Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 929

MELANESIA:

1) Umbrella Papuan Group Suggested To Apply For MSG
MSG envoy says not only WPNCL claims to represent Papua

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 22, 2014) – A member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) says it is not possible to accept the application of a West Papuan group into the MSG because it’s not the only organisation that represents West Papuans.

A special MSG leaders’ summit has been scheduled to address issues, including about West Papua, following last week’s controversial trip by MSG foreign ministers to Indonesia

The trip, which was boycotted by Vanuatu, was meant to discover more about the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), which is seeking MSG membership.

Yvon Faua, who took part as an envoy of New Caledonia’s FLNKS, which currently occupies the MSG chair, says there are other groups that also claim to represent West Papuans and the people would be better served if they worked together.

“The report FLNKS has to make to the leaders is that it is not possible to accept the application. I think the Melanesian Spearhead Group has to join all the others because as we know there are also other organisations.”

Yvon Faua says it might be possible for an umbrella West Papuan organisation to apply for MSG membership.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

 2) More delays for MSG Regional Police Academy

By Online Editor
5:07 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Fiji

The  Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Regional Police Academy in Nabukavesi won’t get off the ground anytime soon.

The project which was due for construction in 2011 has been plagued by funding issues.

Fiji’s Defence Minister Joketani Cokanasiga says the entire government machinery is now focussed on national elections.

“We think that, because of the resources that’s required to establish it, we have a lot more priorities, you know to develop Wainadoi, you won’t get very much change out of the $20m, to clean the place out, do your drainage works and start to design what kind of buildings you have.”

The academy is expected to cost about FJD$20 million.

Cokanasiga says there is no date when construction will begin.

“We need that money now, for elections, and for development, we already have a facility that we can use so i think after elections we will look at that again.”

The facility will train police officers from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

 3) EU pleased with MSG Fiji observer announcement

By Online Editor
09:50 am GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Fiji

The European Union’s Ambassador to the Pacific has welcomed the appointment of the Melanesian Spearhead Group as observers for upcoming elections in Fiji.

Andrew Jacobs says he still hasn’t heard about whether the EU will be invited to send a delegation of observers, but he would be happy if it was to be invited back.

Jacobs says the announcement of elections observers, and the work experts from the EU, Australia and New Zealand have been doing with the elections office, are very positive signs of progress.

“Certainly there are going to be lots of logistic challenges to get the elections organised and so on but we’re confident that things are certainly moving very well in the right direction.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

4) New MSG meeting on West Papua scheduled

By Online Editor
10:07 am GMT+12, 22/01/2014, Vanuatu

The Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) 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.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

5) The Guardian (Australia): ‘West Papuans face long jail terms for raising banned morning star flag’

Six men were arrested at a flag-raising ceremony on 1 May 2013, the 50th anniversary of Indonesia’s annexation of West Papua

Marni Cordell

Thursday 23 January 2014

theguardian.com

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/23/west-papuans-face-jail-banned-flag

Five West Papuan men are facing 15 years or more in jail for raising the banned morning star flag, while a sixth man has been deemed unfit to face trial after being beaten by security forces so badly that he now has mental health issues, according to the group’s lawyer.

In Biak, a small island off the northern coast of West Papua, the public prosecutor has recommended Oktovianus Warnares, 41, receive 18 years in prison while his co-accused George Simyapen, 49, Yoseph Arwakon, 40, Jantje Wamaer 40, and Markus Sawias, 20, are each facing 15 years.

The trial of a sixth man, Yohanes Boseren, 20, has been suspended because the defendant is suffering from mental health problems after being beaten by Indonesian security forces, according to West Papuan human rights lawyer Gustaf Kawer, who is representing the group.

The men were arrested after the Indonesian police and military opened fire into a crowd of people gathered for a flag-raising ceremony on 1 May 2013, the 50th anniversary of Indonesia’s annexation of West Papua, Kawer said.

“The defendants were holding a protest and security forces responded violently by shooting, beating and torturing them,” he said.

“The sentence demanded by the prosecutor is totally over the top.”

The chief of police in Biak did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

Esther Cann, campaign co-ordinator for the UK-based advocacy group Tapol, which has been closely following the case, called the proposed sentences against the five men “draconian”. She said the situation facing Boseren was particularly shocking.

“Yohanes was beaten up so badly on arrest, including blows to the head, that he developed a sort of mental illness, and just isn’t really present,” Cann said.

“The court eventually begrudgingly concluded that his trial be suspended, but he’s not being given anything like adequate treatment. He’s taken to hospital for a couple of days, probably sedated, and then is now back in prison again.

“We’re very concerned about that and we think he should be released immediately – as should the other detainees,” she said.

The defence in the trial of the five men will begin its case in Biak court today.

Meanwhile, the high-profile West Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma, who has served nine years of a 15-year sentence, also for raising the morning star flag, has called on Australians to lobby the Abbott government to change its policies on West Papua.

In a video interview with Izzy Brown, from the West Papua Freedom Flotilla, Karma said Australia’s decision in September last year to deport a group of West Papuan asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea without hearing their legitimate claims for asylum had been “hurtful”.

“Australia is the closest neighbour, so why did its government do this to us?”

“I hope that every Australian shows their support for West Papua, by pressuring the Australian government to amend its policies towards West Papuans,” he said.

Article ends.

6) Vanuatu daily news digest | 23 January 2014

by bobmakin

Very little news today, but the AusAid financed police station at Saratamata on Ambae makes headlines in both daily news media. The post will greatly assist Penama security and safety, and another such station is to open this year at Bwatnapne. It is good to learn the Vanuatu – Australia Police Project (VAPP) is going ahead in leaps and bounds after the expulsion of the Australian Federal Police those several years ago because of Vanuatu PM Kilman adviser Clarence Marae being taken into police custody in Australia.

And another very worthwhile aid project must be the Tokomeau aid dispensary on Hiu in the Torres. Save the Children Australia has arranged the project (one of 120) and P&O Cruises have funded it in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. It’s the first aid post built by an NGO in permanent materials in the area (and it surely looks rather swish in the Daily Post photo).

Post has a bus driver critical of the Port Vila physical planningwhich will see a test of new bus routes start this weekend: no buses in downtown; terminii at Fatumauru Bay, PMC and Vansec House. I can assure readers that there are many other drivers also against the proposal. And a lot more passengers. We will no longer have a bus service. There seems to be little or no professional consultation or advice being used, passengers say. And surely such advice should call on the services of the aid-givers ready to improve Vila roads and drains and ultimately reveal its veiled beauty as a tourist destination.

Also in Daily Post … MP Steven Kalsakau has not joined the Greens after all: he just wants to work alongside the government.

7) Vanuatu daily news digest | 22 January 2014

by bobmakin

Both daily news media have concentrated on the visit of a high delegation from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Daily Post notes that on their visit to Parliament yesterday, the Speaker presented a list of funding needs ranging from renovation of the Parliament building, which we have failed to maintain adequately, construction of a residence for the Speaker and 50 cars for an ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting we are allegedly getting in November. China will also assist parliamentarians of Vanuatu through seminars and conferences, MP training, and equipment for Parliament. Post also has a meeting between Prime Minister Carcasses and Lt General Wang Guanzhong of the People’s Liberation Army. Apparently we have now started military relations with China and General Wang says “development has been fast and sound.”

The MSG is to sit in a special meeting to talk about West Papua next month. In today’s Radio Vanuatu News the members are all alleged to want the WPNCL to become a full member of the MSG. Nothing further was announced about the agenda of the upcoming meeting.

