Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 928

MELANESIA:

1) New MSG meeting on West Papua scheduled

Updated at 9:44 pm today 21/1/14

The director general of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has confirmed a special Leaders meeting will be held in Vanuatu next month.

Peter Forau says the agenda is still being consulted on but it will address issues of importance to MSG cooperation, notably the West Papua issue.

The MSG Chairperson Victor Tutugoro, who is also spokesperson of New Caledonia’s indigenous FLNKS movement, is calling for the meeting, just days after a controversial MSG mission to Indonesia and Papua.

Foreign ministers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands took part in a delegation last week, which was meant to learn more about the bid by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation to become a member of the MSG.

Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Edward Natapei, pulled out because the itinerary did not include meetings with groups concerned about alleged human rights abuses in West Papua.Radio New Zealand.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

2)West Papuans criticise Indonesian ‘hijacking’ of visit by Pacific leaders

By Online Editor
1:54 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Indonesia

A group of Pacific Island nations has agreed not to interfere in Indonesia’s administration of West Papua, despite earlier pledging their support for the West Papuan independence push.

But a member of the Vanuatu parliament has accused the Indonesian government of “hijacking” a visit by a delegation of Pacific Island foreign ministers to the troubled Indonesian province last week.

Representatives of regional power bloc the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), including foreign ministers from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, visited West Papua last week to assess an application by a West Papuan pro-independence group to join the MSG.

Vanuatu pulled out of the delegation at the last minute, saying Indonesia blocked the group from meeting with Indigenous West Papuans.

Vanuatu’s special envoy for decolonisation, Joe Natuman MP, told Guardian Australia: “When we received the program last Friday we realised the visit would only talk with the Indonesians and do business with the Indonesians, it had nothing to do with West Papua.”

“We decided we are not going to take part in this exercise once we realised that the program and visit had been hijacked by the Indonesian government,” he said.

The trip was supposed to involve meetings with West Papuan leaders, human rights groups and civil society, Natuman said. He told Guardian Australia the carefully stage-managed visit was part of a campaign by Indonesia to discourage Pacific island leaders from allowing West Papua to join the MSG – a move sought by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation that would bring the province one step closer to independence from Indonesia.

The MSG secretariat did not respond to a request for comment.

In June last year, MSG leaders at the leaders’ summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, passed a motion in support of West Papuan self-determination.

But in a meeting with the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in Jakarta on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Fiji, PNG and the Solomon Islands signed a pledge of “non-interference” in Indonesia’s “internal affairs”.

The joint statement committed the parties to supporting each other’s “sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity”, and pledged greater trade and development co-operation between Indonesia and the MSG countries.

Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Edward Natapei, told Radio Australia that it was now unlikely the West Papuan group would obtain full membership of the MSG.

“Considering that the three [other] leaders of MSG have been in Indonesia and they have entered into some agreements with the government of Indonesia, I believe it’s going to be a lot more difficult this time to try and push this agenda forward,” he said.

He said Vanuatu would continue to advocate on West Papua’s behalf.

Natuman said Indonesia regularly offered development assistance to Pacific countries to buy political support. “I think they expect that when they are helping us we will turn a blind eye to what’s happening in West Papua,” he said.

Vanuatu would not sign the agreement because “West Papua is a different country from Indonesia”, he said.

In Jayapura, local activists say the Indonesian military and police blocked them from meeting with the delegation when it arrived in the West Papuan capital last Monday.

Dozens of people were arrested and an elderly woman manhandled by police when West Papuans gathered in the streets to protest against their exclusion from the meeting, student leader Markus Haluk told Guardian Australia.

Haluk said West Papuans had prepared flowers, music and dancing to welcome the MSG delegation, but the group was secreted in under armed guard.

“We carried banners saying things like ‘Welcome MSG delegation’, ‘We the Papuan community request political sovereignty and independence’.

“The police ordered for us to stop as we didn’t have a letter of authorisation [to hold a rally],” said Haluk, who was detained by police but later released.

Local media reported that police said the protest was dispersed on the grounds that the protesters did not have a permit to demonstrate.

West Papuan police could not be reached for further comment on their handling of the delegation’s visit and the protests.

Haluk said West Papuans were very disappointed that Indonesia had conducted the visit “in secret”.

“We urge the member states of the MSG to return to the recommendation of summit in Noumea on 21 June 2013,” he said. “That decision stated that the MSG supported the right to self-determination of West Papua and were concerned at the human rights violations occurring in West Papua.

“We’d like to say to the MSG member states: don’t be fooled by the trickery tactics of the Indonesian government.”.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN/PACNEWS

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 21 January 2014

by bobmakin

Again a problem with highlighting (advice being sought) but a more interesting bulletin today …

The number of cases of dengue confirmed at Port Vila Central Hospital has increased significantly in recent weeks all media are reporting. Overseas testing has confirmed the virus as Type 3 dengue fever which has not been seen in Vanuatu for over 20 years. “That increases the possibility that there could be a huge outbreak,” said Dr Laurence Boe, the team leader for a campaign fighting the spread of the disease to Daily Post in today’s issue.

Vanuatu, along with 4 other island countries, has signed a VT 500 million solar Renewable Energy project with the United Arab Emirates at the IRENA (the International Renewable Energy Agency) general assembly meeting in Abu Dhabi. It is for the construction of a 500kW Solar Grid connected PV system in Port Vila. Vanuatu is attempting to reach a target of 65% Renewable Energy by 2020 the Post report points out.

Post yesterday reported Justice Minister Jonas James’ concern at the way in which assets of Port Vila Municipality have been seized following a default judgement. It has meant the loss to the council of the mayor’s official vehicle, a machine used for maintaining the Etas land-fill for Port Vila rubbish and the premises in which court is held at Dumbea Hall. Certainly the townspeople of Port Vila must be offered a reasonable explanation as to how the town hall’s efforts to try and locate a suitable new site for a cemetry can end up with the municipality not getting the land wanted, which had already been sold, and losing valuable assets as a price tag for this failure.

The deputy vice president of the Vanuatu Builders’ Association, Charlie Robert, is concerned at the number of Chinese construction workers employed to build premises in the two towns. ‘Builder’s labourer’ was a category of employment previously reserved for ni-Vanuatu. Radio Vanuatu News reports Chinese investors bringing pre-fabricated materials into the country for construction of premises which they then proceed to build themselves. He was speaking with reference to what was styled the Builders’ Law passed by the recent sitting of Parliament. There has been little comment concerning this and vanuatudaily will try to find out more for you. There has, however, been news of the municipal destruction of the sub-standard Chuan store at Santo. Lengkon Tokon has pointed out to this blog the need for the municipalities to enforce stricter building laws for safety. He sensibly insists immigrants wanting to build must go to a qualified building inspector.

Both daily media report the British Trade Advocacy Fund (TAF) helping Vanuatu to advance its potential to trade externally. There are a services sector negotiation strategy, a WTO negotiation strategy and a strategy for pursuing bilateral trade with New Caledonia. A workshop is presently taking place on these matters.

A Devpacific Dialogues seminar recently has learned of the Vanuatu Comprehensive Reform Programme (CRP) introduced in 1997 being a failure from every point of view. Development professionals met with Vanuatu’s first trade economist, Dr Dan Gay, who after service in Port Vila from 2002 – 2004 went to Singapore where he became convinced development policy recommendations should vary according to the particular context of the country concerned. Facts prove that Vanuatu’s CRP, which predicted a 5.8% GDP growth, suffered instead a major recession. Gay sees this is being due to insufficient
consultation with the public over CRP.

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | COTA needs independent review

by bobmakin

Independent review needed for Custom Owner funds

Professor Sue Farran has commended the efforts of the Vanuatu Ministry of Lands in attempting to restore the Custom Owners’ Trust Fund Account (COTA). However, the former lecturer on human rights at USP (especially as regards land) has called for an independent review.

News last week spoke of a demand by five prominent families of South Efate seeking their share of the monies which have been paid into the Custom Owners’ Trust Fund Account (COTA). The Lands Ministry is presently trying to bring the account back into a workable credit.

Professor Farran wrote to social media concerning the need for an independent review. She suggests it could be made by the proposed Vanuatu Lands Ombudsman. It should not be too difficult to establish what monies are owed on which properties. Each lease should contain details of premium paid and any rentals while the date of the lease would indicate who was minister responsible at the time. Of course some of this information may have been lost or omitted, the former USP based lecturer admits, but adds reference to the Justice For the Poor records, or to her own research (lodged with the Ministry of Lands in 2001) should help.

