Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 864


1) Notorious New Caledonia Union Leader Dies
Gérard Jodar lead USTKE to blockade ports in 2000

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 16, 2013) – A New Caledonia union leader, Gérard Jodar, has died in Noumea aged 61.

Mr Jodar emerged as a fiery unionist in the 1970s and joined the powerful USTKE union in the early 1980s.

He became president of USTKE in 2000 and led a rise in industrial action in the territory such as port blockades and protests.

In 2009, Gérard Jodar was jailed for a year for his role in clashes stemming from industrial action at Noumea’s domestic airport.

The following year, Mr Jodar was replaced as UTSKE president by Marie- Pierre Goyetche, and went on to found a new union, the STP, or National Confederation of Workers of the Pacific.

He succumbed to an illness in Noumea on Saturday.

Radio New Zealand International:

2) PNG Celebrates 38 Years Of Independence
PM O’Neill optimistic about the future of the country

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 16, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says today’s independence anniversary is cause for celebration and optimism.

September 16, 2013 marks the 38th anniversary of PNG’s independence from Australia.

In a speech published in local press, Mr O’Neill says there are challenges ahead.

“Although we have travelled far as a nation in 38 years, we have not travelled far enough,” he said.

“Massive challenges lie ahead of us – we have a population that is growing rapidly; we have roads, air and sea ports, schools, hospitals, and barracks we must rebuild or expand.

“But I believe that we have laid the foundations for change in the policies that we are implementing.”

Australia first assumed control of the British colony of Papua in the southern half of Papua New Guinea in 1906, and during the first World War, Australian forces claimed control of the northern part of German New Guinea, which had been a German territory.

The two were officially combined into one territory after World War 2, which also established a local government and judiciary.

The country, led by Chief Minister Sir Michael Somare, became self-governing on December 1, 1973 and achieved independence on September 16, 1975, with Sir Michael as the country’s first prime minister.

Alex Rheeney, chief editor of the Post Courier in Port Moresby, has told Pacific Beat while some questioned whether PNG was ready for independence, he shares the current prime minister’s optimism.

“Maybe it was an opportunity at that time for Papua New Guinea to take that step – and now 38 years on we’re still going through a lot of challenges,” he said.

“There’s some criticism coming out that maybe the occasion that Papua New Guineans are currently feeling may be brief, and then we’re back to reality tomorrow – and that’s been happening for the last 38 years.

“The challenge now is for individual Papua New Guineans to actually say ‘what can I do?’ to actually contribute to the wellbeing of this nation – maybe I can make a difference in the lives of another Papua New Guinean, instead of relying on the government and all the other development partners to play that role.”

Australia relationship

Mr O’Neill has also used the independence celebrations to call for a stronger relationship with Australia.

“It is timely for us to consider how we can freshen up our relationship with our former colonial power, now our closest neighbour and our best friend,” he said.

The prime minister also wants Papua New Guinea to be included in the incoming Abbott Government’s new ‘Colombo Plan’, which would see Australian tertiary students studying in Asia.

“The government will ask the new Australian Government to include study in Papua New Guinea in the program at the earliest possible opportunity,” he said.

“We will also discuss with the new government arrangements to allow more Papua New Guineans to study in Australia in a similar way, and we would consider funding ourselves this aspect of the program,” he said.

He says the new Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has visited Papua New Guinea, and taken a special interest in relations between the two countries.

“With the new foreign minister already well known to my Government, and having a genuine interest in Papua New Guinea, we have the right environment for the government-to-government relationship to become even stronger than it already is,” he said.

Radio Australia:

3) PNG reaches out to ‘best friend’ in region, Australia

By Online Editor
4:34 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

By Rowan Callick, Asia-pacific Editor, The Australian

It’s Independence Day in Papua New Guinea – very different from the independence days of most former colonies, whose colonisers were mostly far away.

Australia and PNG are permanently linked, not only through their shared history but through their proximity, and thus their present and future.

And PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will today urge the next generation of Australians to rediscover his country, despite its problems. The attack on the trek in Morobe province last week was a terrible event – infinitely more terrible, of course, for the two Papua New Guinean guides who were killed, and for their families, than for the Australian trekkers, who escaped with lacerations and bruises.

To their considerable credit, the trekkers have focused strongly on the murders, and on the far more serious injuries suffered by half a dozen other PNG guides, rather than on their own grave peril.

They spoke at the weekend of raising money to aid the guides’ medical treatment.

The event, and the contrasting responses to it, have been educative.

One of the comments posted beneath an account of the Black Cat attack said how “scary” it was that such a “primitive” place as PNG was so close to Australia.

There are of course “primitive” Australians as well as “primitive” Papua New Guineans, as the family of murdered Irishwoman Jill Meagher would grimly attest.

Papua New Guineans themselves have expressed their especial horror about the killings on the Black Cat track.

This especially tough trail crosses a remote section of Morobe, the same province where the publisher and writer Peter Ryan was wonderfully assisted by local people as he operated behind enemy lines as a youthful coast watcher – about which he wrote his World War II classic Fear Drive My Feet.

Most Australians still know little about the people who are their closest neighbours, but the intensity of the coverage of the “harrowing jungle terror” indicates a degree of closeness.

The asylum-seeker deal carved out between Kevin Rudd and O’Neill – which for a few days disoriented the Coalition and appeared to present Labor with a slim chance of success at the election – also points to a relationship that matters.

For all its developmental failures, with succeeding governments bitterly disappointing their own people, PNG remains a working democracy, and retains a largely independent judiciary and free media. The comparisons on all three counts with Fiji – once the model of good governance in the Pacific – are telling.

PNG is in its sixth successive year of economic growth at around or above 6 per cent.

Former businessman O’Neill – who is in a stronger political position than any leader since independence, and who is something of a student of Australian politics too – will ultimately be assessed by whether he can steer PNG’s growing revenues, especially from gas exports, towards better schools, healthcare and roads, and can help create the jobs still lacking for young people.

By mid-century, PNG will have a bigger population than Australia, whose aid is valuable but no longer invaluable.

O’Neill’s message to Australia should be viewed in this context: “It is timely for us to consider how we can freshen up our relationship with our best friend.”

He said the Abbott government had a policy commitment that provided an excellent way to add dimensions to the people-to-people relationship – the “visionary” New Colombo Plan “under which Australian students will be given government scholarships to study at universities in the Asia Pacific region.”

He said he would ask the Abbott government to include PNG in the program. “We will also discuss with the new government arrangements to allow more Papua New Guineans to study in Australia in a similar way, and we would consider funding ourselves this aspect of the program.”

He noted the policy included internships with business and NGOs, and said: “I believe our major businesses and industries would be keen to participate in the program.”

This new policy, he said, had been developed by incoming foreign minister, Julie Bishop, “who as shadow minister visited PNG a number of times and has taken a special interest in PNG-Australia relations.”

Building such people-to-people relationships is also a key element of the biannual “mateship treks” through which Liberal and Labor politicians Scott Morrison and Jason Clare have brought young people from their constituencies into the region – including, earlier this year, trekking the Black Cat track.

It is timely for the new government to consider establishing a council to foster such people-to-people relations.

The price of failure on this front is an ignorance that feeds fear, and a failure to seize opportunities in a fast growing economy – failures already manifest in Australia’s relationship with Indonesia


4) PNG Lands Ministry to open up a box of questionable land dealings

Posted at 07:53 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea’s Ministry of Lands has invited complaints about land dealings throughout PNG and is commissioning a team to investigate all land deals alleged to have been fraudulent.

The minister Benny Allen says many complaints are filing in and some relate to corrupt dealings within the department.

He spoke to Johnny Blades about the process.

BENNY ALLEN: We are collecting all complaints, all complaints from the public, and asking anyone who is aggrieved over any decision, over any transaction that has taken place over the years, they are now lodging all their complaints to those complaint desk. It’s sort of a sealed box that is available to put in any complaint that they have. At the moment we are in the process of opening up the box and looking at all the complaints that are lodged into this box and investigating into all allegations that are raised by the public, the clients who are aggrieved over certain decisions that the board or the department officers may have entertained a transaction that is probably fraudulent and so forth.

JOHNNY BLADES: If the box is at your ministry’s headquarters in Moresby, does that mean that people from other parts of the country, more remote parts, are they still able to lodge complaints? It might be difficult for them to get their complaint in.

BA: Yes. When this was announced early in March we did put out an ad in the paper saying we are now receiving complaints from the public, so if anybody wants to lodge a complaint they forward their complaint to this address. We’ve given that address, and I believe they’re coming from other parts of the country, as well.

JB: Is it your belief that there are many fraudulently obtained leases or titles out there?

BA” Yes. There are some that come to my office that we are also addressing at the moment. There’s one case where a fake title was issued to an investor who wanted to do an investment up to 300 or 400 million [kina]. Someone decided to entertain the client by issuing a fake title. And it was brought to my office. And then the developer, or the investor, wanted to know how he would go about obtaining a title, and I said ’Hold on. You already have a title here’. So when I checked through the file, the original title was with another firm. And the one that he brought into my office was a fake one. This was done by a senior officer within the department, so we are now dealing with the officer. Yes, there are also similar cases,

Radio New Zealand International

5) Bougainville President: PNG Reneged On Referendum Funding
Momis says ‘constitutional guaranteed money’ from Moresby didn’t come

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 16, 2013) – The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, John Momis, says Papua New Guinea has reneged on its commitment to fund a referendum on independence in Bougainville.

The right to the vote was agreed to in the peace agreement struck in 2001, and then written into Papua New Guinea’s constitution.

Mr Momis has told Pacific Beat the Papua New Guinea government has failed to give the ABG its constitutional guaranteed money this year.

“The national government owes us $188 million,” Mr Momis said.

“The ABG is not only tasked to deliver services, reconstruct Bougainville, but to develop a new government.

“Our biggest concern is the national government’s reneging, the national government’s failure, to adhere to the Bougainville peace agreement.”

Mr Momis says the Papua New Guinea government promised to release $500 million over the next five years for the restoration development grant, which would go towards the referendum.

“Last year they released it in November.

“It’s very difficult to release funds at the end of the year and expect the administration, which has capacity problems to spend the funds.

“This year the money has not come yet.

Mr Momis believes the Papua New Guinea government has not provided enough help develop Bougainville’s administrative capacity.

“The people of Bougainville deserve to have a real choice, a real choice between two comparably attractive options, namely full autonomy or independence.”

Mr Momis says the lack of funding has hampered progress, but Bougainville has come a long way.

“Autonomous government is something new in PNG and in the Pacific, so with very meagre resources and capacity problems I think we’ve done very well.

“We entered an agreement with the national government when the war ended, and that agreement calls on both governments to have autonomy, weapons disposal, peaceful self-reliance, good governance, democratisation, and these are the objectives of our development strategy.”

Radio Australia:

6) West Papuans celebrate arrival of sacred water and fire

By Online Editor
4:45 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Indonesia

A number of events took place across West Papua today to celebrate the arrival of sacred water and fire from the Freedom Flotilla.

In the port city of Marauke, a planned community event which was to be attended by 17 tribes from around the region was stymied by authorities. The head of police and five intelligence officers hand delivered a letter to one of the organisers prohibiting any ceremonies for the reception of the Freedom Flotilla. Police and intelligence officers stationed themselves around the house of the organiser this morning, preventing it from taking place.

“The town was crippled by the combined forces of navy, police, State Intelligence Agency (BIN,) Kopasus and military who monitored the movement of ordinary people and the Flotilla organisers throughout the day.  Plan B was to escape in few vehicles to a safe location and travel by boat for few kilometres to a nearby beach and this is where the sacred ceremony was carried out,” explained Ronnie Kareni

Jhon Wog, chairmen of the Freedom Flotilla welcoming committee and elder of the Marin Tribe in Merauke, said “In a sacred site near Marauke, I released a canoe to sail out to meet the Flotilla boat as a symbol of connecting the spirit of our ancestors. Thank God for Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, who already brought our ancestral spirit back to reconnect us with the land and hope for our struggle for independence.”

In nearby Fak Fak, an estimated 400-600 people undertook a long march to highlight ongoing human rights abuses against the people of West Papua. The arrival of the water and fire was also celebrated by hundreds yesterday in Manokwari with traditional dances and prayer.

“The people of West Papua express our gratitude to the Indigenous Elders, Kevin Buzzacott, human rights activists, musicians, artists, and others on the Freedom Flotilla who have raised their voices for peace and justice in West Papua,” said West Papuan activist Awom Eliezer.

The sacred water from Lake Eyre in central Australia and ashes from Aboriginal tent embassies had been delivered by the Freedom Flotilla in a clandestine cultural exchange between indigenous elders of Australia and West Papua.  They will be passed from tribe to tribe throughout West Papua to spread the message of hope and continue the struggle for freedom.

The crackdown by authorities today follows the events of the 28 August, where four people were arrested and charged with treason for raising the banned Morning Star flag after a prayer meeting in support of the Freedom Flotilla

7) Solomons parliament rejects anti-corruption petition to defer bill

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands parliament has rejected a petition by three anti-corruption groups to have it defer the Constituency Development Fund 2013 Bill.

The rejection of the document, which was signed by over 600 people, has paved the way for parliament to continue with the debate on the bill.

The MP for Aoke-Langalanga, Mathew Wale, presented the petition from Transparency Solomon Islands, Forum Solomon Islands International and the Anti-Corruption Network.

When the speaker Sir Allan Kemakeza asked those who supported it to stand, a majority of MPs remained in their seats but accepted copies of it and noted its content.

The opposition supported the petition.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Vanuatu PM Confident He’ll Serve Complete Term
Carcasses dismisses talk over naturalized citizens heading government

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Sept. 16, 2013) – Prime Minister Moana Carcasses assured Green Confederation supporters and the population of Vanuatu that he will remain in power until the end of the term of the government and parliament in 2016.

Speaking with confidence, the prime minister assured the political parties which make up the current coalition and their supporters nationwide, that he is confident he will continue to head the present government until the end of its term in 2016.

The president of the Green Confederation political party and the prime minister commented on the topic during a gathering on Wednesday evening when he accepted some Torba politicians into the Green Party family.

