Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 863

MELANESIA:

1) PNG foreign Minister Pato hails Indonesia

By Online Editor
3:25 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Indonesia has started to follow up commitments listed in the 11 memorandum of agreements (MoA) recently signed with Papua New Guinea, Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato says.

He made the comment after meeting his counterpart Dr Marty Natalegawa at a recent conference in Indonesia where they discussed bilateral issues.

Pato said in a statement that he was pleased to note that the Indonesian government had already begun follow-up actions.

“The officials of both countries are working on a framework of actions to implement the MoA,” he said.

“And through this process, we should aim to identify concrete developmental projects that can be pursued within specific programmes and timelines for achieving them.

“This will ultimately boil down to the two countries securing requisite funds and other resources to implement the projects identified in the action plan.”

Pato commended Indonesia’s leadership in addressing the irregular movement of people within the region.

The conference was attended by 11 government ministers and officials from 13 countries in the Southeast Asian region including Australia and New Zealand.

Natalegawa thanked Pato for highlighting important points at the conference.

Commitments by both countries emanated from the state visit by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in June.

They agreed that the two countries should  focus on priority sectors including trade and economic development, infrastructure development, security, culture, social and welfare issues and the border of West Papua and Papua provinces of Indonesia.

An Indonesian parliamentary delegation will visit PNG  this month to forge a network between the House of Representatives in Indonesia and members of parliament in PNG.

He said this would enhance friendship, cooperation and understanding between the leaders of the two countries.

Meanwhile, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill held discussions on bilateral relations with the new Thailand Ambassador Maris Sangiampongsa and Bangladeshi High Commissioner MD Nazmulquaunine in Port Moresby

O’Neill received letters of introduction from the two envoys Wednesday.

A statement said that O’Neill had the first meeting with Ambassador Sangiampongsa to welcome him and discuss various matters of mutual interests which included trade and investment.

O’Neill also met with High Commissioner Nazmulquaunine and acknowledged the robust establishment of PNG-Bangladesh in 1983.

He embraced excellent progress in trade, investment and various sections of cooperation that have transpired over the years.

“PNG recognises the importance of regional and international organisations and the common views and the aspirations they share under the auspices of these organisations to recognise their growth and advancement.

“We also note the important areas PNG and Bangladesh could pursue and seek ways of mutual benefit.

O’Neill said PNG sought ways on how their relations should be further enhanced and sought to promote mutual understanding between both countries for further cooperation in all fronts.

The prime minister extended his sincere welcome to the two new diplomats and wished them a pleasant tenure in PNG for the next four years they would be serving.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

2) PNG PM says SMEs key to job generation

By Online Editor
1:43 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill believes the small-to-medium (SME) sector is the way to achieve greater economic participation and greater employment for young Papua New Guineans.

He said this during the two-day Papua New Guinea business advantage summit in Port Moresby on Monday.

“I believe strongly that growing our small business sector and medium-sized enterprises is the only way to make a significant impact on unemployment in our community,” O’Neill said.

He said that as the provision of free education up to Year 12, this would mean that more children would attend school and more children remained in school longer.

As a result, more young men and women will be completing years 10, 11 and 12 and more young people will be seeking employment after studies.

O’Neill said the government’s ambitious programme to grow the SME sector would ease the problem of unemployment among young PNG men and women.

Comparing PNG’s SME sector with other countries, he said PNG needed to improve a lot in creating more opportunities in the small-to-medium enterprises sector.

“I am told our neighbor Indonesia has close to forty million small businesses. We have not much more than 40,000 …  we need to multiply that number and we need to do so quickly,” O’Neill added.

He said, with the nitiative to boost the SME sector, the government also encouraged the joint ventures and partnerships with existing and potential foreign owned enterprises.

O’Neill added that the move by the government to give more attention to the SME sector would be challenging.

“I understand the enormity of the challenge, but it is one we cannot afford to fail,” O’Neill said

Meanwhile, the  PNG Government has identified certain towns and cities as possible economic hubs for development.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said apart from the existing major centres of Port Moresby and Lae, the Government has identified others that have taken steps to manage urbanisation in PNG’s growth, diversity and economy maturity.

“We have identified Kokopo as our major tourism hub, Goroka as regional services centre with Wewak and Madang as hubs driven largely by the fisheries sector,” O’Neill said.

He said the Government would focus on ensuring that the economies of these centres could grow substantially through attracting new industries and supporting existing businesses and provide avenues for them to expand.

“I am especially keen to implement a planned and properly implemented urban economic development programme in these centres because we simply must be more competitive when it comes to industries and businesses,” O’Neill said.

“One of the lessons that we must learn from low commodity prices and other international factors far beyond our control is that we must lift our productivity so that we are on the same level and playing field as our regional and international competitors,” he said.

Meanwhile, O’Neill said with the focus to expand and invest in the identified economic hubs, the Government will work with provincial and local government leaders to provide efficient infrastructure such as houses, schools and hospitals so that PNG families would remain and work in those economic centres.

He said the Government was going to invest heavily in the rural and urban communities from the revenue flow from gas development and other resources and construction sectors.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

3) PNG Treasurer Polye to chair IMF, World Bank board

By Online Editor
3:23 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Treasurer Don Polye will be the next chairman of the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Polye was selected to be the chairman in 2014 by fellow governors, who are finance ministers of member countries.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill commended Polye, saying his elevation to chair of the important financial institutions was a vote of confidence in PNG and would raise its profile on the global scene.

In a letter to Polye, the prime minister said his selection was in recognition not only of Polye’s leadership and talent by his peers, but also of PNG’s increasing role as a major player in the region.

“I have no doubt that PNG and the region would benefit greatly from your tenure as Chair of the Fund and Bank,” O’Neill said.

The treasurer said the chairmanship was a prestigious position and he was honoured to take it up.

“This will certainly complement well our government’s drive towards making PNG the leader and big brother amongst Pacific Island nations, and an emerging economy in the Asia-Pacific region,” Polye said.

Polye’s chairmanship would be formally approved by the board of governors of the fund and the bank at its annual general meeting in October.

Executive director for Asia Pacific Constituency Jong-won Yoon said he was delighted that a Pacific Island nation will hold this office in 2014.

“This role affords PNG the opportunity to showcase itself on the international arena,” Yoon said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

4) Officials In Solomons Government Ministries Shuffled
Permanent secretaries reassigned, suspended and resign

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 11, 2013) – The Solomon Islands government on Monday announced the resignation, suspension and reshuffling of several permanent secretaries (PS) within government ministries.

A statement from the Government Communication Unit (GCU) said the Public Service Commission (PSC) with the concurrence of the Prime Minister has approved the resignation and suspension of two permanent secretaries after consulting with the Prime Minister.

The statement added both the PSC and PM also endorsed the reshuffling of two other permanent secretaries.

“The PSC in its meeting on August 28, 2013, has approved the suspension of the permanent secretary of the ministry of mines, energy and rural electrification, Rence Sore. It also accepted the resignation of the permanent secretary of agriculture and livestock, Frank Wickham.

“Mr. Sore remains suspended until investigations into the ministry of mines and rural electrification’s handling of the Gold Ridge Royalty issue is being completed.”

In the meantime, the ministry of agriculture and livestock’s (MAL) under secretary for research, Jimmy Saele’a will be the acting PS while the post is being advertised.

“The approval and acceptance of the suspension and resignation of the two permanent secretaries have been made under section 128(1) of the constitution,” the statement said.

It added under the reshuffling exercise, former permanent secretary of the ministry of forestry and research Jeffery Wickham has been appointed new secretary to the Prime Minister (SPM), while former secretary to the Prime Minister, Barnabas Anga has been appointed new PS of forestry and research.

“The PSC in consultation with the Prime Minister has made the reshuffling of the permanent secretaries under section 128 (2) of the constitution.”

Mr. Anga has also been appointed acting PS of the ministry of mines, energy and rural electrification following the suspension of Mr. Sore.

The new reshuffle and suspension takes effect immediately.

Solomon Star

5) Eastern Guadalcanal in Solomons waiting for roads/bridges

Posted at 05:28 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

A major agricultural producer in Solomon Islands says it would be great if the government would build roads and bridges in the Guadalcanal plains area as it has west of the capital Honiara.

A bridge vital to the operation of Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited was washed out last week and Roger Benzie says as a result the company’s production was more than halved until it was repaired.

He says the company contributes 10 percent of the Solomon Islands economy and its potential to expand eastward is immense.

“But currently it is very difficult to get out there and talk to the people and arrange for them to express an interest in us planting oil palm and continuing that way.”

Roger Benzie says he has heard that infrastructure in the Guadalcanal plains area is scheduled for consideration next year but the government has not confirmed that.

Radio New Zealand International

6) Government Rejects Call For Solomons PM To Step Down
Deputy PM urges civil society group to halt ‘fabricated allegations’

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 11, 2013) – The National Coalition for Reform Advancement (NCRA) government has rebuffed the call by the Joint Civil Society Group (JCSG) in demanding Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo step down as baseless and cannot affect the solidarity of government.

Addressing the local press last Sunday at the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga said the pressure from the civil society group cannot deter the NCRA’s focus to lead the nation.

“Why calling on the Prime Minister to step down, nothing is wrong with his leadership. Government is performing to implement its policies to the people.

“I call on JCSG to stop making fabricated allegations. If you have concerns about the government the door is open to come and we can discuss your concerns but it’s not good to use the media for your own political propagandas.

“Prove your allegations with hard evidence,” the DPM stressed.

He explained to the local media that the attempt by the JCSG to call on Prime Minister to step down is null and void because there are proper procedures to do that.

“Under our constitution only Parliament has the power to vote in a Prime Minister and also Parliament has the power to vote him out.

“It is unconstitutional the way JCSG propagates to call on Lilo to resign outside of Parliament” Maelanga said.

Mr. Maelanga also appealed to all citizens in the country to put an end in speculating of false allegations about the government in the media.

“If you see the government is corrupt there are proper institutions to deal with corrupt practices.”

Responding to the recent Indonesia trip, there is no reason to justify that the trip is unwarranted because it is approved by the Cabinet, the deputy Prime Minister said.

The civil society groups got it all wrong describing the trip as a waste of tax payers’ money because there are significant benefits that will birth from the trip to boost the economic sector in this country.

Meanwhile the civil society said they are making progress into completing the petition.

Solomon Star

7) Former SDL Party Members Lead Pressure Group In Fiji
Native Tribal Congress to take up issues for native Fijians

By Rosi Doviverata

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Sept. 11, 2013) – Prominent members of Fiji’s former Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party are leading the way in a new pressure group, the Fiji Native Tribal Congress.

