Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 926b

MELANESIA:

1) West Papua supporters say Indonesia dividing MSG members

Updated at 2:27 pm on 17 January 2014

The chairperson of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association believes Indonesia is trying to divide members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and weaken their stance on West Papua.

The Vanuatu government decided to boycott a foreign ministers delegation to Indonesia this week because the itinerary did not include any meetings with groups concerned about alleged human rights abuses in West Papua.

Pastor Alan Nafuki says the trip was meant to be a fact finding mission to discover more about the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, which wants to become a full member of the MSG.

He says other MSG countries should have followed Vanuatu’s lead and stayed home.

“We want to see Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands to really talk with Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and at least appreciate what we Melanesians see for the betterment for our future, we do not depend on Indonesia, it’s a powerful country, we should not affiliate with Indonesia.”

Pastor Alan Nafuki says they will continue to support West Papuan people in their fight for independence.Radio New Zealand.

2) MSG leaders confronted with protests over West Papua

Updated at 3:55 pm on 17 January 2014

It has been reported that a group of Papuan students held up a delegation from the Melanesian Spearhead Group as it went to meet the President of Indonesia this week.

Vanuatu decided to boycott the foreign ministers delegation because the itinerary did not include any meetings with groups concerned about alleged human rights abuses in West Papua.

Video footage shows Papuan students blocking a convoy as MSG leaders tried to leave a hotel in Jakarta on Wednesday to meet the president.

The protesters eventually backed off and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received the delegation.

In a joint statement Indonesia and the MSG say they support respective sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.Radio New Zealand

3) Melanesians respect Indonesia’s sovereignty
By Online Editor
12:42 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Indonesia

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) member nations that have often voiced concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Papua said on Wednesday they fully respected Indonesia’s sovereignty.

High-ranking representatives of MSG nations made the comment after they witnessed the latest developments in the country’s most remote and backward provinces of Papua and West Papua, earlier this week.

The move increased speculation the group may oppose a membership bid into the bloc by a West Papua pro-independence group, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL).

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, Fiji’s Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Solomon Islands’ Clay Forau Soalaoi and Yvon Faua, an envoy from the Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), a pro-independence group from French-ruled New Caledonia, in a courtesy call meeting at the State Palace.

In a joint statement, Indonesia and the MSG concluded they “supported respective sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, consistent with the Charter of the United Nations”.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who attended the meeting, said the final statement produced during the visit had emphasized the fundamental principle of cooperation between Indonesia and the MSG countries.

“Mutual respect of sovereignty and territory is a fundamental principle of cooperation,” said Marty.

Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea and eastward to Fiji.

Indonesia had invited the officials to Papua and Jakarta to receive briefings on development in Papua between 11 – 16 January, a move that could be seen as a way of obtaining international support for the country’s sovereignty following the bid by the WPNCL.

The WPNCL is pushing for independence from Indonesia and sees membership of the MSG as a step toward international recognition, while human rights watchdogs have often criticized Indonesia for state violence against Papuans.

In June last year, an MSG summit meeting deferred the WPNCL bid by at least six months, saying it was important to engage with Indonesia.

They agreed to establish a consultation with Indonesia and welcomed the invitation to visit the country, although they also concluded that the group fully supported the rights of the people of West Papua to self-determination and mentioned concerns about human rights violations.

During Wednesday’s press conference, PNG’s  Foreign Minister  Rimbink Pato said the delegation had formed “a definite opinion” on their findings and would forward it to the MSG leadership, who he said would then “determine what is to be done in relation to a certain application the MSG group has received”.

Yet, the call and visit were made without the presence of Vanuatu’s representative.

Several foreign media have reported that Vanuatu’s absence was due to the argument that the visit would not give the delegation the opportunity to meet civil society groups in West Papua.

Vanuatu, which harbors several high-ranking Free Papua Movement (OPM) officials, has also internationalized the Papuan human rights issue by discussing it in the UN General Assembly last September.

Without revealing the reason behind Vanuatu’s absence, Pato however said that Vanuatu would be informed of the results of the visit before MSG leaders reached a decision on the WPNCL membership application.

Pato also refused to reveal his recommendation. “Unfortunately, I cannot say because I will preempt the decision of the leaders,” he said.

When asked about the human rights issue, Pato said: “I have not seen the evidence. As I’ve said, we have a clear mandate and we have conducted an investigation. The report will go back to the leadership in terms of the mandate that we’ve come to exercise and our mission has been completed.”.

SOURCE: THE JAKARTA POST/PACNEWS

4) Bus traffic to be curbed in centre of Vanuatu capital

Updated at 2:27 pm on 17 January 2014

Vanuatu is reportedly poised to restrict the entry of public buses into the centre of the capital to ease traffic congestion.

The Port Vila Efate Land Transport Association and the Port Vila Municipality are to run a one-week trial with the new measure.

It would see the buses stopped at certain points to make passengers walk into the Central Business District.

A spokesman for the initiative has told our correspondent that the restrictions won’t apply to private cars and taxis.Radio New Zealand

5) 167 leases ready in ‘shortest’ time

Avinesh Gopal
Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE Housing Authority will soon start selling 167 lots that it has developed on iTaukei land.

With the assistance of the iTaukei Land Trust Board, the authority was able to efficiently complete the lease preparation process for its Tacirua East Subdivision Phase 3A.

“The signing of these leases represents a major breakthrough in terms of the land development and selling process,” said Housing Authority’s CEO Alipate Naiorosui in a statement.

Mr Naiorosui said the process could not have been made possible without the tremendous assistance of the TLTB.

“This is a change to streamline the process where for the Tacirua project, TLTB will no longer issue leases directly to the customer to facilitate and expedite the sale process.

“It will be a transfer from the authority to the customer. It has come at a cost but it will greatly assist HA, TLTB and customers in purchasing iTaukei land lots developed by HA.

“TLTB formed a special team to prepare these leases and they have worked tirelessly to have them ready in the shortest possible time,” said Mr Naiorosui.

The authority said another advantage of this new approach was that it would greatly assist in facilitating loan requirements for customers who were intending to seek assistance from commercial banks and other financial institutions.

A HA statement stated the price would be finalised soon, with the majority of the lots zoned Residential B, adding the sizes of the lots are 600 square metres and above.

It states a few utility issues are yet to be completed before the sale of the 167 land lots commences sometime in February.

The third phase, 1A, comprising of 467 lots is being targeted to be ready by March. Phase 1B with 81 lots was completed in July, 2011.Fijitimes.

6) Tenancy concerns

Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, January 18, 2014

IT is that time of the year when many young men and women are preparing to leave their homes to come to towns and cities, filled with excitement and hope to fully enjoy another phase of their lives — university life.

Students living off-campus often face problems with their landlords.

They get into sticky situations when hunting for flats because they are unaware of their rights as a tenant, and not familiar with the laws regarding landlord and tenancy.

In the past four years, the Consumer Council of Fiji received a little less than 1000 landlord and tenancy complaints. Sadly, tertiary students and first-time jobholders also make up the council’s statistics for the tenancy cases.

Some of these young tenants faced many issues such as landlords giving them notice to vacate at the eleventh hour, closing of the main gates at a fixed time thus violating tenants’ right to move freely in and out of his or her rented premises, bond money not returned after vacating, no repair works carried out despite several requests, increasing rent although rent freeze order is in place, entering tenants flat without approval, not issuing receipts for rent paid, and landlord coming up with new rules among other issues.

The most unpleasant encounter for students is when they get locked into contracts full of unreasonable and unfair clauses which bind them completely.

The landlord tenancy issue lies at the centre of the council’s advocacy work and it has the following advice for the students living off-campus:

* Before you pay your bond, you should confirm with the landlord whether it will be refunded if you decide not to rent the flat. Have the landlord write this information on the receipt — it could save you from fighting to get the bond refunded;

* Thoroughly inspect the condition of the flat before moving in. To protect yourself from forfeiting the bond money, it is advisable that you do a walk-through of the premises with the landlord, recording each problem that exists in the flat. Also take pictures of such damage and give a copy of the list of damage to the landlord to avoid dispute when you decide to move out;

* Do not rely on oral agreements. It is highly recommended that you obtain a written contract;

* Read the contract before you sign. Look for any unfair terms or conditions as well as landlord and tenant’s obligations. You may also negotiate your own additional terms or modify terms which you think is unreasonable. Any such changes must be agreed to by both the parties and reflected in the tenancy agreement; and

* Talk to your landlord about the rules in particular what may be non-negotiable so that you are clear on the rules before moving in such as the time of the closing of the main gate of the house or visiting of friends and relatives.

Students living off the campus also have responsibilities as tenants. How can you be a responsible tenant?

* Pay your rent on time;

* Keep the noise level down;

* Take responsibility for your guests and their behaviour;

* Avoid damaging the premises;

* Inform the landlord when repairs are needed. Put your requests for repairs in writing and keep a copy; and

* Inform the landlord in writing when you plan to move out by giving a month’s notice.

Case study

Yusuf, a first-year tertiary student from Nadi, rented a room in Suva but after a while, his landlord ordered him to vacate the room without giving him a month’s notice.

This left Yusuf with no choice but to scout for another room.

However, his problem did not end here. Yusuf was further troubled by the landlord with the issuance of a notice demanding payment of $100 per day till he vacated the flat.

This caused unwanted stress to Yusuf as his exams were around the corner. He lodged a complaint with the council.

The council liaised with the landlord after which the landlord stopped bullying Yusuf with a $100 charge per day and a proper written notice was also issued to Yusuf to vacate.

