Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 922


1) Major Water Supply To Solomon Islands Capital Shut Off
Kovi landowners claim tribe’s royalties unpaid for 20 years

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 7, 2014) – Landowners of Kovi customary land have closed the source of the water that supplied 60 percent of Honiara city in the Solomon Islands on 24th of December.

The action came following what the landowners claimed as failure by the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees to address the Kakau Valihelu tribe’s concerns over royalty payments which they have never been part of for the last twenty years.

The action was taken following a seven days’ notice being issued to the government, Solomon Water, Kongulai land trustees and other relevant authorities about the closure which lapsed on the Christmas Eve.

And following their non-response the landowners closed the water source.

Spokesman for the tribe, Bernard Supoua said the action was taken because they felt it is enough to be treated unfairly.

“We are the landowners of the water source of Kongulai (Kovi sinkhole) but we have never received any benefit from what we own. Despite our numerous efforts voicing our concerns to the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees, our concerns only fell on deaf ears. So we believe it is time we should act to let them know of our frustrations,” Supoua said.

Kakau Valihelu tribe claimed they had been left out of millions of dollars paid out as royalty benefits since day one.

“We only receive one payment in 1998 for a month but before and after that year we do not receive anymore. This came following a verbal agreement we make with the trustees. But since then we have to ask them before we get any dollar. Otherwise we would have got nothing at all,” Supoua stressed.

The spokesperson added it does not look right for someone who owns the water source got nothing while those who never owned the source (Kongulai land trusstess) are the beneficiaries for the past 20 years.

Legal advisor of Kakau Valihelu tribe said the tribe has genuine concerns that the government and relevant authorities must act on urgently.

The legal advisor who wished not to be named said this is a long standing issue that the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees had ignored for so long.

“It is the failure of these three parties that resulted in the closure which is now affecting more than 60% of the Honiara residents. If it was not for these parties’ negligence and ignorance of the landowners concerns, this situation would not have eventuated to affect innocent lives in the city,” the legal advisor said.

The Solomon Star understands one of the contributing factors to close the water sources was the revelation of a SBD$9 million [US$1.2 million] payout the government will make to the Kongulai land trustees before Christmas.

Knowing if they don’t act, they will be losers despite their efforts to get certain percentage of the royalty payments and be recognised as the resource owner.

But the Solomon Star understands that payment has not been done last month for unknown reasons.

Until the end of the seven day’s notice on Christmas Eve, the landowners did not receive any response yet from the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees.

“The Kovi water sinkhole will close until our concerns are met and addressed accordingly. Because we believe there is no other way the government and relevant authorities could listen to our cries,” Supoua added.

However Supoua said the door is open for negotiation.

He said they are willing to sit with the government and parties’ concern to negotiate over this issue.

Adding, as owners of the Kongulai water source, they want to see fair treatment and justice.

The landowners also want to see a new agreement drafted to include them as beneficiaries and get certain percentage of the royalty payment and be included in the board of trustees since they are the owners of the water source.

Meanwhile Supoua said while they felt sorry for the action they took, they said it happens because some people are not doing their job.

“This happens not by our own choice but of the choice of the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees. To deny innocent lives from access to clean water and risk to diseases,” Supoua said.

Solomon Star

2) Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati

Unofisel Risal blong Port Vila Munisipol Kaonsel eleksen

Olgeta –

Folem unofisel risal blong Port Vila Munisipol Kaonsel eleksen, i luk olsem GJP i winim 2 jea nomo (aot long 17).

Grin Pati i winim 6, VP mo UMP i winim 4 each, GJP winim 2 mo wan Indipenden i winim 1.

Kaonsela blong yumi long Saoten Ward long 2009-2013, Jenny Tasale, hemi bin lusum jea blong hem. Indipenden kandidet i winim Reserve Seat long Saoten Ward we hemi stap kontest from.

Yumi winim Reserve Seat blong Noten Ward (Ms Rose Peter) mo wan blong olgeta Open Seat long Noten Ward (Mr Elison Tabisal).

Risalt hemi disappointing taem yu tingbaot hae namba we GJP i kasem long 2012 eleksen long Port Vila konstituensi, be hemi soem tu se yumi nid blong mekem moa wok blong organaesem pati long grasrut level long Vila.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu.

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 7 January 2014

by bobmakin

With today being a public holiday (Torres to Hunter – or Leka – and Matthew?) for the municipal elections for Port Vila, I was giving the vanuatudaily blog a “day off” for today. But no, this exercise in democracy for the capital has involved already a late night drama and court sitting! And Freshwater / FOL ward’s vote is postponed until 2 this afternoon!!!

A candidate on the Reserved list, standing in Freshwater / FOL, was late last night refused candidacy by the Electoral Commission because she had, like many of the town’s citizenry, failed to pay her municipal dues amounting to over VT 200.000. She was given the required legal notice to do so before being taken off the list of eligible candidates by the Commission. However, the intending candidate took the matter to court after the late night sitting of the Commission and a sitting of the Court early this morning and paid her dues, it is also understood, early this morning. Her ballot papers are now being printed and Freshwater / FOL will be able to vote this afternoon. Early advice had it that voting there would be tomorrow. However, later it was announced voting wold take place this afternoon. But it is not understood yet whether this afternoon will give sufficient time for the poll and what effect this might have on the declaration of the poll at other voting stations. Will a further judicial ruling be required?

Democracy has once again needed the assistance of the judiciary in Vanuatu to which we all must give thanks regardless of possibly long early morning waits for some at FOL.


4) Guam working through nearly US$22M owed on land

By Online Editor
12:40 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Guam

Guam’s territorial government still owes nearly US$22 million to previous landowners nearly six years after buying land for a landfill.

Pacific Daily News reported Monday that only a small portion of the US$25 million compensation award has been paid US$3.4 million.

The landowners are owed the difference of $21.7 million plus interest at 6 percent per year since 2008, under a court decision from 2012.

Chief Legal Counsel Sandra Miller of the Guam government says it’s not clear whether the interest is compounded. She says the interest will accrue until the debt is paid but she isn’t aware of any due date for the full amount.

Miller said the debt could be resolved through ongoing mediation that technically started in August. The sides have not met.


5) Short films to deliver health messages in remote Indigenous communities where soft drink is cheaper than water

Updated 7 January 2014, 21:39 AEST
By Felicity James

A series of short films will attempt to spread health messages about issues like diabetes in remote Indigenous communities.

A Darwin-based record company is using its connections with Indigenous musicians to spread health messages in remote communities.

Thirty short films, written by people living in the communities, will be launched over the next two months.

Nigel Yunupingu stars in the film Sugar Man, which addresses excess sugar consumption in his community of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land.

Skinnyfish Music co-founder Mark Grose says the films will be launched by the record label across the Northern Territory.

“I’ve got to say that all of the guys we’ve worked with are just natural actors, they just do such a great job,” he said.

“Because it’s something that’s important to them.”

The films have been devised and written by people from Western Arnhem Land to Croker Island, with help from the record label and filmmaker Paul Williams.

Mr Grose says every community has taken a different approach.

“So it’s really Aboriginal people speaking to Aboriginal people about a modern issue,” he said.

“So I guess in a way, people aren’t being lectured to, they don’t have an expert or a doctor coming in saying this is what you have to do.”

The overall message is “get active, eat bush tucker and live longer”.

Soft drinks cheaper than water

Comedy, music and traditional knowledge are used to tackle serious health issues, including excess consumption of soft drinks.

In August last year, remote retailer Outback Stores reported a drop in sugared soft drink sales for the first time.

But John Paterson from the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT says, in many remote stores, it is still the case that water is more expensive than soft drink.

In a lot of communities as soon as you walk in those community stores the first thing you see is a refrigerator full of Coke.

