Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 854


1) MSG head meets Vanuatu leaders and calls for independence

By Online Editor
2:26 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Vanuatu

The new chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has called on member countries to closely monitor the political development in New Caledonia and West Papua and to support the return to democratic parliament in Fiji.

Victor Tutugoro, who is chair of the MSG on behalf of New Caledonia’s Front de Liberation National Kanak et Socialiste, or FLNKS, made the call in Vanuatu where he has travelled to meet with key leaders.

He says New Caledonia’s Kanaks need help from other Melanesian peoples to be integrated as full member of Pacific region and not part of Europe.

Tutugoro, who took over the position during the 19th MSG summit in New Caledonia in June, says that the MSG has to re-enforce its structure in term of human resource and capacity building to meet the needs of Melanesians and restore stability in the member countries.

Making his first official trip as chairman, Tutugoro has met Vanuatu’s President Iolu Johnson Abbil and is also expecting to meet prime minister, Moana Carcasses before addressing the parliament on Friday.


2) Australian flotilla bound for Papua despite threats by Indonesia

Posted at 05:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

A group of Australian activists say threats of force by Indonesia have not hindered their determination to make it to Papua’s shores.

Their three-boat convoy with about 20 activists is planning to reach Merauke in southern Papua in the coming weeks.

Its spokesperson, Ruben Blake, says the threats of arrest, force and naval interception are heavy-handed, but is not surprising as Indonesia has gone to great lengths in the past to keep people out of Papua.

He says he is concerned about the safety of those on board.

“We believe that safety of a group of peaceful protestors who are going there on a cultural mission as well as a human rights mission should be respected. These threats that haven’t been ruling out the use of guns and force is a big concern. People around the world should be absolutely concerned about the safety of the people on board the boats.”

Ruben Blake says the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, should be offering consular support to the group of peaceful protestors.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Reconciliation Ceremony Held By Solomons Communities
Guadalcanal event hailed as ‘true reconciliation’

By Ednal Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 26, 2013) – A reconciliation ceremony held in Solomon Islands’ Central Guadalcanal has been described as a breakthrough.

A chief and vice president of the Ghaobata council of chiefs, Bartholomew Vavana said the reconciliation which eventuated on July 28 last month was the result of the work of Solomon Islands Peace and Traumatic Counseling Centre (SIPTCC).

“Our communities had been in silent rivalry after the ethnic conflict and no one would want to acknowledge that.

“No one also understands how else we could ever resolve our differences,” Mr. Vavana explained.

He said after SIPTCC visited their communities and held a peace and traumatic counseling workshop for people at Tutupa, a committee was set up referred to as Peace and Good Order Committee, with the help of SIPTCC.

“Using what was learnt from the training, were break down all the differences.

“We have been trying to reconcile and it has taken us two years [and] eight months.

“Methods used by SIPTCC were very touching and it did an excellent job in bringing a true reconciliation.”

Mr. Vavana said the committee worked with seven communities involved from three different tribes.

“After just months, everybody wholeheartedly decided to come together and forgive and forget our differences.

“This reconciliation involved no money. It was truly a reconciliation that comes from the hearts of members of the communities and tribes.

“People did not ask for anything. We just bring food and sit together in prayer with the help of a pastor and our differences were over.”

Mr. Vavana said it was a huge victory for people who joined hands once again in a celebration got many in tears.

He said the many reconciliations planned by the government will never be genuine.

“This is the type of reconciliation that comes from people themselves and really heals.

“We cannot involve thousands of dollars and force people to shake hands.

“You cannot start from the top down.”

Chairman of SIPTCC Ishmael Idu said they initially seek assistance from the Government to help them in their search for reconciliation.

“The Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs did not respond to us, so I told members of the community that no assistance or help from the Government does not mean you cannot reconcile.

“True reconciliation comes from you. Peace must prevail.”

Mr. Vavana said people usually think reconciliation comes with compensation “but that was not how SIPTCC and we see it now, it comes from the heart”.

Solomon Star

4a) Solomon Islands Government questioned over Indonesian trip expenses

Updated 27 August 2013, 15:12 AEST

Group in Solomon Islands says trip the PM claims was funded by Indonesia was bankrolled by taxpayers.

A citizens’ group in the Solomon Islands says a trip the Prime Minister claims was funded by the Indonesian Government actually cost taxpayers nearly $US150,000.

Forum Solomons International has obtained documents from the Ministry of Finance that dispute Gordon Darcy Lilo’s claims.

The executive officer of the forum, Benjamin Afuga, says the documents show how much was spent on the trip, “they show voucher numbers, the vendor accounts, everything including the cheque numbers that were paid to the various vendors and the individuals in the delegation to Indonesia” he said.

He thinks that some of the amounts shown in the documents don’t add up “it shows the airfare for 15 people to Indonesia through Brisbane costing about $SI44,000 ($US6186.82) each, which is an unbelievable amount of money.”

It could be possible that the delegates travelled first class which may explain the huge cost of the flights. The Prime Minister’s office has issued a statement following the disputed claims saying there had been a misunderstanding over what “fully funded’ referred to.

The statement says “it (the trip) was fully funded in a sense that expenses within Indonesia such as meals, accommodation and transport were met by the Indonesia government.”

Audio: Solomon Islands Government questioned over Indonesian trip expenses (ABC News)

But Benjamin Afuga says there is also confusion surrounding these claims.

The documents he has from the Ministry of Finance show that $SI207,000 ($US29106.20) were spent on food and accommodation, “Which food and accommodation are this people talking about? Or maybe it’s a double cost. We have yet to confirm if it is indeed fully funded by the Indonesia government, then this means that the delegation has been paid double, ” he said.

Forum Solomons International have asked the Solomon Island government to respond to a number of questions surrounding the expenses and say the are hopeful they will receive transparent and honest australia.

4b) New post on Vanuatu Daily Digest

Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 August 2013

by bobmakin

The Bill for the Pollution Control Act introduced by Lands Minister Regenvanu was approved unanimously by Parliament Monday morning. It is to be followed by a Waste Management and Control Act which will be debated in the November ordinary sitting of Parliament. A topic which generated considerable discussion concerns the poor fuel quality used in all motor vehicles presently. Minister Regenvanu was able to explain that Government is well aware of the problem and confirmed thatapplications are being sought from fuel providers who could ensure importation of top grade fuel such as is used in Australia and New Zealand presently – fuel which will provide less environmental health hazards. Re-location of the country’s main fuel depot from Paray Bay is under consideration MPs learned. There will be no recourse to the minister should the Environment Department or any agency fail in its duties, Minister Regenvanu emphasized, as a means of preventing corruption such as has allegedly already taken place. All MPs were in agreement with all provisions of the Bill and it was heartening to hear the unanimity shown.

With debate of the Bill for the Passports (Amendment) Act there was another unanimity in Parliament Monday evening. This will involve a complete re-structuring of the Vanuatu Immigration Service. The Principal Passports Officer will be replaced by a Vanuatu Immigration Director appointed by the Vanuatu Public Service to ensure non-political supervision of the system. MPs seemed to be agreed that the worst passport offences have been committed by politicians. And furthermore, passports have been faked in China. And there is the Commission of Enquiry into sales of passports. Leader of Government Business, Joe Natuman, pointed out “we all know the passport system is abused. We even have special representatives of the Vanuatu Parliament in China – five of them – all Chinese and all bearing Vanuatu passports.” Natuman sincerely pointed out “At Independence we were a stateless people. People fought for a citizenship. But no sooner do we get citizenship than we start to sell it. We must be serious.” Foreign Minister Natapei has cancelled some 94 diplomatic passports. Parliament was agreed that anyone understood to have sold a passport should be subject to a court case. The Bill for the Immigration Act is before Parliament this morning.

