Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 884

MELANESIA:

1) Noted Solomon Islands NGO Leader Dr. John Roughan Dies
Founder of Solomon Islands Development Trust mourned by country

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 25, 2013) – The founder of the country’s biggest and leading non-government organisation, Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT), has died.

Dr John Roughan, in his early 80s, died yesterday after he collapsed while attending the annual general meeting of Development Services Exchange (DSE) in Honiara.

SIDT announced the passing of their founder late yesterday.

“We would like to inform you all of the passing of our founder this morning,” the organisation said in a statement.

“He is our mentor and leader in every step we take in the development of SIDT.

“John also contributed much to the development of the country economically, socially and spiritually,” it said.

Dr Roughan was minutes away from launching the new DSE strategic plan at the Commonwealth Youth Programme centre at Panatina, when he collapsed outside the meeting room.

He died on the way to hospital.

Originally from New York in the United States of America, Dr Roughan came to the Solomons as a Marist Brother in October 1956, exactly 55 years ago this month.

He remembered on arrival in Honiara that the city only as a population of 2,500 people.

He said in his last column in the Sunday Star that before coming here, he promised to work in the Solomons for only five years.

“After that, I would be free to return to my own country, the nation of my birth.

“But this never happened.

“I never felt anything but joy in this new land of mine. How could I leave when there was so much work to be done?” he wrote.

He said when he arrived in Honiara, he didn’t know a single soul in town. Everything about the Solomons, he added, was totally new to him.

“Yet, I immediately felt at home.”

Dr Roughan married to a Solomon Islander and decided to call Solomon Islands home.

His late wife died earlier this year.

He is survived by son Paul and several grandchildren.

Solomon Star

2) Fiji President To Melanesia Spearhead Group: Don’t Forget Rest Of Region
Ratu Epeli highlights connections with Micronesia, Polynesia

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Oct. 28, 2013) – Fiji’s President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has urged the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) not to forget its brothers and sisters from Micronesia and Polynesia saying it is important to voice their grievances at international forums.

During his visit to the secretariat of the MSG in Port Vila last Saturday, Ratu Epeli told director general Peter Forau that the efforts of the people in these two regions in developing and transforming their lives should not go unnoticed.

“We are not only related to them because we fall under the Oceania family but more so because we are related and share similar challenges and threats,” he said.

The Head of State ended his visit of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in the weekend.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

3) Papua human rights situation far worse than reported by Asian watchdog

Posted at 07:11 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says a new report into human rights abuses against Papuans by the Indonesian military in the late 1970s only uncovers a small portion of what has actually occurred there.

The Asian Human Rights Commission’s report says more than 4,000 Papuans were murdered, and another 10,000 died as a result of torture, disease and hunger.

It says what occurred amounts to genocide, and is calling for a human rights court to be set up to try those responsible.

A spokesperson for the coalition, Andy Ayamiseba, says it is pleased a report by such a reputable organisation proves what the Free West Papua movement has been claiming for years.

But he says the whole story has not yet been told.

“We’ve been preaching about this to the world for so long and we’re pleased that the Asian Human rights have put out this report. We hope with that report it will make people think twice not to trust what’s happening in West Papua. It is a good start. We have all the data of all the disappearings and it’s a couple of hundred thousand people who have been murdered up until now.”

Andy Ayamiseba.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Political parties have ‘little impact’ on voters in PNG

By Online Editor
3:21 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Papua New Guinea

Political parties in the country have very little impact on their voters or the general public, a study has found.

The 2012 general election observation report by the Registry of Political Parties and released last Friday shows a lack of momentum in the developing and strengthening the country’s democracy through political parties.

These observations include:

*People having limited knowledge of the parties and their policies;
*political parties are not known at the community level;
*voters perceive party leaders as the party and not as political organisations;
*some parties are locally based and have no influence as national institutions;
* impact of parties during campaigning is limited;
*parties not willing to endorse women candidates;
*small parties make very little impact on voters;
*candidates campaign on local issues rather than on party policies, and,
*Political parties are financially poor and could not conduct effective campaigns.

The study reveals these observations to be very important to address in order for Papua New Guinea to maintain a vibrant and responsible course of development.

The report said the party system the country inherited still faced a serious case of delinquency; a case of ‘democratisation backwardness’ that through building national institutions like political parties can change.

Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu said at the launching of the report in Port Moresby the issues observed in the survey had placed the Office of the Registry of Political Parties in the right position to plan and drive programmes to develop the political party system in the country.

An election survey was conducted during the general election in seven electorates.

Gelu said the registry had instituted a number of reforms to address the issues, which include the review to the OLIPPAC and the designing and implementation of its five-year learning and development plan.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

5) New Caledonia issue seen as key in Paris silence about Tahiti referendum

Posted at 04:42 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

A French Polynesian pro-independence politician, Richard Tuheiava, says France’s continued silence over a possible self-determination referendum may be due to the debate surrounding New Caledonia.

In May, the newly elected anti-independence majority in the territorial assembly in Tahiti formally asked Paris to organise such a plebiscite as soon as possible, but the French government has ignored the request.

It claimed such a vote, to be organised by France, would bury the independence bid once and for all.

Mr Tuheiava says as a territory to be decolonised, France is bound to involve the United Nations and also to consider the position of his camp.

He says Paris may simply be focussing on New Caledonia.

“The French know that the time frame for New Caledonia is starting next year, and France doesn’t want the French Polynesia issue to interfere with the New Caledonia issue. This is probably one of the main reasons why silence is still kept on our case at the national level.”

A French Polynesian pro-independence politician, Richard Tuheiava.

Radio New Zealand International

6) FLNKS Calls For UN To Observe 2014 Elections In New Caledonia
Victors in poll will oversee possible independence referendum

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 27, 2013) – New Caledonia’s pro-independence FLNKS Movement has called for the United Nations to send a mission to observe next year’s territorial election.

The polls in May are to elect three provincial assemblies, out of which the Congress will be formed that is tasked with overseeing the last phase of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

The Congress can decide if there is to be an independence referendum.

Under the Accord, voting next year is restricted to those already on the roll by 1998.

The FLNKS has questioned the validity of the election, given that according to its information 3,000 voters have been listed who were not born in New Caledonia.

It says at the same time 1,900 Kanak voters have been excluded.

An FLNKS leader, Roch Wamytan, says the issue was raised in Paris earlier this month, adding it’s not a question of shutting out anybody but to adhere to the text of the Accord.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

7) Budding young Fiji woman politican faces threats

Posted at 05:53 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

The first young woman has announced her intention to stand in the Fiji elections but she says she has had to face hostility as a result including rape threats on social media sites.

Roshika Deo wants to stand as an independent in the polls which have been promised for next year.

She says reaction has been a bit overwhelming, but she says she is prepared and committed to starting a campaign based on active citizenship. Sally Round spoke to her.

ROSHIKA DEO: There has been many kinds of reactions. Initially, when there was some media coverage of my intention to stand as an aspiring politician, there was a lot of retaliation on social networking sites by people with actual profiles, even. So there were threats, there’s a lot of racism coming out and there was a bit of rape threats. Obviously it has been mostly men… Actually all men. (Laughs) It basically tells me that our society is still very patriarchally entrenched. There’s still a lot of misogyny around and representation is still something we have to work very hard to get, and democracy, for that matter. Because without the participation of young people and women, there’s no democracy. We make up half of the population.

SALLY ROUND: So will you have a political party? Will you belong to a political party or stand as an independent?

RD: I have not joined any political party. I cannot resonate with any political party at this stage. I’m standing as independent this time around.

SR: How are you going to get your message out there, considering that Fiji has been without a democracy since 2006?

RD: It is very, very difficult. I have been involved in a few pro-democracy movements in the last few years and also with other young women’s groups and youth groups that are advocating for democracy. And it has been really difficult. I think the main reason is the fear, the fear that is among the people of what to say, what not to say. It will be difficult in terms of trying to get the message to people, but it is difficult, but not impossible. And some of the ways that my team – and we’re called Be The Change campaign – that we are are planning to do this is online. Social networking sites is one of the ways that we’ve identified and also going out into the communities and talking just about the issues.

SR: Do you see any difficulties with how the electoral arrangements have been made under the new constitution for you to stand as an MP?

RD: Yep. The way the electoral system has been designed was a shocker, because this is not what has been discussed by the state in the last six or so years. When the charter document came out they were talking about four boundaries, and they kept on talking about that up to the very last minute. Then all of a sudden they come up with this one national boundary. So now we have an open list. So the boundary has changed – it’s one national boundary and now we have an open list – and what is happening is people are getting confused now. It was always quite confusing because the information was not really getting out to people in the most simple language for them to understand. So when I’ve been talking to people, they don’t know what proportional representation is. They know it’s a better system than alternative voting or what we had before, but they just don’t know what it is. So I think talking to the people to explain to the people what the system is, how it’s going to work is the most difficult task. And that will impact greatly on how any candidate is able to campaign.

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

8) Disagreement in French Polynesia over independence referendum

Posted at 05:53 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

There is disagreement in French Polynesia over the terms and timing of a possible referendum on independence.

One side wants a vote to be organised by France right away, while the other is struggling to get French and the French Polynesian governments to understand their obligations towards the United Nations.

Paris has so far remained silent about the options, with a pro-independence politician in Tahiti, Richard Tuheiava, saying that this may be linked to the decolonisation process underway in New Caledonia.