Sue Farran continues “Responsibility for mis-management of the [custom owner] funds, or mis-appropriation, should lie at the door of the ministers responsible at the time” (unless these are deemed to be above the law, and Sue questions whether they are so deemed). “Many of these persons are still influential in politics and most are still alive. While the current government proposes to make good the shortfall, where will the monies come from? From sources which could be being used for the benefit of all citizens, for example for health or education, etc.?”

Farran ends: “The probability is, however, that certain individuals increased their own private wealth at the expense of custom owners who, once their title is properly established, are entitled to 100% of the monies held on trust (less presumably some modest administration fee), whether they are ‘well-known’ families or completely ‘unknown families’. While hopefully the land reforms will prevent future ministers taking advantage in this way, the current government should address past issues head-on.”

Sue Farran continues an Adjunct Professor at USP and an Associate at the Centre for Pacific Studies, St Andrews University. At Northumbria University in the United Kingdom she is involved in teaching Equity and Trusts.

TOK PISIN:

5) Vanuatu i joinim European Union long toktok long West Papua

Postim 21 January 2014, 15:26 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol sios long Vanuatu bai bung long Fonde long despla wik blong strongim sapot blong ol igo long ol West Papua pipal na fait blong ol long bruk lusim Indonesia.

Ol sios long Vanuatu bai bung long Fonde long despla wik blong strongim sapot blong ol igo long ol West Papua pipal na fait blong ol long bruk lusim Indonesia.

Despla bung blong ol bai kamap long wankaen we Palaman blong European Union long Germany bai lukluk na toktok long despla heve blong ol pipal blong West Papua.

Indonesia ibin kisim nating West Papua long ol yiar 1960’s na stat long despla taem ikam inap nau ol West Papuans i wok long fait hard long lukautim ol iet.

Aste planti NGO grup wantem ol sios na ol memba blong West Papua community long Vanuatu ibin holim wanpla miting long Port Vila long despla tingting blong ol.

Pastor Nafuki itok long Fonde bai oli bung na mekim planti moa awenes long despla laik blong ol pipal blong West Papua long kisim indipendans.

Emi tok tu olsem long mun bihaen ol sios long Vanuatu na ol sapota blong West Papua bai holim wanpla peaceful pas long Port Vila long strongim despla sapot blong ol.Radio Australia

6) Ol PNG NGO ino hamamas long Australia

Updated 21 January 2014, 13:19 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Tripela NGO grup long Manus Provins long PNG ino hamamas long ol otoriti bilong Australia na PNG ino ibin tok klia pastaim long oli go het long wokim niupela asylum seekers processing centre.

Wanpela bikpela miting ibin kamap long Friday igo pinis namel long Maus Manus Development Forum, Manus Women’s Group na Elits of Manus.

Tripela grup ibin sidaun paitim toktok long ol wari or concerns bilong ol long pipal bilong Manus ino lukim benifits bilong moni na wok igo long ol.

Ben Pokarup i i Maus Manus Development Forum Secretary i tokaut makim tupela narapela grup na i tok, wari bilong ol i kamap bihain long 16 mun long oli wokim Regional Processeing Centre bilong Australia antap long Lombrum long Manus provins.

Ben Pokarup i tok sampela long ol wari bilong ol em long oli no laik larim ol niusman na meri bilong autsait igo long Manus, longpela taim oli kisim long prosesim ol asylum seekers na ol bisnis long Manus na pipal ino kisim benifits oli pasim tok aninit long agrment oli ibin sainim.Radio Australia

BAHASA:

7) Australia Pertimbangkan Amnesti Pajak

Terbit 21 January 2014, 10:25 AEST
Justine Parker, staf

Kantor pajak Australia (ATO) tengah mempertimbangkan untuk memaafkan mereka yang tidak membayar pajak atas penghasilannya di luar negeri. Di bawah amnesti atau ‘pengampunan’ pajak ini, para pengemplang pajak tersebut tidak akan dihukum asalkan membayar kembali pajak yang mereka hindari selama rentang waktu maksimum empat tahun.

Australia kini mempertimbangkan skema pengampunan bagi pengemplang pajak dari penghasilan luar negeri.

ATO telah mengkonfirmasi bahwa rencana ini kemungkinan akan diterapkan. Lembaga tersebut mengaku tengah menggodok rincian inisiatif untuk pemberitahuan perihal pendapatan dari luar negeri. Rencana terkait inisiatif tersebut akan diumumkan sebelum akhir bulan Juni.

Robert Jeremenko dari lembaga Tax Institute menyatakan bahwa salah satu target amnesti tersebut adalah mereka yang memiliki investasi di luar negeri yang sudah berjalan lama.

“Kenyataannya, dunia berubah, dan sekarang ada jauh lebih banyak kerjasama internasional. Jadi, mereka yang berusaha membangun struktur macam itu saat ini akan mengalami kesulitan yang lebih besar,” komentarnya, “Jadi masuk akal bila sekarang ATO dan pemerintah berusaha mengembalikan skema semacam itu ke Australia.”

Paul Drum, kepala bidang kebijakan untuk lembaga Akuntan Tersertifikasi dan Menjalankan Praktek, menyatakan bahwa amnesti itu kemungkinan besar akan dimanfaatkan oleh pembayar pajak yang memiliki kekayaan besar dan beresiko terkena dampak dari penumpasan praktek penghindaran pajak luar negeri, yang berlangsung secara global.

“Kita lihat ada gerakan internasional untuk menumpas base erosion dan profit shifting di tingkat internasional, penting pula bagi ATO dan pemerintah untuk menutup ruang-ruang gerak yang dapat mengikis pendapatan pajak di sini,” nyatanya.

Base erosion dan profit shifting menurut Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adalah praktek menghindari pembayaran pajak dengan cara menggeser kegiatan perusahaan ke negara-negara yang pajaknya lebih rendah atau tak ada sama sekali.Radio Australia

FRENCH:

8) Melbourne: un mémorial pour les résistants aborigènes

Posté à 21 January 2014, 20:36 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Lundi Melbourne a commémoré un anniversaire lugubre : celui de la pendaison de deux Aborigènes, Tunnerminnerwait, une femme, et Maulboyheenner, un homme.

Il s’agit de la toute première exécution dans la colonie du Victoria, en 1842. Les deux pendus étaient des résistants à la colonisation. Ils ont été condamnés pour le meurtre de deux chasseurs de baleines. T

unnerminnerwait et Maulboyheenner avaient été pris en Tasmanie en 1839 par le Protecteur britannique des Aborigènes, George Robinson, avec 14 autres Aborigènes, pour servir de médiateurs entre les colons et les populations aborigènes de Melbourne.

En 1841, Maulboyheenner, Tunnerminnerwait et trois autres femmes aborigènes ont volé des fusils et mené une guérilla de six semaines contre les colons, pillant et brûlant des maisons, et tuant, donc deux chasseurs de baleine.

La municipalité de Melbourne a décidé en décembre de construire un mémorial en hommage à ces deux résistants aborigènes.  Radio Australia

9) Papouasie indonésienne: les fusillades se multiplient

Posté à 21 January 2014, 20:29 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Dans le district de Mulia, la police a la situation en main, affirme le commissaire Marselis, qui reconnaît pourtant que les fusillades sont devenues une routine.

Samedi soir une nouvelle fusillade a éclaté entre des indépendantistes et les policiers indonésiens.

Selon le quotidien « Jakarta Post », un groupe de l’OPM, le mouvement de libération de la Papouasie ont fait une descente à la base militaire de Pasar Lama. Ils ont ouvert le feu et blessé légèrement deux soldats indonésiens, qui ont quand même été envoyés à l’hôpital.

Cette attaque faisait suite à une autre attaque, menée par des indépendantistes. Ils ont réussi à voler huit fusils d’assaut au commissariat de Kulirik, toujours dans le district de Mulia, au centre de la Papouasie, dans les hauts-plateaux.Radio Australia

10) Nauru: le chaos dans les tribunaux

Mis à jour 21 January 2014, 15:29 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

L’unique juge et le Président de la Cour SUprêmwe ont été rayés des cadres en quelques jours. Ce sont les demandeurs d’asile en attente d’un jugement qui pâtissent le plus de la situation.