The prime minister’s remarks come at a time when politicians from different quarters, especially Opposition leaders, have engaged in a bitter argument on the subject of whether naturalized citizens should be allowed to head the nation’s executive arm and serve as prime minister of the country.

However, Carcasses appeared confident while addressing the group of Torba politicians, who defected from one party to join the Green Confederation political party in a custom ceremony on Wednesday evening.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

9) Discussions Underway For Visas-Upon-Arrival For Ni-Vanuatu
EU, Australia, France consider relaxing visa regulations

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Sept. 16, 2013) – The ministries of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs are currently engaging in talks with the European Union, Australia, France and the French Territory of New Caledonia for visa reciprocal arrangements where Vanuatu passport holders will only be given visas once they arrive at the port of entry.

This means Vanuatu passport holders will not have to go through the process of applying for a visa.

The Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Johnny Koanapo, confirmed to Daily Post yesterday that the ministry has already had discussions with some of these countries with positive feedback but normal formal requirements will take time for final considerations and approval by those countries.

He also confirmed that the European Union countries have agreed in principle to the Vanuatu-EU visa reciprocal arrangements but is waiting for formal approval from the European Parliament.

“Just this morning I had discussion with the Australian Government officials on the issue of visa reciprocal arrangements between Vanuatu and Australia and we are liaising closely on the issue with the Ministry of Internal Affairs which is responsible for Immigration,” DG Koanapo told Daily Post.

He also confirmed that the issue of visa reciprocal arrangements between Vanuatu and France and the French Territory of New Caledonia is also on the agenda.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

10) China’s top political advisor meets Vanuatu PM

By Online Editor
4:48 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, China

China’s top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng on Saturday met with Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), hailed the development of China-Vanuatu ties featuring mutual respect, equality, close communication in various levels and fruitful cooperation.

The two countries are sharing great prospects for development of their relationship, he said.

Yu said China highly values the relations with Vanuatu, and will work with Vanuatu to strengthen high-level exchanges, deepen political mutual trust, and expand cooperation in areas including agriculture, forestry, fishery, transportation, communication, infrastructure, clean energy, tourism and fight against climate change.

He also called on the two countries to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges, increase mutual understanding between the two peoples, and jointly maintain the interests of developing countries.

Carcasses thanked China for inviting him to attend the China-Arab State Expo to be held in Yinchuan. He said Vanuatu steadily abides by the one-China policy and will learn from China’s development experience and further expand their cooperation in all areas.

The first China-Arab State Expo, a key platform for promoting trade between China and the Muslim world, will open on Sunday in Yinchuan, capital city of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which is home to more than 10 percent of China’s 20 million Muslims.

The expo originated from the China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, which has been held annually since 2010.


11a) Abbott Must Bring Fiji in from Cold

Richard Herr and Anthony Bergin/The Australian 13/9/13

The Coalition’s foreign policy statement, released just prior to the election, promised to work with Fiji to normalise relations as soon as possible. Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has indicated he would welcome the Coalition’s making good on this promise. Of course, it takes two to tango; both sides will have to agree to get on the dance floor.

Bainimarama has long bristled at the “interim PM” label Australia has put on him. He associates the open mocking of him and his government by our media with the Australian government’s support for such reporting.

As much as some in Suva would like Bainimarama to be invited to Canberra for talks on re-engagement, the Fiji government recognises this would court disaster if the meeting failed to live up to expectations. The October 10 Fiji Day celebrations could be used to mark some symbolic reconciliation, if the Abbott government has the will to help mark the occasion appropriately.

A visit by soon-to-be foreign minister Julie Bishop would be welcomed in Suva. (As she’d be in Brunei for the East Asia Summit on Fiji Day, she could send her parliamentary secretary.) Getting the atmospherics right is critical for building trust in the longer term. But the immediate need is to address some irritants in the relations.

The sine qua non of keeping the Coalition’s promise to normalise relations will depend on lifting the travel bans.

The sanctions regime of the past 6 1/2 years has failed to achieve any useful outcome. Worse, some have worked against the early return to democracy. Preventing qualified civilians from taking up positions with the Fiji government has only intensified the need to rely on able military officers to staff upper levels of the public service.

Lifting of some sanctions, especially the travel bans, is a necessary early gesture from Fiji’s perspective. That’s the least the Bainimarama administration expects from the new Australian government. Fiji’s new constitution came into force on the Saturday the Coalition was elected to power. The constitution has generally received positive reviews despite some criticism on the process and its content.

Setting aside the travel bans could be a gesture of good faith pending further talks. Indeed, it’s difficult to see how meaningful engagement on normalising relations could be pursed without lifting travel bans.

There can be no objection to an immediate and unconditional lifting of sanctions against the family members of sanctioned officials on grounds of natural justice and fairness. The same applies to any civilian taking a position with the Bainimarama government working for a return to parliamentary democracy.

This should also include public service positions, whether related to elections or not. It would help restore civilian authority in the public service.

The Abbott government will have to come to terms with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. The RFMF will remain part of the Fijian political scene, even after next year’s elections in Fiji. Our defence engagement with Fiji will be an important part of our bilateral relationship. Sanctions on the repair of the three patrol boats we donated to Fiji some years ago have been dysfunctional for both Fiji and for regional security.

The restoration of defence attaches and other aspects of normalised relations, such as assistance to Fiji’s military officer training school and the participation of Fiji officers in our military colleges, will need to be included in the Coalition’s approach.

The Abbott government will have to do something significant to redeem its pre-election promise or Fiji will assume the election was simply a continuation of business as usual in Canberra.

Richard Herr and Anthony Bergin are co-authors of Our Near Abroad: Australia and Pacific islands regionalism, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

11b) Fiji Looks Overseas For Supervisor Of 2014 Elections
International experts encouraged to apply for post

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 16, 2013) – The Fiji government is encouraging overseas elections experts to apply for the job of supervising the polls planned for next year.

The Elections Office is advertising locally and overseas for a Supervisor of Elections with at least 15 years experience.

The government says it is important the position is filled by someone who can ensure Fiji’s elections are conducted in a fair, transparent and credible manner.

It is advertising the position in Fiji and via overseas diplomatic posts.

The Fiji regime has promised elections by next September.

Radio New Zealand International:

12) Fiji PM says progress is only for the people, takes a swipe at UFDF

By Online Editor
4:50 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

Everything that the  Fijian government has done and the progress it has made has been for the people and no-one else.

This is the statement from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in response to the positive reactions from overseas on the release of the 2013 Constitution which has been widely welcomed.

Bainimarama has made it clear that what they’ve done was not to satisfy the international community.

“Take notice of what we’re doing, our deeds, not our words. It’s great that Australia and New Zealand, the EU, the Japanese etc are coming up and supporting the constitution and the elections process. But as I’ve already said in the past and I keep saying, we didn’t do this for them, we did this for the Fijian people.”

Bainimarama says his government has kept true to their promise to the people of Fiji and that’s all that matters.

The Prime Minister goes on to say that he is bemused by the reactions of some groups here in Fiji who continue to oppose the work of the government and the Constitution.

Bainimarama argues that the Constitution is one of the best in the world, and those who oppose it have their reasons.

“Some of these supposedly pro-democracy campaigners don’t want it (2013 Constitution) . But we all know why these old politicians don’t want equal votes of equal value. Because they owe their positions in the past, to everyone voting under an ethnic based electoral system. Now, they will have to appeal to everyone and they’re terrified of that. They’re actually scared to face the judgment of all Fijians.”

Bainimarama says old politicians are scared to let the people of Fiji have their say under the new Constitution adding only time will tell when every Fijian delivers their vote in the 2014 elections.

Meanwhile, Commodore Frank Bainimarama says he does not lose any sleep over the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

The largest opposition grouping in Fiji has kept up its attack on the regime since the beginning of the year and maintains the 1997 constitution is the country’s rightful one.

The group includes three of Fiji’s four political parties and one of Fiji’s umbrella unions, the Council of Trade Unions.

Commodore Bainimarama told Radio Tarana the UFDF was made up of political has-beens who are wasting their time pressuring the government.

“These people are only in bed together now because they have a common opponent and that’s me. And we all know that saying, my enemy is my friend. But how is that a genuine basis for taking the country forward?”

Commodore Bainimarama says they are against the constitution because they won’t be able to compete on the level playing field his government’s constitution provides.


13) It’ll take a long time to restore trust says Fiji’s Bainimarama

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

The prime minister of Fiji, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says it is going to take a long time for trust to be restored between Fiji and its neighbours, New Zealand and Australia.

He says they have tried to crash-tackle Fiji on every front and he is dismayed at what he sees as their efforts to damage Fiji.

New Zealand and Australia have expressed support for the constitution and New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray MCully last week announced a further easing of sanctions in reponse to progress towards elections.

But Commodore Bainimarama told Radio Tarana the election would have come a lot sooner if support for Fiji has been shown earlier.

“Even McCully’s statement that only partial travel bans will be lifted demonstrates that they are really not genuine, nor do they understand what is happening in Fiji.”

Commodore Bainimarama says there will be no kiss and make-up with Australia if it does not lift travel sanctions.

Radio New Zealand International

14) New Fiji Military Chief in 2014: PM Bainimarama

By Online Editor
10:24 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

There will be a new Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) in 2014.

This revelation was made by the Prime Minister and Commander of RFMF, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, when opening the RFMF Wives and Mothers Club Inter-unit Sports Tournament last week.

“This opening will be my last as RFMF Commander as next year, there will be a new RFMF Commander,” the Prime Minister said.

This comes with Commodore Bainimarama next year leading a party he will form for the general elections.

The Prime Minister hailed the RFMF mothers and wives for their loyal support to their families and to the institution as the military had achieved what it had wanted to do when they took over leadership in 2006.

“We have achieved what we had promised to do and the culmination of this was the launching of the new constitution,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

He said the RFMF wives and mothers stood behind their husbands and the institution during the change in leadership and the military achieved victory.

The Prime Minister said the RFMF had set a new path for the nation and this had resulted in the new constitution.

“There is no turning back and the new way forward is all in the new constitution starting with the elections next year,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the military had delivered what it promised to the people of Fiji and the RFMF wives and mothers played a major role in the success.


15) Fiji again stresses PIF call over Australia, NZ

By Online Editor
10:21 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

Fiji has maintained its pressure on the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Australia and New Zealand’s role. It wants the Pacific Islands Forum membership reviewed before it even considers rejoining this Forum.

This was reiterated to the Fiji Sun by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Fiji is currently suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum since it declined to hold elections to an Australia and New Zealand-dicatated timetable.

Ratu Inoke said Australia and New Zealand have a disproportionate role and say in an organisation where all are supposed to be equal.

“The two countries are major donors to PIF and at the same time they are members,” Ratu Inoke said.

He said the two countries had manipulated the Pacific Islands Forum and member countries followed what they said.

“There must be a review in PIF and the issue of the donor and membership must be relooked at,” Ratu Inoke said.

He said Fiji would not be interested in getting back into the forum under the existing rules.

“There needs to be some changes before Fiji can go back in,” Ratu Inoke said.

He said all member countries are equal in the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia and New Zealand need to decide whether they wish to be a donor or a member.

Ratu Inoke said: “If they are donors then they should stay out and let Pacific Island Countries be members of the Pacific Island Forum, which was the original intention when the forum was formed many years back.”

He said if Australia and New Zealand maintain their current status quo, then membership should also be opened to other major countries in the Pacific region.

He said Fiji was  comfortable with the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).

The Prime Minister had already aired his views on the matter and that’s the current position.

When asked about the exchange of High Commissioners among Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, he said:

“There will be no exchange of top level diplomats until at least after Fiji’s elections.”.


16) Fijian PM, Lavrov to talk on military help

By Online Editor
10:20 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

Talks on Russia’s supply of weapons to the Fijian troops in the Golan Heights will continue in New York at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting.

This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Ratu Inoke said the Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, would be meeting with Russia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, on Russia’s offer to equip Fijian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights.

Meanwhile an article published by RBTH Asia said that a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that “preliminary negotiations on this issue were held in Moscow at the level of experts, but no final decision has been reached”.

RBTH Asia goes on  to say  that: “The Fijians will probably be offered the new Ratnik individual combat kits, which are currently undergoing field trials and will soon enter service with the Russian armed forces,” says Dmitry Litovkin, a Russian military expert.

“These kits can be supplied to peacekeepers before they formally enter service with the Russian army because exports require less bureaucratic paperwork.”

The standard individual kit, which is issued to peacekeepers in accordance with international regulations, includes a special uniform, a protective helmet, a gas mask, and a special load-bearing vest which distributes the weight of the equipment carried by peacekeepers across their whole body.

Mandatory equipment also includes communication gear, surveillance instruments, and small arms.

“To comply with the UN requirements, peacekeepers are armed only with small arms, i.e. assault rifles and machine-guns,” Litovkin said.

“It is possible that the Fijians will also receive some of the latest Russian weaponry, including the export version of the new Pecheneg machine-gun, as well as the export version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which uses NATO-standard ammo.”

The expert believes that equipping the peacekeepers serving on the Golan Heights with Russian combat gear and weaponry would make sense because that weaponry is known for its high quality.

In addition, using Russian hardware can help to achieve savings because others in this conflict zone often use Soviet-standard weapons and ammunition.

Ratu Inoke said the Prime Minister leaves for the UN General Assembly this Friday.



17) Chinese company to build new Tonga government offices

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

The Tongan Government has signed a contract with a Chinese company to build a government building to house several ministries.

Work on the design of the building began last year, after the Chinese Government made funding available for the project.

Last week, a team from the China Northeast Architectural Design and Research Institute visited Tonga to consult on the conceptual designs with the relevant ministries, and to formally sign the contract.

The new building will be at Pangai Si’i in Nuku’alofa, and construction is scheduled to begin in July 2014.

Last week Tonga also announced it had signed a multi million dollar aid agreement with China and that decisions on how the money was to be spent still to be made.

Radio New Zealand International

18) American Samoa writes off $19 million in bad debts

Posted at 02:04 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

At the same time it is desperate for money, the American Samoa Government has revealed it has written off 19 million US dollars in receivables that cannot be collected.

The Treasurer, Falema’o Dr. Phil Pili, has told the Chamber of Commerce the debt will be written off because the government cannot trace the debtors.

