Smol Melanesian Na pasifik Nius Digest # 860

MELANESIA:

1) Veteran New Caledonia Pro-Independence Politician Dies
Leopold Joredie first President of Northern Province

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 8, 2013) – A veteran New Caledonian pro-independence politician, Leopold Joredie, has died in Noumea aged 66.

He was member of the Caledonian Union and became the territory’s first vice-president after the signing of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

Leopold Joredie had earlier been the first president of the northern province in 1989.

He was a close associate of the main independence leader, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, who was assassinated in 1989, but disagreed with his stance to reach a settlement with the rival pro-French side.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

2) Jailed West Papuan leader seeks Tony Abbott’s support

Posted at 03:45 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

The jailed leader of the self-proclaimed republic of West Papua Fokorus Yaboisembut has written to the Australian Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott to congratulate him and seek support.

Mr Yaboisembut was named president of the two remote Indonesian provinces by separatist groups nearly two years ago.

Mr Yaboisembut asked Mr Abbott to help him address alleged human rights abuses in the provinces and to push Indonesia to allow foreign journalists and human rights defenders to visit.

He also asked Mr Abbott to help the Freedom Flotilla Peace and Justice’s activists who have sailed from

Australia to West Papua, and are due to arrive in Merauke this week.

The activists say 2500 troops arrived in Merauke late last month to bolster numbers at the Indonesian border.

Radio New Zealand International

3) Forum At UPNG To Promote MSG Membership For West Papua
United Front For West Papuan Self-Determination raises awareness

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 8, 2013) – Today in Papua New Guinea’s capital, the Melanesian Unified Front for West Papuan Self-Determination, or WUF, is to host a public forum on the West Papuan bid for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The forum, at the Port Moresby campus of the University of PNG, is jointly arranged by the University’s West Papuan Students Association.

WUF says it’s initiating a series of activities to promote awareness about West Papuans in the neighbouring Indonesian territory and their bid for self-determination.

The MSG is currently considering a membership application by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation.

WUF is urging Papua New Guineans to support the unconditional inclusion of West Papua within the MSG forum, which it says is long-overdue.

The group says it is now a matter of utmost urgency that the heritage and identity of West Papuans as a Melanesian people is promoted within the forum of the MSG.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

4) Ban on betel nut in Port Moresby unrealistic

Posted at 04:46 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

A former Papua New Guinea betelnut vendor says a ban of the nut in Port Moresby is unrealistic because so many people rely on selling it as their only source of income.

The governor of the National Capital District, Powes Parkop, has announced there will be a complete ban on the sale and consumption of betelnut in the city’s streets from October.

Martyn Namorong says because betelnut is addictive, the market will remain.

He says other policies enforced against betelnut in the city over the years have not deterred anyone from selling or chewing.

“The governor doesn’t have the capacity to enforce his plan. Because of its economic importance and the livelihood of many families there is no way they are going to give up their livelihood – it is unrealistic to think that Betel nut will disappear from Port Moresby from October onwards.”

Mr Namorong says such a ban highlights how out of touch elite Papua New Guineans are from the reality of the lives of many people.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Rural People In Solomons Dissatisfied With Government
People’s petition supporters: Nothing happening at rural level

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 8, 2013) – The organisers of a people’s petition calling on the Solomon Islands prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to resign says it is those in rural areas who are most dissatisfied with the government.

Mr Lilo has faced strong criticism in recent months over a raft of issues and most recently for taking a large delegation to Indonesia for reasons he has not made clear.

The interim head of the Joint Civil Society Group says 80 percent of people in the capital Honiara are frustrated and disillusioned over Mr Lilo’s conduct.

But Barnabas Henson says a recent talkback show proved people outside of the urban centres – most of the population – are unhappiest.

“People have actually called in and voiced that concern that they haven’t seen anything happening at the rural level at all. You know, government delivery in those areas are very, very poor. And so people in the provinces – from the indications we’ve got – are willing to support this call that we are making on the prime minister.”

Barnabas Henson says opposition to the Prime Minister will grow even more once people know the full extent of government spending.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

6) New Caledonia power transfers face delays

Posted at 03:47 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

The Law Commission of the French National Assembly has expressed its disquiet about aspects of the planned transfer of power from Paris to New Caledonia.

A delegation has just completed a visit to Noumea to help the territory prepare for a possible independence referendum after 2014 which is part of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

The accord provideS for a phased and irreversible transfer of powers to New Caledonia.

The head of the delegation, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, says the work done on civil security is below the minimum needed for a transfer, adding that little has been done on it since 2000.

However, the delegation found that some adjustments have been smooth, such as the transfer of secondary school instruction.

The visiting parliamentarians say it’s regrettable that some discussions are being hampered by political quarrels.

They are expected to have a report for next month’s Paris meeting of the Noumea Accord signatories.

The Accord provides for a possible independence referendum after 2014.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Fiji President Gives Assent To New Constitution
Ratu Epeli’s acceptance means Constitution is now in force

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 6, 2013) – Fiji’s president, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has given his assent to the new constitution which is now in force.

He says the document provides for an independent judiciary, equal access to the law, freedom of speech and expression and a range of unprecedented rights for every Fijian.

The prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says the new constitution marks the completion of the revolution the military and he had embarked on six and half years ago.

Last year, the regime decreed that a new constitution be in place by last March, but it dumped the draft by the Constitution Commission in January and produced its own version, which was released two weeks ago.

The new document replaces the 1997 constitution, which the regime dumped four years ago when the appeal court declared Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s interim government was illegal.

Meanwhile, Fiji police have released 14 people, who were arrested outside Government House in Suva while peacefully protesting against the assent of the country’s constitution on Friday.

Police reportedly turned up and said they had to put away their placard, but they refused and were taken away.

Those arrested were from the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, the Pacific Centre for Peace-building and other Fiji citizens.

The executive director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Virisila Buadromo, says it was a silent, peaceful protest outside the President’s residence to say the constitution is unjust and does not reflect the views of 7,000 people who made submissions on an earlier draft.

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has earlier said there was good feedback from people and the international community on the document.

It has been strongly criticised by Fiji political parties, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

8) Fiji Police Detain Protestors Including Political Leaders
Chaudhry, Beddoes, Baba among those opposing new Constitution

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 6, 2013) – 14 people have been arrested outside the Fiji Government House in Suva while peacefully protesting against this afternoon’s assent to the new constitution.

Those arrested are from the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, the Pacific Centre for Peace-building and other Fiji citizens.

The executive director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Virisila Buadromo, says three of her staff have been taken into police custody and had their phones seized.

She says they were protesting that the constitution is unjust and does not reflect the views of 7,000 people who made submissions on it.

“It was a silent, peaceful protest outside the President’s residence. Police turned up and said they had to put away their placard, and they refused, and they were told to get into the police vehicle and taken up to the police station where they are currently being held in custody.”

Ms Buadromo says lawyers are trying to negotiate their release.

She says the remaining protestors have gone to the Criminal Investigation Department in Suva, where those in custody are being held.

[PIR editor’s note: According to an article in Stuff.co.nz the protestors were held for about 14 hours and then released.]

FBC News says the leaders of the United Front For a Democratic Fiji have presented a letter to the President to express their opposition to the constitution.

Among its members are Mick Beddoes and Tupeni Baba of the Social Liberal Democratic Party and Mahendra Chaudhry of the Fiji Labour Party.

Mr Beddoes says the letter calls on the President not to assent to the Constitution, but instead appoint a caretaker government that will take over until elections promised for next year.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

9) Opposition highlights Fiji constitution can be changed by decree

Posted at 04:46 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the Fiji constitution’s amendment process demands an explanation from the Fiji regime.

The constitution came into force on Friday and up until the end of this year, can be amended by decree.

It states changes can be made in order to give full effect to its provisions or to rectify any inconsistencies or errors and the cabinet would first need to get certification from the Supreme Court.

But a spokesman for the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, Mick Beddoes, says if the people of Fiji want changes, they would have to wait for a parliamentary bill to be passed by three quarters of the house, and a referendum of registered voters.

“Where’s the value of 380 thousand people having to all agree to say yes first while eleven of them who are unelected, unrepresented, can make the change anyway in the comfort of their air-conditioned cabinet boardroom while the rest have to go through a national referendum?”

Mick Beddoes of the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

10) Good time for Tonga to bring in quota for women parliamentarians: scholar

Posted at 02:06 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

A Tongan scholar says now is a good time for her country to introduce a quota system for women parliamentarians.

Sulia Makasini is writing a paper on how an interim quota system might work while in Australia under the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Programme.

Tonga’s legislative assembly has only one woman MP, Ana Taufe’ulungaki, and she was not elected but appointed by the Prime Minister.

Ms Makasini, who works as a committee clerk for the assembly, says ideally Tonga’s parliament will be 50 percent women but a quota system is still very controversial and would have to be introduced gradually.

“I believe it won’t be needed on a permanent basis, I think the main barrier right now is getting women into parliament and so the quota system is supposed to address those barriers, to put women in parliament as a practical demonstration to Tonga – not just for Tongan women but the Tongan public in general – that women are capable of performing in there.”

Sulia Makasini says people in Tonga need education on how increasing the number of women parliamentarians will benefit the country.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA:

11) Kiribati MPs determined to stamp out corruption

Posted at 04:47 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

The chairperson of a new anti-corruption organisation for politicians in Kiribati says MPs are determined to rid their country of the problem.

Mareko Tofinga, who is the MP for South Tarawa, says more than half of Kiribati’s 46 MPs have formed the first Pacific Island country chapter of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption or GOPAC.

He says the level of corruption in Kiribati is unknown but it is certainly evident in government departments and MPs showed at last month’s meeting they will no longer tolerate it.

