Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 905

MELANESIA:

1a) Diplomatic row to shake Fiji relations
By Online Editor
1:19 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Fiji government has refused to recognise the appointment of Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

PNG High Commissioner to Fiji Peter Eafeare was recently appointed the dean of the diplomatic community in Fiji.

However, the refusal by the Fiji Government to vet the appointment has led to Port Moresby recalling the diplomat for “consultations”.

The actions of the Fijian government has caught the PNG government by surprise, even Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who told the Post-Courier Friday that he was not sure of the reasons behind the position taken by Fiji.

“He has been told that they (Fiji) don’t accept him as the head of missions in Fiji so I don’t know what the reasons are, whether there are any things to be concerned (about) but we will look through the matter and of course we want very good bilateral relationships with people,” he said.

The PM said the Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato would release an official statement soon on the diplomatic spat.

The O’Neill Government has since its election into office last year promoted PNG-Fiji bilateral relations and gave a K50 million grant to the Frank Bainimarama-led government to prepare for the 2014 general election.

Trade between the two Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) heavyweights has also increased with a 67 per cent jump in Fiji’s trade with PNG in the last five years.

But O’Neill is confident the matter will not affect bilateral and trade relations and said Pato’s statement should give a full picture on the reasons behind Fiji’s refusal to “recognise” Eafeare.

“There wasn’t any specific reason given to us, it was just that they were not going to recognise him and work with him as the dean of the diplomatic corps,” he added.

Eafeare returned to Port Moresby recently and refused to comment when contacted by this newspaper, saying  Pato or the acting Foreign Affairs Secretary William Dihm were the appropriate people to speak to on the issue.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

1b) Solomon Islands govt launches reconciliation process
By Online Editor
3:17 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands  Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo will launch the reconciliation process with communities in the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal with a ‘solovisu’ ceremony at Peochakuri Village in the Duidui Ward, South Guadalcanal on Wednesday.

The ‘solovisu’ symbolizes the “calling back” of people who left their settlements and villages to find shelter in other places during the Joint Operation in 2002.

According to the Solomon Islands Government the reconciliation is for the loss of lives, properties and violations of human rights committed by members of the Joint Operation in the Weathercoast communities as the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and former GLF members hunted Guadalcanal Liberation Front Leader, Harold Keke in October 2002.

Keke did not sign the Townsville Agreement between the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army (GRA) and the Malaita Eagle Force in 2000 but formed a new militant group called Guadalcanal Liberation Front (GLF) and continued to operate in the Weathercoast communities causing deaths and other acts of violence.

This week’s launch of the reconciliation process is the culmination of work which started with the formation of a National Committee to oversee the reconciliation between the RSIPF and the communities of the Weathercoast.

The Committee, co-chaired by the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace; and Police, National Security and Correctional Services, included Members for National Parliament from the Weathercoast, members of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands(RAMSI) and the Ministry of National Unity, as secretariat.

A key component of this reconciliation process is the establishment of Peace and Reconciliation Mediators with the mandate to consult and mediate between different conflicting parties in the Wards whose members were victims of the conflict between the Joint Operation and the Guadalcanal Liberation Front.

After the launch of the reconciliation process this week, solovisu ceremonies will be held in villages in the Duidui, Talise, Vatukulau, and Wanderer Bay Wards.

“This year the Solomon Islands Government has allocated a total of SBD$2.8 million (approx US$391,500) for this reconciliation process under my Ministry’s budget and that of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services,” said Lennis Rukale, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Unity, Peace and Reconciliation.

Rukale explained: “This reconciliation needs to take place as people in the communities in Weathercoast want to put an end to the suffering they went through and to allow the deployment of the RSIPF to communities in the area.”

The launch of the Weathercoast reconciliation process will be attended by senior members of the Government including representatives of the Ministries of Police, National Security and Correctional Services; the Acting Commissioner of Police, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, the Premier of Guadalcanal Province and both National MPs and Provincial Government Members for communities in the Weathercoast communities.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS

2a) Vanuatu daily news digest | 9 December 2013

by bobmakin

RVS Tukoro has returned to the country after repair and maintenance work amounting to VT 800 million under the Australian Defence Cooperation Agreement. New mechanical and navigation equipment has been installed at a Cairns, Queensland, shipyard. New communications hardware has also been positioned. The Vanuatu Police Force is very appreciative of the help given, reports VBTC News.

Daily Post today has the Australian government funded Matevulu College likely to be run by Sanma Province as advised by the provincial president, William Malon, at the school’s speech day. The former jewel in the education crown is said to be “ragged,” with maintenance funds likely to have been mis-used or mis-spent. A petition is allegedly going to the Chinese Government for funds for repairs and maintenance.

The Media Association of Vanuatu – MAV – celebrated the Right To Know Day last week launching its information programmeto increase awareness of the need for a free flow of information and for people to feel free to express themselves through the media. Whilst it was intended to have the present sitting of Parliament debate a new law concerning the rights of people to information, this has been withdrawn pending further work on aspects of it. Transparency Vanuatu and ALAC are celebrating Anti-Corruption Day today at Freswota Park under a theme of Zero Corruption: 100% Development.

The Japanese aid agency, JICA, is assisting the Fisheries Department and Vanuatu fishermen by way of advising on new techniques employed in the fishing industry. Director Moses Amos told Radio Vanuatu News today that Efate, Malekula and Aneityum are the three islands to benefit in the first instance.The department collects over VT 200 million annually through different licences.

2b) New post on Vanuatu Daily Digest – 8 December 2013. 
A short history of Vanuatu citizenship sales

by bobmakin

As Vanuatu introduces dual citizenship, it does no harm to review where we have gone wrong – most voters would agree – with citizenship for sale in the past.

This excerpt concerning Vanuatu from an article from 2007 reviews the situation back then …

Commonwealth and Comparative

Politics (2007) Volume 45, Number 2,

Pages 138-163.

Citizenship For Sale: Passports of

Convenience From Pacific Island Tax

Havens1

By

Anthony van Fossen

Griffith University

e-mail: a.vanfossen

Pacific Island tax havens have apparently collected $153,450,000 from (mostly ethnic

Chinese) purchasers of passports. This paper considers the evolution of passport sales in

Tonga, Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru and internal and international

opposition to them. Tension exists between different conceptions of citizenship within the

world-system. Sales reflect classical liberal, individualistic, free market conceptions of

citizenship. Opponents invoke both conservative and democratic conceptions of

citizenship. The paper favours democratic solutions to many problems sales create.

Sales schemes involve secrecy, corruption, and facilitate crime—which attenuates

following exposure by media, opposition politicians, watchdogs and crusaders against

international terrorism. Pacific Island havens currently have no legal, official passport

sales schemes, but the paper demonstrates that they probably continue.

In 1995 and 1996 it appears that at least 2,000 Marshall Islands passports sold for at least $11,000 each—produced revenues of $22m (about 11% of GDP per year).

VANUATU

Attempts to establish schemes in Vanuatu OFC have required state co-operation to waive its ten-year residency requirement for citizenship and lift its dual citizenship prohibition.

Many failed when fraudulent connections were publicised. In 1994 John Avram, former CEO of failed Australian tourism property developer Interwest (who had breached Australian corporations law), and Melbourne associates proposed a A$400m five star tourism complex on Moso Island, with a bank, a casino, its own companies register, financial markets, and a business migration programme (involving Vanuatu citizenship, passports and residence) for investors (Armstrong and Gross 1995:76, 232, 297-8, Vanuatu Weekly 24/2/96, 14/9/96). Although the government approved the scheme it never eventuated. In July 1994 he Olilian Group proposed a new bank, OFC and export processing free trade zone (FTZ), with government approval, to entice about 3,000 wealthy Asian passport purchasers to settle in Luganville on Espiritu Santo. It included residential, hotel, commercial and medical developments. It failed when promoters were charged with fraud in July 199516.

On 20 June 1997 Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vidal Soksok, advised by Prime Minister Serge Vohor, gave the Resort Las Vegas Group (a.k.a. the South Pacific Immigration Authority) exclusive rights to sell Vanuatu citizenships. Jai Yong (Richard) Jung (a.k.a. Sung Ho Jung), the principal of Resorts Las Vegas, was granted citizenship and an official passport (as trade commissioner to South Korea) despite only fifteen

months’ Vanuatu residence and his retention of South Korean citizenship. He had a criminal conviction and had fled South Korean securities fraud charges. Jung claimed he would build a $100m hotel and casino at Tukutuku in western Efate. His citizenship programme for 60,000 to 80,000 people (a tax haven refuge for Asians) was supposed to bring the government over $350,000,000 and probably more to Jung and other middlemen, based on $17,000 to $25,000 per passport. This would increase Vanuatu’s citizens by 50% and change its ethnic and class character drastically. The country’s ombudsman Marie-Noëlle Ferrieux Patterson exposed the scheme’s fraudulent elements (Patterson 1997), attracting considerable media attention, and it failed to attract the necessary two-thirds legislative majority.

In October 1997 Interim Prime Minister Vohor’s government approved the plan of

Volani International (a Gibraltar OFC registered Italian firm) to establish a ‘state within a state’ on Espiritu Santo. Volani promised an OFC, FTZ, upgraded airport, luxury and low-income housing, and a large casino-hotel complex for Asian visitors. Volani was to transfer the international airport to the Vanuatu government after twenty-five years (Patterson 1998a; Vanuatu Trading Post,11/7/98, 22/2/99; Vanuatu Weekly, 5/11/97,

21/2/98).

On 22 July 1999 Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister, Willie Jimmy, and Lord Keyes,

representing the Mondragon Group, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in

London’s House of Lords. Mondragon’s associate, Nevada real estate developer Michael Oliver, had sponsored tax haven-oriented secessionism in the New Hebrides-Vanuatu since the mid-1970s. He attempted to create a new (libertarian-based) country and sell citizenship to thousands of settlers. His ‘Republic of Vemerana’ briefly controlled

Espiritu Santo in 1980 until Papua New Guinean troops defeated it and restored the island to Vanuatu (van Fossen 2001). Mondragon proposed to develop a FTZ on 80,000 hectares of land in Big Bay, Espiritu Santo; to operate Vanuatu’s consular offices around the world (beginning with Israel, Belgium and Michigan); and to engage in exclusive Internet activities, air services and fishing.

