABC)

L’affaire remonte à la semaine dernière lors d’une opération conjointe des polices du Vanuatu et de l’Australie. Pour nous parler chronologiquement de cette opération, Tony Wilson, le rédacteur en chef de l’hebdomadaire vanuatais The Independent.

WILSON : « Nous pensons que la descente de police sur le voilier a commencé dans la nuit de mardi mais ils étaient encore en train de retirer de la drogue dans la nuit de mercredi et nous pensons qu’il est question de 660 kilos. C’est la plus grande saisie de ce type dans la région.
Il y a une saisie l’année dernière de 400 kilos sur un voilier passé par le Vanuatu alors qu’il faisait la course jusqu’à Bundaberg.
Selon les informations obtenues par nos reporters, la drogue était cachée entre des sacs de sable et de ciment. (Mais nous n’avons pas confirmation pour l’instant). L’un de nos reporters a parlé au chauffeur d’un camion mis au service de la police pour transporter la drogue et le camion a presque basculé. C’est ce qu’il a dit à notre reporter et c’est vous dire la quantité. »

Tony Wilson pense également qu’en plus de la police du Vanuatu et de l’Australie, la police américaine était probablement impliquée dans l’opération. Une chose est certaine. La drogue, selon lui, n’était pas destinée au Vanuatu.

WILSON : « Je peux vous assurer que la drogue n’était pas destinée pour le Vanuatu. Le seul problème de drogue que nous avons dans ce pays c’est la marijuana. Je pense qu’elle était destinée à l’Australie où la cocaïne est très prisée. Malheureusement, on a vu dans le passé que des pays comme Vanuatu, Tonga et Fidji sont un conduit entre l’Amérique du Sud et la côte Est australienne. »

Et selon, les dernières informations, ce n’est pas 660 kilos qui ont été saisis sur le Raj mais 750 kilos et la valeur estimée a été revue à la baisse et serait maintenant de 370 millions de dollars au lieu de 400. La drogue était en fait dissimulée dans des compartiments cachés.

La cocaïne était effectivement destinée à l’Australie et il s’agit effectivement d’une coopération entre les autorités australiennes, vanuataises et des États-Unis qui surveillent l’acheminement de drogues sur des voiliers du Pacifique Sud depuis 2010.

Et depuis cette date, 10 personnes ont été arrêtées et 2 tonnes de cocaïne Australia.

16c) L’Australie accueille favorablement la nouvelle Constitution fidjienne

Posté à 26 August 2013, 9:00 AEST

Pierre Riant

Un porte-parole du Haut-commissariat australien à Suva a souligné que cette nouvelle Constitution, rendue publique la semaine,  est une étape importante en vue des élections promises par l’administration de Frank Bainimarama en septembre 2014.

Le porte-parole a ajouté que l’Australie continuera de soutenir les efforts de Fidji pour le rétablissement de la démocratie.

L’Australie a déjà contribué à hauteur de 2,65 millions de dollars aux processus de réformes constitutionnelles et électorales dans l’archipel fidjien. La nouvelle Consitution devrait être officiellement approuvée le 6 septembre prochain par le Président de la République australia


17a) Thousands turn out to protest Philippines’ corruption

Updated 26 August 2013, 17:43 AEST

Shirley Escalante in Manila and wires

Thousands of Filipinos have rallied against the alleged misuse of public funds in the country’s political system.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos have rallied in the capital Manila against the alleged misuse of public funds in the country’s political system.

Similar rallies have been held across the country, making it one of the largest public demonstrations since President Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform.

The anti-corruption sentiment began when people expressed outrage on social media over the alleged abuse of government funds.

It followed reports in a local newspaper of an alleged scam involving the legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Money for that fund is allocated to politicians to use in their pet development projects.

But a government audit has revealed only 20 per cent of nearly $US 280 million in taxpayers’ money allocated to politicians has been spent on government projects.

