Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 920


1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 4 January 2014

by bobmakin

Not a lot today. Radio Vanuatu News continues with the Prime Minister’s wish list for 2014 – his New Year greetings, which occupied all of the early news at 6 am. In this list under a heading related to further prosperity for Vanuatu there was mention of negotiations with the sugar industry in Australia, but there was no clear explanation in the news. It seemed to be mentioned in relation to blackbirding, possibly in the same context as broached by Lands Minister Regenvanu who has spoken of accession to Vanuatu citizenship by persons once ‘blackbirded.’

It has been made clear that today, Saturday, is the last day of campaigning tonight for the Port Vila municipal elections. All campaign addresses must finish by midnight. The voting day is Tuesday which is also a public holiday. It is regretted that this blog once gave another date (based on what was learned from the media) – a date which was incorrect. However, Tuesday is voting day when voters in the capital will be voting for a candidate from the general list and another from the reserved list.

The requirement foreseen for candidates for election to have a medical check-up seems to have moved further away from reality with a requirement that candidates should be so checked, or at least tested for certain medical irregularities, in Australia. There is no telling how this would be financed when we cannot afford by-elections because of MPs dying in office. I suggested this topic would be more closely examined this weekend in this blog, however, the increasing complexity of the issue renders such analysis unhelpful.

Daily Post today leads with 4 accidents within an hour at New Year.

Post also covers Silimauri (which means “enter and live”) Clinic being deprived of a qualified medical practitioner since July. This is a major concern for the people of Tongoa / Shepherds and South Epi. So much for the Health Ministry’s new policy of it not being for the patient to go to the doctor: medical services come to the patient. Not in the Shepherds or South Epi.

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 3 January 2014

by bobmakin

Governments have in the past used, or mis-used, some 516 million vatu, the rightful property of custom owners of land in Vanuatu. This represents lease fees paid by lessees and which various governments have appropriated for their own ourposes. The amounts have been deposited in Custom Owner Trust Account(s) (COTA) over the years. However, Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu has advised that some 100 million vatu has now been placed into a Bred Bank COTA. This is to enable a start to payments for custom owners. Minister Regenvanu said the government had started to re-imburse the trust account last year and would continue to do so this year.

Prsident Abbil has called on the people of this Christian nation to allow our Christian values to determine the future development of the country. He was thankful for the continuing blessings of our spiritual leader – the gifts of good, clean air, healthy food and fresh water. He encouraged further a spirit of reconciliation between individuals and communities. He was delivering his New Year message.

For his part in his New Year message, Prime Minister Carcasses said that the government had already completed “more than 80%” of the “100 days list” he promised to see carried out when he took over the reins of power. He emphasized the need for government to improve and strengthen its planning processes. He foresaw many changes in order to take the country forwards.

There has been much discussion of the topic of medical check-ups for intending candidates for election, on Radio Australia as well as Radio Vanuatu, electoral commission chairman Taleo interviewed on RA. A summary of the responses to the plan and the plan itself will be given in the coming days.

Daily Post yesterday reported a Santo fatal accident. A young man of 19 sustained life threatening injuries and was flown to Vila after being struck by an allegedly drunken driver. The 19 year old was returning with his father from their garden with produce when the accident occurred. He was flown to Vila but died on arrival at Bauerfield.

New Police Commissioner Caulton is reported by Daily Post as advising some 102 persons being arrested in drunk and disorderly cases over the Christmas and New Year period. Unlike in previous years, alcoholic beverages remained on sale throughout the holiday period. Licensing matters are normally deal with by the Minister for Internal Affairs, but it will be recalled that Minister Crowby was flown out of the county owing to the advanced state of a cancer from which he was suffering.

The 767 arrived again at Bauerfield with no difficulty. Airports Vanuatu Limited General Manager Operations reminded Daily Post readers that apart from its much needed and long awaited overlay and expansion of parking space, Bauerfield can comfortably cater for 767s, 777s and 787s. Government, however, persists in its efforts to study a Rentabau site for another airport in which the general and traveling public have expressed no interest.


3) Australian journalist captures Pacific conflict through photography

Updated 3 January 2014, 10:21 AEST

A photojournalist has captured conflict and challenges in the Pacific through black and white photography.

A photojournalist based in Vanuatu has released a book documenting his work in Melanesia after spending more than two decades capturing the lives and customs of people across the Pacific.

Ben Bohane’s new book “The Black Islands: Spirit and War in Melanesia” features a small collection of his work which looks at conflict and spiritual tradition that exists in this region as well as the role of cults and customs.

The Black Islands literally means Melanesia and the book features photographs in black and whites.

“My interest is to continue that documentary tradition of black and white reportage and I thought it also acted as a interesting counterpoint to the way we normally visualise the Pacific,” he said.

“We’re so used to seeing the Pacific rendered in colour, with beautiful, happy shiny people with hibiscus flowers tucked behind their ear.”

Mr Bohane told Pacific Beat he hopes the black and white images will get people to think of the significant challenges the region faces.

“(It) takes you on a journey that’s certainly more mindful and hints at some of the larger issues confronting this region,” he said.

“It’s not all about tropical sunsets and white sandy beaches. It’s also about the people and the culture and the challenges that they face and they way they are navigating into the modern world.

“I am hoping people won’t see the book as necessarily about conflict… but I thought it was important to give face to a lot of the struggles that are going on and sort of represent some of these guerrilla groups that have been fighting for independence in places like East Timor and West Papua and Bougainville.”

Mr Bohane recounted some of his more memorable trips in the Pacific where he captured some poignant images.

“Maybe the most amazing trip done in the last twenty years was moving with central command of the OPM (Free Papua Movement) in West Papua, moving through a very primordial landscape and with basically a group of bow and arrow fighters taking on the Indonesia military,” he said.

“I found myself with a group of people who had very little contact with the outside world”

Another memorable moment for Mr Bohane was when he was moving with the Bougainville resistance force after the Bougainville revolutionary army shot dead a boy in a village that he was staying in.

“I managed to capture a photo standing behind this guy with a helmet that had ‘cultist land’ graffitied on the back of the helmet,” he said.

“In the image, you have graffiti on the guy’s helmet and the explosion of the grenade in the front.

“It seem to sum up some of this nexus with some of these cults and spiritual traditions and the nature of conflict in the region.”

Mr Bohane, an Australian based in Port Vila, has been covering conflicts in Bougainville and Solomon Islands as well as ‘kastom’ and cargo cult movements in the region, with his work appearing in Vanity Fair, Time and Newsweek publications.

See article with photos on or

4) Dreamliner to undergo hot weather testing in Australia

Updated at 11:53 am today

A new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft is due in central Australia next week for hot weather testing.

The ABC reports Boeing chosen Alice Springs airport in the Northern Territory because the location meets specific requirements for both facilities and atmospheric conditions.

Daytime temperatures there have hovered around the 40 degree Celsius mark for the past week, but are forecast to return to about 36C next week.

Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler said the tests need temperatures of more than 38C for specific analysis to be done, so the project may have to be extended.

“We do not know how long the airplane will be there specifically because of weather conditions,” he said.

“Ideally, we would take about a week to do the testing but … we will need to get certain temperatures and we need to make sure that the testing goes as planned within those temperature parameters.”

The ABC reports the 787-9 is a stretch version of the 787-8, which is now in service in Australia with Jetstar.

The new aircraft can carry more passengers and fly longer distances between refuelling.

The plane is expected to arrive at Alice Springs on Monday, following its world launch at Auckland on Sunday.

The ABC reports the first commercial flight of a new 787-9 is expected to be made in Air New Zealand livery.

The flight is scheduled for 15 October from Auckland to Perth in Western Australia.Radio New Zealand.


5/6) Horowhenua council offers bilingual job application forms

Updated at 7:05 am today

Horowhenua District Council says its new employment application form in Maori is a first for local and central government in New Zealand.

Candidates are offered the option of an English or a Maori-language application form.

Human resources manager Meredith Blackler said it is designed to attract qualified Maori job applicants and to encourage diversity and cultural respect.

Ms Blackler says the council already offers “whanau interviews” to job candidates, where they are able to bring family members along.

The council hopes to provide all staff with opportunities to learn te reo and undertake cultural awareness training.Radio New Zealand


7) West Papua stori istap long nupla buk

Updated 3 January 2014, 17:20 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol foto na stori blong ol pipal blong West Papua i laikim indipendans istap long nupla buk em oli kolim “The Black Islands: Spirit na  War  long  Melanesia”

Wanpla  photo-journalist blong Australia  Ben Bohane husat  isave stap moa long tupla ten yiar nau long Vanuatu isave  raitim ol stori long pasin tumbuna blong ol Pacific pipal na emi redi-im despla nupla buk blong en.

Ol wok blong en i kamap pinis long ol bikpla niuspepa olsem  Vanity Fair, Time na  Newsweek wantem ol narapla magazines tu, sampla long ol stori blong en ibin lukluk long ol bikpla trabal emi bin kamap long  Bougainville na  Solomon Islands na tu l kastom pasin, na ol pasin blong kago cult.