RICHARD TUHEIAVA: There are some conflicts in the interpretation of what will be a genuine and fair and equitable referendum between Tahoeraa and us. France, of course, is not yet participating at the UN level, at the United Nations level, to the discussion.

WALTER ZWEIFEL: How is this case or your situation going to be advanced if you have a metropolitan power or administrative power like France which seems to be aloof, and you have an administration in Papeete which is right out hostile to any of these initiatives?

RT: Timing is of the essence first. And secondly we are organising an international and a regional strategy. We know what France has already accepted from New Caledonia. We know also what will represent the [Indistinct] and in the Pacific region towards France. So it’s really a matter of how to deal between France’s immobility as of today and also waiting for the best moment, locally speaking, here in Tahiti, to operate and to launch the process. But it’s not yet on the agenda because we are still discussing the terms of that referendum.

WZ: Speaking of time and referendum, the Tahoeraa has put through a resolution in the assembly in May asking for France to organise a referendum as soon as possible. Now, France has not responded to that in any way that seems to suggest that it will want to have a referendum. How do you interpret France’s reluctance to accede to what is apparently the demand of the assembly?

RT: Ah, I think the UPLD and Tahoeraa Huiraatira collectively believe that it’s, first, a matter of separating the two cases, the two issues, between New Caledonia and French Polynesia. The French know that the timeframe for New Caledonia is starting next year and France does not want the French Polynesian issue to interfere with the New Caledonian issue. So this is probably one of the main reasons why silence is still kept on our case at the national level, at the French level. But the second reason is because the stakes are different. The socialist party is, of course, ruling the country in France, but they also have a problem with the Tahoeraa Huiraatira basically because the Tahoeraa Huiraatira is reflecting the right-side wing of the party and has supported Nicolas Sarkozy or the right side, whereas today the left side – the socialist party there – is ruling the country. So there is also something that is not really turning very good at the national level between Gaston Flosse and the French government.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA:

9) People of CNMI encouraged to review US military plans for the region

Posted at 05:06 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

The Northern Marianas government is calling for the public to review and comment on the United States Navy’s plans for a training and testing area in the region.

The US Navy has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The U.S. military’s latest proposals include increased use of weapons use on Farallon de Medinilla, amphibious vehicle landing exercises on three Tinian beaches, and training at Marpi on Saipan and at Rota’s airport, among other places.

Increased levels of weapons use at Farallon de Medinilla is especially controversial because the island is home to several seabird colonies, including the largest Masked Booby nesting site and one of only two nesting sites of the Great Frigate bird.

Two endangered species – the Micronesian megapode and the Marianas fruit bat – are also found there.

The CNMI community has until November the 12th to comment on the draft study.

Radio New Zealand International

TOK PISIN:

10) Indonesia i toktok ken long spesol atonomi

Updated 28 October 2013, 18:26 AEST
Kenya Kala

Indonesia Gavman i holim ol toktok ken long kamapim wanpla spesol atonomi insait long ol provins blongen.

Odio: Ronnie Kareni, wanpla West Papua activist long Australia
Ol sumatin long University blong Cendrawasih long Jayapura bai holim wanpla bung tede nait long toktok long wanpla tingting em Central Gavman blong Indonesia i wok long mekim nao long kamapim wanpla kaen spesol atonomi blong ol provins blongen.

Tasol displa ol toktok blong Central Gavman ino go daun gut wantaim ol pipol blong West na Papua Province.

Ronnie Kareni, wanpla West Papua activist long Australia tasol displa taim em i stap namel long PNG na Indonesia i tokim Radio Australia displa Spesol Autonomy em Indonesia Gavman i laik kamapim ino nupla.radio australia

FRENCH:

11) Israël propose une délégation d’observateurs électoraux à Fidji

Posté à 28 October 2013, 8:56 AEST
Pierre Riant

L’Union européenne n’a toujours pas fait de proposition dans ce sens. Les Européens ont indiqué être prêts à observer le bon déroulement des élections prévues en 2014, à condition d’y être invités.

Franck Bainimarama montre du doigt les Européens. [Torsten Blackwood] (Credit: AFP)

Le contre-amiral et Premier ministre fidjien, Franck Bainimarama a régi dans les colonnes du Fiji Sun : «Mon gouvernement ne désire pas une répétition de 2006 quand, en dépit d’anomalies et de fraudes manifestes, le groupe d’observation de l’Union européenne a quand même qualifié ces élections de crédibles. Nous ne pouvons pas accepter de missions aussi bancales. »

Israël a proposé l’envoi d’observateurs, une information confirmée par le Premier ministre fidjien lui-même.

Notons que lors d’une visite d’État en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée en avril dernier, Franck Bainimarama s’est entretenu avec son homologue papou, Peter O’Neill, à propos de l’envoi d’une délégation du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance (GMLF) aux prochaines élections fidjiennes.radio australia

PASIFIK:


12) Report maps out plans for Pacific renewable power
By Online Editor
3:15 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Papua New Guinea

Pacific island nations can look forward to a more integrated and accelerated renewable energy programme with the completion of a road map for increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels.

The report, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), aims to kickstart the Pacific countries’ moves towards energy sustainability.

“[The report] is groundbreaking, the first of its kind in the region to identify challenges and best practices for increased deployment of renewable energy in the Pacific island countries and territories,” says Linus Mofor, a spokesperson for IRENA and an author of the report.

“It provides baseline information that could assist Pacific islands in the development of their national renewable energy deployment road maps or action plans.”

The extensive report includes 15 individual country studies that detail the specifics of using renewable energy on a local scale.

The report says Pacific island nations are endowed with lots of sun, geothermal energy and strong offshore winds. But despite this great potential, renewables currently only produce about a tenth of the required electricity in the region, with most of this coming from hydropower in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The region has the highest electricity prices in the world, averaging between 39 and 44 US cents per kilowatt hour for households, compared with 12 US cents in the United States.

The report calls for power based on biomass, geothermal and ocean energy, and specific mixes of solar and wind energy based on each island’s specific potential.

“It’s a lot easier to achieve high penetration of renewables on a small island and do things on a small scale,” says Peter Lilienthal, founder of HOMER Energy, a firm active in the Pacific region that produces software to model energy systems.

One major issue the report cites is infrastructure. Each island must be powered independently because distances mean there is no economical way to transfer power between islands. Building renewable systems on every island will require international co-ordination and implementation.

“Institutional strengthening, increased collaboration between islands and enhanced coordination between partners, donors, regional institutions, and national authorities and institutions are essential for efficient use of resources for renewable energy deployment in the region,” says Mofor.

IRENA expects that shifting to renewables will be costly in the short term. But it hopes it will benefit islands greatly in the long term by allowing them to reduce costs, become energy-independent, and eliminate the air and water pollution that current energy technology produces.

SOURCE: SCIDEV NEWT/PACNEWS

13) “LED is now officially on the Agenda of local government in the Pacific”
By Online Editor
12:12 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Fiji

Local economic development (LED) is now well and truly on the books of local government authorities, at least in four Pacific countries.

Local government officials from four Pacific local government associations and departments of national governments in Kiribati, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands converged in Nadi from 14–18 October 2013 for a workshop to develop a strategic plan for the Pacific Island Local Government Association Network (PILGAN) and at the same time deliberate on the critical topic of local economic development (LED) and the role of local government in the region as well as their island countries.

The four local government associations are the founding members of the recently established Pacific Island Local Governments Association Network (PILGAN).

The workshop was organized by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum Pacific (CLGF Pacific), which is the Secretariat of PILGAN, in order for its members to develop and formulate LED Strategies for the established Local Government Associations in the Pacific. The workshop also provided the opportunity for these associations to create a platform for dialogue amongst themselves on best strategies to promote local economic development in the Pacific.

Local governments, around the world and in the Pacific, increasingly perform a pivotal LED promotion role within their localities to support and complement national development objectives and strategies.

The workshop benefitted greatly from the four guest speakers who shared with the participants their knowledge and experience about the opportunities and challenges related to LED, and the role of local government in providing a supportive and conducive environment for small and medium sized businesses to develop and thrive. The guest speakers were from the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO), Fiji private sector, the School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra, and the SPC/GIZ.

The presentation by Mereia Volavola, CEO, PIPSO, provided the contextual overview of LED in the Pacific region and the role of local government in promoting business growth and innovation.  She reiterated the seemingly formidable challenges faced by Pacific Island states and the opportunities.

Volavola underscored the fact that private sector growth is the priority policy objective of all Pacific Island states. She highlighted the point that the private sectors in most if not, all Pacific island countries are basically made up of small and medium-sized businesses. For Fiji and Samoa, about 90% or more were small and medium-sized enterprises. This fact supports the contention that SMEs are the engines driving Pacific economies. But, these engines only function well under favourable and conducive regulatory environments.

Sharon Pickering, Fiji entrepreneur and owner of Pacific Weed Ltd – a small locally owned and family operated business – shared challenges in running a small business with a unique and very promising product. In particular, Pickering related her business experience in dealing with local government in the area of LED.

She described that, “when you explain to the council what type of business we operate and what it is that we intend to manufacture, the response is always negative.”

“There is a long list of requirements that the council’s require; and that as a small business we feel that some of these policies are unrealistic and are more suited to much larger companies that are already established and have the capacity and capital to meet all these requirements,” Pickering remarked.

