Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 898

MELANESIA:

1) MSG yet to settle on date with Jakarta for West Papua trip
By Online Editor
2:56 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2013, Vanuatu

The Director-General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has denied speculation that its mooted trip to West Papua is to go ahead next month.

Peter Forau says he’s still trying to get confirmation about the visit from Indonesia’s government.

The MSG resolved at its leaders summit in June to engage more closely with Jakarta on concerns of the group’s member governments regarding alleged human rights abuses in West Papua.

A delegation of MSG Foreign Ministers would visit Jakarta and Papua province before the year’s end. However Peter Forau has denied reports that the MSG was to visit on December 20th.

He told the Papua-based newspaper Tabloid Jubi that the MSG is still trying to figure out the date for the visit with the Indonesian government.

Some Papua advocates say it’s doubtful the trip will go ahead, suggesting Jakarta wants to deal with individual Melanesian countries rather than the group collectively.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

2) Dozens of West Papuans arrested in Timika

Posted at 00:03 on 27 November, 2013 UTC

Dozens of West Papuan activists are reported to have been arrested by a combined police and military deployment in the Indonesia province of Papua on Tuesday.

The National Committee for West Papua, or KNPB, reports 31 Papuans were arrested while staging a peaceful protest in Timika, calling for the right to self-determination of West Papuans.

The group had gathered at the tomb of West Papuan military leader Kelly Kwalik.

Those arrested include members of the KNPB and the so-called National Parliament of West Papua.

The KNPB says members of the local community are being intimidated, arrested and killed just because they look to claim their rights peacefully.

West Papuan activities calling for self-determination are increasing ahead of the December 1st anniversary of the 1961 West Papuan declaration of independence.

The declaration was ignored by Indonesia which subsequently annexed the former Dutch New Guinea.

Radio New Zealand International

3) PNG’s Parkop honoured for championing West Papuan rights

Posted at 00:03 on 27 November, 2013 UTC

The Governor of Port Moresby and the National Capital District, Powes Parkop, is to be honoured on Wednesday for championing human rights in the neighbouring Indonesian province of West Papua.

The John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award is awarded annually to recognise commitment to recognise work in support of West Papua.

The Australia West Papua Association says Mr Parkop has been an activist for West Papua since he was in high school and the award recognises his commitment to improve the human rights situation there.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Professional elites prefer private sector

Source:
The National, Wednesday November 27th, 2013

MANY professional elites prefer to work in the private sector rather than in government agencies because of accommodation problems, Internal Revenue Commission Commissioner General Betty Palaso says.
She was responding to a Public Accounts Committee inquiry into money laundering activities in the country and overseas.
She was asked by committee chairman John Hickey whether the commission had sufficient trained staff to fulfill its obligations to the state.
Palaso said the situation was beyond her control in terms of providing housing.
She told the committee that not only the commission but other government agencies faced the same housing problems for staff.
“Every year we advertise positions and we always end up with new graduates who are new to the job,” she said.
“We spend lots of time conducting training and show them what to do and where to start which delayed the progress in carrying out our tasks.”
She said the commission was currently understaffed and needed more experience people to carry out the work of the commission effectively.
The committee mentioned the purchase of valuable properties by certain individuals in Australia which had become an issue in the media recently and whether the funds moved from PNG to Australia received proper and lawful tax clearance.
“Do you have sufficient trained and expert staff to fulfill the obligation to collect all tax revenues which is due and owing and particularly on money which may not been legally obtained?” Hickey asked.
Palaso said the issue of professional PNG elites working for the commission had been an ongoing issue.
“Most professional staff when interviewed always asked for accommodation as part of their package,” she said.
“With little manpower we have at the moment, we are doing what we can.”

5) Call for Vanuatu dual citizenship push to focus on ni-Vanuatu overseas

Posted at 05:50 on 27 November, 2013 UTC

The executive director of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy says when Vanuatu’s MPs meet this Friday to consider dual citizenship, the plight of the many ni-Vanuatu living overseas should be their prime concern.

An extra-ordinary session of parliament is planned after last Friday’s meeting was abandoned because of an opposition boycott.

The government wants dual citizenship to encourage investment in the country.

The Institute’s Derek Brien says limits were placed on citizenship for reasons of nationalism and sovereignty but after 33 years of independence there needs to be a rethink to cater for the ni-Vanuatu diaspora.

“The central debate I think, that should be around looking at changing the requirements on dual citizens would be protecting ni-Vanuatu living overseas and their descendants so that they can claim their birthright, their heritage. It seems that the current debate however, is more centred around facilitating foreign investment and essentially fast tracking a citizenship process to be able to attract overseas investors.”