“People were really arguing against that anybody who was involved in corruption should be removed, even if they are ministers. And that is what is happening now, it’s a very good sign.”

Mareko Tofinga says Kiribati is still prepareing to sign the United Nations Convention against Corruption and having its own GOPAC chapter will speed up the process.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Marshall Islands expects reprimand from Taipei over diplomatic spat at the Forum Leaders meeting

By Online Editor
4:42 pm GMT+12, 07/09/2013, Marshall Islands

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS in Majuro, Marshall Islands
The Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) is expected to be reprimanded by Taipei for what a senior government official described as a ‘diplomatic embarrassment’ during the post forum dialogue Friday.
PACNEWS was told a senior Taiwanese diplomat in Majuro was escorted out of the post forum dialogue venue at the insistence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“The request was made to the Foreign Affairs Minister who directed that the Taiwanese diplomat be escorted out before the start of the dialogue between donors and Forum Island Countries, the official who did not want to be named told PACNEWS.
At its separate post forum dialogue session later in the day at the Marshall Islands Resort with its six allies, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, the Taiwanese delegation expressed strong condemnation of the way its diplomat was treated by the host and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“There will be consequences for Marshall Islands after the Forum Leaders summit, the dialogue was told.
The diplomatic spat was sparked by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the High Level Panel of Climate Change Experts last Monday when its deputy director of climate change, Dr Li Gao, who was scheduled to be on the panel refused to attend because the meeting was being held at the International Convention Centre built by Taiwan.
China asked the Forum Secretariat to tell the host government to take down the Taiwanese flag and cover the plaque at the lobby of the convention centre. The plaque said the building was a gift from Taiwan to the Republic of Marshall Islands.
In response, a senior Marshallese cabinet minister ordered to cover the plaque and take down the Taiwanese flag.
PACNEWS was informed a Cabinet meeting was convened early Monday to try and resolve the impasse. However, the cabinet overwhelmingly voted not to give in to China’s demands.
An opinion in the Marshall Islands Journal said Dr Li did not attend the High Level Panel of Experts despite being listed as one of the speakers.
“If Chinese officials do not want to appear in a building that was funded by Taiwan and bears the evidence of that partnership with the Marshall Islands, then they should not attend. But neither the RMI nor the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat should allow one country, albeit a significant partners, to let an internal political issue impact the meeting venue or harm a diplomatic partnership, said the Journal opinion.
“Unfortunately, when Forum Leaders and delegates leave Majuro after a successful summit, the government has to try and mend this diplomatic mess with Taipei, said a Marshall Islands Government official.
Palau, as the host of next year’s 45th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting, is also a strong and close ally of Taiwan.
Senior officials told PACNEWS this issue will have to be dealt with by the Forum Secretariat so that it doesn’t affect the sovereign decision of the host country.
“In Palau, we will respect the wishes of Taiwan because of our diplomatic friendship, said the Palauan delegate.
Traditionally, at all Forum dialogue partner sessions, Taiwan holds its dialogue meetings as a separate venue, away from where formal sessions are held.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

13) Marianas Is ‘Fulcrum’ Of U.S. Military Realignment In Pacific
Security conference hears that CNMI will become training base

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 9, 2013) – The recently concluded Guam-U.S.-Asia security roundtable held on Guam that convened national security and defense experts see the Marianas as the fulcrum of realignment and reinforced the objective of having the Northern Marianas as a training base.

Tinian local historian and mayor’s office chief of staff Don Farrell, who attended the regional security roundtable “U.S. Forward Deployed Forces and Asian Security: A Strategic View” at the Hyatt Regency in Tumon, Guam, said, “It was made clear that there would be a Marine Corps base on Guam with about 5,000 Marines and 1,200 dependents, which will provide a considerable economic windfall to Guam, when and if Congress funds the plan. On the other hand, the CNMI will be a Training Base with rotational troops.”

The roundtable was organized by GUASA, Guam-U.S.-Asia Security Alliance, a Guam-based, military-buildup lobbyist group.

Gov. Eloy S. Inos and Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz represented the Northern Marianas.

[PIR editor’s note: According to the Saipan Tribune, Governor Inos is seeking consultations with top U.S. defense officials to discuss U.S. “plans to build a divert airfield on Saipan despite the CNMI’s unified stand to have it on Tinian instead.”]

As to having the Northern Marianas as the military training ground, Farrell said there might be a small number of troops stationed on Tinian for maintenance and security but no units with barracks.

He said there will be a smaller direct economic impact after the construction of the ranges.

The closed-door roundtable discussion held Sept. 5-6 brought to Guam experts Carl W. Ford, Patrick M. Cronin, Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Bryan Wood and Craig Whelden, among others.

Cronin is a senior advisor and senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson, Jr., is senior director, China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest.

Gregson Jr. retired from the Marine Corps in 2005, having last served as commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

Whelden, a retired U.S. Army major general, is currently executive director of Marine Forces Pacific.

Wood is director of the Pacific Division, Plans, Policies and Operations Department of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Ford is a political scientist, consultant, defense administrator, and specialist on Asian affairs.

Farrell said the senior policy advisers said that the China, Korea, and Indonesia problems pose a threat to security in the area and that U.S. Presidents since Nixon and the U.S. Congress have recognized the need for a larger American presence in the Pacific.

“They mentioned that the current global economy and the Syria situation are complicating factors. However, all seemed confident that the buildup in the Marianas will happen, in time,” said Farrell.

Asked by Variety if the defense and security experts talked about the future of the Guam-CNMI visa-waiver program, Farrell said the question of Guam and CNMI Visa Waivers for China was addressed.

“It would appear that over time the visa waiver policy for Guam and the CNMI will become one and the same, as with other federal policies, such as minimum wage and immigration,” he added.

Farrell shared with Variety that the forum opened with some of America’s highest ranking experts on foreign policy reviewing the history of the Pacific War, the role the Mariana Islands played therein, and the impact that the war had on America’s strategic policy in the Pacific during the Cold War from Vietnam to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Farrell said Governor Inos, Mayor Dela Cruz, and Guam lawmakers listened closely as respected civilian foreign-policy experts discussed the Marianas as the “fulcrum of realignment,” the “springboard to the Pacific,” and “front porch in the Pacific.”

He said that such phrases as “America as a strategic enabler” and “America as a resident of the Asia-Pacific Region” were reinforced with dialogues on America’s alliances with Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Australia relative to the developing economic and military influence of the Peoples Republic of China in the region.

“It was encouraging to know that these men and women clearly understood the value of the strategic location of the Marianas in the Western Pacific, and appreciated that the people of the Marianas had a right to participate in the formulation of the policies that will affect their future,” said Farrell.

What Farrell found “most disconcerting” at the roundtable was the lack of a national strategic policy for the Pacific.

“However, it was comforting to hear Carl W. Ford say that a conflict with China is not, and should not be, a foregone conclusion, and that the work of policy makers should be to create a military deterrence and an economic policy in the Pacific that will prevent a China conflict, just as U.S. strategic deterrence and economic policies prevented a U.S.-Russia armed conflict during the Cold War,” he said.

The second and last day of the roundtable discussion, Farrell said, focused on the role of the Marianas in Pacific policy planning.

Wood and Whelden talked about the military plans for the Marianas.

“The map of the Mariana Islands Range Complex and the description of how the Marine Corps buildup may be achieved within the MIRC was an eye-opener for all,” said Farrell.

“From this, one could not walk away without a feeling of reassurance that the Marine Corps and U.S. Navy are doing everything they can within the restrictions imposed upon them by the objective of their task and the National Environmental Protection Act to work cooperatively with the local civilian community both north and south of the Rota Channel, as their plans are studied and formulated,” he said.

Farrell said this meant more room for dialogue between the U.S. military and the CNMI “on how current and future leased lands on Tinian, Pagan and Saipan might be utilized, but not until after the EIS process is concluded in late 2015 or early 2016.”

Further, Farrell said the most poignant part of the security conference was when Carl Ford moderated the session on Guam’s future role in the region.

In the Q&A part, Farrell said Guam Senator Aline Yamashita “spoke passionately on the injustice being done to the thousands of U.S. veterans in the Marianas who have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.”

He said she spoke of the need for the treatment they earned and deserve as patriots.

At the end of the conference, Farrell said 10 of America’s most influential men and women involved in formulating American foreign policy would return to the mainland committed to helping the men and women of the Marianas who have served in uniform get the services they need and they would keep the Marianas in mind in their continuing dialogues with senior policymakers.

Farrell also recognized the efforts of the GUASA organizers Joe Arnett, Carl Peterson, Gerald “Gerry” Perez, John Thomas Brown, Juan Carlos Benitez and others who made the conference possible.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

AUSTRALIA:

14) As Expected, Abbott’s Coalition Wins Australian Election
Labor party defeated after nationwide swing to conservatives

By Emma Griffiths and Monique Ross

MELBOURNE, Australia (ABC News, Sept. 8, 2013) – Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has declared that “the time for governing has arrived” after an election that swept Labor from office and brought to an end the Rudd-Gillard era.

Nine weeks after he wrested control of the party and the country from Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd conceded defeat and with a “heavy heart” announced he would step down from the leadership.

With a national swing towards the Coalition of around 3.5 per cent, Mr Abbott has led the Coalition to a strong victory, winning a swathe of seats in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.

“I am both proud and humbled as I shoulder the duties of government. The time for campaigning has passed, the time for governing has arrived. I pledge myself to the service of our country,” he told a triumphant crowd of Liberal Party faithful in Sydney.

“I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy, and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments to you, the Australian people.

“In three years’ time, the carbon tax will be gone, the boats will be stopped, the budget will be on track for a believable surplus and the roads of the 21st century will finally be well underway.

