Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 916


MELANESIA:

1) Archbishop says Solomon Islands society sick

Updated at 2:58 pm on 27 December 2013

The archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, David Vunagi, has told parishioners that Solomon Islands’ society is sick.

He made the description while delivering his Christmas sermon at Saint Barnabas cathedral in Honiara.

Archbishop Vunagi says Solomon Islands is no longer a safe place to live because people are suspicious of each other, and no longer have respect for cultural traditions.

He says the church needs to teach its members the moral aspects of their daily existence.C/- Radio New Zealand.

2) Vanuatu PM signs three infrastructure contracts worth millions

Updated at 2:58 pm on 27 December 2013

The Vanuatu government has signed contracts with three Chinese construction companies to build roads and wharves in the islands of Santo and Malekula, worth millions of US dollars.

In the first contract, the China Railway First Group will build a 30 kilometre road from Luganville to South Santo.

The Shanghai Construction Group is to build a wharf in Santo and China Railway Fifth Group will build a 24 kilometre road from Lamap to Lingarak in Malekula.

The prime minister, Moana Carcasses, says it is investing in infrastructure to pave the way for the country to focus on economic development.C/- Radio New Zealand

MICRONESIA:

3) US law opposed

Marianas Variety/Pacnews
Friday, December 27, 2013

SAIPAN – Nine Micronesian leaders, from three countries and two US territories, say they oppose US plans for implementing a law they believe would undermine local bans on the trade of shark fins.

The Shark Conservation Act of 2010 was intended to close loopholes in the US law to prohibit shark finning by requiring that sharks caught by American vessels or entering US ports be landed with their fins naturally attached to their bodies.

Hoping to further protect these critically important ocean predators, 11 US states and territories — including Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia — have passed additional laws.

However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that these state and territorial laws could interfere with federal fisheries statutes under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and therefore would be preempted.

In a communiqué issued after this month’s 19th Micronesian Chief Executives Summit, leaders of the western Pacific US territories and several island nations said regulations for implementing the law would overturn bans on shark fin trading in Guam and the Northern Marianas.

“The shark fin trade bans were implemented with bipartisan support after considerable public feedback.

“The laws reflect the unique concerns and needs our islands and our citizens,” the communiqué says.

“The leaders say the local laws complement, rather than hamper, the broader US fisheries law and its goals.

“The shark fin trade bans do not interfere with Magnuson-Stevens Act’s or MSA purposes and objectives of maximum sustainable yield.

“They do not interfere with fishing in federal waters; instead they regulate commerce by banning the trade of fins.

“Since MSA regulates fishing activity and not commerce, the state shark fin bans are complementary to the Shark Conservation Act,” the communiqué says.

The leaders asked the Obama administration to remove the preemptive language from the final rule.

AUSTRALIA:

4) Extra fireworks show for Sydney

Updated 34 minutes ago 27/12/13

Sydney will have an extra fireworks show over the harbour on New Year’s Eve.

Producer Aneurin Coffey said a pyrotechnics display would be held at 10.30pm (AEDT) in addition to the normal 9pm and midnight fireworks.

He said on Friday at White Bay, where seven tonnes of fireworks were being loaded onto barges, that organisers wanted to “fill that gap between 9pm and midnight”.

“We (also) wanted something to keep the interest and build that anticipation,” Mr Coffey said.

Tuesday night’s fireworks will include 11,000 aerial shells and 25,000 shooting comets that will explode from seven barges on Sydney harbour.

For the first time in a decade, 1000 fireworks will also be shot from the top of the Opera House, as well as from the harbour bridge and jet skis stationed in the harbour.

AAP reports about 1.5 million people are expected at the harbour and another 1.1 billion worldwide will watch a telecast of the festivities.

The eight-hour show will cost the City of Sydney Council $A6.8 million and is expected to earn about $A156 million.C/- http://www.radionz.co.nz/

TOK PISIN:

5) PNG igat gutpla krismas

Updated 27 December 2013, 11:12 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Polis long Papua New Guinea itok oli hamamas nogat planti trabal na heve ibin kamap long taem blong krismas

Deputi Polis Komisina bilong Oporesens long Papua New Guinea, Simon Kauba i tok, em ino bin kisim ripot long bikpela heve taim ol pipal i makim Krismas raun long kantri.

Mr Kauba i toktok tu long wok bilong Australian Federal Police long Port Moreaby na Lae na i toksave ken igo long pablik long lukautim ol iet, taim oli wokabaut long wanpela hap igo long narapela long rot na solowara.

Deputi polis komisina Kauba itok iluk olsem nogat bikpla trabal i kamap long kantri, tasol nogut sampla liklik i kamap tasol emi kisim toktok long despla iet.