Justice MInister Jonas James’ concern over Port Vila Municipality (PVMC) failure to purchase new cemetery land at phenominal cost in yesterday’s Vanuatudaily was largely answered already in last Friday’s Yumi Stopem Korapsen page of Transparency Vanuatu in Daily Post. The agreement entered into by the municipality and Messrs Peter Bong and Daniel Yahwa was to purchase Rentabau rural land, it is understood, for a colossal price of more than VT 12 million a hectare. This is approximately 30 times what the VNPF paid for Bouffa Ranch much closer to Port Vila. Serious questions remain as to whether any tender process at all was followed. Certainly the townspeople of Port Vila must be offered a factual and reasonable explanation as to how the town hall’s efforts to try and locate a suitable new site for a cemetery can end up with the municipality not getting the land wanted, which had already been sold, and losing valuable assets as the price tag for this failed endeavour. What legal counseling did the municipality seek and who signed the agreement to purchase?

MP Steven Kalsakau has left his Reunification of the Movement for Change party, Daily Post reports. He is joining the Green Confederation. He has found it difficult to work with a bloc which is half with government and half with the opposition.

Kun has added further comment on the matter of the Custom Owners’ Trust Account (COTA) saying it is much more complicated than what is being described. “After 2001 it is unlikely that any minister of lands at that time personally mis-used the funds. It is more the issue of government using the funds to finance its services such as health and education that consume the bulk of the nation’s budget. Premium and rent went directly into the general revenue basket which was appropriated by parliament for use instead of setting it aside in the trust fund. I am sure the government has records of how much had been paid. The issue now is to reconcile how much rent and premiums have been paid, how much has been paid to land owners, andhow much used by the government which [now] should be set aside for payment to land owners when the courts have made their determination. This comment does not defend ministers who have mis-used this fund in the past.”

The new mayor of Port Vila will be elected Friday.

AUSTRALIA:

8) Australian Crime Commission taskforce seizes $500m in drugs, cash as investigators focus on motorcycle gangs, people smugglers

Updated 23 January 2014, 10:06 AEST
By Sarah Dingle

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is claiming a major victory in its fight against organised crime, with a special covert taskforce seizing more than $500 million in drugs and cash in the last year.

The commission’s anti-money laundering taskforce, which is focused on tracking the proceeds of crime, has led investigators to clandestine drug labs within Australia and criminal activities overseas.

ACC’s acting chief executive Paul Jevtovic says the key to following the money was working out how it was being moved offshore through alternative remitters – agents outside the formal banking system who offer cash transferral services.

“They need to move their profits in safe havens where they can then line their pockets, or in turn, use that profit to continue the crimes that they’re perpetuating again civilians here in Australia,” he said.

Mr Jevtovic estimates organised crime costs the Australian economy at least $15 billion every year.

He said criminal profits are primarily derived from drug importation which the commission worked with state and federal investigators, and international partners like the US Drug Enforcement Agency, to crack down on.

“Drug importations into Australia continue to be the main profit source by organised crime here in this country, but there is a range of other things, serious organised investment frauds, identity theft,” he said.

“Over the last 12 months the covert aspects of that operation, which are ongoing, has seized more than $580 million in drugs and assets, including $26 million in cash.

“In the last week, we have had a single cash seizure of $6 million.”

People smugglers, motorcycle gangs monitored by investigators

Mr Jevtovic said a “very complex global network” of more than 20 countries were involved in the movement of money in and out of Australia.

“We’re not going to go into detail about the specific countries, but the reality is that the Middle East and south-east Asia have featured prominently,” he said.

“There’s no doubt, and we’ve confirmed, bikie gangs operating in Australia and elsewhere in the world are involved. There’s clearly drug cartels, people smuggling networks.

“We’ve allowed the money to take us to the crime types. There’ve been, for example, something like 128 targets that were previously unknown to law enforcement identified. There have been 105 people arrested on some 190 charges.”

Mr Jevtovic said people smuggling operations and outlaw motorcycle gangs are a focus of investigations but he declined to say whether any bikie associates have been implicated.

“I don’t want to confirm that, but it would be fair to say that outlaw motorcycle gangs have been the subject of our investigations and will continue to be,” he said.

“Money has been paid to people to facilitate the commission of people smuggling, and it is the movement of those funds we will continue to focus on.”

The ACC is also monitoring the use of rising international digital currency, bitcoin, but would not confirm whether it is a preferred method of money laundering by organised crime.Radio Australia

TOK PISIN:

9) Bikpela festival long Buin long Autonomous Rijon blong Bougainville long PNG.

Updated 23 January 2014, 13:35 AEST
John Papik

Dispela bikpela tok welkaim festival i bilong soim hamamas bilong ol igo long Papua New Guinea Nesinal Gavman na Praim Minista, Peter O’Niell ol bikpela impek projek em ol ibin wokim wantaim moni ikam long Nesinal Gavman.

Ol pipol long Buin distrik i stat nau long rereim ol samting long holim wanpela kain festival em oli kolim long Tuiruma oa Garamut Festival long welkamim  lukluk blong Praim Minista Peter O’Neill husait bai igo lukluk long Buin long pinis blong dispela mun.

Long toktok blong en wantaim Radio Australia, Joseph Maineke siaman blong events komiti long South Bougainville itok ol pipol em ol bai stap long dispela festival bai ikam long Buin yet,Wakunai,Tinputz na Buka.

Jospeh Maineka i tok Mr O’Neil bai igo kamap long Buka long Trinde bilong wik bihain na ol bai tok welkam long long Buin taim em i go long losim ol projek.Radio Australia

10) Kat long aid moni bai bringim heve long ol Pacific kantri

Updated 23 January 2014, 14:31 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Papua New Guinea na ol narapla ailan kantri long Pacific rijan ino ken lukluk tumas long Australia long halvim ol olgeta taem.

Direkta blong Papua New Guinea Institute of National Afeas Paul Barker i mekim despla toktok bihaenim tingting blong Australia long katim 650-million dollars long ol moni emi save givim igo long ol narapla kantri.

Papua New Guinea isave kisim bikpla moni ikam long Australia winim ol narapla kantri long Pacific.

Tasol aninit long despla nupla plan blong Australia, Pacific rijan bai pilim sampla pen long wonem aid moni blong ol bai go daon tu.

Paul Barker ibin autim dispela tingting bilong em bihain long Gavaman  Australia i tokaut bai igat ol kat long  aid moni bilong halivim ol kantri long Asia Pasifik Radio Australia

FRENCH:

11) Le British Museum met en ligne des artefacts du Pacifique

Posté à 23 January 2014, 8:50 AEST
Pierre Riant

Ce British Museum et l’un des plus grands centres du monde d’objets rares et culturels du Pacifique avec des milliers d’artefacts anciens et contemporains de Mélanésie, de Polynésie et de Micronésie.

Notre collègue Jemima Garrett est allée sur place visiter ce musée et c’est en sa compagnie que nous découvrons une guide s’adressant à un groupe de visiteurs.

MCKINNEY : « Mon nom est Natasha McKinney du service d’Océanie. Le thème de cette galerie est d’un effet dramatique ‘Vivre et mourir’. L’idée est de soulever des thèmes que partagent toutes les communautés du monde en termes de survie humaine et de bien-être. Je vais maintenant me concentrer sur cette aire de rencontre des Maoris de Nouvelle-Zélande. »

Et Natasha d’expliquer rapidement l’impact de l’histoire coloniale.

MCKINNEY : « La résidence du chef et la pirogue de guerre étaient les biens les plus précieux de toute tribu. Toutefois, au 19ème siècle, le besoin s’est fait sentir pour développer des structures plus importantes où les habitants pouvaient se rencontrer pour discuter de questions importantes, comme la terre.

Les colons Européens ont de toute évidence amené beaucoup de changements et des pressions étaient exerçaient sur les Maoris pour qu’ils vendent leurs terres qui ont ensuite été divisées et les conséquences de ces divisions sont encore ressenties aujourd’hui. »

Jemima Garrett poursuit sa visite.

