Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 901


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1) West Papua rally: Port Moresby governor defies PM and raises independence flag

Updated 1 December 2013, 17:47 AEST
By PNG correspondent Liam Fox

The governor of Port Moresby has raised the flag of the West Papuan independence movement, despite a request by Papua New Guinea’s prime minister not to do so.

The governor of Port Moresby has raised the flag of the West Papuan independence movement, despite a request by Papua New Guinea’s prime minister not to do so.

Police told several hundred West Papuan refugees not to march through Port Moresby’s streets today but they did anyway, calling for independence from Indonesia.

Their destination was city hall, where governor Powes Parkop raised the Morning Star flag of the West Papuan independence movement.

“Papua New Guineans: for the last 50 years we have been silent, blind, not seeing, not hearing, not speaking. But tomorrow it must change,” he said.

Prime minister Peter O’Neill had asked him not to raise the flag.

Also at the flag-raising ceremony was visiting West Papuan activist Benny Wenda and Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson.

The pair are in the Port Moresby at the invitation of Mr Parkop.

But PNG immigration officials have threatened to deport them for “engaging in political activity”.

Ms Robinson says an official told her independence was a sensitive issue for Indonesia.

“I think it’s a grave concern that Indonesia has such influence on domestic matters in Papua New Guinea,” she said.RADIO AUSTRALIA

2) ‘West Papua activist says PNG is threatening him with arrest’

Benny Wenda claims he was greeted with warning letter after arriving in Port Moresby to raise morning star banner

Marni Cordell

Saturday 30 November 2013

The West Papuan activist Benny Wenda has said immigration officers in Papua New Guinea threatened to have him arrested along with an Australian lawyer for “engaging in political activities” and breaching their visa conditions.

Wenda and Jennifer Robinson plan to take part in an event in Port Moresby on Sunday to mark the West Papuan national day of 1 December. The event will culminate in a raising of the Indonesian province’s banned morning star flag at the Port Moresby city hall.

Wenda, who lives in exile in the United Kingdom, told Guardian Australia: “The immigration and police are outside the hotel and they want to arrest me in a few hours’ time. I’m sure that the Indonesians gave the order to do it.”

He still expected the demonstration on Sunday to go ahead as planned. “Even if they arrest me and put me in jail, my people and all our Papua New Guinean friends are ready to still [raise the morning star flag].”

An organiser for the event, who asked not be named, told Guardian Australia: “Immigration officers and police came to the hotel where we are staying and they issued Benny with a letter. It’s a bit of a siege here actually.”

The letter was issued by the PNG immigration authorities and warned Wenda that taking part in political activities was a breach of his visitor’s entry visa.

The organiser said: “It won’t stop the action going ahead. Benny is ready to get arrested and people are ready to protect him.”

The threat came as a surprise to Robinson and Wenda who have said they are in PNG at the invitation of the Port Moresby governor, Powes


3) British burned colonial documents

Sunday, December 01, 2013

LONDON – British officials burned and dumped at sea documents from colonies that were about to become independent in a systematic effort to hide their “dirty” secrets, newly released files show.

Under “Operation Legacy”, officials in Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Tanzania, Jamaica and other former British colonial territories were briefed on how to dispose of documents that “might embarrass Her Majesty’s government”.

Newly declassified Foreign Office files reveal how the “splendid incinerator” at the Royal Navy base in Singapore was used to destroy lorry loads of files from the region.

Other officials wrote of documents being dumped “in deep and current-free water at the maximum practicable distance from shore”, according to the documents in the National Archives.

One dispatch from Kenya in 1961 mentions the formation of a committee dealing with “‘dirty’ aspects of protective security” which would “clean” Kenyan intelligence files, according to The Times newspaper.

The British government agreed earlier this year to pay STG14 million ($A25.2m) in compensation to more than 5200 elderly Kenyans who were tortured and abused during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising against colonial rule.

The files released on Friday are the final batch of a collection whose existence was only revealed by the Foreign Office in January 2011 as part of the Kenyan action.


4) Bera: Young vulnerable to HIV infection

Torika Tokalau
Sunday, December 01, 2013

MINISTRY of Health acting deputy secretary Public Health Sector Unaisi Bera believes young people are at the centre of the global AIDS epidemic.

Speaking at the FNU’s World Aids Day Celebration in Tamavua on Thursday, Ms Bera said young people were most vulnerable to the HIV infection.

“Young people are particularly vulnerable to the HIV infection for social, political, cultural, biological and economic reasons,” Ms Bera said.

“Whatever their circumstances, in order to protect themselves against HIV, young people need information, skills, youth-friendly health services and a safe and supportive environment.”

She said Fiji and the rest of the world were not only dealing with information and awareness but with people who are faced with the reality of living with the disease.

“The vast majority of them are diagnosed. They do not know their HIV status.

