Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 876


1) PNG wants to move Papua asylum seekers deported by Australia

Posted at 09:11 on 12 October, 2013 UTC

The seven West Papuan asylum seekers from Indonesia who Australia deported to Papua New Guinea last month have been told they will be moved to the Kiunga refugee camp in PNG’s Western Province.

But a spokesperson for the group, which has been placed under guard in a Port Moresby hotel, Jacob Mandabayan, says they fear such a move and would prefer to be moved to a third country, such as New Zealand.

Australia controversially refused to consider their asylum claims, transferring them instead to PNG under an agreement that refugee advocates say is a device to circumvent the Refugee Convention.

Mr Mandabayan says the group had been involved in trying to welcome the Freedom Flotilla from Australia and for this reason Indonesian officials are likely to hunt them down if they move to Kiunga, which is near the border with Papua.

“It’s really close. The Indonesian military or intelligence, like the special forces like Kopassus, they can do anything together. Maybe they can kidnap us or maybe they do anything they want. This is what has been happening to other activists in the past.”

Jacob Mandabayan.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Benny Wenda

Friday 11 October 2013

Ever since West Papua was annexed and colonised by Indonesia in 1969 through a referendum ironically called the Act of Free Choice (we call it the Act of No Choice), my people have endured nothing but violence, hardship and human rights abuse. Maybe Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott would then care to explain how things in West Papua are “better, not worse”, as he recently stated? Is it possible to have a better state of colonialism? Has Indonesia created a better state of fear? Better forms of intimidation? Better ways to suppress free speech?

If the situation is indeed getting better, why is it that the Indonesian government imposed a ban on international media and human rights groups from entering the region – which the West Papua governor said was lifted only yesterday? Surely if there was nothing to hide, it would be in their interests to open the gates and let observers in. The truth is that they are desperate to hide the reality of life there, less than 200km north of Australia’s shores.

Few Papuans manage to get out of West Papua alive to share their story. I fled in 2002 after being put on trial for a crime I did not commit because of my political opinions and leadership, and was granted political asylum in the UK. Two years ago, the Indonesian government issued an Interpol red notice in an attempt to stop my international campaign to bring self-determination to my people. With the support of my legal team I successfully had the notice removed: Interpol recognised Indonesia was abusing its notice system to extend their political persecution of Papuans outside of West Papua and across international borders.

I travel the world raising awareness about my people’s suffering and their struggle for freedom. People often ask what inspired me to devote my life to do this. I can only speak from my own experiences: how as a five year old boy I was forced by the Indonesian military to watch the rape of my three aunties, how throughout my student life I was subject to degrading levels of racism and discrimination by an occupying regime that continues to regard Papuans as backward, primitive, and sub-human.

My experience is not unique, and I am not on a quest for revenge. I have always and will continue to advocate for a peaceful solution to this decades-long conflict.

Human rights groups estimate that over 500,000 people have been killed by the Indonesian military in operations since the 1960s. Just last month, Indonesian police opened fire on unarmed Papuan civilians in a market, killing oneand injuring two others because they refused to cut their hair. Is this what Abbott would call “getting better”?

In West Papua there is no political freedom. No basic human freedoms. In some cases we are even restricted in freedom of movement – in our own land. There are currently 57 Papuan political prisoners serving lengthy prison sentences for the “crime” of daring to speak out against Indonesian rule. The most high profile case, Filep Karma, has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. He is serving a 15 year sentence for taking part in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony in 2004.

If West Papuans were free to express themselves as they wished, they would demand the restoration of our sovereignty. If Indonesia allowed freedom of expression, then there would be Morning Star flags flying in every garden. If Indonesia was a real democracy, then there would be no political prisoners.

West Papuans remain the poorest people in all of Indonesia, despite having the greatest abundance of natural resources. Abbott is correct to state that Indonesia is becoming “increasingly prosperous”. They are prospering from the gold, oil and timber that they are stealing from us and our land. Abbott also says that he will not allow Australia “to give people a platform to grandstand against Indonesia”. Is he suggesting he intends to curtail freedom of speech laws in Australia to keep Indonesia happy? That makes for uncomfortable reading for the Australian public, if this is indeed the direction he plans to take their country. Will he also prevent Moana Carcasses Kalosil, the prime minister of Vanuatu, from visiting Australia now too? Just last week, Kalosil gave a speech to the General Assembly at the UN, urging action “on the genocide being committed in West Papua”.

During the second world war, the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels of West Papua famously came to the aid of Australian military personnel, carrying the wounded on their backs and providing the hungry with food. Now it is the West Papuans that need Australia’s help. This is our hour of need. Recent events in Bali show that the issue of West Papua cannot be swept under the carpet and ignored. I always tell people that Australia is our big brother in Melanesia. It is time Australia took a stand for us.