Henry Sanday, Research Fellow, School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra reminded participants that the CLGF Pacific 2010 Port Vila Declaration and the related 2012 Honiara Declaration as well as the 2013  Kampala Declaration all talked about local economic development (LED) and the important role of local government.

Sanday quoted the PIF Secretary General who made the point that there is a ‘high cost of doing business in Pacific Island Countries’, an area, according to him requiring attention.  Indeed, Sanday conceded that the cost of bureaucracy at local government level is rising.

According to his own research work, Sanday concurred that there is ‘excessive red tape at local government level’ in doing business. There is also an apparent disconnect between local government-regulator, and local government-private sector which needs to be resolved.

He emphasized the important need for regulatory reforms in the Pacific. “These are far more important for us,” he stressed.

The last guest speaker was Marita Manley, Adviser Climate Change with SPC/GIZ who spoke on the ‘impact of climate change in the Pacific Islands’, especially its impact on water, biodiversity, agriculture and food security, fisheries and food security, tourism and the economy, and also health.

She explained that, “Pacific islanders are highly dependent on natural ecosystems for their livelihoods”. And, to exacerbate the problem the majority of our populations and economic infrastructure are in the coastal regions.

Manley agreed that Pacific Island Countries characteristics make them especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change. “Water resources are likely to be seriously compromised with coral reefs, fisheries and other marine-based resources likely to be heavily affected” she added.

The scientific evidence and data provided is frightening to say the least. Sea-level rise will exacerbate inundations, storm surge, erosion and coastal hazards.

Despite the gloomy scenario, Manley was definite that there are many options to reduce the impact of climate change risk with all stakeholders, including SPC/GIZ working together to help island communities adopt more sustainable practices and reduce stress on the ecosystems as well as strengthening traditional knowledge and existing coping mechanisms.

PILGAN’s “LED Strategic Plan” will provide the overarching framework and platform for the members to develop their respective national LED strategic plans that are consistent with national development objectives. And, ultimately, the aim is to also develop LED strategies for local government authorities at country-level and initiate a couple of feasible and demonstrable small projects at local levels.

Job Boe, CEO of the Local Authorities Association of Vanuatu (LAAV) was very happy to be part of the workshop and this initiative because he said this is the first time he was actually given the opportunity to plan the economic capacity of his local area in order to improve its economic future and the quality of life for his people.

On his part, Mayor George Brown, President of the Island Government Association of the Cook Islands (IGACI), and Mayor of the Atiu Island Government Council said that the workshop was an eye-opener for them because it showed that local authorities are the main players in LED since local authorities are instrumental in service provision and implementing local regulations that are relevant for enabling effective LED initiatives.

James Matayoshi, President of the Marshall Islands Mayors Association, and Mayor of Rongalep Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and also the current President of PILGAN contended that local authorities are now being recognized as the ‘enablers’ of development. It is, therefore, important he explained that they work collaboratively with the private sector on and other stakeholders on strategies to create enabling environment for economic development at the local level.

The President of the Kiribati Local Government Association (KiLGA) and Mayor of Betio, Mayor Romano Reo echoes the same sentiments but added, “It is critical that the capacities of local government are developed in order to improve service delivery and planning for economic development at local level.”

One of the outcomes of the workshop relates to the need for local governments in the region to be more proactive in supporting the establishment of small and medium-sized businesses through the provision of conducive and enabling regulatory environments for businesses.

The workshop also agreed for local government associations to develop and start first with simple and basic LED systems and processes to allow new and emerging as well as current businesses to thrive in their respective local business environments.

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Pacific Project is an intergovernmental organization established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 1994 in response to moves around the Commonwealth towards greater decentralisation and local democracy.

The CLGF Pacific Project was set up in 2000 as part of that initiative to work with local government and other stakeholders in the Pacific region to strengthen local democracy, institutions and service delivery capacity of sub-national governments in nine Pacific Island Commonwealth Countries.
SOURCE: CLGF/PACNEWS

14) Auckland-Based Pacific Trade Commissioner Resigns
Forum Secretariat trade office had funding cut earlier this year

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 27, 2013) – The Trade Commissioner for the Auckland-based office of Pacific Islands Trade and Invest has resigned, after a tumultuous year for the organisation.

Adam Denniss spent three years leading the re-branded trade arm of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, which receives funding from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The office faced major problems this year when the Ministry withheld funding, prompting the intervention of Prime Minister John Key.

The PIFS Director of Economic Governance, Shiu Raj, says Mr Denniss will be missed.

“Yes we had some difficulties earlier this year but we have overcome that in a very collegial and constructive manner. We’ve got very firm commitments from the Government of New Zealand. It’s a big loss for us with Adam Denniss’s departure but there is no such issues at all with respect to any insinuations that he was dissatisfied with the work or anything of that sort.”

Mr Raj says the new commissioner must be able to manage all the stakeholders, and most importantly the private sector organisations in the Pacific.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

WORLD:


15) Japan, China in war of words as Tokyo scrambles jets to monitor Beijing military planes
By Online Editor
3:17 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Japan

The rhetoric between Asia’s two superpowers is becoming more belligerent with China warning that if Japan carries out a threat to shoot down foreign drones, it would be an act of war.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has issued his own warning, saying Tokyo is prepared to be more assertive towards Beijing, while also telling China not to use force to try to change the regional balance of power.

Over the weekend, Japan twice scrambled fighter jets to monitor Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa.

Speaking at a military parade which looked very similar to the ones seen in North Korea, Abe rallied Japanese troops.

“Post-World War II, we have prospered and moved forward as a peaceful nation. This is something for us to be very proud of,” Abe said.

“However, in order for us to continue protecting this peace into the future, we must be vigilant.”

This vigilance is particularly directed towards China, which is locked in a dispute with Japan over a handful of rocky outcrops in the East China Sea.

Controlled by Tokyo and known in Japan as the Senkakus and in China as the Diaouyu Islands, they are home to nothing more than a few inbred goats.

But whoever controls these outcrops controls the vast maritime territory that surrounds them – a seabed said to be rich in rare earth minerals and some known oil reserves.

Beijing regularly buzzes the skies around the islands with aircraft, while its ships also sail close by.

It is even understood China has flown unmanned drones near the islands, a move which has infuriated Tokyo.

The Japanese government was said to be drafting plans to shoot down any drone that encroached on its airspace – a threat that sparked a testy response from Beijing at the weekend.

“We advise relevant parties not to underestimate the Chinese army’s resolute will and determination to protect China’s territorial sovereignty,” defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said.

“If Japan does what it says and resorts to enforcement measures like shooting down aircraft, that is a serious provocation to us, it is an act of war. We will surely undertake decisive action to strike back.”

Also at the weekend, Abe told the Wall Street Journal he was concerned that Beijing is trying to change the status quo in North Asia by force.

He warned that if China opts to take that path, it would not be able to emerge peacefully.

For Asia’s two biggest economies and military superpowers, the talk is becoming very dangerous.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

HEALTH:

16) HIV rates stable in Pacific nations but rising in Asia

Updated 28 October 2013, 16:05 AEST
Iskhandar Razak for Pacific Beat

New statistics reveal the number of people who have HIV has stabilised in Pacific nations while the rate is rising in Asia.

The research findings revealed at a recent conference in Darwin shows the number of HIV and AIDS cases has risen in Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines while there have been significant declines in Cambodia and Thailand.

Associate Professor David Wilson, an epidemiologist with the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat although rates have stabilised in the Pacific, there is still concern they could rise swiftly again.

Audio: Epidemiologist David Wilson speaks to Pacific Beat(ABC News)

“In Papua New Guinea, it’s quite the stand out for the Pacific, where the burden of HIV is very high…In a lot of the other Pacific island countries, we believe that HIV is relatively stable,” Mr Wilson said.

“A lot of these countries have signed up to some political declarations through the United Nations, where they’ve got targets of trying to get a 50 per cent reduction in incidence.

“Considering we’re just stable at the moment, unfortunately we’re nowhere near that,” he said.

Mr Wilson says more needs to be done to stabilise HIV rates across the whole area of Asia and the Pacific as the levels of prevention and treatment services there are not sufficiently high.

“We need substantial increases in funding, need political will from each of the governments, but also some economic and financial support in some of these countries in order to really achieve the coverage that is required to reduce new infections,” he said.

Mr Wilson says while bilateral donors, such as AusAID, the United States government, and the United Kingdom have provided quite a substantial support over recent years, this cannot be sustained forever due to economic crisis in these countries.

“There’s going to be a transition point in the not to distant future where the rich industrialised countries are not going to be able to support all of these aid responses,” he said.

“As the developed countries pull out their funding, the low income countries are not going to be able to meet the shortfall.

“We’ve seen that in Romania, for example, and we’ve seen an increase in the HIV epidemic…There is a large fear that we’ll see exactly the same across most of Asia and the Pacific,” Mr Wilson said.

He says it’s going to be up to the governments in the Asia Pacific region to takeover more ownership and leadership.

“There’s only a few countries that are really sustaining their own response themselves…They are China, Thailand and Malaysia, but effectively every other country in the region is highly reliant on international aid,” he said.radio australia

17) More work to be done to combat TB in the Pacific

Posted at 05:53 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

M̩decins Sans Fronti̬res says more work in combating tuberculosis in the western Pacific is needed Рthe third most infected area behind Africa and South East Asia.