A municipality amendment Bill will give reserved places to women in municipal elections. It is hoped that it will give more opportunity for women to be successful in national politics as well.

Aspects of the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP) citizenship scheme are detailed in today’s Daily Post. It is seen as a new revenue initiative by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) and Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA). It follows the Hong Kong Permanent Residency Program and Consular Program which have brought so many Chinese stores and builders labourers to the capital as investors. The main objection of the Citizenship Commission is believed to be that authority’s insistence on ten years residence before anyone can obtain the rights and privileges of citizenship. This objection seems to have been fruitful. Ten years residence will be required. However, the Post report does say investors can apply for citizenship after 24 months. Do they then wait 8 years? All investors will be required to invest a minimum of USD260,000. Legal profession observers do say a Constitutional change to the law will be necessary.

Daily Post also tells more of the story of the drugs haul from the Scope,formerly the Raj yacht. The cocaine had to be drilled out from under thick concrete.

Correction and apology: It is Dr Thomas Sala Vurobaravu promoted to head the health services in Luganville, not Dr Sale Vurobaravu (as said last week). Sincere apologies to both physicians.

Vanuatu and Pacific books are still on sale at the USP Bookshop. Additionally, the last of the Melanesian Politics/La Politique Melanesienne: Stael Blong Vanuatu books and Tufala Govman are still on sale for VT300 each. These are important documents for everyone concerned with Vanuatu.

bobmakin | August 27, 2013 at 9:18 am | Categories: The News, Digested |

5) I-taukei cannot always lead Fiji: PM Bainimarama

By Online Editor
4:56 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

Fijians should accept that the i-Taukei people cannot always lead the nation, says Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

He made the comments during a “talanoa session” at the Kadavu Provincial meeting in Suva today.

The Fijian Government leader said indigenous Fijians need to change their mindset about the background of their leaders adding that the nation needs a leader that will work and provide for the people.

“I-Taukei people think that because we own the land we should always lead the nation but that is not right because everyone now is treated equally,” Bainimarama said.

A leader, even if an i-Taukei, who cannot provide the expected service to the people should be removed, he said. “Issues that are brought forward from all government ministers come through me first.

“If I see anyone not performing and lagging behind I will dismiss that person and bring someone better who can do the work efficiently.”

Bainimarama further said that any persons who can do what was needed, irrespective of their origins, would be hired to work.

Meanwhile, there are no provisions in Fiji’s new constitution for the Great Council of Chiefs.

The new President, under the new constitution will be appointed by Parliament and whenever a vacancy arises in the Office of the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition will nominate one name each to the Speaker who will then put both names to the floor for voting by the members of the Parliament.

To become a President under the constitution, a person must have a distinguished career in any aspect of national of international life, whether in the public or private sector, must hold a Fijian citizenship, not be member of any office or hold any office in any political party or any other public office, not be candidate for election and not be convicted of any offence any time during the six years before nomination.

The 2013 Constitution has also highlighted that the new President will serve a term of three years and is eligible for reappointment for another term of three years and not beyond.


6) One constituency will ensure equal attention: Fiji AG

By Online Editor
2:28 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

Having just one constituency for next year’s elections will ensure equal attention is paid to every Fijian.

This was the message from the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while speaking on GoldFM’s Speak Your Mind talkback show.

He says after next year’s elections, there won’t be any representative speaking for a particular group of people.

“Before we had Ba Open, Lau Open but now, all fifty of them will be your rep. I think that’s the best way to describe it because previously you had only one person and if that person can’t be found or spending too much time in a nightclub in Suva or whatever it is, you can’t get to that person. Now every single member of parliament will be your rep.”

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the new electoral system also holds all fifty parliamentarians accountable to every Fijian.

Political parties can field up to fifty candidates, and the whole country – or eligible voters at least – get to choose which fifty get a seat in parliament.

“At the moment there’s an idea there will be a board up there in your polling booth, you basically just give one vote. You choose whoever you want. Now obviously that person comes from a political party, so when they count the votes, they then tally it across the political party itself.”

The government is also adamant, that elections will happen in one day, no later than the 30 September, 2014.

Meanwhile, all decrees put in place by the Bainimarama government will continue to apply and their validity cannot be challenged.

However, Sayed-Khaiyum explains once parliament sits it will be up to elected leaders to decide what happens to the decrees.

“But once parliament sits, the new parliament can do as it wills, under the confines of the constitution of course. But as far as the decrees are concerned, they can completely get rid of a decree, they can amend a decree, they can repeal a decree, they can build upon a decree. That’s their prerogative because all Fijians would have voted for that government.”

The Attorney General also clarified that any decision made before elections next year can’t be challenged.

“For example, if a person is being sentenced to prison, under the domestic violence decree today, or this year or before the first sitting of parliament, they can’t go back and say just because we got rid of it now, let’s pay this guy compensation, or because we sent him to prison. They can’t do that you can’t challenge any of those decisions.


7) Fiji calls for inclusion of Pacific in SIDS

By Online Editor
2:27 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says dialogue, inclusiveness and participation is required for sustainable development in the Pacific region.

Presenting the outcomes of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Preparatory meeting, which is chaired by Fiji, Kubuabola says all stakeholders must effectively participate through genuine dialogue and partnership.

“In this regard, we fully support the theme for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which will be held in Apia, Samoa in 2014 to be “the sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships,” Kubuabola said.

“This is consistent with the approach of the Pacific Way which is common in our region where consensus are build on mutual respect and trust for each other,” he said.

He said the synthesis report correctly reflects the fact that they will not be able to sustain their development, or their future, unless urgent global action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“We need to address the security implications of climate change and natural disasters, not only for water and food but also for the integrity of territory and cultures,” Kubuabola said.

“We would like to see the issue of forced displacement and migrating with dignity included as well in the discussion of migration at this meeting. We emphasize the need to deal with climate change and natural disasters through joint or integrated planning as we are doing in the Pacific.

“Adaptation to climate change and all forms of natural disasters is a priority not unique to the Pacific region and the provision of sufficient, additional and predictable financial and other resources remains a significant gap.”

He further said that measures needed to be put in place for social protection and inclusion to improve wellbeing and guarantee opportunities for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.


8) UFDF says regime curbs on Methodists’ meeting not justified

Posted at 05:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

The political grouping, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, says there is nothing in the new constitution that justifies restrictions imposed on the Methodist Church.

The Fiji Methodist Church is currently holding its annual general meeting.

It says it needs two weeks to cover everything on the agenda, but was only granted four days.

A senior executive of the Sodelpa, that is part of the Front, Dr. Tupeni Baba, says this goes against the essence of religious freedom.

He says with the new constitution out, it’s time that these restrictions stop.

“There is nothing at all in the new document that’s just introduced, the regime’s document, that justifies the treatment they have against the Methodist church. That should be absoloutely cancelled now, to demonstrate to the people of Fiji they are committed, really to give everybody a right of conscience. Right to all religious groups, whether they are Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Methodists or any other religious organisation in Fiji.”

Dr. Tupeni Baba says the Methodist Church should have the right to determine how it wants to worship and conduct its meetings.

The Methodist Church says while four days is not enough, it is grateful to have been granted those days.

Radio New Zealand International


9) Cooks PM says women should enter politics, but no guaranteed seats

By Online Editor
4:37 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Cook Islands

The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands is urging more women to make the jump into elected politics – under the Cook Islands Party banner.

