Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 858

MELANESIA:

1) New Caledonia’s former pro-French Kanak politician Dick Ukeiwe dies

Posted at 07:22 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

A former pro-French Kanak politician representing New Caledonia in the French Senate, Dick Ukeiwe, has died at the age of 84.

Born in Lifou, he was elected to the territorial assembly in 1957 and 20 years later he joined Jacques Lafleur to form the anti-independence RPCR Party.

He served as French senator from 1983 to 1992 when he fell out with Mr Lafleur, who no longer endorsed him to continue in the Senate.

In 1997, Dick Ukeiwe unsuccessfully stood against Mr Lafleur in the territorial election and subsequently withdrew from politics.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Amnesty calls on Indonesia to drop charges against Sorong Papuans

Posted at 07:22 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

Amnesty International has called on Indonesia to drop the charges against four Papuan activists who were arrested last week for their peaceful political activism.

The arrests were made after about 2,000 people attended a gathering at a Protestant Church in Sorong to mark the boat trip of Australian activists towards Papua who want to highlight the human rights situation in Papua.

Amnesty says the charges highlight the ongoing failure of the Indonesian government to make a distinction between violent armed groups and peaceful activists, and between peaceful expression of opinion and acts of physical violence.

The Australian activists have no clearance from Indonesia to enter its waters.

Australia has said it feels it has no obligation towards the group, which could be jailed in Indonesia for five years.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Bougainville yet to provide acquittals: PM O’Neill
By Online Editor
5:23 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has rejected suggestions that Waigani had withheld or redirected funds sent to the Autonomous Bougainville Government to spend.

He said the national government remained committed to improving living standards and business environment on Bougainville through the funding of various impact projects in the autonomous region. But he was forced to hold back some funds because of continued non-acquittal by the ABG.

The National reported Tuesday that the United Nation was stepping in to assist a “cash-strapped” Bougainville in the peace process and that ABG president John Momis was claiming that the Government owed it K188 million (US$78 million).

“The annual allocation for recurrent expenditure for Bougainville is among the highest in the country,” O’Neill said in a statement.

“They cannot be cash-strapped.

“Apart from that they get direct funding from donors for programmes in the autonomous region.

“In 2010 the national government decided to provide K500 million in an intervention programme.

“A joint committee identified 11 infrastructure impact projects to be funded under this intervention programme.

“K100 million was released to the ABG in 2011 for this programme. These funds were never acquitted.

“In 2012, K15 million was released, but the rest was held back when it became clear the funds were not going to be spent in the priority areas identified.

“The balance of K85 million for 2012 is held in trust, together with K100 million for 2013.”

O’Neill said following a meeting last week with officials from Treasury, Planning and the Works departments, he directed that costings be carried out immediately for the impact projects to get underway.

“These projects include the upgrade of Aropa Airport, the upgrade and sealing of Arawa Town roads, the upgrade of the Arawa – Buin Road, the upgrade and sealing of Buka Ring Road, and the upgrade of the Kieta Sea Port,” he said.

“Äs highlighted in the (Bougainville) seminar last Friday, there are serious governance issues on Bougainville which we should all be concerned about.

“The last thing we want is these impact projects left unfunded.”

O’Neill thanked the United Nations for making Bougainville eligible to access the Peace Building Fund starting next year.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

4) UNEP to help Bougainville manage clean-up of Rio Tinto mine

Updated 4 September 2013, 22:00 AEST
Jemima Garrett for Pacific Beat

The United Nations Environment program will help Papua New Guinea’s island of Bougainville manage on-going environmental issues associated with the Rio Tinto-owned Panguna copper mine.

With its wealth of precious metals underground, Bougainville is a treasure island. (Credit: ABC)

The United Nations Environment Program will help Papua New Guinea’s island of Bougainville manage on-going environmental issues associated with the Rio Tinto-owned Panguna copper mine.

The mine, which was one of the world’s largest, was closed in 1989 after it became the spark which lit the civil war on the island.

There was no mine closure process when Bougainville Copper, the Rio Tinto subsidiary which owns the mine, was driven out of Bougainville.

Pollution from mine tailings has since been flowing into the environment and Dr Gavin Mudd, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering at Monash University says it’s a continuing problem.

“There’s a lot of acid mine drainage that is leaving the site, there is also tailings going down the river. And the acid mine drainage of course has extremely high levels of metals,” Dr Mudd told Pacific Beat.

Heavy metals can accumulate in fish and vegetation and affect human health.

Inside the mine site itself, many buildings contain asbestos and some abandoned measuring instruments contain radio active material.

UNEP assistance

The United Nation’s Environment Program’s Geneva-based disaster risk reduction branch has agreed to help Bougainville to draw up terms of reference for the clean-up.

It will also assist with environmental studies that will help Bougainvilleans decide if they want to re-open the mine.

There’s a lot of acid mine drainage that is leaving the site, there is also tailings going down the river.

Dr Gavin Mudd, Monash University

An international legal expert, Associate Professor Don Anton from the Australian National University, says the involvement of the United Nations Environment Program is a significant development and has a strong track record of similar problems.

“It is a very significant development in the sense that we have an independent, a proven independent third party coming in to look at a very contentious situation,” Mr Anton said.

“It has been involved in other rehabilitation programs, like the Mau forest eco-system in Kenya, it has experience in remediation after hostilities, after Iraq and depleted uranium in Bosnia, so it has experience and a well respected track record in dealing with environmental problems.”

Experts predict remediation of the old mine site will be a large-scale, and very expensive, exercise.

“I’d imagine you would be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions. It is really hard to know exactly,” Dr Mudd said.

“It depends on the logistics involved and there is a whole bunch of complex factors involved in that so the simple message is it is not going to be cheap. Whichever level of remediation is done at Bougainville, it is certainly going to be a very costly exercise,” Dr Mudd said.

Bougainville Copper Limited is legally responsible for the clean-up.

Wariness over re-opening

Public opinion on Bougainville has been shifting in favour of re-opening the mine, but many people who lived through the civil war remain wary.

Associate Professor Don Anton says whichever decision is made environmental standards must be met.

“It is clear we should have a rigorous environmental impact assessment with full public participation, full disclosure, full opportunity to comment,” he said.

“We should have, in terms of approvals, conditions imposed upon the operation of these mines if they were to go forward again, including the requirement for insurance, remediation bonds and other security put up to account for problems that may eventuate down the track.”

The Bougainville government is yet to set up environment department department or pass legislation regarding the remediation.

Dr Anton expects the government will face challenges due to a lack of personnel and expertise.

He suggests that if the mine does reopen, strict conditions should be imposed that require financial payments that would allow the Bougainvillean government create an independent environment department whose job would be to inspect and monitor the mine.radio australia

5) Malaita Ma’asina Forum Head Bashes Solomons PM Lilo
Lilo accused of ‘personal rampage’ against critics

By Ednal Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 3, 2013) – I will see to it and ensure your whole body is dirty, said Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) president Charles Dausabea, lashing out at Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

In a press conference yesterday, Dausabea said the Prime Minister’s “desperate” response to our questions last week has belittled the office he holds and himself.

“Instead of responding to the issues of concern and questions, he went on a personal rampage and labeled some of us as those with stain on our hands.

“He stooped so low by making personal attacks on private citizens who have the right to question their leader,” Mr. Dausabea said.

Prime Minister Lilo during a press conference last week said some leaders of the joint civil society group who were accusing him over the Indonesia trip have dirt on their hands.

But the MMF president said Mr. Lilo was not honest about his trip to Indonesia.

“If the PM was honest, he should admit and apologise because the nation pay for the trip. It couldn’t have dragged this far because everyone will accept it.

“However, when we questioned him about his trip, he and his press secretary answered from Indonesia saying the trip was fully funded by Indonesia, but when we investigate, we found that more than SB$1 million [US$136,000] of tax payers’ money were used on airfares, food and accommodation and per diems.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has slammed comments from the joint civil society group that previously criticized Lilo. The group is also planning to petition Lilo to resign from his position as PM. Elsewhere, the Solomons government claims Jakarta has refunded the costs of the trip.]

“He insisted the trip was funded by Indonesia while evidence with documents showed otherwise.”

Mr. Dausabea said until last week, the leader belittled himself when he attacked citizens personally.

“We questioned the Office of the Prime Minister as a holder of the office.

“He said we have dirt on our hands. We accept that because we do not pretend and or refuse to admit or hide our wrongs.

“We face the law, but that is not the issue, the issue is his lies.

“He picked on us and said our hands were stained, what about you? We do not use the system or any arms of the law to protect us. We take our problems head on.

Mr. Dausabea then accused the Prime Minister for using the courts to avoid the tsunami report from debate in Parliament.

“If he is a saint as he claimed to be, and point a finger at us, I want to ask him why he used the courts to stop the tsunami report from being debated in parliament.

“Is it because the report will implicate you? It was a report from the Auditor General which should be scrutinized in parliament, yet you see it fit to take it to court to block it so that people cannot see your involvement.

“What about the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation) report, why not take it to parliament, is it because it will reveal the identity of those who bring in the now defunct Black Shark group which victimized many Malaitans?

“Why not release the 2006 April riot report? Is it because it will also reveal who pay for food for the protesters?

“If you are that clean, release these three reports so that the nation can see. Millions of dollars of tax payers’ money were spent on inquiries which produced the reports.

“But since you labeled us as people with dirty hands, I would want to tell the PM, I will see to it and ensure you have dirt over your full body.

“I will work on it to see that this happens. I am now working on some legal matters to ensure this happens.”

Mr. Dausabea said Mr. Lilo was very good at diverting attention, but that it will never work.

“You differed from the issue. The issue was that you lied to the nation and never want to admit.

“Just last week, a political appointee was sacked by the PM in concurrence with backbencher Steve Abana.

“They fired that innocent person because they claim that person release records which appeared in the Solomon Star.

“I’d like to tell them, you fired an innocent person. His children and family will be affected. He was not responsible for the release of any reports. Sorry!

“So what did this sacking means? It means you are guilty and you fired a wrong person.”

The Solomon Star also confirmed that a political appointee was fired.

The MMF president said they will ensure no stone is left unturned.

Meanwhile MMF general secretary Charles Ashley said anyone that aspires to be a public figure must know that they allowed themselves to be questioned by the masses.

“No one force anyone to take up the PM’s post, you want it, accept it when citizens ask about issues.

“It’s like a soldier. If you signed up for as a soldier and get shot, you don’t give excuses that you were not ready. That is the attitude of our current leadership.

“You should not tell people their hands are stained, we are private citizens, how we deal with our issues is private, but you are a national leader.

“As a national leader, if serous issues are raised, answer them and do not side track issues and attack people personally.”

MMF communications officer Henry Daukalia said the PM displayed a childish attitude.

“His personal response was not something any leader should take. He dodged the real question and did personal character assassination.

“We are citizens and we have the right to ask questions and he should tell the truth through his responses.

“I appeal to people from other provinces and everyone to speak up, raise questions. Let’s join forces, because we do not want to be seen as one ethnic group although we represent Malaitans, these are issues of national interests that everyone should rise up and speak their minds on.”

The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond when asked to comment on Monday.

Solomon Star

6) Indonesia Reportedly Refunds Solomons PM’s Travel Costs
Jakarta reimburses over SB$1.2 million, says Solomons government

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 4, 2013) – Indonesia yesterday refunded the SB$1.2 million [US$166,710] the Solomon Islands government spent on Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s controversial trip to Jakarta last month.

The government announced this in a statement late on Tuesday.