Its medical co-ordinator, Dr Jen Cohn, says cases in western Pacific nations account for one fifth of all cases found globally.

She says a recent breakthrough in diagnostic technology has allowed almost twice as many drug-resistant tuberculosis cases to be diagnosed in 2012 than in 2011 globally.

But, as she told Johnny Blades, there is a lot more that needs to be done.

JEN COHN: There has been a significant breakthrough in terms of TB diagnosis and that is due to a machine called GeneXpert. It diagnoses both TB and Rifampicin resistance which usually signals that a patient has multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. This new technology has really yielded a huge amount of improvement. But we’re not there yet. In fact we’re pretty far from where we need to be. And there’s only so much this technology can do. It still requires electricity, it still needs some technical support, so it can’t be decentralised very, very far down into much more rural areas or areas that don’t have dependable electricity. So we’re really in need, still, of an even better diagnostic test – one that we can decentralise further, one that requires less training for the operators. We also need something that will be more affordable so more countries can actually begin to utilise this technological breakthrough.

JOHNNY BLADES: Which countries are looking at these things in the Pacific, or which agencies?

JC: There are significant numbers of new countries who are beginning to scale up GeneXpert. The WHO is soon likely going to come out with revised guidelines on how to use GeneXpert. It may be first-line diagnostics, not only for people who are suspected of having drug-resistant TB, but in certain programmatic cases countries may choose to use it as the first-line test for all patients who have suspected TB.

JB: Yeah, right, right. And in the Pacific region, the public health systems in many of these places are cash-strapped and resource-strapped and so forth, but do you see many efforts underway to really ramp up the fight against drug-resistant TB?

JC: One of the things that we’re very concerned about is that international donor funding may be waning for TB and in particular for MDR-TB. It’s particularly concerning. The majority of international funding for tuberculosis comes from the global fund to fight HIV, TB and malaria. And that’s true for TB, but it’s even more true for multidrug-resistant TB. In total, about three quarters of international funding came from the Global Fund for TB, but unfortunately in 2013 the amount of donor funding was only $0.8 billion, so this is is a fairly small amount for an incredibly dangerous and deadly disease. So really we recommend that the Global Fund be fully funded during its next replenishment round, which is coming up in a month and a half, and we really need to see donors speak out, as well as recipients in implementer countries speak out to say that this needs to be a priory.

Radio New Zealand International

18) PNG government wants immediate action at dilapidated Lae hospital

Posted at 07:12 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

The Papua New Guinea government has declared a state of emergency aimed at improving the physical state of Lae’s rundown Angau hospital.

The state of emergency allows the government to immediately access funding in a trust account intended for a rebuilding of the hospital.

Our correspondent in Lae says several million kina of that fund will be used to fix up parts of the hospital.

Oseah Philemon says the hospital is in a very sorry state apart from the accident and emergency facility which has recently been refurbished.

“So that is probably the only part of the hospital that looks good. The rest of the hospital is in a terrible state. The operating theatres, most of them are not operating. The beds are very old, very very old mattresses. They have run out of sheets. The hospital is also running out of drugs. It’s terrible and it has been like this for a long time. It is very demoralising for the staff too.”

Oseah Philemon in Lae.

Radio New Zealand International

MEDIA:


19) Samoan Media told not to publicise draft bill
By Online Editor
12:23 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Samoa

Debate is being rushed on a draft Media Council Bill 2013 so it can be submitted to Samoan Parliament’s final 2013 sitting.

According to a letter from the President of the Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa (JAWS), Uale Papali’i Taimalelagi, the Association is holding a meeting to discuss the draft law next week with a representative from the Attorney General’s Office.

“You are humbly asked to seriously study these issues before you attend our meeting,” Uale’s letter to JAWS members reads.

“We also ask you to please ensure that the copies of this Bill distributed to you are kept away from the public as the same is still in draft form as per advice from the Office of the Attorney General.

“In the event you are not available to attend, we would appreciate your views and observations in writing.”

Also attached to the email was a copy of the Draft Media Council Bill 2013. As it stands, the Bill has a raft of clauses to “promote and enhance” professional journalism.

“The purpose of this Act is to promote professional journalism and integrity in the news media,” the Draft Bill reads, “while observing the fundamental rights under part two of the constitution.”

Part II of the Constitution deals with rights regarding freedom of speech.

“All citizens of Western Samoa shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression,” the Constitution reads.

Perhaps the clause that resonates most with members of the media is clause 38 in the Draft legislation.

“There is no right of appeal from a decision of the Council,” reads the draft bill.

“Subsection (1 – the sentence above) does not prevent the institution of legal proceedings for judicial review in the Supreme Court.”

This last part means that if a journalist, or the complainant, disagrees with a Council decision – the only way they can contest it is through the courts.

When discussing the setting up of the Council, it appears from the draft legislation that this responsibility will go to a registered association.

According to the draft bill, the Council must consist of a lawyer with at least five years experience as a lawyer or judge and has no direct association with a media organisation, five media representatives and five community representatives.

“Appointments of members must provide a fair representation of Samoa based upon gender, employment, educational background and community interests,” the document reads.

“And ensure that no gender has less than three members of the total membership of the Council.

“The Executive of the Association has authority to determine and apply any necessary processes and requirements to enable nominations and appointments to be made in accordance with this section.

“And when acting under this section, must act independently, free of any political pressure, and without regard to any political interest.”

In relation to what Council members will be paid, which will come from “monies appropriated for the Council by the Government, each member will hold office for three years, can be reappointed and is “is entitled to remuneration and allowances as are fixed by the Executive of the Association.”

Council members are expected to “act in the Council’s interest and in the interest of professional journalism.

They “must avoid acting as a delegate of any business interest, and avoid and resist receiving or accepting directions from any business interest in respect of duties to be performed under this Act.”

The proposed functions and powers of the Council “to promote professional journalism and public awareness about the media by all available means” are many.

They range from organising seminars for reporters and editors at regular intervals on topics relating to media and journalistic skills, practices or ethics to organising training, seminars and other initiatives for journalists found to have breached the Code of Practice.

The Council’s proposed functions will require “members of media to attend a minimum number of accredited or approved training courses each year, based on a points system established by the Council.

“Encouraging and supporting in-house training of journalists and the establishment of internal mechanisms for effective selfregulation, including monitoring and mentoring arrangements,” is also a function of the council.

“Raising public awareness about the role of the media and the standards to which it must adhere, and developing a marketing and outreach plan for this purpose.

“And, requiring the media to publish approved advertisements about the role of the Council.”

In regards to its complaints function, a member of the media must receive and consider formal complaints about an alleged breach of the Code of Practice committed by him or her if submitted by the complainant within 10 working days after the material to which the complaints relates was first published, reported or broadcast.

“Despite subsection (1 – the sentence above) a member of the media must receive and consider a complaint if the complainant, re-submits the complaint within 20 working days and offers reasonable proof that the original complaint was submitted within 10 working days.”

A complainant may refer to the Council if a complaint was directed to the respondent at first instance, and the complaint was not addressed satisfactorily by the respondent, within five working days of the complaint being made.

“Or the complainant proves to the satisfaction of the Council that submitting a complaint to the respondent would be unlikely to have any effect, or would cause undue hardship for the complainant,” reads the proposed legislation.

“A complaint referred to the Council must comply with the following requirements: be written in English or Samoan, contain particulars of— the full name, address and other contacts of the complainant, the identity of the respondent and the alleged conduct complained of.

“Be made within 20 working days of the offending material first being published, reported or broadcast.

“Contain a declaration that the complainant— is seeking to resolve the matter through the Council rather than pursuing legal proceedings.

“And will not use any information gathered during the investigation of the complaint by, or on behalf of the Council in any future legal proceedings.”

While it is not clear whether this proposed legislation would replace the Newspapers and Printers Act 1992/1993, it does uplift a section of it in regards to a journalists sources.

“A journalist is not compellable in a civil or criminal proceeding to answer any question or produce any document that would disclose the identity of the informant,” the draft bill reads.

“Subsection (1 – the sentence above) does not apply if the Court is satisfied that the public interest in the disclosure of evidence of the identity of the informant outweighs any likely adverse effect of the disclosure on the informant or any other person.

“And the public interest in the communication of facts and opinion to the public by the news media and, accordingly also, in the ability of the news media to access sources of facts.”

And to how it will uphold professionalism in the media?

Well the Council “may develop, approve, apply and enforce” a Code of Practice so it can effectively do its job,” despite listing it as one of it’s functions earlier on.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:

20) PNG PM seeks legal advice after missing deadline on seafloor mining dispute

Updated 28 October 2013, 18:17 AEST
Pacific Economic and Business Reporter Jemima Garrett

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is seeking legal advice on its obligation to pay for a 30 per cent stake in the world’s first seafloor mining venture.

The move comes after the government missed an international arbitrator’s deadline to pay Canadian company, Nautilus Minerals, US$118 for PNG’s stake in the Solwara 1 .project in the Bismark Sea.

Solwara 1 is expected to be the world’s first deep ocean gold and copper mine, using technology first developed for the oil industry, but concerns have been raised by local communities and environmentalists about the potential impact on marine resources.

The PNG government committed to buy the stake in the project in March 2011 but failed to meet its obligations.

The matter went to international arbitration in June 2012.