“And from today, I declare that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business.”

He noted that “hundreds of thousands” of people had voted for the Coalition for the first time in this election and told them his government “will not let you down”.

“A good government is one that governs for all Australians – including those who haven’t voted for it,” he said.

“A good government is one with a duty to help everyone to maximise his or her potential, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and our forgotten families, as well as those who Menzies described as lifters, not leaners,” he said.

“We will not leave anyone behind.”

Look back at how Election Day 2013 unfolded on our blog

Coalition claims nationwide swing

With 70 per cent of votes counted, the Coalition has won 53.5 per cent of votes on a two-party preferred basis, a swing of 3.6 per cent in its favour.

The Coalition has claimed the scalp of assistant treasurer David Bradbury, Labor’s most senior loss.

He lost his marginal western Sydney seat of Lindsay to Fiona Scott, the candidate Mr Abbott described as having “sex appeal” during the campaign.

Elsewhere in NSW, Coalition candidates look set to win the Labor-held seats of Page, Lindsay and Robertson. The western Sydney seats of Reid and Banks also look set to turn to the Conservatives.

The Coalition has picked up the Victorian seats of Corangamite, La Trobe and Deakin, and looks set to claim the Tasmanian electorates of Bass, Braddon and Lyons.

And Mr Abbott appears set to welcome to the government benches new MPs for the previously Labor-held seats of Hindmarsh in SA and Lingiari in NT.

In Queensland, the Coalition has failed to win any Labor seats, however former Howard government minister Mal Brough is set to make a comeback after defeating controversial former speaker Peter Slipper.

Billionaire businessman Clive Palmer, meanwhile, appears close to claiming the seat of Fairfax in the Lower House.

Elsewhere, former premier Peter Beattie failed in his bid to enter federal politics in Forde, Bob Katter will survive despite seeing his vote collapse in Kennedy, while Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt retained the seat of Melbourne.

But while the Coalition will have a large majority in the Lower House, it looks like minor parties – including the Palmer United Party (PUP) and the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party – will hold the balance of power in the Senate.

In Queensland, former rugby league star and PUP candidate Glenn Lazarus looks on course to take up a position on the crossbench with 60 per cent of the votes counted there, while his party colleague in Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie is on course to join him, with 75 per cent of the vote counted.

In Victoria, WikiLeaks Party founder Julian Assange has failed in his bid for a Senate seat. Micro party, the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party’s Ricky Muir, looks likely to claim the sixth Upper House spot with 56 per cent of the vote counted.

Rudd says Labor needs to renew

Kevin Rudd will head to the opposition backbench, saying the Labor Party needs to renew.

“The Australian people, I believe, deserve a fresh start with our leadership. I know this will not be welcome news to some of you,” he told supporters.

The former two-time prime minister says he knows “Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight”.

“And as your PM and as your parliamentary leader of the great Australian Labor Party I accept responsibility.”

But he added how proud he was that no Labor cabinet minister had lost their seat and that the ALP had held its ground in Queensland.

Mr Rudd seized back the leadership from Julia Gillard in June, winning key votes in the Caucus ballot from MPs who believed he was their best chance at saving the ALP from a catastrophic defeat.

However, Labor figures have been quick to blame the loss on leadership ructions between Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard, though no-one has yet named the outgoing prime minister by name.

Former frontbencher Greg Combet has pointed to “conniving” figures creating “disunity” within the party, and hinted that retribution will follow Labor’s electoral defeat.

Outgoing health minister Tanya Plibersek and Labor luminary Peter Beattie have also criticised the tension, saying it overshadowed important policy achievements.

However, Rudd backers Chris Bowen and Bill Shorten believe the party achieved a better result under him than it would have under Ms Gillard.

What lies ahead for the new PM

While claiming victory, Mr Abbott repeated key campaign pledges to get the budget on track to surplus, scrap the carbon tax and “stop the boats”.

They may be challenging promises to fulfil and he will need to show voters swift signs of success in those areas to avoid political damage.

Mr Abbott believes cutting red and green tape, having a firm fiscal strategy and supporting private enterprise will help reverse what he calls a “budget emergency”.

Implementing his border protection policy will directly affect relations with some of Australia’s most crucial neighbours, particularly Indonesia.

Mr Abbott’s plan involves putting a senior military officer in charge of securing Australia’s borders, continued offshore processing, turning boats back when safe to do so and buying boats off people smugglers in Indonesia.

The incoming prime minister characterised the election as a referendum on the carbon tax and has promised to begin work on legislation to repeal it on the first day of government.

However, until mid-2014 the Senate will remain under the control of Labor and the Greens, which have both indicated they would block a move to scrap the carbon tax.

Mr Abbott has left open the option of a double dissolution election if his plan faces opposition in the Senate.

ABC News: www.abc.net.au

NEW ZEALAND:

15) Maori Party Congratulates Albert Wendt For Order Of New Zealand
Samoan author received New Zealand’s highest honor

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Sept. 6, 2013) – New Zealand’s Maori Party has extended its congratulations to Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt, who was yesterday invested, and is now the first Samoan, and Pacific representative to receive New Zealand’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.

Maori Party Co-Leader Te Ururoa Flavell said “we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt, whose writings, teachings and leadership have contributed to the fabric of cultural diversity here in Aotearoa, and earned international recognition for a man who has always worked hard to advance the aspirations of Pasifika peoples.”

“He was awarded an Order of Merit for Services to Literature and Education by the Government of Samoa in 1994, and a New Zealand Queens Birthday honour in 2001.

Today he has been rightfully elevated to the Order of New Zealand.”

Dr. Pita Sharples, MP for Tamaki Makaurau said “he is a prolific author of short stories, poems, plays, and novels. His stories have opened our eyes to tales of the Pacific, they confront social, political and cultural issues and challenge our thinking and our actions.”

“He is also a practised philosopher, academic and teacher who has shared his knowledge with us here in Aotearoa, and indeed across the Pacific and the world. He has received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bourgogne, Dijon, France, has won numerous awards for his writings, and in 1988 was appointed as Chair of the New Zealand and Pacific Literature Board.”

Tariana Turia made particular mention of the honour accorded to Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt, as a son of Samoa.

Emeritus Professor Wendt, as a descendant of Maualaivao Fili from Malie, accepted the Saofai (title bestowal), as a means of giving back to his village.

“I understand that when he was honoured with the chiefly title last year, he did so as a means of helping to rebuild family ties in the village. It meant a great deal to the people of Malie to honour him, not just for his contribution to the village but the nation as a whole.”

“He has shared of himself and his culture through his work, and has also created opportunities for the advancement of Pasifika education, here and abroad.”

“He was instrumental in the establishment of the Pacific Studies Department at The University of Auckland, and also the Fale Pasifika which is a beautiful symbol of the place of Pasifika people within the University, and within Auckland.”

“We commend the outstanding contribution that Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert has made to the communities of Aotearoa. We would also like to acknowledge his aiga, who are no doubt proud of his contribution to our nation. What he has achieved would not have been possible without their support.”

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

TOK PISIN:

16) Solomon Islands Integriti bill i hatim bel

Updated 9 September 2013, 16:39 AEST

Ol lida meri long Solomon Islands itok oli no wanbel stret wantem Politikal Integriti Bill em oli bin lukluk long en long wik igo pinis.

Odio: Paulus Kombo itoktok wantem Ella Kauhe blong Solomon Islands National Council of women long wari blong politikal integriti bill

Oli bin tok makim despla bill olsem wanpla samting blong laf long en.

President blong National Council of Women (NCW) Janet  Tuhaika ibin tokaut olsem emi les tru long despla bill long wonem no gat wanpla hap long en emi karamapim ol meri long resis long ol national ileksan.

Gavman blong Praim minista, Gordon darcy Lilo bai bringim despla bill taem oli holim palaman miting klostu.

Janet Tuhaika itok despla bill ino luksave na bihaenim tu loa blong United Nations em oli kolim long Convention of Elimination Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), em  Solomon Islands ibin sainim wanpla ten tri yia igo pinis.Radio Australia

17) Rabaul Queen polis sas: Bougainville mama i hamamas

Updated 9 September 2013, 16:52 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Ol pipal blong Bougainville long Papua New Guinea, itok oli hamamas tru olsem sevenpla pipal bai sanap long kot bihaenim birua blong pasinjia ship “Rabaul Queen”.

Odio: Helen Hakena direkta blong Leitana Nehan divelopman agensi long Buka itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Despla toktok blong ol i kamap long wankaen taem em polis i sasim wanpla gavman ofisa long manslaughter oa helpim dai blong moa long 160 pasinjia long despla ship long 2012.

Polis ibin sasim papa blong despla ship, Peter Sharp long mun igo pinis. Oli bin sasim tu kepten blong Rabaul Queen na sampla ol boskru.

Despla ship ibin lusim Rabaul wantem ol pasinjia ikam long Bougainville, East na West New Britain provinsas na planti pipal blong mainland na emi bin go insaet long solwara klostu long Lae.

Helen Hakena, bosmeri blong Leitana Nehan development agensi long Buka itok olsem ol mama i hamamas long ol polis i sasim ol despla pipal.

Emi tok tu olsem ol sip i wanpla bikpla samting long ol pipal blong New Guinea Islands rijan na tu long ol ples long nambis blong mainland PNG na emi gutpla olsem gavman imas mekim olgeta wok emi ken mekim long lukautim ol shipping sevis long kantri.Radio Australia

18) Serena Williams i winim US Open final

Postim 9 September 2013, 11:22 AEST

Serena Williams i winim pinis namba 17 bikpla singles tennis resis long tripla set egensim  Victoria Azarenka.