They include two top chiefs-politicians in the SDL Government removed in the 2006 takeover, Ro Teimumu Kepa and Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Members stress the Fiji Native Tribal Congress is not a political movement but a democratic pressure group. However, it is likely its activities will be watched closely as the country heads into the political phase leading to next year’s elections.

Formed in June 2011, the Fiji Native Tribal Congress says its primary objective is to take up issues relating to group rights of indigenous Fijians.

And the Congress already has plans to hold a meeting of chiefs.

Suva lawyer Niko Nawaikula, the initiator of the congress said: “Chiefs are meeting in their locality, there are plans to call them together to discuss common issues.

“There is no more Emergency Regulation so there is nothing to stop it. There are plans already on the way, but chiefs have to fork out monies for themselves.

“So once we have that money to collect them together in a single place to meet then we will have it. Because it’s legal, it’s not illegal.”

A former Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua party member, Mr. Nawaikula has since distanced himself from the rebranded SODELPA party. He prefers to spend more time and effort on what he refers to as “something more permanent.”

He has told all interested that the Congress is non-political.

He said: “We will concentrate basically on the objectivity of the indigenous rights, which is a matter of law and it is also a matter of human rights and because it is permanent.

“Political, is only about power, it will last for a time.

“So, the fight for indigenous rights, because it is non-political, because it’s a permanent right that will be there irrespective of whether or not we have the election next year and irrespective of whether or not Commodore Bainimarama will be there.”

He calls the Fiji Native Tribal Congress a democratic pressure group.

“Democratic pressure groups are very important in a democracy, they make democracy work,” he said. “Democracy will not work unless you have these pressure groups – utilising everything that is all within the law, like going to the court, like submitting petitions, like getting necessary approval before holding marches.”

How the Congress started

After returning from a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues held in New York, in 2010 he became concerned about the way indigenous issues were addressed in Fiji.

“This is relating to the need to get a prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples before Government do anything that touch upon their identity, namely their land, and issues relating to limited rights of self-determination.”

So out of that concern, Mr. Nawaikula said he contacted two paramount chiefs and former SDL members themselves, Ro Teimumu and Ratu Naiqama. This is in their capacity as heads of tribal confederacies in Burebasaga and Tovata. Both agreed to become board members of the congress.

The paramount chief of the Kubuna confederacy is yet to be named under traditional protocol.

At the time the Congress was established, the once powerful iTaukei institution, the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), had been de-established by the Bainimarama Government. Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the GCC had become politicised to the detriment of Fiji’s pursuit of a common and equal citizenry.

Mr. Nawaikula said it was important to note that the chiefly system is not new, it is customary.

“The effect of the act that recognises the GCC is to give it recognition to allow it to come together to form into a body. If you terminate that, you do not take away those customary institutions.

“You may take away the legal recognition of that, statutorily, but the common law still recognises them – so it does not stop the chiefs to form or meet.

“Only when you have a law that outlaws them coming together under custom – then it would be illegal. So, the chiefs are continuing to meet, the bose vanua are continuing to meet, they are calling their people together…even without the act being terminated,” he said.

The congress describes itself an independent non-government body. The congress is not registered.

Mr. Nawaikula said: “We can get registered, but we don’t see the need for that. Plus we felt that if we had applied for registration in 2011, our application may be refused because of Government stand.”

As a non-profit, charitable body the Fiji Native Tribal Congress is not funded by either local or overseas donors, he said. Locally, work is totally voluntary, including board members.

“Only when we attend a seminar or meeting overseas, that is when we are being funded,” Mr. Nawaikula said.

FijiSUN: http://www.fijisun.com.fj/

8) Fiji welcomes NZ “change of position”

Posted at 05:28 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has welcomed what he describes as New Zealand’s change of position on Fiji but he says it may have come a little too late.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced a further easing of sanctions on Fiji and more assistance for elections in recognition of Fiji’s progress towards elections next year.

Ratu Inoke says it is positive New Zealand has recognised progress but says its change of stance will have little impact at this late stage and that is regrettable.

The minister says he is pleased the sporting ban has been formally lifted and scholarships for students from Fiji will be restored.

He says the continuing support of the New Zealand Government towards the election process is valuable.

Radio New Zealand International

9) We want a smarter Fijian: PM Bainimarama

By Online Editor
3:24 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Fiji

We have a vision of a smarter Fiji taking a leadership role in the region and being at the forefront of the effort to improve the lives of all Pacific peoples, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

While opening a telecentre in the Northern Division this week, the Prime Minister said that by having a smarter population, Fijians will be better educated and better informed.

“Everything we do is designed to achieve that vision – whether it’s training our young people to be trades people or farmers, giving people better access to scholarships or in this instance, giving ordinary Fijians better access to information.”

“Our new Constitution – that passed into law at the weekend – specifically states that our young people are entitled to primary, secondary and tertiary education.”

“It’s an ambitious clause. But I don’t want any smart child in Fiji to be held back because his or her parents can’t afford a better education.”

“We all know that it’s happened in the past and unfortunately it still happens now. But Fiji can never be judged to be a fair country, let alone a smart country, if even one child is left behind. That is why we are currently reviewing our education funding programs to provide a helping hand to those Fijians who most need it.”

He said similarly, every Fijian deserves better access to information, and that is why Telecentres are so important.

“We can all be smarter if we make full use of them and the opportunities they provide. All over the world, the Internet has transformed the way people access information.”

He said they want to empower Fijians by giving them things they need to improve their lives and those of their families. And this includes access to communications and a whole range of basic rights laid out in the new Constitution – the right to earn a proper living, to get adequate food and clean water – rights that can never be taken away.”

He added that the Constitution is also the basis on which we the first genuinely democratic election in our history will be held next year and urged all young people who will be turning 18 before the election to regiser and have their say in the future of the country. “As young people, I want you to dream, to reach for the stars.

Work hard at your studies. Take advantage of the opportunities you’re being given to acquire knowledge and skills. Together, we can all make a difference as we build a better Fiji for you and the generations to come,” Bainimarama concluded..
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

10) PM: No room for racism

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, September 12, 2013

PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told the people of Nadogo that there was no room for racism in Fiji.

Responding to a concern raised during a talanoa session regarding the unfairness of scholarship awards based on race preference, Commodore Bainimarama said this was not true and that students should perform to get scholarships.

Speaking in the iTaukei language, Commodore Bainimarama said he had also received concerns from iTaukei groups regarding the involvement of the Attorney-General Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum as a way of impeding iTaukei development.

“Those with these sorts of racist ideas should stop because it will just hinder our attempts to better our nation,” he said.

“In fact the new Constitution strives to mend all ethnic differences in an attempt to unite us as one people.

“We should refrain from relying on such racist ideas and remarks as it will only affect our attempts to grow as a multicultural country.”

Commodore Bainimarama said academic success was based on the performance of every individual.

Speaking to iTaukei parents, he encouraged them to strive for academic enlightenment and the success of their children.

“If your child is getting his or her marks in the range of 300, encourage them to exceed the 300 mark and go for 380,” he said.Fijitimes

11) Public service complaints

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, September 12, 2013

THE performance of public servants must be on par with their pay, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Responding to pleas by the people of Nadogo about certain inaction and the lack of interaction between public servants and members of the public, Commodore Bainimarama said civil servants were obliged to visit communities and know the people they served.

Commodore Bainimarama said all government officials must visit villages and settlements.

“On my visit from Seaqaqa to Nadogo today I have been hearing complaints regarding service rendered by civil servants,” he said.Fijitimes

POLYNESIA:

12) Niue temporary home to Norwegian sailors following wreck

Posted at 05:28 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

Eight Norwegian sailors are stranded on Niue waiting on an insurance assessment after their 14 metre fibreglass catamaran broke its mooring and smashed into the reef at Alofi.

The Blue Marble is now out of the water and not sailable without extensive repairs.

The Niue police chief Tony Kose says the Norwegians, who had sailed extensively around the Pacific, are being well looked after by locals.

He says the vessel is not completely wrecked.

“But it has severe damages to it where it wouldn’t be able to sail from here to another country and [they] could get it repaired. But it did go to ground, it did end up on the reef and then the operation took place where it was towed off the reef and is now up on dry land.”

Radio New Zealand International

13) Samoa Government Defends Planned Airport At Satitoa
Airport represents important asset, says government statement

By Apulu Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Sept. 12, 2013) – The planned construction of an airport at Satitoa, Aleipata is an investment in critical infrastructure development for the future of Samoa.

A Government press statement last night said that the “project is an investment in rural development and prosperity, as it is an investment in offloading, settlement, social and economic pressures on the already-crowded capital Apia. Samoa’s population is expected to double in 50 years. Statistics indicate the numbers are not slowing down.

“If you want to invest in the future, you build today.

“American Samoa will always remain an important trade and travel market for Samoa. Now and in the foreseeable future. As an American Territory, it will continue to serve as Samoa’s doorway to the United States with its 350 million population and $16 trillion dollar economy – the biggest in the world. The nearest point to American Samoa, and the United States, is Satitoa, Aleipata,” said the statement.

The Tautua Opposition Party fears the airport will be another government project that will fail due to no planning and proper research. Satitoa village harbours the controversial wharf that Tautua claims has drawn the Samoa Ports Authority to bankruptcy. The wharf was to generate trade with American Samoa and have its facilities used as a dry dock, but remains unused.

“Not only is the location ideal, but it makes a lot of economic sense to build the necessary port and airport infrastructure at Satitoa. It not only cuts down fuel costs and travel time between the two Samoas, but opens up commercial opportunities in this vast region of the country,” said the Government statement.

“The Aleipata to Falealili region – with its natural attractions and the best beaches – is already experiencing a booming tourism industry. Several boutique resorts have opened up around the area over the last few years with more in the pipeline in the coming months.

“The bold vision – and expectation – is that Aleipata will have its own thriving satellite township in 20-30 years time. Good state leadership does not become mired and preoccupied in minute issues but must have a dynamic, long term vision for future prosperity, opportunity and development of its citizens.

“Furthermore, an airport at Satitoa is important in ensuring air safety. The Samoan islands are extremely mountainous, especially the interior, with low-hung cloud cover impeding aerial vision a good portion of the year. It has been responsible for a number of fatal plane crashes in recent times. Building an airport at Satitoa – the furthest point east of Samoa – avoids flying over the dangerous mountain ranges. It also makes light aircraft short-haul flights attractive.

“In summary, whether it is education, health, business, trade or aviation, Samoa is a country that invests in its future. Certainly not just for the next general elections, but for future generations.

“And it will continue to do so,” the statement ended.