Students are particularly vulnerable tenants. For many, it is their first tenancy and their first contract.

They are often naive and they treat their landlords as authority figures and hesitate to assert themselves in the landlord-tenant relationship.

Remember you can always contact the council or Fiji Commerce Commission for any advice in respect of your tenancy issues with your landlord.Fijitimes

AUSTRALIA:

7) Bushfires flare in NSW as firefighters get upper hand in Victoria and South Australia

Updated 19 January 2014, 15:58 AEST

Firefighters are battling to control several blazes burning in New South Wales, as crews in Victoria and South Australia take advantage of milder conditions.

More than 80 fires are burning in NSW, with an emergency warning in place for the Murraguldrie State Forest near Wagga Wagga in the state’s south.

So far it has burnt more than 7,300 hectares and five homes have been lost around the intersection of the Tumbarumba and Billabong Roads.

Burning in pine and native forest, seasoned firefighters say flames have been as high as 40 metres.

The village of Carabost and nearby properties are being evacuated because of the fire, which changed direction after a wind change this afternoon.

Fire crews are also working to contain a large fire at Minjary, north-west of Tumut.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers says he is alarmed by the number of fires which are breaking out.

“Obviously we’re concerned about new fires again that would have come from lightning,” he said.

“The number of fires that we’re trying to deal with is just going up alarmingly.”

SA fire crews work to gain upper hand

In South Australia, the Country Fire Service (CFS) says at least 15 houses have been lost in blazes across the state this weekend, and it may take some days before the total damage is known.

There are 11 fires still burning out of control across the state, but the CFS is most concerned about fires in the Barossa Valley near Truro and one near Bangor in the Flinders Rages.

Fire crews are blacking out hundreds of kilometres of fire edge while mild weather conditions limit the spread of the blazes.

The Bangor fire is still burning out of control between Melrose and Wirrabarra and has burnt almost 20,000 hectares there.

The Eden Valley fire, east of Angaston, is still going and has moved to within three kilometres of Truro.

Rob Sandford from CFS says the steep terrain at both sites will make it difficult to monitor.

“It only needs one stump or one tree for embers to be picked up and cross the control lines where that may take off and threaten communities again,” he said.

He says crews are expected to remain at the two sites for the next fortnight.

The threat has been reduced at the Billiat fire, where more than 90,000 hectares has been blackened.

Bulldozers and graders are also being used to improve fire breaks around a blaze burning in the Riverland.

Victorians warned to prepare for more summer fires

The town of Halls Gap in Victoria’s west reopened to the public today, as crews continue to work on a large bushfire burning out of control in the northern Grampians.

The blaze has burnt through more than 50,000 hectares, killed thousands of sheep and destroyed about 10 homes.

The CFA says the main threat to Halls Gap and Grampians Junction has now passed, and residents are returning their properties to assess the damage and reopen local businesses to tourists.

Sam Schroder says he was evacuated during the 2006 bushfires and he feels comfortable about going home.

“To be honest, I really don’t have much fear of being back here now. I’m sure the CFA and the SES and everyone have done their part to inform everyone correctly and keep us all safe,” he said.

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water has warned residents of Pomonal and Halls Gap to only drink boiled water until at least Thursday.

Spokesman Andrew Rose says infrastructure has been damaged from the fires at Brimpaen and Wartook.

“The clear water storage in each of the locations is pretty well dry. We’re trying to recharge so that we can get a better supply back to Halls Gap and Pomonal in the long-term,” he said.

In the state’s east, multiple bushfires are still out of control to the west and north of Club Terrace, and could impact on a number of nearby communities.

Victoria’s Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says crews have done well to limit the amount of damage caused by this week’s bushfires.

“We’ve had big fires 100,000 hectares burnt in a manner of basically two days,” he said.

“But you would think that we’ve done reasonably well. I think that’s not a bad result, in the sense of the potential for the conditions we had.”

This is the start or the changing point in this summer.

We don’t see any rain, we don’t see the break in the weather and we certainly see warm conditions for the month of February.

Victoria’s Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley

Today is forecast to be the first day in a week where some part of Victoria will not reach 40 degrees Celsius and the Bureau of Meteorology predicts the mercury will not get up to 40 again for at least the next seven days.

However, Commissioner Lapsley says that does not mean Victoria has seen the end of dangerous fire conditions this summer.

“This is the start or the changing point in this summer,” he said.

“We don’t see any rain, we don’t see the break in the weather and we certainly see warm conditions for the month of February.”
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

8) Federal Government confirms $100m cut to foreign aid budget, focus on recipients in Asia-Pacific region

Posted 18 January 2014, 14:39 AEST
The Federal Government has announced it will cut the foreign aid budget by more than $100 million this financial year and redirect funds to fighting poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the total aid budget this year will be more than $5 billion – $107 million less than the year before – and will be tied to rigorous benchmarks.

Two days before the federal election, the Coalition announced it would slash the growth of the foreign aid budget, to the tune of $4.5 billion over the coming four years.

Ms Bishop says it is vital Australia’s foreign aid budget is “on a sustainable footing”.

“The aid budget will be over $5 billion this year and here after it will increase year on year according to the Consumer Price Index,” she said.

“We believe that this refocus of our aid budget will deliver effective outcomes.

“We are focusing on alleviating poverty, we are focusing on economic growth and empowering women and girls, better educational outcomes, better health outcomes in our region. We also want to ensure we can leverage private sector involvement.”

Aid groups panned the cuts when they were first announced saying the drop in funding will force them to review a number of programs in the region.

However, Ms Bishop defended the cuts, saying the funding commitment represents an increase in aid funding.

“Under Labor’s last budget they were to receive 2.5 per cent of overseas development assistance (ODA),” she said.

“Under this revised budget they will receive 2.7 per cent of ODA – that is four times what these non-Government organisations received from 2007 and 2008.”

Ms Bishop said the aid budget will be focused on countries across Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific including investment in Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Nauru and The Philippines.

Australian aid already ‘managed very rigidly and tightly’

Archie Law, the executive director of ActionAid which operates in 40 countries worldwide, said the cuts were anticipated but aid groups would like to see more detail regarding their implementation.

“But what it hasn’t done until now is give a little bit more detail of where those cuts are coming from,” he told ABC News 24.

“Particularly concerning is the fact that it looks like the Africa program will be cut in half. The region which has more people living in poverty per capita than anywhere else in the world will receive half the assistance from Australia when they receive pretty little in the first place.”

Mr Law agreed there needed to be a healthy level of accountability overseeing how Australian aid money is spent, but said current checks and balances were adequate.

“I would argue the Australian aid program is managed very rigidly and tightly,” he said.

“For example, the amount of reporting that we have to do now as an NGO on Australian aid money from the Government, to what we had to do when I got into this business 20 years ago, has tripled.

“It’s inherently complicated when you are working in a development situation. When you are working with small farmers, the amount of stakeholders as far as Governments, private sector, markets. Things are fluid. You need room to move within a framework.”

Oxfam Australia’s Helen Szoke says it will be forced to scale back a number of its programs as a result of the cuts.

“We, like many other agencies, will have to tell partners and people on the ground that we’ll have to scale back programs,” Dr Szoke said.

However, Ms Bishop says Oxfam is judging the government’s announcement against the Labor government’s promises “rather than what was delivered in the 2012-2013 budget”.

“This is an ideal opportunity for organisations such as Oxfam to work with the Government develop rigorous benchmarks,” she said.

“We will direct funding to the high-performing organisations that deliver the best and most effective outcomes for the people most in need.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

TOK PISIN:

9) Melanesian Spearhead Grup igat tupela tingting long West Papua kamap memba

Updated 17 January 2014, 18:08 AEST
Hilaire Bule

Ol pipal makim West Papua National Coalition for Liberation bai igo stap long Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) miting long Vanuatu.

Dispela miting bilong ol memba bilong MSG, Vanuatu, Solomon Island, Fiji, Papua New Guinea na KANAKY long New Caledonia kamap long Port Vila, kapital bilong Vanuatu long mun bihan.

Foren Minista blong Vanuatu, Edward Natapei i tok Melanesian Spearhead Group i tu bel long ius blong membership blong West Papua National Coalition for Liberation.

Em i tok em igat displa tingting olsem ofis blong West Papua, husait i beis long Vanuatu bai ol i larem ol olsem wanpla ‘full memba’.

Las wik, Mr  Natapei ibin sakim wanpla laen blong ol foren minista blong MSG  igo lukluk long Indonesia.

Port Vila niusman Hialire Bule long tok Foran Minista bilong PNG ino ibin stap long las miting bilong MSG long New Caledonia.Radio Australia

10) Redio Maria i givim sevis long ol Katolik pipal long PNG

Updated 19 January 2014, 18:10 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Olgeta Dei Redio Maria isave ronim ol progrem long halvim ol kaen kaen pipal long bikpla siti long Port Moresby.

Despla redio sevis emi wanpla NGO grup na lotu Katolik isave ronim blong ol pipal husat isave bihaenim lotu Katolik.

Redio Maria istap long sampla hap tasol long PNG, na oli bin kirapim long 1983 long siti blong Milan long Italy na nau planti hap long wold igat despla redio sevis.

Wanpla man husat igat progrem long despla redio stesin long Port Moresby em Father John Glynn blong NGO grup WeCare progrem.

Father Glynn i wanpla tisa bifo na nau emi save go pas long WeCare blong traem halvim ol disable pipal na tu ol mama husat igat planti heve long city.

