Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 918

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!

1) New Year’s Eve celebrations: millions welcome 2014 in global festivities

Updated 1 January 2014, 10:43 AEST

New Year’s Eve festivities are continuing around the world as millions of people celebrate with dazzling fireworks displays and music concerts.

Last night about 1.5 million people gathered at Sydney Harbour to watch the country’s biggest fireworks show take off from the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

It was the first time in more than a decade that the Opera House played a major role in the extravaganza, with fireworks exploding from the iconic building’s sails.

More than 100 revellers had to be rescued from boats that were anchored up on Sydney Harbour to watch the fireworks display.

In Melbourne, about 500,000 people flocked to the CBD for celebrations.

Other countries around the world have also been celebrating the new year.

Celebrations began in Kiribati and Samoa at 9:00pm (AEDT), then New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga at 10:00pm.

Japan brought in the Year of the Horse with a temple bell tolled at midnight, and in China fireworks were fired from the Great Wall.

In Hong Kong the shot of a British colonial-era cannon marked midnight, in a tradition dating from the end of World War II.

Dubai kicked off the new year with a glittering fireworks display spanning over 100 kilometres of coastline.

Organisers had hoped to break the Guinness world record for the largest fireworks display with more than 400,000 explosions.

Neighbouring Kuwait currently holds the mark, set in 2011 with an epic hour-long show of 77,282 fireworks.

South Africa bid farewell to 2013 with a 3D video send-off of Nelson Mandela as part of a free concert in Cape Town.

The concert featured lasers, fireworks, singers and DJs on the public square opposite city hall.

Mandela’s face was briefly mapped onto the city hall where he gave his first freedom speech in 1990 after his release from 27 years in apartheid prison.

Elsewhere celebrations are still warming up as revellers wait for midnight to arrive.

In London, edible banana confetti and strawberry mist will rain from the sky as a fireworks display along the River Thames lights up Big Ben and other landmarks.

In Rio de Janeiro, authorities are predicting 2.3 million people – a third of them tourists – will crowd Copacabana Beach for fireworks and pop music.

An expected 1 million revellers will gather in New York to mark the stroke of midnight and the traditional New Year’s Eve ball-drop over Times Square.

ABC/wires

MELANESIA:

2) Bougainville MPs Deliver First Post-Election Speeches
Parliamentarians call for change, action from government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 31, 2013) – A re-elected MP in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, Thomas Keriri, says the government has to address issues around marijuana growing and homebrew in the villages.

Mr Keriri, who was re-elected in the Rau by-election earlier this month, joined other new MPs in making his maiden speech in the ABG legislature this week.

New Dawn FM reports him saying that with poor returns from cocoa and copra people are resorting to illicit drugs and this must be addressed.

The new member for Peit, on the west coast of Buka island, Jerome Tsimoli Sawa, says there have to be changes in his electorate.

Calling it the last frontier, he told parliament Peit had been without a strong leader for a long time and this meant it had fallen behind other electorates on Bougainville.

Another re-elected MP, Dominic Itta, who won back the Kongara seat, says his time out of parliament was beneficial.

He says it allowed him to learn a lot from the people.

Mr Itta says he found that the government is too distant from the people and this must be addressed.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 31 December 2013

by bobmakin

Year-end messages from the country’s leaders urged respect for everyone during the time of celebrations and offeredencouragement for the year ahead. The death of Minister Patrick Crowby Manarewo, and his state funeral, continue to lead both print and electronic bulletins. Crowby was Port Vila mayor starting in 1997. He was elected MP in 2008 and served as minister for internal affairs under the Natapei government. The late Crowby was re-appointed under the Carcasses government. He was said to have suffered from a ‘stomach cancer’ which must have reached a very advanced state.

The Penama provincial council president, Lonsdale Hinge, says he will visit every one of the ten area councils in his provinceto establish the needs of the people living in his province. He will be traveling with a small team to assist him.

One hundred and fifty-two million vatu is given by VBTC Radio News as the assistance Australia will provide the security services. Part of this assists the surveillance of the waters of the Vanuatu EEZ and is under the control of the joint services command.

There have been additional candidates named for the Port Vila municipal elections just a week away. The campaign will close at midnight on 4 January. People will vote twice on 14 January, from the general list, and then from the reserved list.

Tanoliu village at North Efate, the other side of Klem’s Hill to Port Vila, now has electricity supplied by the Unelco network.

The Vanuatu National Provident Fund will invest in a new building for the Customs and Inland Revenue services of the Vanuatu Government. They will be located near the Meteorology and Geo-Hazards services.

Agriculture Minister Tosul will soon be on a fact-finding mission to establish how the Solomon Islands livestock industry uses exports of live cattle from Vanuatu. There has been much criticism of the practice of exporting live beef stock in the print media recently.

4) Smaller Electorate To Decide Port Vila Polls In Vanuatu
Roll has been reduced, current voters away for holidays

By Ricky Binihi

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 31, 2013) – The decision to hold the Port Vila Municipal Elections during the festive season may have a drastic effect on its outcome as many of the residents of Vanuatu’s capital are away holidaying in the islands and many voters are still in the festive mood.

But the date of January 7 for elections cannot be moved as it is the maximum limit for an election to be held in Port Vila after the dissolution of the Port Vila Municipality in October this year.

The registered voters of the Constituency of Port Vila of 22,308 in 2012 has been reduced because huge town suburbs of Port Vila, like Beverly Hills, Blacksands, Man Ples, and End blong Eapot and Etas areas that had a choice of voting in Port Vila or for the Efate constituency in 2012 are not included in the Municipal boundary.

The number of councilors has been increased from 13 to 17 with the Reserved Seats for Women but the method of calculation will be proportional system for the mostly male dominated 12 members of the Town Hall and the first past the post for the newly introduced female seats in town.

Prime Minister Moana Carcasses’ Green Confederation Party has fielded more candidates in this election followed by Vanua’aku Pati, the Union of Moderate Parties, and the Graon mo Jastis Pati. The parties in the opposition have not fielded many runners to take advantage of the proportional representation system.

Luganville Municipal is now governed by Greens and UMP.

The current parties in government would like to see a repeat of that status quo in Port Vila – parties in government to also hold the reins of control in the Town Hall.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

o Mi harem se the Vila Municipal elections are coming up in January and all potential candidates are gearing up looking for money to help in their campaigns. I hope they know it is illegal to solicit money from business houses in return for promises to assist them if they get elected. Reports are rife of people asking for financial help from businesses in Vila that rely on Municipal support. Silip! http://www.vanuatudaily.com

5) Chinese Firms Contracted For Vanuatu Infrastructure Projects
30-kilometer road, repair and expansion of Santo wharf planned

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 30, 2013) – Vanuatu’s Prime Minister has said it is his Government’s policy to invest in infrastructure in order to pave the way for the country to develop with focus on economic prosperity.

He made the statement before the Minister for Finance, Maki Simelum, who signed the documents with three Chinese construction companies to build roads and wharves in Santo and Malekula worth millions of American dollars at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday.

The China Railway First Group has signed the contract to build a 30-km road to South Santo for US$55 million.

The Shanghai Construction Group has signed the contract to build the Santo Wharf at a total cost of US$87 million.

The work will involve repairing the current wharf and extend it to 140 metres. The company will also repair the ADB wharf to add a further 90 metres to it.

The (China) Railway Fifth Group has signed the contract to build a 24 km road from Lamap to Lingarak on Malekula for US$50 million.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

6) 2013 Fiji Constitution To Be Finalized Without Changes
No petitions for revision reportedly received by government

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 31, 2013) – Fiji’s 2013 Constitution will be finalised today and it is likely to be done with no changes made to the document since it was assented to by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in September this year.

Between 7 September when the constitution was signed into law by the head of state, and 17 December, no proposal had been received by government to repeal, replace, revise or alter any provision of the constitution.

From tomorrow, if any amendment is to be made, the Bill for an act to amend the constitution must first be passed by parliament.

If it’s passed, the speaker will notify the president who will then refer the Bill to the Electoral Commission.

The commission will then conduct a referendum.

If three quarters of the total number of registered voters vote in favour of the Bill, the president must then assent to the Bill. This may come into force on the date of the presidential assent or on other date as prescribed in the Bill.

Meanwhile, there has been mixed reaction to the amendment process with some insisting it’s too rigid and there should be an easier method to amend the constitution in view of unforeseen challenges in future.

However, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the amendment process is done up the way it is to protect the Bill of Rights.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

7a) Electoral Laws Forthcoming, Fiji Attorney General Reminds
Elections office working on ‘nitty gritty details’: Sayed-Khaiyum

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, , 2013) – Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says time is being spent to draw up the electoral laws for the 2014 elections because of the need to ensure that it is thorough.

He said the Elections Office wants to capture as much as possible the nitty gritty details of conducting a successful one-day elections including options that may be considered in the event that some voters are not able to vote where they lived.

“A lot of it depends on the logistics,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“As you know in previous elections the regulations weren’t as thorough as it should have been.”