The FTZ would have its own currency, postal service and OFC. On 17 December 1999 Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers approved the project and on 28 January 2000 it appointed Israel’s Major General Daniel Rothschild, Mondragon’s choice, as Vanuatu’s Honorary Consul in Tel Aviv. Vanuatu’s Foreign Investment Review Board approved Mondragon’s FTZ in principle on 26 July 2000.

Obstacles developed in August 2000 when the Vanuatu Trading Post newspaper exposed the dubious past of Oliver’s colleague Stefan Mandel (Mondragon’s man The scandal deepened in June and July 2001, with the revelation of Mandel bankruptcy in Australia in 1995. Oliver severed connections with Mandel and his projects on 11 October 1999; an Israeli court ordered Mondragon to stop offering its shares there without a prospectus; and investors in a betting syndicate run by Mandel (which won $27m on the Virginia lottery) complained that they were not paid. Finally, the new Ombudsman Hannington Alatoa concluded that Mandel had financially assisted Willy Jimmy and three other government officials improperly (Alatoa 2001). From 1997 media scandals concerning Vanuatu’s passport sales continued. Deposed cabinet minister Jimmy accused senior officials at Prime Minister Vohor’s office

illegally selling passports to unqualified Asian businessmen–between fifty (Jimmy’s figure) and three hundred (anonymous government estimates) were sold, reputedly costing $8,000 to $25,000. Honorary Consul positions in Macau and Hong Kong allegedly cost about $90,000 each. Vanuatu’s government apparently received no proceeds. The media scandal continued until several civil servants resigned17.

In March 1998 the Ombudsman reported the illegal issue of numerous ordinary,

diplomatic and official passports since 1993 under instruction from high government officials—particularly Korman, Jimmy, Vohor and Soksok. Recipients included people with criminal, or dubious, histories, or no recorded address. It was impossible to determine how many ordinary passports were issued to foreigners; at least 29 diplomatic and 42 official passports were granted (only six of these being formally accepted by a receiving country)18. The Ombudsman was concerned about possible abuses of exemptions granted with diplomatic and official passport–to carry drugs, ‘dirty’ money, or weapons. The Ombudsman detailed direct or indirect improper payments to Vohor, Jimmy, and Soksok. Scandals continued with the suspension of Citizenship Commission Secretary General, Kepouwe Manwo, accused of illegally issuing passports, in March 2003. Ironically, all powers concerning citizenship were transferred from Manwo to Jean Sese–previously suspended for unlawfully issuing a passport to Richard Jung of Resorts Las Vegas and issuing 64 passports to ineligible foreigners (Patterson 1998b, Vanuatu Trading Post 6/3/03).

In one year (probably its most active one 1996-1997) Vanuatu received about $3.3m for three hundred passports; approximately 1!% of its gross national product. Suggestions (with alarm in 2001) continue of significant illegal sales (Far Eastern Economic Review5/4/01).

Vanuatu’s international reputation was damaged and some countries (e.g.,

Canada) dropped visa waivers for Vanuatu’s nationals (Ottawa Citizen 5/12/01,

Vancouver Sun 7/12/01).

3) Fiji’s Election rules out soon: AG
By Online Editor
1:16 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Fiji

Rules for next year’s general election will be released soon.

Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,  made the announcement at the close of the Attorney General’s conference in Natadola on Saturday.

He confirmed that a draft copy of certain electoral rules was with them.

He said a Canadian woman employed by the European Union was putting the draft together.

“So these are some of the work that is going on in the background,” he said.

Also attached at the Elections Office is an Australian expert on human resource management.

She would ensure the right structures were in place for next year’s polls,  Sayed-Khaiyum said.

She was developing  the structure of the human resources and specific career paths in the Elections Office.

“We want to develop specialists in their areas of expertise within the Elections Office,” he said.

“We would like the Elections Office to be independent of the Public Service Commission. Only then can the Electoral

Commission be truly independent of each other.”He said the appointment of people in the Elections Office needed to be done in an open, transparent and merit basis.

“With the Electronic Voter Registration,70 per cent of clerks were women and the entire system was based on merit.

This is precisely what we want to do with the hiring of people in the Elections Office.

“And they of course need to be apolitical. Just as the state needs to be apolitical, just as the judiciary needs to be apolitical, so do the people in the Elections Office.”

The size and look of the ballot paper was also discussed at the conference.

Sayed-Khaiyum outlined one of the options.

“When you walk into the polling booth, you can actually see a list of candidates and you can simply choose whoever you want.

“We are looking at ways of simplifying that.

“Then one chooses from those.”

Sayed-Khaiyum also emphasised that voting would be held in one day and counting would take place at polling stations.

“It is critical from our perspective that for the next elections we do have counting carried out in places where the votes are cast.”

In past elections, votes were normally counted at three main centres.

Labasa College catered for the North, Natabua High School the west and Suva Grammar School for the central and eastern divisions.

“These are the places where counting took place – we don’t know what may happen on the way and indeed the European Union highlighted that in their report on the last election.

“The other idea of course is to have the votes counted wherever they are cast – it’s a process of democratisation.

For example, the people in Yasawa who’ve never seen the ballot boxes open, they’ve never seen how it functions, how it works – they can look from the windows or wherever the votes will be counted they can see how the entire system works – it boosts confidence in the system and that is very critical,” he said.

During the last session of the conference, on Elections and Proportional Representation, questions were raised about what would happen to leftover votes that failed to make the five per cent threshold.

Sayed-Khaiyum said: “That is being looked at with various jurisdiction.”

Finland, he said, had a very good system.

“We are working on that at the moment and it will be finalised very soon.”

Along with the new electoral law will be a roll-out of voter education.

“There will of course be a massive voter education – and that needs to happen.

“And indeed the political parties will also be invited for the education process,” he said.

“Because we do not want political parties to simply send scrutineers the day before and we get a list of their names – we need to know before hand.

So they need to also be trained, so they also know how the system works and they also know what to observe and what to look for when the votes are being counted.

“And we are starting right from scratch – a lot of the work has been done and we are going to complete that very, very soon,”Khaiyum said.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

4) Fiji Constitution bill of rights set to be tested
By Online Editor
10:19 am GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Fiji

Following the promulgation of the 2013 Constitution, the first case challenging the right to adequate housing has been filed in the High Court in Suva.

The class suit has been filed by descendants of Solomon Islanders who settled on a plot of land in Namara, Tacirua, Suva, decades ago. The class suit has been filed on the basis of Section 39 (1) of the Constitution which reads: “Every person has the right to freedom from arbitrary evictions from his or her home or to have his or her home demolished, without an order of a court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.”

The case has been brought against the Housing Authority which wants the land vacated for development purposes.

Representing the Solomon Island descendants is former Director of Public Prosecutions, Aca Rayawa.

Representing the Housing Authority is the former president of the Fiji Law Society, Devanesh Sharma.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama referred to this case in his opening speech at the 15th Attorney-General’s conference at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa.

“This is very encouraging and my Government looks forward to more Fijians seeking to enforce their socio-economic rights which of course will assist in the development of jurisprudence in this area.”

Sharma said currently there was no eviction proceedings undertaken but notices had been issued.

Rayawa, on his part, is ready to proceed with the class suit, now armed with the provision of the 2013 Constitution, which for the first time provides the right from arbitrary eviction.

“As far as the position that we are defending, we act for Housing Authority. And there’s an application made by a group of persons who are of Solomon Island descent who have been on this land for quite some time now.
“At the moment there has been no eviction proceedings but I believe notices have been sent.

“Housing Authority is actually developing this land and what Aca Rayawa has done on behalf of all this people – I think there is a group of them, they have filed an application in Court seeking Constitutional relief as well – to say that under the Constitution they are guaranteed to housing and we are also guaranteed our rights to forcible eviction.”

Sharma said it was a very interesting legal issue.

“I believe it is the first application made under the 2013 Constitution and the parties are doing submissions on certain preliminary issues and I think the matter comes up in January.

“Rayawa and I can’t really comment beyond that by virtue of the fact that the matter is subjudice.

“One thing good to see is that the 2013 Constitution is now being used by lawyers. It is a living document that has been utilised and I think that all parties who are affected by it can seek redress,” Sharma said.

“When you actually take this matter to Court or whichever forum you want to, at least you can test it out – and that is what Rayawa is doing.

“Whoever succeeds in this application is a matter for the Court to decide, but at least now the ball has started rolling.”

Rayawa said he was thankful to the Government for Section 39 of the Constitution against forced eviction.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

5) Indigenous Fijian Cultural Heritage Called ‘Vulnerable’
Laws under development to protect iTaukei from theft, piracy

By Luke Rawalai

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 9, 2013) – The iTaukei art and cultural heritage are vulnerable to theft and piracy as there is no law to safeguard them from such threats.

Ministry of iTaukei permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela said they were in the process of developing laws to protect the iTaukei cultural heritage and art forms.

Mr Kaunisela said the ministry was trying to get all art forms and other traditional information that needed to be legally secured.

“The iTaukei people know of their own customary art forms for instance their weaving patterns and tapa motifs or designs,” he said.

“We are concerned with the protection of these traditional knowledge so that people do not steal them for their own gain. All these can only be protected if we have a law to safeguard the usage of these precious properties that belong to the iTaukei people alone.”

Mr Kaunisela said if this was not done people could claim traditional knowledge.

Soqsoqo Vakamarama national president Adi Finau Tabakaucoro said they were really concerned about the protection of art forms.

“Our concern is on the fact that the iTaukei intellectual properties are being stolen and used for monetary gains,” she said.

“These art forms belong to the iTaukei people and they have every right to lay claim on the proceeds of these art forms.”