Mr Bohane nau igat nupla buk emi kolim long  “The Black Islands: Spirit na  War  long  Melanesia” na sampla long despla photo buk i lukluk long ol pipal blong West Papua na laik blong ol long bruk lusim Indonesia.

Mr Bohane istap olsem wanpla niusman oa journalist tasol husat i bungim na toktok wantem tripla laen blong OPM husat iwok long fait strong blong kisim indipendans long West Papua.

Emi tok despla fait blong ol West Papua pipal nau iwok long kisim planti luksave na sapot ikam long Pacific rijan na tu long wold.

Mr Bohaen itok tu olsem emi lukim olsem long nambawan taem tru Indonesia i wari long despla fait blong indipendans blong ol pipal blong West Papua.Radio Australia

8) PNG Trade Union i wari long pei blong ol wokas

Updated 3 January 2014, 16:51 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Pei  bilong ol wokman meri long ol kampani na binis long Papua New Guinea i stap daun tru na ol kampani i wok long mekim bikpela profits.

John Paska, general secretary bilong PNG Trade Union Congress i autim despla wari na emi tok  em i lukim olsem, sapos ol wokman meri i kisim igo nap long K600 long fotnait or mo, em bai lukim olsem ol i spendim moni insait long kantri.

Dispela i min olsem emi gutpela long ekonomi bilong kantri, we mo pipal i spendim moni insait long kantri, na tu i gat sans bilong ol nupla  bisnis i kamap na tu ol dispela binis i stap nau i ken kisim ol niupela wok man meri.

Mr Paska itok olsem mak namel long pei blong ol wokas i liklik tumas winim moni oa profit em ol bisnis kampani isave kisim.

Emi tok tu olsem ol wokas pei blong ol pipal ino surik liklik long planti yia nau, na emi askim gavman long traem long stretim despla Australia


9) 2014: l’année des élections dans le Pacifique

Mis à jour 3 January 2014, 14:56 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Outre la Nouvelle-Calédonie, Fidji, bien sûr, et les Îles Salomon, se préparent à cet exercice démocratique qui peut parfois sembler périlleux.

À Fidji, les partis d’opposition continuent d’affirmer que Franck Bainimarama ne tiendra pas sa promesse d’organiser des élections en septembre 2014. Les choses ne sont pas aussi simples que ça. Catherine Graue a joint Tess Newton-Cain, chercheuse au centre de politique du développement à l’Université Nationale Australienne:

« La procédure est lancée, je crois que les élections auront bien lieu. Quant à savoir quand exactement, c’est difficile à prévoir. Franck Bainimarama a confirmé qu’il allait créer un parti pour soutenir sa propre candidature aux élections. Actuellement il y a quatre partis à Fidji, le sien sera le cinquième. Après en termes d’agenda, la date des élections va dépendre de la date à laquelle le nouveau parti du Premier ministre par intérim sera opérationnel. Mais il a déjà bien avancé sur d’autres fronts, comme l’inscription des Fidjiens sur les listes électorales. Franck Bainimarama a aussi approché les pays membres du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance pour obtenir des observateurs indépendants lors du scrutin. Et puis des pays comme Singapour ou Israël ont promis de financer les élections, donc il est bien probable qu’elles aient lieu. »

Les Îles Salomon aussi préparent leurs premières élections depuis le départ de la RAMSI:

« Le Premier ministre Gordon Darcy Lilo a promis qu’il mettrait en place un nouveau système d’inscription des Salomonais sur les listes électorales. Et il travaille aussi sur un projet de loi sur l’éthique des partis politiques. Le projet est déjà passé en première lecture devant le Parlement fin décembre. Ce sont deux chantiers ambitieux en préalable aux élections, et ce n’est pas sûr que les deux réformes passent avant la tenue du scrutin. »

Tess Newton-Cain, chercheuse au centre de politique du développement à l’Université Nationale Australienne, au micro de Catherine Graue sur Radio Australie.

10) Ben Bohane: « Je me sentais comme aux commencements du monde »

Mis à jour 3 January 2014, 14:55 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Il est Australien, il a passé 20 ans à photographier la Mélanésie, dans ses jours heureux et moins heureux.

Le photojournaliste Ben Bohane, basé à Port-Vila, vient de sortir un livre de clichés intitulé “Black Islands: spirits and wars in Melanesia” – « Les îles noires : esprits et guerres en Mélanésie», les îles noires parce que c’est traduction littérale de Mélanésie. Ben Bohane travaille uniquement en noir et blanc et il s’est expliqué de son choix à Catherine Graue sur Radio Australie :

«J’ai choisi de continuer cette longue tradition du reportage en noir et blanc, aussi pour prendre le contre-pied de la façon de représenter ou de visualiser le Pacifique : on a l’habitude de voir des photos en couleurs de gens beaux et rayonnants, avec une fleur d’hibiscus coincée derrière l’oreille. C’est ce que j’appelle la photo Club Med. Je préfère aller plus loin, en utilisant le noir et blanc pour emmener les lecteurs dans les profondeurs de la Mélanésie et la comprendre mieux. »

Loin de la carte postale réglementaire du Club Med donc, l’Australien Ben Bohane photographie principalement les scènes de vie religieuse ou spirituelle :

« Je m’intéresse en particulier à la théologie, aux religions comparées, à la place de la coutume, au culte du cargo, parce qu’ils sont très peu couverts. Ce qui est fascinant c’est que c’est mouvements religieux peuvent être à la fois des déclencheurs de conflits, et des facilitateurs de la paix. »

Et effectivement, la religion s’entremêle facilement avec les conflits, le Pacifique n’y échappe pas. Ben Bohane est l’un des rares à avoir suivi trois guerres d’indépendance dans la région :

« Je trouve que c’est important de donner un visage à ces combattants indépendantistes qui ont lutté ou luttent toujours pour leur peuple, que ce soit au Timor Leste, en Papouasie Occidentale ou à Bougainville. Parce que les médias ne s’intéressent pas à eux, ils sont peu représentés. »

En 20 ans de voyages en Mélanésie, Ben Bohane a récoté des milliers de clichés, ce qui a rendu difficile la sélection pour son livre. Mais quand on lui demande quel est l’unique cliché qui l’a le plus marqué, la réponse fuse :

« Le voyage qui m’a le plus marqué ces 20 dernières années, c’était en Papouasie Occidentale, quand j’ai suivi l’état-major de l’OPM, la branche armée des indépendantistes. J’étais avec un groupe qui attaquait de temps en temps les Indonésiens. Je suis le premier photojournaliste à avoir documenté cette lutte. Ces combattants avaient eu très peu de contacts avec le monde extérieur. J’ai donc rencontré des sanguma, c’est-à-dire des chamanes, et j’en ai pris un en photo, il est nu avec son étui pénien, dans la brume, il tend la main vers l’objectif, c’est une photo qui m’a marqué. Je me sentais comme aux commencements du monde, j’avais vraiment l’impression de revivre la Genèse. Et cet homme qui m’accueille, avec ce regard perçant, alors qu’il était en permanence entre la vie et la mort, il se battait pour la liberté. »

Le photojournaliste Ben Bohan, au micro de Catherine Graue sur Radio Australie.


Publié le lundi 30 décembre 2013 à 03H00

Le Premier ministre du Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses, a annoncé, jeudi, la signature de plusieurs importants contrats avec des sociétés chinoises. Elles seront chargées de construire ou de rénover des routes et de construire un quai dans cet archipel mélanésien.

L’un des contrats signés par le Premier ministre Moana Carcasses concerne la construction d’une route reliant Luganville (photo) au sud de l’île d’Espiritu Santo.

La Chine concrétise une fois de plus sa présence en Océanie avec la signature d’importants contrats d’aménagement au Vanuatu, qui concerneront notamment la rénovation de routes et la construction d’un quai. Jeudi, le Premier ministre de l’archipel, Moana Carcasses, a annoncé que trois sociétés semi-gouvernementales avaient été choisies pour mener à bien des travaux : la China Railway First Group (qui construira un tronçon de route d’une trentaine de kilomètres entre Luganville et le sud de la même île d’Espiritu Santo [Nord de l’archipel], la Shanghai Construction Group (qui construira un quai sur la même île) et la China Railway Fifth Group (qui construira une route de vingt-quatre kilomètres entre Lamap et Lingarak [Sud de l’île de Mallicolo].

Série. Pour le chef de l’exécutif vanuatuan, ces investissements sont nécessaires afin d’aider au développement économique de ces régions enclavées. Pour mettre la dernière main aux accords relatifs à cette série de projets ruraux, les visites en Chine se sont multipliées. Une délégation gouvernementale vanuatuane conduite par le ministre des Infrastructures, Sai Esmon, s’est ainsi rendue en Chine mi-août. Et mi-novembre, c’est M. Carcasses qui conduisait une importante délégation à Guangzhou (Chine), où se tenait la seconde édition du sommet « Chine-Pacifique » en présence de la majorité des chefs de gouvernement des États insulaires du Pacifique. Il était notamment accompagné de ses ministres en charge des finances et du développement économique, et de celui des travaux publics et des infrastructures.