John Paterson

“In a lot of communities as soon as you walk in those community stores the first thing you see is a refrigerator full of Coke,” he said.

Mr Paterson says fruit, vegetables and other healthy food options are also too expensive in remote community stores.

“Unfortunately I think there’s a huge reliance on the fast-food takeaway products, which is obviously contributing to obesity, diabetes and a whole range of other chronic illnesses,” he said.

“This is why we want to encourage those shop owners, those chain stores that have a presence in Aboriginal communities, to seriously consider what they stock in their stores and really consider the long-term implications.”

Mr Paterson says community awareness is part of the problem but a government subsidy for stores could also be a solution.

“We need them to either carry out appropriate negotiations with government to get that subsidy if that’s what it requires to get the much healthier products into those community stores,” he said.

Some communities focusing on return to bush tucker

Mr Paterson says a return to using bush tucker in meals is also a positive step.

“When I visited my grandmother in her home communities, where they predominantly lived off bush tucker foods … they were a lot healthier,” he said.

“I know there are some communities now that are really focusing on returning to the consumption of bush tucker and utilising more bush tucker in their meals.”

Rates of diabetes and rheumatic heart disease are much higher among Australia’s Indigenous population.

The need for regular medical check-ups and anti-smoking messages are also featured in the films.

Those involved in the project hope to get the films into all remote health centres and schools across the Northern Territory.


6) Auckland house prices continue to rise

Updated at 1:44 pm on 8 January 2014

Auckland’s biggest real estate agency says the average price of a home in the city has never been higher.

Barfoot and Thompson said the average residential sale price in December last year was $700,387.

During the month, the agency sold 817 properties, the second highest number for that month in a decade.

The company says the figures are signs of an improving economy and it is predicting a strong first quarter this year because of high demand for homes and pressure on supply.

The median price for December was $629,000, which was 14% higher than the December 2012 median of $550,000.


7) More than 1,000 sick as tainted food scandal widens in Japan

Updated 8 January 2014, 20:33 AEST

More than 1,000 people have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food in Japan.

Jiji press reports that more than 1,000 people have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food as a scandal widens across Japan.

People have reported vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating products including pizza and lasagne made by a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, the nation’s largest seafood firm.

The number of people affected by the tainted food has now risen to over 1,000, with more than 200 taken ill in the northern main island of Hokkaido alone, Jiji said.

In western Osaka prefecture, a nine-month-old baby was hospitalised with vomiting on Monday after eating a product called creamy corn croquettes, the report said.

Police began investigating the company last month after it revealed some of its frozen food had been tainted with malathion, an agricultural chemical often used to kill aphids in corn and rice fields.

Detectives are looking at the possibility that the pesticide was deliberately added to the food at some stage of production at a factory in Gunma, north of Tokyo, Jiji said.

As of Wednesday, Maruha Nichiro has received about 630,000 phone calls from consumers in connection with the incident, including complaints from customers who had eaten tainted products and some reporting unusual odours, a company spokeswoman said.

The food maker has recalled 6.4 million potentially tainted products, with 1.49 million packages recovered so far, she said.

None of the products in question had been shipped overseas, the company said.

While food scares do happen in Japan – in August 2012 E. coli-riddled cabbage killed seven people and sickened dozens – standards are relatively high.

However, a much-vaunted reputation for safe and high quality food has been badly affected by the Fukushima atomic disaster, which saw acres of farmland polluted by nuclear fall-out and many countries restrict agricultural imports from the area.


8a) 187 million shiver as ‘polar vortex’ hits Canada and U.S
By Online Editor
08:59 am GMT+12, 08/01/2014, United States

A blast of bone-chilling cold has snarled air travel, closed schools and prompted calls for people to stay inside in the US and Canada, as temperatures plunge to lows not seen in two decades.

Superlatives of cold-talk abounded, even in midwestern states used to chest-high snow and bitter cold, as the National Weather Service said the deep freeze was making its way east.

Air travel was a nightmare, stranding many travellers trying to head home from year’s end holidays.

More than 4300 US flights were cancelled – nearly half of those in Chicago – and more than 6500 were delayed, according to FlightAware, a flight-monitoring site.

Toronto’s Pearson Airport halted ground operations early on Tuesday because of “equipment freezing” and out of concern for the safety of airport personnel, it said on its Twitter account.

Flights were scheduled to resume at 9am local time, but police were reinforced at the airport amid rising tension among stranded travellers.

Airline JetBlue said it was reducing operations at four airports in the bustling northeast corridor – JFK, La Guardia, Newark and Boston – until 10am.

More than a dozen deaths were blamed on the frigid weather.

A shift in a weather pattern known as the “polar vortex” triggered a drastic drop in temperatures to lows not seen in two decades.

It coincided with wind chill warnings in much of the eastern US.

Comertown, Montana recorded the lowest wind chill value so far at minus 53 Celsius, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota were not much warmer.

That was significantly colder than the South Pole, which recorded a wind chill reading of minus 34 Celsius.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, where people scoff when cities like Washington, DC, panic and shut down with even a moderate snowfall, the newspaper The Star Tribune gave a graphic description of what happens when, for instance, the overnight temperature Monday hit minus 30 Celsius.

“The wind chill and cold are freezing exposed flesh in five minutes,” it said.

The paper said life has “slowed to a crawl across the state”.

“It’s a blistering cold spell destined for Minnesota winter weather lore,” it added.

Even the typically temperate Deep South was feeling the chill with a hard freeze warning threatening crops and livestock.

Chicago was among scores of towns and cities which told parents to keep their children at home rather than risk sending them out into winds so bitter that skin could freeze in a matter of minutes.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn praised the “heroic” efforts of National Guard troops who cleared a 375-vehicle backup and a forestry officer who rescued seven stranded people and two of their pets using a snowmobile.

Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard barred everyone except emergency workers from driving at the height of the storm on Sunday and urged residents to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

But with thousands of people without power after electrical lines were felled, home was not always the best option.

Those who couldn’t stay with family or friends were urged to seek out community centres which were opened as temporary shelters.

The extreme cold disrupted flights and classes in Canada as well. The Atlantic island province of Newfoundland had more than 30,000 people without power.



8b) Élections municipales à Port Vila

Posté à 8 January 2014, 8:30 AEST
Pierre Riant

Les habitants de la capitale du Vanuatu se sont rendus hier aux urnes pour élire un nouveau Conseil municipal.

Plus de 100 candidats sont en lice pour les 17 sièges que compte ce Conseil municipal. Et pour la première fois, 5 sièges ont été réservés aux femmes.

La tâche ne sera pas facile pour ceux et celles qui remporteront les élections étant donné que des dettes substantielles et l’ombre de la corruption planent sur ce Conseil municipal.

8c) Dengue: inquiétudes à Fidji et dans le Pacifique

Posté à 8 January 2014, 8:18 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est une souche de dengue que l’on n’a pas vue depuis 20 ans dans l’archipel qui préoccupe l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS).

L’épidémiologiste Éric Nilles, en poste à Suva, précise que 406 cas de dengue, transmise par piqûre de moustiques, ont été rapportés depuis novembre 2013.

