Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 855


1) Activists in West Papua gather to support freedom flotilla

Posted at 03:38 on 28 August, 2013 UTC

Activists in the Indonesian province of West Papua have gathered to show support for the boatload of Australian activists due to arrive there early next month.

A crowd gathered in the remote town of Manokwari yesterday to raise the banned Morning Star flag and welcome the activists.

The so-called freedom flotilla has been warned by Indonesia not to enter its waters illegally, and says the boats have no clearance.

But the activists say they have travel documents issued by their own Aboriginal elders in Australia and permits given by the traditional landowners in Merauke, where they intend to land.

An activist based in Manokwari, Yoab Syatfle, says a large crowd voiced its support and says the event is significant as it’s the first sea convoy for peace and justice to travel to the province.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Solomon Islands Land Title Holders Urged To Pay Dues
Lands minister orders all arrears to be collected immediately

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 28, 2013) – The Solomon Islands government through the ministry of lands, housing and survey has warned all land title holders to settle their outstanding dues or face the risk of losing their lands title.

The warning comes as hundreds of Fix Term Estate (FTA) holders continue to delay their payment amounting to millions of dollars in land rental arrears.

The minister of lands, housing and survey Joseph Onika yesterday called on all Fix Term Estate holders (Lessees) still owing the Government to settle their land rental arrears to avoid forfeiture.

Speaking to the Solomon Star, minister Onika said he has directed the Commissioner of Lands (acting) that all land rental arrears be collected immediately.

The minister explained to the Solomon Star it has always been the policy since the inception of the Land Title Act that Land rents payable to Government are paid by 1st of January each year.

It is already the end of August and a substantial number of Fixed Term Estate (FTE) holders (Lessees) still owe the Government.

He said the permanent secretary and the commissioner of lands (ag) stated that the ministry will now work on the land rental arrears issue.

The working group has compiled the list but find it difficult to get to the correct addresses as individuals and companies changes address, the minister said.

“Some are already living overseas and we are finding it hard to reach them,” Onika said.

In the previous years the ministry posted the list of Lessees owing the Government with land rental arrears in the print media which result in a lot of individuals and companies paying up while others fail.

A good number of land titles were already enlisted for forfeiture and some of them already re-entered by the Commissioner of Lands and re-allocated to new lessees.

The commissioner of lands office has informed all FTE holders who have outstanding arrears to immediately visit the ministry of lands cashier and pay up their dues before their names are published in the print media next week.

Solomon Star

3) Vanuatu National Library-Archives Officially Opened
PM credits strategic vision, generous donor, teamwork

By Glenda Shing

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 27, 2013) – The 300-million vatu [US$3.07 million] National Library and National Archives building, a gift from Australia on the 30th anniversary of Vanuatu’s independence, has been officially opened, as witnessed by more than 600 people, including distinguished guests.

Located next to the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Vanuatu now has a permanent facility to safeguard the country’s rich and diverse history. The design of the building was inspired by traditional Melanesian style and utilized modern and sustainable building materials. The building is in keeping with the design of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, creating the Vanuatu National Cultural Council Complex, which is dedicated to the Vanuatu history and culture.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Moana Carcasses said he believed the new National Library and Archives building will be widely welcomed and visited often.

“It is with deep humility and great pride that I share this moment with you all on the historic occasion of the opening of the Vanuatu National Library and National Archives Building – a most beautiful addition to the buildings within the Vanuatu National Cultural Council Complex and a project very successfully achieved through vision, a very generous donor and outstanding teamwork.

“Our written records have not had the attention they deserve until quite recently under the direction of the former and current directors of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Ralph Regenvanu and Marcellin Abong. National Library and Archives staff have begun to seriously sort, organise and digitize the documentary treasures of our history. Their vision was to create a building to house, protect and conserve this large national documentary cultural heritage, while at the same time to include a national space for Contemporary and other Visual Arts,” the PM said.

Visions and dreams of this kind cannot be achieved without practical financial commitment and support from our very generous donor, the Australian Government, through His Excellency, Pablo Kang in 2010, who recognised the vision and pledged the full support of his government and gifted the people of Vanuatu this new National Library and National Archives building.

Australian High Commissioner, Jeremy Bruer, said the new building would provide an essential service to all ni-Vanuatu.

“The Australian government is proud to present this building to the people of Vanuatu. This facility in front of you is not just a library and archives building. These walls will protect the memories, stories and identity of this country,” Bruer said.

He added, “I am sure this building will stand as an enduring physical reminder of the strong friendship between our two countries and our two people.”

Vanuatu Daily Post:

4) Vanuatu Opposition Will Not Support Taskforce Changes
Opposition says government has serious questions to answer

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 27, 2013) – The leader of Vanuatu’s Opposition, Ham Lini, said his bloc will not support the government motion to change the current Taskforce members, responsible for recommendations to the government on the proposed international airport.

“The government intends to table a motion to change the present members of the Taskforce Committee and appoint new Taskforce members, with four from the government side and three from the Opposition side. But the Opposition bloc will not support it,” the Opposition leader told the Daily Post.

The Opposition leader picked a number of examples, which he alleged were serious mistakes that Prime Minister Moana Carcasses and Deputy Prime Minister Edward Natapei had already committed in relation to the new international airport.

“What the government intends to do by tabling a motion to change the current Taskforce members and appoint a new Taskforce committee is already an indication that the government started off on the wrong footing and were doing things contrary to some legal requirements pertaining to the signing of the concession agreement,” the Opposition leader claimed.

The Opposition has several serious questions which it stated the Carcasses government must answer to.

One, he said, is the question of whether the attorney general and the State Law Office drafted the concession agreement and advised the prime minister and the Council of Ministers that it was legal for the government to sign the agreement. Lini said that according to the information gathered by the Opposition bloc, the concession agreement was allegedly not drafted by the State Law Office nor did it receive the Attorney General’s legal approval for it to be signed with the Singaporean company.

The Opposition leader said the other serious question to be answered by the government is why Prime Minister Moana Carcasses and the Deputy Prime Minister Edward Natapei had both signed the concession agreement, because, in the opinion of the Opposition, the concession agreement in such a contract deal, does not legally require the prime minister and deputy to sign, but rather a state minister responsible for infrastructure or the minister of finance.

The Opposition quotes an example of the new Ifira international port agreement funded by the Japanese government which did not require the prime minister or the deputy prime minister’s signatures.

Lini said another grave concern of the Opposition over the issue of the signing of the concession agreement is that it appears to be the same issue as that of promissory notes involving Peter Swanson during the Barak Sope-led government.

“The Opposition is asking the prime minister and the government to give a full breakdown of the Vt33 billion [US$337.6 million] costs and how this is going to be spent and on what.

“Unless the government is prepared to disclose the breakdown, the opposition will remain very suspicious of the questionable way the prime minister and the deputy prime minister are handling the concession deal and the promissory note issues.

“Furthermore the Opposition would like to question if the government has, through the tender process, the full background on the Singapore company that it signed the concession agreement with.