After accusations from chamber members, the manager of the Tax Office, Melvin Joseph, confirmed the government wasn’t auditing and going after companies that weren’t paying taxes.

He says for the last six years they couldn’t hire new auditors and collection agents because of a hiring freeze.

Mr Joseph says the Tax Office is only now starting to increase staff.

Radio New Zealand International


19) Three boats run aground on Tinian reef in CNMI

Posted at 02:04 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

Three fishing vessels have run aground on the reef at Kammer Beach on Tinian in the Northern Marianas after strong winds broke them free from their moorings in Tinian Harbour.

The winds were brought by a tropical storm passing the northern part of the CNMI late last week.

No one was in the vessels when the incident happened.

The Department of Public Safety and Commonwealth Ports Authority safely secured two of the vessels on Friday.

The Tinian mayor’s information officer, Cassandra Cabrera, says the third vessel, Il Sin Ho, was not secured and remains stuck on the reef.

Ms Cabrera says the boat will most likely remain on the reef and sink.

Radio New Zealand International

20) Kiribati government MPs want two cabinet ministers gone

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

Kiribati’s president says he has received a petition from nine government MPs calling on him to sack two ministers for misconduct.

Anote Tong has told the Kiribati Independent he has met with the MPs to sort out their grievances regarding the conduct of the communications, transport and tourism minister, Taberannang Timeon, and public works and energy minister, Kirabuke Teiaua.

The MPs’ action comes after an incident unfolded in parliament last month when it was revealed that Mr Timeon got a sitting allowance of 924 US dollars, many times the normal allowance.

Mr Teiaua defended the size of the allowance, saying it was no problem.

Mr Tong says he is still to decide what action he will take.

Radio New Zealand International

21) US funding for Marshalls in limbo as Sept. 30 deadline nears

By Online Editor
10:18 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Marshall Islands

With the countdown to a new fiscal year in the Marshall Islands just two weeks away, no Compact money is available because the United States and Marshall Islands governments have been unable to reach agreement on a budget plan.

The dispute centers on the U.S. government’s requirement that release of second-half funding for fiscal year 2014 is contingent on the Marshall Islands submitting planning documents that the U.S. says it has been asking for since 2010.

At an annual meeting of the Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee, or JEMFAC, in late August, Marshall Islands officials refused to agree to the FY 2014 budget plan with this requirement.

As a consequence, the Marshall Islands government did not submit its annual budget to the parliament last week as expected, and there is now little time to get the budget, with all of the required public hearings, approved by the parliament by the September 30 end of the fiscal year. Since the second Compact agreement was implemented in late 2003, the JEMFAC group has routinely approved budget plans each year.

The funding now in limbo because the Marshall Islands refused to approve the allocation with the second-half release requirements represents close to 25 percent of the government’s operations budget for the year.

One of the two resolutions that were approved by JEMFAC last month allows for Compact funding unspent in previous years to be used to complete “satisfactory plans to address annual decrements (reductions) in Compact funds, to produce reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and/or to address all single-audit findings in a timely manner.”

This was one of only two resolutions JEMFAC approved — and last week, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Phillip Muller wrote to the US Interior Department’s Director of Insular Affairs Nikolao Pula requesting that one of those two resolutions be rescinded.

The situation, and Minister Muller’s comments critical of the United States in parliament last week, underline an apparently growing inability of the two sides to work together.

The lack of action to approve the FY2014 Compact budget affects US$23.7 million, nearly half of which goes to the Ministry of Education and includes $7.5 million for Health and nearly US$3.9 million for a special fund for Ebeye Island, the over-crowded island next to the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site.

Prior to the August meeting, U.S. officials had put the Marshall Islands on notice about JEMFAC resolution 2010-1 that the U.S. says the RMI has not acted on. That resolution from three years ago obligated the “Marshall Islands Government (to) develop a report that addresses the broad range of fiscal challenges facing the Marshall Islands, which was in part the subject of JEMFAC Resolution 2009-1.”

Among issues the U.S. government is seeking Marshall Islands action on are plans for how the Ministries of Education and Health will deal with declining funding under the Compact, with plans linked to actual budgets. The Ministry of Education is presently 90 percent dependent for its operations on U.S. funding.

On August 1, the U.S. said it was considering recommending providing only first quarter funding for FY2014, but that was modified at the August 20 JEMFAC meeting to a proposal to approve the entire year Compact FY2014 budget allocation, but release of the second-half funding for Education and Health “will be contingent upon the Marshall Islands making substantial progress on fulfilling the terms of JEMFAC Resolution 2010-1.”

Marshall Islands Ministers Dennis Momotaro and Hilda Heine, who represented the Marshall Islands at the August 20 meeting, declined to vote on the budget resolution and because JEMFAC operates by consensus, there was no further action on the budget. It has remained in limbo since.

Muller, in a letter earlier this month, asked U.S. officials to set aside a JEMFAC resolution that the Marshall Islands agreed to on August 20, which sets limits on how much Compact funding can be spent on utilities, leased housing and food by the Ministries of Education and Health.

There was no response to the request to eliminate this resolution by the end of last week.


22) Guam May Have To Return Unexpended Federal Funds
Social Service programs may be hardest hit

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Sept. 16, 2013) – Unexpended federal funds that may have to be returned to the U.S. Treasury by the end of the fiscal year are likely to affect social services that depend on those grants, according to Bernie Grajek, executive director of Guma Mami Inc.

“There are many social issues that need to be addressed in our community and many organizations need those funds,” Grajek said. “Sending money back to the federal agencies that awarded these grants may set a bad precedent, especially in this economic climate that we are in.”

She said forfeiting federal funds could be doubly hard for Guam, considering the impact of federal sequestration that resulted in either funding cuts or termination of some social service programs.

Grajek recommended that the local government find a way to reprogram unobligated federal dollars toward critical social services instead of sending them back to the federal government.

“We have very limited time to do this and we have to make sure that those funds get spent in the community, where it’s supposed to be spent,” she said.

Last month, the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities identified $1 million in unobligated funds earmarked for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The funding in question was a carryover from fiscal 2012 that the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) sought to be relinquished.

DISID has requested RSA that the unspent money be reprogrammed to help support the State Model Demonstration Projects under the Promoting Readiness in Minors in Social Security Income program.

“Steps have already been taken by DISID to help address these challenges so that future funds are fully expended,” DISID said in an Aug. 1 press release.

DISID has enumerated items for which it intended to use the unexpended grant. The list includes the recent hiring of a vocational rehabilitation administrator and vocational rehabilitation personnel, the development of short- and long-term spending plans, provision of staff development training, identification of other community rehabilitation providers to help train and place vocational rehabilitation clients, and procurement of a new Management Information System.

Grajek said the group homes operated by Guma Mami are locally funded, but most of their clients receive services from local agencies that receive federal dollars.

Many of the consumers at the group homes, for example, are also clients of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Hiring quota

DVR is in charge of providing training and finding job placements for individuals with significant disabilities.

DISID Director Benito Servino said for the most part, grants earmarked for DVR are wisely spent despite some challenges with getting the private sector to hire people with disabilities.

“The job market, locally and nationally, is competitive. The unemployment rate is up. When people show up with degrees and qualifications, they would get the hiring preference,” Servino said.

“There are stigma and fears. Employers worry their insurance might go up. There are a lot of issues that they don’t want to deal with. What they don’t realize is that people with disabilities are good employees, they work hard and they want to prove themselves,” he added.

The Obama administration’s new policy setting a 7 percent disability hiring goal for federal contractors has prompted DISID to revisit a similar local law, which sets a 2 percent disability hiring quota for government agencies.

Servino said his department has been working with the Guam Department of Labor to identify companies holding federal contracts and make job referrals for DVR clients.

Procurement issue

Rey Vega, director of the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, said most of the forfeited federal funds awarded to his department resulted from a “systematic problem” with the hiring and procurement process rather than unimplemented programs.

“Most of our lapsed funds are related to the salaries for positions that are federally funded,” Vega said.

If, for example, the funds for a federally funded position is approved at the opening of the fiscal year in October, the department will not receive the money until the process for filling the position begins, Vega said.

“It’s hard to recruit,” he said. “If we are able to successfully hire in January, we already have three months in unspent funds for personnel salary.”

He said the same situation occurs in an event where there is a delay in procurement of supplies.

In some instances, Vega said, the department faces a Catch-22 situation, in which it will not receive the funding until the procurement process begins.

“In this case, we already lose the opportunity to spend the federal money,” Vega said. “So this is a systematic problem that has to do with timeliness.”

Marianas Variety Guam:


23) 5000 expected for Solomons blackbirding anniversary

Posted at 02:04 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

Descendants of a Malaitan man captured during the blackbirding era are preparing to welcome his Australian family members to Solomon Islands for the 150th anniversary of his capture.

John Kwailiu Fatanowna was taken from the Rakwane tribe of the Fataleka region of east Malaita to work on a sugar plantation in Queensland.

The president of the organising committee says for many of the 60 members of that branch of the family coming from Mackay at the end of the month it is the first time they have left Australia.

Enoch Mani Ilisia says in total there will be more than five thousand people taking part.

“The Rakwane tribesmen and women who are living in Honiara, we pooled together our resources and we managed to build a new water supply and we constructed houses and toilet facilities.”

Enoch Mani Ilisia says the tribe has also asked the government for assistance.

Radio New Zealand International

24) Coalition won’t be asking for Indonesia’s permission on asylum seeker policies: Bishop

Updated 16 September 2013, 16:32 AEST

Incoming foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop says she is confident the Coalition will be able to implement all of its asylum seeker policies regardless of how Indonesia views them. Indonesia’s foreign minister Marty Natelegawa said last week that his government was against the Coalition’s plan to purchase boats from fishermen in a bid to prevent people smugglers buying them. The policy is part of Operation Sovereign Borders, the Coalition’s regional action plan against people smuggling which was announced during the federal election campaign. Ms Bishop said last week that the government was prepared to negotiate with Indonesia, but this morning she appeared to take a more hardline stance. “We’re not asking for Indonesia’s permission, we’re asking for their understanding,” she said.

Incoming foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop says she is confident the Coalition will be able to implement all of its asylum seeker policies regardless of how Indonesia views them.

Indonesia’s foreign minister Marty Natelegawa recently rejected the Coalition’s plan to purchase boats from Indonesian fishermen in a bid to prevent people smugglers buying them.

The policy is part of Operation Sovereign Borders, the Coalition’s regional action plan against people smuggling which was announced during the federal election campaign.

Ms Bishop has told Sky News she will leave for meetings at the United Nations in New York on Saturday and will talk to Dr Natalegawa while she is there.

“What we have in place is a series of policies that we intend to implement by legislation and operationally, and they will not breach Indonesia’s sovereignty,” she said.

“We’re not asking for Indonesia’s permission, we’re asking for their understanding.

The Coalition won’t ask Indonesia’s “permission” on asylum seeker issues. Do you think they should?

“Of course all relationships require managing, but there is a level of mutual respect between Indonesia and Australia and we will maintain that.

“We’ve said there will be a no-surprises policy with Indonesia and we will talk through all these issues.”

Ms Bishop had said last week that the incoming government would negotiate with Indonesia on all aspects of its asylum seeker policy, where possible.

“It is important Australia works closely with Indonesia to halt the people smuggling trade through their country,” she said.

Dr Natelegawa said Indonesia would have to differentiate between the political campaign that Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott was trying to win and what the reality would be once he is sworn in.

Mr Abbott and Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held their first phone conversation since the election last Tuesday, and Mr Abbott plans to visit Jakarta at the end of the month.

Mr Abbott says the Coalition’s new border protection policy will take effect from Wednesday, when his new frontbench is officially sworn in.

As well as the plan to purchase boats from Indonesian fishermen, Mr Abbott’s policy involves turning boats around when it is safe to do so.

He says his policy will start to have an effect as soon as it is in place, but it will take time to stop the arrival of boats.

“Not all of the elements of Operation Sovereign Borders will commence instantaneously on day one,” he said.

“But nevertheless, it will commence on day one, and it will steadily be put into effect, and I am confident that we can stop the boats.”

Authorities struggling to catch people smugglers: report

Meanwhile, a new report says Indonesian authorities are struggling to catch people smugglers despite an increase in the number of prosecutions.

A University of Melbourne study found that most prosecutions are against low-level boat crew members.

Researcher Antje Missbach says people smugglers are taking advantage of unemployed or poor crew.

“People smugglers employ disposable workers at this end of the operation knowing that they might only use one driver for one operation and they would have to hire somebody new,” she said.

She said those found guilty are often unable to pay their fines.

“Often they are unemployed, or they are from very poor backgrounds, they are manual workers, sometimes fishermen,” she said.

“So they normally have not much disposable income available.”radio Australia

25) Julia Gillard slams Labor leadership reform as contest between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese begins

Updated 15 September 2013, 0:17 AEST

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has hit out at a new rule about how the Labor Party can remove a leader, describing it as “a clumsy attempt” for bad leaders to hold onto power. Under reforms introduced by Kevin Rudd, the only way to remove the leader is for 60 per cent of Caucus members to sign a petition requesting a new election. The new rules also govern how the leader is selected, with a ballot of both the parliamentary Labor Party and rank-and-file members taking place. The ABC understands Ms Gillard supports the decision to give party members a say, but does not agree with the rules surrounding the removal of a leader. But Ms Gillard has used an essay on The Guardian’s website to say it represents “exactly the wrong approach”, protecting poorly performing incumbents instead of the best candidate.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has hit out at a new rule about how the Labor Party can remove a leader, describing it as “a clumsy attempt” for bad leaders to hold onto power.

Under reforms introduced by Kevin Rudd, the only way to remove the leader is for 60 per cent of Caucus members to sign a petition requesting a new election.

The new rules also govern how the leader is selected, with a ballot of both the parliamentary Labor Party and rank-and-file members taking place.

The first contest governed by these rules is underway, with Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese beginning a month-long campaign to win the job of opposition leader.

The ABC understands Ms Gillard supports the decision to give party members a say, but does not agree with the rules surrounding the removal of a leader.

