Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 894

MELANESIA:

1) Complaints after video taken of Indonesian police beating Papuan man

Posted at 04:39 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

Video footage has emerged on the internet of a Papuan man being beaten by Indonesian police after being arrested in the town of Wamena.

Tabloid Jubi reports a brawl broke out among high school students on Friday, prompting police to take action, arresting a number of people with guns.

The footage posted on Saturday shows the man being led by plain-clothed and armed officers, before being beaten by a group of men, including armed police.

The policemen hit him with the butts of their rifles, before leading him into a police van.

The police then approached the cameraman and asked him to stop filming.

Reporters say the police tried to confiscate the cameras before they were told the reporters were professionals and doing their job.

A headmaster of one of the schools, Joseph Sudarsono, said he was concerned his pupils were not safe, either from students from other schools, or the police.

Radio New Zealand International

2) PNG PM threatens to scrap visa on arrival rights for Australian travellers

By Online Editor
10:03 am GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has threatened to withdraw the visa on arrival arrangements it has with Australia, unless visa rights are reciprocated.

Speaking in parliament, O’Neill said he is disappointed with how long it takes for Papua New Guineans to get an Australian visa.

He says he is also upset with reports about inconvenient questions being asked by the Australian High Commission during the application process.

“This visa on arrival business for all Australians will be withdrawn by the following year if we don’t get a similar arrangement with them,” O’Neill said.

“They all can go and apply for a visa in Australia so that they can come.

“We don’t want to inconvenience the travelling public, but on principle sometimes these decisions have to be taken.”

O’Neill was responding to questions from John Hickey, the MP for Bogia District in PNG’s Madang province, said Israel has agreed to give PNG citizens visiting the Holy Land visas on arrival.

In May r O’Neill told then-prime minister Julia Gillard that easier visa access for his citizens will go a long way in improving relations between PNG and Australia.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

3/4) Workers Strike In PNG To Go Ahead Despite Police Warning
Visible protest discouraged in favor of stay home action

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 18, 2013) – A group behind a workers’ strike in Papua New Guinea on Monday says momentum for the cause is growing.

The Social Media Activism Committee is asking workers in the capital and around the country to not go to work on Monday, in a show of support against corruption and some of the decisions of the Peter O’Neill government.

They had originally planned a rally in Port Moresby but the police say they will not allow any protest march in the interests of public safety.

But the Committee’s Lucas Kiap says people are being asked to stay home so there won’t be any visible protests, and he’s confident people will get involved.

“We are sending out emails to the people and we are getting a lot of callers supporting this, they are saying that it’s about time we all just go to the streets but because the police will not allow us and they will use anything to suppress us so we are asking the people to stay home.”

Lucas Kiap says corruption in PNG is so common now that any real change has to be driven by the public.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

5) PNG PM Wants Opposition Leader Referred For Abusing Privileges
O’Neill accuses Beldan Namah of ‘defaming people’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 15, 2013) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill wants Opposition leader Belden Namah referred to the parliamentary privileges committee for discrediting individuals in the House.

He asked Speaker Theo Zurenuoc to refer Namah to the committee for abusing parliamentary privileges and defaming people.

Zurenuouc will make a ruling today on O’Neill’s request.

O’Neill was responding to allegation made by Namah against him and the Central Bank’s economical advisor, Dr Jacob Weiss.

Namah had referred to moves or agreements to transfer and manage the PNGSD programmes and another development foundation to a company owned by Weiss’ son, LR group of companies, which was already doing work in Western.

Namah claimed that Weiss was a close friend of O’Neill.

Speaker Zurenuouc warned Namah to stop naming people using parliament privilege as it was against standing orders.

[PIR editor’s note: The PNG Post Courier reported that O’Neill went so far as to ask “the Privileges Committee to appoint two psychiatrists to do an analysis to determine whether the Opposition Leader is qualified to hold onto office as leader.”]

He said he would not allow the Prime Minister to answer Namah’s questions.

But O’Neill insisted that he should respond to the questions for the benefit of the nation.

O’Neill said there was no such agreement during his visit to Israel with Weiss or his son’s company and called on Namah to produce evidence.

He said Weiss served the country for over 30 years and had stabilised the economy of the country.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

6) Japan, Solomons Sign Agreement To Renovate Honiara Seaport
$26 million project expected to start next year

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 18, 2013) – Work on a US$26 million wharf at Honiara’s international seaport is expected to start next year.

This followed the signing of the documents for the project by Japan and Solomon Islands last Friday.

Japan is funding the 200-metre wharf, which when completed will dramatically transform the international seaport in Honiara.

But yesterday’s signing was done behind closed doors, a departure from the official Japanese way of signing projects that it funds in the country.

The decision not to invite the media to witness the ceremony stemmed from the controversy surrounding the sacking of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) recently.

Minister for Infrastructure Development Seth Gukuna controversially sacked the board after it refused to act on his order to reinstate SIPA chief executive officer William Barile, whom the board terminated earlier in the year.

The controversy almost put the project at stake, after a Japanese delegation that arrived last month to sign the project’s document, could not do so because there’s no SIPA board.

Under procedure, the SIPA board chairman will have to sign the documents.

Despite calls for Mr Gukuna to reinstate the board or quickly appoint a new one, he has not done so.

It was understood Mr Gukuna and Finance minister Rick Hou signed on behalf of the government.

No statement was issued about the signing ceremony.