“Also if the government is satisfied on its own behalf and on behalf of the people of Vanuatu and the state, that the company has a proven international track record and is professionally and financially capable of undertaking a project of such magnitude in Vanuatu,” said opposition Leader Ham Lini.

“The Opposition is not satisfied with the signing of a concession agreement with a company that is registered locally instead of striking an agreement on a government level, such as with past major projects with other donor partners and foreign governments,” a concerned Opposition leader told Daily Post.

Another query that the Opposition raised is in relation to the feasibility study of the international airport project. The Opposition claims this would normally have been done prior to the signing of the concession agreement and not vice a versa, even more so given the magnitude of the project.

One of the issues that the Opposition leader claims is highly suspicious and must be answered by the prime minister and the Vanuatu government, is a clause in the concession agreement which the Opposition claims states that the international airport will be built in ‘Port Vila,’ with no mention of Efate or other islands in Vanuatu.

“Where exactly in Port Vila will this international airport be built? Can the government specify to the public of Vanuatu which part or space in Port Vila town this international airport will be built?” Lini asked.

He also expressed the Opposition’s grave concern over the land issue. Because the concession agreement stipulates a period of time for the completion of the project, if the project is not completed within that given period, the Singaporean company may be able to add a further year to the 50-year agreement, given the fact that land issues under the Land Acquisition Act can involve a protracted process.

“What happens if the company is not capable of carrying out the project, goes out and duplicates the promissory note and passes it on to other companies,” Lini went on.

“The government was ill-advised and this has resulted in all these concerns. The Opposition must do all it can to stop this scam,” Lini alleged.

The Opposition bloc has confirmed it is taking the government to court. The process is being completed and will be submitted to court shortly.

“The Opposition must stop this to protect the nation of the Republic of Vanuatu from being sold out to foreign companies,” the Opposition leader said.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

5) Fiji will not meet three MDG goals by 2015

By Online Editor
4:18 pm GMT+12, 28/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji will not be able to achieve three out of the eight Millennium Development goals by 2015.

The three targets are poverty alleviation, gender equality and reducing HIV/AIDS infections.

This was revealed at the Donor and Development Partners Forum organized by the Finance Ministry.

Chief economist at the Ministry of Strategic Planning Ovini Ralulu says the last Household Income and Expenditure survey shows that between 2002 to 2008 poverty levels dropped from thirty-five percent to thirty-one percent.

However rural poverty has increased from forty-one to forty three percent.

“Improve the service delivery at the rural level, trying to address rural poverty. So we have a number of programs on the agriculture sector, we have a number of programs trying to look at improving health services and education. Because all this will help support the capacity of the rural population to try and participate in economic activity programs,” said Ralulu

Ralulu says with regards to gender equality, parity has been achieved in primary and secondary education however, women still don’t get fair pay.

“Because while we have parity in Primary and Secondary – when it goes to tertiary – more males move up to tertiary than females. There are social issues involved and females drop out. Just trying to solve this parity so that more females come out to the workforce,” he said.

Another major challenge for Fiji is the increase in cases of HIV/AIDS, and Ralulu says one positive feedback from the awareness created is that people are coming forward to report these cases.

The focus is now on strategic approaches that target specific areas in order to achieve MDGs.

Fiji is on track to achieving five of the eight by 2015.


6) Fiji leader ‘disappointed’ at Carr response to constitution

Updated 28 August 2013, 16:02 AEST

Former Fijian prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry has criticised Australia for welcoming the release of Fiji’s new constitution.

Former Fijian prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry has criticised Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr for welcoming the release of Fiji’s new constitution.

Senator Carr says the interim government’s release of its draft constitution is an important step forward for Fiji’s commitment to hold elections by September 2014.

He says Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making credible steps towards a return to democracy.

Audio: Mahendra Chaudhry speaks to Bruce Hill (ABC News)

Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat he is not convinced Senator Carr has read the constitution.

“All political parties here have rejected the constitution and they are quite appalled at its content,” he said.

“It’s very unusual that a Labor government should welcome a constitution which is lacking in human rights and trade union workers’ rights.

“If the constitution does not meet the requirements of a democratic state, then one should be brave enough to say so.”

Fiji’s interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, released Fiji’s new constitution on August 22.

The new document will replace the 1997 constitution that was set aside by the military regime four years ago.

It calls for a single-chamber 50-member Parliament, with elections to be held every four years.

In January, the Fijian government scrapped the draft constitution drawn up by an independent commission led by Professor Yash Ghai.

The draft was submitted to be re-written, and Fiji’s Government says the final version now includes stronger protections for communally-owned i’Taukei, Rotuman and Banaban lands.

It also alters the draft constitution to abolish the individual regional constituencies in favour of one national constituency covering the whole of Fiji.

The constitution is expected to be formally endorsed after public feedback on the accuracy of translations into local australia


7) Tongan Lord Tu’iha’ateiho Resigns As Acting Speaker
Noble feels incompetent to serve in parliamentary position

By Pesi Fonua

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 27, 2013) – Lord Tu‘iha‘ateiho resigned as the Acting Speaker of the Tongan Parliament this morning, 27 August.

His sudden decision was met with unanimous opposition from members of the Tongan parliament, who urged Lord Tu‘iha‘ateiho to remain as Acting Speaker of the House.

The House was in a state of a shock with the resignation that happened while the Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano was away sick, and the Speaker was on his way to the airport to go overseas.

Lord Tu’iha’ateiho did not give a specific reason for his resignation but said he felt, “incompetent for the position. The people are demanding that the best people do the job, and that was why I decided to resign because I could no longer continue.”


The Minister of Justice, Hon. Clive Edwards told the House that he believed that the reason for the Acting Speaker’s sudden resignation was because of an obvious sense that he did not have the integrity to be the Acting Speaker, while a criminal charge for unlawful possession of firearms had been laid against him.

Lord Tu’iha’ateiho appeared for Committal Hearing in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday, 26 August, and a hearing was postponed to 30 September by the Chief Magistrate Salesi Mafi, who ordered the Crown and the defence to file written documents with the court before 30 September.

Hon. Clive Edwards praised Lord Tu’iha’ateiho for his sense of integrity but he reminded him that under the Tongan law, one remained innocent unless he or she was proven guilty in court.

Many criminal charges

He told Lord Tu’iha’ateiho that many members of the Tongan parliament, including himself had been charged with criminal offences, but they did not resign. He reminded them that following the riots some of them were charged, but they remained in parliament while the hearing was going on for a number of years.

He also reminded the noble that under a recent amendment to the Tongan law, that one would not lose his job as a civil servant or his noble title even if he was found guilty and sentenced to less than two years in jail.

He advised the noble not to resign because the crime that he was charged with, even if he was found guilty, would have a maximum sentence of not more than two years in jail and therefore he would not lose his noble title.

Parliament reduced penalties

The Tonga Parliament last year 2012 passed an amendment to the Arms and Ammunition Bill 2012 and reduced the penalty for the illegal possession of arms from five years to one year or a fine not exceeding TOP$5,000 [US$2,698] or to both fine and imprisonment and for the illegal possession of ammunition from two years to one year or a fine not exceeding TOP$2,000 [US$1,079] or to both such fine and imprisonment.