Université. Début novembre, dans le domaine de l’enseignement supérieur, le ministre de l’Education Bob Loughman, accompagné de l’ambassadeur chinois en poste à Port-Vila, Xie Bohua, a inauguré ce qui a été présenté comme une « aile francophone » au sein du campus de l’Université du Pacifique Sud (USP, dont le centre principal se trouve à Suva, Fidji). Sur environ deux mille mètres carrés, cette aile abrite des salles de cours, un laboratoire informatique, un laboratoire de langues, une bibliothèque et une salle de gym, avec les matériels et équipements associés. La construction de cette « aile » de bâtiments, entamée en mai 2012, a été financée par la Chine (pour un total annoncé avoisinant les trois millions de dollars US), tout comme une bonne partie du campus de l’USP à Vanuatu, lors de sa création, au milieu des années 1990, avec comme spécialité principale la faculté régionale de droit. À l’époque, l’enveloppe annoncée par la Chine était de l’ordre d’une dizaine de millions de dollars US, mobilisée sous forme de prêt qualifiés de « libre d’intérêts ».


D’autres projets en chantier
En septembre, Moana Carcasses annonçait un accord avec la société Yingli New Energy Resources pour un projet de mise en place de panneaux solaires, après la conduite d’une étude de faisabilité. Récemment, la Chine a également annoncé la prise en charge des travaux de réfection du plus grand collège anglophone de l’archipel, celui de Malapoa (Port-Vila) ainsi que la construction (en cours) d’un nouveau centre de conventions dans la capitale (une douzaine de millions de dollars US). Pékin a par ailleurs annoncé la prise en charge de la construction d’une extension des bureaux du Premier ministre du Vanuatu.

Flosse et l’aviation civile chinoise
Ce week-end, Gaston Flosse a essayé de convaincre les autorités chinoises d’ouvrir une ligne aérienne directe entre la Chine et la Polynésie. « L’ouverture sur la Chine est vitale, en particulier la transversale entre la Chine et l’Amérique du Sud qui serait profitable aux deux pays », a plaidé le président du Pays. Selon ce dernier, le président de l’AACC (Aviation civile chinoise) s’est montré intéressé, assurant qu’ « aller en Amérique du Sud via Tahiti était une option étudiée très sérieusement par l’AACC. Nous soutenons tout projet d’ouvrir une ligne vers Tahiti, mais il appartient aux compagnies chinoises intéressées d’en étudier la rentabilité ».


12) Latvia joins EU

Friday, January 03, 2014

LATVIA has begun the new year by joining the eurozone, becoming the 18th member of the group of EU states which uses the euro as its currency.

The former Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea recently emerged from the financial crisis to become the EU’s fastest-growing economy.

Correspondents report much scepticism in the country after recent bailouts for existing eurozone members.

But there is also hope that the euro will reduce dependency on Russia.

EU commissioner Olli Rehn said joining the eurozone marked “the completion of Latvia’s journey back to the political and economic heart of our continent, and that is something for all of us to celebrate”.

The government and most business owners also welcomed the single currency, saying it would improve Latvia’s credit rating and attract foreign investors. However, some opinion polls suggested almost 60 per cent of the population did not want the new currency.

It’s a big opportunity for Latvia’s economic development,” Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said after symbolically withdrawing a 10-euro note as fireworks led celebrations in the capital Riga after midnight.

The governor of the Latvian central bank, Ilmars Rimsevics, said: “Euro brings stability and certainty, definitely attracting investment, so new jobs, new taxes and so on.

“So being in the second largest currency union I think will definitely mean more popularity.”

One of those reluctant to give up Latvia’s own currency, the lats, was Zaneta Smirnova.

“I am against the euro,” she told AFP news agency. “This isn’t a happy day. The lats is ours, the euro isn’t — we should have kept the lats.”

Leonora Timofeyeva, who earns the minimum wage of 200 lats ($F733.26) per month tending graves in a village north of the capital Riga, said: “Everyone expects prices will go up in January.”

But pensioner Maiga Majore believed euro adoption could “only be a good thing”.

“To be part of a huge European market is important,” she told AFP. “All this talk about price rises is just alarmist.”

Alf Vanags, director of the Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, told Bloomberg news agency he personally did not like giving up the familiar lats but it was an “entirely irrational sentiment”.

Euro adoption was good for Latvia “on balance”, he argued, since it provided a mutual insurance policy that countries could draw on when they got into trouble.

Latvia, with its large ethnic Russian minority, is often seen as having closer economic ties to Russia than its fellow Baltic states Lithuania and Estonia. Russia remains an important export market while its banking system attracts substantial deposits from clients in other ex-Soviet states.

13) Call for clemency

Saturday, January 04, 2014

LONDON – The New York Times and Guardian newspapers have called for clemency for Edward Snowden, saying that the espionage worker-turned-privacy advocate should be praised rather than punished for his disclosures.

The papers — both of which have played a role in publishing Mr Snowden’s intelligence trove — suggested late on Wednesday that the former National Security Agency contractor’s revelations about the United States’ world-spanning espionage program were of such public importance that they outweighed any possible wrongdoing.

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight,” the Times said, calling either for a plea bargain, some form of clemency, or a “substantially reduced punishment”.

The Guardian said it hoped “calm heads within the present (US) administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr Snowden to return to the US with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself”.

Both newspapers published their editorials online within a few hours of one another, but Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the papers’ appeals weren’t co-ordinated ahead of time.

14) Storm brings Arctic cold, snow

Saturday, January 04, 2014

THE first major winter storm of 2014 bore down on the northeastern United States on Thursday with heavy snow, Arctic temperatures and strong winds that snarled travel just as many people were returning from holiday breaks.

The wide storm system stretches from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, with parts of New England including Boston bracing for as much as 14 inches of snow by yesterday morning.

Some cities along the storm’s southern edge expect only minimal snowfall.

Snow was falling across much of the northeastern United States by midday Thursday, though the serious accumulation was expected to begin after sunset and continue overnight, said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

“The real action is going to get cranked up this evening and during the overnight hours. We’ll have heavy snow, windy conditions, reduced visibilities,” Mr Buttrick said, adding that dangerous cold would continue into Friday.

Forecast snowfall varied widely, with Washington expected to see under an inch, Philadelphia 4 to 6 inches, New York 4 to 8 inches, Hartford 6 to 10 inches and Boston 8 to 14 inches.


15) 123 cases in 3 days

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, January 05, 2014

DENGUE fever continues to spread with 123 positive cases recorded nationwide in the first three days of this year.

According to figures provided by the Ministry of Health, the Central Division had 109 cases, the Western Division recorded 24 while the North had no cases for this period.

At the end of December last year, there were 283 cases.

Health spokeswoman Evlyn Mani said the high number of dengue cases in the Central Division, in particular for the capital, Suva, signified that the conditions for fostering rapid dengue transmission prevailed in Suva and the adjacent townships of Nausori and Navua.

“Because of the high likelihood of travel by our population from urban to rural areas during this festive period, it effectively puts the other health divisions (outside of the Central Health Division) at risk of importing dengue fever but it will depend on the density of the dengue-transmitting mosquito in those localities,” she said.

“The breakdown of the dengue data in terms of gender indicates that males are slightly more affected compared to females.

“The age group predominantly affected are the 10-40 years old age category.”

Reasons given by the Health Ministry for such high cases were high human population density in a defined locality, low population immunity to the circulating dengue strain and circulation of a new dengue strain or one that has not circulated in the country for a long while.

Also, fostering the effective transmission of dengue includes environmental conditions that support breeding of dengue transmitting mosquitoes and challenges in disposal of and destruction of mosquito breeding sites.

The Health Ministry urged members of the public to eliminate possible breeding grounds for dengue mosquito.

16) Measles spread in NZ

Radio Australia
Saturday, January 04, 2014

AT least 14 people who attended a dance event in Sydney in December have been diagnosed with measles.

Most of the cases involve New Zealanders who travelled to Australia to attend the event.

Public health officials are warning people who attended the World Supremacy Battlegrounds hip hop event — and anyone else who has come into contact with them — to look out for symptoms of the infectious disease.

So far, about 100 people across Auckland, Waikato and the Lake Taupo area have been assessed for measles risk with 11 confirmed cases. New South Wales health authorities have also confirmed three measles cases in connection with the event, issuing a public warning this week after an Adelaide competitor became ill.

Auckland’s last major measles outbreak in 2011 resulted in nearly 500 cases and 80 hospital admissions.