Williams, husat i defending champion, ibin winim Azarenka husat ibin namba tu  long despla pilai 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1. Oli bin pilai long tupla hour na 45 minit.

Serena Williams – career

Grand Slams

17

Australian Opens

5

French Opens

2

Wimbledons

5

US Opens

5

Total WTA Titles

55

Career Earnings

$US50 million ($A54.35 million)

Despla emi namba tu taem long despla yia we Williams ibin winim bikpla tennis pilai bihaen long long emi bin French Open long mun June.

Serena Williams, krismas blong en 31 i winim pinis faifpla Australian Open, faifpla Wimbledon crown na tupla French Open wantem tu ol win blong en long New York.

Win blong en long US Open i namba faif namel long ol biknem meri blong tennis olsem Margaret Court (24 titles), Steffi Graf (22), Chris Evert  husat ibin winim wanpla ten 18 na wanken olsem husat ibin winim tu wanpla ten eit.

Bihaen long pilai Azarenka ibin tok olsem Williams ibin pilai gut na strong egensim em. “It’s a tough loss but being in the final against the best player, who deserves the win, it’s incredible,”

“I gave it everything I had. I fought hard but well deserved. Congratulations Serena.”

ABC/Reuters

BAHASA:

19) Para pemimpin Asia-Pasifik beri selamat Tony Abbott

Diperbaharui 9 September 2013, 13:25 AEST

Para pemimpin di kawasan Asia-Pasifik memberi ucapan selamat kepada Perdana Menteri terpilih Australia, Tony Abbot, atas kemenangannya pada akhir pekan (7/9).

Menurut analis, Abbot mungkin tidak akan terlalu berfokus pada urusan luar negeri seperi Kevin Rudd, yang mantan menteri luar negeri.

Abbot diperkirakan akan memusatkan perhatian pada isu-isu dalam negeri seperti pembangunan jalan raya, penitipan anak dan broadband – tapi masalah pencari suaka, perdagangan dan bantuan luar negeri diperkirakan akan terus membentuk hubungan dengan negara-negara tetangga.

Koalisi sudah mengatakan akan memangkas peningkatan anggaran bantuan luar negeri, supaya menghemat 4.5 milyar dollar selama empat tahun.

Dalam wawancara baru-baru ini, Abbot mengatakan, jika terpilih, prioritas pertama kunjungannya ke luar negeri adalah Indonesia, China, Jepang dan Korea Selatan, sebelum berkunjung ke London dan Washington.

Indonesia

Abbott melukiskan hubungan Australia dengan Indonesia sebagai yang paling penting, dan bakal Menteri Luar Negeri, Julie Bishop, mengatakan, kunjungan ke Jakarta adalah prioritas utama.

Yuli Ismartono, wakil pemimpin redaksi majalah berita Tempo, mengatakan kepada Asia-Pacific Radio Australia, niat Abbot ini disambut baik di Jakarta.

Ia mengatakan, Indonesia bersikap wait-and-see mengenai kebijakan pencari suaka Abbot.

Juga muncul kekhawatiran tentang langkah Koalisi untuk mengurangi bantuan luar negeri, kata Yuli Ismartono.

Pasifik

Perdana Menteri Papua Nugini, Peter O’Neill, telah menulis kepada Tony Abbot untuk memberinya ucapan selamat atas kemenangan Koalisi dalam pemilu.

Ia meyakinkan Abbot, pemerintahnya berkomitmen untuk semakin mempererat hubungan kedua negara, dan mengusulkan kemungkinan pertemuan di sela-sela KTT APEC di Bali bulan depan.

Sementara itu, Perdana Menteri Interim Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, mengatakan, ia mengharapkan suatu hubungan baru yang positif dengan Australia menyusul terpilihnya pemerintah Koalisi.

Frank Bainimarama mengatakan, ia telah memberi ucapan selamat yang hangat kepada Tony Abbot.

Ia mengatakan, ia menghargai pemahaman tentang Fiji yang ditunjukkan oleh bakal menteri luar negeri Julie Bishop, dan mengharapkan suatu era kerjasama yang konstruktif dengan pemerintah baru Australia.

Koalisi mengatakan berniat menormalisasi hubungan dengan Fiji, yang dikenai sanksi oleh Australia, Selandia Baru dan beberapa negara lainnya sejak kudeta militer di tahun 2006.

Kata Bainimarama, banyak kesempatan untuk kerjasama baru dengan Australia karena Fiji akan menyelenggarakan pemilu demokratik pertamanya tahun depan.

Perdana Menteri Selandia Baru, John Key, mengatakan, ia ingin bekerja sama dengan Tony Abbot untuk membina hubungan erat dan unik antara kedua negara.

Key mengatakan, hubungan bilateral dengan Australia adalah yang paling penting bagi Selandia Baru dan kedua pemimpin mempunyai beberapa kesempatan untuk bertemu dalam bulan-bulan mendatang.

China

Seorang pakar hubungan Australia-China mengatakan, Abbot tidak banyak dikenal di China seperti pendahulunya, tapi kemenangannya diamati dengan perhatian besar di China.

Profesor Zhang Yongxian, kepala kajian Australia di Universitan Renmin, mengatakan, Kevin Rudd dikenal di China karena ia fasih berbahasa Mandarin.

Hubungan perdagangan China-Australia dipandang sebagai isu terpenting, sedangkan investasi China di Australia juga diperkirakan akan berperan dalam hubungan kedua negara.

Profesor Zhang mengatakan, mengingat bahwa proses pergantian pimpinan di China dilakukan setiap 10 tahun sekali, maka pergantian pemimpin di Australia diperkirakan tidak akan menimbulkan dampak signifikan pada hubungan secara keseluruhan.Radio Australia.

FRENCH:

20) La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée en faveur d’un engagement direct avec l’Indonésie

Posté à 9 September 2013, 9:16 AEST

Pierre Riant

A l’occasion du sommet du Forum des îles du Pacifique, Peter O’Neill, a lancé un appel pour un engagement direct avec le Président indonésien, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, pour trouver une solution à la question de la Papouasie occidentale, une province indonésienne.

Et de déclarer : «  Nous sommes, de manière générale, encouragés par les réponses du gouvernement indonésien – tout spécialement le Président – qui nous a dit très clairement sa volonté de travailler avec nous pour résoudre les questions relatives à la Papouasie occidentale pour obtenir un degré d’autonomie pour les habitants de Papouasie occidentale. »

Notons toutefois que si la Papouasie occidentale était l’une des priorités du sommet du Groupe mélanésien Fer de Lance en juin 2013 en Nouvelle-Calédonie, la province indonésienne n’était pas à l’ordre du jour du 44ème sommet du Forum des îles du Pacifique. Et les préoccupations concernant le respect des droits de l’Homme dans cette province n’ont pas fait une ligne dans le communiqué final du Forum.Radio Australia

21) La Constitution fidjienne adoptée après la sanction présidentielle

Posté à 9 September 2013, 9:12 AEST

Pierre Riant

Le Président fidjien, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, a donné le 6 septembre son avis conforme à la nouvelle Constitution lors d’une cérémonie à Suva.

« Pour la première fois, conformément à cette Constitution, chaque Fidjien aura une voix et je suis certain que cette voix sera entendue l’année prochaine sans entrave. »
En vertu de la précédente Constitution, la suprématie politique était assurée aux Fidjiens de souche.

Et le Président Fidjien d’ajouter : « C’est la Constitution que nous nous devions d’avoir pour que nous puissions rejoindre les rangs des grandes démocraties du monde. En tous points, elle garantit les droits de chaque fidjien et jette les bases de développement d’un État moderne, progressiste et éclairé. »

Pour le Premier ministre fidjien, Franck Bainimarama : « La Constitution fidjienne de 2013 consacre les principes au cœur de toutes les grandes démocraties libérales, l’indépendance judiciaire, un État pour tous et toute une série de droits civils, politiques et socio-économiques. »

Une trentaine de protestataires s’est réunie devant les portes de la Maison du gouvernement pour déclarer leur opposition à la nouvelle Constitution. Notamment la clause accordant l’impunité aux auteurs du putsch de 2006.

Tous les manifestants ont été arrêtés par la police.Radio Australia

22) Les 3 grands axes du Forum des îles du Pacifique

Posté à 9 September 2013, 9:04 AEST

Pierre Riant

Les dirigeants du Pacifique se sont réunis la semaine dernière aux Îles Marshall à l’occasion du 44ème sommet du FIP. Il est temps de faire le point.

Au nombre des grandes questions abordées : la situation à Fidji et son éventuelle réadmission au sein du Forum. Fidji a été suspendu en 2009, trois ans après le coup d’État militaire.

Le décryptage du communiqué final avec notre envoyé spécial à Majuro, capitale des Marshall, Sean Dorney.

DORNEY : «  La décision sur Fidji consiste à saluer les progrès effectués en vue des élections de l’année prochaine. Les dirigeants ont salué la publication de la nouvelle constitution fidjienne. Ils ont souligné que c’était un pas important  vers des élections justes et équitables. Ils ont promis leur soutien à Fidji dans cette voie et se sont engagés à se pencher sur la réintégration de Fidji dans le Forum après les élections de l’année prochaine.  Ce n’est donc pas avant les élections que cette réintégration sera examinée.
Ces élections sont prévues à la fin du mois de septembre 2014, c’est-à-dire après la prochaine réunion au sommet du Forum des îles du Pacifique à Palau. Fidji risque donc de ne pas réintégrer le Forum avant au moins un an.
Maintenant, rien ne dit que Fidji voudra réintégrer le Forum si Franck Bainimarama remporte les élections à Fidji, c’est là la question. »

Autre question : la Déclaration de Majuro sur le leadership en matière de changement  climatique qui a été adoptée par les dirigeants des nations océaniennes de la région.