Derek Brien of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy

Radio New Zealand International ( Phil’s Opinion : Amen! Thank you Derek Brien…. DIASPORA’S it is! )

6) Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 November 2013

by bobmakin

a) “Iauko Group Tanna MP Pascal Iauko who attended an Opposition caucus when Parliament attempted to deliberate on Constitutional Amendments last Friday has joined the government and Prime Minister Moana Carcasses today” said an SMS message on 406 late yesterday. Ten minutes later it added “Andthe incumbent Prime Minister has produced the two thirds majority 34 MPs in the House, the numbers never any prime minister after October 1981, when the ruling Vanuaaku Pati was divided, had dreamt of achieving during any Extra Ordinary Session of Parliament.” The story, more than anything else, shows there was a huge worry about the numbers for Constitutional change anyway, but there isn’t any longer. Now that Pascal Iauko has joined the Green PM everyone else – all other MPs – will surely come rushing. This is the suggestion. Despite the announcement of the Speaker to VBTC that this week’s Parliament session could not meet because sitting allowance would have to double, it did meet, yesterday, when the Speaker was reported saying what he did about it being illegal to meet. And it managed to pass the Workmen’s Compensation Act (Cap 202) amendment raising death or disability charges to employers over four times. Daily Post covered this sitting. And reported it also abandoned many Bills relating to strengthening fishing surveillance, the municipalities, representation of the people and decentralization. One can only presume MPs are now given “time off” to consider the constitutional changes – is it possible still with constituents? – now in print, before the big Friday sitting which has become much more important than all sorts of things (like the 100 days list, 250 days after this good governance promise was touted.)

b) We had forgeries with Phocea and now they are back again. “Georgia never wrote a letter to Natapei” says the Post headline. The Georgian Embassy in London did not write to Natapei in June 2011 when Natapei was PM says Post. Georgia was simply thanking Natapei for his intervention concerning the Vanuatu’s recognition of Abkhazia according to the Ambassador’s letter. However, suddenly two years later the Vanuatu Foreign Affairs Ministry’s own investigations have proven this to be a forgery meriting the front page of Daily Post. The Opposition seems to have used the letter in statements made allegedly against the present Foreign Minister, but now Natapei is urging a need to overcome the “unsophisticated methods to create instability at a time when we need to defend this country against foreign elements who want to infiltrate and benefit from this country.” It will not happen during his watch, he promises. One wonders how the foreigners coming here under CIIP will indicate to Mr Mandel as they apply that they have no wish to benefit from their stay here.

7) Fiji’s SODELPA Aims To Include More Women In Party
Party hopes to attract women and youth, but won’t reserve seats

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 26, 2013) – Fiji’s Social Democratic Leadership Party (SODELPA) is aiming for 30 percent of its election candidates and party leaders to be women, but it will not be reserving places for them in its election line-up.

SODELPA’s General Secretary, Pio Tabaiwalu, says the party has decided against reserved places for women because it felt women should compete on an equal ground with men.

He says women are showing a lot of interest in standing but it is proving hard to attract younger women.

“These are the women who are in professional work at the moment. You have to attract them out of that secure employment to politics and politics in Fiji is a very unstable profession.”

Pio Tabaiwalu says the party plans to advertise next month to attract both women and young people to go forward as candidates, given youth will make up a huge proportion of voters at the next election.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

8) Independent candidates not like parties: Fiji AG
By Online Editor
2:54 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2013, Fiji

Individuals who wish to stand as independent candidates in next year’s elections do not have to go through the registration process as required for political parties.

Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the clarification yesterday.

Along with other requirements, political parties had to obtain at least 5000 signatures from members.
This was be accompanied by a fee of $5005.

Independent candidates do not have to do the same.

Sayed-Khaiyum said those who wish to stand as independent candidates will need to nominate themselves.

Under section 170 of the Constitution subsection (4) it states: “For the first general elections of members of Parliament under this constitution, the last day for the receipt of a nomination of a candidate for election to Parliament shall be 30 days before the date of the general election.”

However, laws set out in the Political Parties Decree in relation to Funding and Accounts of political parties and their candidates also apply to independent candidates.

This means an independent candidate, like a political party, shall disclose to the Registrar full particulars of all funds and other resources obtained from any source.

This information will be published in the Gazette and in the media.

This includes the declaration of assets and liabilities.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s SODELPA Party is aiming for 30 percent of its election candidates and party leaders to be women, but it will not be reserving places for them in its election line-up.

