Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 911

Bonjour,
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a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous new Year 2014! 
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Philippe.

MELANESIA:

1) Accusations Indonesia’s PNG consulate interfered with the autopsy of West Papuan rebel leader Danny Kogoya

Updated 18 December 2013, 22:31 AEST
By Liam Cochrane

The family of a one-legged West Papuan rebel who died in Papua New Guinea at the weekend has accused the Indonesian consulate of interfering with his planned autopsy.

The Free Papua Movement (OPM) regional commander Danny Kogoya died on Sunday in the north-west town of Vanimo, where he has been hiding since fleeing the threat of arrest in Indonesia earlier this year.

The cause of his death is not yet clear.

The OPM is a group fighting for West Papuan independence from Indonesia and Danny Kogoya was the group’s commander for the Jayapura region.

Mr Kogoya was shot by Indonesian security forces during an arrest last year and later had his leg amputated while in custody.

In July, Mr Kogoya spoke to the ABC after his leg had been amputated, where he vowed to return to the jungle to fight against Indonesian rule.

He told the ABC he was unarmed and surrendering when police shot him below the knee and his leg was amputated without his permission while he was jailed on manslaughter charges.

“This leg was amputated for the Free Papua Movement. I am asking for independence… I am asking for West Papua to exit the Republic of Indonesia,” he said.

At the time Mr Kogoya said he need further surgery to remove bullet fragments from the stump of his leg.

Questions over death

Initial reports blamed infection as the cause of death, but a doctor at Vanimo Hospital says Mr Kogoya was being treated for liver failure when he died.

A spokesman for Danny Kogoya’s family, Jeffrey Bomanak, has accused the Indonesian consul-general of interfering with plans to carry out an autopsy at Vanimo Hospital.

He alleges the consul-general, who is based in Vanimo, asked the hospital to not go ahead with the post mortem.

“[The] Indonesian consulate disturbed that process. I don’t know what reason, [it’s] not clear the reason. Because he wanted to disturb the process about operation, even to check the full report of hospital,” Mr Bomanak said.

The ABC has been unable to reach the consulate or the consul-general for comment.

I heard that probably the consulate wants the body for some legal reasons and the family wants the body too, so they’re still going to and fro.

Dr Kennan Witari, Vanimo Hospital

But the emergency department registrar at Vanimo Hospital, Dr Kennan Witari, claims the Indonesian consul-general was involved.

“I’m not really sure why he’s following this thing like this, to this extent. But I heard that probably the consulate wants the body for some legal reasons and the family wants the body too, so they’re still going to and fro,” Dr Kennan Witari said.

Family spokesman Jeffrey Bomanak says he suspects foul play and wants an autopsy to take place in the coming days.

Danny Kogoya’s family then wants to take the body back to Jayapura for it to be buried in the same place as his amputated leg.

“Half [his] leg is already planted [buried] there, in West Papua. So we cannot plant [bury] the body here… that is a big wrong,” Mr Bomanak said.

Further discussions between Mr Kogoya’s family, the Indonesian consulate and the hospital about a post mortem are expected.

Preparations for a funeral or burial have not yet been confirmed.

Decades-old fight

Since the 1960s, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement has conducted a low-level insurgency within Indonesia.

Allegations of atrocities committed by Indonesian forces within Papua and West Papua province are difficult to confirm because the international media is kept out.

It is also hard to get a real sense of the strength of the West Papuan militants.

Mr Kogoya told the ABC in July he commanded a standby army of 7,000 men, with around 200 active fighters, but those figures cannot be verified.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

2) Former combatants want fairness in Solomon Islands reconciliation

By Online Editor
4:10 pm GMT+12, 18/12/2013, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Front for Rehabilitation, Reconciliation & Reintegration of Former Combatants (SIFRRRFC), an independent coalition of former combatants has condemned Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s selective reconciliation scheme and call on him to respect communities and act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report if he is truly genuine about national peace and reconciliation.

A former Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) combatant and spokesperson for SIRRRFC, Hardy Kona was referring to the recent media outburst  by Rollen Seleso demanding public apology from the Interim Chairman of JCSG & CC Barnabas Henson.

Kona said “It’s been twelve long years of difficult struggle for former combatants since the government assumed responsibility over our rehabilitation.

“Successive governments have failed to address our cause and Prime Minister Lilo had lip- serviced it when he assumed leadership of the country. We recognize the lack of political will and grand corruption as major obstacles to progress on national reconciliation – a total failure of policy.”