President Aquino had previously expanded the PDAF so that each senator will receive around $US 4.5 million but in response to growing anger, he announced the axing of millions of dollars allotted to politicians.

He’s also pledged to tightly guard public funds as well as punish those who misuse them.


17b) Another NZ university wants to attract more Pacific students

Posted at 06:16 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

Another New Zealand university wants to attract more students from the Pacific.

After Waikato University earlier this month sent a delegation to Samoa and Victoria extended its involvement with Papua New Guinea, Lincoln University has unveiled plans to treble the number of PNG students studying there.

It has signed a memorandum of understanding to extend its involvement with the North Fly electorate of Western Province.

Lincoln’s vice chancellor, Dr Andrew West, says he believes the university has a role to play in educating Papua New Guineans using New Zealand farming systems.

ANDREW WEST: Our involvement is actually to bring students from PNG to New Zealand to train them and educate them at Lincoln in agriculture, horticulture, environmental management. So we’re giving them the skills, if you wish, to be able to go back equipped to develop land for agriculture. So we think that we can do that, we think we can do that using New Zealand systems and New Zealand farming systems. We think they are transportable. PNG thinks they are transportable, too. You’re learning the systems of how to grow plants, how to maintain animals, how to manage the environment. And we think that’s transportable.


DON WISEMAN: So their students actually come to Lincoln. It’s a very, very different environment, though. It’s very hot. It’s very wet. What sort of tropical knowledge do you have at Lincoln?

AW: Well, obviously, we have knowledge of some elements of the tropics. But, in fact, what we find, and we’ve found this before in educating Malaysian students, for example, that we can use crops like wheat at exemplar production systems for palm kernel, in horticulture, floriculture. Of course you might be in glasshouse environments anyway in terms of pest containment. So what we’re finding is we have systems in New Zealand that can be, in terms of educating people about the basics of agriculture and how the components fit together, how you manage pests, weeds and disease, how you maximise growth and how you manage soils, that we are able to do that in a way that is transportable into the tropics.

DW: You clearly have quite a close link with this part of PNG. How many students have you got there at the university at the moment?

AW: We’ve got about 30 students.

DW: How many do you anticipate bringing in with this expanded scheme?

AW: Yeah, over time we’d like to grow that to something north of 100, maybe peaking at 100. See if we can attract that many students who really want to come to Lincoln and study. So that’s a significant expansion. But in terms of our total student numbers, it’s not enormous. And of course part of this is actually being able to create the right pastoral care environment. So if you’re coming from quite a difficult culture in Papua New Guinea to study in the South Island of New Zealand we need to be able to put in the pastoral care and the support for students so they can succeed academically. That’s why we want to grow this in a staged way and not try and make it as large as it can possibly be, because quality is the aim here.

Radio New Zealand International

18) Fiji Hindu society hits back at Teachers Association over language rules

Posted at 22:13 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s largest Hindu organisation says it is annoyed by the Fijian Teachers Association’s statement on the Hindi language not to be made compulsory in school curricula.

Earlier FTA general secretary Maika Namudu opposed the new constitution’s provision to make the teaching of the Hindi compulsory at primary school level, along with iTaukei and English.

The Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha’s national secretary, Vijendra Prakash, says anyone who hinders the process of the supreme law is not a real Fijian.

He says to steer Fiji into a new direction it’s important for the people understand each other’s language.

“He doesn’t respect the majority members inclusion in this nation as Fiji citizens, so I think we will fully support and I believe Mr Namudu doesn’t own any institution and therefore we own about 117 institutions.”

Fiji Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha national secretary, Vijendra Prakash.

Radio New Zealand International


19) Value of tuna spikes in western Pacific

Posted at 17:38 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

The value of tuna spiked in the western Pacific last year, in concert with a record number of catches.

That’s according to a report presented to the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, otherwise known as the Tuna Commission.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, which co-authored the report, says tuna prices are reaching the highest levels seen in a long time, particularly for skipjack tuna.