Il nous en dit plus : « La dengue a suscité un grand nombre d’épidémies, des épidémies explosives à travers le Pacifique depuis ces 40 dernières années. Et pour un certain nombre de pays c’est une menace sérieuse qui peut déboucher sur des taux de mortalité et engendrer d’importantes pressions sur les systèmes de santé. »

Le virus de la dengue est classé en différents sérotypes qui sont numérotés. Comme je le disais, 406 cas de dengue ont été répertoriés à Fidji depuis novembre dernier. Sur place, les autorités s’inquiètent qu’une nouvelle souche de dengue est en train de se propager du milieu urbain vers les zones rurales. Est-ce que Éric Nilles partage cette inquiétude : « Il y a 4 grandes souches principales, 4 sérotypes de 1 à 4 et c’est la dengue de sérotype 1 qui a principalement circulé à Fidji et dans le Pacifique depuis ces 6 ou 8 dernières années.
Et la souche qui a été identifiée à Fidji est la même qui avait été identifiée l’année dernière aux Îles Salomon et en Polynésie française, une dengue de sérotype 3 qui n’avait pas circulé dans le Pacifique depuis près de 20 ans. Ce qui signifie qu’une plus large proportion de la population est vulnérable à ce type d’infection qui renforce la dynamique potentielle explosive des épidémies. »

Le fait est que les épidémies sont particulièrement difficiles à anticiper ou à prédire. Alors en attendant, les autorités fidjiennes sont en état d’alerte et surveillent étroitement l’évolution de la dengue. Et Éric Nilles de redonner les conseils d’usage : « Et bien la chose la plus importante est d’éviter de se faire piquer par un moustique. C’est le moustique qui est le moteur de la propagation, c’est lui qui transmet le virus. Donc éviter de se faire piquer est la chose la plus importante. Il faut aussi enlever ou détruire tous les gîtes larvaires, les lieux de reproduction de prédilection des moustiques. Notamment autour des habitations et des lieux de travail, c’est une autre étape importante. Tous les récipients qui contiennent de l’eau ou les gouttières sont autant de lieux de reproduction.
Et enfin, si quelqu’un affiche les symptômes de la dengue ; fièvre, douleurs corporelles, maux de tête, nausée, et parfois des douleurs oculaires et même des démangeaisons, il doit immédiatement se présenter au dispensaire médical local ou à l’hôpital. »Radio Australia.


9) Aid posts bring basic healthcare to the people of Vanuatu
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 08/01/2014, Vanuatu

Vanuatu residents on Emau Island are now able to receive basic healthcare, thanks to a program funded by AusAID.

The Village Health Workers Program has more than 200 aid posts targeting an estimated 30,000 people in the country.

The organisation Save the Children helped implement the program and its Senior Health Program Manager Chris Hagarty told Radio Australia Pacific Beat the people of Emau now have access to a range of important health care services.

“Many local people don’t have access to high functioning health services and so they… (don’t) have access to medicine,” he said.

“Maternal and infant mortality is high than what it ought to be in Vanuatu, kids suffer from acute respiratory infection including pneumonia, from diarrhea diseases is a big concern for children and babies.

“Malaria still has a hold of the health concerns for people in the northern part of the country.”

The aid posts are community built and owned, helped by donations.

Hagarty says the team has been training community volunteers, known as village health workers, to deliver basic health services to rural communities that do not have access to the formal health system.

He observes that many aspects of people’s health has improved dramatically over time but more can be done.

“Malaria is very much on the decline in Vanuatu, and the government is very hopeful being able to eradicate it in the southern provinces within the next 12 months,” Hagarty said.

“Certainly health has improved dramatically and disease has reduced in the last 15 years.”.


10) Report hammers Samoa Health’s food bill

By Online Editor
12:47 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Samoa

The Samoan Ministry of Health has been criticised for spending too much money on food.

The criticism is made in a Report by the Officers of Parliament Committee (OPC), which expresses the concern that such funds should have been spent on projects to improve the delivery of services by the Ministry, rather than food.

The concern is highlighted in the Committee’s report tabled in Parliament last month. A copy of the report, written in Samoan, has been obtained by the Samoa Observer.

The report identifies incidents of “overspending of public funds by the Ministry” especially in the area of “hosting functions” and “catering.”

“In line with a document submitted to the Committee, it has noted substantial expenses incurred by the Ministry for feasting…” the report reads.

Such feasts cost the Ministry close to $270,000 (US$114,534) during the financial period in question.

“Despite the Ministry’s clarifications that there is an opportunity in which other funds may be used to cater for their needs, the Committee’s concern nevertheless is that such spending should have been done with caution as it was not spending on projects but food,” the report reads.

“Even the reserve funds for the Minister’s gifts had exceeded the estimated reserve.”

But food is not the only spending questioned by the Parliamentary Committee. It also questioned $250,000 (US$106, 050) spent on the Nurses’ Home.

“An enormous amount of money has been paid to this contract amounting to some 72per cent but it is not in order with the work done.

“The Committee has also confirmed that the Project Manager responsible for the Project was laid off from work.

“As such the Committee records its deep concern with the negligence of the Ministry as reflected in the poor preparation of this project from the beginning.

“The Committee believes that a lot of money has been wasted due to the failure of the Ministry to seriously look at the selection and the awarding of the contract, and in particular the terms and conditions on which the project manager was selected.”

The Report from OPC follows the report of the Controller and Chief Auditor to the Legislative Assembly for the period ended 30 June 2010.

Leaked to the Samoa Observer and published in full earlier this year, the report highlights abuse and “corrupt practises” within the running of government Ministries and Corporations.

In 2012, Parliament referred the Chief Auditor’s Report to The Officers of Parliament Committee for an investigation.

Last month, the Committee tabled its report before Parliament.

Chaired by Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, other committee members include Taefu Lemi Taefu (HRPP), Agafili Eteuati Tolovaa (HRPP), Aeau Dr. Peniamina Levaiseeta (Tautua), Papali’itele Niko Lee Hang (HRPP), Motuoopua’a Dr. Aisoli Vaai (Tautua) and Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster (Tautua).


11) Concern over rare strain of Dengue fever in Fiji: WHO

By Online Editor
09:00 am GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Fiji

The World Health Organisation says it’s concerned about a strain of Dengue fever affecting people in Fiji, which hasn’t been seen there for 20 years.

It’s believed the strain could have been spreading with people as they have moved from urban to rural areas during the festive period.

The WHO’s medical epidemiologist based in Suva, Dr Eric Nilles, says 406 cases of Dengue have been reported since the start of November last year.

The strain of Dengue fever seen most often in Fiji is strain 1, while the strain 3 found over the past few months has over recent decades been found in Solomon Islands and French Polynesia, but hasn’t circulated around the rest of the Pacific.

Dr Nilles has told Pacific Beat that when a less common strain emerges it poses more risk to the community.

“What this means is that a large proportion of the population is susceptible to this type of infection,” he said.

“[It] means that there is the potential for larger and more explosive outbreaks than if it is one of the types that have been circulating for some time.”

Dr Nilles says Dengue fever is one of the biggest health threats for Pacific nations.

“The most important arthropod-borne or mosquito-borne infection in the Pacific region at least is Dengue,” he said.

“Dengue has caused a large number of outbreaks, often explosive outbreaks, over the last 40 years in the Pacific.

“For a large number of countries it’s a serious threat.”

He says that while most countries don’t experience prolonged outbreaks, those that do occur place great strain on the countries’ health care systems.

It is also difficult to predict how the outbreak will progress.

“Certainly there’s potential for the Dengue 3 to spread in Fiji and beyond,” Dr Nilles said.



12) New university opens in Tonga
By Online Editor
12:38 pm GMT+12, 08/01/2014, Tonga

Tonga’s new online university, Lo’au University, was opened by Education and Training Minister, Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki at the Lopaukamea 2 Hall.

Radio & TV Tonga says the new university will provide for the needs of people who are facing financial constraints, yet want to continue further studies.

According to Dr Siosiua Lafitani, one of the lecturers at Lo’au University, the new learning institution is a ‘School for Thinking’ allowing students to think for themselves.

Speaking to Radio Tonga News, Dr Lafitani says the program provides a Proficiency level 1, 2 and 3. Qualifications obtained after completing the program is similar to a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree.