Henry Puna says he believes in equality of the sexes and he is encouraging more women to step up.

There are currently no female members of parliament, but the Cook Islands Party, led by Mr Puna, says it wants more women in caucus.

However, the party says a special provision or rule is not the way to address the issue.

Puna says he thinks women will feel belittled if specific arrangements by way of preferential nomination were to be made.

Previously, a pledge from the 2010 Cook Islands Party manifesto included the consideration of appointing a seventh minister to address gender issues.



10) Calls for easier NZ citizenship in Australia

By Online Editor
4:29 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Australia

An Australian party which has been criticised in the past for being anti-immigrant wants the current laws on New Zealander immigration relaxed.

The One Nation Party, led by controversial politician Pauline Hanson, a New South Wales Senate candidate, says it’s not fair that New Zealanders are allowed to live and work in Australia but aren’t allowed to become citizens if they have arrived after 2001.

One Nation national chairman Rod Evans says the two countries have a special relationship and immigration laws should reflect that.

“New Zealand is our nearest neighbour with a similar kind of culture and we certainly come from the same roots and with our ANZAC connections that have gone our now for many years,” Evans told Pacific Beat.

Evans is critical of a change in policy in 2001, that requires New Zealand citizens to apply for a permanent visa in order to access certain social welfare payments.

If New Zealanders do not apply, or fail to obtain permanent residence, they can still remain in Australia and move about freely.

But Evans says the policy is discriminatory and unfair to New Zealanders who are paying tax in Australia, and is calling for the rules to be eased.

“The immigration policy that’s being run in this country is beyond the realms, it really needs to be corrected,” Evans said.

“The Kiwis are our closest friends. And have been right through back to the ANZAC days and when you shed blood on the battlefield like that, and you are brothers in arms…politicians shouldn’t be able to turn that aside just with a sweep of their pen just because they think it’s a good idea at the time,” Evans said.



11) Samting olsem 40% blong PNG gavman i lus: Sam Koim

Updated 27 August 2013, 17:28 AEST

Pius Bonjui

Dispela Task force blong gavman blong paitim korapsen long Papua New Guinea i mekim bikpela moa pait blongen agensim korapsen long kantri.

Odio: Sam Koim, Siaman blong anti-corruption ajensi blong PNG Task Force Sweep i toktok

Sam Koim, Siaman blong anti-corruption ajensi blong PNG Task Force Sweep i toktok (Credit: ABC)

Long dispela nau Task Force Sweep i mekim fopela page advertisment oa toksave long Post Courier niuspepa long wok we oli wokim long dispela investigesen.

Displa toksave i strongim ol bikpla wok ol i mekim na imas mekim iet long paitim korapsen insait long gavman na kantri.

Siaman blong Task Force Sweep, Sam Koim itok oli no nap save tru na klia hamas long K12.8 bilian oli makim bilong Development Budget namel long 2009 na 2012 ibin igo lus nating long pasin korapsen.

“Long lukluk blong mipla na ol keis mipla i rejistretim pinis longen, mipla i lukim olsem inap long 25 pe sent long bajet blong kantri blong yumi, ol i wok long stilim, na painim aut longen.”

Tasol igat planti blong displa moni i hat long painim bikos yumi inogat ol ‘mechanisim’ oa rot long painim. Na planti taim, displa ol stil pasin i kam long stil hait,” em i tok.

Mr Koim i tok displa iet i mekim wok blong ol i hat long putim mak stret, tasol em i blip 40 pe sent blong PNG bajet i wok long lus long australia


12) Fidji manque de médecins de campagne

Posté à 27 August 2013, 11:58 AEST

Pierre Riant

Les habitants des zones rurales doivent parfois marcher 12 kilomètres pour rejoindre un dispensaire médical et s’apercevoir que l’endroit est déserté.

Parfois, si un médecin est présent, il manque de médicaments qui de toutes les façons ne sont pas à la portée de toutes les bourses.

Fane Lomani travaille l’organisation FemLINKPACIFIC dans la région de Tavua, une organisation qui entend autonomiser les femmes et améliorer leurs conditions de vie. Elle nous a expliqué que les tickets d’autobus pour se rendre dans un centre de soins sont aussi et bien souvent trop chers pour de nombreuses femmes.

LOMANI : « Les problèmes qui nous ont été rapportés sont relatifs à la santé. Nous avons écouté des représentantes de différentes organisations et des représentantes de villages et la santé est au centre des préoccupations. Notamment l’accès aux centres de soins. Elles nous ont dit qu’il fallait parfois faire de 10 à 12 kilomètres à pied pour rejoindre le centre de santé le plus proche qui est dans la localité de Tavua, c’est le centre le plus proche.
C’est le problème de ces habitants des zones rurales : 10 ou 12 kilomètres et les autobus sont trop chers.
Ils vivent de la canne à sucre et en cas d’urgence, ils doivent payer entre 20 et 30 dollars fidjiens par semaine quand ils doivent rester au centre de soins ici à Tavua. »

Fane Lomani nous a aussi parlé du cas d’une infirmière qui travaille dans un village situé à 15 kilomètres de Tavua.

LOMANI : « C’est une professionnelle de la santé à qui le Centre de soin de Tavua donne chaque mois une petite quantité de médicaments pour qu’elle puisse s’occuper du village.
Mais la quantité de médicaments est insuffisante, elle est contrainte d’envoyer des patients au Centre de soins de Tavua. Elle est obligée de les envoyer là bas car le stock de médicaments n’est pas suffisant. »

En clair : cette quantité insuffisante de médicaments qui de toutes les façons sont trop chers pour ces familles qui cultivent la canne à sucre et qui ont juste assez pour subvenir à leurs besoins. Et quand le petit dispensaire local n’a plus de médicaments, c’est 15 kilomètres à pied parce qu’on ne peut pas se permettre de payer l’autobus.

LOMANI : « En fait, il n’y pas assez d’emplois dans la région de Tavua. La plupart des habitants, comme je l’ai déjà dit, dépendent de l’agriculture de subsistance et c’est la seule source de revenus de la famille et c’est pareil dans la région ouest de Fidji. Ils dépendent de la culture de la canne à sucre. Alors quand il n’y a pas de médicaments à l’hôpital, certains peuvent se permettre d’aller en acheter à la pharmacie mais pour d’autres ce n’est pas le cas. Alors  ils doivent attendre l’arrivée du prochain stock au dispensaire local et avec un peu de chance ils auront accès à des médicaments qui seront disponibles en temps voulu. »radio australia

13) La cocaïne saisie au Vanuatu sera analysée en Australie

Posté à 27 August 2013, 12:24 AEST

Pierre Riant

La semaine dernière, une opération conjointe des forces de police du Vanuatu, de l’Australie avec la collaboration  de la DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) des États-Unis a permis de saisir 750 kilos de cocaïne dissimulée dans un voilier ancré a Port Vila. Ces 750 kilos vont maintenant être acheminés en Australie pour y être analysée.

Le Vanuatu ne dispose pas de laboratoire requis pour ce type d’analyse qui permet de déterminer la pureté du produit et sa valeur. Pour l’instant cette valeur est estimée à 370 millions de dollars.

Les forces de police australiennes auront ensuite la responsabilité de détruire la cargaison illé australia


14) Cancer on the rise in PNG

By Online Editor
4:33 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

Cancer is on the rise in Papua New Guinea but only 400 of an estimated 2,000 people with the disease are treated each year at the country’s only cancer centre at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, a cancer specialist says.