Emi tokaut olsem ol laen polis blong Australia husat iwok nau long kantri i halpim gut wok blong polis long Lae na tu long Port Moresby.Radio Australia

6) PNG NGO laen itok oli sapotim divelopman, tasol divelopman imas fea

Updated 27 December 2013, 10:59 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol non gavman grup  long Papua New Guinea itok gavman imas apim moni em ol mining kampani imas baem igo long kantri long 30 percent.

Deputi siaman blong ‘Papua New Guinea Group against Seabed Experimental Mining Wenceslaus Magun i mekim despla toktok taem despla nupla grup i redi long makim nambawan mun blong ol olsem wanpla bikpla NGO grup long kantri.

Toktok blong Mr Magun i bihaenim tu askim blong mipla sopos ol strongpla wok na toktok blong ol egesim ol wok mining i mean olsem oli no laikim tru ol wok divelopman long PNG.

Despla grup i karamapim ol laen olsem Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights, Partners with Melanesians, Mas Kagin Tapani, Four Maisin, Madang Indigenous Peoples Forum, PNG Council of churches na planti oil narapla laen ken.

Long ol despla yia igo pinis planti ol NGO grup iwok long fait strong long gavman imas luksave long rights blong ol pipal long saed blong environment blong ol, na tu long sidaon na laif blong ol long ol graon blong ol.Radio Australia

FRENCH:

7) Australie: la pillule papoue ne passe pas

Mis à jour 27 December 2013, 13:47 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Julie Bishop défend sa décision de supprimer le financement des médicaments en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

« L’Australie est toujours prête à financer les médicament en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, à condition que le fournisseur soit certifié et respecte les standards internationaux », affirme la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères.

Ces trois dernières années, l’Australie a déboursé 38 millions de dollars pour soigner les Papous. Le gouvernement papou a repris le contrôle de l’appel d’offres pour les achats de médicaments de 2014, après deux années de gestion totale par l’Australie.

Résultat : il a choisi un fournisseur chinois, Borneo Pacific, qui est une filiale du North China Pharmaceutical Group, un fournisseur qui est 9 millions de dollars plus cher que le précédent, et qui n’est pas certifié ISO 9001 – la norme internationale de contrôle de la qualité des produits. Or une étude sur quatre antibiotiques distribués par Borneo Pacific a montré que l’un d’entre eux était un faux médicament.

Julie Bishop indique que l’Australie est prête à aider la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée à créer une autorité de la santé indépendante pour surveiller les appels d’offre. « Nous offrons notre assistance technique pour la rédaction du projet de loi et son application », a-t-elle ajouté.

8) Le départ de la 69ème Sydney-Hobart

Mis à jour 26 December 2013, 13:34 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Cette course de voilier mythique entre Sydney et Hobart, une des courses les plus dangereuses du monde. Le cru 2013 est le plus cosmopolite depuis la création de la course en 1945.

Wild Oats XI, sextuple vainqueur de la Sydney-Hobart, figure cette année encore parmi les favoris.
Il s’agit de rallier les 630 milles nautiques – 1167 kilomètres- qui séparent Sydney de la capitale tasmanienne, via le Détroit de Bass, dans lequel les conditions de vent et de mer sont toujours très difficiles. Les abandons sont légion. Et en 1998, 6 marins ont péri en mer.

Le cru 2013 est le plus cosmopolite depuis la création de la course en 1945. Cette année 22 équipages sur les 94 participants sont étrangers. Parmi eux beaucoup de Britanniques et de Néo-Zélandais, mais aussi un voilier chypriote, le Zefiro.

Mais tous les regards sont tournés vers les équipages des 12 bateaux du Tour du Monde des Clippers, l’unique tour du monde à la voile ouvert aux novices. Ils suivent seulement trois semaines d’entraînement avant de sauter dans l’inconnu. La course débute en septembre par une traversée de l’Atlantique depuis Londres jusqu’au Brésil, ensuite c’est Le Cap, en Afrique du Sud, Albany, sur la côte ouest de l’Australie.

Et pour la première fois, la course Sydney-Hobart devient une étape de ce Tour du Monde des Clippers. Pour la première fois aussi, ces équipages amateurs comptent un Africain et une Chinoise.

Bien entendu, ces barreurs-débutants ne risquent pas d’inquiéter le favori de la course, le maxi yacht Wild Oats XI, déjà 6 victoires au compteur dans la course Sydney-Hobart.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

WORLD:

9) Storms leave 50,000 homes without power

Afp
Friday, December 27, 2013

LONDON – About 50,000 homes in Britain were without power on Christmas Day following recent storms, while hundreds of people were evacuated yesterday because of flooding.