How the PM sees it fit to pursue his insensitive politically driven reconciliation scheme defies good reason because it effectively discounts the rest of us,  Kona said.

“Reconciliation must be fair and inclusive otherwise it would only be disadvantageous and discriminatory.

“After all these years, we finally see hope in the TRC report in that it provides the avenue by which reconciliation and rehabilitation of both victim and ex-combatant on all sides of the conflict can be fairly addressed. Anything less is unacceptably biased and discriminatory.”

Kona added; “We were partly blamed for the incident on the Weathercoast and truly would like to reconcile with our brothers. How come we were excluded? What better way to start the process than to do it inclusively – in custom as claimed by Seleso. The process must be inclusive all the way – right from the start.
This has only demeaned our struggles for forgiveness, acceptance and reintegration into the wider Solomon Islands community.”

“We will not tolerate such attitude and warn PM Lilo against politically exploiting the reconciliation process. Let’s be fair, the TRC report must be seriously considered. Do not mock our cause because it will only result in unwanted consequences.”

Kona concluded: “True reconciliation can only begin to occur with the right political attitude and genuine conviction to reunite and move this country forward.

“Without a good and fair process, this nation will never purge itself of the ills of the past. Do not play ‘Lazarus’ with us.”

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

3) Opposition Member Slams 2014 Solomon Islands Budget
Sogavare claims budget reflects government’s political ambitions

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 18, 2013) – Opposition spokesman for finance Manasseh Sogavare yesterday lashed out at the 2014 national budget, describing it as “highly politicized.”

He was speaking in parliament on the budget debate.

“This budget will only benefit a few within this government,” Mr Sogavare said.

“It was highly politicised,” he added.

He said the budge reflected the political ambition of the NCRA government.

“It did said a lot of good things and development but it was not serious about what it says.”

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and MP for East Honiara, Douglas Ete rubbishes the budget saying it was too small, and described it as a “big Christmas tree.”

“The 2014 budget was too small,” he said.

“It neglected the health sector, infrastructure, and other essential services.

“I wonder if this Big Christmas tree budget be realistic for the sustainability of the 2014 economic growth.

“My committee has never been given ample time to examine the budget. We were given only last weekend to examine the budget which is not sufficient. We should be given a month,” Mr Ete said.

“This has left us in a worrying situation that 2014 will be another stagnant year for the country.”

He urged the government to be serious and stop the culture of political contamination.

Parliament resumes today.

Solomon Star

4) Vanuatu passport inquiry reveals extensive abuses

Posted at 08:43 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

A body looking into the sale of Vanuatu diplomatic passports says de-facto partners, middlemen and people with fake titles got them.

A commission of inquiry has submitted a report to the government after three months of investigation into passport selling that began in 2002.

The report says in 2008, the current speaker of parliament acquired nine diplomatic passports that were later given to foreigners.

It says in December 2011, 33 diplomatic passports were given to a former foreign affairs official.

The Commission was told that six passports issued in 2011 were given to foreigners who paid 5,000 US dollars.

That money was used by a political appointee to fund a trip to Germany last year.

The commission also found some passports were issued under ’adoption’ meaning foreigners were adopted by a ni-Vanuatu family, who then requested diplomatic passports for themselves.

The report recommends a new colour system for the 3 types of Vanuatu passport, set application fees and tighter administrative controls.

Radio New Zealand International

5) Vanuatu Opposition Withdraw No-Confidence Motion
Motion was to be debated today, but opposition lacked support

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 17, 2013) – The leader of Vanuatu’s opposition, Ham Lini has withdrawn a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Moana Carcasses due to lack of members of parliament supporting it.

The opposition deposited the motion last week, saying a number of government backbenchers disagreed with the leadership of the prime minister.

The motion was set to be debated in parliament Tuesday afternoon.

However it became clear Tuesday morning that Mr Carcasses had a strong majority in the 52-seat parliament.

The Prime Minister’s office says that 36 MPs have confirmed their support for the Carcasses-led coalition government

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reported that the opposition made the motion after being approached by disgruntled MPs concerned with government’s performance. The opposition has also been critical of the way Carcasses has handled the proposed national airports development.]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

6) Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 December 13

by bobmakin

Another reported issue concerning the land reforms which has not so far been mentioned in this vanuatudaily news service concerns a question relating to previously ‘sold’ land and therightful custom owner whose claim might be established through the new procedures obtaining fees paid as purchase or rental over the years. Minister Regenvanu conceded that wrongful land sales had continued for a long time. If there had been a determination of ownership by the courts, the correct owner could be shown as the lessor, but for the owner to obtain the rental payments is not an obligation on the part of government. Prime Minister Carcasses added that such illegal dealings should have necessitated police intervention by the true custom owner. Radio Vanuatu and TBV have been covering Parliament which has also been available on line.