3) New Zealand supports Papua community policing

Posted at 03:57 on 11 October, 2013 UTC

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says New Zealand will be providing five million US dollars for a three-year community policing programme in eastern Indonesia, including Papua and West Papua.

He says the programme will be funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and implemented by New Zealand police.

It includes training, mentoring support, curriculum development and community engagement through collaboration with local authorities.

This follows a pilot project in Papua and West Papua in 2009/10.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Legal action threatened over PNG betel nut ban

Posted at 09:11 on 12 October, 2013 UTC

Betelnut chewers in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, are threatening to take the National Capital District governor, Powes Parkop, to court over his ban on the selling and chewing betel nut in the city.

Our correspondent reports some lawyers say the new law may be unconstitutional.

The first issue is that offenders will be dealt with in village courts but the penalties in the legislation are well beyond what those courts can impose.

The lawyers also say the law would infringe on basic constitutional rights.

Those include the right to maintain a legitimate economic or commercial interest and a right to maintain what for many is a cultural activity.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati

GJP i lukaotem yet ol kandidet blong Port Vila Munisipol Kaonsel eleksen

Olgeta –
Naoia GJP i faenem finis ol woman kandidet blong stanap long ol wan-wan Ward long Port Vila Munisipol Eleksen (PVMC) we bae i tek ples long manis Disemba blong yia ia (nogat stret deit yet).

1. Southern Ward (Saralana go kasem Pango)
2. Central Ward (Seaside-Independence Park-Joint Court-Pompidou-Town)
3. Freshwota Ward (Freshwota mo Tasariki)
4. Anambru Ward (Simbolo mo Anambru eria)

From we elektorol sistem blong PVMC hemi “proportional”, i minim se evri man we i stanap long wan pati bae oli putum ol vot blong olgeta i kam wan ples mo totel namba blong vot ia nao bae hemi namba we pati i winim long wan Ward.
So sipos yumi gat fulap kandidet, yumi gat moa janis blong win, from evri smol-smol namba blong vot we wan-wan kandidet i winim i save kam wan bigfala namba blong vot blong pati taem yumi putum wan ples.
Hemia i minim se GJP i mas putum fulap kandidet long wan ward blong save winim 1 kaonsela long ward ia.

Wetem bigfala namba we GJP i karem long Port Vila long 2012 jenerol eleksen, yumi gat gudfala janis blong save winim at least 1 kaonsela long evri Ward.

So, plis, sipos yu save wan gudfala person we hemi save gat gudfala sapot long saed blong namba blong ol vot, plis nominetem nem blong hem i kam blong stanap blong GJP long ol 4 Ward we mi putum nem blong olgeta antap.

Yumi evriwan i mas givhan blong mekem JENIS we yumi evriwan i wantem luk…

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu.

6) Veteran Vanuatu leaders speak out against dual passports
By Online Editor
10:26 am GMT+12, 11/10/2013, Vanuatu

Two of the men who were signatories to the Vanuatu constitution 33 years ago say plans by the government to allow dual passports is a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

The passport changes are part of the government’s proposed Capital Investment Immigration Plan.

The first leader of the opposition when Vanuatu got its independence in 1980, Vincent Boulekone, says there would need to be a referendum to ask the people if they agree to the dual passport plan.

Currently under the constitution a citizen is only allowed one passport.

If a foreigner wants Vanuatu citizenship, he or she has to renounce the passport of his or her country of origin.

Boulekone says allowing foreigners to have Vanuatu passports goes against the beliefs of the founders of Vanuatu’s independence.

Another signatory, the country’s first president, Ati Georges Sokomanu, says there are other ways for the government to raise money without relying on selling passports.

And he says even if there was a referendum, he would remain opposed to dual passports.


7) Consensus build against independence referendum in New Caledonia
By Online Editor
10:30 am GMT+12, 11/10/2013, New Caledonia

Reports from Paris say there is a growing consensus among New Caledonia leaders not to go ahead with an independence referendum after 2014.

The view was expressed by three members of French National Assembly law commission, who last month visited the territory to look at the institutional changes.

The findings were released as the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy are in Paris for a scheduled review of the document which charts a phased and irreversible transfer of powers to New Caledonia.

Under the terms of the accord, which is now part of the French constitution, the last five-year phase of the accord, beginning after next year’s election, calls for a referendum.

However, fears that the troubles of the 1980s could be repeated have led to a new consensus to find a way forward which avoids an outright vote as polls suggest the pro-independence camp would clearly lose.

The French government has repeatedly said it is open to any institutional future for New Caledonia if the rival camps can find common ground.


8) Fiji back on track
By Online Editor
2:04 pm GMT+12, 11/10/2013, Fiji

The takeover by government in 2006 was to put the nation back on track and not to be in power, says Fiji’s Transport Minister Colonel Timoci Natuva.