Meanwhile, London Gatwick Airport was struggling with power outages in parts of its North Terminal, causing delays to departing flights. High winds and heavy rain battered parts of Europe on Monday and Tuesday, with some areas still reeling from the aftermath.

The Energy Networks Association said around 50,000 homes remained without electricity. They are largely in the east and southeast of England.

“It’s likely that some people will still be off on Boxing Day (yesterday),” said spokesman Tim Field.

Power company UK Power Networks offered to pay for Christmas dinners in local pubs or restaurants for people whose supplies remain cut off.

Around 90 people were evacuated from their homes by the River Stour near Bournemouth on the south coast because of floods, emergency services said.

In southeast England, evacuations took place in the London commuter belt towns of Dorking, Leatherhead, Guildford, Godalming and Tonbridge, emergency services added.

10) Christians targeted

News.Com.Au
Friday, December 27, 2013

MILITANTS in Iraq targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing about 44 people.

In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighbourhood, killing 35 people and wounding 56, a police officer said.

Earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien the officer said.

The Iraq-based leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Sako, said the parked car bomb exploded after Christmas mass and that none of the worshippers were hurt. Sako said he didn’t believe the church was the target.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Iraq’s dwindling Christian community, which is estimated to number about 400,000 to 600,000 people, often has been targeted by al-Qaida and other insurgents who see the Christians as heretics.

11) Muslim Brotherhood declared terrorists

Ap
Friday, December 27, 2013

CAIRO – Egypt’s military-backed interim government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in a dramatic escalation that gives authorities more power to crack down on the movement.

Hossam Eissa, the Minister of Higher Education, read out the Cabinet statement after a long meeting yesterday.

Mr Eissa said, “The Cabinet has declared the Muslim Brotherhood group and its organisation as a terrorist organisation.”

He added that the implications of the declaration punish those who belong to the group, financing it and those promoting the group’s activities. The Brotherhood has waged near-daily protests since a July 3 military coup toppled President Mohammed Morsi.

Authorities blamed the Brotherhood for militant attacks now striking Egypt, a claim the Brotherhood repeatedly has denied.

HEALTH:

12) FM Julie Bishop defends government’s decision to withdraw funding for PNG program

Updated 27 December 2013, 9:53 AEST

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop strongly defended the government’s decision to withdraw funding to Papua New Guinea for medical kits.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has strongly defended the government’s decision to withdraw money for a medical supply program in Papua New Guinea.

The PNG Government recently awarded the multi-million dollar contract to a company called Borneo Pacific to distribute supplies to health centres across the country.

But the Department of Foreign Affairs has told PNG it will not be providing $AUD 38 million to fund the program due to serious concerns about the tender process.

“The Australian government had agreed to pay for the distribution across Papua New Guinea, of medical supply kits and of course the kits were to be high quality from a reputable and international supplier,” she said.

“We are ready to assist with the distribution of medical supply kits that meet international standards from certified supplies.”

Ms Bishop says she has reached out to her counterpart in Papua New Guinea regarding this issue, adding that the Australian government has proposed an independent health authority in PNG to oversee the procurement process.

“What we have sought to do is to support the establishment of an independent health procurement authority in PNG,” she said.

“If the government of PNG approves the establishment of an independent health procurement authority, then the Australian government is prepared to provide technical assistance to help draft a legislation and help establish it.”

Ms Bishop says Australia agreed to fund the program on the condition the contract be given to an internationally certified supplier.

“Our key concern was the noncompliance with PNG’s own tender requirements and particularly, the supplier had to be internationally certified and that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13) Solomon Islands Hospitals Short On Painkiller Drug
Medical staff allegedly limited in duties amidst Pethidine shortage

By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 24, 2013) – The Solomon Islands, through its main hospitals, is reportedly experiencing a shortage in painkiller known as Pethidine.

Sources close to the Solomon Star said the pain reliever has been out of stock for some time now which restricted nurses and doctors from carrying out some of their operations.

According to medical dictionary this particular medication is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

“It works on the nerves and brain to reduce the pain you feel. It is particularly useful for treating pain associated with child birth and can also be used to ease pain before, during and after an operation.”

At the main Gizo hospital, the shortage of the painkiller is being experienced, according to reports reaching the paper.

Last week a mother who visited the dental clinic at Gizo to have her teeth fixed was unable to do so after she was told that there are no painkillers.

She told the paper from Gizo over the weekend that as result nurses and doctors there could not pull out her aching teeth.

She was given another medication to reduce pain and infection while waiting for the pain reliever to arrive before an operation can be conducted.

“I was told to visit the hospital next week once the painkillers arrive,” she told the paper while referring to what the nurses had told her.