Earlier this month the arbitrator, former Australian Chief Justice of the High Court, Murray Gleeson brought down a legally binding ruling in favour of Nautilus Minerals.

Nautilus requested payment by October 23.

In a statement, Prime Minister O’Neill said the government is seeking legal advice on the arbitration tribunal’s decision and the time limits regarding payment of its equity.

“Since the decision was handed down, we have been reviewing it and have sought legal advice. The State is looking at its options, and we have commenced discussions with Nautilus for an amicable solution to this,” the Prime Minister said.

“There are other issues connected with this project that were raised, in the local community and in Parliament, which the government was dealing with before this arbitration decision landed on us.

“So there are a whole ranges of issues we are dealing with, so we need to be careful about placing time limits on these issues,” Mr O’Neill said.

“We respect the decision of the tribunal, and we are dealing with it in the best possible way,” he said.

Nautilus hopes dashed

Prior to the deadline Nautilus Minerals CEO Mike Johnson told Radio Australia he was confident the PNG government would pay up on time.

He said discussions with the PNG government had been ‘very good’.

When asked about the possibility of a failure to pay he would not be drawn, saying only that ‘the decision is legally binding’.

In a statement to the Toronto Stock Exchange after the deadline passed Nautilus said ‘The company is in discussions with senior officials of the State and it remains Nautilus’ preference to resolve these matters amicably.

Nautilus share price has not been affected by the setback.radio australia

21) PNG moves to restrict foreigners owning shares


By Online Editor
09:08 am GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea government has moved to limit the operations of foreign companies and individuals in its economy.

It has amended the Takeovers Code to include a new, undefined “national interest” test that its Securities Commission must apply to the acquisition of any shares.

The new restriction says that the commission “shall issue an order preventing a party from acquiring any shares, whether partial or otherwise, under this code if the commission views that such acquisition or takeover is not in the national interest of PNG”.

In a note on the change, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers Anthony Latimer, Steve Johns and Steven Moe warn that the new amendment “has the potential to discourage foreign investment in PNG companies and is likely to have a negative impact on the share price of such companies”.

Tevita Gonelevu, chief executive of Fiji Television, the owner of PNG’s national TV broadcaster, EMTV, said senior ministers had discussed the government’s intention of limiting the foreign ownership of media.

He said: “They would be enacting a law, something like the Fiji Media Decree, where (the media) would be majority owned by locals.”

This would affect every major mass media organisation in PNG, except for the government’s radio broadcaster, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

It would concern not only EMTV — until 2005 owned by the Packer company Publishing and Broadcasting — but also the two daily newspapers, the 44-year-old Post-Courier, 63 per cent owned by News Corp (publisher of The Australian) and The National, owned by Malaysian conglomerate Rimbunan Hijau, and three FM radio stations owned by Fiji Communications.

The Norton Rose Fulbright paper says of the new “national interest” test for all share purchases: “There are no guidelines or formal tests for determining what is in the national interest of PNG or when a takeover or other acquisition of shares will be deemed not in PNG’s national interest. In short, the Securities Commission is left with a wide discretion to decide when or if a takeover is not in PNG’s national interest.”

The amendment has already been used to block one high-profile transaction.

The government has barred blue-chip Malaysian agribusiness Kulim from extending its stake in New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL), PNG’s leading rural corporation, from 49 per cent to 69 per cent for about $250 million.

PNG Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru claimed in announcing the block on Kulim that 90 per cent of the economy was controlled by foreigners. “As a responsible government we’re going to take some very drastic steps to create more opportunities for our own citizens to enjoy the wealth of our nation.”

He said not only had the government blocked Kulim’s move to lift its investment, but it would “ask Kulim to sell down some of its shares to the respective provincial governments where the assets of NBPOL are located”.

The new national interest test applies to any company, domestic or foreign, registered under the PNG Companies Act, that is listed on any stock exchange or has assets of more than 5 million kina ($2m), more than 25 shareholders and more than 100 staff.

The amendment prohibits anyone involved in the acquisition from taking any action that is perceived as contravening an order made by the Securities Commission.

Maru said that in “sectors of national interest”, including agriculture, “only Papua New Guineans, or over 51 per cent nationally owned companies, will be allowed to operate”.
SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

22) Vatukoula Gold Mines gets first funding package from Chinese backer
By Online Editor
3:16 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Fiji

Vatukoula Gold Mines PLC has received the first US$10 million (FJ$18.3 million) of the US$40 million (FJ$73.3 million) funding package from Chinese firm Zhongrun International Mining Company Limited.

This initial investment of US$10 million is expected to allow the company to focus efforts on optimising the operations and increasing production in the medium term.

The investment by Zhongrun is part of a long-term strategy to reposition Vatukoula Gold Mines.
It is also hoped to assist the mine in achieving its long-term production targets of in excess of 100,000 ounces per annum.

Management expects to be at pro rata production rate of 100,000 ounces per annum in approximately 18 months from completion of the US$40 million funding.

The next US$10 million of equity is anticipated to be completed by month end and the US$20 million (FJ$36.6 million) of secured loan notes to be completed by the end of January 2014.

Vatukoula Gold Mines chief executive, David Paxton, said the completion of this first tranche of US$40 million Investment Agreement was a significant milestone in the development of the mine.

“With these funds and the remaining US$30 million due in the coming months, the mine can embark on its capital expansion plans,” he said.

“This would be to both increase the grade and tonnage from underground mining operations.

“Based on current mine plans and costs, I believe, that we will be able to achieve our long term production targets at a cost of below US$900 per ounce.”

Zhongrun currently holds 37,800,000 ordinary shares in Vatukoula Gold Mines.

Following the completion of the First Tranche of Equity Funding by month end, it will hold 127,800,000 ordinary shares, representing approximately 52 per cent of the enlarged share capital of the company.

On completion of the Second Tranche of Equity Funding, Zhongrun will hold 226,697,000 ordinary shares, representing approximately 66 per cent of the enlarged share capital of the company.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

23) Nauru to get first bank since 2006
By Online Editor
12:17 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Nauru

A community bank being established in Nauru will be in operation from early next year.

The island has operated as a cash economy since the Nauru government revoked the licences of all offshore banks in 2004, and the Bank of Nauru closed in 2006.

The minister of finance, David Adeang, says it is working with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in Australia to set up the bank.

Adeang says the people of Nauru will soon have access to savings accounts, investment services, term deposits, debit cards and internet banking.

He says a community bank structure means local shareholders will raise the capital that is used to fund the startup of the first bank branch.

He says the government will underwrite the share issue – making up the amount locals have not raised.

He says AUD$900,000 must be raised.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

24) Vailima Brewery Launches Breadfruit Beer, Vailima Natural
Samoa brewer celebrates 35th anniversary

By Pai Mulitalo ‘Ale

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 27, 2013) – Vailima Breweries launched Vailima Natural made using breadfruit to commemorate its 35th Anniversary at the Orator Hotel on Friday Night.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi congratulated the brewery for the new brew and their birthday celebration.

“Tonight is a double celebration for Vailima,” he said. “It’s the celebrating of its 35th anniversary and the launching of a new edition of Vailima natural brew using breadfruit.

He thanked Vailima management and staff for the initiative which included input from Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS).

“I look forward to future development utilizing our local projects as the government continues to find other markets for our local growers to support their families,” said Prime Minister.

A former Cabinet Minister, Asi Ekeni also addressed invited guests on how the Vailima Brewery was established and how it’s still growing.”In 1978 the government of Samoa looked at the prospect at setting up a brewery and was fortunate to find some keen partners a German company called Brauhaus,” said Asi Ekeni.

He said that the brewery project was considered part of the country’s economic development.

Being the Minister at the time, he worked to bring that initiative to life with the help of Tuiloma Neroni Slade and Hans Kruse as the Director of Public Affairs.

He said he was happy when the brewery was named after the village he spent most of his time back then.

“Looking back 35 years ago, I must say that I am very impressed with Vailima and how it has grown over the years,” Mr. Ekeni said.

He also congratulated Alfred Chan and his team for carrying the Vailima brand to the next level.

Plant and technical manager of Vailima Breweries, Sean Hellesoe said Vailima Natural has taken a while to make.

The idea first came about back when he was studying for his brewing qualifications, reading about different beer styles all over the world.

He said that Samoa Breweries had to bring in about a million kilos of malt every year and has now replaced 12 percent of that imported malt with locally-produced breadfruit.

One benefit is that more money can stay in Samoa using a local ingredient for a recipe that is very traditionally German.

With research by S.R.O.S. now complete, the locally produced breadfruit flour is an addition to the making of Vailima Natural and making it a true taste of Samoa.

The celebration concluded with the Prime Minister doing the honours by cutting the anniversary cake to mark 35 years since Vailima Breweries was first established in Samoa.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

25) Trade Pasifika 2014 learns from 2012 weaknesses
By Online Editor
12:08 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Fiji

The Secretariat of Trade Pasifika 2014 is confident of engaging more buyers to the region’s trade show next year in Suva.

Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) CEO Mere Volavola told FBC News, they’re sticking to their commitment increasing awareness and business connection between exporters and producers from fourteen Pacific island countries with overseas buyers.

Volavola says, Trade Pasifika provides a platform for buyers to come see the potential and availability of certain products in the Pacific.

The PIPSO CEO says, they’ve learnt a lot from Trade Pasifika 2012.