One such option considered by the elections office is advanced voting where these people including seamen, bus drivers are able to vote in advance.

“We need to make arrangements for them to be able to vote also.

“For others they will vote on the day. We also need employers to be understanding particularly for those who work on shift basis that their workers are given time to vote.

“All these are crucial when we are planning logistics. We are also looking at the need to increase the number of polling stations in heavily populated areas and also on how best to cater for voters who are overseas.”

Once the regulations are drawn up and approved it will be gazetted after which training sessions will be held for political parties to ensure they understand the rules.

Scrutineers appointed by the parties will also be trained on how the voting and counting will be done and see for themselves that counting is being done in a transparent manner.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

7b) Fiji opposition group says regime continues to lie to the people

Updated at 2:52 pm on 31 December 2013

The Fiji political opposition grouping, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji is calling on the Bainimarama regime to make good its promises of 2013 before the year’s end.

The leader, Mick Beddoes, says this year’s promises are likely to be added to what he calls the litany of lies of the last six years.

He says this year Frank Bainimarama announced he would step down as commander of the military, announce his replacement, and promised the release of a new Electoral Decree.

He says none of those promises, which are critical to the 2014 election, have been fulfilled.

“Today is the last day of the year and nothing has been announced. We will add these lies, to the litany of lies that have been carried forward for the last six years. Now, we would be delighted to be proven wrong, if suddenly later on tonight we get all these announcements and everything they’ve said they’re going to do in 2013 actually occurs. Regretably, I still have my doubts about that.”

Mick Beddoes.C/- Radio New Zealand.

MICRONESIA:

8) Marshalls Utility Moving To Expand Solar Power Usage
MEC seeking funds for home units and solar-to-grid projects

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Business Journal, Dec. 30, 2013) – The Marshall Islands is working to expand the use of solar energy to power homes and businesses in the two urban centers. After years of focusing to provide home and community solar energy systems for remote outer islands, government attention is shifting to the country’s two cities, where about 75% of the population lives.

The Marshalls Energy Co. (MEC) – the government’s power utility that operates power plants using diesel fuel in Majuro, Ebeye and two outer islands – is seeking funding from Taiwan and the United States for a two-prong plan to lower its use of diesel, while reducing power bills of local residents. This involves providing home solar units and developing larger solar-to-grid projects.

Maintaining business viability after years of financial losses is a huge challenge for the MEC. Its core business of producing power for Majuro is operated at a loss: Although more than 40¢ per kilowatt hour, MEC rates are well below the true cost of producing power because if it charged the real cost, a large number of its customers would likely be unable to afford electricity.

MEC is moving to a hybrid system combining diesel and solar-generated power, said David Paul, general manager for MEC. “We’re doing this to remain viable as a business,” he said. “You control your destiny by being creative and getting ahead of the curve.”

Hiroshi Yamamura, MEC board chairman and minister of public works, led a team of MEC officials to Taiwan in late November to discuss details of a revolving loan fund for buying energy-efficient appliances and solar power gear for homes.

“We are seeking seed funding from Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund for the home solar project,” Yamamura said. “MEC is pursuing this plan to help people save money on their power bills.”

The other renewable energy development MEC is seeking funding for is a large-scale solar project for Majuro and Ebeye that will feed power into the existing distribution system. The government’s cabinet recently endorsed both projects.

Paul said MEC wants to establish a renewable energy revolving loan fund of $3 million to $4 million with the aim of having the Marshall Islands Development Bank administer the program if the funding is approved by ICDF. He said Taiwan officials have indicated their interest in the project and are sending a team to Majuro to further discuss the plan in January.

The home solar program would be a two-step process. The first step would be for loan applicants to have an energy audit of their homes with the goal of changing out light bulbs and appliances for energy-efficient ones, including water heaters and air conditioners. “The audit will help maximize energy efficiency of a house,” Paul said. “Then they can calculate the level of need for solar equipment” to get the right size system for each home.

Residences will continue to use MEC-provided electricity generated at the power plant but will mix this with home solar power units reducing their consumption of diesel-produced power.

Paul said the loan for energy-efficient appliances and solar equipment would be at a very low interest rate. “The idea is not to make money, but to save people money,” he said. “MEC has to adapt to new economic conditions.”

MEC has also submitted a new grant request to the U.S. Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for a $2.9 million grant to upgrade its distribution system. The plan is to install a more reliable distribution system that reduces system losses now estimated to be around 25% of the power produced before it installs a new solar-to-grid system.

RUS has already given MEC a two-year deferment on paying a previous loan and also provided a $2.3 million grant for fixing one of its power plant engines.

“We’re seeking a grant for the distribution system and a loan for the solar-to-grid system,” Paul said of the requests to the U.S. agency. Providing solar panels to produce 800 kilowatt hours of energy to Majuro and 200,000 kilowatt hours of power to Ebeye will cost about $4 million.

Marianas Business Journal

AUSTRALIA:

9) Falling dollar, Indonesia concerns revealed in previously secret Hawke era cabinet papers

Updated 1 January 2014, 1:59 AEST
Anna Henderson

The National Archives has released the secret cabinet documents from 1986 and 1987, which reveal the inner workings of the Hawke government.

The lid has been lifted on what is widely considered to be a golden era in Australian politics as the National Archives releases the secret cabinet documents from the Hawke government in the mid-1980s.

The confidential papers from 1986 and 1987 detail the inner workings of a government grappling with economic challenges and angst about ties with Indonesia.

The papers reveal advice provided behind closed doors about the collapse of the Australian dollar.

Labor prime minister Bob Hawke and his cabinet were witnessing a collapse in the terms of trade.

The ambitious treasurer Paul Keating took to the airwaves in 1986 to issue a blunt warning.

“We’ll just end up being a third rate economy, a banana republic,” he said.

The comment took the rest of cabinet including Mr Hawke by surprise, but in an interview with AM ahead of the release of these documents Mr Hawke praised the move.

“I have always had the view that an important part of sensible economic management is that the population understand the facts and economic challenges confronting them and this was a pretty dramatic way to do that,” he said.

The government was also facing a currency crisis.

The confidential cabinet documents show internally Mr Keating wanted “severe expenditure restraint” and “control on borrowings”.

Cabinet minister Gareth Evans recalls being in the room.

“Cabinet was sitting there with Keating reading reports of the dollar dropping,” he said.

“We realised we needed to tear up the budget and start again.”

Indonesia relations a concern in the 1980s

The government’s foreign priorities included China, Japan and Indonesia.

Historian Jim Stokes has pored through the secret documents on Indonesia, and says negative attitudes and suspicion on both sides were fuelled by media reporting, human rights concerns and East Timor.

“Cabinet agreed that Australia should seek a sound relationship with Indonesia at all levels but avoid making such a disproportionate effort that Indonesia assumed the onus for a successful relationship rested mainly on Australia,” he said.

Mr Hawke says cabinet recognised the importance of improving ties with Australia’s neighbour.

“I always knew it was not going to be easy to establish a warm intimate relationship with Indonesia because there was such a difference between our political and cultural environments” he said.

“It was obvious then that Indonesia was going to become one of the world’s biggest economies and that we should have good relations with them.”

Australia also imposed new sanctions on South Africa

Labor gained from Opposition troubles

Opposition disunity worked in Labor’s favour in the lead-up to a 1987 double dissolution election, including the push to install Queensland premier Joh Bjelke Petersen as federal opposition leader.

The double dissolution election was called by Mr Hawke after the Senate blocked the controversial Australia Card legislation.

In the end Sir Joh decided not to run and Liberal MP John Howard became opposition leader. Mr Hawke enjoyed a comfortable victory.

Mr Hawke says it is hard to think of anyone else “less well equipped to become prime minister of this country”.

“But I thanked him from the bottom of my heart because he certainly created a lot of trouble and disconcerted the conservative side of politics enormously,” he said.

“Thanks Joe, good move mate.”

What is not in the cabinet documents is the underlying leadership tension between Mr Hawke and Mr Keating which has been discussed by both men in recent times.

“It’s clear from any reading of the public record who was driving the government from the end of 1984,” Mr Hawke said.

“Ask the Australian people, they kept voting for me.”

Despite their differing viewpoints both have expressed an affection for each other and their political achievements.

“What he did with me and our colleagues was something outstandingly good for Australia and I thank him for it,” Mr Hawke said.

In 1987, cabinet also had to increase the budget for building New Parliament House.

Strikes and cost overruns forced cabinet to take the total budget to over $1 billion.

The government considered cutting subsidies to the Parliamentary Refreshment rooms but was warned of a revolt from members and senators.

It also decided against increasing politicians’ pay.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

10) A million new year’s text messages

Aap
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SYDNEY – Australians are expected to send a record 101 million text messages on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Telstra says.

It will be the first time the 100 million mark will be broken, with more than 6.6 million text messages sent in the final hour of 2013.

With cameras now a standard feature on mobile phones, Telstra expects more than 5.7 million picture messages will be sent on New Year’s Eve, Director of Corporate Marketing Inese Kingsmill said in a statement. That’s a 54 per cent increase on last year, while the number of texts expected to be sent represents a 14 per cent increase on the year before.