As explained already, all the land reform bills have passed all stages in Parliament. However, the Minister also touched upon the role of the National Lands Coordinator and six land officers who will work on land issues. People knowledgeable of the custom of the areas concerned along with chiefs should be on the Island Land Court tribunals. People with conflicts of interest should not be included.

Land legislation academic, USP Professor Sue Farran in the United Kingdom, commented to this blog on reading of the passage of the land reform laws: “It will be interesting to see how these land reform proposals play out in practice. Certainly it is a move in the right direction to reduce the powers of the Minister of lands to be able to deal with land where title is in dispute. Whether leaving it to nakamals to resolve disputes [that] customary land will be the solution remains to be seen (looking across the Solomon Islands this has not been the solution). I am particularly surprised that there has not been more response from women on this matter, as the land reforms strengthen an already male dominated system. I suspect that an increasing number of women who have the means will seek to secure their own and their children’s land rights through leases, as will those ni-Vanuatu who want to do non-customary things with their land, or who feel that their tenure in custom is insecure for some reason.” (Sue Farran)

VBTC News has reported Lands Minister Regenvanu announcing in Parliament that the prospecting license issued to a Chinese company, Harvest, in 2010 is valid for everywhere in the Torba Province. There was never any consultation by former minister Telukluk with the electorate, the present minister stated. Oil and minerals are included and Regenvanu seemed particularly concerned with marine resources. Telukluk pointed out that he was not the first to issue such a license. Ministers have apparently done so since long ago.

The Leader of the Opposition, MP Ham Lini, withdrew the motion of no confidence in PM Carcasses yesterday, which move was seconded by the deputy leader, Sato Kilman. They conceded not having the number to be able to carry the vote. Carcasses is said to have the support of 36 MPs.

Daily Post has been covering a first person account of Santo resident John Fordham over the last two days concerning an attempt to shoot him which missed by inches (yesterday) and which he has since discovered also missed his daughter by inches (today’s paper). A VT 2 million reward is being offered for evidence which will lead to the arrest of the gunman. The alleged murderer was caught on film by the Fordham closed circuit television.

The Ifira Community is resolving changes to the shareholding of Ifira Trustees Limited. The matter reached the Appeals Court in its recent sitting.

7) Banaban people urged to work together: Fiji Minister

By Online Editor
09:20 am GMT+12, 18/12/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Col Inia Seruiratu has called on the Banaban community to work closely with each other for the development of Rabi Island.

As the Banaban people on the island of Rabi gathered in numbers at the Nuku ground to commemorate the 1st arrival of the Banaban people on the Island since 1945, the Minister paid tribute to their growing contribution towards Fiji’s overall development.

In his address, the Minister acknowledged the hardships faced by their elders during the early days of settlement and challenged them on the values of working with each other as a community.

“A better Rabi is only possible if the Banaban people work together, but first you need to change your mindset, change the way you think. This is not the time to think about the problems – look at the opportunity and move on with your life.

“We also need good leadership who can set directions,” Minister Seruiratu added.

Rabi Administrator Karia Christopher emphasised that it was also important for the people of Rabi to maintain their identity.

“This is a very special day for the Banaban people all over the world. We celebrate the achievements made by our elders in their early days of settlements.

“It is also important that we maintain our identity as Banaban people,” Christopher added.

December 15 is celebrated annually to commemorate the resettlement of the Banaban people in Rabi from Banaba, also known as the Ocean Islands.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS ( Phils Note: Banabans are Micronesian Islanders, now living in Fiji for many years the British government purchased the island with phosphate royalties from Banaba, in the quest to relocate the Banabans from Banaba.Rabi (pronounced [ˈrambi]) is a volcanic island in northern Fiji. It is an outlier to Taveuni (5 kilometers west), in the Vanua Levu Group. It covers an area of 66.3 square kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of 463 meters and has a shoreline of 46.2 kilometers. With a population of around 5,000, Rabi is home to the Banabans who are the indigenous landowners of Banaba Island; the indigenous Fijiancommunity that formerly lived on Rabi was moved to Taveuni after the island was purchased.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabi_Island


MICRONESIA:

8) Marshall Islands military base residents to get broadband

Posted at 08:43 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

Residents on Kwajalein Atoll will soon get access to broadband internet for the first time following an agreement between the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority and a U.S. Army contractor.