Father Glynn itok, olgeta fonde moning emi save go long Redio Maria na toktok long ol isu oa ol samting emi save kamap long laif blong ol pipal long Port Moresby,

Sampla long ol despla samting i olsem ol mama na pikinini isave bungim heve olsem oli nogat moni, oa ol pikinini ino save go long skul long wonem oli no gat moni oa ol yangpla disabal pipal em laif blong ol ino gutpla tumas. Radio Australia

FRENCH:

11) La Papouasie indonésienne divise le Fer de lance

Posté à 17 January 2014, 8:40 AEST
Pierre Riant

La visite cette semaine des ministres des Affaires étrangères du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance (GMFL) en Indonésie ne fait pas l’unanimité au sein de cette alliance mélanésienne.

Au centre de la visite boycottée par le ministère des Affaires étrangères du Vanuatu, la requête de la Coalition Nationale pour la Libération de la Papouasie Occidentale (WPNCL)  de faire partie du Fer de lance.

C’est cette requête qui divise le Fer de lance et le ministre des Affaires étrangères du Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, déplore que la coalition séparatiste en exil au Vanuatu ne soit pas encore admise à part entière au GMFL.

Toutefois, dit-il, le Vanuatu continuera de soutenir l’adhésion de la Coalition Nationale pour la Libération de la Papouasie Occidentale, (une province indonésienne).

NATAPEI : « Peu après la rencontre du Fer de lance en Nouvelle-Calédonie [en juin 2013], nous avons clairement expliqué aux dirigeants du GMFL et au gouvernement indonésien que nous participerons à cette visite à la seule condition qu’elle implique la société civile et que l’opportunité nous soit donnée de parler à la société civile : aux dirigeants religieux et aux personnes qui sont concernées par les violations des droits de l’Homme en Papouasie occidentale. Nous l’avons dit bien clairement aux autorités indonésiennes et au secrétariat du Fer de lance.

Un jour avant notre départ du Vanuatu pour aller en Indonésie, nous avons reçu le programme de la visite et il n’y avait aucune rencontre avec la société civile, aucune réunion avec les Mélanésiens de Papouasie occidentale, avec le leadership de Papouasie occidentale, avec ceux qui sont concernés par les droits de l’Homme et qui auraient pu nous donner davantage d’informations sur la Coalition Nationale pour la Libération de la Papouasie Occidentale  qui est au Vanuatu.

Nous nous sommes aperçus que le gouvernement indonésien avait détourné l’objectif de cette visite pour le remplacer par des questions comme le resserrement des liens économiques et la coopération au développement avec le gouvernement d’Indonésie.
Nous avons senti que cette visite était vouée à l’échec. »

Le Groupe Mélanésien Fer de lance est composé de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, des îles Salomon, de Fidji, du Vanuatu et du FLNKS de Nouvelle-Calédonie et  tout le monde n’est pas d’accord avec le point de vue du Vanuatu. Edward Natapei.

NATAPEI : « Je pense que ça va devenir difficile parce qu’après la réunion du GMFL en Nouvelle-Calédonie, des visites ont été organisées par l’Indonésie. Ils ont invité le chef du gouvernement de Fidji, le chef de gouvernement de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, en fait le Premier ministre papou était en Indonésie au moment de la rencontre du GMFL en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Après, ils ont invité le Premier ministre des Îles Salomon.

De son côté, le Vanuatu va continuer à pousser pour la pleine adhésion de la Coalition Nationale pour la Libération de la Papouasie Occidentale au sein du Fer de lance.

Toutefois, étant donné que 3 dirigeants du Fer de lance  ont été en Indonésie et qu’ils ont probablement conclu des accords avec le gouvernement indonésien, ça va être plus difficile pour nous.

Mais ça ne veut pas dire que le Vanuatu va laisser tomber. Le Vanuatu va continue à pousser pour l’intégration de la  WPNCL au GMFL, l’adhésion au GMFL. »

Des propos recueillis par Hilaire Bule- http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

12) Nouveau rapport du Conseil climatique sous 40 degrés

Posté à 17 January 2014, 8:54 AEST
Pierre Rianthttp://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

C’est effectivement sous parfois plus de 40 degrés que les habitants de toutes les régions sud-est de l’Australie ont appris la publication de ce nouveau rapport qui indique que les vagues de chaleur en Australie deviennent plus fréquentes, plus chaudes et plus longues.

D’Adélaïde en passant par Melbourne, Canberra et Sydney, tous les records de chaleur tombent depuis lundi dernier. Après 4 jours au-dessus de 40 degrés à Melbourne, il s’agit de la plus longue vague de chaleur depuis que les températures sont archivées. C’est-à-dire depuis 1830.

Le rapport du Conseil climatique souligne 3 points principaux :
– Les hautes chaleurs, de jour comme de nuit, et les vagues de chaleur sont les conséquences directes du changement climatique.

– Les vagues de chaleur se sont intensifiées à travers toute l’Australie.

– Le changement climatique aggrave l’impact des évènements extrêmes sur les populations, les biens et l’environnement.

WORLD:

13) ‘I had no idea’

Bbc
Sunday, January 19, 2014

A nun who gave birth to a baby boy in the central Italian city of Rieti, said she had no idea she was pregnant, local media report.

The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital with abdominal pains, which she thought were stomach cramps.

The young mother, who is originally from El Salvador, reportedly named her newborn Francis after the current Pope.

The mayor of Rieti, Simone Petrangeli, has appealed to the public and media to respect the woman’s privacy.

The news has drawn international attention to the small city of 47,700 inhabitants.

The nun called the ambulance on Wednesday morning. A few hours later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

“I did not know I was pregnant. I only felt a stomach pain,” she was quoted as saying by the Ansa news agency.

People at the hospital have begun collecting clothes and contributions for the mother and her child, Italian media say.

The woman belongs to a convent near Rieti, which manages an old people’s home.

Fellow nuns at the convent said they were “surprised” by the news.

Local pastor Don Fabrizio Borrello told journalists the nun planned to take care of the baby. “I guess she’s telling the truth when she says she arrived at the hospital unaware of the pregnancy.”

14) Pope defrocked 400 priests

News.Com.Au
Sunday, January 19, 2014

POPE emeritus Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children, a document has revealed.

The statistics for 2011-12 represent the first time that the Vatican has provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked.

Prior to that, it had only revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.

The document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a UN committee this week in Geneva.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of pointed criticism and questioning from the UN human rights committee. The AP obtained the document on Friday.

15) Miliband pledges UK bank reform

Updated at 8:12 am on 18 January 2014

Britain’s opposition Labour Party has promised major changes to the banking sector if it wins the next election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said it was time for a reckoning with the banks,which did not lend enough to small businesses and overcharged for their services.

Ed Miliband.

He said a Labour government would create two new lending institutions by getting the existing banks to sell off branches.

The big five banks – HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Santander and Lloyds Banking Group – account for the majority of bank customers and lending, the BBC reports.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney earlier said that he supported the view that a cap on banks’ market share “would not result in substantial improvement to competition”.

But Mr Miliband said a Labour government would instruct the Competition and Markets Authority to report within six months of the May 2015 general election what the limit on a bank’s market share should be and the timetable for any sell-off of branches, which should be completed by 2020.C/- Radio New Zealand.

16) Storms God’s punishment – UK MP

Updated at 7:09 am today

A councillor belonging to an anti-European party in Britain has blamed recent storms and floods on the British government’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

David Silvester of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), claimed he had warned the Prime Minister, David Cameron that the legislation would result in disasters.

He said the country had been “beset by storms” since the passage of the new law on gay marriage because Mr Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”.

UKIP said Mr Silvester’s views were “not the party’s belief” but defended his right to state his opinions.C/- Radio New Zealand.

17) Egypt constitution referendum backed by 98%

Updated at 11:13 am today

The electoral authorities in Egypt have released the official figures for the turnout in the constitution referendum held last week.

The BBC’s reports the proposed constitution has been backed by 98.1% of people who voted in a referendum.

The turnout was 38.6% of the 53 million eligible voters, the election committee said.

The draft constitution replaces one introduced by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi before he was ousted.

The referendum is being seen as a vote on the legitimacy of his removal and of the army, which toppled him in July last year.

The vote, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday but was boycotted by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement from which Mr Morsi comes and which wants to see him returned to office.

Several people died in violence involving Mr Morsi’s supporters on the first day of voting.

There were further clashes with the security forces on Friday in which four people died, officials said.C/-Radio New Zealand.

18) Philippines set to crack down on cyber abuse

Updated 19 January 2014, 1:29 AEST

Philippines government admits online child sex abuse has gone under the radar, but action is imminent now.

The Philippines’ government has vowed to crack down on online child sex abuse, days after a global police operation dismantled a paedophile ring that streamed live sexual abuse of Filipino children over the internet.

Police in Britain, Australia and the Philippines say they worked together to crack a paedophile ring which exploited children as young as six, and in some cases victims’ parents were involved.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda has told the media in Manila that the government will not countenance any syndicates that prey on minors with the aim of using them as sexual instruments.

“Certainly, actions will be taken to address the situation,” Mr Lacierda said.

“This is really a concern for us because we’ve always said that the youth are the future of the nation.”

Mr Lacierda has conceded the problem has been “under the radar” but says law-enforcement agencies are placing greater emphasis on fighting online abuse now.

They could be assisted by an anti-cybercrime law that was passed in September 2012 but later blocked by the Supreme Court.