“Whether you want to send a shot of your party dress to a friend or wish them a Happy New Year with a meme, sending picture messages is the next best thing to being there,” Ms Kingsmill said.

On New Year’s Eve alone more than 53 million texts are expected to be sent.

11) Australia to help

Radio Australia
Tuesday, December 31, 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 $A15million ($F25.11m) 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 — $A5m ($F8.37m) to help prevent domestic and family violence and $A500,000 ($F837,104) for major renovations for the Royal Solomon Islands Police.

Australia will dedicate $A500,000 ($F837,104) 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.

NEW ZEALAND:

12) 100 years of commercial aviation

Updated about 1 hour ago

Commercial aviation began 100 years ago on Wednesday. The first flight carried one passenger across Tampa Bay in Florida in an early flying boat.

The centenary of commercial aviation is being commemorated by the International Air Transport Association.

It says commercial aviation has grown in that time to do more than $2 trillion of business a year, employing 57 million people.

Many airlines have undergone economic difficlties in recent years, but IATA says the current outlook is good.

It adds aviation has opened up all corners of the world to travel and trade and has broken down barriers between people.

In the next 100 years, the Economist magazine forecasts pilotless civilian aircraft, an aviation equivalent of the private car, and hydrogen-burning airliners flying on the edge of space.Radio New Zealand.

TOK PISIN:

13) Man laik maretim moa long wanpela meri, em laik bilongen

Updated 1 January 2014, 14:06 AEST

Pasin bilong maretim planti meri or poligamy i wanpela pasin bilong tubuna na ol man iken bihainim laik bilong ol sapos ol i laikim.

Despla toktok ibin kam long wanpla man blong Western Highlands provins blong Papua New Guinea, Mr Nick Rumintze husat i maritim sevenpla meri.

Mr Rumintze  isave stap nau long Port Moresby we emi wok olsem caretaker wantem Australian Broadcasting corpration, tasol emi bin lusim ol meri na pikinini na ol bubu blong en sampla yia igo pinis long painim wok long Port Moresby.

Despla pasin blong maritim planti meri i wanpla kastom oa pasin tumbuna blong planti ples long Highlands rijan.

Mr Rumintze itok, em depend tu long usait man ilaik maretim planti meri sapos em igat inap ol samting bilong sapotim bigpela famili olsem graun bilong growim kaikai na lukautim animal.

Olsem tokpiksa Rumintze igat bigpela graun long Hagen na sapos em yet igo istap longwe famili yet iken sidaun long despela graun na sapotim ol yet.

Tasol long Citi em bai had bikos pipol bai was tasol long potnait pe na ol nogat freedom long wokim gaden or lukautim animal samting na laif bai had.

Mr Rumintze i stori wantaim Caroline Tiriman long despla sevenpla meri blong en.Radio Australia.

14) PNG East New Britain Polis ino hamamas long highway rot bungim tupela provins.

Updated 31 December 2013, 13:25 AEST

Polis bilong East New Britain Provins bilong Papua New Guinea igat bigpela wari long highway rot em bai bungim wantaim West New Britain Provins.

Chie Superentendent Anton Billie bilong East New Britain Polis i tok oli wari long despela highway na i tok East New Britain Polis ino redi long taim em bai op tru long ol pipol i usim.

Em itok pasin bilong ol pipol bilong West New Britain ino gutpela long wanem neim nogut ol igat wantaim ol  drugs na arapela ol bigpela pasin olsem na East New Britain Polis i wari long despela highway.

Bihainim toktok bilong Anton Billie Chief Superentendent  bilong East New Britain Polis, ol ino agensim despela rot tasol  wari bilong polis em long sait bilong kontrolim ol kainkain trabel taim pipol bilong tupela provins i stat usim despela rot.

Em itok i gutpela moa sapos  igat wanpela polis stesin istap namel bilong was long muvment bilong ol pipol long despela rot. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH:

15) L’Australie accueille les saisonniers du Pacifique de tous âges

Posté à 31 December 2013, 14:30 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

2014 débutera avec l’assouplissement du Programme australien des travailleurs saisonniers du Pacifique.

À compter de demain, il n’y aura plus de limite d’âge pour être recruté dans les champs australiens. Jusque là, seuls les Océaniens originaires de pays-membres du programme, âgés de moins de 45 ans obtenaient un visa pour l’Australie.

Autre modification : la suppression de la période de carence imposée par l’Australie aux travailleurs saisonniers océaniens qui ont déjà travaillé en Nouvelle-Zélande dans le cadre d’un programme similaire. Cet amendement n’est cependant introduit que pour un essai d’un an pour l’instant. Le Commissaire vanuatais au Travail, Lionel Kaluat:

« Nous sommes contents, parce que cela faisait des années que tous les pays du Pacifique membres du programme demandaient à l’Australie de procéder à ces changements, parce que les gens âgés de plus de 45 ans sont plus matures, et plus forts physiquement, que les plus jeunes. Ils sont plus productifs et ils sont plus disciplinés. »

Le seul bémol à cette ouverture, c’est que le programme des saisonniers du Pacifique est déjà sous-utilisé en Australie. Plus de saisonniers pourraient venir passer une saison dans les vergers ou les champs des agriculteurs australiens si le volet administratif n’était pas si compliqué – en termes d’obtention du visa par exemple. Alors élargir les critères, cela va augmenter le nombre de candidats mais pas nécessairement le nombre de reçus. Pour ouvrir l’Australie à plus de main d’œuvre océanienne, il n’y a qu’une solution, estime Lionel Kaluat :

« Ce que nous aimerions, c’est que le gouvernement australien réforme les autres programmes qui existent en parallèle de celui des travailleurs saisonniers du Pacifique. Je fais référence ici au programme des visas vacances-travail qui comprend 29 pays dont des pays européens. Il faudrait réduire ce programme, ce qui permettrait aux saisonniers du Pacifique d’obtenir plus d’emplois en Australie. Sinon le programme des saisonniers du Pacifique ne pourra pas croître, l’Australie aura du mal à augmenter les offres de visa et d’emploi. »

Le Commissaire vanuatais au Travail, Lionel Kaluat, au micro de Sam Bolitho sur Radio Australie. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

PNG: le calvaire de Long Island

Mis à jour 31 December 2013, 15:19 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

L’île, située dans la Mer de Bismarck, au large de la côte nord du pays, traverse une sécheresse intense depuis six mois. À cela vient se greffer un autre problème : un virus qui s’attaque aux cocotiers, mais pas seulement.

Sur Long Island, les cocotiers, pastéquiers, papayers, bananiers et les plants de taro et d’igname sont attaqués par le bogia, menaçant la sécurité alimentaire des habitants.

Les feuilles des papayers, bananiers, pastéquiers, taro et ignames sont aussi touchées.  La conjonction de la sécheresse et du virus aurait déjà fait 9 morts, d’après l’un des quotidiens papous. Jim Kas, le gouverneur de la province de Madang, dont dépend Long Island :

« J’ai survolé l’unique lac d’eau douce de l’île et j’espère que nous parviendrons rapidement à poser des tuyaux et à acheminer cette eau jusqu’aux villages. »

La sécheresse est installée depuis 6 mois, le virus depuis plusieurs mois. Et il a fallu des décès et la médiatisation de la situation pour que les politiques papous se saisissent du problème. Depuis, il y a un peu d’espoir pour les plus de 5000 habitants de Long Island :

« Mon gouvernement a débloqué 134 000 dollars australiens pour aider les insulaires de Long et nous attendons du financement du Bureau des Catastrophes naturelles de Port-Moresby. Et mon gouvernement provincial a décidé de rétablir le service de charters aériens pour acheminer l’aide aux habitants de Long et aussi remonter le moral des fonctionnaires qui vivent sur place. »

Mais ce que ni le gouvernement provincial, ni le gouvernement fédéral papous ont les moyens de faire pour l’instant, c’est de comprendre cette maladie qui ravage les vergers et les potagers :

« Nous avons besoin de spécialistes qui puissent déterminer exactement de quelle maladie il s’agit. Parce que nos scientifiques ont fait de leur mieux mais ils n’arrivent pas à poser un diagnostic, ils ne savent pas de quoi sont atteints les cocotiers, les papayers et les bananiers. Or la maladie progresse, elle touche désormais les plantes tuberculeuses comme le taro. Ça m’inquiète. Si nous n’identifions pas la source de cette maladie, nous serons face à un gros problème sur Long Island et aussi sur la côte de Madang.»

Jim Kas, le gouverneur de la province de Madang, répondait aux questions de Catherine Graue sur Radio Australie.

Les météorologues ne prévoient pas de pluie avant février sur Long Island. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

PASIFIK:

16) Pacific Plan Review Team Suggests ‘Deeper Regionalism’
Review recommends manageable priorities, reactive approach

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 30, 2013) – A team which spent much of 2013 reviewing the Pacific Island Forum’s Pacific Plan says the document should be renamed the New Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

The review team, headed by former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, has now released its full report, which also includes recommendations for a shake-up in the way the Forum’s secretariat is managed.