L’Australien Peter Law, le désormais ancien magistrat résident de Nauru, interviewé sur l’ABC le lendemain de son expulsion. (Credit: ABC)
Dimanche le gouvernement a expulsé son unique juge, l’Australien Peter Law, sans même lui laisser le temps de faire sa valise et de fermer son appartement. Peter Law a le titre de magistrat résident, il est le représentant du Commonwealth à Nauru. Et il affirme qu’il aurait été mieux traité en république démocratique du Congo :

« Le malaise règne à Nauru depuis ces événements. J’ai été accueilli à l’aéroport par la foule quand j’ai été expulsé, et il y avait de nombreux députés de l’opposition. J’ai été bousculé, poussé, par les policiers, et c’était clair qu’ils obéissaient aux ordres. »

Une expulsion d’autant plus scandaleuse que l’Australie est la principale bailleuse de fonds de Nauru, souligne le juge Peter Law :

«  L’Australie donne 15 millions de dollars par an à Nauru. C’est une grosse somme, qui représente un large pourcentage du budget national nauruan. Et j’estime que le gouvernement australien doit prendre ses responsabilités et s’assurer que l’argent donné ne soit pas mal utilisé, et s’assurer que la loi soit respectée. Pourquoi les contribuables australiens devraient ils donner de l’argent à un gouvernement qui ne respecte pas la démocratie ? »

Le gouvernement nauruan n’a pas justifié l’expulsion du juge Peter Law. Mais l’unique juge du pays devait présider cette semaine le procès des demandeurs d’asile auteurs présumés des émeutes et de l’incendie du centre de rétention. Une affaire qui est désormais orpheline. Ecoutez la réaction de Simon Kenny. Cet Australien est barrister, c’est- à-dire avocat plaidant, basé à Melbourne. Il a défendu des demandeurs d’asile lors d’un procès criminel à Nauru en août 2013 et connaît bien le système judiciaire nauruan:

« L’expulsion de Peter Law particulièrement crée un vrai problème car plus de 90 demandeurs d’asile attendent toujours leur comparution au tribunal. Ils sont soupçonnés d’avoir pris part à l’émeute du 19 juillet 2013, qui a dégénéré en incendie du centre de rétention des demandeurs d’asile de Nauru. Cela fait six mois que ces 90 migrants sont soit en détention préventive, soit enfermés dans un camp séparé du centre de rétention. Ce contretemps, le fait qu’il n’y ait pas de juge pour instruire cette affaire, est très préoccupant. Cela rallonge d’autant la durée de détention des demandeurs d’asile. D’autant que leur demande d’asile a été mise entre parenthèses alors que leur culpabilité n’est pas prouvée, et un délai supplémentaire est inacceptable, pour quelqu’un qui passe ses journées assis dans la fournaise d’un camp au milieu de Nauru. »

Autre juge éliminé du paysage nauruan : Geoffrey Eames, lui aussi Australien, et Président de la Cour Suprême de Nauru. Il devait rentrer à Nauru dimanche soir. Mais Simon Kenny précise :

« En réalité, le Président de la Cour suprême de Nauru n’a pas été limogé, le gouvernement nauruan a simplement annulé son visa. Mais techniquement, Geoffrey Eames est toujours le Président de la Cour Suprême de Nauru. »

Le visa de Geoffrey Eames aurait été annulé parce qu’il a tenté d’annuler l’expulsion de Peter Law. Il avait aussi déplu au Président de Nauru, Baron Waqa, en exprimant ses inquiétudes sur le traitement des demandeurs d’asile au centre de rétention. Geoffrey Eames aurait aussi eu un bras de fer avec Baron Waqa sur le procès des émeutiers du centre de rétention : le Président de la Cour Suprême s’est opposé à un procès en huis-clos au centre de rétention, comme le souhaitait Baron Waqa.

À la suite de l’expulsion du magistrat résident Peter Law, et de l’annulation du visa du Président de la Cour Suprême Geoffrey Eames, l’avocat-général Steven Bliim a décidé de présenter sa démission au gouvernement de Nauru. Radio Australia

WORLD:

11) BRIEFLY

Agencies
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Flood strikes

HYERES, France – Two people have been killed and about 150 airlifted to safety after floods struck southeastern France, authorities say. A third man disappeared while out on his boat and 4000 homes have been left without power after the inundations in the department of Var.

Olympics threat

MOSCOW – An Islamic militant group in Russia’s North Caucasus has posted a video threatening to strike the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It also claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd last month.

Breakthrough

PARIS – Scientists say they have unravelled the genome of the hookworm, paving way for better remedies against the disease-causing parasite. Researchers identified genes that help the hookworm invade its host, evade the body’s immune defences, and feed undisturbed on human blood for up to a decade.

Army retaliates

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Pakistan army helicopters have fired missiles killing three militants, officials say, in apparent retaliation for a Taliban bomb attack that killed 20 soldiers. The helicopters fired at a road in the village of Musaki situated in the same region as the bombing early yesterday.

Ukraine rally

KIEV – About 200,000 Ukrainian protesters have massed in central Kiev in defiance of hugely controversial new curbs pushed through by President Viktor Yanukovych in a bid to suppress a pro-EU protest movement. Demonstrators wore pots and colanders on their heads while others sported ski, medical and carnival masks.

New setback

TOKYO – Efforts to relocate a US base on Japan’s Okinawa appear to have suffered a new setback, 17 years after they began, with the reported electoral victory of an opponent of the project. The mayor of the town of Nago on the east coast of Okinawa has won re-election.

Iraq strife

BAGHDAD – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has blamed “diabolical” and “treacherous” Arab countries for a protracted surge in nationwide violence, but has stopped short of naming individual countries. The premier said suicide bombers were coming to Iraq from as far afield as Morocco, Libya and Yemen.

HEALTH:

12/13) Vanuatu capital warns of dengue risks

Updated at 4:17 pm today 21/1/14

Health authorities in the Vanuatu capital have started a mass campaign to stop the spread of dengue fever.

The campaign in Port Vila involves the clean-up of mosquito breeding sites and educating people about the risk of contracting dengue.

Last week, the ministry of health set up a special unit to deal with the dengue outbreak.

The leader of the campaign, Dr Laurence Boe, says since the first case of dengue was recorded three weeks ago, the number of residents who have reportedly been infected by the virus has exceeded 20.

He says there could be a huge outbreak because the population has been free of the virus during the last 20 years and that may have reduced the chance for people to become immune to the virus.Radio New Zealand.

14)Dengue figure increases in Fiji

By Online Editor
1:53 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Fiji

The number of confirmed dengue fever cases  in Fiji continues to rise despite the launch of the dengue clean-up campaign last week.

The latest statistics from the Ministry of Health show that there are 1039 cases recorded from October 30, 2013, to January 16.

893 of these positive dengue cases are from the Central Division, 101 from the Western Division and 45 from the North.

“The clean-up campaign in the Central Division has been initiated to remove and destroy dengue mosquito breeding places,” Ministry of Health spokeswoman Evlyn Mani said yesterday.

Apart from this awareness, work in combatting dengue has been continuing.

She also reminded the public to remove any artificial container that collects stagnant water as this was a prime breeding area for mosquitoes.

Suva City Council acting CEO Bhijay Chand confirmed that clean-up works in the Central Division was progressing well.

“The clean-up campaign is going very well,” Chand said.

“Notices have also been sent to owners of vacant lots to clear overgrown grass from their land in an attempt to ensure all sites are kept clean, we’ll be finishing off this clean-up by tomorrow,” Chand said.

Meanwhile, the Northern Division recorded 45 dengue positive cases out of the 1039 that were reported around the country.

The cases were recorded from October 30, 2013, to January 16.

Mani said the most number of dengue positive cases were from Macuata province.

“Awareness work in relation to dengue has been continuing within the division,” she said.

“Our teams will be visiting rural villages and settlements to spread the news about the need to keep surroundings clean to curb the increasing incidence of the disease.”

Mani said families needed to keep their surroundings clean and hygienic.

“Empty water-filled cans, coconut shells, unused tyres, old whitegoods such as refrigerators, washing machines.

“These items sitting out in compounds can collect water and be perfect breeding places for dengue spreading mosquitoes.

“MOH reiterates to the public to destroy dengue mosquito breeding places.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

15) Fiji’s Education Ministry scraps entry policies for Form 7

By Online Editor
10:26 am GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Minister for Education, Filipe Bole has announced that all policies and regulations regarding student entry into Form Seven studies are to be removed.