The statement reads: “The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) today has confirmed receiving a total of SB$1,225,806.41 from Jakarta being for reimbursement of travel expenses of the Solomon Islands delegation visit.”

In a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, the CBSI has confirmed crediting a Government Revenue Account No.0260-002 with the amount of $1,225,806.41 at the exchange rate of 0.1395.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Shadrach Fanega has cited the correspondence from the Central Bank regarding the transaction – saying the correspondence has formally confirmed the transaction.

Prior to the prime minister’s visit, the two governments’ have reached an understanding that the Indonesian Government will refund any funds paid by the Solomon Islands Government to enable the state visit.

[PIR editor’s note: The Opposition has said Jakarta would not reimburse the Solomon Islands for Lilo’s trip, unless, according to leader Dr. Derek Sikua, Indonesia’s government is engaging in checkbook democracy to gain support for concealing atrocities committed against the Melanesians of West Papua.]

But this understanding was not revealed publicly until last week during a press conference Mr. Lilo held to explain his trip.

Earlier, a statement Mr. Lilo’s press secretary issued claimed the trip was fully funded by the Indonesian government.

But documents civil society groups obtained showed the trip was paid for by tax payers.

On Tuesday, the government said critics of the trip over funds paid by the Government should now allow tax payers to prove the reimbursement promise made by Prime Minister Lilo last week.

Debate over the cost of the trip hit headlines when civil society groups criticised the prime minister’s delegation claiming the trip incurred unnecessary costs to tax payers.

Mr. Lilo later came out to explain all aspects of the trip, saying his critics should think beyond just the cost of the trip and look at future benefits to Solomon Islands as a result of enhanced economic cooperation forged by leaders of the two countries.

“The refund of expenses by the Indonesian Government is just a small part of the visit while both governments are now working to advance an enhanced economic partnership between the two countries,” the statement said.

It added: “Prime Minister Lilo’s recent trip not only produced greater technical cooperation, trade commitments and people-to-people relations, but has been hailed by Indonesia for the country’s ongoing active role in multilateral forums such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, the G7Plus and also APEC.”

Solomon Star

7) Solomons confirms Jakarta paid for PM’s Indonesia trip

Posted at 05:31 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

Solomon Islands says Indonesia has paid it 171,000 US dollars to cover the costs of the prime minister’s trip to Jakarta last month.

The Solomon Star reports this has been confirmed by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

This comes amid controversy over how the trip was funded, with civil society groups claiming to have documents that show the trip was paid for by Solomon Islands tax payers.

Earlier, the government had said the trip was fully funded by the Indonesian government.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Indonesia refunds $1.2M to Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
5:30 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Solomon Islands

Indonesia on Tuesday refunded the $1.2 million the Solomon Islands Government spent on Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s controversial trip to Jakarta last month.

The government announced this in a statement late on Tuesday.

The statement reads: The Central Bank of Solomon Islands today has confirmed receiving a total of $1,225,806.41 (US$171,000.00) from Jakarta being for reimbursement of travel expenses of the Solomon Islands delegation visit.”

In a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, the CBSI has confirmed crediting a Government Revenue Account No.0260-002 with the amount of $1,225,806.41 at the exchange rate of 0.1395.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Shadrach Fanega has cited the correspondence from the Central Bank regarding the transaction – saying the correspondence has formally confirmed the transaction.

Prior to the prime minister’s visit, the two governments’ have reached an understanding that the Indonesian Government will refund any funds paid by the Solomon Islands Government to enable the state visit.

But this understanding was not revealed publicly until last week during a press conference Lilo held to explain his trip.

Earlier, a statement Lilo’s press secretary issued claimed the trip was fully funded by the Indonesian government.

But documents civil society groups obtained showed the trip was paid for by tax payers.

On Tuesday, the government said critics of the trip over funds paid by the Government should now allow tax payers to prove the reimbursement promise made by Prime Minister Lilo last week.

Debate over the cost of the trip hit headlines when civil soceiety groups criticised the prime minister’s delegation claiming the trip incurred unnecessary costs to tax payers.

Lilo later came out to explain all aspects of the trip, saying his critics should think beyond just the cost of the trip and look at future benefits to Solomon Islands as a result of enhanced economic cooperation forged by leaders of the two countries.

“The refund of expenses by the Indonesian Government is just a small part of the visit while both governments are now working to advance an enhanced economic partnership between the two countries,” the statement said.

It added: “Prime Minister Lilo’s recent trip not only produced greater technical cooperation, trade commitments and people-to-people relations, but has been hailed by Indonesia for the country’s ongoing active role in multilateral forums such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, the G7Plus and also APEC.”.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

9) Solomons MP Calls Political Party Integrity Bill ‘Half-Cooked’
Matthew Wale feels bill lacks clear thinking on political stability

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 3, 2013) – In the Solomon Islands, Member of Parliament for Aoke Langa/Langa Matthew Wale has described the Political Party Integrity Bill as being ill prepared and cannot achieve its intentions and objective.

He made the statement in his respond to the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet presentation on the Political Party Integrity Bill 2013 before the Bills and Legislation committee yesterday.

“The committee had wasted their time to deliberate on this Bill that is half cooked and will never address political integrity instead it only focus on government stability,” Mr. Wale said.

Committee member Wale said: “this Bill is useless because there is no clear political thinking on addressing political stability which government conceived to achieve and government shouldn’t bring this Bill to Parliament.”

Meanwhile the chief adviser of political party integrity and stability project in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Saitala Mose said the issues of political stability and integrity will be addressed with accompanying legislations.

He said government is committed to work on important legislations such as strengthening of the leadership code commission and the independent commission against corruption ICAC.

“Government will bring these proposed Bills in the future,” Mose said

Mr. Mose expressed the proposed legislations are important to govern the conduct of MPs as legislators.

He explained the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo will move four motions that will focus to address the political stability.

Committee member Douglas Ete said, the problem of third world countries is there is no proper institutions that is regulated to govern the integrity of parliamentarians and if this Bill fail to address this issues this nation will remain the same.

Hearing into Political Party Integrity Bill will resume this morning.

Solomon Star

10) Fiji’s recent political developments welcomed by Forum Leaders
By Online Editor
5:38 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Marshall Islands

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Majuro, Marshall Islands

There have been positive support from a number of Forum Island Countries on the latest political developments in Fiji at their annual gathering now underway in the Marshallese capital, Majuro.

Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Malielegaoi welcoming the formation of the country’s Constitution and the electoral registration said the people of Fiji will need to determine their future under their new constitution.

“If the people of Fiji want to change their constitution, it will be up to them. Constitutions are also subject to amendment. If they want to do that, then it’s their decision.  All constitutions are subject to change where necessary.

“The latest development in Fiji is a process to facilitate its progress towards holding elections next year. And that is what the Forum has been asking for all these years. We will be talking about Fiji at the retreat tomorrow, said PM Tuilaepa.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully hopes to see a positive outcome on Fiji when the Leaders deliver their communiqué.

“Last 2-3 years, there have been strong wish from the Leaders to touch over their views on Fiji but not be dominated by it. I hope Leaders will say something positive about Fiji joining the Forum again and being part of the Forum discussions against after elections next year.

“I think sending that positive signal would be welcome but we are only one voice. My own perspective is that developments in Fiji are very welcome seeing the registration of four political parties. We are seeing a lot of work going on with regards to elections preparations, said McCully.

McCully said New Zealand is happy with the preparations in Fiji towards elections next year.

“It seems to me that there is a good process going underway. The region should be supporting, in a material way, the significant that has been done in Fiji towards elections

“I had the chance to meet the other day with the deputy head of the New Zealand  electoral office who has been in Fiji for the needs assessment work that’s being done in collaboration with the European Union and the Commonwealth. We understand the Attorney General has been digesting the work that they have done. We are hoping to offer ongoing support for that process,” he said.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister said there is a general positive feeling towards renewing relations with Fiji after the elections.

Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga wants a positive decision from Forum Leaders.

“We would welcome Fiji back to the Forum, as founding member. It is my hope that Fiji will come back to take leadership of the Forum. It is our hope that Fiji will hold elections next year.

“We are concerned about the people of Fiji. Fiji is also important to Tuvalu because we have bilateral and cultural relationships with Fiji. We send our children there for education and we get our sugar and other food stuff from Fiji. We can’t go forward without Fiji and welcome the developments in Fiji, said PM Sopoaga.

Forum Leaders will discuss the report of the Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji when they go into Retreat on the atoll of Eneko, just off the main island of Majuro.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

11) Fiji’s United Front astonished at NZ and Australia’s ’appeasement’

Posted at 07:23 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji says New Zealand has capitulated to Fiji’s military regime over its constitution and that sends out dangerous signals to Pacific Island countries.

The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand views the constitution as a positive step towards elections even if it’s not perfect.

A spokesperson for the grouping of political parties, Mick Beddoes, says front members are astonished at Mr Key’s comments and what they see as a shift in policy towards appeasement.

“The kitchen’s too hot for him so he’s wanting to get out of the kitchen really isn’t he? And no doubt the regime is celebrating as we will no doubt know. They’ve actually managed to outwit the New Zealand prime minister.”

Mick Beddoes says New Zealand and Australia are ignoring the plight of the people of Fiji.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Fiji election official studies Australia polls

Posted at 06:51 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary Responsible for Elections, Mohammed Saneem, is in Australia to observe Saturday’s federal election.

Mr Saneem says he is pleased to have this opportunity to observe how elections are run in Australia.

He says the visit also gives him a chance to see what lessons can be applied to Fiji.

The regime has promised elections within a year under a new electoral system.

The last election in Fiji was held in May 2006 but the military shut down parliament seven months later when it carried out a coup and removed the government.

Radio New Zealand International

13) Fiji human rights activist urges critical analysis of constitution

Posted at 05:31 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

A human rights activist in Fiji, Tura Lewai, says people should critically analyse the constitution and not just celebrate they have one.

He describes it as self-serving, and a way out for the military regime.

Mr Lewai says people should look at the constitution-making process, question the reason for the document’s provisions and examine how it will affect bread and butter issues in future.

TURA LEWAI: We shouldn’t just look at the constitution as a way out. Let’s look at it again and ask ourselves ’Have the people of Fiji been involved? Have we engaged in this process?’ If we are the owners of this constitution, then why is it that many of the processes that were there to get people’s views and opinions on this constitution were actually thrown out? A constitution is as good as the power that the people give it, and this constitution is not fuelled by the people, it’s not owned by the people. It’s owned by the regime, it’s owned by a few hand-picked people that have drafted this piece of paper and it’s owned by the military in itself.

SALLY ROUND: What good will it do, though, to look at it in those terms, because the Fiji government has said that this is going towards elections next year, this is another step on the way, so that will mean an elected government next year.

TW: I think, like anything, we need to keep looking at things critically. Let’s not take things open-handedly and say ’Wow, we have something. Let’s go with it’. In terms of the boundaries or the constituencies there’s still some question as to how is it going to work, how are people going to vote? And this type of voting, from what we’ve read, has only been done in two countries in the world. And why Fiji?

SR: What are human rights activists like yourself, what is left open for you to do, given your dissatisfaction with the whole process?

TW: We will continue to advocate for the human rights approach. We will continue to lobby people to not accept it as it is, to start asking questions. We are going into our own communities. Even with the time that is given to us, we want people to critically analyse it and we want people to do something about it. We want people to look at this piece of paper and say, ’OK, how is this going to affect my bread and butter tomorrow?’