The court is still hearing a legal challenge over the law’s provisions on online libel and giving the state the power to shut down websites and monitor online activities.

Mr Lacierda said the law’s provisions were “a ticklish issue” but he is hopeful that telecommunications companies and officials can reach an agreement on how to proceed.

The head of the national police anti-cybercrime unit, Gilbert Sosa, says the Philippines has become a hub for the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry, with operators aided by widespread poverty and legal loopholes that allow them to remain anonymous.

Senior Superintendent Sosa says the crime has spread through the help of wireless technology which prevents users, most of whom are in Europe and the United States, from being tracked effectively by the police.

AFP

HEALTH:

19) Pacific women smoking at rates as high as men

By Online Editor
09:10 am GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Australia

One of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted has shown that women in Pacific nations are smoking in very high numbers with rates as high as men.

The study has tracked changes in 187 countries for more than 30 years and shows countries in the Pacific and Asia have some of the worst smoking rates in the world.

It is being published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association and shows that Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Kiribati have extremely high rates of smoking.

One of the study’s authors, Dr Alan Lopez from Melbourne University’s School of Population and Global Health, has told Pacific Beat that the health toll of smoking in the Pacific and Asia is significant and it will escalate in the next 10 or 20 years as current smokers start to die prematurely.

He says that in countries like Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati, the smoking rates for men are above 50 per cent and they are very high for females as well.

“That is unusual. What we tend to see in the developing countries in the region here, say in Asia, is comparatively high and disturbingly high in fact, prevalence for males, around 40 to 50 per cent but much lower prevalence for females,” Dr Lopez said.

“We don’t tend to see that in the Pacific where women are smoking almost as much as men.”

He says the male/female differential is well-established and in countries like Australia in the first half of the 20th century, it was much more common for men to smoke presumably because of social norms.

“What we are seeing in many of the developing countries of the region is that that social taboo about female smoking in most countries, more or less, has not been lifted and is still there,” Dr Lopez said.

“So you have only two or three per cent of women smoking in Indonesia, for example, whereas you have 55 per cent of men smoking.

“Now in the Pacific, that social taboo does not seem to be nearly as strong.”

One of the major findings of the survey is that there has not been significant reduction in smoking in any country in the Pacific or Asia.

“(It) is absolutely alarming (that) in countries like Australia, United States, United Kingdom, much of Europe, particularly northern Europe, we have seen fabulous commitment, bold commitment to tobacco control (and) bold public policy by governments, persistent in the face of severe attacks by the tobacco industry,” Dr Lopez said.

“We don’t see that, near as much in countries in Asia, although to their credit, countries like China are now beginning to show the benefits of persistent tobacco control programs, particularly for males.”

Dr Lopez says there are a number of established public policy methods to reduce smoking such as raising the price by increasing taxes on tobacco.

“Raising the price will restrict access greatly. It will lead to a massive drop in consumption and it has done so in virtually every country where it has been tried,” he said.

“But that is not all. You can ban advertising and promotion so you don’t see the Marlboro Man the moment you get off the plane in Jakarta, on a billboard somewhere. You can ban advertising in television and in newspapers.

“Any form of public promotion of a substance that will kill one in two of its regular users has got to be good public health practice and countries around the region ought to be adopting it rigorously.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

14 January 2014

20) The Australian national curriculum – has PNG been neglected?

PETER KRANZ

SO HOW ABOUT SOME CREATIVE options for the Australian school curriculum, currently under new management?

Well the curriculum could be revised with proper respect to Papua New Guinea history. Get Kevin Donnelly and Professor Ken Wiltshire on to it as soon as possible.

And I seem to remember Julie Bishop responding favourably to the idea of much greater PNG/Australian student and teacher exchange schemes. But that was before the election.

(Come on Julie – make good on what you said in your dialogue with PNG Attitude contributors!)

And publishing PNG writings in Australia and promoting them as our closest neighbour’s cultural heritage in Australian schools would be good.

And how about teaching Tok Pisin to Australian students?

And maybe give the PNG film archive to all secondary schools in Australia and PNG?

Just the cost of a few hundred copied DVD’s and a bit of research. Most of it is in the Australian National Archives anyway.

And funding the PNG Dictionary of National Biography update, which PNG historians are crying out for.

Maybe this is all too much common sense.

Over to you Misters Pyne and Bernardi and Ms Bishop.C/- http://asopa.typepad.com/

21) Tuvalu government request for teachers from Fiji

By Online Editor
09:03 am GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Fiji

The Tuvalu Government has submitted a request to the Fijian Government under the Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS) for the engagement of nine retired school teachers to teach Maths and English at primary school level.

This request was raised after a series of meetings between the Permanent Secretary Public Service Commission, Parmesh Chand with the Ministry of Education Officials from Tuvalu and with the High Commissioner, Lutelu Favae and on receipt of endorsement from the Prime Minister and Minister for Public Service, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Chand said the request is also to process the logistics of identifying teachers prior to signing the Memorandum of Agreement two weeks’ time.

“The priority area of need identified by the Government of Tuvalu’s Ministry of Education is in the primary education. Teachers will be engaged to teach literacy and numeracy at that level,” Chand said.

He said the FVS has since advertised in the newspapers and radio seeking retired school teachers for this programme.

Retired school teachers who are willing to indicate their interest must first register their details with the National Employment Centre (NEC).

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

POLITIC:

22) PM set for historic visit to Bougainville
By Online Editor
12:38 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and a government entourage are all set to visit Central Bougainville, specifically Panguna, in two weeks time.

An advance team is already in Bougainville to prepare for the landmark visit by the Prime Minister.

As part of Peter O’Neill’s country-wide tour, he will visit Buka on 27 January, Arawa and Panguna on January 28 and overnight in Buin until January 29 when he returns to Port Moresby.

He will be the first Prime Minister to visit Central and South Bougainville since the peace agreement was signed on August 02, 2002.  He will be only the second Prime Minister to visit Central Bougainville since the Crisis. The first was Bill Skate who arrived in Arawa in 1998 to broker the ceasefire between the PNG government and the rebels.

Sir William’s visit ultimately ended the island’s prolonged bloody war of secession. In 1997, Sir William, of the National Congress Party, was elected prime minister and promised that peace in Bougainville would be his highest priority.

This led to the signing of a ceasefire agreement, the Rotokas Record, and a movement towards peace and autonomy for Bougainville.

As negotiations continued, the national Government was hard hit with a K10 billion (US$3.9 billion) environment damage claim and talks of reconciliation between the two escalated but was marred with outstanding issues, including the murder of then North Solomon (now Bougainville) Provincial Government Premier Theodore Miriung and many other issues.

Now after more than 20 years, the next PNC-led Government under the leadership of Peter O’Neill will visit the island.

Yesterday, Central Bougain-ville MP and Communication Minister Miringtoro said the Prime Minister was all set to visit Central Bougainville to meet with families from Boku, Nagovis and Tailings in Panguna.

He said reports of O’Neill being stopped from entering Panguna have been cleared and he is now free to travel to Central and South Bougainville.

Miringtoro, who has been in Bougainville for a month preparing for the visit, said Bougainville is set to receive impact projects worth K500 million (US$199 million) this year, which will be drawn down to the districts in accordance with the strict finance and treasury laws.

“The Prime Minster is not coming here to dig gold or with any related motive concerning the Panguna mine,” Miringtoro said.

“There are no hidden motives behind the Prime Minister’s visit to Arawa and Panguna. The Prime Minister is doing his routine visit throughout the country and Bougainville is no exception. He has completed his visits in all provinces throughout the country and this time he is coming to Bougainville.”…

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

23) No response yet from Fiji government on live TV debates

Updated at 5:00 pm on 17 January 2014

The Ministry of Information in Fiji has declined to comment yet on whether the prime minister Frank Bainimarama will accept an invitation to national debates on TV and radio by an opposition group.

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji recently invited members of the government to live debates, saying

it would be a good way for the regime to demonstrate its sincerity about the elections promised for September.

The group says citizens need to be able to listen to what candidates stand for, including Commodore Bainimarama, who is expected to form a political party soon, and how they plan on making life better for Fijians.

The head of the Media Industry Development Authority, Matai Akauola, recently said televised debates between political parties would be a good idea.Radio New Zealand.

24) Solomons parliament to dissolve in September

Updated at 7:21 am on 18 January 2014

The Clerk of parliament in the Solomon Islands has announced the national parliament will dissolve on September the 8th.

Taeasi Sanga says this will pave the way for the 2014 general elections to be held within the four months after the dissolution of parliament.

Ms Sanga says the dissolution falls in line with the first sitting of the current parliament on September the 8th, 2010.

She says it is the governor general’s prerogative to proclaim the date of the parliamentary elections.

The current parliament is expected to hold one or two more meetings before it is dissolved.Radio New Zealand.

25) NEC approves accreditation for PNG Ambassador to EU

By Online Editor
11:59 am GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s National Executive Council has approved the concurrent accreditation of the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union Joshua Kalinoe.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Cabinet endorsed  Kalinoe’s accreditation to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union member states comprising France, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

O’Neill said European Union was a major player in the global arena as well as an important development partner for Papua New Guinea in terms of trade and investment and was the second largest aid donor to PNG, behind Australia.

“Mr Kalinoe’s concurrent bilateral accreditation will further strengthen our economic and cultural relations with these countries and the European Union in general,” he said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

26) Fiji Electoral Commission Chair speaks out

By Online Editor
09:19 am GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Fiji

The chairman of Fiji’s Electoral Commission, Chen Bunn Young has spoken to the media for the first time since his appointment.