Most of these cases being treated were already at an advanced stage. Early detection was the best hope for available treatments in the country to cure cancer patients but that was not always the case, PNG’s only radiation oncologist Dr John Niblett said after the Cancer Society’s golf fund-raising event last Friday.

The Daffodil Day event, sponsored by Oil Search and Mapai Transport, raised K210,000 to assist cancer patients at the centre.

“We treat in Lae approximately 400 cases a year. This is only the tip of the iceberg as I would estimate 2,000 plus patients around the country who need treatment,” Niblett said.

“Many patients are too advanced with the disease so they don’t come to us for treatment. They remain at their local hospital or go home to die.”

“Cancer of the cervix is the most common cancer that we see in Lae at the moment. Almost half of our patients having radiotherapy treatment have cervical cancer.”

For most of them, there was no alternative treatment, he said. Those in the early stages of the disease could have surgery but this was a special surgical procedure that only a few surgeons can perform.

However, most patients being treated at the centre were in the third stage of the four cancer development stages.

“That means there is a large tumor in the patient that often causes severe and catastrophic bleeding.”
He said there were many areas of improvement for the centre.

“We can treat a lot more patients in Lae if we have more radiotherapists, more machines and backup such as nurses. We are operating with a skeleton staff with just myself as the specialist doctor, two registrars and four nurses.

“The three radiotherapists we have operate the high voltage cobalt machines and do the planning for radiotherapy,” Niblett said.


15) New HIV cases detected in PNG’s Morobe province

By Online Editor
4:34 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

There were 416 new HIV-positive cases detected in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Province last year although officials say the figure maybe be higher.

Lae district has the highest – 384 – and the highest HIV incidence rate in the province at 2.32%.

Provincial HIV response coordinator Joanne Ganoka said  detected cases in Morobe stood at 2,122.

“The actual number of new HIV positive cases is expected to be higher because some health facilities have failed to submit their testing report to the Morobe provincial aids committee,” she said.

The committee last week launched its going-rural plan which expects to bring HIV testing, counselling and treatment to ward and village levels.

Lae currently has the highest number of testing, counselling and treatment sites. The other seven districts have one testing and counselling site each.

Kabwum district has no testing and counselling site but health workers will soon be trained and services provided.

The committee is launching a programme in the other nine districts and wards of Morobe and is requesting assistance from the 10 MPs and local level government presidents.

“The focus of the response of HIV is still very much on Lae city and district but HIV doesn’t stay in one place, it is constantly spreading,” Ganoka said.

She said while antiretroviral therapy was available for free to every HIV patient in PNG, access to it in the districts had been a major predicament.

Most of the people affected by HIV include men with money, female sex workers, homosexuals and young girls.

Age groups most affected were between 15 and 29 among females and 20 to 49 among males.

Infection among children under 14 is increasing as well.

Ganoka said Lae was a major transit and transaction point in the country and the high movement of people in and out of the city meant there was no absolute certainty in the number of HIV patients


16) PNG Executive Council Approves Free Healthcare Policy
State commits to supplementing funding to health facilities

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 26, 2013) – The long awaited Government’s free primary health care and subsidised specialist services policy and the revised public hospital charges and dentals charges regulation is finally approved by Papua New Guinea’s National Executive Council (NEC).

The policy approved early this month is in line with the Alotau Accord. Free health care policy is to ensure that the public has access to basic primary health care and subsidised specialist services.

This also comes with a one off K20 million [US$8.3 million] appropriated in the 2013 Budget.

According to a statement from the Health Ministry, a budget was released to the Health Department last Friday, 10 days after the approval of the policy by NEC.

The warrant for this K20 million are disbursed as follows: K6.1 million [US$2.5 million] to the provinces for the government run health facilities; and K13.9 million [US$5.8 million] to the Health Department under division 241 Hospital Management Services and is further broken down to K9 million [US$3.7 million] for public hospitals and K4.9 million [US$2 million] for the Christian health services facilities.

The policy will be implemented in two phases; one involves level one, two, three and four, which are rural health facilities run by the Church and Government.

Once the facilities receive their share of this budget, changes to user fees will begin.

To offset the loss of revenue from user fees, the government has committed to provide budgetary support to both the government and church run facilities on an annual basis.

Phase two involves the implementation of the policy at the provincial hospitals, levels five to seven health facilities including the referral hospital.

The hospitals will continue to charge user fees however, the level of fees charged have been either reduced or removed. For example, fees for outpatient consultation, drugs and delivery of babies have done away with while the more specialist services are reduced by half.

Fees for some services have been reduced by 50 percent whilst, fees for services that is complex and expensive in nature will marginally be reduced. These amendments are additionally to the existing exemption category under the current public charges and dental charges regulations.

It is important that the public is made aware of this government policy, more importantly, the provincial authorities, public health services agencies are also updated on the intent of this policy for implementation.

Treasuries in the province are encouraged to release health funds on time for services to flow smoothly.

Monitoring of the policy will be done at all levels of the government system during the implementation of the policy.

Implementing this policy is important only to oversea the spending the K20 million, also to ensure that the expenditures are translated into health outcomes.

PNG Post-Courier:


17) Up to 500 Solomons teachers still owed relevelling dues

Posted at 05:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands National Teachers Association says the government still owes up to 500 teachers their promised relevelling dues.

Last month, members of SINTA agreed to call off a teachers strike after the High Court ordered the government to meet all outstanding wage commitments by August the 8th and to rectify any problems by last Thursday.

The Industrial Relations Officer for SINTA, Samson Faisi, says his office has gathered information revealing the formula the government used to determine the relevelling payments was not applied properly.

He says at least 200 teachers in Honiara alone have not been paid the right amount.

“We expect more teachers during the course of this week. They will submit their claims and I believe it will pass 500. So a lot of these teachers haven’t been addressed their issue, especially those from Malaita and the other big education authorities.”

Samson Faisi says the High Court is expected to review the case this Thursday and SINTA’s lawyer will submit a list of teachers who have outstanding relevelling dues.

Radio New Zealand International

18) American Samoa keen to shed US high risk designation

Posted at 01:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

Three officials of the United States Department of Education are in American Samoa to see if the government is getting itself out of its so-called high risk classification.

The designation has subjected departments which receive funding from the US to more stringent rules in the drawdown of funds and reporting requirements for how those funds are spent.

The team sent from the US is led by Dr Phil Maestri, who is the Director of the Department’s Risk Management Service.

The governor said the high risk status, which was imposed ten years ago, was bad for the territory as it has affected the federal government’s confidence in the American Samoa Government.

Radio New Zealand International


19) PNG money laundering

By Online Editor
1:42 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

Australian aid is being lost to corruption, with an estimated $1.7 billion being stolen from Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) budget annually.

The stolen money is then brought to Australia to be hidden in our banks and the Queensland property market.

Around 59 people have already been charged with corruption offences in PNG, and it is alleged much of their illegally obtained money is spent in Cairns.

Professor Jason Sharman, deputy director of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University, is a renowned expert on money laundering.

Professor Sharman along with Sam Koim, head of PNG’s Anti-Corruption Task Force, are on a mission to lift the lid on billions of dollars of dirty money leaving PNG to be laundered in Australia.

“Corrupt politicians, and senior officials are buying houses and gambling. Obviously they need bank accounts to do so, and setting their families up here (in Australia) as well,” Professor Sharman said.

“Most of Australia’s aid program is effectively wasted.”

Koim says they have a number of prominent politicians and businessmen on their radar.

“Almost half of the budget (is being stolen. That is how big the problem is,” Koim said.