Speaking at Fiji Day celebrations in Labasa, Natuva said the Bainimarama government worked tirelessly in moving the nation forward which demanded a society approach through the people.

“Let me remind you all that the intention was not to be in power but to put the nation back on track and to achieve what we dedicated ourselves to at independence 43 years ago and to a strong and prosperous nation,” he said.

“The Bainimarama government has also undertaken developments in areas that I must say have been forgotten by previous governments, particularly development in the Northern Division.

“The upgrading of the road from Nabouwalu to Dreketi, upgrading of the sugar mill in Labasa, upgrading of sub divisional and divisional hospitals with new medical equipment and infrastructure are some developments undertaken by the Bainimarama government.”

Colonel Natuva said the empowering of women through the Ministry of Women and the assistance through food vouchers for social welfare recipients were part of developments.

He said Fiji should focus on a future in which all Fijians were represented on the same basis.

“The Public Service Commission scholarships are no longer based on race.

“Before there were two categories —multi-ethnic and indigenous Fijians — but now we can all apply as Fijians.”

Colonel Natuva said the abolishment of the Great Council of Chiefs was an initiative of government as the GCC was a product of the colonial past.



9) Wai na PNG Gavman i mekim olsem long ol West Papua asailam sika? Fred Mambrasar

Updated 12 October 2013, 19:21 AEST

Sevenpla West Papua asailam sika, husait ibin askim long asailam long Australia, igo pinis long Kiunga long igo long East Awim Refuji kemp blong United Nations.

‘Em olsem mipla narapla laen,” Fred Mambrasar i tokim Radio Australia
Odio: Fred Mambrasar, wanpla lida blong West Papua komuniti long Port Moresby i askim wai PNG Gavman i mekim long ol wanskin na ol narapla pipol, ol i kisim ol igo long Manus Detention Centre.
Tripla wik igo pinis 7-pla pipol blong West papua provins blong Indonesia ibin kamap long Australia long Boigu aelanj insait logn Torres Strait long askim long asailam na stap long Australia.

Tasol tupla dei bihain long displa askim, ol ibin givim ol igo long PNG Imigiresin ofisals long port Moresby, we ol ibin stap insait long wanpla HideAway hotel igo nap long tede long morning.

Fred Mambrasar, wanpla lida blong West Papua komuniti long Port Moresby ibin stap wantaim ol taim PNG Imigresin ofisa na polis i kamap long kisim ol igo long ples balus.

Em i tokim mipla olsem wanpla pas blong PNG Foren Minista tu ibin kamap wantaim Imigresin Ofisal long tok orait blong ol long kisim ol aut long hotel na kisim ol igo long ples balus long igo long Kiunga.

“PNG Gavman i tritim mipla nogut stret, em olsem mipla narapla laen.”radio a ustralia

10) Northern Teritori Gavman agri long pawa bilong welfea peiments

Updated 11 October 2013, 17:02 AEST
Bethany Keats

Northern Territory Gavman long Australia ibin givim tok orait ong ol pawa em bai lukautim welfea moni bilong pipal husat ibin spendim taim long mandatory alcohol rehabilitation.

Odio: ABC Darwin ripota Melanie Arnost

Northern Territory gavman ibin givim tok orait long kontrol bilong welfea peiment long nait igo pinis.

Territory Gavman i save holim miting bilong em long tripela de stat long ten kilok long moning na miting iken igo long nait taim.

Long miting bilong en dispela wik territory palamen ibin toktok long planti samting olsem long aboriginal land iusse na local government reform.

Long nait igo pinis  Minista bilong helt na alkohol ibin tokaut long namba bilong ol man igo go through long mandatory alchohol rehabilitation progrem.

ABC Darwin ripota Melanie Arnost i toktok klia long dispela australia


11) Mélanésie : « Notre maison, notre poisson, notre monde, notre avenir »

Posté à 10 October 2013, 8:40 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est à l’occasion d’une réunion extraordinaire l’année dernière à Fidji, que les dirigeants du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance ont décidé de mettre en place un programme de protection des pêches côtières.

Des agents des services des pêches en Mélanésie viennent de se réunir à Port Vila, la capitale du Vanuatu, pour dessiner une feuille de route sur la surveillance, la gestion et la protection des pêches côtières.