Solomon Star

7) Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 November 2013

By bobmakin

Minister Crowby is today pleased to point out to Daily Post readers that revenue raised by Internal Affairs has exceeded by half what was expected. This, it is suggested, owes something to the RSE employment scheme which has seen many workers spend months in New Zealand, now extended to Australia, with ni-Vanuatu working on rural production.

Daily Post today questions government concerning its present help from former billionaire and previously declared bankrupt Stefan Mandel for the Hong Kong based Vanuatu Registry Services company. This company is concerned with the granting of Vanuatu residence, especially to Asian investors, which will lead to immigration and secure huge funding at negligible cost to government. An Ombudsman report of 2001 was highly critical of the generous financial assistance or gifts in kind Mandel made to civil servants Roy Mickey Joy, Howard Aru and Emil Mael when Mandel was interested in acquiring 80,000 hectares of Big Bay, Santo, land for a free trade zone. All three persons were key to Mandel’s project being accepted. Bribery was alleged, along with a gift of USD 150.000 for UMP political party of Serge Vohor and Willie Jimmy. Incompetence on the part of Prosecutions, among other matters, saw no follow-up and politicians Vohor and Jimmy were re-elected as the civil servants continued to be employed. The ombudsman report detailing the lengths Mandel and Mondragon were prepared to go to can be found on website paclii.org, the registry of Pacific judgements for all countries. The report questions whether Mandel is wanting to resume his free trade zone activities over the 80,000 hectares. Even he must accept there is a limit to the number of Chinese shops needed at Big Bay.

Youth leadership was much in the news of Radio Vanuatu over the weekend and this morning, with the introduction of national youth awards and a call for all youth groups to register in order to be able to access funds for community projects. The Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC) is their governing body, whether the grouping is church or community based, and a code of ethics is being adopted to ensure they work correctly. The main aim is to take young people, their objectives and ideas into account in planning, to give them a voice in national and local matters.

Allegations of a sexual nature concerning police minding a young woman in custody a week ago were also in the news. The Commissioner promised a full inquiry into the matter.

Maxime Carlot Korman has denied that he and his party have any intention to join the Vanuatu Republican Party as alleged by toktok going round. The Vanuatu Democratic Party will work closely with today’s government in establishing its road-map, Korman said. Never-the-less, VRP’s Matthew Leingkone maintained that a reconciliation would go ahead as planned.

8) Commonwealth praises Fiji but ban remains

Posted 18 November 2013, 15:47 AEST

Fiji’s new constitution and the promise of elections in September 2014 have been welcomed by Commonwealth leaders.
Pacific island nation, however, has not done enough to have its suspension from the Commonwealth lifted.

The final statement from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which wrapped up in Sri Lanka on Sunday, pledged leaders’ solidarity with the people of Fiji and their expectation that Fiji will be reinstated as a full member of the Commonwealth family’.

But they said this could only happen through the ‘restoration of constitutional civilian democracy, the rule of law and human rights’.

Commonwealth leaders also called for an independent national election commission be established to oversee the conduct of elections expected next year.

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2009 after the government, led by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama failed to meet a deadline to return it to democracy.

Fiji is currently banned from all Commonwealth meetings and from the Commonwealth Games.

The Pacific nation also misses out on most forms of Commonwealth assistance.

During the Sri Lanka summit Commonwealth Games Federation president, Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, said the suspension of Fiji should be lifted before the start of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.RADIO AUSTRALIA

9) Fiji PM Bainimarama calls for stronger commitment to regional issues

By Online Editor
3:46 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore  Voreqe Bainimarama has called on the region for a stronger commitment towards issues that have a significant impact on the lives of Pacific islanders.

While opening the 8th meeting of the governing body of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Suva Monday, Bainimarama said Fiji hasn’t done enough to address the challenges arising out of issues of environment, economic, health and well being of the people of the pacific.

He says, the responses have been half hearted, sporadic and inadequate.

However, Bainimarama adds discussions about the issues have intensified since Fiji hosted the Conference ten years ago.

“At this Conference, I urge you all to show more resolve when it comes to addressing our problems and formulate solutions that are realistic , affordable and can be implemented quickly and effectively. I think we can all agree that on some of the biggest challenges we face, the pacific island development states are running out of time. We are of course specially concerned about the resolute global action on climate change”.

Bainimarama stressed, the Pacific must do more to ensure that our voices are heard in the global community particularly in the way future development agenda are shaped.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says the Secretariat of the Pacific Community is the only remaining regional body that is keeping the pacific together.

Ratu Inoke made the statement as chair of the meeting of the SPC’s governing body in Suva .

He said the 8th Conference of the Pacific Community should be bold and be willing to take informed risks and venture out into new territories in their decision making, if and when the situation requires.

“Through its visionary leadership and management over the years and crucial technical support in the role it plays in the region’s economic and social development, the SPC has now evolved into becoming one of the last bastions of hope for the pacific region in holding the delicate fabric of our diverging economies and society together. This is a proud achievement for the organization and for this I wish to congratulate Dr Jimmie Rogers for his sterling leadership and for ably leading the organization for the last eight years.”

The two day Conference will decide on the new Director General amongst other key development issues.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

10) Fiji praised at CHOGM but still banned

By Online Editor
10:05 am GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Sri Lanka

Fiji’s new constitution and the promise of elections in September 2014 have been welcomed by Commonwealth leaders.