“They see Australia as the Cayman Islands. They see that it is the safest place where they can bring their stolen money from PNG.”

There are more than 100 homes in Cairns that belong to Papua New Guineans, a similar number in Brisbane. They inhabit some of the nicest suburbs, and include the prominent PNG politicians and officials.

One such home in Cairns, valued at AUD$585,000, belongs to PNG’s petroleum/energy minister William Duma.

Australia’s banks have a strong presence in PNG, and Koim says the banks are well aware of the corruption.

“The writing is on the wall. There is some clear evidence of suspicious transactions, but they (the banks) turned a blind eye and accepted those transactions,” Koim said.

Koim and his task force informed Australia’s money laundering agency Astrac, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Attorney General’s department in August last year that Paul Paraka – a lawyer who allegedly sent $2.5 million dollars to his family – was a person of interest in their investigation into corruption.

However Paraka was still able to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to his wives and girlfriends through the NAB.

In a statement the NAB claim to take money laundering seriously. They admitted that following an investigation in late 2012 that: “…some customer’s accounts were closed and some payments originating from PNG were declined…”

Professor Sharman says few Australians realise how serious PNG’s corruption problem is for Australia. He says for every dirty dollar we harbour, PNG is one step close to ruin, with huge consequences.

“If you give $10 million to a hospital and that money comes in as aid through the front door, and at the same time, $10 million is stolen out the back door through a corrupt official, then the net benefit of Australian aid is zero,” Professor Sharman said.

“If half the budget is stolen, there is a real risk that PNG as a country will simply collapse. One of the things associated with state failure is massive refugee flow. If you were looking to escape PNG, the closest country is Australia.

“So rather than PNG being a refugee solution, it will become a massive refugee problem.”.


20) PNG modernising border controls

By Online Editor
4:21 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration says Papua New Guinea is modernizing its border controls with a view to facilitate genuine movement of people and trade while also improving border integrity.

Rimbink Pato said this while announcing the instalment of the modern and computerized Border Management System or B-M-S at the Wutung Border Post in West Sepik.

The BMS system was installed by the PNG Immigrations and Citizenship Service Authority – PNG ICSA to make processing procedures quicker and efficient.

The system is similar to the Jackson’s International airport checking system that is capable of checking the authenticity of travel documents.

Foreign Affairs Minister says he is pleased that this has occurred in Sandaun province which hosts PNG’s biggest land border crossing with Indonesia.

Rimbink Pato commended the PNG ICSA for delivering this project as one of its key activities under its 2013 Key Priority Activities plan.


21) PNG’s Independent Public Business Corporation speaks to Vodaphone UK

By Online Editor
4:25 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) is talking directly with Vodafone UK to bring the global telecommunications giant to run the state-owned Bemobile.

IPBC Managing Director, Wasantha Kumarasiri, told a local television station this week, that the IPBC has put the money in Bemobile’s trust, and talks with UK will follow soon.

Kumarasiri says, no proper reasons were given as to why the Fiji National Provident Fund and Fiji Vodafone cancelled their part of the agreement.

IPBC is the major shareholder in bemobile, with 85% stake.

Initially, FNPF had agreed to invest K200 million (US$84.1 million) when it signed the deal with IPBC in April this year.

Under the agreement, IPBC was to get equity of 51% while FNPF would own 40%. The loan agreement would have seen Fiji’s Vodafone manage bemobile’s telecommunication system.

Kumarasiri said IPBC was saddened over the unfortunate decision by its partners. However, he said it had not prevented shareholders from carrying out an alternative plan.

He said IPBC is awaiting feedback from its partner shareholders before the plan would be formally carried out.

He added the invitation was open to any interested parties who would like to be part of the business project.


22) PNG Fisheries plan monitoring activities

By Online Editor
1:39 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is stepping up on surveillance and monitoring of fishing activities in PNG waters.

Work is under way to have a national action plan which will support its catch documentation scheme to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

A two-day European Union-funded workshop was held in Lae last week to gauge views of stakeholders on illegal fishing and how best to tackle the issue.

Participants included representatives from NFA, Customs, observers, provincial fisheries and company representatives from the tuna canning companies in Lae, Madang and Wewak.

Irina Kireeva, a consultant based in Brussels, conducted the workshop and visited Wewak and Madang to talk to inspectors and Customs officers as part of an information-gathering effort.

PNG has 2.4 million square kilometres of sea mass. And  with the upsurge in fishing interests in the country, policing and monitoring of fishing activities to ensure they fall under regulatory statutes are challenging, Kireeva said.

Kireeva said the NFA, in an effort to keep in line with the European Union’s regulations on fish exports, had identified the need for a catch documentation scheme to combat illegal fishing.

The Lae meeting was the first phase towards compiling the national action plan with the second in September which will see the finalising of a draft paper.

NFA representative Alois Kinol said there was no overall policy with regard to illegal fishing and the action plan would eliminate and combat it.

She thanked NFA managing director Sylvester Pokajam for initiating the information-gathering meetings and workshops.


23) Calls in Solomons for tougher enforcement of business law

Posted at 05:35 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce says tougher law enforcement is needed to stop foreigners taking jobs that are reserved for locals.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber says more and more foreigners are taking advantage of businesses which are traditionally run by Solomon Islanders.

Jerry Tengemoana told Beverley Tse it is hard to pin down the law-breakers but says the government needs to take more responsibility in tackling the issue.

JERRY TENGEMOANA: At the moment I think mainly the Chinese are going in to retail and wholesale businesses. That’s what they’ve been dominating in the past few years. But just recently there’s some observations that others are also going into small areas which have been reserved for indigenous people, and that’s a concern. This is not our role as a chamber to monitor them. It’s the investment division in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. That ministry is mandated to play that role, and also the Honiara City Council.

BEVERLEY TSE: What would you say are the main concerns affecting Solomon Islands business people?

JT: Well, the concerns are that they don’t have the capability to compete with the Asians who come in with money, especially going into small areas where they could earn some money to help with their livelihoods. But I guess the responsible authorities need to step up on their behalf to ensure people comply with the laws.

BT: Now, there are some sectors of business that are reserved for Solomon Islanders. What are those?

JT: Well, it’s quite a long list. I don’t have the records with me at the moment, but taxi services, bus services, catering, just to name a few, are reserved for locals. And even minor renovation work, some people who came in also bypassed the laws in terms of working through some locals, but they sort of control the business.

BT: Can you give me an example?

JT: An example is a Chinese, in that regard, can run a bus service, but the registration or the paperwork, it could be a friend or a local just to meet the paperwork requirements. But it’s run by someone else. As we’ve seen in a report in the paper, a Chinese bus has been confiscated by a former employee, a former bus conductor. I think there were some disagreements. But the thing is, maybe the registration has been done through them, but the owner is obviously a foreigner.

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

Radio New Zealand International

24) Minimum wage law

By Online Editor
2:18 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s new Constitution states that the State must take reasonable measures to achieve the progressive realisation of the right of every person to work and to a just minimum wage.

The Constitution, released to the public by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last Thursday, states that in applying any right under this section, if the State claims that it does not have the resources to implement the right, “it is the responsibility of the State to show that the resources are not available”.

The Constitution also recognises the rights of workers to social and security schemes.

“The State must take reasonable measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of the right of every person to social security schemes, whether private or public, for their support in times of need, including the right to such support from public resources if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents,” it states.

The Constitution states that in applying any right under this section, if the State does not have the resources to implement the right, it is the responsibility of the State to show that the resources are not available.