General Secretary, Pio Tabaiwalu, says the party has decided against reserved places for women because it felt women should compete on an equal ground with men.

He says women are showing a lot of interest in standing but it is proving hard to attract younger women.

“These are the women who are in professional work at the moment. You have to attract them out of that secure employment to politics and politics in Fiji is a very unstable profession.”

Tabaiwalu says the party plans to advertise next month to attract both women and young people to go forward as candidates, given youth will make up a huge proportion of voters at the next election.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/ RNZI/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

9) Ol woka long PNG i kisim taim long sait long haus

Updated 27 November 2013, 18:50 AEST
Jack Tame

Sampela lidaman long Papua New Guinea long sait long haus itok kantri igat bikpela wari long sait long hous blong ol wok man meri.

Haus blong ol woka long PNG i bikpela wari
Odio: Gary Juffa, Tiri Kuimbikul na Max Kep i toktok long sait long haus long PNG
Sampela lidaman long Papua New Guinea itok plenty ol wok man meri bilong gavaman na ol narapela wok lain long Papua New Guinea  i kisim taim long haus bilong slip na  wok.

Ol itok dispela i mekim na plenty nau i slip long ol setelmen na ol ples kanaka na kam mekim wok long ol taun.

I gat wanpela strongpela hap tok ol i kolim long tok inglis “housing is not a condition of employment”. Dispela i minim olsem oli givim yu wok ino bilong givim yu haus, em blong yu wokim wok blong ol.

Sampela long ol husat i gat dispela kain tingting nau i Gary Juffa Gavana bilong Oro Province na Tiri Kuimbikul, wanpela economist, na Max Kep Chairman bilong National Housing na Urbanisation Program long PNG.RADIO AUSTRALIA

10) Niupela teknoloji save mekim wok i isi moa

Updated 27 November 2013, 18:45 AEST
Kenya Kala

Ol tex mesij long mobail fon inap kisim ples blong planti ol forms na peipa wok long wok blong pinisim gut wok insait long rurel eria blong Papua New Guinea.

Odio: Chief Magistrate blong PNG Nerrie Eliakim i toktok
Insait long dipsla ol mun ikam go pinis, Papua New Guinea na Australia ibin testim displa teknoloji wantaim ol mobail fon sms mesij long bungim olgeta kot wok.

Chief Magistrate blong PNG Nerrie Eliakim itok dispela i save mekim ol kot pepa long rurel eria igo stret long bik ofis long ol Provins na long het ofis long Port Moreby.

Ms Eliakim i givim tok orait blongen pinis long displa teknoloji bikos planti kot wok na keis ino save kamap long sistim blong ol.

Em itok wok painim aut ol ibin wokim i soim olsem dispela sistim em i save wok gutpela.RADIO AUSTRALIA

BAHASA:

11) UNHCR : Pencari Suaka di Pusat Pemrosesan di Pasifik Hidup Tidak Layak

Terbit 27 November 2013, 3:05 AEST

Laporan Badan Pengungsi PBB (UNHCR) mendapati  kalau pencari suaka yang dikirim pemerintah Australia ke pusat pemrosesan di Nauru dan Pulau Manus hidup dalam kondisi yang tidak sesuai dengan ketentuan Internasional.

Perwakilan Regional UNHCR, Richard Towle mengatakan pihaknya mengidentifikasi sejumlah kekurangan dari kunjungan pengawasannya ke kedua pusat pemrosesan pencari suaka di Pasifik baru-baru ini.

“Dalam laporan mengenai Pulau Manus dan Nauru, kita menyimpulkan kalau kedua lokasi itu merupakan lingkungan yang tidak layak untuk tempat tinggal anak-anak dan keluarga,”katanya.

“Kita semua tahu kalau anak-anak disana tidak didampingi dan sangat rentan, jauh dari yang lain.”

Meski ada sejumlah pembangunan positif  di Nauru sejak kunjungan UNHCR Maret lalu, dalam kunjungan terbaru UNHCR bulan lalu, lembaga ini melihat ada kemunduran signifikan di sektor pemrosesan pencari suaka dan  memburuknya kondisi penerimaan sejak kerusuhan Juli lalu.

Dan kemunduran itu terjadi berbarengan dengan pengumuman pemerintah yang menyatakan per 19 Juli 2013, kapal pencari suaka yang  tiba di Australia tidak akan ada yang ditempatkan di Australia.