Minister Bole said that any student who passes form six is to be allowed to continue with the form seven education.

“As of today (Monday), all students who pass the Fiji School Leaving Certificate Examination are to be allowed to get into form seven. All regulations and policies about entering form seven are to be scrapped,” announced the Minister in his monthly meeting with his Senior Staff yesterday.

The decision behind the announcement is to allow students to freely continue their secondary education. This move will also assist in achieving Pillar 9 of the People’s Charter which is making Fiji a knowledge – based society.

“We have continued to open form seven education in all parts of the country for the last four years in our quest to bring education to our communities so we need to allow all those students who pass their form six examinations to enter form seven irrespective of the marks they attained. We will also be able to achieve Pillar 9 of the People’s Charter, added Bole.

School Principals and school managements are to take heed of the Minister’s announcement and not turn away students because they do not attain the 250 or 230 marks which are usually the entry marks into form seven.

There are 158 form seven centres in the country. The newest form seven centres opened in 2013 are at Rotuma High School, Nabala Secondary School, Ratu Luke Memorial and Kalabu Secondary School.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

16) Solomon Islands Teachers’ Association Threaten Boycott
Group wants Honiara education director removed from office

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 21, 2014) – Members of Solomon Islands National Teachers Association (SINTA) in Honiara have threatened to boycott the start of 2014 academic year next week.

SINTA industrial relations officer Samson Faisi said if council fails to listen to teachers’ call for the removal of Don Houkura, they will likely to boycott classes next week.

Faisi said Honiara teachers attending a meeting on Monday had called for the removal of former Honiara City Council (HCC) education Chief Education Officer and now HCC education director Don Houkura from office.

“In our meeting, all the teachers openly spoke their minds that they do not like Houkura to be in office,” Faisi said.

Faisi said SINTA will draft a letter to request the attendance of Mayor and Clerk for a meeting tomorrow to explain to teachers on what grounds and reasons council wants to keep Don Houkura.

He said teachers want this issue settled so that they can concentrate and prepare for the start of 2014 academic year.

“Whilst teachers respect the decision of the ministry of education to terminate Houkura, they see no reason why council still want to hold on to Houkura. Why don’t council respect the ministry’s decision as the mother body?” the teachers questioned.

Faisi said for this reason the Honiara teachers said they will not listen to Houkura since he is not answerable to the mother ministry.

Adding, teachers do not want to see the presence of Houkura in the HCC’s education office since HCC has already appointed a new CEO who is answerable to them.

He said teachers cannot tolerate Houkura’s presence and call on HCC to relocate Houkura to another office and not in the CEO’s office.

Honiara teachers further demand HCC to meet their housing allowances and clearly explain the process in which the 2014 teachers’ postings were done,” Faisi said.

Faisi said SINTA will as of tomorrow welcome teachers’ signatures for a petition to remove Don Houkura.

“If HCC fail to accept the petition, teachers will boycott classes as of next week as the second step to take,” Faisi said.

Meanwhile Faisi said SINTA will consult with the ministry of education to de-register HCC education authority for going on its own way to create a director’s post within its education structure which has never been authorised and approved by the mother ministry.

“What HCC education authority has done does not go in line with the ministry’s structure therefore should be deregistered for its action,” Faisi added.

Stressing SINTA will be writing to the ministry to deregister HCC education authority as their third step.

The call for Houkura’s removal came following allegations of:

Terminating teachers without any good reasons;
Failing to comply with Solomon Islands teachers hand book when making decisions;
Failure to carry out inspection on teachers;

Houkura dismissed these allegations, saying they were based on personal grudges against him.

Meanwhile city Clerk Charles Kelly said he welcomes the concerns of SINTA, however stressed that SINTA need to know that council is a separate body that has its own internal affairs.

Kelly said if SINTA is very concerned, then they need to discuss such issues internally with council’s education committee since it is the council’s legal body to deal with education matters of council.

The city clerk has given the green light to meet with SINTA tomorrow as planned. However stressed that council’s education standing committee will have a meeting today to discuss education matters and SINTA should come forward with their concerns before the committee.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, former politician Alfred Sasako has called on government to introduce free and compulsory education in Solomon Islands. Sasako said, while education should be a “basic right” for children, “education in Solomon Islands is becoming a luxury item which only the rich people can afford. ” He said the only way to ensure education is to make it free and easily accessible. Sasako added that, in implementing free schooling, government should also do away with its annual constituency scholarship fund, which has “proven to be a flop,” which has marginalized communities.]

Solomon Star

POLITIC:

17) Bainiamarama warns against Fiji politicians’ lies

Updated at 3:53 pm today 21/1/14

Fiji military officers have been told by their commander and Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to not be swayed by the lies, deceit and dishonesty of politicians, as he prepares to launch his own political party.

FBC reports Commodore Bainimarama as telling a commanders parade in Suva that this is the time that dirty politicians will try and influence Fijians, adding that they will be easily swayed by politicians if they are weak.

He said that when the regime released its constitution last year, it was attacked and criticised by politicians.

Commodore Bainimarama said that the soldiers’ votes may go to waste as the politicians will only think of themselves and not those who made it possible for them to sit there.Radio New Zealand.

18) PNG Cabinet ban visas on arrival for Australians

By Online Editor
10:43 am GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed Monday that Cabinet made a decision last week to ban visas on arrival for Australians except for those travelling by boat to ports like Kokopo and Tabubil.

The ban, expected to come into force after  O’Neill signs off on it, will mean Australian passport holders will need to apply from home before visiting their closest neighbour.

“There is no discrimination whatsoever. All Australian’s travelling to PNG have to get a visa before arrival, except for those Australians who are travelling by boat to ports like Kokopo or Tabubil who will get a visa on arrival because of the difficulties in obtaining them beforehand,” PM O’Neill said.

“But this is all across the world, not only Australia. We have similar arrangements with other countries and we will make sure similar arrangements are in place for other world partners. It is the same arrangement….it’s called reciprocal rights.”

O’Neill in an interview yesterday said there was no discrimination whatsoever intended.

In recent days stories have circulated on PNG social media that the National Executive Council has approved the ban when it met last week.

The Tourism Promotion Authority was unaware of the change in the rules until contacted by AAP on Monday.

Tourism Promotion Authority spokesman Colin Taimbari  then sought confirmation from the department of immigration.

“They said the withdrawal of the visa for Australians will come into effect when the Prime Minister signs it,” he said. “It will not be in effect until it is signed.”

Traditionally a 60-day tourism visa can be issued upon arrival in Port Moresby.

When asked if a ban on visa on arrivals will be a blow for PNG’s struggling tourism industry, Taimbari said “definitely”, but declined to comment further.

When contacted by AAP on Monday, both PNG’s high commission in Canberra and the consulate in Brisbane said there had been no official word from Port Moresby.

“We have heard the rumours too, but we have been told nothing official yet,” a spokesperson from the High Commission said.

“Until then it’s business as usual.”

PNG already has visa-on-arrival bans for all African countries, all Middle Eastern countries and all Caribbean island states.

It also bans visas on arrival for Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Russian nationals, among others.

In November 2013 it was reported  O’Neill threatened to withdraw visa-on-arrival arrangements with Australia unless Australia reciprocated.

“This visa on arrival business for all Australians will be withdrawn by the following year if we don’t get a similar arrangement with them,” O’Neill told the ABC.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

19) Australia welcomes Fiji Electoral Commission appointment, prioritize elections-related support

By Online Editor
1:56 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Fiji

The Australian Government has welcomed the appointment of the Electoral Commission.

Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Glenn Miles said the appointment was another positive step taken by the Fiji Government to move the country forward.

“First of all we welcome the appointment of the Electoral Commission, again another positive step coming after the release of the Constitution last year,” Miles said.

“We have continually said we are willing to work with the government as it moves towards elections.

“We have already demonstrated that commitment by providing two elections experts and we are not alone in that. I know that New Zealand and the EU have already provided experts as well.”

Miles said the Australian Government was committed in providing other support to Fiji and stood ready to assist in any way to ensure elections were held later this year.

“Including providing support for the Elections Office and what we are doing is we are working, consulting with the government as we move forward to identify what other opportunities we can provide support in,”  Miles said.

“There will be a range of opportunities that come up. There will be a range of requirements and needs that we will identify as we progress and we will work with not just the Fiji Government but with the other donors to try and ensure that all the gaps are filled.