The former Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa, who has also been charged with the illegal possession of a firearm, told Lord Tu’iha’ateiho that he had also wanted to resign as a Speaker, but he did not, after he was told by the late King George Tupou V that he was being rebellious to the King’s decision to appoint him as the Speaker of the House.

He told Lord Ha’ateiho to remain as Speaker.

Lord Vaea, the Minister for Internal Affairs told Lord Tu’iha’ateiho to be a brave leader, that he “is the man on the helm” and he should remain there. With a bit of Tongan oratory he told the Speaker to cast out the fishing net because they were ready to fish, and to continue with the proceedings of the House.

Sunia Fili a People’s Representative (PR), the Chairman of the Whole House Committee reminded the Acting Speaker that he was officially elected as Deputy Speaker by the House, and it was the king who appointed him as Deputy Speaker. He suggested for the Acting Speaker to remain as Speaker until the return of either the Prime Minister or the Speaker.

Dr. Sitiveni Halapua a PR, suggested that the House take a break while the Acting Speaker talked to the Prime Minister on the telephone. He expressed his hope that the Prime Minister would pressure him to remain as Speaker.

Rushed back from airport

Sione Taione a PR, supported the move for the House to have a break, and for the Acting Speaker to go and talk to the Speaker, whom he heard had rushed back from the airport and was in his office.

Semisi Tapueluelu a PR, was very emotional when he stressed for Lord Tu’iha’ateiho not to resign. He reminded him that under the law a person was innocent until proven guilty.

Lord Tu’ilakepa was dismayed with the going-ons in the House, he said that it was a set-up, and it was like a movie script.

The House broke for morning tea and when they returned, nothing was said about the resignation of the Acting Speaker. The Legislature dissolved into Whole House Committee and the rest of the day was spent debating the Family Bill that was tabled into the House by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Lord Tu’iha’ateiho remained as Acting Speaker for the rest of the day.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

8) Samoa Launches New Legal Framework For Mediation
Mediation initiative hoped to resolve commercial disputes

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, August 27, 2013) – Today marked a milestone for Samoa with the launching of the Samoa Mediation Rules 2013.

“Samoa for the first time has endorsed a… legal framework which will systematically implement the practice of mediation into our Courts and into our dispute resolution culture in general,” said Chief Justice Patu Falefatu Sapolu.

The Chief Justice said mediation is something “new but also very old in Samoa.”

There are similarities between mediation and the traditional Samoan way of settling disputes through the village council or matai.

“However, unlike our traditional dispute resolution system, professional mediation is a facilitative process that is neither advisory nor determinative in nature,” His Honour said.

The Mediation Rules 2013 helps identify issues disputed by parties and encourage them to look at other options for resolutions rather than take the matter to Court.

A newly formed body of mediators called Accredited Mediators of Samoa Association (AMSA) assist in mediation but it is for the parties to “arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to settle their dispute.”

“Mediators may have the power over the mediation process, he or she does not have power over the outcome of that process, that is for the parties themselves,” the Chief Justice said.

His Highness the Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese endorsed the Mediation Rules 2013 last week on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Prior to the endorsement last week, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Amendment Act 2013 which amends the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act 2007 was passed by Parliament and endorsed by His Highness.

“These two significant milestones have been achieved within the scope of the Commercial Mediation Project (CMP),” said the Chief Justice.

CMP was the outcome of a collaboration between the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Supreme Court of Samoa and the Ministry of Justice, Courts Administration with funding by New Zealand Aid and AusAid.

The CMP steering committee is led by the Chief Justice as Chairman and members include Judge Mata Tuatagaloa, Attorney General, Ombudsman, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice, and President of the Samoa Law Society with Professor Nadja Alexander as consultant.

“The aim of the Commercial Mediation Project is to establish mediation as a viable method of dispute resolution for commercial disputes in Samoa,” the Chief Justice said.

To make their work easier, the project was divided thus:

Setting up a regulatory framework including amending the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act 2007 and preparing the Mediation Rules 2013.
Setting up an accreditation system for mediators and conducting mediator accreditation trainings.
Conducting seminars for potential parties in mediation and for lawyers.
Offering mediation services through the Courts and encouraging private sector mediation to grow.
Engaging in public awareness campaigns to promote mediation

Parties in a dispute are finding mediation beneficial in many ways such as:

Confidentiality – mediation is conducted in private and confidential sessions unlike the Court hearing which is open to the public.
Time – mediation is a quicker process than going through Court litigation.
Costs – mediation generally costs parties less money than going through Court litigation.
Party autonomy – Parties stay in control of how their dispute is resolved during mediation. It is for the parties to arrive at an acceptable solution.
Mediated agreement – parties reach an agreement as a result of a mediation, which is enforceable in a Court of Law.
Maintaining relationship – is a process which helps parties to restore and maintain personal and business relationships into the future.

Since establishment of mediation rules, there have been signs of success in “encouraging mediation in commercial disputes and also in family disputes before the Court,” the Chief Justice said.

He said a Family Court will soon be established and “alternative disputes resolution will be compulsory for disputing parties and mediation will be the main form of alternative dispute resolution.”

Mediation Rules 2013 has set up an Accreditation System for mediators.

An Accreditation Board approves candidates as mediators.

“A complaints and disciplinary authority to uphold professional standards for mediators is also in place,” the Chief Justice said.

Already 23 mediators have been sworn in to conduct Court-annexed mediations.

They are chosen from the legal and business communities and the public sector.

The Chief Justice said Samoa has come a long way with mediation and much has been achieved through perseverance and hard work.

“We still have a long way to go before mediation in our country reaches maturity comparable to that in many jurisdictions,” he said.

Training and consultation in mediation rules was the great work by Professor Nadja Alexander, an expert in the field from Hong Kong.

Professor Alexander is also the International Finance Corporation special consultant on this project.

She conducted training for the mediators for the past 18 months – and also assisted in preparing the Alternative Dispute Resolution Amendment Act and the Mediation Rules.


9) Tuvalu Opposition Member Slams Overseas Travel Ban
New PM critical of previous administration’s frequent trips

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 27, 2013) The Tuvalu opposition MP Willie Telavi has criticised what he says is a ban on overseas travel by opposition MPs ordered by the Prime Minister.

Enele Sopoaga was elected as Prime Minister at the start of the month after the removal of Willie Telavi as Prime Minister.

Mr. Sopoaga’s political grouping was previously critical of the former Telavi administration for making frequent overseas trips.

Mr. Telavi says Mr. Sopoaga has no right to ban MPs from representing Tuvalu abroad.

“There’s been an instruction to the speaker that all travel by parliamentarians have to be referred to the Prime Minister. I’m surprised why they give instruction like this to intervene in parliamentary matters. They are the executive but they are not there to instruct the parliamentary speaker who is responsible for parliamentary matters.”

