Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 883

MELANESIA:

1) West Papuan Activists Allegedly Tortured After Arrest
14 reportedly arrested after holding peaceful demonstration

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, ) – A pro-independence activist in the Indonesian province of West Papua says 14 people arrested last week have been tortured and are still held by police.

They were commemorating the anniversary of the 2011 Third Papuan People’s Congress on Saturday despite police bans, and were arrested on Biak island, off the Papua north coast.

Alex Perrottet reports.

“The group was commemorating the declaration of independence on October 19th 2011, at the congress where thousands of people voted Fokorus Yaboisembut as their President, prompting his arrest. He remains in prison along with other activists like Victor Yeimo who was arrested in May. In Biak, 14 were arrested last week after holding what Yoab Syatfle says was a peaceful demonstration. Police had banned all demonstration, after Mr. Syatfle and others travelled to Jakarta to present letters to the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr. Syatfle says one of the arrested is a vice-governor of the West Papuan people in Saireri, David Korwa, who says they have been interrogated and tortured at the police station in Biak. Mr. Syatfle says he is calling for their unconditional release.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

2) Australia ‘neglecting UN obligations’ by deporting West Papuan asylum seekers

By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 25/10/2013, Australia

Experts in refugee law have warned that Australia cannot pass off to Papua New Guinea its responsibility to process the claims of seven West Papuan asylum seekers.

The seven West Papuans told Australian immigration officials when they landed by boat in the Torres Strait last month that they feared for their lives after taking part in a protest against Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua.

But instead of processing their claims Australia deported them to PNG, where they are now in a remote refugee camp close to the Indonesian border.

“We can’t just ignore [their claim for asylum],” the director of the clinical legal program at Murdoch University, Anna Copeland, told Guardian Australia. “Because we’re signatories to the UN refugee convention the whole obligation is that we don’t just ignore it.

“We are supposed to implement [the convention] in good faith with the intention that it was set out, so this kind of manoeuvring to be able to refuse is a breach of our international obligations,” she said.

The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, told the media that the seven were deported under a 2003 memorandum of understanding designed to prevent PNG being used as a transit country for asylum seekers hoping to make it to Australia.

Under the agreement, Australia is only able to return asylum seekers to PNG if they have spent more than seven days in that country prior to their arrival.

The West Papuans say they repeatedly told Australian immigration officials that they had only spent two days in PNG on their way to Australia. When questioned on this, Morrison said there had been “a concession agreed between the two governments”.

Use of the memorandum does not merely allow Australia to wash its hands of them, according to legal analysis of the 2003 agreement by Dr Savitri Taylor, director of research in the school of law at La Trobe University. Australia still has ongoing obligations under international law to ensure the group has a meaningful chance to have their asylum cases considered and that they are safe from persecution in the interim.

The group said both of these conditions had been breached.

When Guardian Australia spoke to one of the seven, Yacob Mechrian Mandabayan, via phone from the remote border camp on Monday night, he said they were in fear for their lives because the camp was close to the porous Indonesian border.

“We do not feel safe here because this place is not guarded by police or security guards,” he said.

Mandabayan also said there was no immediate prospect of their asylum claims being processed. After the group’s initial refusal to seek asylum in PNG – where they say they face the persecution – they now believe they have been dumped at the camp “to just stay until we die in here”.

Mandabayan said the group lodged an application with Port Moresby Court on Friday 11 October to request a stay on their relocation to the camp. It was to be heard the next Monday. But on the Saturday, before this could happen, PNG immigration officials arrived at their hotel with “police officers with M16 guns” to take them by force to the airport.

He also described an incident last week in which an “Indonesian-looking” man arrived at the house in which they were staying and tried to take their photos.

“We don’t want to seek asylum in PNG; we only want to seek asylum in Australia,” Mandabayan told Guardian Australia. “In Australia we feel safe because it’s far away from the Indonesian authorities.”.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN/PACNEWS

3) Vanuatu chief worried about ni-Vanuatu in Fiji
By Online Editor
5:01 pm GMT+12, 25/10/2013, Vanuatu

Chiefs in Vanuatu have asked the Fiji president, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, to ensure that the descendants of ni-Vanuatu in Fiji are being accommodated in the new constitution.

The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs of Efate made the call during this week’s visit by Ratu Epeli, who is on a Melanesian tour.

Chief Manlaewia Henry says in colonial times, the ni-Vanuatu were forced to go to Fiji to work in sugar cane plantations.

He says he is worried about the way Fiji authorities are treating them now.

“The problem is they don’t regard those people like Fijian citizens. They don’t provide an education for them or job. So we worry.”

Chief Manlaewia Henry says he hopes the Fiji constitution can be changed.

Ratu Epeli has given a copy of the constitution to the Vanuatu prime minister.

Vanuatu has offered to assist Fiji in its preparations for elections in 2014, but has given no details.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

4a) Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati

a) Kandidet blong GJP long Torba Provinsel Eleksen (Vanualava)

Olgeta –

Evri flaet blong go long Torba Provins yestede i kansel from rabis wetha, mekem se mi wetem MP Alfred Maoh i nomo go daon long Torba Provins blong kampen blong kandidet blong yumi.
1st-ever kandidet blong GJP long Torba Provins hemi Mr Smith Paul we bae hemi stanap long Vanualava aelan, so plis yufala we yufala famli long Vanualava, ringim ol famli mo talem long olgeta blong vot long kandidet blong GJP.

Ta, Ralph

b) Nagriamel Kaonsela i joenem GJP

Olgeta –

Nagriamel Kaonsela blong Malo, semtaem Presiden blong Malo-Aore Rijen blong Nagriamel, i mekem kastom wetem ful eksekutiv blong hem blong kam joenem GJP long 22 Oktoba 2013. Hemi fes Sanma Kaonsela blong GJP…
Luk ol foto mo ridim ful stori long: http://www.graonmojastis.org/blog-nyus/ol-blog-nyus/238-nagriamel-councilllor-joins-gjp
Ta, Ralph

Nagriamel Councilllor joins GJP

The Councillor representing East Malo in the Sanma Provincial Government, Thomas Boedovo, this week performed a custom ceremony to officially join the Graon mo Jastis Pati along with his entire executive and members of other parties and political groupings in East Malo.
William Vira, the Independent candidate who scored 273 votes in the 2012 General Elections for Malo constituency, was also in the group that affiliated to GJP. Councillor Boedovo’s decision to affiliate to GJP came after extensive consultations with his sub-committees and supporters throughout East Malo, who made a collective decision to switch to GJP. As President of the Malo-Aore Region for the Nagriamel Party, Councillor Boedovo is considered one of the political “heavyweights” whose support has seen Malo gain its current status as the stronghold of the Nagriamel Party in the country, with two councillors and one MP.
He becomes GJP’s first Councillor in the Sanma Provincial Government. GJP President MP Ralph Regenvanu and Executive Member MP Alfred Maoh were on Malo to officially receive the Councillor and his supporters into their new party.

4b) Vanuatu daily news digest | 24 October 2013

by bobmakin

a) Yesterday the Supreme Court learned of costly political bungling in the matter of the appointment of a Governor of the Reserve Bank. Odo Tevi had been easily and correctly, it seems, re-appointed after two successful terms which won him the respect of the banking community here and overseas. However, Prime Minister Carcasses, determined to have other minds at work on the Reserve Bank board, managed to have the director-general of his office, Simeon Athy, appointed instead of Tevi when the Finance Minister was away, and a second attempt to have Tom Bayer on the board appears to have been successful. These moves come at a time when legislation regarding RBV decision-making is scheduled for parliamentary debate. This may wellcost the country eighty to 100 million vatu, the Republic of Vanuatu now included in the matter, as Tevi’s submissions concerning indemnification for abrupt cancellation of his contract were not disputed. There will, however, be more hearings, when the Republic has prepared itself, and the case will not get to court before December, Daily Post reports today. By then the legislation wanted by the PM will have been passed anyway.

b) Yesterday saw the country’s first ever National Youth Parliament in which 52 young people sat at the government and opposition benches in the national assembly and went through a process of tabling and debating a Bill and other matters. The Daily Post report said that a Bill to permit women to seek abortions in clearly defined circumstances proved abortion still to be a contentious subject. Some present and former ministers of state attended in the public gallery. The event was sponsored by Transparency Vanuatu, UNDP, Live and Learn and other partners and supported bySpeaker Boedoro.