DORNEY : « Dans cette Déclaration, les dirigeants de la région s’engagent à faire preuve de leadership sur la scène internationale dans le domaine du changement climatique. Ils soulignent que c’est également leur responsabilité d’agir pour des énergies renouvelables et reconnaissent la vulnérabilité unique des nations océaniennes  et l’impact catastrophique [du changement climatique] sur la sécurité des populations de la région.
Cette Déclaration de Majuro est assortie d’une liste de toute une série d’initiatives qui seront prises  par des nations océaniennes du Pacifique pour tenter de réduire leurs propres émissions [gaz à effet de serre] qui sont à mon avis très minimes. Initiatives aussi en faveur des énergies renouvelables.
Cette Déclaration est aussi considérée comme la contribution du Pacifique aux efforts du secrétaire-général des Nations unies pour parvenir à un accord universel, ambitieux et juridiquement contraignant sur le changement climatique d’ici à 2015. »

Et enfin troisième et dernier grand axe : les expérimentations nucléaires américaines aux Îles Marshall entre 1946 et 1958.

DORNEY : « Les dirigeants ont bien accueilli les recommandations du Rapporteur spécial qui ont été soumises au Conseil des Droits de l’Homme  l’année dernière. Et en accueillant favorablement ce rapport, ils soutiennent les Îles Marshall dans les efforts déployés pour convaincre les États-Unis de trouver une résolution au programme d’expérimentations nucléaires.
Ils envisagent de remettre une lettre au gouvernement américain pour l’exhorter «  à traiter efficacement les impacts continus issus du programme d’essais nucléaires américains. » »

Voilà pour ce qui est des grandes lignes du 44ème sommet du Forum des îles du Pacifique aux îles Marshall.Radio Australia

23) Australie : première femme indigène au Parlement fédéral australien

Posté à 9 September 2013, 9:08 AEST

Pierre Riant

La cuisante défaite du gouvernement travailliste et la victoire du nouveau Premier ministre élu, Tony Abbott lors des élections fédérales du 7 septembre dernier, aura permis l’élection de Novas Peris, ancienne médaillée d’or olympique et maintenant sénatrice travailliste pour le Territoire du Nord.

Ses premières réactions à l’issue de son élection ont été pour sa famille et ses humbles origines : « Nous avons débuté humblement puisque ma mère était mère célibataire. Mois et ma sœur nous habitions dans les vieux appartements de Kurringal qui maintenant vont être [démolis]. Mais c’est de là que je viens. »Radio Australia

PASIFIK:

24) Chinese naval taskforce enters West Pacific

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, China

A taskforce of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) which is to visit three South American countries, namely, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, passed through the Bashi Channel and entered the waters of the West Pacific.

According to Li Xiaoyan, commander of the taskforce and deputy chief of staff of the South China Sea Fleet of the PLAN, after entering the West Pacific, the taskforce will carry out training as planned, so as to further test related tactics and training methods and improve the taskforce’s capability for performing tasks on high seas.

Situated between the Orchid Island of China’s Taiwan and the Y’Ami Island of the Philippines, the Bashi Channel is an important international east-west waterway connecting the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ships and airplanes of every country have the freedom to navigate through and fly over the channel.
SOURCE: CHINA MAIL/PACNEWS

WORLD:

25) Xi, Obama discuss Asia-Pacific

By Online Editor
10:52 am GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Russian Federation

Beijing  has asked Washington to maintain an objective and fair attitude and press countries to make tangible moves to safeguard peace in the Asia-Pacific.

The region has an important opportunity for development, but it also faces “issues including maritime interests, as well as island disputes”, President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Barack Obama in a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

Observers said Xi made the remarks to tell the US not to play a negative role in the issues regarding the South China Sea issue and Diaoyu Islands, and to make sure that Washington’s rebalancing policy in the Asia-Pacific does not hurt China’s core interests.

“The Asia-Pacific is a region that best displays shared interests of China and the United States, and the scope for bilateral cooperation is larger than the differences,” Xi said.

The US expects all parties to resolve disputes through diplomatic reconciliation, and it is willing to contribute to this, Obama said.

Tao Wenzhao, a US studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the biggest challenge for the two countries is for them to interact smoothly in the Asia-Pacific when Washington is widely believed to be behind the South China Sea disputes.

Obama said the US expects the two countries to establish a comprehensive partnership regarding Asia-Pacific affairs.

Tao said Obama’s comments were “much more positive than before”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has publicly taken the traditional Japan-US alliance as a major support for Japan’s territorial claims and increasingly assertive military buildup.

Yet “Washington’s concern has been growing about Tokyo becoming an unstable factor in East Asia and undermining Washington’s overall interests in the Asia-Pacific,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.

Given Japan’s strategic dependence on the US, Washington can exert pressure on its traditional ally to moderate its behavior, Shi said.

“Setting up a partnership between the US and China in the Asia-Pacific is a laudable goal we should strive for, but it will be difficult to achieve,” said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Friday’s meeting was the second in three months between Xi and Obama after their talks at the Annenberg estate in California in June.

Xi underscored the necessity of simultaneously sticking to two principles — adhering to international laws and the basic norms of international relations, and banning the use of any chemical weapons.

“A political solution is the only right way out for the Syrian crisis, and a military strike cannot solve the problem from the root,” Xi said.

China “expects the countries involved to think twice before taking action”, Xi said, referring to the US plan to launch military strikes on Syria.

The international community should push for the opening of the second Geneva conference on Syria at an early date and initiate the political transition process, Xi said.

Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said “the possibility of Washington using armed force is still large” despite the uncertainty of whether Obama will obtain congressional authorization.

Obama said he is willing to keep in communication with China on the issue.

SOURCE: CHINA DAILY/PACNEWS

HEALTH:

26) Polygamy ups AIDS cases in PNG

By Online Editor
1:33 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

-Polygamy and prostitution contribute greatly to the spread of HIV/AIDS, according to the Papua New Guinea Aids Council secretariat for Hela and Southern Highlands.

It discovered that from 2010 to June this year, there was a rise in HIV/AIDS due to sexual relationships outside marriage.

In a polygamy relationship, sex with non-regular partners accounted to 55% in Hela and 40% in Southern Highlands.

The council said husbands were largely to be blamed for being unfaithful, with more than 50% of men involved in sex outside marriage while 3% were involved in anal intercourse with a male partner.

Southern Highlands monitoring and evaluation officer William Tom said Hela had 498 people (187 men, 311 women) diagnosed with the virus between 2010 and June this year.

Tom said Southern Highlands had 429 people (143 males, 286 females) diagnosed.

“The Catholic Health Service, Oil Search Health Foundation and Clinton Health Foundation played a major role in providing information, logistics support and rehabilitation over the last two years in integrating data,” he said.

He said in Southern Highlands, Ialibu-Pangia had the highest number of HIV cases recorded followed by the Inbonggu district.

“The Kagua-Erave district’s HIV testing coverage has a poor rating due to the fact that there is only one testing centre for the public in the Kuare LLG,” he said.

Tom said for Hela, Tari-Pori had the highest number of HIV-positive recorded cases followed by the Komo-Margarima district.

“The female population with HIV cases is considerably greater than the male population in all districts.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

27) ITaukei top HIV list in Fiji

By Online Editor
10:56 am GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Fiji

Indigenous  Fijians recorded the most number of people living with HIV, a survey has found.

Fiji Network Plus (FJN+,) executive Vani Dulaki said it was high time for parents and village elders to discuss HIV and AIDS issues openly with children and villagers.

“HIV is a real threat to the people of Fiji and, unfortunately, it is claiming a lot of iTaukei lives,” said Dulaki.

“Out of the 482 cumulative numbers to December 2012, 388 are iTaukei. The fact that we cannot tell if someone is living with HIV among us should be a concern.

“The behaviours that put people at risk of HIV should be discussed more openly such as having multiple sex partners. They should become the topic around the tanoa.”

She said men should use condoms if they could not abstain from sex or could not be faithful to one partner.

Dulaki said the issue was a concern after 62 newly diagnosed cases were recorded last year.

“Fiji’s data of 2012 as provided by the Ministry of Health shows that 62 newly diagnosed cases of last year of which 55 were through heterosexual sex, woman to man and vice versa,” she said.

“Very simply, the way to prevent the spread of HIV is abstain from sex, or have only one partner who is also faithful to you and if both are impossible, use a condom.

“HIV is here in Fiji and since it was found, no cure has been found. Some studies have shown that if people living with HIV are adhering to their treatment (ARV), the virus becomes dormant in them and there is very little chance of transmitting the virus.

“However, the saying prevention is better than cure still rings true today in the 21st century that people have to review behaviour and be able to decide for themselves what behaviour is appropriate and what is not, as it puts them at risk of contracting HIV.”

Ministry of Health Reproductive Health Clinic official Dr Rahena Buksh said people need to take ownership.

“We cannot afford to play the blame game. We all need to work together to get the situation under control,” she said.

“Everyone needs to take responsibility when it comes to their personal lives and take appropriate measures to prevent getting into harm’s way, rather than crying over spilt milk.

“If people are leading risky lifestyles — substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices with multiple partners, getting piercings and tattoos at unreliable places, and other such risky behaviour — then they should get tested to check their HIV status.”

Meanwhile, four cases of HIV were recorded by the Ministry of Health in a village on an outer island of the Western Division.

And concern has been raised that 40 more villagers who are suspected of carrying the virus refuse to be tested during visits made to the island by Ministry of Health officials and other stakeholders.

Ministry of Health Reproductive Health Clinic official Dr Rahena Buksh called on the villagers, especially pregnant mothers, to be tested and treated should they test positive.