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

14) Tongan Language Week Celebrations Open In New Zealand
Speech, essay competitions, cultural expo among other events

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 3, 2013) – Tongans in New Zealand have begun celebrating “Tongan Language Week” with various events promoting the Tongan language, being held from September 1-7.

The week-long schedule of events is supported by New Zealand’s Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

Some of the events organised include Tongan language education radio programmes, speech competitions, essay competitions, a cultural expo and the showcasing of Tongan poetry.

According to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hekia Parata, Tonga Language week marks a celebration of the Tongan community in New Zealand.

“The Tongan community has contributed to New Zealand in every facet of society from academia, arts, sports and culture and Tongan Language Week will provide an opportunity for us to celebrate what our Tongan community brings to New Zealand.

“I have prepared my colleagues this week by sending all Members of Parliament some key Tongan greetings and sayings for their use during the week,” she said.

Over 50,000 Tongans live in New Zealand making them the third-largest Pacific group, after Samoans (131,000), and Cook Islanders (58,000). About 80 percent of Tongans live in Auckland and just over 60 percent speak the language.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International also reports that Kolovula Murphy, the president of the Wellington Tongan community organization Makatu’unga He ‘Ofa, while celebrating the week dedicated to language, says there is a big gap between youth and elders in terms of understanding the Tongan language.]

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

15) China, New Zealand Embark On Joint Project In Cook Islands
Water infrastructure improvement for Rarotonga jointly funded

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 3, 2013) – China, New Zealand and the Cook Islands have agreed to deliver a major development project in the Pacific region.

Under the deal, China will work jointly with New Zealand and the Cook Islands government to improve the water mains system on Rarotonga, the Cook Islands’ main island.

The Pacific is the first region in the world to see China work in partnership with another major aid donor.

Lowy Institute Research Fellow, Dr. Phillipa Brandt, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the Pacific has unique attributes which made this project possible.

“It’s a low-risk region for China in terms of its relations with the other powers in the region,” Dr. Brandt said.

“What’s unique about the Cook Islands is that this is the first case in the world of a project that is jointly funded and will have real outcomes.”

China has long been criticised for failing to co-operate with other donors, for funding showy infrastructure projects that do little to reduce poverty and for providing soft loans which cause indebtedness.

Dr. Brandt says the newly signed agreement sends an important signal to the world about China.

“China is concerned about its image,” she said.

“China does want to improve the development outcomes of its projects.

“It is now willing to work with other donors who perhaps have greater experience of working in these regions.”

Dr. Brandt says the joint cooperation poses risks as well as challenges.

“The risk is that there are high expectations attached to it, and that they may not be fulfilled,” she said.

“The challenge is that China and New Zealand have different ways of undertaking aid and development cooperation, and so being able to match the two systems could be quite a challenge.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

MICRONESIA:

16) Kiribati eyes climate change adaptation options

Posted at 07:23 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says his country is looking at a number of strategies to try and cope with sea level rise.

The other two Pacific nations most threatened by climate change, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, say the question of relocation should not be raised.

But Mr Tong, speaking during the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Majuro, says in Kiribati’s case they know that in future the country, with less land and compromised water supplies, will not be able to support all its people.

He says Kiribati has an adaptation framework that allows for relocation, but he says, given a current population of more than 100,000, they are not considering migrating en masse.

“There is no way that any country or that all of these people will be able to migrate but we are acknowledging the reality that the land will not be able to sustain the level of population that it currently does. In addition will be also be maintaining the integrity of as much of the land that we can. Then again our ability to do that will be limited by the resources made available to us.”

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong

Radio New Zealand International

17) Guam Senator Proposes New Substitute Budget Bill
Bill includes provision to get hospital financial relief

By Louella Losinio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Sept. 4, 2013) – After emerging from an almost two-hour caucus, Sen. Ben Pangelinan, the appropriations committee chairman, presented a proposed substitute budget bill upon reconvening the Committee of the Whole, which identified a solution to Guam Memorial Hospital’s (GMH) financial woes.

The lawmakers yesterday were supposed to resume the special session at 2 p.m. The special session was convened by Gov. Eddie Calvo on Labor Day so lawmakers could debate his new budget proposal, Bill 1 (4-S).

Pangelinan said the proposed substitute bill will contain almost everything which had been previously discussed in the different iterations of the budget bill that has come before the Legislature.

“The additional iteration that you would find in the proposed substitute bill is, of course, a provision that would seek to provide some financial relief to Guam Memorial Hospital in addition to the other provisions that have been previously passed by this body,” Pangelinan said.

Sen. Rory J. Respicio, the rules committee chairman, said yesterday that lawmakers will be given time to review the substitute bill’s provisions before the resumption of session today.

On the introduction of the substituted and amended bill, Pangelinan said discussions, both formal and informal, have been conducted with his colleagues at the Legislature.

“We have a version of the bill that we have done for proposed substitution. We have not submitted that bill at this time but before we recess this afternoon, I want to announce that we will give each member a copy of that proposed bill so that each and every member will have an opportunity to look it over and come back with any concerns and issues before tomorrow’s session,” the senator said.

GMH

The amended and substituted version of Bill 1(4-S) includes a provision authorizing the governor to transfer $7.635 million from any general fund and special fund revenues, as well as unencumbered appropriations from certain sections of the fiscal 2014 appropriations act to the Guam Memorial Hospital for obligations incurred on or after Oct. 1, 2012, but no later than Sept. 30, 2013.

In addition, the measure stipulates that “any transfer of funds authorized in the said section shall be effective only through delivery of an Executive Order requiring the Bureau of Budget and Management Research to identify the amount of the appropriations transferred under the FY2014 appropriations act, by fund code and name, agency code and name, and by amount, to the Speaker and the Office of Finance and Budget.”

The substituted bill also reduced GMH general fund appropriations for FY2014 operational expenses to $2.894 million.

The measure appropriated $7.055 million for the Hay Study while the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) has been set at $1,800 per Government of Guam Retirement Fund retiree who has retired as of Sept. 30, 2013, or his survivor, no later than Nov. 1, 2013.

Guam Police Department appropriations were also reduced to $28.583 million compared to the $28.908 appropriated in the original version of Bill 1(4-S).

The amended substituted bill retained the $120 million allocation for the tax refunds as passed. Sen. Michael San Nicolas made the motion for an amendment to revert back to the Bill 177 allocation for tax refunds last Monday.

The measure also brought back the $1.125 million appropriation for merit bonus payments which was requested by the United Judiciary of Guam. The allocation for the Judiciary merit bonuses was taken out in the governor’s original version of Bill 1 (4-S).

The proposed amended and substituted budget Bill 1(4-S) – the seventh version introduced so far – will be tackled today at 9 a.m.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com

AUSTRALIA:

18) Kevin Rudd loss could help Labor
By Online Editor
5:21 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Australia

The election will probably be ”devastating” for the ALP but it might also allow MPs to draw a line under the three-year Kevin Rudd/Julia Gillard rivalry which has ”eaten the party from the inside”, according to a senior Labor figure.

The MP said while the party faced an ”impossible scenario” after the unpopular minority parliament and the years of open warfare between the two camps, the new danger was the potential for bitter post-election internal recriminations over whom to blame.

However, he said if there was a silver lining to be found in the storm clouds of defeat, it was in the possibility that voters might resolve some of the party’s internal tensions for it.

Privately some Labor MPs concede the best thing for the party, given the scale of the repudiation coming, would be for  Rudd to lose his Brisbane seat of Griffith as happened to John Howard in 2007. Howard’s initial shock, and that of his party, quickly gave way to a sense of relief in Liberal ranks that the hard work of generational change had been largely done by voters.

Depending on the severity of Saturday’s result, one or more of the leadership options to whom the party might normally consider turning might simply not be there.

Labor got 50.1 per cent of the vote in 2010, which was not enough to secure the necessary majority in the House of Representatives. That means it must secure a swing to it from its 2010 result to lift its representation from the current 71 seats to the required majority of 76.

Polls suggest that is not going to happen – the outcome more likely to be 53/47 in favour of the Coalition.

With a swing to the ALP unlikely, interest has turned to the scale and geographic shape of any swing away, which may narrow the leadership field within a reduced caucus.

MPs are already weighing up who might provide the best chance of uniting a riven party and repairing its damaged brand-name.

Another complication is the rule change Rudd recently forced through to ensure Labor’s parliamentary leader cannot be rolled by faction bosses once elected.

Insiders say this means the parliamentary party will be especially careful to select someone it can live with all the way to the next election.

Among the possible leadership contenders after the election, assuming the government is replaced, are Education and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, Treasurer Chris Bowen and Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Other names bandied about, perhaps for deputy, are Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, Immigration Minister Tony Burke, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare and Climate Change Minister Mark Butler.

One name not being mentioned is Kevin Rudd. Nor is there any leadership speculation about former treasurer and deputy prime minister Wayne Swan.

A month ago, the surprise re-entry to politics of former Queensland premier Peter Beattie started tongues wagging over the possibility of a Beattie leadership tilt. However, such has been the disaster of Labor’s campaign that he is unlikely to take the LNP seat of Forde despite its margin of less than 2 per cent.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

NEW ZEALAND:

19) NZ commits $5m to low-lying countries
By Online Editor
1:35 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Marshall Islands

New Zealand has committed $5 million (US$3.9 million) to low-lying countries that are vulnerable to water shortages.

Prime Minister John Key announced the new commitment at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands this morning.

As part of a five-year partnership, New Zealand would improve water security in Tuvalu, Tokelau, the Cook Islands, and in the Marshalls.

This included ensuring gutters were properly connected to storage tanks, training national water security officers and helping maintain water storage facilities.

The low-lying Pacific nations are susceptible to water inundation – storm surges in parts of the Marshalls have contaminated water wells so badly that it would take ten years for it to become drinkable again.

The programme is expected to begin in six months’ time.

SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

20) NZ MP claims NZ-based Fiji democracy activists spied on by NZ agency

Posted at 07:23 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

A New Zealand opposition MP Winston Peters has claimed a New Zealand security agency has spied on New Zealand based Fiji democracy activists and the Fiji regime knew about it.

Mr Peters has raised questions in parliament about a raid last year on the Auckland home of Rajesh Singh who is a former Fiji cabinet minister.

Mr Peters says the Security Intelligence Service breached the law during the raid.

He says the commander of the Fijian Land Forces, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, texted Mr Singh as he was about to be raided by the SIS.

“This is a military dictatorship that this government is cuckolding our country with. They leave no doubt that the Fiji dictatorship knew what was happening and the Fiji military had contacts in high places in New Zealand and I want to know how far was the SIS involved.”

New Zealand opposition MP Winston Peters

Radio New Zealand International

New Zealand ‘Reluctant’ To Criticize Fiji Constitution
Foreign minister hopes Fiji will further discuss some aspects

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 3, 2013) – The New Zealand government is reluctant to voice any criticism of Fiji and the new constitution, released in August.

It will replace the 1997 constitution, set aside by the military regime four years ago, and paves the way for elections next year.

The constitution provides for a 50-seat Parliament, with elections to be held every four years.

It also keeps in place general pardons for anyone, including Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the police and military, for any involvement in political coups or other actions since 2000.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says he is reluctant to comment at length on the constitution.

“I’d simply say that there are still some aspects of the constitution we hope that they’ll discuss further and look at more carefully but we want to look positively at what’s going on there. Progress has been made towards the machinery for elections and the ground rules for elections in the form of the constitution.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

TOK PISIN:

21) Pacific Conference of Churches i tokim Foram lida long toktok tu long West Papua

Updated 4 September 2013, 17:25 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol Pacific Conference of Churches i askim strong ol Pacific lida long Pacific Islands Forum miting insait long Marshall Islands long toktok tu long wari blong West Papua.

Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak i opim Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro. Ol Pacific Sios lida i laikim ol Foram lida long toktok tu long West Papua. (Credit: ABC)
Ol Pacific Island lida i mas toktok long wari blong ol West Papua pipal long bikpla miting blong Pacific Islands Forum emi go hed nau long Marshall Islands kepital, Majuro.

General Secretary blong Pacific Conference of Churches, Reverend Francois Pihaatae itok ol Pacific lida imas kamapim nau sampla strongpla rot blong sapotim indipendans blong ol pipal blong West Papua na ino ken lus tingting ol.

Wanpla MP blong Vanautu, Willy Jimmy i tok Vanuatu ino sanisim tingting na toktok blongen long ol sapot em i givim long West Papua.

Em i tok tupela bikpla isu ol i sapotim, em long West Papua na Kanaky long New Caledinia.

“Tupla isu ia em i stap wantaim long posisin blong Vanuatu long em i sapotim strong, tasol long sem taim, em i gud sapos ol Sios lida i toktok long West papua long Foram miting nau.”

Fred Mombasa, wanpla West Papua lida long Papua New Guinea i tok tu olsem i gutpla long Pacific Sios Konfrens i askim ol lida long Marshall Islands long toktok long West Papua.

“Keis blong mipla ia, igo tasol ino mekim wanpla gutpla samting long sait blong MSG.”radio australia

22) Fiji i statim Pacific Islands Development Foram long resis wantem Foram

Updated 4 September 2013, 17:18 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Interim lida blong Fiji, Frank Bainimara i statim displa nupla grup, Pacific Islands Development Forum, bikos em i bilip Australia na New Zealand i save igo pas long Pacific Islands Forum.

Kava seremoni (Credit: ABC)
Odio: Politikal saintis long University blong Hawaii, Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutaulaka
Long mun igo pinis Fiji ibin statim nupla laen em oli kolim long Pacific Islands Development Forum, wankaen liklik olsem Pacific Islands Forum.

Oli bin rausim Fiji long Pacific Islands Forum long 2006 bihaen long Commodore Frank Bainimarama ibin iusim military long kisim na lukautim gavman.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders miting iwok long go hed nau long Marshall Islands.

Pacific Islands Forum igat wanpla ten sikis kantri wantem tu Australia na New Zealand istap long en.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama ibin tok olsem emi statim Pacific Islands Development Forum long wonem Australia na New Zealand isave bosim tumas Pacific Islands Forum.

Politikal saintis long University blong Hawaii, Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutaulaka i tok em i ‘too ealry’ long jajim displa nupla grup.

“Membasip blong displa nupla grup, Pacific Islands Development Forum i narakain long membasip blong Pacific Islands Forum,” em ibin tok.

‘I tru Fiji lida i lukim Australia na New Zealand i save lidim olgeta toktok bung insait long Pacific Forum, tasol yumi mas lukluk long histri blong ol rijinol oganisaisen.”radio australia

FRENCH:

23) PNG: le projet d’exploitation de gaz naturel liquéfié sur le point d’aboutir

Posté à 4 September 2013, 8:19 AEST
Pierre Riant

Terminé à 90%, ce projet de 19 milliards de dollars est dans les temps et sera opérationnel dans quelques mois.

Les délais ont été respectés. (Credit: Reuters)

Les premières livraisons de gaz devraient se faire comme prévu pendant le second trimestre 2014.

Un communiqué de la société Esso Highlands, l’opérateur du projet, ajoute qu’avec 19 000 personnes qui travaillent actuellement sur le projet la situation avance rapidement en dépit des conditions difficiles qui existent en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Paul Baker, le directeur général de l’Institut des Affaires Nationales de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a souligné l’importance de ce communiqué.

BAKER : « C’est un tournant majeur pour la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, le projet de développement le plus important jamais réalisé.
Il y avait beaucoup de sceptiques qui pensaient que c’était trop grand et d’avoir réussi à le réaliser, c’est vraiment un très grand succès pour le pays et les sociétés qui y participent. »

Tout au long de la réalisation de ce projet d’exploitation de gaz naturel liquéfié, des groupes de propriétaires fonciers se sont plaints d’avoir été tenus à l’écart des discussions sur le partage éventuel des bénéfices.

Paul Baker précise que le pays pourra commencer à bénéficier d’une augmentation des revenus tirés de l’exploitation du gaz en 2017. Pour lui, les propriétaires fonciers et les responsables politiques doivent penser aux bénéfices à long terme en matière d’investissement et de renforcement des capacités du pays. Et non pas en termes de dollars gagnés rapidement et dépensés tout aussi rapidement.

BAKER : « Le gouvernement doit vraiment se concentrer sur l’investissement dans le réseau routier et les infrastructures pour élargir les activités économiques et permettre à d’autres secteurs de se développer et de créer ainsi de emplois et des revenus. »

Le fait est que quand la phase de construction sera terminée, ce projet d’exploitation n’emploiera plus 19 000 personnes mais seulement quelques centaines. Les transferts d’argent iront ensuite en grande partie dans les caisses du gouvernement et vers les propriétaires fonciers. C’est à ce moment là que l’on verra mieux si le gouvernement en question fera quelque chose pour lutter contre la pauvreté qui caractérise ce pays et si les propriétaires fonciers se décident d’investir dans des écoles par exemple.radio australia

24) Australie : regain d’intérêt pour Kevin Rudd

Posté à 4 September 2013, 8:30 AEST
Pierre Riant

La campagne électorale est dans sa dernière ligne droite et que les sondages d’opinion concernant le Premier ministre sortant ne sont guère reluisants.

Kevin Rudd: “La Bible dit aussi que l’esclavage est une condition naturelle”. (Credit: ABC)

Kevin Rudd a toutefois suscité une vague de réactions favorables après s’être prononcé une fois de plus en faveur du mariage pour tous lors d’un débat télévisé face au public.

Un pasteur a interpellé Kevin Rudd en lui demandant comment il pouvait être en faveur du mariage pour tous, tout en se disant chrétien. Et que la Bible, a souligné le pasteur,  stipule que le mariage doit se faire entre un homme et une femme.

Et le premier ministre australien a rétorqué en disant que : « La Bible dit aussi que l’esclavage est une condition naturelle. La société évolue et le principe fondamental du nouveau testament, c’est l’amour universel.  » Ne pas comprendre cela, c’est ne pas comprendre l’Évangile, a déclaré Kevin Rudd.

Un tonnerre d’applaudissements  a suivi cette déclaration et le lendemain, toute l’Australie en parlait.

Cependant, le candidat de l’opposition, Tony Abbott, est toujours en tête dans les sondages.radio australia

25) Le Forum des îles du Pacifique cible les ampoules à incandescence

Posté à 4 September 2013, 8:33 AEST
Pierre Riant

Les dirigeants du Pacifique sont en réunion annuelle aux îles Marshall et le président des Marshall, Christopher Loeak, a souligné que le changement climatique serait au centre de ce Forum.

Á l’issue d’une réunion sur l’adaptation au changement climatique et les énergies renouvelables,  le Secrétaire-général du Secrétariat de la Communauté du Pacifique, Jimmie Rodgers, a souligné que les dirigeants de la région doivent cibler autant les énergies renouvelables que l’efficacité de ces énergies : « C’est inutile de parler d’énergies renouvelables si l’on ne parle pas d’efficacité. À quoi ça sert de parler d’énergie renouvelable si nous utilisons encore des ampoules à incandescence. Et si nous avons encore des réfrigérateurs ou de congélateurs sans les étiquettes de consommation énergétique. Ce serait du suicide. »

Appel a été lancé pour la suppression des ampoules à incandescence dans le Pacifique d’ici un an.radio australia

PASIFIK:

26) Interest in Pacific ‘healthy’
By Online Editor
1:33 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Marshall Islands

The Pacific is becoming more of a diplomatic battleground but the increased interest in the Pacific is good for New Zealand and the region, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.

Countries such as the United States and China are showing increasing interest in the Pacific as the region takes on more diplomatic and economic importance.

Pacific leaders including Prime Minister John Key are attending the annual Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands this week.

Hillary Clinton last year became the first US Secretary of State to attend the forum, China is a massive aid donor with more diplomats in the region than New Zealand and Australia combined, while a recent development forum in Fiji was sponsored by Russia and some Arab states, alongside China. More and more countries are also seeking to participate in the annual forum.

McCully said there was more interest in the region due to carrots such as the fisheries and mineral resources as well as the fact that the Pacific’s 14 votes were important to countries angling for positions on international bodies. He said there was a “steady stream of countries wanting to increase the engagement they have in the region”.

“It’s evident at each Pacific Islands Forum, new countries wanting to form dialogue, relations, and so on, and that’s a healthy thing as far as we’re concerned,” he said.

Each country had their own motives “but all of it increases the level of focus on the issues that are relevant to our region, all of it increases the levels of development assistance that might be brought to the region, and New Zealand welcomes that.”

New Zealand had tried to facilitate this, for example by arranging in 2011 – when New Zealand hosted the forum – an annual meeting between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Pacific leaders.

“So we welcome the buildup in attention and the expanding relationships,” he said.

“I think it’s going to put more pressure on the forum secretariat going forward to manage those relationships effectively.”

McCully also believed it increased New Zealand’s global standing, hence the Government’s focus in the Pacific, where he focused his international travel and where 60 per cent of New Zealand’s aid budget was spent.

“We are not a large global player and shouldn’t pretend to be,” the minister said.

“We should regard ourselves as a niche player that has the resources to be good at some things but not everything. And diplomatically we should always place a premium on the role we play in our own region.

“I think it is a big part of what we can take to the table internationally, it’s a big part of what our partners would like us to deliver.”

While China’s presence in the Pacific had caused some concern, McCully said New Zealand was working alongside China now on aid projects, with one in the Cook Islands, and such partnerships were likely to increase.

Experts have dubbed Chinese influence in the region “pervasive” and likely to grow and claimed the US was concerned about that, hence its own increasing interest and presence there.

Its reshuffle of its military presence in the Asia-Pacific was also reportedly seen as a Chinese-containment strategy while defence analyst Robert Ayson told Fairfax Media last year that New Zealand was now being courted by both countries.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

27)Cook Island establishes diplomatic relations with Kiribati, Palau and Marshall Islands
By Online Editor
5:35 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Marshall Islands

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Majuro, Marshall Islands

Three Smaller Island States have established diplomatic relations with Cook Islands.

The formal signing was held at the margins of the Smaller Island States Leaders meeting in Majuro Tuesday.
Cook Islands issued a joint communiqué after its Prime Minister, Henry Puna signed diplomatic ties with the Presidents of Kiribati, Anote Tong, Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak and Palau’s Tommy Remengesau.

“The agreement strengthens ties of friendship and co-operation between Cook Islands and the three Smaller Island States, says the agreement signed between the Leaders.