GARRETT : « L’exposition maori comprend un large éventail, des massues de guerre en passant par des sculptures et des tissages jusqu’aux sculptures  modernes de l’artiste maori George Nuku basé à Londres.
Comme de nombreux objets du British Museum, comme ce manteau en plumes pleine longueur. C’est un objet magnifique en lui-même mais qui occupe aussi sa place dans l’Histoire. C’est ce manteau qui a recouvert  le cercueil de l’ancien Premier ministre néo-zélandais, Richard Seddon, il y a plus d’un siècle.

De nombreux objets du Samoa, de Tonga, de Fidji, des îles Cook et de Polynésie française ont été collectés dès les premiers jours du contact avec les Européens.

Et la collection mélanésienne propose des artefacts de la Papouasie indonésienne, mais aussi de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, des îles Salomon et de Nouvelle-Calédonie. »

Ainsi que du Vanuatu et Lissant Bolton qui est en charge des collections Afrique – Océanie – Amériques a un point faible pour les textiles du Vanuatu.

BOLTON : « Le Vanuatu a fait des textiles incroyables en palmes de Pandanus et en écorce. Et nous avons effectué beaucoup de travail pour documenter ce savoir-faire et pour comprendre l’utilisation et la signification des ces textiles. »

De la monnaie coutumière des Îles Salomon à des bateaux de pêche sacrés sculptés en forme d’oiseau, cette collection du Pacifique rassemble des milliers d’objets et le British Muséum propose des visites en ligne et serait curieux d’obtenir des avis et des commentaires des Océaniens de la région.Radio Australia

12) Inquiétude sur la propagation des IST à Sydney

Posté à 23 January 2014, 8:43 AEST
Pierre Riant

La blennorragie, aussi appelée gonorrhée, est une infection sexuellement transmissible (IST) douloureuse et très contagieuse causée par une bactérie : le gonocoque.

Dans la plus grande ville australienne, Sydney, des chercheurs en santé publique ont enregistré une vive augmentation des cas de blennorragie, principalement chez les hommes.

Et en dépit d’un grand nombre de campagnes de sensibilisation de l’opinion publique, cette augmentation est largement due aux hommes qui ont des rapports sexuels non protégés.

Le professeur Mark Ferson est un spécialiste des IST à Sydney.

FERSON : « Écoulement [de pus] par l’urètre, douleur, rapports sexuels douloureux, c’est une maladie désagréable mais qui peut être soignée, et ça c’est l’important. »

On pourrait ajouter également des sensations de brûlure à l’évacuation des urines et des douleurs testiculaires.

Selon les chiffres publiés cette semaine, le nombre de cas ne cesse de grimper et 90% des infections touchent les hommes. Mark Ferson indique que tout le monde sait pourquoi, mais personne ne semble savoir ce qu’il faut faire.

FERSON : « L’augmentation des blennorragies est sans aucun doute le résultat de rapports sexuels non protégés. Les gens pensent aussi par exemple que le sexe oral ne pose pas beaucoup de risques alors ils ne tiennent pas compte des messages sur les relations sexuelles protégées et même pour le rapport oral. »

Et pourtant les chiffres soulignent l’urgence de la situation avec entre 2010 et 2012, une augmentation de près de 80% des infections anorectales et les cas de blennorragie touchant la gorge ont augmenté de 400%.

Cette augmentation du nombre de blennorragies à Sydney laisse aussi supposer que d’autres maladies sexuellement transmissibles sont à la hausse et que certaines sont très graves.

FERSON : «  La blennorragie est de toute évidence une sérieuse infection, mais cela veut dire que d’autres infections sont peut être également transmises, notamment le VIH, c’est donc très important. »

Tous ces chiffres ont été publiés cette semaine par le Journal Médical Australien.Radio Australia

WORLD:

13) Snowden ‘fears for his life’

Afp
Thursday, January 23, 2014

MOSCOW – The Russian lawyer of Edward Snowden says the fugitive US intelligence leaker has feared for his life since reading of explicit threats against him by unnamed Pentagon officials.

“There are real threats to his life out there that actually do exist,” Mr Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia’s state-run Vesti 24 rolling news channel on Tuesday.

“These statements call for physical reprisal against Edward Snowden,” Mr Kucherena said.

The former National Security Agency contractor is wanted by US authorities on treason charges for disclosing details of a vast Washington intelligence operation that monitored millions of phone calls and emails across the world.

14) Rare blue diamond discovered

Updated at 9:30 pm on 23 January 2014

A mining company says it has found a rare blue diamond in South Africa.

The 530-carat Star of Africa blue diamond, which is part of the Crown Jewels in Britain, was also found at the Cullinan mine, the BBC reports.

Petra Diamonds says the 29 carat diamond came from the Cullinan mine, near the South African capital Pretoria, and the source of some of the world’s most famous diamonds.

It is estimated the new find could fetch between $US18 and $US24 million.

15) Facebook could fade out like a disease, lose 80 per cent of users, say US researchers

Updated 23 January 2014, 11:25 AEST

Facebook is like an infectious disease, experiencing a spike before its decline, according to US researchers who claim the social network will lose 80 per cent of users by 2017.

Two doctoral candidates in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University made their claims in a paper published online at a scientific research archive, but not yet peer-reviewed.

Based on the rise and fall of MySpace, John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler say that Facebook, the largest online social network in history, is set for a massive fall.

“Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” they wrote.

They applied a modified epidemiological model to describe the dynamics of user activity of online social networks, using publicly-available Google data.

It will make uncomfortable reading for the social media giant co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg, which has more than 1.1 billion users around the globe and turns 10 years old next month.

Their study said Facebook, whose shares climbed to a new high of $US58.51 ($A66.10) this week, has been in decline in terms of data usage since 2012.

“Facebook is expected to undergo rapid decline in the upcoming years, shrinking to 20 per cent of its maximum size by December 2014,” said the researcher’s paper, posted online at ArXiv.org.

“Extrapolating the best model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80 per cent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”

The new research comes amid surveys suggesting that younger users started gravitating away from Facebook in 2013.

Mr Cannarella and Mr Spechler told AFP they did not wish to comment publicly in person until their manuscript had completed its peer review process ahead of formal publication.

AFP

16) British documents hint at South Pacific ‘secrets’
By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 22/01/2014, United Kingdom

A recently discovered secret cache of British Foreign Office documents appears to include a lot of information about New Zealand and parts of the South Pacific.

The vast archive of 1.2 million files was kept by the Foreign Office at Hanslope Park, a high-security compound that it shares with MI5 and MI6 in London, the Guardian reported.

The Foreign Office had not answered questions about the papers and historians said it was difficult to be sure of their significance without examining them.

Historic papers about the slave trade were among the papers dating back to 1662 and wre thought to contain information about England’s involvement in slavery, while others were created in the 19th century and detailed British attempts to suppress the trade.

Under the Public Records Acts, the slavery papers should have been handed over to the National Archives, the paper reported.

A Foreign Office inventory of the cache suggested some nuggets on New Zealand.

Every country appeared to have a file and the Confidential Print; New Zealand had “annual reports; diplomatic reports; leading personalities” over the period between 1969 and 1998.

No other detail on the file was given.

The cache included documents about one of the South Pacific’s biggest scandals, the destruction last century of Banaba or Ocean Island, now part of Kiribati.

New Zealand farmers were the major beneficiary of the phosphate strip-mining which rendered it unliveable.

A New Zealander, Albert Ellis, discovered that like neighbouring Nauru, Banaba’s top soils were rich in phosphate.

Ellis bought the mining rights from its people in 1900 for £50 pounds a year for 999 years – a contract written into New Zealand law.