She said the main drawback to their campaign was the villagers’ refusal to be tested because of traditional taboos between other villagers and the feeling of fear and victimisation.

“We did more than 250 tests and found other STIs with them,” said Dr Buksh.

“The problem is unsafe sexual practices there with a lot of sleeping around even when they know a particular person is at risk.”

“Our message is safe sexual practices, get tested and early booking if pregnant so that in the case of HIV positive, we can save the baby from getting HIV through medication.”

Fiji Network Plus (FJN+,) executive Vani Dulaki said the issue should be treated with urgency by leaders and villagers.

She said her team was aware of the spread of the HIV in this particular village after accompanying ministry officials to the island.

She said FJN+, – an organisation established in 2004 by people living with HIV and AIDS – was working to cater for the needs of those living with HIV.

“We have been involved in one activity for this particular village and the sessions were conducted at night for the community for about three hours,” said Dulaki.

“Is this sufficient or do we need to contribute the time we need to understand the issue better. This question is very important for the community themselves to respond to because we cannot just say we want to prevent transmission but we are not giving in what is needed for us to know how to prevent transmission.

“The leaders will have to be more bold and call the community together and raise their concerns and talk about what can really happen if we do not work together to prevent this virus from eradicating our community.”

Dr Buksh said there was a need for villagers to be tested and treated to prevent the virus spreading to nearby villages.

“It is very much possible that not only close-by villagers have caught HIV from these people but there are also people in the mainland,” she said.

“Mainly because our population is very mobile and we know for a fact that these people have been staying for long periods on the mainland in Suva, Lautoka and Nadi to name a few places.

“The MOH and relevant authorities need to continue awareness, not only in these particular areas, but nationwide because our people are very mobile. Most people move rapidly from their area once they suspect they might be infected.

“In hotspot areas such as the one we are talking about, with so much awareness and testing done already, we need to continue such work. We should do a survey to understand their knowledge, attitude and practices.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

28a) MP applauds UPNG students for success of Sepik day  
By IMELDA WAVIK
THE much anticipated provincial day for East Sepik turned out to be a success albeit having only one member of the Parliament from the province show face.
Although invitations were sent out to persons who were seen as people with influence in the province, there was a ‘no show’ for the day.
Member for Maprik and chairman Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee (PPC) John Simon saluted the student union for the outstanding result of the event.
Mr Simon said he was proud to be able to be a witness and said this was a day for history to be remembered, for the East Sepik people to know their identity, their culture and where they come from.
He said culture and tradition was the most important thing that we should hold on to, we as the people of East Sepik and Papua New Guinea.
“PNG is a country with culture and traditions and customs that need to be maintained; we are defined by the traditional costumes or the paintings on our faces or even the famous ‘bilums’ (string-bag) that we take around. We have more languages than any other country, we have more than five languages in the East Sepik Province alone, we must be proud and today you have shown that,’’ he said.
The MP, who is one of the two East Sepik elite persons to have responded to an appeal sent out by the student for financial assistance, has committed K20,000 for the student union.
Mr Simon also added that it was a big celebration for the people back home in Maprik and that the ‘Sepiks’ in Port Moresby should be proud that they have the opportunity to celebrate even when they were far away.
The venue was packed.

28b) 21 Tongan high schools to get solar power panels

Posted at 03:45 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

Rotary New Zealand says despite some challenges, 21 Tongan high schools are set to get solar power panels installed over the next five years.

In 2009, New Zealand aid with Rotary New Zealand and EcoCare Pacific Trust funded a pilot project in which five Tongan high schools had panels installed, so that computers could be used in classrooms.

A Rotary NZ volunteer, Greg Husband, says the pilot was such a success that volunteers are now visiting more high schools across Tonga to come up with a design plan.

He says they are looking at the buildings, the orientation of roofs and each school’s power usage.

But he says schools are often multi-metered, with power coming in from a number of different sources, making installation of solar panels difficult.

“Unless the meters are all amalgamated in some form, we end up sometimes not having a roof that’s close enough to a meter source that allows us to connect to it. This system they have of just taking power from the nearest pole around the perimeter of the school and feeding it into the system through a meter is very difficult as far of the installation of solar is concerned.”

Mr Husband says pending funding from the New Zealand government, work will begin next year.

Radio New Zealand International

BUSINESS,TRADE+:

29) China plans to import from Pacific Island countries

Posted at 02:06 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

China plans to import more products from Pacific Island countries as part of a raft of measures to help the region’s development.

A Chinese special envoy Li Qiangmin laid out the plans on Friday during the Pacific Islands Forum’s Post-Forum Dialogue.

Xinhua reports China will enhance co-operation by hosting an economic and development co-operation meeting in Guangzhou in November.

It will import more products from island countries, encourage Chinese investment, build more schools, roads, hospitals, sports facilities and other infrastructure and manufacturing projects.

China will also send more technological experts to the region and provide more than 500 Chinese government scholarships.

Xinhua reports China will also provide 800 thousand US dollars in funds to further promote China’s relationship with the Forum and to support regional co-operation.

This comes on top of a 32 million dollar project for clean energy-related projects.

Radio New Zealand International

30) Food import bill hits $865m

By Online Editor
10:51 am GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Fiji

Fiji imported $865million (US$458 million) worth of food items in 2012.

Minister for Agriculture Lt-Col Inia Seruiratu revealed the figure while highlighting that importing food continued to be a major challenge for Fiji’s agriculture sector.

“Fiji imported $865million worth of food items in 2012 and the major challenge for us is to produce more of these requirements locally while providing economic opportunities and greater self-reliance and enhanced food security in the process,” he said.

He said other challenges, included high food prices.

“The agriculture sector in Fiji is challenged by our dependence on imported food, low private sector participation, inadequate diverse food production and productivity and market access for our exports.

“High food price is another issue which has forced some families to buy cheaper food, substitutes, and has led to a decline in the consumption of nutritious food causing malnutrition.

“Therefore, the imports of food from dairy products, meat, fruits, vegetables and processed food items are increasingly steady over the years.”

He said government was addressing these challenge through various initiatives.

“Government is ensuring greater cohesion and effective implementation of the import substitution program, an export promotion program to increase self-reliance and reduce imports.

“The initiative of demand driven approach both for export and imports substitution commodities are focused in commercialisation and strengthening industry organisation and agro-business networks.”

Lt-Col Seruiratu also highlighted the important contributions the sector had given to the country’s economic development.

“It derives approximately Fiji’s $600million in foreign exchange earnings and contributed 9.3 per cent of Fiji’s GDP in 2012.

“The latest economic review by the Central Bank stated that this year the agriculture sector is forecasted to grow by 5.3 per cent whereby farming of animals will grow by 6.7 per cent.

“The subsistent sector will grow by 3.5 per cent, taro will grow by 5 per cent, and hydroponic farming by 1.5 per cent and sugar cane is expected to grow by 13.2 per cent,” he added

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

31) World Bank approves new funding for Solomon Islands gov’t

By Online Editor
1:28 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Solomon Islands

The World Bank Group Board of Directors has approved a US$2 million grant to support a Development Policy Operation for Solomon Islands.

This will help the Government strengthen its use of public funds, improve the financial position of key state-owned enterprises, and support a framework for extractive industry revenue transparency.

“Stimulating economic growth and improving livelihoods is a key concern of the Solomon Islands government and the World Bank is happy to support the government as they work to improve service delivery, and protect the country from external economic shocks”, said Anne Tully, World Bank Country Representative for Solomon Islands.

This is the second in a series of two Development Policy Grants the World Bank has developed in coordination with the government-led Core Economic Working Group.

The first Development Policy Operation was successfully disbursed in 2012.

The second Policy Operation will continue to support government-led reforms that will help to improve the budget process, make the process more consultative and encourage civil society involvement.

It also supports the important gains in the financial health that the Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA) and Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) achieved over the past year.

In addition, the funding will facilitate Government efforts to provide clearer information to communities about mining revenues, through complying with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

EITI is a global initiative that aims to strengthen governance in the extractives sector, a growing industry in Solomon Islands.

“Budget support grants such as these from the World Bank can provide welcome assistance to governments, and can be spent through their own systems,” said Tim Bulman, World Bank Country Economist for Solomon Islands.

“They also provide solid support for policy initiatives that can help bring improved living standards for all Solomon Islanders,”he added.

The proposed funding is fully aligned with the outcomes of the recently approved World Bank Country Partnership Strategy, (CPS FY13 – FY16), which sets to support macroeconomic and fiscal stability, enhance public sector capacity and community benefits in the mining sector, and improve policy and budgetary processes to support poverty reduction and service delivery.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

32) PNG to gain in trade deal with Townsville

By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea stands to gain immensely from a deal signed between PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNGPCL) and the Townsville Chamber of Commerce (TCC), Australia.

This comes after a PNGPCL delegation, headed by chief executive officer Stanley Alphonse, toured the Townsville Port and signed a memorandum of agreement with TCC last Friday, paving the way for both parties to share skills and expand existing trade between PNG and North Queensland.

“We are looking to consolidate a relationship of mutual benefit for both PNG and Townsville,” Mr Alphonse said.

“We believe a relationship fostered between Chamber of Commerce in Townsville as well as the Townsville port, will enable us to build the capacity we need to progress the expansion projects and plans we have consistent with our strategic goals.”

PNGPCL is currently undertaking an intensive recapitalisation program worth millions of kina at its major ports of Lae, Port Moresby, Kimbe and Alotau and plans to upgrade existing infrastructure in the other 12 ports around the country in the years ahead.

“We believe this is also an essential step forward in facilitating trade between PNG and North Queensland,” he said.

The development follows a trip by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to Townsville in July this year at the request of the TCC.