Ms Gillard has used an essay in The Guardian to say that represents “exactly the wrong approach”, protecting poorly performing incumbents instead of the best candidate.

“These rules literally mean that a person could hang on as Labor leader and as prime minister even if every member of cabinet, the body that should be the most powerful and collegiate in the country, has decided that person was no longer capable of functioning as prime minister,” she writes.

“A person could hang on even if well over half of their parliamentary colleagues thought the same.

“Ironically, I argue against these rules, even though under them I would have unseated Kevin Rudd in 2010, given colleagues would have signed up in sufficient numbers to have him gone, but he could never have defeated me in 2013.”

Do you agree with Julia Gillard? Have your say.

How does the voting work?

Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten (pictured) will both stand for the Labor Party leadership. Political correspondent Simon Cullen explains how the new voting rules work.

Ms Gillard says Labor should move on from determining its leader “on the basis of opinion polls, or the number of positive media profiles, or the amount of time spent schmoozing media owners and editors, or the frippery of selfies and content-less social media.”

She also says the party needs to “think deeply” on cultural factors that allow leaking and destabilising to be “so richly rewarded”.

Despite her criticism of the rules, Ms Gillard describes Mr Shorten and Mr Albanese as “two worthy candidates”.

“I hope whoever is the victor in the current leadership contest serves as Labor leader for a long time, and the next time Labor needs to choose a new leader is after the next period of Labor government,” she said.

“Achieving that requires much more than a ballot. It requires a true acceptance by all of the result of the ballot. Solidarity, not destabilisation. This is where Labor has failed.”

Ms Gillard said Labor had a strong record to be proud of, pointing to the disability insurance scheme, workplace relations, education reform and carbon pricing.

“Labor should not in opposition abandon our carbon pricing scheme,” she said.

“Climate change is real. Carbon should be priced. Community concern about carbon pricing did abate after its introduction.

“Tony Abbott does not have a viable alternative.”

Ms Gillard also admitted she had “erred by not contesting the label ‘tax’ for the fixed price period of the emissions trading scheme I introduced”.

“I made the wrong choice and, politically, it hurt me terribly,” she said.

Burke ‘surprised’ by enthusiasm over member ballot

Ms Gillard’s comments on the leadership rules echo those made by Labor Senator Stephen Conroy during the week.

Video: Tony Burke tells News 24 that his views have changed (ABC News)

He said the rules make Labor look like a “laughing stock” while allowing the Coalition to “get away with murder”.

Senior Labor MP Tony Burke admits he was cynical about the new rules but says his view has changed over the last couple of days.

“I have been genuinely surprised by the enthusiasm that’s there among branch members, by the excitement that I’m having from people in the street, saying that they’re actually interested in joining the Labor Party and from the participation that might come from this,” he told ABC News 24.

“In a month’s time we will have gone through the process and we’ll be able to judge whether it worked, whether it didn’t, what they actually thought of it.

“But I must say, a lot of the objections that I’ve always had, as to whether or not this would be practical – for the first couple of days watching it in operation, I’ve been wrong.”

He says it is likely the party will reassess the 75 per cent threshold for the Caucus to remove a leader.

“Everything will get looked at later. The 75 per cent principle was set very, very high and I imagine that one will be looked at,” he said.

Shorten, Albanese vow to run positive campaign

Mr Shorten and Mr Albanese announced this week they would stand as candidates, and have vowed to run a civil and positive campaign.

Video: Historic ballot for Labor leadership begins (Lateline)

They will now travel around the country meeting the up to 40,000 rank-and-file members who now have a say in the party’s choice of leader – although exactly who is eligible to vote is still being worked out.

Party members will have their ballot first, followed by the Caucus. Both ballots will have an equal weighting.

Newly-elected Labor senator Sam Dastyari says Mr Albanese would be a fantastic leader but he thinks Mr Shorten is the better candidate.

“He’ll be able to articulate a strong case for the future of the Labor Party and I think he’s a greater break from the past than Anthony is,” Mr Dastyari said.

“But look, this has got really exciting. It’s really exciting that tens of thousands of Labor Party members across the country are going to have a say in a ballot process.”

Party officials will meet on Monday to discuss exactly who will be eligible to vote, and Mr Dastyari has indicated he wants the ballot to be as broad as possible.

“The more people involved in deciding the Labor Party leader, the better,” he said.

Mr Shorten is favoured to get Caucus support but Victorian Labor MP Kelvin Thomson acknowledges it is possible the next leader might not have a majority backing.

“It’s inherent in the system that if you’re going to give party members a say, they may exercise that say,” he said.

“This is an experiment. It’s the first time we’ve done it.

“If the party membership prefers a particular leader, well, so be it.”

Social media campaign favours Albanese

Luke Whitington, founder of the social media campaign Albo for Leader, says Mr Albanese has the overwhelmingly support of party members.

Video: Steven Ciobo and Ed Husic join Lateline’s Friday Forum (Lateline)

“His personal story is very compelling,” he said.

“Every step of the way – from being a housing commission boy of a single mum, through his education, up to being deputy prime minister – every challenge, he has met and exceeded expectations.

“I think people can recognise that. They know he is a genuine guy.”

Mr Whitington says he wants to see debates between the candidates.

“I think that’d excite people, get people involved,” he australia

26) Catholic group in Australia slams proposed foreign aid cuts

Posted at 03:52 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

A Catholic organisation in Australia says cuts to the foreign aid budget are unjustifiable.

Before the Australian election, the winning coalition announced it would save $4.2 billion US Dollars and there are fears that the cuts will affect Pacific island countries.

John Ferguson, the Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, says it was a shock to hear the announcement and he finds it distressing.

He says the move reneges on a commitment to get Australia’s aid to 0.5 percent of the Gross National Income.

He says 50 cents for every one hundred Australian dollars earned is not a huge amount of money and the new policy is unjustifiable.

“I believe it would be very difficult for an Australian government to try and make a case that we need to make these $4.5 billion-dollar savings for the sake of the well-being of our economy.”

John Ferguson, the Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Bronwyn Bishop appointed new Australian Speaker of the House

By Online Editor
12:54 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Australia

Bronwyn Bishop has promised to preside over a more “dignified” Parliament from the Speaker’s chair.

Bishop, who entered Parliament in 1987 and was twice a minister under John Howard, has accepted the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives after a personal request by incoming prime minister Tony Abbott.

Abbott is due to announce his first ministry on Monday and Bishop’s acceptance of the speakership was seen as vital to him making some minor tweaks to his team, largely carried from his shadow ministry.

The loss of Sophie Mirabella, who was to have been Industry Minister, has prompted calls for greater female representation in the cabinet and outer ministry.

Abbott said his choice of Bishop was about returning the floor of Parliament to a place of ”genuine debate”.

“I want to bring some dignity back to the Parliament and that means a Speaker who can control the Parliament and who can act without fear nor favour,” he said.

“And I want someone who is as tough on the government as on the opposition, because I think the people expect a parliament which is a genuine debating chamber and not just a chamber where the government bludgeons the opposition.”

The Liberal party room will be asked to endorse Ms Bishop’s selection before the first sitting day of the 44th Parliament. It is traditional for the Speaker to be escorted “’against their will” to the chair by colleagues.

Abbott, who has pointedly promised a “’measured and calm” government, will also be hoping for less action in the Speaker’s chair after the removal of Harry Jenkins and Peter Slipper’s brief but controversial stint in the chair during the fractious 43rd Parliament.

Bishop said: “I certainly feel that the Parliament itself is entitled to have dignity returned to it. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a robust place, but it does mean that it will have a dignity that has been lacking in the last little while.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has urged Abbott to promote more women to the federal ministry, suggesting Victorian MPs Kelly O’Dwyer and former workforce participation minister Sharman Stone as worthy possible selections.

It is understood NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos will be promoted to cabinet in the finance role. However, the Australian Financial Review is reporting that Senator Sinodinos may be overlooked for the role in favour of Mathias Cormann.

Queensland Senator Ian McDonald, who missed out on a frontbench seat, took to social media to express his disappointment, saying it was the “’worst day of his life”.


28) UN finds Australia guilty in 150 cases

By Online Editor
12:51 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Australia

Australia has been found guilty of almost 150 violations of international law over the indefinite detention of 46 refugees in one of the most damning assessments of human rights in this country by a United Nations committee.

The federal government in August ordered to release the refugees, who have been in detention for more than four years, “under individually appropriate conditions”’ and provide them with rehabilitation and compensation.

Consistent with Australia’s treaty obligations, the government was given 180 days to assure the committee that it has acted on the recommendations and taken steps to prevent “’similar violations in future”’.

The UN’s Human Rights Committee concluded that the continued detention of the asylum seekers, most of them Sri Lankan Tamils, was ”cumulatively inflicting serious psychological harm” and in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The committee’s investigation followed a complaint lodged on behalf of the refugees in August 2011 by Ben Saul, of the Sydney Centre for International Law, who said the finding proved the “grave lawlessness” of Australian refugee policies.

“It is a major embarrassment for Australia, which is a member of the Security Council and often criticises human rights in other countries. Australia should do the right thing by respecting its international obligations and treating the refugees decently,” Professor Saul told Fairfax Media.

Last month, the former Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus had undertaken to ”carefully consider” the committee’s views and respond within the six-month time frame.

“The government is actively exploring solutions for persons who are owed protection obligations and are the subject of an adverse security assessment,” his office said then.

The committee, made up of 18 human rights experts, found that, whatever justification there may have been for an initial detention, the government had not demonstrated on an individual basis that the continuous indefinite detention of the refugees was justified.

“The state party [government] has not demonstrated that other, less intrusive, measures could not have achieved the same end of compliance with the state party’s need to respond to the security risk that the adult authors [refugees] are said to represent,” it said.

It also found that those held were ”not informed of the specific risk attributed to each of them” and that meant they were unable to mount a legal challenge to their indefinite detention.

While the committee has consistently found fault with Australia’s system of mandatory immigration detention, Professor Saul said, this finding went much further. “It is the largest complaint ever upheld against Australia,” he said.

The UN body traditionally allowed governments wide discretion where national security was concerned, but found 46 cases of illegal detention, 46 cases of no effective judicial remedies for illegal detention and 46 cases of inhuman or degrading treatment in detention, he said.

It is believed that at least four of the 46 have since been granted visas after their cases were reviewed. The UN committee is considering a similar complaint from another five refugees.

“For the committee to come out and make such stark findings is a pretty firm indication of just how seriously the committee regards these breaches,” Professor Saul said.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, of the Greens, called on the government to move quickly to release the refugees. “’It is heartbreaking that this cruel policy has meant a young mother and her children have been locked up illegally,”’ she said.

A spokesman for the Tamil Refugee Council, Trevor Grant, said the UN committee had vindicated the strong belief that indefinite detention was intolerable in a just society.



29) David Cunliffe wins NZ’s Labour leadership vote experiment

By Online Editor
12:53 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand’s opposition Labour party has a new leader in David Cunliffe, as it prepares for next year’s election when it will try to prevent Prime Minister John Key from returning to power for his third term.

For the first time, rank-and-file members of the New Zealand Labour party also took part in the vote.

It comes as Australia’s Labor party is now also going through the same process, following changes introduced by former leader and Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Across the Tasman, the vote came after former leader David Shearer announced his resignation in late August, saying it was time for change ahead of the 2014 election.

Cunliffe won the ballot in a tight contest against Grant Robertson and Shane Jones, receiving just 51.5 per cent of first preferences.

He’s now pledging to work for party unity and a victory at next year’s election.

“We must beat John Key in 2014 and we will only do that by mobilizing the entire party, the affiliates, the membership and the caucus,” Cunliffe said.

“If we can combine the best of all of us, the winners will be the people of New Zealand.”

In a show of unity, the three leadership contenders had held joint town-hall meetings across the country during a two-week road-show.

Cunliffe is a former Labour spokesman on finance and economics and was relegated to the backbench last year after failing to rule out a challenge against Shearer.

This was the first time the vote for the new party leader had occurred under the new rules, in which Labour MPs and party members have 40 per cent of the ballot each, and affiliated trade unions have 20 per cent.

Cunliffe proved most popular with the party members and unions, winning 60.14 per cent and 70.77 per cent of their votes respectively.

But Robertson had more support from his fellow MPs, with nearly half of caucus voting for him.

There have been predictions of a similar result for Australia’s Labor party, with Anthony Albanese enjoying the support of grassroot members, while the former union boss Bill Shorten has the backing of factional leaders.

Unlike the New Zealand Labour party, in Australia the final result will be determined by giving equal weight to the parliamentary Labor Party decision and that of the grassroots membership.



30) Peter O’Neill i toktok long 38 yar indipendans anivesari

Postim 16 September 2013, 17:26 AEST

Kelvin Kaspar

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill i toktok long ol plan blong gavman blongen taim kantri i makim 38 yar blong Indipendans

Odio: Ripot blong Sam Seke long toktok blong Prime Minister Peter O’Neill

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neil itok, gavman blongen i laik long meksua olsem igat developmen long olgeta man meri long kantri.

Em itok gavman i gat polisi blong stopim tu kain pasin blong mis-yusim ol risisis blong kantri.

Prime Minister O’Neill mekim dispela toktok long wanpela seremoni blong reisim flag blong PNG long Port Moresby dispela morning blong makim indipendans blong kantri.

PNG ibin kisim independence blongen long Australia long naba 16 long mun September, 1975.

Ikam inap nau, PNG ibin go through planti challenge olsem wanpela independent kantri, na planti long ol dispela challenge i stap yet.

Wanpela long ol em olsem kantri igat planti risosis tumas, tasol ibin gat bikpela problem long misuse long ol dispela risosis.

Long toktok blongen tede long dispela dawn flag raising seremoni, Prime Minister O’Neill itok wok long stopim dispela i wanpela prioroti blong gavman blongen.

Mr O’Neill itok gavman imas wok long kamapim developmen long olgeta hap blong kantri.

Em itok gavman ibin promisim pipol long ol kaikain sevis long taim blong independence 38 yar igo pinis – tasol dispela ino kamap.

Em itok pipol blong Papua New Guinea igat rait long ol gutpela besic sevis.

Mr O’Neill itok bikpela plan blong gavman blongen tu em long mekim wok blong ronim gavman na moni igo daun long ol provins, district na local level gavman – we pipol i stap longen na i nidim ol sevis.