The program has six programs which include subjects such as social philosophy, ethical science and humanities, health, community development and social services.

Registration has started with orientation starting next week.

The university hopes to hold its first graduation in December next year.


13) Fiji National University to offer law degrees from this month

By Online Editor
2:57 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Fiji

The Fiji National University will launch its Bachelor of Law courses from this month.

Dean of the College of Business Dr. Mahendra Reddy says there will be two separate Degree programmes on offer.

“We will be running the program from Nasinu campus and if you want to graduate from the London Degree then you will enroll in university of London, through us but you will take classes with us.”

“The fees structure is provided, the fees structure of for university of London and FNU is pretty similar, and so if you are taking university of London, you will pay a minimal fee for us, for classes and lecture. The units are same but you will be doings the exams through university of London which we will facilitate.”

Reddy adds the FNU has its own LLB programme with local courses and staffing.

“With respect to staffing, we have got already two professors who have got PhD in Law and have Litigation experience and also have research and publication experience, to kick start the program, we are in the process of appointing other experts in the area of Law, to support the program.”

The program is expected to begin by the end of this month.


14) Turmoil at East-West Center in Hawaii as energy team quits

By Online Editor
12:53 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, United States

The East-West Center in Hawaii, a U.S. government-funded institute to promote better relations with Pacific and Asian nations, is hardly a center of harmony these days.

At yearend, the four-person energy research team resigned, protesting funding and job cuts and accusing the center’s president of jeopardizing the viability of the 54-year-old institution, which receives about US$16 million in federal funding and has been a respected forum for geopolitical research and discussion.

The resignations followed a steady paring of the center’s research staff during the 16-year tenure of President Charles E. Morrison, reflecting what he says is a more cost-effective strategy. Opponents, meanwhile, say the cuts have weakened the institute’s influence that in the past helped shape national debates on U.S.-China relations, U.S.-Asia trade policy and other economic and political issues.

“The institution used to have great programs. The program on population was famous worldwide, the program that I ran for many years was famous worldwide, and now they have all been shut down or greatly reduced,” Fereidun Fesharaki, a senior fellow for 34 years and leader of the energy team, said in an interview.

Team members submitted their resignations last Tuesday, saying Morrison had undermined the global reputation of the nonprofit institute.

“He (Morrison) decided to de-emphasize and nearly kill research and expand other areas,” Fesharaki said. “What’s wrong with this? This is a research institution with little or limited research.”

In a telephone interview, Morrison defended the research staff cuts, saying the new business model reflects the need for more funding from non-government sources.

“We’re moving away from the old model of a large research staff and moving more toward networked activities” with universities and other institutions that share scholars on an ad hoc basis, he said.

“We have expectations from our side, and he has his view about what he thought was wrong at the East-West Center,” Morrison said of Fesharaki. “He’s expressed those over the years. I’ve tried to listen to him, and we’ll just leave it at that.”

The latest departures come ahead of annual budget talks in Washington that have pitted congressional Republicans, who in recent years have sought to cut funding for the center, against Democrats, who have sought to keep funding near the latest year’s sequestration-reduced level of slightly under US$16 million.

The center, with research, residential and conference facilities on a 21-acre campus in Honolulu, was supported by Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye in his role as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. But the death of the longtime Democratic senator in December 2012 could put the center’s funding at risk.

Fesharaki, who is also founder and chairman of the London-based FACTS Global Energy (FGE) consulting group, told Reuters the center was being managed with little oversight by a board of directors that has limited interaction with the staff.

He said the team decided to resign after attempts to raise their concerns with board members and the president were rebuffed.

“We believe that the Center is at a vulnerable stage and can only survive if critical decisions are made and a whole new approach is adopted. We are convinced there is a need for leadership change and fresh blood to energize the Center,” the energy team wrote in an open letter to East-West Center staff. “As it stands, we just cannot see how the Center can survive.”

Morrison said his approach offered a better business model as government funding becomes less certain.

“Our new mission really emphasizes leadership training and emerging issues for the U.S. and the region,” he said. “It’s a different funding environment, and we expect the senior staff to be aggressive in developing fully funded projects for the East-West Center.”

Fesharaki, however, said staff had little incentive to seek private funding sources because department heads could not control how those funds were spent.

Despite the center’s government support, it is registered in Hawaii as an independent nonprofit and is not required to report a breakdown of research and staffing levels. Besides research, the center also runs education programs, seminars and a Pacific Islands development program. It also operates a research and training center in Washington, among other activities, according to its website.

Morrison said his approach has increased the center’s research offerings.

“On-staff researchers have declined across the board at the East-West Center, and the result of that is that we do research (in partnership with outside groups) in areas we never did before – higher education, justice and human rights, governance,” he said. “So we’ve expanded the amount of funding coming in for research with a much smaller staff.”

But one outside public policy expert also questioned the direction the center has taken.

“The East-West Center is a huge opportunity not just for the U.S. but also Hawaii. Hawaii should be the American window in the center of the Pacific, and having this research institution with this long history, it ought to be in the center of these big issues, and I sense that it’s not,” said Lucian Pugliaresi, president of the Washington-based Energy Policy Research Foundation Inc.

“It should be on the map. It’s become a very sleepy place in the last 10 years, and part of it is because it just doesn’t have the kind of focus and governance it needs,” he said. “The resignations are likely to trigger a debate about what we should do with this asset.”.


15) Provincial School In Solomons Reportedly In Disrepair
Some students at Temotu school lack permanent classrooms

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 6, 2014) – There’s currently only one permanent building that served as a classroom at Luesalemba Provincial Secondary School in Temotu Province, Solomon Islands.

And that was the one funded under the Provincial Government Strengthening Programme (PGSP).

PSGP stepped in and assisted the school, which has been destroyed by the earthquake last year, with a classroom building, two staff houses and a boy’s dormitory.

The total cost of the project was about SBD$1.5 million [US$203,700].

Only form five and six students use the new PGSP sponsored building while the rest of the school used tents that were provided by World Vision.

The natural disaster that hit the province early last year destroyed the school’s very old buildings, including all the classrooms.

About 260 students are currently enrolled at the school, which is Temotu Province’s premier secondary school.

When the media team arrived at the school to interview beneficiaries of the project, the school was deserted as it was during the school holiday last month.

Only some staff remain at the school.

The media team however, were fortunate to have caught up with two form sixth students who resided with staff at the school.

Esau Tipunga and Lency Maru were both doing their form six last year.

Tipunga said if it had not been for PGSP, he was not sure the school would be able to operate its form sixth level.

He thought that PGSP really helped the school since its form one to four are using tents as classrooms.

“I feel sorry for the other students who are using the tents because during wet weather they would cancel classes,” Tipunga said.

“Even during the hot season, inside the tents are very hot.”

But he said the form five and six students are comfortable in the permanent classrooms.

Maru said the atmosphere in the classrooms is good and he enjoyed his classes.

“We continued with our classes despite the rainy or hot weather because we are secured in this building,” Maru added.

The two students said Luesalemba needs more classrooms for those lower forms that are currently using tents.

They added that having no proper classrooms affects the students’ learning and the teachers as well in terms of giving the quality knowledge to the students.

“We want to thank PGSP for the form five and six classroom.

“We believe that studying in this permanent secured building has motivated our studies during our time here at Luesalemba,” they said.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, the Solomon Star also reports that provincial teachers have called for officers in Temotu’s education office to be removed, citing incompetence. Untrained teachers are reportedly being used in schools, despite low levels of education, and this is feared to be affecting student learning. Education officials in Temotu, however, have said such allegations are unsubstantiated and paint a bad image for those serving in the office.]

Deputy principal John Ottie Daiwo, who only took up the post last year, said PGSP has done a lot of development at the School.