Radio New Zealand International:


10) Study, visit or work in Australia

By Simon Keslep

Australia will continue to explore ways to further enhance opportunities for Papua New Guinea citizens trying to visit, study and work there.
Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Her Excellency Deborah Stokes said this during the Australian Visa Requirements Information session held yesterday in Lae.
“Australia is very generous and so we welcome PNG citizens wishing to visit, study and work in our country,” said Ms Stokes.
She said Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour and there has been significant growth of 20 percent in the number of visitors in the last 12 months.
She also said that the new online visa which was launched on June 24 this year is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific.
This is focused for people intending to travel to Australia on a temporary basis for tourism or business which provides a better and quicker service for Papua New Guineans.
Scott Mann a senior official from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship also made it clear that on-line visa applications can be lodged by any person or organisation on behalf of the applicant.
“This new online service will be handy and available to those who do not have ready access to the internet,” said Mr Mann
Mr Mann said commencing on September 1, there will be new passenger lane arrangements at Cairns and Brisbane airports that will facilitate PNG, Australian and New Zealand passport holders’ entry to Australia.
He said Australia is ready to welcome 100 young Papua New Guineans to visit and work in there as part of the Work and Holiday Program.
“Completed and timely applications, health requirements and online applications are some of the considerations when applying for a visa,” said Mr Mann
He urged those wishing to travel to Australia that there is no visa on arrival system and they have reduced their advertised turnaround time for a visa from 30 days to 10 days.
He also said that the Pacific Seasonal Worker Program is strengthening economic links between the two countries.Post Courier PNG.

11) Naval assets may be moved nearer Asia-Pacific neighbors: Australia

By Online Editor
4:11 pm GMT+12, 28/08/2013, Australia

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday that key naval assets could be relocated north to adapt to a changing security landscape and put personnel nearer to their fields of operation.

Rudd, facing national polls on Sept. 7, said moving Sydney Harbour’s Garden Island base to Queensland, in the east, and Western Australia could improve the nation’s ability to sustain operations in the Asia-Pacific.

“Our national security challenges of the future lie to our northeast, to our north, and to our northwest,” the Labor leader said in a foreign policy speech.

“That has been the strategic logic of Australia’s defense policy for the last 30 years. This is a continuum in Australian defense force policy.”

Rudd said the approach underlined Canberra’s enduring interest in regional stability and would better facilitate Australian military responses to humanitarian crises in the Asia-Pacific.

A move would also take defense personnel closer to their fields of activity and at the same time open up Sydney Harbour to the growing cruise ship industry, he said.

Rudd said if re-elected he would establish a future navy taskforce to advise on how best to shift some or all of Garden Island’s Fleet Base East to Queensland and Perth, in Western Australia.

It would also advise on “developing, upgrading or expanding” bases in Darwin in the Northern Territory, and the northern Western Australian town of Broome.

“The government would expect the relocation of fleet elements north and west to be completed by 2030,” Rudd said.

Australia is seen as a critical pillar in the U.S. “pivot” to Asia and Washington’s rebalancing of its military strategy, with hundreds of American marines already stationed in Darwin.

But the idea of moving the navy’s major base north has not been universally welcomed, with New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell saying it would cost thousands of jobs in his state.

O’Farrell, who crossed paths with the prime minister on the Sydney Harbour foreshore after Rudd’s speech, said his comments had come as a shock.

“A phone call would’ve been nice,” he said to Rudd as they walked past each other.

“We stand to lose 4,000 direct jobs all because we have a federal political leader so spooked by the polls he will do anything, even use defense infrastructure, as a tactic to try and win votes,” O’Farrell said.

Conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott, who opinion polls suggest will win the upcoming national election, said he was not against shifting military assets appropriately “over time.”

“What I am against is policy on the run by a desperate government,” Abbott told reporters.



12) PNG Gavna itok ol lida ino save stilim Ausaid moni

Updated 27 August 2013, 18:22 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Gary Juffa imekim despla toktok bihaenim ripot blong wanpla Televisan stesin olsem ol PNG lida isave stilim moni blong Ausaid.

Odio: Gary Juffa PNG Oro provinsal Gavana itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla politisan blong PNG isutim tok long ol wok nius blong Australia long mekim toktok nating olsem ol PNG lida isave stilim moni blong Ausaid na baem ol bikpla haus long Australia.

Gary Juffa, Governor blong  Oro province na Commissioner blong  Customs bifo i mekim despla toktok bihaen long Television station Channel 7 ibin autim wanpla  report aste nait olsem ol lida blong PNG isave stilim moni blong Ausaid.

Mr Juffa itok tu olsem, emi save korapsan emi wanpla bikpla wari long  Papua New Guinea, tasol moni blong Australian Aid igo long PNG, Australian Government isave lukautim, ino Papua New Guinea.

Mr Juffa itokim mipla olsem emi laikim Ausaid long tok klia gut long ol pipal blong Australia olsem, moni blong ol ino save go long han blong PNG gavman, nogut ol Australian tax payers isave paul long despla.

Emi tok Australia gavman iet isave lukautim na skelim moni long ol kaen kaen wok emi wokim long PNG, na emi save givim ol despla wok long ol kampani blong Australia iet.

Olsem na emi laikim gavman blong Australia long tok klia gut long australia

13) Manus MP i askim Australia wai ol ino hap blong ol wok kamap long ditensen senta

Updated 28 August 2013, 15:41 AEST

Pius Bonjui

Paliment memba blong Manus Island, Ronnie Knight i tok planti wok istap tasol Australia atoriti i pasim ai long givim wok igo long ol lokol pipol.

Odio: Manus MP Ronnie Knight

Taem Australia na Papua New Guinea Gavman i tok aut long wanpla wokbung blong salim ol pipol i kamap long bot long Australia igo long Manus Island, planti pipol ibin autim tupla sait blong displa polisi.

Long wan sait, laen ol laen ino laikim ol asailam sika igo. Long narapla sait, ol pipol i tok em i gutpla bikos wok bai kamap.

Long Manus Island iet, displa tupla tingting i wok long kamap we long ol pipol i wanbel, ol i bilip Australia gavman na kontrak kampani bai givim planti wok blong ol lokol Manus pipol. Displa ino kamap bikos ol wok Australia iet igo pas longen, na ino gat wanpla Manus bisnis i wok.

Insait long toktok blongen long makim Provincial Day long Manus, paliment memba blong Manus Island, Ronnie Knight i tok “Australia ino givim bikpla luksave long lokol bisnis komuniti olsem na, ol i laik pasim wok pastaim igo nap Austalia ileksen i pinis na kirapim ken ol bung toktok,” em i tok.

‘Sapos negotiation ino kamap na inogat tebol, kisim ol asailam sika blong yupla na igo long narapla hap.”

Mr Knight i tok planti wok i stap tasol ol, minim Australia na kontrak kampani, ino gat wanpla lukluk long ol pipol blong Manus.”

“Ol ino tokim mipla long kos blong Australia aid man long Manus, ol i tokim mipla long ol samting oli laikim, mipla nogat.”