“Kami melihat penurunan yang  cukup tajam dalam keseluruhan kualitas mulai dari lingkungan fisik untuk orang yang tinggal di sana dan tentu saja, orang masih tinggal dalam status pengaturan penahanan wajib dan sewenang-wenang

“Yang memprihatinkan kami adalah ada banyak orang-orang rentan yang menjadi korban penyiksaan dan trauma, keluarga dan anak hidup dalam kondisi yang kami kategorikan keras dan jauh dari standar internasional yang kita harapkan dalam pengaturan penanganan pencari suaka.”

Pusat pemrosesan lambat

Keprihatinan lain yang dilihat UNHCR adalah mengenai kecepatan, kualitas dan integritas dari sistem pemrosesan di pusat pemrosesan pencari suaka, menurut Towle.

“Kita sangat prihatin, meskipun sistem pemrosesan dilakukan dibawah kewenangan hukum Nauru, hanya satu keputusan yang diambil dalam kurun waktu 14  bulan setelah pusat pemrosesan itu dibuka kembali dan belum ada keputusan sama sekali yang difinalisasi di pusat pemrosesan di PNG.”

UNHCR mengatakan lembaganya sangat memahami keprihatinan pemerintah Australia soal resiko nyawa yang hilang di laut.

“Praktek menjijikan dari kejahatan penyelundupan manusia yang menempatkan manusia dalam bahaya sebagaimana kita lihat dari banyaknya korban tewas,” kata Towle.

“Kami memandang ini sebagai masalah kemanusiaan yang serius.. yang kami prihatinkan secara keseluruhan adalah langkah-langkah yang diterapkan selama 12 bulan belakangan oleh Australia dan dikawasan.. yakni kurangnya perhatian dan juga penekanan yang cukup terhadap sisi kemanusiaan.”

Towle mengatakan pencari suaka yang ditempatkan di dua pusat pemrosesan telah ditahan diluar kehendak mereka, tanpa didampingi penasehat hukum untuk menjalani penilaian aapakah mereka perlu diberikan kebebasan atau tidak.

“Keterkaitan kondisi ini adalah wilayah rekomendasi kedua dan itu memandang pada sejumlah kondisi ekstrim, berupa kondisi kekerasan fisik bagi orang yang terdampak, hidup berdesakan, lingkungan  tinggal yang panas dan secara keseluruhan kondisi psikologis pencari suaka yang mulai putus asa.RADIO AUSTRALIA

FRENCH:

12) PNG: appel à une intervention militaire dans les Hauts Plateaux

Posté à 27 November 2013, 7:55 AEST
Pierre Riant

En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, le vice-dirigeant de l’opposition, le député de Bulolo, dans la province de Morobe, Sam Basil, en appelle à l’armée pour mettre un terme à de graves conflits tribaux dans sa circonscription.

Les écoles sont fermées, les magasins sont fermés, les gens ont peur, pour Sam Basil, la situation doit cesser : « Cela a vraiment affecté la municipalité de Bulolo et ici nous avons de gros opérateurs : Hidden Valley Mine et PNG Forest Products. Les affrontements ont conduit à la fermeture des écoles, des entreprises, cela a vraiment affecté la municipalité. »

Mais que s’est-il passé exactement à Bulolo : « C’est un problème auquel nous devons faire face régulièrement. Nous avons des activités minières à Bulolo et nous avons beaucoup de gens qui viennent d’autres régions et qui s’installent ici. Des gens à la recherche d’un emploi ou de nouvelles opportunités. Et nous n’avons pas vraiment les structures pour les accueillir. Nous perdons aussi des fonctionnaires qui partent travailler à la mine. Les prix dans les magasins augmentent. Franchement, l’arrivée d’une mine peut être aussi une malédiction. Et personne ne semble pouvoir résoudre ces problèmes. La question du respect de l’État de droit est un problème que l’on retrouve partout ailleurs mais plus spécialement quand il y a des opérations minières. »

La semaine dernière, un autre conflit tribal dans une autre circonscription du district de Kagua-Erave dans le sud des Hauts Plateaux a fait plusieurs morts. Et maintenant, c’est au tour de Bulolo. Est-ce que la situation s’aggrave ou est-ce que les médias s’intéressent davantage aux problèmes : « Et bien avant tout, je dois dire que nous n’avons pas assez de policiers. Quand vous y regardez de près, vous verrez que les ennuis commencent à partir de petits problèmes : le cochon de quelqu’un qui va dans le jardin de quelqu’un d’autre par exemple. Le cochon est tué, le propriétaire est furieux et une bagarre éclate. Ensuite, il va chercher des membres de sa famille et revient à l’attaque. Le jardin est détruit et le propriétaire du jardin va lui aussi chercher des membres de sa famille et le nombre de personnes impliquées grossit entre les allers-retours. »