He said construction works on the staff house, boys dormitory and the classroom started in 2009 and completed in 2011.

“This project was timely as the classrooms were very old.

“The roof leaks and the woods were rotten.

“All the staff houses were made of bush materials and so when the natural disaster strikes early last year, the houses were slightly damaged.

“It was a blessing that PGSP came and assisted to build the permanent staff houses,” Daiwo said.

He said it would be better if all the staff houses are permanent.

“The teachers felt secure and comfortable in their new building.

“They can now attend all classes compared to when they lived in the old staff houses that has leaking roofs.

Daiwo said when it rains; the teacher misses class and is busy patching up his roof.

The deputy principal said with the new buildings, it can attract qualified teachers to the School.

“There are two girls’ dormitories that are very old and four boys’ dormitories, one of which was funded by the PGSP.”

He said the PGSP funded dormitory accommodated more than 60 students.

“It was only meant to accommodate form sixth students but due to the deteriorating conditions of the other dorms, the school decided to move all the forms into the new building.

“The conditions of the classrooms are very old as well.

He said the new boys’ dorm was secure and safe as it withstand the earthquake.

“The students are happy that their properties inside the dormitory were safe for they can lock the door when they go to classes.

He said old dorms do not have locks.

“The students do not have fear of the wild men when residing in the new dormitory.

“The old classrooms were damaged when the disaster strike last year.”

Daiwo said it was World Vision that donated tents that was used as classrooms for form one to four.

He said PGSP has provided a good learning environment and also promoted the morale of learning for the students and teachers.

“This project is a free gift from the donors and we must all make sure to take care of it.

“Take extra caution when using these facilities.”

PGSP is an institutional strengthening programme aiming to develop the capacity of the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) and the nine provincial governments to fulfil their mandates in either delivering, or coordinating with line departments for the effective delivery of services.

The programme is financed by the Australian Government through RAMSI, the European Union (EU), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with a counterpart fund from the Solomon Island Government (SIG).

The Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) is executing the programme with UNDP as the Administrative Agent.

Solomon Star


16) Warrant disturbing : PNG Trade Union Congress
By Online Editor
09:14 am GMT+12, 08/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

One of Papua New Guinea’s largest trade unions has described the issue of warrants for the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and two senior Government Ministers as disturbing.

Trade Union Congress General Secretary John Paska was reacting to yesterday’s front page of Post-Courier which stated that three sets of warrants are out for the arrest of O’Neill, Treasurer Don Polye and Finance Minister James Marape.

“We accept that no one is above the law and believe the Prime Minister and the other two Ministers accept this principle also. In the absence of the full facts, however, we hope that it is not a witch-hunt as has been the tendency in PNG politics,” Paska said.

“It is nonetheless a very disturbing development which we are very concerned about because of the serious destablising effect this will have at all levels of life in PNG.

“You don’t go issuing warrants of arrest on your top political figure head (Prime Minister) and don’t expect serious negative fall outs on the social, political and economic levels. Make no mistake, this has the potential of ripping the rudder out of ship PNG. That is how serious this is.

“Of particular concern to us is the fact that we are on the verge of hitting the big time with respect to the LNG project and other development initiatives.

“This has the potential of derailing the entire project and throwing everything into chaos.

“We call on leaders from both the Opposition and Government to allow the judicial processes to take its cause and for due process to be fully exhausted.

“What they must not do is allow selfish political motives to dictate the direction and manner in which this saga will unfold.”

“We also call on members of the Police Force as well as the army to uphold the rule of law and not to take sides.  We make the same appeal to all civil society organisations and ordinary Papua New Guineans.”

He said PNGTUC and its affiliates would remain neutral and announce a firm position after it had received a full briefing.

17) Late Vanuatu Minister’s Title Transferred To Brother
Family wants sibling Henry to take up Patrick Crowby’s post

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 7, 2014) – The extended family of Vanuatu’s late Minister of Internal Affairs, Patrick Crowby Manarewo, declared interest for a stake in the political position left vacant by the late leader at a brief traditional ceremony last week to pass on the late Crowby’s mantle of position to his younger brother, Henry Crowby.

Before the late Minister of Internal Affairs’ body left the family home at Tagabe, a suburb of Port Vila, early Tuesday morning for Parliament where he lay in-state before being taken to the Catholic church cathedral for a funeral service and then to the cemetery, the extended family members who bestowed the late Crowby with the title Manarewo performed a custom ceremony at which they removed the title and bestowed it on the younger Crowby.

After completing the changeover of the Manarewo title, the head member of the extended family performing the ceremony, Shem Rarua declared that with this transfer the family was also staking its wish for the younger Crowby to take over the political reins left by his late elder brother.

Rarua announced that the family wanted Henry Crowby to contest the by-election to fill the vacant Parliament seat for the Port Vila constituency left by the elder Crowby’s passing.

Henry Crowby, the second of three boys in the Crowby family, holds the position of priest in the Tagabe Anglican parish of the Vanuatu Diocese of the Church of Melanesia.

The Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, who spent the night with the late Crowby’s body at the family home in Tagabe also reportedly witnessed the custom ceremony and heard the declaration. But the Daily Post has been unable so far to get any comment from him on the family wish and declaration due in part to the end of year holidays by all Government ministries.

Crowby who contested the October 3, 2012 general elections on the UMP ticket was one of eight MPs who crossed the floor on March 20, 2013 and voted in current Prime Minister Carcasses of the Vanuatu Green Confederation and ousting former head of the government, Sato Kilman. Carcasses repaid him by appointing him Minister of Internal Affairs, the position he held until his death.

Later in the 2013, Crowby formally moved away from UMP and joined PM Carcasses’ Green Confederation party.

The Prime Minister is caretaker Minister of Internal Affairs until a permanent appointed is appointed.

The late Minister of Internal Affairs died at the Gaston Bourret Hospital in Noumea, New Caledonia on Friday December 27 and was laid to rest at the Port Vila cemetery December 31, 2013.

Vanuatu Daily Post:

18) O’Neill Claims PNG Opposition Involved In Arrest Warrant
PM has directed police commissioner to investigate matters

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 7, 2014) – Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he has taken out a stay order from the Committal Court against a warrant issued for his arrest.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the Prime Minister O’Neill, Treasurer Don Polye and Finance Minister James Marape.

The warrants were sought last November by an investigator with the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.

They were issued after an investigation into government payments of millions of dollars to a Port Moresby legal firm.

“They are not (the) investigating officers of these files,” Prime Minister O’Neill said at press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“That responsibility lies with the task force.”

Papua New Guinea’s multi-agency anti-corruption unit, Investigation Task Force Sweep, charged one of the nation’s largest law firms in October with offences including conspiracy to defraud, stealing by false pretence and money laundering.

Prime Minister O’Neill says Investigation Task Force Sweep is conducting a full investigation into the payments to the law firm.

He says the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate is not conducting the investigation.

“They have not given in to commands given by their superiors as required by a disciplined organisation like the police force,” he said.

He alleges rogue police officers within the force are being directed by opposition leader Belden Namah to conduct a ‘Kangaroo Court’ in breach of proper processes.

Prime Minister O’Neill has directed the police commissioner to start investigations into how due processes have been sidestepped.

“I have also instructed the police commissioner to investigate all parties including Belden Namah for his role, the way he goes about inducing and contacting police men and women to try and meet his political agenda,” he said.

Mr Namah has warned Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga he will face contempt of court charges unless he executes the warrants against the prime minister and two of his ministers.

“I have given them the ultimatum to do so within 72 hours,” he said.

“Failure to do so, I have instructed my lawyers to institute contempt of court proceedings against them because this is the high profile corruption case in Papua New Guinea.”