All the four island countries are members of the Smaller Island States (SIS) of the Pacific Islands Forum.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

HEALTH:

28) Abortion practice widespread

By ARMSTRONG SAIYAMA

INDUCED abortions are reported to be widely practiced in Papua New Guinea, despite being an illegal practice, according to a research.
Ms Lisa Vallely of the Sexual and Reproductive Unit, PNG Institute of Medical Research, revealed this yesterday to participants of the 49th PNG Annual Medical Symposium in Lae.
She made her presentations based on a research ‘Induced and Spontaneous Abortion-A prospective hospital based study from Papua New Guinea’ carried out last year at the Goroka Base Hospital in Eastern Highlands Province involving 119 women in a six month period.
The research involved women in the age brackets from 15 to 29 years old.
“In PNG, safe induced abortion to save a woman’s life or to protect her physical and mental health may be granted on agreement by two medical officers,” she said.
Ms Vallely revealed that virtually no safe abortions took place in Government institutions.
“Abortion on demand or for socio-cultural indications remains illegal,” she said.
She highlighted that Sepsis (blood poisoning) due to unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal death in PNG.
“Of the 35 identified induced abortions: 16 (46 per cent) took place between 7-12 weeks, 18 (51 per cent) took place between 16-24 weeks and 1 (3 per cent) gestation not known,” Ms Vallely said.
She said according to their research, women were using physical and mechanical forces, traditional herbs, witchcraft, assistance from health care workers and coffee drinks to kill their babies in their wombs.
“There is an increase in number of students admitted with induced abortions,” she said.
She said from in depth interviews conducted by the researchers, it was found that the women terminated their pregnancy due to wanting to continue with their education, not wanting to “shame” their families, cultural beliefs relating to breast feeding during pregnancy, and relationship problems.
She recommended that women choosing not to continue a pregnancy should have access to safe and effective means of termination of pregnancy.
“Legal framework needs to be clarified and communicated clearly to women, health workers and communities in PNG,” Ms Vallely said.post courier png

29) Call for recognition of disability as Pacific development issue

Posted at 05:31 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

An international charity working with disabled people in poor communities says unless governments recognise disability as a development issue those affected will continue to be neglected.

The president of the charity CBM says the Australian government has a specific disability inclusion policy for overseas aid but other governments, including New Zealand’s, are yet to mainstream disability into their international development work.

Dave McComiskey says a joint report by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank estimates that 15 percent of the global population are living with disability.

He told Annell Husband in his experience, the lives of between 5 percent and 7 percent are severely impacted.

DAVE MCCOMISKEY: So if you, in your development or your aid programme, aren’t addressing that, then you’re not considering the whole situation. So at a very high level there needs to be a recognition that development needs to be inclusive of people with disabilities. And then at that local level, yes, we need to understand and research what the issues are. There are probably some issues that are across the pacific region that we can learn and grow together from. We’re also looking, and have started to do some work on what we call ’Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction’. That’s a very long title to say we want persons with disabilities to be included in any disaster response. We know they’re going to happen, but how do we prepare them for that and make sure they’re included in the response.

ANNELL HUSBAND: Because typically they are not included?

DM: No, it’s been very difficult for organisations to even recognise that persons with disabilities are there. And then to know what’s the correct way to help them, how to make sure that they’re included in appropriate disaster response. We find throughout the developing world that often persons with disabilities, for various reasons, are hidden away. Some disabilities are hidden – mental illness is kind of a hidden disability. And often people just in regular development or in disaster response, don’t know how to include those people in an appropriate response.

AH: The point that you make about people being shut away. You mention people with mental health issues. When I was recently in Solomon Islands, on Malaita, I was talking to a village elder who described that very scenario of this young man in his mid-20s who has been locked in a room for most of this life because it’s not known what to do with him.

DM: Even in our so-called developed society, mental illness is still sometimes a taboo subject, and people don’t know how to respond appropriately to it. But definitely the issue is less understood throughout the developing world and is a major problem. I’ve just lived in Kenya for the past year, and, there, people are shackled. They’re almost like prisoners because people don’t know how to help deal with mental health issues.

Radio New Zealand International

EDUCATION:

30) Tongan King’s first visit
By Online Editor
1:32 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Fiji

The Tongan monarch, King Taufa’ahau Tupou VI, arrives in Fiji for the first time today to officiate at the USP’s graduation ceremony on Friday.

To mark the occasion, the Tongan community in Fiji will conduct a formal welcome ceremony for him.

The King is the university’s 20th chancellor and was appointed at the USP Tonga graduation ceremony in July this year.

A statement from the university said King Tupou continued the tradition of distinguished individuals across USP’s 12-member countries, holding the title of chancellor.

His late father, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, was the university’s first chancellor.

Meanwhile, preparations for the graduation are progressing well.

About 700 students will graduate at Friday’s ceremony, with at least 600 expected to attend.

The university holds two annual graduation ceremonies at its Laucala campus, with the first in April.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

31) Keep students where they belong, says ministry

Torika Tokalau
Wednesday, September 04, 2013

SCHOOL managements, head teachers and principals are being asked to display wisdom in handling unpaid school levies.

Education Ministry permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal is calling on all schools to allow students to attend classes while arrangements are made for payment of school levies.

His concern follows a directive from the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji to disallow more than 1000 students who haven’t paid outstanding levies at its 22 schools to attend term three which began yesterday.

“Students must be allowed to enter classrooms and arrangements of the payment of school levies should be done with parents and guardians,” he said.

“Please take heed of the instructions of the head of government that it is not right to stop children from classes.

“Let us not send a negative message to the students at the very beginning of the last and the most important term of the school. Avoid encouraging truancy and delinquencies and keep the students where they belong.”http://www.fijitimes.com/

32) Solomons Medical Students Leave For Cuba Without Funds
Government has offered assurances allowances will be paid

By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 3, 2013) – In the Solomon Islands, the second lot of government funded students studying medicine in Cuba left the country over the weekend without any traveling allowance.

The students jetted off on Saturday after government through the ministry of education promised to settle their allowances at the end of this month.

A spokesperson for the students yesterday confirmed to the Solomon Star about 13 students left for Cuba via Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Singapore and Paris.

They are expected to arrive in Cuba today.

The assurance from the government came after the students threatened to stay back because of lack of funds to settle their traveling allowances on time.

About 20 students arrived in the country 26th July for their holiday break and government is responsible for meeting their allowance upon their return.

Most of them have spent three to four years before returning to spend few weeks with the family members and relatives.

The students’ spokesperson yesterday said government is now committed to settle their allowance and the students have agreed to return to Cuba.

Most of the students who left were financially supported by their family members and relatives.

Its understood parliament will sit next week Thursday 12th September to consider the allowances of all its sponsored students through a supplementary bill.

According to the Cuba based students each of them is entitled to USD$1,750.00 (SBD$12,350) to be paid by the government before they can travel.

This is to meet all expenses during their transits and landing costs.

Upon arrival at Cuba the students will have to travel between one to two hours by road from the airport to reach their campus.

The students will also undergo medical check-ups before registering for the second semester classes.

Some of the students will also do their practical in the provinces and they need their allowances to travel out to the rural communities.

Meanwhile the final three students will leave for Cuba today.

The spokesperson yesterday acknowledged government’s commitment to their plight and said they (students) will appreciate if their allowances are paid at the end of the month.

Currently about 90 local students are studying medicine in Cuba with the first lot to graduate at the end of this year.

Under the deal the Cuban government is responsible for the students’ tuition, accommodation and food while Solomon Islands government is responsible for their airfare and allowance.

Solomon Star

BUSINESS/TRADE+:

33) Fiji-PNG Business Council holds AGM

By GERALDINE PANAPASA
Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Update: 12:36PM THE Fiji-Papua New Guinea Business Council will hold its annual general meeting this afternoon to discuss achievements and highlights for 2012 and 2013.

In a statement this morning, the council said it managed to perform well since its revival in December 2011.

The trade and investment mission to PNG in April this year provided networking opportunities and one-on-one business meetings that enabled our members to build stronger partnership with business representatives of PNG, the council said.

The AGM will be held at the Holiday Inn in Suva at 5pm followed by a cocktail event.http://www.fijitimes.com/

34) Private Sector focus on connecting the Pacific
By Online Editor
10:48 am GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Marshall Islands

Connecting North and South Pacific has been the focus of the 4th Private Sector Dialogue held in Majuro, Marshall Islands over the last two days.

Private sector representatives from around the Pacific region met this week to discuss challenges of transport in the region, particularly as experienced by smaller communities.

“This theme has been chosen deliberately to highlight the importance of connecting the North and South Pacific. Investments in effective transport solutions are the most important investments our leaders can make and it is the mobility of resources amongst the Pacific islands which will forge regional integration,” says  Andie Fong Toy, Deputy Secretary General of The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Delegates were urged by the Deputy Secretary General to consider the special needs of small islands state countries and take into account the Pacific Plan review which has emphasis on regional solutions to address transport and related infrastructure issues.

Stemming from the session will be a private sector statement to be delivered at the plenary session of the Forum Leaders later this week.

“This dialogue presents a real opportunity for the private sector to explore arrangements to address challenges on really connecting the North and South countries as experienced by the small and vulnerable economies in the North Pacific region,” says Brenda Alik-Maddison, President, Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

“Connectivity is important. However, what is more important to us is the efficient and regular connectivity for mobility of resources including goods, services, technology, capital and people.”

The Private Sector Dialogue is an initiative of the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Effectiveness in the Pacific (the Forum Compact), whereby Forum Leaders committed to an annual high level dialogue with national, regional and international representatives of the private sector, as part of the Pacific Islands Forum, to foster the reforms required for faster private sector growth and employment generation.

SOURCE: PIFS/PACNEWS

35) East Timor offers $800 million for onshore gas processing
By Online Editor
10:46 am GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Timor-leste

East Timor’s government has made a new bid to resolve a dispute over the stalled Greater Sunrise gas project in the Timor Sea.

The country’s petroleum minister Alfredo Pires says the government is willing to contribute $800 million to build infrastructure to pipe the gas to East Timor.

“So what Timor-Leste is saying is that if the pipeline is an issue we’re able to take up some of the risks by actually investing in the pipeline,” Pires said.

“This is about an investment,” he said. “That money is not money that’s going to go to waste.”

The $800 million would come from East Timor’s $14 billion petroleum fund, which is made up of revenue from the country’s finite oil and gas reserves.

For years, the development of the Greater Sunrise field has been on hold because of a dispute about how the field should be developed.

The field operators, led by Woodside Petroleum, want the gas processed on a floating platform at sea.

The company confirmed on Monday it would pursue the floating technology for another major project, the Browse gas fields, off the West Australian coast.

However, East Timor is insisting a pipeline be built to East Timor’s southern coast for onshore processing, to create jobs and economic benefits for the country.

Pires argues East Timor would make the money back and the investment would yield a higher return than if the money continued to sit in the petroleum fund, which is mostly invested in international bonds.

“We are not throwing that money away; we will be putting the money into a business that the returns are there,” he said.

However, resources analyst David Lennox doubts the offer will shift Woodside’s position.

“I would suspect that Woodside would be considerate of the idea but it would probably not follow up on doing an on-the-ground LNG (liquified natural gas) in Timor,” Lennox said.

Lennox says East Timor’s offer won’t make a significant change to the economics of the onshore option.

“When you have a look at the overall potential costs for developing Sunrise, to put in an on-the-ground LNG train would probably cost upward of say, $18 billion at this particular point in time,” he said.

“Woodside have in fact suggested that they would go down the floating LNG road, which would probably save them something like $5-6 billion on 18 billion.

“So when you put that into comparison of $800 million, really, the pipeline is not significant in the scheme of the costings of the total project.”

Lennox also says Greater Sunrise faces increasing competition.