Don Wiseman has more:

“The review was undertaken to ensure the nearly ten year old Pacific Plan remains the driver of regional integration and co-operation. Through consultations around the region the review team found the Plan had lost much of its impact. Sir Mekere says a bigger, better, deeper process of regionalism is called for. Their report says this New Framework for Pacific Regionalism should set manageable regional priorities, that are timely, simple, transparent and inclusive. It calls for an upskilling and professionalising of capabilities at the Forum Secretariat. The reviewers talk of a reactive rather that proactive approach in the management of the Plan and blames this on the Pacific Plan Action Committee. It says this is too large, part time and cumbersome. They say it should be replaced by a new Board for Pacific Regionalism, which would be smaller, more business-like and have a clear role with a wider set of skills.”

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

WORLD:

17) Spain’s new abortion law

Ap
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

MADRID – Thousands of people have attended a mass in Madrid to honour family values and support government moves aimed at tightening restrictions on abortion.

Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela led yesterday’s outdoor service in Colon square and said “the gift of life” should be considered sacred and not tampered with.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on December 20 gave his Cabinet approval for a new abortion law that would allow terminations only in the case of rape or when there is a serious health risk to the mother or fetus.

EDUCATION:

18) RMI Vocational Skills Program Benefiting Communities
About 300 have graduated from Waan Aelon in Majel in ten years

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 30, 2013) – In June, a group of teenagers and young adults with no school or job prospects signed up for the Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM) – translated Canoes of the Marshall Islands – a vocational and life skills training program. In mid-December, they graduated from the intensive training program, and within days the majority of participants were working for local businesses in Majuro.

The WAM program has developed a reputation for producing graduates trained not only in carpentry and other vocational skills, but equipped with life skills that make them employable. With the latest graduation, the Majuro-based program has trained nearly 300 school dropouts over the past 10 years.

“When we first came into the program, many of us had no birth certificates, Social Security numbers, identification cards and most importantly, saving accounts,” said George Hilai, a WAM graduate, during the graduation ceremony attended by family, friends and instructors in mid-December. As part of the life skills portion of the program, WAM staff members assist the trainees in setting up a savings account at a local bank.

Aside from learning English and math, Hilai said they built and repaired canoes using skills acquired through the WAM vocational syllabus. The training program is built around WAM’s focus of developing and expanding the use of outrigger canoes, but the training encompasses far more than building and fixing canoes.

The 20 trainees spent a week in survival mode, living on a remote outer island to develop subsistence and teamwork skills, Hilai said. They were assigned to get job experience working in government offices, at businesses and with non-government organizations. They spent time at the Taiwanese Technical Mission in the Marshall Islands town of Laura learning agricultural techniques. And the group also benefitted from counseling and life skills trainings provided by the program, Hilai said.

A significant issue in preparing young people for employment is controlling the use of alcohol, an issue WAM counselors address directly as part of the life skills training.

Alson Kelen, the program manager, said that within one week of the program’s end, 12 of the 20 graduates were employed by local businesses. He said he and program staff are helping the others to either look for jobs or get enrolled for further education through the College of the Marshall Islands or other vocational training opportunities.

The training program was funded by the National Training Council, which receives a significant portion of its funding from the U.S. government. Other donors, including the Australian and Taiwan governments, also support the program.

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

MEDIA:

19) RNZ transmission problems

Updated 9 minutes ago

Bad weather which has cut transmission of Radio New Zealand National and Radio New Zealand Concert on the FM frequency in the North Island, is now causing problems in the South Island.

From about 1pm on Wednesday, Radio New Zealand National FM was broadcasting only in Wellington and Auckland.

Radio New Zealand Concert FM is out in all parts of the North Island, except the capital.

South Island reception had been uninterrupted, but is now dropping out on both stations.

Telecommunications provider Kordia is repairing storm damage to its satellite equipment.

Radio New Zealand National continues to broadcast on its AM frequency and on the internet.radio New Zealand.

20) Asia-Pacific Ranked ‘Worst’ Area For Journalists In 2013
IFJ says about 108 killed around the world over past year

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 31, 2013) – The Asia-Pacific region has been reported as the worst area for journalists to work in 2013, accounting for 29 per cent of deaths of journalists and media professionals in the world.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said on Tuesday approximately 108 journalists and media professionals were killed around the world doing their jobs this year.

The death toll is down 10 per cent from 2012 but the IFJ said governments still need to do more to “stem the bloodbath in the media.”

“Levels of violence are still unacceptably high and there is an urgent need for governments to protect and enforce journalists’ basic right to life,” it said in a statement.

The group issued what is said was a “desperate appeal for governments across the world to end impunity for violence against journalists and media staff.”

The IFJ listed conflict-torn Syria as the most dangerous country with 15 journalist deaths, followed by Iraq on 13, Pakistan, the Philippines and India with 10 each, Somalia seven and Egypt six.

The Middle East and Arab world accounted for 27 per cent of deaths.

The IFJ, which represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries according to its website, said female journalists were facing increased levels of violence.

Six were killed in 2013 and many others were the victims of sexual violence and intimidation, it said.

Earlier this month, media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said 71 journalists were killed in 2013.

Those statistics show a slight decrease from previous years, but kidnappings rose sharply.

The IFJ figures include media workers such as film crew and presenters.

Separately, the Vienna-based International Press Institute put the number of killed journalists so far this year at least 117, making 2013 the second deadliest year on its Death Watch since it started counting work-related journalist deaths in 1997.

It said the Middle East and North Africa were the deadliest regions, with 38 deaths overall.

The worst year was 2012, with 132 journalists killed, 39 of them covering the Syrian conflict, the IPI said.

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

BUSINESS:

21) Barclays fined for keeping insufficent records

Updated at 9:45 pm on 28 December 2013

Barclays has been fined £2.28 million ($US3.75 million) in the United States for failing to keep proper electronic records, emails and instant messages.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said the bank failed to preserve data detailing its orders, confirmation of trades, records of accounts and other information between 2002 and 2012.

Barclays did not admit or deny wrongdoing, but agreed to a censure.

The BBC reports that Barclays was fined $435 million in July by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in connection with the rigging of US energy markets.

It was also warned in September by the UK Financial Conduct Authority about a possible fine of £50 million for a “reckless” deal in 2008 with Qatari investors.C/- Radio New Zealand.

22) 1.5m cars recalled by GM in China

Updated at 6:31 am on 28 December 2013

General Motors is recalling about 1.46 million cars in China amid concerns about their potential safety.

In one of the biggest operations of its kind to date in China, GM and Shanghai General Motors will recall their Buick and Chevrolet models.

A watchdog agency said the cars could have issues with a bracket securing the fuel oil pump.

At the same time, the BBC reports Ford will recall up to 81,000 of its Kuga cars over concerns about a steering part.

Volkswagen’s Chinese unit recalled 640,309 vehicles last month to check they were using the right oil.C/- radio New Zealand.

23) Senator Drafting Changes To Signage Law On Guam
Limtiaco says decades-old legislation needs to be updated

By Joy White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Business Journal, Dec. 30, 2013) – Come January, new signage laws may either help or hinder the ability of local businesses on Guam to utilize outdoor advertising to draw in business. The Guam signage law regulating the size and location of signs has not been updated for more than 50 years and has drawn the attention of Sen. Michael T. Limtiaco, who is drafting legislation to enable the Department of Public Works to enforce signage laws.

“If you take the current sign law and apply it to many of the signs you see, many people are not in compliance. They are violating the law,” Limtiaco said.

According to Guam’s laws on sign regulation, which can be found in Title 21, Part 5, of the Guam Code Annotated, outdoor signs should only take up 10% of a wall or structure and should be no larger than 40 square feet or 12 feet high. In addition, signs should be non-flashing and non-moving and must be affixed to a wall or structure.

The law specifically states that no signs for outdoor advertising or identification purposes can be erected “on property adjacent to any highway, road, street, boulevard, lane, court, place, summons, trail, way or other right-of-way or easement used for or laid out and intended for the public passage of vehicles or of vehicles and persons.”

The law does not address signs that may be advertising products, like those seen on many convenience stores that display a product brand as well as the name of the business.

“We also need to ask the question of whether or not the sign laws need to be updated because the way we do business nowadays has changed drastically,” Limtiaco said.

The law is outdated and does not address other forms of outdoor signs and advertising, such as electronic screens, Limtiaco said. “If you want to put an outdoor advertising monitor or TV, you need to go through the Land Use Commission and request a variance, and unless you’re allowed a variance, you can’t put one up,” he said.

In addition to advertisements, the law also includes a provision for campaign and political signs stating they must only be established on public easements and are limited to a set time period surrounding elections.

Carl V. Dominguez, director of the Department of Public Works, said he is very concerned about the legality of signs – particularly political or campaign signs – and is looking into possibly getting an opinion from the attorney general. “One could interpret that the signs are illegal with the way [the law] is written,” Dominguez said.