But its Deputy-Director General, Wez Norris, says sustainable tuna fishing must remain a priority.

“The catch has been increasing and the value has been increasing. What we need to do is capitalise on that value to continue to get more money out of the fish without continuing to catch more of it.”

Wez Norris from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency.

Radio New Zealand International

20) PNG’s gas reserves continue to receive global attention

Posted at 17:38 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

An oil and gas sector analyst says major players look set to continue turning their attention towards Papua New Guinea’s gas reserves.

The comment comes as Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer announced this week that he has discovered one of the world’s largest gas fields in PNG.

Palmer Petroleum has found the offshore field in the Gulf of Papua which Mr Palmer says could be worth more than 35 billion US dollars.

This comes as ExxonMobil’s major LNG project in PNG nears completion, and has signalled interest in acquiring some of Interoil’s gas finds in the country.

UBS’s Nik Burns says there’s a lot of gas in PNG and much of it is yet to be developed.

“So the future looks pretty bright. I guess the fact that Exxon is very keen to buy into this field – they’re a global player and LNG is a global product, and we’ve seen a huge growth in LNG supply options out of the US, Western Canada and East Africa over the last few years – but here’s Exxon making a statement saying they’re keen to buy into more PNG gas.”

Nik Burns.

Radio New Zealand International

21) Solomons business group wants govt to back coconut oil trade

Posted at 20:11 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

The Manufacturers Association in Solomon Islands says the government needs to get behind the coconut oil industry if the country is to compete with others in the Pacific region.

The Chairman of the Association says there is a lot of potential to develop the coconut oil industry, as the number of producers entering the business is growing, but a lack of financial support is hindering the expansion.

Sika Manuo-pangai says many families who are producing soap and fuel from coconut oil are finding it difficult to sell their products in the Pacific due to tough competition from countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, which export the same types of goods.

“For us packaging material of course we have to import. And you know, coconut oil is all raw materials, local raw materials. And the majority of them are looking at the government to at least you know, exempt them from duty, GST in importing packaging material.”

Sika Manuo-pangai says the Manufacturers Association has been lobbying the government for financial support, describing it as an investment and not a costly expense.

Radio New Zealand International

22) Foreigners Allegedly Taking Solomon Islanders’ Jobs
Chamber of commerce says government fails to enforce laws

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 22, 2013) – The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce says tougher law enforcement is needed to stop foreigners taking jobs that are reserved for the country’s citizens.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Jerry Tengemoana, says authorities have failed to enforce the law effectively.

He says more and more foreigners are taking advantage of businesses such as the taxi and bus services which only Solomon Islanders can register to operate.

Earlier this month a bus licence for a Chinese businessman was confiscated, after it was believed he by-passed the law to gain it.

Jerry Tengemoana says the indigenous population lacks the capability of competing against foreigners and says the government needs to do more to support its own people.

“Do some reforms, revisit the regulations and put more efforts into enforcing them. I think that’s the area that’s really weak is the enforcement of their own laws. There’s no point in putting through a piece of law that is not enforced.”

Jerry Tengemoana says the government also needs to review its business licence records and conduct spot checks to ensure people are complying with the law.

Radio New Zealand International:


23) Seized cocaine to be tested in Australia

By Online Editor
1:39 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Vanuatu

The 750kg of cocaine found in a joint operation by the Vanuatu Police and Mobile Force, Customs Department, Australia Federal Police (AFP) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on a yacht in Port Vila last week, will be transported to Australia for tests before they are destroyed by the AFP.

This was revealed during a press conference organized by the Commissioner of Police, Arthur Caulton, on the cocaine packages cemented to the bottom of the yacht.

Police Commissioner Caulton said Vanuatu does not have laboratories to test the drug to determine its originality, quality and value.

As to when the 750kg of the cocaine will leave Vanuatu for Australia, the answer was not disclosed by the Police chief, reports the Vanuatu Daily Post.