“We had a very short time to prepare during the first Trade Pasifika. But this year we had longer time and we have established connections with foreign missions and various business organizations, that will help us in bringing in buyers to this Trade Pasifika”.

Trade Pasifika 2014 Ambassador and Chairman of the Steering Committee Kaliopate Tavola says, repeating the use of 2012 theme “Exporting for Growth Is Everyone’s Business” for next year’s trade show, is vital to the success of the event.

“Well not only the fact that we may not have achieved much in 2012, but the theme needs to be emphasized all the time as small island states need to export in order to import. We just need to be constantly promoting our exports. We don’t have the extent of resources that other countries have but we do have resources. It’s just value adding and responding to the requirements of the market”.

Trade Pasifika 2014 will be held at the Vodafone Arena from 02 – 04 April.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:


26) Curb graft says Police Commissioner, Investigators allege massive fraud by PNG elite

By Online Editor
3:25 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea deputy Police Commissioner and chief of operations Simon Kauba has appealed to law enforcement agencies to aggressively fight white collar crime.

He said fraud and corruption were accepted norms in the workforce and silence had encouraged citizens to condone corrupt practices.

He said the country would continue to suffer if nothing was done to curb these crimes.

“The arrest of prominent people implicated in major fraud cases has stirred a lot of public anxiety and it is imperative for investigators to handle such cases with care, due diligence and professionalism,” he said

Kauba was commending the government’s support for the police modernisation programme which he said should improve criminal investigations in the country.

Under the programme, the Bomana Police College will become a centre of excellence where detectives can undergo skills training to improve their knowledge in criminal investigations.

Kauba said the recruitment exercise would see more young people employed in the Criminal Investigation Division.

“The Royal PNG Constabulary will train them under the modernisation programme so they can contribute meaningfully in the areas of fraud investigations,” he said.

“More emphasis will be placed on prosecution and case management as the objective of any investigator is to ensure offenders who break the law are found guilty by the courts and imprisoned.”

Meanwhile, PNG investigators now say they have uncovered a racket involving lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians colluding to defraud the state of hundreds of millions of dollars following the arrest of lawyer Paul Paraka.

Officers from the multi-agency anti-corruption unit Investigation Task Force Sweep arrested Paraka in a small village two hours drive from Port Moresby on Wednesday.

Last Thursday,Paraka was charged with 18 offences including conspiracy to defraud, stealing by false pretence and money laundering.

As principal of one of PNG’s largest law firms, it was believed Paraka was initially arrested over allegations he was paid $AU30 million by the finance department after submitting fraudulent legal bills for legal work performed for the state.

It says the bills submitted by Paul Paraka Lawyers were for cases that were not briefed out to the firm and others that simply do not exist.

During an address to his staff, Paraka said the charges are politically motivated and he’s innocent.

“The fact that they arrested and charged me does not mean that I’m guilty in any way,” he said.

“I will prove to the court I’m not guilty.

“This firm has been running a business, doing work for clients, and we’ve been paid based on what we’ve been doing for clients over the years.”

But Task Force Sweep says it’s only getting started. Its chairman, Sam Koim, alleges Paul Paraka Lawyers has been paid more than $100 million by the Department of Finance since 2007.

In a statement, Koim says his investigators have uncovered a racket of lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, court officials, financial institutions and media organisations all colluding to pillage public coffers.

He says more arrests will come as more suspects are identified.

Finance Minister James Marape says the taskforce’s investigation has shown how large sums of public money can be paid out without the Minister’s approval.

“It has exposed some systematic weakness we have in the finance department that is chronic for a long, long time,” he said.

“We here are the custodians of public funds and we are supposed to be the safest place in terms of what maintaining public funds are concerned.”

Paul Paraka Lawyers is a law firm with 20 offices around the country and more than a thousand employees.

Its principal, upon his arrest, was unrepentant.

“This the biggest law firm in the country, hundreds of lawyers sit up in their offices right through the nation and do a lot of work and clock in-time, so when you have so much manpower doing the work then obviously you make more money than a one man law firm,” he said.

Paraka is what is known in Papua New Guinea as a big man.

“I was never scared about the police, and still I’m not afraid of them,” he told staff.

It is one thing to arrest someone and lay charges, another to convict him.

The wheels of justice turn pretty slowly in Papua New Guinea, and it will be some time before Paul Paraka stands trial. He appeared briefly for his first mention on Thursday morning, with the matter adjourned to December 13

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/ RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

27) Fiji says no sign of Australian conman in country

Posted at 07:12 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s Ministry of Information says immigration officials have not recorded the entry of Australian conman Peter Foster into the country.

This comes after Foster reportedly told Australia’s Sunday Mail he had left Australia using a false passport and was seeking a Fiji protection visa.

The paper says on Thursday Foster was sentenced to three years’ jail on two charges of contempt of court relating to his involvement in a scam.

Foster had also revealed plans to meet the Fiji leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama to sort out an arrangement for permanent asylum.

Six years ago, he was sentenced to two months in jail in Vanuatu for entering that country without a valid visa after skipping bail in Fiji where he was facing fraud charges.

The Fiji information office says Foster is wanted in Fiji for charges relating to an illegally obtained work permit.

It says if he is in the country, he will be apprehended and the charges reactivated.

Radio New Zealand International

REFUGEE:


28) Asylum ‘cruises’ to NZ touted
By Online Editor
12:18 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, New Zealand

People-smugglers in Indonesia are promoting a passage to New Zealand in shipping containers for up to $17,000 a person and are describing it to would-be customers as “the cruise ship option”, an Australian news investigation has found.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse warns anyone contemplating the trip: “Don’t come.”

He says a law passed in June for mass arrivals means New Zealand is prepared if any do.

A Sydney Morning Herald investigation involving secret recordings of people-smugglers reveals that New Zealand is being promoted as a better option than Australia. The smugglers tell asylum seekers they can get permanent residency here after 45 days, and bring their family.

Woodhouse said the report showed “not only are these smugglers heinous criminals, they are also liars”.

Australia has stepped up its crackdown on boats attempting the journey and all asylum seekers are sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru.

The SMH reported sources in West Java, Indonesia, as saying people-smugglers were increasingly desperate for customers. About a dozen remained active.

Prospective asylum seekers in Cisarua, West Java, cited four smugglers offering passage to Darwin or New Zealand in a shipping container leaving from Bali, Sulawesi or West Papua for between US$8000 ($9660) and US$14,000 (NZ$16,899) a person.

The paper said it had heard a recording of a smuggler named Muhammad Ali saying that for US$9000, he could get some Afghan asylum seekers from Jakarta to West Papua by air, then in a shipping container to New Zealand over seven days.

According to the paper, the recording has Ali saying: “New Zealand is very clear … Everything is better than Australia. The only problem is just unemployment … New Zealand is a golden opportunity. You can take your mother, your brother, all of your family after proving they are in danger too.”

The paper quoted one potential asylum seeker as saying many people had already paid US$3000 to one smuggler named Farhan and US$5000 to a third party and that a ship would go in one or three weeks.

Woodhouse said the 45-day residency claim was “a bald-faced lie to attract vulnerable people to pay large amounts of money for an illegal passage”.

The Government’s amendment to the Immigration Act allows immediate detention of mass arrivals – 30 people or more – and the ability to seek further detention for 28 days at a time until the asylum seekers’ bona fides are established.
SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:


29) More research needed to examine how Pacific islands respond to rising sea levels

Posted at 05:53 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

A New Zealand academic says more research is needed to examine the varying impact of rising sea levels on Pacific Island shorelines.

Dr Murray Ford, from the Auckland University’s School of Environment, used historic photos from World War II and satellite images to study the shoreline of the Wotje Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

He told Daniela Maoate-Cox that the atoll’s shoreline has mostly increased since 1945 despite the rising sea levels.

MURRAY FORD: Primarily, I’m comparing the oldest shoreline, from 1945, with a modern shoreline just simply to measure how much change there’s been in the island’s size and shape.

DANIELA MAOATE-COX: So what did you find out?

MF: Wotje has generally grown between the period 1945 and 2012. It hasn’t been huge changes. It’s a relatively stable island compared to what’s been seen elsewhere, although there’s some evidence that needs to be explored in more depth to suggest that since 2004 there’s possibly been a shift towards more erosion than stability.

DMC: So since 1945 the shoreline has actually been growing?

MF: Yes, on average. If you look at the islands as a collective sample, more islands have accreted than eroded, which is kind of surprising given the period coincides with rising sea level. But it’s not unexpected.

DMC: How dangerous is the situation?

MF: Well, none of this research suggests in any way that future sea level rise won’t be a problem. This research more or less illustrates the complexity of these islands and how little we understand about the dynamics and changes to the island shorelines. Any future sea level rise is going to have massive impacts on the islands. Some of these impacts are relatively well known. Some of these impacts we don’t actually know a lot about.

DMC: There is a lot that we don’t know. What do we need to do to learn more about this?

MF: I think the low-hanging fruit is systematic monitoring in a robust scientific form so we can actually assess some of these impacts to be able to make comparisons with different areas in the Pacific. There’s a definite need for monitoring and just better science.

DMC: Is there enough funding for the research and resources needed to do this?

MF: The short answer is probably no. The islands are complicated and change across a range of time scales. These short-term changes are sitting on top of log-term changes in the way the island forms and how it will respond to rising sea level. We still don’t have a good handle on how quickly these processes change and how the islands respond.