Today is an open day at Parliament at which the work of the supreme national legislative body will be outlined for everyone, VBTC News reported. An historical exhibition is also planned and there are tents for “stake-holder exhibitions” and displays related to their work. Louis Kalnpel, Clerk of Parliament, says the day will provide an opportunity for everyone to see how the work of customary law giving and the Westminster system coincide. Everyone is welcome. It’s just a shame about the weather.

c) Port Vila Municipality has had its property, the Dumbea Hall, in doubt following failure to pay all required for land intended for a new cemetery. Daily Post reported yesterday that the amount of money involved and owed to Daniel Yawha and Peter Bong is VT 170 million. Since then, however, records have been examined and a total of VT 30 million established by the municipality of which a first payment has been made, and astay order on the premises has been issued.

d) Post yesterday also reported Fiji President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on an official visitand inspecting a guard of honour at the airport. Today he is supposed to meet the Prime Minister.

e) The Nurses Association seems to have taken a step back from its threat of a strike.There was a mis-understandiing.

f) A new National Education Commission is outlined in Post today.

g)Yasur tribes have threatened action over alleged “false promises” from Entani Limited concerning Yasur volcano. Court cases over Yasur ownership and operations go way back to the New Hebridean ‘Seventies.

bobmakin | October 24, 2013 at 8:46 am |

5) Two High Chiefs Criticize Fiji’s New Constitution
Document designed not to punish 2006 coup perpetrators: chiefs

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 24, 2013) – A statement has been issued by two of Fiji’s paramount chiefs taking issue with the regime’s constitution which has done away with entrenched provisions about land and customary institutions.

Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Ro Teimumu Kepa say the regime move is a wanton act and the highest form of disrespect.

The statement says the constitution released last month fails to have a mandate of the will of the people of Fiji.

It says the new document was taken around the public under a well orchestrated and controlled media to create the impression to the international community that the public has been widely consulted and has consented to it when in truth it has not done so.

The chiefs say the new constitution is designed to keep the perpetrators of the 2006 coup and their advisers from accounting for their unlawful actions.

While political parties have widely rejected the constitution, the international community has reacted positively to its release, describing it as a step towards elections promised for next year.

[PIR editor’s note: FijiVillage has since reported that neither Ratu Naiqama nor Ro Teimumu responded to questions after releasing the initial statement. Meanwhile, SODELPA’s Dr. Tupeni Baba says most in Fijidon’t accept the term iTaukei in reference to indigenous Fijians in the constitution, despite a decree three years ago that dictated it be used in all written documents. He adds the decision to use iTaukei, which he says “merely means an owner,” also raises questions about land ownership and rights for indigenous Fijians. Baba says changes to the constitution would be necessary to ensure the iTaukei label “doesn’t interfere” with land ownership and other things related to indigenous Fijians.]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

POLYNESIA:

6) Tongan Parliament Rejects MP’s Caretaker Government Bill
Tongatapu’s ‘Aisake Eke proposed ‘controversial’ amendments

By Pesi Fonua

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 24, 2013) – Tonga’s parliament has rejected a Private Member’s Bill that sought to change how Tongans elect a Prime Minister, and proposing a caretaker government when parliament closes at the end of the month, in preparation for the Parliamentary General Election in November next year.

The House this afternoon with a vote of 15-6 rejected the Private Member’s Bill presented by ‘Aisake Eke, the People’s Representative No. 5 for Tongatapu, which has stirred up a few loud exchanges in the House since the Bill was introduced on Monday 21 October.

Two of the most controversial amendments that were proposed by ‘Aisake, included for Tonga to have two election processes: first for the people and the nobles to elect their representatives into parliament, 17 for the people and nine for the nobles; and then for all eligible voters to elect a Prime Minister from the 26 elected members of parliament.

The second controversial proposed amendment was for the ruling government to be dissolved when parliament closes at the end of the month, and for a caretaker government to take over until the election in November next year.

All these proposed changes, according to ‘Aisake, were to make Tonga’s system of government more democratic.

Problems

However, since Tonga introduced its more democratic system of government nearly three years ago, the two fundamental principals that have yet to be achieved are accountability and unity, and the current system has been unable to stabilize itself and work toward solving Tonga’s current depressing economic situation.

The problem appears to be that some members have not come to terms with the fact that the Tongan parliamentary system is based on the Westminster parliamentary system, but with a uniquely Tongan model, where instead of having a House of Lords and a House of Commons, there is only one House, which accommodates both the Lords or Nobles and the People’s Representatives; but getting them to work together is the missing link.

The House closed this evening, and the Speaker, Lord Fakafanua, told members that they would be informed on when they will meet again.

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

7) Paris Urged To Release Information On Moruroa Atoll
French Polynesia Greens want to know about risks of collapse

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 24, 2013) – The Greens in French Polynesia are urging Paris to give information about the risks of Moruroa atoll collapsing.

The former nuclear weapons test site is a no-go zone, which France has kept despite promising to return it to French Polynesia after the end of the testing regime in 1996.

France is refusing access to independent monitors while saying the chance of a collapse is practically nil.

A spokesperson for the Greens in Tahiti, Olivier Champion, says France has a record of lying about the tests and their effects, and many fear a Fukushima-like disaster is possible.

“Transparency, of course, and another thing, a plan what to do in case of… if the reef barrier of Moruroa and Fangataufa is collapsing, what is the plan? What can we do? How can we react?”

Olivier Champion says the chain of command via France is so long that a possible tsunami would hit nearby atolls before a local warning is issued.

He says nuclear contamination could imperil the livelihood of vast areas of the Pacific.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

AUSTRALIA:


8) ADF chief apologises for training site blaze
By Online Editor
10:09 am GMT+12, 25/10/2013, Australia

The head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has apologised for a training exercise gone wrong that sparked the blaze at the centre of the NSW Blue Mountains fire emergency, destroying three homes and threatening to become a “mega-fire” with disastrous consequences.

The 50,000ha State Mine fire, which started near Lithgow last Wednesday but has menaced towns along the winding Bells Line of Road all the way to the small Hawkesbury valley village of Bilpin, was ignited during a bungled explosives drill at the Marrangaroo army base.

“I do apologise, because it has been identified that this fire was the spark of that mine fire,” acting defence chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin said.

He said an internal inquiry would likely lead to changes in the way the military conducted live ordnance exercises.

The concession came as bushfire authorities ramped the warning levels on the State Mine and Mount Victoria fires back up to emergency, and urged residents of two towns near Bilpin to abandon their homes.

Rural Fire Service chief Shane Fitzsimmons warned it was “early days yet” for the settlements at Mount Tomah and Berambing, where residents had been urged to evacuate, and the nearby Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine, where it had been determined it was “too late and dangerous to leave” due to fire having enveloped the only access road.

One of the things firefighters had been fearing — the State Mine fire crossing to the southern side of Bells Line of Road, where they have established few back-burning defences in recent days — had occurred. “Many hours are yet to roll out as we see what happens in the Bells Line of Road region,” Fitzsimmons said.

Gusting southwesterly winds continued to make conditions too dangerous for all but the largest water-bombing helicopters, the two huge Erickson air-cranes that are now an integral part of the annual NSW bushfire fighting effort.

Another fire was sparked in the lower mountains by a lightning strike overnight, a reminder that the crisis was far from over. West of Newcastle, a major fire in the town of Minmi also continued to be a challenge for firefighters, Fitzsimmons said.

The fire chief described as “so disappointing” the discovery of two eight-year-old boys trying to light a brushfire near the Minmi blaze on Wednesday.

Air Marshal Binskin’s apology followed reports that the Marrangaroo training blaze was the third such incident in recent times, with a similar one just days ago at the Cultana army base near Port Augusta in South Australia, and another in August at the Townsville Field Training Area.

Air Marshal Binskin  Thursday gave details of the Marrangaroo incident, saying the defence personnel involved included experts in defusing improvised explosive devices who had recently returned from active service.

When the blast that started the fire occurred, he said, they had to retreat due to the presence of live explosives and, after initial efforts to douse the flames, await the arrival of Rural Fire Service volunteers about half an hour later.

By then, the fire could not be contained.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

9) Global Fund i laikim planti moa moni long sapotim wok blong ol

Updated 26 October 2013, 18:05 AEST

Global Fund i laikim planti moa moni long halvim wok blong daonim sik TB, Aids na Malaria long PNG.

Odio: Tony Tandrapa blong Institute of Medical Research long Goroka, Papua New Guinea
Global Fund em i save wok hat blong daonim ol sik olsem AIDS, TB na sil Malaria long planti kantri long Wold wantem tu insait long Pacific Rijon.

Nau em i wok long painim moni long ol kantri long strongim na apim moni blong en.

Australia, aninit long ol progrem blong en wantem Australia AID, i save sapotim Global Fund long daonim ol despla sik long ol pua kantri long Asia, Africa na tu long Pacific.