Em itok ol pipol long rurul eria long PNG  wi wok long go long ol siti na taun – na gavman i nid long developim ol dispela blong pipol igo stap long ol.

NBC ripota, Kelvin Kaspar itok ol lain husat i stap long dispela dawn flag raising seremoni long Port Moresby tu i ol memba blong diplomatic ofis, ol member blong disciplined forces, ol skul pikinini na ol Scout na Girl Guide.

Kelvin Kaspar itok, ol arapela activiti blong makim 38th Independence anniverssary long Port Moresby tu i inkludim PNG Defence Force tug-of-war, Wanpela pilai pait long,  Special Police Dog Show blong Bomana Police Dog Unit,  Fire Service show, planti moa ol kainkain acvititi we National Capital District Commission na National Events Council i organisim.

Igat ol selebresen tu long olgeta hat long kantri.

Long Eastern Highlands…ol skul pikinini long Goroka Town nau i gopas long ol selebesen long hap long tede.

Chairperson Karyn Hargraves, itok oli mekim wanpela march raun long Goroka taun, na ibin gat wanpela debate competition na sampela moa activiti long The National Day Park.

Em itok dispela Goroka Show i pinis tu long aste we planti tausan pipol inkludim long turis nau ibin stap longen.

Liklik taun blong Kokoda tu ibin gat sampela selebresen tede wantaim kainkain activiti na bilas blong makim 38 Independans australia

31) PNG Polis i pulim kalabusim ol pipal bihaenim Black Cat Track birua

Updated 16 September 2013, 17:00 AEST

Pius Bonjui

Papua New Guinea polis i pulim kalabusim pinis fopla pipal bihaneim dai blong tupla PNG potas na kamapim bagarap long ol Australia trekas na ol narapla potas long Black Cat Track long Morobe provins long wik igo pinis.

Odio: Suprientendent Dominic Kakas, het bilong PNG Police Media Unit long Port Moresby itoktok wantem Pius Bonjui

Suprientendent Dominic Kakas, het bilong PNG Police Media Unit long Port Moresby itoktok wantem Pius Bonjui (Credit: ABC)

Ol nius ripot itok ol vilis pipal ibin kilim wanpla man long wonem oli sutim tok long en olsem emi bin wok long haitim ol despla man.

Sevenpla man blong Australia, wanpla man blong New Zealand na ol PNG wokman blong ol ibin bungim birua taem oli bin wokabaut na bihaenim  Black Cat Track long tunde long wik igo pinis.

Tupla long ol despla wokman oa potas ibin dai na sevenpla moa ibin kisim bagarap na oli bin bringim ol igo long Angau haus sik long Lae.

Aste ol polis ibin pulim kalabusim fopla long sikispla man em oli sutim tok long ol long kamapim despla bikpla bagarap long ol Australian, PNG na New Zealand trekas.

Polis Komisina Tom Kalunga itok oli bin pulim kalabusim tripla long ol despla man long  Wau na narapla long  Salamaua.

Het bilong Police Media Unit long Port Moresby Superientendent Dominic Kakas i tok, wanpela long ol Papua New Guinea ibin kisim bagarap long bodi bilong em long dispela birua i lusim laif bilong em long Anganu Memoral haus sik long Australia

32) PNG gavman ino ken senisim nabaut mama loa

Updated 16 September 2013, 13:23 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Papua New Guinea gavman ino ken iusim bikpla namba blong en long palaman long senisim nabaut mama loa blong kantri em oli bin statim long indipendans day long 1975

Odio: Caroline Tiriman i ripot long 38 yiar indipendans blong Papua New Guinea

President John Momis blong Autnomous Bougainville gavman husat ibin halvim long kamapim mama loa oa constitution blong PNG i mekim despla toktok tede long makim 38 yiar indipendans.

Mr Momis itok ol pipal long PNG imas tok tenk yu long ol papa blong kantri olsem Sir Michael Somare na Sir Julius Chan long sanap strong na askim Australia long givim indipendans long PNG.

Emi tok kantri ibin kamapim wanpla strongpla mama loa na emi no laik lukim ol lida blong tede long senisim despla, emi tok sopos oli laik senisim oraet oli mas mekim wanpla vout oa referendum long mekim ol despla kaen senis.

Planti pipal blong PNG iet na ol narapla kantri olsem Australia isave tok olsem PNG ino bin redi long kisim indipendans long 1975, tasol sampla ken itok oli hamamas olsem PNG ibin kisim indipendans na sanap em iet.

President John Momis itok mama loa blong PNG i gutpla na ol lida imas luksave long australia


33) Mawar poney merekah lebih awal di Sydney

Diperbaharui 16 September 2013, 15:27 AEST

Tanaman komersial mawar peony mulai diperdagangkan di pasar bunga Sydney pekan ini.

Jenis mawar peony yang mulai diperdagangkan di Sydney. (Laurissa Smith)

Di Tumut,  Snowy Mountains bagian selatan New South Wales, Australia, bunga-bunga besar warna merah muda dan putih berkembang lebih awal dari bunga-bunga udara dingin lainnya.

Menurut Grower Geoff Pritchard, seorang petani mawar yang juga memiliki peternakan, ini merupakan peluang bisnis yang cukup baik.

“Bunga peony berkembang sekarang dan sudah muncul seminggu atau lebih,” katanya.

Ia mengatakan, kembang-kembang cantik itu masuk ke pasar Sydney lebih awal dibanding tempat lainnya di Australia. “Ini baik untuk pasar bunga dan juga baik untuk para pengantin,” jelasnya.

Mawar-mawar merekah itu diangkut dengan truk berpendingin dari daerah Snowy Mountains ke kota australia


34) Vengeance sur la piste du chat noir

Mis à jour 16 September 2013, 9:02 AEST

Pierre Riant

C’est mardi dernier que deux randonneurs australiens ont été blessés et deux porteurs locaux ont été massacrés à coups de machettes par des bandits sur cette piste de randonnée : la Black Cat Track en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Quatre autres membres du groupe de randonneurs composé de 7 Australiens, et d’un Néo-zélandais, ont aussi été blessés ainsi que 7 autres porteurs.

Nous avons appris ce week-end que la famille et les proches de Matthew Gibob, l’un des porteurs tués lors de l’attaque, ont à leur tour tué un homme qui aurait donné refuge aux bandits.  L’homme serait mort lors de son transport à l’hôpital.

Son corps est à la morgue et porterait de profondes lacérations à la tête et sur le dos.

La police a maintenant arrêté 4 hommes soupçonnés d’être impliqués dans l’attaque de mardi dernier. Ils ont été incarcérés à la prison de australia

35) PNG : 4 blessés et deux morts, les opérateurs touristiques sont nerveux

Posté à 13 September 2013, 8:15 AEST

Pierre Riant

Des bandits armés de machettes qui surgissent dans un campement de randonneurs en ont ébranlé plus d’un.

Mark Hitchcock est à la tête d’une petite société de randonnées – PNG Trekking Adventures – et cela fait plus de 10 ans qu’il emmène des randonneurs sur les pistes de la Province de Morobe.

Il affirme que cette aussi brutale que sanglante attaque est tout à fait inhabituelle : « Nous sommes une société de randonnées locale basée ici à Port Moresby [la capitale]. Avec mon épouse, nous sommes installés dans ce pays depuis 23 ans. Nous sommes très expérimentés au niveau des conditions et de la nature ici. Et nous n’avons jamais vécu une telle expérience. Nous sommes vraiment sous le choc et nous compatissons avec les randonneurs et les porteurs. »

Mardi dernier, dans l’après-midi, 7 Australiens, un Néo-Zélandais, un guide australien et des porteurs locaux ont installé un campement après une dure journée de marche sur la piste du chat noir : la Black Cat Track.
Il pleuvait et la plupart d’entre eux étaient sous la tente. Un groupe de 6 hommes armés de machette a surgi de la jungle pour attaquer le camp. Les porteurs ont été les principales victimes : deux sont morts et plusieurs autres ont été grièvement blessés.

Les blessures des randonneurs ont été plus superficielles : des lacérations et des hématomes.

Le soir même, tous les médias australiens se déchainaient alors que le Pacifique fait rarement la une.

Kokoda Spirit est une autre société de randonnées dans le sud du pays, le propriétaire, Wayne Weatherall, nous a dit que sa société avait en ce moment même plusieurs groupes de randonneurs sur la piste de Kokoda. Il nous a dit aussi que l’attaque sur la piste du chat noir s’est propagée comme un feu de brousse : « Oui, beaucoup de membres de la famille [de nos randonneurs] se sont mis à téléphoner pour avoir des nouvelles, Nous avons contacté tous nos randonneurs pour savoir comment ça se passait et pour ensuite informer les familles. Surtout pour les rassurer que cette histoire n’avait rien à voir avec la piste de Kokoda. »

N’empêche que Wayne Weatherhall est inquiet des répercussions de l’attaque sur les touristes qui pourraient hésiter deux fois avant de partir en randonnée en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Les opérateurs touristiques ont souffert en 2009 quand un petit avion de tourisme s’est écrasé dans la région de Kokoda pour faire 13 morts, dont 9 randonneurs australiens.

Le Premier ministre papou, Peter O’Neill, tout en promettant la peine de mort aux responsables de l’attaque, a reconnu que le dernier incident était un sérieux revers aux efforts déployés pour faire de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée une destination touristique.

Wayne Weatherall souligne que le gouvernement, l’Office du tourisme et les opérateurs touristiques devront maintenant redoubler d’efforts pour ‘vendre’ le pays : « C’est l’une des dernières grandes régions sauvages du monde, l’une des ultimes frontières et la visiter c’est faire partie de quelque chose de spécial. Ce pays est un endroit fabuleux et en Australie il y a des incidents tous les jours alors que les médias fustigent la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée dès que quelque chose ne va pas. »

Les randonneurs seraient maintenant de retour chez eux, sains et australia

36) Un centre pédagogique mobile pour les enfants du Pacifique

Posté à 13 September 2013, 8:31 AEST

Pierre Riant

Ce centre est un autobus doté d’une salle de classe ‘high-tech’  pour les enfants d’Océanie en Nouvelle-Zélande.

Une salle de classe sophistiquée puisque le bus regroupe entre autre : un studio de musique, des ateliers, un laboratoire scientifique et un centre informatique.

Une initiative du ministère de l’Éducation et du ministère des Affaires du Pacifique qui s’inspire du bus pédagogique John Lennon aux États-Unis, puis en Europe.

Le bus a en effet parcouru le continent européen en s’arrêtant dans des écoles, universités, bibliothèques et autres lieux sociaux éducatifs. Le bus kiwi fera de même en commençant par les quartiers défavorisés../radio australia

37) Dengue : un vaccin pour les moustiques

Mis à jour 16 September 2013, 9:08 AEST

Pierre Riant

Une équipe de chercheurs de Melbourne a reçu un prix prestigieux après avoir découvert un moyen de stopper la transmission du virus: le Prix Eureka.

La dengue et le chikungunya sont des maladies biens connues dans le Pacifique.

La dengue est due à un virus transmis par la piqûre d’un moustique du genre Aèdes. Si elle est souvent bénigne, elle peut présenter des formes graves et on parle alors de dengue hémorragique.

Quand un moustique pique une personne infectée, il contracte le virus qu’il transmet alors à toute personne qu’il piquera par la suite.

Et c’est là que nos chercheurs australiens interviennent. Le Professeur Scott O’Neill’, de l’Université Monash de Melbourne, est l’un des récipiendaires du Prix Eureka, l’une des plus grandes récompenses scientifiques : « Et bien le virus de la dengue est une maladie qui est transmise à des personnes par un certain type de moustique et nos travaux se sont concentrés sur que nous pourrions faire pour immobiliser le virus dans le moustique.
Et pour ce faire, nous avons introduit une bactérie naturelle dans les populations de moustiques et quand le moustique est porteur de cette bactérie, elle empêche le virus de la dengue de grossir dans le corps du moustique et si le virus ne peut pas grossir il ne peut pas être transmis entre les personnes. »

Est-ce en quelque sorte un vaccin contre la dengue pour les moustiques ?

« Et bien d’une certaine façon, on peut dire qu’elle agit comme un vaccin pour les moustiques. Ce n’est pas pour les humains, si c’est ce que vous voulez dire.  C’est comme un agent de contrôle biologique à partir duquel nous allons peut-être pouvoir arrêter la transmission de la dengue.  C’est un peu un vaccin. »

Mais un vaccin pour les moustiques qui après avoir contractés le virus ne pourront plus, si les recherches aboutissent, transmettre la dengue aux autres personnes qu’ils piquent.

Si ça marche avec la dengue, est-ce que cela pourrait aussi fonctionner pour d’autres maladies ? La réponse du professeur O’Neill.

« Ce qui est intéressant, c’est que cela semble marcher pour d’autres infections également. Le virus qui transmet la dengue, transmet aussi un certain nombre d’autres virus comme la fièvre jaune et le chikungunya et nous avons trouvé que cela marche avec d’autres virus aussi. »

La question la plus importante : est-ce que ces recherches vont réellement aboutir ? Est-ce que Scott O’Neill est persuadé que la dengue sera un jour maîtrisée ?

« C’est encore trop tôt pour dire que nous allons pouvoir l’éliminer totalement. Mais nous sommes parvenus au stade des essais sur le terrain dans le nord de l’Australie, en Indonésie et au Vietnam. Et nous pourrons avec ces essais établir une cartographie des secteurs où la capacité des moustiques à transmettre le virus aura été réduite. Au cours de ces trois prochaines années, nous allons procéder à de vastes essais sur le terrain dans un certain nombre de pays et nous pourrons allons mesurer l’impact que nous avons sur la dengue et si cet impact est conséquent, et c’est ce que nous espérons, nous alors auront un impact substantiel sur cette maladie. »radio australia

38) Un bœuf de la paix à Fidji

Posté à 13 September 2013, 8:26 AEST

Pierre Riant

21 septembre : journée internationale de la paix et à Fidji, c’est la musique qui tentera de renforcer les idéaux de paix.