“We do believe that Woodside is committed to Sunrise at some point in time, but the investment matrix on the project at this point, and with the uncertainty of US shale gas coming in, in the next few years, they will have to tread carefully with developing Sunrise,” Lennox said.

East Timor’s government disputes Woodside’s figures and has been commissioning studies to show that piping gas to East Timor for processing is a viable option.

Woodside declined to comment on the latest offer from East Timor.

In a recent statement the company said: “We value our relationships with the East Timor and Australian governments, and seek tripartite alignment to allow the timely development of this resource for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

East Timor and Australia are also in arbitration over the revenue sharing agreement for the Greater Sunrise field.

East Timor has accused Australia of bugging East Timorese officials during the negotiations over the agreement.

A date is yet to be decided for the first hearing.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

36) India rapt with PNG LNG
By Online Editor
5:13 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, India

Trade relations between Papua New Guinea and India is set to go up another level with the visit this month of India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Verrappa Moily.

The Minister will sign an MOU with the PNG Government to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

A PNG parliamentary delegation which visited India last week were told of the proposed visit, which confirms India’s interest in the PNG LNG sector as a major gas and LNG consumer in the world.

It is understood India will also check out the potential of investing in PNG’s gas and petroleum sector, which is in a buoyant state following the announcement yesterday by the ExxonMobil-led US$19 billion PNG LNG Project, that it was on track to export its first LNG cargo in the second half of next year.

India’s Minister for External Affairs, Salman Khurshid, met with the PNG parliamentary delegates led by Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc and said their private sector was looking at exploring investment opportunities in PNG.

Khrushid said there is potential for PNG and India to work together due to the former’s large reserves of natural gas and the latter’s increasing demand for energy.

India is ready to help PNG develop its resources.

The Indian Parliament Lokh Sabha speaker, Meira Kumar, told the visitors that PNG was rich and all they required was how to make use of those natural resources.

“India would like very much to be a partner as far as LNG is concerned,” she said.

Kumar said the visit of PNG Minister William Duma to India earlier in the year to officiate at a meeting between private sector representatives enabled Indian businesses to advise PNG of their needs as investors and to highlight the benefits that would flow to the country from investment by Indian companies.

Petronet LNG managing director, Dr AK Balyan, said they are looking forward to checking out investment opportunities in PNG while emphasising the need for the two countries to work together.

Petronet LNG was formed as a joint venture by the government of India to import LNG and set up LNG terminals in the subcontinent. This involved all of India’s leading oil and gas majors such as GAIL India Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation.

SOURCE” POST COURIER/PACNEWS

37) PNG Government eyes second industrial zone for Lae city
By Online Editor
5:16 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea government is looking to acquire more land to create a second industrial zone for Lae city in Morobe to accommodate the city’s rapidly expanding commercial and industrial sectors.

Trade and Industry Minister Richard Maru was in Lae yesterday and negotiated with customary landowners of Konzorong and Ngarugosor clans in Yalu village to acquire Mopong plantation land comprising 145.5ha.

Maru said that after realising increase business import and export activities, the current 27ha land capacity at Malahang Industrial Centre was unable to cater for more companies.

Malahang caters for 101 companies after 20 years of its establishment and operations.

Maru said the second industrial park required 300-400ha of land to provide affordable spaces and facilities for companies to invest, export, import as well create employment opportunity.

The concept was to involve customary landowner’s survey their land, conduct valuation, register land and have the title before developing the land in partnership with government.

“The value of the land will then be translated into equity for shareholding with government agency responsible in develop the land and managing the company; land owners will also be involve in spin-off activities once the industrial park is developed,” Maru said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

38) Mounting calls for Solomons government to protect indigenous businesses

Posted at 05:31 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

There are mounting calls in Solomon Islands for the government to better protect and support indigenous business people.

A growing Chinese population has driven up competition in the retail and wholesale sectors and there are widespread concerns new arrivals from mainland China are creeping into businesses reserved for the indigenous population.

Beverley Tse compiled this report:

“SOLOMONS SHOPKEEPER: When we try to compete with Chinese we find it very difficult since they control the prices and they start off with big capital.”

This shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, is one of few indigenous people operating retail stores in Honiara. Chinese people dominate the retail and wholesale sectors. Jacob, who works at a stationery and printing store in Renadi, says he aims to sell products that Chinese retailers don’t offer.

“JACOB: We are trying our very best to compete with Chinese business people over here, and it’s very hard for us to compete with them because they own most of the businesses over here. And they have a big influence over here. So we are struggling a bit.”

Less than a decade ago, the government introduced a policy whereby more than a dozen job categories, including bus and taxi services and takeaway shops, were reserved for indigenous Solomon Islanders. But now there is common belief in Honiara that some Chinese people have found loopholes in the law.

Honiara streets are teeming with buses – dozens of these run down, dusty vans, crammed with people scoot pass continuously. Those with empty seats pull over to pick up queues of people who wait on the sides of the road for the next available bus.

The President of the Chinese Association, Matthew Quan, says he believes the ownership of these buses is an issue that has been brewing for several years.

“MATTHEW QUAN: You get certain Asian people who get involved, who have the capital to buy the buses and then purchase the buses, and what they do is they get people to run the buses. At the end of the day the owner says, ’You give me ’X’ amount of dollars and anything above and beyond that you keep yourself’.”

The President of the civil society group, Forum Solomon Islands International, Redley Raramo, says he wants a thorough investigation into the issuing of licences for reserved businesses.

“REDLEY RARAMO: It’s a highjacking of the opportunities that our people are supposed to be exploiting for their benefit. And we don’t blame the Chinese too as well because there are people within the government system that is facilitating this for them.”

The chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce Jerry Tengemoana says foreign businessmen and investors are needed but they must comply with the law. He also says the authorities need to revisit the regulations and put more effort into enforcing them.

“JERRY TENGEMOANA: I think that’s the area that’s really weak, the enforcement of their own laws. There’s no point in putting through a piece of law if it’s not enforced.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, Heinz Vaekesa, says the Ministry is investigating the issue.

“HEINZ VAEKESA: We do have some lead information that foreigners are actually coming under local business people or individuals that runs them. So they run under those business people.”

Heinz Vaekesa says the ministry is also working on strategies to provide start up capital to help small indigenous businesses.

Radio New Zealand International

LAW&ORDER:

39) 12 months for ‘sorcery’

By Isaac Nicholas

THE Wewak District Court may have erred in law by sentencing a man yesterday to 12 months imprisonment for practising sorcery.
The Sorcery Act 1971 was repealed in its entirety when National Parliament passed amendments to the criminal Code Act in the June session.
But East Sepik police went ahead and arrested and charged Mailon Kenya, 35 of Bogia during the recent Angoram by-election in East Sepik.
Police alleged that on September 2, 2013 at Angoram market the accused had without lawful excuse in his possession implements intended for use in an act of forbidden sorcery, thereby contravening Section 11 (b) of the Sorcery Act 1971.
It was alleged that between 10 and 11 am at Angoram market, reliable information received by police deployed to the Angoram Open by-election that the accused Mr Kenya was practising sorcery for a particular candidate who was contesting the by-election.
The accused was apprehended by police and during a search conducted on the suspect they found in his possession implements such as oil in small containers, tree barks and other substance in a Murik basket.
He was taken to Wewak and detained.
On August 30, 2013 the suspect was then formally questioned in relation to the allegation where he admitted being in possession of the implements and further admitted that he was assisting a particular candidate to win the by-election.
He was than formally arrested and charged under the repealed Sorcery Act of 1971.
The accused, who is married with two wives and 13 children, was yesterday sentenced by the Wewak District Court to 12 months imprisonment at the Boram jail.
The Wewak District Court when contacted by the Post-Courier late yesterday said they were not aware of the repealed laws as the evidence was based on police findings.
When told that the Sorcery Act of 1971 was repealed by Parliament this year, the court staff said the magistrate may not be aware of that when making the decision and added that the convicted person still can appeal the sentence.
This year the National Parliament passed amendments to the Criminal Code Bill 2013 that was part of the O’Neill government’s tough legislative reforms aimed at cracking down on serious crimes including sorcery-related killings.post courier png

40) Tongan Family Protection Bill passes third and final reading

Posted at 02:01 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

The director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre in Tonga says a new law which aims to end domestic violence is a step in the right direction in protecting victims.

The Family Protection Bill, which was introduced two years ago, passed its third and final reading.

Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki says the new law allows on the spot protection orders issued by police, which last for seven days.

She says before this law, victims would have to wait up to 72 hours for a protection order.

She says counsellors will be appointed to assist the courts and victims, and a committee will be formed to monitor how the law is working.

“The biggest and most critical stage is perhaps the implementation stage where we will have to closely monitor and evaluate the use and access of this bill and the impact it will have on situations and cases that counsellors will deal with, what police will deal with, what hospital staff will deal with. It’s a very core and vital part of this bill.”

Ms Guttenbeil-Likiliki says the law, which still needs the King’s assent, is likely to be enacted next year.

Radio New Zealand International

41) Bougainville Eligible For UN Peace Funds In 2014
UN ready to support peace accord processes in ABG

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 3, 2013) – Cash-strapped Bougainville will be eligible to benefit from the United Nations’ peace building fund, says UN resident coordinator David McLachlan-Karr.

McLachlan-Karr announced the good news at the “Sustainability of Bougainville” seminar in Port Moresby last Friday, and while not giving any figures, hinted that it would run into millions of kina and be available from 2014 to 2017.

McLachlan-Karr also announced that Interpeace, an independent Geneva-based organisation, had been contracted to assist with the implementation of the Bouganville Peace Agreement.

He said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had declared that PNG was eligible to receive money from the fund in June this year.

McLachlan-Karr said the fund, which was created by the UN’s peace building commission, would support the national Government and the autonomous Bougainville government’s joint commitments on implementation of the peace accords, especially with reference to filling some of the critical gaps identified by the parties to achieving genuine autonomy in the lead-up to Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) elections in 2015 and before the referendum to determine the future of Bougainville, which can take place, with the consensus of the parties, between 2015 and 2020.

“I’m happy to announce that the steering committee for the peace building fund has been established with the agreement of three co-chairs, the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (John Momis), Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe (Zurenuoc), and the UN resident coordinator,” McLachlan-Karr told the seminar.

“Under the three co-chairs who will be managing the peace building fund, are representatives of key bilateral governments and donors such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, United States and will also incorporate the World Bank and a number of community services organisations.

“We’re happy to say that the fund comes at an opportune time for both parties (Bougainville and PNG) and the people to build more consensus around the outstanding challenges we have for unification, security sector improvements including removal of arms and threats to safety, rehabilitation of youth and strong involvement of women.”

McLachlan-Karr did not give any figures.

“Many people have asked me what the level of funding is. The level of funding is determined based on the quality of the submission of the peace-building priority plan that will be submitted.

“Let me just say that it will be in the order of millions and it will be available for three years from 2014-2017 as an adjunct to the UN support for the work that’s going on in Bougainville.

“This is a significant step and it, of course, brings Bougainville more closer to the orbit of international scrutiny,” he said.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

REFUGEE/ASYLUM+:

42) Australia continues shifting asylum seekers to Pacific detention centres

Posted at 05:31 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

Australia has now sent nearly 1,200 people to its detention camps for asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

There are 637 asylum seekers on Manus after a group of 18 Iranian men was flown there from Darwin.

The vast majority of the inmates in the Manus camp are from Iran.

On Nauru, there are 543 people, including 44 children.