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

6) Fiji’s Oldest Political Party Celebrates 50th Anniversary
National Federation Party (NFP) looks ahead to next elections

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 8, 2013) – Fiji’s oldest political party, the National Federation Party (NFP) celebrated its 50 years of existence last night in Nadi.

More than 300 guests including former politicians and supporters gathered at the event where a special tribute was paid to party founders, the late A.D.Patel and Sidiq Koya by academic and party member Dr Bimal Prasad.

Congratulatory messages from former party leader Jai Ram Reddy and Dr Brij Lal who are currently residing overseas were also read out to the audience.

Celebration committee chairman and former opposition leader Prem Singh told FijiLive the golden jubilee brought all members together in a carnival atmosphere.

“We had a very successful celebration where members took out time to look back at the achievements of the party and discuss the way forward.” “We are the only political party in the country which has gone beyond 50 years and I can assure all citizens that we will continue for as long as we can.

We are united and are looking forward to the general election in 2014.” “NFP has always been there though we have not been doing well in the recent past and have not been represented in parliament.” Singh added that pocket meetings of the party are continuing around the country and they are aiming to field candidates in all the 50 seats which will be contested in the general election.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

7) Fiji Labour Party questions regime practice on Anti-Corruption Day

Posted at 22:29 on 08 December, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Labour Party is using today’s UN Anti-Corruption Day to highlight what it says is the failure of the Fiji regime to rid the country of corruption.

This was one of the stated aims of the coup makers seven years ago.

Don Wiseman has more:

“The Fiji Labour Party asks why government financial statements and the auditor general’s reports have not been made public in the past five years. It questions the continued refusal of the regime to reveal the salaries paid to its leaders. It asks about the failure to allow public scrutiny of consultancy and other public contracts it awards. The party questions the absence of a Code of Ethics for people in high office and Freedom of Information legislation despite promises to enact such measures. It points out that the regime demands accountability and transparency from everyone else but is not applying the same rules of good governance to itself. It says FICAC appears ignore the allegedly corrupt practices of the regime’s officials and their supporters. And the party points out Transparency International cannot include Fiji on its Corruption Index because there is no relevant data and the people are unable to determine how their government spends public funds.”

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

8) French Socialists, French Polynesian Party Review Relationship
Pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira proposes redefined relationship

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 7, 2013) – France’s ruling Socialist Party and French Polynesia’s pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira Party say they will be reviewing their partnership agreement.

The Socialists’ secretary for overseas territories, Davide Lebon, has told French radio that the party has agreed with Oscar Temaru’s party to review their relationship as the current deal runs out next year.

Mr Lebon says this will allow to redefine their relationship because everything is up for debate now that the territorial elections have been held.

This also comes after the pro-independence party boycotted last week’s Tahiti visit by the French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel.

The party also lashed out at the French government’s support given to the new French Polynesian government, saying it guaranteed a system run by convicts – an allusion to the corruption convictions of the territory’s president, Gaston Flosse.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

9) Tahiti woman jailed for trying to use illegal money

Posted at 22:29 on 08 December, 2013 UTC

A woman in French Polynesia has been jailed for two months for wanting to pay for petrol with a 100 patu note, which is the illegal money printed by the self-styled Pakumotu republic.

The group, which has its king and ministers, has been openly defying the French state for three years and it announced in October that the French Pacific franc would cease to exist at the end of this month.

The Pakumotu group says it plans to circulate one billion patu, with all its minister already being paid it.

Tahiti Infos says the woman in question, Nina Faari, who is a so-called minister, was arrested last week when she insisted on paying with patu.

She was detained and after being held for two days, she was jailed.

Inquiries are continuing, with the prosecutor warning that circulating an invalid currency can be punished with up to five years in prison.

Radio New Zealand International

TOK PISIN:

10) Gavana Parkop hamamas long PNG i stap long Queensland Rugby League

Updated 9 December 2013, 16:54 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Port Moresby NCD Gavana na i hamamas long lukim olsem Papua New Guinea i nau stap insait long Queensland Rugby League Cup long Australia.

Odio: Powes Parkop, Gavana blong National Capital District blong PNG i toktok
Siaman blong Papua New Guinea Rugby League bid long go insaet long National Rugby League long Australia itok emi hamamas tru long Papua New Guinea  team bai save pilai nau long Queensland rugby league Cup.

Powes Parkop, Governor blong National Capital distrik i mekim despla toktok bihaen long oli bin tokaut long wik igo pinis olsem team png bai joinim 2014 Queensland Cup.

Despla i min olsem PNG Kumuls bai save pilai egensim ol rugby team blong Queensland long 2014 we bai oli save pilai long Queensland.

Ol despla team blong QLD tu bai save pilai egensim Kumuls long hom graon blong ol long kala bond field long Kokopo long East New Britain provins.

Mr Parkop itok tu olsem, sapos PNG igo insaet long NRL, despla bai help[im gut ol yangpla pipal blong PNG.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH:

11) Un regard sur le Pacifique avec un personnage légendaire : John Szetu

Mis à jour 9 December 2013, 8:35 AEST
Pierre Riant

Des milliers de personnes à travers le Pacifique lui doivent la vue. Dans la région, John Szetu bénéficie d’un immense respect et nous lui avons parlé lors de son dernier jour à la tête de l’Institut du Pacifique pour la vue.

Ce médecin originaire des Îles Salomon a travaillé pendant de nombreuses années à Honiara, la capitale, avant de fuir le conflit ethnique en 1999.

Il a ensuite mis le cap sur Fidji pour rejoindre le Pacific Eye Institute établi par la Fondation Fred Hollows ; un autre personnage légendaire.

On ne compte plus les opérations que le docteur Szetu a lui-même réalisées pour rétablir la vue, mais il a également transmis ses connaissances et son savoir-faire à d’autres médecins et à du personnel soignant de toute la région du Pacifique pour qu’ils puissent reprendre le flambeau.

Quand nous l’avons contacté, en fin de semaine dernière, c’était son dernier jour à la tête du Pacific Eye Institute : « Mes sentiments sont mitigés, une impression de soulagement et un sentiment d’accomplissement. Le fait d’avoir fait quelque chose pour les gens du Pacifique. Mais je suis content de faire de la place à des personnes qui continueront de relever les défis auxquels nous faisons face dans le Pacifique en termes de soins oculaires et de ressources humaines. »

Et comment se sent-on quand on sait que l’on a permis à des milliers de personnes de recouvrer la vue : «  C’est très gratifiant. Dans le passé, nous étions totalement dépendants de la venue d’équipes médicales qui arrivaient puis repartaient et nous avons survécu à cette époque.
Ce n’était pas une solution, ce qu’il fallait, c’était de former des gens sur place, dans la région, pour qu’ils puissent faire le travail eux-mêmes au lieu de dépendre d’une assistance extérieure. Et nous avons parcouru beaucoup de chemin depuis. »

Effectivement, au cours de ces 8 dernières années, 128 personnes de plusieurs pays du Pacifique ont obtenu des diplômes de l’Institut du Pacifique pour la vue. Et ces diplômés pourront à leur tour former d’autres personnes : «Exactement, oui. Et nous espérons qu’ils continueront à mettre en pratique ce qu’ils ont appris. La Fondation [Fred Hollows] et l’Industrie continueront de les soutenir. Nous avons un bon programme de soutien au personnel et nous continuerons à soutenir ces diplômés pour voir comment ils travaillent, s’ils sont performants. Et si ce n’est pas le cas, nous irons frapper à leur porte pour leur demander pourquoi.
Nous frapperons aussi aux portes des ministères de la Santé et des responsables politiques pour leur demander pourquoi les diplômés ne sont pas performants, pourquoi il y a des barrières, des contraintes et pourquoi ne pas les aider pour qu’ils puissent faire ce qu’ils sont supposés faire. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

12) Réfugiés du changement climatique : Franck Bainimarama s’interroge

Posté à 9 December 2013, 8:50 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est à l’occasion de la 9ème Conférence des îles du Pacifique sur la préservation de la nature et les zones protégées que le Premier ministre fidjien a soulevé toute une série de questions.

Fidji envisage en effet la possibilité d’accueillir des citoyens d’une nation souveraine qui seraient obligés de fuir leur île face à la montée des eaux associée au réchauffement des températures.

Et Franck Bainimarama de demander : Qu’en est-il de la souveraineté ? Comment accueillir une nation souveraine à l’intérieur de nos frontières ? Est-ce que ces réfugiés sont disposés à devenir Fidjiens ? Faut-il accorder la double nationalité aux réfugiés de Kiribati ?

Kiribati est un archipel menacé par la montée des eaux et les autorités ont déjà acheté près de 2 500 hectares de terre sur Vanua Levu, la deuxième île de l’archipel fidjien, une police d’assurance en quelque sorte dans la perspective de la montée des eaux.

Il faut répondre maintenant à toutes ces questions, a souligné le Premier ministre fidjien, en ajoutant que Fidji ne tournera pas le dos aux océaniens du Pacifique.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

WORLD:


13a) Nelson Mandela’s significant influence in the Pacific
By Online Editor
10:11 am GMT+12, 09/12/2013, United States

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been described as a contemporary icon who inspired Pacific people.

Dr Tara Kabutaulaka from the University of Hawaii’s Center for Pacific Islands Studies says Pacific Islanders, both young and old, will remember him as one of the greatest leaders, not only of Africa but of the entire world.

“(He was) a leader who rose at a very difficult time in Africa’s history (and) became an icon of decolonialisation in a lot of Pacific Island places as well,” he told Asia Pacific’s Sen Lam.

Dr Kabutaulaka says that although the Pacific did not have policies like apartheid, there were colonial policies that meant privileges for certain groups of people.

“In a lot of cases (that meant) the white colonial powers in the Region. There were places up until the 1960s and 70s … that were only for white colonial administrators and people connected to them,” he said.

Dr Kabutaulaka says for many people who went to school in the Pacific, particularly the southern Pacific, the story of Nelson Mandela’s struggle was an important part of the curriculum at high school.