Dr Mark Dybul, Ekseketiv Dairekta blong Global Fund i tok ol kantri long wol imas givim planti moni long despla taem long wonem, long nambawan taem tru ol saintis long wol i mekim ol gutpla wok na painim ol marasin na ol rot blong daonim despla tripla sik.

Em i tokim Radio Australia Australia i wok long mekim planti gutpla wok long sapotim ol wok long ol kantri long Pacific, olsem long Papua New Guinea long daonim ol despla sik.

“Bikpla wok em Australia i mekim ino halvim tasol ol pipal blong PNG, tasol em i halvim ol pipal blong en iet taem em i givim moni long Global Fund em i save wok blong daonim sik TB, Malaria na AIDS.”

Displa ol wokbung i kisim iau blong Malaria Institute long PNG.

Tony Tandrapa, sinia projek menija blong Malaria Research wantem Institute of Medical Research(MRI) long Goroka long Eastern Highlands Province i tok Global Fund i save helpim gut wok blong ol wantem ol narapla laen em ol i save wok blong daonim sik malaria long kantri.radio australia

10) Ol asailam sika long Darwin itok laif long ditensin senta i moa beta

Updated 25 October 2013, 17:33 AEST
By Michael Coggan

ol Imigresin Ofisal blong Australia i wok long tokim moa long 2,000 asailam sika, em ol i stap long Christmas Island olsem ol iet igat sans long go bek long kantri blong ol iet oa stap longpla taim insait logn ditensin senta.

Odio: ABC Darwin niusmeri Melanie Arnost i ripot

Ananit long nupla Federal Gavman rul, ol asailam sika husait i kamap long bot bihainim July 19, ol bai salim ol igo long ol senta igo long Manus Island long Papua New Guinea na Nauru Island oa igo bek long kantri blong ol.

Ino gat ol toktok i kam long ol asailam sika long Christmas islands tasol long ol laen pipol insait long senta long Darwin, we moa long 1,000 pipol i stap insait long foapla ditensin senta, sampla blong ol i tokim ABC olsem, ol i redi long stap insait long banis kalabus olsem.

Ol i tok em i seif long senta na maski long ol i salim ol igo bek long long ples blong ol we bai ol inap kilim ol.

ABC Darwin niusmeri Melanie Arnost i tok protest blong ol i save kamap oltaim long Fonde blong wik.radio australia.

BAHASA:

11) Italia desak UE bantu tangani imigran Afrika di Mediterania

Terbit 25 October 2013, 23:45 AEST
Koresponden Eropa Mary Gearin

Perdana Menteri Italia mendesak pemimpin Uni Eropa meningkatkan bantuan bagi negara-negara mediterania. Desakan ini disampaikan karena belakangan ini  pemerintah  Italia telah menyelamatkan lebih dari 700 migran di perairan antara Sicilia dan Afrika Utara.

Perahu patrol Italia telah melakukan lima kali operasi untuk menyelamatkan pendatang dan otoritas mengatakan beberapa ratus orang telah lebih dulu memadati tempat penampungan pendatang di sebelah Selatan Kepulauan Lampedusa.

Italia dan negara mediterania lain tengan berjuang mengatasi gelombang kedatangan perahu  beberapa pekan terakhir dan awal bulan ini Italia meningkatkan patrol perbatasan baik lewat udara maupun laut antara Libya, Tunisia dan Italy.

Lebih dari 360 pendatang kebanyakan berasak dari Eritrea tenggelam awal Oktober lalu setelah perahu yang mereka tumpangi karam di perairan Lampedusa. Perahu kedua tenggelam seminggu setelahnya, 200 orang dinyatakan hilang.

Perdana Menteri Italia, Enrico Letta menekan pemimpin Uni Eropa di Brussel untuk meningkatkan bantuan bagi negara-negara Mediterania termasuk Italia, Yunani, dan Malta yang menanggung beban krisis.

PBB mencatat, sepanjang tahun 2013 lebih dari 32 ribu pendatang melakukan perjalanan ke Selatan Italia dengan perahu.radio australia

FRENCH:

12) Allégations d’atrocités commises en Papouasie occidentale dans les années 70

Posté à 25 October 2013, 8:59 AEST
Pierre Riant

Ce nouveau rapport de la Commission asiatique des droits de l’homme intitulé ‘The Neglected Genocide’ (Le Génocide oublié) décrit en détail la mort de milliers de Mélanésiens de cette province indonésienne aux mains de militaires indonésiens.

Des hélicoptères fournis par l’Australie auraient été utilisés dans le massacre de civils. Après avoir effectué des recherches préliminaires dans leurs archives, les forces de défense australiennes ont démenti l’information en précisant que les appareils de l’armée australienne ont servi à des opérations de cartographie de l’Irian Jaya, actuellement la Papouasie occidentale, entre 1976 et 1981.

Le rapport avec force de détails choquants énumèrent des cas de meurtres, de viols et de tortures de plus de 4 000 Mélanésiens à la fin des années 70. 4 146, pour être exact. Le rapport contient aussi les noms des commandants militaires indonésiens de l’époque.

Selon Basil Fernando, directeur des Programme à cette Commission asiatique des droits de l’homme, affirme que les coupables peuvent être identifiés : « Certains sont encore ici et d’autres sont à la retraite. Mais la retraite n’enlève pas leurs responsabilités. Ces personnes peuvent être traduites en justice. »

Basil Fernando réclame l’intervention de la communauté internationale et la coopération du gouvernement indonésien.radio australia.

13) Quelques grands défis du Pacifique

Posté à 25 October 2013, 8:46 AEST
Pierre Riant

Ces défis ont récemment fait l’objet d’un débat au Club de la presse de Canberra ; débat organisé par le Secrétariat de la Communauté du Pacifique pour souligner les besoins, les difficultés et les espoirs des nations océaniennes.

Les États insulaires du Pacifique sont loin d’être au même niveau et les problèmes d’un grand pays comme la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ne sont pas comparables aux problèmes de Tonga ou de Nauru.

Mais toutes ces nations ont de nombreux points en commun : le besoin d’équilibrer leur croissance économique tout en répondant aux aspirations des pays en développement.

Pour nous en parler, un expert du Pacifique : le professeur Stephen Howes, du collège Asie-Pacifique de l’Université Nationale Australienne : « Il y a du potentiel dans le Pacifique, on peut voir ça, ne serait-ce que dans les plus grands pays en matière de croissance économique. Les opportunités de croissance sont des domaines à forte intensité de capital et ils ne  seront pas toujours là. Je parle de la coupe des arbres ou de l’extraction des ressources minérales. Ainsi, le défi pour les gouvernements est de convertir ces revenus dans des services publics, comme la santé et l’éducation. Et jusqu’à présent, nous n’avons pas vu de gouvernements du Pacifique faire vraiment du bon travail. »

Tant est si bien que de nombreux observateurs, pour être franc, affichent un certain pessimisme quant à l’avenir de certaines nations océaniennes et parlent d’États en situation d’échec, de pauvreté, d’effondrement… Mais au-delà de ce pessimisme, quels sont les facteurs qui empêchent certaines nations de s’épanouir ?
Stephen Howes a justement participé au programme Pacifique 2020 chargé d’identifier les moyens à mettre en place pour favoriser la croissance économique dans le Pacifique, notamment dans les nations océaniennes affectées par le chômage ou l’instabilité politique et sociale ?

HOWES : « Quand j’étais avec AusAid [l’Agence d’aide australienne], nous avons travaillé avec Programme Pacifique 2020. Et certains de mes collègues sont revenus avec des projections et des conclusions disant qu’effectivement, on ne voit pas beaucoup de superbes développements mais qu’il faut reconnaître que le Pacifique est aussi une région résiliente. Et que toutes les précédentes prophéties d’effondrement, à part peut-être les Îles Salomon, ne se sont pas concrétisées. Les économies se sont avérées plus stables et plus résilientes. »

Pourquoi ? Parce que ces économies sont soutenues en grande partie par l’aide étrangère. Le problème est qu’un pays n’est jamais devenu riche avec l’aide étrangère. Alors répétons la question : quels sont les facteurs qui empêchent certaines nations de s’épanouir ?