It was confirmed, however that the Pacific dragnet intercepted $370 million (around Vt32 billion) of cocaine bound for Australia.

A multi-agency law enforcement operation across the South Pacific resulted in the seizure of cocaine in Vanuatu.

Since 2010, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Customs and Border Protection Services (ACBPS) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration have collaborated with the South Pacific nations to investigate organized crime syndicates using yachts and similar vessels travelling through the region with cocaine shipments bound for Australia.

In July 2013, the AFP, ACPBPS and the DEA commenced Operation Basco as a result of intelligence gathered in project Cringle. This is a joint investigation that targeted a yacht known as the “Raj” docked in Port Vila.

The assistance of the Vanuatu Police Force was sought to seize and search the “Raj”, which has been renamed the “Scope”.

Concealment experts from ACBPS and agents from the AFP and DEA travelled to Vanuatu this week to assist in the extensive examination. Officers discovered an estimated 750 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the lower engine compartments and around the keel and the hull.

AFP National Manager Serious and Organized Crime, Assistant Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour, said this operation demonstrates the power of joint law enforcement efforts.

“Criminal networks seeking to bring illicit drugs into Australia will continue to find it harder and harder to operate when they are up against the combined efforts of multiple law enforcement and border protection agencies across the South Pacific” he said.

The efforts of all agencies involved in Project Cringle, along with authorities in Tonga, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia have resulted in almost two tonnes of cocaine destined for Australia being seized from vessels since 2010.

The police press conference also confirmed that Vanuatu is well known for transshipment of drugs en route to Australia.

Both Commissioner Caulton and Customs and Inland Revenue Director, Ben Leshee, confirmed that the information on the 750 kilos of the cocaine destined for Vanuatu was picked up by two Vanuatu Customs Department who underwent their trainings in Australia.

The information was then handed to the Vanuatu Police Force who moved to begin investigation involving the Police, Customs and the AFP.

On the question of the professionalism of Vanuatu authorities handling such a large scale operation involving the biggest drug haul in the South Pacific, both the Police Commissioner and Customs and Inland Revenue Department said they are satisfied with the way Vanuatu handled it with the assistance of the AFP and the DEA leading to the eventual pinning down and confiscation of the 750 kg of the cocaine drug that was tightly hidden under cemented floor of the yacht.

On the question of whether the drugs  haul was is in connection with the Phocea, the Police Commissioner’s reply was “no comment”.

Asked what will happen to the yacht now that her cocaine cargo has been removed Caulton replied that if the intention was to sell the yacht, the laws of the Republic of Vanuatu would apply.

“I must acknowledge the Customs Department staff for the major and important role they played in working closely in collaboration with the Vanuatu Police Force and the AFP in this biggest operation,” Police Commissioner Caulton said.

On the question of the owner of the yacht, the answer was that the investigation is continuing in relation to the ownership of the boat.

Replying to the question on the possibility of the dealers being involved in guns and arms deals, the answer was that this has been the case in other countries but as far as this particular consignment of the cocaine was concerned, investigations are still continuing, taking into account this possibility.

24) French Polynesian president to be tried next year in Tahiti

Posted at 18:26 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

French Polynesia’s president, Gaston Flosse, is set to be tried next year in the criminal court in Tahiti for invasion of privacy by his now disbanded intelligence unit.

An investigative judge says after eight years of investigation, the case will proceed although Mr Flosse’s rival, Oscar Temaru, had withdrawn his original complaint more than two years ago.

The judge has found that the additional complaint about the spies’ alleged intrusion lodged by a lawyer and a publisher still stands.

In September 2011, France’s highest court fined Gaston Flosse for destroying all evidence pertinent to the intelligence service, which spied on political rivals and a range of other individuals, including his mistresses.

Although its work was illegal, it was condoned by France as it seconded agents from Paris to work for Mr Flosse’s team.

Earlier this year, Mr Flosse was given two lengthy jail sentences for corruption, but none of the convictions is final as his lawyers have lodged appeals in both Papeete and Paris.