Meanwhile, the Constitution also highlighted a clause on freedom from arbitrary evictions.

It states that every person has the right to freedom from arbitrary evictions from his or her home or to have his or her home demolished, without an order of a court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.

“No law may permit arbitrary evictions.”

The Constitution also states that every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right to have the natural world protected for the benefit of present and future generations through legislative and other measures.


25) Fiji govt re-engage development partners

By Online Editor
4:27 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Government is hopeful of continued support from the development partners, donor agencies, regional organisations as it looks to formulate the 2014 budget.

The government through the Finance Ministry met with representatives of JICA, AusAID, NZAID, Chinese embassy, ADB, among others, and key government ministries today at a Suva forum intended to re-engage their commitment and support in channelling Official Development Assistance to the key priority programmes for the 2014 financial year.

During the forum, representatives were updated on Fiji’s economic performance and outlook which was presented by the Reserve Bank of Fiji, the development hopes of government and MDG achievements which was presented by the Ministry of Strategic Planning and National Development as well as a presentation by the Finance Ministry on the 2014 budget strategy and government’s priority sectors.

Whilst the development partners are yet to indicate their support whether verbal or formally, Acting Permanent Secretary for Finance Akosita Drova said the presence of reps from the various development partners at the forum was testament of their interest to re-engage and continue their partnership with Fiji.

“It is encouraging to see that most of agencies were represented today. Their commitment alone in coming today shows us that they are still interested in continuing to engage with Fiji,” she said.

“This is initial round of meeting for us to show to them some of government’s objectives and some of the sectors that we will need the development partners’ help in.

“They then would go and discuss internally before we follow-up with one-to-one meetings where they would then inform us on the particular sector they would be interested to fund.”

Drova pointed out that the sectors government was looking at included health, education, poverty, water and sanitation. She says the forum and follow up meetings is also to ensure that there are no overlapping in the funding.

“For instance if AUSAID is focusing on health, then we would make sure it does not overlap with another fund partner.”

Once the partners indicate the sector that is of interest to them, they would then relay to the Fijian Govt the amount of funding they would be able to provide.

“So we then take that into account when we are formulating the budget. We would then know how much is coming in from our donor and development partners and how much government would need to put in.”

One-to-one discussion with development partners is expected to start next week.

The 2014 budget announcement is scheduled for 8 November 2013.


26) Asia to lead quadrupling of wind energy by 2030: Siemens

By Online Editor
4:20 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Germany

Siemens, the world’s No.3 maker of wind turbines, expects the global wind power market to more than quadruple by 2030, lifted by strong growth in Asia.

“The market will shift away from Europe significantly,” Markus Tacke, chief executive of the German company’s Wind Power division, said at a renewable energy conference in Berlin.

He said globally installed wind power capacity would increase to 1,107 gigawatt (GW) in 2030 from 273 GW in 2012, with Asia and the Pacific region accounting for more than 47 per cent of the total, up from 34 per cent now.

China is pumping billions of euros into wind power, which is more cost-competitive than solar energy and partly able to compete with coal and gas. Wind power subsidies in most parts of Europe are being slowly scaled back.

The Europe and the Middle East (EMEA) region is still the world’s largest wind market, with a 40 per cent share that will decline to 34 per cent by 2030.

Siemens Wind Power, part of the group’s Energy division, achieved sales of 3.555 billion euros ($A5.3 billion) in the first nine months of Siemens’ fiscal year, down 1 per cent year on year. It accounted for 6.4 per cent of the company’s total sales.

Its profit margin for the period stood at 3.6 per cent, down from 4.7 per cent a year earlier, as the company was forced to book charges because of problems relating to some of its wind turbine rotor blades.


27) French Polynesia claims Makemo support for billion dollar aquaculture project

Posted at 05:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

A French Polynesian government delegation says there is overwhelming support on Makemo atoll for a one-billion US dollar aquaculture project with a Chinese investor.

The delegation, led by the president Gaston Flosse, discussed the project with local residents and visited sites of the planned venture.

He has told local media the final deal will be signed in October for the new entity, Tahiti Nui Marine, to become operational.

A Chinese company, Tian Rui, is expected to invest 1.1 billion US dollars over 15 years and create 1,000 jobs.

The company will be providing all the equipment and over time train French Polynesians in Shanghai so that in ten years, 90 percent of those working in the industry will be locals.

Radio New Zealand International


28) Alcohol abuse growing

The recent news about Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s decision to quit alcohol has received praise from a local NGO in Goroka.
Eastern Highlands Family Voice is a national NGO and operates in Goroka town, serving many victims of sexual and domestic violence strongly advocating against all forms of abuse and violence against women.
The Eastern Highlands Family Voice (EHFV) chairman, Mr Walter Nombe, commended the Chief Executive Officer of the nation for his decision.
He said that this is a role model message for men and particularly for leaders at all levels of our society, to take the cue from him and make drastic lifestyle changes to fully commit themselves to serve the nation, adding that it is really encouraging to see this kind of attitude and is hoping other leaders can take some bold stand on various issues like corruption and sexual and domestic violence.
Mr Nombe said: “We should not pretend that alcohol is not affecting and impacting on the lives of our people. It is affecting this country in a very big way.
“We must recognise that and take some very radical measures to control the use and abuse of alcohol. The people have a right to a safe and violence free environment to live and grow, and if alcohol abuse is denying that for the people then it is time for us to act on it.”
A recent baseline community survey carried out by EHFV in a district revealed that the top ranking common issues affecting men, women and children in seven different communities were alcohol, gambling, drugs, prostitution and sorcery.
Alcohol came on top as impacting on men followed by drugs and gambling, while for young men; drugs, alcohol and gambling, for women; gambling, sorcery, prostitution and finally for girls; prostitution, gambling and alcohol.
It is noted that different issues affect the different groups depending on their circumstances and situations. Just taking the top issue for each group is indicative that men feel more manly when they are drunk, women are now more lazy, girls are getting involved early in prostitution and boys are now more involved in growing and selling marijuana and the use of alcohol.
If we take this as a standard scenario across all communities and regions we have a problem. In this context, then the Prime Minister’s stand to quit alcohol is worth mentioning.
According to the Law & Justice Sector Division of Eastern Highlands Province, 85% of matters in the village courts relate back to domestic violence and assaults to children and women, which in turn stems from consumption of alcohol. The EHFV’s internal statistics show that alcohol related domestic violence is one of the highest recorded types of violence on women.
From 1,103 clients’ visit to Family Voice for counselling from January 2010 to December 2012, 49% of cases reported were alcohol related.PNG Post Courier.

29) Temaru to remind Forum about Tahiti corruption

By Online Editor
10:38 am GMT+12, 27/08/2013, New Zealand

French Polynesia’s pro-independence opposition politician, Oscar Temaru, says Pacific leaders need to know how corrupt the territory’s leaders are.

Temaru says although he is not invited, he will go to next week’s Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands.

Earlier this year, the current president, Gaston 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.

Temaru says Forum Leaders should be aware of who is among them when they discuss problems of corruption, embezzlement and bribery.

“They have to know that the president of this country is the most corrupted elected person in the French parliament, and in the current government three of them have been in jail.”

Oscar Temaru says he will travel to Majuro via Hawaii while Flosse is reported to be flown on a New Zealand government plane from Auckland

30) PNG soldiers in joint military drill

By Online Editor
2:20 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Papua New Guinea

A joint military exercise between Australian and Papua New Guinea in Wewak has been hailed a success.