After World War I, Banaba and neighbouring Nauru were placed under the British Phosphate Commission (BPC) and mined into exhaustion after World War I.

Banaba was part of the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands (now Kiribati and Tuvalu).

New Zealand and Australia each held stakes of a third of BPC, which was much later exposed for double bookkeeping showing the local people and Nauruans had been robbed of royalties.

When the Japanese invaded in World War II, they took most of the Banabans into slavery on Chuuk (then Truk) in Micronesia.

About 160 islanders left on Banaba were massacred by the Japanese, who pushed them off a cliff days after the war had ended.

The British refused to return the survivors to Banaba at the end of the war, placing them instead on a coconut plantation on Rabi in Fiji, where they remain today.

About 5000 Banabans live on Rabi and just 300 on Banaba, which has only a narrow coastal strip that is inhabitable.

The Banabans eventually sued Britain and the case in 1976 was at the time the longest-running High Court case, lasting 221 days.

Known as “Rottan Tito v Waddell and others and the Attorney General” it ended when the court found Britain had no legal obligation but did have a moral debt.

The description of the secret Foreign Office file said it contained papers used in the court case and constitutional proposals.

There was also a Confidential report and Accounts for 1968 from BPC.

Under the Muldoon government New Zealand kept its BPC files secret.

The cachet included confidential reports on Fiji from 1970 to 1997 which would include independence and Sitiveni Rabuka’s two 1987 coups.

Perhaps more historically intriguing was a confidential print on the Pacific Islands.

Affairs of the Society Islands; affairs of Sandwich Islands were listed, referring to French Polynesia and Hawaii.

There was discussion of the Navigation Islands; kidnapping and deportation of natives – a reference to Samoa.

The kidnapping may be a reference to Peruvian slave trading in the 19th century which plundered islands near Samoa.

Also in the file was details of the 1874 “annexation of the Fiji Islands” – something London had not wanted to do.

There were also “Samoan claims arbitration papers; affairs of Tonga; the Ocean Island; phosphate industry report; diplomatic reports … .”

SOURCE:FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

17) China censors may have caused country’s massive internet outage

Updated 23 January 2014, 14:21 AEST

A cyber monitoring group has attributed a massive internet breakdown in China to the country’s own censors.

Web users in China had trouble accessing numerous sites for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon, according to Greatfire.org, which tracks the vast Chinese online censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall.

“We have conclusive evidence that this outage was caused by the Great Firewall,” it said on its website, calling the incident “one of the largest Internet outages ever in China”.

China’s internet users were sent to an IP address owned by US-based Dynamic Internet Technology, which runs a tool called FreeGate designed to bypass the country’s internet censors.

The IP address has been linked to dongtaiwang.com, a news portal run by Falun Gong members.

State news agency Xinhua raised the possibility of hacking, and the official China Internet Network Information Centre said the breakdown was caused by a “root server for top-level domain names”.

However, Greatfire.org has cast doubt on those claims, citing technical tests and saying such an act was “not enough to cause this outage”.

Falun Gong is a Buddhist-inspired religious group that was banned in China in 1999 and branded an “evil cult”.

Dynamic Internet Technology lists the Epoch Times, a publication linked to the spiritual movement, as a client on its website.

China’s vast censorship apparatus proactively suppresses any information or websites online deemed sensitive, from popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter to a frequently updated list of search terms.

AFP

18) Investigative organisation reveals offshore tax havens owned by China’s elite

Updated 23 January 2014, 14:20 AEST

An investigative journalism organization has revealed secretive offshore tax havens used by China’s well-connected elite to hide their wealth.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has unearthed companies owned by relatives of top Chinese leaders, with information culled from 2.5 million leaked documents.

Director of the consortium, Gerard Ryle, has told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program the use of secret offshore holdings opens up the potential for corrupt practices.

“What we have revealed is a secret offshore holdings of families of the leaders of China,” he said.

“They’re extensively using secrecy havens, and when you have secrecy you have the potential for wrongdoing.

“One of the reasons people use offshore tax havens is to hide their wealth and to do things that they don’t want people to know about.”

The ICIJ cited nearly 22,000 offshore clients from mainland China and Hong Kong, including relatives of president Xi Jinping, former president Hu Jintao, former premiers Wen Jiabao and Li Peng, as well as late leader Deng Xiaoping, the man credited with opening up China’s economy in the 1980s.

Members of China’s National People’s Congress, heads of state-owned enterprises and some of the country’s wealthiest men and women were also included in the report, including real estate mogul Zhang Xin, co-founders of Chinese Internet giant Tencent, Pony Ma and Zhang Zhidong, and China’s richest woman, Yang Huiyan.

In addition, the confidential files leaked to ICIJ include the names of 16,000 clients from Taiwan.

Offshore entities set up with help from top firms

While the ICIJ’s report does not suggest China’s leaders have knowledge of the accounts, it has revealed the tax advantages and anonymity available to the country’s elite, with the cooperation of many top international top banks.

Ninety per cent of the mainland Chinese clients set up offshore entities in the British Virgin Islands, often with the help of Western firms such as UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the investigation said. Seven per cent were established in Samoa and three per cent in other areas.

“The information comes from two firms that provide offshore services for big accountancy firms and banks,” Mr Ryle said.

“We found initially when we first got the documents that the vast majority or at least the largest portion of names came from the greater China region.”

Reports slammed as ‘smear’ campaigns

In 2012, the New York Times and Bloomberg news agency published investigations into the vast wealth said to have been amassed by family members of Mr Wen and Mr Xi.

Both news organisations have since had their websites blocked in China, and authorities have denounced the reports as an effort to “smear” China’s leadership.

The ICIJ website was in turn blocked within China on Wednesday.

Mr Ryle says the organisation will publish the names of all identified members on its online search database.

“What we’re going to do now is publish the 40,000 names, these are the names from greater China,” he said.

“We’re going to publish them in the same way as we’ve been publishing information from the rest of the world.

“We’ve actually setup a database where people can go in publicly and search a name and an entity that’s linked to that person. And we think that that will bring more stories out.”

Asked if the government planned to follow up on the report, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said “the logic of the article is unconvincing, which cannot but raise questions of ulterior motives”.

“What I want to point out is, the clean will be proved clean and the dirty will be proved dirty,” Mr Qin said.

ABC/AFP

19) China pollution wafting across Pacific to blanket U.S : study
By Online Editor
3:45 pm GMT+12, 22/01/2014, United States

Pollution from China travels in large quantities across the Pacific Ocean to the United States, a new study has found, making environmental and health problems unexpected side effects of U.S. demand for cheap China-manufactured goods.

On some days, acid rain-inducing sulphate from burning of fossil fuels in China can account for as much as a quarter of sulphate pollution in the western United States, a team of Chinese and American researchers said in the report published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a non-profit society of scholars.

Cities like Los Angeles received at least an extra day of smog a year from nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide from China’s export-dependent factories, it said.

“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” co-author Steve Davis, a scientist at University of California Irvine, said.

Between 17 and 36 percent of various air pollutants in China in 2006 were related to the production of goods for export, according to the report, and a fifth of that specifically tied to U.S.-China trade.

One third of China’s greenhouse gases is now from export-based industries, according to Worldwatch Institute, a U.S.-based environmental research group.

China’s neighbors, such as Japan and South Korea, have regularly suffered noxious clouds from China in the last couple of decades as environmental regulations have been sacrificed for economic and industrial growth.

However, the new report showed that many pollutants, including black carbon, which contributes to climate change and is linked to cancer, emphysema and heart and lung diseases, travelled huge distances on global winds known as “westerlies”.

Trans-boundary pollution has for several years been an issue in international climate change negotiations, where China has argued that developed nations should take responsibility for a share of China’s greenhouse gas emissions, because they originate from production of goods demanded by the West.