17) Kase: Dept agrees to Australia’s proposal

The National, Friday January 3rd, 2013

THE Department of Health has agreed to a proposal by the Australian government to establish an independent health procurement authority for a stringent process for imported medicines.
Secretary Pascoe Kase said yesterday that he would ensure that monitoring and checking of imported medicines met national and international standards and requirements.
Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato confirmed discussing the matter with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop and referred the proposal to the department to obtain details.
Kase said the government had taken responsibility for funding the supply and distribution of medications to health centres and aid posts kits through its contractor Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals (BPP).
He said as part of monitoring for quality checks on medicines, he plans to send technical teams to where the medicines were manufactured and packaged to inspect and report back.
He said the department had purchased two machines that would be used to test  imported medicines before distribution to health facilities in the country.
On the issue with Australia’s decision to withdraw funding the health programme, Kase explained that Australia only offered to assist and did not provide the A$38 million (K83.52 million) funding.
“This year the government of PNG planned to take over the purchase and distribution of medicines using PNG laws,” Kase said.
“Under the Medicines and Cosmetics Act, anyone dealing with medicines has to be registered with the Pharmaceutical Board.
He said although the Australian contractor International Dispensary Association, (IDA) a Holland-based company that supplied medicines in PNG for two years, had an excellent reputation, under PNG laws it was not registered with the Pharmaceutical Board and did not qualify.

18) Pacific health authorities warn of mosquito borne diseases

Updated at 5:55 am on 3 January 2014

Health authorities in the Pacific region are warning people in the islands to be vigilant about mosquito borne diseases.

In French Polynesia, about one in ten people is reportedly being affected by zika virus, a dengue-like illness.

Health officials in New Caledonia are urging people to use repellent and guard against mosquitoes following reported cases of zika, chikungunya and dengue fever.

Similar warnings about dengue fever have been issued in Fiji.

The WHO’s Dr Eric Nilles says Pacific Island countries must all increase their surveillance against arborviruses.

“When we see an outbreak of chikungunya as we are seeing in the North Pacific now, that is something that we pay attention to and we do monitor closely. Similarly for the zika virus that is not normally a virus that we see circulating in the Pacific, it’s something that we pay particular attention to.”

Dr Eric Nilles says it is important that people remove mosquito breeding sites to prevent the spread of the arborviruses.

19) Traditional Indigenous Medicine Conference Held On Guam
2nd Åmot Conference to focus on integrating gardens in curriculum

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Jan. 3, 2014) – Yesterday was the first day of the second Åmot Conference on Guam. The Håya Cultural Heritage & Preservation Development Foundation, together with the CNMI’s Inetnon Åmot yan Kutturan Natibu organization, coordinated the three-day conference, with the first day’s activities held at the Top o’ the Mar restaurant in Nimitz Hill.

Today and tomorrow, conference activities will be held at the St. Francis School in Yoña. The conference begins each day at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

Zita Pangelinan, the Håya Foundation’s president, said this year’s conference will focus on sustainable education and address the development of a curriculum for gardens in schools.

Speakers, including Ming Wei Koh, David V.P. Sanchez and Juanita Blaz, will address academic curriculum mapping and the integration of a sustainable garden during the conference. There will also be demonstrations by suruhånus and suruhånas – traditional Chamorro healers.


“In recent times, we have had great difficulty finding traditional healers or yo’amtes, also known as suruhånas or suruhånus,” Pangelinan said. This difficulty led organizers to put together the first Åmot Conference in September 2012, which focused on traditional medicine and the health threat of non-communicable diseases.

Similar issues regarding non-communicable diseases and traditional healing will be presented at this year’s conference, in addition to integrating school gardens. “We hope to promote and perpetuate our traditional healing practices,” Pangelinan said.

Participants were able to earn two conference credits or three continuing education units from the University of Guam for their participation in the event, provided they paid the additional fees and for their involvement.

The Håya Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2005. The group’s mission is to “enhance the well-being of our people.”

The term “håya” has been interpreted as the Chamorro word for south, said Jeremy Cepeda, a Simon Sanchez High School Chamorro teacher.

“‘Håya’ actually means ‘in towards the land’ or ‘indigenous,’” Cepeda said, adding that the Håya Foundation was one of the contributors of the 4th Chamorro Conference.

Marianas Variety Guam:

20) Health Checks Proposed For Vanuatu Political Hopefuls
Electoral Commission ‘concerned’ about costs for by-elections

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 3, 2014) – The Electoral Commission in Vanuatu wants the country’s political candidates of the future to undergo medical checks, because of the rising number of by-elections caused by MPs dying in office.

The government is struggling to find funds for yet another by-election after the Internal Affairs Minister, Patrick Crowby, died at the end of December.

Chairman of the Electoral Commission, John Taleo, says it’s very, very concerned about the need for a health requirement, as it is very hard to locate the money required to fund an election after the death of an MP.

“It’s costing government a lot of money which is why we want to change the law so that in future political candidates will have to undergo medical checks, and importantly those medical checks have to be done in Australia,” said Mr Taleo.

As a group, politicians are affected just as much as any other in Vanuatu by diabetes and high blood pressure, two of the biggest health problems in the Pacific.

“It’s a person’s constitutional right to stand for elections, even if they are sick or disabled, said Mr Taleo, “but we have to be very careful.”

“It took us three months to secure the budget for the last by-election.

“We managed to get through but cash flow for the government is very tight.”

The commission chairman concedes that medical testing in Australia will be very expensive but he says there is no choice.

“A lot of medical testing, particular blood tests, is already being done outside the country.

“We need to get this law passed soon, because we have no powers to impose medical checks on sitting MPs.

“Elected representatives have to be very fit to do the job. The affairs of the country have to be healthy and you need healthy people to ensure that is the case.”

Radio Australia:


21) 600 for scheme

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, January 04, 2014

THE top 600 students who qualify for the National Toppers Scheme will choose from certain priority areas of study the government has set out.

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.

The Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Scheme (TSLS) co-ordinator Senimili Kamikamica said this was part of government’s commitment to see Fiji’s human resource needs would be met in the future.

“This National Toppers Scheme is the main scheme and there is a list of priority areas government has set out,” she said.

“These are the priority areas that the qualified applicants will choose from.

“This will include overseas studies as well but for courses not offered locally but are on government’s priority list.

Ms Kamikamica said the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) would be different and this applied for all those who scored below 300 marks from Form Seven and foundation studies.

“But for those below 250 they can apply for Technical, Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) programs offered at the FNU.

“The TELS is mainly for those who have been studying at tertiary level last year, Form Seven and foundation and who cannot fund their education to complete. ”

Applications for toppers close on January 10 while TELS will be opened according to the various institutions’ enrolment/ closing date.

22) Students educate people

The National, Friday January 3rd, 2013

A GROUP of university students are planning to educate people in villages during the holidays on issues affecting the country.
The University of Papua New Guinea Tsak Students Union will conduct an awareness campaign from Jan 8-11 in the Tsak Valley, Wapenamanda district in Enga.
Union president Isaac Yukulyo said the aim was to educate people and empower them to make good decisions and set achievable goals.
More than 100 students are expected to conduct the awareness campaign to the more than 20,000 people of Tsak Valley.
Yukulyo said the country was changing and the people of Tsak Valley should change their mindset and lifestyles to be on par with the rest of the country.
He said the people must not live the same lifestyle that their ancestors went through.
Issues to be covered include the importance of land, education, law and order, climate change, HIV/AIDS and asylum seekers in PNG.
Yukulyo said it was important that people knew about what was happening in the country so that they could make informed decisions on what they wanted to do.
Yukulyo said since the establishment of the student union in 2005, members had been conducting awareness in Tsak Valley during their holiday.
The union has members in all the tertiary institutions in the country.


23) Murdoch sells stake in China Star TV

Updated 3 January 2014, 12:14 AEST

Rupert Murdoch’s company 21st Century Fox has announced it will sell its 47 percent stake in China Star TV.

The joint venture between Fox and with China Media Capital was formed in 2010 and operates three 24 hour mardarin language televisions channels.

International Chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox James Murdoch says the divestment will help streamline the company and it will now focus on the Indian market.

Reporter: Whitney Fitzsimmons

Speaker: Richard Greenfield, media analyst, B-T-I-G

SIMMONS: Richard Greenfield, Rupert Murdoch has long been pushing to develop his presence in China. What do you think is behind selling out of China Star TV?

GREENFIELD: I think you have to look at where News Corp, where 20th Century Fox focuses their resources. This was a JV (joint venture) – they were actually a minority partner with a local partner, and they actually sold this business to their local partner.

This had never been a core partner of their strategy – and I think when you look at their larger assets, like ESPN Star Sports, where they actually acquired all of that last year, or even Nat Geo, and some of the movie channels, the traditional Star TV networks – this was always more of an ancillary business for them versus their core presence.

And I think in a larger sense it’s also important to look at how India, relative to China, probably has grown pretty significantly in importance to 21st Century Fox over the last, you know, call it five to plus years.

SIMMONS: Does this also indicate that China’s broadcasting landscape is much more difficult to navigate than perhaps thought?

GREENFIELD: I think certainly there’s assets like ESPN Star Sports which are far easier to gain distribution for and to create shareholder value for than the, you know, some of the more local television content assets they had been building with the business they just sold.