“That will be done in a consultative way. We will talk on a frequent basis with the Fiji Government”.

He added the Fiji Government had not asked the Australian Government to send elections observers from Australia.

“We have not been asked to send observers nor do we put that forward.

“We look forward to seeing observers attending the elections but we wouldn’t necessary expect them to come from Australia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Miles says Australia will continue to prioritize elections-related support to Fiji.

This is despite a decrease in budget allocation for Fiji announced last weekend.

Miles says the revised budget estimate for 2013/14 total is AUD$54.6 million, down from the original estimate of AUD$58.2 million.

This compares with AUD$50.5 million total ODA in 2012-13.

Miles says they plan to consult with relevant Fiji Government officials over changes to the programme in the coming weeks.

He adds Australia remains committed to helping Fiji achieve its development priorities, and they will continue to work with the Fijian Government and Civil Society partners to identify sectors and programs for support.

As part of its election commitment, the Australian Government has reduced the 2013-14 aid budget to address the budget deficit and improve the efficiency and impact of the aid program.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/ FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

20) Fiji PM: No repeat of 2000

By Online Editor
4:17 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister and Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says the force must ensure there is no repeat of the 2000 events.

He was addressing the First Quarter Parade at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua, Suva, Monday.

Commodore Bainimarama said the events triggered by the political turmoil led to the death of  forces’ members in the camp .

“ You should not allow it to happen again in this camp,” he said.

He said the takeover in 2006 was the culmination of events that began in 2000, and marked the beginning of a new journey to build a new Fiji.

He said politicians used the military to try to achieve their own sectional interests in 2000. He said the forces should be aware of this type of politicians who thrived on negative and divisive policies.

“It’s beginning to resurface in the discussion over the new Constitution. I urge you to study it thoroughly and be familiar with its provisions and the Charter,” he said.

“See that political discussion is consistent with the Constitution and the Charter.

“They should form the core values of all political parties because they encompass the belief, desire, hope and aspiration of the people of Fiji

“Many thought that the idea for a takeover in 2006 was born the same year.

“For those of us who were there in the military in 2000, it was clear to us that 2006 was the end of a journey and a beginning of a new journey for our country.

“ Debate will continue and there will be fingerpointing but our conscience in the military is clear. We did something that was right and which would bring a greater good for the country.

“The outcome of all these discussions is that we are now going to hold a general election this year.”

“We are beginning to hear the politics of old again in campaigns.

“I wish to advise all  members of the forces to be firm and not be influenced by negative and destructive politics.”

He said politicians should be responsive to the needs of the people.

Be wise in voting for their representatives in parliament, he cautioned.

He said beware of politicians who were not genuine and only wanted to be in  parliament for their own self interests.

He called on everyone to protect the integrity of the forces and the camaraderie they had built and enjoyed.

He said they should look after the facilities and equipment provided by the Government. He said those in leadership must not abuse their positions.

Commodore Bainimarama also reminded the military of the need to protect the institution.

“We need to protect the military, to protect the people,” he said.

He said news had been around that past politicians wanted the nation to go back to where it was before the 2000 take over.

“We should be very careful because some have started to think of taking us back to where we took Fiji out of.”

“We have known the hardships, and we know what is to be done in our country because of the hardships we have gone through.”

Commodore Bainimarama said when he was in Labasa there were talks concerning the Great Council of Chiefs but the military would not allow talk of bringing it back.

“The GCC is non-negotiable in the Constitution which states that it is to be removed because politics have entered and has brought racism and that is why we need to keep up our guard,” he said.

“The journey needs values which the military needs to protect because I don’t want the values to be lost,’’ he said.

“When we lose the values the military will also fall from where it was.”

He said that there was also a need to protect families and children because it was vital..

“I have said we need to protect our families, our children and our people. If we don’t protect our people no other people will protect them because we the leaders are the ones who should protect our people.”.

SOURCE:FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

21) China commends Fiji’s look north policy

By Online Editor
10:35 am GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Fiji

China has commended Fiji’s Look North Policy and the move in making China the focus of the policy.

The Vice Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Yu Hongjun, who is leading a friendship delegation on a three-day visit to Fiji, commended Fiji for finding its own pathway to the future according to a state release Monday.

In the highlight of his visit that saw him meeting participants of the China Executive Leadership Academy in Pudong (CELAP) in Shanghai, he reminded Fiji’s top officials of the path and commitment they had made to develop their country.

“We respect the right of the people of Fiji to choose their development consistent with their own national characteristic and believe the people have the capability to move it forward in building their own future,” Yu said.

He said no matter what happens to international landscape in the future, China remains committed to being a good neighbor.

The vice minister paid a courtesy call to Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Yu said China was happy to see the progress Fiji was making in its preparations to hold elections in September this year and it was keen to assist in whatever way it can.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:

22) InterOil to start drilling

By Online Editor
1:44 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Oil and gas company, InterOil Corporation, announced that it will shortly begin drilling the first of up to eight wells in Gulf Province as part of a US$325 million (K816 million) drilling program.

The company, in a paid statement yesterday, said the first wells are Wahoo 1 in petroleum prospecting license (PPL) 236, raptor 1 in PPL 237, Bob Cat 1 in PPL 238 and Antelope 4 in PRL 15, which contains InterOil’s Elk-Antelope gas field.

InterOil said each well is expected to take at least two months to drill. The whole drilling campaign is planned to begin in March and will take 12-15 months.

The company said it is mobilising drilling rigs for the work and the acquisition of seismic data under way across licences to support the drilling.

InterOil has collected about 192km of two-dimensional seismic date over PPL 237 and PPL 238 since 2013, and is expecting to collect a further 162km over Elk-Antelope by mid-year.

About 700 people are working on the seismic program now and about 500 are expected to be employed during the drilling program.

Drilling pads for each of the first three wells have been laid in the mountainous Gulf Province and near the coast in the Gulf of Papua.

Camps are being established at each site and drilling equipment is being taken to the sites by six helicopters and three barges.

The drilling rigs are taken apart on the lowlands and lifted in 4.5 tonne pieces for assembly at each drilling site.

When drilling is finished, the rigs will be taken apart and lifted out by helicopter, again in 4.5  tonne pieces.

InterOil is also supporting local communities there through several community projects in the areas of education, health and others.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

23) World Bank sees minimal growth in PNG this year

By Online Editor
4:10 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The growth of the country’s non-resource sector will slow further this year before returning to its underlying trend growth rates next year, World Bank PNG economist Tim Bulman said.

Bulman said: “We think the economy grew by around 4- 4.5% in 2013.”

“Taking out the impact of the start of PNG LNG production and other resource extraction, we expect minimal growth in the economy in 2014, largely because of the subtraction from the construction and associated industries as the works for the PNG LNG and other projects concluded.”

Bulman said outlook for agriculture was also subdued given the structural issues for many cash crops.

For next year, he said it depended on whether the government would make efforts to improve the investment climate and make PNG a more attractive place for local and international businesses to invest.

“This means reducing the high cost of operating in PNG due to poor competition in many sectors, lack of infrastructure, the problems caused by poor law and order climate or the difficulties in enforcing contracts and securing property rights.”

Institute of National Affairs (INA) director Paul Barker said low growth in non-mining sector this year suggested a very low growth rate in the rest of the economy.

“With continued low commodity prices and diseases in agriculture (with the suffering cocoa industry) and perhaps even the growth in building and construction of recent years tailing off a bit”.

Barker, who is an economist, said impact on agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, would only be positive if the negative impacts (of Dutch disease) were restrained.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

24) PNG PM wants state businesses to help cut costs

By Online Editor
10:31 am GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

A call has been made for Papua New Guinea Government-owned businesses to set an example and help drive down cost of living pressures on families and the business sector.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the decision to block the proposed power price rise by PNG Power would be followed up by a wider government policy that requires all state-owned businesses to look at ways to cut costs, be more efficient and not just rely on increasing charges.

“For too long governments have rubber stamped price increases by a range of state enterprises and the impact on families, and on small business have been huge. That has almost encouraged the state’s power and other entities to be lazy when it comes to efficiency and driving down costs,” O’Neill said.

“I am putting all state-owned service providers on notice. My government will not be automatically approving price and charge increases.”

O’Neill said the Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment  would be directing all state owned entities to focus first on efficiencies and cost saving measures before seeking price rises, especially in basic service areas such as power and water.

O’Neill said his Government would set an example when it came to making the economy more efficient and competitive – and on keeping increases in service costs as low as possible.