Murray Ford says this research is important for making decisions on future projects like schools so they can be built on more stable ground.

Radio New Zealand International

30) Solomons landowners working on legal protection of loggers’ target

Posted at 05:53 on 28 October, 2013 UTC

A conservationist in Solomon Islands’ Western Province says rural landowners who live in the city are pressuring their communities to agree to logging deals.

Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Association is working to bring forest targeted by a logging company under national protective legislation before an injunction barring the operation is lifted.

The association’s co-ordinator says Viuru Forest Enterprises works with a Malaysian company and he understands there are plans to plant oil palm and other cash crops once the land is cleared.

Ferguson Vaghi says some local people want the operation, in which the prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has an interest, to proceed but they are influenced by urban relatives. He spoke to Annell Husband.

FERGUSON VAGHI: There is a lot of misconception, misunderstanding, on the issue of beneficiaries. The family itself tells that the logging companies operating in the Solomons really don’t benefit a lot of people. But there are a lot of members of the community who really invite logging companies to exploit them. We know that they have very little knowledge of the importance of forest and all this. So we try to educate them to ensure that this is the basis of our society. There are people that come from the cities and towns who are part of the [Indistinct] as well who are infringing the local communities or resource owners. We doubt they really see both sides of the coin. So that’s the very sad thing about the logging deal in our country, especially in our island. The local communities are not really given the full light [on] logging.

ANNELL HUSBAND: So it’s the wantoks in the city who still have a say in how the land is used, they come and influence the people without putting the full story forward about what’s actually going to happen, what benefit there is going to be to the local people.

FV: Definitely.

AH: Right.

FV: Would you say the prime minister is in that category?

AH: Well, maybe in terms of the prime minister, maybe he’s talking about the importance of our economy on that part, but the land does belong to the tribes and all this, so we really need to have an understanding from the general consensus of the tribes and the community. Whilst we want money, whilst we want our country to develop, it is important that the local communities are well informed of the issues of logging and the beneficiaries and the impact of all this development so that the tribes and the community can make a tough decision on whatever happens.

Radio New Zealand International

31) Children ‘abandoned’ in PNG as traditional kinship system breaks down

Updated 28 October 2013, 17:08 AEST

An increasing number of babies are being abandoned in PNG as the wantok system breaks down.

Social workers in Papua New Guinea say an increasing number of children are being abandoned, especially in urban areas as the traditional kinship, or wantok system, breaks down.

One group is attempting to deal with this social issue with projects in the capital Port Moresby to help single mothers and children at risk.

Father John Glynn, founder of WeCare Foundation, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that babies are being abandoned due to poverty.

“The children sometimes go hungry for days and what happens is very often children drift away… from families,” he said.

“They begin begging on the streets… go fishing in the little creeks around the city, they drift away and get lost.”

No infrastructure in place

Audio: PNG struggling to deal with abandoned children (ABC News)

Father Glynn says while the wantok system could work in traditional society, it breaks down in the city, contributing to the rising number of abandoned children.

“There’s very little traditional about what happens in the settlements,” he said.

“Tradition may work in traditional society, in the villages where people still hang onto their traditional ways, but a lot of this breaks down in the city.

“It’s dog eat dog around here.”

Father Glynn cited the recent story of a newborn baby being found in the rubbish heap with the umbilical cord still attached.

He says putting up a child for adoption is difficult as there is no infrastructure in place.

“We don’t have, for instance, a panel of foster families who are prepared to take in a child like that,” Father Glynn said.

“We don’t have an adoption service that’s functional.”

In the case of the abandoned baby, Father Glynn says the lady who found the baby said she wanted to keep it.

“So, she left the hospital with the new baby. There was no paper work, no formalities of any kind,” he said.

Babies for sale

Father Glynn says one can find babies for sale in the city’s Gordon’s market.

“The word is if you want to buy a baby, you just have to go there, after two or three days you are bound to find the mother with a baby for sale,” he said.

Father Glynn says babies are bought by local people.

“This is all internal, this is just us, this is our own people,” he said.

He says another way of getting a baby is visiting the labour ward at Port Moresby General hospital.

“Within a few days, you should be able to pick up a baby there and they are usually given away for nothing.”

While these adopted children are looked after when they are younger, they often end up staying at home instead of going to school when they grow older.

“The children of the family will go to school but the adopted one probably won’t,” Father Glynn said.

Despite stories being published in the media about abandoned babies, Father Glynn says nobody puts pressure on the government to do anything.

“The theory is that the wantok system takes care of everybody and there is no need for the government to worry too much.”radio australia.

SPORTS:


32) France edge PNG to open World Cup account

By Online Editor
12:38 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, United Kingdom

Papua New Guinea fullback David Mead missed a late penalty in front of the posts to allow France to escape with a 9-8 victory in their Rugby League World Cup opener on Sunday.

Mead, who hadn’t converted both of PNG’s tries, lined up the goalkick from 23 meters out into a strong wind and watched it sail well left.

PNG missed out on its first World Cup win in 13 years in front of a partisan crowd of 7,400, while favored France avenged losing to PNG in Paris in the 2000 tournament opener.

France scrumhalf William Barthau, who kicked the decisive drop goal, almost cost his side as he was named man of the match.

He was offside catching a speculative high kick, then spilled it, and limped off as Mead prepared to take his shot.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

33) Australian Kangaroo stars want to back-up and face Fiji in the World Cup
By Online Editor
12:34 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, Australia

Not satisfied with their first up performance at the World Cup, the Kangaroos’ biggest superstars now want to back up against Fiji this weekend following Australia’s stuttering start in Cardiff.

Man-of-the-match Johnathan Thurston and players’ player Billy Slater both declared they will be putting their hands up to play after Australia’s gutsy but at times sluggish performance against a brave England.

The Kangaroos were back on the road yesterday, heading for their base in Manchester after the previous night’s 28-20 win at Millennium Stadium had sent a scare through the tournament favourites.

England had Australia on the ropes after 20 minutes when they led 10-0 and they were dominating up front with the Burgess Brothers, Sam and George, leading the charge.

But just when it appeared an upset was looming, the Kangaroos’ class kicked in.

Thurston scored one try and laid on two more while Slater raced away with a 55m solo try just before halftime that proved crucial in the final five tries to four victory.

But asked if they wanted to be backing up against Fiji, both were adamant.

“We have a squad of 24 and obviously Tim (Sheens) would like to use the 24,” Thurston said.

“If he chooses to rest me than that is what the coach can do.

“But I am fit to play and I will be putting my hand up to play.”

Asked if more time together on the field would benefit the combinations, Thurston added: “I think so. That first 40 from us (against England) wasn’t great.

“We didn’t have a warm-up match like other countries had so we need that continuity in the team.”

Slater said: “I feel that another couple of games under my belt would be beneficial for me.

“I will put my hand up to play next week and I’d imagine I’d do that the week after and the week after that, but Tim has got the decisions to make and obviously the ultimate goal is the last week in the tournament.

“Obviously we want to be playing our best football then and if that’s to have a week off, well, if that’s the best thing for the side than that’s the best thing for me.”

It’s not like it was on the old Kangaroo tours, where they used to play up to 24 games on tour.

If Australia win all their games at this World Cup and make it through to the final at Old Trafford on November they can play a maximum of six games.

“We are playing for our country so you are always going to put your hand up to play,” Slater said.

“Unless you are injured or you feel you need a break I think everyone is going to be putting their hand up to play.

“But it’s about the team and it’s about the ultimate goal. We are all here as a squad, there are 24 players here, not just a 17 man team and the rest. We are all in this together.”

Asked how much improvement the Aussies have in them, Sheens said: “That is what the tournament is all about. I think every team will be better by the end of the tournament given that a lot of the players haven’t played for a month or more.

“Hopefully you get to the final and in the sixth game you are going to be playing somewhere near where you think the potential of the team is.”

Slater and Thurston are among only a handful of players who could consider their spots guaranteed barring injury, but the team Sheens settles on to play Fiji could play a crucial role in how the rest of the tournament pans out.

Robbie Farah beat Daly Cherry-Evans for the utility spot for the first game and Farah was terrific when he came on against England and Cameron Smith moved to look.

But Sheens has a massive opinion of Cherry-Evans too and is keen to trial the Manly halfback alongside both Thurston and Cooper Cronk over the next two weeks to see what combinations work best.

Jarryd Hayne, Josh Morris and Michael Jennings will all come in somewhere and all three are contenders for the right centre spot Brent Tate got first crack at against England.

World Cup rookies Boyd Cordner and Josh Papalii can also expect to make their debuts against Fiji and Nate Myles also missed out on the England match.

Sheens admits he wants all 24 players that are on tour to at least get some game time before this weekend’s finished.

“Not everyone in today’s side will be rested, we can’t afford that. We haven’t got enough numbers,” Sheens said.

“We will be giving as much football to the guys over the next two weeks as we can but then you break up your combinations and things as well.

“I will give everyone the opportunity to impress over the next couple of games.”.

SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

34) Hayne’s facing mixed emotions ahead of clash with Fiji
By Online Editor
12:33 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, United Kingdom

Jarryd Hayne went to the last World Cup thinking he would do Fiji a favour by playing for them. Five years on, the now Kangaroo credits that time in his life for making him the man he is today.