Et que fait la police pendant ce temps : « Quand un incident comme ça se produit, il faudrait que la police puisse intervenir, qu’elle fasse des arrestations et qu’elle réponde aux doléances.
Mais tout le monde sait que quand on va porter plainte au poste de police, le commandant répond qu’il n’a pas véhicule ou qu’il n’a pas d’essence pour le véhicule et quand ils ont un véhicule et de l’essence, ils n’ont pas assez de policiers. Ou alors, ils n’ont pas d’armes et quand ils ont des armes, ils n’ont pas de munitions.
Bref autant d’excuses qui signifient que le gouvernement de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, d’hier et d’aujourd’hui,  ne prend pas la situation au sérieux et devrait injecter davantage d’argent dans la police. »RADIO AUSTRALIA

HEALTH:

13) Two cases of viral illness zika fever in New Caledonia

Posted at 08:49 on 27 November, 2013 UTC

Two cases of zika fever have been reported in New Caledonia following a confirmed outbreak in French Polynesia.

Zika fever is a viral illness; similar to dengue fever, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis; and is spread though mosquito bites.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says the French Polynesian Department of Health has confirmed an outbreak of several hundred cases of zika fever in Tahiti and other islands of the group, including Bora Bora.

Travellers are being advised to use insect repellants, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and sleep in screened rooms or under bed nets.

Symptoms of zika fever include high temperature, headache, red eyes, skin rash, muscle aches and joint pains lasting up to a week.

Mosquitos carrying the virus can bite day and night, both inside and out, and live around buildings in urban areas.

Zika fever originated in Uganda 65 years ago and largely remained in Africa and Asia until an outbreak on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia in April 2007 affecting more than 100 people.

Radio New Zealand International

14) PNG will not reach 2015 HIV/AIDS target
By Online Editor
12:31 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is not on track in its progress to achieving its targets on political declaration on HIV and AIDS by 2015.

In a lead up to the World AIDS Day in December, National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS) released data to stakeholders specifying the progress in the lead up to 2015.

Eight of the 10 targets will not be achieved by 2015, according to reports released by the National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS). Only one will be achieved while another is regarded as not a priority for PNG.

Targets that are not likely to be achieved are:

*Reducing sexual transmission of HIV by 50 percent by 2015;

*Eliminate new HIV among children by 2015 and reduce AIDS related maternal deaths;

*Reduce tuberculosis deaths in people living with HIV by 50 percent by 2015;

*Close the global AIDS resource gap by 2015 and reach annual global investment of US$22-24 billion in low and middle income countries by 2015;

* Eliminate gender inequalities and gender base abuse and violence and increase the capacity of women and girls to protect themselves from HIV;

*Eliminate stigma discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV through the promotion of laws and policies that ensure the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; and

*Eliminate parallel systems for HIV related services to strengthen integration of AIDS response in global health and development efforts as well as to strengthen social protection systems.

The report states reaching 15 million people living with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral drugs by 2015 (target four) can be achieved. This is because PNG has a national target of 80 percent of people who need access to ARV, have access to them by 2015.

Also reducing transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 2015; target number two is being ironed out as not a priority for PNG.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

BUSINESS/ECONOMY/FINANCE+:

15) PNG impresses Pacific

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 26th, 2013

PORT VILA: Papua New Guinea has best policy guidelines for socio-economic development in the Pacific, a conference was told in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
“PNG is committed to becoming a middle-income nation by 2030 when our aspirations stipulated in the strategic development plan are realised and consequently Vision 2050,” chairman for World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund board of governors Don Pomb Polye (pictured right) told his economic ministers, senior economic officials and donor partners.
He said: “Political stability has been a denominating factor in attracting investors in the country.”
Polye, who is PNG’s Minister for Treasury, said he was keen on formulating similar policies on global risk mitigation centre, climate impact security facility and global infrastructure fund for the region.
He wanted the fragile economies to insure themselves against natural disaster, saying their budget alone would not be able to cater for recovering devastations.
Polye had encouraged business and trade partnerships within the region to ensure business and financial sector grew and strengthened to find a resilient economic prosperity.
He challenged both advanced and fragile economies to uphold the principles of fiscal discipline without which, their economy became vulnerable to depression.
“When one economy sneezes, everyone gets cough.
“Therefore, we are integrated through trade and business so we must observe the role of fiscal discipline for economic prosperity,” Polye said.
He said PNG was an emerging economy in the Asia-Pacific, citing that growth was driven by its Fiscal Responsibility Act, Debt Management Act, Medium Term Fiscal Policy and political stability.
The economic ministers praised PNG for its progress in extractive industry transparency initiative and the Sovereign Wealth Fund among others.
Congratulating Polye, IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu challenged him to fully represent the small Pacific island nations in the two prestigious financial institutions.
Polye said he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting where he learned many good lessons which can add value for PNG to help unlock its growth potential.
He returns to PNG on Sunday.