Pour nous en parler, Laban Gisawa, directeur des services de pêche côtière en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée : « Cette feuille de route, intitulée Mélanésie : « Notre maison, notre poisson, notre monde, notre avenir », qui est au stade de brouillon pour l’instant, donne un historique et du contexte sur la question et parle de la crise imminente de l’accroissement des populations en Mélanésie. C’est la raison principale derrière cette feuille de route. L’accroissement d’une population qui dépend beaucoup du poisson et de la pêche côtière pour vivre, pour assurer sa sécurité alimentaire et bien sûr, pour ses obligations sociales. »

Pour l’instant, selon Laban Gisawa, l’accroissement démographique n’a pas plongé la Mélanésie dans une situation de crise, mais il reste quand même un défi : « La population est devenue un grand défi en Mélanésie. Le besoin en poissons et la demande en poissons pour nourrir cette population qui ne cesse de grandir ont augmenté de manière substantielle. Il faut se demander si l’état actuel de nos pêches côtières sera  en mesure d’approvisionner cette population toujours croissante. »

Le premier jet de cette feuille de route sur la protection des pêches côtières a donc établi toute une série de cibles et d’objectifs pour parvenir à une exploitation durable des ressources côtières : « Premièrement : l’élaboration d’une politique, d’une législation et d’un cadre de travail efficaces pour permettre aux populations côtières de gérer leurs ressources marines. Deuxièmement : le lancement d’une campagne de sensibilisation sur l’importance de bien gérer la pêche côtière. Troisièmement : développer notre capacité de développer de manière durable nos ressources côtières  en nous appuyant sur l’expérience de nos voisins mélanésiens. Quatrièmement : débloquer des ressources suffisantes pour la gestion de la pêche côtière. Cinquièmement : veiller au développement économique durable des populations côtières. Sixièmement : mettre en place une collaboration efficace entre les différentes parties prenantes et partenaires. »

Il semblerait que dans le domaine de la pêche côtière, le Groupe mélanésien fer de lance a dû pain sur la planche et pendant ce temps, la population continue de australia.

12) La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée en « totale harmonie » avec l’Australie

Posté à 11 October 2013, 9:22 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Premier ministre, Peter O’Neill, l’affirme après des entretiens avec son homologue australien, Tony Abbott.

Les deux dirigeants se sont rencontrés en Indonésie cette semaine en marge du Sommet de coopération économique pour l’Asie – Pacifique (APEC).

Si le nouveau gouvernement australien a amputé le budget de l’aide à l’étranger de plus de 4 milliards de dollars sur 3 ans, la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée n’est pas concernée par ces coupes sombres, souligne Peter O’Neill : «Le gouvernement australien et le Premier ministre continuent de soutenir les nombreux programmes qui ont été entamés dans le cadre de l’aide australienne du gouvernement en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Les arrangements que nous avions n’ont pas changé. »

Pas de changement non plus au niveau des demandeurs d’asile. Le gouvernement australien possède un camp de détention de demandeurs sur l’île de Manus en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée : « En fait, ils veulent s’impliquer davantage en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Ils sont convaincus que face à la croissance économique de notre région, il est important que nous puissions travailler ensemble pour construire les infrastructures nécessaires au maintien de cette croissance. »

Le gouvernement australien a aussi confirmé une décision prise par le précédent gouvernement travailliste : l’envoi de policiers australiens pour aider à la reconstruction des forces de la police papoue : « D’ici Noël, c’est confirmé, 50 policiers et policières des forces fédérales australiennes seront ici à Port Moresby pour nous aider à maintenir l’État de droit dans notre pays. Ils seront tout d’abord en poste à Lae et à Port Moresby.
Et en plus de tout cela, nous avions négocié l’envoi de 150 policiers et policières avec le gouvernement du Queensland et le Premier ministre australien a proposé son aide au niveau du financement pour l’envoi de 150 policiers et policières du Queensland déployés ici en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. »

Peter O’Neill tient toutefois à apporter la précision suivante : « Je tiens à dire à tous nos policiers, nos policières, nos citoyens, qu’il s’agit d’un arrangement temporaire pendant que nous reconstruisons la capacité des forces de police de ce pays.
Nous allons ainsi pouvoir rouvrir le Collège de police de Bomana après 10 ans de fermeture.  Nous avons beaucoup de travail devant nous pour reconstruire les forces de police et ces 200 policières et policières sont là pour nous aider. »radio australia


13) Fiji Authority Restricts Local Training By Foreign Media
No overseas media workshops without approval: chairman

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 10, 2013) – The Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) in Fiji will not allow any foreign media entities to hold local training sessions without first consulting them.

Local journalists affiliated with any overseas or freelance media outlets would also have to register, the Fiji Sun reported.

Addressing journalists this week, the authority’s new chairman Ashwin Raj said he would find it problematic that foreign entities engaged with local media in workshops without seeking the approval of the authority.

Raj’s comments were also consistent with requirements under the Media Industry Development Decree introduced in 2010.

Part six of the Media Decree states that every media organisation that provides or intends to provide media services in Fiji must be registered.