The authority’s general manager Tommy Kijiner Junior says they are providing bandwidth connecting Kwajalein with Guam and the United States.

He says that the NTA will provide a lot of bandwidth at a competitive price.

He also says a contractor working at the base will be in charge of installing the hardware in each house at the base.

Kwajalein Atoll sports some of the world’s most sophisticated equipment for missile testing, including a dedicated fibre optic cable so technicians can manage missile missions in real time from the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama.

But the high tech environment had not extended to the homes of the 2,000 residents living at the Army’s Reagan Test Site in the Marshall Islands who have had to rely on dial-up internet access.

Radio New Zealand International

AUSTRALIA:

9) Australia To Spend $15 Million On Projects In Pacific
Engagement aimed at greater regional self-sufficiency: Julie Bishop

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 17, 2013) – Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has unveiled a number of social and investment projects for the Pacific, during a visit to Solomon Islands.

Among the projects, Ms Bishop says Australia will spend $15 million over the next five years to provide support to more than 250 businesses in the Pacific.

As well, there are specific programs for Solomon Islands – $5 million to help prevent domestic and family violence and $500,000 for major renovations for the Royal Solomon Islands Police.

Australia will dedicate $500,000 over two years to open up economic opportunities for Pacific women through a private sector development initiative.

Ms Bishop told Pacific Beat that Australia’s engagement in the Pacific is about making the region more self-sufficient.

“This is our neighbourhood. This is where we live,” she said.

“There is a significant history that exists between Australia Pacific islands particularly through World War Two. And geography binds us together. But there’s also a deep affection between the Australian people and Pacific Islanders, including Solomon Islanders.”

Ms Bishop is leading a bi-partisan delegation including the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Brett Mason, the Opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswomen Tanya Plibersek and her colleague Matt Thistlethwaite, as well as the new Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja, on a three-day visit to Melanesia. The delegation will also visit Vanuatu and Nauru.

“This is an opportunity to visit other countries in the region who are significant recipients of Australian overseas assistance and also countries that are of specific interest in terms of Australia’s security,” Ms Bishop said.

Australia has recently cut its aid budget and announced a new focus for assistance but Ms Bishop says Australia will remain the biggest aid donor for the Pacific.

“Our aid program will continue to support Australia’s foreign and trade priorities which includes a safe and secure and prosperous Pacific region,” she says.

“About 19-20 per cent of all Australia’s official development assistance is provided for the Pacific so we will continue to be a major player in international development assistance in the Pacific region – it will remain an important area of focus for Australia.

“Our engagement in the Pacific is about making the Pacific islands more self sufficient, to transform the engagement with Australia from aid to donor, aid recipient to equal partnerships.

“(In Vanuatu) we will be focussing on PACER Plus which is a free-trade agreement that’s being negotiated with Pacific islands, we will be discussing way we can enhance economic development in Vanuatu.

“I want to ensure the relationship with Australia is on a sound and firm footing.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

TOK PISIN:

10) PNG i redi tu long lukautim 2015 Pacific Games oa nogat

Updated 18 December 2013, 14:17 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

PNG Gavana itok Port Moresby siti i redi long lukautim 2015 Pacific games.

Papua New Guinea i redi long lukautim 2015 Pacific Games, maski sopos igat sampla wari olsem siti blong Port Moresby bai sot long sampla sevis olsem wara, power na rot.

Gavana blong National Capital District Powes Parkop i mekim despla toktok bihaenim ol wari olsem ol rot long city isave pas pas tumas long ol kar.

Sopos yu go raon long Port Moresby nau bai yu kirap nogut long plantu handrat ol kar isave ron na pasim olgeta rot long Port Moresby..na klostu olgeta sports long 2015 Pacific Games bai kamap long Port Moresby.

Igat wari olsem nogut planti mo tausan pipal husat bai kam long despla bikpla pilai long 2015 bai bungim heve long go ikam long ol ples blong pilai long wonem ol rot ino nap long kisim planti moa kar, tasol Gavana Powes Parkop itok bai oli stretim olgeta wari pastem long pilai istat long 2015.

Port Moresby i senis olgeta, long wonem emi gat planti pipal tru winim taem kantri ibin kisim indipendans long Australia long 1975.radio australia

FRENCH:

11) Pour en venir à bout du vote fictif et du double vote aux Îles Salomon

Posté à 18 December 2013, 9:07 AEST
Pierre Riant

Et pour ce faire, la Commission électorale et le gouvernement proposent  l’inscription biométrique des électeurs.