SIMMONS: Do you think that Rupert Murdoch misread the Chinese market?

GREENFIELD: Rupert and 21st Century Fox still have a meaningful presence in China. I think India has obviously been the fastest growing and most exciting part of the growth story. They’ve augmented their investment in China through ESPN Star Sports, acquiring full ownership from Disney last year.

But in terms of overall focus, I think China still remains a tough place to make money.

SIMMONS: You mentioned India. Why do you think India is a much more attractive market?

GREENFIELD: I just think, you know, the regulatory environment certainly makes it a lot easier for a foreign company to have success – and by success I mean generate meaningful profits. I think history over the last decade certainly demonstrates that.


24) Hawke government docs reveal risk of war between PNG and Indonesia

Updated 3 January 2014, 12:43 AEST

The Australian National Archives has released ten thousand previously secret cabinet documents from the years 1986 and 1987.

Hawke government docs reveal risk of war between PNG and Indonesia (Credit: ABC)

The papers revealed a variety of matters, including the Australian government’s concerns over tensions in the relationship between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Now Emeritus Professor in Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, back in the late 1980s Paul Dibb was the Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation.

He provided advice to the cabinet and warned Australia could lose its entire army – some 30,000 soldiers – if it was required to support PNG in a military conflict along the border with Indonesia.

Presenter: Catherine Graue.

Speaker: Paul Dibb, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National Univeristy.

DIBB: The late 1980s were a time of considerable concern about where the Papua New Guinea-Indonesian border was going.  There had been 10 or 12,000  refugees fleeing from what was then called Irian Jaya across the border into refugee camps that were large and causing problems for Papua New Guinea to sustain them. The issue had also been warmimg up over many years. I mean the so called Free Papua Movement which was based along the border on the Papua New Guinea side of the Irian Jaya-Papua New Guinea border had been active on and off since the early 1970s.  And that was my clear remembrance as head of the National Assessment staff in the late 1970s.  It came to a bit of crisis in 79 when there was only about eight people cleared in Canberra to understand that we had some fairly firm information coming from a covert source in Jakarta that the Indonesian military under General Benny  Murdani were getting fed up with this movement of the OPM, the Free Papua Movement, using the protection of being on the Papua New Guinea side of the border and then crossing and  then occasionally killing and attacking  Indonesian troops. And we took that in the late 70s very seriously.  So through the 70s,  right through  to the late 80s, there were these issues and they were essentially to do with the border, the activities of the OPM, and seen from the perspective of the Indonesian side a situation where they found that this was starting to become intolerable.  The 1987 White Paper, which you are aware of, the cabinet documents relating that in my recollection have attached to them the so called Dibb Report which I wrote for the then defence minister, Kim Beasley, about the defence of Australia. There was a classified version of that report which dealt with certain credible contingencies, and there was a highly-classified annexe to that report that was never made public in which I warned the Australian government that if we ever faced a major Indonesian military attack across the border with Papua New Guinea we would have to make our minds up     on the contingency of the day. But, and this is the essential point, my advice to the then defence minister Beasley was we could lose the entire Australian army of some 30,000 at the time in the top one tenth of the border between Vanimo and Green River. And we would have no chance of  holding that militarily and that would then leave the Australian government of the day with one serious alternative; and that would be to escalate it to strikes of a more serious nature against Indonesian logistics and military centres.

GRAUE: And how was that advice of yours received?

DIBB: I never go one response to it (laughter)..

GRAUE: So, in  your opinion, how concerned was the Australian government really that relations between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea  could deteriorate so much so that it would be forced to step in, and be drawn into a conflict like you’ve just described?

DIBB:Look, we shouldn’t exaggerate it.  As you’ve read from the cabinet documents and I had a hand — by this stage I was deputy secretary of defence for  strategic policy and intelligence — in drafting some of that advice and that was our reaction would depend on the situation at the time.  In other words,  we would not be in the business of encouraging Papua New Guinea to do and pursue provocative acts that could end up in armed conflict. Not only between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, but clearly given Australia’s commitment to Papua New Guinea and its historical and colonial connections, the likelihood we would have to do something about it.  With all the dangers that I have mentioned about the length of that border, which from memory is something like 700 kilometres long, and extremely difficult country and whether we would want to escalate into full scale conflict with Indonesia.
It is true that at the time,  I became aware many years later when General Murdani had been sacked a minister of defence by the Indonesian Suharto government of the time, and I’m talking here early to mid, more like early 1990s, in a private conversation with me in Australia, he acknowledged that there were serious contingencies in the late 70s along the lines I mentioned of once and for all going across the border in military strength on the Indonesian side and making a sanitised zone if you like. He looked at me with as smile on his face and said, he raised with the ‘old man’ — meaning president Suharto — and Suharto said to General Murdani, then minister for defence in Indonesia, we are too busy in East Timor.

GRAUE:  There was concern I understand, revealed in these documents, about the ability of the PNG government to handle the situation, and perhaps if it was mishandled by either side, but particularly by the Papua New Guinean government that could have really led to serious  issues.

DIBB:      Yes. There were serious concerns, as you say. It was not a huge length of time after independence.  We had agreed with Papua New Guinea about some principles of helping them in certain military contingencies.  And that by the way extended to if we were invited, and let me stress that, if we were invited, to contingencies in which the Papua New Guinea Defence Force mutinied.
And indeed, one such contingency occurred in the late 1980s in which Rabbie Namaliu who was then prime minister rang  Bob Hawke, our prime minister at the time, in some agitation that there was an open riot occurring between the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and the Papua New Guinea police in a drunken party they had one Saturday night and that the defence force was breaking into the armoury and getting  hold of the weapons. We had a meeting of the augmented chiefs of staff committee at the time, which I attended as deputy secretary, and we looked seriously at what we might do if that situation got out of hand and escalated and the Papua New Guinean government was not able to control its own military.  In the end, it petered out and we had to do nothing. But as you know it was a continuing running sore and  you’ve seen in more recent years, and that is the dependability of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force as a disciplined armed force subject to democratic direction and governance.

25) Solomon Islands PM’s Financial Commitments Questioned
Former leader Ezekiel Alebua says Lilo giving out state money

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 2, 2014) – A former Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Ezekiel Alebua, has heavily criticised the Prime Minister for what he describes as giving out state money left and right to communities he has visited.

Mr Alebua believes the money being given by Gordon Darcy Lilo may not have been budgeted for in neither 2013 nor 2014.

He made the comments in Honiara after announcements that Mr Lilo ha made pledges worth millions of dollars to various communities.

Mr Alebua says he hopes the state does not have to fork out the money from its purse to meet the commitments.

He says while the gestures are noble, they should be paid out from Mr Lilo’s discretionary fund.

Radio New Zealand International:

26) PNG high commissioner removed as Fiji diplomatic corps dean

Updated at 3:08 pm on 3 January 2014

The Papua New Guinea government has given in to Fiji demands and its high commissioner, Peter Eafeare, has turned down his appointment as dean of the Suva diplomatic corps.

Fiji protested late last year at the appointment, causing Port Moresby to recall the high commissioner for consultations.

Mr Eafeare has now returned to Suva to resume his head of mission post.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that the prime minister Peter O’Neill and foreign minister Rimbink Pato were satisfied with his performance but they accepted Mr Eafeare should forego the deanship.

They says Mr Eafeare is well placed to determine how the nearly 20 million US dollars of election aid provided to Fiji by PNG should be spent.

Fiji Political Group: Government Not Serious About Elections
UFDF spokesman claims PM has failed to keep promises

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 2, 2014) – The Fiji political opposition grouping, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the broken promises made by the regime in 2013 show it is not serious about a democratic election this year.

One of group’s leaders, Mick Beddoes, says Frank Bainimarama announced he would step down as Commander of the military, announced his replacement and promised the release of a new Electoral Decree.

But he says none of those promises, which are critical for a democratic election, has been fulfilled.

“A lot of these things are not being announced because of the negative reaction they will get. They talk about transparency and accountability. Well, if they’re accountable – and we’re heading 9 months into a return to democracy – what kind of democracy can we expect, if 9 months out from a general election they can’t practise democratic principles?”

Mick Beddoes says 2013’s broken promises will be added to what he calls the litany of lies of the past six years, including undeclared salaries and corruption.

Radio New Zealand International:

27) Lies by Fiji regime shows it is not serious about elections – UFDF

Updated at 5:55 am on 3 January 2014

The Fiji political opposition grouping, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji says the broken promises made by the regime in 2013 show it is not serious about a democratic election this year.

One of group’s leaders, Mick Beddoes, says Frank Bainimarama announced he would step down as Commander of the military, announce his replacement and promised the release of a new Electoral Decree.

But he says none of those promises, which are critical for a democratic election, has been fulfilled.

“A lot of these things are not being announced because of the negative reaction they will get. They talk about transparency and accountability. Well, if they’re accountable – and we’re heading 9 months into a return to democracy – what kind of democracy can we expect, if 9 months out from a general election they can’t practise democratic principles?”