The seven-member Commission will supervise the general elections and ensure Fiji’s return to democracy this year.

Following the Commission’s appointment last week, it now has to start planning for Fiji‘s first general elections in eight years.

“We hope to meet either tomorrow (Wed) or Thursday. It will be our first meeting and I think all of us will be on a learning curve.”

The Commission’s responsibility is enormous and with elections to be held by September the group has many challenges to overcome in a short time.

Young says the decision to accept the position has not been an easy one.

“Well I guess I could tell you now the Attorney General approached me last year sometimes in August/ September so I have had some time to think about it and obviously I don’t have any illusions of the responsibility that came with the appointment if I were to accept it.”

Other members of the commission includes professor Vijay Naidu, Tourism operator James Sowane, media specialist Larry Thomas, accountant Jenny Seeto, civil society leader Alisi Daurewa and Father Arms.

The commission will now direct the elections office and the supervisor of elections who is yet to be announced.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

27) New speaker for Tuvalu in the new year?

By Online Editor
12:08 pm GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Tuvalu

Expect a new speaker for Tuvalu’s parliament if government has its way in the coming by-election.

Tuvalu went to the poll on Tuesday to fill the Namuga seat left vacant by the sick former education, youth and sport minister Dr Falesa Pitoi.

Dr Pitoi was away in Cuba on official duties as then Minister for Education in December 2012, when he was taken ill and flown to various locations for medical treatment. He has not returned to Tuvalu since then.

Governor-General Sir Italeli Iakoba had to use his powers again to call for a by-election for the island of Nanumaga. This after he consulted a team of medical officials to look into the year-long absence of Dr Pitoi.

Secretary to Government Panapasi Nelesone told ISLANDS BUSINESS that preparations have begun for the by-election after the decision was handed down by the Governor-General.

He said the date for the polls would be January 14. “On the 28th of December the final list of candidates will be compiled and objections will be received and assessed by the returning officer,” he said. “Barring any obstacles, we should be heading for a January 14 polling date.”

Enele Sopoaga’s government is hoping to win the by-election, so that it can have the two-thirds majority required under its constitution to move a motion to remove Speaker Sir Kamuta Latasi.

Government has been unhappy with the Speaker particularly his handling of parliamentary business.

Latasi had refused to entertain a vote of no confidence against then Prime Minister Willie Telavi last year after then Opposition Leader Sopoaga gained a majority in parliament…..

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

28) Fanene appointed to American Samoa cabinet

By Online Editor
3:07 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, American Samoa

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene is poised to become the youngest cabinet director of American Samoa’s territorial government.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga this week announced the 31-year-old has been appointed to lead the American Samoa Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs.

The nomination is subject to confirmation by the territorial Legislature.

Moliga says Fanene is a bright young man, who has leadership skills and will direct the youth on the right path.

Fanene was drafted by Cincinnati in 2005. He played seven seasons for the Bengals and started 10 games for the team in 2009. He joined New England in 2012 but was injured in training camp and eventually released.
SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

MEDIA:

29) PNG Media faces gag threat

By Online Editor
09:08 am GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea media has been urged by a judge to exercise restraint when reporting on the controversial sidelining of four policemen by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga.

Senior Supreme and National Court judge, Justice Catherine Davani, said the matter was politically-sensitive and should be allowed to be dealt with properly by the courts.

She made the comments after lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr, representing Prime Minster Peter O’Neill and Treasurer Don Polye, made an application in the National Court that there should be a statement by the court to refrain the media from reporting on the matter until after the hearing.

Nonggorr made the application after informing the court that her client and other respondents had not been served the court documents but the newspaper (Post-Courier) had it on the front page, which was inappropriate.

The court documents relate to an urgent application, which lawyers representing Opposition Leader Belden Namah filed on Monday afternoon, to stop the suspension of four policemen allegedly behind the issuing of warrants for the arrest of the Prime Minister, Polye and Finance Minister James Marape.

“Although I am not in favour of a media gag, it may be the case that there should be a statement that the media should cease on reporting the matter and the public should cease discussing this matter until we come back before the court, given that it should be tried in court and not in the media, although it worked on our benefit today because we got notice of the proceedings today in the newspaper, although it was inappropriate,” Nonggorr said in her submission.

“I submit not necessarily an order but a statement that the media should not report given the gravity of this matter until after the court proceedings.”

Lawyer Alois Jerewai, representing the Opposition Leader, opposed the application and submitted that coverage of the proceedings was in the public interest and the media should not be gagged.

“It is equally important your Honour, that the little man on the street is given the correct facts as in the order of what is transpiring in court, to that extent I would urge very seriously to that extent that they should not be gagged, media should not be gagged. That is part of the democratic existence that we have as per our Constitution,” Jerewai said.

However, Justice Davani cautioned reporters to restrain themselves from reporting matters, which sometimes can be very inflammatory.

“We don’t want to be encountering a situation similar to that encountered last year and only fueled because of what’s reported in the newspapers and in the media,” Justice Davani said.

“So the media should really restrain themselves until such time that everything is finalised”.

She said due to the political sensitivity surrounding the matter the media should refrain from reporting on it until after the proceedings is complete – “because our little man on the street doesn’t understand what’s going on, he’ll take on face value what is in the newspapers” – but stopped short of giving orders to that effect.

“But let me just say this in support of  Nonggorr that the media should refrain from reporting what  is before the court because that is in fact proper practice when a matter is before the courts it is subjudice and it should stay that way,” Justice Davani said.

“It’s not an order, I am making a comment from the bench but it may reach a stage that I may have to issue orders.”

The matter was adjourned to next Monday to give time to the respondents’ lawyers to be served the notice and also to sort out their practicing licenses.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

30) “Unacceptable” increase in journalist visa fee to 8,000 dollars: Reporters Without Borders

By Online Editor
12:04 pm GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Nauru

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the decision by the Micronesian island nation of Nauru, which hosts an Australian government detention centre for asylum-seekers, to increase the cost of a journalist visa from $200 to $8,000– an increase of nearly 4,000 per cent.

“The new price of a visa is out of all proportion and is nothing less than ban on foreign media visits to this island state,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“This measure can have only one aim, to dissuade journalists from applying, because the 8,000 dollars will not be reimbursed if the visa is refused. What media is going to risk such a sum? It is clear that the Australian government’s refugee detention centre is behind this decision.

“As with the detention centre on Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea, the Australian government is trying to censor any embarrassing information about the way it treats refugees. In the process of externalizing the asylum-seeker issue, it is even managing to delegate responsibility for censorship and discriminatory measures against the media.

“We call on the authorities to rescind this measure outright, because it violates the constitution of Nauru and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nauru has signed.”

Approved by Nauru’s parliament and due to take effect within days, the measure provides for no reimbursement of the 8,000 dollars if the visa application is rejected. An official said the hike was “for revenue purposes.”

The Sydney-based Global Mail online newspaper quoted a visa official as saying that only “three or four” media visas were granted in 2013 but that there was a big increase in media visas issued for a couple of months after Australia reintroduced offshore processing for asylum seekers in September 2012.

In November 2013, the UN Refugee Agency said the 700 asylum-seekers held at the Nauru detention centre were subjected to “harsh physical conditions” that “do not meet international standards.” Many human rights organizations have also criticized conditions at the centre.

Reporters Without Borders added: “This measure is a clear violation of the principle of freedom of information as enshrined in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and elsewhere.”

In its General Comment No. 44, the UN Human Rights Committee, which is responsible for interpreting the Covenant, said: “Limited accreditation schemes are permissible only where necessary to provide journalists with privileged access to certain places and/or events. Such schemes should be applied in a manner that is non-discriminatory and compatible with article 19 and other provisions of the Covenant, based on objective criteria and taking into account that journalism is a function shared by a wide range of actors.”

The committee also said: “It is normally incompatible with paragraph 3 to restrict the freedom of journalists and others who seek to exercise their freedom of expression (such as persons who wish to travel to human rights-related meetings) to travel outside the State party, to restrict the entry into the State party of foreign journalists to those from specified countries or to restrict freedom of movement of journalists and human rights investigators within the State party (including to conflict-affected locations, the sites of natural disasters and locations where there are allegations of human rights abuses).”

Reporters Without Borders already criticized the Australian government’s policy of denying journalists access to its detention centres in 2011 and 2012. In the case of Nauru, the Australian government nonetheless continues to put its head in the sand and insist that it is an internal matter for the island’s government.

There was a violent riot at the Nauru detention centre after the Australian government announced that it was adopting tougher migration policies last July.

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

31) Samoa PM’s Office CEO stops Savali Editor

By Online Editor
3:06 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Samoa

The Editor of the Samoan Government’s Savali newspaper, Tupuola Terry Tavita, has had his professionalism called into question by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Vaosa Epa.

In a letter dated 04 December 2013 titled “Re: Dismissal of Niccola Hazelman-Siona and Other Related Matters,” Epa raised concerns about what she described as “constant uncouth behaviour” and “use of abusive language” by Tupuola towards staff members.

The letter was addressed to Tupuola Terry Tavita and was leaked to the Samoa Observer.

In it, Epa says she became so concerned with Tupuola’s uncouth behaviour that she raised the matter with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

Epa wrote: “I will not try and prolong this correspondence unnecessarily by detailing every single incidence (sic) but suffice it to say that the trail of unhappy and disgruntled people affected and hurt by you, goes back to Rosie Afamasaga, Renate Rivers, Apaui Fuapepe Fesili, Sola Malele, Mamea Ulafala and now latterly Nicola Hazleman and Taunu’uga Toatasi.”