But the Pacific island nation has not done enough to have its suspension from the Commonwealth lifted.

The final statement from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which ended in Colombo on Sunday pledged leaders’ ‘unwavering solidarity with the people of Fiji and their expectation of Fiji’s reinstatement as a full member of the Commonwealth family’.

But this could only occur, they said, through the ‘restoration of constitutional civilian democracy, the rule of law and human rights’.

The Commonwealth Secretariat will provide technical advice and support for the election and has offered observers.

Commonwealth leaders urged that an independent national election commission be established to oversee the conduct of ‘credible and inclusive elections on a level playing field’.

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2009 after 2006 coup leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama failed to meet a deadline to return it to democracy.

Fiji is excluded from all Commonwealth meetings and from the Commonwealth Games and other sporting events and misses out on most forms of Commonwealth assistance.

During the Sri Lanka summit Commonwealth Games Federation president, Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, said the suspension of Fiji should be lifted before the start of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on July 23, 2014.
SOURCE: SKY NEWS/PACNEWS

11) Sustainability of Fiji’s latest budget questioned

Posted at 00:39 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

A professor of economics in Fiji says the challenge for the country is spurring real growth in the economy for the long-term..

Professor Biman Prasad of the University of the South Pacific says the 3.6% growth rate the government has projected for Fiji this year is largely consumer driven.

Professor Prasad says the budget for 2014 revealed last week continues the government’s populist and expansionary fiscal policies of the last two years.

BIMAN PRASAD: The real question, probably, is not how they’ll fund it in 2014, but how they will be able to sustain the expenditure beyond 2014, and of course that is based on the fact that they’re expecting high levels of economic growth. But these are unknowns that would have to be explained very carefully. Other than that, I think the commitment made with respect to national elections – $15 million for preparations for next year’s January election, $7 million assigned for the first sitting of the elected parliament. These are indications of government’s firm commitment to hold the elections and I think the expectation is that is going to be a positive one. One of the most significant expenditure locations is for the education sector, so initiatives for free education for schools and they have also brought out a tertiary education loan scheme. I think these policies focusing on the education sector is a very good one, but the caution that I would have is the effectiveness and the efficiency with which some of these large commitments would be implemented in 2014 and the government would have to make sure that people who are responsible for spending some of these commitments are actually doing it effectively and efficiently and making sure that the impact and where the money should finally ends up it actually end up.

SALLY ROUND: The capital works expenditure has gone up by nearly $300 million compared to last year, so $1 billion to be spent on capital works. Can Fiji afford this?

BP: Well, one thing I can say is that the infrastructure in the country over the last 25 years has been significant. When the government focused capital expenditure on roads last year and increased the deficit, some of us welcomed that because we felt that the borrowing for closing the infrastructure deficit, which is critical for economic growth, is a good investment. It is borrowing for productive expenditure. However, government will have to be careful that it does not go beyond its means. It should look at the debt level it already has and how any further loan is going to add to the debt burden and whether the servicing of the debt would be sustainable in the future.

SR: The sale of the state-owned assets, is that a good idea? This is divesting Fiji government’s interests in Airports Fiji, Fiji Ports, Fiji Electricity.

BP: Yeah. I think that’s a good question, and I think one could look at it from the point of view that these are critical assets, they’re strategic assets. Electricity is a public utility and we are not in a situation where we can leave these things entirely in the hands of the private sector and private companies. So perhaps those are good questions and ones that should be [addressed] with proper debate and understanding of why it is being done and how that could impact on the delivery of the services from these sectors to the people of this country.

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

12) French Polynesia gets another minister

Posted at 04:39 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

A new minister is to be added to French Polynesia’s government tomorrow.

Manolita Ly will become the minister of solidarity and family in an appointment already signalled months ago.

The president, Gaston Flosse, is also expected to name a replacement for the transport minister, Bruno Marty, who quit after crashing his car while being almost five times over the legal alcohol limit.

This also comes as the government has finalised its 1.5 billion US dollar budget draft which is now with the assembly.

The budget is described as an austerity budget, with an expectation that Paris will lend support.

The French government has agreed to lend 57 million dollars, which is expected to help pay suppliers and public servants.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA:

13) CNMI House opposed to improved status for legal foreigners

Posted at 01:41 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has adopted a resolution asking the United States Congress to scrap a provision that would grant an improved immigration status for foreigners legally in the territory.

The resolution, authored by Felicidad Ogumoro, passed by a vote of 13-5 on Friday.

A resolution is merely an expression of the House’s view and doesn’t have the full force of law.

The resolution opposes the CNMI-specific provision in any pending national immigration reform bills for long-term foreigners.

The territory’s delegate to the US Congress, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, had earlier ensured the provisions were inserted in two bills currently in front of Congress.

The Governor, Eloy Inos, says he supports the push for an improved status for long-term, legal foreigners.

Radio New Zealand International

FRENCH:

14) PNG : le Premier ministre durcit le ton

Posté à 18 November 2013, 8:59 AEST

Pierre Riant

C’est devant le Parlement national que Peter O’Neill a exprimé sa frustration à propos de la longueur de l’attente imposée aux ressortissants de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée avant d’obtenir un visa pour l’Australie.

Une frustration aigüe puisque le Premier ministre a menacé de mettre fin aux dispositions qui permettent aux Australiens d’obtenir un visa à leur arrivée à l’aéroport. Peter O’Neill exige donc une réciprocité.