The Parramatta superstar says it will be one of the most emotional challenges of his career when he runs out for Australia next Saturday in his first appearance at this World Cup against Fiji. Prior to the 2008 tournament, Hayne was one of the most talented young stars in the NRL but issues off the field threatened to derail his career. However, by the time the tournament was over he was on his way to superstardom – and, more importantly, his life finally found meaning.

“Fiji changed my life,” Hayne said. “This is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. It will be one of the toughest games I will ever play from an emotional point of view, knowing how much an experience it was last time.

“With God and church, for me, that is how it all started. It was an amazing tour for me. I went away thinking I was going to help them, but the team impacted me and gave me something I will remember forever.”

Hayne’s spectacular performances for Fiji made him just about the story of the last World Cup as the Fijians shocked the rugby league world on their way to a semifinal showdown against Australia.

They lost that game but the following year Hayne produced arguably the greatest individual season ever played as he carried Parramatta to the grand final and collected the Dally M Medal along the way.

He was preparing to play for Fiji again this year before he received a surprise call-up from the Kangaroos after a season marred by injury. Hayne put in a phenomenal performance for NSW this year in the State of Origin opener but days later suffered a hamstring injury against the Roosters and never recovered, playing just three games for the rest of the season.

He said he hardly gave himself a hope of being picked to play for Australia – but now that he’s here his mission is to fight his way into the Kangaroos’ top team. Hayne was right in contention for Australia’s vacant right centre spot for last night’s showdown with England but missed out to Brent Tate.

He will now get his chance next Saturday – and from there the race will really be on.

“It is a long tournament,” he said. “Obviously not playing this week is disappointing but I think personally it might help me getting another week under my belt training.”

Playing right centre would not be a new experience: “I played Origin on the left but right centre is probably my preferred spot in the centres. That is where I played growing up and that is where my dad played as well, he was a right centre. So it is something I’m familiar with.

“I think one of the things that took my focus off the injury this year was knowing there was going to be a tour at the end of the year, whether it was for Australia or Fiji, and knowing that if I could get the body right I would be on it.”
SOURCE: SUNDAY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

35) New Zealand Defeats Samoa In Rugby League World Cup 

Defending champs begin tournament with imperfect victory

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 28, 2013) – Despite a few ‘slip-ups’ the Kiwis got their Rugby League World Cup defence off to a good start, beating Samoa 42-24.

Captain Simon Mannering scored two tries and Manu Vatuvei a hat-trick as New Zealand kicked off its defence of the Rugby League World Cup with a 42-24 victory over Samoa.

The Kiwis were quick to exploit Samoa’s midfield underbelly, pummelled repeatedly to good effect by a strong pack of forwards led by Mannering and outstanding prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

Rugby league’s hottest property Sonny Bill Williams, in his first game for the Kiwis since the ANZAC Test of 2008, ticked all the defensive boxes in a generally muted attacking display, two of his trademark offloads ultimately leading to tries.

But after splitting the defence with 12 minutes to play, the rugby union World Cup winner suffered an embarrassing schoolboy error.

Completely alone as he ran the ball to the back of the in-goal, he slipped as he went to ground the ball, putting his foot over the dead ball line, to jeers from the crowd.

Four tries in the opening 23 minutes of the first half, allied with three more in the first eight minutes of the second period, saw off a Samoan side that battled back gamely for five tries of their own in a game of crushing impacts.

Coach Stephen Kearney said the Williams error came during a period when the team had taken its eye off the ball after opening up a 36-4 lead.

“We just got a bit complacent and ill-disciplined,” Kearney told Grandstand.

“For 30 tackles we didn’t see the footy, and against a side with that personnel you are going to pay the price at some stage.”

Kearney said that lapse eroded a good performance by the Kiwis earlier in the match.

“Our mindset is, is that going to be good enough at the back end of the tournament?” Kearney said.

“You’d have to say it wouldn’t.”

With the near-14,000 fans packed into the Halliwell Jones Stadium baying support for Samoa, it was the underdogs who started brightly, winger Daniel Vidot bundled into touch by Vatuvei.

Kiwi outside backs troubled the Samoans

Full-back Josh Hoffman was on hand to finish off New Zealand’s first scoring opportunity, a Williams offload opening up an acre of space, with Dean Whare providing the final pass.

The direct Kiwi approach up front sucked in the Samoan defenders, freeing up Roger Tuivasa-Sheck down the right wing, his inside pass seized upon by Mannering for the try.

Tuivasa-Sheck, the Dally M Winger of the Year, followed up with a try of his own minutes later, a superb one-handed, diving effort at the corner post after quick hands in midfield again caught Samoa napping out wide.

With props Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Kasiano driving holes up middle of the paddock, Mannering was again on hand to take a beautiful inside ball from Johnson for his second try.

Vidot again went close for Samoa after a lofted cross-field kick from Pita Godinet. Full-back Anthony Milford and replacement prop Mose Masoe also looked dangerous every time they had the ball in hand.

And finally Samoa, who suffered a humiliating 52-16 defeat by a second-string England team in a warm-up last week, got its rewards when Roberts dummied, fended off Sam Moa and crossed in the left corner.

Vatuvei, the New Zealand Warriors’ all-time leading try-scorer, got the Kiwis’ fifth try just minutes into the second period, latching on to a cross-field kick.

Dummy-half Issac Luke crossed a minute later with the Samoans in disarray. Vatuvei blasted his way over for his second before the Islanders fought back with the Kiwis guilty of clock-watching.

First BJ Leilua and then Penani Manumeasili crossed for tries as the Samoans upped their physicality.

When Samoan prop Suaia Matagi crashed over from short range, the crowd erupted, and the Kiwis were left with even more to think about when winger Antonio Winterstein latched on to a loose ball to score.

Vatuvei bagged his hat-trick as the Kiwis closed down the game to look forward to Saturday’s game against France, 9-8 victors over Papua New Guinea.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

36) Kite ready to fly for Tonga with home support
By Online Editor
12:31 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, United Kingdom

Tongan captain Brent Kite says the players can still feel the support for their nation from the other side of the world as they prepare to get their Rugby League World Cup campaign under way.

Tonga have to wait until Wednesday morning to start their World Cup, when they play Scotland in Workington.

Although most of the Tongan squad are based in Australia, they made a trip to Tonga and Auckland before heading to England for the World Cup and Kite said they were blown away by the reception they received.

“It was very heart warming, very touching and inspiring even,” Manly star Kite told Sunday News.

“The Tongan people are proud people and they believe in this team and we’re going to take something away from that.” Just as it was for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand two years ago, the Tongan communities have been passionate in support of their nation and Kite says there is something special about the way the people from this Pacific Island support their country.

“They are just so proud to be Tongan,” he said. “There are no natural resources there, we don’t have much and it’s a humble little country, but they’ve got the love, they’ve got the faith and they’ve got plenty of heart.”

For many players, representing Tonga is a second option and they’d prefer to play for the Kangaroos or Kiwis, but Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell is a player who felt the other way, spurning the chance to play for the New Zealand.

“There are a few guys in that boat,” Kite said. “It is very inspiring for someone like me to look at guys who’ve made those decisions because it’s very lucrative to play for Australia or New Zealand.

“Konrad is one of the few guys in the team that was born in Tonga and I think it’s important to have that representation coming out of the islands.

“We have a lot of guys with Tongan heritage playing in the NRL, but we’re not seeing the national comp back in Tonga being strong and producing players to come to Australia and New Zealand.”

Kite, who will move from the Sea Eagles to the Panthers next year, was born in Queanbeyan, near Canberra, and, although he speaks with a thick Australian accent, he’s passionate about how he’d like to see league grow in Tonga and for the team to play tests there.

“There is a statistic that says 60 per cent of the players in the under-20 competition come from a Polynesian background,” he said. “More fixtures would be good, but we’ve definitely got to get back to Tonga and strengthen those local competitions. One of the ways to help do that would be to have a successful World Cup campaign.”.
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

37) Fiji Bati name strong line-up for Ireland
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 28/10/2013, United Kingdom

Vodafone Fiji Bati have named a strong line-up for their opening Rugby League World Cup clash against Ireland at 9am tomorrow (Fiji Time).

Bati coach Rick Stone has included the experienced Petero Civoniceva, Wes Naiqama, Aaron Groom, Darryl Millard and Jayson Bukuya in the the 19-member squad.

The three Sims brothers in Ashton , Korbin and Tariq have also been included in the squad to pair up with Akuila Uate, Sisa Waqa and Marika Koroibete.

Fiji will try to repeat their 2008 winning performance against the Irish.

Fiji: Jayson Bukuya, Petero Civoniceva, Kane Evans, Aaron Groom, Marika Koroibete, Apisai Koroisau, Daryl Millard, Kevin Naiqama, Waisale Ligani Naiqama, Alipate Noilea, Vitale Junior Roqica, Ashton Sims, Korbin Sims, Tariq Sims, James Storer, Akuila Uate, Eloni Vunakece, Sisa Ledua Waqa and Semi Radradra Waqavatu.

Ireland: Dave Allen, Luke Ambler, Bob Beswick, Damien Blanch, Danny Bridge, Ben Currie, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Kurt Haggerty, James Hasson, Rory Kostjasyn, Stuart Littler, Tyrone McCarthy, James Mendeika, Anthony Mullally, Eamon O’Carroll, Apirana Pewhairangi, Pat Richards and Brett White.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

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