Radio New Zealand International

43) Manus Landowners Upset By ‘Lack Of Benefits’ From Centre
Local MP claims no local companies involved at processing facility

By Liam Fox

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 3, 2013) – Manus Island landowners are frustrated at what they feel is the lack of benefits flowing from the Australian government’s asylum seeker processing centre.

When it re-opened in November last year, the Australian government’s processing centre for asylum seekers had the support of most Manus islanders.

People were eager for the jobs and business opportunities they believed the centre would generate.

Manus member of parliament Ron Knight says support is not as strong as it once was.

“There is no Manus company involved in any business out there at the moment… It seems like there never will be,” Mr. Knight said.

“All our people are going to be offered menial jobs as cooks and cleaners and security guards at less wages than people that are flying in from Port Moresby.”

Mr. Knight says land owners in the Los Negros area near the processing centre feel that they’re not getting any benefits.

They’ve blocked access to the centre’s dump and they’re threatening to cut off the water supply and block the entrance to the centre if they’re not compensated.

Locals had offered to manage the dump but an overseas contractor was bought in to do the job instead.

Mr. Knight says the land owners want the Australian and PNG governments to pay them AU$130,000 for the use of the land and for the anchorage of an Australian navy ship just off the coast.

“They’ve given them 3 days to respond. Otherwise, they will turn off the water and I believe they will make a move to close the main gate,” Mr. Knight said.

Another group of local landowners have blocked access to a source of gravel on their land.

The Australian company Toll Remote Logistics had been using the gravel in building work to expand accommodation at the centre.

The Australian government has promised a special development package for Manus island in return for hosting the processing centre.

The package includes improving roads, building classrooms and fixing the roofs of the island’s main market.

Work has started but many locals don’t think it’s happening fast enough.

It’s not just Manus Islanders who are annoyed – businesses from mainland PNG are frustrated that most contracts for building and supplying the processing centre have gone to Australian companies.

Chey Scovell the CEO of the Manufacturers’ council of PNG says PNG isn’t seeing the benefits of Australia’s asylum seekers being placed in their country.

Last week Australia’s immigration department held information session for PNG businesses in Port Moresby, Lae and Manus Island.

Mr. Scovell says people were hoping to hear a commitment from the department to engage more local businesses but that there wasn’t one, “it seemed to be a whole lot of smoke and mirrors.

“At the end of the day our government is telling us they entered into this deal on an understanding there would be participation form Papua New Guinea, in the presentation they confirmed that this was really only about 50 percent of the labour requirement.”

Manus MP Ron Knight warns that frustration will only increase if the Australian Government doesn’t improve the opportunities for local involvement, “it might come to a situation where Australia find it easier to take it somewhere else… we don’t want that…but we do not want to be cheated as well.”

The Australian immigration department says it continues to work with the PNG government on strategies for offering opportunities to work on construction projects to local contractors.

[PIR editor’s note: The National also reports that Australia, despite advising contractors and service providers on Manus to use local resources whenever possible, contracted a Saudi Arabian company for about $35 million to build a camp for 430 tenants, along with accommodations and amenities.]

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT:

44) Flooding affects thousands of villagers in Solomon Islands
By Online Editor
5:28 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Solomon Islands

An estimated population of 12,273 and 2055 household were affected by severe flooding that hit parts of Solomon Islands northeast Guadalcanal over the weekend.

That was according to a report the Guadalcanal Provincial Disaster Committee compiled after visits to the affected area.

The report said Ghaobata, East Taimsboko,Vulolo and Paripao wards are affected by this flooding.

Komukama village, the reported added, was still not reachable because of heavy flooding still persisting.

The Balasuna bridge, the report said, was broken from the eastern approach, distance apart is about four meters.

The flooding destroyed food gardens, commercial crops, homes, public infrastructures and other civic amenities.

“Access to and from town still limited to villagers due to the damaged bridges as well as flooded rivers,” the report said.

“Our three teams have covered areas from Balasuna to Bokokimbo. Most of the communities along these rivers are flooded,” it added.

“We are still awaiting confirmation from the police and NDMO for an aerial survey.

“Our assessment teams have come across security threats on Monday at Berande Brige when a group of boys blocked the bridge and demanded money.

“Police in response to the situation apprehended three boys who are armed with bush knives and brought them to Tetere Police Station.

“They were questioned at the Station before being released.”

The report added two houses, one at Tetupa Village and another at Tenavutu village including all belonging, were washed away by floods.

“One person was injured (fracture on the neck) during the flood according to Good Samaritan Hospital report

“Flooding on Monday morning was much more worse than the past few days according to phone calls received from villagers from Berande and Balasuna

“One Guadalcanal Province three-tonne truck was garaged at Berande because it cannot cross the bridge

“Food shortage already experienced, and is expected to get worst in the coming days

“Request was sent to GPPOL in the form of a written letter as well as a phone conversation by the provincial premier to the company manager, soliciting the engagement their machinery to remove debris stuck under bridge, but there’s still no response from the company.

“Guadalcanal Province executive held an extra-ordinary meeting to deliberate on the emergency situation,” the report said.

It said the Good Samaritan Hospital was facing problems to transport their patients to hospital.

On Monday, it was reported that the western end of Balasuna was cut again and river now slowly moving towards Dadave Village.

The bridge is now in the middle of the river after both ends were cut off.

“A notice was seen near the bridge today stating ‘Government must pay first before repairing the bridge’.

“Sick patients needing medical attention on Monday were seen stranded on the other side of Balasuna Bridge

“An assessment team sent to the Weathercoast was still in Marau because of very rough sea

“Members of IDA teams include GP Agriculture, Health, Works, GP Police, PRT and Mechanics from Police HQ, Lands, RDP, Provincial Administration and World Vision SI.”

The report said at this stage, international assistance is not required yet.

It added that most people habituating along these three river systems are affected, as well as food gardens situating along the river deltas prompting food shortage situations in the affected communities.

“All water sources confirmed to be contaminated due to flood inundation.

“Although no report of disease outbreak is reported as yet, it is expected that the situation will give rise to diarrhoea and other water borne diseases soon.

“Water is now becoming an issue according to assessment reports.

“Too much water on the surface will also create a good breeding place for malaria and dengue parasite carrying mosquito and thus may increase malaria and dengue cases.

“Access by road is now a challenge because of the damage cause to bridges.

“A Detailed Sector Assessment will be vital for the area. Security of officers engaged will also be vital if any DSA or Food Relief operation be effected based on Monday’s experienced.”

The report recommended additional budget funding requested from both Guadalcanal and national governments to support disaster operations.

It said immediate food relief to most affected communities is urgently required.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development is requested to quickly assess and clear debris from bridges and also reconnect bridges for accessibility

GPPOL to asked to support with the exploitation  of its resources to restore road access

The report also recommended  emergency evacuation of very sick patient using helicopters to Good Samaritan if required.

Guadalcanal police are requested to continue surveillance of the situation and report on situation arising.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

45) Fiji scientists using New Zealand mapping system for conservation planning

Posted at 02:01 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

Conservationists in Fiji are using high-tech maps to pinpoint where they should focus their efforts to protect endangered species.

A natural sciences lecturer at New Zealand’s Unitec Insititute of Technology, Glenn Aguilar, and a colleague are collaborating with researchers at Suva’s University of the South Pacific, using geographic information systems maps.

Dr Aguilar says the mapping system uses existing data to help with the conservation of threatened plants, birds and animals, including tree frogs and beetles.

“So using the maps that they have developed they now can produce areas where these species are most suitable so that they can focus their attention in terms of research and conservation planning on those areas.”

Glenn Aguilar says work is underway to use the GIS maps for different climate change scenarios, to see how the distribution of species will change.

Radio New Zealand International

46) Small Pacific states hope for real action on climate change

Posted at 04:21 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

For many years Pacific Island countries have been pushing for action over climate change and at this year’s Forum meeting they want New Zealand and Australia to step up and take a lead on the issue on the world stage.

The focus of this year’s summit in Majuro in the Marshall Islands is climate change and the hosts have already drawn up a declaration they want the leaders to sign.

But will Australia and New Zealand step up?

Hopes will not be high, as Don Wiseman reports:

A Marshall Islands cabinet minister, Tony de Brum, says the next five years will be the key to protecting Pacific islands from rising sea levels. He says if nothing substantial happens in the next five years the battle is halfway lost. Mr de Brum says energy has to be focused on climate change because it is a survival issue for the whole world, and the Pacific needs to lead the response.

“TONY DE BRUM: We think that the Pacific leadership should take over. The time for kicking the can down the road waiting for – you go first, you go first – is over. We need to focus attention on the issue, not only because it is a survival issue for us but it is in fact the survival issue for the world.”

16 years ago the then Tuvalu prime minister, Bikenibeu Paeniu, was in Wellington pleading for New Zealand to seek an urgent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Paeniu wanted New Zealand to argue at the upcoming Kyoto meeting for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. He told the New Zealand government in 1997 that for Tuvalu it was about survival – that the nine atolls were already suffering from the effects. That call went nowhere. At the 1997 Forum summit the island nations, pushing for a binding agreement on uniform cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, were stymied by Australia’s then leader, John Howard, who announced it was a very good outcome for Australia. Mr Paeniu was reported as saying ’There was no compromise. It was just “no, no, no, no”’.

Opening this year’s summit on Tuesday in Majuro, the secretary general of the Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, says climate change is a real and serious threat to the peoples of the Pacific.

“TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: With the recent experience of the Marshall Islands only a few short months ago of severe drought and tidal inundation, the theme for this year’s Forum meeting is most aptly on the mark.”

The outgoing Forum chair, the Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna, says they chose the theme of climate change leadership partly because of frustration that Pacific countries have felt in the past of being overlooked, ignored and undervalued. He says years of inaction on the part of those able to help in mitigation measures have left Pacific peoples disappointed and dissatisfied. He says he has worked over the past year as Forum chair to promote the principles of the Pacific as large ocean island states.

“HENRY PUNA: Island states that must take the lead to redefine themselves and their place in the world and then project that renewed identity to the rest of the world. Marshalling the Pacific response builds on that concept appropriately and thrusts the challenge forward – front and centre – as a pressing concern to us all.”

Marshall Islands cabinet minister, Tony de Brum, earlier called New Zealand’s recently announced commitment to cut emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020 ’a joke’. But New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, speaking in Majuro, says he thinks his country has a good record on climate change.

“JOHN KEY: This is a very low lying atoll and they feel the real threat that climate change could present to them and their lifestyles and their country. From New Zealand’s point of view we do think we’ve got a good record on climate change. Certainly the target we set in 2020 of minus-5% is better than a lot of our other trading partners.”

But Mr Key seems to be missing the message that the leaders of small island states are sending.

“JOHN KEY: Their point is that if the projections for sea rise take place over say 50 or 100 years, in principle it could threaten very low lying states like the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu or Kiribati – that’s correct. On the other side of the coin there are many other things that we can do – mitigation on the ground.”

But the prime minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, says people in the low-lying nations, such as Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, are already suffering the effects. He says while mitigation and adaptation funding is supposedly available, it is hard to get.

“ENELE SOPOAGA: You probably need in Tuvalu to spend one whole year to write papers, to write reports, to run workshops, to get consultancies, in order to come up with a bankable proposal. This is unacceptable while the land keeps on being eroded. So we have to do better than that.”

Enele Sopoaga also wants an end to talk of relocating people to avoid the impact of sea level rise. He says all the world is aware of the plight of the low-lying nations such as Tuvalu, but nothing is being done. He says this talk includes discussion on relocation but that is utopian and inappropriate.