“Some of them are already falling ill but they do not know that their illness is related to HIV/aids. And even if they do know or suspect, they are reluctant to come out and talk about their conditions.”

Ms Bera said the strengthening of the rights of stigmatised population groups must remain in the political spotlight.

“Widespread stigma and discrimination against people associated with HIV and aids hinder global efforts towards universal access for prevention, treatment, care and supportive services.”

She said despite the real crisis that still exists in many parts of the world, people should be proud of how far they have come in the fight against the epidemic.FIJITIMES


5) Tuna meeting to decide future of Pacific stocks

Posted 1 December 2013, 16:54 AEST

Pacific nations likely to battle with ‘distant’ nations over the region’s tuna fishing quotas.

The future of the world’s largest tuna fishery will be decided at a meeting in Australia this week, with Pacific island nations demanding tighter controls on a catch now worth $US7.0 billion a year.

A record 2.65 million tonnes of tuna was hauled from the Pacific last year, accounting for 60 per cent of the global catch, with most of the fishing conducted by so-called “distant water” fleets from as far afield as Europe, the United States, China, South Korea and Taiwan.

Island nations, many of which rely on tuna for a significant portion of their income, fear stocks are becoming unsustainable and want action at the December 2-6 meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Cairns.

“If distant water nations support sustainability of the resource, then they need to commit to a 30 per cent reduction in catches,” Marshall Islands fisheries director Glen Joseph said.

“It’s not a question of should they do it or not — they have to do it or face the consequences.”

A study by environment group the Pew Foundation found stocks of bluefin tuna, prized by sushi lovers, had fallen 96pc from their original levels, with juveniles forming the majority of specimens now being caught, pushing the species closer to extinction.

As a result, another sushi favourite, bigeye tuna, is now coming under severe pressure, while catches of skipjack and yellowfin tuna, which are canned, have also been steadily rising.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency said the Cairns meeting was looming as a major showdown over the need for reform.

It is expected to be “intense and contentious, with many distant water fishing nations resisting attempts by coastal (island) states to improve the management of the tuna resource,” agency director James Movick said.

A major problem for the pro-reform camp is the sprawling nature of the WCPFC, which was set up 10 years ago to manage fishing in a vast area of ocean covering 20pc of the Earth’s surface.

It has a mix of 25 members, ranging from tiny Niue (population 1,200) to the European Union, and makes decisions by consensus, which critics say makes it difficult to get anything done.

“Time is running short for the WCPFC as a whole to demonstrate that it is capable of breaking new ground,” Forum Fisheries Agency deputy director Wez Norris said.

In a hopeful sign for reformers, Japan and the Philippines have made a joint proposal with eight island nations to adopt conservation measures, including reducing bigeye tuna quotas.

However, organisations such as the American Tunaboat Association fear becoming bound by “draconian” regulations if reforms are approved, questioning the need for drastic conservation measures.

“There is no evidence that tropical tuna fisheries are in jeopardy,” the association’s executive director Brian Hallman said.

Greenpeace said there were more than 3,300 fishing vessels “plundering” Pacific tuna stocks and at least 45 more were under construction in Asian shipyards as demand for fish grows and stocks elsewhere dwindle.

“There are just too many fishing vessels chasing too few fish. We believe that the tuna fishery cannot sustain any longer this immense amount of pressure being placed on the Pacific tuna fishery by distant water nations,” Greenpeace oceans campaigner Duncan Williams said.

The Cairns meeting comes a week after the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) rejected pressure from Japan to increase quotas for bluefin tuna in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean.

After marathon talks, ICCAT concluded that the annual quotas would remain at 13,400 tonnes in the eastern Atlantic and 1,750 tonnes in the western Atlantic.


6) China represents new market for tourism
By Online Editor
4:23 pm GMT+12, 29/11/2013, Samoa

The first official familiarisation visit of Chinese tour operators landed in Apia this week, with a delegation of ten influential figures from the Chinese travel industry visiting major tourist sites across the country.

Coordinated by Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), the visit marks a combined effort to grow tourist arrivals to Samoa from the world’s fastest growing source market, which so far this year has generated 100 million outbound tourists.

In 2012, 88% of Samoa’s visitors were from New Zealand, Australia or other South Pacific Islands, a region with a combined population of less than 30 million. With changing global tourism trends and rising competition in traditional markets, more South Pacific destinations including Samoa have recognised the potential of China, which was the number one tourist source market in the world in 2012 and is now a major source market for Australia, New Zealand, Maldives and also Fiji.

The tour operators visiting Samoa are responsible for 1.25 million outbound tourists in 2012. This high calibre group had the opportunity to meet and discuss potential tour packages with local inbound operators and accommodation providers throughout their visit.

“With an increasing GDP, the number of Chinese outbound tourists continues to increase and there is an emerging trend of Chinese visitors wanting and demanding to explore new and exciting destinations like Samoa”, says President of China Environment International Travel Service, Mr Zhong Hui.