“In this requirement I don’t think international media agencies can conduct any important workshops regarding important matters such as media freedom, democracy, human rights, elections etc. without seeking prior approval,” Raj said.

‘Protocol’ and ‘diligence’

He said an entity could not just walk into a country and conduct workshops without consulting MIDA.

“It is about protocol, and it is about diligence.” He said the function of the authority was not policing the content of the workshop or training by a foreign entity, but making sure it was in line with the media decree.

Although Fiji recently adopted a new constitution, Raj said the media decree would still play an important role in Fiji.

“The decree is a very legally nuanced document pertaining to the governance of [the] media industry, and in that sense it is important,” he said, according to the Fiji Times.

Raj also told reporters that the role of MIDA was to create cohesiveness between the authority and media organisations.

The MIDA chairman said this was an important time for the media and journalists to reflect on their roles in the context of the media decree.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre –


14) Police Confiscate ‘Record’ Marijuana Shipment In PNG
Four suspects apprehended while on dugout canoe

By Adam Mera

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 10, 2013) – In Papua New Guinea, a record haul of marijuana, possibly destined for the overseas market, was made by police in Kerema, Gulf, last weekend.

Eleven bags containing 84.5kg of the illicit drug were confiscated by police after they apprehended four suspects who led them to their campsite at Lorope, near the provincial capital.

It was the biggest haul of marijuana so far, according to the National Drug and Vice Squad (NDVS) but a spokesman said they were reluctant to give a street value for fear of encouraging more drug smuggling.

NDVS officer-in-charge Det. Chief Insp. Joel Kapinias said yesterday the four suspects were part of a group of 13 men who had smuggled the drug from Goroka, Eastern Highlands, to Kerema via Morobe.

Kapinias said the four were apprehended on the Murua River as they were heading into Kerema to pick up food rations for the group.

He said the other nine escaped while Kerema police were on their way to their campsite at Lorope.

“As the suspects were paddling in a dugout canoe heading to Kerema town, they were spotted by villagers who grew suspicious and alerted the local (Kerema) police,” Kapinias said.

He said when Kerema police were informed they acted immediately to intercept the drug smugglers.

“The police headed out in a 15-horse powered boat and met the suspects on the river,” Kapinias said.

He said the four suspects then led the police officers to their campsite.

“The other nine, upon hearing the advancing policemen, made off into bush,” he said.

Kapinias said the four suspects were taken to the Kerema police station and charged.

He said the NDVS was then notified.

“On Saturday (last week), the National Drug and Vice Squad, led by Det. Sgt. Bruno Morgan, left for Kerema to take over the investigation,” Kapinias said.

Upon further interrogation, Morgan and his team found that the drugs were not heading for Port Moresby.

“From the way the drugs were packed, we don’t think they are for Port Moresby,” Morgan said. “Nor do we think it is for Daru.”

He said Daru did not have the market for such a large quantity of marijuana.

“We found a couple of text messages on the suspects’ phone which we believe are from the bigger fish,” Morgan said.

“From our findings so far, we are assuming that the drugs are either for the overseas market or are for gun trading.”

The four suspects are being detained at the Boroko police cells and are expected to appear before the Boroko District Court in Port Moresby this week.

The National:

15) Indonesian Businessman Allegedly Paid Solomons Delegation
Some officials supposedly received as much as $25,000

By Alfred Sasako

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 11, 2013) – New information has emerged that some senior officials on the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s recent delegation to Indonesia received as much as US$25,000 (about SBD$187,500) each, sources have confirmed.

The sources said at least two senior officials (names withheld) received US$25,000, or SBD$187,500, each.

Three others (names withheld) received US$10,000 (about SBD$65,000) and two others received US$5,000 each, about SBD$32,500, respectively.

“It seems the level of payment is based on seniority, the higher you are, the more you get,” the sources said.

Earlier reports have suggested that the 17 people on the delegation had each been given a yellow envelope. But this could not be independently verified as the sources could only confirm five who have received yellow envelopes containing the money.

The sources said some junior officers who for the first time received such huge amounts of money “are pretty scared.”

One source said the money was given in yellow envelopes during an official dinner hosted in honor of the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and his delegation.

The sources said the officials went back to their rooms and openly discussed how much each received in their envelopes.

Politicians, including the Prime Minister, however were not seen being given envelopes. Protocols dictate that gifts to Prime Ministers and senior politicians are often delivered to their hotel rooms.

The sources said the money appeared to have come from an Indonesian businessman, who could very well be the sponsor of the dinner that night.

It is not clear how the officials who allegedly received the payments brought the money back into the country. Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) regulations require that any amounts over SBD$50,000 [US$6,795] or its equivalent in foreign currency must be declared to authorities.

Despite the raging controversy surrounding the initial visit, Prime Minister Lilo ignored the outcry and led another delegation to Bali where members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation met earlier in the week.