“So we grew up reading about the story of Nelson Mandela, the history of South Africa,” he said.

“It was part of our curriculum and therefore something very close to many of us – people my generation and even younger people today, it still is an important part of the school curriculum.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

13b) The greatest

Source:
The National, Monday December 9th, 2013

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has described Nel­son Mandela as “the finest statesman of our time” as he joined world leaders in paying tribute to the South African anti-apartheid fighter who died last Thursday.
In a statement, O’Neill said: “The Government and people of Papua New Guinea join with me in mourning the passing of the most influential and inspirational statesman of our time, the first democratically-elected President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
“President Mandela ended the cruel apartheid era in South Africa – an era during which he was unjustly and harshly imprisoned for more than two decades – and by his leadership and his example he unified a racially-divided nation to create the modern, democratic and multiracial South Africa of today.
“Of all his many qualities, it was perhaps his unlimited capacity for forgiveness that stands out most of all. And he especially forgave those who mistreated him most of all.
“It was his absolute forgiveness of the apartheid government that imprisoned him, and treated him unjustly and harshly for so long, that laid the foundations for the transition from decades of undemocratic apartheid rule to a robust democracy in a very short period of time.
“His influence for good on our world continued as strong and as wholesome as ever in his retirement from public life – and it will continue as strong as ever even after his passing, when we remember the struggles he endured, and his fellow freedom fighters endured, just to gain the freedom and democracy we all too often take for granted.
“Under President Mandela’s leadership, South Africa returned to the Commonwealth of Nations, and provided ready leadership for the developing nations of the world.
“We mourn his passing, but we will always be in admiration of his leadership, his courage under enormous pressure, and the wonderful inspiration he has provided for so many, for so long.
“The world is a better place for the life and times of Nelson Mandela.”
Opposition leader Belden Namah said Mandela was “the greatest fighter for freedom” who sacrificed 27 years of his life behind bars in his fight against apartheid.
“Mandela was afraid at nothing except things staying the same. He sacrificed his own life to change it and he did,” he said.
US President Barack Obama said: “We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron called him a “hero of our time”.

13c) World luminaries pay tribute to Madiba

Source:
The National, Monday December 9th, 2013

JOHANNESBURG: South African President Jacob Zuma announced Nelson Mandela’s death, saying South Africa had lost “its greatest son” and calling on South Africans to conduct themselves with the “dignity and respect” that Mandela personified. “Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss,” he said.
US President Barack Obama said: “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth,” he said.
“Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us.
“His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “Mandela, having gone through the most difficult ordeals, was committed to the end of his days to the ideals of humanism and justice.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Chinese people would always remember Mandela’s “outstanding contributions to the China-South Africa relationship and the course of progress of mankind”.
French President Francois Hollande said Mandela’s message would “continue to inspire fighters for freedom, and to give confidence to peoples in the defence of just causes and universal rights”.
Germany’s Angela Merkel said Mandela’s “political legacy of non-violence and the condemnation of all forms of racism” would continue to inspire.
President Assad of Syria, who is currently fighting a revolt against his rule, said Nelson Mandela’s life was an inspiration to freedom fighters and a lesson to tyrants.
Ghana’s President John Mahama told the BBC Mandela was the greatest African who ever lived.
Senegalese President Macky Sall said “Nelson Mandela was undoubtedly the most influential man of the century”, a “role model for Africans and also for humanity”. He said Mandela gave Africans “pride in being black – a dignity in being a black man”.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta praised him for living “an extraordinary life in a very ordinary way. His legacy encrypts the story of humanity now and tomorrow.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “One of the brightest lights of our world has gone out”.

13d) Nelson Mandela, an icon of peace

Source:
The National, Monday December 9th, 2013

JOHANNESBURG: Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy, as an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world.
Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Mandela emerged determined to use his prestige and charisma to bring down apartheid while avoiding a civil war.
“The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come,” Mandela said in his acceptance speech on becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
“We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation.”
In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an honour he shared with FW de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who freed him from prison three years earlier and negotiated the end of apartheid.
Mandela went on to play a prominent role on the world stage as an advocate of human dignity in the face of challenges ranging from political repression to AIDS.
He formally left public life in June 2004 before his 86th birthday, telling his adoring countrymen: “Don’t call me. I’ll call you”.
But he remained one of the world’s most revered public figures, combining celebrity sparkle with an unwavering message of freedom, respect and human rights.
Whether defending himself at his own treason trial in 1963 or addressing world leaders years later as a greying elder statesman, he radiated an image of moral rectitude expressed in measured tones, often leavened by a mischievous humour.
“He is at the epicentre of our time, ours in South Africa, and yours, wherever you are,” Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer and Nobel Laureate for Literature, once remarked.
Mandela’s years behind bars made him the world’s most celebrated political prisoner and a leader of mythic stature for millions of black South Africans and other oppressed people far beyond his country’s borders.
Charged with capital offences in the 1963 Rivonia Trial, his statement from the dock was his political testimony.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.
“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” he told the court.
“It is an ideal I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, destined to lead as the son of the chief councillor to the paramount chief of the Thembu people in Transkei.

HEALTH:

14) Mental health workers call for action to help youth overcome internet and gaming addictions

Updated 9 December 2013, 9:52 AEST
By Laura Beavis

Smart phones and tablets have made it easy to get online anytime and anywhere, but for some, going offline is getting harder.

Video: Call for help on screen addictions

Smart phones and tablets have made it easy to get online anytime and anywhere, but for some, going offline is getting harder.

Experts say there are growing numbers of people addicted to their screens, leading to calls for more treatment services, especially in regional and rural areas.

Experts say girls in their early teens are finding it difficult to disconnect from social networking sites like Facebook, while boys are more likely to be addicted to video games.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, smartphone ownership among Australians aged 14 to 17 rose by 30 per cent in the past 12 months.

A 2010 University of Tasmania study found 5 per cent of Tasmanian secondary school and university students were addicted to video games and 4.6 per cent to the internet.

It took a long time for Launceston university student Gavin Lewandowski-Timson to realise that a fun pastime – playing online video games – had turned into an addiction.

“It’s so subtle, as opposed to cigarettes or alcohol or marijuana which are addictive and they’re in the media and they’re in the spotlight constantly,” he said.

“Whereas in my head gaming was to a lesser degree, so it just crept up on me and it’s something that I didn’t take as seriously.”

I was wagging school, I was avoiding seeing friends and my girlfriend… I would set an alarm so I could get up at 5:00am to start playing.

Gaming addict Gavin Lewandowski-Timson

He decided he had a problem when he found he was avoiding other people in order to spend up to 70 hours a week in the virtual world.

“I was wagging school, I was avoiding seeing friends and my girlfriend, so I could get that next piece of gear or new piece of loot,” he said.

Once he knew he had a problem, he took action.

“The easiest way for me to get out of that was to give away all my game items and currency to my guild members, and then delete my account.”

For other young people, going “cold turkey” is not as easy and experts say that with the rise in ownership of smartphones, tablets and other wireless internet connected devices it is getting harder.

In northern Tasmania, an increasing number of young people are turning to local mental health services for help to kick their internet addictions.

Cate Sinclair is the chief executive of Cornerstone Youth Services, which runs the Headspace centres in Launceston and Devonport in northern Tasmania.

She says girls aged 12 to 14 are most likely to report they cannot disconnect from social networking sites like Facebook, while boys are more likely to be addicted to video games.

Quick facts

ACMA finds 30pc rise in smartphone ownership for youths aged 14-17
Uni of Tas says 5pc of Tas high school, university students addicted to video games
4.6 per cent addicted to internet
Girls aged 12-14 most likely addicted to Facebook
Boys most likely addicted to video games

Ms Sinclair says young people who report online addictions are sleep deprived and face problems at school.

“[They have] really low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, wanting not go to school for fear of what might happen, so lots of social issues and mental health issues,” she said.

Sometimes the screen addictions are combined with other problems like cyber bullying and gambling addictions.

“Young people, especially guys, [are] saying that they’re addicted to gaming,” Ms Sinclair said.

“And then what can happen from an addiction to gaming, online gaming, can actually turn into an addiction to gambling as they grow older. So we can sort of predict some patterns and outcomes that can happen as a result.”

Mental health problems often cause of addiction

Dr Philip Tam is one of a handful of Australian psychiatrists who specialise in treating internet and video game addiction.

He has patients at the Rivendell Child and Adolescent Unit at Sydney’s Concord Hospital and is a board member of the Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia.

He has been contacted by young people and families from all over Australia wanting help to overcome internet and video game addictions.

During treatment he conducts long interviews with the young person and their family, to determine if there are underlying problems like depression, anxiety or family dysfunction.

“Really you’ve got to do a very holistic, thorough and empathic family interview, and then ultimately you’ve got to treat the cause, which almost always [is] one of those underlying mental health conditions,” he said.

Dr Tam says the biggest barrier to young people getting treatment is the reluctance of many to accept their online activities are causing problems.

Those in regional areas can face difficulties because there are few psychologists who can recognise and treat the condition.

“Since this is such a very newly emerging disorder, there probably are very few GPs and psychologists and even school counsellors who really know how to handle this disorder, because it’s really only been with us for a few short years,” he said.

Dr Tam hopes the increasing recognition of internet addiction as a legitimate health problem will mean more Australian health services offer treatment.

“Hopefully there will be, if you like, in the years ahead, a kind of network of interested clinicians, that are if you like skilled in treating what is a very complex disorder,” he said.

Families need to set boundaries for children

He says education programs to help young people and their families set realistic boundaries about time spent online are essential.

“Really the message is yes, it needs to get taken seriously, not just by government, but by schools, by families, and by parent groups,” he said.

In Launceston, Cornerstone Youth Services is considering a program in which specialists in Melbourne and Sydney would treat Tasmanian teenagers through video conferencing.

Ms Sinclair wants greater funding from the State and Commonwealth governments for treatment and education programs.

“Have it as a key agenda item, and something that they monitor and review periodically,” she said.