Si le gouvernement australien refuse, les Australiens devront à partir de l’année prochaine demander un visa d’entrée en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée avant de prendre l’avion.

Pour le Premier ministre papou, la question des visas pour les ressortissants de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée est une véritable épine dans les relations entre les deux pays.RADIO AUSTRALIA

PASIFIK:

15) SPC Meeting Gets Underway In Suva
Appointment of new Director General tops agenda

By Losalini Rasoqosoqo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Nov. 18, 2013) – The eighth conference of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community gets underway at the Vale ni Bose in Suva today.

The two-day conference will discuss the community’s new corporate strategic plan and the 2014 budget.

Discussions on the topic ‘Enhancing Sustainable Development in Pacific communities’ will be carried out this afternoon.

Tomorrow, a new director general of the community will be appointed.

The SPC is an international organisation that works in the areas of social and economic development with its 22 Pacific island countries. Its governing body is the Conference of the Pacific Community and every two years, a committee of the whole of conference meets to decide on the community’s work programme and governance issues.

Fiji’s Roving Ambassador and High Commissioner to Pacific island countries (Polynesia/Micronesia) Litia Mawi said SPC’s sense of inclusivity was a boost to other island countries on achieving the theme of this meeting, which was sustainable development.

The out-going director general of the community, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, said they could not continue to rely on their members and traditional donor partners to increase their support to finance priority programmes.

He said this at the opening of the community’s Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administration [CRGA] meeting.

“SPC needs to explore other modalities of financing to ensure priority programmes for island members are funded and delivered.

“We also need to look at human resources, corporate strategic plan 2013-2017 and the financing plan to support its implementation,” Dr Rodgers said.

The Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, will open the conference.

FijiSUN: http://www.fijisun.com.fj/

HEALTH:

16) PNG investigating role of bats in spreading disease

Posted at 01:41 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea is undertaking a series of bat surveillance exercises to identify any potential disease threat to humans.

The research is being headed by the newly established Zoonoses and Neglected Diseases section of the Institute of Medical Research.

The section head, Dr Yazid Abdad, says it has been well documented that bats are carriers of diseases that have recently caused epidemics, such as coronaviruses like SARS, influenza and

rabies.

He says for many Papua New Guineans bats are food source and this would be one of the ways that any disease could be transmitted.

“Ingestion of bats is one of the methods for getting diseases from bats. There are other ways, such as direct contact, when a bat comes into contact with a human, such as a bite or a claw mark. Also indirect contact via other animals or other insects that have bitten the bat and passed it on to humans, and also contamination of surfaces with bat saliva, bat urine or bat guano.”

Dr Yazid Abdad of the Institute of Medical Research

Radio New Zealand International

MEDIA:

17) Russian photographer praised for helping PNG women tell their story

Posted at 01:41 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

The Executive Director of Amnesty International’s New Zealand office says he was shocked by photographs shown in Auckland last week by a Russian documentary photographer.

Grant Bayldon said despite working with victims for years, the photos of Vlad Sokhin’s travels through Papua New Guinea were harrowing.

Mr Sokhin spoke to many women victims of domestic and sexual violence, some as young as 10.

He showed photos of women accused of sorcery and killed by mobs after being blamed for the deaths of people with diseases.

Mr Bayldon praised Mr Sokhin for helping the women tell their stories.

“And I don’t think that even those of us who work in this field were quite prepared for what we saw here, and some of the harrowing stories. But they’re incredible images and I think they’re most incredible for me because they pick up the strength of many of the women there and the personality and the courage of a lot of the people.”

The Executive Director of Amnesty International in New Zealand, Grant Bayldon.

Radio New Zealand International

18) PNG MPs want new laws to control media industry

By Online Editor
09:55 am GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Papua New Guinea

Concerns have been raised in Parliament over the abuse of social media networks by faceless people to bully and defame others.

Education and Finance Minister James Marape has suggested that in­ternet service providers be regulated and operators of social media networks be clearly identified on the sites so that they are subjected to the country’s defamation laws.

Members of Parliament last week aired their views while contributing to a debate on a ministerial statement tabled by Minister for Communication and Information Technology Jimmy Miringtoro on Tuesday on the need for legislation to regulate the media.

Community Development Minister Loujaya Toni said freedom of information and speech must be regulated to control internet bullying and defamatory remarks by unknown and nameless people.

“The Facebook is on me, describing me, the clothes I wear and how I act. They are abusing it and it needs to be regulated. We need to guide legislations on the Privacy Act,” she said.

Minister for Civil Aviation Stevens Davis said the freedom of speech and freedom of expression as stipulated in the Constitution were not absolute or qualifying rights.

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop agreed and said the media should be regulated considering the implications of their content on individuals and institutions.

“Our laws are way behind the new technology,” Parkop said.

“Let’s move on and let’s make laws because we must think about the welfare and security of our society and our leaders.”

West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel said because of money, the media had been portraying a negative image of the country such as killings and sexual offences.

He said there must be control of the media so that they promoted the country. He said the media must be responsible and refrain from defaming others.

Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang said the country needed a policy to control and safeguard issues of national security such as the recent claims of countries spying on other countries and their leaders.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:

19) Fiji hikes departure tax

Posted at 00:56 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Government is hiking its departure tax by more than US$25, but players in the tourism industry don’t believe that will stop tourists visting the popular travel destination.

As part of its budget, the Government has announced its airport departure tax will increase from US$81 to US$108 from January next year.