An influential figure in the Chinese travel industry, Zhong said he is “very confident in Samoa attracting more and more tourists from China”.

Supported by the International Finance Corporation and South Pacific Tourism Organisation, the visit is a key stepping stone in developing a marketable product for the rapidly growing Chinese outbound market. The visit follows a request from Government and last month’s Chinese media visit to Samoa, where a group of notable media representatives travelled throughout the country capturing footage for the promotion of Samoa in China.

“Tapping the China travel market is a tangible goal for Samoa. However, Samoa is not a low cost destination, and visitors from China are likely to represent a well-heeled, well-travelled market niche interested in adventure and culture-based travel,” said Dina Nicholas, Team Leader of IFC’s Pacific Regional Tourism Program. “As the market grows, the tourism industry in Samoa will adjust to a relatively demanding group of new tourists.”

“Samoa, which is an Approved Destination for Chinese, acknowledges with appreciation the assistance of the IFC as a key partner in this initiative and as well as the SPTO and private sector members which hosted the group” said Samoa Tourism Authority CEO Papalii Matatamalii Sonja Hunter.

Papalii encouraged the private sector to capitalise on the leads presented and mentioned that this is part and parcel of STA’s ongoing efforts to enhance trade awareness in China.


7) ‘How rich countries dodged the climate change blame game in Warsaw’ : Graham Readfearn

The steps in Warsaw towards a new global climate change deal looked more like shuffling of feet

Graham Readfearn

Monday 25 November 2013

After sitting through the final week of the United Nations climate change negotiations in Warsaw, one thing has become abundantly clear.

Rich countries are desperate to avoid taking the blame for the impacts of climate change on nations with a lot less money but an awful lot more to lose (like their entire country, for example).

More specifically, the developed countries won’t let any statements slip into any UN climate document that could be used against them in the future.

The 19th “Conference of the Parties” meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which ended a day late on Saturday, was supposed to be astepping-stone towards a new global deal to cut emissions.

By virtue only of the fact that the meeting actually went ahead and that all the countries have agreed to turn up again in Peru next December, it was a stepping-stone of sorts.

In the grander scheme of stuff, the “steps” taken in Warsaw looked more like uncomfortable shuffling of feet with the odd stumble forward.

Loss and damage

One decision from Warsaw was that the UNFCCC will set up a new branch (mechanism in UN speak) to deal with “loss and damage” from climate change.

That is, to provide some sort of help to poorer countries for dealing with the impacts of climate change “including extreme events and slow onset events”.

It seems to acknowledge that one-off “extreme weather events” can be linked to human-caused climate change (read: burning too many fossil fuels).

This new “loss and damage” branch can be seen as an explicit and formal recognition that impacts from climate change are inevitable.

One observer at the talks described “loss and damage” as the UNFCCC’s “third leg”. The first leg is mitigation, when countries cut emissions and issue targets.

The second leg is adaptation, when you make advance preparations for the impacts of climate change that are already locked in (building sea walls, cyclone shelters or developing hardier varieties of food crops – that sort of thing).

But what the agreed text conspicuously avoids is any suggestion that contributions made by developed countries should be worked out based on their overall contribution to the 40% increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution.

In short, this would be seen as an admission of liability and rich nations do not want a court case.

New deal in Paris

Meanwhile, a second key decision extracted like blood from the concrete and steel of the venue in Warsaw (a sports stadium) was aimed at building momentum for a global deal to come into force in 2020 to cut emissions.

The UNFCCC “parties” (almost 200 countries) agreed to go back home and “initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions” to whatever deal might be brokered in Paris in 2015.

Countries will be able to start putting their “contributions” to cutting emissions on the table from April 2015 – these “contributions” might be targets but could be other efforts to keep emissions down.

But the text of the agreement makes clear that whatever nations do offer, this will be “without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions”.

When it comes to offering even a broad outline of what a new Paris deal will look like, the decision from Warsaw leaves the door not so much open as swinging wildly on its hinges.

As the document says, a deal requiring action from 2020 could end up being “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force”.

So pretty much anything, then.

One observer in Warsaw, Mohamed Adow, from the charity Christian Aid, explained: “In agreeing to establish a loss and damage mechanism, countries have accepted the reality that the world is already dealing with the extensive damage caused by climate impacts, and requires a formal process to assess and deal with it, but they seem unwilling to take concrete actions to reduce the severity of these impacts.”

Australia criticised

During the two weeks of talks, observers were consistently blaming Australia for slowing the process down.

Climate Action Network International, which has a membership of more than 850 different non-governmental organisations, gave Australia four “Fossil of the Day” awards and the overall “Colossal Fossil” for the meeting.