O’Neill is keen to see the relationship between Port Moresby and Townsville grow for the mutual benefit of PNG and Australia.

Alphonse said PNGPCL needs assistance in skills development, and following the signing of the MOU, local engineers and project managers will be seconded to Townsville Port at zero cost, to learn how Townsville has managed its port expansion work.

Townsville Port Acting CEO, Ranee Crosby and her team took the PNG delegation on a tour of the port and explained the major expansion work worth K300 million underway at the port, which at present was handling about 80,000 tonnes of cargo shipped between PNG and Townsville annually.

Much of the trade was equipment to help develop PNG’s growing resource sector.

TCC president Dawson Wilkie said the chamber was facilitating closer ties between the city and PNG.

“While those ties have been in place for many years between the ports of Townsville and Port Moresby, it was important to keep fostering the relationship,” Wilkie said.

“It is important that we see this as an opportunity to share skills.”

“I told the Prime Minister (Peter O’Neill) that the capacity that Townsville has got, which we can demonstrate at the Townsville port, is the sort of skills that we can move over to Port Moresby to assist them in getting where they want to be.

“We want it to be a two-way thing, not us going up there and trying to impose on Port Moresby.”

Wilkie said the flow of trade tended to go one way and that is into PNG.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

33) Samoa Microfinance Organization Increases Loan Limits For Clients
Successful borrowers can now expand businesses under new program

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Sept. 8, 2013) – Their loans used to be in the hundreds of tala.

Now the South Pacific Business Development Microfinance project is looking at existing members to loan larger amounts – in the thousands of dollars.

The South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Microfinance’s mission is geared towards offering an opportunity and on-going motivation to improve the quality of life of women living in poverty, by providing them access to financial services, according to a press release.

In August 2013, SPBD achieved yet another milestone in its journey by introducing the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Loan program.

In almost 13 years since its operations in Samoa, SPBD Microfinance has disbursed micro loans worth nearly SAT$60million [US$25.4 million] to over 40,000 women entrepreneurs for establishing small businesses and creating the possibility of a brighter future for their families.

Currently, the organisation has its footprint in Tonga, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

The organisation and its members have grown together.

Through SPBD’s microfinance assistance, its members have been able to establish small businesses. Overtime these businesses have grown into medium size businesses, requiring a significantly larger capital and market.

Following this, SPBD with its history of innovation to serve members, launched the SME Loan Program.

The SME Loan is designed to help members, with flourishing business, to expand further and aim for wealth creation – going beyond livelihood.

“At SPBD Microfinance, we want to ensure that we partner, to the best of our abilities and resources, with the entrepreneurial women of Samoa and equip them with the financial backing, and skills, required for leading a quality life,” said Greg Casagrande, President and Founder SPBD Samoa.

“A financially independent adult has a better chance of gaining access to necessities of life like education and healthcare; not only for herself, but for her entire family.”

“The SPBD team is committed to empowering and sculpting bright and budding entrepreneurs of the country.”

Highlights of the SME Loan Program:

Simple and quick processing. Easier for members to access.
Extending training, guidance and motivation to members for their businesses.
Members of SPBD’s SME Loan program – just like the company’s Micro Loan program – also benefit from the company’s robust Financial Literacy Program.
Loan amount ranging between SAT$7,500 [US$3,177] to SAT$15,000 [US$6,355].

In Phase 1 of implementation, the SME Loan program SPBD will give loans to its existing members who have been able to establish strong micro businesses with SPBD’s Micro loan program and now are looking for more capital to scale up their business into Small and Medium business enterprises.

Speaking on the need for the SME Loan, Ajay Verma, General Manager, SPBD Samoa, said that “At SPBD, product and service innovations are aimed at making life simpler and better for our members.”

“The SME Loan is yet another initiative from SPBD Microfinance to influence, impact and engage with our members, with a view to support their growing dreams and ambitions.”

“Our members have always done us proud with their dedication to grow their business.”

“A larger loan will help them invest more and enhance their business, leading to better returns and subsequently, a better lifestyle and a sense of empowerment.”

“We are confident that the SME Loan program will motivate members and propel them further on the path of progress.”

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

REFUGEE,ASYLUM+:

34) PNG open to review of Manus deal: PM O’Neill

By Online Editor
4:02 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said he expected the new Australian government under Tony Abbott to respect the Manus Island Resettlement Programme signed with his predecessor Kevin Rudd.

“I have today congratulated Tony Abbott on his election as prime minister of Australia,” O’Neill said.

“The resettlement programme (asylum seeker deal) and the infrastructure development programme associated with this, negotiated and agreed to with the Rudd government, was done with the Australian government, not a political party or individual, and I would expect the incoming government to respect it.

“If there is a policy shift, or if the Australian government under Prime Minister Abbot wants this reviewed, we will welcome it,” O’Neill said in response to questions posed by The National.

Under the previous Labor-led governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, PNG agreed to house and process asylum seekers who try to enter Australia by boat.

PNG is also Australia’s largest aid recipient to the tune of A$500 million a year.

Shortly before the election, the Coalition announced A$4.5 billion in cuts to foreign aid over the forward estimates to fund domestic election promises.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson then and the most likely candidate for Foreign Minister post in the Abbott cabinet Julie Bishop said shortly before the elections that corruption allegations in Papua New Guinea and the funnelling of billions of dollars into unaccountable global bodies had prompted the Coalition to effectively freeze aid at about A$4 billion a year.

Bishop signalled plans to slash spending going to United Nations agencies and to bodies such as the African Development Bank.

The Coalition said, however, that PNG would remain a priority country.

In a letter to Abbott, O’Neill said the PNG government was committed to working closely with the Australian government on all matters.

O’Neill said: “Your comprehensive win was demonstrably a true indication of the trust, confidence and support the Australian constituents have in your leadership qualities and, more importantly, the political, social and economic policies of the Liberal Party.”

Abbott and the Australian opposition beat Kevin Rudd’s governing Labor party in a general election that had returned the Liberal-National coalition to power for the first time in six years.

The coalition won 88 seats to Labor 57 in the 150-seat parliament.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT:

35) New Zealand government’s climate change position called offensive

Posted at 04:45 on 09 September, 2013 UTC

The Labour Party in New Zealand says it’s offensive that the Prime Minister, John Key, talks about the importance of climate change in the Pacific, yet has a laughable target for greenhouse gas emissions.

Pacific leaders made a commitment at the Pacific Islands Forum to urgently cut green house gas emissions and become leaders in the fight to combat climate change.

New Zealand and Australia will cut their emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The labour spokesperson for the environment, Maryan Street, says this target is not just lacking in ambition, it’s laughable.

“So he needs to be more serious about climate change, five percent is a nothing amibition. We really need to have a substantial reduction in green-house gas emissions by 2020, and to play our part in reducing our emissions. We could be a leader in this area if Mr Key had some courage about this.”

Maryan Street says Pacific Island leaders are not fools and would have seen that climate change takes very little priority in New Zealand.

Radio New Zealand International

36) Japan commits to address climate change, other challenges in Pacific

By Online Editor
4:05 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Marshall Islands

Japan vowed Friday to continue helping Pacific island nations address climate change and other challenges such as disasters as it expressed appreciation for a declaration issued here by countries comprising the Pacific Islands Forum.

“We are islanders. As an island country in the Pacific Ocean, Japan is willing to contribute to a robust development of this region as a whole under common objectives and vision,” Shunichi Suzuki, senior vice foreign minister, said at the 25th Pacific Islands Forum Post-Forum Dialogue held in this Pacific Ocean state.

Japan is one of the forum’s 13 dialogue partners that also include the United States, China, and the European Union, among others.

This year’s forum, chaired by the Republic of Marshall Islands, a country of 29 atolls and five islands in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, including the capital Majuro, carries the theme, “Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge.”

“Japan highly appreciates the Majuro Declaration on climate change,” Suzuki said of the declaration issued Thursday by forum leaders to highlight their “strong political commitment to be the region of Climate Leaders” and “spark a new wave of climate leadership that accelerates the reduction and phasing down of greenhouse gas pollution worldwide.”

The forum, set up in 1971 to enhance cooperation among Pacific Ocean states, is composed of Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Fiji has been suspended from the forum since 2009.

Suzuki, who was sent by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as his special envoy to the Post-Dialogue Forum, said Japan and Pacific island countries “share not only geographical characteristics as island states embraced by the Pacific Ocean, but also challenges such as coping with climate change and natural disasters, and the peaceful and sustainable use of the rich ocean.”

He acknowledged that climate change “constitutes the very threat to the security and the economic development of all states, including Japan and Pacific island countries.”

To cope with it, he said it is necessary to establish a new international framework, which must be fair, effective and participated in by all states.

“Japan, as an island state, intends to materialize concrete assistance through realizing projects one by one, based on the needs of each country, such as introduction of renewable energy, by utilizing Japan’s cutting-edge technologies,” Suzuki said.

He cited Japan’s assistance of $240 million for a three-year period until 2012 to the group of Small Island Developing States that also include most of the Pacific Islands Forum members for the adaptation to climate change and mitigating its effects, as well its support for renewable energy and energy-saving measures.

Through the annual Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting process, which, he said, is Japan’s way of partnering with the Pacific countries, foreign ministers of Pacific member states who will attend a meeting in Tokyo and Sendai, northeastern Japan, next month will be able to see how Japan is rebuilding itself from the March 11, 2011 disasters.

“We intend to deepen our discussion towards resolving our common challenges, such as climate change and disaster management. Japan intends to further enhance our role in this region as a ‘co-working peer’ through tackling these challenges and resolving them together,” Suzuki said.