The director said there is enough time to resolve the issue before the campaign season begins.

“I think what draws a lot of [criticism] is [the fact that] the law is silent on what you can do on private property, although there have been several Supreme Court cases regarding the issue of freedom to put political signs on private property,” Limtiaco said.

“I’m of the opinion they shouldn’t be allowed on private property, but, of course, you see it all the time,” said Limtiaco, who has confirmed he will be running for re-election. Limtiaco said current law dictates political signs cannot be displayed on private property. The legislator said he and his staff are looking into ways to address the issue of political signs.

The issue of sign regulation was discussed publicly at a roundtable held at the Guam Legislature in October. “What came of that roundtable is: ‘Let’s first start with the enforcement,'” Limtiaco said.

A way to enforce sign laws, he said, is to implement fines for violating the laws. The proceeds from the fines would, in turn, fund the enforcement. The problem with this, however, is that many businesses may see the fine as another cost of doing business, especially if the sign or advertisement brings in a lot of customers. To counter this, Limtiaco proposes putting more teeth into the law by not allowing businesses to renew their business licenses if they do not comply with the regulations and rectify their signs.

However, the major stakeholder in the issue – the business community – was not represented at the discussion. “Their ability to do business is predicated on how they draw traffic into their businesses, so sign laws directly affect them. But we didn’t get that opportunity to get a lot of the business participation in there,” Limtiaco said. Business owners are encouraged to provide comments and input on the law.

“We want our businesses to thrive on our island. They are our largest tax-paying entity. They employ people, they pay GRT, and we don’t want to affect their business, but on the other hand, we have laws for a reason. We need to enforce them, and if laws are too restrictive, we need [local businesses] to participate in the process to look at expanding the legislations,” the legislator said.

He said the legislation could be made public as early as January.

Marianas Business Journal

24) New Vanuatu Passenger Vessel Expected To Arrive In January
Former Moorea Ferry to be operated under joint venture

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 31, 2013) – The new addition to the local passenger and cargo shipping services, the Vanuatu Ferry, is now due to arrive in the country in January 2014.

According to earlier media report, the roll-on-roll-off (RORO) vessel was due to arrive here in mid-December or January. Now the Acting Principal Licensing Officer, Captain Kembro Matheson, has confirmed the vessel will leave Pape’ete in Tahiti on January 6 on a voyage to Port Vila that will take approximately two weeks.

The eventual departure of the Vanuatu Ferry from Tahiti for Vanuatu has been certified by Vanuatu Ports and Harbors’ Captain John Nasak, the inspector and licensing officer, who visited Pape’ete early this month to carry out the second and final inspection of the vessel and to approve its departure to join the Vanuatu shipping sector.

Captain Matheson says Captain Nasak has since returned from the trip and the vessel will leave for Port Vila under the command of a Tahiti first captain and first engineer and a ni-Vanuatu crew of 8 sailors including 2nd captain and 2nd engineer.

Formerly the Moorea Ferry, the Vanuatu Ferry, at 669 gross tonnage is about the same size as the Havanah, which regularly does domestic runs from its base in Noumea, New Caledonia, is 54 meters long, has a top speed of 14 knots and cruising speed of 12 knots, and a dual aft and bow rump system.

The vessel has a canteen among its other facilities and it is expected to begin its passenger and cargo services all over Vanuatu soon after arrival, according to Captain Kembro Matheson.

It will operate under a joint Tahitian-and-local-investors operation.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

25) Vanuatu welcomes changes to age restrictions in Australian visa program

Updated 31 December 2013, 12:51 AEST

Vanuatu welcomes changes made to the Seasonal Worker Program that now accepts older Pacific Islanders.

The Australian government has made amendments to its Seasonal Worker Program, making it easier for older Pacific Islanders to sign up for it.

From January 2014, workers over the age of 45 will also be able to participate in the program.

A ban will also be lifted on workers who have already completed work under the New Zealand seasonal worker scheme.

The Commissioner of Labour for Vanuatu Lionel Kaluat told Pacific Beat he is “very excited” about the changes but adds that the amendment will be in place for one year on a trial basis.

Mr Kaluat says Pacific Island nations have been pushing for the Australian government to make these changes for some time now, and will continue to do so until permanent amendments are made.

He says Australia has much to gain from older Pacific Islanders as they are more “more productive, more disciplined” at an older age.

“For Pacific Islands, we tend to become more mature and more stronger at that particular age and then could do more work,” he said.

Mr Kaluat also hopes that the Australian government will relook at some of its current programs such as the holiday visas.

“We believe if the Australian government can tidy up that particular program, then it would allow more room for the… (older people) to take up more of the employment opportunities that are available in the Australian market,” he said. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

26) Gift bilums started a lucrative handicraft venture

Source:

The National, Tuesday December 31st, 2013

SHE never thought selling the unused gifts she received from friends could kick-start a small business for her.
Nancy Onglo from Chimbu had been selling bilums given to her as gifts by wantoks at her makeshift craft stall next to the InterOil service station near the overpass tunnel along Waigani Drive  in  Port Moresby.
“They were many and I had not been able to use them actually.
“I have been keeping them for some time until I decided to sell them, thinking that other people might want to use them.”
So, she started peddling them, and overtime, gradually added clothing items such as meri-blaus and other handicraft items.
Most of the bilums Onglo was selling were made from cuscus fur – kapul bilum as commonly known in the Highlands region, while others were fashioned from traditional bush ropes.
Onglo said her bilums were selling from K20-K100 except for the kapul bilum which she was selling for K300.
Less than two weeks into business, Onglo was able to sell four to five sets of her meri-blaus.
“After about eight days of sales I had  already made good money,” Onglo said.
Onglo and her husband were running the service station, which they leased from InterOil.
Onglo hired Regina Paki Minimbi from Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, who did the sewing..
“The meri-blaus are in different styles and sizes to suit the preferences of my buyers,” she said.
Onglo said the blouses were sold from K25 to K175.
“a person like me can afford such nice and quality items such as clothes, unlike other people, who might not have enough money for those things.
“So I’m not just doing this little business for profit but also to make nice, quality clothing and items that others could afford,” she said.

27) Suva Harbour In Fiji Crowded With Vessels Needing Repair
Slipways, dry docks still ‘quite busy,’ according to harbor master

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 31, 2013) – About 50 ships are moored in Fiji’s Suva Harbour, some for more than three months, causing not only an eyesore but a congestion issue.

According to Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL), part of the problem was caused by the 2009 tsunami that ravaged Pago Pago Harbour in American Samoa.

Acting harbour master Captain Joji Takape said half the vessels were foreign-owned and had come to use the slipways in Suva.

“They are here to use the dry docks for repairs. After the damage to Pago Pago Harbour, most of the foreign vessels have been coming here,” said Capt Takape.

“We had seven depart last week after repairs were done. We are trying to move them out as fast as we can but the slipways and the dry docks are quite busy as well.”

Capt Takape said other boats were local vessels or boats with local connections.

“Once they fly a Fiji flag, they have all the right to be in Fiji waters. We have been having talks with the owners of these ships and they have said they will be moving out,” he said.

The local vessels fall under the jurisdiction of the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji.

MSAF boss Neil Slack said he would respond to queries today.

The fishing vessels can be seen moored a short distance from Tiko’s Floating Restaurant, some moored in groups of up to six or seven.

According to FPCL, the issue could be resolved at a faster rate if the floating slipways were working.

Environmental agencies have also said the ships were detrimental to the environment and the ecosystem.

Another issue facing FPCL is that of derelict vessels and, according to Capt Takape, the matter was being handled by the corporation after changes were made to maritime laws.

Capt Takape said they conducted a survey of derelict vessels in Suva Harbour, the details of which would be released by the relevant authorities.

Trinidad and Tobago, an island nation in the Caribbean, also faces a similar situation.

Ten days ago, a law was passed to ensure derelict vessels and abandoned ships do not become a problem for the country.

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

LAW&ORDER/CORRUPTION+:

28) New Bougainville MP concerned about illegal drugs

Updated at 2:52 pm on 31 December 2013

A re-elected MP in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, Thomas Keriri, says the government has to address issues around marijuana growing and homebrew in the villages.

Mr Keriri, who was re-elected in the Rau by-election earlier this month, joined other new MPs in making his maiden speech in the ABG legislature this week.

New Dawn FM reports him saying that with poor returns from cocoa and copra people are resorting to illicit drugs and this must be addressed.

The new member for Peit, on the west coast of Buka island, Jerome Tsimoli Sawa, says there have to be changes in his electorate.

Calling it the last frontier, he told parliament Peit had been without a strong leader for a long time and this meant it had fallen behind other electorates on Bougainville.

Another re-elected MP, Dominic Itta, who won back the Kongara seat, says his time out of parliament was beneficial.

He says it allowed him to learn a lot from the people.

Mr Itta says he found that the government is too distant from the people and this must be addressed.radio new zealand.