“In fairness to you, I will admit that perhaps in a number of cases, what gives rise to the incidence (sic) in the first instant was not due to you but due to the staff ’s fault or insufficiency.

“However, what has been resoundingly clear in all these incidences was the level of professionalism you displayed in dealing with the people concerned whereby you not only use foul and swearing language, you openly demeaned and abused them in the presence of other staff members.

“Your male staff are finding it difficult to keep their own anger back particularly when you go off that way to the female staff, bearing in mind that we all have sisters whom you should treat respectfully.”

The letter also questions the hiring practices of the Media and Communications Division at the Ministry. Epa wrote: “If you may recall, I have often raised the issue of putting in place proper processes for the recruitment of staff.

“I am mindful of the nature of appointments for both the Savali and the Press Secretariat but the institution of such processes will make the selection of staff fair and transparent.

“More importantly is the consideration of selection criteria and deliverables of positions you are advertising for, and a probation period that will provide you and Uale the opportunity to monitor and assess the performance of the new recruit – thus protecting yourselves from any legal action of wrongful dismissal.”

Uale is the Press Secretary, Ualetenese Papali’i Taimalelagi. At the end of her letter, Epa made two recommendations.

“As you already know,” she wrote, “I raised the above concerns with the Prime Minister, and as a way forward for all concerned, I make the following recommendations:

*To decline your request to cease employment of Niccola Hazelman-Siona but to relocate her to a different section within your Division.
*That for the sake of accountability and transparency, similar to other ACEO’s positions, your appointment be tied to a 3-year contract. The opinion of the Attorney General will be sought with regards to this aspect.”

Asked for a comment yesterday, Tupuola said he has not read the letter from Epa.

“It hasn’t been passed to me yet,” he said.

“I was overseas and I haven’t read it.”

It was not possible to obtain a comment from Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:

32) Cable links firms directly

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, January 18, 2014

FIJI businesses and institutions have the opportunity to be directly connected to their business partners and counterparts in Tonga and Vanuatu following the successful laying and commissioning of a submarine optical fibre cable between FINTEL and Vanuatu.

FINTEL acting chief executive officer George Samisoni said the Fiji-Vanuatu telecommunications cable system would be ready for commercial operation from yesterday.

“The 1250 kilometre submarine cable system, at a cost of $US30million ($F56.39m), will link directly into the high capacity Southern Cross cable enabling Vanuatu businesses to connect to the global telecommunications highway via US, Australia, Asia and Europe,” he said.

“The high speed internet should be a life-changing event for the people of Vanuatu and opens the door for e-commerce, e-education, e-health and e-government to name a few.”

Mr Samisoni said it would also be a major boon for the government of Vanuatu and tourism.

“This is the second Pacific Island cable system to be landed at FINTEL’s Vatuwaqa communications gateway, positioning Fiji as the telecommunications hub of the Pacific,” he said.Fijtimes.

33) CEO appointment

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, January 18, 2014

FORMER Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto has been appointed chief executive of the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau.

The announcement was made in Honiara this week by Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau chairman Moses Tepai.

“This appointment represents a major achievement for this country’s tourism aspirations and is intended to play a key role in the Solomon Islands increasing its annual international visitor intake,” Mr Tepai said in a statement.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Jo’s calibre on board.

“Jo is held in very high regard on the international tourism stage, his reputation and the huge success he achieved for Fiji’s tourism precedes him. This is especially the case in those visitor source markets we see as being critical to the future growth of our tourism industry and in particular Australia, New Zealand and the United States.”

Mr Tepai said the bureau desired Solomon Islands tourism to become a prime source of the country’s foreign exchange earnings within the next 10 years.

“We are confident Jo’s leadership and expertise will play a critical role in achieving that goal and managing the strategies intended to take the future of our tourism industry to a whole new level.

“We are delighted and very excited with his decision to join the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau.”

Mr Tuamoto’s overseas experience with Tourism Fiji included a three-year stint as Australian regional director based in Sydney and a similar three years as US regional director based in Los Angeles.

His commercial experience includes a director of commercial operations role with the iconic Fiji-based Blue Lagoon Cruises.

Since leaving Tourism Fiji, Mr Tuamotu has been operating as a senior consultant to government bodies and major private sector organisations in several countries across the South Pacific region.

A graduate with BSc and GCEd honours from the USP, Mr Tuamoto holds an MBA from the University of Wales and has also completed management studies at Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School and the University of Hawaii.Fijitimes.

34) Tourism Fiji appoints three Australian managers
By Online Editor
3:02 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Fiji

Tourism Fiji has appointed new state managers in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. The three new managers will be responsible for front line agent training, agency updates, trade support and trade incentives.

“With 333 islands, Fiji has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic, couples-only island or the best kids’ clubs in the world, Fiji has it covered and our newstate managers will be delivering that message to the industry,” said Tourism Fiji CEO Rick Hamilton.

Working with Tourism Fiji regional director Australia Carlah Walton, the new state managers’ role is to ensure Tourism Fiji is visible and accessible to the travel trade in all major source markets.

In New South Wales, Matthew Symonds joins Tourism Fiji from Rail Plus, where he served as the NSW/ACT sales manager for five years.

Karen Everingham will service the Queensland market. She most recently was client development manager (QLD corporate) for Virgin Australia.

In Victoria, David McMahon, Tourism Fiji’s new state manager previously worked at Intrepid Travel for seven years, most recently as business development manager for Victoria and Tasmania.
SOURCE: MICE BTN/PACNEWS

35) Israeli company to develop agriculture in PNG

By Online Editor
08:59 am GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The National Executive Council (NEC) has recently approved a joint venture partnership with an Israel group to develop the agro-industry in Papua New Guinea.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Cabinet agreed to enter into a strategic partnership with the LR Group of Israel under a joint venture.

O’Neill said under the joint venture agreement the PNG Government and the LR Group were  to immediately develop a dairy farm and production project at the Ilimo Farm in the Central Province and an agro-industry project in the Morobe Province.

“Cabinet also endorsed the inclusion of these two strategic projects in the Government’s Public Investment Program (PIP) for 2014-2017,’’ he said.

“It appointed and directed the State Project Team under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to Government with representatives of the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, Treasury, National Planning, Attorney-General, Health, Agriculture and Livestock, the Central and Morobe provincial governments (in relation to the projects in their respective provinces) to oversee, negotiate and facilitate the development and implementation of the two projects,” he said.

O’Neill said Cabinet directed the Chief Secretary and the Central Agencies Co-ordinating Committee to provide oversight, take all actions required to facilitate approvals and support necessary from all relevant government agencies to implement the Cabinet decision relating to the two strategic projects. “Agriculture is where we can make a real difference to the lives of the majority of our people. Past governments have shared this view. But despite many policy statements, agriculture development plans and funding commitments towards the agriculture sector, we have not seen any change or improvement in the sector,” he said.

“Israel is a global leader in agriculture innovation and food security, and the LR Group is at the forefront of that country’s advancement in this sector.

“I’m confident this partnership will unlock PNG’s real potential in agriculture, and grow a sector of the economy that will provide opportunities for our people beyond what other sectors promise.”

The Prime Minister said the National Government would establish close consultations with both provincial governments to develop these two initiatives.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

36) PNG growth imbalance

By Online Editor
2:23 pm GMT+12, 15/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The low growth in the non-mining sector in Papua New Guinea this year hints a very low growth rate in the other sectors of the economy, worsened by low commodity prices and the occurrence of farming diseases, economist Paul Barker said.

The projected 6.2% growth this year would mainly come from the expected gas export he said.

“The impact on agriculture and much of manufacturing and tourism will only be positive if the negative impacts (of Dutch disease) are restrained, through the stabilisation of the currency.

“PNG has a long backlog of development investment and restoration programmes to let the benefits of crude GDP growth to have a broad-based impact on the economy and its population.

“Many risks are faced in the process to avoid a skewed economic impact (benefiting a narrow portion of the population, at the expense of the rest).”

Barker predicted PNG will face a very challenging year, although partly of its own making.

He said: “External factors, which may restrain growth, will include further disruption in the global economy, perhaps related to renewed debt problems in the euro zone, further slowdown in the East Asian economies, notably China and other countries, notably India which would stall before and perhaps after their election.

For this year, the government has forecast a continued strong growth of 6.2%, but with only a small increase in the non-mining sector of 1.6%.

However, Barker said: “The 6.2% is based substantially upon LNG production and exports starting in the second-half of the year and starting to boost the GDP growth, which could jump next year.

“The start of gas production and processing into liquefied gas for export will boost exports and start reducing the PNG’s negative balance of trade and current account deficit, which should go back into positive in 2015 as LNG exports increase, especially if other commodity prices have also risen again by then.

“Disruption and conflict in the Middle East, North Africa and even east Asia would all be disruptive, although conversely in some cases may push some commodity prices up, from which there are invariably winners and losers.

“Domestic problems will relate to the capacity to target public expenditure and keep inflation in check, utilise the budget, including large deficit (borrowing) effectively to encourage economic activity and opportunity, including amongst rural farmers to produce exports crops and for the domestic market.

“Creating investment uncertainty of divestment of overseas ownership of various businesses, or further restrictions on transfers or enforced ownership transfers, including nationalisation of businesses, would all undermine the readiness for foreign direct investment (FDI) and in some cases, domestic investors, to invest capital particularly in longer term or riskier business ventures in PNG, including business commitment to needed longer term human resource development.