Olsem wanem long bringim ol arapla bisnis long mainland olsem long Lae long wok long aelan, Mr Knight i bekim long tok, “bai inogat bikos nambawan wok i stap long aelan bisnis, sapos wok ino stap, ol bai kisim i kam long ol narapla hap, tasol Manus pipol na bisnis iet bai igo pas na INO Australia.”

Ronnie Knight i tok displa em ol wari blong ol pipol blongen na ino em tasol.

Nao iet, ABC i ripot olsem Australia kampani i lukautim narapla kontrak, em long lokol rabis damp, ol i pasim. Rabis i pulap nating long graun, rabis i sting na pulap long ‘blue flies’ long Los Negros aelan bikos long displa rabis australia


14) Warga blokir akses ke tahanan imigrasi Pulau Manus

Diperbaharui 28 August 2013, 14:01 AEST

Koresponden Pasifik Campbell Cooney

Para pemilik tanah di Pulau Manus, Papua Nugini, marah karena tidak diikutsertakan dalam penyediaan barang dan jasa untuk pusat detensi pencari suaka di pulau itu.

Mereka memblokir akses ke pangkalan Angkatan Laut dimana pusat detensi imigrasi Pulau Manus terletak. Para pemilik tanah juga mencegah pusat detensi milik Australia itu menggunakan tempat pembuangan sampah lokal.

Aksi protes itu dilancarkan di tengah kemarahan warga lokal. Mereka mengatakan, mereka tidak disertakan dalam penyediaan jasa dan tenaga kerja untuk pusat detensi itu, sebagaimana dijanjikan.

Anggota parlemen untuk Pulau Manus, Ronny Knight, mengatakan, ia ingin pusat detensi di pangkalan AL Lombrum itu ditutup sampai berakhirnya pemilu federal di Australia. Menurutnya, bisnis lokal tidak mendapat manfaat dan warga yang ingin bekerja di sana dibayar lebih rendah dari pekerja yang didatangkan dari luar.

Sebagai respon, kata Knight, para pemilik tanah mengambil inisiatif sendiri dengan melancarkan protes. “Para pemilik tanah telah menutup tempat pembuangan sampah di Lombrum, dan mereka akan menutup gerbangnya,” katanya.

Sementara itu, 40 pria telah dikirim ke Pulau Manus berdasarkan persetujuan pemukiman kembali yang tercapai bulan lalu dengan Pemerintah Australia. Semua pencari suaka yang tiba di Australia dengan kapal kini diproses dan dimukimkan kembali di Papua Nugini.

Kelompok paling akhir itu adalah yang ke-12 yang dikirim berdasarkan persetujuan tersebut, dan terdiri dari 38 orang Iran dan dua warga Irak.

Knight mengatakan, ia dulu mendukung dibukanya kembali pusat detensi Pulau Manus karena waktu itu warga lokal dijanjikan akan mendapat australia


15) Le danger d’un conflit ethnique persisterait aux Îles Salomon

Posté à 28 August 2013, 8:34 AEST

Pierre Riant

10 ans que la Mission d’assistance régionale (RAMSI) est arrivée sur place pour rétablir l’État de droit, mais le calme serait relatif.

Soldats australiens membres de la RAMSI à Honiara. [ADF]

C’est l’avis de Phil Goff, un ancien chef de la diplomatie néo-zélandaise, qui estime que la RAMSI devrait rester dans l’archipel pendant encore quelques années. Les tensions ethniques n’ont pas disparu, dit-il, et la corruption est endémique.

Récapitulatif : en 1998, les habitants de l’île de Guadalcanal, sur laquelle se trouve Honiara, la capitale, s’en prennent aux migrants de l’île de Malaita  parmi lesquels on compte de nombreux chefs d’entreprise et de nombreux fonctionnaires, notamment dans la police.

Les combats entre les deux camps ont été sanglants, des Malaitans sont chassés de chez eux ou tués. La Mission d’assistance régionale est arrivée en 2003 pour mettre fin au conflit et a fêté le 10ème anniversaire de sa présence le mois dernier.
Aujourd’hui, Phil Goff nous donne son avis.

GOFF : « Les choses étaient assez normales lors de mes deux dernières visites, les gens vaquaient à leurs occupations et le soir les jeunes jouaient au football.
La grande lacune est que la RAMSI n’a pas résolu les problèmes sous-jacents à l’origine des difficultés d’il y a 10 ans. C’est-à-dire les tensions qui existent entre les Malaitants et ceux de Guadalcanal. C’est cette tension ethnique a conduit au conflit. Et puis les problèmes de ceux qui ont perdu leurs terres dans le cadre ‘d’un nettoyage ethnique’ n’ont toujours pas été solutionnés.
Comme me le disait un dirigeant religieux, derrière les apparences, les tensions couvent. La tension est là et tout peut encore éclater une fois de plus. »

Autre problème, selon Phil Goff. La corruption tentaculaire qui caractérise les îles Salomon.

GOFF : «  Nous avons fait beaucoup de chemin pour améliorer la situation au sein de la police et aussi du système judiciaire. Mais sur le plan politique, la corruption existe au jour le jour. Des députés m’ont dit que tant que la corruption ne sera pas éliminer dans les hautes sphères de la société, comment voulez-vous avoir une société qui fonctionne dans les étages inférieurs ?»

La RAMSI est composée de militaires, de policiers et de conseillers. Les militaires rentrent peu à peu chez eux dans le cadre d’une stratégie de retrait des troupes et il ne resterait aux îles Salomon que 200 policiers et une poignée de bureaucrates. Est-ce une bonne idée ?

GOFF : « Et bien je pense qu’après une décennie il nous fallait une stratégie de retrait, notamment le retrait des membres des forces armées qui sont stationnés aux Îles Salomon.
En ce moment, le risque de violence ne justifie pas  la présence des forces de défense. Mais de laisser des policiers de la RAMSI surveiller la situation est à mon avis une bonne précaution. Nous avons 17 policiers kiwis qui font du très bon travail et les Australiens font de même. Et ils vont peut-être rester 3 ou 4 ans.
Mais en termes de forces armées, je pense que nous pouvons dire que nous avons fait notre travail et que c’est maintenant à la population des îles Salomon de gérer ses propres affaires. »radio australia

16) 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


17) Student Activism Helping To Dispel Pacific Stereotypes In US
Professor Keith Camacho lectures on islanders in California

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, August 28, 2013) – Student activism in the United States has helped dispel myths and stereotypes related to Pacific islanders and was critical in engendering more research on the region.

Visiting scholar Dr. Keith Camacho, in a public lecture, “On Whose Terms?: Chamorro and Pacific Islander Organizing in Southern California” explored how Pacific Islanders addressed issues of educational access, health equity, and political representation in southern California.

Last Saturday at the Visitors Center of the American Memorial Park, Dr. Camacho discussed the history and development of Pacific Islander studies at the University of California.

“The anchor here is the relationship between Pacific Island students and university research,” said Camacho as he spoke about the pretext and the context of his lecture.

He said in the U.S. Census, Pacific Islanders fall into the category of Asian Americans.

“The academic field is following what the U.S. census and U.S. geopolitics is saying,” he said.