As Amelia Langford reports, Fiji’s new departure tax is far higher than its direct competitors, including Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Nearly $US3 of the tax will go to the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji and and five dollars will be given to Airports Fiji Limited. The tax, which is included in the price of the ticket, will also include a five-dollar environment levy. New Zealand’s largest travel agency, The House of Travel, says the hike probably won’t have too much of an effect on tourist numbers. Here’s its commerical director, Brent Thomas:

“BRENT THOMAS: Well, obviously we don’t like to see any prices moving up – it’s adverse for the consumer. However, given the relatively small size and given the popularity of Fiji as a destination we don’t believe it is going to materially affect the number of New Zealanders going to Fiji over 2014.”

Brent Thomas says Fiji caters to all travellers from the budget-conscious to fans of luxury five-star hotels. But he also says the holiday market in the Pacific is very competitive and price-sensitive.

“BRENT THOMAS: When you add it up for four people going away, you know, it certainly does become a little bit more expensive and that’s where Fiji will need to be careful in terms of its overall pricing relative to other islands and other destinations. Having said that, people love Fiji and it will continue to be a very popular destination for New Zealanders.”

In contrast to Fiji increased tax of US$108, the Cook Islands tax is about US$54, Samoa’s is US$28 and Tonga’s is US$30. But a professor of economics in Fiji, Biman Prasad, believes tourists will happily absorb the extra cost.

“BIMAN PRASAD: It is something that the tourists can afford and people who travel are usually people who are not very poor and so raising revenue and earmarking it for some environmental and other policies is not a bad idea in my view.”

But one of the directors of the Maqai eco-surf-resort, Shaw Mead, says further hikes would be cause for concern.

“SHAW MEAD: It is getting quite substantial, that is a bit jump as well at 25 percent, so, yeah, if it kept going im sure there would be some kickbacks all over the place. There are other tropical paradises in the Pacific for sure.”

Auckland University of Technology’s Tourism Research Institute director says it is a fairly substantial increase but will be invisible to most travellers since it is embedded within the ticket price. But Professor Simon Milne says he would like to see more details about where the environmental levy will go.

“SIMON MILNE: I guess the question really has to be asked though – will this money go into a specific environmental protection fund or is it really just a bit of lip service being paid and the money is just going to go into the general Government coffers anyway? That’s not overly clear to me at the moment.”

Simon Milne also says the local tourist industry is no doubt disappointed by the hike.

Radio New Zealand International

20) Solomon Islands seasonal workers heading to New Zealand

By Online Editor
12:31 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Solomon Islands

A group of 68 women in Solomon Islands heading to New Zealand are told to behave well and work hard while there.

The women, who will leave this week under the seasonal work scheme, will be out there to pick berries.

“You are our representatives so don’t let us down,” Solomon Islands Trade negotiations envoy Robert Sisilo reminded the women during a pre-departure briefing, Friday.

Sisilo warned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would not tolerate any incidents which would bring into disrepute Solomon Islands’ standing in the seasonal workers scheme.

His warning came after recent media reports of Solomon Islanders who travelled under the scheme engaging in extra-marital affairs, resulting in breakdown of families.

“Recent incidents which came out in the headlines of a local newspaper will receive zero tolerance and must not be repeated,” Sisilo told the women.

“I must strongly warn all of you that the future of this scheme depends on all of you and as such you must behave well and always be punctual to work and adhere to the laws of the host country, in your case New Zealand.

“Don’t let us down.

“You are the lucky ones to have been selected from hundreds of other applicants around the country and as such you should make use of the scheme to try and improve your lives and also of that of your families, villages, islands, provinces and country,” Sisilo said.

He also told the group that they must set a specific goal to achieve so that they can invest in projects that would benefit not only them but also their communities when they return from New Zealand.

Sisilo reminded them to work hard on the farms and be good ambassadors.

Director of External Trade Barret Salato echoed the sentiments, reminding the women to be always punctual and look after each other.

The women will leave on 19 and 21 this month.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

21) Hawaiki Cable secures Oregon landing site for Pacific cable

By Online Editor
12:29 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, New Zealand

Hawaiki Cable has signed 25-year contracts with US providers Tillamook Lightwave and CoastCom for infrastructure, connectivity and a landing station for its proposed new trans-Pacific cable.

A new fibre backhaul network will connect the cable to the city of Hillsboro, near Portland and a major interconnection point, Hawaiki announced today.

Hawaiki’s cable is scheduled for completion in 2015. It will connect the US with Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

Previous cable projects to New Zealand have become victims of funding and geopolitical issues between China and the US.

Tillamook Lightwave is an Oregon intergovernmental agency while CoastCom is a private Oregon competitive local exchange carrier.

Hawaiki founder Remi Galasso said securing a landing point and backhaul is one of the biggest challenges the project faces.

In September, Hawaiki signed a deal with US-based TE SubCom to design and lay the planned cable.

Auckland, New Zealand-based ISP Voyager has committed itself as a customer as has Australian ISP iiNet.

A landing site in New Zealand has been mooted in the north of the country, near Whangarei.

SOURCE: ZNET/PACNEWS

22) Four new mines in PNG in 10 years

By Online Editor
3:40 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Papua New Guinea

Four large mining operations are soon to come on stream in the next 10 years, Papua New Guinea Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) acting managing director Philip Samar revealed in his presentation during a media workshop on Saturday.