The report said its findings showed that trade issues must play a role in global talks to cut pollution.

“International cooperation to reduce transboundary transport of air pollution must confront the question of who is responsible for emissions in one country during production of goods to support consumption in another,” it said.

Air quality is of increasing concern to China’s stability-obsessed leaders, anxious to douse potential unrest as a more affluent urban population turns against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has poisoned much of the country’s air, water and soil.

Authorities have invested in various projects to fight pollution, but none so far has worked.

SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

HEALTH:

20) New Caledonia Confirms First Zika Virus Infection
27 cases verified in French Polynesia, thousands more suspected

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 22, 2014) – The New Caledonian government says it has confirmation of a first case of a zika virus infection contracted in the territory.

It says tests by the Pasteur Institute show that a 76-year-old man in Dumbea has been infected.

His infection is the 27th registered so far, with the other 26 victims having contracted the mosquito-borne disease in French Polynesia where tens of thousands of people are suspected to be suffering from the disease.

There have been fresh appeals to the public to use insect repellent and to destroy possible breeding sites for the mosquitoes.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

21) Vanuatu Authorities Move To Combat Dengue Outbreak
Present strain hasn’t been seen in Vanuatu for over 20 years

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 22, 2014) – Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health has kick-started a major cleanup and educational campaign as it takes a more preventive approach to curb the growing dengue fever cases.

Within three weeks after the first case was recorded in Port Vila Central Hospital, the number of confirmed cases has increased from eight in the first two weeks to 20. This week alone the VCH has already record 18 suspected cases. Dr Laurence Boe confirmed to Daily Post yesterday that the result of a blood sample that had been sent overseas for testing confirmed the virus as Type 3 dengue fever virus which had not been seen in Vanuatu for over 20 years.

“That increases the possibility that there could be a huge outbreak,” said Dr Laurence, Team Leader of the Dengue Campaign.

He explains that infection with one type of the dengue virus gives a person lifelong immunity to that particular virus. However, he added that the infection does not offer immunity to the other three types.

The fact that the population has been free of the virus for the last 20 years reduces the chance that people are immune to the virus therefore increasing the chance of more people getting infected.

The hospital has been very busy since the outbreak with patients being treated for dengue related symptoms.

Meanwhile Dr Laurence said teams have been divided and allocated to disseminate awareness about the outbreak of the virus throughout various areas around Port Vila.

The health teams are engaging in educating communities about the virus and educate people about prevention measures.

The objective is to mobilize communities to contact cleanups in their respective areas to rid mosquito breeding sites and reduce the chances of spreading the virus.

According to the team leader, the group will be responsible for facilitating the cleanup and provide assistance if needed.

“Plastic bags and vehicles will be provided to remove rubbish such as cans and other water catchment containers that could act as possible breeding sites for mosquitoes.

“Free mosquito nets are also being handed out but closely monitored with children and the infected being the priority since the mosquitoes carrying the virus also bite during daylight.

“Mosquito spraying is also in the operational plan.”

Dr Laurence has also confirmed that no case has yet been reported outside Port Vila but the frequent movement of people could spread the virus into the other areas.

Fortunately out of the recorded cases, none has reached dengue hemorrhagic which could later advance into the more serious stage of dengue shock syndrome.

“Prevention is very important and the cooperation of the public is required in the cleanup campaign currently being contacted in throughout the communities,” stressed Dr Laurence.

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

EDUCATION:

22) Teachers head to Vanuatu

Tevita Vuibau
Thursday, January 23, 2014

RETIRED schoolteachers who will leave for Vanuatu on a two-year assignment under the Fiji Volunteer Scheme will be farewelled today.

The teachers will be sent off by the Public Service Commission chairman Josefa Serulagilagi who will hand them their air tickets and other necessary documents before they leave the country on February 1.

PSC permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said the 11 retired schoolteachers were selected through their field of assignments and in accordance with the terms provided by the Vanuatu Government’s Ministry of Education.

Fiji and Vanuatu signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on December 12, 2013 paving the way for the dispatch of specialist skilled personnel to Vanuatu under the FVS.Fijitimes

23) Fijian Students Begin Mandatory Multilingual Classes
Vosa VakaViti, Fiji Hindi compulsory for primary schools

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 22, 2014) – Students in primary schools around Fiji yesterday began their journey to tri-lingualism with the teaching of the iTaukei language and Hindi as compulsory subjects in schools.

Minister for Education Filipe Bole had directed that the two vernacular languages be taught as compulsory subjects and that the conversational program is to be implemented in all primary schools.

“As of this year, 2014, all primary schools are to teach Vosa VakaViti, Hindi and have the conversational program.

“It is compulsory for all students from Year One to Year Eight to take the vernacular subjects,” said the minister.

“It is vital that students understand and speak their own languages well.

“As Fijians, we must appreciate who we are and understanding the vernacular languages is important for us as individuals and as citizens of the country.”

The resources for the teaching of the vernaculars have been prepared by the Curriculum Development Unit of the Ministry of Education.

The direction from the Minister for Education fulfils Section 31 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji which states that “Conversational and contemporary iTaukei and Fiji Hindi languages be taught as compulsory subjects in all primary schools.”

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

24) Government Scholarship Decision Worries Students In Solomons
Funds provided in 2013 will not be continued: finance minister

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 23, 2014) – Many students planning to continue their education this year at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) say their studies are in doubt.

This followed the government’s decision not to continue funding scholarships for students as it did last year.

They say the scholarships the government awarded to them last year should cover 2013 and 2014.

But Finance minister Rick Hou last month announced during the budget session in parliament that government they will no longer fund scholarships for every student this year.

Instead, students will have to apply for the scholarships, which will be allocated based on merit.

Disappointed students said the government’s decision was unfair and irresponsible.

“This is disappointing because the National Training Unit (NTU) has already confirmed in writing that our scholarships are for 2013 and 2014,” one student said.

“For the government to just turn around and terminate the scholarship is truly irresponsible.”

SINU’s pro-vice chancellor Dr Patricia Rodie said they were aware of the situation regarding the scholarship but would not comment at this stage.

Finance minister Mr Hou earlier said the decision to provide free tertiary education in 2013 for students studying at SINU has proven to be a challenging one for the government to meet.

“I take this opportunity to inform the Parliament that this increase in scholarships at SINU was a one-off measure, meaning all scholarships awarded for SINU students in 2013 will not continue.

“As of next year (2014), all SIG scholarship awards will have to be reintroduced through a more stringent screening process and only those students who have re-applied for usual SIG scholarships will be considered by the National Training Committee for 2014.”

He added that the demand for tertiary education is huge and it is important that Government leads the way in assisting students in pursuing their educational interest.

Solomon Star

POLITIC:

25) MP Says Majority Of Vanuatu Public Servants Unproductive
Survey allegedly found about 70% not fully serving nation: Yatan

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 22, 2014) – 30% of the public servants are 100 % productive while 70% do not make enough effort to deliver services required of them by the government and the people of Vanuatu, says Parliamentary Secretary MP Silas Yatan.

“The survey we conducted revealed that 70% of the public servants are not 100% effective in their duties to the people and the nation of Vanuatu. Only 30% of the public servants put all their efforts in fully serving the nation and the population of Vanuatu,” he said.

“70% of the public servants who are not fully productive spent their time on private matters and or other things that are completely outside their terms of reference for serving this country.

“This is why the Prime Minister has called me to liaise closely with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to carry out a review of the Public Service Commission Act, particularly in dealing with disciplinary matters.

“This is because when the Commission disciplines public servants, they in turn, take the PSC to court and almost always win their cases,” the concerned Parliamentary Secretary told Daily Post yesterday.

He said this is one of the reasons why the country does not move forward as it should over the past many years because 70% of the public servants are not 100% productive in the duties.