He also talked about how Asian American Studies evolved by citing an Asian-American scholar’s work, “In Defense of Asian American Studies.”

Camacho said it is a compilation of essays, newsletters and grant proposals the author had written from 1974 to 2003.

“The materials illustrate the contributions to Asian American studies at two UC campuses, Berkeley and Santa Barbara.”

Camacho noted that the work focused only on the Japanese-Americans, Filipino-Americans, Chinese-Americans and Korean-Americans whom the author talked to.

Camacho said, it was decades later when Asian American students representing different regions of Oceania met with UC officials on Jan. 22 2007 to discuss Pacific Islander Studies at UC Berkeley.

Camacho said that in the proposal submitted, the student collective requested funding for a new academic unit.

He said the students called for a new department which would have voting rights in the senate and be on an equal tier with all other departments.

Camacho said the students underscored the word “permanent” to justify an institutional need for Pacific Islander-oriented research, curricula, policy and student programs at UC Berkeley.

“Although officials didn’t bring in faculty and other things to make a unit or department, they did provide seed money for various events,” said Camacho.

He said the campus supported the collective’s outreach efforts with various initiatives.

“The inquiry students were putting forward was not an effort in vain,” he said.

Camacho said as early as 1991, Pacific Islanders had begun addressing the issues of educational access and research.

An association of Pacific island students helped develop courses on the Pacific Islands.

“They helped develop the first course of its kind by and about Pacific Islanders in the United States,” said Dr. Camacho.

He also cited student Rick Perez who claims that no research is being done on the Pacific basin, calling it “tragic” how this part of the world has been ignored.

There was a time when anthropology was offered as a program to address the need for Pacific Islander studies.

As a result of the efforts of the students, the first Pacific Studies class at UCLA was created.

He also talked about the Pacific Islanders Festival of Arts, the Kutturan Chammoru Foundation, the Guam Communications Network, Chamoro Hands in Education Links Unity, PATH for Women, among other organizations and activities Pacific Islanders are engaged in on the mainland U.S.

Dr. Camacho obtained his BA in English from the Univ. of Guam, a Masters in Pacific Islands Studies and a Ph.D. in History (with Distinction) from the University of Hawai‘i.

Since 2006, Dr. Camacho has been the recipient of the C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies as well as the inaugural winner of the Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies.

Marianas Variety:


18) Chinese boy has eyes gouged out in attack, thought to be by organ traffickers

Posted 28 August 2013, 9:37 AEST

A six-year-old boy in China has reportedly had his eyes gouged out, blinding him for life, in a gruesome attack that may have been carried out by a ruthless organ trafficker.

A six-year-old boy in China has reportedly had his eyes gouged out, blinding him for life, in a gruesome attack that may have been carried out by a ruthless organ trafficker.

Local media reports family members found the boy covered in blood some three to four hours after he went missing while playing outside.

The child’s eyes were found nearby but the corneas were missing, reports said, implying that an organ trafficker was behind the harrowing attack.

Police offered a 100,000 yuan ($US16,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of the sole suspect, who they said was a woman.

“He had blood all over his face. His eyelids were turned inside out. And inside, his eyeballs were not there,” his father told Shanxi Television.

Its report showed the heavily-bandaged boy being taken from an operating theatre and placed in a hospital bed, writhing in agony as family members stood at his bedside weeping.

The boy was drugged and “lost consciousness” before the attacker removed his eyes, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said on its account on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Internet users were outraged by the attack on the boy – who had a cleft palate – in Fenxi, in the northern province of Shanxi.

“This is extraordinarily vicious,” said one Sina Weibo user. “How and why could someone be so cruel?”

“A truly tragic boy,” said another poster.

About 300,000 patients in China need transplants each year, but only about 10,000 people can get them due to a lack of donors, state media said.

Seven people were jailed last year when a teenager sold a kidney for an illicit transplant operation and used the proceeds to buy an iPhone and iPad.

Child organs are usually more expensive on the black market, an organ trafficker told Sina Internet news portal in 2010, as “most people think the younger the donor is, the better the quality of organs”.


19) UN agreement on Syria needed – McCully

By Online Editor
2:06 pm GMT+12, 28/08/2013, New Zealand

Any international action on the Syrian crisis should be mandated through the United Nations, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has emphasised.

His comment comes after Prime Minister John Key said intervention by US without sanction from the UN Security Council may be inevitable.

McCully said the “grisly pictures and reports of chemical weapons attacks in recent days have prompted consideration of a range of options in various parts of the world”.

“The New Zealand Government remains committed to the Security Council as the appropriate vehicle to address this crisis. It has a clear legal basis for taking action and a clear responsibility to show leadership.”

McCully said that was in spite of the fact it was clear that international patience with that forum was nearing thin.

He urged it to “show leadership and to take action against the reported use of chemical weapons”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was “engaged in the exchanges that are taking place” involving the Security Council, which New Zealand is currently seeking to join.

New Zealand had “a very close interest in information verifying the use of chemical weapons in Syria and in evidence proving who was responsible” but would not engage in “speculation or commentary about the way forward”.

Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff called on Russia, which has so far used its right of veto on the Security Council to block UN action against the Syrian regime, to rethink its position.

“In the face of strong evidence that the Assad regime has used poison gas against its people no country on the UN Security Council with the power of veto should exercise that power to prevent effective action being taken.”

Russia has a naval port in Syria and a substantial arms trade with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

“Putting vested interests ahead of the urgent need for action against a regime which launches chemical weapons against its own civilians is unacceptable and Russia should think carefully about that”, Goff said.

“Stopping effective action would rightly draw condemnation from countries across the world.”

However he said while unilateral action involving missile strikes against Syrian military bases might be an understandable reaction, “it is a poor substitute for effective multilateral action to isolate the Assad regime, and implement steps to supervise its replacement and hold it to account for crimes against humanity”.

“Quick military fixes do not automatically result in lasting political solutions as recent experience in Iraq and Libya shows.”

Meanwhile, the United States pledged to release its intelligence findings into the Syria chemical attack this week, but said it was “preposterous” that anybody would blame anyone other than the Assad regime.

Underlining signals that an expected US military action would be of limited scope, the White House said it was not seeking to bring about “regime change”’ in Syria and refused to say whether it would seek a UN mandate to strike.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said there “should be no doubt, for anyone who approaches this logically, that the Syrian regime is responsible for the use of chemical weapons on August 21 outside Damascus.”’

“Suggestions that there is any doubt about who is responsible for this are as preposterous”’ as arguments that the attack did not take place, he said.

Carney’s comments seemed to be a new US swipe at Syria’s ally Russia, which has cast doubt on US claims that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was responsible for the horrific chemical attack on civilians last week which is believed to have killed hundreds of civilians.



20) New boss about to be named for Maori TV

By Online Editor
4:04 pm GMT+12, 28/08/2013, New Zealand

Maori TV is close to naming a new chief executive.

Former Television New Zealand general manager of Maori and Pacific programmes Paora Maxwell is believed to be the frontrunner.