Talamua: http://talamua.com/index.php

14) Cook Islands Water Infrastructure Upgrades Hit Snag
About 40% of pipes for Rarotonga homes incompatible

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 11, 2013) A project to upgrade plumbing on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is almost completed, but nearly half of the homes serviced are feared to have incompatible pipes.

The project has involved laying new water mains under around 25 kilometres of road in the town area.

The project manager of the contractor Landholdings, Ben Parakoti, says the new water pressure will be too strong for the homes, and the old leaky pipes will need to be changed.

The Ministry of Infrastructure says it prefers individuals upgrade their own homes, as they have already allocated funding to other major projects, but no decision has been made yet.

Ben Parakoti says the problem, which affects 40 percent of homes, was not foreseen at the start of the project.

“So we’re recommending that either we don’t connect the properties, or we actually recommend to the owners what they should be doing because otherwise houses are going to be flooded and all that.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

15) Leneuoti Matusi Elected As New MP For Nui In Tuvalu
Unclear if Matusi will side with opposition or government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 11, 2013) – Leneuoti Matusi has won the by-election on Tuvalu’s Nui atoll.

The seat became vacant after the sudden resignation of Taom Tanukale in July, during a prolonged national political crisis.

Mr. Tanukale, who had been health minister in the former Willie Telavi-led government, contested the by-election, finishing second with newcomer, Palemene Anelu, third.

Leneuoti Matusi is a former civil servant.

Pacnews reports that is not yet known whether the new MP will support the government or the opposition.

The Tuvalu government had a majority of two going into the by-election.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

MICRONESIA:

16) Replica of old canoe will trace trade route by Spanish galleons

Posted at 05:28 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

A group of nine Chamorros are planning to retrace the path taken by their Spanish ancestors between 1600 and 1800 to arrive at the Marianas Islands.

The 40-day journey will take place as part of the Festival of Pacific Arts to be held in Guam in 2016, and will follow the Acapulco to Manila trade route.

The canoe’s carver and captain, Mario Reyes Borja, says the 47-foot replica of a ’flying proa’ will start its 7,600 nautical mile journey from San Diego, and finish in Guam.

MARIO REYES BORJA: We hope to leave on the first week of January of 2016 and complete a 40-day, 40-night journey that would take us from San Diego down to Mexico. We’re going to caravan to Acapulco and make a courtesy visit because of our ancestral route. Many of those folks who are now on the island are part Mestizo, meaning that they come from Spain and perhaps Mexico. I am, for sure, a descendant of those people who followed the route of the spanish galleons. And we want to retrace that same old route, hoping that the ancestral spirits of our people, my elders, will be along with us.

MARY BAINES: And it’s an old trade route that you’re following, isn’t it?

MRB: The Spanish galleons of old used the equatorial currents to assist them in their new journey from the new world through the Marianas and into the Philippines centuries ago. That’s an old route, for sure.

MB: So you’re the master carver of the canoe?

MRB: I am the lead canoe carver. I built several models to learn the sailing concerns, to understand the tooling requirements and indeed to build confidence in our craftsmanship that’s required. It is made out of redwood, local wood from the California Sequoia National Forest. We obtained that wood in 2009 and used old tools to build it with so we can learn the rigours of building one.

MB: How many people will be on board?

MRB: We have a crew of nine. It takes four crew members to handle the canoe at any one time. We have four on duty and four off duty. The ninth person will be our navigator, so he’ll have to figure out how to manage 24 hours.

MB: So how will you navigate your route?

MRB: Using the stars and the sun, the heavens, the flight of birds, and the wind and the currents to find our way. We will use GPS for sure as a last resort if things go crazy, and we hope with the blessings of our spiritual ancestors, to make it to the islands of the East Marianas, where the origin of this canoe came from.

Radio New Zealand International

17) Governor Calvo Signs Guam 2014 Budget Bill Into Law
Calls bill ‘worst exercise of political gamesmanship in two years’

By Frank Whitman

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Sept. 12, 2013) – Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo yesterday signed the fiscal 2014 budget bill, Bill No. 1 (4-S), into law.

However, in a three-page letter to the Legislature, he made clear his reservations about what is now Public Law 32-068. He also line-item vetoed the amount appropriated for the Legislature’s Office of Finance and Budget, reducing it by 10 percent.

“The passage of this bill is the worst exercise of political gamesmanship over the past two years,” he wrote to legislators. “It is so painfully obvious some senators had just one thought in mind: ‘Where can the Legislature appropriate all this money for the greatest number of votes?’”

The only reason he signed the bill, the governor said, was because it gave him the authority to provide funds for Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) immediately. “For the record, you were only willing to give me this authority if I were willing to accept all the other provisions of your budget,” Calvo wrote. “If this is what it takes to convince the Democrats that GMH is worth funding, then I acquiesce.”

There were provisions he objected to, but that could only be eliminated by vetoing the entire bill, he said. In the letter, the governor recounted the history of legislative overspending and the resulting fiscal problems, and said the current legislators were continuing on that path.

Conditions

Future spending bills will be subject to stringent conditions, he said. “Heed this warning, senators,” he wrote. “From this point forward, I will veto any appropriation bill or any bill requiring funding” unless it contains:

A fiscal note from the Bureau of Budget and Management Research detailing the cost of the proposed measure, its economic impact, how it affects the job market, and whether the appropriation is sufficient and sustainable;
A fiscal note from the Office of Finance and Budget certifying that the appropriation is sufficient and sustainable, whether the appropriation is being made at the expense of funding for education, health or safety priorities, and how the measure will impact the economy; and
A fiscal note from the Department of Administration stating whether the appropriation can be sustained with actual cash based on its cash flow projection.

He explained the single line-item veto in the law by thanking the legislators for demonstrating fiscal restraint in reducing the budget of the Bureau of Budget Management and Research, the governor’s “budget arm” by 10 percent from that requested.

“However, I believe by oversight you neglected to allow the Office of Finance and Budget, the Legislature’s budget arm, to share in this example,” Calvo wrote. “I have made the correction for you through my line-item veto authority.” The appropriation in the bill as passed was $378,737.

He also scolded senators for adding to the work of executive branch employees with “onerous mandates” and “superfluous reporting requirements” and for trying to “hamstring” the administration.

The Legislature unanimously passed Bill 1 (4-S) on Sept. 4. It was the seventh version of the fiscal 2014 government of Guam budget to be considered by the Legislature during often contentious deliberations and exchanges between Calvo and Sen. Ben Pangelinan, chairman of the legislature’s finance committee.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com

AUSTRALIA:

18) Survivors of deadly attack on PNG Black Cat Track arrive back in Australia

Updated 12 September 2013, 16:36 AEST

Australians trekkers attacked with machetes on an expedition in Papua New Guinea have arrived home, flying into Cairns airport this morning. Two local porters were killed and some of the trekkers were injured during the attack on the popular Black Cat Track in Morobe province on Tuesday. The injured men say they were forced to hike four hours back to safety, carrying the porters’ bodies. One of the trekkers, who was struck in the head with a machete, says he initially feared he’d been shot. The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising trekkers to avoid the track until local police have investigated the incident.

The Australians trekkers who were attacked with machetes on an expedition in Papua New Guinea have arrived home, flying into Cairns airport this morning.

Seven Australians, a New Zealander and their porters were ambushed while trekking along the Black Cat Track in Morobe province on Tuesday.

Two local porters were killed and some of the trekkers were injured during the attack.

The group had set up camp for the night and were in their tents sheltering from rain when the attack happened.

Two of the Australians, Nick Bennett and Steve Ward, are both businessmen from Mackay on the central Queensland coast.

Mr Bennett was struck in the head with a machete and Mr Ward was punched several times.

Mr Bennett says he initially feared he had been shot in the head.

“I thought I’d been shot and what I realised after was that I had been clubbed with a rifle barrel and it had opened my head up. So I was bleeding immediately, just confused,” he said.

“All I could really do was hold my head in my hands and ordered the others down.

“I could just see one of the guys actually just attacking the porters with a bush knife.

“There was one guy with a rifle, one guy had a pipe gun and a bush knife and they would come at us.

“There was one person who appeared to be controlling it, but they would go back up to the porters and attack again and again.”

Mr Bennett says he fears the senseless crime will have a terrible impact on the local community.

“We’re not the story to be honest, it’s what’s going to happen to those villagers, to those children, to the children of those villagers and those porters who have now basically been deprived of work, who’ve been horrifically injured,” he said.

“So it’s a terrible, terrible thing.”

The injured men hiked four hours back to safety, carrying the porters’ bodies.

The five other Australians are from Victoria and they are due back in Melbourne.

There was one person who appeared to be controlling it, but they would go back up to the porters and attack again and again.

Nick Bennett

Melbourne man Peter Stevens from Melbourne was slashed on the leg by one of the machete-wielding attackers.

“It was a terrible experience. It was frightening,” he said.

After the attack the group trekked for five hours in the direction the bandits had fled, back to the town of Wau, to get help.

Kim Dewar, who is friends with Mr Stevens and fellow Victorian Rod Clarke – says it has been a shocking ordeal for them.

She says Mr Clarke has had a long association with PNG and has a great affection for the country.

Ms Dewar says the men’s wives are “exhausted with worry” but are looking forward to their husbands returning home sometime today.

Trek leader praised for attack response

Mr Stevens has praised the bravery of trek leader, Australian Christiana King.

“When these rascals sort of had us all down on the ground and things like that they were demanding who the leader was and she stood up,” he said.

Mr Bennett has also paid tribute to Ms King, who he says led them to safety.

“Christie is a very, very brave woman. She’s exceptional,” he said.

“Without her quick thinking perhaps we wouldn’t be here.

“So she did an amazing job of helping to direct them to where the money they were obviously looking for was, and assisting us to walk down a track we’d never walked before.

PNG’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says those responsible for the brutal attack will face the death penalty.

Mr O’Neill says the ordeal is an “obvious setback” to efforts to promote PNG as a tourist destination.

PNG’s high commissioner to Australia has described the attack as “inexcusable”.

The motive for the attack is not clear, although some reports have suggested it could be related to a disagreement between porters from PNG’s lowlands and locals living in the highlands.

After the Kokoda Track, the Black Cat Track is one of the most popular treks in PNG.

It is a rough track that runs from the village of Salamaua on the coast of the Huon Gulf, south into the mountains to the town of Wau.

In the wake of the attack, the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising trekkers to avoid the track until local police have investigated the incident.radio australia

19) Chopper pilot says attack on trekkers will set back PNG tourism

Posted at 05:28 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

A helicopter pilot who evacuated members of a trekking group targetted in a deadly attack on Tuesday in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Province says such violence is not normal for the area.