“We expect the private sector to follow our example. We need to all work together to make our economy more efficient, so we can maximise the opportunities our vast natural resources offer us,” he said.

“I have listened to our people and our businesses – power charges are already very high.

“For too long we have put the whole question of the efficiency of government services, including government owned business services, in the ‘too hard basket’ and the result has been higher inflation, and even putting basic services, such as electricity beyond the affordability of families and businesses alike.

“We have made an important start with regard to power price rises. That approach will be the blueprint for the future.”.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

25) Expert Says Fiji Tuna Industry Facing ‘Complete Shutdown’
Overfishing by state-subsidized vessels blamed for current situation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 20, 2014) – Fiji’s tuna fishing industry has gone well beyond a crisis, according to the managing director of the Fiji Fish Marketing Group.

Graham Southwick says years of overfishing in the Southwest Pacific fishery means companies like his are having to lay off hundreds of staff and are losing millions of dollars every year.

He says that he has requested an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister, but in his view, the situation is so bad there can be no turning back.

“It was at a crisis level probably 10 years ago, this is the complete shutdown we’ve been warning them of since 1995. It’s essentially gross overfishing by state subsidised foreign vessels and the catch rate is so low now that vessels themselves are not able to continue.”

Graham Southwick says it would take at least 10 years for tuna stocks to start to recover if action were to be taken immediately.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

26) Economy growth under threat in Samoa

By Online Editor
4:12 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Samoa

The economy will grow by nearly three per cent in the current financial year.

That’s according to the Central Bank of Samoa’s (C.B.S) Monetary Policy Statement for 2014.

A copy of the Statenment has been obtained by the Samoa Observer. The Central Bank is headed by Governor, Maiava Atalina Enari.

There is a snag, however. The estimated growth could come under threat due to doubts about automotive exports.

According to the report, ongoing spending on cyclone recovery and preparations for major conferences later this year will both contribute to Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P).

“Real G.D.P is expected to grow at about 1.7 percent in 2013/14 while nominal G.D.P is expected to increase by 2.9 percent,” reads the statement.

Real G.D.P takes into account the costs of inflation.

Confidence was high last year in the 2014 forecast.

“Leading the way is a 8.0 percent recovery in the ‘Other Manufacturing’ sector primarily due to expected rebound in Yazaki export processing production,” states the bank.

However, this confidence now appears under threat with the Yazaki automotive manufacturing plant possibly facing closure as early as 2017.

This follows news that General Motors will close down its Holden operations in Australia, with some experts predicting this would mean a similar closure for Toyota – a major Yazaki customer.

Yazaki last month called on the Australian government to take action to preserve the automotive industry in that month.

“The demise of the automotive industry in Australia would have a significant effect on the people and economy of Samoa and is a critical aspect of the Australian Arrow operations which is often overlooked,” the company said in a submission to the Australian productivity commission.

Yazaki is the subject of differing estimates of its size, with regional news magazine Islands Business mentioning 2,000 employees, the Yazaki site claiming 1,000, but the commission submission stating only “over 800.”

In its submission, Yazaki EDS Samoa listed its contributions as

*   the largest manufacturer in Samoa.
* approximately 18% of private sector jobs in Samoa.
*   more than 60% of the manufacturing sector.
* employs over 800 people.
* contributed 6.14% of GDP in 2012.
* produced 65% of Samoa’s exports in 2012.

However the central bank estimates may be safe for 2014, with problems not expected to affect Yazaki until 2017.

Meantime, other key areas are expected to show economic growth this year.

Agriculture and Fishing industries are forecast to grow by 2.5 percent and 4.6 percent respectively in light of a strong rebound in agricultural commodities sold domestically and fish export for the period April to August 2013, states the bank.

The ‘Transport & Communications’ sector is expected to increase by 1.5 percent in light of ongoing technological developments in the telecommunications market especially the cell phone and internet arena.

Public administration is expected to improve by 1.4 percent in 2012/13.

Likewise, the Commerce industry is forecast to increase by 0.5 percent while Construction, and Finance and Business service sectors are expected to expand by 2.7 percent and 2.0 percent respectively.

Not all is rosy.

“On the other hand, there is concern with the slow pick up of private sector investment demand, with recent data pointing to a stagnant credit growth while interest rates have started to trend upwards due to liquidity concerns by commercial banks,” states the bank.

“To encourage and stimulate activity in the private sector monetary policy will continue on its easing stance in 2013/14. The main focus of this easing stance is to support and strengthen the private sector in these trying times.

“The Central Bank Credit Line Facility will also infuse some more liquidity to selected sectors of the economy expediting cyclone reconstruction while fostering competition in the financial system, reducing or holding down interest rates and boosting private sector credit demand.”

The purpose of the Monetary Policy Statement is to assist economic development.

“In line with Government’s emphasis on transparency and accountability, Monetary Policy statements (MPS) serve as the main vehicle to communicate and promote public awareness of the Central Bank’s proposed monetary policy objectives and targets for the year ahead,” states the bank.

SOURCE:SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS

27) Pacific commodity prices analysed

By Online Editor
4:09 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Commodity prices for Pacific countries started the year in similar trend to that of last year, although there were slight differences, ANZ Research – Pacific Monthly said.

According to the research, gold prices had stabilised with energy prices moderating, while soft commodity prices were mixed.

The research, put together by ANZ economists and analysts, said gold prices stabilised around US$1,250 (K3,026.63), from the end of last year sell-off,  with prices dipping to US$1,190 (K2,881.35).
Physical demand ahead of Chinese New Year had kept the prices afloat.

The research noted that oil prices had eased despite brighter global growth prospects.

Notably, the World Bank upgraded forecasts recently.

“The prospect of energy independence in the US has been a key driver, while weaker US non-farm payrolls also shocked the market.”

Copra prices rebounded over the past 30 days, continuing a strong trend upwards from the middle of 2013.
Coconut and palm oil gains were more modest.

Sugar prices fell further, onthe back of an estimated 6m tonne global sugar surplus.

Prices may come under more pressure due to subsidised exports from India, the research further highlighted.
Cocoa prices dipped with higher than expected delivery of beans from the Ivory Coast.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

MEDIA:

28)Fiji media running endless government spin: UFDF

Updated at 4:17 pm today 21/1/14

The coordinator of the political group, the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, says the country’s media is still running endless amounts of government spin unquestioned.

In a story run by FBC this morning, the Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, was reported as telling military officers to not be swayed by the lies, deceit and dishonesty of politicians, and advising the soldiers to not be swayed by old and dirty politicians.

Mick Beddoes of the UFDF says the story was run unquestioned with no right of reply, which shows a media bias in favour of the government, which is running a campaign of attacks against the opposition.

“Anyone that has any doubt or tends to suggest that we have a free, independent and fair media is fooling themselves. Even the statements that they print, which according to their own decree [are] supposed to be balanced and fair, and should reflect the views of all sides; it’s never done. And we have tonnes of examples.”

Mick Beddoes says he doesn’t expect any change in coverage in the lead-up to the election.Radio New Zealand.

LAW&ORDER:

29) Govt moves to improve village court system

Source:
The National, Tuesday January 21st, 2014

THE Government will table a Village Courts Amendment Bill in Parliament to “modernise” the bottom-rung court system.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Cabinet endorsed the amendment bill which sought to modernise the Village Courts Act 1989 so that it reflected other legislative and national policy changes since 1989.
“The change is to assist in the implementation of the White Paper on law and justice 2007, which calls for the revitalisation of the village courts,” O’Neill said.
He said the village courts system was established through section 172 of the Constitution during Independence.
“The system has been in operation in Papua New Guinea under the Village Courts Act up until 1989 when the first amendment to the original legislation was made,” he said.
“Since independence, the village courts are the most accessible and cost effective means of justice administration.
“PNG is unique in having this system of justice which brings together formal and informal processes in addressing law and order issues at the community level.”
He said the village courts played an important role in containing law and order issues in urban settlements and in the villages where the bulk of the people lived.
“It is therefore important that this court is modernised and strengthened.”
The bill will seek to strengthen the role of village courts in protecting the rights of women and children and addressing violence in communities.
It will set limits to the number of officials appointed to each village court to make it manageable and cost effective.