HOWES : « Et bien certaine sont très petites et isolées : Nauru, Tuvalu. Impossible pour ces nations de suivre les processus habituels de développement. Elles ne seront jamais industrielles et même avec le tourisme elles auront des problèmes. Alors il faut continuer à les aider.
Pour les économies plus grandes où il y a davantage de potentiel, comme la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ou Fidji, les ressources minérales sont à la fois c’est une  malédiction et une bénédiction. »

C’est ressources ne sont pas éternelles et l’argent de ces ressources, notamment en ce qui concerne la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ou les îles Salomon, n’est pas encore descendu en bas de la pyramide ou très peu.radio australia

WORLD:


14) Obama pushes for immigration bill this year
By Online Editor
1:05 pm GMT+12, 25/10/2013, United States

With the partial government shutdown in the past, US President Obama renewed his call Thursday for an immigration bill.

“It’s good for our economy, it’s good for our national security,” Obama said in remarks at the White House. “It’s good for our people, and we should do it this year.”

As Obama noted, a bipartisan coalition in the Senate approved an immigration bill earlier this year.

Members of the Republican-run House, meanwhile, object to a proposed pathway to citizens for immigrants who are already in the United States illegally.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said House Republicans want to address immigration problems in a step-by-step fashion, and that a big bill would only lead to new problems.

“The speaker agrees that America has a broken immigration system and we need reform that would boost our economy,” Buck said. “He’s also been clear that the House will not consider any massive, ‘Obamacare’-style legislation that no one understands.”

Kenneth Palinkas, who heads a union of 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudications officers and staff, said proposed legislation will undermine border security.

“At USCIS, our institutional mission has been corrupted by politics, and I hope these abuses will be examined and fixed before any amnesty proposal is brought forward in the House,” said Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network said Obama can set an example by cutting back on his record numbers of deportations.

“President Obama can advance immigration reform by using his existing legal authority to alleviate the suffering of immigrants,” said Pablo Alvarado, the organization’s executive director.

Among the participants in the immigration debate: The nation’s growing number of Hispanic voters.

Obama had to put this immigration push on hold during the 16-day shutdown earlier this month. A week after its end, Obama said immigration is a way that Congress can prove it can get something done.

“Rather than create problems, let’s prove to the American people that Washington can actually solve some problems,” Obama said during his remarks at the White House.

The president said the Senate plan would help grow the economy, tighten the nation’s borders and hold employers accountable for knowingly hiring undocumented workers.

Obama made his remarks to an invited group of business, labor, faith and law enforcement officials who support the Senate version of immigration reform.

“Keep putting the pressure on all of us to get this done,” Obama told his guests.

SOURCE: US TODAY/PACNEWS

MEDIA:

15) Petition Launched To Revoke West Papua Foreign Media Ban
AIJ contends unclear regulations restricting journalists

By Daniel Drageset

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 24, 2013) – A petition to revoke the ban on media reporting from West Papua has been initiated by press freedom groups.

At the time of publication, the avaaz.org petition had only accumulated 237 electronic signatures.

The petition, which was launched recently, was initiated after the governor of West Papua said journalists would be allowed to enter the Indonesian-ruled region.

However, the Australian newspaper The Age reported shortly after the announcement that the promises of the governor appeared to be “unfounded,” and that the same legal process of applying for a journalist visa to the region was still in place.

The Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AIJ) confirmed journalists were still having difficulties getting permits to report from West Papua.

Journalists from New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK and Australia have had to wait for three months to get a permit, according to AIJ.

“Even after they get into Papua some of them have to be accompanied by a government agent in doing their journalistic duty,” chairman of AIJ in West Papua, Victor Mambor, told Antara news agency.

‘Unclear’ policy

Mambor said AIJ was particularly critical to the Indonesian press freedom policy, saying it was “not clear.”

“So far there has been no government regulation restricting foreign journalists from doing journalistic work in Papua.

“However, foreign journalists have complained they had been restricted by making it difficult for them to get the permit to enter Papua,” Mambor said.

He also said the government had deliberately created unclear regulations, so that authorities could interpret the legislation any way they wanted.

According to Mambor, the current policy could degrade the Indonesian ranking in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.

In the 2013 index, Indonesia was ranked 139th of the 179 countries in the ranking – up seven places from 2012.

Reporters Without Borders placed the country in the ‘red’ category, the second worst out of the five categories, calling the press freedom situation “difficult”.

‘No improvement’

Although the World Press Freedom Index suggested Indonesia had improved from 2012, AIJ said there had been no signs that the government had listened to the “demand of [the] international community for greater access by foreign journalists” in West Papua.

According to Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Natalegawa, 35 foreign journalists were given access to West Papua in 2011 and 2012.

However, the journalists were not given freedom to perform their duties in the region, Mambor said.

“Seven of the foreign journalists were deported from Papua and most recently an ABC reporter had to be disguised as tourist to enter Papua,” he said.

Mambor said the foreign minister had pledged that no journalists would be barred from West Papua, but foreign journalists had nevertheless continued to face restrictions when entering the region.

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 – pmc@aut.ac.nz

BUSINESS:


16) Huawei to dominate PNG’s telecoms update
By Online Editor
10:07 am GMT+12, 25/10/2013, Papua New Guinea

The controversial Chinese telecommunication systems company Huawei is becoming the Papua New Guinea government’s core international partner as it modernises its communications.

A series of agreements have been struck over the past few years, but it is only now that the projects are starting to be implemented. Huawei is taking on two core roles.

Through the Integrated Government Information System, funded by a $55 million soft loan arranged via the Chinese Exim Bank, Huawei is integrating information and data used by the government’s 52 departments and agencies around the country so that it can more easily be shared.

The program also involves Huawei establishing online processing for work permits, visas, passports, tax files and commercial transactions. It is installing equipment at key hubs such as police headquarters, telephone exchanges, the headquarters of state-owned enterprise PNG Telikom, and Port Moresby’s airport.

Huawei’s other major role is to install in PNG a national broadband network – a role the company was denied by Australia, citing “the national interest”.

Through this NBN, Huawei is assigned to deliver ADSL2+ broadband to about 80,000 premises in PNG, with a further 8000 to be linked at much faster speeds, up to 100 megabits per second.

This NBN project will involve the building of a new broadband “backbone”, a microwave transmission network to offer access to fixed line and mobile operators.

The chairman of Telikom PNG, Fiji-born businessman Mahesh Patel, said this signalled a new chapter for the country.

Huawei is also operating training courses at Telikom’s headquarters in Port Moresby, recently providing a two-week course for 25 University of Technology students to enable them to integrate within Huawei’s systems, as the dominant government contractor. Seven of the students are also being invited to Beijing and Shenzhen, Huawei’s home city adjacent to Hong Kong.

Huawei is essentially a privately owned company, although like all major organisations in China it also contains a Communist Party committee.

Recently ZTE, its sole competitor within China, struck a $300m deal, together with China Great Wall Industry Corp, for a communications satellite for PNG.

Last year China provided a $3 billion soft loan from which the PNG government could draw for road-building and renovation, conditional on a Chinese company taking at least 70 per cent of each contract.
SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

17) Fiji’s Financial Intelligence Unit monitors border currency activity
By Online Editor
4:49 pm GMT+12, 25/10/2013, Fiji

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is still facing challenges in detecting border currency smuggling in Fiji.

FIU director Razim Buksh says last year $14.6 million (US$8 million) in total were declared by people travelling in and out of Fiji. In 2011 it was less than half this amount – $6.2 million (US$3.4 million).

“Usually when travelers hide currency on themselves on in their check-in luggage, it is very difficult for our border control officers to detect such currency that is hidden away. Therefore we use other techniques and most of these cases were as a result of the behavior of the traveler when they were standing in queue,” he said.

While the recent cases involving Asian Nationals has raised suspicions, Buksh says there’s no evidence of an organized smuggling network.

They’re also encouraged by harsh penalties for those who’re caught.

“When cases were brought before them in the past, we have seen that the penalties for failing to declare foreign currency was merely $300 and then it went up to $700 right up to a thousand dollars. And now we have seen in the most recent case that the penalty or fine for undeclared currency under the financial transactions reporting act was $10, 000,” he said.

People who don’t declare currency at the border can be slapped with a fine of up to sixty thousand dollars or be imprisoned for ten years.

Meanwhile, two Chinese nationals found guilty of failing to declare foreign currencies have been fined $10,000 (US$5, 493) each by the Nadi Magistrates Court.

Guangwei Qu was charged with one count of failing to declare currency at the border after being caught with more than $F10,000 at the Nadi International Airport on October 16.

Guangwei, 63, a businessman, was departing the country on an Air Korean flight when he was found with more than $45,000 (US$24,721) in his luggage.

The accused was later arrested by border officials and pleaded guilty to the charge. The court ordered the accused to pay the fine within the next 28 days before being deported to China.

Also facing a $10,000 fine and deportation is 53-year-old Wang Haiji who was also caught on the same day at Nadi Airport with more than $30,000 (US$16,480) in his possession.