Separately, Barker stressed that failure to address law and order problems, major projects and disruptions to the country’s infrastructure would undermine the country’s economic growth.
Despite that, he said: “2014 should be a good year for PNG.

“There are some sound policy commitments such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the extractive industries’ transparency initiatives (EITI).

Barker, however cautioned that there remained limited public sector capacity (which will be the major future beneficiaries from LNG revenue within PNG) and very poor public sector accountability (comprising transparency, governance, oversight and enforcement of rules or penalties in the case of abuse)”.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

37)  Milne Bay islets for sale, Islands cheaper than Sydney homes

By Online Editor
12:28 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Eclectic collectors and eco-tourism investors from around the world will be targeted in the sales campaign for 21 pristine islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

Australian-born, London-based entrepreneur Ian Gowrie-Smith bought the islands in 2003, after first visiting them in 1996.

The Conflict Islands were so named after their 1886 discovery by naval ­survey ship The Conflict.

Gowrie-Smith has developed a resort on the third-largest island, Panasesa, which has a 650-metre runway – which he said could accom­modate most private jets, after a leisurely four-hour flight from Sydney.

The largest island, Irai, has 7000 metres of beachfront land and capacity for a 3000-metre jet runway.

Island ownership is at the extreme end of exclusive property. Most islands are under leaseholds, about 5 per cent are available on a freehold title.

Island ownership sounds exuberant but may come in cheaper than a lot of Sydney’s waterfront property.

Local leasehold islands for sale include the eight-hectare Hinchinbrook Island of the north Queensland coast for $4.5 million, or Turtle Island for $5 million.

Gowrie-Smith said he was open to offers and ideas – he is just as in­terested in what buyers intend for the atoll as the prices they are willing to pay.

If the right joint-venture partner puts a hand up, he would enjoy exploring conservation opportunities.

Ideally, he hopes to find like-minded investors keen to preserve its diverse ecology while opening up tourism opportunities. “I’m in no hurry to sell.

“I don’t need to sell them, I feel it is time to explore the islands’ full ­potential. The diving there is extra­ordinary; there is nowhere else like it in the world,” he said.

While he would not be drawn on what he paid for the islands, and stresses he is open to offers rather than having price tags, the collection was valued at $US25 million about 10 years ago.

Gowrie-Smith said the Conflict Islands were the only known freehold islands available.

The islands are able to be owned by non-PNG citizens through company structures and the 21 islands are divided into nine PNG companies.

Superstars including Leonardo ­DiCaprio, Robin Williams and Johnny Depp have bought their own islands in Belize, the Bahamas and British Columbia. In April last year, a Russian billionaire paid $US153 million for the island of Skorpios in Greece.

Gowrie-Smith has been involved in gas and gold exploration in Papua New Guinea, and was drawn to the islands for their tourism and conser­vation potential. Past projects include the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, where be bought 14 kilometres of riverfront for trout fishing.

Gowrie-Smith said he had built a solid rapport with the local government and a proposal was before government for a special economic zone for the broader Milne Bay Province, which would include tax incentives to encourage investment.

Gowrie-Smith’s past ventures include the billion-dollar SkyePharma and Medeva pharmaceutical companies.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN REVIEW/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

38) PNG Senior Ministers to be questioned by police
By Online Editor
09:13 am GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga has asked Finance Minister James Marape and Treasurer Don Polye to go in for interviews over their alleged roles in legal fee payments to the firm Paul Paraka Lawyers.

Marape is expected to attend the interview today while Minister Polye will go in on Monday.

This development comes on the back of a statement by Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim, who said the team concluded from its professional judgment and assessment, that they cannot pursue the Prime Minister’s alleged involvement in the payment.

The statement triggered the ire of Opposition Leader Belden Namah, who said the Task Force Sweep chairman was acting outside his jurisdiction and his group was not a “competent authority”, like the Royal PNG Constabulary or a court of law.

“A properly constituted court of law is the only tribunal of fact which can determine on evidence and in accordance with law whether O’Neill wrote the directive letter of January 24, 2012 or not,” he said.

Marape confirmed that he had been invited by the constabulary to go in for an interview today when contacted by the Post-Courier yesterday, saying he would co-operate with the investigations into his alleged role in the payments.

“I have been invited by the police for an interview.

“I will go to the police and present myself. I have co-operated with police on the same issue previously.

I have co-operated and supported police in their investigations and did not hold back information such as payments, letters and foot notes on letters as Minister responsible for Finance. I have nothing to hide. If I have to be charged for doing my work as Minister then so be it,” he added.

As the Finance Minister, he signs letters everyday as part of ministerial responsibilities he added .

The interrogation – which the Finance Minister will undergo today – comes 48 hours after the former Finance Secretary Steven Gibson was arrested and charged for conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office and misappropriation relating to the payment of K80 million in legal fees to Paul Paraka Lawyers.

Gibson, 54, from Nihon Island in the Manus Province, was questioned at the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate in Konedobu before being taken to Port Moresby’s Boroko police station, charged and locked up.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

39) Cyclone alert lifted in New Caledonia’s northern province

Updated 19 January 2014, 2:24 AEST

Cyclone alert lifted, but New Caledonia’s President Harold Martin warns people to remain vigilant.

An alert in parts of New Caledonia has been lifted, with Cyclone June downgraded to a Tropical Depression as it continues to weaken.

However President Harold Martin has urged his people to remain vigilant as the storm could still widen, and it’s estimated to be tracking within 150 kilometres of the capital, Noumea.

More heavy rain, coupled with a risk of strong westerly winds, is expected to affect the French territory until Sunday evening.

Duty forecaster at the Fiji Meteorological Service in Nadi, Terry Atalifo, says the windspeed near the centre of the cyclone is estimated to be around 75 kilometres per hour.

The northern region of New Caledonia has not reported any damage despite facing strong winds earlier.

“We haven’t received any reports in terms of casualties,” Mr Atalifo said.

“However, we have seen that… in terms of observations, they’ve recorded some very strong winds but they did not report any gale force winds so far in any of the stations in New Caledonia.”

Mr Atalifo cautions residents of New Caledonia to take heed of the latest warnings and take precautions as the cyclone “is still within the vicinity”.

Tropical Depression June, as it will then be known, is predicted to reach Norfolk Island on Monday morning.

Preparing for a cyclone

Tune in to your local emergency broadcaster for updates.
Prepare your cyclone kit, make a note of the location of any item not in your kit.
Prepare your home.
If an official evacuation order has not been issued, you may shelter in your home until it passes.
If an official evacuation order is issued then you and your family must leave your home immediately.
If evacuating, seek a public shelter or shelter with friends or family further inland or on higher ground.
For more details see Plan for an emergency on the Radio Australia website.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

40)Reports of flooding in Solomon Islands

Updated at 5:00 pm on 17 January 2014

The Solomon Islands National Emergency Operations Centre says there are reports of flooding in at least three areas in Guadalcanal province and parts of the capital Honiara are also under water.

The SIBC reports that food gardens and cocoa plantations surrounding the villages of Mbarande, Mbalasuna and Komukama have been swamped by flood waters.

The Makira-Ulawa Provincial Office also reported that heavy rain, high swells and strong winds are continuing to affect most parts of the province.

Parts of Honiara city have also experienced flooding due to disturbance of drainage systems.

A minor landslide also happened at Fulisango community which caused minor damage to one residential house.

The National Emergency Operation Centre was activated on standby as of 6pm on Thursday, following the active stationary monsoon trough lying over Solomon Islands.Radio New Zealand.

41) Forecast for rainy weather

Shayal Devi
Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE Nadi Weather Forecasting Centre has forecast a rainy weekend for the Western Division.

Fiji Meteorological Service acting director Aminiasi Tuidraki said this was caused by south easterly winds over the Fiji group.

“This will release some showers and because of the heat, it will trigger convection so we can expect this weather throughout the weekend,” he said.

Mr Tuidraki also said the tropical depression over New Caledonia had been upgraded to a tropical cyclone and as a result the West would be feeling its effect. “When we had Tropical Cyclone Ian, it was to the east of Fiji but this cyclone is towards the west and hence some of the rain bands are affecting the Western side of Fiji.”

Mr Tuidraki said there was no strong wind warning for mariners at the moment.

However, low-lying areas could be flooded as a result of heavy rain.Fijitimes.

42) Sea level rise threatens 676 communities in Fiji
By Online Editor
12:35 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Fiji

A total of 676 communities around Fiji are under threat from rising sea levels brought about by climate change.

Of these, 42 have been identified to be relocated within the next ten years, beginning with the relocation of Vunidogoloa village in Cakaudrove.

Speaking at the launch of the relocation project on Thursday, Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the village is in urgent need of relocation.

He highlighted the plight of villagers who had to endure floods in times of heavy rain and high tides, the intrusion of seawater which would soften the ground and accelerate rot in the bottom of the posts The total cost of preparing the new site, building 30 new houses and putting on a new water supply is under one-million dollars.

Of the total costing, the community has been able to raise $240,000 (US$127,000) through an arrangement it has with a Labasa company to log the forests around the community.

“That company will provide timber for your new houses based on the value of the logs extracted from Vunidogoloa,” Bainimarama said. “So the community has a real stake in this initiative, working in partnership with Government, and I want to pay tribute to you all for making that partnership succeed.”