SOURCE: KYODO NEWS/PACNEWS

37) Pacific Needs Infrastructure To Manage Climate Adaptation Funding: UK
Britain prepared to invest $6 billion over 5 years

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 8, 2013) – The British Minister of State says that Pacific island countries need to develop the infrastructure to manage financing for climate change adaptation.

Hugo Swire attended the Post Forum Dialogue following last week’s Pacific Islands Forum Summit in Majuro.

He welcomed the Majuro Declaration adopted by Pacific leaders which spelled out commitments for action on climate change which is identified as one of the greatest threats to the region.

Mr Swire says Britain has taken the point.

“We think the most pressing need for this part of the world is actually climate change – that’s why we are providing access to finance and access to know-how. But we also believe actually that we can’t do it all frmo the West. Countries from the region have to have the infrastructure and have the ability to deliver themselves.”

Hugo Swire says Britain is providing around 6 billion US dollars through its International Climate Fund between 2011 and 2016 to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

38) Fuel Spill Threatens Marshalls Fish Farm
Aquaculture project geared towards export market

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, September 9, 2013) – A fuel spill washed over fish-farming cages in Majuro earlier last week, causing some fish to die and forcing the workers to engage in a hasty cleanup effort.

“There was oil all over the water,” said Rongelap Mayor James Matayoshi, who is overseeing the fish-farming project that has underwater cages located to the west of Majuro’s main commercial dock in Delap. Fortunately, said Matayoshi, the fish, Pacific threadfin, stay at the bottom of the cages and only come up to feed, so most were not affected. “Some small ones died,” he said.

The fish farm harvested its first batch of fish for export to Hawaii late last month and is now expanding with the construction of a land-based hatchery and nursery that will feed baby fish into sea cages for growing to export size.

The head of the Marshall Islands Environmental Protection Authority said commercial fishing vessels using Majuro as a tuna-transshipment point are putting the fish farm and reef fishing in danger.

Matayoshi said they didn’t know which vessel the fuel came from, and EPA general manager Lowell Alik confirmed the difficulty of preventing such spills, which he said occur with alarming frequency.

“It’s hard to prevent these fuel spills because they know that nothing will be done,” Alik said Thursday.

“When we cite them for violating (pollution rules), they won’t pay the fine or cooperate,” he said. “When we take the case to the Attorney General’s Office, nothing happens.”

This is the reason that EPA is pushing to get its own lawyer so that it can independently procecutor these pollution violations and is also working out an agreement with Majuro Mayor Mudge Samuel to improve lagoon monitoring and enforcement. “Mayor Mudge is not happy with pollution in the lagoon,” he said. “It’s happening every other week because vessels know nothing will happen to them.”

“They don’t care,” said Alik of the fishing vessels that use the lagoon for tuna transshipment. “They are just here to make money. We’re here to protect the fish for all in Marshall Islands, not just the fishing industry. Many Majuro residents rely on fish in the lagoon.”

Lagoon pollution fines are often $10,000 but Alik said the ship companies complain that this is too much. “It’s peanuts for them, but to clean up a spill costs a lot of money for a crew of workers, the equipment, absorbent pads,” he said.

Alik said he believes the vessels have become sophisticated in avoiding detection by dumping fuel mixed with engine oil and sewage into the lagoon at night or when it is raining. Instead of pumping it out through a hose, which is easily checked by EPA staff, they are dumping it out in containers, Alik said.

Some of the shipping agents and companies tell Alik that if they fine these fishing vessels they won’t come back. “They tell us it’s bad for business,” he said. “But what about bad for the environment?”

Local fishermen depend on the Majuro lagoon for fishing and local development projects like the fish farm will be hurt by fuel spills, he said.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

SPORTS:

39) Pacific Games Council votes not to include NZ/Aust, asks for more information

By Online Editor
4:13 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Wallis and Futuna

The Pacific Games Council has rejected a resolution to invite New Zealand and Australia to participate in the next Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

But members have asked the Executive Board to revisit the issue next year.

The resolution, proposed at the Council’s General Assembly in Wallis and Futuna last week, would have allowed the Pacific Games Council to invite athletes from New Zealand and Australia to compete in up to eight sports at the 2015 Games in Papua New Guinea.

The President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan, says a Continental Games would align the region with what is happening in other parts of the world.

Some countries expressed concerns over the impact including New Zealand and Australia would have on the competitiveness of Pacific countries and the unique culture of the current Games.

Some members also wanted time to consult with their respective national sporting bodies.

Vidhya Lakhan says any first step would only invite Australia and New Zealand to compete in selected sports, where the Pacific is competitive, and would be done on their terms.

The vote was defeated but a late motion, raised by Papua New Guinea, was passed, asking the Executive Board to re-look at the issue and come back with more information at next year’s General Assembly.

Meanwhile competition resumes in Wallis and Futuna today following a rest day.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

40a) Northern Marianas keen to host Pacific Mini Games

By Online Editor
4:11 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Wallis and Futuna

The Northern Marianas have put their hands up to host the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.

The Commonwealth previously bid for the 2017 Mini Games, which were awarded to Vanuatu.

The expression of interest was made at Sunday’s General Assembly of the Pacific Games Council

The President of the Northern Mariana Islands Amateur Sports Association, Michael White, says they have learnt from the previous bid and are ready and excited about the prospect of hosting the Games.

“We’ve added a couple of sports that some of the nations have indicated that they wanted to participate in and would have voted for us if we had included them in our programme originally. We offer the best facilities. We think we have a great organisation – Saipan’s a great place to visit.”

No other expressions of interest were made at the General Assembly.

An opportunity to place a formal bid will take place next year.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

40b) Sun rises on a very happy Tokyo after Olympic nod

By Online Editor
4:10 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Japan

Cheers and shouts of “Banzai!!” echoed across Tokyo just after sunrise as thousands of people started celebrating the city’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, beating rivals Istanbul and Madrid despite concerns about a nuclear plant leaking radioactive water.

A slight favourite ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Japan’s capital defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round. Madrid was eliminated in the first round.

More than 1,200 dignitaries and Olympic athletes crammed into a convention hall in downtown Tokyo at 5 a.m. local time Sunday to usher in the start of the buildup for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Shouts of “Banzai” — a typical Japanese celebratory yell after big victories — filled the hall when the winning bid was confirmed.

“This is a credit to the efforts of the entire nation,” said bid ambassador Saori Yoshida, a three-time gold medallist in women’s wrestling. “The chance to see the highest level of sport live is a great chance for everyone and as an Olympic athlete I’m thrilled.”

Tokyo, which promoted its bid as the reliable choice at a time of global political and economic uncertainty, had been on the defensive in the final days of the campaign because of mounting concerns over the leak of radioactive water from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

In the final presentation before the vote, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave the IOC assurances the Fukushima leak wasn’t a threat to Tokyo and took personal responsibility for keeping the games safe.

Thousands of residents celebrated at Komazawa Olympic Stadium, a soccer venue when Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964. Across town in the Shibuya entertainment district, late-night revellers marked the occasion with cheers of “Nippon! Nippon!”

Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Games was hampered by lukewarm public support, but that wasn’t a problem this time. Benefiting in part from Japan’s strong showing at the London Olympics, Tokyo had a 70 per cent approval rating.

“As a mother, I am thrilled that this will give the youth of Japan the chance to experience the thrill and the excitement of the Olympics,” said Wakako Tsuchida, who won the gold medal in the women’s 5,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The news will also be welcome on the economic front. Abe’s “Abenomics strategy” is aiming to fuel a lasting recovery from years of stagnation. Japan’s economy grew a slower-than-expected 2.6 per cent last quarter as companies wary over the prospects for a sustained recovery kept a tight rein on investment.

The mass circulation Asahi Shimbun issued a special edition to mark Tokyo’s victory.

“Having Tokyo win is a bigger thrill than winning a medal at the Beijing Olympics,” said Nobuharu Asahara, a bronze medallist in the men’s 4×100 relay in Beijing. “Staging the Olympics here in seven years will be a great opportunity to express to the world the wonderful aspects of Japan.”.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

40c) RWC excited by Tokyo 2020 Olympic Decision

By Online Editor
4:08 pm GMT+12, 09/09/2013, Japan

Japan Rugby 2019, the body responsible for the delivery of Rugby World Cup 2019 and the International Rugby Board today welcomed the IOC’s decision to award the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to the city of Tokyo.

President of Japan Rugby 2019 Fujio Mitarai said: “This exciting decision means that Japan will host two of the world’s top three global sporting events in consecutive years, reinforcing Japan’s status as a sports-loving nation with an ambition to deliver exceptional major events. We offer our full congratulations to all of the Tokyo 2020 team, who did so much to secure this great victory.”

“We also believe that Tokyo’s role as a Host City for the 2020 Games is good news for Rugby World Cup 2019. The two events will work very well together.”

“Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a nationwide celebration of Japan’s sporting passion, culture and heritage and will showcase its people, cities, trade and tourism to an unprecedented global broadcast audience of 4 billion during six weeks of world-class competition.”

“Rugby World Cup 2019 will also be the first major event to be hosted in Tokyo’s innovative new national stadium. And with strong central and regional government and sports council support, Rugby World Cup 2019 is well-positioned to maximise the benefits of preceding the Olympic Games and help grow the excitement among sports fans.”

“It is a key objective of the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia to inspire new audiences and participants throughout Japan and across Asia by making the event accessible to all.”

“We intend to pass the major event baton to Tokyo 2020 with sports fever and Japan’s national pride at an all time high.”

Bernard Lapasset, International Rugby Board and Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman added:”We are excited about the IOC’s decision to award the 2020 Olympic Games to Tokyo.”

“Hosting Rugby World Cup and Olympic Games Rugby Sevens in consecutive years presents a golden opportunity to further Rugby participation and interest in Japan and Asia.”
SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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