Two local porters with the group were killed in an attack with bush knives on the remote Black Cat Track.

Several others in the group, including Australians and a New Zealander, suffered knife wounds.

The foreigners among the trekkers were robbed before walking out from the bush to raise the alarm.

James McKinstry, who flies choppers with Pacific Helicopters, says some of the trekkers had slashed achilles tendons so couldn’t walk out.

A group from Wau walked up to where the group was, and then helped make a clearance for the helicopter to land.

Mr McKinstry, who has extensive experience flying in the region, says the attack comes as a knockback to the burgeoning tourism industry.

“The Black Cat Track, although they don’t get huge numbers over it, they’ve had a tourist operation there one way or another for the past fifteen years and never really a problem. So we’re fairly surprised. But – given that it’s Papua new Guinea – we’re never totally surprised with what things can happen up here.”

James McKinstry

Radio New Zealand International

20) Indonesia approves plan to buy 1 million hectares of Australian grazing land

Updated 12 September 2013, 9:23 AEST

By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts

Indonesia has moved to solve its beef supply problems by approving a plan to buy one million hectares of Australian farmland, a plot four times the size of the ACT.

Beef prices in Indonesia have hit record prices over the past year as local production fails to keep pace with domestic demand.

The country’s so-called self-sufficiency policy has been blamed because it restricted imports from Australia and elsewhere.

To lower prices Indonesia has eased some restrictions until the end of 2013, but the government has now come up with a more permanent solution.

The state enterprises minister, Dahlan Iskan, told journalists that cabinet has approved the purchase of a million hectares of land in Australia so Indonesia can breed its own cattle on the land.

Local media are quoting him as saying that cattle would be bred in Australia and brought to Indonesian feedlots.

“Breeding cattle in Australia is cheaper, [but] feedlots in Indonesia are three times cheaper [than Australia],” Mr Iskan said.

That means young cattle would be raised on an Australian property and taken to Indonesia to be fed until they are ready for market.

The Australian cattle station would be run, or at least overseen, by one of Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises such as Rajawali Nusantra Indonesia, or RNI.

The minister says RNI already has a history of selling boxed beef, but it also has interests in other business areas, such as medical supplies.

Once the Indonesians decide on an appropriate piece of land, Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board would have to rule on whether a sale could go ahead.

Adhering to Indonesia’s self-sufficiency policy

Indonesia has put pressure on itself to stick to its self-sufficiency policy, even though it has been blamed for driving up food prices and will not meet its target.

In response to the price hikes, particularly for beef, the government has been continually “borrowing” from the next quarter’s import quotas.

The effect is a short-term increase in beef supply as an emergency measure, but the government refuses to describe it that way because it would be an acknowledgement of the self-sufficiency policy failing.

Instead it says the quotas are being “brought forward”.

But Indonesia risks getting stuck in a situation where it is reacting to market pressures and has to keep borrowing from the next tranche of quotas.

As a result the purchase of Australian land would allow Indonesia to say it is still achieving self-sufficiency by providing its own beef, even though it is grown offshore.

While Australian cattle farmers would argue there is a potential supply of Australian cattle that could be used to meet demand by lifting quotas permanently, that would also have the Indonesian government “losing face” by seeming to back down on the policy.radio australia

NEW ZEALAND:

21) NZ supports Fiji elections, revoke sporting sanctions

By Online Editor
3:34 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced a programme of electoral assistance, development assistance and the easing of some sanctions in Fiji in order to support progress toward elections next year.

McCully says the New Zealand Government welcomed recent moves toward elections, including the release of the final constitution, and wanted to support the elections process.

“A senior official from the New Zealand Electoral Commission has recently participated in elections planning work in Fiji. New Zealand will now offer to resource the on-going work that is taking place.

“The Cabinet has also agreed some changes which recognise both the progress that has been made in Fiji and the need for support for free and fair elections.

“In addition to supporting the elections office, we have decided to reinstate 10 post graduate scholarships for Fijian students. These were suspended in 2006.

“We have also agreed to formally revoke the sporting sanctions instituted in 2006. While it has been our practice to provide exemptions from this ban in virtually every case, we judge that the time is now right to formally revoke the ban. Individual bans will still apply to members of teams who are caught by the sanctions on members of the regime and the military.

“Over recent months the government has eased the operation of the travel sanctions, leaving them in place for key regime and military members but easing the process around family members of less senior figures. We intend to continue down this path as further progress is made toward free and fair elections.

“The decisions announced today have been signalled for some time as important steps toward normalising the relationship in recognition of election progress,” McCully says.

SOURCE: SCOOP NZ/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

22) Kolombangara Island kosevesen agensim logging

Updated 12 September 2013, 14:08 AEST

Sam Seke

Ol konsevesen lain long Kolombangara Island long Solomon Islands i kisim tok orait long kot long wanpela logging kampani imas stopim wok pastaim, taim keis i stap long han blong High Court.

Odio: Ferguson Vaghi, Program Coordinator blong Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association i toktok

Dispela aplikesen long High Court blong wanpela “injunction” em dispela Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association long Western Province nai ibin bringim long kot.

Kolombangara Island nau igat bikpela moa land konsevesen eria long Solomon Islands we i moa long 20,000 hectare.

Program coordinator blong dispela asosiesen we oli save kolim KIBCA, Ferguson Vaghi itok dispela injuction em blong stopim pastaim ol wok blong logging kampani oli kolim Viuru Forest Enterprises long ailan.

Mr Vaghi itok dispela i minim kampani ia imas noken wokim logging inap kot i harim wanpela keis we oli bringim agensim em long tokwin olsem operesen blong ol ino bihainim lo.

Em itokwin olsem wanpela samting we ino stret aninit long lo blong Solomon Islands nau i olsem dispela kampani i nogat laisin blong mekim logging na tu oli no kisim tok orait long komuniti blong mekim kain developmen.

Mr Vaghi itok konsevesen eria we oli makim pinis long dispela Kolombangara Island i stap antap long 400 metre raunim dispela ailan. Stat long 400 metre na i go inap long antap tru long Maunten Veve we i 1, 779 metre bai oli noken wokim logging oa ol kainkain development longen.

Em itok ol saintis i lukim olsem dispela ailan igat sampela kain diwai na animal i stap longen we i impotant tumas long oli mas nokem bagarapim.

Em itok tu olsem i mas igat mak long sait long logging – ol kampani i noken wok long gohet long wokim logging long wanem hap long olgeta peles.

Mr Vaghi itok, long sindaun blong yumi long Melanesian pipol ikam long bipo yet yumi laif long wanem i stap long graun blong yumi – olsem ol wara na diwai na ol animal na olgeta samting yumi nidim long laif.

Em itok tu olsem yumi gat stori tubuna blong yumi i stap long graun na ol tabu peles yumi noken bagarapim.radio australia

23) Indonesia ilaik baem 1 million hektea graon long Australia

Postim 12 September 2013, 10:35 AEST

By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts

Indonesia i kamapim pinis wanpla tok oraet blong baem bikpla hap graon long Australia blong lukautim ol bulmakau long helpim kantri wantem mit.

Despla hap graon sopos emi baem tru tru, bikpla blong en bai winim mak blong Australian Capital Territory fopla taem.

Long despla yia igo pinis, prais blong mit blong ol bulmakau long Indonesia ibin go antap tru, na ol bulamakau fama long Indonesia ino nap long lukautim mit maket long hap.

Oli tok olsem loa blong Indonesia long noken baem mit blong bulamau ikam long Australia na ol narapla kantri i kamapim despla heve blong bikpla sot long mit long Indonesia.

Blong daonim prais blong mit long Indonesia, gavman bai rausim isi isi ol despla strongpla blong noken baem mit ikam long Australia long despla yia, na nau i luk olsem Indonesia ilaik ronim ol bulmakau fam blong en iet long Australia.

Minista blong state entapraisas blong Indonesia,  Dahlan Iskan, itokim ol niusman-meri olsem gavman ibin oraetim pinis tingting blong baem wan milian hektea blong graon long Australia we Indonesia iken lukautim ol bulmakau blong en iet.

Mr Iskan ibin tok olsem “Breeding cattle in Australia is cheaper, [but] feedlots in Indonesia are three times cheaper [than Australia]”.

Despla i min olsem bai oli save lukautim ol liklik bulamaku long Australia na bihaenim karim oli go long Indonesia we bai oli lukautim ol inap oli kamap bikpla na bihaen oli salim ol.radio australia

BAHASA:

24) Australia Sambut Rencana Indonesia Beli Lahan Peternakan

Diperbaharui 12 September 2013, 15:33 AEST

Para peternak di negara bagian Northern Territory (NT) menyambut baik rencana pemerintah Indonesia membeli sejuta hektar lahan peternakan, dan menilai rencana ini akan membantu pemulihan industri peternakan sapi Australia.

Jurubicara Asosiasi Peternak NT, Luke Bowen kepada ABC mengatakan, rencana ini merupakan peluang baik bagi para peternak. Pembelian lahan peternakan  bisa membantu memulihkan industri ternak sapi yang lesu menyusul larangan ekspor sapi hidup ke Indonesia.

Pemerintah Indonesia menyatakan rencana pembelian lahan sejuta hektar sudah disetujui. Menurut Menteri BUMN Dahlan Iskan, mengembangbiakkan ternak di Australia jauh lebih murah daripada mengimpornya ke Indonesia.

Luke Bowen menyatakan pihaknya terbuka bagi investor asing.

Wilayah NT masih mengalami pemulihan dalam industri peternakan mereka gara-gara kebijakan pemerintah Australia sebelumnya yang melarang ekspor sapi ke Indonesia dengan alasan sapi-sapi itu diperlakukan tidak sepantasnya di rumah potong hewan di Indonesia.

Mantan Ketua Asosiasi Peternak NT, Rohan Sullivan, menjelaskan, beberapa peternakan tidak mampu menjual ternaknya ke pasar Australia, dan mungkin mereka ingin menjualnya ke Indonesia.

Rencana peternakan seluas sejuta hektar – empat kali lebih luas dari ibukota Canberra – diperkirakan mampu memproduksi 5 persen jumlah ekspor ternak Australia.

Menurut para peternak, hal itu menunjukkan rencana Indonesia ini bukanlah ancaman bagi peternak lokal.

Pembelian lahan tersebut masih perlu melewati proses persetujuan dari Badan Investasi Asing Australia.radio australia

FRENCH:

25) PNG : attaque mortelle sur la piste du chat noir

Posté à 12 September 2013, 8:16 AEST

Pierre Riant

Deux randonneurs australiens ont été blessés et deux porteurs papous ont été tués mardi après-midi.