Radio New Zealand International

25) More conflict in Solomons possible warns former NZ foreign minister

Posted at 19:33 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

A former foreign affairs minister is warning that it is possible there will be more conflict in Solomon Islands, despite a deacde of international support that has cost New Zealand and Australia almost three billion dollars.

The Labour MP Phil Goff held the foreign affairs portfolio in 2003 when soldiers and police were sent to the strife-torn country in the form of the Regional Assistance Mission or RAMSI, after five years of bloody civil unrest.

In recognition of the country’s stability RAMSI has been scaled down to policing-only.

Mr Goff says RAMSI has given Solomon Islands a reasonable chance of building on foundations that can achieve economic and social progress.

“I’m also conscious of the unvarnished views of some of the US diplomats by virtue of Wikileaks that felt that post the withdrawal of RAMSI that everything that had been acheived could be lost quite quickly.”

Phil Goff says all Pacific countries will need to continue to support Solomon Islands but there is no guarantee of success.

Radio New Zealand International

26) Rabaul Queen arrests could act as deterrent in PNG

Posted at 22:13 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

The head of a women’s development agency in Bougainville, Helen Hakena, hopes arrests that have been made in relation to the Rabaul Queen sinking 18 months ago, will deter other ship owners from unsafe practices.

At least 162 lives were lost off Papua New Guinea’s Morobe coast – many of the victims were from Bougainville.

On Wednesday the owner of the shipping company Peter Sharp was charged with 162 counts of manslaughter and one for taking an unseaworthy ship to sea.

The captain has been charged with the same offences while two others – a Maritime Safety official and the company’s port manager in Kimbe have been charged with manslaughter.

Helen Hakena says passenger ferries are still being overloaded.

“It’s really good that this has happened to Peter Sharp so other ships’ owners can also remember that people will not tolerate their actions because most of the ships that come within our islands here they are always overloaded with not enough lifejackets for all the passengers who are on board so this will be a very big thing for all the ships’ owners to see the example which is being done now.”

The head of a women’s development agency in Bougainville, Helen Hakena.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Solomons expected to announce new police commissioner this week

Posted at 21:18 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

A new police commissioner is expected to be announced in Solomon Islands this week.

A report by the Police and Correctional Service Commissioner containing the name of the new chief was handed to the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo on Thursday.

Local media say Cabinet is expected to meet today to examine the report before the Prime Minister informs the Governor General of the successful candidate.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Anti-Corruption Network Solomon Islands, Barnabas Henson says a public survey by the group has revealed the public has confidence in the Englishman Frank Short.

“Because he has a good track record in his previous appointment as commissioner of police to the country. He is an expat. We believe he has the ability to maintain impartiality and integrity of the police.”

Barnabas Henson says despite the peoples choice, he believes the government has a preference of its own.

Five applicants were interviewed for the role, including former commissioner Frank Short, the current Acting Police Commissioner Juanita Matanga, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police and National Security Edmund Sikua, and Assistant Police Commissioners Walter Kola and Peter Aorau-nisaka.

Radio New Zealand International


28a)Indonesia expert says Coalition plan to buy back asylum seeker boats will sour relations

Updated 26 August 2013, 19:13 AEST

By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts and staff

An Indonesian international relations expert says Tony Abbott’s plan to buy leaky Indonesian fishing boats will sour relations with the country.

An Indonesian international relations expert says Tony Abbott’s plan to buy leaky fishing boats in a bid to combat people smuggling will sour relations with the country.

The Opposition Leader has proposed a boat buy-back scheme that aims to stop old boats getting into the hands of smugglers.

Mr Abbott also wants to put millions of dollars into paying local “wardens” to keep watch and give rewards for information that gets smugglers arrested.

But Professor Hikmahanto Juwana of the University of Indonesia says the proposal is offensive and will not be popular with Indonesia’s government.

“It will make Indonesia-Australia relations sour because, of course, Indonesia will not readily accept what is proposed by Australia,” he said.