However the source doubts that painkiller will be available at the Gizo hospital next week.

“This is because at the National Referral Hospital similar shortage is being experienced for sometimes now,” the source said.

Attempts to get comments from the national medical store or the pharmacy yesterday proved unsuccessful.

Solomon Star

EDUCATION:

14) Study criteria

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, December 29, 2013

FIJI’S human resource needs will be a key consideration when students will be awarded scholarships under the government’s new Tertiary Education Scholarship and Loans Scheme (TELS) next year.

And the newly-established TELS board, chaired by hotelier and Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto, believes this move will greatly benefit Fiji.

Mr Seeto yesterday said under the new criteria outlined by the board, those students applying for a scholarship and consideration in the loans scheme would have to apply for preferred areas of study only.

These areas of study include tourism, engineering, mining and milling, commerce studies, medicine and health, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, teacher training, land and town planning, social sciences, technology and special areas of high priority in diploma and certificate levels.

Mr Seeto said the first 600 top students would be given full scholarships under the National Toppers Scheme and they could apply for these preferred areas for the study.

“These are the areas which are deemed to be preferred areas of study that we feel will fulfil human resource requirements of Fiji in the future,” he said.

“These courses will give us people who will assist in the development of Fiji and its economy in the years to come.”

Mr Seeto said applications would be received first depending on what people applied for and scholarships would be issued on the basis of the preferred areas involved.

“That is why we are also suggesting to applicants that they should list their preferences so that we have some flexibility to try and fulfil the applicants’ preparations as well as filling in the numbers in the various applications.”

He revealed that the outlined field of studies under the scholarship scheme was determined following consultations with various universities and relevant arms of government.

“The board will decide on the numbers when we have received all applications.”

Mr Seeto said the board would see the applicants’ aspirations and the human resource requirements of Fiji while granting scholarships.

“There were wide consultations on ascertaining the numbers and the numbers were set for the board to take action on.”

He also outlined the labour market would be reviewed on an annual basis and the board would monitor that recipients do well in their studies.

The new board now looks after all tertiary scholarships and loans including those administered by the iTaukei Affairs Board, the Depart of Multi-Ethnic Affairs and the PSC.

“We have a very capable and experienced board with the inclusion of three vice chancellors from three universities and the Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal.

“We have had a number of meetings already and the board is working well in contributing to making this scholarship and loan scheme a success,” Mr Seeto said.

Mr Seeto said applications would be received first depending on what people applied for and scholarships would be issued on the basis of the preferred areas involved.

“That is why we are also suggesting to applicants that they should list their preferences so that we have some flexibility to try and fulfil the applicants’ preparations as well as filling in the numbers in the various applications.”

He revealed the outlined field of studies under the scholarship scheme was determined following consultations with various universities and relevant arms of government.

“The board will decide on the numbers when we have received all applications.”

Mr Seeto said the board would see the applicants’ aspirations and the human resource requirements of Fiji while granting scholarships.

“There were wide consultations on ascertaining the numbers and the numbers were set for the board to take action on.”

He also outlined the labour market would be reviewed on an annual basis and the board would monitor that recipients do well in their studies.

The new board now looks after all tertiary scholarships and loans including those administered by the iTaukei Affairs Board, the Depart of Multi-Ethnic Affairs and the PSC.

“We have a very capable and experienced board with the inclusion of three vice chancellors from three universities and the Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal.

“We have had a number of meetings already and the board is working well in contributing to making this scholarship and loan scheme a success,” Mr Seeto said.http://www.fijitimes.com/

MEDIA:

15) Journalist’s beating sparks rally

Updated at 12:40 pm today

Protesters in Ukraine rallied outside the Internal Affairs Ministry on Thursday after a journalist was badly beaten.

A protestor holds photos of journalist Tetyana Chornovil outside the Internal Affairs Ministry in Kiev.

Tetyana Chornovol, 34, is in intensive care in hospital after her car was rammed outside Kiev late on Wednesday and she was beaten by unidentified men.

Shortly before Ms Chornovol was attacked, she published a blog about a “country manor” which she said was being constructed for Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko near Kiev.

The BBC reports Ms Chornovol has previously accused top officials of engaging in dubious business practices and exposed their wealth.

Last year, she scaled the fence of a lavish country home which she said was owned by President Viktor Yanukovych.

Pictures of the heavily guarded house raised questions about how the president could finance such a luxurious home.

The BBC reports Mr Yanukovych has been facing protests for weeks since he backtracked on an agreement for closer ties with Europe.

Opposition UDAR party leader Vitali Klitschko called on journalists to go on strike in solidarity with Ms Chornovol.