A decision was said to be close three weeks ago.

Spokeswoman Diane Berghan said that Maori Television would need to negotiate once he or she had been selected.

Maori Television head of production and high- profile broadcaster Carol Hirschfeld is understood to be among applicants. She said today she had checked, and no decision had yet been made.

Maxwell is well known in Maori broadcasting circles and credited by some with upgrading Maori programming at TVNZ. However TVNZ Maori news and current affairs executive Shane Taurima is said to have had a significant role.

Maxwell is said to have a good rapport with Maori TV chairman Georgina Te HeuHeu.

AUT general manager of relations Vivien Bridgwater acknowledged she had considered applying, but her commercial background was not right for the role, she said.

She is a founder of the Maori commercial radio station Mai FM.

There are tensions at Maori TV as it juggles its role as popular broadcaster and its obligations to focus on promoting Maori language.

The chief executive vacancy follows the resignation of chief executive Jim Mather in February for a new role at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Mather has been on study leave for several months and will take up his new role in October.



21) Fiji’s 2014 budget timeline set

By Online Editor
2:00 pm GMT+12, 28/08/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s 2014 Budget Strategy will prioritise its polices on reducing fiscal deficits, maintain capital budget at 32 percent of Gross Domestic Product and improve revenue compliance and economic activity to drive revenue for the 2014 financial year.

Ministry of Finance Acting Deputy Secretary (Budget), Sinate Muelaulau presented the 2014 Budget Strategy and Prioritised Sectors of Government to donor agencies, development partners, regional organisations and key government ministries today at the Annual Donor and Development Partners Forum Holiday Inn.

For revenue polices, the budget strategy is set to assist private sector investments and support export development in resource-based sectors and value adding such as in Forestry sector.

“Cabinet has approved the 2014 Budget Strategy in early July and preparations will focus on raising economic growth within sustainable fiscal parameters, promote growth friendly policies in areas of taxation and expenditure and gradual reduction in deficits,” Muelaulau said.

She highlighted the continuous reviewing of government fees, fines and charges on a cost recovery basis and review of tariff bands to ensure consistency with policy objectives as some of the targets in the budget.

The forum was intended to lock-in donor and development partners’ commitment and support in channelling Official Development Assistance to the key priority programmes for the 2014 financial year.

The timeline set for the budget was consultations with ministries on the strategy on 2nd August, Cabinet Sub-Committee (CSB) budget consultation with ministries to take place from 12th -20th September, CSB meetings to finalise budget estimates from 1st -18th October and budget announcement on 8th November 2013.

The Annual Donor and Development Partners Forum was hosted by Ministry of Finance with the theme ‘Strengthening Partnership for Development Effectiveness.


22) New EU funding signed in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
10:22 am GMT+12, 28/08/2013, Solomon Islands

The financing agreement for the second European Union Solomon Islands Technical Cooperation Facility (TCF II) was signed on Tuesday in Honiara.

Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination Connelly Sandakabatu signed for the country.

TCF II is s financing agreement established to build government capacity for service delivery to rural people, using funds from EU.

“The signing of this financing agreement today marks another milestone in the partnership and the cooperation between the European Commission and the Solomon Islands as articulated in the Cotonou agreement,” Sandakabatu said.

He said the purpose of the program is to provide technical and logistical support for the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination to build and sustain service delivery.

“TCF II is to provide technical and logistic support to the ministry (MDPAC) and the line ministries and non state sector s to build and sustain more effective country systems and service delivery, policy, coordination, budgeting process, and monitoring of outcomes..

“The expected results of TCF II are; to improve capacities in the responsible ministry to fulfil its role in implementation of the National Development Strategy, and to improve efficiency and visibility of EU-SIG Cooperation.”

European Union Charge de’ Affaires Eoghan Walsh commended the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination for the work done on the first TCF I.

“The first phase of TCF I has been done properly and we commended the responsible ministry for implementing it.

“We are looking forward for our close cooperation in this second phase”.

Sandakabatu thanked the European Union for the partnership agreement.

“On behalf of the people and the Solomon Islands Government, I would like to thank the European Union for their continuous support to the Solomon Islands.

“We will continue to work closely with the EU in our joint endeavour to address the pressing development priorities to effectively and efficiently maximize the best utilisation of the EU development assistance to Solomon Islands”.

The total budget for this EU funded project is approximately €1.18 million (SBD$11.1 million).


23) Underground Broadband Cable Network Being Laid In Samoa
State agencies to be hooked up to ‘biggest IT investment ever’

By Nanai T. Laveitiga Tuiletufuga

APIA, Samoa (Savali, August 26, 2013) – By June next year, all Samoa government ministries and corporations will communicate via the broadband network now that the first phase of the project to lay the underground cables has started.

For two weeks now, the contractors, PBG Engineering and Construction has dispatched crews to selected locations.

Company officials said that so far they have completed the underground cables in the Matautu area for government offices such as Ports, Customs, Quarantine and Shipping.

Another team is working to connect the Ministry of Education and Health Sector up the hill at Moto’otua to the system, while a third team is installing cables through beach road to the TATTE Complex at Sogi.

The project’s data centre will be located near the National Kidney Foundation unit at Moto’otua.

Labeled as the government’s ‘biggest IT investment ever’, the network will make available data and information for Government services at all times.

It will see schools, hospitals and health centers, Police and all government emergency services and all ministries and corporation communicating instantly.



24) Fiji and China boost military co-operation

Posted at 05:49 on 28 August, 2013 UTC

The military forces of China and Fiji have signed another co-operation agreement.

A representative of China’s People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant General Wang has been in Fiji and signed the memorandum of understanding on closer cooperation and technical assistance with Fiji’s Defence Minister, Joketani Cokanasiga.

A Fiji government statement says the minister highlighted the role of China in Fiji’s development.

Mr Cokanasiga says Fiji has seen cooperation in various sectors of the economy and Fiji is grateful to have a friend like China.

Fiji’s government says the latest agreement strengthens the MOU signed in 2011.

Radio New Zealand International


25) Forum hosts say New Zealand climate change commitment a joke

Posted at 05:49 on 28 August, 2013 UTC

Just days out from the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands, New Zealand’s latest commitments on reducing green house gases have been labelled a joke by the hosts.

Climate change is the theme of the summit and the Minister-in-Assistance to the President, Tony de Brum, says New Zealand and Australia must take a more active and meaningful role in leading the Pacific’s battle against climate change.

The New Zealand government recently announced a commitment to cut emissions to five percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020 and Mr de Brum says this is meaningless.

“The New Zealand government had talked about 10 to 20 [percent] in the Copenhagen meetings and we had always thought that that was reasonable. They did say at the time that it was going to be based on other countries making similar commitments, but this thing about five percent is just so, so meaningless.”

A Marshall Islands cabinet minister Tony de Brum.

Radio New Zealand International

26) PNG Capital’s Water Supplies At Critical Low Point
Utility CEO: there is no immediate back-up plan

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 27, 2013) – 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:

27) Hundreds Without Water Services On Upolu In Samoa
Despite bills being paid, customers say SWA turns off water

By Ramona Manu’a

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, August 27, 2013) – In Samoa, the rain on Sunday is the only water hundreds of residents at Nu’u on the west of Upolu saw.