“This government is here to make sure the public servants put the country first and foremost and give 100% effort to ensure the people of Vanuatu receive the service deliveries expected, instead of going around half the time minding their private businesses or just wasting time and receiving full salaries and benefits for 70% of services never delivered nor received by the people of Vanuatu,” says MP Yatan.

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

26) PM, Momis renew bonds

Source:
The National, Thursday January 23rd, 2014

By ELIZABETH MIAE
EMOTIONS ran high yesterday for leaders of the Autonomous Re­gion of Bougainville as they watched President John Momis and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill reconcile in a traditional ceremony in Port Moresby.
The ceremony at Parliament House marked the beginning of renewed relations between the two governments that shared a common goal for a better and unified Bougainville.
Chief of South Bougainville Jacob To’oke told Momis and O’Neill the reconciliation meant they were now at a crossroads.
He told Momis and O’Neill that as the representative of the grassroots people of Bougainville their cry was to see the full implementation of autonomy for the region.
“We don’t want politics but want to see and hear of fruitful results from you two leaders by working together,” To’oke said speaking in Tok Pisin.
Momis said negotiations had taken place and were all over and it was now time for implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“The Bougainville Peace Agreement is a joint creation of the National Government and the leadership of Bougainville,” he said.
“Through the spirit of this agreement we should deal with issues that affect us.
“We must implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement fully and create an atmosphere where people will cast their votes when the time for the referendum comes between 2015 and 2020.”
Momis said his wanted his people to be free to exercise their choice and right to choose the option that they wished to see come about in future for Bougainville.
He emphasised the importance of a close relationship, communication and dialogue with O’Neill to inform each other of important aspects of the peace agreement that must be addressed.
“It’s a good agreement and we should not be sidetracked by all kinds of views and statements that have been expressed in the media.
“We must stick to the agreement and it’s incumbent on the leaders to ensure that the people know what exactly the two heads of governments are doing to make sure that we preempt any more violent situation from arising in the future.”
O’Neill told the Bougainville leaders his government was committed to the peace agreement.
“The agreements are already set in place. We are not there or here to change the agreements. The government is committed to the implementation of the agreement because we really want to make a change on Bougainville.”

27) Solomon Islands Politicians Disagree Over Moti Issues
Opposition leader wants probe into lawyer’s entry into country

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 22, 2014) – Former Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare last night hit out at Opposition leader Dr Derek Sikua over the Julian Moti settlement claim.

Mr Sogavare, who is a senior Opposition member, said he was surprised Dr Sikua was now calling for a Commission of Inquiry to inquire into Mr Moti’s illegal entry into the country in 2007.

“I am surprised that Dr Sikua sees fit to raise the issue now when he has all the time to do that when he was the prime minister of the country,” Mr Sogavare said.

“As a matter of fact that would have been one of the things his government was going to do when he successfully moved a motion of no- confidence against the prime minister in 2007.

“He cannot insist on a matter that he himself did not do when he had the power to do. That would be hypocrisy in its blatant form.”

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, the Solomon Star reported Sikua as saying Sogavare’s comments were totally misguided, and a commission of inquiry was only necessary when government decided to compensate Moti for his deportation. Sikua maintained that Moti had been brought into the country illegally on a Papua New Guinea military aircraft.]

The East Choiseul MP urged the government to go on with the arrangement to settle Moti’s legal due.

Mr Sogavare, who was elected prime minister after the 2006 elections, brought in Mr Moti to be the country’s attorney general.

But the appointment was staunchly opposed by the Australian government who feared Mr Moti, a Fiji-born Australian lawyer, would derail its interest in Solomon Islands.

Mr Sogavare went down in a no-confidence vote Dr Sikua tabled then, and Mr Moti was subsequently deported at the behest of the Australian government.

Solomon Star

28) Naivalurua ruled out as Fiji’s Military Commander
By Online Editor
5:15 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Fiji

The recent appointment of Fiji’s former police chief, Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua as Ambassador at Large has ruled him out as a potential candidate for the military commander.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has confirmed to Fiji Village that Brigadier General Naivalurua started work last Tuesday.

Ratu Inoke said the new Ambassador at Large will be commissioned by President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on Friday, which automatically rules him out of the military top job.

An Ambassador at Large is a diplomat of the highest rank who is accredited to represent his or her country internationally.

Diplomatic sources told PACNEWS Brigadier Naivalurua’s new appointment will cover accreditation to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

There were speculations that Brigadier Naivalurua might be given Commander’s post given his colourful career in the Fiji military having served the force with distinction.

Last week Fiji’s Prime Minister and Military Commander Commodore Bainimarama announced that he will step down as the island nation’s military leader on 28 February and will hand over the reins of Commander to his successor on 01 March.

He has not named his successor but has however revealed that he would meet the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, to discuss the matter before the new appointment is announced.

Under the Constitution, the Commander is appointed by the President, on the advice of the Constitutional Offices Commission, following consultation with the minister responsible for the RFMF. Commodore Bainimarama is the minister.

Under Fiji’s laws governing political parties, members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces are not permitted to be members of political parties, and must not engage in political activity.

Commodore Bainimarama has commanded the defence forces since 1999 .

SOURCE: PACNEWS

29) Fiji’s Electoral Commission chairman names ‘pressing’ priorities

By Online Editor
5:10 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Fiji

The chairman of Fiji’s newly appointed Electoral Commission says one his most most pressing priorities is to appoint an election supervisor.

The last election supervisor, Felicity Heffernan, quit in 2008 shortly after the government reneged on its promise to hold elections in 2009.

The government recently announced a new seven-member commission, headed by former president of the Fiji Law Society Chen Bunn Young, to oversee the elections promised for September.

Young says there are three matters that need immediate attention.

“The first one is the appointing of a supervisor of election, the second would be all the backup staff and obviously the other pressing issue is the regulations for the election and I understand that it is coming to its final draft and that will be then given to the commission for their review and comments.

Young says he is confident the commission will be independent of the government and there will be no political interference.

Meanwhile, a foreign policy scholar says China’s offer of assistance for Fiji’s promised elections won’t be as dramatic as implied by some media.

China has confirmed that it will be offering some form of assistance, but a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy says no details have been confirmed.

Fiji’s Ministry of Information says China is keen to help in any way it can.

Dr Marc Lanteigne, from Wellington’s Victoria University, says China’s policy towards Fiji has always been one of economic support, and to not get involved in domestic politics.

“I think the way it was stated by the Fijian media is a bit vague and I don’t think necessarily really reflects China’s overall interests. Certainly China does want to remain a very strong economic partner, but in the case of assisting with the elections or participating in the process somehow, no.”

Lanteigne says China would be reluctant to get involved with an issue it says should be dealt with domestically.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

30) Fiji Police need three months to train for elections : Defence Minister
By Online Editor
5:08 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Fiji

The Fiji Police Force will need at least three months to train its officers for the general elections due in September.

The Defence Minister Joketani Cokanasiga, says police officers need to be ready and fully-equipped for one of the most important dates in our country’s calendar.

“Logistically, police will need to be at these polling stations, be it in the mainland, or in the islands. At the moment we estimate for that three thousand stations, we want five police officers to be available at each police station.”

Cokanasiga says as the police work on the logistics of their election operations, it also will make sure the election process is credible.

“If it’s a one day election, then they have to finish that election, bring that ballot box to where it is going to be counted. By the time we are given the deadline as to when the numbers is going to be announced, we have to be sure that that is available. Any deviation from that will raise a lot of questions, how credible is the process.”

Cokanasiga says in order for these tasks to be carried out effectively, police officers will have to be trained properly.

Support officers and police volunteers around the country will also be trained to help the police.