Mick Beddoes says 2013’s broken promises will be added to what he calls the litany of lies of the past six years, including undeclared salaries and corruption.

Fiji PM urges people to vote in September polls

Fiji’s prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has called on Fijians to do their part as the country is set to go to the polls this year – for the first time since 2006.

In his New Year’s message, Commodore Bainimarama said the old days of a single loud voice dictating the votes of many are over permanently.

He says from now, each and every Fijian is free to vote with their minds.

Commodore Bainimarama says negative political and personal attacks and distorting facts are corrosive, adding that the diseased political behaviour of the past must be over and done with.

Elections have been promised for September but the regime is yet to set up the commission to appoint the body to run the poll.

Commodore Bainimarama has said he will stand although he has not formed a party yet.Radio New Zealand>


28a) Criminal to be deported to NZ

Updated at 11:53 am today

A man with serious criminal convictions is to be deported to New Zealand because he is too much of a risk to the safety of Australian citizens.

Marouna Williams, 24, is a New Zealand citizen who spent most of his childhood in the Cook Islands and has lived in Australia since 1998.

He has told the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia that he has no recollection of living in New Zealand.

Williams has convictions for unprovoked attacks on train passengers which left one man in a coma for months.

Some of his offences were committed with his older brother and two cousins.

The tribunal has upheld a decision of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to deport him to New Zealand where his parents are living.Radio New Zealand

28b) Maori/Pacific gang violence in Melbourne

Updated 15 May 2013, 17:16 AEST

Video footage of violent attacks by a mainly Maori and Pacific island youth gang in the Australian city of Melbourne has caused shock and dismay.

An item shown on Channel Seven this week showed close circuit TV footage of members of the so-called KYR gang performing an armed robbery, and additional video of an assault at a train station.

Here’s how TV viewers heard about the incidents.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Pacific Island youth worker in Melbourne, Leon Manuel, Channel Seven reporter Cameron Baud

NEWS READER : Good evening. Shocking vision has emerged of a notorious teen gang terrorising Melburnians in a crime spree that knows no boundaries in terms of suburbs or violence. The thugs have (fade out)

HILL: One gang member lands punch after punch on a Sri Lankan teenager at a suburban train station while an onlooker appears to afraid to intervene and other alleged KYR members with masked faces and caps use a baseball bat and an axe to rob a MacDonalds store and threaten the staff.

But what’s really disturbing for the Pacific communities in Melbourne is this part of the TV item from Channel 7 reporter, Cameron Baud.

BOW: The majority of the gang members are migrants of Maori or Islander backgrounds. Some have older relatives in jail and/or connections to gangs in New Zealand.

HILL: A man who knows about the problems faced by Pacific Island young people in Melbourne is youth worker, Leon Manuel. He said the video footage made for grim watching.

MANUEL: I was very shocked at seeing what was happening, just the amount of violence being dished out to the Sri Lankan kid that was there on the train station, even the attack at the MacDonald store, very, very shocked.

HILL: And when the reporter said that the gang were mainly Maori and Pacific Island. Did that cause you concern or were you surprised to hear that?

MANUEL: No, I’m not surprised Bruce. If this is left unchecked, and these kids will pretty much be left to their own devices to do what they want unless something is done about it.

HILL: Is this a particular issue in the Maori and Pacific Island communities here in Melbourne?

MANUEL: Yeah, the issue is these kids are going and doing it. They are a minority of what’s happening were not seen as violence race. These kids, like I was saying, they’re just misguided and need some direction. So whether they’re doing it in a gang environment, being spurred onto do this, yeah.

HILL: A lot of people in the Pacific Island community, in particular, stress church attendance as the most important aspect of  belonging to the Pacific Island community. One would imagine, these kids are not the ones that are going to church every Sunday?

MANUEL: I don’t think they’re going to church or to priests. It’s clearly seen on the footage there, yeah.

HILL: Is there anything that can be done about this to combat the problem?

MANUEL: That’s a good question. We could sit around and talk about it Bruce, but they’ll just be words. Maybe we should speak to these kids and ask them what they want. Most of the time they don’t know. They’re just living for the day. They’re not thinking about the future, so ?

HILL: Well, you’re a youth worker, you’ve worked with some of these kids. What do they say, what are they trying to do get out of going into, I mean in what possible alternate universe does doing this kind of thing end well for them or are they just not thinking that far ahead?

MANUEL: They’re just not thinking that far ahead. They’re on a day-to-day. They’re just there to survive. They’re not getting any sort of income from the government. They’re not entitled to  some sort of payment or benefit. Then they’ll go out and do this, because they can.

HILL: When I was a kid in New Zealand, growing up, I went to school and there were a lot of Maori and Pacific Island kids there and they tended on the whole to be much bigger than everyone else and one or two of them used that to their own advantage and I wonder if this is where it starts, just being physically larger and perhaps sometimes using that to get your own way and if no-one stops you, this path ends in a jail cell?

MANUEL: That’s right, and they know that they are bigger, so that gives them that advantage to go out and push their way around, just push people, just a form of bullying, the way I see it and unless someone’s bigger to come along and push back, I don’t think that’s the answer.

HILL: Is this problem getting worse in Melbourne, do you think?

MANUEL: It will get worse left unchecked Bruce, it’s going to get worse, unless we do something about it.

HILL: Well, where could this all end up if it gets worse?

MANUEL: Well, it will end up if one the kids end up killing someone, then that will be highlighted as we’ve definitely got a problem, if it gets to that stage.

HILL: But it doesn’t sound like you’re very optimistic that much is going to be done to prevent that?

MANUEL: Well no, no that’s right. I’m not really optimistic Bruce. Unless the messages is out there to churches, to please talk to their youth group, to spread the word, even out to all the sporting clubs, the Cook Island, New Zealand, just the Polynesian groups that are out there just to, for the leaders just to talk to their kids and see what they think about what’s happening, just to bring it home to them.

HILL: And, of course, for parents to talk to their kids?

MANUEL: Yes, especially the parents.Most of the time, they don’t know they’re kids are out doing this.

29) Domestic violence on the rise in Fiji over Christmas

Posted 4 January 2014, 1:31 AEST

Domestic violence rates in Fiji have spiked over the Christmas period with more than 100 cases reported in the past week.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre says it has received reports of 120 cases of violence against women in the past eight days.

It comes less than a month after the centre released the results of a survey that showed 64 per cent of women in Fiji suffer from sexual and physical abuse.

The Crisis Centre’s coordinator, Shamima Ali, told Pacific Beat her organisation is shocked by the grim statistics.

“We often find it starts just before Christmas and then between Christmas and New Year’s Day it really peaks,” she said.

“This is because there’s a lot of alcohol consumption, there’s a lot of conflicts about the financial constraints caused by this…the fact that people stay away from home and drink, go clubbing, and perhaps don’t get back home, all this under the influence of alcohol.

“There’s a lot of family tensions, this is a time when families get together in the country…often the most vulnerable…are the women.”

Ms Ali says many incidents of violence against girls and women are not reported to authorities.

“The national survey actually showed that only about 10 per cent of women ever report to either police (or) social welfare,” she said.

“Only five per cent ever get help from shelters and organisations like ours …many of them go unreported, particularly given the inaccessibility of areas like the interiors of the two islands and the maritime islands where these services are not available.”

Ms Ali says the cases that are being reported come from across the country.

“Suva has got the highest because it covers a wider area, but we have also had high rates from Nadi and also Labasa…and Ba,” she said.

“If you look at this problem globally, it is such an entrenched problem.

“To bring about any change you have to have a total change in mindset, attitudes and thinking, and cultural change.

“You can have the best of laws, but if the people who are implementing those laws, if they don’t get it then I’m sorry, we’re not able to make a deeper stand in eliminating violence against women.”

Ms Ali says there are risks and benefits for women brave enough to speak publically of their experience of violence.

“I believe that it does help the cause but what we need is that if ..women go public they need free counselling, they need to be prepared to face the repercussions which in some cases can be quite a lot,” she said.

Ms Ali says women who do tell their stories publically require ongoing counselling and that the Pacific’s record of providing appropriate counselling is mixed.

“There are counselling centres all around the Pacific,” she said.

“We work in about thirteen countries …but sometimes the centres don’t actually respond appropriately if they are not well trained.

“If they haven’t had the experience, then often they can do a lot more damage.

“I would say in the Pacific there are …some centres that are providing a very good service and there’s a lot more work that needs to be done in providing …appropriate services…for women and girls that are being violated in this manner.”Radio Australia.

30) Money laundering and prostitution related charges issued in Palau

Updated at 4:20 pm on 3 January 2014

In Palau, a state governor, a business executive and two Filipino nationals are facing charges in relation to prostitution and money-laundering operations.

The Peleliu governor, Temmy Shmull, is charged with soliciting prostitutes at a karaoke bar in Koror.

The Marianas Variety reports the man running the establishment is facing employment restriction charges and failing to obtain a foreign investment approval certificate needed when operating a business with a foreign national.