Freedom party leader Oleh Tyahnybok said the attack on Ms Chornovol’s life was part of a wider campaign of intimidation against the opposition.

President Yanukovych has ordered an investigation into the beating.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

BUSINESS:

16) New Caledonia trims bank charges

Updated at 4:33 pm on 27 December 2013

Bank charges in New Caledonia will fall significantly from next month under an agreement signed this week between the sector and the territory’s high commissioner Jean Jacques Brot.

Bank charges in New Caledonia on average are 34 percent higher than in France.

Earlier this year the prices of a number of consumer goods were cut in line with an agreement following a 12-day general strike against the high cost of living.C/- radio New Zealand.

17) New market reach

Geraldine Panapasa
Friday, December 27, 2013

NEW Caledonia has enormous untapped opportunities for Fijian companies, says Ministry of Industries and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali.

Speaking at the PA Lal Group’s long service awards night in Suva, Mr Ali said New Caledonia was the richest country in the region, with per capita income in the vicinity of $US39,000 ($F73,729).

He said the Fijian Government was targeting markets in New Caledonia and Australia next year following the success of the PNG mission that was led by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. “The PM will again lead a mission, comprising Fijian private sector and businesses, to explore and capitalise on export and investment opportunities offered in New Caledonia and Australia,” he said.

“Australia, despite being our traditional trading partner, is a country where Fiji is yet to realise its full potential. The economy of Australia is more than seven times larger than New Zealand’s and yet our exports to Australia, if decoupled from gold and garments, are on par to New Zealand.”

Mr Ali said the Bainimarama government had created a stable and open environment for Fijian businesses to thrive and capitalise on opportunities in countries such as New Caledonia, the Melanesian Spearhead Group countries, Australia and New Zealand.

He said they were committed to becoming the hub of the Pacific in every sense.

“The Fijian Government has provided wide ranging investment incentives and has reduced taxes to encourage growth and investment. In the 2014 National Budget, the PM announced the smart Fiji initiative by providing access to education for all.”

This, he said, was an unprecedented level of investment and commitment in Fiji’s children, youths and citizens.http://www.fijitimes.com/

18) Tikolevu: FRCA investigation continues

Geraldine Panapasa
Friday, December 27, 2013

THE Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has confirmed investigations are continuing on unregistered businesses and companies charging value added tax.

FRCA chief executive Jitoko Tikolevu said a special audit on VAT was conducted recently and discovered that there were businesses and companies charging VAT even though they were not registered for VAT.

“We have also had taxpayers admitting that they are not registered but are charging VAT,” he said.

“Our investigations are ongoing in this matter. We have issued advertisements reminding taxpayers that they must comply with the law. Those found to be engaging in this practice will be severely penalised.”

On the issue of service turnover tax, Mr Tikolevu said the hotel turnover tax was charged at 5 per cent. However, it was renamed in 2012 to service turnover tax (STT) and was still being charged at 5 per cent.

“For the shipping industry, overseas shipping lines are exempt from STT. However, if they perform and charge services and are caught within the ambit of the STT decree then they would be subject to STT.”

He said taxpayers would need to be upfront and honest with FRCA.http://www.fijitimes.com/

19) PNG set to boom in 2014

Aap
Friday, December 27, 2013

SYDNEY- Blood and money are two words you have to use to tell the story of Papua New Guinea in 2013.

There’s been plenty of both during the year. There’ll be plenty more in 2014.

PNG is preparing itself for a massive windfall from the Exxon-Mobil led Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project, due to go online in 2014.

The project is expected to push PNG’s economic growth above 20 per cent — potentially making the Pacific Island nation the fastest growing economy in the world.

In preparation for this, the government of Peter O’Neill in late 2013 introduced its second deficit budget in as many years, plunging the country into the red to the tune of $US5.6billion ($F10billion) with the aim of delivering desperately needed basic services to the nation’s seven million people.

He has also put companies on notice that large scale resource projects will have to deal with a more activist government.

“I don’t want us to be a ‘passive’ investor in the projects we hold equity in on behalf of the nation,” he told a mining and petroleum seminar in Port Moresby in early December. The government will be a participant in new projects — that is not socialism, it is common sense. And it is what our law provides for and what our people expect.”

With the political instability of late 2011 and early 2012 now long behind him, Mr O’Neill has emerged as the nation’s most powerful prime minister, at the helm of 104 MPs out of 111.

This has been aided in part by the country’s weak opposition, which has become, essentially, a running joke.

Mr O’Neill’s former deputy prime minister and now opposition leader Belden Namah last month announced he would no longer engage with “mainstream media” and instead pledged to only conduct press conferences on social media.