“Have a look at some trials where we might, for example, have some funding to see how we could test certain strategies that help in achieving balanced use of smart phones and social media.”

The federal Health department says it provides funding to organisations like Headspace to provide mental health services, including treatment for internet and video game addiction.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

15) Solomon Islands’ second largest hospital faces closure

Posted at 05:28 on 09 December, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands’ second largest hospital says people living in the remote parts of Western province will suffer the most if the hospital is forced to closed.

The Helena Goldie Hospital in Munda is facing severe financial problems.

The hospital’s secretary, Soraya Pina, says more than 50 nurse aids and auxiliary staff have gone without pay for two months, and they still don’t know where to find the money to pay them.

She told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor the hospital is in financial crisis.

SORAYA PINA: Due to the allocation we receive from the government is not enough. And we cannot pay our bills, like the electricity and pay as you earn and the NPF – that’s the superannuation for the staff.

MOERA TUILAEPA-TAYLOR: And how are you guys managing to survive at the moment without paying some of the staff? Are they just hoping that maybe the government will come through with some money?

SP: We received some money recently, but the delay has caused us to increase our debts. Our grant was delayed the last couple of months.

MTT: And I see, too, Soraya, that more than 50 nurse aids and auxiliary staff have gone without pay for two months. Have any of them received any payment since then?

SP: We have to borrow money somewhere to pay up the salaries. When we receive our grants we pay off what we have borrowed.

MTT: So the grant money that you’re receiving from the government, the health grant, only covers the debts, but it’s not covering enough for the salaried workers.

SP: That’s right.

MTT: And what plea have you made to the government? Are they considering increasing the money?

SP: Yeah, the parliament member for this constituency came and visited us last two weeks. And he assured us that he’s going to put it to the cabinet to look at it.

MTT: And if you don’t receive any more financial help in the next week, where will that leave the hospital? Will you be forced to close?

SP: We’ll be looking at trimming down of staff and cutting down our services in other areas because we are serving our communities living in the remote areas. And if this continues to happen we won’t be able to pay for their petrol to do [Indistinct] and helping those aged patients coming from the clinics. We are looking after 15 clinics.

Soraya Pina says the hospital services an area with a population of over 26,000 people. She says if they close, most of those people will not be able to travel to Honiara or Gizo for treatment because the cost of travelling will be too expensive.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Health expert says Maori and Pacific people are at high risk of infectious diseases

Posted at 05:28 on 09 December, 2013 UTC

A New Zealand public health researcher has recently been awarded the Liley Medal for work on the impacts of infectious diseases on Maori and Pacific populations.

Professor Michael Baker says overnight hospitalisations due to serious infections have risen by more than fifty per cent over the past twenty years and inequalities have also surged in that time.

Jenny Meyer asked him what can be done.

MICHAEL BAKER: The fact that we’ve seen rises in a whole lot of different diseases suggests we’re looking at basic determinants that affect many diseases. So the three areas we always come back to are poverty – so that’s low income for some people – access to health services and conditions such as housing conditions. And all of those are areas that we can modify. So we would say, for example, that household crowding appears to be a big driver of some diseases. And when we review the literature on this, this is looking at almost 10,000 studies and then whittling down to the high-quality ones, we found a very consistent relationship between living in more crowded households and a higher rate of respiratory infections, gut infections – the diarrhoeal illnesses – and skin infections, so the major things that are putting kids in hospital, for instance, are household crowding. A second area is access to health services, and of course most infectious diseases are very treatable early on. So that’s a great opportunity for better prevention. So if people don’t get access to treatment for their skin infections early on they wind up in hospital, having long admissions and having a general anaesthetic to have these abcesses drained. So that sort of thing is preventable.

JENNY MEYER: It sounds like what you’re saying is that some of these issues are more political than personal, but they do have a huge impact on the personal lives of people who are vulnerable due to their ethnicity.

MB: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. In the end, we as a society will make a choice about how we organise the distribution of wealth and access to services and so on.

JM: It does seem that rheumatic fever, in particular, has a bigger hold on indigenous populations. Do you know why that is?

MB: We’re actually just about to start a national case control study funded by the Health Research Council, which is going to look at exactly this question. So what we want to do is really look at the environmental factors which we know are important, but also looking at some of the host factors – things like Vitamin D, differences in how people’s immune systems behave, and ultimately looking at genetic differences just to try and really understand what is driving these large inequalities. Because for most infectious diseases Maori and Pacific peoples are maybe 2 to 2.5 times more likely to develop serious diseases. With rheumatic fever we’re looking at 40-fold or 80-fold differences. So there must be some other complex factors that are driving these inequalities because they’re much bigger than what we would normally see. So we’re hoping in the next three years to really have some answers to this question.

Otago University’s Professor Baker says Australian and New Zealand researchers are now working together to discover a vaccine to protect people from the Group A Strep bacteria in an effort to halt heart disease from rheumatic fever.

Radio New Zealand International

17) Indigenous vegetable promoted at SPC meeting
By Online Editor
1:08 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Fiji

A three-day regional meeting to discuss the project – How an indigenous vegetable can contribute to sustainable development – was this week officially opened by Sairusi Bulai, Acting Director for SPC’s Land Resources Division, at SPC’s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) based at Narere.

Participants at the meeting were from New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji – the countries involved in the project, known also as the bele project. There were also participants from the World Vegetable Centre based in Taiwan, the Treaty Secretariat in Rome, the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and staff of SPC.

In his speech,Bulai said, ‘Many of us in the Pacific do not realise that bele is one of the most nutritious indigenous vegetables in the Pacific; yet we eat other, non-indigenous vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, much more often than bele and native vegetables.

‘We know of bele’s high nutritional value; it is high in protein, vitamins and minerals. This indigenous green vegetable can play an important role in improving micronutrient deficiencies in the diets of Pacific Island people, who suffer from some of the highest rates of diet-related non-communicable diseases in the world,’ he commented.

‘Bele is known to many of us in the Pacific by several names, such as aibika, aelan cabbage, slippery cabbage or bele, and it has so much potential, yet it is neglected when compared to the research and funding invested on other vegetable crops.’

He reminded countries that the success of the bele project requires the commitment of all countries and partners involved. He mentioned exploring future funding for the expansion of this extremely important project. This would allow time to consolidate specialised protocols on DNA fingerprinting developed at SPC in order to support capacity building for partner countries and the region, and to utilise the diversity of expertise and bele available at the World Vegetable Centre.

The meeting discussed current progress and achievement of the bele project. Results yet to be produced include promotion of bele through posters highlighting its unique diversity, nutrition and varieties identified as climate resilient and tolerant to pest and diseases in each country; documentation of bele diversity in countries; SPC protocols for conserving bele using tissue culture methods, virus indexing and DNA finger-printing; economic analysis of production methods for bele; biosecurity and export requirements for market opportunities for bele; and finalising lists of selected core varieties to be conserved at SPC.

A regional core collection to be established at CePaCT will be the major achievement by the countries, partners and SPC – something that has never eventuated in previous projects on bele.

Bulai acknowledged the French Pacific Funds for funding the bele project, the World Vegetable Centre and AusAID for the technical expertise and financing the meeting; and the FAO Treaty Secretariat for the support of the meeting.

The meeting also acknowledged Biosecurity of Fiji for their ongoing support to the project and towards establishment of the regional bele collection at SPC

SOURCE: SPC/PACNEWS  (Phils Opinion- I think bele is in Vanuatu Bislama ( Pijin ) known as Island Cabbage? Na Wekean in Namakur/Shefa language )

18) Free health care for PNG by 2014
By Online Editor
1:10 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Papua New Guinea

By February 24, 2014, Papua New Guineans will benefit from the free primary health care and subsidised specialist services in all health facilities, public hospitals, health centres and aid posts.

Officially declared last Friday in Port Moresby, the Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Michael Malabag also instructed his secretary to place paid advertisements in the media for the general public explaining the use of the policy.

Malabag said the O’Neill-Dion Govern-ment’s Alotau Accord for a Government of Reconciliation, Unity and Hope announced this policy while maintaining commitment to people for accessible and affordable health care.

“The Health Department has thrown its support behind this great endeavor to formalise this policy after prudent assessment and amendment of the existing policies and legislations that govern and administrate the different level of health facilities, public hospitals and provincial hospitals and provincial health facilities, and their existing user pay structures,” he said.

Malabag said it has been a daunting task for the department to finalise the policy document and the national executive council had the policy approved together with the revised public hospital charges and dental charges in August, 2013.

In August, the government’s initial allocation for the implementation of the policy was released and warrants of the funds were disbursed.

Government run health facilities received K6.1 million and Health Department, hospital management services received K13.9 million (K9m for public hospitals and K4.9 m (US$1.9 million) for Church Health Services’ facilities).

To offset the loss of revenue, the government has committed to appropriate K20 million (US$7.8 million) on an annual basis over the next four years (2014-2017).

The hospitals will continue to charge user fees, however, the level of fee charges have been either reduced or removed.

Fees for some services have been reduced by 50 per cent while fees for services that are complex and expensive in nature will be marginally reduced.

These amendments are additional to the existing exemption category under the current Public Hospitals Charges Regulations.

Also on Friday, the minister emphasised commitment from all sectors involved in the implementation of the policy to make it happen, especially Finance and Treasury to release timely health functional and hospital grants.

Health secretary Pasco Kase also stressed that the major challenge was sustainability.

“The policy will not be successful and sustainability implemented for the entire health system without determination and collaboration from us all,” Kase said.

He said the departments of Treasury and Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs and the Christian Health Services of PNG and workers in the health sector need to work together to ensure this policy becomes practical and achievable.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

19) Fears remote village schools at disadvantage in Fiji free education plan

Posted at 22:29 on 08 December, 2013 UTC

The Fiji Teachers Association fears smaller schools in the country’s rural areas could be left behind under the government’s plans for free education.

The government announced in its 2014 budget it will fund free education for all primary and secondary school students.

The Association’s general secretary, Maika Namudu, says one issue remote village schools face is lack of nearby expertise to conduct the necessary audit the government requires before it grants funds.