For the rest of Sunday and yesterday, they did not get a single drop of water from their Samoa Water Authority (SWA) paid metered pipes.

It wasn’t the first time. For the past few weeks, the water supply has been a source of frustration for people living in the area.

Talalupe Nansen, of Nu’u says “someone must be playing with the switch.”

“They tend to have a habit of turning off the water during the weekends when families are staying home,” Talalupe says.

“My problem is not so much the fact that the water is off but it’s the way they do it.

“They don’t even have the courtesy to notify people so they can make alternative plans. On Sunday, we had no water. It’s nearly Monday afternoon and we still don’t have water.

“If I had known this, I would’ve organised for some water to be trucked to my house.”

Talalupe is not the only one. Closer to Apia at Leone, Nita Wilson says she has had enough of the “unreliable” supply of water.

“Water is needed every time,” she says. “Without water, we cannot survive but we’re having to deal with no water most of the time because our water is switched off.

“SWA has their policy that if you pay your bill, your water will be on 24 hours a day. Well that’s not happening. We pay our bills and our water is still switched off at all sorts of hours.”

It was not possible to get a comment from SWA yesterday.

Attempts to secure an interview with Managing Director, Tainau Moefa’auo Taputoa Titimaea were unsuccessful.

But Ms. Wilson says the problem is disheartening.

“We all know that water is always needed day by day especially for bathrooms,” she says.

“There are hardly anymore families in Samoa using the old types of toilets. So you can imagine the mess when there is no water.”

And that’s not the only issue. For Ms. Wilson, the water situation affects her business.

“I make donuts, meat pies and buns,” she says. “I’m very strict about proper hygiene and yet when there is no water, what can I do? I cannot run my business when I have no water.”

Ms. Wilson says Leonē has been facing this problem for a very long time.

“We need water early in the morning for the kids so they can get ready for school.”

Back at Nu’u, Heta Panī says Sunday was horrible.

“Most families here don’t have cars,” she says. “We had to resort to carrying buckets of water from Vaitele to home and that’s not easy.”

As of yesterday afternoon, the water was still off at Nu’u.

When SWA’s 24 hour number was contacted at about 5:30pm, an official who identified himself as “Lene” said water should have been available at Nu’u.

“It has been switched on,” he assured, “but let me call those guys again.”

At about 5:45pm, the water was back on at Nu’u.

Samoa Observer:

28) Tonga Government Forms National Tsunami Plan
Strategic plan outlines evacuation, recovery operations

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 27, 2013) – Tonga’s government has produced a “National Tsunami Plan,” outlining its strategy of protecting Tongans from a tsunami disaster.

Tonga’s tsunami risk is rated as “extreme” and the plan details preparations for a tsunami and lists arrangements for an effective warning system, emergency response and recovery.

Tonga lies only 200 kilometres from the Tonga trench fault and 50 kilometres from a volcanic arc, areas which are known for generating tsunamis.

The impact of a tsunami on Tonga would be worsened by the fact that 80% of the population lives in low lying coastal areas, including Nuku’alofa.

A tsunami early warning system is considered essential. “At present, there is no comprehensive tsunami warning system in Tonga. However, a process is in place for the development of a tsunami warning system,” the plan states.

Currently, Tonga relies on warnings issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii. There is also a network of stations throughout Tonga which helps to monitor seismic activities.

If a tsunami warning is received, the Tonga Meteorological Services and the National Emergency Management Office will alert the public via all media available such as TV, radio, news websites and mobile phone texts. The warnings will also be constantly updated.

The plan outlines evacuation and recovery arrangements. “Evacuation centres should be pre-determined within the tsunami safe zones and appropriate personnel identified to manage when activated. This may include town officers, district officers, school principals and church leaders.”

Tsunamis are not new to Tonga. The report stated that 10 tsunamis have affected Tonga since 1853. The worst tsunami was recorded in September 2009, a massive 8.3 magnitude earthquake between Tonga and Samoa generated waves of up to 17 metres, which flooded Niuatoputapu causing the deaths of nine people and destroying 60 percent of the houses on the island.

Matangi Tonga Magazine:

29) EU Climate Commissioner urges Pacific Nations to share their experience of climate change

By Online Editor
4:16 pm GMT+12, 28/08/2013, Belgium

The Pacific Island nations must show the world how climate change is affecting them says the EU head of Climate Action.

Connie Hedegaard, European commissioner for Climate Action will be joining the Pacific Island Forum next month.

She told Pacific Beat that one of her key messages at the meeting will be that the world must get its act together over climate change by 2015 as agreed at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference

She thinks the Pacific Islands can help get the point across saying, “the Pacific Island states, they can really tell the world why it matters to act urgently… one would think that the world and all of us have had enough reminders.

“I think that there are very telling cases in the Pacific area and there, I think it’s very good still not to forget to tell the stories, to show the examples, to prove the urgency, to make the case why it matters whether the whole world will actually get its act together.”

Hedegaard says that the European Union is on track to meet targets set for 2020 to have cut emissions by 20%, have 20% renewables and 20% improvement in energy efficiency.

She wants to share her knowledge and experience of climate change legislation with the Pacific nations at the Pacific Island Forum next month.

She hopes that if changes are made intelligently to climate change management in the Pacific that there will be economic and environmental benefits.

“For instance, one of the economic burdens that are really weighing down the budget in many Pacific Island states, is the cost of imported fossil fuels, diesel for instance…..if you can replace that with alternative sources, obviously you’re doing something very good for the local economy,” she says.

Hedegaard also supports the creation of carbon markets to raise money that can help fund schemes to help poorer countries affected by climate change, suggesting a levy on aviation and shipping fuel.

She says the programs the EU have in place to help the Pacific are working, “it’s also an example, how with relatively small amounts, you can actually make quite a difference, because we’re talking about tiny states where even small amounts can make a real difference.”.



30) James Hird agreed to AFL’s suspension to help Essendon move on

Updated 28 August 2013, 13:22 AEST

Essendon coach James Hird said he agreed to take a suspension from the AFL for the good of the game and the good of the Essendon club.

Video: James Hird accepts full responsibility for Essendon scandal

Essendon coach James Hird, who has been banned from the game for 12 months, says he should have known what was going on at the club and he takes full responsibility. (Credit: ABC)

Suspended Essendon coach James Hird has admitted he “should’ve done more” to keep the club’s supplements program in check. Speaking outside his Melbourne home this morning, Hird said “I should’ve known what was going on, I should’ve done more” and that he copped the AFL’s 12-month ban so that the game and the club can move on. In addition to Hird’s ban, the Bombers were fined $2 million, banished from the finals and had their two picks for the 2013 and 2014 drafts stripped as penalty for the club’s controversial supplements program. In agreeing to the suspension, Hird also dropped his Supreme Court action seeking an injunction preventing the AFL Commission from hearing the charges against him. Radio australia

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