C’est l’organisation non-gouvernementale femLINKPACIFIC qui organise le Peace Jam du 21 septembre prochain. Peace Jam que l’on pourrait traduire par le Bœuf de la Paix. Tous les musiciens connaissent probablement cette vielle expression ‘Faire le bœuf’, qui signifie un rassemblement de musiciens heureux de pouvoir jouer ensemble même s’ils ne se connaissent pas et pour le plaisir de la musique dans le cadre de ‘Jam sessions’.

Pour la petite histoire, le restaurant parisien « Le bœuf sur le toit » serait à l’origine de cette expression. Un restaurant où des musiciens se rendaient tard le soir pour jouer ensemble de la musique et ce depuis 1925.

Mais revenons à Fidji où le Peace Jam, 15 heures de musique, va réunir plus de 80 artistes et musiciens des années 70 jusqu’à nos jours.

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls est la directrice de ce projet : « Oui, des artistes et des musiciens vont venir partager leurs messages de paix. Comme vous le savez, c’est une période très importante à Fidji avec le processus de démocratisation et nous avons devant nous 12 mois avant les élections de 2014.
Pour nous c’est l’occasion de penser latéralement et d’utiliser des expressions créatives, notamment la musique pour essayer de rassembler tout le monde et trouver les moyens de contribuer à la paix et à une transition non violente vers la démocratie. »

L’occasion aussi pour les musiciens de l’archipel de montrer à toute la population qu’ils existent et qu’ils peuvent apporter leur contribution : « Oui, c’est une opportunité pour les musiciens de dire qu’ils font aussi partis de la société et qu’en tant que musiciens leur contribution peut être positive. Et en plus les musiciens se retrouvent dans un évènement véritablement intergénérationnel. Il y aura ceux qui étaient impliqués dans ‘Faites l’amour, pas la guerre’ des années 70 et qui seront aux côtés des jeunes musiciens d’aujourd’hui.

Pour nous, la musique c’est aussi une plateforme qui nous permet de convaincre des jeunes souvent au chômage ou marginaux de s’impliquer davantage. »

Ce ‘Bœuf de la paix’ n’est qu’un évènement faisant partie de plusieurs initiatives régionales organisées par le Secrétariat du Pacifique du Partenariat global pour la prévention des conflits armés : « Nous verrons aussi des petits-déjeuners pour la paix à Bougainville et aux îles Salomon. Il y aura des ateliers sur un plan d’action régional pour la paix et la sécurité des femmes à Tonga et des réunions sur un traité concernant le négoce des armes en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Mais le ‘Peace Jam’ est ce que attendons tous à Suva.»radio australia


39) Environment minister to visit Fiji, Tuvalu

By Online Editor
10:16 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Japan

Japan’s Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara will visit Fiji and Tuvalu for a week from Saturday.

Ishihara will meet with Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga to exchange views on measures to prevent global warming.

Island nations in the South Pacific, including Fiji and Tuvalu, are threatened by rising sea levels due to global warming.



40) Solomons Reporter Accused Of Fabricating Police Commissioner Story
Alfred Sasako report that PM has chosen new commissioner called ‘false’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 16, 2013) – The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) has condemned a fabricated story by Alfred Sasako carried by the Sunday Star that the Prime Minister has appointed Walter Kola as new police commissioner.

In a statement last night OPMC described the report as irresponsible speculative journalism by the veteran journalist.

It stated that the Police and Corrections Commission and the Prime Minister are the offices vested with the authority to put in office the commissioner.

“That has not occurred yet,” OPMC said in a statement.

It stated the report by Sasako was not only false but attempts to influence the outcome of the process outside the lawful processes.

“At no time did the Prime Minister order the appointment of Mr Kola and the story by Sasako has no truth in it,” the statement said.

OPMC has stated that the formal announcement of the commissioner of police has not been done and the public is asked to respect the process until it is formally announced.

“The legitimate process is continuing and the final decision has yet to be concluded but yet people like Sasako are already trying to undermine the process.

“This is simply wrong,” the statement said.

The final decision rests with the police and correctional commission not the OPMC.

Therefore, the statement said it is wrong for people to start linking the Prime Minister with the appointment of any new police commissioner as the Sunday Star and Sasako has unfairly reported.

The OPMC also condemned the newspaper for their continuous trend in publishing unsubstantiated stories without consulting them for their side of story.

Solomon Star


41) PNG govt under fire

By Online Editor
12:48 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Concern was raised in Parliament last week over the haste in approving multi-million kina projects such as the PNG LNG project without careful evaluation of its benefits to the Government and people.

The debate was sparked off by a ministerial statement on the petroleum and gas industry from Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma.

Attorney-General and Justice Minister Kerenga Kua said the Government would soon amend legislation to ensure that all resources were fully owned by the State.

Kua said the State owned resources under the ground but that ownership was transferred to the developer or investor as soon as a development licence was issued.

“The state should be owning the resources and not giving them away to investors,” he said.

“This is a property shift and payment shift. We get nothing out of it and this is unacceptable and we must constitutionalise ownership because there is no provision confining state ownership. This must take place quickly and must be seen on the benefit we share.”

There was concern by some MPs that the PNG LNG project was rushed and sold cheaply and urged the State to suspend all negotiations on new petroleum and gas projects.

Minister for Commerce and Trade Richard Maru said the country would only receive K1.5 billion (US$610.8 million) in revenue from 2015 while the Government had incurred a lot of commitments.

He said the Government had given away many fiscal incentives, leaving it with nothing, and should not rush into any more projects of such magnitude.

“We should get far better package for our people. Let’s see the lesson learnt and make improvement in other (future) projects,” he said.

Koroba Kopiago  MP Philip Undialu said the state should not engage foreign consultants as it did in the PNG LNG project because their report would not be in the best interest of the State and the people.

Goroka MP Biri Kimisopa said the PNG LNG agreement was presented to parliament so that every member had the opportunity to know its content such as the fiscal incentives in the agreements.

“Time will only tell us if we have done the right thing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the future looks bright for Papua New Guinea and it is cause for celebration.

“As we celebrate our 38 independence anniversary, there is cause to be optimistic about the future,” he said in his Independence Day message.

“Although we have travelled far as a nation in 38 years, we have not travelled far enough.

“Massive challenges lie ahead of us. We have a population that is growing rapidly. We have roads, air and sea ports, schools, hospitals, and barracks we must rebuild or expand.

“But I believe that we have laid the foundations for change in the policies that we are implementing.

“In 12 months, we have begun the work to rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and improve service delivery. Our economy continues to do well, and this growth will double when the LNG project starts exporting in the latter part of 2014.”

He said state-owned assets would be restructured to give more financial security when the Kumul structure was approved by Parliament.

“This re-aligning of our assets will unlock the potential that we know these assets are capable of delivering.

“So, I can assure you all that the future looks bring for all of us, and there is reason to celebrate,” he said.

“But let’s celebrate in peace, with respect for our neighbours, and in the true spirit of independence.”


42) PAFCO stays in Levuka

By Online Editor
12:47 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

The Pacific Fisheries Company (PAFCO) is willing to spend millions of dollars to cart its products overseas but the tuna cannery will not re-locate to Viti Levu.

That is the message from Colonel Etuweni Caucau, the company’s human resource manager. He met the media two weeks ago during a tour of the plant in Levuka Town.

The company employs 882 people and this year marks the 50th anniversary of its operation.

“There was a thought to relocate PAFCO to Savusavu or Lautoka and that would mean the removal of $4million (US$1.6 million) earned from the island and economy of Ovalau,” he said.

“And we thank the government for supporting us — we are still here in Levuka.”

The company spends about $300,000 (US$122,000) a month in workers’ wages and, as one of the main employers in the Lomaiviti Province, PAFCO has helped in Levuka’s economic growth.

“About 70 per cent of the workforce are women from Ovalau and other islands in the province.”

He said workers at the factory come from almost all the villages on the island of Ovalau.

“95 per cent of the products from PAFCO is conveyed to the US economy, while the remaining 5 per cent is sold locally.”

Since the company started its operation in 1963, Col. Caucau said it has diversified its operation in 2007 and now produces and sells fish meal, which could soon become a stand-alone product.

“We have other products like fish meal and fish oil and we also sell sardines,” he said.

Fish meal is mostly bought by yaqona farmers as organic fertiliser and is readily available for farmers on Ovalau.

Col. Caucau said the company faced many challenges such as road closures and traditional obligations of the villagers which affected the workforce at PAFCO.

Government owns the majority shares in PAFCO, which is in partnership with US-based Bumble Bee Foods.


43) Airline mulls new strategy

By Online Editor
12:45 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

Qantas-backed Fiji Airways will consider new destinations and closer alliances with other airlines as part of a five-year plan to be devised under the reins of a new chief executive.

Fjii’s national flag carrier said it was open to expanding its alliance with Qantas from a basic interline agreement to a code-share deal.

The Fijian government owns 51 per cent of the airline, while Qantas has 46 per cent. The relationship between the two hit a low last year when Qantas removed its four representatives from the airline’s board in response to the Fiji government making clear its intention to take ”absolute control”.

Chief executive Stefan Pichler said the airline would consider new routes. But it was unlikely to make major changes in the medium term to capacity on routes between Australia and Fiji. The airline has 26 flights a week to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“We don’t want to have a market share battle. The market is pretty much in a good state and a good place for all competitors there and we don’t necessarily want to shake it up,” he said.


44) National trade council formation supported in Fiji

By Online Editor
4:39 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

The private sector has given its support for the formation of a National Trade and Development Council in Fiji.

It has also given its support for the opening of a Trade Commission in Australia and having a roving Trade Commissioner for the Pacific.

Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, confirmed these as some of the major outcomes of the two-day National Workshop on Fiji’s Trade Policy Framework which ended on Saturday.

The Trade Policy Framework would provide a single reference document identifying the trade capacity, constraints and needs of each sector.

It requires all stakeholders; Government, private and civil; to work together to develop policies that are consistent and work in a co-or0dinated manner to develop industries, investment, exports and trade.

Ali said: “The response from the private sector and the business community has been overwhelmingly positive.

“They thanked the Government for firstly involving them to contribute towards this important policy, a level of inclusive partnership and dialogue that was not enjoyed with past governments.

“The Business community was also grateful for the continued certainty and stability the Trade Policy Framework will create, allowing the firms to also plan for growth and further investments.”

Ali said the council would have equal representation from the public, private and civil society organisations.

“This council provides the opportunity for all the agencies to contribute to the policies on trade,” he said.

“The private sector wants this council to be up and running immediately, as this is the first time in Fijian history that the Government has included the relevant players in the policy-making process.”

Meanwhile,  Ali stressed that despite Australia being Fiji’s largest trading partner, there was still potential for Fiji to do more in Australia.

This, he said, was mainly in the manufacturing sector, and can be achieved with the establishment of a Trade Commission in Australia.

“Fiji is losing out as we do not have a Trade Commission located in Australia to promote and further develop trade links,” he said.

As for appointing a roving trade commissioner for the Pacific, Ali said we need to be mindful that exports to Pacific island countries combined was larger than exports to Australia.

“In 2012, export to Pacific island countries was 22 per cent of total exports, this market has grown from less than one per cent in 2000 to eight per cent of Fiji’s total trade,” he said.

Ali said the proposed vision for the Trade Policy Framework is for Fiji is to become “an internationally competitive economy” that serves as the “hub of the Pacific”.

“The landscape of the international trading environment has changed rapidly,” he said.

“In order to remain a viable in the international arena, Fiji needs to maintain competitiveness in every aspect of international trade.

“Countries are establishing network of free trade agreements and other preferential trade agreements.
“The World Trade Organisation (WTO) multilateral system that was supposed to create a level playing field has been dormant.

“”This means, that the countries in which Fiji had enjoyed preferential market access will be eroded over time.

“Furthermore, if Fiji is not a party to network of free trade agreements being established its exports will suffer through tariff barriers.”

Ali said therefore, to become “internationally competitive”, it is imperative to maintain and increase our market access.

“Fiji needs to take advantage of its strong manufacturing and tourism base, relatively well developed infrastructure and national airlines,” he said.


45) Coca-Cola backs Fiji craft beer

By Online Editor
10:14 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

Coca-Cola Amatil is betting that Australia’s love affair with sun-soaked Fiji will extend to the island nation’s beer, after it bought Vonu Beer with the aim of turning the Fijian premium craft lager into a regional export winner.

Created by two local entrepreneurs in Fiji, Vonu Pure Lager has been distributed across the island for a few years and is marketed as a premium hand-crafted beer sold under the slogan ”Pure Fiji rainwater turned into beer”.

CC Amatil has paid $NZ5 million for the intellectual property assets of Vonu Beer as well as all its trademarks and brands throughout the world, including Fiji.

CC Amatil will bring Vonu Lager to Australia and New Zealand early next year, imported in packaged form, and is expected to play up the beverage’s use of ingredients such as pure rainwater and no use of preservatives.

The company hopes Vonu Lager will strike a chord with Australian drinkers, who make up 50 per cent of the annual visitors to Fiji, and New Zealanders, who are Fiji’s second largest group of tourists.

The deal, inked late last month by CC Amatil’s majority-controlled Paradise Beverages business, will also deliver the beverage company an extra brand for its burgeoning beer portfolio as it prepares to re-enter the $11 billion Australian beer market in December after a two-year absence.

CC Amatil was forced out of the local beer sector in 2011 after the Coca-Cola bottler sold its half-stake in the Pacific Beverages brewing joint venture to SABMiller when the world’s second largest brewer bought Foster’s Group.

At the company’s half-year results last month, CC Amatil chief executive Terry Davis unveiled that CC Amatil had secured an exclusive agreement with the world’s seventh largest brewer, Molson Coors, to distribute several of its beer brands in Australia.

Davis is eyeing the region’s regional beer and cider market for its $1.4 billion profit pool and which generates some of the highest margins in brewing in the world.

CC Amatil is continuing to scour the globe for more deals to give it a running start for its Australian brewing arm when it re-enters the market on December 16, and is expected to use its Fiji brewing arm to broaden its depth of labels.

In 2012, CC Amatil won agreements to distribute Corona Extra, Carlsberg, Molson Coors’ Coors Light, Carling and Cobra brands in Fiji and the south Pacific. It also sells Fiji Bitter.