The owner of the bar, Grace Baconga, who is a Filipino national and a local sponsor, Jeryl Blas, who is also originally from the Philippines, are facing charges of people trafficking, advancing prostitution, profiting from prostitution and money laundering.

The bar closed after a police raid a month ago.

According to the paper, there have been reports that three female workers fled from the bar, saying that the DJ assaulted one of them.

The workers say they were recruited in the Philippines to work as waitresses or cashiers at a fine dining restaurant, but were shocked to find they were to work as so called guest-relations officers at the bar.

31) Solomon Islander Reportedly Dies While In Police Custody
Police investigating after presenting family with custom money

By Solomon Lofana

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 3, 2014) – Solomon Islands police were forced to give five shell money to relatives of a young man who died in police custody on Wednesday following his arrest earlier that day.

This was to quell a potentially explosive situation yesterday after a large group of relatives gathered at the Guadalcanal Provincial police headquarters at Henderson to demand compensation.

Guadalcanal provincial police commander David Siosi confirmed presenting the five shell money to relatives of the young man, and added the death incident is under investigation.

Mr Diosi said yesterday’s situation was volatile and the police have to tread cautiously to resolve the matter.

A statement police issued said the young man was arrested around 1am on 1 January 2014 when they responded to a road block incident at the crossroad near Henderson airport.

“The deceased was subsequently taken and placed in police custody,” the statement said.

“At 10am, duty officers discovered the suspect in custody was unconscious and suspected dead.

“The RSIPF Executive was informed along with the police forensic and Professional Standard and Internal Investigations (PSII) investigators.

“The deceased was later transported to the National Referral Hospital where he was pronounced dead my medical authorities on arrival.”

The statement said preliminary pathological examinations to identify the cause of death have been carried out by medical staff.

“The incident is now an active police investigation and investigators are appealing to relatives and wantoks respect the rule of law and allow police to carry-out their investigation.

“The deceased is believed to be in his 20’s and may have lived around the Kwaio market area near the Henderson cross road.

“Members of the public who may have any information in relation to the deceased are urged to come forward and assist police with their investigation.”

Solomon Star


32) Water overflow

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, January 04, 2014

THE Suva City Council says that buildings along Greig St will be demolished and rebuilt with their floors half a metre above sea level to protect them from flooding when the Nubukalou creek breaks its banks.

This was revealed by the acting CEO Bijay Chand yesterday after the latest incident where shops along Greig St were flooded by rising waters.

“We are aware of the situation and one of the problems is that buildings along there are below sea level and are sinking,” Mr Singh said.

“So we are in talks with the owners of the building, the FNPF to have the buildings demolished and rebuilt with floors 0.5m above sea level.

“And it will become a condition for buildings in Suva that all buildings must have their floors half a metre above sea level.”

Mr Chand also said that the long term plan for the Nubukalou was to have it dredged.

Mr Singh said this would help to protect the ground floor tenants from having their shops affected by the creek.

33) World Bank aids Samoa’s coastal communities

Updated at 3:08 pm on 3 January 2014

The World Bank is to give Samoa 14 point 6 million US dollars to help coastal communities adapt to climate change.

The Bank’s Pacific country director, Franz Drees-Gross, says it wants to help secure the future of Samoa’s coastal communities by investing in the adaptation measures needed to cope with the impacts of climate change today and for the longer-term.

The project will help strengthen the capacity of targeted communities to update and implement local Coastal Infrastructure Plans and will focus on increasing the resilience of coastlines, near-shore areas, and coral reefs.

Additionally, the project will work with civil society groups and local leaders to improve the national climate information services, create public awareness of issues relating to climate resilience, and increase the availability of data for risk analysis, hazard mapping, and knowledge sharing.

34) Road closed in Samoa due to flooding

Updated at 5:36 pm on 3 January 2014

A main road in the east of Upolu in Samoa has been closed for repairs after sustaining damage from flooding.

Disaster Management officials say heavy rain has caused widespread flooding in low lying areas and all rivers across the country.

The assistant chief executive of the Disaster Management Office says the worst flooding is affecting the Vaisigano river in Apia and the Mali’oli’o and Lano rivers, both on Sava’ii.

Filomena Nelson says the most damage occurred on part of the main road to Aleipata in Ti’avea village, where a mini-van accident occurred early on Thursday, which left two dead and two missing.

“The road is now closed for several days until we get it fixed by a contractor. The Land Transport Authority has closed the road and they’re going to have a contractor to have it fixed before it is open to the public.”

Filomena Nelson says residents in Samoa are being advised to boil water before drinking and to avoid playing in the floodwaters.


35) New Caledonia’s Vale reopens nickel plant

Updated at 5:55 am on 3 January 2014

The Vale nickel company in New Caledonia says it has restarted its plant after last November’s effluent pipe breakage.

The six-billion US dollar plant halted operations after it became known that the pipe leading through a lagoon of a World Heritage site was broken.

The company says the 26-kilometre pipe has been repaired and reconnected with the approval of the authorities.

Vale says the incident caused no damage to the environment but there was criticism that the authorities and the mining giant have been too lax.

Five years ago, Vale caused an acid spill and was fined, but the sentence has been appealed by the prosecution, with a ruling due next month.Radio new Zealand.


36) Villagers harvest seaweed

Salaseini Moceiwai
Sunday, January 05, 2014

VILLAGERS of Kavewa and Lakeba in northern Macuata have started to reap the rewards of their labour after reaping the harvest from their seaweed farms last week.

The project, initiated by the Fisheries Department, was aimed at villagers having quick cash in an effort to improve their livelihood.

Principal fisheries officer Northern Joji Vakawaletabua yesterday said villagers of Kavewa harvested almost one tonne of seaweed while more than half a tonne was harvested by Lakeba villagers.

“One tonne of dried seaweed costs $800 and these villagers have continued to harvest from their respective farms as of today,” he said.

“The villagers have started the new year in style as they have pocketed cash for their children’s educational needs and other household expenses.

“We are initiating these farming schemes for coastal villagers because it’s an easy and quick way of generating high income.”

Mr Vakawaletabua said they would continue to assist more villagers with such farming schemes.

Kavewa village headman Emosi Time thanked the department for the scheme, saying more than 20 villagers benefited from it.

It was earlier reported that the department assisted the villagers with some equipment to help them start their farms.

The department had also continuously monitored the farms to ensure that they were successfully matured for harvest.

37) Bank sets branch in remote village

The National, Friday January 3rd, 2013

THE Nenga Romtemb Seeds of Hope Association project was approved by the Mt Hagen Bank South Pacific (BSP) last Friday.
BSP officials in Mt Hagen travelled to Waknam village in Mul district to approve the establishment of rural banking in Waknam.
That is one of several projects the association has initiated. The association was the initiative of elites of the Nenga Romtemb clan who aimed to give back to their community through basic services.
The association had built the Waknam Health Centre, sponsored students to pursue education, established churches in the area and bought two chainsaws for cutting timber to build permanent houses.
Association president John Joe Taka said they wanted to give back to their community whichever way they could.
“We aim to make our place a role model by setting up services in the area. We can’t wait for the government to provide us all these vital services,’’he said.
Taka said their people had been neglected by the government over the years in terms of basic services.
“If we continue to expect from government, nothing will happen and our people back in the village will suffer,’’ he said.

38) New Caledonia bank fees cut

Updated at 3:08 pm on 3 January 2014

Banks in New Caledonia have cut fees as of the beginning of this month in response to government pressure.

An agreement signed by the territory’s banking sector and the French high commissioner has lowered the cost of keeping an account and of online fees.

The change was pushed by the French prime minister, Jean Marc Ayrault, who visited Noumea last year.

New Caledonia’s bank fees have been 34 percent higher than in France.

39) Ministry of Sugar confirms Chinese interest in buying Fiji sugar

Updated at 3:08 pm on 3 January 2014

The Fiji ministry of sugar says Chinese investors have shown interest in buying at least 100,000 tonnes of sugar annually.

The ministry recently met a team from China’s Reserve Bank in Lautoka to discuss a joint partnership with the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

The sugar ministry’s permanent secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel Manasa Vaniqi, says Fiji’s sugar will have to openly compete in the European, and world markets, once the sugar quota system expires in 2017.

He says plans for a sugar refinery to process the country’s raw sugar means Fiji will be able to compete with other sugar-producing nations.

We have to do it because of the expiration of the quota system – we have been forced into this situation. We have no choice – we really have to look at this value-added product to be able to be competitive.

Lieutenant-Colonel Manasa Vaniqi says he feels very optimistic about the future of the industry and Fiji is now targeting new markets including the Middle East.

40) Bougainville to defy PNG beche de mer ban

Updated at 5:36 pm on 3 January 2014

Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville Islanders are warning the Government that they will defy an extended ban on harvesting beche-de-mer.

In a letter to the National Fisheries Minister, Tauhu Pais of Tasman Island, who represents the province’s atolls says his communities have not been provided with any alternative arrangements to sustain their livelihoods.