En fait, chaque électeur se retrouvera avec une carte biométrique qui le rend unique dans un fichier, ce qui permet de respecter le principe : un homme, une voix.

Ce système devrait permettre de réduire la présence multiple d’un électeur sur une liste électorale.

Toutefois, le Réseau anti-corruption des Îles Salomon affirme que le système ne sera jamais prêt en temps voulu, c’est-à-dire en mars prochain comme l’affirme le gouvernement.

Barnabas Henson, directeur général de ce Réseau, nous explique : «  Aux Îles Salomon, comme vous le savez, nous avons traditionnellement une attitude plus relax a niveau du calendrier, des délais d’exécution, des dates butoirs et ce genre de choses.
Et le délai d’exécution que le gouvernement a établi pour le mois de mars n’est pas réaliste. Il faut prendre en compte plusieurs raisons, la première est financière. Le gouvernement doit prendre un engagement ferme sur le plan budgétaire pour qu’un financement approprié vienne soutenir ce programme.

Il faut aussi considérer la logistique. D’après ce que nous comprenons, la formation va bon train dans les bureaux d’inscription et les bureaux de terrain de saisie des données. Il y a eu beaucoup de progrès et le gouvernement a offert beaucoup de soutien. Je crois qu’ils ont mis en place la plateforme du système et tout l’équipement informatique. Mais Noël s’approche, les gens vont partir en vacances, rentrer dans leur village, dans leur province et tout va ralentir.

Nous avons d’ailleurs parlé à la Commission électorale pour demander quel serait un délai d’exécution plus réaliste. Ils nous ont répondu peut-être aux alentours d’août ou de septembre 2014.
À mon avis, c’est un peu plus raisonnable pour que tout le monde soit bien formé et le système prêt à fonctionner. »

Le gouvernement va donc peut-être devoir réviser la date de mise en service de ce système biométrique qui est en mesure de réduire les fraudes sans les éliminer entièrement. Qu’en pense le directeur du Réseau anti-corruption : « Cela va prendre du temps pour que nous puissions un jour à mettre fin à 100% aux fraudes électorales. Mais nous sommes optimistes et nous pensons que nous pourrons réduire de 95% le double vote ou la double inscription. L’un de nos plus grands problèmes ces dernières années. »

Comment frauder, vous demandez-vous peut-être. Et bien un exemple : les déclarations de décès doivent passer par l’État civil et ce n’est pas toujours fait alors, on fait voter les morts. Mais cela, comme chacun le sait, n’est pas propre aux Îles Salomon.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

12) PNG : L’Église évangélique au secours de Théo Zurenoc

Posté à 18 December 2013, 9:02 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Président du Parlement a déclenché la colère du Premier ministre et de plusieurs ministres de haut rang après avoir détruit des gravures et des sculptures de grande importance culturelle.

En dépit de l’ordre donné par le Premier ministre pour que cesse l’élimination d’objets jugés diaboliques par le Président du Parlement, Théo Zurenoc a continué sa croisade et a décapité des têtes sculptées sur des totems traditionnels.

Sir Puka Temu, le ministre de la Fonction publique et d’autres ministres ont réclamé ouvertement sa démission. Sir Puka Temu, que nous avons contacté alors qu’il était en visite à Canberra, nous avait confié hier son désarroi : « C’est incroyable. Ce sont des choses que nos ancêtres ont élaboré au fil des ans en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Qu’un dirigeant à la tête du corps législatif puisse faire ce qu’il a fait unilatéralement  est incroyable. »

Aujourd’hui pour prendre la défense du Président du Parlement, le révérend Joseph Waters, dirigeant religieux au sein de l’Église évangélique : « Si vous regardez de près le grand totem à l’intérieur [du Parlement] et les visages qui ont été sculptés, vous serez surpris de voir qu’ils ne ressemblent pas à des visages de Papous. Ce sont des visages de dieux égyptiens, les visages sont plutôt mongols ou des visages de Bouddha plus proches des Maoris. Ce sont ces visages sur le totem qui forment la partie supérieure du linteau. »