The new mining projects include Mt Kare (17km west of Pogera gold mine), Yandera in Madang, Frieda project at the border of East and West Sepik provinces and Walfi-Golpu project in Morobe.

Mt Kare project is owned and operated by Indochine.

Samar said Mt Kare was undergoing feasibility study, which was expected to be  completed by middle of next year.

“The projected mine life of Mt Kare project was between five and eight years with commercial production to commence in 2016.

Marengo Mining Ltd is the developer of the Yandera project.

Samar said the feasibility study had been completed for submission to MRA.

The mine had an expected life more than 20 years and it would be producing copper and molybdenumby 2017.

Frieda River copper-gold project’s owner Glencore Xstrata had indicated opting to sell Frieda.

The project was on the market and PanAust was in discussions to finalise a deal.

Brisbane-based PanAust, a company with mining interests in Laos, Thailand and Chile, had agreed to acquire an 80% stake in the project for US$79 million (K205 million).

PanAust had planned to develop a mid-sized operation unlike Xstrata, that was planning large scale.

PanAust feasibility study was expected to be completed in 2015 with production anticipated in 2018 or 2019.
Frieda project was projected to have a mine life expectancy of more than 20 years.

Samar said Wafi-Golpu exploration project was a joint venture of Harmony Gold of South Africa and Newcrest of Australia with 50% stake each.

The Wafi-Golpu project had current resource estimate of nine million tonnes of copper and 26.6 million ounces of gold with gold equivalent of 74 million ounces and forms one of the world’s major gold deposits.

Samar said: “Current indications are that this project has the potential to be another Ok Tedi or Panguna-sized operation with an expected mine life of 20 plus years.”

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

23) FBI warns Hawai’i and other US islands of post-disaster fraud

Posted at 04:39 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation in Hawai’i has warned residents of Hawai’i, American Samoa and other US Pacific islands of possible disaster fraud following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

In a national statement, the federal government says suspected fraudulent activity pertaining to relief efforts associated with Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines should be reported to US Government authorities.

A Honolulu-based FBI spokesman Tom Simon says that due to the large Filipino population in Hawai’i and throughout the Pacific, he wants to re-emphasise the warning.

He says the FBI has not received any reports of victims of such schemes, but is telling residents to contact authorities if they do occur.

Meanwhile, the Filipino community in Pago Pago continues their disaster relief drive and over the weekend, Operation Bayanihan for typhoon victims held a radiothon to raise money.

Radio New Zealand International

24) PNG to introduce military service

By Online Editor
3:44 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Papua New Guinea

School leavers in Papua New Guinea may soon have to complete compulsory military service.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced plans at the weekend for a Compulsory National Youth Service, including military training, to combat rising crime.

“This will help (youth) maintain discipline and avoid getting caught up in illegal activities,” O’Neill said in a statement.

Similar services are implemented in countries including Israel, where it has worked to their advantage, he said.

“Many of our old people will understand services of this sort as it was practised during the colonial era in the 1960s and 1970s,” he said.

“They will also agree that their training from the colonial government educated them to be well disciplined and more respectful.”

O’Neill also said his government will make it compulsory next year for all PNG children to attend school.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

25) Australian PM Abbott rejects Commonwealth climate change risk fund

By Online Editor
12:37 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Sri Lanka

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected a proposal from the 53-nation Commonwealth to establish a new fund to help poor and island countries to combat climate change.

As an extraordinary Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting concluded in Colombo, Abbott joined with Canada in rejecting a decision by the summit to push for a Green Capital Fund to help vulnerable island states and poor African countries address the effects of rising sea levels, prolonged droughts, or catastrophic weather incidents, caused by climate change.

The proposal is for Commonwealth countries to work within the UN climate change network to build the fund for small and poor countries to access.

But the final agreement from the 53 members of the Anglosphere Commonwealth noted that “Australia and Canada… indicated they could not support a Green Capital Fund at this time”.

One of the key themes of the summit was the plight of low-lying, and poor states who are especially vulnerable to climate change, but don’t have the money for adaptation.

Malta will host the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, offering to stage the event after Mauritius withdrew in protest over Sri Lanka hosting this year’s forum.

Prime Minister of Mauritius Navin Ramgoolam did not attend the Colombo meeting in protest at Sri Lanka’s human rights record, and said his country would not be prepared to present the next one.

The issue of human rights violations dominated the final day of CHOGM 2013. Under questioning from foreign journalists, and in response to spirited defences from local reporters, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the international community to give his country time to reconcile after 30 years of civil war.

“This is not something you can do overnight. You must also respect our own views without trying to push us into a corner, so please be fair.”

Four years since the war’s end, relations between Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities remain strained. But Mr Rajapakse said he felt responsible for the welfare of all citizens of the island nation.

“They are all my people, my citizens, I will look after them, it is my responsibility… I will do it.”.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

26) Climate talks on carbon markets in ‘disappointing’ breakdown

By Online Editor
12:36 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, Poland

International negotiations on how to set up new carbon markets to cut greenhouse gas levels broke down over the weekend in Warsaw, sources said, after developing nations refused to progress the issue before rich nations increase efforts to cut their own emissions.

More than 9,000 delegates from almost 200 countries are gathered in the Polish capital for Nov. 11-22 United Nations-sponsored meetings aimed at forging by 2015 a new treaty to fight climate change, which would enter into force after 2020.