Prime Minister Lilo’s delegation left Indonesia last Wednesday for Taiwan where he joined the rest of the Solomon Islands’ 10-member delegation for Taipei’s Double-10 celebrations.

The delegation is due back on Monday October 21.

Solomon Star


16) UN Ranks 5 Pacific Nations High For Disaster Risk
Rankings highlight vulnerability of island countries: official

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 10, 2013) – A report by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNSDR) has found that five Pacific countries are among the top 15 disaster risk countries in the world.

The countries are Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu and Tonga were ranked as the top two nations with the most risk, while Fiji was in fifteenth place.

The sub-regional coordinator for the UNSDR in the Pacific, Tim Wilcox, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program these rankings highlight the vulnerability of the Pacific island countries and their exposure to disasters in the region.

The report found that natural disasters are costing Fiji US$79 million annually, or about 2.6 percent of its GDP.

Mr. Wilcox says these figures are worrying.

“[It] just emphasises the importance of investing in prevention strategies now so that communities and buildings and the private sector are more resilient,” he said.

“Our research shows that as little as an extra 10 percent… into the budget of a house or a building can actually make a building cyclone proof.”

Preventive moves

According to Mr. Wilcox, such preventive measures are cost effective but are not practiced as often as they should be.

“We’re still seeing people construct buildings that are not necessarily cyclone-proof,” he said.

Mr. Wilcox says the UNSDR is trying to create awareness about the benefits of building hazard proof infrastructure.

“Incorporating disaster risk reduction strategies at the beginning of construction and helping communities identify the hazards that they’re exposed to, and try to take steps to reduce those risks, is not only cost-effective but it benefits everyone in the long run, it reduces the number of deaths,” he said.

It might take a few years before there are any significant reductions in risks faced by these countries.

But Mr. Wilcox says countries like Fiji are taking that first step towards the right direction.

“I think we are seeing some improvements, particularly in Fiji where we’re seeing a lot more investment,” he said.

“The awareness of the importance of putting in prevention strategies when people are constructing buildings or bridges and the importance of working with the community, are actually taking hold, which is good.

“It means the messages are getting through.”

Roping in the media

The media is one avenue through which the UNSDR is reaching out to people.

It recently conducted a two-day training session in Fiji’s capital Suva where journalists were taught about disaster risk reduction.

“The media plays a key role, not just in passing on the message and increasing awareness of the vulnerabilities of countries and the hazards that people face,” Mr. Wilcox said.

Mr. Wilcox says the media can help people understand how infrastructure can be built better to withstand natural disasters.

“I think that’s really important because it’s clear to us that if the media doesn’t understand what the concept of disaster risk reduction is, then it’s a good sign that a lot of people probably don’t understand,” he said.

Radio Australia:

17) Fiji’s Viwa island gets desalination plant

Posted at 23:48 on 11 October, 2013 UTC

The commissioning of a desalination plant on Viwa island in the Yasawa group in Fiji on Friday has ended the villagers’ dependence on uncertain rainfall for a clean water supply.

The commissioning of the plant, which is funded through the Pacific Environment Community Fund, marks the point at which it can be put to use for the first time.

The deputy secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Feleti Teo, says the project will benefit about 240 residents on the island, giving them a safe and sustained supply of water.

The island of Viwa is one of four sites participating in the Fiji Water Desalination Project.

The others are the islands of Kia and Kavewa in the Macuata Province and Vanuavatu in the Lau group.

Radio New Zealand International


18) PNG Youth Unhappy With ‘Chronic Unemployment’: Survey
Young people want government to emphasize education, training

By Nellie Setepano

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 10, 2013) – A youth unemployment survey conducted in six of Papua New Guinea’s urban areas has discovered that there is a large number of unemployed youth in cities and towns.

The National Youth Commission survey, conducted in conjunction with the University of PNG and the University of Western Sydney, Australia, stated that many PNG youth migrate into urban centres in search for employment or studies.

Out of a total of 318 respondents, 44 percent arrived in towns and cities in search for a job while 33 percent migrated for study. More than half of the respondents were primary and secondary school drop outs and just over 10 percent had tertiary qualifications. Interestingly, only 32 percent of the youth in the survey were employed while 68 had no formal jobs.

The vast majority, aged between 18 and 30, agreed that most social issues come as a result of unemployment. Most of the youth in the survey want the government to put more emphasis on education, employment, training and social services. The general feeling shared by youths in the survey is that young people are not happy with the general situation and the chronic unemployment issues they face.