16) Increasing Asian business in Maprik worries locals

Source:
The National, Wednesday November 27th, 2013

By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
AN increase in Asian investment in Maprik has become a growing concern for businesses, local businessman Yaliwi Nongi said.
Nongi said investors of Asian origin were moving into the township and were engaging in business activities supposed to be reserved for the locals.
“The increasing inflow of Asians into Maprik is becoming a threat to the local entrepreneurs,” Nongi said.
“They have taken over retailing and wholesaling and the locals are forced to compete with them, which is not right,” Nongi said.
He asked the Government to look into the issue and do something about it.
“The government department responsible should do a survey on the existing businesses in Maprik and get rid of foreign traders who are harming the local businessmen,” he added.
Another local businessman David Kwamillon shared similar sentiments, saying local business opportunities should rest in the hands of local people instead of the foreigners.
He suspected that foreigners like those in Maprik could not just move into smaller towns such as Maprik and establish their businesses without the help of unscrupulous individuals.
“These Asians could not just move in … there must be certain individuals who gave them the permission to move in, settle for good and set up their businesses,” Kwamillion said.
Meanwhile, Kwamillon believed that with government’s move to develop the small-to-medium enterprise (SMEs) sector, the entry of foreigners engaging in reserved businesses would be looked into.
“I hoped the government would really give the local people the priority to engage in business under the SME programme.”

17) Vanuatu promoting itself to the Chinese tourist market

Posted at 05:49 on 27 November, 2013 UTC

The marketing manager of a prominent Vanuatu holiday resort says Chinese tourism operators have assured him that once direct flights from China are available large numbers from that country will fly in.

Prominent tourism industry officials from Beijing and Shanghai toured key parts of Vanuatu last week and Iririki Island resort’s Bernie Millman says they were very impressed. He told Don Wiseman that the visit, organised by the Vanuatu Tourism Bureau, was the first such visit by influential Chinese tour operators.

BERNIE MILLMAN: They were very, very impressed by what they saw here in Efate and around the tourist centres of Port Vila.

DON WISEMAN: Sand and palm trees, though, it’s not what you normally associate with Chinese tourists.

BM: I was probably one of the people that said the same thing a while ago, but I have met a lot of Chinese here over the last couple of years, particularly the investors. And to tell you the truth they are absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty of this country, although people like James Packer back in Australia are maintaining that the Chinese tourism market centres on man-made tourist attractions. I’m not 100% convinced any more after seeing the Chinese come to Vanuatu. They are absolutely taken by our beauty here, by our natural beauty, and particularly by the friendliness of the people.

DW: I guess all the world knows that the Chinese tourism market is growing at a very rapid rate and you want at least some of those people coming got Vanuatu. But getting them there is problematic, isn’t it, because they’ve got to fly either out of Brisbane or out of Suva, maybe out of Auckland. So it’s almost impossible.

BM: That’s one of our major problems, Don. Hopefully we’re addressing that with the push towards either updating our existing Bauerfield International Airport to accommodate flights direct from Hong Kong and mainland China and Europe. We’re definitely going to upgrade so we can get the new airliners – not the 747s, but the new airliners – direct from those areas. And eventually, hopefully, have our new own international airport here. Because at the end of the day they want to come directly to here. They don’t want to have to stop over in Fiji or in Australia, in New Zealand. They want to spend as much time as they can here in Vanuatu. It’s a bit painful having to stop and transit in other places. 90% of our tourists at the moment come from Australia and New Zealand and other Pacific islands. We really have the potential to change that percentage and to increase our tourism numbers to the extreme. We have to get this airport up and running.

DW: I know in the northern Pacific, where they have very successful tourism into places like Guam and the Northern Marianas. There’s a lot of reliance on charter flights from North Asia. Is that a possibility?

BM: Yes, it is a possibility, but I think for the economic viability of tourism we definitely need direct commercial flights. The charter flights, there’s a lot of organising. And the impression I got from these tourism operators was we will get large plane loads of tourism out of mainland China as soon as we’ve got the capability of a direct flight. There’d be no doubt that we’ve got the capability of being a major player in the outbound Chinese tourism market in the near future, as long as we can get this direct flight availability.