“Who should be doing the auditing for these schools? That’s a big question. Some of them are not very close to the postmaster who will be able to do that or maybe the provincial administrator is a bit further away. Who will be the right person to check the books before the government can agree for next year’s payment.”

Maika Namudu says restrictions on independent fundraising will also cause problems for the smaller schools.

Radio New Zealand International

20) French Polynesia opposition leader Oscar Temaru pushes for education in English
By Online Editor
3:07 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, French Polynesia

The opposition leader in French Polynesia, Oscar Temaru, is calling for the territory’s children to be educated in English rather than French.

French is the only official language of the territory, although Tahitian and other Polynesian language are permitted under law.

In a 2007 census, more than two-thirds of the population aged over 15 reported speaking French at home, while almost 95 per cent said they could speak, read and write French.

Temaru says a switch from French to English makes economic and geographic sense.

“We are surrounded by English-speaking countries and our first industry is tourism and 90 per cent of the visitors are English-speaking people,” he said.

“There are a lot of people around the world who are interested in coming to Tahiti, but when they look at the other countries around us they speak English and we speak French.

“So that’s an obstacle, it’s a barrier – if they want to hear the French language, they go to Paris, not Tahiti.”

Temaru says he expects opposition from Paris to any change, which comes in the wake of French Polynesia’s reinscription on the UN decolonisation list.

Education in French Polynesia is funded by France at a cost of more than $US700 million a year.

He says meetings in French Polynesia have shown strong community support, and Paris should get behind it.

He says French Polynesia needs to be in a language position similar to Singapore, where English is used for most professional communication.

“It will take time, but that’s the right way to go,” he said.

“That’s the language of diplomacy, politics and economics throughout the world – we have to update ourselves.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

MEDIA:


21) Impartiality vital, Religions safe, Fiji AG assures
By Online Editor
1:14 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Fiji

-The media will no doubt play an important role as the country prepares for the 2014 general.

An entire session was dedicated to the role of media at the 15th Attorney-General’s Conference which ended on Saturday at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa.

While closing the conference the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, stressed again the role the media would play and the importance of being impartial in its reporting.

Sayed-Khaiyum said unfortunately in Fiji, we did not have a culture where independent professionals gave their views on issues which are of importance to the nation.

He had made similar remarks at a conference for accountants.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the onus was on the media to seek out such people who gave their opinions independent of their political affiliations, who looked at matters on hand and gave unbiased commentaries.

The media in Fiji, he said, had been lacking in this aspect.

“The reality is that in Fiji we have been so beholden with ethnic politics, or whether it has been religious politics, or whether it is personality.”

He said the media could contribute to a modern and educated Fiji.

“We need to break out of that. It is critical. We do want to modernise Fiji and we need to expand our horizons to have independent opinions and as professionals, you can provide that.”

“The focus of the media tends to be on those in the centre, rather than those on the margins,” he said.
“Just as the state should be neutral, the media should also be neutral.”

Meanwhile, the  Constitutional provision on the secular State cannot be manipulated, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He gave the assurance after concerns were raised by the two largest Christian denominations in Fiji – the Catholics and the Methodists.

The churches were uncomfortable with the definition that religious belief was personal and that the State and religion were separate.

Sayed-Khaiyum, clarified how the various sections on religion, state and secular state could be interpreted in a court of law.

On Day-One of the conference, lawyer Chan Young had clarified that the relevant sections on religion were not to be read in isolation.

His explanation, however, went largely ignored by the heads of the two churches.

At the end of the conference, Sayed-Khaiyum expanded on the explanation by  Young.

He said ensuring religious liberty was a role of the State. This was clearly stated in the Constitution.
The Constitution then further stated that religious belief was personal.

Sayed-Khaiyum said contrary to the view of the two churches, those sections could not be manipulated – not now and not in the future.

He gave the example of the judiciary.

“The religious faith of an accused appearing before a judge in a court of law is of no consequence or does not in any way sway the judgment,” he said.

He said just as the judiciary paid no attention to the religious faith, the State too needed to be neutral.

He gave the example that if Reverend James Bhagwan was to become the Education Minister in the coming years, he would not increase funding to Methodist schools. He would be impartial. That was what having a secular state was all about.

Sayed-Khaiyum said questions continued to be raised about this, but, just a simple clarification was required.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

ART/EVENTS:


22) Miss Cook Islands crowned 2013 queen
By Online Editor
3:08 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Solomon Islands

After an arduous week of friendship and rivalry, Miss Cooks Islands’ Teuira Rachel Napa was crowned the 2013 Miss South Pacific last night.

“I feel humble to win the crown,” the 20-year-old, who was also the youngest of the 10 contestants, told the Sunday Star after her crowning.

“I believe every contestant deserves the crown because they’ve all done their best.

“But I’m happy for my victory. I’m sure my country will be proud of me.”

Napa said she will always remember her time here in the Solomons.

Her first runner up was Miss Rosemarie Louise Fili of Tonga, followed by Miss Samoa’s Susana Fanueli,

Solomons Tema Wickham was the third runner up, and American Samoa’s Miss Eleitino Tuisosopo rounded up the top 5.

In her quest for the title,Napa also won the best float parade award, Miss Sarong award, and the best traditional costume inspired award.

Miss Tonga’s Fili won the Miss Personality and the best interview award, Miss Samoa’s Susana Fanueli received the Miss Internet award and Miss Photogenic award.

Solomon’s Wickham snatched the best talent award whilst the Miss National Tourism award went to Miss American Samoa’s Eleitino Tuisosopo.

The outgoing Miss South Pacific’s Janine Tuivaiti of Samoa thanked the region for its support during her reign.

“I am also pleased to pass on the crown to Miss Cook Islands Teuira Rachel Napa as the newly crowned Miss South Pacific 2013.”.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

BUSINESS/TRADE/FINANCE+:

23) ‘Beware of loan sharks’

Source:
The National, Monday December 9th, 2013

THE people must be educated on the importance of savings so they do not fall into the hands of loan sharks.
This was the message from BPNG Governor Loi Bakani as he closed the two-day expo on financial inclusion on Saturday.
“We must encourage our people to have the mentality of saving and not to fall into deathtraps of borrowing from loan sharks,” he said.
“The whole idea of the expo is to bring this message to our people.”
“We have a responsibility to look at the issues and solve the problem, financial institutions and services have a duty to do this.
“All financial institutions should put aside 5% of their time and budget and they should look at the issue for the benefit of the people,” Bakani said.
He urged the financial institutions to come up with ways to assist in instilling the savings mentality among Papua New Guineans.
“Incentives will be given to financial institutions, schools and other partners helping to bring the message across to the rural areas.”

24) French Company Agrees To Invest $3.6 Billion In PNG’s LNG
Total SA to buy stake in InterOil’s gas assts in Gulf Province

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 9, 2013) – France’s Total SA has agreed to buy a stake in InterOil’s assets in Gulf for K8.7 billion (US$3.6 billion) to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

This will be Papua New Guinea’s second LNG project, with the first ExxonMobil-led project about to complete construction and set to produce first gas by the end of 2014.

InterOil will sell Total a gross 61.3% interest in petroleum retention lease 15 (PRL15), which contains two fields at Elk and Antelope in the Gulf hinterland.

Total will have exclusive rights to negotiate a farm-in to all InterOil’s exploration licences in the country.

The two companies have agreed to a final transaction price of US$1.5-US$3.6 billion for 5.4-9 tcf of natural gas equivalent. Payments will be based on appraisal drilling and reserves certification.

Agreements covering the purchase of PRL15 interests, the proposed LNG project and exploration farm-in rights were signed in Port Moresby last Friday by Hession, and Total Asia-Pacific exploration and production senior vice-president Jean-Marie Guillermou.

Fixed payments to InterOil are made up of US$613 million on completion of the transaction expected during first-quarter 2014; US$112 million on the occurrence of a final investment decision for a new LNG plant; and $100 million at first LNG cargo from the facility.

Total also agreed to pay US$100 million/tcfe for volumes more than 1 tcfe for additional resources discovered within the retention lease from one exploration well. Payment would be made at its first gas from the proposed Elk-Antelope LNG facility.

In addition Total will carry the cost of drilling the appraisal well program and lead construction and operation of the proposed LNG project.

InterOil will continue to operate all its exploration leases in the country.

InterOil will use funds from the transaction to retire debt, exploration and appraisal activities, and to fund the company’s 30% share of the Elk-Antelope project development.

InterOil chief executive Dr Michael Hession said last Friday that the first jobs associated with the Elk and Antelope gas fields will start before Christmas.

Hession said: “Papua New Guinea is now a multi mega LNG site; we will work alongside Total to develop further expertise among Papua

New Guineans in the country’s oil and gas industry.

“We (InterOil) will also start employing people before Christmas and will deliver on time in a way PNG will be proud of.”

Hession said the transaction was a key to meeting the company’s priority objectives of maximising shareholder value, monetising Elk-Antelope, progressing development of an integrated LNG project, strengthening its financial position and continuing its extensive programme.

Guillermou said Total is enthusiastic in delivering the country’s second LNG project on time and within budget.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

25) Countries leave Pacific tuna commission with license to overfish
By Online Editor
10:09 am GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Australia

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission 10th meeting ended Friday.

The discussions had been at a deadlock over conservation and management measures needed to reverse overfishing of the region’s bigeye tuna stocks. As a result, the meeting failed to take action to end overfishing and instead agreed weak measures that will result in little or no improvements to the dire state of the region’s valuable tuna stocks.

“Big fishing nations especially the US and EU have stubbornly refused to agree to the proposals tabled by Pacific Island Countries and Japan. They have a lot to answer to here, and it seems they only came to Cairns to rubber stamp their own plans for continued overfishing in this region,” said Sari Tolvanen of Greenpeace International.

The Commission failed to tighten restrictions on the use of highly destructive Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) in the purse seine fishery over a three year period. A four-month ban on the use of FADs was retained with no further restrictions scheduled for 2014, and additional restrictions for 2015-16 remain uncertain.