The survey investigated five different types of unemployment that are not fully explored by researchers in the context of PNG:

“Frictional unemployment” occurs when young people search for jobs that best suit their skills and preferences. It represents the unusual amount of unemployed resulting from people who have left jobs that did not work out and searching for new ones or young people entering or re-entering the labour workforce.
“Structural unemployment” results from a shift in the pattern of demand for goods and services or change in technology in the economy that affects the profitability of hiring workers in specific industries.
“Cyclical unemployment” is evident in PNG. It results from recurring depression and cyclical fluctuations in business activities and government projects.
“Technological unemployment” arises due to the advancement of science and technology, resulting in intervention of labour saving machines and devices to accelerate production.
“Seasonal unemployment” arises in certain periods that usually result from the reduction on demand for labour, further attributes to patterns of consumer’s habits or to variation in production associated with climate change.

The survey was conducted from December 2011 to December 2012, by student Peter Kanaparo, from the Graduate School of Management, University of Western Sydney. It was conducted in Kokopo, Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Goroka and Mt. Hagen and the findings presented yesterday at the youth employment framework meeting in Port Moresby.

PNG Post-Courier:


19) Niue to make international rugby league debut v Vanuatu

Posted at 20:30 on 11 October, 2013 UTC

Niue will make their international rugby league debut this evening in what coach Brendan Perenara hopes is the start of a regular test match programme.

The Island nation will take on a Vanuatu side in Port Vila who recorded their first test win at the weekend against the Solomon Islands in Mackay.

Brendon Perenara says he was approached by a few players about putting a team together and since competing in the Cabramatta Nines tournament in Sydney earlier this year the idea for a test match has gathered momentum.

The Niue squad is made up of 14 players from Australia, with four from New Zealand and one travelling from the UK but Perenara says they hope to

“We actually tried to get a couple of guys to develop from Niue, the Rock itself, but [it] just fell through with financial problems.Hopefully in the future we can get some boys from the Rock.Hopefully this is a stepping stone and hopefully more boys will put their hands up to play for Niue, their nation, and head on the boat with us and we can go forward from there.”

Brendan Perenara.

Radio New Zealand International

 20) Ryan backs Fiji 7s team to compete but expects firm opposition

Posted at 20:30 on 11 October, 2013 UTC

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan is confident his new team will be competitive this weekend as their seek to with the Gold Coast title for a third straight year.

The opening leg of the new World Series marks Ryan’s first tournament in charge of Fiji, having spent the past six seasons coaching England.

The 42 year old wants to put more emphasis on set piece play but has also reminded the players to enjoy themselves out on the field as that’s when Fiji is most dangerous.

Ben Ryan says his team will face stiff opposition from the likes of defending series champions New Zealand.

“They’ve got a very experienced side and will be obviously well prepared. Samoa: watch out for them this year.They’ve got a couple of outstanding little playmakers and they’ve had a renaissance really, I think they’re coming back to where they were when they last won the World Series. And my old team England: I think they will do very well this year and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were right there in contention this weekend but it’s up to me to try to make sure that the Fijian boys are there or thereabouts come Sunday night.”

Fiji’s first match is against Canada later today while Tonga and Samoa open up against Kenya and Argentina.

Radio New Zealand International

21)Sonny Bill fits the bill for sevens, says Tietjens
By Online Editor
4:11 pm GMT+12, 11/10/2013, Australia

Sonny Bill Williams could be a great asset in New Zealand’s campaign for rugby gold at the Rio Olympics, but must not waver in his commitment to the cause, according to All Blacks sevens coach Gordon Tietjens.

Although a roaring success in both rugby league and rugby union, former All Black Williams has courted controversy with his abrupt career changes and created a storm this week by backflipping on his plan to sit out the rugby league World Cup.

Williams’ change of heart and his late inclusion into the defending champion Kiwis squad at the expense of Melbourne Storm youngster Tohu Harris has sparked criticism in New Zealand that the player had become bigger than the team.

Tietjens was not among the critics but conceded the saga had been hard to digest.

“I really struggled with what happened,” Tietjens told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

“I feel in some ways for Sonny, but once he’s made the decision not to make himself available, well, it should have been done and dusted.

“But the change has been made and it must be so, so tough on that (Melbourne) player.”

Williams has shown disdain for long-term commitments since sensationally walking away from the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2008 to go play rugby union in France, while in the second year of a five-year deal with the Sydney-based National Rugby League (NRL) team.

The 28-year-old has signed a series of one-year deals, which have seen him return to New Zealand to play for two local Super Rugby clubs and clinch a World Cup with the All Blacks on home soil in 2011, while dabbling in professional boxing on the side.

Williams returned to the NRL this year to help the Sydney Roosters win the title on Sunday, but is widely tipped to return home to New Zealand for a second stint with Super Rugby’s Chiefs after being a member of their 2012 championship side.

A return to rugby union could put Williams in the frame for a tilt at winning gold for New Zealand when rugby sevens makes its Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games, and Tietjens had little doubt the powerful centre could make the grade.