Lt-Col Vince Gabina, the commanding officer of the second Royal Pacific Island Regiment at Moem Barracks, said the Night Naip exercises covered survival and jungle training that enhanced the capabilities of both armies to operate together.

The joints exercise started last Monday with 70 soldiers from the Australian Defence Force’s commando regiment in Sydney.

Their planned parachute jump into Wewak was cancelled, leaving people who lined the shorelines in Wewak disappointed.

The Australians apologised and said they hoped to return in the near future and do a special parachute jump for the Sepik people.

Gabina said: “The Australian soldiers got their expertise and experience from Afghanistan to offer us while we have our expertise from Bougainville and the jungle to offer them.

“It’s a very valuable training because it helps our soldiers to be better equipped for the future.”

The Australian soldiers were impressed with the basic survival skills taught by local soldiers because they focused too much on technology and less on the basics of how to survive in the jungle.

The training is now into its second week and will end with a parachute jump at Nadzab, Morobe next Wednesday.

The jump is significant because it is the same location of the first parachute jump by Australian forces in 1943 during the recapture of Lae in World War Two.

The soldiers are using the PNGDF’s helicopters leased through Australia’s Defence Cooperation Programme.



31) Australia continues moving asylum seekers to PNG

Posted at 03:22 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

Australia has continued to shift its asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, sending another 40 to its camp on Manus island.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship says it has flown 35 Iranians, two Afghans, one Iraqi and two people claiming to be stateless to Manus.

It says they are all single adult males.

The group is the 11th sent to PNG since Canberra decided last month to process asylum seekers arriving by boat abroad and to settle those found to be refugees outside Australia.

While Australia also runs detention centres in Nauru, it is exploring whether it can build more such camps in PNG.

Canberra says there is no cap on the number of people who can be transferred to PNG, but PNG disagrees, saying Australia will need to take back a share of them.

Radio New Zealand International

32) Loophole leaves Nauru cops short of asylum powers

By Online Editor
10:28 am GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Nauru

Nauru’s refugee processing centre is operating in a state of legal limbo, with local police lacking basic powers of arrest, leaving them unable to lawfully enforce rules for about 500 asylum-seekers.

The facility, which has been beset by violence since opening last year as part of Labor’s offshore processing regime, has yet to appoint a manager, creating a legal loophole that has left police powerless.

Labor last week transferred its first group of women and children to Nauru, which currently holds 487 asylum-seekers. Last month, detainees conducted a protest inside the centre that escalated into a full-scale riot leaving buildings torched and $60 million worth of damage.

Nauru’s police commissioner, Australian Federal Police officer Richard Britten, was suspended following a dispute with Nauru’s acting president, Justice Minister David Adeang, about how to handle the protests, which were initially peaceful.

Sources have told The Australian Adeang made it clear to Britten he wanted the protest broken up and the asylum-seekers arrested. Britten was suspended that afternoon, reportedly over his refusal to co-opt Nauran men to help police contain the riot.

“We found we had no confidence in his views, in his attitude to handling the protest, which was growing very quickly to become a riot,” Adeang said later.

It’s understood Britten sought legal advice on the afternoon of the riots after his conversation with Adeang.

That advice, which The Australian has seen, warned him the Nauran police lacked the power to arrest asylum-seekers due to a legal loophole. This was because the “centre rules” that governed the operation of the facility and allowed police to arrest asylum-seekers for the purposes of keeping them inside the facility, were not yet in force.

The advice explained that under Nauran law the rules only became active once an “operational manager” had been appointed. That has not happened, “due to Australia’s reluctance to be legally responsible for the (refugee processing centre)”.

While the police have powers to deal with normal breaches of the law – such as violent offences – they could not detain asylum-seekers behaving peacefully once they had left the centre.

It is understood the advice was also sent to Adeang.

After Britten’s dismissal events spiralled out of control and the protest turned violent.

In the ensuing chaos, asylum-seekers were allegedly assaulted by locals, who had been asked to assist police in subduing the riot by a text message sent to Nauran mobile phones.

It’s understood the message was sent by Adeang without the knowledge of the local police, who were forced to divert time and resources managing an unruly crowd of locals as well as asylum-seekers, who at that stage were rioting.

Immigration Minister Tony Burke confirmed the position of operational manager had yet to be filled. “While a suitable candidate is being determined, responsibility for the centre rests with Adeang,” he said.

A senior Nauran source said the centre was for all practical purposes run by the Australian Immigration Department. The source said the effective manager of the centre was a senior DIAC officer. “It seems everything Australia does is about wriggling out of responsibility and ensuring the policy isn’t tested in the High Court.”

Adeang and the government declined to comment.



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

Posted at 05:35 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

The main water supply of the Papua New Guinea capital will be strictly rationed until November, when rain is forecast to refill Sirinumu Dam.

The dam, which supplies water and power to Port Moresby, is at critically low levels – it’s the middle of the dry season and there has been little rain in the past few months.

Mary Baines reports:

The chief operating officer of the city’s water supplier utility Eda Ranu, Fifiaia Matainho, is hoping for rain before November.

“FIFIAIA MATAINHO: If you are asking for whether we have any immediate back-up plan, basically none. We don’t have any treatment plant elsewhere that we can rely on, or water supply system elsewhere we can rely on, so we just really have to tighten up on the use of water now.”

While Sirinumu Dam is critically low, Eda Ranu has also had to close its main water clarification plant for cleaning – which means much smaller plants are catering to the whole city. Dr Fifiaia says the two events coinciding is bad luck. He says water to the city has been drastically reduced – residents are being advised to use water for cooking and drinking only. Through a valve system water is turned off for hours at a time.

“FIFIAIA MATAINHO: 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.”

Dr Fifiaia says Eda Ranu is looking to upsize its treatment plant and build another dam so something like this doesn’t happen again. He says it is also searching for illegal connections and water running from open-ended pipes, which account for more than 40 percent of the city’s water usage. Sirinumu Dam is also used to generate power for Port Moresby. But the acting chief operating officer of PNG Power, John Tangitban, says power to the city is not yet threatened, as the dam is still at 64 percent capacity. He says when the dam gets below 50 percent, water will take precedence over power.

“JOHN TANGITBAN: When we go past 50 percent on the dam level, we restrict the volume of power supply to what the city water supply water requirements are. So in that way, the city gets the maximum water supply but we ration the power directly.”

Mr Tangitban says PNG Power has leased back-up power generators just in case. Our correspondent, Todagia Kelola, says with the restrictions in place, the water should last until November.

“TODAGIA KELOLA: A more accurate forecast of the weather will be made early next month, depending on whether it’s an El Nino, which is dry, or La Nina which is wet sets in. And the Weather Office also stated that the dry season experienced in Port Moresby is a normal weather pattern for the area and nothing out of the ordinary.”

Todagia Kelola says the public is concerned with the situation and adapting to the water restrictions.

Radio New Zealand International

34) Climate change, Fiji hot topics at Pacific Islands Forum

By Online Editor
10:44 am GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Marshall Islands

Climate change and Fiji will be the topics front-and-center as leaders gather in the Pacific island nation of Marshall Islands next week for the annual Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders meeting.

The Marshall Islands has highlighted climate change as a major theme for the leaders of the Forum’s 16 member states to discuss at this year’s meeting in the capital, Majuro.

Reflecting the urgency of the situation, the government of the Marshall Islands has chosen the theme “Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge” for this year’s forum.

The leaders will also discuss broader issues, including cooperation and integration around the Pacific Plan, Fiji’s steps towards elections, and security issues.