29) Opposition Calls For Samoa Finance Minister To Step Down
Palusalue labels recent government spending as ‘reckless’

By Jasmine Netzler

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 30, 2013) – The leader of the Opposition, Palusalue Fa’apo II has called on Samoa’s Minister of Finance, Faumuina Liuga Tiatia, to step down.

Palusalue said the Officers of Parliament Committee report detailing how WST$339,105.90 [US$143,677] was spent to buy Faumuina a Lexus when he was the Minister of Samoa Land Corporation (SLC) is unacceptable.

The issue was brought to light after the report by the Controller and Chief Auditor, Fuimaono Camillo Afele was leaked and published.

A Parliamentary Select Committee reviewed the claim – among many others – and they found that the Lexus was bought from Corporation funds with a budget of WST$400,000 [US$169,477] for vehicles.

The money was supposed to be for the purchase of two vehicles, one for the Corporation and another for the Minister, at a cost of WST$200,000 [US$84,738] each.

The funds instead were used to purchase just the one Lexus that was used as a vehicle for the Minister.

The Corporation’s budget estimates claimed that the cost of the vehicle was WST$200,000 but the Committee’s investigation revealed that it was close to WST$340,000.

Palusalue described such spending as reckless. Further, he pointed out that there was no involvement of the Tenders Boards in the purchase process which means it violated Cabinet rules.

Palusalue stressed that the Committee believes the purchase of the vehicle for the Minister’s Office should have been included in the budget of the minister’s main portfolio – the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) – not SLC.

“This is one of the issues raised in a letter that was handed over to the Prime Minister and Caucus that 19 members of the Human Rights Protection Party signed.”

That letter was based on controversy over Faumuina spending WST$600,000 [US$254,216] on his ministerial office at the SNPF building.

Faumuina later apologised to fellow party members for the controversy – said to be the first time that members of the Human Rights Protection Party had formally called for a Cabinet Minister to resign or be sacked.

Palusalue explained that when Faumuina was questioned regarding the purchase by SLC his reply was that the extra cost was because the car was a hybrid and was “environmentally friendly.”

Regardless of what the truth behind the actual reason for the expensive buy was, Palusalue said the process used to purchase the vehicle was not within Cabinet policies.

The vehicle should have never been bought in the first place, he believes.

One of the disappointments behind the purchase apart from its price tag is that Palusalue claims the vehicle was used as the Minister’s personal property.

“Why buy this very expensive vehicle? His reply that it is was environmentally friendly is an excuse!

“I believe the process he used to buy the vehicle was not within Cabinet policies.”

Palusalue is also supportive of the Parliamentary Select Committees recommendation that people within government that have been confirmed as involved in “corrupt practices” should be referred “to the law.”

“This means that they are charged and of course I agree with the recommendation and the government should abide by this and do what the Parliamentary Select Committee has recommended.”

Palusalue believes that “if nothing is done about these people, their behaviour will continue.

“That’s why I fully support the letter for the minister to step down”.

Anyone else within the government that is dealing in “corrupt practises” should be charged according to the law, he said.

Palusalue is adamant that the purchase of such an expensive vehicle was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

He said that the money should have been allocated for more beneficial use such as giving a decent salary increase for people such as teachers and nurses among many others that are under the lower level pay scale.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

30) PNG Authorities Concerned By Illegal Miners At Porgera
Hundreds allegedly entered unsafe, active mining areas

By Philip Kepson

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 31, 2013) – More than 1,000 illegal miners have reportedly entered the Porgera gold mine site over the past couple of weeks, causing serious concern for Barrick and Papua New Guinea government authorities on the future of the multi-million kina gold project.

Barrick management executives and Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) said after a joint visit to the SML (special mining lease) area last Friday, the problem with the illegal miners had reached a catastrophic level and parties involved in the project needed to address the issue urgently.

MRA coordinator of PJV (Porgera Joint Venture) and Mt Kare exploration project Joe Kak Ryangao said after seeing hundreds of people (illegal miners) flooding into the SML area, including the open pit, stock pile sites and other sensitive company facilities, that he would put together a report for the parties to meet soon to come up with ways to address the problem.

Ryangao said the only area the illegal miners had not gone into yet was the underground tunnel which had an electronic entry system.

“I could not believe that hundreds of people were everywhere in the SML area, mainly in the open pit and stock piling sites. These areas are dangerous and restricted to specialist workers only,” he said.

Ryangao said the presence of unauthorised people (illegal miners) in the operation areas became a serious concern as it disturbed the mining operation in a big way and posed high risks.

He said one of the recommendations he would make for the parties, including Barrick, the landowners and national and Enga provincial governments to discuss, was the relocation of people living within the SML area.

“The illegal miners are from different parts of the Highlands region. They live within the SML area and cause these problems,” he said.

“They need to be relocated to cut down on the number of people causing problem to the mine operation.”

Barrick acting general manager Kevin Fish and open pit manager Craig Rintaul said more than 800 illegal miners entered the mine site daily in the last two weeks.

They said special police personnel and security officers were outnumbered as they (the illegal miners) moved in big numbers, armed with any form of objects including bush knives, stones, iron bars and logs to attack anyone who tried to stop them.

Company executives said they would not authorise security personnel to use excessive force to stop the people as they feared serious human rights implication.

Three illegal miners died three weeks ago after they were reportedly chased into the cliffs by company security people while they were carrying out illegal mining inside the open pit area.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

31) DFAT issues Indonesia travel warning, citing terrorist threat

Posted 30 December 2013, 19:17 AEST

The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel warning to Indonesia, including tourist hotspot Bali, because of the high threat of a terrorist attack.

The department’s latest travel advice contains a warning that terrorists remain active in the country despite police efforts to stop them.

“Indonesian authorities have warned that extremists may be planning to attack churches in Jakarta, and elsewhere in Indonesia, during the 2014 new year period,” the travel advice said.

Earlier this month national police chief Sutarman said there were indications that militants may be assembling bombs to target areas of worship.

“The terrorists have cells everywhere and they are active. We are continuing to pursue them,” he told reporters, without giving details of specific targets.

DFAT warns the threat to Australians in Indonesia may reach beyond churches.

“Terrorists have previously attacked or planned to attack places where Westerners gather, including nightclubs, bars, restaurants, international hotels, airports and places of worship in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia,” it said.

“These types of venues could be targeted again.”

There have been several attacks on Western targets in the past decade, including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

DFAT also notes that travellers to Indonesia could experience natural disasters like tsunamis, or be the victims of petty crime, drink-spiking and scams.

The advice does not recommend Australians stay away from Indonesia, but it does urge travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in the country.

However, Australians are urged reconsider the need to travel to some areas including the provinces of Central Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

32) Fiji’s Navy Fleet Facing Expensive Aging Problems
Maintenance of patrol ships to present a challenge in 2014

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 30, 2013) – Aging ships are becoming a major concern for the Fiji Navy.

Maintaining the ships for their various missions is chewing up to FJ$2 million [US$1.05 million] annually from the coffers of the maritime security arm of the country.

Fiji Navy Commander John Fox said maintenance of the five patrol ships was a major challenge in 2014.

“For us, this year was mostly our maintenance issues. Age is catching up on them (ships) and sorting maintenance issues is a major challenge,” Cdr Fox said.

He said the ships being used have had extended lives of about 10 to 15 years at sea.

“Usually, when it comes to this age, in our budget we have gone for life extensions for our ships.”

Cdr Fox said while some repairs had been sorted out, he was optimistic their targets would be met next year.

“We have sorted out our repairs this year so next year our targets will be more approachable.”

He said while the navy acted as the “fins of the maritime waterways”, they had no plans of recruiting more officers.

“We don’t have staffing problems.

“We’ve got people retiring and as they retire we will get in one or two. There will be no major recruitments.”

Cdr Fox said they hoped to improve on their service delivery next year.

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

33) Men Must Lead Fight Against Violence In Fiji: Minister
Jiko Luveni says domestic violence is a public issue

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 30, 2013) – The minister in charge of women’s affairs in Fiji says men must lead the way when it comes to eliminating violence against women and children.

Dr Jiko Luveni has announced the government is extending its Zero Tolerance, Violence Free Community Campaign, which so far involves 60 communities, and 30 more will have the opportunity to join next year.

Dr Luveni says she is concerned about the results of a recent survey which found about 70 percent of women in Fiji suffer from some form of violence by their husband or partner.

She says it is a public issue and the campaign empowers women to report cases.

“People have not had the confidence to report to the police because of the embarrassment attached to it. This is why we mounted a campaign changing our approach. The community takes ownership of the campaign led by men so that they take ownership in changing the attitudes.”

Dr Jiko Luveni says before a village can be declared a Violence Free Community it has to undergo a number of activities and police reports must confirm there has been a reduction in violence.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Fiji Times reports that the nation’s police have also expressed alarm at recent cases of violence in general, especially in ones involving alcohol consumption. Assistant commissioner Rusiate Tudrava says police will be out in force to increase security leading up to the new year.]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT:

34) Study finds link between cloud changes and global warming

Posted 1 January 2014, 1:33 AEST
Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney

The University of New South Wales has released the results of a study on the impact of clouds on global warming.