Sources said negotiators were unable to agree, before the start of high-levels talks beginning on Monday, proposals to develop new carbon markets and link them together through common accounting and transparency standards.

Talks on the issue have been shelved until June 2014, despite agreement in Warsaw expected by many.

A spokesman for the European Union Commission said the negotiations had proved very difficult and that it regretted that progress was not made.

“We remain interested in a political discussion on the role of markets in the 2015 agreement here in Warsaw,” he added.

Reaction to the breakdown in talks was mixed.

“The profound lack of progress is obviously disappointing. We hope the parties regroup and find a way to progress the (talks) as soon as possible,” said Miles Austin of trade group the Climate Markets & Investment Association.

Meena Raman of green groups alliance Third World Network welcomed the news, “given the grave lack of ambition from developed countries to reduce emissions”.

Poorer nations, which bear the brunt of the worst effects of climate change, want rich governments to take on more ambitious and binding emissions reduction targets.

Rich nations including the United States, Japan, and members of the EU, favour designing new market-based mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as cheaply as possible.

But developing countries are reluctant to launch new markets when existing ones are not working. They say rich nations support markets as a way of outsourcing carbon-cutting efforts abroad to ensure they don’t have to make any reductions at home.

“We need to review the failures of existing carbon markets to assess if they have any role to play in equitable and ambitious mitigation,” Raman said.

The Clean Development Mechanism, one market born from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, lets governments and companies in developed countries invest in carbon-cutting projects in developing nations, and in return they receive carbon offsets that they can use against their own emissions targets.

While the scheme has channelled more than $US315 billion to developing countries, it is faltering due to a dearth of demand for offsets from countries that are reluctant to raise their ambition under a new global pact.

Environment ministers will discuss carbon markets on Tuesday, but observers said nothing on new markets was likely to be agreed.

“(It’s) not a huge loss,” said one negotiator from the developing world who requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press.

“We want to see a new market mechanism, but one that’s designed to generate substantial net reductions the atmosphere actually sees, rather than a tool that relocates effort in a zero-sum game. So the outcome is disappointing from this perspective.”…

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

27) Vanuatu Coconut Crabs Under Threat Despite Conservation Efforts
Communities not aware of importance of harvesting ban

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 18, 2013) – Protecting coconut crabs is a focus in the Pacific but one conservation group says many challenges remain.

Coconut crabs might be a sought-after delicacy but in Vanuatu’s Sanma province, harvesting them has been banned since 2007 as they are under threat.

Environmental NGO Live and Learn is one of the agencies leading conservation efforts to protect these crabs in the country.

Its project officer Marie Kalasei told Pacific Beat despite being under threat, communities in the country’s Sanma province do not understand the importance of these crabs.

“They think they own the land and the resources that are in (it), for coconut crab they can kill anytime want,” she said.

“The community chiefs have the power to… tell the community not to go in there to get… coconut crabs or fish.”

Ms Kalasei says the challenge is that only some communities follow the ban.

“Some communities think the best way to get money (is) through the sale of coconut crabs,” she said.

This time of year, locals are allowed to take up to 600 crabs for a limited season.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

28) USP Students Attend International Climate Talks
Youth preparing to be future climate change negotiators

By Torika Tokalau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 18, 2013) – USP students attending the 19th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poland are gaining more negotiation skills on climate change-related issues.

Professor Elisabeth Holland, director of USP’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, said the purpose of the trip was to allow the students to become climate change negotiators.

“We’re trying to build the capacity of our students to become climate change negotiators through the UNFCCC process,” Prof Holland said.

“The students have gained confidence, the ability to synthesise information quickly, they’ve gained negotiation skills as well as a sense of being part of a large network of people addressing climate change.

“We see the governments of our representative countries are very enthusiastic of the participation of students and are beginning to integrate them in their own strategies.”

Andra Whiteside of Fiji said the conference had been a great exposure for her, especially hearing the opinions of people from various countries on climate change.

Fetalai Gagaeolo of Samoa, attending her second climate change talks, however, believes more action and less talking should be made.

“There is too much talking, I’d like to see more input and concrete solutions,” she said.

“This is, however, a really good learning experience.”

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

29) Solomons government accused of lacking ability to monitor mining

Posted at 04:39 on 18 November, 2013 UTC

An environmental organisation says the Solomon Islands government lacks the capability to monitor mining effectively in the country.

The Nature Conservancy hosted a forum on mining last week in Buala, the provincial capital of Isabel, where two companies are vying for the rights to mine nickel.

Forum delegates decided Isabel is not ready for mining and have returned to their communities to discuss the issues involved.

But the conservancy’s programme director for Solomon Islands, Willie Atu, says the government cannot oversee additional mining operations.

“We only have one mining in Guadalcanal and currently the monitoring and even going out there and having a …the government lacks facility and capacity. So like if this happens on another island it would be heading on more challenges for the government.”

Willie Atu says people also want a revision of mining legislation so benefits are shared more equitably.

Radio New Zealand International

SPORTS:

30) PNG Cricket tim i namba tu long 2013 International Cricket Caunsel Dubai.

Postim 18 November 2013, 18:21 AEST

John Papik

Chris Amini, kepten blong PNG National Cricket Team itoktok wantem John Papik (Credit: ABC)

Cricket Tim blong PNG iwok long kisim ol gutpla win long bikpla pilai blong cricket emi go hed nau long United Arab Emirates.