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

30) Study: Expect more frequent El Ninos

Usa Today/Pacnews
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

COLUMBIA – Some of the worst El Ninos, the infamous climate patterns that shake up weather around the world, could double in frequency in upcoming decades because of global warming, says a new study out on Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

During an El Ninos, water temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean tend to be warmer-than-average for an extended period of time — typically at least three to five months.

This warm water brings about significant changes in global weather patterns.

The most powerful El Ninos — such as the ones that developed in 1982-83 and 1997-98 — are forecast to occur once every 10 years throughout the rest of this century, according to study lead author Wenju Cai of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science agency.

Over the past 100 years or so, however these “extreme” El Ninos occurred only once every 20 years, he said.

This means that the extreme weather events fueled by El Ninos — such as droughts and wildfires in Australia, floods in South America, and powerful rainstorms along the US West Coast — will occur more often.

The most recent El Ninos ended in 2010.

The research results came from an aggregation of 20 climate models (that were used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report)

The models found that this doubling of extreme El Ninos episodes is caused by increased surface warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean because of climate change. This area of the ocean warms faster than the surrounding waters, the researchers found.

But Mr Cai acknowledges those findings stand in contrast to previous studies that found no solid consensus on how El Ninos will change because of global warming.

“The question of how global warming will change the frequency of extreme El Ninos events has challenged scientists for more than 20 years,” said study co-author Mike McPhaden of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

31) Marshall Islands’ President says it’s not too late for climate action to save the Pacific

By Online Editor
4:18 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Marshall Islands

Is it too late to save low-lying Pacific nations from being lost forever because of rising sea levels?

The President of the Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, doesn’t think so and he’s been on a relentless campaign to get the world to listen to his message.

He does concedes time is running out but has been encouraged by news that a number of nations have agreed to.

His message is getting through to some nations who recently announced they’d signed up to the Majuro Declaration to cut emissions.

“We were really happy that the United States agreed to join and also European Union and in the United States, Hawaii also has agreed to join,” he told Radio Australia.

Mexico is the latest country to sign on.

“And we are hoping that others will follow suit.”

But he and other Pacific nations like Palau, have won no favours from their big neighbour, Australia.

Palau publicly expressed disappointment with Australia’s and Canada’s climate change position.

The nation lashed out after Australia decided not to send a cabinet minister to the 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw.

The Marshall Islands, which has previously accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of threatening the nation’s survival because of his climate change scepticism, says Australia should take a greater role in helping to save its neighbours.

“We saw Australia as one of our big brothers here in the Pacific and we had hoped that they had led the fight on this one,” he said.

Ian Fry is a lecturer in International Environmental Policy at the Australian National University and an environment adviser to the government of Tuvalu.

He recently told Radio Australia the Pacific is disappointed about the Australian government’s moves to abolish the Climate Change Council and the Climate Change Authority, as well as the carbon tax.

President Christopher Loeak says countries shouldn’t be waiting until the UN conference on climate change in Paris in late 2015 to agree on more concrete measures.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also invited nations to attend a New York climate change summit in September.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILDREN:

32) Guam Child Protective Services Referrals On The Rise
Authorities attribute increase to greater awareness of abuse

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 21, 2014) – Referrals to Child Protective Services have grown by more than 61 percent during the past five years, according to Guam’s Department of Public Health and Social Services.

The growth in the number of cases is a reflection of an island that’s becoming more aware about abuse and neglect, according to Linda Rodriguez, administrator for the Bureau of Social Services.

A 23-month-old girl died this month after showing signs of alleged abuse, including bruises, according to Superior Court of Guam documents.

John Jesse Castro, 31, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder in the child’s death.

He’s accused of abusing her while she was under his care last weekend.

Last fiscal year, the department received 1,894 referrals related to 2,747 children.

Close to 800 of those referrals were for suspected physical abuse while more than 400 of them concerned sexual abuse.

More in4 go to :  News: www.guampdn.com

SPORTS:

33) Lote Tuqiri a South Sydney Rabbitoh after signing one-year contract

By Online Editor
3:34 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Australia

South Sydney have recruited dual international Lote Tuqiri to help prepare the club’s talented brigade of young players coming through the ranks.

Tuqiri, aged 34, played rugby union in Ireland after he finished his stint with the Wests Tigers, was also described by Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire as a genuine contender to play in the top grade.

“Lote has played the game at the highest level for many years and the experience he will bring to our young backline will be invaluable,” Maguire said on Tuesday.

“He’s expressed a desire to continue to play top level Rugby League in our discussions and he will have a chance to be selected in our top 17 based on his performances as we head towards round one and the Roosters.

“We’re looking forward to having him join the side for pre-season training and seeing the influence he can have on the young players we have in our squad.”

Tuqiri, whose 2013 season was frustrated by a broken arm, represented Australia in league and union over a 15-year career. He played 151 NRL matches since making his debut for the Brisbane Broncos in 1999, playing 99 times for the Broncos and 52 games for the Wests Tigers.

Tuqiri said he was looking forward to joining the Rabbitohs and wanted to stamp his authority on the club.

“I’m really excited to be back and to be part of a club that’s on the way up”, Tuqiri said. “The club has some very talented youngsters and some of the superstars of the game, and it’s exciting for me to be part of the Rabbitohs now.”..
SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

34 Henry Speight waits for Wallabies call from International Rugby Board

By Online Editor
3:32 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Australia

He’s the ”bro with the fro” and ACT Brumbies winger Henry Speight’s international exile could end this week when the International Rugby Board meets to determine if he’s eligible to play for Australia.

The Fijian-born try-scoring machine’s Wallabies dream has been sitting in limbo for more than a year as officials debate how long he has been living in Canberra.

It is understood a three-man IRB panel will decide this week to either immediately lift the ban that prevents Speight playing for Australia or delay his Test hopes until November.

It’s a major boost just four weeks out from the Brumbies’ Super Rugby season opener at Canberra Stadium.

Softly-spoken Speight is refusing to get caught in the uncertainty, declaring his only focus is the Brumbies’ Super Rugby campaign after being Australia’s top try-scorer of the past two seasons.

”It can get quite frustrating but I can’t dwell on it,” Speight said.

”All I can focus on is getting in the best shape possible for first round of Super Rugby. It can drag you down sometimes so I’m putting all my energy into trying to prove myself again for the Brumbies.

”I can only control trying to play well for the Brumbies and it can only go further from there.”

Speight’s teammates rate him as one of the world’s best finishers and he has scored 19 tries in three seasons with the Brumbies.

IRB eligibility laws require Speight to have spent three consecutive years in Australia before he is able to play for the Wallabies.

Speight is preparing for his fourth Super Rugby campaign in Canberra but a three-month stint in the New Zealand domestic competition in 2011 cast doubt on his eligibility.

The Brumbies have sent rental records to the IRB to support Speight’s case.

”He’s a really chilled guy, he doesn’t get frustrated. His chance will definitely come,” Wallabies winger Joseph Tomane said. ”Henry is probably the No.1 winger, he’s up there with the best in the world with Julian Savea and George North with the way he can finish in the little amount of room we give him.”

Speight and Tomane – dubbed the ”fro bros” for their hairstyles – are battling to win places in the Brumbies’ starting XV for the opening round on February 22.

”I’m the bro with the fro and he’s the fro with the show,” Speight said of Tomane. ”I’m just a trendsetter at the moment, [Tomane’s Afro] doesn’t have the same hold mine does. Our combination is really good and Joe always has that unique energy.”

Veteran Clyde Rathbone and Stephan van der Walt will also compete for wing spots for round one against the Queensland Reds.

Speight will play in the pre-season trial against the Otago Highlanders next week while Tomane and the rest of the Brumbies’ Wallabies contingent will be rested. Tomane has made a rapid transition from the NRL in 2011 to rugby union.

The 23-year-old has played nine Tests for the Wallabies since swapping codes, but injury prevented Tomane making his Bledisloe Cup debut against New Zealand.

”I’d love to play against New Zealand, my country of birth, and test myself against the best,” Tomane said.

”Over the two years I think my game has developed a lot more in the mind, I think I’m starting to read the game and understand the game plans.”

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

35) Pacific Rugby Cup 2014 fixtures announced
By Online Editor
3:31 pm GMT+12, 21/01/2014, Australia

The International Rugby Board has announced that the Argentina Pampas will participate in a new-look IRB Pacific Rugby Cup in 2014.

For the first time the tournament will be hosted entirely in Australia and will be organised by the IRB in partnership with the Australian Rugby Union.