Professor Hikmahanto says paying bounties will encourage a culture of vigilantism.

He says the Opposition’s proposals show a lack of understanding of Indonesia, and that it is not possible to buy every boat from the thousands of Indonesian villagers.

The Coalition’s plan also includes increasing the number of Australian Federal Police officers working overseas, boosting Indonesia’s search and rescue capabilities, and supplementing Australia’s border protection fleet.

But Professor Hikmahanto says putting more Australian police in Indonesia is offensive to Indonesian authorities.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey told Channel Ten’s The Project the intention of the policy has been misinterpreted.

“If you can disrupt the activity of the people smugglers, if they’re about to load a boat with people there, and you can pay to take the boat from under them, then great, that disrupts their activity,” he said.

“I think that’s part of the equation, but it’s not the whole equation, obviously. So I don’t think we’re going to be buying every boat in Indonesia.”

Immigration Minister Tony Burke has previously dismissed the Coalition’s policy as “simply crazy”.

“Of all the mad ideas I’ve heard in immigration, I think boat buyback wins,” he said last week.

The government in Jakarta has been doing its best to avoid being drawn into Australia’s election drama.Radio Australia.

28b) PNG’s migration officer’s concerns on asylum seekers leaked

Posted at 06:16 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s chief migration officer has ordered an investigation into the leaking of a departmental memo in which he raised concerns over Australia’s new border protection policy.

News Corp Australia on Friday quoted a confidential memo written by Mataio Rabura raising doubts about PNG’s capability to house up to 3,000 of Australia’s asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Australia currently has 382 asylum seekers housed in large marquees in a facility on the Lombrum naval base.

Mr Rabura said he had not criticised the plan, but was raising questions about administration and implementation issues.

He also said he had ordered an investigation into the leaking of the memo, and described those who sent it to the press as misguided.

The Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, dismissed the memo and said Australia’s new asylum-seeker plan is working.

The July 18 memo sent by Mr Rabura to Mr Pato and chief secretary to government Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc detailed a list of concerns over PNG’s capability to handle a mass influx of asylum seekers.

Radio New Zealand International


29) Regenvanu attempting to sort Vanuatu’s land ownership mess

Updated 22 August 2013, 9:38 AEST

Land ownership is one of the most pressing problems facing Vanuatu.

Most land is traditionally owned with some declared State land by the government to allow for the development of towns and cities like Port Vila.

In other places land ownership is in a mess with the system having been rorted over the years by corruption involving ministers and public servants.

Presenter:Sean Dorney, Australia Network Pacific Correspondent

Speaker:Ralph Regenvanu, Lands Minister, Vanuatu

Listen to the  interview :

30a) Vanuatu Cultural Centre discourages lease of land

Posted at 20:11 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

The Vanuatu Cultural Centre is campaigning against the leasing of niVanuatu land for fear the owners may not get it back.

The Director of the Cultural Centre says many niVanuatu people who have leased their land to businessmen have not received sufficient compensation and believes once land is leased, it is gone.

Marcellin Abong says its members have been conducting awareness programmes to teach niVanuatu people on the importance of retaining their land and how to protect it.

“You lease your land for 75 years for example and then if the developer develops your land and after 75 years, that 75 years is two, three generations, and then after that you want to get your land back, so you have to compensate the developer. And it’s very, very hard for the niVans who own the land to compensate these developers.”

Marcellin Abong says the first family that began leasing their land, which is collectively owned, only gets 2000 vatu at the end of the year, which is insufficient to share between all the owners.

Radio New Zealand International

30b) Decision To Make Vanuatu Island A Heritage Area Applauded
Government purchase of Eretoka supported by Lelepa chiefs

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 22, 2013) – Vanuatu chiefs of Lelepa Island have welcomed a decision by the lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu, to buy Eretoka, or Hat Island, and to maintain it as a Cultural Heritage Conservation Area; the island is off Efate.