PNG Hebou Barramundis  nau i sidaon long namba tu ples bihaen long Nepal.

Tede ol tim memba ibin malolo liklik na oli no bin pilai.

Despla tim iwok long  pilai egensim ol narapla tim long World T20 Qualifiers long Dubai.

Sopos ol i winim despla T20 pilai long Dubai bai opim rot blong ol long go long nambawan World Cup blong ol.

Barramundi bai stap tu long 50 over world cup qualifiers long New Zealand long January blong neks yar 2014.

Kepten Chris Amini i tok ol i stap nau long Dubai wantem tim blong en na emi tok oli winim pinis fopla games em egensim, Uganda, Ireland, Kenya na Netherlands, tasol astem oli bin lusim pilai egensim Afghanistan.RADIO AUSTRALIA

31) Fiji overcome Samoa to set up repeat of 2008 RLWC semi with Australia

By Online Editor
12:45 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, United Kingdom

Fiji secured a return meeting with Australia after overcoming Samoa to complete the line-up for Saturday’s World Cup semi-final double-header at Wembley.

The Fijiians’ 22-4 victory at Warrington is also expected to earn them a place in the 2014 Four Nations Series Down Under.

Sunday’s result sets up a repeat of the 2008 semi-finals, in which New Zealand beat England 32-22 in Brisbane and the Kangaroos demolished Fiji 52-0 in Sydney.

The Fijiians lost 34-2 to the Australians in St Helens earlier this month and are unlikely to improve enough to topple the tournament favourites, but Wembley will at least provide a fitting venue for popular skipper Petero Civoniceva to bow out of rugby league.

The 37-year-old former Brisbane Broncos prop, who is still Australia’s most-capped forward, delayed his retirement in order to lead his country in the World Cup and once more led from the front.

Samoa, who looked a rabble when thrashed by England Knights a month earlier, had improved immensely throughout the tournament but they were disappointing from the start against Fiji.So full of fight in their win over France, the Samoans were subdued and disorganised for the most part and full-back sensation Anthony Milford was never able to get into the game.

Fiji, on the other hand were superbly marshalled by man of the match Aaron Groom and had a host of match-winners in a star-studded three-quarter line.

Winger Akuila Uate, who began the tournament with a hat-trick of tries against Ireland, showed a willingness for work and created the game’s first try with a trademark surge through the heart of Samoa’s defence.

Groom was in support to finish off Uate’s break for a fourth-minute score but Fiji had to wait until eight minutes before half-time for their second.

That went to centre Wes Naiqama, who timed his run to perfection to gather Groom’s grubber kick on the last tackle.

Naiqama converted both tries and also kicked a penalty awarded for a shoulder charge by former Huddersfield forward David Fa’alogo as the Fijiians led 14-0 at the break.

Uate and his fellow winger Marika Koroibete continued to cause a threat in the second half but Samoa hung on and gave themselves hope with a 58th-minute try from left winger Antonio Winterstein.

Milford failed with the conversion, though, and Naiqama extended his side’s lead with a 70th-minute penalty after Tim Lafai’s high tackle on Jayson Bukuya sparked a bust-up.

The Fijiians were good value for their win and they topped it off with a third try just before the end when hooker Apisai Koroisau off-loaded to fellow substitute Vitale Roqica for him to touch down and Naiqama kicked his fifth goal from as many attempts.

SOURCE: PRESS ASSOCIATION/PACNEWS

32) Roos won’t be underdone at RLWC: Sheens

By Online Editor
12:44 pm GMT+12, 18/11/2013, United Kingdom

Coach Tim Sheens has dismissed suggestions Australia could be disadvantaged by having a comparatively easier run to the Rugby League World Cup final than their biggest rivals.

While reigning champions New Zealand and fellow tournament heavyweights England face off in Saturday’s semi-finals, title favourites Australia will meet Fiji for the second time in the tournament.

Fiji booked a ticket to Saturday’s double header at London’s Wembley Stadium with a 22-4 quarter-final victory over Samoa on Sunday, to repeat their feat of reaching the last four at the 2008 World Cup.

Australia defeated Fiji 34-2 in a Group A clash in St Helens a fortnight ago, a win that followed a tournament-opening 28-20 victory over England and preceded thrashings of Ireland and the United States.

Sheens’ men have not conceded a try in their past three games and they are expected to be untroubled in reaching the final, but the coach is not worried that New Zealand or England will be getting a better hit-out for the final by playing each other.

“We’ve already played them (England). You’ve got to beat whoever is in front of you and then you’ve got to be ready,” Sheens said.

“It’s about the intensity you take into every game.”

Sheens said the focus heading into recent matches had been about maintaining intensity for a full 80 minutes.

“You put your foot on the pedal and you don’t take it off,” Sheens said.

“Not play until halftime and then release the foot and have an easy second half.”

Australia have been strong in the second halves of their past three games, increasing their lead by at least 18 after halftime in each match and not conceding a point.

New Zealand and England have not quite been as consistent in putting games away, with the Kiwis in particular taking their foot off the gas in second halves against Papua New Guinea and Scotland.

Fiji clearly have the biggest mental barrier to overcome of the four semi-finalists, needing to find a way to reverse the result of their group stage defeat to Australia.

That match was played at night in strong winds and heavy rain but conditions should be more favourable at Wembley and that could spell trouble for the Bati after the Kangaroos produced their most-polished attacking performance of the tournament against the Tomahawks.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

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