The key development tournament which is funded through the IRB’s Strategic Investment programme kicks off on February 21 and features Super Rugby franchise development sides from Australia competing against development squads from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Japan and for the first time Argentina.

The main objective of this tournament, which runs until March 23, is to bridge the gap between domestic and international Rugby for the best locally-based players from the participating Unions. The Pampas XV, Argentina’s main development squad formed from the Union’s best domestic based players, will complete a strong line-up.

The PRC begins with a match in Perth between Western Australia and Queensland. Matches will also be held in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and the Gold Coast with the final to be played on Sunday 23 March in Sydney.

“With Rugby World Cup 2015 on the horizon, exposure to this High Performance level of competition is invaluable for the Pacific Island Unions, Japan and Argentina,” said IRB Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan.

“We are extremely grateful to the ARU for their cooperation and support in hosting the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup which is an important element of the IRB’s overall Strategic Investment competitions portfolio.”

Fiji Warriors are the reigning champions and the only team to have successfully defended the title, having won the PRC every year since 2009.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

36) Third match to decide 2013 national soccer champion

Maciu Malo
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

THE much anticipated third leg of the 2013 Pillays Garments Champion versus Champion series between 4R Electrical Ba and Shop N Save Nadi will be played at Lautoka’s Churchill Park on Saturday.

This is according to Fiji FA CEO Bob Kumar as the two teams prepare for the royal battle to determine the soccer King of Fiji for the 2013.

Kumar said both teams would give their best to prove their dominance in local football.

He said to hold the game at a neutral ground would be fair to both teams.

“This is a knockout game with the winner to be crowned the champion of Fiji soccer for 2013,” said Kumar.

Both teams drew during their previous two encounters held at Nadi and Ba respectively and it would be interesting to watch the two champiions during the decider game.

Some players that are expected to dictate the game for Nadi are strikers Rusiate Matairerega, Amani Makoe, tough defender Uraia Loki and goalkeeper Beniamino Mateinaqara.

Ba is expected to feature a star-studded team which boosted sharp shooter Avinesh Swammy, Marika Madigi, Abbu Zahid, Jone Vesikula and Remuera Tekiata to name a few.

The game kicks off at 3pm.

Meanwwhile, three national league games will be played this weekend.

Labasa will host Nadroga at Subrail Park while the wounded Lautoka Blues will travel to Nausori on Saturday.

The Capital City boys will host neigbhours Navua at the ANZ Stadium on Sunday.Fijitimes.

37) Sports Notebook

Arin Kumar
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BASKETBALL

Raiwaqa

THE Raiwaqa Basketball Association will begin its Super League tournament on February 1 and all interested clubs are to contact Saula Koroi on 9097892 or Peniasi Kainamoli on 9991811 for registration. Entries close on January 27.

Suva

ALL interested clubs and individuals who wish to participate in the 2014 basketball season, please contact Leonard Whippy on 9464573 or email leo_whippy9@yahoo.com

FOOTBALL

Business House

ELEVEN-a-side Southern business house soccer competition will be held starting from February 8. Entry fees is $200. Only first 12 teams will be considered. Entry closes on January 31. Strictly for business house. For more information contact 9846672.

Suva

ALL registered player of Suva Women’s soccer are requested to attend an urgent meeting on Thursday, January 23, at 7pm at Ana’s residence, Kapadia Place, Raiwai. For further information please contact Dilioni on 8647819.

Tailevu Naitasiri

THE Tailevu Naitasiri Football Association will host its AGM on January 29 at Vunimono High School at 7pm. Nominations for three vice-president positions and assistant secretary’s position closes seven days before the AGM and all motions must reach the acting secretary 14 days prior to the AGM. All affiliated clubs are requested to attend the meeting.

HAPKIDO

YMCA classes

HAPKIDO classes are being held at the YMCA. Interested individuals above the age of 15 are welcome to attend. Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 6.30pm to 8pm. Contact Jare Lalakai 8736700.

NETBALL

Greenman Navosa

THE Greenman landscaping development program will be held on February 19-20 at Vatumali, Navosa. Interested players are invited to attend. Coaching and umpiring clinics will be held on the day. Unaisi Rokoura and Losalini from Netball Fiji will be present. Interested players and coaches are to confirm attendance by calling 9949410 or 6520677. Invitation open to primary, secondary school teams and clubs. The tournament will be also held on the same day.

RUGBY

Ba

BA Rugby Union annual general meeting will be held on January 24 at Ba Town Council conference room at 2pm. All club reps should be present.

Drua Kuata 7s

THE Drua Kuata 7s or the Maleli Kunavore Memorial 7s tournament will be held in Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka on February 8. Only 24 teams will be accommodated. Registration fee is $300. Cup winner wins $3000, runner-up $1000, Plate winner gets $400, runner-up is $350, Bowl winner pockets $300, runner-up is $250. Contact Sitiveni Nakurua 7015186 or Nasoni Henivuga 9310565 for more details.

Gaunavou 7s

THE Gaunavou 7s tournament will be held at the Ba market grounds on January 25. First 32 teams to pay $100 entry fee will be accommodated. Main prize is $1000. Contact Driu 8402853, Vili 9735896.

Naitasiri U20

THE Naitasiri under-20 training will be at 5pm at the Bidesi grounds from today. This is part of the offseason training with the main team so everyone interested to represent Naitasiri U20 this year are requested to be present. It is compulsory training. All U18/U19 players are also welcome.

Namosi

The Namosi Rugby Union will be having a meeting on Thursday, January 23, at the Namosi Provincial Council office in Navua. The meeting starts at 4pm and all committee members are requested to attend this important meeting. Contact the secretary on e-mail nnaivalurua001@yahoo.com or on mobile 80355304. The committee and the coaching staff are requested to attend this meeting.

New Vision 7s

THE New Vision 7s tournament will be held this Saturday at Thomson Park in Navua. First 24 teams that pay entry fees of $220 by Friday will be accommodated. Winner gets $2000. Runner- up gets $800. Prizes will also be given to plate and bowl winners. Contact Wame on 9000279 or 3543664 or 9369559.

FRU SGM

PLEASE be advised that the new date set for the SGM is Saturday, February 8, at Nadi’s Tanoa International Hotel. The agenda items remain the same with registration starting from 9am – 9.30am. Names of union delegates are to be submitted to the FRU by 4pm Monday, February 3.

Bure Development 7s

THE Bure Development 7s will be held at the Suva Grammar School grounds this Saturday. First 16 teams that pay entry fees of $160 by Friday will be accommodated. Winner gets $1000. Runner- up gets $400. Contact Wame on 9000279 or 3543664 or 9369559.

RUGBY LEAGUE

Lautoka Crushers

ALL players wishing to be part of the Lautoka Crushers under-14, U16, U18 and premier grades are requested to attend trials at the Fiji National University ground at 10am on January 25. Contact Mesake Navugona 9104628, 9991589.

TABLE TENNIS

Suva

TABLE Tennis training clinics for school children and beginners are held at the Garden City hall (on top of Kia Motors) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3pm to 5pm. Adults are invited to play table tennis on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm and Sundays from 1pm to 3pm at the same venue. All playing equipment are provided. Fee $1 per hour. Contact Chris Lal on 9084410 or Anthony Ho on 9965649.

VOLLEYBALL

Nadi

THE Nadi Volleyball Association Western Rally Training Squad members are requested to attend training at the AFL Hard Courts at 5pm (Mon-Fri). Club games would resume this Saturday. Contact Isikeli Banuve 9095371, Anasa Qio 8618492, Charlie Samisoni 7024510, Mika Bogidrau 9476422, Kitione Radrodro 9983202 or Dan Vakadranu 9927923.

Nadroga

SPECIAL General Meeting will be held at True Blue Hotel tomorrow at 3pm. All clubs to send two reps to attend the meeting. Club games will be held on Thursday at Waicoba Grounds. Western Rally Squad training is daily at Waicoba and Lawaqa Grounds.

Vulaca Championship

THE Vulaca Championship is scheduled for January 24 and 25 at the FMF Gymnasium (and its carpark if the need arises). Registration fee is $100 per team with a maximum of five men’s and five women’s teams per association. All associations must register teams and forms can be picked up from the Vodafone Arena. Payments of affiliation and registration fees can be made directly into the FVF account (5527135 – ANZ or FVF head office at the Vodafone Arena to FVF administrator Kenny Lidise 9059099, 9383985. Participating associations will be contacted for a briefing prior to the games.Fijitimes.

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