CC Amatil invested $F3.7 million in the Fiji brewer’s plant and equipment last year and plans to spend up to $F25 million more to redress years of underinvestment.


46) We want a piece, not war, says Fiji Airways boss

By Online Editor
10:13 am GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

New Fiji Airways managing director/chief executive Stefan Pichler says he is not looking for a fare war on routes to Australia but steady growth in line with market opportunities.

Pichler, a former Virgin Blue executive who most recently turned around Gulf carrier Jazeera Airways, is in the process of formulating a five-year plan for the recently rebranded airline that will include new aircraft and routes.

He said the plan, due to be completed by the end of the calendar year, would provide a network, fleet and maintenance strategy as well as plans for marketing and products.

It would look at boosting the airline’s connectivity through codeshare and interline agreements.

But he said he did not want to enter a battle for market share with Australian carriers.

“We want to have a good, continuous growth of tourism from Australia to Fiji,” he said.

“That’s it. We don’t want to have any price wars.”

“And, of course, Australia is the biggest source market of Fiji tourism,” he said “I think last year 51 per cent of the visitors to Fiji came from Australia. I think overall our footprint in Australia is good.”

Pichler said he believed Fiji Airways, formerly Air Pacific and 46 per cent owned by Qantas, had a good service pattern into Australia with 26 flights a week, including two daily flights from Sydney, daily flights from Brisbane and a service to Melbourne.

It also had a good sales footprint in Australia, working with all the major retailers and wholesalers, as well an interline agreement with Qantas for destinations beyond the three it serviced itself.

While the airline’s Australian footprint could be improved, Pichler said the partnership with Qantas “right now is working quite well”.

The airline chief said the current air services agreement between Fiji and Australia curtailed capacity and would need to be looked at when it expired in 2016, but this was a matter for government.

The airline had just started its rebranding exercise and the next phase would involve positioning and building up the brand.

“We will create a brand that is highly inspirational and Fiji as a brand is a global consumer brand,” he said, adding that the airline would also have to deliver on the brand.

This included developing operations that were consistent, provided good customer service, improved on-time performance and better dealings with outside suppliers.

It would also see an upgrade to management structures and processes.

The airline recorded a net profit of $F14.1 million for the year ended March 31, up from $F11.4m the previous year.


47) Samoan Government denies sale of PFL shares was due to financial problems

By Online Editor
4:37 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Samoa

The Samoan Government has denied claims that its decision to sell half of the Pacific Forum Line (PFL) was due to financial problems.

The claim made by the leader of the Opposition party, Palusalue Fa’apo II was strongly rejected by PFL Director, Tupuola Oloiali’i Tuala in an email to the Sunday Samoan.

“PFL is not in trouble,” said Tupuola.

“The PFL/NPL JV is an opportunity to form a strong partnership that will meet both commercial objectives of both companies by combining resources, broaden economy of scale to be competitive in the market place, connectivity to global networks, focus on customer needs, develop capacity building for staff and secure sustainable growth in the long term.”

“It will fulfill the commitment by government in providing shipping services to Pacific islands, secure trade import and export for Samoa, provide training and employment opportunities for seafarers and more.”

Asked about the value of the 50 percent share that was bought by Neptune Pacific Line (NPL), Tupuola declined to give details. “I am unable to provide the answer to your question for now because of terms of the confidentiality agreement and also because we have not completed our negotiations with Neptune,” he said.

“However it will be provided to you and the media once it is finalised in due course.”

Last week, Palusalue praised the Government’s decision to sell half of PFL to Neptune Pacific Line.

“I believe that the government has taken our advice to look into other ways to make some money from PFL,” Palusalue told the Sunday Samoan.

“When the government bought PFL last year, it was already in debt. Of course they won’t admit that PFL is in debt but for them to sell half of PFL is so the country won’t suffer from having to pay for its debt.”

Palusalue said the joint venture with Neptune is a solution to PFL’s financial problem.

“They only had one vessel and that company has assets like ships that can be used by PFL.”

Last week, PFL Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo announced that half of the shipping company that was bought for NZ$1.6million has been sold to NPL.

Fonotoe said the agreement means that PFL and Neptune will provide services to twelve forum countries except Cook Islands, Niue and Marshall Islands.

Tupuola Oloiali’i agreed with Palusalue that the move made by government was a positive one but denied having any debt.

“Government bought PFL last year as an investment so it was a commercial decision,” he explained. “As a result of the purchase last year there were five shipping companies that indicated interest in PFL, which was never available before.”

“PFL and government are now in a better position to determine what the best shipping services for Samoa are anywhere in the world; similar to what we have done with Virgin Samoa in the airline industry.”

“If five shipping companies want to invest or partner with your company then it means your company will provide opportunities and return on investment, not debts.”

Lastly the Director said PFL will continue to play the role of a committed shipping company to the Pacific and will keep the competition honest.

“PFL is currently meeting its own financial commitments and will continue to do so.”

As for Neptune it is based in Los Angeles, California owned by an American company with interests in Fiji Water. NPL is part of Roll Global, a $3 billion international company. Its other companies include Paramount Farms, Paramount Citrus, Teleflora, POM Wonderful and Suterra.


48) American Samoa business against gross receipts tax

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

The American Samoa Chamber of Commerce has shot down a proposal by the government Treasurer to impose a 5 percent gross receipts tax, or GRT, on businesses and non profit organisations.

The Chamber’s chairman David Robinson says the comments the chamber has recievd highlight there is virtually no support in the private sector for the GRT.

He says the GRT was a repressive tax coming at a time when the economy is weak and busineses are suffering.

“We feel that this question of GRT is going to be an increase in taxation, an increase in responsibilties for all the private sector to be coming up with funds we see the government should be responsible for coming with not the private sector.”

David Robinson says members would prefer a sales tax.

The Treasurer says the government needs 40 million US dollars to fund roads, schools, the hospital and other major infrastructure, and the GRT was the easiest way to raise that money.

Radio New Zealand International

49) American Samoa looking to attract longliners back to port

By Online Editor
4:36 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, American Samoa

The government-owned shipyard in American Samoa is focusing on attracting back to Pago Pago longliner fishing vessels now using other facilities in the Pacific region.

The Shipyard Service Authority board chairman, David Robinson, says the board and management continues to work on improving the shipyard, which has deteriorated over the last 30 years due to a lack of maintenance by previous operators.

He says only a small number of longliners are still based in Pago Pago, while the rest have gone to Fiji, the Cook Islands, and other parts of the Pacific due to operating costs in the terrtiory, the price of fish, and federal regulations to follow.

“So we need to have a pretty strong and aggressive marketing strategy to get these people to come back, and now we are on the improved, with our facilities, with our workmanship, I’m sure these people will start to come back again and we will see the longliner fleet start to increase in numbers again.”

Robinson says they are now working on an aggressive marketing strategy to bring back the longliners.


50) PNG Police Make Arrests For Attack On Trekkers
Person suspected of harboring attackers killed by porter’s relatives

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 16, 2013) – Papua New Guinea police have arrested four men over an attack on an Australian trekking group that left two porters dead and others seriously wounded. Seven Australians, a New Zealander and their porters were ambushed while trekking along the Black Cat Track in Morobe province last week. Police have today arrested four of the alleged attackers, and 30 officers are hunting for the remaining two suspects. The arrests come after relatives of one of the slain porters used a machete to kill a man suspected of harbouring the attackers.

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

Two local porters were killed and seven more were admitted to the Angau hospital in Lae, all with deep gashes to their legs.

On Sunday police arrested four of the six men wanted in connection with the vicious attack.

Police commissioner Tom Kalunga says three men were captured at Wau at one end of the Black Cat Track and the other was arrested at the other end at Salamaua.

The ABC understands the four suspects have been locked up at the police station in the provincial capital Lae.

Officers are still hunting for the remaining two suspects and Mr Kalunga says it is only a matter of time before they are brought in.

Suspect killed in revenge attack

Matthew Gibob was one of the porters who died in the attack and on Saturday his relatives killed a man they believed was linked to the ambush.

The dead man’s body is in the morgue in Wau with large machete wounds to his back and head.

Ninga Yawa, the chairman of the Black Cat Trail Association, says Mr Gibob’s relatives attacked the man and he died on the way to hospital.

“They felt that he deserves to be treated the same way as they treated Matthew,” he said.

Mr Yawa believes people from Bitoi, an alternate but largely unused start to the Black Cat Track, are responsible for last Tuesday’s attack.

Commissioner Kalunga says no-one has the right to take another life and the killing will be investigated.

The family of the other slain porter, Kerry Rarovu, have covered their faces in mud – the traditional mark of grieving.

They are demanding answers and justice.

“My family feel that the criminals must die the same as Kerry died,” his brother Bing Rarovu said.

‘Frenzied bloody massacre’

Meanwhile, the leader of the trekking group, Christy King, has spoken to the ABC about what she says was a “frenzied bloody massacre”.

“I am deeply saddened and would like to offer the families of the two porters who lost their lives on Tuesday afternoon during the attack at Banis Donki my sincere condolences,” she said.

“The attack was a frenzied bloody massacre which made no sense. I am so sorry for these men to have received such terrible injuries.”

Due to the severity of their injuries, the porters were forced to remain on the track overnight following the attack while Ms King and the trekkers were escorted by local police to safety.

Since the attack, just one of the porters has undergone surgery to clean his wounds, prompting Ms King and her husband Daniel to set up bank accounts for donations towards their treatment.

At this stage it is doubtful any of them will be able to walk properly again.

“I’m worried about my future. Maybe I’ll stay alone, I don’t know. I’m going to be paralysed maybe, I don’t know,” one of the porters told the ABC.

Former local trekking operator Tim Vincent says the motive behind the attack is still not clear.

“[There are] only rumours and half stories at the moment. Everyone is talking about these ex-criminals and escapees, possibly they were involved,” he said.

Radio Australia:

51) Trekkers start fund to care for injured PNG porters

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

The foreign victims of an attack on a trekking party in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe province last week have established a trust to help the local survivors pay medical costs and help their recovery.

The group was attacked by several men wielding machetes.

Two porters were killed in the attack and another succumbed to his wounds at the weekend in hospital in Lae.

Several more porters suffered serious injuries.

One of the trekkers, Australian domiciled New Zealander, Nick Bennett, says PNG does not have adequate facilities to help the porters cope and recover from their ordeal and the group wants to help the people who helped them.

“The injuries that they have received are horrendous. They have been hacked around the calves and across the leg and that means that they won’t be able to do what they have been doing. They won’t be able to work and the fact is they have been waiting so long for treatment that the potential for septicaemia is very high.”

Nick Bennett says the people of Morobe were lovely and PNG is also a victim of the incident.

PNG police have confirmed that four of the six suspected attackers have been arrested.

Radio New Zealand International


52) Men in flood-hit Solomons province urged to think of women’s struggle

Posted at 07:53 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

Men in the area hit by floods east of the Solomon Islands capital Honiara are being urged to consider how difficult life is for the women in their families.

Heavy flooding in the past fortnight has damaged bridges and roads in the Ghaobata, East Taimsboko, Vulolo and Paripao wards, highlighting existing frustrations with the lack of attention to infrastructure in that region.

The paramount chief of the Vhibo tribe, Benedict Garimane, says previous government negotiations over land with men have foundered because they have demanded compensation.

But he says the resulting delay in building robust bridges and roads affects women the most because they need the access to markets and services.

BENEDICT GARIMANE: Landowners should be sympathetic with the situation for the poor mothers, the women who are struggling to meet their families daily needs. It’s the men who demanded money from the government, but the women who are struggling. That’s the area that the men should also consider and see how men are struggling for the survival of their families. Through those hard times women must see that their children have to feed their families in the evening or meet the family needs for uniforms, education uniforms and school fees and all sorts. That’s the area that the men should see how the women are struggling and they should be sympathetic to them and give way so a proper negotiation – not a roadblock, but a dialogue negotiation – to see what they should be receiving for their land, not just a stop-gap and roadblock.

ANNELL HUSBAND: Right. So it’s not just up to the government to restart the negotiations. The landowners, the men, have to be willing to compromise?

BG: Yeah.

AH: The women haven’t got much say, have they?

BG: The men have more say on the land, so they should be considering how the women are struggling to meet their family needs and take a proper approach, use the right avenue and the right channels to negotiate or bring their grievances rather than taking the law into their own hands as a shortcut.

AH: Yes, because that happened just after the flooding, didn’t it? Weren’t some young men demanding payment for crossing the bridge?

BG: Yeah. There are people who are maybe sometimes using young men for their personal interest, but there are avenues they should use to address those issues.

Radio New Zealand International

53) Majuro Declaration likely to make matters worse – academic

Posted at 07:53 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

Last week amid great fanfare, the leaders of the Pacific made their Majuro Declaration on climate change.

They called for Pacific Island nations to take a lead on the issue and required each country to declare what it’s doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its own backyard.

The leader of the Marshall Islands hopes the declaration will help mobilise political will for a legally-binding climate change agreement by 2015.

“Dr Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University. He has had an involvement in the climate change issue in the Pacific going back nearly 20 years and is a board member on the Australian Climate Change Authority. Through books such as Scorcher, Requiem for a Species and Running from the Storm he has tried to convince the world about the dangers posed by climate change”

In 2009 he was made a member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the public debate on the subject.

Dr Hamilton told Don Wiseman he doubts the Majuro Declaration will achieve much.

CLIVE HAMILTON: The way I read it, in some ways I think it’s a step backwards. It doesn’t commit Australia and New Zealand to do anything more than they’re already promising to do, which is not a great deal. And one of the interesting things about the Majuro Declaration is a statement called ’Our Responsibility To Act’, and it notes the responsibility of all to act, because it falls to every government, every company, every organisation and every person, in other words, it falls to no-one.

DON WISEMAN: They are saying it falls to everyone, aren’t they?