The Force is also requesting for vehicles from donors to help them with transportation during the elections.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

31) Tonga’s Recognition Of Kosovo Called Into Question
No official statements have been made by Tonga government

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 22, 2014) – Tonga is reported to have officially recognized the independence of the Republic of Kosovo, according to a post made by Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi on a Facebook social media page this month.

It has been reported that Prime Minister Thaçi posted he had been informed that Tonga has recognized the independence of the Republic of Kosovo.

“This is the 105th country to acknowledge Kosovo as an independent state and the first one for 2014,” he stated on the post.

The Republic of Kosovo is the Government and civil authority administering all of the Kosovo region in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeastern Europe.

However, there has been no official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Nuku’alofa regarding the Kosovo recognition.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Vainga Tone, was not available for comment this week to confirm or deny Tonga’s recognition of Kosovo.

A press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office this evening stated that the Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano, who is also Tonga’s Minister for Foreign Affairs is currently attending the Blue Economy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

 32) Australia concedes bid to block former spy from giving evidence in East Timor case

By Online Editor
1:35 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Netherlands

The Australian government has admitted it wants to block a former spy turned whistleblower from giving evidence to an international tribunal where East Timor is challenging a treaty between the two countries splitting lucrative oil and gas revenues.

The former senior Australian Secret Intelligence Service operative had his passport cancelled last month after ASIO raids on his house and the Canberra office of East Timor’s lawyer Bernard Collaery.
Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Luis Gutteres of East Timor at the trial.

East Timor has taken Australia to the International Court of Justice to get legal documents and data seized in the raids returned to it, with oral submissions concluding overnight.

One of the panel of 16 judges hearing the case at the ICJ, Morocco’s Mohamed Bennouna, asked Australia about the timing of the ASIO action, coming just two days before a Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal in the Hague was to hear argument on the treaty dispute.

Solicitor-general Justin Gleeson responded by denying the raids were linked to the case, even as he revealed that Australia opposed the former spy – dubbed “X” – giving evidence at the arbitral tribunal.

“Australia would intend to object to the admissibility of that evidence,” he said.

Australia feared the former agent “would make further disclosures that Australia could not confine”, he added.

“Mr Collaery and Officer X should not be the guards of Australian lives and information,” Gleeson said.

Collaery has accused the Australian government of taking unprecedented action to “muzzle our prime witness” as the former spy was planning to go to the Hague to give testimony for East Timor in the treaty case.

But Gleeson defended the raids as being driven by national security concerns, especially the risk the revelations could identify and “endanger” spies and expose the tradecraft and technical capabilities of Australia’s intelligence services.

He cited media interviews given by Collaery and East Timor’s resources minister Alfredo Pires detailing that the agent was the head of the bugging operation, a decorated officer and had worked with a team of four people as evidence of the leak of classified information into the public domain, a criminal offence under Australian law.

But East Timor’s lawyers retorted that the media coverage came after the raids had taken place and shouldn’t be used to justify them.

Australia has known for more than 12 months about the allegations of espionage by the agent, with East Timor first raising the matter with then prime minister Julia Gillard in late 2012.

The agent says ASIS bugged East Timor’s cabinet offices in Dili during talks for the oil and gas treaty, which the tiny nation now claims was unfair and negotiated fraudulently and in bad faith.

East Timor, meanwhile,  told the court that it was ”outrageous” for Australia to suggest during an earlier hearing that it may have encouraged the commission of a crime by enticing the spy to reveal classified material.

“Such expression of distrust falls short of the recognition and appreciation of our broader relationship,” said East Timor’s agent at the ICJ, Joaquim da Fonseca.

“I must firmly reject this careless and outrageous suggestion.”

Fonseca also objected to Australia’s characterisation that the impoverished nation did well out of the oil and gas treaty at the heart of the dispute, the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements of the Timor Sea or CMATS.

While the treaty split revenue from the $40 billion Greater Sunrise reserves 50-50, he said the oil and gas field was closer to East Timor than Australia.

East Timor argues that, if a standard maritime boundary between the nations was in place, almost all the resource would be in its territory.

“Who do the reserves belong to, and who is being generous to who?,” Fonseca said.

On Thursday, the Timor Sea Justice Campaign called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to show goodwill and draw a divide that gives East Timor fair ownership of resources close to its coastline. An open letter to Abbott from the Timor Sea Justice Campaign asks that an equitable boundary be determined in accordance with international law.

Both sides will be able to make final written submissions to the ICJ by the end of the week, with the court to rule “as soon as possible” on whether the documents and data should be sealed and delivered to it by Australia as an interim measure.

A final ruling on whether the documents should be returned to East Timor is expected in 12-18 months.

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:

33) Peddle Thorp wins design job

Source:
The National, Thursday January 23rd, 2014

A NATIONAL architectural consortium that includes a Cairns firm has won a contract to design Papua New Guinea’s new A$125 million (K268 million) courthouse.
Peddle Thorp, with offices in Cairns and Brisbane and James Cubitt Architects (JCA) have been appointed principal design consultants for the PNG’s higher courts, comprising the Supreme, Appeal and National Courts in Port Moresby.
The design and documentation project will involve the Cairns, PNG and Brisbane offices of Peddle Thorp with JCA.
Cairns architect Andrew McFadden said the PNG law courts design consortium also involved other consultants, including Beacon Consulting in Cairns.
McFadden said close business ties between Cairns and PNG had helped the two national architectural firms win the bid.
Project leader Brett Hudson said the project continued Peddle Thorp’s long-standing relationship with PNG.
“This relationship began in the 1970s and continued with the establishment of a local office to deliver architectural and project management services for the iconic PNG national parliament building during the 1980s,” he said.
“Our design consortium looks forward to working with the chief justice and the judiciary in developing a design that is both iconic and appropriate for the needs of the reformed courts structure in the 21st century.”
McFadden said the firm’s relationship with PNG businesses were a factor in winning the contract.
“Trade linked events in Cairns have helped promote Cairns businesses doing business in PNG,” he said.
“Peddle Thorp established a permanent office in Port Moresby in 1985 and Cairns in 1989.
“We’ve always maintained a connection with the PNG office but it really has only been in the last 12 months that we’ve seen the potential and really capitalised on the synergies between the two offices.

34) Thousands of tuna jobs lost in Fiji

Updated at 9:46 pm on 22 January 2014

As many as 2000 jobs may be lost in Fiji because the domestic arm of its largest tuna company is closing down.

Managing director of Fiji Fish marketing group Grahame Southwick says the company has been suffering losses for years.

He says a vast number of government-subsidised Chinese fishing vessels are overfishing Fiji’s waters, and too many tuna licences are being granted.

Mr Southwick says the closure will be a massive blow to the Fiji economy but the government has done nothing concrete to stop the closure.C/- Radio New Zealand.

35) PNG, Australia reciprocal rights on visas long overdue, says MP

By Online Editor
09:35 am GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a sovereign state and should be accorded the same respect as Australia, says Mendi MP De Kewanu.

As such, there is no reason why “the long overdue reciprocal rights” with Australia should be implemented, Kewanu said Wednesday.

Kewanu called on the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and former MP and Madang businessman Sir Peter Barter to provide in figures how many Aussie tourists come into the country annually and how much Australia contributed to the tourism industry.

The PNGTA and Sir Barter warned that the ban on Australians producing visas on PNG soil would seriously affect the tourism industry.

“We are now a sovereign state and a trading partner with Australia as well as a former colony and its biggest aid recipient in the region but we’re also a big player in the region and we’ve been playing second fiddle for too long,” Kewanu said.

“We’re not kids anymore. We’ve come of age and the introduction of reciprocal visa system is long overdue.”

He said the country’s sovereignty was above matters such as the “tourism killer” which Barter and PNGTA warned about without providing any statistical facts on how much Australia plays for PNG in the tourism sector.