The Chinese tour operators are also visiting other parts of the Pacific, including the Cook Islands and Samoa.

Radio New Zealand International

18) News Release

Asian Development Bank
Sydney, Australia

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Report Reveals Climate Change May Sink Pacific Economies

The economic loss suffered by the Pacific region could range from 2.9% to as high as 12.7% of annual GDP by 2100, according to a new study from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific includes modeling of future climate over the Pacific region, assessments of the potential impacts on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, coral reefs, and human health, and predictions of the potential economic impact of climate change for specific sectors and economies under various emissions scenarios.

“It is critical that countries contributing to the problem of climate change step up to assist Pacific friends and neighbors in the fight to protect their countries against natural disasters, crop losses, and forced migration,” said Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department. “Our findings show that if not adequately addressed, climate change could overturn the region’s development achievements.”

According to the report, the most significant economic losses would be felt in Papua New Guinea (PNG), where climate change impacts could trigger a loss of up to 15.2% of its GDP by 2100. Timor-Leste’s GDP is predicted to drop by up to 10%, followed by Vanuatu at 6.2%, Solomon Islands at 4.7%, Fiji at 4.0% and Samoa at 3.8%.

Under a medium emissions scenario, Fiji, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu could see temperatures rise by 2-3°C by 2070, which could lead to significant decreases in rain-fed agriculture, reduced fish catches, widespread coral bleaching, and falling tourism numbers.

The report notes that the negative effect on agriculture contributes to most of the total economic cost of climate change in the Pacific, and estimates that the Pacific region could require $447 million until 2050, and up to $775 million or 2.5% of GDP per year to prepare for the worst scenario. The cost of adaptation would be significantly less under lower emissions scenarios.

The report recommends policy leaders take urgent action to mainstream climate change mitigation into development planning and develop forward-looking adaptation strategies. The report also recommends climate-proofing infrastructure to improve long-term sustainability and boosting capacity of Pacific countries to deal with climate change on their own. Pacific countries will also need dramatically improved access to global and regional climate change funds.

19) PNG opposition says budget will bring ‘financial strife’

Updated 27 November 2013, 20:58 AEST
By Firmin Nanol for Pacific Beat

Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Belden Namah says the budget threatens to plunge the nation further into debt.

Last week Treasurer Don Polye announced a $5.9 billion budget for 2014, claiming it is a prudent budget in tough economic times.

But in the opposition’s budget reply, Mr Namah said the budget was a deceitful one and warned the government against overspending.

“This is not a budget for the people of Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“It is a deceitful and defective budget that is set to take all of us into future financial strife that none of those on the other side will be honest enough to take responsibility for – the likely misfortune that is about to come upon our people.”

Mr Namah warns the economic problems of the early 2000s – when growth was slow and the local currency fell sharply – could be repeated.

“The 2014 budget is a contractors budget and not a peoples budget,” he said.

“For prudent and transparent control, the actual expenditure, I guess the budget needs to be published and projects earmarked on this budget need to be independently audited.

“Only then, can we be comfortable that this parliament is promoting economic growth and development for our country.

The budget, handed down in parliament on November 19, forecasts a deficit of $920 million, representing a 20 per cent increase in debt.

Treasurer Don Polye says the economy is forecast to grow by 6.2 per cent next year, due largely to the start of liquefied natural gas production in PNG.

National Planning Minister Charles Abel says money will be spent wisely and goods and services will trickle down to the districts throughout the country.

“I don’t see any issues around the deficit,” he told parliament.

“Of course we have challenging times in front of us, because the world economy is struggling a bit.

“Some of our commodity prices are down. But we are forecasting that going into the future, that the commodity prices will recover.”RADIO AUSTRALIA

LAW&ORDER:


20) UN backing universal privacy right
By Online Editor
2:36 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2013, United StatesThe UN General Assembly’s human rights committee has unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Brazil and Germany to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance, following months of reports about US eavesdropping abroad.The symbolic resolution, which seeks to extend personal privacy rights to all people, followed a series of disclosures of US eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that surprised and angered allies.

Brazil’s Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota said the resolution “establishes for the first time that human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium, and therefore need to be protected online and offline””

The resolution expresses deep concern at “the negative impact” that such surveillance, “in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights”.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig asked: “Is the human right to privacy still protected in our digital world? And should everything that is technologically feasible, be allowed?”