20) France to avoid double-dip recession

Updated at 1:30 pm on 25 December 2013 C/-

France will avoid a recession this year, according to the country’s statistics body.

INSEE said the economy will grow 0.4% in the last three months of the year, after contracting 0.1% in the third quarter. It body predicted growth of 0.2% for the whole of 2013.

President Francois Hollande has been under pressure to revive the economy as other eurozone nations start growing and show signs of recovery, the BBC reports.

The country was last in recession in the first quarter of this year. There were fears of a “double-dip” recession but the country’s statistics agency thinks this will now be avoided.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

21) Seaweed project grows into industry

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, December 29, 2013

SEAWEED is fast becoming an industry for maritime communities around the country.

The Ministry of Fisheries is now working on identifying export markets for green seaweed or lumi.

Fisheries officer Jope Kavoa said Bau Island was one island where the project had started.

“The initial seaweed project was started in the 1980s but back then there was no market,” he said.

“We have now identified local markets and there is demand, off-shore as well.

“The ministry is targeting production of 100 tonnes of seaweed.

“While seaweed can be sold in its natural form, we have been encouraging cultivators to diversify and add value to the product.

“We can make jam, noodles, shampoo, soap and even beauty products. We have some export markets opening up, but before we can embark onto that, we will have to ensure that we can meet the demand.”

The Fisheries Ministry has helped interested farmers by providing them with all materials to start the seaweed farms.

Jovesa Nabou, 45, a seaweed farmer from Bau Island said he was expecting a good yield.

“I have about 500 lines, we farm the seaweed tying them on lines. One line will be almost 10 kilograms and that’s close to $20,” he said.

The ministry is hoping to have 50 communities doing seaweed farming before the end of the year.http://www.fijitimes.com/

22)Big orders coming in for Tonga ngatu

Updated at 7:21 am today 27/12/13

The leader of a Tonga community group making ngatu or tapa products for sale says China and Hawaii have both placed big orders.

Women in Ha’atafu village on the main islands Tongatapu have been making nagtu and selling them to relatives.

The group leader Melesila Lutolofi Weilert says they are thrilled to have secured commercial contracts.

But she says nagtu making is very intensive in terms of time and materials and the challenge is to encourage the women to diversify their handicrafts.

Tapa making is great. But with one ngatu we can only sell it for 250 but if we have the handicraft and arts made out of tapa, in a small piece of I will say one foot by one and a half foot, it can give us about 35 pa’anga.

Melesila Lutolofi Weilert says the women love making ngatu and just need time to get used to using it for different purposes..http://www.radionz.co.nz/

LAW&ORDER:

23)Bougainville families homeless after villagers clash

Updated at 4:35 pm on 27 December 2013

More than 20 families are receiving emergency help after more than 90 houses were burnt down and crops destroyed at Sing village in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville last Friday.

New Dawn FM reports the houses were burnt down in retaliation after a man from the Solos area of Peit constituency on Buka Island was killed, allegedly by a youth from nearby Sing village.

The Post Courier says the 3 houses that were not torched had all their possessions taken.

It also reports that the arsonists mistakenly destroyed coconut plantations owned by relatives of the dead man.

Local MPs have been called in to try and ease tensions between the two village groups.

The Bougainville Disaster Coordinator, Franklyn Lacey, says rations of rice and noodles are being provided for the families, as well as tents, water and eating utensils.

24)Fiji government expands violence free initiative

Updated at 4:33 pm on 27 December 2013

The Fiji government is extending its initiative to try and create violence free communities.

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation says so far it has 60 communities on the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign and 30 more communities will have the opportunity to join the campaign next year.

The minister, Dr Jiko Luveni, says a budget allocation of 400 thousand US dollars to the Women’s Plan of Action means the Ministry can reach out to more women’s groups.

Dr Luveni says each community will have to take ownership of the campaign and participate in awareness programmes to determine the causes of violence, be aware of laws that protect women and children, and learn about gender based violence and anger management.

She says the campaign empowers women to report cases to the police and build stronger families.C/- Radio New Zealand

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

25) Cyclone brewing

Aap
Sunday, December 29, 2013

PERTH – Residents along Western Australia’s northern coast are preparing for a possible cyclone and ships are leaving the area.

A tropical low was forecast to develop into a cyclone yesterday, bringing 100km/h wind gusts and heavy rain across coastal areas of the Kimberley.

The Bureau of Meteorology had issued a cyclone warning for coastal areas from Cape Leveque to Broome yesterday, and also a cyclone watch alert from Broome to Mardie.

The weather system, currently 430km north northwest of Broome, is expected to intensify over the weekend as it tracks southwest towards the Pilbara coast.