The PIF members will be joined by delegations from their 13 Post-Forum Dialogue Partners, including the United States, China, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea and India, as well as the EU and EU member states France, Italy and Britain.

The Forum meeting follows a recent spate of climate-induced disasters across the Marshall Islands, and news in May that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time, reinforcing fears that the world is on track to runaway global warming of 4 degrees centigrade or more.

Prime Minister John Key will lead the New Zealand delegation, which includes Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, to the 44th Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands.

“We are a Pacific nation; this is our neighbourhood and we are committed to development and stability right across the Forum nations. This annual event plays a significant role in achieving that,” PM Key said.

Key will also hold bilateral meetings with other Pacific leaders.

The New Zealand delegation leaves on 03 September and returns on 07 September.


35) CNMI Historic Preservation Office Wants In On Rota Project
Bird conservation project could impact historically important sites

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, August 27, 2013) – Members of the Northern Marianas Historic Preservation Office’s (HPO) review board wants to take part in a “memorandum of agreement” (MOA) being hammered out for a wildlife conservation project on Rota that the board says will potentially impact some historic sites.

HPO review board chair Tom Glenn Quitugua said that since the MOA for this conservation project has not been finalized by the Department of Lands and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Public Lands (DPL), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, this is a great opportunity for HPO to come forward and seek more information about the project and the intended agreement that will formalize the plan of implementation.

Quitugua disclosed that some important sites such as the oldest Rota water cave and some latte stones have been identified within the conservation area that HPO wants to “protect” by being a party in the co-management of the site. The conservation plan is for some bird species.

“If we don’t address this issue, there’s no way we can co-manage [this local-federal project] where our historical sites are inside this conservation area,” he told colleagues during the board’s meeting on Friday, adding that the draft agreement between parties does not include language about the Historic Preservation Office or its participation.

It was learned that since development of the proposed MOA for the bird conservation area on Rota began, the HPO was never invited to the table despite its potential concerns about the project.

“[The] MOA was not finalized in excess of three years now and I was told that HPO was not invited to this agreement. Now that we’re here, I want this board to be aware of the issue and take a position on this,” Quitugua said, adding that DPL, under the proposed MOA, will also have to relinquish some potential homestead lands to the conservation area.

“They already have the property. Now the question is: what’s the role of HPO in all this. We have significant latte stone sites inside. I am still confused why this body was not part of this issue,” he said, adding that it’s not too late for the agency to do its due diligence.

Quitugua said that once the conservation area is finalized, any development including homesteads will not be permitted. HPO, he said, should be allowed to survey the whole area with the assistance of the federal agency.

The HPO review board agreed to send a letter to DLNR Secretary Arnold Palacios and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to seek further information about the project and how it can participate in the MOA being finalized for the conservation area.

Marianas Variety:

36) Renowned oceanographer to explore American Samoa’s Swains Island

Posted at 03:22 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

A renowned oceanographer and environmentalist is leading a team of 40 scientists and researchers on an expedition to uncover the secrets of American Samoa’s Swains Island.

Jean Michel Cousteau, the son of the famous French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, is helping the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa with the project.

The 75-year-old will be filmed nonstop by underwater cameraman Jean Knowlton, who has filmed many well known ocean features for television.

Jean Cousteau says American Samoa is lucky to have Swains Island.

“It’s probably a little treasure that needs to be protected, preserved, taken care of and not abuse it like we’ve abused many other places on the planet so it’s an example we can show to the world.”

Jean Cousteau says he also hopes to dive in the islands’ main lake.

Radio New Zealand International


37) Solomon Islands targeting return to Beach Soccer World Cup

Posted at 01:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands coach Gideon Omokirio says his players are ready to regain their rightful place at next month’s Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti.

Omokirio captained his country at four World Cup tournaments between 2006 and 2009 but the Bilikiki missed out on the 2011 event, with Tahiti qualifying as the Oceania representative.

This year Tahiti qualify automatically as hosts, with this weekend’s Oceania qualifying tournament in Noumea to determine who of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomons will join them from the region.

Omokirio says after being the standard bearer in Oceania for so long they’re as determined as ever to show they’re still the best.

“It really motivates us to come back to show to the region, epecially to OFC and to the world, that we are still competitive and we are still strong. We are fighting back very strongly to qualify for the World Cup and as soon as we qualify we will put a better, best team to represent Solomon Islands at the World Cup so we will do much better than the previous years.”

The Oceania qualifying tournament begins on Saturday and runs until Monday.

Radio New Zealand International

38) Wins for Samoa and Fiji at Youth Netball Champs

Posted at 01:52 on 27 August, 2013 UTC

Samoa have won their first match at this year’s World Youth Netball Championships, but coach Trish Wilcox says there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

The Polynesians led at the end of each quarter to record a comfortable 54-31 victory over host nation Scotland, in front of a vocal Glasgow crowd.

A win in their final match against the Cayman Islands tomorrow will put them in the playoffs for 9th-16th place and Trish Wilcox says the team need to lift their performance another notch still.

“The other games were challenging. At times we were overwhelmed – I thought we performed in patches but we couldn’t seem to string the consistency together – so it was really nice to see the girls play to their potential tonight. I think we need to show a little bit of patience at times. It was really good, absolutely, but there were still times where we forced a little bit of ball where we didn’t need to so that’s probably an area we will still work on.”

Fiji rouned out their pool phase with an 82-20 demolition of Israel, while Papua New Guinea remain winless after a 45-35 defeat to Barbados.

Radio New Zealand International

39) Pacific sprint king to celebrate 21st birthday with Gold

By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 27/08/2013, Fiji

Pacific sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro  aims to celebrate his 21st birthday in style with the 100metres Gold medal at the 10th Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna next week.

The Digicel Brand Ambassador turns 21 on September 4 which is also the same day that he will be running the 100metres final.

“I’m going for three gold medals and do it on my 21st birthday would be great,” said the Bau lad.
Banuve was today farewell by Digicel Fiji at a special morning tea.

Family friend and Digicel Public Relations Manager Satish Narayan believes that the ‘Bau bullet’ can lower his time to 10.3sec at this games and also win five gold medals if pushed to run the 4×400 metres relay and 400m hurdles.

Banuve is currently entered for the 100, 200m and the 4x100m relay.

In thanking Digicel Fiji, Tabakaucoro said he is ready and “as usual I’m ready to rock and win gold medals.”

He is confident of doing better judging from his recent performance at the recent World Athletics Championships.

The sprinter remains unbeaten in the 100m and 200m in the region since winning the two events in Noumea, New Caledonia in 2011.

Team Fiji sailing rep Charlotte Taylor, head of unwired was also farewelled by Digicel Fiji workmates.
Savusavu-born Taylor takes part in the single person laser division.

“I’m surprised but so happy to see my fellow colleagues here at Digicel gathered to wish me good luck ahead of our departure and I’m going to my best and hoping to return with a medal from the games,” said Taylor.

Young journalists Arin Kumar Fiji Times and Anasilina Ratuva of Fiji Sun will be going on their first overseas sporting assignments.

24- year –old former Natabua student and cricket enthusiast, Kumar says “first trip and I’m getting a lot of coaching from my seniors.”

24-year-old Anasilina who played wing defense for her school netball team has been a journalist with the Fiji Sun for three years.

“This is my first overseas trip, I’m overwhelmed and excited. It’s a privilege for me,” said Anasilina.
The other Fiji journalists to the Pacific Mini Games are Atu Rasea (Fiji Times), Shalveen Chand (FBC) and William Tabuya (Fiji TV).

Team Fiji departs for Wallis and Futuna on Saturday on a chartered flight.



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