The 2010 ban on beche-de-mer collection was recently extended to 2017 to allow stocks to recover.

The Post Courier reports that the former provincial politician says the atoll communities have complied with the ban until now but have faced severe hardships as a result, including food shortages.

Mr Pais says the communities, except for the Cartarets, intend to harvest the marine species, starting this month for six months.

He says a constitutional clause empowers the paramount chiefs of any ethnic group to have total control over its resources.

41) Fiji To Introduce Shipping, Passenger Fare Price Controls
6-month order expected to be announced by Cabinet soon

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan .2, 2014) – The Cabinet has agreed to introduce a price control order on shipping and passenger fares and review the current price control on freight charges for all shipping services in Fiji.

This was done after a six months consultation process by a seven-member technical working group.

Cabinet agreed the order is to be for six months subject to better quality data being presented to the Fiji Commerce Commission by operators for better analysis.

The order is yet to come in effect and the commission will be making an announcement shortly.

Cabinet also agreed to the revocation of the price control on barge freight rates and wants laws in place for the monitoring of barge fees and charges

The Cabinet also revoked the Copra Freight Rates Order of 1992. The copra rates will form part of a single order that will look at all passenger fare and freight rates.

Cabinet said the feasible rates of passenger fares shall be the same for government vessels and private vessels servicing uneconomical routes in maritime islands in Fiji.

According to the Cabinet, this will ensure no “under-cutting” exists for private operators as a result of the operations of government vessels.

The Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities has been tasked to review the Fiji shipping franchise scheme and sea route licensing scheme.

The ministry is to report back to Cabinet with its recommendations.

Fiji Times Online:

42) PNG Power Ltd. Announces Rate Hike For New Year
CEO says higher tariffs due to fluctuating fuel prices

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 2, 2014) – People will pay more for the electricity they use from this month, PNG Power Ltd (PPL) says.

Chief executive officer John Tangit said electricity tariffs went up by 5.9% from yesterday, January 1.

In a statement, he said the increase had been approved by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.

“This is an annual review in electricity tariffs specifically based on the fluctuations in fuel prices, the consumer price index, exchange rates of the kina and Australian dollar, exchange rate of the US dollar over the 12 months from October 2012 to September 2013,” he said.

“PPL remains heavily dependent on oil to maintain (power) supply, especially in the smaller isolated centres.

“This is the major operational cost for the company with variations in price having a major effect on PPL’s ability to invest in the necessary infrastructure to improve in infrastructure.”

On the Australian dollar exchange rate, he said the company imported most of its new equipment, spare parts and specialist assistance from Australia.

“So these variables (consumer price index and exchange rate) are contributing factors to PPL’s investment strategy,” he said.

The Kanudi power station, which supplies Port Moresby, “is a significant operational cost with the supply contract established in US dollars.”

Consumers pay 86 toea [US$0.33] more for domestic Easipay use.

The old rate was 0.6968 toea [US$0.27]/kwh. The new rate is 0.7379 toea [US$0.29]/kwh for a unit of power.

For example, 19 units cost K14.56 [US$5.64] (including VAT) at the old rate.

“It cost K15.42 [US$5.98] at the new rate.

“The minimum amount of K15 for Easipay remains the same.

“It means that consumers who use less than K15 worth of electricity will still have to pay K15.”

Tangit said the company had an obligation to provide a reliable and cost effective service and its only source of revenue was from the tariffs set for electricity services.

“PNG Power does not rely on the Government’s budgetary system.

“The tariffs enable (the company) to earn an acceptable rate of return on assets to fund new capital works and provide electricity to the majority of the population,” he said.

The National:


43) Concern for women

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, January 04, 2014

THE Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has taken on 120 cases of violence against women in the past eight days.

FWCC co-ordinator Shamima Ali said the high incidences of violence against women was alarming.

In a statement FWCC said it had earlier warned that such problems would arise during the festive season.

According to figures provided by FWCC, the Suva centre saw 56 women for counselling.

Of the 56, 36 were domestic violence cases, one was for sexual harassment while 19 for other issues.

In Nadi, two new rape cases were seen while 10 rape victims came for counselling.

FWCC said there were 26 cases of domestic violence in Nadi as well.

Five people were counselled for domestic violence issues at the Rakiraki centre with another five being counselled for other family issues.

In Labasa, the FWCC branch counselled 11 women.

Nine were for domestic violence cases, one of sexual harassment and one for other issues.

Ms Ali said what was more alarming was that more women living in violence but were afraid to come forward.

Police director operations Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said this was a concern.

He added police will issue a statement later.

44) More kids face abuse

Shayal Devi
Sunday, January 05, 2014

CHILDREN have been subjected to intentional physical and mental violence from parents and guardians.

And Empower Pacific, an NGO, says this form of abuse has been “extensively noticeable”.

Empower Pacific CEO Patrick Morgam revealed that as a result of such incidents, approximately 114 children and their families received counselling and social work support from Empower Pacific last year.

He said the children were referred to the NGO by the Department of Social Welfare and others.

“Parents don’t mean to hurt their children but it is because of anger that they end up hurting them and do not realise what they have done until later on,” he said. “We have seen quite a lot of cases coming up so the number of parents intentionally hurting their children has increased.”

Mr Morgam stressed there was a need to reduce cases of violence against children. He said predominant referral issues from alternative sources included cases that were domestic violence related, sexual harm, physical harm and neglect.

Aprt from it being extensively noticeable, he said: “Also, the dependency of children and especially traditional beliefs that parents and grown-ups have total rights over children has exposed children to violence.”

Mr Morgam said statistics showed a total of 79 families had case plans where children’s issues, including medical, education, emotional and child protection issues were being addressed in therapeutic intervention.

“This equates to a total of 187 children.”

He believes a lot of abuse cases have not been reported.

“After the emergence of more strict laws and more severe punishment, people are becoming more confident and getting out of their traditional barriers. I also believe that the increased violence against children is also linked to the increase in social problems.”

Mr Morgam said children could not do much to protect themselves therefore the responsibility fell on parents and society to create awareness on these issues.

“Organisations such as Empower Pacific can help train parents on anger management, stress management and child protection. We need stricter laws when it comes to children’s well being.

“The communities should work together and address these issues during gatherings and create more awareness. Empower Pacific has trained counsellors and social workers who can assist in facilitating community awareness program.”

He said parents should be more patient when dealing with children and take lessons on anger management to reduce excessive reactions when angry and develop skills to use anger as a signal to redirect their behaviour.

45) New farming project in Fiji to reduce poverty

Updated at 1:18 pm on 3 January 2014

A farming project aimed at reducing poverty and social issues among youth in Fiji has been launched.

A villager from Vunimoli on Vanua Levu, Eminoni Limalevu, has introduced the scheme for dozens of youth groups on the island, with support from the Vodafone Foundation Fiji World of Difference programme.

A spokesperson for the World of Difference Programme, Ambalika Kutty, says under the scheme, the youth groups with land learn to plant and sell produce such as pineapples, watermelons, casava and sweet potato.

She says the profit is placed in a savings account and used to further their education and improve their livelihoods.

“Initially the minimum income that they get per annum is five thousand [Fiji] dollars and the maximum that they’re looking at is around over a hundred thousand. These youths are unemployed youths and they don’t earn anything. So five thousand dollars for them minimum in Fiji for the unemployed youths is very good.”

Amablika Kutty says the farming scheme involves youth groups from 14 villages in Labasa district.


46) Leaders’ golf meet

Saturday, January 04, 2014

HONOLULU – President Barack Obama has met New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for a game of golf in Hawaii.

The two leaders teed off on a sunny and breezy morning at a course at a military base on Oahu, the Hawaiian island where Mr Obama is renting a vacation home. Mr Key owns a home in Hawaii.

The golf outing put Mr Key in rarefied company. Mr Obama is an avid golfer, but prefers to limit his playing partners to a close circle of friends and advisers.

Among those who have scored invitations to play with Mr Obama in the past are former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker John Boehner.

47) Touch team goes global

Emoni Narawa
Saturday, January 04, 2014

THE University of the South Pacific touch rugby team is hoping to expose its talents against some of the country top players this season.

The side recently returned from Australia after competing at the New South Wales State Cup at Port Macquarie where over 300 teams from the world engaged in the competition.

USP touch rugby coach Tevita Mau said they wanted to expose the players to international competition.

Mau said the NSW State Cup was a good buildup for his players as they prepare for the new season.

“The objective of the tour was to expose our club talent to top level competition and fast-track their development bearing in mind the Pacific Games in PNG and World Cup in Australia in 2015,” he said.

The side was made up of USP students and former scholars who have recently joined the workforce after graduating.

Mau thanked all sponsors and supporters who contributed to the travelling expenditures during the tour.

He said he saw huge potential in the team.

“The ability of the USP Touch club to solicit the required funds speaks volumes of the commitment by the members to work together and scale a mountain often reserved for the parent association, fundamental in the achievements was spiritual faith and reliance on God.”


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