According to the court, border officials became suspicious of the accused when he applied for tax returns on items bought in Fiji.

The amount he alleged to have applied for was more than $10,000.

The seized cash will be returned to both men when they return to their country.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

18) Goroka coffee ranked third in world comp
By Online Editor
4:45 pm GMT+12, 25/10/2013, Papua New Guinea

Quality coffee produced by a local coffee producer was ranked third in an international coffee cupping competition in the United States of America recently.

The Sihereni coffee estate, owned and operated by  David Orimarie in the Kwonghi area of Upper Asaro Local Level Government in Daulo District of Eastern Highlands Province won the 3rd placing among a total of 30 coffee samples of different coffee producing countries collected by Ecom Trading around the world.

The coffee was tasted and certified by the Rainforest Alliance under “The Best of Ecom Coffee” competition using cupping standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

During a recent announcement of the award at the Heaven Resort in Goroka, managing director of Monpi Coffee Exports,Chris Anders expressed great satisfaction on the achievement. Monpi Coffee Exports is a subsidiary of Ecom Trading, an international commodity trading company.

Anders said, the result reflects the commitment and persistency of Orimarie to achieve top quality coffee.

“Sihereni’s achievement is an achievement of the PNG coffee industry,” said Anders.

Orimarie acquired the 22 hectares estate planted with a mixture of Arusha and Blue Mountain, in 2002 and has been in partnership with the Monpi Coffee Exports to improve his wet mill and acquire advice on agronomy, better business practice and seek niche markets. He expressesed great satisfaction on the achievement and attributed the achievement to Monpi Coffee Exports for the much needed advice and guidance.

“Quality control is the basis of our operation. Quality control standards have been established and are made sure they are maintained at all times,” said Orimarie in a previous media report written by reporter James Kila.

The report states that Sihereni has developed quickly to gain more reputation in the international and local coffee and finance community through its initiatives to produce quality coffee and practice good financial management.

The coffee samples from Sihereni scored 85 points and was described as having the taste of; melon, black tea, grapefruit, intense fruit, herby, tomato soup, sweet, bright acidity, medium body, adds grapefruit and floras in finish as cools.

Manager for Industry Regulation and Compliance at the Coffee Industry Corporation,Sam Menanga, shared similar sentiments and urged other coffee companies to follow suit in producing quality coffee to attract niche markets.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

19) Resolution on Solomon Islands nickel rights sought

Published October 21, 2013

Australian and Japanese companies are seeking to resolve a long-running dispute over nickel rights on the Solomon Islands’ Santa Isabel Island.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney writes, Japanese company Sumitomo and Australian miner Axiom are appearing at Honiara court house to argue they each have the right approval to start mining rich veins of nickel bearing ore.

Sumitomo began prospecting first, but a deal between landowner groups and Axiom has landed the rights in dispute and in court. Sumitomo and Axio both claim support of different landowner groups, while another landowning company has also sent its own representation, the report says.

Australian judge, John Brown, who has extensive experience in Melanesia, has been brought in to hear the case. Lawyers say it is exceptionally important to determine issue of land-ownership and processes around starting future mining operations.

The demand for nickel has been soaring on the back of growing construction activity in China and India. The Solomon Islands Government believes that once this case is resolved the country has a bright mining future.

The complicated case is expected to continue into next year, the report says.http://www.pacifictradeinvest.com/

LAW&ORDER:

20) Australia link to ’70s atrocities

DateOctober 24, 2013

Jenny Denton

Research into one of the most violent episodes in the history of West Papua claims that helicopters provided to Indonesia by the Australian government were used in military operations in the 1970s that amounted to genocide.

According to a report by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, two Iroquois helicopters supplied by Australia were among aircraft used by the regional military command in West Papua in operations in the Central Highlands in 1977 and 1978 that killed thousands of civilians.

The AHRC report, The Neglected Genocide: Human rights abuses against Papuans in the Central Highlands, 1977-1978, details mass killings by aerial strafing and bombings – using both napalm and cluster bombs – in and around the Baliem Valley, where support for the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) was strong and tensions had escalated going into national elections in 1977.

In one incident described in the research, villagers were bombed with napalm from US-supplied OV-10 Bronco attack aircraft as they waited for planes they had been told would deliver aid from Australia.

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RAAF pilots had been sent to West Papua for a six-week mapping exercise in 1977 as a form of military assistance to Indonesia and were flying Iroquois helicopters.

One of them crashed in July 1977, according to The Sydney Morning Herald of that year, reportedly due to weather conditions.

An Australian army Pilatus Porter plane was shot at over West Papua by unknown assailants in August 1977.

The latest report, which has been three years in development, collected interviews from survivors of the military operations in 15 affected communities and used the accounts, together with historical records, to compile names of 4146 identified victims of killings.

In addition to aerial bombardment and indiscriminate shootings, the report describes a range of “unspeakable atrocities” inflicted on indigenous Papuans by Indonesian soldiers in the Central Highlands operations. Villagers were sliced with razors, forced to eat soldiers’ faeces, thrown into wells, drowned, buried, burnt and boiled alive, according to the report.

The Indonesian government has never recognised that mass killings and atrocities took place in the Central Highlands military operations and has denied ever using napalm or cluster bombs in Papua.

Basil Fernando, director of policy and programs at the Asian Human Rights Centre, said thousands of people in West Papua remember the events described in the report and information about them was easy to obtain. “What is most shocking is that for all these years there has hardly been any investigation into this large number of killings, and the basic political issues remain unresolved,” Mr Fernando said.

The report’s authors state their research is “consistent with estimates” of a death toll from the 1977-78 operations numbering at between 5000 and “tens of thousands”. They argue that “the pattern of mass violence” constituted genocide.

The Asian Human Rights Commission is calling for an apology, legal redress and a process of dialogue from the Indonesian government as essential to achieving justice and reconciliation.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the department did not have “any information to hand” about allegations that Australian aircraft were used in the operations.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/australia-link-to-70s-atrocities-20131023-2w1s3.html#ixzz2isv28352

21) Top PNG lawyer Paul Paraka arrested over $28m

ROWAN CALLICK
THE AUSTRALIAN
OCTOBER 25, 2013 12:00AM

PAUL Paraka, the richest, most powerful lawyer in Papua New Guinea, has been arrested in a dawn raid at a village near the capital Port Moresby over $28.7 million his firm is alleged to have received from the government’s Finance Department.

The principal of the country’s largest law firm, which has 22 branches, has been charged with 18 counts, including conspiracy to defraud, stealing by false pretence, money laundering and misappropriation.

The firm earlier filed a motion seeking a series of interlocutory injunctions to stop the government’s anti-corruption Taskforce Sweep from investigating it, and to stop police executing an arrest warrant on Mr Paraka.

The lawyer claimed, among other matters, that Taskforce Sweep was operating in an unconstitutional manner. The National Court initially granted a temporary restraining order over the warrant, but eventually rejected Mr Paraka’s application, and the Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Salamo Injia presiding, last Friday turned down the ensuing appeal.

Mr Paraka told reporters outside police fraud squad headquarters on Wednesday that he was innocent, would continue to fight all charges through the courts, and was simply being paid for government work.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this week the government would not stand in the way of Taskforce Sweep, which targets administrative corruption.

An 811-page inquiry conducted for parliament three years ago by PNG judges Cathy Davani and Maurice Sheehan, originally from New Zealand, and prominent business leader Don Manoa, revealed a $300m scam perpetrated by top officials and leading lawyers.

But the report was injuncted at a court hearing in remote Alotau through the law firm of Mr Paraka, who is named throughout the document. Neither the parliament nor the two governments since then have pressed for its removal.

The report, as revealed exclusively in The Australian, lists a large number of bogus compensation claims made by and settled within the senior bureaucracy, with the involvement of private lawyers.

Mr O’Neill said in May he had issued a directive that the government should “act swiftly” to pursue “massive payments in millions of kina made to law firms, companies and individuals for legal fees and out-of-court settlements” by the Department of Finance. “If I have to sack everyone including the tea boy at Finance, I will do so to clear the place up,” he said.

Attorney-General Kerenga Kua told a seminar last month lawyers were using their skills and education to rip off PNG.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/business/top-png-lawyer-paul-paraka-arrested-over-28m/story-e6frg97x-1226746260019?sv=e38597adf9d21aef75409ecb4dd1f732#sthash.0sjVCizv.dpuf

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:


22) Kiribati asylum case highlights legal void on ‘climate refugees’
By Online Editor
10:13 am GMT+12, 25/10/2013, New Zealand

A family of eight from Kiribati is waiting for a decision on their fate as New Zealand’s first climate change refugees.