Une attaque lancée par des bandits armés de machettes sur une piste de randonnée « Black Cat Track » de la Province de Morobe.

Quatre autres membres du groupe de randonneurs ont été blessés mais leur vie n’est pas en danger.. Un groupe composé de 7 Australiens, un Néo-Zélandais et environ 6 Papous.

Les victimes ont été secourues par des travailleurs d’une mine avoisinante qui les ont aidés à rejoindre leur camp où se trouve un dispensaire médical.

Les bandits ont tout volé et le ministère australien des Affaires étrangères conseille à tous les randonneurs de rester à l’écart de cette piste le temps que la police mène l’enquête.

Cette piste du chat noir a été le théâtre d’affrontements entre l’armée impériale japonaise et les militaires australiens pendant la seconde guerre mondiale. C’est aussi un lieu de pèlerinage.

Les propriétaires fonciers locaux ont déjà dans le passé exprimé leur mécontentement de voir des touristes  traverser leur région et réclament des dédommagements.
Les victimes sont maintenant arrivées dans la capitale Port Moresby et les autorités indiquent que les assaillants risquent la peine de mort.radio australia

26) PNG : de l’abus de propriété dans le gaz

Posté à 12 September 2013, 8:04 AEST

Pierre Riant

L’identification des véritables propriétaires fonciers coutumiers tient du tour de force.

Alors que la mise en opération du  projet d’exploitation de gaz naturel liquéfié est imminente, Exxon Mobil, l’opérateur de ce projet de 19 milliards de dollars, se doit d’identifier les propriétaires fonciers légitimes ; ceux qui recevront les redevances sur le gaz naturel.

Tout le monde veut sa part du gâteau, mais Peter Graham, le directeur général du projet, affirme que des opérations de vérification sont en cours pour s’assurer que les propriétaires coutumiers légitimes bénéficient de l’exploitation du gaz quand les robinets seront ouverts en 2014.

Nous lui avons tout d’abord demandé si Exxon Mobil avait une idée de l’ampleur des redevances qui seront versées aux propriétaires : « Nous sommes en train de calculer car cela dépend principalement du nombre de propriétaires fonciers bénéficiaires mais le ministère des Ressources pétrolières est de l’Énergie est en ce moment même sur le terrain pour plusieurs mois de consultations afin de déterminer quels sont les véritables bénéficiaires. »

Peter Graham est persuadé que tous les propriétaires, tous les bénéficiaires pourront être identifiés d’ici la fin de l’année.

Ces propriétaires fonciers qui prétendent aux redevances sur le gaz se compte par milliers  et selon le directeur du Programme de partenariat avec les églises de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, Bena Seta, ce système d’identification des propriétaires coutumiers par Exxon Mobil et le ministère des Ressources pétrolières et de l’Énergie devrait se faire dans la plus grande transparence avec obligation de rendre des comptes : « Ce processus doit aussi comprendre un mécanisme d’obligation de rendre des comptes avec des ONG qui puissent vérifier sur le terrain. »

Bena Seta qualifie de vital le besoin d’identifier les véritables propriétaires fonciers, sinon, dit-il, la situation pourrait dégénérer dans la violence.

Et en parlant de violence, les femmes pourraient aussi être les premières victimes de cette distribution des redevances sur le gaz. Les explications de Serena Lilywhite, spécialiste des questions minières au sein de l’organisation caritative Oxfam : « Le défi avec ce projet et avec d’autres projets des industries extractives, c’est que l’argent issu de ces projets finit en général dans la poche des hommes au lieu d’en faire profiter toute la population.

Trop souvent, quand les hommes ont les poches remplies d’argent après avoir reçu leur versement le vendredi soir, ils ont tendance à le dépenser dans l’alcool ou dans des jeux d’argent et les femmes et la famille en pâtissent.

Le taux de violence contre les femmes et déjà très alarmant. Cette violence est alimentée par l’alcool et les femmes de PNG n’ont pas envie que la situation s’aggrave.»

Ce projet d’exploitation de gaz naturel liquéfié est tout simplement énorme : il part des Hauts Plateaux pour traverser le pays est aboutir à Port Moresby, la capitale où se trouve la principale usine de traitement. 19 000 personnes sont actuellement employées et les premières livraisons de gaz sont prévues pendant le deuxième semestre 2014.radio australia

WORLD:

27) EU offers team

Nasik Swami
Thursday, September 12, 2013

THE European Union has offered an observer team to be part of Fiji’s general elections in September 2014.

This announcement was made by EU ambassador to Fiji Andrew Jacobs who said they were happy with how Fiji had moved towards democracy.

“The electoral process is well underway and we are happy with how things have progressed,” said Mr Jacobs.

“We are all looking forward to elections next year.”

Mr Jacobs said the EU was encouraged by Fiji’s electoral process.

“EU is very pleased with what has transpired in Fiji recently in the lead up to the polls and we are pleased to send an observer team from the EU if invited by the Fijian Government,” he said.

Mr Jacobs said the offer was already on the table awaiting the Fijian government’s response.Fijitimes

28) UNDP launches Regional Report: ‘Leveraging Change for Better Lives’

By Online Editor
1:35 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, United States

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched its Asia-Pacific Regional Report ‘Leveraging Change for Better Lives’ in New York today, highlighting a string of successful programmes implemented between 2008 and 2012 in the region.

“The report is testament to the UNDP´s contribution to improve people’s lives and the increased importance that UNDP attributes to results reporting and solid analysis of evidence of how we support transformational change,” said Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator, who hosted the launch at the UN Headquarters.

Ambassador Le Hoai Trung of Vietnam, Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen of Bangladesh and Ambassador Wang Min of China were present to share the experience of their respective governments in working with UNDP.

“During this five years period covered by the report, UNDP delivered US $5.7 billion in programmes in Asia and the Pacific that have transformed people’s lives. For example, UNDP support for the government of India has helped create 40 million jobs, its partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) led to the production of 15,000 zero-emission electric cars in Sri Lanka, and its work with local governments across the region has made 11.9 million people eligible to vote,” said Grynspan.

One of the main areas where UNDP development programmes made a difference was in building resilience to disasters and climate change. In seven of the region’s most disaster-prone countries, deaths from natural disasters have fallen following UNDP’s support in strengthening preparedness and response and recovery and in these seven countries government investment in disaster risk reduction has increased by $USD 1 billion, partly as a consequence of UNDP’s support. This report also highlights how after disaster hit, UNDP helped build resilience by creating two million workdays in Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal.

The report covers the results achieved in the 36 countries and territories in the Asia and Pacific region where UNDP works, it includes stories from China, India, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea and  Viet Nam on how UNDP has supported poverty reduction and the MDGs, strengthening democratic governance, building resilience and responding to crisis and conserving natural resources and energy efficiency.

“This new report is testament to UNDP’s commitment to an increased results focus and more evidence-based programming, but at the same time grounded in the principles of national ownership with programme countries making decisions on how best to meet their people’s aspirations.” adds Grynspan.

It is the first time UNDP presents such a comprehensive report on programmatic results in Asia and the Pacific. This report, besides being a compilation of results achieved in the region, is also a witness to the cooperation between the UNDP and government partners.

“As we celebrate our achievements, we must remain focused on the challenges of the MDGs. The key Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 was met by the Asia-Pacific region, but it is still home to most of the world’s poor,” cautioned Haoliang Xu, UNDP’s new Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP). Terming the MDG’s as the “defining challenge of our time,” Mr. Xu said his priority is to accelerate progress of the goals to meet the 2015 deadline.

For more information on the report, please visit: http://asia-pacific.undp.org
Contacts: Bangkok: Cherie Hart: Cherie.hart@undp.org
New York: Silvia Morimoto: silvia.morimoto@undp.org
New Delhi:  Cedric Monteiro: cedric.monteiro@undp.org

SOURCE: UN NEWS CENTRE/PACNEWS

29) European Union happy with Fiji’s election progress

By Online Editor
10:19 am GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Fiji

The European Union (EU) has welcomed the Fijian Government’s electoral process since the assenting of the Constitution by the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau last week.

EU’s Ambassador to Fiji Andrew Jacobs made the announcement Wednesday in Lautoka saying that the EU was happy with how Fiji has moved towards democracy.

“The electoral process is well underway and we are happy with how things have progressed,” he said. “We are all looking forward to elections next year.”

He also offered an observer team from the EU to be part of the elections in September 2014.

“EU is very pleased with what has transpired in Fiji recently in the lead up to polls and we are pleased to send an observer team from the EU if invited by the Fijian Government,” Jacobs said.

“The offer is already on the table and we will await the Fijian Government’s response.”

Meanwhile, sugar stakeholders Fiji  and representatives of the European Union met in Lautoka to discuss how the two parties could work together to develop the sugar industry in terms of projects development.

Led by the Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi and the Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan, the meeting was convened to bring about collaboration in areas where local Fijian sugar cane farmers needed assistance the most.

EU representative to Fiji Andrew Jacobs said the meeting was fruitful as they were able to cover a lot of areas concerning the industry.

“The meeting was good as it showed us (EU) where to target in future projects and discuss the way forward between the sugar industry and EU,” he said.

“We have been providing assistance through non – governmental organizations since 2007 after the events of 2006 and we are looking at assisting the industry after the elections.”

Vaniqi said the meeting also saw the approval of the development of three cane access road as pilot projects.

“The three projects would be implemented in the Drasa and Malolo sectors and in Lautoka and will be funded by the EU,” Lt. Col Vaniqi said.

Also part of the discussions were the preferential agreement between Fiji and the EU which come into its final term in 2017.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

HEALTH:

30) Solomons hospital asks for help with flood health education

Posted at 22:43 on 11 September, 2013 UTC

Solomon Islands’ health ministry is being urged to send its health promotion team to eastern Guadalcanal in the wake of destructive flooding over the past week.

Heavy rain in the mountains caused flooding that has destroyed food gardens, commercial crops, homes and public infrastructure including bridges in the Ghaobata, East Taimsboko, Vulolo and Paripao wards.

About 12,000 people are affected by food and water shortages and staff at the Good Samaritan hospital at Tetere are treating patients with flood-related problems such as diarrhoea.

The nurse manager, Adrian Manikera, says they are are too busy to go out into the community to tell people about boiling water and other health measures.

“I’m appealing to this provincial health promotion team, if they can also come out to help us every day, educating people. Usually for us nurses we concentrate to see patients, we didn’t have time to educate the public.”

Adrian Manikera says so far the hospital is coping with the number of patients.