26)Drought stricken island in PNG’s Madang province promised help

Updated at 8:35 am on 28 December 2013

People living on the drought-sticken Long Island in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province have been promised help by the provincial government.

A six month drought has been affecting the more than 5 thousand people on Long Island.

The newspaper ‘The National’ reports that nine islanders reportedly died after they ate sago because there was no other food available.

The Madang governor, Jim Kas, visited the island last week after the newspaper carried a front page story highlighting the plight of the islanders.

He says the provincial government will provide weekly charter flights to enable public servants to deliver government services to the people on the island.

The paper reports the people who live there have been missing out on basic government services for years, mainly because of communication problems.Radio New Zealand

27) Cook Islands forecasters predict 1-2 cyclones between February and April

Updated at 6:31 am today 27/12/13

Weather forecasters in the Cook Islands are predicting one or two cyclones could strike the country at the end of the season.

The cyclone season for the Pacific ends in April and forecasters predict there could be up to 12 in the region this season.

The Director of the Cook Islands Meteorological Service, Arona Ngari says higher ocean temperatures in the Coral Sea off the northcoast of Australia could generate a cyclone.

“Probably from February and March when the seas become warmer than normal, there is a high chance that a cyclone or two might just be paying us a visit around that time between February and April.”

Arona Ngari says althougth there are currently no signs of a cyclone, residents in the Cook Islands are being advised to stay alert and be aware of any weather depressions.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/

SPORTS:

28) The Ashes: England collapses to hand Australia control of Boxing Day Test at MCG

Posted 28 December 2013, 18:21 AEST
By Cameron Leslie

England’s Ashes fightback proved short-lived as its batting line-up collapsed in a heap on day three of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

External Link: Day three: Fourth Ashes Test at the MCG

Having dismissed Australia for 204, England took a 51-run lead into its second innings before collapsing to be all out 179 and setting Australia 231 for victory.

Australia finished the day 0 for 30 with openers Chris Rogers (18) and Dave Warner (12) still at the crease.

As it happened: Relive the day’s action through our Ashes blog

England lost its last five wickets for just six runs and instead of taking a stranglehold on the Test, it left Australia in the box seat after yet another day they would like to forget on this Ashes tour.

As it has been for the entire tour, England’s shot selection left a lot to be desired and not what would be expected from a team looking to put itself in a winning position.

Earlier, Nathan Lyon was the man to cause much of the damage to England, claiming 5 for 50 and capturing his 100th Test wicket in the process.

Mitchell Johnson (3 for 25) and Peter Siddle (1 for 46) were the other wicket-takers.

England had looked well in control of the Test when Brad Haddin (65) and Lyon (18 not out) added 40 more runs to Australia’s overnight score before Haddin was last man out.

England then appeared to be tightening the noose when captain Alastair Cook (51) and Michael Carberry (12) put on 65 for the first wicket and took its lead past 100.

But the dismissal of Cook, lbw to Johnson, sparked a collapse from the visitors.

Carberry followed 21 runs later, having taken 81 balls to score his 12 runs. Carberry, Joe Root (15) and Ian Bell (0) all fell for just one run as England slipped to 4 for 87.

Pietersen (49) and Stokes (19) then steadied the ship and added 44 before Stokes was out off the bowling of Lyon.

Jonny Bairstow (21) combined with Pietersen to add 42 more runs to England’s total before the collapse.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

29) Fiji Cricket targets youth to help it return to the top

Updated at 8:41 am today 27/12/13

After a year in which Fiji were eliminated from the World Cricket League, the country is taking a long-term approach in their efforts to return to the international arena.

The Fiji men’s team missed out on promotion to World Cricket League 6 earlier this year and with divisions seven and eight no longer existing, the national team has a bare schedule over the next couple of years.

The General Manager of Fiji Cricket, Inoke Lesuma, says that means all their focus must go on developing the next generation of Fiji internationals.

One of those is teenager Saimoni Tuitoga who, along with High Performance Manager Joe Rika, will travel to Wellington next month to take part in the New Zealand Under 17 Championships.

Inoke Lesuma says such opportunities are ideal for testing the country’s up and comers.

“Saimoni is still 15 going onto 16, hopefully he can perform in that age group competition in New Zealand and get the experience, and also for our coach it will be good exposure.”

Inoke Lesuma. http://www.radionz.co.nz/

30) Suva out to retain crown

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE Suva volleyball side is determined to reclaim its men’s crown in the domestic competition next year.

Raiwai ruled the court this year winning the major men’s competition while in the women’s, Suva maintained its dominance.

Yesterday, champion Suva club Marist, and players of the Suva women’s side were at the National Netball Centre preparing for the upcoming season.

Suva Volleyball Association secretary Viliame Katia said they needed to get players back in shape.