The study has found increases by the end of this century will be at the higher end of the range set by climate scientists.

Researchers spent five years investigating the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide on storm clouds and how, in return, those changes are affecting global warming.

Chief investigator Professor Steven Sherwood says while their findings don’t support an increase in temperatures by the turn of the century above the forecast upper level of five degrees, the lower predicted level of a two degree increase can be discounted.

“What we’re saying actually is you can kind of lop off the lower half or so,” he said.

“We found that there’s a, what we call, feedback operating with clouds.”

The research findings have been released just days before Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology releases its Annual Climate Statement for 2013.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

35) Samoa Weather Authorities Dismiss Rumored Cyclone
Public called to prepare for flooding during wet season

By Iliā L. Likou

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 30, 2013) – A year after one of the three most destructive cyclones in the last 100 years, Samoa residents can be forgiven for feeling nervous about another ‘big one.’

But rumours that a cyclone is on the way – with some specifying tomorrow as the day it will hit – are not accurate, according to the Government’s weather service.

“There is no cyclone ahead for our country,” said Luteru Tauvela, Acting Chief Executive of the Meteorology Division at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

“No strong winds that can be seen are headed towards us, only further south,” he said.

“So there is nothing to worry about – everything is great.”

At least when it comes to cyclones.

However Mr. Tauvela said there was still cause for caution regarding flooding.

“We are now in the wet season, as we can see some of the heaviest rain can fall in ten minutes and start flooding some parts of the country.”

The official warning on the MNRE weather page yesterday read that a, “Heavy rain warning is now in effect for Samoa. Flooding is possible for vulnerable areas.”

He also advised the public.

“Even though the weather is not that bad compared to past years but we must prepare every time just like in those warnings that we issue with our weather reports.”

“Those who live in low land areas please be advised of flooding that can happen at times of heavy rains.”

Another official on duty at the Meteorology division indicated that the rumour must be widespread as they had just received calls from broadcasting stations yesterday morning, “relating to the same issue.”

Those rumours may have got started from the regional weather centre in Fiji, which had issued an advisory for a “tropical disturbance”.

Yesterday a summary from Fiji read that “global models have picked up the system and are moving it South eastwards with slight intensification.

“Potential for this system to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 24 to 48 hours is low.”

The area the low tropical disturbance is located at is more than 1,000 kilometres to the west of Samoa.

Outside of rumours, Mr. Tauvela reminded people to ‘be prepared’ before cyclones start: Check that the wall and roof of your home are secure; trim treetops and branches well clear of your home; clear your property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage during extreme winds.

In the case of a storm surge/tide warning, or other flooding, know your nearest, safe, high ground and the safest access route to it.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

36) Court Decision Needed For Vanuatu Land Compensation
Government wants to pay, but rightful owners not yet declared

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 30, 2013) – The Vanuatu Lands Minister says the government is awaiting a court declaration of who the custom land owners of Port Vila Municipality are before it can pay out compensation.

Ralph Regenvanu says in 1992, the then-Prime Minister paid substantial compensation to some families, but there was never a decision from a land tribunal on who the custom owners are.

He says when that payment was made, some families did not accept the money as they wanted to see a determination first.

Mr Regenvanu says a court declaration will identify those people who own the land and still require payment.

“The current government would like to see as soon as possible the compensation paid to the custom owners. But, for that to happen, there has to be a court declaration, a judicial decision to declare who the custom owners of Port Vila are, and once that happens, the government is preparing now to make payment to any of the custom owners who have not yet already been paid,” he said.

Ralph Regenvanu says the land is already being used as state land – so custom owners will be given payment, but there will be no change to titles or leases.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

37) Villagers face relocation

Tevita Vuibau
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

MORE villages are being eyed for relocation as the effects of climate change continue to be felt around the country.

Commissioner Central Lieutenant Colonel Laisenia Tuitubou said climate change continues to be a burden for coastal communities.

He said the government had approved $100,000 for the construction of more seawalls in the new year.

“We have a four-year plan to build all the sea walls for the Beqa villages,” Lt-Col Tuitubou said.

“We have completed Raviravi and Waisomo and the budget for next year has been approved, and this will continue to the other villages.

“Once we have completed that we will come to the second phase for Waisomo Village.

“Climate change has a very big impact on village settlements and on other villages, not only in Beqa. We have planned for relocation because of the severity of the rising water level.”

He said a sea wall has been constructed around Bau and there were also plans for the construction of a sea wall at Naigani Island.

“We also have plans for Naigani Island and it’s a serious problem, it’s affected the people’s lives and part of the village has been washed away.

“This year we spent $200,000 on sea walls on Beqa and next year we have already approved $100,000.” http://www.fijitimes.com/

38) Lethal disease could threaten food supplies in PNG

Posted 31 December 2013, 10:29 AEST

The Bogia coconut syndrome is killing Long Island’s major food sources such as coconuts and bananas, leading to a shortage of supplies.

The Governor of Madang Province in Papua New Guinea says a lethal plant disease could be threatening the food supplies on Long Island.

The remote island is already experiencing a drought that has affected about 5,000 people who have been running desperately low on food and drinking water, leading to several deaths.

Governor Jim Kas believes the Bogia coconut syndrome is killing the island’s major food supplies.

He told Pacific Beat that his government will provide financial assistance to the area and hopes the national government will also help.

“My government has made a decision to supporting the islanders with 300,000 kina and we are expecting some assistance some financial assistance from the National Emergency and Disaster Office in Port Moresby,” Mr Kas said.

Mr Kas says the Bogia coconut syndrome is affecting tree crops such as coconut, paw paw trees and bananas.

“I also have evidence on my camera that the syndrome… also affecting watermelon leaves, taro leaves, yam and I think it’s a major problem,” he said.

The province has also been experiencing more than six months of drought, which is exacerbating the problem.

“I also flew across the lake that is there. I hope in due time, we will address the issue by maybe piping water from the freshwater lake to all the villages on the island,” Mr Kas said.

To help the province, Mr Kas says his province will also be reintroducing airline charters to provide government services to the people.

While the provincial government is treating the situation as “a special case”, he says he is not declaring an emergency yet.

Mr Kas has also made an appeal to scientists and researchers around the world, inviting them to Madang province to find the source of the issue.

“We need specialists to come and find out what particular pests is affecting because our scientists here… have tried all their best and they have not even established what kind of pest is affecting coconut trees, paw paw trees, bananas and it’s now getting down to the root crops,” he said.

“If the source of the disease… is not detected, then I feel that it will be a big problem on Long island.” http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/

39) Lagoon worries expert

Source:

The National, Tuesday December 31st, 2013

A LOCAL marine biologist is concerned by the lack of environmental monitoring in Madang Lagoon.
He said the lagoon had a high level of pollution and expected it to get worse at the rate it was being polluted.
Alois Wafy, with extensive experience in marine and fisheries biology, said in a report there needed to be a coastal zone management plan for the lagoon environment and associated coastal habitats, including expert advice on how to manage or monitor them.
He said the over-populated islands of Krangket and others in the harbour area as far as Vidar needed to be made aware of their actions, as large projects in the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) such as tuna processing facility would damage the pristine marine ecosystems and eventually erode the look of the sea.
Attesting to his observation was the recent work of  French scientists in Madang who found a lot of rubbish, including diapers and other plastics at a 1000m depth and recorded it as being one of the filthiest lagoons despite being home to 200-plus new species.
Wafy suggested that a major clean up be done once a new MP was named.
He said the provincial government needed to seriously address the issue.

YOUTH:

40) Council will hire youths

Source:

The National, Tuesday December 31st, 2013

THE Lae City Council will no long engage contractors to carry out services like cutting grass and general cleaning, a senior official said.
Council director of corporate services, David Etiric said those tasks would instead be taken over by reformed youths who wanted to earn a living.
Etiric said over the years the council had learnt that there were abuses of processes and stealing by contractors the council had engaged.
He said this was not a new programme as in 2012 they had engaged youths in the city to do cleaning jobs but had to abandon the programme because of funding issues.
“We had 100 to 150 youths working for the council,” Etiric said.
“They were on payroll and we paid them K250 per fortnight. It was very effective. The youths turned away from crime.”
Etiric said the council normally spent more than K3million per year on contractors but when the youths were engaged in 2012 they had spent about K1.5m. He said with the engagement of youths, the council had saved money and addressed law and order problems in the city.
Etiric said all outstanding payments due to contractors would be made by the first quarter of the new year and then youths would take over all cleaning and grass cutting jobs.
Etiric said youths would be absorbed into a new company created by the council to provide security to the Lae public.
He said the 25 youths who were part of 47 members of a gang who surrendered to authorities two weeks ago would be part of the programme. Etiric said more youths would join them once similar surrender ceremonies were held in different settlements.
Lae, the industrial hub of the country, has one of the highest crime rates in the country with an average of three serious cases reported daily.