The case is being watched internationally as a possible landmark in refugee law.

The island nation of Kiribati in the Pacific is facing a crisis. Sea levels on the country’s 30-odd islands have been rising for some time. Now it has prompted a Kiribati man and his family to apply for environmental asylum.

Iaone Teitiota’s application to New Zealand authorities, less than a month away from the UN-organized Warsaw Climate Change Conference, comes at a crucial time for climate change discussions, say experts.

“This case should actually give the next round of climate talks some sense of urgency,” said Hermann Ott, an environmental lawyer and researcher on climate policy at the German-based Wuppertal Institute, in an interview with DW’s World in Progress program.

Teitiota’s claim for refugee status, which is now being considered by an appeals tribunal of New Zealand’s High Court, included how rising ocean levels on Kiribati were contaminating drinking water and killing crops, as well as flooding homes.

Recently, Kiribati’s government suggested relocating the entire island state’s population of over 100,000 people, if predictions prove accurate that the sea will rise by one meter (3.25 feet) by the end of the century. At the moment, half of the population is crammed on to the central island of Tarawa, which comprises 32 square kilometers (12.4 square miles) of land.

New Zealandand Australia, the two most developed countries in the South Pacific, have in recent years resisted calls to change immigration rules in favor of Pacific people displaced by climate change.

But, while conditions in Kiribati are difficult, they do not fall within the scope of the UN refugee convention, said Ska Keller, a migration policy expert with the German Greens party in the European Parliament.

“This document was drafted in 1951 and is mainly concerned with war and persecution issues,” Keller told DW. “Global warming wasn’t even an issue back then.”

While the term ‘climate refugee’ remains unrecognized in international law, estimates of the number of people affected by climate change in the future continue to rise. British scientist Norman Myers helped bring the issue to light in 2002 when he wrote that global warming could displace 200 million people worldwide by 2050. Other, more recent, estimates have been as high as 700 million.

In Africa, for instance, problems such as desertification and the increased frequency of extreme weather events often force people to migrate within their own countries.

“One thing is for sure, it [migration as a result of climate change] is going to be a mass phenomenon soon,” Hermann Ott said. “So I hope that more people do apply for this type of asylum in the future around the world.”

“We’ve seen before that if legal rights are being granted in one place, then courts will have regard for these rulings,” Ott continued. “Maybe it will be the courts that ensure these refugees get the rights they need, rather than nations who are so concerned with national security.”

Lawmaker Ska Keller said she would welcome a new, international agreement dealing specifically with people fleeing the effects of climate change in their homeland but suspects that could take too long.

“We shouldn’t keep thinking about the concept of asylum. We need to use existing possibilities; there are regional agreements, in Africa for instance, and there is the UN Climate Panel,” Keller told DW.

At the moment, Finland and Sweden are the only countries in the world to have passed legislation allowing people to apply for asylum for environmental reasons, but the processes there remain largely untested.

The chances that the Teitiota case will open the floodgates for thousands of similar ‘climate refugee’ applications arelow, legal experts say. The circumstances in the case are unique. Thirty-seven-year-old Iaone Teitiota left his Kiribati home six years ago and settled in New Zealand under a work visa. He and his wife have since had six children, all New Zealand nationals.

“There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati,” he told an appeals tribunal at New Zealand’s High Court, after an initial decision refused him asylum. Iaone Teitiota said a return to Kiribati would pose a risk to his children’s health.

But Teitiota’s lawyer, Michael Kidd, also confirmed to Australian media that his client’s visa had expired due to legal complications and that he was therefore forced to apply for refugee status, as he had no other legal option.

Still, Kidd said it’s time to extend the definition of refugees and for other countries to shoulder some responsibility.

“Australia and New Zealand are contributors to climate change because we have higher than average carbon dioxide emissions,” Kidd told the ABC’s Pacific Beat program. “It’s because of this problem that sea levels are rising.”

A decision in Teitiota’s case is expected by the end of October.

SOURCE: DW/PACNEWS

23) Warnings of more heatwaves for the Pacific
By Online Editor
1:11 pm GMT+12, 25/10/2013, New Zealand

A leading climate change scientist says tropical islands in the Pacific are going to regularly experience heatwaves of unprecedented magnitude over the next century.

Auckland University’s Dr Jim Salinger says Pacific countries are going to need more help from their neighbours to deal with the affects of climate change.

He says people need to start changing the way they live.

“We’ve really got to recarbon our societies by 2050, go to other fuel sources,” he told Pacific Beat.

“We’ve got to look to moving to species for example that can take the drier periods… not putting huge amounts of stock on the land.”

Dr Salinger is also predicting severe droughts will occur more frequently in New Zealand and the Pacific.

He says droughts that happened once in 20 years in New Zealand will be every two to five years by 2100.

“The climate is warmer so agriculturally there is more evapotranspiration,” he said.

“It’s hotter so things dry out earlier, and the anticyclonic belts are getting stronger, that’s the belts of high pressure.”

He says global food supply will also be challenged, with falling crop yields in countries like Australia, India and Africa.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

24) The Guardian (Australia/UK): ‘Yachtsman describes horror at ‘dead’, rubbish-strewn Pacific Ocean’

Ivan MacFadyen says he was shocked by absence of sea life during his 37,000km voyage between Australia and Japan

Oliver Milman

Monday 21 October 2013

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/21/yachtsman-describes-horror-at-dead-rubbish-strewn-pacific-ocean

An Australian sailor has described parts of the Pacific Ocean as “dead” because of severe overfishing, with his vessel having to repeatedly swerve debris for thousands of kilometres on a journey from Australia to Japan.

Ivan MacFadyen told of his horror at the severe lack of marine life and copious amounts of rubbish witnessed on a yacht race between Melbourne and Osaka. He recently returned from the trip, which he previously completed 10 years ago.

“In 2003, I caught a fish every day,” he told Guardian Australia. “Ten years later to the day, sailing almost exactly the same course, I caught nothing. It started to strike me the closer we got to Japan that the ocean was dead.

“Normally when you are sailing a yacht, there are one or two pods of dolphins playing by the boat, or sharks, or turtles or whales. There are usually birds feeding by the boat. But there was none of that. I’ve been sailing for 35 years and it’s only when these things aren’t there that you notice them.

MacFadyen said that the lack of ocean life started at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, describing Queensland waters as “barren” and “unquestionably overfished”.

“We saw a boat come towards us and we thought they might be pirates, but they had bags and bags of fish,” he said. “We said ‘there’s only two of us, we can’t do anything with all that’ and they said ‘don’t worry, just throw it over the side’.

“There was around 100 large fish there. But it was valueless for them because they were after tuna and nothing else. They just trawled the whole ocean and everything other than tuna was bycatch.”

For the majority of the voyage to Japan, MacFadyen had to ensure that his yacht wasn’t holed by clumps of rubbish he said were “as large as a house”.

“There were fenders from ships, balls of net and telegraph poles with barnacles on them that were never going to sink,” he said. “There was nothing like that 10 years ago. I couldn’t believe it.

“We wouldn’t motor the boat at night due to the fear of something wrapping around the propeller. We’d only do that during the day with someone on lookout for garbage. When you stood on the deck and looked down you’d see the rubbish shimmering in the depths below, up to 20 metres under the water.

“We went onto the US and back again. We did 23,000 miles [37,000km] and I’d say 7,000 of those were in garbage. The boat is still damaged from it. We had to free the rudder of rubbish one night, which was scary. We were terrified of something ripping a hole in the boat.”

MacFadyen said that the trip had made him “very cranky” and has inspired him to encourage better monitoring of ocean rubbish to ensure governments’ anti-pollution policies are working.

“Humans are such a blight on the planet that we will just trash an area because it is out of sight most of the time,” he said. “It completely changed the way I look at things. I used to chuck rubbish away without thinking twice but there’s no way I will do that now.”

According to marine conservationists, overfishing is a global problem affecting nearly 90% of the world’s fisheries.

The problem has resulted on catch quotas being placed on many species of fish, although the exact extent of overfishing in Australia is slightly unclear.

Government fisheries data shows only bluefin tuna and the school shark are dangerously overfished in Australian waters. However, the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s guide to sustainable seafood places 26 species – including kingfish, snapper and tiger prawns – on a “red list” that should not be consumed due to their fragile status.

Pamela Allen, marine campaigner at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, told Guardian Australia that there have been improvements in Australian fisheries in recent years but problems remain.

“The quota for bluefin tuna has just been increased by 10%, despite there being no evidence to justify this,” she said. “There are also issues in state fisheries — Queensland has no scientific observer system, for instance, and rely just on fishers’ logbooks for what they catch in sensitive areas such as the Great Barrier Reef.