Ces linteaux traditionnels sculptés surplombant l’entrée à la tribune du public au Parlement ont été arrachés et débités en morceaux. D’autres affirment que ces linteaux représentent différentes tribus de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et qu’ils ne montrent pas un certain mépris pour la religion. Qu’en pense le révérend Walters : « Nous pensons qu’ils sont connectés au monde des esprits, qu’il s’est passé beaucoup de choses ici au Parlement et que cela affecte le processus de décision au sein du Parlement à travers un lien direct avec ces images sculptées de différentes régions du pays, surtout les régions du Sepik et de Zumba où il y a beaucoup d’activités de ces esprits, de la sorcellerie et toutes ces choses qui sont directement connectées avec ces sculptures en bois. »

Ce point de vue est partagé par plusieurs députés. Toutefois la grande majorité tant à l’intérieur qu’à l’extérieur du Parlement n’approuverait pas du tout cette destruction systématique de tout ce qui est considéré blasphématoire au Parlement. Pourquoi les des dirigeants religieux et le Président du Parlement tentent d’imposer leur point de vue à tout le monde : « Nous sommes des pasteurs, des dirigeants religieux. Nous avons un devoir envers Dieu Tout Puissant et nous devions agir pour que notre pays change et ne fasse pas l’objet de toutes ces choses indésirables comme la corruption. Toutes ces choses qui se passent dans notre pays pourraient être le résultat de ce qu’il y a au Parlement. »
Pendant ce temps, Théo Zurenoc, aurait de grandes chances de ne pas être réélu à son poste de Président du Parlement l’année prochaine. C’est ce qu’affirme Timothy Bonga, ancien Président du Parlement qui souligne que les sculptures en bois sont des symboles culturels qui n’ont rien à voir avec le monde des esprits et qui ont leur place dans une nation chrétienne.radio australia

HEALTH:

13) Vanuatu Nurses Association sacks its president

Posted at 08:43 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

The Vanuatu Nurses Association has sacked its president, Willie Reuben Abel.

The Vice-president of the association and now acting president, Anne Pakoa says that the members have decided to terminate their president because he failed to support their petition to remove the current minister of health, Serge Vohor and the acting director general of health, Doctor Santos Wari.

Mr Vohor and Dr Wari ordered mass suspensions of public medical professionals this month, although most of the suspensions have since been revoked by the government.

Ms Pakoa said that Mr Abel failed to carry out his duties and responsibilities for the interests of the members of the association.

Mr Abel didn’t support a planned strike to denounce the initiative of Mr Vohor and Dr Wari to carry a reform in health by introducing a new health structure without proper consultations and procedures.

The replacement for Mr Abel is expected to be announced after the association’s upcoming Annual General Meeting.

Radio New Zealand International

BUSINESS:

14) Trade facility for Solomons

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SOLOMON Islands became the eighth Pacific Island Forum country to sign the memorandum of understanding to establish the Pacific regional trade and development facility joining Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

While signing the MOU for the Solomon Islands Government, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Clay Forau Soalaoi highlighted the importance of trade aid for Pacific island economies.

“Solomon Islands supports this initiative and looks forward to the facility being operationalised as we expect this facility will assist the Solomon Islands and our Pacific Island neighbours in pooling aid for trade resources and co-ordinating its use,” he said.http://www.fijitimes.com/

15) Australian banks stopping remittances to Pacific unjustified

Posted at 08:43 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s Financial Intelligence Unit says Australian banks stopping small money transfers to the Pacific is unjustified and could be catastrophic for local people.

The banks are reviewing the accounts of money transfer organisations that allow people to send remittances back to relatives in the Pacific islands, saying those accounts pose a money laundering risk.

Its director, Razim Buksh, says there is no evidence of money laundering through remittance channels to the Pacific.

He says most Pacific nations are part of the Asia Pacific Group On Money Laundering, so are required to implement international standards and have all transactions scrutinised by financial intermidaries.

“The International Monetary Fund undertook a survey of the risk and vulnerabilities with remittance and other money laundering risks in the Pacific Island countries, and they established that the Pacific Island countries remain low-risk for both money laundering and terrorist financing. And therefore, even if countries were complacent somewhat in not fully implementing, we would still be somewhat in the comfort zone.”

Razim Buksh says a lot of families depend on remittances to pay for education, healthcare and food, and the consequences of not receiving the funds could be severe.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Antarctica may hold diamonds


By Online Editor
12:05 pm GMT+12, 18/12/2013, Antarctica

A type of rock that often bears diamonds has been found in Antarctica for the first time in a hint of mineral riches in the vast, icy continent that is off limits to mining, scientists say.

A 1991 environmental accord banned mining for at least 50 years under the Antarctic Treaty that preserves the continent for scientific research and wildlife, from penguins to seals.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, an Australian-led team reported East Antarctic deposits of kimberlite, a rare type of rock named after the South African town of Kimberley famed for a late 19th century diamond rush.