Radio New Zealand International

31) Guam discusses decriminalising marijuana

Posted at 01:59 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

A public hearing held by Guam’s Legislature has heard a number of calls for the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use.

The Pacific Daily News reports that those who submitted testimony advocated for medical uses of the drug to relieve symptoms of ailments such as glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and the side effects of chemotherapy.

Lawmakers are considering a resolution by Senator Tina Muña Barnes calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana.

The father of a local man who died in July of gastric cancer told the hearing that marijuana provided relief to his son for the side effects of 34 treatments chemotherapy.

After the hearing, Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas said that possession and use of an ounce or less of the drug has essentially been decriminalised for 20 years on Guam.

He said the evidence should be presented without emotion when new policy is being considered.

Radio New Zealand International

32) Pacific health study finds rise in heart disease, diabetes as leading cause of death

By Online Editor
1:31 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Australia

A paper examining the changes in health in the Pacific says heart disease and diabetes are replacing diseases like measles and malaria as the leading cause of death.

The paper by the Australian National University (ANU) looks at health issues in countries including Indonesia Papua New guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji.

It says NCDs are the leading cause of death in twelve Pacific Island Countries for which data is available, accounting for 70 per cent of all deaths.

The ANU’s Ian Anderson has told Pacific Beat changes in lifestyle appear to be linked to the change.

“There is a general sense that a lot of countries, particularly developing countries, are seeing a change from what we’d call communicable diseases as a cause of death, things like measles and malaria, through to non-communicable diseases – thinks like heart attacks, stroke and diabetes,” he said.

“Now what are the cause of that? Some people say there’s a little acronym called ‘SNAP’ – the ‘S’ stands for smoking, the ‘N’ stands for nutrition, the ‘A’ stands for alcohol and the ‘P’ stands for physical inactivity.”

The paper says the impact of NCDs is likely to be felt more as the young populations in many Pacific countries age.

It says cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the Pacific, while diabetes and obesity have also emerged as key health risks.

Anderson says for all the Pacific countries for which data was available, 60 per cent of the adult population is overweight.

He says in a 1933 health study in Nauru didn’t mention diabetes – now it’s one of the leading causes of death there.

“The early explorers in the Pacific noticed how lean and fit people were in the Pacific – that’s not the case now.

Anderson says it is also clear that NCDs have a significant financial impact in the Pacific, particularly in countries which have an unfinished agenda in addressing communicable and reproductive health.

He says dealing with NCDs can have a massive economic impact at all levels.

“They occur at the individual and the household level – this means that people can’t work…that affects their family,” he said.

“It certainly affects the Ministry of Health – for example the study showed that in Tonga 1 in 10 admissions to the hospital were related to one of these NCDs…however, it was also these diseases attributed to 1 in 5 dollars actually spent at the hospital, so you can see it has a disproportionate impact on the costs.

“The trouble then becomes when they’re increasing these big costs for these…expensive treatments, it absorbs quite a lot of their national budgets – so this is not just a ministry of health issue, this affects the national economy.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

33) Culture vital to identity

By ARMSTRONG SAIYAMA

CULTURE is a vital ingredient in the identity of Papua New Guineans, says an educationist.
Michael Gerson, the education adviser of Nawae District in Morobe Province, said this at a combined school cultural show at Busung Primary School in Bukawa last Saturday.
Busong, Bibi and Taemi primary and Gayupu, Wediru, Busong, Buingim, Bugang, Boac, Taemigidu and Uligidu elementary schools all participated at the cultural show.
The students showcased their traditional cooking recipes, art and craft, and singsings (dances) at the show.
Mr Gerson said the show was a success as it promoted the students’ knowledge of their local cultures.
“This show is very important, with our students promoting one of our national goals of ‘promoting PNG ways’,” he said.
“Our culture is our identity. Please don’t trade our culture or photocopy other people’s cultures and display it in our communities,” he said.
“We need to value, treasure, look after and promote our diverse cultures. We need to grow with our “pasin tumbuna” (ways of our fore fathers). And we must be proud of our customs.”
Mr Gerson said traditional etiquettes and protocols in respecting one another was rapidly dying out in the villages.
“We need to respect ourparents, elders and community leaders. Loving and respecting one another is the central element of our cultures,” he said.
“Our cultures form part of uniting us together to value our good ancestral ways.”
Mr Gerson urged the students and their parents to promote good aspects of their cultures in their villages.
Guest speaker Joel Juhombe said parents were responsible for seeing their children grow up with a good education. He urged parents to have a duty of care to instil good traditional values in their children.
“For our children to become good leaders of tomorrow, we need to acknowledge and promote good aspects of our cultures and develop our Christian values,” he said.
Mr Juhombe urged the students to have goals in life to become successful people in the future.
Organising committee chairman Alu Timai, the head teacher of Busong Primary School, said the show was a success.
“Our aim is to reinforce traditional knowledge and values in our students,” he said.
He thanked the participating schools and parents for their support in hosting the school show.
The next school cultural show will be staged at Taemi Primary School in 2015.

34) Technology-advanced Pacific learning centre on wheels

By Online Editor
10:08 am GMT+12, 12/09/2013, New Zealand

A technology-advanced academic centre on wheels which is aimed at Pacific children has been launched in New Zealand.

The SMARTBUS is an innovative philanthropic program that has an online hi-tech mobile classroom.

The bus features an arcade and art workshop as well as a music studio, science lab and computer centre.

Director of the program, Faye Vaafusuaga, says the idea for the SMARTBUS was similarly based on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus in the United States.

“There was an initiative from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs about offering a mobile service that would go out into the community and encourage participation in Education.” Vaafusuaga said.

When the bus begins its tour, Vaafusuaga says they will be targeting kids and families from low socio-economic communities, particularly those who are disadvantaged, and aren’t exposed to extensive learning and education.

“Unfortunately statistics show that the lowest participating group and the lowest achieving group in Education are Pacific Islanders – so I’d say about 90 per cent of our audience are Pacific Islanders.” Vaafusuaga said.

Vaafusuaga is heading the initiative after spending almost two decades in America where she worked for Motown Records as an executive assistant to grammy award winning producer Frank Wilson.

She said she found it purposeful to return home and give back.

“I think there’s no greater success in life than coming back and being able to reinvest everything you’ve learnt into your own community.” Ms Vaafusuaga said.

The initial stage of the SMARTBUS program will begin with local community outreaches followed by a national tour in 2014.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

BUSINESS,TRADE+:

35) IFC makes first-ever investment in Timor-Leste, helps women in business

By Online Editor
1:41 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Timor-leste

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has made its first investment in Timor-Leste with a US$500,000 convertible loan to Tuba Rai Metin, a microfinance organization that serves Timorese women and small businesses. IFC will help TRM expand its business and change from a not-for-profit organization into a regulated financial institution.

“Only 15 percent of Timorese business people are able to access financial products, but through this partnership with IFC, Tuba Rai Metin can offer 40 percent more services and help achieve the central bank’s recently launched development plan,” said Angelo Soares, chief executive officer of Tuba Rai Metin.

Tuba Rai Metin means “standing firmly on the ground” in the local Tetum language. The organization offers savings products and loans, including one specifically designed for small and medium enterprises, where most Timorese women work.

“More than 90 percent of TRM’s customers are female, and women generally put business profits back into the household or children’s education,” said Gavin Murray, IFC’s regional manager for the Pacific region. “Therefore, increasing the organization’s capacity will bring long-term improvements for families across Timor-Leste.”

This is IFC’s first loan in Timor-Leste, a country whose economic growth has been impeded by conflict, including severe violence in 2006. As part of its Timor-Leste program, IFC is working with the private sector to widen access to the financial products that allow micro, small and medium businesses to grow.
SOURCE: IFC/PACNEWS

36) Company signs up for 2014 Pacific trade expo

By Online Editor
1:40 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Fiji

The FMF Group became the first exhibitor to sign on for the Trade Pasifika 2014 event Wednesday.

And according to FMF Group export manager Jason Chandra, they were honoured to join the expo, which provided a platform to showcase the best of the Pacific.

“We have invested a great deal of time and resources to establish a superior brand image in our export market,” he said.

Organised by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), the trade expo would focus on agriculture, aquaculture and tourism.

PIPSO CEO Mereia Volavola said the trade expo would allow about 100 businesses and companies from around the Pacific to showcase their products, enhance trade within the region and create long lasting relationships.

“The opportunity the Pacific has to develop niche markets for quality and unique products to help build economic resilience is profound. We will not only be having exhibitors from across the Pacific but we will also be inviting buyers from all international countries.”

She said the FMF Group supplied to markets in 20 countries and was an example of a company that had successfully tapped into the potential of the huge regional market. The Trade Pasifika 2014 expo will be held at the Vodafone Arena in Suva from April 2-4.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

37) Samoa sells stake in Pacific shipping firm

By Online Editor
3:28 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, New Zealand

Samoa has sold its 50 per cent stake in the Pacific Forum Line (PFL) just under a year after New Zealand gave Samoa its 23 per cent stake in the shipping company.

Neptune Pacific Line says it has bought the shares from the Samoan government.

Neptune is wholly owned by an unusual Californian privately owned company, Roll Global. It also owns one of the world’s best-selling water brands – Fiji Water – and Teleflora.

Roll Global is owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick who have a personal worth of about US$3 billion ($3.7 billion).

During the Vietnam War, Lynda Resnick – then single – helped a friend print and distribute top-secret military documents.

Her friend was Daniel Ellsberg, and after the documents were printed in the New York Times they became known as the Pentagon Papers.

The FBI tried to prosecute her for more than two years but no indictment followed.

The New Zealand government agreed in October last year to sell its stake in the unprofitable shipping line to the Samoan government after the privately owned Sofrana Line tried to buy the stake.

Samoa’s move came at the last moment. It exercised pre-existing shareholder rights to trump Sofrana’s offer and become the sole owner.

New Zealand and 11 Pacific countries had equal voting rights in PFL, but practical control has been exerted by New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea which between them owned about three-quarters of the company’s shares.

New Zealand’s 23 per cent stake was valued at $1.16 million in 2011.

At the time, the Samoan government newspaper Savali said that when the country tried to pay 500,000 Samoan tala to New Zealand, Foreign Minister Murray McCully declined it.

Founded in 1978, PFL was intended to encourage economic development in the islands and provide competition to ensure private shipping operators were unable to create a monopoly in the Pacific.

The line has experienced heavy weather in recent years with significant losses reducing net assets to $5.1m by June 2011.

Neptune said in a statement its purchase of PFL brought together two Pacific Island specialists with complementary service routes.