The government is also planning to relocate villages of Narikoso in Kadavu next which will be the second of their pilot relocation projects.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

SPORTS:

43) Fiji Sevens core retained
By Online Editor
3:31 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, Fiji

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan has named the core of his squad that featured at the Dubai and George tournaments to travel to the HSBC Sevens World Series events in Las Vegas and Wellington.

Ten players from the previous leg, including skipper Osea Kolinisau, were retained while former skipper Levani Botia and Flying Fijians scrumhalf Henry Seniloli are the only two new inclusions in the final 12 announced in Suva yesterday.

Botia and Seniloli replace Waisea Nacuqu and Yamacia winger Mosese Mawalu; Nacuqu was initially dropped from the squad while Mawalu was named as non-travelling reserve.

Other players such as Pio Tuwai, Semi Kunatani, Samuela Saqiwa, Jonah Tuitoga, Donasio Ratubuli, Leo Naikasau, Benito Masilevu, Emosi Mulevoro and Samisoni Viriviri have again cemented their spots.

Ryan said he was happy with the final team although the side would face a tough challenge with the time difference and travel.

“I am happy with the team,” he said.

“It is a strong side, no doubt about it now. But we got a hard start with the time difference and the travel to Vegas.

“This is certainly a stronger side, if not stronger than the team that went to Dubai and Port Elizabeth.”

Ryan has again stuck with three specialist forwards in Tuwai, Saqiwa and Kunatani. He said the abilities of Masilevu, Botia, Tuitoga and Naikasau could also be used as cover upfront and also slotted in the backline.

Fiji is drawn in Pool B with Australia, New Zealand and Scotland at the Las Vegas tournament.

The 12-member Fiji 7s team: Benito Masilevu, Donasio Ratubuli, Emosi Mulevoro, Henry Seniloli, Jona Tuitoga, Leo Naikasau, Levani Botia, Pio Tuwai, Osea Kolinisau, Samisoni Viriviri, Samuela Saqiwa, Semi Kunatani

Non-travelling reserves

Apisai Domolailai, Marika Vunibaka, Mosese Mawalu, Viliame Mata.

Meanwhile, passion and pride in the Fiji jersey will be the driving force for the national sevens team at the HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in Las Vegas and Wellington.

Thus says Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan who believes his players have sacrificed a lot and overcome all sorts of off-field obstacles concerning the Fiji Rugby Union.

Times Sports understands that the players did not receive any bonus from the Dubai and Port Elizabeth tournaments.

Ryan said his troops had a point to prove in Las Vegas and Wellington. He said skipper Osea Kolinisau always emphasised that faith and hard work would produce positive results.

“Oscar (Kolinisau) says faith plus hard work can help the team at the Vegas 7s and that is why the boys will be doing everything they possibly can,” Ryan said.

“They have trained very hard, they have made sacrifices over Christmas and they have had a hard time because it’s been tough financially for all of them. You know the bonus did not come in Dubai and everything else has driven them on a lot harder.”

He said the players regard themselves a little bit underdogs from the FRU’s financial resource point of view.

“The boys will want to prove that it’s not about money, it’s about passion, it’s about ability, it’s about hard work yeah and that’s why I’m pretty excited about this group of guys.

“We have all made our sacrifices. We know about rugby players playing to their potential. If we can get all these players playing 100 per cent and play as hard as they can I think the results will only look after themselves.”.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

44) New challenge for rugby star

Maciu Malo
Sunday, January 19, 2014

FROM rugby battle fields to war zones, Rugby World Cup Sevens winner and British Army soldier Apolosi Satala has surrendered his colourful rugby career and near-death experiences to the Almighty Lord.

Being there and done that, the former Flying Fijian flanker is an All Nations Church pastor in England — after more than 10 years of playing and 13 years of service as a British Army soldier.

Recalling his achievements both in rugby and as a soldier, ‘Pastor’ Apo admitted it was through the guidance of the Almighty Lord that enabled him to successfully “climb Mount Everest” and be the person he is today.

The soft-spoken Namoli villager from Lautoka said words were not enough to describe the guidance and protection of the Almighty Lord which triggered him to devote the rest of his life as a servant of God.

“Words cannot express what God has done to my life and I want to spend the rest of my life as his servant,” said Satala.

“It’s a mind-blowing experience when I look back at my rugby achievements and 13 years of service in the British Army.

“I thank God for his guidance — when I went to the UK to join the British Army I thought that was the end of my rugby career but little did I know that the Lord had a plan for me.

“Being recalled to play for the Fiji 7s and 15s rugby was a humbling experience and to win the Melrose Cup for Fiji in 2005 is an achievement I will always cherish.

“In addition to my rugby achievement, I thank the Lord for saving my life from the jaws of death during my deployment to war zone countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“I have seen lives being lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and I am forever grateful that the Lord has guided me to go past those events unhurt.”

The former Gloucester and Sales rugby rep said apart from his allegiance to the Lord, rugby would always be part of his life.

He said he is also spreading rugby gospel to his fellow countrymen back in England.

“At the moment I am taking each day as it comes, I am a pastor back in England and I am managing my life well and thanking God every day that my future is in his hands.

“There is no other mentor that I can go to like God and apart from spreading the gospel of the Lord I am also spreading the rugby gospel to my fellow countrymen in England.”

Satala is here with his family for a break.FijiTimes.

45) BRIEFLY

Aap/Afp/Ap/Dpa
Sunday, January 19, 2014

Neymar out

MADRID – Barcelona will be without Neymar for between three and four weeks after he badly twisted an ankle in Friday’s Copa del Rey win at Getafe. “Tests carried out have confirmed that Neymar is suffering from a sprained right ankle. He will be out for approximately three to four weeks,” a statement read.

Olympic bid

STOCKHOLM – The Swedish capital Stockholm is dropping its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the mayor said yesterday. “It is always nicer to say yes than no, but it is in our mandate to make tough decisions,” the centre-right mayor Sten Nordin from the Moderate Party told Swedish news agency TT.

Ligety victory

WENGEN, Switzerland – All-rounder Ted Ligety put in a decisive downhill performance to clinch victory in the men’s super-combined in Wengen yesterday, the American’s third World Cup win of the season.

Ligety, the 2006 Olympic and 2013 world gold medallist in the discipline, clocked a combined total of 2min 44.74sec over a slalom and downhill.

Golf lead

BANGKOK – Thailand’s Prom Meesawat struck a one-under-par 71 to maintain his share of the lead with Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, at eight under par, in the second round of the King’s Cup yesterday.

Korea’s Mo Joong-Kyung trailed a shot behind in third place after a 68 in the $1 million Asian Tour event at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin.

New contract

DORTMUND, German – Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund have signed South Korean international Ji Dong-Won on a four-year contract.

“We are pleased to be able to sign this talented player for free for next season,” said Dortmund sport director Michael Zorc on the club website. The 22-year-old, can play in midfield or attack.

Fixing charge

LONDONP – Britain’s National Crime Agency has charged a third footballer as part of a match-fixing investigation involving non-league players.

Moses Swaibu, who played in the sixth-tier Conference South, was charged yesterday with conspiracy to defraud as part of the probe into an alleged international illegal betting syndicate.

Hockey final

NEW DEHLI – Hockey’s World League final will feature New Zealand and The Netherlands.

The Dutch beat Australia 4-3 in yesterdayy’s semi-finals after the Kiwis had beaten England 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out following a full-time score of 3-3. Australia fought back from 2-0 at half time but couldn’t bridge the gap to the Dutch team.

Snooker upset

LONDON – Scotland’s Stephen Maguire upset the form book to beat Australia’s Neil Robertson 6-2 on Friday in the quarter-finals of the Masters snooker tournament.

World No.1 Robertson, the reigning UK champion, soon found himself 3-0 down at London’s Alexandra Palace. He reduced the deficit to just one frame to be 2-3 behind but, with Maguire producing a series of long pots, that was as close as he managed to get.

46) Cama blow for New Zealand Sevens
By Online Editor
3:25 pm GMT+12, 17/01/2014, New Zealand

New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has named his squad for the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, with a noticeable absentee in the influential Tomasi Cama.

DJ Forbes will once again captain the side and although the season’s leading points scorer, Cama, suffered a calf injury in training, Tietjens is confident he has able replacements.

“He (Cama) is certainly the best half back in the world in Sevens and having him injured is a real concern but he will bounce back and at the same time we are building depth.

“Gillies Kaka I am sure will step up to that role. He was the best player at Rugby World Cup in Russia and we have very capable Mark Jackman as well who can thrive in that position.”

The All Blacks Sevens, who lead the Series standings after the first three rounds, have not won in Las Vegas in the four years at the Sam Boyd Stadium.

Tietjens’ side has notched three second places, however, with the Cup shared twice by South Africa and Samoa.

“We have played consistently well there so it’s not that we don’t play well there, it comes down to those defining moments that decide whether you win or lose,” added Tietjens.

“We have to use different tactics because there is not as much width on the field so there is a lot more contact and I have picked a side that is very strong and very big and hopefully they can do the work for us.”

One players is also set to make their debut for the reigning World Series champions in USA, Akira Ioane.

“He is someone we want to grow as a sevens player,” explained Tietjens.

“He has all the attributes and the skill set of a fine rugby player. He’s exciting, very fast, very skillful and it will be real challenge for him his first tournament, but I am sure he will thrive on that.”

New Zealand begin their campaign against Australia, the side they beat to win the opening round of the Series on the Gold Coast, before facing matches against Scotland and the Dubai Sevens champions Fiji.
SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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