Other groups, including the likes of Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth, took the unprecedented step of simply walking out with a day still to go (the proper noun Australia was being constantly uttered as the group members filed out).

The Warsaw talks exposed just how incompatible the Abbott Government’s rhetoric on climate change is with what’s already agreed under the UNFCCC.

For example, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says publicly that he accepts human-caused climate change is actually a thing. But has recently denied that, for example, it can play a role in increasing the risk of severe bushfires.

Yet the “loss and damage” agreement, which Australia agreed to by consensus, implies extreme weather events are associated with climate change.

Tony Abbott’s rhetoric

Also take Mr Abbott’s recent characterisation of the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund as an international “Bob Brown’s Bank” (Bob Brown is the former leader of The Greens in Australia).

Mr Abbott has said this is something that it would be “impossible” for his government to support.

At the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo,Australia joined Canada in insisting on a footnote to the official communiqué, which said the two countries could not support a Green Climate Fund.

But as John Connor, CEO of Australia’s The Climate Institute pointed out in Warsaw, the government’s reservations are a little late.

The Green Climate Fund, which will be tasked with managing financial contributions made through the UNFCCC, already has a board and a secretariat.

Hell, there’s even an Australia civil servant on the list of board members.

Connor said: “The Government needs to reconsider its withdrawn support for the Green Climate Fund if it takes rainforest protection seriously.”

One of the other decisions made in Warsaw relating to forestry projects – agreed to by Australia – also explicitly acknowledged the role of the Green Climate Fund in administering finance.

Australia also remains a signatory to a number of UNFCCC documents – including the Copenhagen Accord – stating an intention to keep global warming below 2C. Some scientists in Warsaw say we’re more likely heading for 3 – 4C or more, unless very deep and rapid cuts in emissions can be agreed.

Given that the Paris agreement won’t even come into force until 2020, this 2C guardrail now seems too greasy to grab.

Even the UNFCCC acknowledges in decisions made in Warsaw that there’s a “significant gap” between current emissions pledges and the chances of staying below 2C.

As UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres put it during the final press conference, what was agreed in Warsaw “does not put us on track for a two degree world.”


8) Empower women, youth

Serafina Silaitoga
Sunday, December 01, 2013

ROKO Tui Macuata Sitiveni Lalabuli encouraged members of the provincial council to involve women and youths in leadership roles.

The members, who are mostly men, were told at the meeting in Labasa that women should also be given the opportunity to represent their districts and sit in provincial meetings.

He said women were also influential and considering their motherly character, it would be good to give them a chance to be part of the council.

Mr Lalabuli urged the council members to allow women to speak during village and district meetings.

He said allowing women to express their views would help develop a community as women and men would work together.

The youths, he said, should also be given chances to sit in leadership positions.

Mr Lalabuli said involving the young people would bring in new and creative ideas which could be in alignment with the decisions made by the elders.Fijitimes.


9) Teary’ Sonny Bill scoops top award
By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 29/11/2013, United Kingdom

Dual international Sonny Bill Williams received an impromptu haka performance from his New Zealand teammates after being crowned the world’s best rugby league player.

Williams capped his spectacular return to the code by taking out the Rugby League International Federation player of the year in Manchester on Wednesday night, beating out fellow nominees Kangaroos star Greg Inglis and Scotland playmaker Danny Brough.

Williams said he felt shocked and “teary” as his teammates rose and performed the haka while he was on  stage after receiving the award. The 28-year-old dedicated the honour to them.

“I wouldn’t say I was a world star but I’ve been very blessed to have been in quite a few amazing teams with some amazing players and amazing coaches,” Williams said.

“It’s just been a blessed year, thank God.

“I accept this award on behalf of my teammates that have put me in a position to play well, coaches and of course my family.”

Williams helped the Sydney Roosters to the NRL premiership after returning to the code following five years in rugby union, during which he played 19 Tests for the All Blacks.

He has also been in devastating form at the World Cup and will hope to follow up the award with victory in Saturday’s final against Australia at Old Trafford.

In taking out the gong, Williams broke an Australian stranglehold on the honour with Billy Slater (2008, 2011), Jarryd Hayne (2009), Todd Carney (2010) and Cameron Smith (2012) previous winners since it was established six years ago.

Williams was one three Kiwis named in the team of the year at a ceremony at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, along with winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and hooker Issac Luke.

Inglis was named at fullback in the side, while Manly’s Clive Churchill medallist Daly Cherry-Evans was named halfback of the year.

Sea Eagles centre Jamie Lyon and Brisbane veteran Corey Parker were the other Australians in the side.

South Sydney and England front rower George Burgess beat out Sydney Roosters backrower Boyd Cordner to be named rookie of the year while older brother Sam was best prop.

Super League player of the year Brough was the five-eighth of the year.

Trent Robinson was awarded coach of the year after guiding the Roosters to the NRL title in his first season in charge.


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