“These rocks represent the first reported occurrence of genuine kimberlite in Antarctica,” they wrote of the finds around Mount Meredith in the Prince Charles Mountains.

No diamonds were found during the geological work that is allowed on the continent. Kimberlite, a volcanic rock from deep below the Earth’s surface, has now been discovered on all continents.

Geologists doubted the find could be commercial, largely due to Antarctica’s remoteness, cold and winter darkness. Teal Riley of the British Antarctic Survey said less than 10 percent of deposits of similar kimberlite were economically viable.

“It’s a big leap from here to mining,” he told Reuters. Minerals including platinum, gold, copper, iron and coal have previously been found in Antarctica.

The Antarctic Treaty is binding only on its 50 signatories but has the backing of major powers, including the United States and China. Many expect the ban on mining to be extended in 2041.

“There is likely to be little opposition to an extension of this prohibition, despite the potential discovery of a new type of Antarctic ‘ice’,” Nature Communications said in a statement.

Another expert said it was unclear.

“We do not know what the Treaty Parties’ views will be on mining after 2041 or what technologies might exist that could make extraction of Antarctic minerals economically viable,” said Kevin Hughes, of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

Riley said there was a fine line between geological mapping and prospecting with an eye to mining. Nations including Russia, Ukraine and China have been more active in surveying Antarctica in recent years.

The kimberlite deposit is also confirmation of how continents drift. The region of East Antarctica was once part of a continent known as Gondwana connected to what is now Africa and India, which also have kimberlite.

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

17) Reward offered by Vanuatu businessman after shooting

Posted at 02:17 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

In Luganville in Vanuatu Australian businessman John Fordham has offered a 20 thousand US dollar reward for anyone who can help police arrest an intruder who shot at him at close range but missed.

Last weekend Mr. Fordham was checking outside his house as to why the power was cut when he was shot at by a masked intruder.

The bullet only just missed him, went through the wall and almost hit his daughter who was in bed.

Mr. Fordham wants any one in the public with information to come forward and if it leads to an arrest that person will get the reward.

Radio New Zealand International Phils Note: Sad news it is for the business community?)

18) Kiribati domestic violence legislation clears first hurdle

Posted at 02:17 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

The Kiribati parliament has had the first reading of the Family Peace Bill.

The government wants the bill to help eliminate violence against women and children by setting up a ministry of women and youth.

A female minister in the government, Maere Tekanene, says it was pleasing to hear positive contributions from all fellow MPs.

Ms Tekanene, who has been a strong advocate and supporter of the Bill, told parliament that it is not easy to raise domestic violence as a public or political matter in Kiribati because some male politicians may themselves have been perpetrators.

The Kiribati Independent says former president Teburoro Tito supports the bill but asked government to also focus on youth related problems.

Radio New Zealand International

19) NZ Judge slams church pressures


By Online Editor
12:16 pm GMT+12, 18/12/2013, New Zealand

A Palmerston North judge has criticised the cultural pressures put on Pacific Islanders to give money to churches in New Zealand, after a woman stole more than NZD$27,000 from her workplace to keep up payments to her church.

Ana Fangaiuiha, 37, worked for Countdown in Palmerston North for five years, and was promoted to be a checkout supervisor in January this year. That gave her the power to cash refunds without the permission of others.

She used that power for her own good by falsely refunding 292 items – including beer, groceries and vouchers – and keeping the returned money for herself.

From January to June, she managed to swindle NZD$25,510 in cash and NZD$2091 in vouchers.

When her theft was discovered, she said she was under financial stress because she was sending money to her mother in Tonga and making donations to her local church.

At her sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, defence lawyer Mark Alderdice said Fangaiuiha was subjected to cultural pressures. Expectations on her to give to her church were high, as she was one of the higher earners among the congregation.

Her husband had been a lay priest at the church while her mother stayed at home to look after the children. But when Fangaiuiha’s mother was deported back to Tonga in January, her husband – the earner of a smaller income than hers while employed by the church – left his job to take care of the children.

Alderdice said that left her as the only income earner, but the family still felt pressure to give payments to the church.

“On top of that was the added pressure of money going back to Tonga to support her mother, and on top of that was the normal payment of bills on a solo income.”

Since her theft was discovered, she had lost her job and was now on a Working for Families benefit, he said.

The church, which was not identified in court, had agreed to repay $12,000 they knew Fangaiuiha had given, which would go straight to Countdown, he said.