“Nobody will benefit from this in the long-term, fish will become harder and harder to catch as stocks decline. Both the EU and US as major markets now need to take steps to ensure sustainable fishing and only buy products that come from operations that do not use fish aggregation devices with purse seine nets,” continued Tolvanen.

The meeting did agree to cap the entry of new purse seine and longline vessels into the fishery by developed fishing nations, a much needed measure to stop the flood of more and more vessels entering the region in the rush to overfish.

“This was a much needed and overdue action, but fishing capacity needs to be reduced, not just capped. It’s now up to Pacific Island Countries to take matters into their own hands and phase out licensing of distant water fishing vessels. Instead, they must develop a sustainable and locally owned tuna fishing sector,” said Duncan Williams, Greenpeace Australia Pacific oceans campaigner.

The commission also failed to regulate the regions out of control longline fleets and to close important areas of high seas to fishing by these fleets. Transhipments at sea continue as the region is robbed of its resources.

“It was a shame that efforts by Pacific island countries to curb increasing longline capacity in the albacore fishery was blocked by China, which led a powerful grouping of east Asian fishing powers that also prevented the closure of the eastern high seas pocket known for illegal and dubious fishing activity.”

“Pacific island countries should now take control of their fishery and reduce the licenses available for these longline vessels in their waters to ensure they are under strict conditions when fishing in their high seas. A collective action is needed to lead progress now given the tuna commission has failed to deliver,” said Duncan Williams.

SOURCE: GREENPEACE/PACNEWS

26) Another Vanuatu province introduces a sail tax for domestic travellers

Posted at 05:28 on 09 December, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu’s Penama Province has announced plans to tax all passengers travelling by sea as well as the cargo they carry and the vessels on which they travel.

Shefa Province and Sanma Province already have similar revenue raising schemes in place.

All six Vanuatu provinces are already taxing people who fly domestically.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Money from mining would stimulate other industries – Bougainville minister

Posted at 05:28 on 09 December, 2013 UTC

The finance minister in the autonomous government in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville says re-launching mining in the province will provide the finance to foster other sectors of the economy.

There is a real prospect of a re-start with new mining legislation likely to go before the ABG early next year and extensive efforts by the government to garner the thoughts of communities around Bougainville.

Albert Punghau told Don Wiseman the immediate appeal of mining is it would bring money into the economy the moment construction work starts.

ALBERT PUNGHAU: The cash crop industry, for example the cocoa and coconut and the other crop industries, they’re also equally important here in Bougainville, but given the situation that we are at, to re-activate back the plantations here that have been closed down that were generating economy to Bougainville are all in virgin forest. And we need to clear this forest – all the plantations are no longer as they used to be. We need, first of all, an amount of money to kick start clearing the bushes so the cocoa trees and the coconut trees that are now in the bush can be cleared so we can start to work on these plantations. It will need money to kick-start all these things that were left for a long time during the war. And as a minister I feel if we can kick-start the mine we can reinvest all the money into agriculture and try to get downstream processing on maybe cocoa and coconut industry here in Bougainville. So the mine would give the financing time kick-start the agriculture industry here in Bougainville.

DON WISEMAN: Some might think that’s cart before the horse given the problems associated with mining.

AP: Yes, I think we need to also look at the realistic situation on the ground. Yes, peace has prevailed in Bougainville. We are now in total peace. But the issue of getting the agriculture industry up and running so fast and quickly, it will take time to produce all these cash crops, to produce cocoa and to produce coconut and all these things. But if you can look at mining we can just kick-start the economy quickly because as soon as construction starts on the mine there will be money thrown to the people and to the government As soon as they open the mine. But if we don’t do the agriculture it will take some time. And, remember, we are going through this referendum until five or four or three years’ time. So it is something that we are putting into a situation where we have to make some hard decisions, some drastic decisions for us as a government, as a people of Bougainville to now say that we have to things from the past in the past and look to the future and rebuild the economy and get the political aspiration that people have died for.

DW: Do you think that the mine can be up and running or mining, per say, can be a significant activity in Bougainville within that two or three years before there is a referendum?

AP: From the investors point of view, in my view I think they would want to do is they would want to wait until the referendum is taken in Bougainville. Then they would know how much money they are going to invest in Bougainville because no investor would want to come to Bougainville given the situation that we have gone through and given the experience that the investors had had in the past. And I think the political stability of having the referendum and the result of the referendum, whether it’s an autonomous government here in Bougainville, an independent government here in Bougainville, that would be a clear indication for the investor to come into Bougainville. But we need to start something to talk about these issues with whichever investors want to come. Then we can talk within the parameters of the mining policy that we are talking about and we are trying to build. And then the investor would use that mining policy to come and invest in Bougainville. But I think the investor would want to come to Bougainville only after the referendum. That’s my view.

DW: As far as the mining legislation goes, how far away is that in terms of it being re-presented in the house?

AP: We have given copies of the draft to all the constituency members of Bougainville. And they are doing consultations with their people in all the constituencies in Bougainville. As soon as all these consultations are done it will be taken back to the mining department of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and then the Autonomous Government will collate all the views of the people and try to look at how they can put all these inputs together before they present it back to the Bougainville executive council and the executive council will make a decision as to when they can put the mining law on to the floor of parliament.

DW: So the middle of next year maybe?

AP: If I look at things, yes, I think it might be the first session of parliament, which will be March. Maybe that will be a good time for us to have a look at that mining transitional deal.

DW: There has been criticism that there hasn’t been enough consultation at grass-roots level. Do you think with this work that the MPs are doing that that will satisfy those critics?

AP: I think that people, especially the people in the constituency from South and North Bougainville, they are virtually aware of what is happening and what the contents of the mining deal is all about, but it is the people in Central Bougainville where there a lot of mining elements and Panguna and [Indistinct] and all the other places where they find coal, these kind of people who are resource owners, these are the people who really want to scrutinise the mining deal and make sure that the landowners and the resource owners are protected.

DW: The MP from Central Bougainville in the national government Jimmy Miningtoro spoke out quite recently about how the people there don’t want mining.

AP: If go to Central Bougainville and you talk to the actual people on the ground you will find that there are people who want the mine to be open and there are also people there who think the mine should not be open. So these are the people that we need to educate and we need to tell them why it is important that we have to get this mine up.

Radio New Zealand International

LAW&ORDER:


28) More Australian Federal Police to arrive in PNG
By Online Editor
1:12 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Papua New Guinea

A further 12 Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers will arrive in Papua New Guinea today.

Their arrival will increase the number of AFP officers working as part of the PNG Australia Policing Partnership to 59 to work alongside their counterparts to boost community policing operations in Port Moresby and Lae.

Commissioner of the Police Toami Kulunga welcomed the news of the arrival of the additional AFP officers, saying the partnership between the RPNGC and the AFP has been going from strength to strength.

He said many Papua New Guineans including the rank and file of the RPNGC have expressed support for the program thus far.

“The goal of our enhanced mission is, in partnership with the RPNGC, to continue to develop the capacity of the RPNGC to provide sustainable and quality policing to the people of PNG.” said Alan Scot the Head of the AFP contingent.

Assistant Commissioner Scott said that the 30 AFP officers who arrived in November have been working very closely with their RPNGC colleagues.

“AFP officers have been out with local police in a number of locations across Port Moresby in the last few weeks and the feedback I have received have been very positive,” Assistant Commissioner Scott said.

The deployment will see an additional 50 AFP officers in PNG by the end of this year. The AFP officers do not have policing powers in PNG, but provide advice, guidance and assistance for a range of day to day policing matters.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

29) New RAMSI PPF commander takes charge

By Online Editor
3:12 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Solomon Islands

The new commander of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands Participating Police Force, Greg Harrigan has started in his new posting replacing former Commander, Paul Osborne.

Osborne left on 5 December after spending about two years as PPF Commander.

The new PPF Commander, Harrigan was welcomed by members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) with a parade at the Police Headquarters at Rove in Honiara last Thursday.

He also took his Oath of Allegiance to the RSIPF in the presence of the Acting Commissioner of RSIPF, Juanita Matanga and senior officers of both the RSIPF and PPF.  As PPF Commander, Mr Harrigan is also Deputy Commissioner of RSIPF.

“Thank you for agreeing to take up this position as RAMSI PPF Commander. We look forward to working closely with you during your time in the position over the next couple of years,” Juanita Matanga, Acting Commissioner RSIPF told the new PPF Commander at the end of the welcome parade.

Matanga also welcomed other senior officers from Australian Federal Police, who have also recently taken up their appointments with the RAMSI PPF.

“The position comes with great responsibility and I am proud to take on the role.  I look forward to continuing the work of my predecessors in further developing the capabilities of the Royal Solomon Island Police force to become the best in the region,” said Commander Harrigan.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

30) Reconciliation on Weather Coast of Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands

Posted at 07:21 on 09 December, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands government is to hold a reconciliation ceremony at the remote Guadalcanal Weather Coast village of Peochokuri on Tuesday.

The government sponsored ceremony is to reconcile the local people, the police and the government after an incident during the ethnic tensions a decade ago when the police patrol boat fired on the villages.

The attack was carried out by the so called Joint Operation, which included police and the militant group the Malaita Eagle Force and the reconciliation is for the loss of lives, properties and violations of human rights.

Representatives from the government will include the prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, the minister of national security and police, Chris Laore and the minister for national unity, peace and reconciliation, Hypolite Taremane.

The villagers have been pushing for a reconciliation for some time.

Radio New Zealand International

31) Criminals stand to lose all under new Fiji laws
By Online Editor
3:03 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Financial Intelligence Unit is investigating 24 cases under the new unexplained wealth law.

And under the unexplained wealth law, these people risk losing everything if they can not convince a court that their property was accumulated legitimately.

Previously the onus had been on prosecutors to prove that assets were obtained via criminal activity.

FIU director Razim Buksh says the majority of these cases involve locals while a handful involves foreigners who have been living in Fiji.

“What the FIU will do is conduct a full profile of these persons. Once these cases are fully investigated, they will then be given to the office of the DPP to present it before court.” Buksh says the new laws augur well for the FIU in that they would not need to show that wealth was linked to any unlawful activity.

“It’s the person who has to convince/show that the money was acquired by legitimate means in order to keep the property,” he said.

“If he is unable to, then the property will be forfeited to the state. “These people that are being investigated are not aware. Once they are charged and the case has been brought before court they will be made aware.”

Buksh believes in a ‘few months’’ some of these cases will be brought before the court.

“And we believe there are still others out there who should be subjected to the new laws. So we are encouraging members of the public to inform the FIU should they have information that a person has property that could be classified as unexplained wealth.”.

SOURCEl FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

32) Clever use of climate finance will help the Pacific

Posted 9 December 2013, 17:41 AEST

Pacific countries could benefit from getting aid to tackle climate change challenges according to the ADB.

Pacific countries have a lot to gain from getting better at obtaining climate-related finance, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Pacific has a major problem dealing with the economic impact of cyclones and other catastrophic weather events.

The damage bill for cyclone Evan in Samoa in 2012 was $US 200 million and memories are still raw in the Cook Islands from the five cyclones experienced in just five weeks back in 2005.

Monetary help

The economist from the Asian Development Bank Emma Veve says the predicted temperature rises will have significant economic consequences in the region.

“When you are looking at a situation with temperatures rising just 2 or 3 degrees over the next 50 or 60 years, you are looking at an economic loss equivalent to 3 per cent and just over 12 per cent of annual GDP in some of the bigger Pacific countries so that is a significant impact,” she said.

The ADB says the Pacific needs money to help them adapt to the changing situation.

“Our research has shown just looking at some of the major impacts this region might need almost $US 500 to over $700 million dollars per year just to prepare for a worst case scenario,” she said.

“To some extent this sounds like a lot of money but on the global stage it is not actually that much.”

“What countries need to do is look at preparing themselves to better capture the climate change finance that is out there… in some of the small countries, just a little bit of money can make a significant difference.

“I think getting away from seeing climate change as an environmental issue and seeing it as a public financial management issue is critical to attracting more funds for good climate change adaptation projects in the Pacific.”

Atolls affected

The latest ADB findings suggest there will be significant loss of land as a result of climate change and many atoll countries in particular, will be affected.

“When you are only two or three metres above sea level, a rise in sea level and particularly things like sea surges during storm events really start to eat into your land,” Ms Veve said.

“Atolls naturally move as a sand mass so the loss of this land can become really notable.”

Ms Veve estimates that climate change could shave up to a third of tourism revenue in the Pacific by the end of this century.

The coastal fisheries could also feel the impact of climate change, with fish stocks expected to decline.

“There is also increased health risks to the Pacific and this is in a system where their health systems are really struggling to cope with things as they are now,” Ms Veve said.

The ADB hopes its research will help Pacific Island nations cope with climate change, for instance by planning infrastructure and minimal agricultural land is damaged.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

33) $47 million to cost Fiji : UN Disaster Risk Reduction
By Online Editor
10:21 am GMT+12, 09/12/2013, Fiji

It will cost Fiji about $47million per square kilometre to rebuild the Suva Peninsula if proper disaster risk reduction strategies are not made before a natural disaster.

This was the finding included in the 2013 Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Disaster Reduction by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

According to the report, it will cost between $18m and $47m per square kilometre to reconstruct buildings in the Suva peninsula.

The survey in the GAR report titled The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative was conducted by SOPAC, and the rebuilding figures for the Suva Peninsula in the report match those of Nadi Town because of the capital value of the buildings.

UNISDR information management adviser Meri Kelliher said the survey took into account public and private buildings and estimated cost on the number of levels and sizes of the buildings.

“So $US10m-$US25m ($F18m-$F47m) worth of capital per square kilometre is at risk of being lost from if there is a severe natural disaster and proper disaster risk reduction strategies are not made,” she said.

“So if the Suva Peninsula which is basically an area of three square kilometres you are looking at a loss of $US75m ($F141m) and that’s comparable with the other side which is Nadi.

“So it quite clearly highlights how vulnerable our two main cities are.”

She explained the point of the survey and the GAR report was to shift focus from reacting to damage from natural disasters to one of actively working to prevent it from happening.

Kelliher also explained it was essential for private companies to start including disasters and hazards in their risk assessments beyond the usual scope of legal risk and market risk as they were major contributors to the economy.

She said this added to the resilience of the local economy, adding that disaster risk reduction strategies were already being acted upon.

“In Fiji the main source of prevention or reduction of these impacts would be through the building codes so all or most buildings would have been built to Australian and New Zealand standards so that’s one thing and that’s enforced by the Suva City Council.

“The hospital in Navua has also taken a preventative measure, it has relocated from the flood prone areas to the top of a hill.

“For example the New Zealand telecom industry invested $6m in seismic protection six months before the earthquake hit and they actually calculated that they saved $60m by investing in those preventative measures.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

SPORTS:

34) Vanuatu poised for a surfing breakthrough

Posted 9 December 2013, 14:53 AEST

Vanuatu is on the verge of challenging the world’s best surfing countries after an impressive win at the Melanesian Surf Cup on the weekend.

Vanuatu dominated the different divisions at Cloudbreak in Fiji to win the Melanesian Cup ahead of New Caledonia and Fiji.

The President of Fiji’s Surfing Association, John Philp, says it shouldn’t be long before Vanuatu is competing with the likes of Australia and Tahiti.

“The juniors from Vanuatu especially impressed,” he told Pacific Beat.

“They’re putting in a lot of hours and the crew over there are really dedicated.

“They’ve got a crew of sponsors and supporters in Australia, just Australians who spend a lot of time in Vanuatu and have a love for all things surfing in Vanuatu, and it shows.”

Sixty-five surfers from Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Samoa, Guam and Fiji competed at the Melanesian Cup.

The competition is designed to help raise the standards of the second tier surfing countries in the Pacific.

Photo: New Caledonia’s Tom Morat at the Melanesian Cup in Fiji (Supplied: Fiji Surfing Association)

Mr Philp says are number of surfers are ready to take the next step in their careers.

“There’s a bunch from Vanuatu and Tom (Morat) from New Caledonia, absolutely,” he said.

Thirteen year old Tom Morat was among the most impressive on the weekend, advancing beyond the heats in a number of categories.

Samoa has been announced as the host of the fifth annual Melanesian Surf Cup next year.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

35) Inspired South Africa win home Sevens title
By Online Editor
1:25 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, South Africa

An inspired South Africa came from 14-0 down to fight back and win a popular victory against New Zealand, 17-14, to clinch the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens.

It is the first time since 2008 that the South Africans have won their home Sevens tournament, and their first at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, a poignant and fitting tribute to the country’s late former President.

In a repeat of the final from two years ago, won in the dying seconds by New Zealand, Branco du Preez and the influential captain Kyle Brown hit back for a spirited South Africa cheered on by over 30,000 fans.

The dramatic victory leaves South Africa just two points behind the All Blacks Sevens in the overall HSBC Sevens World Series standings after three rounds, with Fiji a further eight behinds behind the Blitzbokke.

In the semi finals New Zealand had beaten Samoa 19-5 with player of the tournament Tomasi Cama scoring 14 of their points, and the inspired hosts were then too strong for Argentina winning 31-0 thanks to tries from captain Kyle Brown, Cecil Afrika, Sampie Mastriet, Kwagga Smith and Justin Geduld.

Earlier the South Africans had progressed through to the semi-finals by beating Portugal 45-0 with Werner Kok and Geduld delighting the crowd with two tries apiece, after New Zealand fought off a spirited Kenya to win 19-0. Samoa beat Argentina in the third/fourth play-off to move up to seventh in the overall Series standings.

Last week’s champions Fiji win Plate

Ben Ryan’s Fiji beat France in an enthralling Plate final, following on from their Cup win in Dubai last weekend.

Julien Candelon scored two tries for France to take his tournament tally to six, but Donasio Ratubuli and Benito Masilevu also scored braces to secure a 45-19 win for the flying Fijians against les Bleus.

Clearly upset by their quarter-final defeat to Samoa, Fiji impressively beat Kenya 52-5, despite playing the majority of the match with six men in the first Plate semi-final. Samisoni Viriviri scored two of their eight tries while Emosi Mulevoro contributed 13 points in the win.

First silverware for England’s new coach Amor

Shannon Walker scored his seventh and eighth tries of the tournament but that was not enough as England beat Australia 28-19 to go unbeaten on day two and win the Bowl.

Having finished third and fourth respectively in the first two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, England were disappointed to have missed out on the Cup competition but ensured they went home with eight Series points by beating Mic O’Connor’s side and claiming Simon Amor’s first piece of silverware as coach after earlier victories against USA and Scotland.

Australia secured their place in the final by beating Wales 33-21, with Walker scoring a hat-trick in their 38-5 quarter final win against Zimbabwe.

Shield success for Scotland

Tries by Lee Jones and Scott Riddell (2) secured a Shield victory for Scotland as they beat Canada 19-12, despite a second half come back led by an inspired Phil Mack.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

36) IRB confirms pool draw for USA Sevens

By Online Editor
1:23 pm GMT+12, 09/12/2013, South Africa

The IRB has confirmed the pool draw for the USA Sevens, the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas on 24-26 January 2014.

The draw was conducted just before the Cup final of the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens, won by South Africa amid jubilant scenes.

After their inspirational Cup win at the third round of the Series in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa head Pool A and line up once again against their former coach Paul Treu and his Kenyan side, as well as Wales and Canada.

Port Elizabeth runners-up, Series leaders New Zealand, face a tough Pool B featuring Fiji, trans-Tasman rivals Australia and Scotland.

Resurgent Samoa will enjoy their usual strong support in Las Vegas and face Portugal, England and Uruguay in Pool C.

Santiago Gomez Cora and his Argentina side will play France, host nation USA and Spain in Pool D.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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