“Trawling the ocean results in a high level of bycatch because it’s hard to be exact with what you’re catching when you’re dragging a gigantic net along the sea floor.

“People don’t realise that flake is shark and that sharks are threatened due to overfishing. There is no single sustainable source of shark in fisheries. Consumers have a choice every day to make a small difference.

“Fish is one of the last wild foods we eat, along with mushrooms, and we have to realise that once it has gone, it is gone. Governments and fishers are making some changes but they need to move more quickly or there won’t be any fish left.”

Article ends.

25) Sea monsters ‘in distress’

Dailymail
Sunday, October 27, 2013

Are the bodies of two giant sea serpents that washed up on Californian beach last week a sign of a looming major natural disaster?

THE appearance of two rare sea serpents washing ashore beaches on the Southern California coast in the past week has prompted fears it could be a sign that a natural catastrophe is coming.

The giant oarfish were dead when they washed up on land, and some scientists believe they come ashore to die because they are ‘in distress’.

The first sea monster, measuring 18 feet, was discovered by a woman snorkelling off the coast of Catalina Island on October 13. It took 16 people to drag it up onto the beach.

The second silvery creature, measuring almost 14 feet, came just a few days later on October 18 in Oceanside, California.

Oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet in length, are considered the longest bony fish in the world.

They typically dive more than 3,000 feet deep, which makes sightings rare and has fuelled various serpent legends throughout history.

According to traditional Japanese folklore, oarfish rise to the water’s surface before an impending earthquake. Scientists speculate it is because the bottom-dwelling fish are more sensitive to seismic shifts.

In 2011, just a few months before a magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit northeast Japan, over a dozen oarfish, known as ryugu no tsukai in Japanese, either washed ashore or were caught in fishing nets in the Ishikawa, Toyama, Kyoto, Shimane and Nagasaki prefectures near the quake’s epicentre.

Scientists, however, say there is no data to support an actual link between the two phenomena.

Rick Feeney, who has been studying fish for almost 35 years for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, told CBS Los Angeles that the two sightings this week in California were “probably just a coincidence”.

“We think that they come inshore to die actually because they’re in distress for some reason, but we don’t know what the reason is,” said Feeney, adding that the fish could have been starving or disoriented.

The obscure fish that were found last week apparently died of natural causes and tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

According to Feeney, four sightings have been reported since 2010 from the Central Coast southward, including in Malibu in 2010 and Lompoc in 2011.

In March 2012, fishermen in Japan reported a sharp increase in oarfish sightings following the massive magnitude -8.8 earthquake in Chile that same month, which marked almost exactly one year before the country was devastated by its own magnitude-8.9 quake in northeast Japan.

The belief that animals can predict earthquakes and other natural disasters — and even the weather — has been around for centuries.

In 373 B.C., historians recorded that animals, including rats, snakes and weasels, deserted the Greek city of Helice in droves just days before a quake devastated the place.

Accounts of similar animal anticipation of earthquakes have surfaced across the centuries since, such as catfish moving violently, chickens that stop laying eggs and bees leaving their hive in a panic, according to National Geographic News.

Precisely what animals sense is a mystery, but one theory is that wild and domestic creatures feel the Earth vibrate before humans. Other ideas suggest they detect electrical changes in the air or gas released from the Earth.

Earlier this year, a record number of sea lion sightings were reported along Southland beaches, including one declared “unusual mortality event” in April that saw hundreds of ailing sea lion pups washed ashore.

Only time will tell if any of these strange occurrences mean anything.

The giant oarfish was first discovered in 1772 by Norwegian biologist Peter Ascanius. Its formal scientific title is Regalecus glesne, but the fish is also known as king of the herring, Pacific oarfish, streamer fish and ribbon-fish.

The longest recorded specimen clocked in at 26 feet, however, the species is believed to grow as long as 50 feet and weigh as much as 600 pounds.

Like the equally mysterious giant squid, the oarfish would go on to enchant fishermen and sailors and inspire stories of sea monsters.

The fish lives at extreme ocean depths, between 656 feet (0.2 kilometres) and 3,280 feet (1 kilometre) deep.

In 1996, a group of Navy Seals found a 23-foot long oarfish off Coronado, near San Diego, California.

26) The Guardian (Australia): ‘Pacific nations ‘very disappointed’ by Tony Abbott’s climate scepticism’

Marshall Islands’ vice-president says Australian prime minister is threatening his country’s survival by burying his head in the sand

Oliver Milman

Thursday 24 October 2013

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/24/climate-change-australian-politics

Tony Abbott is risking the future of Australia’s Pacific island neighbours by “burying his head in the sand” over climate change, according to Tony de Brum, the minister assisting the president of the Marshall Islands.

De Brum told Guardian Australia that the Marshall Islands and other Pacific nations had been “very disappointed” with the new Coalition government’s decision to scrap carbon pricing and abolish bodies such as the Climate Commission.

On Wednesday, Abbott said that Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate change chief, was “talking through her hat”for linking bushfires currently raging in New South Wales to climate change.

“Climate change is real, as I’ve often said, and we should take strong action against it,” Abbott told 3AW. “But these fires are certainly not a function of climate change – they’re just a function of life in Australia.”

De Brum said Abbott’s dismissal of Figueres’ views was “not a mature way” to approach the subject of climate change.

“I’ve known Christiana Figueres for a long time and I have nothing but respect for her,” he said. “We can’t draw a direct line from the fires to climate change, but the science is out there.

“We know that climate change makes these events more frequent and more severe. At the moment in the Pacific we have four typhoons forming. It happens and it’s cyclone season, but not at quite at the frequency of recent times. Anyone who thinks Christiana is talking through her hat is burying their heads in the sand.”

De Brum said the Marshall Islands, potentially alongside other nations such as Kiribati and Vanuatu, will be approaching the Australian government to register dismay at what they see as a lack of leadership on climate change.

Low-lying island nations, such as those in the Pacific, are considered particularly vulnerable to climate change due to the potentially devastating impact of sea level rises. New Zealand’s high court is currently hearing an appeal from a man from Kiribati who is seeking asylum based on the risks posed to his life by climate change.

“Tony Abbott must listen to the scientists and not play politics with the survival of Australia’s friends in the region,” de Brum said. “We expect a lot more of our big brother in the south and we hope Australia will tone down the rhetoric on this issue, especially being president of the Security Council. We need Australia to show leadership on this issue as it’s life or death for us.

“Australia needs to get real. Scrapping a carbon price goes completely against the grain of what the world is doing. It looks like three billion people will be living under a carbon price worldwide by 2020. We need Australia to be a leader in that process, not a laggard,” he said.

Article ends.

SPORT:


27) Minnows to cause Rugby League World Cup headaches
By Online Editor
4:39 pm GMT+12, 25/10/2013, United Kingdom

While the Rugby League World Cup has traditionally been a three way contest – top quality talent from the NRL and English Super League have positioned the minnows with the best chance of causing an upset.

With the smaller nations dreaming big, coupled with shock results in the warm ups, the minnows are determined to ensure the competition will not be a lopsided affair.

“I don’t know if anyone’s going to beat Australia or anything like that, but you look at some of these teams and I think there’s certainly some shocks on the cards,” said David Fairleigh, coach of Cook Islands and one of five Australians at the helm of World Cup teams.

“I think some people will be shocked by how good some of these Pacific Islands teams are.

“Talking to the other coaches, it’s great to see how far the game has actually come and the strengthening of the squads now compared to even five or six years ago.”

Pools are weighted to give every team a genuine chance of reaching the quarter-finals, with groups C and D made up solely of lower-ranked nations.

None of the nations are planning on simply making up the numbers.

“Obviously you want to top your group, that’s what we’re all aiming for,” Italy captain Anthony Minichiello said.

“You want to see the game to be strong and competitive you want to grow the other nations and make sure it’s not just the big three that are winning every time.”

Expanded to 14 teams, up from 10 in 2008, many are littered with first grade talent and it is widely expected the ‘Big Three’ of Australia, New Zealand and England will be tested like never before.

“There’s so many of the NRL guys playing that the competition will throw up a boil over here or there,” Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens said.

“Whether or not it’s against the big three will be interesting.

“But there’ll be some interesting results among the others.”

The minnows:

Samoa

Samoa goes into the World Cup as fourth favourites on the back of a team littered with NRL talent. Anthony Milford will provide the x-factor in attack following what was a breakout debut season for the young Canberra Raider.