Prime Minister O’Neill says Mr Namah should stop trying to involve police in politics.

“Belden Namah needs to be a bit more responsible, he is an alternative prime minister of this country,” he said.

“This is another attempt to try and stage a coup to try and overthrow a legitimate government.”

Radio Australia:

19) New PNG MPs Duban, Anisi sworn in

By Online Editor
12:50 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Re-elected Member for Madang, Nixon Duban and his colleague MP for Ambunti Drekikir, Ezikiel Anisi have been sworn into office Monday.

The two MP’s were sworn into office after their election victory in the by-elections last December.

Both were ousted through election petitions.

They were sworn-into office by Papua New Guinea Speaker of Parliament Theo Zurenuoc, witnessed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and several MPs at, Parliament House.

Speaker Zurenuoc and Prime Minister O’Neill congratulated the two MP’s and assured them, support in their duties and responsibilities as representatives of their people.

The two MP’s have three-more years to deliver services to their people before the next General Elections in 2017.


20) Tonga PM Calls On Finance Minister To Resign
Matter allegedly relates to minister’s opinion on cabinet decision

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 7, 2014) – The Tonga Prime Minister has written to the Minister of Finance and National Planning Lisiate ‘Akolo asking him to resign.

According to the Tonga Broadcasting Corporation, the decision is based on Lord Tu’ivakano’s disappointment in Mr ‘Akolo’s performance and how he carried out his duties.

The matter also relates to cabinet’s approval last month of a five percent increase in the Cost of Living Allowance or COLA for civil servants.

In the Prime Minister’s letter, he says it was clear during a meeting on December the 20th that the Finance Minister did not warm or seem to agree to the cabinet’s decision.

Radio New Zealand International:


 21) Applications sought for Social Media and Strategic Outcomes workshop in Noumea

PACMAS is seeking Expressions of Interest for a facilitator, co-facilitator and 20 participants for a social media workshop in Noumea, New Caledonia, from 10-11 February, 2014.

The Social Media and Strategic Outcomes workshop is targeted at 20 Pacific Senior Communications professionals from mainstream media, civil society organizations and Pacific Island Governments. The workshop will run in the lead-up to the Pacific Media Summit 2014, hosted by the Pacific Island News Association (PINA) from 10-14 February in Noumea. The Pacific Media Summit’s 2014 theme is “Constructive Engagement for a stronger and responsible Pacific Media”.

Expected outcomes of the workshop are:

Foster a better understanding of the digital media landscape, influencing online public opinion/behaviour, and how to leverage social media technology for strategic outcomes in the Pacific;
Develop an integrated communications plan, and improve the skills and tactics to implement it effectively.
Measure the impact of social media activities;
Build confidence to use social media more effectively, including online conflict management.

Applications for facilitator and co-facilitator must be received by PACMAS Program Manager Francis Herman at no later than 4pm (Vanuatu time) Monday 13 January, 2014. Applications for participants must be sent to by Friday 17 January, 2014. Successful candidates will be informed by Wednesday 22 January.

Further details of the Expressions of Interest and application process can be downloaded from our website via this link:

Kind regards,

Ellenson Taurakoto
Website Coordinator, PACMAS

PMB 2076 | La Casa d’ Andrea Building | Lini High Way | Port Vila
P   +678 24 263 M +678 710 2458

E  Twitter  @pacmas_voice


22) Fiji: Multimedia training on the other side of the world

By Online Editor
08:52 am GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Fiji

Whether it’s floods, soil erosion or storm damage, the Pacific Islands are particularly susceptible to climate change. Reporting effectively on its impact was the focus of a DW Akademie workshop for regional journalists.

The Pacific Islands may be a dream destination for tourists, but that’s not always true for the locals. Global warming is presenting serious challenges: sea levels are rising to the point that some islands could disappear. Salt levels in drinking water have increased in certain areas, typhoons are becoming more intense, and coral reefs are dying. Key income sources for locals such as fishing and tourism are being threatened.

Reporting effectively on these issues was the focus of a multimedia workshop organized by DW Akademie and funded by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. Thirteen journalists from eight Pacific Island states took part.

According to Kalpana Prasad of Fiji’s Ministry of Information, local journalists often find it difficult to report clearly on complex issues like these. She believes further training is essential but said it is rarely offered.

“This is an important workshop, especially given the multimedia component,” she said, “Here on the islands we’ve become more westernized, and people are increasingly on the move. They now have less time for newspapers and radio, and many are using smartphones and tablets instead.”

The sea and the impact of climate change

People on the Pacific Islands have always depended on the sea but scientific studies are showing that global warming will dramatically reduce the fish stocks. The 10-day workshop looked at how changes like this will directly affect the population. Participants produced reports and posted them on the workshop blog.

In one interview they spoke with Abdul Shaheem, a fisherman from Fiji’s third-largest city, Nadi. “I started fishing 15 years ago,” he told participants, “but over the past five years we’ve had to go further out to sea to catch anything. We’re now using three times as much fuel as we used to and it takes four days to get a decent haul.”

For people like Abdul it’s become increasingly difficult to make a living. Teikori Kabunare, a fisherman from Kiribati, agreed. “It’s sad. Most of the coral around here is bleached and has died and the fish that used to live among the reefs are gone,” he said.

“Interviews like these put a face on the abstract issue of climate change,” says DW Akademie project manager Thorsten Karg, admitting he was shocked to see how people in the Pacific region are being affected. In Europe, he points out, global warming is being discussed in much more academic terms. “The journalists’ reports that are posted on the blog can be read all over the world,” he says. “This can help people in the region better understand and deal with the effects of climate change and also help people in the North better understand the difficulties and concerns of the Pacific Islanders.”.


23) Fiji Media Authority Says No Hurdles To Televised Debates
Director contends ‘anyone and everyone’ can participate

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 6, 2014) – The head of Fiji’s media watchdog says national televised debates between political parties would be a good idea leading up to the elections later this year.

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji has invited members of the Bainimarama regime to national debates on TV, radio and in public meetings.

The political grouping says local media typically run statements from the regime, without seeking opposing views.

But the Media Industry Development Authority believes news outlets in general are producing balanced reports and the director Matai Akauola says there’s nothing preventing a televised debate.

“There’s freedom of expression so anyone and everyone can come onboard into a nationally televised discussion on issues, we’re talking issues and how to progress this nation rather than going back to the old political rivalries.”

Radio New Zealand International:


24) Economic growth a priority : PNG PM

By Online Editor
12:30 pm GMT+12, 08/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Delivering key policy initiatives for economic growth and expanding opportunities for the people will be the Government’s priorities in the first few months of 2014, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

In a statement, he said the budget programme implementation performance in 2013 was an improvement but more needed to be done.

“There are still problems with capital spending, especially on major projects such as roads and they will be a focus,” he said.

“On Feb 10, I will chair a Leaders’ Summit between all ministers and governors where we will focus on implementing key budget spending in areas such as schools, health care, infrastructure, law and order and on implementing with maximum cooperation between all levels of government.”

The summit will focus on reducing duplication and bureaucratic delays and wastage at all levels of government.

O’Neill said the Government faced a new challenge this year of ensuring that direct funding delivered to districts and local governments worked well.

He said even a good budget would fail if it was not delivered effectively and efficiently.

“This year, actual service and programme delivery will get greater attention than ever,” O’Neill said.

“The Government will ensure that key policy agenda issues are formalised and implemented early this year.

“One of the highest policy priorities will be the full passage of the anti-corruption legislation and the establishment of a powerful and resourced Anti-Corruption Authority.”

He expressed the Government’s intention to make starting business more affordable through cutting back approval processes and reducing or abolishing costs and charges as well.

“I am well aware of the real problems facing our farmers due mainly but not only to low world commodity prices,” O’Neill said.