As a result of this agreement, Neptune and PFL will provide services to all forum countries except Tuvalu, Niue and Marshall Islands, fulfilling the commitment of the Samoan government to the forum member countries in maintaining the mission of PFL in the Pacific region.

Neptune was established in 1997 to provide liner and bulk shipping services in the trades between Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

It is a ship owner and operator in the Pacific.
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

38) PNG MP in court on misappropriation charges

Posted at 05:28 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

A government MP in Papua New Guinea, Paul Tiensten, has appeared in court on charges of conspiracy to defraud and misappropriation involving 4 million US dollars of public funds.

The Pomio MP is alleged to have misdirected money budgeted for air freight subsidies for third level airlines when he was Minister for National Planning in 2010.

The Public Prosecutor told the court that Mr Tiensten conspired to direct the money as capital to start up a new airline, Travel Air, and not as air freight subsidy as budgeted for.

Mr Tiensten pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Meanwhile, Travel Air’s owner, the high profile businessman Eremas Wartoto, is also before the court facing related charges as a result of the investigation by the anti-corruption team, Task Force Sweep.

When the team summoned Mr Tiensten for questioning in September 2011, he fled to Australia but was arrested in PNG upon his return in November.
Radio New Zealand International

39) PNG Ferry disaster – 7 charged

By Online Editor
3:29 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Seven people have been charged in connection with the mv Rabaul Queen disaster in Papua New Guinea on 02 February last year.

According to a police investigation team, this now concludes the arrests of people implicated in the country’s worst maritime incident involving Rabaul Shipping’s mv Rabaul Queen.

The vessel sunk off the Finschhafen coast in Morobe, killing at least 162 people.

Police say the seven charged included officers from the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) who had allegedly failed to play their part and were complacent for too long, resulting in the tragedy.

The owner and employees of Rabaul Shipping were charged for not adhering to weather reports from the National Weather Service and making sure the ferry was not overloaded.

The police team is now in Lae, Morobe, preparing and filing court papers for the seven defendants which would then be served onto their respective lawyers before court proceedings on Sept 26.

The seven are out on K5,000 (US$2,000) bail each.

They are Rabaul Shipping company owner captain Peter Sharp, captain Anthony Tsiau, chief mate to Tsiau – Michael Zirau, NMSA Kimbe manager – Michael Benjamin Livinai, Kimbe branch port manage – Grace Amen, NMSA Rabaul manager – Joseph Kabiu and NMSA Madang manager Carl Kamau.

Sharp, 69, is facing 162 counts of manslaughter and for sending an unseaworthy vessel out to sea.

Tsiau 54, from Nissan island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and Zirau 47, from Manam Island in Madang were both charged with 162 manslaughter charges and taking an unseaworthy vessel out to sea.

Amen from Duke of York, Livinai from Misima in Miline Bay, Kabiu from Rabaul and Kamau from Turubu in East Sepik are all facing 162 manslaughter charges.

The Commission of Inquiry sanctioned by the Government found in Sept last year that mv Rabaul Queen was not seaworthy, unsafe, overloaded and should never have departed on its final voyage.

The commission found that weather and sea conditions at the time the ship capsized were gale force and it should not have been at sea.

The operator of mv Rabaul Queen was arrested last month. He had appeared before the Kokopo District Court on Aug 26 facing 162 manslaughter charges and one charge for sending an unworthy ship to sea.

The case was adjourned to allow  police to complete their files.

A survivor said Sharp’s arrest was “long overdue” but would help with “the healing process.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

40) Child Abuse Bill Draws Mixed Response In Am. Samoa
Bill criminalizes neglect, expands definition of abuse

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Sept. 10, 2013) – Senators in a hearing on an American Samoa administration bill on Child Abuse raised concerns about the need for parents to discipline their children to set them straight and the use of the current statute by children to defy their parents versus the need of to protect children.

Concerns voiced by the High Court regarding the language in the current Child Abuse statute are being addressed by an administration bill introduced late last month in the Fono that criminalizes certain behavior and expands the definition of child abuse.

The bill also criminalizes the act of child neglect and amends numerous sections of current law to reflect changes in the ASG agencies assigned responsibility for dealing with these issues. Current law has the Department of Health named as the responsible agency, but the new bill gives that responsibility to the Department of Human and Social Services.

The new administration bill further criminalizes and expands the definition of the child abuse statute as well as criminalizing the act of child neglect.

The Lolo administration’s bill was the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week Thursday, where Fono legal counsel Nathaniel Savali told senators this measure was a joint effort some two years ago between the Fono legal counsel and attorneys with the Attorney General’s Office following a court decision which ruled that current law is “unconstitutional” and the law needed to be amended. He says input was also sought from the court for this final version.

Sen. Magalei Logovi’i said he supported the measure as presented to the Senate, but at the same time, he doesn’t want the proposal to conflict with the rights of a parent to discipline a child.

‘Normal parental discipline’ — cited in provision of current law ASCA 45.0103 — means “all actions by parents, such as administration of blows by hand, strap, or light switch upon buttocks or any firm handling, scolding or light taps, insufficient to seriously bruise or produce medical injury or disability.

Savali told senators that proper discipline of a child is also allowed under provision of the law called “light lashing.”

Several senators pointed out that disciplining a Samoan child has always been part of the culture, but current law has turned such discipline into “abuse of a child.”

Senators also noted that the law is protecting youngsters — with some of them talking back to their parents and disobeying parent’s wishes.

However, they were also supportive of the proposed amendment with the goal to protect children.

Sen. Faletagoai I. Tuiolemotu said he wanted to see some statistics or cases where child abuse and child neglect are on the rise simply because of parent’s efforts to discipline their children.

He says such statistics are important for the Senate to review in order to further understand where this issue stands. He also pointed out that some youngsters are using current law to disobey their parents, adding that there are many problems in the community, such as break-ins and other crimes involving juveniles.

This statement was echoed by Sen. Nua Saoluaga, who was outspoken and passionate about the need for parents to discipline their children to set them straight. Nua referred to the discipline in Samoan as “sasa” (English translation for ‘sasa’ is spanking).

He said parents are trying to discipline their children, but the law is taking away the right of the parent, who then ends up in jail if a teacher or another person reports to police that a child has a “scratch” on his/her body.

Nua was adamant that the current law, when it comes to Samoan discipline, is causing a lot of problems with kids misbehaving.

Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono, who is also chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee, said the proposed bill to amend current statutes clearly outlines what is considered “abuse of a child” and there have been recent cases in court with adults or parents charged with serious abuse of children.

The bill states that a person commits child abuse if that person knowingly causes injury to a child by unreasonable force, or by “burning, biting, or cutting a child, striking a child with a closed fist, shaking, kicking or throwing a child.”

Savali said current law is weak when it comes to dealing with these serious crimes against children. He also says the bill adds the new “child neglect” provision, because none exists at this time.

He explained that it is known that kids are left on their own at home, or put in the car when a parent goes shopping or while the parent is out playing bingo. He said this new statute— child neglect — deals with such important issues in order to protect children.

Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao says the proposed amendments to the law clearly outline what is considered child abuse and child neglect. He says these amendments are important to protect children, as children have no where else to turn.

However, a decision on the bill has been delayed to allow the Attorney General’s Office to fully review the measure, and they will be called upon later by the committee to provide testimony.

Attorney General Afoa L.S. Lutu said during the hearing that it was the first time he had seen this measure and requested time to review the bill.

Background

A similar bill was introduced in Fall of 2011, with Rep. Larry Sanitoa being the key sponsor. Sanitoa told Samoa News at the time that the measure was the result of collaborative work between the Fono legal team and the Attorney General’s Office to address concerns raised by the High Court in 2009, when it rejected a plea agreement in the government’s case against Teutusi Satele, who was accused of assaulting a student on a school bus.

Under the plea agreement, the defendant pled guilty to an amended charge of “child abuse” in violation of local law, ASCA 46.3811 — the “Abuse of a child” statute. After reviewing this law, the court found “no criminal conduct prescribed thereunder.”

Although the defendant admitted, under terms of the plea agreement, that he had hit a child “we hold that a crime is not indicated under ASCA 46.3811 because this particular statute contains no prescriptive language and is therefore ambiguous,” said the judges at the time.

The 2011 bill, as well as the new administration bill further criminalizes and expands the definition of the child abuse statute as well as criminalizing the act of child neglect.

The Samoa News: http://www.samoanews.com/

REFUGEE:

41) Nauru Chief Justice says Australia has responsibility to fund trials over detention centre riot

By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Nauru

Nauru’s Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames is calling on the incoming Australian Government to bolster his country’s justice system.

Justice Eames says 98 people are still facing charges over the July riot at Australia’s asylum seeker processing centre on Nauru, which caused an estimated AU$60 million worth of damage.

Nauru’s Government has turned to Australia to fund some defence lawyers, an extra prosecutor and a new court room.

Justice Eames has told AM if Australia doesn’t help, it could be impossible for the accused men to get a fair trial.

“The courthouse is a tiny little building, quite charming and all the rest of it, but rat-infested and extremely inadequate for the staff and for the number of people who will be processed,” he said.

“These cases can’t be processed unless there’s a courthouse which is adequate for the purpose.”

Justice Eames says without new resources, the trials will be forced to proceed slowly to meet the requirements for a fair hearing.

“The constitution of Nauru provides that not only must defendants be given a fair trial, but they must be given a speedy trial,” he said.

“So that’s not merely an aspiration, it’s a constitutional requirement that those two conditions are met.”

Justice Eames says the men facing charges wouldn’t be in Nauru if it wasn’t for the Australia Government, and so Australia has a responsibility to provide the resources for a fair trial to take place.

“Nauru is a very small, very poor country,” he said.

“The sorts of resources that are required as a result of the huge influx of people to Nauru and the huge number of people who are now coming before the courts was obviously not anticipated.

“It’s created an emergency situation which, if it’s not dealt with, will cause the review of the refugee applications to be delayed very, very substantially.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

42) Fiji’s historic Levuka calls for specialist help

Posted at 01:59 on 12 September, 2013 UTC

The historic Fijian town of Levuka is searching for specialists to help preserve the old buildings which have helped earn it World Heritage status.

The town’s timber buildings are a significant part of the port which the UN agency UNESCO found to be an outstanding example of late 19th century Pacific port settlements.

The Chief Executive of the Levuka Town Council, Suliana Sandys, says since receiving World Heritage status in June, the town has enjoyed more visitors and economic activity but it is also under pressure to ensure the buildings are kept up.

“Some that have been closed and not taken care of regularly have begun to rot. The others, there’s still time to save them if we can get this type of skilled workers. It’ll help us because they can tell us really what needs to be done, what type of timber to use, especially now we’re getting more rainy days than we used to.”