SPORTS:

41) Venus Williams negotiates first round of the Auckland Classic

Updated at 6:40 am on 31 December 2013

The former world number one tennis player Venus Williams has advanced to the second round of the Auckland women’s Classic in straight sets, beating the Czech wild card, Andrea Hlavackova, 6-3 7-6.

Meanwhile the pairing of New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic and Cara Black from Zimbabwe have been beaten in the first round of doubles.

Wild card Abigail Guthrie of New Zealand and Auckland born partner Sacha Jones upset the second seeds in straight sets.C/- radio New Zealand.

42) Swann shouldn’t have quit tour, says Flower

Updated at 11:43 am on 31 December 2013

The England cricket coach Andy Flower says spinner Graeme Swan shouldn’t have left the current Ashes tour of Australia.

While initially complimentary of Swann, who shocked the cricket world with his retirement after England lost the Ashes with their defeat in the third test in Perth earlier this month, Flower says he should’ve hung around.

Flower says he would have liked Swann to have seen the tour out..

As for himself, Flower says he wants to continue contributing to English cricket and will meet with his boss later this week to discuss his future.

Also he says he fully supports captain Alastair Cook who has come for criticism for his leadership in the fourth test loss in Melbourne.

Flower says he expects England to make one or perhaps two changes for the final test starting in Sydney on Friday.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar’s one-wicket performance in Melbourne leaves England with a concern over their bowling attack, with uncapped leggie Scott Borthwick under consideration for Sydney.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Jonny Bairstow may also be facing the axe.C/- radio New Zealand.

43) London Irish beaten in tight clash

Aap
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

READING, England – London Irish suffered a 22-19 loss to Gloucester on Sunday, with former Wallabies goal-kicker James O’Connor overlooked for an all-important penalty attempt at the death.

London Irish trailed 16-7 at halftime, but produced a late rally and outscored the visitors three tries to one at Madejski Stadium with Eamonn Sheridan crossing twice in the second half.

Flyhalf Shane Geraghty missed a late chance to secure a draw for Irish when his long-distance penalty attempt fell well short.

Sheridan crashed over for his second try with nine minutes to go, with Geraghty converting but then missing the penalty that came with three minutes remaining in the premiership match.

Despite O’Connor’s pedigree, Irish coach Brian Smith said Geraghty was the right man to entrust.

“O’Connor does kick goals but your first option is to go to your No.10,” Smith said.

“Shane was very confident he could kick it and all three boys, including Ian Humphreys, have been striking the ball very well all week.

“It would have been a pretty good result if we could have got a draw in the end, as it’s disappointing to have only one point when we score three tries to one.

“It was disappointing but I’m very proud of our effort.”

O’Connor recently indicated he’s still considering a bid to play for Australia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup despite reports he’s agreed to join French club Toulon next season.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has made it clear there’ll be no bending of the Australian Rugby Union rule that players must be playing in Australia to be picked for the Wallabies.

Gloucester built Sunday’s win on the back of 14 points from the boot of England centre Billy Twelvetrees, who impressed out of his normal position.

“Billy has nearly all the attributes to make a top No.10,” Gloucester coach Nigel Davies said. “He’s very solid, pivotal and defensively sound but he wants to play at 12 and fill in at 10.”

44) Arsenal back on top

Afp
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

LONDON – Olivier Giroud ensured Arsenal will finish 2013 on top of the Premier League as his second-half goal clinched a 1-0 win against Newcastle, while Chelsea kept the pressure on the leaders with a 2-1 win over title rivals Liverpool yesterday.

Arsene Wenger’s side had surrendered first place after Manchester City’s win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, but just 24 hours later the Gunners reclaimed pole position with a hard-fought victory at St James’ Park.

Giroud’s first goal since November 23 was enough to give Arsenal its second successive win and move it one point ahead of second placed City heading into the new year.

Arsenal, who was without German playmaker Mesut Ozil, took the lead when France forward Giroud bagged his 11th goal of the season with a glancing header from Theo Walcott’s free-kick in the 65th minute.

“There is a big satisfaction because we surprised many people,” Wenger said.

“We played two away games and got six points against West Ham and Newcastle and as you can see the team is ready for a fight.

“Ozil has a shoulder problem. I don’t think he will be available for Cardiff on Wednesday (Thursday Fiji time), maybe after that, we will see.”

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea came from behind to win the weekend’s marquee match-up thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o.

Jose Mourinho’s third-placed team is now two points adrift of Arsenal and one behind City, with Liverpool slipping down to fifth spot.

Liverpool had made a dream start when Martin Skrtel bundled home from close-range after Chelsea failed to clear Phillipe Coutinho’s inswinging free-kick.

But Brendan Rodgers’ side also took the lead and still lost at Manchester City on Boxing Day and once again it was unable to hold onto the advantage.

It took the Blues just 14 minutes to equalise as Oscar’s shot hit Mamadou Sakho and bounced towards Belgian midfielder Hazard, who seized possession and blasted an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Simon Mignolet’s goal.

And Chelsea struck again in the 34th minute when Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o met Oscar’s low cross with a prodded strike that eluded Mignolet’s weak attempted save.

Liverpool twice appealed in vain for a penalty when Luis Suarez went down under challenges from John Terry and then Eto’o and the Reds were unable to avoid a second successive defeat.

Earlier, Everton climbed into the top four with a 2-1 win over Southampton at Goodison Park.

Romelu Lukaku’s winner meant Roberto Martinez’s side moved above Merseyside rivals Liverpool into fourth place.

“Southampton are a very good side and we knew we had to be perfect in our performance. The two goals were of outstanding quality,” Martinez said.

Irish defender Seamus Coleman opened the scoring for Everton with a fine strike in the ninth minute.

The Toffees were rocked in the 71st minute when Adam Lallana picked out Gaston Ramirez and the Southampton star advanced before smashing a dipping shot past Everton keeper Joel Robles.

But on-loan Chelsea striker Lukaku struck three minutes later to seal Everton’s third win in their last four matches.

Elsewhere, Tim Sherwood celebrated his first victory as Tottenham’s permanent manager as Stoke were beaten 3-0 at White Hart Lane.

45) 7-straight for Celtic

Afp
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

INVERNESS, Scotland, Dec 29 AFP – Celtic recorded its seventh straight victory in the Scottish Premiership but was made to work hard for a 1-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Sunday.

The only goal of the game came in just the third minute as Celtic’s first attack ended with a fine finish from Kris Commons to ensure the Glasgow giants scored in every league fixture in 2013.

Anthony Stokes should have added to Celtic’s advantage on the half hour mark but it wasn’t all one-way traffic.

46) BRIEFLY

Ap, Aap, Afp, Dpa
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vonn’s return

LIENZ, Austria – Lindsey Vonn’s head coach says no date has been set for the injured skier’s return to the World Cup, and that she might not compete at all before the Sochi Olympics in February. Vonn flew back to Vail, Colorado, last week after hurting her surgically repaired right knee at a downhill race in France.

Benched

PORTLAND – Miami Heat superstar forward LeBron James was benched for Saturday’s game at Portland because of nagging right groin and left ankle injuries, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. James took part in a pre-game workout but was put on the inactive list for the game after aggravating his sore ankle and groin Friday in the Heat’s 108-103 overtime loss at Sacramento.

Court time

AUCKLAND – Second seed Ana Ivanovic is looking for plenty of court time in the ASB Classic as she prepares for the year’s first tennis grand slam. The Auckland event, which begins on Monday, is her sole build-up to the Australian Open and she wants to use it to set the platform for Melbourne Park.

Record win

LIENZ, Austria – Marlies Schild set a World Cup record on Sunday by earning her 35th slalom victory, overtaking Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider on top of the all-time list in the discipline. Schild was sixth after the opening leg but used a blistering second run to finish in 1 minute, 55.63 seconds and beat American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who led the competition after the first run. Shiffrin finished 0.41 seconds behind

Skiing accident

PARIS – Retired Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition in a French hospital with a brain haemorrhage after a skiing accident. French television station BFMTV and local paper Le Dauphine Libere reported late on Sunday the condition of the record seven-time F1 champion had deteriorated.

Djite winner

ADELAIDE – Striker Bruce Djite scored as Adelaide United downed Newcastle Jets 1-0 in a feisty Sunday fixture to climb within reach of the A-League’s top-six. Djite’s first-half goal at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium lifted the Reds to seventh on the ladder, just a win behind sixth-placed Central Coast.

Battered

HOBART – Battered and broken Sydney to Hobart yachts were limping to ports along the race route as the contenders for overall honours began to emerge. Five boats quit the race and a crew member suffered a broken leg after a night of wild south-westerly gales in Bass Strait and along the Tasmanian coast.

More records

OAKLAND, California – Peyton Manning has broken one NFL passing record and stretched another as the Denver Broncos also set a league mark for the most points in a single season. The record-shattering effort came in the first half against the Oakland Raiders, giving the visiting Broncos a 31-point lead on the way to a 34-14 triumph.

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