25) Powes Parkop Receives Death Threat Over PNG Betel Nut Ban
Police guarding NCD governor’s family, investigating perpetrator

By Sheila Malken

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 7, 2014) – Police are providing 24-hour security for National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop and his family following threats over the ban on betel nut sales in Papua New Guinea’s capital.

The ban came into effect yesterday after a seven-day grace period.

Parkop has been at loggerheads with disgruntled vendors and suppliers over the ban, which they claimed was cutting off their only source of income and their livelihood.

He received a death threat via a text message on his mobile phone last weekend.

The message said: “Mr Gavaner yu stopim buai daka na papa blo buai daka Mekio. Kerema itok yu bai dai na u bai dai lo wanem way na ol tok mi Paul askim you yet???? Papuan black bai kaikai as blo yu so lukaut em bai sun o nait open your eye and see.”

(Mr Governor you stopped betel nut and the fathers of betel nut, the Mekeo and Kerema, say you will die and they want me, Paul, to ask you which way will you die? Papuan black snake will bite you so be alert day and night.)

The number of the sender is known and is now with the police for investigation.

“I have spoken with the NCD Police Metropolitan Supt Andy Bawa over the weekend and gave the number to him and police will deal with whoever is issuing threats to me and my family,” Parkop said.

He said police were investigating the threat because of the decision to ban the sale of betel nuts in NCD.

He said with the Digicel’s support they could identify the owner of the phone and arrest him or her.

“Those who have a grievance should find peace and proper means to raise them and not issue threats,” Parkop said.

He said such threats would not deter him from prosecuting the ban.

Parkop said most of his family members had been threatened.

“I will not succumb to threats of violence or black magic and I condemn the threats to my family.”

“You all are just wasting your time, I am adamant with the change and you will not sway my determination of keeping our city clean.

“If you want to talk, talk reasonable and do value others and the cleanliness of the city.

“You want to do black magic, commit physical violence and threaten me, I am determined and will not change my mind,” Parkop said.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, The National also reported that three soldiers stationed at Murray Barracks were found to have smuggled 10 bags of betel nut through a checkpoint and will be disciplined accordingly. Elsewhere, a UPNG Accounting student says his studies relied heavily on the money his mother earned selling betel nut, and the ban will affect students.]

Meanwhile, vendors burnt down two billboards at the Lareva market, in Hohola, Port Moresby, yesterday afternoon.

That followed the end of the seven-day grace period that was given for vendors to sell off their last betel nuts stocks in the city.

Frustrated vendors burnt down the billboards and all markets stalls were removed.

Parkop said police only had instructions to help the National Capital District Commission with the awareness about the closure of the market by end of business today (Tuesday).

He said there was no instruction to close the market by force.

Parkop reiterated that betel nut vendors and consumers would not stop him or change his mind about the ban.

The National:


26) Impact of climate change threatens chiefly island

Shalveen Chand
Wednesday, January 08, 2014

THE effects of climate change and global warming is staring Fiji right in the face, with the most common problem faced by smaller islands in eroding shorelines.

Bau is one of those islands where a new sea wall is being built and gabions constructed to power down the waves crashing on to the eroding shoreline.

The eroding shoreline is also threatening a house with historical significance.

The wooden house was built just for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the island in 1982.

Bau Village headman Josua Dainiteri was 32 years old when the Queen and Prince Philip visited the island to open a sitting of the Great Council of Chiefs. He is now 64 – years – old and has spent all his life on the island.

“The house was built just for her. I clearly remember the day,” said Mr Dainiteri.

“Our small island became even smaller. Apart from the chiefs, most of Fiji was on the island.

“There were people everywhere, although I did not get too close, I did catch a glimpse of the Queen.

“The house was built for them and since that day, nobody has stayed in the house.

“I guess there is some historical significance for this place.”

He said it would be a sad day if the village was to relocate.

Bau Island has been significant in Fiji’s history.

“It was home to Ratu Seru Cakobau, the chief who ceded Fiji to Britain.”

The great grandson of Ratu Seru, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, believes Bau can be saved but what can be seen now is the eminent dangers of climate change and global warming.

27) Communities affected by flood waters need help

The National, Wednesday January 8th, 2014

MORE than 1,000 people in Zifasing and Tararan are being affected by floods in the Wampar local level government.
Local level government (LLG)  women’s representative Mary Sual said the forecast of more rain was a worry for the two communities living along the Highlands Highway.
Sual said government authorities had conducted assessments and promised to help the people in the two villages but nothing had been received.
Initial emergency food rations were supplied by the Morobe disaster and emergency services last year. “These two communities have been affected and living like this for the past three years because of continuous flood,” she said.
“Just recently, the river burst its banks at eight different locations resulting in the damage to gardens and homes,” Sual said.
“We use wells but when it floods, the wells are spoilt and polluted.
“We have no choice but to clear the wells of frogs, mosquitoes and rubbish before using them again.
“The management of Wampar  LLG visited on numerous occasions but there is no help.
“We believe we will still be affected by floods and we have nowhere to go.”
Attempts to get comments from the Morobe provincial disaster and emergency services were unsuccessful.


28) Lae rugby ready for big year

The National, Wednesday January 8th, 2014

MOROBE Rugby Football Union is set for another bumper year starting with a sevens competition on Saturday at the SCRUM Oval in Lae.
Morobe Rugby Football Union (MRFU) president Livingstone Nenjipa announced on Monday that the competition will run for five weeks with the selection of two Hammerheads sides at the end of the challenge.
“As announced last month (December) the competition is a lead up preparations for Morobe province towards the Trans Highway sevens challenge and the national provincial championship to be staged in Port Moresby later in the year which is also the benchmark for selection of the PNG Pukpuks 7s team for tour duties in 2014,” Nenjipa said.
He said 12 teams have shown interest in the sevens competition but strict guidelines have been set to ensure the competition ran without any major issues.
Nenjipa said no new teams have been included in the draws but a tougher showdown is expected in season 2014.
Teams confirmed for the sevens competition are reigning premiers Hornibrook Harlequins, Bismark Pirates, Unitech Reds, Consort Shipping Royals, Chemcare Defence, Hope Warriors and Dulux Viking Dogs.
They are hopeful teams from Tararan village will join the fold.
Nenjipa said those participating are expected to field two teams each in the A and B grade divisions for the season proper.  He said the games start at 9am and punctuality and promptness has been stressed to ensure a  smooth flow of the competition.

29) We’re in it to win it: PNG Cricket
By Online Editor
09:49 am GMT+12, 08/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea cricket captain Chris Amini says the Barramundis are aiming to win the One-day World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand.

The tournament, which starts on Monday, will see PNG take on Group B opponents Kenya in their first match in New Plymouth.

Amini said his side were confident in their ability and, given their recent track record, winning the tournament was well with in their reach.

“We’re there to qualify and win the tournament. That’s our aim. It’s high expectations but that’s the level we’ve got to reach. If we weren’t thinking like that we’d be wasting our time going to the tournament. That’s what we want to do,” Amini said at a training session.

To qualify for next year’s ODI World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, PNG has to finish in the top two of the  qualifiers – making the final.

But first, the Barras have to finish in the top three of their pool which also includes the Netherlands, Uganda and Namibia.

Amini said his side had beaten all four sides at recent International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments and had the calibre to be very competitive.

“We’ve beaten all the teams in our pool (at previous tournaments) and we’ve proven that we belong. We’re confident.”

But Amini said there would not be any complacency in the squad even when the going was good.

“We have to bring our A game. If we get the runs on the board, we have the bowling and the fielding  to  win matches. That has always been our strong suit and the batsman just have to match that effort in the field.

But it’s all about consistency. We have to be patient and play positive cricket,” Amini said.