Judge Les Atkins said it was wrong for the church to put so much pressure on Fangaiuiha.

“It seems the church needs to take responsibility.”

But she also should have been more honest, he said. “If she could not afford to pay, she should have said no.”

Judge Atkins said she had been “ripping off” the public of New Zealand through her offending, and now the public would be paying her reparation through the benefit it gave.

He sentenced her to nine months’ home detention and to repay all the stolen money to Countdown.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS Phils Opinion : A few Pacific Islands, always make The Headlines for  wrong reasons? NOT a good look for the Region NOT once but too many a times??? )

SPORTS:

20) Pair named in East-Asia Pacific team

Emoni Narawa
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SEKOVE Ravoka and Joe Rika have been named in the East-Asia Pacific (EAP) team for the Australian Country Cricket Championships (ACCC) next month.

Rika will assist the team’s head coach, Rarua Dikana, who is from Papua New Guinea, while Ravoka is the lone Fijian player in the team laced with players from Vanuatu, PNG and Samoa.

Cricket Fiji marketing and communications officer Laura Macintosh said the organisation was proud of the pair’s achievements.

She said playing at the championships would be huge exposure for Ravoka and Rika.

“This is a good opportunity for the two to be exposed at the highest level,” Macintosh said.

“Country Cricket is one of best competitions in Australia and it will be great exposure. That standard is high so Ravoka and Rika will definitely learn from the competition.”

The 27-year-old Ravoka plays for Cowramup Cricket Club in Western Australia’s Busselton Margaret River Cricket League while Rika, a former Fiji cricket captain, has developed potential in his coaching career.

“It is fantastic for Joe (Rika) to be slotted in as assistant coach. He just retired recently so this is a good learning opportunity for him while assisting head coach Rarua Dikana of PNG.”

The ACCC will be held in Canberra from January 7 to 14.

The ACCC will feature teams made up of players from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The EAP side will also have the honour of attending the Prime Minister’s XI match at the conclusion of the tournament.http://www.fijitimes.com/

21) Cyclist says misrepresented by Indonesian media on West Papua

Posted at 08:43 on 18 December, 2013 UTC

A Canadian man who cycled around the world to raise awareness of human rights abuses in West Papua says Indonesian media outlets have insulted him by distorting comments he made about prisoners’ conditions.

Jeremy Bally completed his 12,000 kilometre cycling trip this month and is soon to fly out of Jakarta to return home.

Mr Bally says The Jakarta Globe and the Jakarta Post both misquoted him about his recent visit to West Papua to meet political prisioners.

He says the news articles reported him as saying the prisoners were treated well and had no problems.

“It’s extremely insulting to me to be characterised in that way and to the efforts of the prisoners, first of all, and to everyone who helped organise this action to have it just so blatantly distorted in the media. So I am going to make a callout to my network today to write letters to the editor to the Jakarta Post to make sure that it is well known that this is unacceptable.”

Jeremy Bally says the Jakarta Globe has now removed the inaccurate comments.

Mr Bally says West Papuan political prisoners are regularly subject to torture, poor living conditions and poor medical care.

Radio New Zealand International

22) IRB helping American Samoa prepare for Hong Kong 7s
By Online Editor
12:23 pm GMT+12, 18/12/2013, American Samoa

American Samoa is receiving assistance from the International Rugby Board to further develop players as the territory’s national team, Talavalu, prepares for next year’s Hong Kong Sevens.

The IRB has offered the American Samoa Rugby Union seven slots for selected players to train and learn more about rugby in Fiji.

ASRU board member, Peseta Sa Mavaega, told Samoa News that the IRB will pay for all expenses such as room and board, as well as travel.

He says these types of training offered by IRB will help players develop skills and learn more about the sports of rugby, which has undergone major development in American Samoa in the last three years.

ASRU plans to select it’s national team for Hong Kong in February next year.

Meanwhile, the  Samoa Rugby Union expects to name a new Manusina head coach early in the new year.

The position has been vacant since the death of the former Manu Samoa captain Papali’itele Peter Fatialofa in November.

Papaliitele coached the women’s team to World Cup qualification earlier this year and was to have led the team at next year’s tournament in France.

The CEO of the Samoa Rugby Union, Fred Amoa, says a shortlist of names to take over the team has been identified.

“The process has started and we’re still going through [it] – one of our senior managers, Tuala Mathew Vaea, is very much involved in that process at the moment. We’ll probably try and finalise early next year whoever is going to be taking over.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

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