Earlier the chiefs had spoken out against any commercial development on the island, saying Eretoka symbolises respect for the grave site of the ancient chief who created a tribal system to end tribal wars.

But now the chiefs’ spokesman, Kalkot Murmur, says they fully support what the government intends to do with the island as it holds the sacred Chief Roimata Domain which is now a World Heritage Site.

In a notice sent by a Lands Acquiring Officer, land claimants who object to the government buying the land should send in their reasons within 30 days.

Radio New Zealand International:

31) Climate change takes centre stage

By Online Editor
10:03 am GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Fiji

Climate change and political self-determination are expected to take centre stage when the Pacific delegation arrives at the World Council of Churches assembly in South Korea in October.

Members of the Pacific delegation are holding preparatory talks in Auckland, New Zealand ahead of the meeting in the Korean city of Busan.

The leaders started their closed-door meeting at the St Francis Retreat Centre in Hillsborough Sunday with a worship service and briefing.

Present are WCC Co-President John Doom of Maohi Nui (Tahiti), Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga Moderator, Reverend Dr Finau ‘Ahio, Ekelesia Kelisiano Tuval Secretary Rev Tafue Lusama and Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary Rev Francois Pihaatae.

About 20 of the expected 89-member delegation will discuss issues important to the region in the four-day Auckland retreat.

Rev Pihaatae said the meeting was important to allow Pacific representatives to formulate a joint plan of action ahead of the Busan talks.

“We must have a strong, collective voice which speaks about matters of concern to us as people of the region,” Rev Pihaatae said.

“Our liquid continent makes up a huge portion of the world and although we may be small in terms of population, our people deserve to be heard.”

It is expected that regional churches will seek support from WCC members to lobby with governments and civil society to place more emphasis on climate change and the possible relocation of Pacific communities.

This will include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and greater responsibility over nuclear waste.

In the area of self-determination, discussions will focus on the moves in Maohi and West Papua for the right of the people to decide their future.


32) Port Moresby forced to ration water until at least November

Posted at 17:38 on 25 August, 2013 UTC

The main water supply of Papua New Guinea’s capital will be strictly rationed until November, when rain is forecasted to refill it.

The Sirinumu Dam, which supplies water and power to Port Moresby, is at critically low levels as there has been little rain in the past few months.

The Chief Operating Officer of the city’s water supplier utility Eda Ranu, Fifiaia Matainho, says water to the city has been drastically reduced.

He says residents are being advised to use water for cooking and drinking only, and through a valve system water is turned off for hours at a time.

“We are doing some valving – we open and then we shut at other areas. We are mindful that the community need water but we coordinate by valving along the pipeline in various zones. We have actually zoned the city into a number of areas so that we can already advise the public on the various times that they can use the water and when the water in that location will be off for a couple of hours.”

Fifiaia Matainho says Eda Ranu is searching for illegal connections and water running from open-ended pipes – which account for more than 40 per cent of the city’s water usage.

Radio New Zealand International

33) Climate change to harm all forms of marine life, study says

By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Germany

Rising levels of carbon dioxide are harming all forms of marine life because the oceans are acidifying as they absorb the gas, German researchers found.

Molluss, corals and a class of creatures called echinoderms that includes starfish and sea urchins are the worst affected by the uptake of CO2 by the seas, according to a study in the journal Nature Climate Change by researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.

The gas forms carbonic acid when it dissolves in the oceans, lowering their pH level.

Creatures that show negative effects from acidification include commercial species such as oysters and cod. Given the pace at which carbon-dioxide emissions are growing, human emissions threaten to trigger extinctions at a faster pace than die-outs millions of years ago, according to the researchers.

“There is a danger that we’re pushing things too fast and too hard toward an evolutionary crisis,” Hans-Otto Poertner, one of the authors, said. “In the past, these crises have taken much longer to develop.”

The research will be fed into the United Nations’ most detailed study into the science of climate change, which is being published in three parts and an overall summary by the end of 2014, and is designed to inform international climate treaty negotiations.