The PNG batsmen performed strongly at the Twenty-20 World Cup qualifers in the United Arab Emirates last November where the Barramundis finished eighth out of 16 sides.

Amini said batting would be the key to achieving their goal and added the team under coach Australian Peter Anderson and featuring Kundiawa-born former England test wicket-keeper Geraint Jones, was probably the best prepared and strongest side to a major tournament.

The only change to the side has been all-rounder Jason Kila coming in for batsman Kila Pala who pulled out of the squad last week due to work commitments.


30a) CNMI to host 2021 Pacific Mini Games
By Online Editor
1:06 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Northern Mariana Islands

The commonwealth will host the 2021 Pacific Mini Games, according to Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association President Michael A. White.

NMASA, which has taken over the management and operation of the Oleai Sports Complex on Oct. 1, submitted a bid on Jan. 4 to host one of the biggest sports events in the Pacific.

“This is a great day for the Northern Marianas,” White said in an email.

He said the 2021 Pacific Mini Games will bring more than 1,500 athletes, coaches, and officials and even more fans and family members to the Northern Marianas.

This is the first time that the CNMI will have the opportunity to host the entire Pacific in a multi-sport event, he added.

“We’re going to make the 2021 Pacific Mini Games a memorable experience for our visitors as well as our people, and show our guests how proud we are of our beautiful home,” White said.

Although the Pacific Games Council still has to formally accept the CNMI’s bid at its meeting in Port Moresby this year, White said “we are confident that they will do so, since we have submitted a very attractive bid which meets the standards set by the council’s charter.”

White thanked Gov. Eloy S. Inos for his strong support for the bid.

“Without that support, none of this would have been possible. NMASA looks forward to working closely with Governor Inos, the Legislature, and other key players, to make the 2021 Games the best ever,” White said.

In a telephone interview, Senate President Ralph DLG. Torres, R-Saipan and one of the bid committee members, said he is excited to see the event held in the CNMI as it will put the commonwealth on the map of world sports.

It will also give the commonwealth the opportunity to showcase its own athletes and the many tourist destinations of Tinian, Rota and Saipan, he added.

“We look forward to make this a memorable sports event that the visitors will never forget,” Torres said.

Some of things that the CNMI government will have to prepare are the facilities and the hotel accommodations for the athletes and other visitors who will watch the event.

Since it will be held in 2021, the Senate president is confident that the CNMI will have enough time to prepare.

The CNMI has hosted the 2006 Micronesian Games, the 2008 Oceania Athletics Grand Prix and Championships and the 2009 Oceania Basketball Tournament.


30b) Vanuatu skipper’s field of dreams: Test for his country or Twenty20 glory
By Online Editor
1:01 pm GMT+12, 07/01/2014, Australia

Andrew Mansale dreams of one day playing a Test match, or getting a Big Bash League contract, but the Vanuatu and East-Asia Pacific captain realises it might never happen.

The 25-year-old all-rounder is in Canberra representing East-Asia Pacific in the Australian Country Cricket Championships, which start on Tuesday. Canberra is hosting the competition despite no ACT team playing.

The country championships have produced three Test cricketers and 10 one-day-international representatives, and Mansale would love to add his name to the list that includes Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel.

However, that would require Vanuatu to gain Test status or to qualify for a World Cup.

The off-spinner and top-order batsman spent last summer playing for Broadmeadows in Melbourne and is spending this summer with Auckland club Eden Roskill. This means Mansale plays cricket all year round because the Vanuatu season is in our winter.

Vanuatu plays against countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Argentina, but not at a high enough level to play against Australia.

Mansale dreams of the day this will change. He would love to test himself in the fast-and-furious world of Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League.

”To be honest, that’s a big call and it would be a great honour if [Vanuatu plays Test cricket], but for us [to do that in future], there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Mansale said.

Mansale got into the Vanuatu side at just 16 years old and cricket has been his life ever since.

He is a cricket development adviser with the Vanuatu Cricket Association and works in schools developing the next crop of youngsters to come through and hopefully help Vanuatu climb up the rankings towards full status.

East-Asia Pacific begins its Country Championships campaign against South Australia, which it has beaten four times in seven games, at Phillip’s Football Park on Tuesday.


30c) Fifa president critical of Brazil’s preparations

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has accused Brazil of being badly prepared with five months to go before it hosts this year’s World Cup.

Six of the host nation’s 12 stadiums have failed to meet Fifa’s 31 December completion deadline.

Three workers have been killed in recent accidents at stadiums in Sao Paulo and Manaus.

“No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at Fifa,” Blatter told a Swiss newspaper.

“It is the only host nation which has had so much time — seven years — in which to prepare. Brazil has started work much too late”

The 77-year-old has worked for Fifa since 1975, becoming president in 1998.

He added: “It is the only host nation which has had so much time — seven years — in which to prepare.”

The tournament opens on 12 June when the host nation face Croatia in Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, where two workers died when a crane collapsed on to part of the roof on 27 November.

That accident delayed the stadium’s completion date by several months, and it is not expected to be ready until mid-April.

Construction problems and public protests about the financial costs of hosting the World Cup have beset Brazil’s preparations for the tournament.

Brazil — which lasted hosted the World Cup in 1950 —— was awarded this year’s finals in 2007.

But when asked if the country had understood the scale of the work required, Blatter replied: “No. Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late.”


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Boxer dies

A 21-year-old Japanese boxer died in a Tokyo hospital on Monday, 17 days after he was knocked out during his professional debut, the Japan Boxing Commission said.

Tesshin Okada lost consciousness after the fourth and final round of a super-flyweight bout against another professional debutant.

Hewitt out

Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt has withdrawn from the Kooyong Classic, just days after winning the Brisbane International.

Hewitt defeated Roger Federer in three sets in Brisbane on Sunday to win his first ATP World Tour tournament since 2010 and rise to a ranking of 43.


Laura Robson’s hopes of playing at next week’s Australian Open suffered a setback when she quit the Hobart International with a left-wrist injury.

The British number one pulled out of last week’s ASB Classic because of a problem to the same wrist.

The 19-year-old led her first-round match against Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 6-4 0-2 when she quit.

Final farewell

Tens of thousands of people turned out in the rain on Tuesday (AEDT) to say a final farewell to Portuguese football legend Eusebio, who grew up in grinding African poverty to become one of the world’s greatest players.

Mourners lined the streets of Lisbon and applauded as the black hearse carrying Eusebio’s coffin, drapped in the red and white colours of his club Benfica, passed by in a funeral cortege broadcast live on TV.

Lotus to miss

Lotus are to miss the first Formula 1 pre-season test at Jerez in Spain. Technical director Nick Chester said attending the four-day test, which starts on 28 January, “isn’t ideal for our build and development programme”.

He said the car would run for the first time in the second test, at Bahrain from 19-22 February.

Solomons win

SOLOMON Islands’ Natalie Bennett and Hannah Donga combined perfectly to thrash Vanuatu in their beach volleyball opening match yesterday morning in Port Vila. Vanuatu took the court as the hot favorites with the crowd on their side.

The two young Solomon Islanders however proved the crowd wrong when they stole the 1st set 15, 09.

Schumi critical

THE hospital treating Michael Schumacher for head injuries says his condition remains stable but critical. Doctors in Grenoble say he is being continually monitored but they will not be releasing more health details.

The former racing champion has been in a medically induced coma for the past eight days following a skiing accident in the French Alps.

Tourney unites

TEMATAHO communities in Marau Sound, East Guadalcanal have celebrated this New Year festive with a three-day futsal tournament held at Makina Catholic Parish from 30th December 2013 to 1st January 2014.

The event saw five communities gathered together with a total of 15 teams, and took part in pool matches as part of this new year fun and celebration.


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