CH: Yes, but by saying it’s everyone’s responsibility, rather than the responsibility of the big corporations that have persuaded the major emitters not to do anything too radical, you can see that it kind of lets them off the hook. I think it’s important not to say that this is a responsibility to all of us, but to say no, there are particular organisations, there are particular governments that have the capacity to take action and there are certain nations and corporations which make a hugely disproportionate contribution to the problem. But by redistributing the responsibility so it falls on the shoulders of everyone it kind of falls on the shoulders of no-one. And of course the Australia and New Zealand governments love this. ’Yes, yes, yes. We think everyone should do everything’. This is a problem for all of us. It’s the same kind of difficulty that you get when… And even some environment groups say climate change is a problem for all of us and we all have to do what we can. So it’s shifting responsibility from those who are responsible for the problem and who have the capacity to deal with it on to everyone. If you say everyone is responsible then in a sense no-one is responsible.

DW: The New Zealand prime minister John Key says it’s a practical or a pragmatic step and not about the small countries bullying the big countries.

CH: This was an extraordinary statement from Mr Key. To suggest that the small island states of the Pacific can bully China and the United States into reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, I think, in a way, on one level it’s absurd, but on another it’s quite revealing. Because I think what Mr Key was giving away was the fact that whilst the small island states have zero power to influence international events, they have tremendous moral power. And I think Mr Key had in mind, although he didn’t spell it out that way, that the small island states can really make nations like Australia and New Zealand and particularly the bigger ones – Europe, China, the United States – feel as though they have an enormous moral burden. And that’s the only sway that small island states have in in the international community – the moral clarity of their position. We are disappearing. Our cultures are going to disappear. Our people have to relocate elsewhere somewhere on the globe, because you in the big emitting countries refuse to do what you know you have to do and what the science says you have to do. If the Pacific island states pull back and don’t play the moral card, if you like, then that, of course, allows the big polluters to breathe more easily.

DW: All right. So in your view the Majuro Declaration won’t amount to much. Clearly the problem is getting worse and worse, so what needs to happen in your view?

CH: Well, I think the small island states in the Pacific and elsewhere, along with all poor and vulnerable countries, need to maximise the pressure and keep it up even though it’s difficult and it takes resources and it’s emotionally draining for those involved, I think they really have no alternative but to apply maximum pressure wherever they can internationally. But I think the truth is the world is going to continue to warm for a very long time, sea levels are going to continue to rise for a very long time, and the worst case scenarios of climate change are likely to come to fruition. I think we have to be realistic about this. The small island states really do need, over time, to make preparations. I think that’s just the sad reality of it.

DW: We have countries like Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands at this meeting in Majuro, saying they were adamant they would not talk about leaving, that relocation was not on the table for them. But that’s not realistic in your view, they’ve got to be talking about that?

CH: I think it’s a very, very difficult situation for them because the truth is that’s where things are heading. Even if the world did start to take serious action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow the world would continue to warm and sea levels would continue to rise for decades to come. That’s just the reality of the science of climate change. And it seems very unlikely for those very low-lying island states that they’ll be able to avoid inundation. Sorry to say that. I hate to say that. But that’s just where the science is going. Now, they may not want to talk about it, but I really do think it is prudent, as one or two have, to start exploring options so that in 20, 30, 40 years time, they are not forced to do anything without good preparation. In a way, these small island states are having adaptation forced on them in a way that many other countries are going to have to have adaptation forced on them as well, it’s just that they’re the classic canary in the coal mine. It’s very tempting to engage in wishful thinking, and there’s a lot of wishful thinking in this Majuro Declaration, but I think some hard-headed thinking needs to go on, as well.

DW: There has been a lot of money set aside, supposedly, for mitigation. But the small island states can’t get at it, and they’re told they can’t get at it because they don’t have the bureaucratic infrastructure to handle it efficiently. Is that an excuse?

CH: Well, I don’t think so, because we know that the small island states really do struggle with the bureaucratic capacity.

DW: Whose job is it under these circumstances, given the haste that’s required to ensure they get the money somehow?

CH: Well, it’s the finance and aid donors. It’s a pretty well-established practise internationally for major projects, or even relatively small ones, to be accompanied with that kind of bureaucratic support. So I don’t see why that could not be provided in these cases, as well. It’s not enough just to say, well, because you’re small and don’t have enough people to provide these kind of skills to manage these projects and these funds, therefore you’re not going to get it. It’s a Catch 22, isn’t it?Because they are relatively poor and small nations they can’t provide this kind of management support, so that management support needs to be provided along with the assistance for mitigation and adaptation.

Radio New Zealand International

54) New environment society aims to preserve biodiversity

By Online Editor
4:44 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Samoa

A new environmental society has been formed.

Called Samoa Conservation Society, the new body aims to preserve biodiversity at a time when species unique to Samoa have been identified as under threat.

“We will achieve our mission by working collaboratively with partners and communities to undertake research, awareness raising, education and information exchange,” a flyer announcing the society says.

“We aim to increase understanding and awareness of the threats to native biodiversity from invasive species, over-harvesting, habitat degradation, pollution and climate change and to undertake projects to conserve wildlife, preserve and extend wildlife habitat, and tackle threats,” it says.

SCS President Tofilau Tepa Suaesi said the new group complements the effort of the family of other NGOs who work together on biodiversity priorities.

“SCS believes there is still so much in this line of work it can help with,” Tofilau said.

A recent report revealed that Samoa has more native ferns and butterflies than New Zealand. In addition, Samo has the smallest spider in the world.

Titled Priority Sites for Conservation in Samoa: Key Biodiversity Areas, it says amongst other things that approximately 30% of Samoa’s native biodiversity is endemic to Samoa (ie only found in Samoa and no-where else in the world).

The biggest threats to Samoa’s biodiversity are habitat destruction for agriculture, housing and other development, the over-harvest of resources and the impact of invasive species of pests and weeds. In future climate change may become the biggest threat.

Recent species extinctions in Samoa possibly include the endemic Swallowtail Butterfly (Pepe ae, still found in American Samoa) and the Sheath-Tailed Bat (Tagiti). The Samoan Woodhen (Puna’e) hasn’t been seen since 1908 and is also probably extinct. How many more species will go extinct before we act to conserve them?

The rarest vegetation community in Samoa is the upland swamp forest with only one occurrence remaining- the Vaipu swamp on Upolu, covering approximately 150ha. Written and edited by James Atherton with Paul Anderson and Elizabeth Kerstin, the report further says:

On land, Samoa has more than 2,500 species of insect, 770 species of native plants, 64 native land snails, 31 breeding birds, 14 reptiles and 3 native mammals. Marine diversity is also high with 890 coral reef fish, over 200 corals and several turtles, whales and dolphins.

Samoa has more native species of ferns and butterflies than New Zealand, a country 85 times bigger than Samoa!

New species are being discovered in Samoa all the time. In 2008 three new species of freshwater fish were discovered (some new to science) and in 2009 two new butterflies were discovered.

Samoa has the smallest spider in the world- Patu marplesi found in the montane forests of Upolu. Fully grown this spider is only 0.43mm in size.

Samoa’s national bird, the Manumea, or Tooth-billed Pigeon (endangered, Didinculus strigirostris) is a scientific curiosity. Unusually for a pigeon, it has a toothed bill, leading scientists at one time to think it was related to the now extinct dodo, also a toothed billed pigeon. It is now very rare and restricted to mature native forest.

The 76 species from Samoa that are classified on the 2009 IUCN Redlist as threatened species include 52 corals, 11 marine fish, 7 birds, 2 turtles, 2 plants, a land snail and a mammal. Many more species are believed threatened but have not yet made it onto the IUCN Redlist, or are on the Redlist but not classified as threatened.


55) Pacific Environment Forum Gets Underway In Apia
Natural resilience to climate change theme of SPREP discussion

By Apulu Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Sept. 15, 2013) – Natural solutions for building resilience to climate change – an integrated ecosystem approach is the theme of the third Pacific Environment Forum starting in Apia, Samoa Monday 16 September.

The Pacific Environment Forum coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is a regional gathering of stakeholders in the environment of the Pacific Region to discuss key issues.

This year the focus is on Ecosystem based Adaptation.

“Ecosystem based Adaptation is focused on recognising the importance of intact ecosystems in providing protection and resilience, either through protecting intact areas or restoring impacted habitats,” said Tim Carruthers, SPREP’s Coastal and Marine Adviser.

“At this forum we’d like to provide participants with an introduction to Ecosystem based Adaptation and planning and from here we’ll be able to discuss further implementation of natural solutions in the Pacific, as well as how to integrate natural solutions into planning for hard infrastructure approaches.”

Participants will have an opportunity to hear about Ecosystem based Adaptation approaches in the Pacific and discuss how an integrated adaptation and planning approach can be developed.

A project currently underway in the Choiseul Province of the Solomon Islands will be featured at the Pacific Environment Forum in a presentation by Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr. Melchior Mataki. The EbA project in Choiseul is a partnership between many different organisations helping communities to strengthen their ecosystems in order to make them more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The economic value of our environment; hybrid solutions to building resilience; and funding integrated approaches to climate change adaptation, are topics of presentations that will be featured on the day.

“If you have an interest in strengthening our environment to make us less vulnerable to the effects of climate change, then please join us on Monday.”

The Pacific Environment Forum will be held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel Conference Room and registration opens at 8.30 with the event ending at 5.00pm.


56) Typhoon hits Japan – fears for Fukushima plant

By Online Editor
12:49 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Japan

Typhoon Man-yi has hit southern Japan amid fears the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may be impacted.

About 200 domestic flights scheduled for today, a public holiday, have been cancelled, mainly those departing Tokyo, and train services have been cut back.

The storm, located in Pacific waters close to the southern island of Shikoku, was packing gusts up to 144 kilometres per hour overnight Sunday to Monday and moving north-northwest, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It was on a direct course to hit southern parts of the main island Honshu on Monday morning, possibly around 9 am in Shizuoka prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, according to the agency.

The typhoon was then expected to head northeast towards the capital and its surrounding region by noon and cross the northeast including the Fukushima area.

At Fukushima, crews have struggled to contain the nuclear plant after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the contamination of groundwater with radioactive materials as it flows to the Pacific Ocean.

With torrential rains expected on Monday more contaminated water is feared to seep into the groundwater and workers have pumped water from around highly radioactive tanks at the plant.

The typhoon already brought heavy rain and strong winds in the south and east before hitting Japan but no major damage was reported.

The weather agency issued warnings for flooding, heavy rain, mudslides and high ocean waves to areas along the Pacific coast.


57) Few options for NZ to reduce plane emissions in Pacific

Posted at 07:54 on 16 September, 2013 UTC

An aviation commentator says there is little New Zealand can do about the impacts of emissions on the Pacific.

Peter Clark’s comments follow a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that found aviation emissions affect the Pacific atmosphere more harshly than anywhere else in the world.

The emissions contain nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, which create ozone when released into the atmosphere.

The study says flight routes across the Pacific cause abnormally high amounts of ozone because its clean atmosphere reacts more severely to the aircraft emissions.

Most sensitive to this reaction is an area 1000 kilometres north-east of Solomon Islands, in which emissions produce up to five times more ozone than European regions.

Mr Clark says it is unlikely there is more action the aviation industry could take to cut emissions.

“We have the most modern fleet, we are moving into more modern fleets. Those fleets will have some of the best engines in the world with the least emissions of any engine that is available. So look, I think it’s unrealistic to think that we can do anymore except take aircraft out of the air”

Peter Clark.

Radio New Zealand International


58) Pacific Games 2015 will be available live in PNG

By Online Editor
1:01 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guineans will for the first time watch the 2015 Pacific Games live on their mobile phones and on the internet.

This will be made possible through Telikom PNG’s platinum sponsorship. Telikom PNG will provide telecommunication services at the Games.

Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investments Ben Micah said Friday that a new technology will be introduced by Telikom to enable Papua New Guineans to watch the regional sporting event in Port Moresby live on their phones and through the internet.

Sports and Pacific Games Minister, Justin Tkatchenko said this was an example of a public-private partnership and government hopes to forge partnerships with the private sectors to make the Pacific Games in 2015 memorable, leaving a legacy for the years to come.

Minister Tkatchenko also cleared the air that all competition will be staged in Port Moresby.

Telikom PNG through its Chairman Mahesh Patel said engineers are currently working on the communications master plan for the Games.

The sponsorship worth K8.7 million and involves broadband internet, and mobile telephone services, as well as allocation of office space for broadcast centres.


59) IRB to inspect Fiji International Sevens with view to join World Series

By Online Editor
12:59 pm GMT+12, 16/09/2013, Fiji

International Rugby Board will send its official to assess the organisation of the FIJI Water Centennial International 7s tournament which will be held at the ANZ Stadium in Suva next month.

The possibility of Fiji hosting a leg of the IRB 7s series will depend on the result of this assessment.

And to make this opportunity count, Fiji Rugby Union has joined hands with the Marist Rugby Club (MRC) in bringing the IRB 7s series to the country by 2016.

The union last week signed a memorandum of understanding with the club at the Rugby House in Suva, handing the organisation of the tournament to MRC, the organisers of the prestigious Fiji Bitter Marist 7s tournament.

FRU board member Berlin Kafoa said they decided to hand over the reins to Marist because of its reputation in staging successful tournaments in the past.

He added the MRC was providing its service free of charge.

“For FRU, getting this centennial 7s tournament properly done is very important because IRB will be here to assess whether Fiji has the capacity to host such a tournament and if we are given the OK, they will consider us being part of the IRB 7s circuit,” Kafoa said.

“The board decided that Marist host of the oldest 7s tournament and probably the biggest over many years and they got the experience in staging such an event given the chance to host the Centennial 7s.”

MRC president Lawrence Tikaram said they were ready to tackle the challenge and help in FRU’s bid for an IRB 7s series leg.

He said the strength of their club were the volunteers especially the old boys who would continue to contribute in development of rugby in Fiji.

“We are doing this first and foremost for God and country which means we are doing this free of charge,” Tikaram said.

“We will run this tournament with high spirit that hopefully IRB will recognise the strength of organisational capability through FRU and hopefully we are given the chance to host an event of such magnitude in future for Fiji.

“We are extremely proud of this opportunity.”

MRC will provide its expertise through their 182 volunteers who will be responsible for running the tournament.

The centennial 7s tournament which will be held on October 4 and 5 will have teams such as Fiji, Australia, Argentina, France, Kenya, Samoa, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Tonga participating.



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