The handful of players started yesterday’s training with a 2.5 kilometre run followed by a practise session before cooling off at the Damodar Aquatic Centre in Laucala Bay.

“This is normally the volleyball season but just because of the festive season, the players are given time off to spend it with their friends and families,” Katia said.

“This training session is just to help the players lose what they have gained from eating and drinking.”

The training had most of the key players including national reps Qilu Elliot, Paula Simati, Temi Pale, Inia Korowale and Epeli Ratabacaca.

Katia was impressed with their commitment adding some of their players were tied up with work commitment and would join the team soon.

“Time is not on our side. We have the Battle of the Champions coming up in January followed by the Vulaca and then the Vanua Challenge.

“We have a young side but still have some senior players in the team.

“We still have a pretty good chance of reclaiming the titles but we will have to work hard to ensure we overcome the tough competition from other teams especially Raiwai.”FijiTimes

31) Samoa hoping to attract more top level players

Updated at 8:41 am today

The Samoa Rugby Union is hopeful that more top level players will commit themselves to Manu Samoa in the leadup to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

During 2013 Super Rugby regulars Alapati Leiua, Jack Lam and Faifili Levave all made their debut for the Manu, having previously turned down international call-ups.

There are still a number of other players with the option of dual eligibility and Samoa Rugby CEO Fred Amoa says they’d love more to follow.

“Well, we’re grateful that we’re able to get some of the Super 15, in terms of New Zealand and Australian players, of that level. It always will help, in the sense of our preparations and our teams, having their vast experience through our rugby teams. So we’re very pleased and we’d like to invite more players who would consider playing for the Manu Samoa team.”

Fred Amoa.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

32) Nadal loses to Ferrer on return to tennis

Afp
Sunday, December 29, 2013

ABU DHABI – Rafael Nadal got his season underway with a 6-4 6-4 loss to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the semi-finals of the Mubadala tennis exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

It was the world number one’s first match since losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the final of the World Tour Finals in London on November 11.

Playing ahead of the official ATP season-opener in nearby Doha next week, Ferrer looked the sharper from the start, breaking in the ninth game to take the first set.

It was more of the same in the second set as Nadal struggled to find his range against an opponent who already had a match under his belt, having defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

“I think, for a first match to play against a guy who has practised for a month and who played a match yesterday, on a very fast court, I was happy with how I played,” Nadal told The National newspaper.

“I had a few opportunities, break points, but he played well and he converted the chances better than me. I had a few mistakes but in my opinion I was better than I thought I would be right now.”

Ferrer goes on to play Djokovic, who was being watched by new coach Boris Becker, in Saturday’s final after the world number two defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

“He has one of the strongest serves in the game, and it’s very precise,” said Djokovic.

“I exceeded my own expectations. My performance today was great.”

Ferrer, who announced last week that he was splitting with long-time coach Javier Piles in a bid to finally win a Grand Slam title, said he had been helped by having already played in the tournament.

“I think the fact that I had already played a match on the same surface meant that I was better prepared than Rafa,” said Ferrer.

“I am happy with the state of my game and will look to produce my best tennis for the final.”

In earlier action, Andy Murray chalked up his first win since returning to action after a three-month injury lay-off by defeating Switzerland’s Wawrinka 6-3 6-4.

The 26-year-old Wimbledon champion had back surgery in September and did not play again until he lost to Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the exhibition tournament on Thursday.

Wawrinka lost to Ferrer on the same day and the match between he and Murray was to decide who would finish fifth in the unofficial three-day event that had Nadal and Djokovic joining in at the semi-final stage.

Murray looked much sharper against Wawrinka than he had looked in the second set against Tsonga and had little difficulty in seeing off the challenge of the world number eight.

33) Manchester United belief gives Moyes hope

Afp
Sunday, December 29, 2013

KINGSTON UPON HULL, England – Manchester United manager David Moyes believes his side’s traditionally strong spirit means that they cannot be discounted from the Premier League title race.

United battled back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Hull City on Thursday and record their third consecutive league victory.

After an inconsistent start to the season, in which they suffered five league defeats, United have started to close in on the upper reaches of the table.

“I don’t think there was anyone in the ground, when we went 2-0 down, who thought the game was over,” Moyes said.

“I think most people were rubbing their hands thinking, ‘We’re in for some game here.’

“That tells you what Manchester United have got and, hopefully, tells you something about David Moyes. My teams have always been committed and trying to win the games.

“All the games at this time of year are tight games, difficult to call. All we can do is keep knocking away and hopefully we’ll be in there come the end of the season.”

Striker Wayne Rooney scored his 150th Premier League goal for the club in the victory at Hull.

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