Suliana Sandys says investors are being encouraged to restore and reopen buildings, including four large ones on the main street.

Radio New Zealand International

43) Fiji’s Climate change relocation policy being finalized: Kubuabola

By Online Editor
3:30 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Fiji

Fiji is in the final stages of adopting a relocation guideline that will help the government manage the migration of communities affected by climate change.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola made the statement at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) expert meeting in Nadi today.

Ratu Inoke says Fiji has been experiencing extreme weather events in higher frequency and increasing intensity and in addition climate change events such a sea level rise.

“The Policy places the reduction of vulnerability and enhancing of resilience to climate change impacts of Fiji’s communities squarely at the centre of the national climate change response. In addition, we are now in the final stages of adopting a relocation guideline that will accompany the Policy and help Government manage the imminent challenge of climate-induced migration within Fiji’s borders.”

Ratu Inoke says apart from the rigorous efforts being made to address climate change domestically, Fiji is also engaged in regional and global efforts.

He says the recent Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and the Group of 77 and China (G77) meetings that were held in Fiji had helped develop and implement climate change strategies.

The UNFCCC meeting is being held at Denarau for two weeks.

44) Health Of Tonga’s Coral Reefs Being Evaluated
US-based non-profit expedition to continue till October 2

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 11, 2013) – The health of Tonga’s coral reefs is under investigation in a new study that began this week.

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is on a one-month Global Reef Expedition in Tonga to research the health and resilience of coral reef, compile findings and make recommendations on how Tonga can preserve the resources.

A US based non-profit foundation, the expedition is carried out on the M/Y Golden Shadow, from September 11 to October 2 in Ha‘apai, Vava‘u and Niuatoputapu.

Andrew Bruckner the Chief Scientist said they picked Tonga because there had not been a lot of coral reef research done in the area, as most research focused on areas close to the most developed easy to access locations.

He said Tonga has a lot of resources in areas difficult to get to but their vessel could get to these remote areas that never been surveyed and collect baseline information.

“We would see how reefs are in a comparable environment with the only difference being the amount of human pressure, their status in these areas and what sort of different stresses affect these areas. When we put this information together we can make recommendations on the type of actions Tonga can take to do to preserve your precious coral reefs so that it continues to provide resources for Tongans far into the future.”

He said they would use the information compiled to create habitat maps to be put into a database geographic information system available for Tonga.

“We want to understand what condition makes coral reef resilient, what condition to grade that resilience, how can we do to help those reefs maintain a high resilience so that they do recover,” he said.

The expedition will also hold outreach programs in schools and villages in the outer islands to educate them about the importance of preserving the reefs.

Global

Bruckner said coral reefs worldwide are undergoing a crisis and their main intent is to try and get more information on the status of the reefs in different countries.

The expedition was launched in 2011 with the primary scientific goals to map, characterize coral reef ecosystems, identify current status and major threats while compiling scientific findings to be shared freely with countries to develop sound management strategies for coral reefs.

“What we are doing is to help Tonga protect your precious resources and ensure that you can still get fish out of the ocean to feed your families and ensure the reefs aren’t damage to serve their important role as a barrier from storm damage….everything that we do here we are going to give it all back to the country.”

He said the expedition is funded by the President and Chairman of the foundation HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia who is very concerned about the health of the ocean and wants to try and do his part to save the ocean.

The expedition partners with officials from Tonga’s Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources and the Ministry Fisheries.

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

SPORTS:

45a) 2015 Pacific Games to be held only in Port Moresby

By Online Editor
1:48 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

All events of the 2015 Pacific Games will be held in Port Moresby, Sports and 2015 Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko told Parliament Wednesday.

Tkatchenko made the comment when responding to a question without notice from Okapa MP, Isaac Waigavara.

Waigavara had asked if some of the 2015 Games events could be hosted at Goroka, in Eastern Highlands, and in Lae, Morobe, as the two centres already had the facilities.

He said that would give the people of those and neighbouring provinces the chance to see some events of the 2015 Games.

But Tkatchenko said all 22 sports would be held in the capital city as that had been decided by the former government.

He said the decision was not made during his time in government and he could not change that.

He said venues in Goroka, Lae and Rabaul, East New Britain, could be used for warm-up or practice events but not for the 2015 Pacific Games proper.

Tkatchenko then thanked and congratulated Team Papua New Guinea to the XI Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna.

The ninth edition of the abbreviated version of the Games end today.

Team PNG is the leading nation, topping the medal tally there with 29 gold, 26 silver and 29 bronze medals from the eight sports that  competition was held in.

Papua New Guinea’s 84 medals were more than double its nearest rival, Tahiti, which picked up 25 gold, nine silver and five bronze medals for a total of 39 medals.

The country’s glorious haul was completed by Olympian and the darling of the taekwando fraternity, Theresa Tona on Tuesday night.

Tona, 22, took top placing in her 53kg division.

This is the second time the country won the Pacific Mini Games after topping the Cook Islands Mini Games in 1985.

The country won the then South Pacific Games it hosted in 1991 and Tkatchenko is confident the country will shine in 2015.

“The performance is a sign of winning in the 2015 Games,” he told Parliament.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

45b) PNG finish on top of Mini Games medal tally

By Online Editor
1:49 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Wallis and Futuna

Papua New Guinea have finished on top of the medal table after the final day of competition at the Pacific Mini Games.

And they did it in style, upsetting hosts Wallis and Futuna to win gold in the final event of the Games, the men’s beach volleyball.

The unbeaten PNG side won a gripping final against the Pacific Games champions Wallis and Futuna in five sets, in front of a packed local crowd.

That means they finish the Mini Games with 30 gold medals, having led the way at the end of each day of competition. Tahiti won the women’s volleyball event on Wednesday to finish second overall with 26 gold.

New Caledonia won three sailing gold medals to remain third with 21, while Fiji and the Cook Islands also had wins on the water.

Meanwhile Samoa thrashed arch-rivals Fiji 31-12 to win the rugby sevens final.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

45c) Draw announced for Gold Coast Sevens

By Online Editor
1:47 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, Australia

The International Rugby Board, in conjunction with tournament organisers the Australian Rugby Union, has announced the pools and match schedule for round one of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2013/14, the Gold Coast Sevens.

In just over one month, the tournament will be staged for a third time at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast, where hosts Australia have been drawn to face Samoa, Argentina and Scotland in pool play on day one on Saturday 12 October. The Australians will be attempting to win a home Sevens title for the first time since 2002 in Brisbane.

As defending HSBC Sevens World Series champions, New Zealand head Pool A in Australia and will face Kenya, USA and regional qualifiers Tonga, who are the only non-core team.

Last season’s runners-up South Africa line up top of Pool B and face matches against a triumvirate of European challengers, England, France and Spain.

Defending Gold Coast champions Fiji head Pool C and face matches against Wales, Canada and Portugal.

As the fourth-ranked team in 2012/13, the Samoans are the top seed in Pool D and face hosts Australia, Argentina and Scotland.

The IRB’s new General Manager for Rugby Sevens Avan Lee was present at the draw in London with HSBC’s head of Rugby sponsorship Andrea de Vincentiis and IRB’s Head of Commercial, Broadcast and Marketing Murray Barnett, and believes that the Gold Coast event marks the start of the three most important seasons for the sport.

“This is a pivotal time for Rugby Sevens with three years until our debut at the Olympic Games and the Gold Coast is an exciting and eye-catching place for the HSBC Sevens World Series to kick off,” said Lee.

“The Series is growing as a sporting brand all the time, attracting hundreds of thousands through the turnstiles around the world and millions more on TV. Working with the Australian Rugby Union and the eight other hosts I’m sure we’re in for another superb season.”

Pool draw process 2013/14

While the top four seeds for the Gold Coast draw were based on the final Series standings for 2012/13, during the rest of the 2013/14 season the teams will be placed and drawn as follows:

– The Cup winner, runner-up, 3rd-placed and 4th-placed team at each round will be placed top of Pools A, B, C and D respectively for the next round, then

– Teams placed 5th to 8th will be drawn into Band 2, with the first drawn team allocated second in Pool A, then B etc

– Teams placed 9th to 12th will be drawn into Band 3, with the first drawn team allocated third in Pool A, then B etc

– Teams placed 13th, 14th, 15th, together with the one invitational team, will be drawn into Band 4, with the first drawn team allocated fourth in Pool A, then B etc.

For Round 1 of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2013/14, the Gold Coast Sevens, teams were placed and banded based on the final standings of the 2012/2013 Series.

1. New Zealand
2. South Africa
3. Fiji
4. Samoa
5. Kenya
6. England
7. Wales
8. Australia
9. France
10. Argentina
11. USA
12. Canada
13. Scotland
14. Portugal
15. Spain.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

45d) NZ trials old and new for Gold Coast Sevens

By Online Editor
1:46 pm GMT+12, 12/09/2013, New Zealand

All Blacks Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has named a wider training squad of players to prepare for the Gold Coast Sevens, the opening round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which kicks off in one month.

The first tournament in the kiwis’ Series defence takes place at Skilled Park, Gold Coast on 12-13 October and they have been drawn against Kenya, USA and Tonga in pool play.

The initial list includes a core of 13 players who were part of the successful All Blacks Sevens squad that won both the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow.

Captain DJ Forbes is in the frame for another season alongside IRB Player of the Year Tim Mikkelson and the vastly experienced Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula. The player of the World Cup, Gillies Kaka, is also part of the group and the inclusion of Sam Dickson, Sherwin Stowers, Scott Curry, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Mark Jackman and the returning Joe Webber all points to another strong season.

Kurt Baker is one player not included, having signed with the Highlanders, and Ben Lam was also unavailable through injury, but Tietjens has called up some exciting new talent. He will cut the list to 12 in early October after a training camp in Mount Maunganui.

“The start of any season is a time when we rebuild, but I am really happy to have a core group of players who have served the team well over the last season so we start from a great base,” said Tietjens.

“I have also brought into the squad a number of young players who have caught my eye and this will be a good opportunity for them to get a feel for our training environment and work hard for possible selection.

“We are really excited about the season ahead, building up to the Commonwealth Games next July so it will be great to get back on the pitch again and get our preparations firmly underway.”

All Blacks Sevens training squad: Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Sam Gavigan, Kali Hala, Mark Jackman, Gillies Kaka, Rocky Khan, Luke Masiwera, Tim Mikkelson, Kara Pryor, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Rob Thompson, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Joe Webber, Gareth Williams-Spiers, (one player to be added).
SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *