Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 909


1) Honiara City Council appeals for international help due to budget shortfall

Posted at 16:23 on 15 December, 2013 UTC

The Solomon Islands Honiara City Council is appealing to international partners for financial assistance due to a budget shortfall.

The city clerk says the council has not been able to collect enough revenue and it is seeking help from traditional friends, United Nations aid agencies and international financial institutions.

Charles Kelly says the city has a burgeoning population and city services are in decline.

“We have a lot of people who are from all over the province and come to the city trying to get a job yeah, so the more people that come the more demand the more rubbish the more deteriorating services we run. These are the kinds of things I am looking at – what else can we do to improve our services?”

Charles Kelly says council priorities include providing public toilets and more street lights.

He says the council is already getting help from the World Bank to run an employment project and the Japanese International Aid Agency is helping to improve the East Honiara rubbish dump.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Ol bil blong graon oli pas long Palamen

Olgeta –

Tede long moning mi finisim las bil blong ol 4 bil blong jenisim loa blong graon – palamen i pasem evriwan.
Mi glad tumas se ol bil ia i pas evriwan, wetem konstityusenel amendment we i pas long 29 Novemba finis – naoia bae ol loa blong graon oli moa gud blong Vanuatu.

Mi luk olsem bae mifala gohed long palamen bakagen kasem Wenisde o Tasde long wik ia.
Yufala save lisen i kam lo Radio Vanuatu o watjem laev long Television Blong Vanuatu o thru long laev “stream” long <>

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 16 December 2013

by bobmakin

A bulletin of Radio Vanuatu News major pieces: weekend and today’s print media to follow much later.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade has set up a committee to negotiate with France the ownership of the two southern islands Matthew and Hunter (known in Tafea as Leka). Foreign Minister Natapei said the special envoy to discuss the issues would be Tanna MP Joe Natuman, presently leader of government business. If negotiations fail, the dispute must go to the international court of justice. This writer believes the matter is already with at least one international body, UNCLOS,the United Nations commission which looks after the Law of the Sea. Vanuatu has also repeatedly claimed sovereignty and so any question of compromise now raises many more issues. Natuman will also discuss borders with the other neighbour countries, the Solomons and Fiji.

In many places in Vanuatu true custom has now been lost said Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu in Parliament last week. This will raise a lot of questions as to how the Area Land Tribunals and Island Courts will be able to work under the new Custom Land Management Act. There must be strong punishment for lies to the custom area land tribunal, Minister Regenvanu said. The ministry is tired of the “giaman.” We say we stand by custom principles and Melanesian values, but in reality in certain places we have moved away from custom he reiterated.

The Vanuatu Government subsidy for copra is to be halted for the year 2014. The copra subsidy suspension is said to enable the setting up of a good policy to enable the subsidy to reach the farmer, the claim being that it presently does not. Middle-men are said to be taking the majority of the money. It is alarming that this can happen in this manner and successive governments must share the blame for policy issues being such that funds have not been getting to growers in the past. The copra subsidy has so long been a campaign matter and winner.

Leader of the Opposition Ham Lini, like the Lands Minister, also in Parliament referred to the many lies which have been put about in negotiating land sales. Lini says MPs must now carefully explain the Customary Land Management Act as they tour their constituencies.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will be visiting Vanuatu this week. She will meet Prime Miniuster Carcasses and Foreign Minister Natapei and visit the Vanuatu National Women’s Centre. Julie Bishop is particularly concerned that the role of women in the economy is properly recognised.

The Electoral Commission will announce candidates for the municipal elections in a broadcast on Friday. Campaigning will also start on Friday. Port Vila Municipal Council electors will vote on 7 January.

The National Disaster Management Office – NDMO – is holding a workshop together with NGOs today and tomorrow.Essentially it will deal with climate change adaptation techniques, so that all concerned with this important topic will be brought up to date.


4) France asked to admit UN to study Tahiti decolonisation
By Online Editor
08:55 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, French Polynesia

France has been asked to allow experts mandated by the United Nations to visit French Polynesia to examine the impact of its nuclear weapons test.

This is part of a fresh resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The resolution asks France to co-operate with the decolonisation process and allow for a study of the tests’ impact not only on the environment and on people’s health but also on the territory’s economy

The pro-independence camp has hailed the renewed move from the UN, whose previous resolution Paris has all but ignored.

Last month, the French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, announced that France would refuse to buy into the UN decolonisation process, saying Paris is guided by the outcome of this year’s territorial election, which was won by the anti-independence camp.

Meanwhile, French Polynesia’s pro-independence party says it is unacceptable for France to ignore the United Nations stance on the territory’s decolonisation.

The new French Polynesian government is opposed to any change to its current autonomy status while France says it won’t buy into the UN decolonisation process.

Paris has also ruled out holding an immediate independence referendum as requested by the territorial assembly.

Temaru says the position assumed by the French is unacceptable.

“They are trying to ignore what has been decided by the United Nations. I think politically it is unacceptable for a country known throughout the world as a country of human rights of freedom. So it is a great victory but the struggle is not over,” said Temaru.


5) Police alone cannot curb booze culture and violence

Updated 16 December 2013, 10:24 AEST

The Deputy Commissioner of New South Wales Police says there needs to be a culture change in Australia towards drinking and that simply putting more officers on the street will not curb alcohol-related violence.

About 540 people in the state were charged with a range of offences during a national police crackdown – Operation Unite – over the weekend.

Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas says the message about safe alcohol consumption is not getting out. He says the community needs to take more responsibility.

“What we would like to see and what we will work towards…is a shift in the culture, the drinking culture the approach to alcohol, where people don’t feel the need to drink to such a degree that they lose all common sense,” he said.

“It is clearly a societal problem and it is very much an alcohol-related issue. “Alcohol cuts across nearly all the crime types that we come across except for organised crime.

“It’s become quite entrenched now and it is a problem that we need to fix as the underlying cause rather than simply put more police on the street (and) arrest more people.”

New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione is due to meet the Premier Barry O’Farrell today to discuss what action can be taken in the wake of the weekend blitz.

Deputy Commissioner Kaldas says authorities and businesses have already been working with police to try to address the problem.

“We have a great deal of support from the government, we also have built some relationships with bodies such as the Australian Hoteliers Association,” he said.

“We don’t see enemies in business, we simply need to work with them and head in the same direction to try to resolve this issue.

Bondi attack

Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital says a man remains in a critical but stable condition, two days after a violent bashing at Bondi Beach.

The 23-year-old was punched and had his head stomped on before he was found lying in a gutter in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Police say they are reviewing CCTV footage from surrounding bars and shops in the hope of identifying a suspect.

And six men were arrested after an alleged scuffle with police outside a pub in Darlinghurst early on Sunday morning.

The Deputy Commissioner says people need to think about the consequences of their actions.

“These sorts of incidents have very long-term and very serious implications for people, not only for victims who get assaulted and their families but for the offenders themselves,” he said.

6) Australian foreign minister heading to the Pacific
By Online Editor
08:59 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, Solomon Islands

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop will lead a bipartisan delegation to Solomon Islands, Nauru and Vanuatu on 16-19 December.

In Solomon Islands, Bishop will meet Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to discuss Australia’s leadership of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, and how our aid support is improving the lives of Solomon Islanders.

She will meet senior members of the Australian business community to discuss how to increase trade and investment ties, and will also visit the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In Nauru,  Bishop will meet President Waqa and visit aid projects, including a local high school and technical training centre. She will also visit the Offshore Processing Centre.

In Vanuatu,Bishop will meet Prime Minister Carcasses and Foreign Minister Natapei.  She will launch two projects to boost economic development, and visit the Vanuatu Women’s Centre for a discussion with women leaders.

Bishop’s visit will particularly focus on how Australia can help to remove barriers to women’s participation in the formal economy throughout the region.

Bishop will be accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason; Tanya Plibersek, Matt Thistlethwaite and Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, who will be announced prior to departure.



7) PNG ESP meri lida i lusim kalabus

Updated 16 December 2013, 14:56 AEST
Bethany Keats

President blong East Sepik Council of Women Sophie Mangae ibin baem kot na polis i lusim em long kalabus

Ol polis long East Sepik provins blong Papua New Guinea ibin rausim President blong East Sepik Council of Women Sophie Mangae ibin lusim kalabus long wikend, tasol emi bin baem kot.

Oli bin pulim kalabusim Ms Mangae long wik igo pinis bihaen long emi bin traem long kotim sampla laen em oli bin reipim wanpla yangpla meri blong Wewak iet.

Dispela yangpela meri krismas blong em 18 ibin tok olsem foapela polis man ibin rapeim em na ibin go ripot long dispela birua long Sepik Crises Senta.

Tasol taim tupela meri ia ilaik igo long polis stesin, polis i arrestim President blong East Sepik Kaunsel ov Women, Sohpie Mangae husait ibin givim toktok long human raits.

Norah Kapari blong East Sepik Council of Women itok klia moa long as tingting blong ol  polis long  pulim kalabusim  Ms Mangae.

8) Solomon Islands vota regisreisan i kamapim wari

Updated 16 December 2013, 14:14 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Igat sampla wari i kamap nau long Solomon Islands long nupla wei blong makim oa registarim nem blong ol pipal em oli ken vout.

Despla wari i kamap long wan kaen taem we kantri i redi long General ileksan long 2014.

Oli tok despla nupla registration i slow tumas.

Gavman nau iwok long putim Biometric Voter Registration system na emi laik pinisim despla wok pastem long mun March 2014.

Tasol bosman blong Anti-Corruption Network, Barnabas Henson itok  olsem emi no ting gavman bai pinisim despla wok pastem long mun August.

Mr Henson itok olsem emi hamamas wantem despla nupla sistam, tasol emi ting wok blong statim despla wok i wok long kamap isi isi tumas.Radio Australia.


9) Cérémonie de réconciliation aux îles Salomon

Posté à 16 December 2013, 9:00 AEST
Pierre Riant

Une cérémonie présidée la semaine dernière par le Premier ministre Gordon Darcy Lilo plus de 10 après l’éruption d’une violence qui a laissé de profondes cicatrices.

Personne n’a oublié ce conflit inter-ethnique sur l’île de Guadalcanal à la fin des années 90 et au début des années 2000.

Des groupes de militants autochtones de Guadalcanal se sont mis à agresser les migrants venus de l’île de Malaita. Fin 1999, la Force des Aigles de Malaita, une force armée, s’est constituée pour défendre les Malaitans de Guadalcanal.

La situation a dégénéré et c’est la Mission d’assistance régionale aux îles Salomon (RAMSI) qui a réussi à rétablir l’État de droit en 2003.
Et c’est la semaine dernière en 2013, que cette cérémonie de réconciliation, cette « Solovisu », qui a attiré plus de 2 000 personnes, s’est déroulée.  La première grande étape du processus de réconciliation.

Lennis Rukale, secrétaire d’État au ministère de l’Unité nationale, est convaincu que le processus va aboutir. Mais pourquoi avoir attendu si longtemps ?

RUKALE : «  Le problème est que la réconciliation n’est pas quelque chose que le gouvernement peut imposer aux gens. Il faut négocier avec toutes les communautés pour qu’elles acceptent d’y participer. Et cette cérémonie, c’est l’ouverture des négociations pour la réconciliation. »

Et concrètement, que va-t-il se passer au cours de ces prochaines semaines ou de ces prochains mois ?

RUKALE : « Le ministère de l’Unité nationale a préparé un programme qui a été soumis en Conseil des ministre et qui a été accepté. Après la cérémonie de réconciliation, les Églises vont jour un rôle de conciliateur et iront dans chaque village pour travailler sur les traumatismes. Des tables rondes seront aussi organisées pour solutionner des problèmes qui existeraient entre le gouvernement et la population. Il y aura aussi des discussions sur la propriété foncière et quand toutes ces questions auront été résolues, la réconciliation suivra. »

Un processus qui devrait prendre, selon Lennis Rukale, un minimum de 10 semaines.  Il va falloir aussi redéployer la police dans des zones où elle n’est pas la bienvenue, Notamment dans la région de Weathercoast  à Guadalcanal, car certains policiers avaient choisi leur camp : avec ou contre les Malaitans.

RUKALE : «  Dans le passé, il y avait un poste de police [à Weathercoast] mais il a été brûlé depuis. La police n’était pas effectivement la bienvenue mais après la cérémonie de réconciliation, elle aura accès à cette région. »

Une dernière question. Est-ce que certains rejettent ce processus de réconciliation ?

RUKALE : « Et bien en fait, le gouvernement travaille depuis près d’un an avec les chefs et tout le monde a maintenant accepté et c’est pour ça que c’est maintenant possible. Nous n’avons pas fait cavalier seul. Les chefs sont impliqués, les membres des Assemblées provinciales, les députés, les églises et c’est pourquoi c’est devenu possible sinon cela aurait été particulièrement difficile. C’est une étape essentielle pour le gouvernement qui est assez satisfait et c’est pour cela que des fonds ont été alloués pour aller de l’avant avec ce programme. »

10) Papouasie : l’armée indonésienne vient d’ouvrir un chantier de six mois

Posté à 16 December 2013, 9:23 AEST
Pierre Riant

Objectif : construire 14 routes en Papouasie et en Papouasie Occidentale, soit 900 kilomètres de bitume.

Les militaires mettront donc la main à la pâte pour assurer la livraison des routes dans les temps.

Selon le quotidien Jakarta Post, l’option militaire a été préférée par les autorités indonésiennes au secteur privé, afin d’éviter de faire un appel d’offres, qui prendrait trop de temps. Une décision qui déplaît souverainement au Président de la Chambre des Entrepreneurs Indigènes Papous. John Haluk affirme que les Papous sont tout à fait capables de les faire, ces routes.


11) South Africa buries its greatest son – Nelson Mandela
By Online Editor
08:49 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, South Africa

South Africa has buried Nelson Mandela, leaving the multi-racial democracy he founded without its living inspiration and still striving for the “Rainbow Nation” ideal of shared prosperity he had dreamed of.

The Nobel peace laureate, who was held in apartheid prisons for 27 years before emerging to preach forgiveness and reconciliation, was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Qunu after a send-off combining military pomp with the traditional rites of his Xhosa abaThembu clan.

As the coffin was lowered into the wreath-ringed grave, three army helicopters flew over bearing the South African flag on weighted cables, a poignant echo of the anti-apartheid leader’s inauguration as the nation’s first black president nearly two decades ago.

A battery fired a 21-gun salute, the booms reverberating around the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape, before five fighter jets flying low in formation roared over the valley.

“Yours was truly a long walk to freedom, and now you have achieved the ultimate freedom in the bosom of your maker,” armed forces Chaplain General Monwabisi Jamangile said at the grave site, where three of Mandela’s children already lie.

Among the 450 mourners at the private burial ceremony were relatives, political leaders and foreign guests including Prince Charles, American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Mandela died aged 95 in Johannesburg on December 5, plunging his 52 million countrymen and women and millions more around the world into grief, and triggering more than a week of official memorials to one of the towering figures of the 20th century.

Over 100,000 people paid their respects in person at Mandela’s lying in state at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, where he was sworn in as president in 1994, an event that brought the curtain down on more than three centuries of white domination.

When his body arrived on Saturday in Qunu, 700 km south of Johannesburg, it was greeted by locals overjoyed that Madiba, the clan name by which he was affectionately known, had “come home”.

“After his long life and illness he can now rest,” said grandmother Victoria Ntsingo. “His work is done.”

Before the burial, 4500 family, friends and dignitaries attended the state funeral service in a huge domed tent, its interior draped in black, in a field near Mandela’s homestead.

The flag-covered casket was carried in by military chiefs, with Mandela’s grandson and heir, Mandla, and South African President Jacob Zuma following in their footsteps.

It was then placed on black and white Nguni cattle skins in front of a crescent of 95 candles, one for each year of Mandela’s life, as a choir sang Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the national anthem adopted after the end of apartheid in 1994.

“The person who is lying here is South Africa’s greatest son,” said Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), who presided over the three-hour ceremony broadcast live across the nation and around the world.

From the Limpopo River in the north to Cape Town in the south, millions watched on television or listened to the radio. In some locations, big screens transmitted the event live.

“Qunu is too far to go, so I gathered with some people here so we can mourn together. I can say he is a hero, a man of the people,” said 29-year-old Message Sibanda, among about 100 others watching in Johannesburg’s Sandton financial district.

At the service, touching tributes were paid to the father of the “Rainbow Nation” he helped forge from apartheid’s ashes.

“Farewell my dear brother, my mentor, my leader,” said lifelong friend and fellow Robben Island inmate Ahmed Kathrada, his voice cracking with emotion, drawing tears from mourners.

In his eulogy, Zuma paid tribute to a life that went from freedom-fighter to political prisoner to president. He also briefly turned attention to the future, pledging to continue Mandela’s quest for a free and equal society, free from racial discrimination.

“Whilst the long walk to freedom has ended in the physical sense, our own journey continues. We have to continue building the type of society you worked tirelessly to construct. We have to take the legacy forward,” Zuma said.

The intense spotlight on the departed Mandela has highlighted the gulf in stature between him and the scandal-plagued Zuma. The current president is increasingly criticized for not doing enough to reduce poverty and chronic unemployment and end gaping income disparities that make South Africa one of the most unequal societies in the world.

Mandela served just one term as leader of Africa’s biggest and most sophisticated economy, and formally withdrew from public life in 2004, famously telling reporters at the end of a farewell news conference: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

His last appearance in public was at the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium, waving to fans from the back of a golf cart.

Yet such was his influence as the architect of the historic reconciliation between blacks and whites that his passing has left a gaping hole at the heart of South Africa’s psyche.

With an eye on elections in five months, the ANC, the 101-year-old former liberation movement Mandela once led, has seized on his death as a chance to shore up popularity that is ebbing even in its black support base.

This calculation backfired badly at a Mandela memorial in Johannesburg on Tuesday when Zuma, under fire for a US$21 million security upgrade to his private home, was booed and jeered in front of world leaders including US President Barack Obama.

But barring an upset next year, Zuma looks set for another five years in office, during which he will have to address an economy struggling to shake off a 2009 recession and the fragmentation of a vital ANC alliance forged with the unions in the common struggle against apartheid.

With unemployment at 25 per cent and racial inequality still painfully evident – the average white household earns six times more than the average black one – pressure for radical economic transformation is only likely to increase.

Against that backdrop, the party is desperate for strong leaders to guide South Africa through the complexities of the 21st century global economy and allow it to claim what it believes is its rightful place at the world’s top table.

There are questions whether Zuma, a polygamous Zulu traditionalist with no formal education, can deliver this.

“We need to raise the level of leadership,” former president Thabo Mbeki, who was unceremoniously ousted by Zuma six years ago, said in eulogies to Mandela last week.

“The transformation of South Africa is a very difficult task, I think in many respects more difficult than the struggle to end the system of apartheid.”


12) India urged to tackle world’s largest number of child marriages

Updated 16 December 2013, 10:40 AEST
Murali Krishnan in New Delhi

Campaigners in India are urging authorities to no longer turn a blind eye to enforcing laws banning child marriage.

They say the prevailing problem of child marriage is also responsible for the poor health and childbirth records of the country.

In the western reach of India’s Rajasthan state, figures indicate that every fourth girl is getting married before attaining the age of 18.

Krinna Shah, a campaigner for child rights, says the serious issue spills beyond the issue of women’s rights.

“Girls and boys both are being affected, rural and urban are both being affected,” she said.

“Increasingly boys are also getting married at a younger age, so it is a pan-India problem and its base is in child protection.”

While Niger, the Central African Republic and Malawi have higher rates of child marriage, India’s population means it has the largest number of child brides and grooms in the world.

UNICEF says 15 per cent of girls in rural areas across the country are married before 13, and more than half have their first pregnancy between 15 and 19.

Marriage is tied into may traditional rituals in places like Rajasthan – such as the Mausar ritual, where marriage is used to turn the sorrow of a family member’s death to joy.

In it, a marriage must be solemnized within 13 days of the death of a family member – even if those being married are not of marriageable age.

It’s like child labor – you want to discourage it, you make it illegal…you do various things but you don’t actually abolish it

Razia Ismail, Indian Alliance for Child Rights

Rights campaigners say the fallout from child marriage continues throughout a girl’s life, with forced initiation into sex and on-going sexual violence, leading to early and unplanned pregnancy.

Razia Ismail, from the Indian Alliance for Child Rights, says this puts her life or that of her child’s at risk.

“I see it as a chronic and continuingly serious problem,” she said.

“The state does not seem confident to move to ban it – it’s like child labor, you want to discourage it, you make it illegal…you do various things but you don’t actually abolish it.

“The same [thing happens] for child marriage.”

Ms Ismail says it’s robbing young boys and girls of the chance to develop as people.

“They are already put into roles that are socially sanctioned, rather than roles that would be their natural choice,” she said.

“This is too early – too early in the formation of your life for you to be forced into a social role into which you are actually put into an adult social function, both sexually and socially.”

In some pockets of the country, a campaign against child marriage is gaining ground.

Shaheen is a worker at a counselling centre for under-privileged children, where young girls are being taught about child marriage

Photo: Young Indian girls are being taught about how child marriage will affect the rest of their lives (Murali Krishnan)

“The family mistakenly perceives that it is a secure thing to marry a girl at a younger age, so that she can easily socialize in a different family,” she said.

“Also that is the security of the girl, seeing the circumstances and the safe environment, the financial crunch at home and pressure from society.”

Some of the girls in their teens say they are more aware of what marrying young means for their lives.

“I know child marriage is rampant because some families perceive having too many children as an economic burden – that is bad,” Afsana, 15, said.

Her friend Naazmi is also shocked.

“It is unfortunate that a girl is denied the chance to lead a full life,” she said.

“After marriage, both the boy and girl can have health problems and they don’t know how to deal with the situation.”


13) New hospital on Guam expected to ease burden on health services

Posted at 05:14 on 16 December, 2013 UTC

A new private hospital being established on Guam is expected to ease a burden on the territory’s health services caused by a lack of doctors, nurses and beds.

Health care statistics on Guam show there is a growing demand for hospital services by the ageing population, which is forecast to make up the majority of the Guam Regional Medical City’s patients.

A spokesperson for the hospital, Carlos Pangelinan says thousands of people seek medical care off island each year.

He says the new hospital means fewer people will have to travel for treatment and there will be significant improvements to health services with 130 new beds and more doctors and nurses.

“I think there’ll be a larger number of specialist physicians here. We particularly have a problem with longer term care needs. A lot of the specialists that do come here, they usually are here temporarily. We think that we’re going to be able to bring a lot of them here and keep them here longer.”

Carlos Pangelinan says the 200 million US dollar hospital is expected to be ready by August or September.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Fiji’s Health Ministry issues advisory after rise in dengue fever cases

Posted at 21:16 on 15 December, 2013 UTC

An increase in the number of reported dengue fever cases has prompted Fiji’s Ministry of Health to issue a national advisory urging the public to take precautionary measures against the virus.

The ministry, in a statement, says more cases have been reported in hospitals in the Western and Central Division.

It says while there are various ways to prevent dengue fever, the most common include maintaining clean and hygienic surroundings.

It says this includes keeping the grass trimmed and discarding all water retaining receptacles and tyres that are in and around the house, capable of collecting water.

The Ministry says once an individual contracts dengue, the person manifests symptoms of the disease 4-10 days later.

Fiji Live online says the typical symptoms of dengue fever include fever, intense headache, muscle and joint pains, flushed skin or rashes on the arms and legs, and perhaps minor bleeding of the gums and/or nose.

Radio New Zealand International

15) NZ’s adult obesity rate tops 30%, two-thirds of Pacific folk in worst category

By Online Editor
08:53 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, New Zealand

New Zealand is getting fatter – with three in every 10 adults now regarded as obese.

A leading diabetes researcher has called the new figures alarming and has accused the Government of failing to take the problem seriously.

However, Health Minister Tony Ryall has rejected “nanny state” measures, instead arguing that providing information and support to people is enough.

“In the end, the Government can pass all the laws it likes but unless people eat less and exercise more, things won’t change,” Ryall said in response to the new figures.

More than 1.1 million adults are now obese, according to the Ministry of Health’s 2012/13 health survey. The adult obesity rate has risen to 31 per cent – up from 29 per cent a year ago and 27 per cent in 2006-07.

Obesity rates are highest in Pacific adults; 68 per cent are obese.

Adults living in the most-deprived areas are 1.5 times as likely to be obese as those in the least-deprived areas.

Eleven per cent of children aged 2-14 years are obese; that’s about 85,000 youngsters. The childhood obesity rate is similar to last year’s, but has increased significantly since 2006-07.

Jim Mann, professor of human nutrition and medicine at Otago University, said the new figures were depressing rather than surprising.

Government action, including attempts to increase physical activity, fell well short of what was needed, Professor Mann said.

An over-arching strategy to deal with the obesity problem was needed, including meaningful school programmes, curbs on the advertising of unhealthy foods, and an easy-to-understand food-labelling system.

“Food is the big factor. There is still huge promotion of junk foods and not a lot to counter it … We have to be taking the lead – signal that we have a problem … There’s not even healthy food in many hospitals.”

Obesity increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Professor Mann said dealing with the complications of those conditions, such as limb amputations, blindness and renal dialysis, had huge consequences for the health system.

The Government focus for new nutrition programmes has been on mothers and babies. It is also spending more on screening for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and on providing more “green prescriptions”, in which GPs and nurses encourage patients to get more exercise and improve their diet. Some health advocates have called for more radical action, including taxing sugary drinks and fatty foods.

However, Ryall said the Government’s preference was to provide information and support “rather than nanny-state regulation”.

“These are international trends. Every developed country is struggling with this challenge.

“The Government is investing around $60 million a year across a range of programmes from Kiwisport in schools to green prescriptions to fruit in schools. We are also currently considering a highly successful community-based programme from Victoria which supports individuals, families and communities to make healthy change.”.



16) Solomons’ government to tighten access to scholarships

Posted at 05:14 on 16 December, 2013 UTC

Solomon Islanders wanting to study at the National University next year will have to compete for government sponsored scholarships.

The finance and treasury minister Rick Hou revealed this in parliament while presenting his 2014 budget.

He says the government will not offer additional free tertiary scholarships after learning that the decision to do so this year has eaten dramatically into the current budget.

He says the estimated costs for tertiary scholarships and funding for the Solomon Islands National University in 2014, are five times greater than they were in 2009.

Mr Hou says as of next year, all government scholarship awards will be re-introduced through a more stringent screening process.

Mr Hou says the action is expected to reduce tertiary scholarship costs by over 7 million US dollars next year.

But he says students who have re-applied for other government scholarships will be considered by the National Training Committee for 2014.

Radio New Zealand International

17) Vanuatu Teachers Union against hiring retired Fiji teachers

By Online Editor
08:47 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Teachers Union says retired teachers from Fiji are not welcome to teach in Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu education minister Bob Loughman has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fiji foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, allowing 15 retired teachers from Fiji to teach in Vanuatu secondary schools next year.

The Union’s president, Wilfred Leo, says the agreement has come as a surprise, as more than 50 teaching graduates from Vanuatu are yet to secure a posting.

He says Vanuatu also has qualified retired teachers who should be recruited first.

“Those who come to work here are retired teachers and we also have retired teachers here. And we asked the government to show us how well can retired teachers in Fiji teach than our retired teachers that are here.”

Wilfred Leo also questions where the Vanuatu government will get the money to pay the salaries of the teachers from Fiji while it still owes salaries to teachers.

18) PNG seeking Filipino teachers and lecturers

Posted at 02:11 on 16 December, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea is offering Filipino teachers and lecturers salaries of up to 19,000 US dollars a year to fill an urgent requirement for qualified educators.

The Philippines Labour Department Secretary says PNG is looking for at least 81 teachers and lecturers as part of an initial manpower recruitment drive under a new bilateral agreement.

The Post Courier reports Rosalinda Baldoz saying the PNG government will help process working visas for qualified applicants.

She says PNG needs lecturers in physics, biology, architecture, civil and electrical engineering, economics, and management.

And she says teachers across a broad range of other disciplines and subjects are also needed.

There are already more than 23 thousand Filipino workers in PNG.
Radio New Zealand International


19) Nautilus could be first deep-sea miner

The National, Monday December 16th, 2013

A MINERAL exploration company could become the first in the world to conduct deep-sea mining as early as next year if all goes according to plan.
Nautilus Minerals Fiji country manager RatuIsoa Gavidi said should deep-sea mining begin at Solwara 1 in Papua New Guinea, it would set the platform for other deep sea mining activities around the globe.
“This is frontier mining,” he said.
“No one is doing sea-bed mining and if Nautilus starts mining next year at Solwara 1 in PNG, which has been delayed, we will be the first company in the world that is going to conduct deep sea mining.”
Ratu Isoa said Nautilus had a mining contract with the PNG Government for mineral resources alone.
“We are not doing oil, which is a common misconception.
“We are going for minerals like copper, manganese, gold and rare earths that are needed for modern technological devices.” – Fiji Times

20) IRC seeks to become best govt agency

The National, Monday December 16th, 2013

THE Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) is working hard to achieve its vision of being the best public sector agency in PNG and the leading tax administrator in the Pacific.
IRC recently conducted its end-of-year review to evaluate its performance against the IRC 2013-17 corporate plan and the 2013 annual work plan.
The tax agency said it was on track to hit its revenue target of about K7 billion, its biggest achievement for the year.
In a statement, Commissioner General Betty Palaso said 2013 started with the launch of IRC corporate plan last January.
She said the plan set the blueprint for IRC’s transformation into a modern and efficient tax administrator, with 2013 being the first year of implementation.

21) PNG ICT potential gets recognition
By Online Editor
08:42 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is privileged to be one of the four countries selected this year with strong potential for national information communication technology (ICT) development through bilateral co-operation.

An inauguration ceremony was held with the Korean government to celebrate the opening of the information access centre at the Institute of Public Administration last Friday in Port Moresby.

Minister for Communication and Information Technology Jimmy Miringtoro said at the ceremony said that the project will offer an infrastructure with better access and opportunity to use ICT for the general public.

“This will be contributing to the improvement of the information based environment as well as co-operation in the ICT field. As PNG strides towards developing its ICT industry, in turn it will also help to pursue PNG’s development aspirations and ultimately achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals.

“For many PNGeans, access to information is a problem and results in having assumptions when dealing with issues faced in the community,” Miringtoro said.

He said such an information centre is an opportunity that will provide accessible and affordable information, services and facilities to the vulnerable and neglected community.

The centre has a multi functional facility which includes an ICT training lab, internet lounge, seminar room and administration office that aims to offer local communities a wide range of opportunities for ICT enablement and to bring them into the information-based society.

The centre will benefit the public sector, the education and TVET sector, rural and community sector, the private, NGOs, SMEs, churches and women and the neglected.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in March this year between the Institute of Public Administration and the National Information Society Agency of Korea has undertaken this IAC project and successfully attained its objective.

The Department of Commun-ication and Information and the Institute are partnering agencies to implement and drive this project. The PNGIAC is now part of 37 countries that make up the Global IAC Consultative Organisation.


22) Fiji Airways adds NZ service
By Online Editor
1:02 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2013, New Zealand

Fiji Airways will add another Christchurch to Nadi service next winter.

The airline now operates a weekly Sunday departure and will introduce a Tuesday service during July next year.

It says it is “working towards additional flights later.”

Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive Stefan Pichler, said the extra service would make it easier for South Island passengers to fly direct to Fiji, and on to the United States without an additional domestic New Zealand connection.

“The new service opens up our global network to South Islanders, because we are offering an additional weekly connection on to Los Angeles and Honolulu. The departure time has been chosen to not only appeal to Cantabrians, but the greater South Island market, with connections possible from over six South Island regional points,” he said.

After suffering heavy losses three years ago, the airline has revamped its fleet after changing its name from Air Pacific. It has bought three new Airbus A330-200s to replace its fleet of Boeing B747-400s and 767s.

Christchurch Airport chief executive Jim Boult said Fiji Airways was the only airline to operate a year-round direct service from Christchurch to Fiji.

It has has been flying from Christchurch to Fiji for more than 20 years.

The total market size of South Island residents travelling to Fiji or North America was almost 50,000 in the past 12 months and was growing, he said.

23) EU wanted PNG, Fiji back in EPA negotiation
By Online Editor
09:00 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, Solomon Islands

The European Union (EU) wants Papua New Guinea and Fiji to return to the table for further ACP Pacific EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations.

This was further discussed last week in the ACP-EU meeting with the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht in Honiara .

PNG withdrew from the negotiations in October this year in Brussels, while Fiji announced its withdrawal on Monday at the Honiara talks.

De Gucht said the EU wanted these two Pacific countries back in the negotiation.

“At least they formally participate in negotiations,” he said.

He said the EU will approach PNG, giving them a clear answer, and to tell them to re-engage in the EPA talks.

“I will make it clear to them through diplomatic channels and also in writing.”

De Gucht said Fiji must also return to the table.

“We should now consider re-integrating PNG and Fiji given the timeframe to meet by March next year.

“Whilst EU does not clearly understand Fiji’s case, EU is committed to convince PNG back into negotiations.”.


24) Time for Australia and New Zealand to give concessions in PACER Plus
By Online Editor
08:45 am GMT+12, 16/12/2013, Solomon Islands

Trade officials from forum island countries (FICs), Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) met last month in Auckland, New Zealand to advance the PACER Plus negotiations which commenced in August 2009.

According to the lead spokesperson for the FICs on PACER Plus and trade negotiations envoy of the Solomon Islands, Robert Sisilo, the parties made substantive progress on most of the negotiating issues, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, rules of origin, trade in services and investment.

The negotiations on customs procedures, intended to simplify customs procedures and facilitate cross border trade, were concluded in August 2013.

The parties are content with the progress that has been made in recent months emboldening them to set the ambitious deadline of completing the negotiations on the legal texts on the various negotiating issues by December 2014.

“For this deadline to be met, ANZ will need to offer significant concessions on the two most important issues for the FICs, namely development assistance and labour mobility, otherwise the optimism that a deal could be secured by the end of the next year will quickly evaporate.” Sisilo said.

New Zealand has been tasked by the parties to come up with compromise proposals in these two contentious areas before the next inter-sessional meeting, which is scheduled to take place in March 2014 in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

On development assistance, ANZ have committed to providing assistance to the FICs to implement their obligations under the PACER Plus Agreement.

While the FICs welcome the commitment by their developed country counterparts to provide this type of assistance, they argue that it is not enough to reverse their marginalisation in the global economy.

“For PACER Plus to live to its full potential, ANZ should provide FICs with new and additional resources to help address the supply-side and other trade-related constraints that prevent us from increasing and diversifying our trade.  ANZ have indicated in general terms that they are prepared to consider our request, but have not been very forthcoming.” Sisilo said.

With respect to labour mobility, the FICs are demanding that the parties bind their commitments in the PACER Plus Agreement.  ANZ are reluctant to do so, arguing that such a step will trigger their most-favoured nation obligations under some preferential trade agreements that they are parties to.

“We are also demanding improvements to the schemes such as eliminating the caps or increasing the current levels by a significant margin and extending them to sectors such as health care and accommodation, in which we have some comparative advantage.

“We also demand relaxation of visa requirements, strengthening of vocational education and training in the FICs, expediting work on the mutual recognition of qualifications, and strengthening labour administrations in the FICs.  While ANZ have been engaging on these issues, they have not indicated whether they would accept these proposals.” Sisilo noted with disappointment.

“We have demonstrated flexibility in the negotiations and it is now up to ANZ to fulfil their promise that PACER Plus will not be a conventional free trade agreement but a trade and development agreement which will put the economies of the FICs on the path of economic growth and sustainable development.” Sisilo further noted.

Meeting the negotiators in Auckland, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand,Murray McCully reaffirmed New Zealand’s view that PACER Plus is more than a trade agreement and that development will be at its core.  Let us hope that both Australia and New Zealand will back their pledges with action by giving substantive commitments in the negotiations in the two areas of utmost importance to the FICs


Monday, December 16, 2013

THE Irish Republic’s exit from its bailout rescue is a “milestone” but not the end of the road, the country’s finance minister has said.

Michael Noonan told a press conference marking the exit that Ireland’s deficit and debt was still far too high.

Ireland has become the first eurozone nation to complete the lending deal put in place by a group of international lenders, known as the troika.

The country was rescued with an 85billion euro ($F221.01) package.

The troika — the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank — have held significant influence on policymaking and the direction of the Irish economy.

Casino plan fallout

A PLAN to create a giant casino complex — called Eurovegas — near Madrid has collapsed after disagreements between the developer and Spanish authorities.

US casino operator Las Vegas Sands has pulled out of the $US30b ($F56.76b) project which included six casinos, 12 hotels and many shops.

Directly and indirectly the project was supposed to create up to 250,000 posts. That was an important selling point in Spain where the jobless rate currently stands at 27 per cent.

However Spanish authorities would not agree to several demands from the US company. Las Vegas Sands wanted the government to insure it against future changes in policy.

Measure approval

MEXICO’S Congress has approved a measure to open the state-run oil fields to foreign investment for the first time in 75 years, following a vote by the Senate earlier this week.

The program would let private firms explore and extract oil and gas with state-run firm Pemex, and take a share of the profits. The measure must now be approved by 17 of the country’s 32 federal entities.

Mexico nationalised its energy industry in 1938. Thursday’s vote to approve the measure lasted hours and was reported to be heated. Mexico’s President President Enrique Pena Nieto has said the move is necessary to modernise Mexico’s energy sector and increase oil production.

Employment plans

FORD has announced plans to hire 11,000 workers in the US and Asia in 2014 as part of a global expansion plan. Ford intends to launch 23 new vehicles around the world next year, more than double the number released in 2013.

The company says it will be the fastest expansion in 50 years, and includes the new Lincoln MKC and all-new Transit family of commercial vehicles. About 5000 workers will be hired in the US and 6,000 in Asia, where Ford is opening two plants in China next year.

The recruitment drive represents an increase of close to 7 per cent of Ford’s total workforce and is the biggest hiring push the firm has made since 2000.


26) Arrest Warrant Issued For Asian Investment Commissioner In Solomons
Chinese businessman accused of failing to pay for timber shipments

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 15, 2013) – Solomon Islands’ commerce and investment commissioner to Mainland China, Hong Kong, Makau, and Asia is facing a legal suit and police arrest.

Wong Yim Kau, who also owns a company called China Jin Bang Investment, was accused of failing to transfer more than $14 million [US$1.9 million] for 20 containers of tubi timber sent to him July last year.

Chung Sol Limited, a company owned by Taiwanese Michael Mai Yung Fu, which is operating here, filed the law suit at the High Court in a bid to reclaim payment for the 20 containers.

Fu also opened a criminal case on the matter with the police.

Court documents the Sunday Star obtained showed Chung Sol Limited and China Jin Bang investment had a sales and purchase agreement between them.

Under the agreement, Chung Sol would sell sawn tubi to Jin Bang Investment at an agreed price.

In July last year, Chung Sol exported its first 10 containers of tubi to Jin Bang Investment at an agreed price of USD$1 million (SBD$7 million).

A month later in August, Chung Sol sent another 10 containers, also worth USD$1 million (SBD$7 million).

But Chung Sol director Fu said since then, Jin Bang Investment has not transferred a single cent for the 20 containers.

“I’ve contacted investment commissioner Wong Yim Kau numerous times about the payments,” Fu said.

“He kept promising to send the payments over but he never did until today.

“We knew Wong Yim Kau and his partners have lied to us,” Fu said.

He said the non-payment has affected his business, and this is why he decided to file the case to reclaim his money.

Wong Yim Kau, whom cabinet appointed to be the country’s commerce and investment commissioner July last year, could not be located for comments as he was overseas.

But the Sunday understands police have written to the Director of Immigration informing him of their intention to arrest Kau any time he arrives at Henderson Airport.

In the letter, which the Sunday Star has obtained, dated 10 December 2013, acting deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department Chris Harirao said his office plans to arrest Kau on arrival and detain him in custody while awaiting court hearing.

“His passport will also be retrieved by our office while his court case is in progress,” Harirao said.

Kau was here in November last year during which he signed a memorandum of understanding with the government.

As Solomon Islands’ commerce and investment commissioner, he will represent the Government of Solomon Islands to invite and to attract foreign investment into the country.

Solomon Star

27) Relatives of East Timor ministers stopped by Customs, AFP disputes claim it seized electronic goods

Updated 15 December 2013, 16:01 AEST

The Australian Federal Police has denied seizing a computer and phones belonging to relatives of East Timor’s finance and resources ministers.

Seized: A Customs receipt for several goods including an iPad and two mobile phones. (Credit: ABC licensed)

The Australian Federal Police has denied seizing a computer and phones belonging to relatives of East Timor’s finance and resources ministers.

AFP officers charged Palmera Pires at Darwin Airport on Friday for allegedly trying to bring in more than $20,000 undeclared in her baggage.

Ms Pires is the sister of finance minister Emilia Pires and resources minister Alfredo Pires, and also the director of the East Timor Development Agency.

She was travelling with her 12-year-old goddaughter, elderly mother and an assistant.

The group was stopped by Customs on Friday, and issued with an $850 infringement notice for failing to declare the currency.

Ms Pires has shown the ABC several receipts that appear to back up her claim that several mobile phones, sim cards and memory sticks were also confiscated as part of a “pending investigation”.

Ms Pires says the AFP and Customs officers did not tell her why the devices were seized.

“They have the right and we don’t need to know the reason they kept saying that. They have a right to do anything,” she said.

The AFP has confirmed officers and Customs officials questioned three people at the airport, but denies any personal belongings were seized.

“The AFP did not seize any currency or material in relation to this matter,” a spokesperson said.

“A 50-year-old woman was issued an infringement notice of $850 for failing to declare the movement of $20,000 or more into Australia.

“A 74-year-old woman and a 42-year-old woman were cautioned for failing to report the movement of $10,000 or more into Australia.”

Claims incident was politically motivated

Ms Pires says she believes the airport confrontation was politically motivated.

“I think that the only crime was to have a brother and a sister who are ministers and they are fighting for what is right for Timor-Leste,” she said.

“What I’ve been treated, what my mother, my helper and my godchild, who is the first time in Timor-Leste, we didn’t have to go through that and then taking the only phone and communication that we have with our family [from us].”

Ms Pires says they have been traumatised by the experience.

“Last night we all just slept in the living room because they are too scared, we think someone is going to come here and break it in,” she said.

The airport incident comes as East Timor attempts to have a $40 billion oil and gas treaty it signed with Australia quashed in The Hague following spying allegations.

28) Too much compensation in PNG: justice adviser

Posted at 19:11 on 15 December, 2013 UTC

An adviser with Papua New Guinea’s law and justice division in Eastern Highlands province says traditional systems of mediation and compensation are being perverted for personal gain.

The comment was made in the context of a recent conference in the provincial capital Goroka on the rise in sorcery-related violence.

Much of the conference discussion emphasised the importance of mediation and communities coming up with their own solutions.

But Don Hurrell, a former Queensland police officer who is also a PNG citizen, says mediation is being used for the wrong reasons.

“Every single thing that happens here now is someone else’s fault, so then it has to be mediated. So everything in the villages and in the town…you know mediation in its pure form in the districts and in the villages is fine. But it’s become a money-making business.”

A PNG justice adviser, Don Hurrell.

Radio New Zealand International

29) Untouchable millions stashed in Cook Island

By Online Editor
1:04 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2013, Cook Islands

Hundreds of millions of dollars of money are being hidden in the Cook Islands, beyond the reach of criminal authorities, angry wives and litigants in civil law suits, a major leak of previously secret data reveals.

It includes millions held in a trust controlled by Texas Ponzi scheme fraudster and cricket failed financier R. Allen Sanford, now serving a 110-year jail term.

Though it might be novel to the American public, the new revelations around Cook Islands trusts are little more than a rerun of MP Winston Peter’s famous Winebox Scandal of 20 years ago.

That had followed decades of dodgy dealings which saw a prime minister criminally convicted and stripped of his knighthood.

Trust schemes in the Cooks have proven beyond the reach of authorities around the world. The tiny country, closely tied to New Zealand, has just 14,000 people in the islands and 58,000 expatriates here.

In Paradise of Untouchable Assets, the Washington based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says it has a cache of documents revealing the owners of about 700 Cook Islands trusts.

ICIJ senior writer Leslie Wayne says as they examined the documents it was clear that hundreds of wealthy people have stashed their money in the Cook Islands.

She describes the place as a global pioneer in offshore asset-protection trusts, with laws devised to protect foreigners’ assets from legal claims in their home countries.

She says the Cooks offer a different kind of secrecy to that of the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands.

“The long arm of United States law does not reach there. The Cooks generally disregard foreign court orders, making it easier to keep assets from creditors, or anyone else.”

ICIJ say Cooks trusts appeal to a broad swath of wealthy Americans fearful of getting sued and some who have been.

A Florida lawyer, Howard D Rosen, has been setting up Cook trusts for more than 20 years and in a video he says those with more than US$1 million (NZ$1.2 million) in assets should consider Cook trusts for self-preservation, but especially real estate developers, health care providers, accountants, architects, corporate directors and parents of teenage drivers.

ICIJ say there are 2619 trusts in the Cooks, most of them held by Americans.

They say the trusts are popular with the wealthy in Palm Beach, Florida, New York and Hollywood.

ICIJ described one trust held by Denise Rich, former wife of the disgraced trader Marc Rich.

Her trust contained more than US$100 million in assets, including her yacht, the 48-metre Lady Joy, a Learjet and a Swiss bank account.

ICIJ say there is nothing illegal in setting up a trust in the Cook Islands but says they are used by those who suspect they could be sued. That included doctors facing malpractice suits, businessmen avoiding creditors and some who have been sued by the federal government.

That included Stanford, who has a “Baby Mama Trust” in the Cook Islands, named after a mistress with whom he had two children and who was the trust’s beneficiary.

“Baby Mama” contained proceeds from the sale of a US$2.5 million Florida home – proceeds that were held in Swiss and Isle of Man accounts and are now among 30 offshore accounts subject to a forfeiture order to pay Stanford’s victims, ICIJ say.

ICIJ says that while offshore accounts around the world have won increasing attention from Washington, the Cooks has been overlooked because it does not appear to have been widely used by multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes and because they have not been linked to terrorist financing or money laundering.

Lawyers who arrange Cook trusts see them as a negotiating tool, forcing negotiation in a way to avoid the expense of a long and difficult lawsuit in the distant Cook Islands.

New Zealand’s Winebox Scandal grew out of the way prominent New Zealand companies created Cook Island based companies to avoid paying tax in New Zealand, particularly one set up in 1986 called European Pacific Investments. The scandal won its name for the way Peters tabled documents in Parliament in 1994 disclosing company information. He carried them into Parliament in a winebox.

A commission of inquiry was established and it took three years to report back, and was followed by High Court action later. Eventually it was concluded there was no fraud but it exposed extensive international financial manipulation.

The Cook Islands won self-governance from New Zealand in 1965 under founder premier Albert Henry.

In one of the operations that has since characterised the islands, Henry gave an American businessman, Finbar Kenny, the right to the then lucrative stamp revenue.

Henry infamously was bankrolled by Kenny in 1978 to fly voters up from New Zealand in a general election. Henry was even photographed paying for the jets with suitcases full of cash.

He was convicted a year later and stripped of his knighthood.



30) Govt reacts to crisis

The National, Friday December 13th, 2013

THE National Disaster Office will send a team to the drought-stricken Long Island in the Rai Coast district of Madang to assess the situation on the ground.
Assistant director for Risk Management Kaitabu Kamnanaya told The National yesterday that the national disaster committee decided to send a team to the island – but he did not give any details about when this would happen.
He said the team would verify a report published in The National yesterday highlighting the plight of the islanders who had been experiencing the drought conditions since June.
He thanked the newspaper for alerting the authorities on the disaster which according to a report had claimed 19 lives.
Attempts to contact the acting provincial disaster coordinator Norman Philemon, Governor Jim Kas and provincial administrator Bernard Lange for an update yesterday were unsuccessful.
More than 8,000 people in 15 villages on the island have been severely affected by the prolonged drought.
A report compiled by Lutheran Church officials on the island said the 19 people died after they were forced to eat wild palms buds because there was no food.
The report highlighted the lack of food and clean drinking water which was making many people sick.
It stated that the people were in dire need of relief food and water supplies plus medical treatment.
Philemon said on Wednesday that about K350,000 would be needed for relief operations.


31) League makes soccer history

Zanzeer Singh
Monday, December 16, 2013

LEAGUE FC of Navua created history by winning the National Football Championship for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1986.

Netani Doli proved to be the hero for the League team scoring the lone goal against the 4R Electrical club from Ba in the final of the Kriz Signs sponsored tournament at Prince Charles Park in Nadi yesterday.

4R Electrical, the defending champions, went into the match as firm favourites but could not get the ball past League goalkeeper Sheik Moshin.

Laced with Ba reps 4R Electrical came close to scoring on numerous occasions only to be denied by the crossbar and Moshin’s excellent saves.

League found the back of the net in the 37th minute after a scoreless first spell.

Replacement Iliavi Katonitabua’s powerful drive was blocked by 4R Electrical goalkeeper Epeli Codro.

Unfortunately for the Ba club the ball fell in the path of an oncoming Doli who slammed it in from close range.

The win inspired Navua Football Association president Faud Anwar who said that they were on track for the national competitions next year.

He said they had mapped out a plan for their clubs last season.

“For Navua Football Association the aim last year was just to qualify for the National Club Championship in Ba,” Anwar said.

“If we made it into the semi-finals then it would have been a bonus. This year the target was the semi-final and next year the final.

“However it is more than a dream come true especially for me taking up the presidency role recently.

“This is my first major victory and it is a step forward for Navua soccer.

“It is an excellent way to start the new season.

“It is historic occasion because Navua soccer never had two clubs qualify for the National Club Championship semi-finals before.

“The semi-final between League and Combine was awesome. This just shows that we are on track for next year.”

4R Electrical skipper Osea Vakatalesau said they failed to take the National Club Championship seriously.

He admitted that they had not trained well after the Pacific Cup in New Zealand last month.

Fiji Football Association chief executive officer Bob Kumar said they would be discussing ways to increase participation of the clubs in the tournament during the next council meeting in January.

League received $3000 while 4R Electrical settled for $1500.

4R Electrical: Epeli Codro, Remueru Tekiata, Aisea Codro, Jone Vesikula, Malakai Tiwa, Meli Codro, Ronil Kumar, Tuimasi Manuca, Marika Madigi, Abbu Zaheed, Osea Vakatalesau.

League FC: Sheik Moshin, Praneel Kumar, Seveci Rokotakala, Simione Domoni, Simione Maikali, Nazir Hussein, Inia Boko, Netani Doli, Jesoni Takala, Rizwan Ali, Abdul Moshim.

32) Knocked out

Arin Kumar
Monday, December 16, 2013

THE New Zealand National Boxing Federation has threatened not to give Fijian boxers any more fights in future.

This was after Opeti Tagi was knocked out in the second round of his bout against Gunner Jackson in Auckland on Friday night.

Federation official Faiyaz Khan said the knockout loss brought to question the credibility of the fitness of Fijian fighters.

Khan said the promoter of the event, David Rafaili told him after the fight that Fijian boxers needed to understand what they signed for in a contract because it was important for their purse.

“Fijian boxers must be fit if they want any more overseas fights, otherwise promoters will not even bother,” he said.

“This is the second time a Fijian boxer has been outclassed within months.

“Last month (Junior) Maku was knocked out within minutes of his appearance in the (David) Tua fight undercard.”

Khan, who arranged the fight for Tagi said the Naitasiri boxer was overweight which almost got the fight cancelled.

“Opeti was supposed to fight at 72.5kg but tipped the scale at 79.5kg, some 7kg over limit.

“The contract was 72.5kg but when Tagi was 7kg extra, it was only good that Gunner accepted the fight and we would like to thank him for that because 7kg is a big difference in a title fight.

He said Tagi lost the chance of his life to win the middleweight WBO title and $800.

“The first round started well with both boxers exchanging blows but when the second round came, Gunner hooked Opeti in the ribs coming over with some quick cross shots that saw Tagi go down for the eight count.

“Within 30 seconds Gunner sent Opeti out of the ring with a solid left right combination which saw Opeti fly out of the ropes. Opeti could not beat the eight count and lost the fight on KO.”

Boxing Commission of Fiji director Malakai Veisamasama said it was a lesson learnt for the BCF and for the local boxers.

“On another note, the bout was moved from October to November and then to December and so Tagi was on and off with his training,” he said

“Also after the weigh-in he lost some weight and he felt that shedding so much weight just a day before the fight contributed towards his loss.”

33) Morobe rugby prepares for national 7s

The National, Monday December 16th, 2013

MOROBE rugby union has started preparing for the PNG National Sevens in March in Port Moresby.
Morobe rugby union president Livingstone Nenjipa said after a long break since October the SCRUM oval would see four weeks of sevens starting on the first weekend of January.
He said clubs had been notified including Harlequins, Royals, Unitech Reds, Pirates, Warriors and Defense to field up to two teams in the sevens competition.
Nenjipa said the aim of having the four-week competition was to select the provincial team to play in the national titles and vie for Pukpuk jerseys.
Lae has only one player in the national sevens team – Butler Morris.
Nenjipa said with upcoming circuit tournaments, as released by the PNGRFU, including the Aroma Coast 7s later this month and Kimbe 7s slated for next month, Morobe is also looking forward to hosting the Trans-Highway 7s in February.

34) PNG win South Australian T20 title

Posted at 23:13 on 15 December, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea have ticked off another milestone in their cricketing journey, winning the inaugural South Australian Premier League Twenty20 title.

The Barramundis clinched the title by beating Northern Territory in Sunday’s deciding match at the Adelaide Oval.

Pipi Raho ripped through the NT order, taking 4 for 20 as the Strike were rolled for just 94, with PNG reaching their victory target with 21 balls and four wickets to spare.

It capped a great weekend for PNG, who beat the Western Grit on Friday and South Australian Outbacks on Saturday.

Next they head to New Zealand in January to compete in the 50 over World Cup qualifiers.

Radio New Zealand International

35) Tahitian surfer Bourez finishes 12th on ASP World Tour

Posted at 23:13 on 15 December, 2013 UTC

Tahitian surfer Michel Bourez bowed out in the third round of the season-ending Pipe Masters in Hawaii, to finish the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour in 12th place.

His best placed finish on tour was 2nd in Bali although he did win the Reef Hawaiian Pro Triple Crown event in November.

The Australian Mick Fanning has won his third tour title with a semi final finish in Hawaii.

He becomes the fifth man to claim three world titles, following in the footsteps of Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Andy Irons and Mark Richards.

Radio New Zealand International

36) Giteau helps Toulon victory

Monday, December 16, 2013

PARIS – Former Wallaby Matt Giteau helped steer French rugby heavyweights Toulon to a 32-20 victory over English side Exeter in their European Cup pool match yesterday.

Giteau slotted 12 points for the defending champions with two penalties and three conversions at Stade Fekix Mayol while England legend Jonny Wilkinson clinched a crucial bonus point for Toulon when he scored their fourth try.

The 34-year-old former England five-eighth came on with just over 20 minutes remaining and the match evenly-balanced at 18-13 in Toulon’s favour, but took the game away from his compatriots creating a try and then scoring one himself.

Toulon, who lead Cardiff Blues by two points ahead of the pair’s decisive meeting in the south of France in early January, got off to a good start.

A swift passing movement down the blindside set up New Zealander David Smith for their first try in the 12th minute.

Exeter struck back after stealing a Toulon line-out with Don Armand touching down and Henry Slade converting for a 7-5 lead in the 19th minute.

Giteau, who was selected ahead of Wilkinson, created Smith’s second try and then landed his first kick of the day for 12-7.

He and Slade swapped a pair of penalties each before Wilkinson was sent on by coach Bernard Laporte just before the hour mark.

That paid off almost immediately as he produced a great offload to another former Wallaby Drew Mitchell to set up their third try with 15 minutes remaining, replacement prop Xavier Chiocci eventually crashing over.

Toulon supporters showered the ground with paper in celebration when Wilkinson touched down under the posts to give the hosts a bonus point and Giteau added his third conversion.

Exeter got a consolation try two minutes from time as Ben White went over with Ceri Sweeney adding the extras.

37) Arsenal thrashed

Monday, December 16, 2013

LONDON – Manchester City asserted their Premier League title credentials with an extraordinary 6-3 defeat of leaders Arsenal yesterday that took them to within three points of Arsene Wenger’s side.

Sergio Aguero gave City a 14th-minute lead, with Alvaro Negredo restoring the hosts’ advantage after Theo Walcott had marked his first start for Arsenal since September by equalising.

City lost Aguero to injury early in the second half, but a brace from Fernandinho, a David Silva strike and a Yaya Toure penalty secured victory for the 2012 champions, with Walcott and Per Mertesacker replying in vain.

“It’s not easy to score six goals against Arsenal, the best defence in the Premier League, the best team this year,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

“We are three points behind. We must continue working and improving because we have a lot more things to improve.”

Held 1-1 at Southampton last weekend, City made a determined start at the Etihad Stadium and took the lead in the 14th minute.

Samir Nasri’s right-wing corner was headed on by Martin Demichelis and Aguero hooked home a waist-high volley at the back post to notch his 15th goal in 13 games.

Walcott levelled in the 31st minute, bobbling a shot home from a Mesut Ozil pass after Aaron Ramsey robbed Toure, but Negredo restored the hosts’ advantage when he tucked in a low cross from Pablo Zabaleta.

To make matters worse for Arsenal, centre-back Laurent Koscielny had to be stretchered off after cutting his knee as he slid in alongside Negredo, with the club announcing via Twitter that he had suffered a “deep laceration”.

City extended their lead in the 50th minute when Fernandinho picked up a loose pass from Ozil and curled a sublime finish around Wojciech Szczesny.

Walcott struck again in the 63rd minute, collecting a dinked pass from Ramsey and shaping a shot into the top-right corner, but Silva immediately converted a low cross from Jesus Navas to restore City’s two-goal lead.

Fernandinho then scored his second goal before Mertesacker headed in an injury-time consolation for Arsenal, only for Toure to complete the scoring from the spot after Szczesny tripped James Milner.

38) Victory for Pacers

Monday, December 16, 2013

LOS ANGELES, California – Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 11 rebounds as Indiana overcame a season-low 10 points from top-scorer Paul George to beat Charlotte 99-94 in the NBA on Saturday.

David West netted 14 points and George Hill chipped in with 13 for the Pacers, who improved their league-best record to 20-3, including 11-0 at home this season.

After Al Jefferson’s layup with two minutes 14 seconds left pulled the Bobcats within 96-94, George missed a jumper. Jefferson looked to level the game but Hibbert forced him into a wild jumper that hit the backboard.

Hill made a pair of free throws to make it 98-94 with 15.1 seconds left and Hibbert smothered Kemba Walker into missing a layup before George’s free throw secured the Pacers’ 14th win in the last 15 meetings against the Bobcats.

Elsewhere Kevin Durant dropped 31 points and Russell Westbrook added 19 with 12 assists as the surging Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 13th win in their last 14 games after routing the visiting LA Lakers 122-97.

Kobe Bryant had 13 assists but just four points for the Lakers, who dropped to 0-3 since his return from a torn Achilles tendon.

Tony Parker scored 29 points and Manu Ginobili had 16 of his 20 in the fourth quarter, as San Antonio overcame Kevin Love’s visiting Minnesota 117-110.

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