The consensus adoption of the resolution means it will also unanimously pass the whole 193-member General Assembly in December. General Assembly resolutions aren’t legally binding, but reflect world opinion and carry political weight.

The United States did not fight the measure after it engaged in lobbying last week with Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which comprise the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, to dilute some of the draft resolution’s language.

The key compromise dropped the contention that the domestic and international interception and collection of communications and personal data, “in particular massive surveillance,” may constitute a human rights violation.

US delegate Elizabeth Cousens told the committee that the United States welcomed Brazil and Germany’s sponsorship of the resolution and was pleased to support “privacy rights and the right to freedom of expression”.

The draft resolution directs the UN human rights chief to report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on the protection and promotion of privacy “in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance… including on a mass scale”.

Last week, five major human rights and privacy groups – Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access and Privacy International – said this will guarantee that the privacy issue stays on the front burner at the United Nations.

Human Rights Watch general counsel Dina PoKempner said that though the resolution was “watered down” it was still a “vital first step toward stigmatising indiscriminate global surveillance as a wide-scale violation of human rights”.

The director of the human rights programme at the American Civil Liberties Union, Jamil Dakwar, said: “Yet again, the US is paying lip service to human rights when it comes to holding intelligence services accountable overseas. It is regrettable that the US is investing time to circumvent the universal human right to privacy rather than setting a new course by ending dragnet surveillance.”

The US has been trying to calm tensions with Brazil and Germany over the reported spying.

Rousseff cancelled a state visit to Washington after classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden showed that the NSA hacked the computer network of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras and scooped up data on emails and telephone calls flowing through the country.

Merkel and other European leaders expressed anger after reports that the NSA allegedly monitored Merkel’s cellphone and swept up millions of French telephone records.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:


21) Involve locals in heritage conservation
By Online Editor
2:52 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2013, FijiThe challenge we have as Pacific people is to ensure that the customary owners of land and seascape resources are able to experience and reap the maximum benefit emanating from its use in a more positive way, according to the Permanent Secretary of iTaukei Affairs, Savenaca Kaunisela.Speaking at the opening of the 5th Pacific World Heritage Workshop held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Kaunisela reminded delegates that in the Pacific, indigenity is inseparable from heritage and defines our cultural identity.

He added that protection of heritage must be based on respect, understanding and maintenance of traditional practices between communities, cultures and environment that underpins sustainable development.

Kaunisela also proposed the building of partnerships, including bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation as the way forward to enhancing the area of heritage and culture in the region. He urged for the review and proposing of development policies on heritage and culture within the Pacific including within the larger development portfolio.

He stated work towards enhancing local community awareness and participation in the preservation of their heritage was critical and necessary. He challenged delegates to increase in-country capacity to ensure management and protection of Pacific heritage sites take into account and recognises local knowledge and conservation practices inherited from past generations.

Held every two years, the four-day Workshop involves both regional and international delegates and experts and concludes with a field trip to the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, a Tentative site on Fiji’s List to UNESCO World Heritage. The only site inscribed from Fiji is the Historical Port Town of Levuka on the island of Ovalau.

SOURCE: PHH/PACNEWS

SPORTS:


22) Leading Fiji Bati unforgettable
By Online Editor
2:59 pm GMT+12, 27/11/2013, FijiLeading the Vodafone Fiji Bati to this year’s Rugby League World Cup semi-final will be moment to cherish for rugby league legend Petero Civoniceva.Despite being humbled by his former Kangaroos teammates in the semi-final, the soft spoken Fijian superstar admitted leading the Fiji Bati was the best way to wrap up his long colourful career.

Civoniceva said he was proud of the achievement of his gallant warriors despite falling short in the semi-final.

“I walked off the field proud with the effort of the boys,” said Civoniceva after arriving with Fiji Bati at Nadi last night.

“It’s a dream come true. It’s something I always wanted to do. Playing for Fiji is a huge honour.

“Despite the loss to Australia, the boys played some wonderful football.”

Fellow Fiji Bati forward Eloni Vunakece said the experience of representing Fiji on the world stage was hard to describe.

“Even the spiritual part of the team is an experience I will always remember,” he said.

“One of the best moments was after the game against Samoa. It was emotional to see players from both teams bowed down in prayer. There was pin drop silence from the 7000 spectators during the prayer.

“It was awesome.”

Meanwhile, five non-NRL players have been eyed by super league clubs in Europe.

Fiji team media liaison Tomi Finau said the players, who were not named, performed exceptionally well.

“This is great for Fiji rugby league and the players individually,” he said.

“We thank the people for their support and prayers and I thank the boys for their effort.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

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