“Sonny Bill Williams would make the transition to sevens, there’s no question about that,” he said.

“Mainly because he fits the culture that we live. Not only is he a humble guy, but he’s got a great work ethic.

“He works very hard, sets himself challenges and goals and goes out and gets them. He obviously has the work ethic, the skill-set, and is a real athlete. He could obviously be a very, very good player.”

Williams has remained tight-lipped about his next career move, but Tietjens was confident the dual code international would be back with the Chiefs, who won a second successive Super Rugby title this year.

The coach would be quick to gauge his interest in his long-term plans, but suggested Williams would have to commit early to the sevens project to have any hope of going to Rio.

“If he’s going to the (rugby union) World Cup in 2015, they’ll have to give me an indication prior to the completion of that, that he’d like to have a crack at 2016,” he said.

“And then once I have an indication then I suppose I can start building a squad.

“But also there will be some standards that I’ll set around that.

“If (players) put their hands up and express an interest they’ll have to play some (sevens) world series tournaments that can certainly confirm to me that they’re good enough.

“For sure, we’ll welcome any players in at any time but it is quite a demanding sport where you have to work exceptionally hard.”

Williams’ return would be another coup for New Zealand rugby after Benji Marshall signed a two-year deal to play for Super Rugby’s Auckland Blues after a long and distinguished career in the NRL.

Former New Zealand rugby league captain Marshall has made no secret of his hopes to push for an All Blacks jersey for the 2015 World Cup and in the Olympic sevens.

Tietjens, who was preparing his team for sevens’ season-opening world series tournament in the Gold Coast this weekend, said Marshall would also have what it takes to thrive in the Olympic format.

“I felt personally that it would be great for Benji Marshall to come to this tournament. It would have been great to have him involved because he’s a great touch player,” he said.

“I’m sure if he got the conditioning under his belt he’d be a very, very good sevens player.” .


22) NZ chase sevens success, Bogey side await Aust at Gold Coast sevens

By Online Editor
4:09 pm GMT+12, 11/10/2013, Australia

New Zealand want to take an extra step when they contest the first leg of the sevens rugby world series on Queensland’s Gold Coast this weekend.

Coach Gordon Tietjens has selected an experienced team for the 16-nation tournament, at a Skilled Park venue which holds mixed memories for them since it was introduced to the series two years ago.

Both tournaments there have seen New Zealand reach the final but then lose heavily to Fiji.

That record has become symptomatic of Tietjens’ team, who reached the final in seven of nine tournaments on the way to winning last year’s series but only won two of them.

Winger Sherwin Stowers says that record isn’t weighing the team down this week although he suspects Tietjens will be doing his utmost to ensure the recent trend ends.

“This a new series and it is important for us to start with a bang and hopefully go one better this year.

“Nothing changes for us in terms of preparation and we trust our coach. He is the best coach in the world and he knows the game in and out.”

New Zealand are without the injured Gillies Kaka this week but the team led by captain DJ Forbes is otherwise similar to the outfit who won the World Cup and secured an 11th series crown in 14 attempts earlier this year.

Their pool opponents on Saturday are the USA, Tonga and Kenya.

Meanwhile, Rugby sevens arch-rivals Argentina loom as Australia’s biggest immediate hurdle in this weekend’s season-opening tournament on the Gold Coast.

To buck their history of starting slowly in the IRB world sevens series, Australia will need to negotiate a pool including the Pumas as well as Samoa and Scotland at Skilled Park on Saturday.

In 41 world series encounters between Australia and Argentina, it’s the Pumas who hold the edge, having won 22 clashes to Australia’s 19.

Argentina also ended Australia’s tournament on the Gold Coast last year, defeating coach Michael O’Connor’s men in the plate semi-final 17-14.

“Argentina have been a bogey side for Australian sevens,” O’Connor told AAP.

“You have a look at our record over the past decade or since the world series started, they’ve marginally got more wins that what we have.

“They’re very competitive when it comes to playing Australia at sevens – they’re good at it.”

Samoa are also no easy opponent for Australia, going into the tournament on a high after beating Pacific Island rivals Fiji in the Oceania Sevens Championship recently.

O’Connor enters the tournament optimistic, believing he has the right amount of experience in his squad to ensure they hit the ground running.

“The last couple of years, we’ve lost players to Super 15. There’s always a process of rebuilding,” he said.

“But now we’ve got sufficient numbers of players who have played sevens, I believe, really to start the season off well.”

Adding to Australia’s drive is their hunger to end a decade-long wait and finally win another tournament on home soil.

“Every year we want to win our home tournament,” O’Connor said.

“We haven’t done it for over a decade now … I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t something we’d love to do.”.


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