Samoa Coach: Matt Parish

Key players: Anthony Milford, Antonio Winterstein, Reni Maitua

Group opponents: New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, France

Odds: $67

Tonga

Fifth favourite thanks to a star-studded side which features imposing Manly winger Jorge Taufua. The Tongan’s have a balance side with experience, from the likes of Brent Kite and youthful exuberance, from the likes of Warriors man-mountain Konrad Hurrell.

Coach: Charles Tonga

Key players: Daniel Tupou, Konrad Hurrell, Brent Kite, Fuifui Moimoi

Group opponents: Scotland, Italy, Cook Islands

Odds: $81

Fiji

Semi-finalists in 2008 and captained by veteran prop Petero Civoniceva, Fiji are again expected to be among the most competitive sides outside the top nations. Their most exciting export, Newcastle flyer Akuila Uate, will provide plenty of spark for the Fijians whether he is starting their set or finishing it.

Coach: Rick Stone

Key players: Akuila Uate, Petero Civoniceva, Ashton Sims

Group opponents: Ireland, Australia, England

Odds: $126

Italy

Led by a veteran of the game, premiership winning skipper Anthony Minichiello, Italy are sure to ruffle some feathers. The Italians are already turning heads after producing an upset win over England in a warm-up match.

Coach: Carlo Napolitano

Key players: Anthony Minichiello, Kade Snowden, Mark Minichiello

Group opponents: Scotland, Tonga, Wales

Odds: $201

Cook Islands  

While the odds are stacked against them, North Sydney Bears great David Fairleigh will be desperate to prove his men are not in the tournament to just make up the numbers. Guided by  Penrith half Isaac John, the Cook Island also boast Dylan Napa in their line-up, he is the man who placed an unforgettable big hit on Kangaroos enforcer Paul Gallen while playing for the Roosters during the regular season.

Coach: David Fairleigh

Key players: Zeb Taia, Brad Takairangi, Isaac John

Group opponents: USA, Wales, Tonga

Odds: $251

Papua New Guinea 
 

With rugby league their national sport, PNG are dreaming big. “We’re pretty confident of making the semis and we’ll see where we go from there, anything can happen,” veteran Neville Costigan said. “(Our supporters) all have high expectations of us.” While Costigan provides the punch up front, Penrith livewire James Segeyaro will be looking to continue his career-best form for his native country.

Coach: Adrian Lam

Key Players: David Mead, Ray Thompson, James Segeyaro

Group opponents: France, Samoa, New Zealand

Odds: $251

France  

Catalans Dragons play maker and captain, Thomas Bosc leads the French in what is a heavily Catalan selected side. Cowboys fullback Clint Greenshields is no stranger to the Dragons having spent six seasons with the club before returning to the NRL this year.

Coach: Richard Agar

Key Players: Thomas Bosc, Jason Baitieri, Clint Greenshields

Group opponents: Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa

Odds: $251

Wales

Since making his international debut in 2007, Craig Kopczak captained the Dragons during the Four Nations in 2011 where he was announced Wales’ player of the tournament. The Wales side is full of Super League talent and also features Dragons back rower Tyson Frizzel.

Coach: Iestyn Harris

Key Players: Lloyd White, Gil Dudson, Craig Kopczak

Group opponents: USA, Cook Islands, Italy

Odds: $251

Ireland  

At half or hooker, Ireland skipper Liam Finn is a player to keep an eye out for. With the likes of veteran prop Brett White, Wests Tigers-bound superstar winger Pat Richards North Queensland utility Rory Kostjayn, the Irish will be hoping to prove any wins they get will come as a result of more than just luck.

Coach: Mark Aston

Key Players: Pat Richards, Brett White, Liam Finn

Group opponents: Fiji, England, Australia

Odds: $501

Scotland  

Former Shark turned Titan Luke Douglas leads Scotland into battle while veteran halfback Peter Peter Wallace and exciting edge man Kane Linnett look to add the polish. It appears England’s loss is Scotland’s game with the Scots boasting 2013 Man of Steel awardee Danny Brough.

Coach: Steve McCormack

Key Players: Danny Brough, Peter Wallace, Kane Linnett

Group opponents: Tonga, Italy, USA

Odds: $501

USA

While the bookmakers give the United States no hope, the yanks did manage to spring an upset win over France in a trial match. USA are sure to surprise some people thanks to the NRL talent in their side which includes Eddy Pettybourne, Joseph Paulo, Clint Newton and Junior Paulo.

Coach: Terry Matterson

Key Players: Joseph Paulo, Clint Newton, Ryan McGoldrick

Group opponents: Cook Islands, Wales, Scotland

Odds: $1001

SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

28) PNG’s Kumuls wary of wounded French team

Posted at 21:22 on 25 October, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea rugby league coach Adrian Lam is wary of a wounded French outfit in Monday’s opening World Cup clash in Hull.

The Kumuls beat Scotland 38-20 last weekend in the final hit-out before the start of the tournament, a match Lam says helped solve a few selection queries.

France suffered a surprise loss to the United States in their final game, a result Lam admits will do his side no favours.

“Look we’d prefer France to have won by 50 than lost so sometimes it can favour the team that’s under pressure. We’ve just got to focus on ourselves and prepare this week and not worry about our opposition to be honest with you mate, regardless of how they performed on the weekend. We know we’ve got a bit of work to do ourselves and we will just be focusing on that.”

Papua New Guinea rugby league coach Adrian Lam.

Following the PNG v France game, Samoa begin their World Cup tournament against defending champions New Zealand.

Radio New Zealand International

29) Vanuatu beach volleyball pair beaten in China

Posted at 21:21 on 25 October, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu pair Henriette Iatika and Miller Elwin have lost their first two matches at

the Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Xiamen, China.

The Pacific Games champions were granted a main draw wild card entry into the event.

The Vanuatu duo won the first set in both of their matches against teams from the Czech Republic and Brazil, only to go down in three sets.

Iatika and Elwin are seeded 23rd in the main draw and will take on a German pair seeded 26th in their final pool match on Friday tonight.

Radio New Zealand International

30a) Samoa confident they will be competitive against Kiwis

Posted at 21:21 on 25 October, 2013 UTC

The Toa Samoa team are confident they will put in a strong showing in Monday’s Rugby League World Cup opener against New Zealand, despite a tricky build-up to the tournament.

The Toa team were thrashed 52-16 by the England Knights in their only pre-tournament hit out over the weekend and have had to deal with contrasting reports over the withdrawal of former captain Roy Asotasi.

The former Kiwis centre Junior Sau, who made his Toa debut in April’s Pacific Test against Tonga, says the squad is getting better with every day they spend together and is just focusing on themselves and what they can do on the field.

He says while the scoreline at the weekend wasn’t pretty the team has put it behind them.

“We’ve moved on. It was our first time playing with each other [and] obviously a lot of us boys haven’t played together as a team so it was a good hit out. That game has passed now, we’ve just got to move on. We’ve sorted out all the stuff that we need to work on – we’ve just got to move on and look forward to this week.”

Radio New Zealand International

30b) Li Na to play Serena Williams in WTA Championships final in Istanbul

Updated 27 October 2013, 13:13 AEST

Li Na will meet Serena Williams in the final of the WTA Championships in Istanbul.

China’s Li Na will meet Serena Williams in the final of the WTA Championships after beating Czech Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2 in Istanbul, becoming the highest-ranked player ever from an Asian country.

Title holder Williams struggled early on with her own game before overcoming Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the other semi-final to set up a clash between two players over 30.

Li’s victory means she will climb to third in the rankings and can finish the season on a high in her first WTA Championships final.

“It’s awesome, because we’re both in our 30s and I think we’re both playing the best tennis of our career. We’re still getting better,” Williams said.

“I personally think I can do better. I’m sure she believes she can as well and it’s really good to have a peer right next to you your same age doing just as good, so it feels good.”

The 32-year-old world number one, going for fourth title at the season-ending event, was not her usual self during the first two sets, not serving with her customary power and lacking enthusiasm to run for returns.

Williams seemed close to tears at a changeover in the first set yet she went back on court and won eight straight points, but taking the set did not appear to improve her mood and her serves were even slower during the second.

The 14,000 fans who filled Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem dome were disappointed by Serena’s blues and some even booed her although she had entered court for her match to the loudest cheers.

Williams found her rhythm in the third set and started hitting her strong serves once again to get the job done.

Li took only three games when she lost to Williams in the semi-finals at the US Open in September, but is confident of a better showing in the Istanbul decider.

“At the US Open I had already lost the match before I came to the court,” she said.

“Maybe now I have to try to focus on what I should do on the court, not focus on what she does, so I have to try to play my game and not follow her.”

Reuters

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