“ENELE SOPOAGA: It should never be an option because it is self-defeating in itself. For Tuvalu I think we really need to mobilise public opinion in the Pacific as well as in the [rest of] world to really talk to their lawmakers to please have some sort of moral obligation and things like that to do the right thing.”

However the Pacific Conference of Churches general secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, wants the leaders to ensure there are proper legal pathways created for those that may be forced to relocate.

“FRANCOIS PIHAATAE: There is a need to address this immigration aspect and how to deal with these people, to move to either Australia or Fiji or New Zealand and their status too, and their dignity, culture and all of those things need to be addressed. If they go to Australia, do they become Australian citizens or do they remain Tuvaluan or i-Kiribati?”

The Pacific Conference of Churches general secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, says the leaders at the Majuro must make a firm commitment to take action on climate change.

Radio New Zealand International

47) US message tells Pacific to prepare about climate change

Posted at 06:52 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

The American secretary of state, John Kerry, who was invited to the Pacific Islands Forum summit, has sent a video message in which he said it was vital that vulnerable nations prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Mr Kerry’s place is being taken by the interior secretary Sally Jewell.

In his video Mr Kerry pledged to ensure a secure future for Pacific states facing the threat of climate change.

The prime minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, was delighted with the Kerry message.

“He used two particular words that are critically important to SIS [Small Island States] on climate change. That is irrefutable, that is, referring to the science, and catastrophic, referring to the impacts of climate change. And I think those two words capture it and I am certain we want to appreciate that.”

The prime minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga.

Radio New Zealand International

48) Tahiti call for Forum committee on climate refugees

Posted at 06:52 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

The French Polynesian government has proposed that the Pacific Islands Forum set up a permanent committee to look at the possible displacement of people because of sea-level rise.

Its president, Gaston Flosse, has told Forum leaders that his territory will play its role in accommodating potential climate change refugees.

Mr Flosse says this approach could lead to the creation of a fund during the UN Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris in 2015.

Radio New Zealand International

49) EU acknowledges Pacific climate change urgency

Posted at 07:23 on 04 September, 2013 UTC

“The European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard ( pron HEADAGORD ) say there is a clear sense of urgency about the need to combat climate change in the Pacific.”

Ms Hedegaard is in the Marshall Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting where the focus is on climate change.

Island nations are demanding concrete action to deal with climate change and she says she can understand why the threatened island countries are becoming impatient.

“Europe is also impatient so I think that is one of the key impressions that I will convey to in the further climate talks. Time is running out. The world must get its act together and those who are the most vulnerable and most exposed are getting very very impatient for very good reasons.”

The European Union Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard

Radio New Zealand International

SPORTS:

50a) Baru bags treble for PNG
By Online Editor
12:40 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Wallis and Futuna

Hanuabadan Morea Baru bagged three gold medals for Papua New Guinea on Day One of the IX Mini Pacific Games in Wallis and Futuna.

The performance saw PNG among the leaders on a successful opening day of competition.

The Hanuabada weightlifter, who lives and trains in Nouméa, New Caledonia, with coach Paul Coffa, won the medals in the snatch, clean and jerk and total in the 56kg division.

Fred Oala, 18, who competed in the same division, won two silvers – one each in the clean and jerk and total – and picked up a bronze in the snatch.

Earlier in the day, Julian Ovia, 16, picked up three bronze medals in the 48kg (snatch, clean and jerk and total).

A bit later, Monalisa Kassman, 20, won three bronze medals in the 58kg in the snatch, clean and jerk and total.

Yet to compete later in the evening were Isi Kevau and Ignatius Morea. They will compete in the 62kg division.

More PNG competitors will compete in weightlifting today.

Simbu runner Kaspar Simbai won the first medal for PNG in the 10,000m.

Simbai came third to win the bronze in a time of 38 minutes and 12.88s after Siosi Rosfelo of Solomons (35 minutes, 17.85s) and New Caledonian Benfodda Nordine at a time of 34 minutes, 44.22s).

A little later in the day, the women’s V6 1500m team trailed the favourites Tahiti to clutch the silver.
The PNG men’s V6 500m team won the bronze medal with Tahiti showing its dominance in the sport by winning the gold, with Wallis and Futuna taking the second place.

A number of PNG male athletes have qualified in their heats for the 100m and 400m finals to be run today.
Toea Wisil and other female athletes will run their respective heats today as well.

In volleyball, the PNG women’s team won their first game against Nauru 25-17, 25-17, 25-13.

Although coach John Kombeng is happy with the results, he said they had to watch out for Fiji, Tahiti and Wallis and Futuna, who have a  height advantage.

Chef de mission Richard Kassman is happy with the results.

“There is a lot of improvement in the different sports and the development of our young athletes who are making their first appearance in the Pacific Games,” he said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

50b) ‘Give younger athletes a chance’ : Team Fiji captain
By Online Editor
12:37 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Wallis and Futuna

Team Fiji captain Leslie Copeland has backed the idea for the Pacific Mini Games to make way for a proposed Pacific youth games.

The national javelin record holder is defending the gold medal he won at the PMG in Cook Islands in 2009.

He said he was confident of retaining gold but the opportunity to compete at these games should be given to younger athletes.

“We have already made a name for ourselves in the regional competition and I think younger athletes should be given the opportunity to compete at the Pacific Mini Games,” Copeland said.

“I think the idea to make this event the Pacific Youth Games is very good and they should take it up.”

He believes athletes would be able to use the games to make a decision whether to stick to their sport or to give it up.

“It was at the 2009 event that I made a decision to continue with javelin all the way till the Olympic Games because that is the pinnacle of sports competitions.

“I believe the youth games would give younger athletes a venue to compete with athletes of their own age and gauge where to go from there.

“It can be used as a stepping stone to get to higher competition.”

Meanwhile, Copeland said he was wary of the Tahitian and New Caledonian for his event.

He said he was throwing good distances but the aim was to retain the title.

“I am looking forward to the competition and would like to see how far I can go this time.”

The men’s javelin competition will be held on Thursday.

Meanwhile, an  injured elbow did not deter Milika Tuivanuavou from competing in her throwing events at the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna yesterday.

If fact, she ended up settling for two bronze medals at the end of the day at the Kafika Stadium.

In the morning she competed in the women’s javelin. She threw a distance of 42.58m and in the process injured her elbow.

In the afternoon she went on to compete in the discus event.

She threw a distance of 43.11m for her second bronze.

In javelin, New Caledonia’s Linda Selui won gold with a throw of 46.61m and Emilie Falelavaki of Wallis and Futuna claimed silver with a throw of 46.36m.

Tereapi’i Tapoki of Cook Islands won the discus gold with her 48.48m throw and New Caledonia’s Losa Fakate settled for silver with a 44.20m throw. Athletics Fiji coach Gabrielli Qoro commended Tuivanuavou for her efforts in both events.

He was full of praise for her not only for the bronze medals but her decision to compete in the two events.

“This is one area we are generally weak in,” he said.

“We don’t have many women who are good at throwing and I think I have not seen any woman in the past 10 years throw anything above 40m.”

He added Tuivanuavou’s dedication during training and drive to compete despite an injured elbow, spoke volumes of her national pride.

“What we are doing here is for the nation and she is a good example of a person who puts his/her body at risk for the sake of the nation.

“Milika is a complete athlete and we are very proud of her achievements.”

In another event, Team Fiji’s Va’a men’s team claimed a bronze medal in the 1,500-metre V6 final on day one of competition at the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna on Monday.

They clocked a time of 7 minutes 49.47 seconds to finish behind Tahiti who finished a clear 86.85s ahead of Fiji at Gahi.

The hosts came in second with Tonga and Papua New Guinea getting disqualified.

In the men’s V6 500m sprint, Fiji first came in second in their heat with Tahiti and Tonga however, finished fourth in the final

And athletics had a fruitful day on the first day of competition Tuesday.

Qoro said the 400m men’s runners overcame the scorching heat to qualify for the final and so did the 100m runners.

“In the 400m events, Uluiyata Batinisavu won his heat with a time of 49.26s while Kemueli Waqa was second in his heat to Papua New Guinea’s Kaminiel Matlaun with a time of 50.12s.

“They will compete in the final at 3.30pm tomorrow (today).”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

50c) FASANOC President pleads for Fiji’s return to Commonwealth Games
By Online Editor
12:44 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Fiji

Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) President Reg Sanday want to see Fiji re-admitted to the Commonwealth Games family and compete at two major events next year.

Sanday has written to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General- Tuiloma Neroni Slade calling on the Forum to separate politics and sports.

In his letter, he highlight that last week’s meeting of Pacific Sports Ministers in Wallis & Futuna resolved that sports and politics don’t mix.

Sanday says the resolutions from the Sports Ministers meeting have been forwarded to Slade so that this week’s Forum Leader’s communiqué in the Marshall Islands will include decisions reached in Wallis & Futuna, venue for the 10th Pacific Mini Games.

“The issue of Fiji is a bit part of this Forum’s agenda and in anticipation of this I as President of FASANOC wrote to the Forum Secretary-General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade reminding of the importance of sport, the now universal principle identifying sport as the fundamental human right, the resolution of Pacific Ministers in support of the IOC principle on the separation of sports and politics, and an unintended consequence of the Forum’s position on Fiji that was a big part in the Commonwealth decision to suspend Fiji from the Commonwealth and automatically also from our participation, as sports people, from taking part in the Commonwealth Games which is against the principle of separation of sports from politics and also against the international human rights for all to access sports and take part in sports.

“I argued in the letter for Pacific Leaders to consider the consequence of their decision on Fiji to ensure that it does not have the unintended consequence of barring Fiji’s participation at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.  Following an appeal made by Pacific delegations at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly held in Glasgow some 3-weeks ago the Commonwealth position on Fiji will be reviewed at the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka early in November.

“The PIF’s communiqué will therefore be a powerful factor in determining whether Fiji will be able to take part not only at the full Commonwealth games in Glasgow in July but also in the Commonwealth Youth Games to be held in Samoa in September,” said Sanday.

Sanday’s predecessor and current President of the Pacific Games Council Vidya Lakhan had unsuccessfully lobbied the Commonwealth Secretariat for Fiji’s inclusion in the Commonwealth Games family.

Fiji had been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum since May 2009 and the Commonwealth from September of the same year and therefore missed the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Sanday hopes the current change of tune in Australia and New Zealand’s stance to Fiji’s political climate is an opportune time for change of attitude towards the Fijian sporting fraternity.

He also hopes that FASANOC will also be given the space to engage with the Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) when it visits Fiji next.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

50d) Tuvalu make history at Mini Games
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2013, Wallis and Futuna

Tuvalu weightlifter Lapua Lapua made history last night at the Pacific Mini Games, winning his country’s first ever gold medal in major sporting competition.

The 22 year-old claimed gold in the men’s 62 kilogram snatch at the Kafika Hall in Wallis, while also picking up bronze in the clean and jerk.

The 2012 Olympian was unlucky not to win the overall title, finishing with the same combined lift of 268 kilograms as Manuel Minginfel from the Federated States of Micronesia but ending up with the silver medal because of his heavier body-weight.

Lapua says it’s a special moment for him and his country.

“I don’t know how to explain but to me I’m very, like, happy because this is my first ever gold for Tuvalu and this is like history for Tuvalu too. Before the competition I was thinking to beat everyone to win the gold medal in the total and I have mistakes in my second attempt [at the] clean and jerk, I missed it as well so really not happy with my second attempt but it was alright, I did my best.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

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