The latest study will be input for the second part of that report, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be published at the end of March. The first part is scheduled for publication on Sept. 27.

The researchers examined 167 previous studies about the effects of acidifying oceans on 153 species, analysing their findings and using forecasts of future emissions to predict how they might be affected as carbon-dioxide emissions into the atmosphere grow. The oceans absorb more than a quarter of manmade CO2 emissions.

They found that at concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere of 500 parts per million to 650 parts per million, negative effects outweighed positive ones for corals, echinoderms, molluscs and fish though not for crustaceans. At higher concentrations, all categories of creatures were harmed. CO2 is currently just under 400 parts per million, rising about 2 ppm to 3 ppm a year.

“All animal groups we considered are affected negatively by higher carbon-dioxide concentrations,” Astrid Wittmann, a biologist at the institute and the report’s other author, said in a statement. “Corals, echinoderms and molluscs above all react very sensitively to a decline in the pH value.”

Negative effects include behavioral and sensory changes that make fish less fearful of predators, altered metabolism, and a slowing of the rate at which molluscs can form shells. Similar sensitivity to rising CO2 can be observed in the fossil records of extinctions that took place 55 million years ago and 250 million years ago respectively, Poertner said.

He cautioned that the study has limitations because “you cannot do sufficiently long studies to really mimic what will happen in 50 years.”

The research was designed to look solely at the effects of the acidification caused by the carbon-dioxide emissions, according to Poertner. When the warming effects of the gas are also factored in, it could accelerate negative effects because the temperature a species can withstand in more acidic conditions may be lower, he said.

“We are at a risk of causing extinctions,” Poertner said. “We cannot give with any certainty the year when people will start to report extinctions due to climate change. It depends on what temperature change and CO2 concentrations we allow



34a) Personal best for Vanuatu at rowing champs

Posted at 02:08 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s Tom Pata smashed his personal best time on his World Rowing Championships debut.

Competing in the men’s lightweight single sculls, Pata crossed the finish in 8:06 minutes to be last in a star-studded heat, featuring the defending world champion Henrik Stephansen and world record holder Jeremie Azou.

That’s an improvement of 29 seconds on his previous best and the Pata feels he’s capable of clocking under eight minutes in the repecharge later tonight.

Vanuatu’s other crew in Korea, lightweight mens pair Kevin Hivird & Luiji Teilemb, were also last in their heat for the men’s lightweight pair, finishing more than a minute behind the winning crew in 7:28 minutes.

Radio New Zealand International

34b) Fiji and PNG go down at Youth Netball Champs

Posted at 02:08 on 26 August, 2013 UTC

Fiji suffered their second defeat at the World Youth Netball Championships on Monday, after being thrashed 71-32 by defending champions Australia in Glasgow.

The Baby Pearls trailed 17-5 after the first quarter, 38-13 at half time and 55-24 heading into the final period.

Papua New Guinea remain winless at the tournament after being outclassed 65-16 by England.

PNG also lost their first match against Singapore on Saturday and next face Barbados tomorrow, while Fiji take on Israel in the late match.

Samoa had a rest day but resume their pool phase against hosts Scotland on Tuesday morning.

Radio New Zealand International

34c) Team Fiji ready for games

By Online Editor
4:34 pm GMT+12, 26/08/2013, Fiji

Team Fiji to the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna presented their i-tatau to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at the Government House in Suva.

Ratu Epeli laid down the challenge to the athletes to perform better than they train.

“I don’t have any doubt that you are well prepared for the games. But preparation is a different thing, performance on the field is a different matter altogether.”

A week remains for the Pacific Mini Games.

Pacific Mini Games chef de mission- Alini Sovu says she has confidence in the team to top the games.

“The experienced and developed athletes that we are taking and the preparation phase that we have done, we are confident that all the athletes representing the country will bring glory.”

The Mini Games starts on September 2nd.


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