“If a country far away in the Middle East like Israel can recognise PNG visas on arrival, why can’t our oldest and closest friend Australia do the same?” Kewanu said.

He said PNG and Australia had a long relationship dating back to the years before the Second World War (1942-1945) and there needed to be some special privileges, including producing visas on arrival, as a former colony.

The MP said those questioning the cabinet decision to ban visas on arrival by Australians entering the country should be reminded that Papua New Guineans, including the father of the country Sir Michael Somare and senior statesman Bart Philemon  were never accorded the same respect on Australian soil.

Kewanu was referring to an incident in a Queensland airport a few years back in which Sir Michael Somare, then the prime minister, was ordered to remove his sandals and in another incident Mr Philemon and several other black passengers were singled out and thoroughly searched.

“If a Prime Minister can’t be accorded the respect and normal protocol on Australian soil, why are Papua New Guineans questioning the cabinet’s decision?” Kewanu questioned. He said the tourism industry would only be slightly affected during the early stages during the introduction of the reciprocal system and would smooth out gradually.

“There is no reason to jump up and down because we still don’t know how much Australia contributes to our tourism industry and I doubt it’s that big,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

36) Vanuatu Signs On For Multimillion Solar Power Project
Joins four other Pacific signatories for UAE Pacific Partnership

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 22, 2014) – The delegation of the Vanuatu officials to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) General Assembly (GA) in Abu Dhabi marked a historical achievement particularly for the Vanuatu Energy sector when Minister Thomas Laken signed on behalf of the Vanuatu Government with the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE), an agreement for the construction of a 500kW Solar Grid connected PV system in Port Vila.

This is worth US$5 million (approximately Vt500 million). Vanuatu is one of the five Pacific Island countries that signed the UAE Pacific Partnership Fund.

The delegation to the IRENA General Assembly was headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, Minister of Climate Change and Energy Thomas Laken, and the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of Energy. The meeting was held on 18 -19 January 2014.

IRENA is the International Agency responsible for facilitating the increased deployment and penetration of Renewable Energy by assisting member countries to overcome barriers to the increase use of Renewable Energy, increase access to modern electricity and affordability.

Om 18 January 2014, the Deputy Prime Minister at the Assembly joined other 21 members and non-members of IRENA in signing the Global Atlas on Renewable Energy. The Global Atlas is a non-binding agreement that allows countries to contribute data on Renewable Energy sources including wind data, solar, geothermal, wave and hydro.

Such data will assist IRENA to update and map out Renewable Energy potential for its member countries.

At the meeting, IRENA highlighted numerous areas of assistance which includes the Global Atlas, REMAP 2030, Renewable Readiness Assessment, Project Navigator and the IRENA/ADFD Project facility. The delegation noted with great interest the potential areas of collaboration with IRENA with great interest and is looking forward to seeking assistance from IRENA in implementing some of the activities highlighted in the Vanuatu National Energy Roadmap.

Vanuatu’s National Energy Roadmap has an ambitious target of 65% Renewable Energy Roadmap by 2020. On the road to achieving that target, IRENA may play a vital role in in its area of technical assistance and facilitating the up-scaling of Renewable Energy in the Country.

According to Minister Laken, the trip to the Middle East is a very successful visit as the project he signed is the biggest historical solar project that Vanuatu has ever seen. This project follows intense negotiations between the Governments of Vanuatu and UAE over the last 2 years.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been doing all it can to grow the relations between the two countries, with the hope that this relations will eventually bear fruit. The Government of UAE has a growing relation with the countries of the Pacific and this is an opportunity that all PICs should build upon to ensure that the peoples of the Pacific are linked with other peoples of the world.

Minister Laken has been working hard to build the Ministry of Climate Change and is confident that during this Government’s term he will ensure to get in more projects to assist the Government and the communities.

He has taken historical strides to build, strengthen the Energy unit and transform this into the department so he is confident that this department will continue to grow in significance.

The Deputy Prime Minister will continue his visit to Kuwait at the invitation of the Kuwaiti Government. This trip is aimed at deepening the dialogue between the two countries and to eventually find ways to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.

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

LAW&ORDER:

37) New Caledonia gun laws to be tightened by March

Updated at 2:37 pm today 23/1/14

New restrictive laws around arms control in New Caledonia are due to be in place at the beginning of March.

The new date has been given by the French interior minister attending the National Assembly.

Last month, the French high commissioner in New Caledonia expressed concern at the spike in firearms sales after Paris said it would tighten gun laws before the end of the year.

Jean-Jacques Brot said sales had doubled while the local press said weapon sales had grown tenfold.

There are suggestions that now more than 100,000 rifles are now in circulation.

There have been several shooting incidents in public as well as eight homicides in the past year, which a leading politician, Philippe Gomes, says has raised New Caledonia’s armed crime rate to three times that of France.Radio New Zealand.

38) PNG police brutality under the spotlight in annual Human Rights Watch report
By Online Editor
1:37 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Police brutality in Papua New Guinea has come under sharp scrutiny in this year’s annual report from global advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

The report from the New York-based group says while PNG’s significant natural resources have fuelled strong economic growth, a combination of “consistent” poor governance and endemic corruption mean improving living standards in the country remains difficult.

Director of Human Rights Watch in Australia, Elaine Pearson, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program there are serious questions surrounding the country’s paramilitary police units (Mobile Squads), which have been deployed to Australian-funded asylum seeker detention centres on Manus Island to assist with security issues.

“The paramilitary mobile squad is particularly notorious for human rights abuses,” she said.

“Human Rights Watch has documented how, in some cases, they have beaten and tortured some people who have been detained in their custody.

“We are very concerned if the paramilitary mobile squad is actually being used as security for the detention centre, so we are really calling on the PNG and Australian government to respond to these calls and stop using such an abusive force.”

And unchecked police behaviour is an issue far beyond the detention centre.

The report says the PNG government has failed to adequately respond to recommendations from the UN special rapporteur on torture to address widespread police abuse and brutality.

“There has been a number of quite horrific cases of police beatings,” Pearson said.

“In one case police actually slashed the ankles and feet of 74 men.

“They slashed them with machetes in Port Moresby and while there have been some slight improved efforts to investigate these abuses no-one, no police officer, was actually convicted of abuse in 2013.”

Violence against women and girls in PNG is another factor contributing to the negative human rights assessment.

The report says that in February 2013, PNG’s government released figures showing up to 68 per cent of women in the country have suffered violence and up to a third have been raped.

While the parliament unanimously passed the Family Protection Bill 2013 in September, which criminalises domestic violence, women remain a target, with security forces sometimes perpetrators of the violence against women.

“We’ve particularly done some documentation around the Porgera Gold Mine and what we have found is that there have been some cases of security forces on the mine actually raping women who are caught trespassing,” Pearson said.

“They basically give them a choice, ‘Either we take you to the police station or we rape you,’ and in many cases they don’t even listen to the response.”

Pearson says the bill is a very positive step, but it remains to be seen how it will be implemented.
Sorcery accusations justifying violence

The year 2013 saw a number of brutal sorcery killings in PNG.

The report says accusations of sorcery are “pervasive across the country and are routinely invoked to justify violence”, with most victims being women and girls.

The government took what Ms Pearson calls a “positive step” in repealing the Sorcery Act in May, which allowed sorcery to be used as a defence against murder.

However, she says Human Rights Watch is concerned about the the re-introduction of the death penalty for a broader range of crimes, ranging from armed robbery, to aggravated rape and sorcery.

“The methods of execution have been expanded, including things like death by firing squad, lethal injection, death by suffocation,” she said.

“Certainly I think a gruesome execution will not prevent a gruesome murder so it is really important that PNG maintains the moratorium it has had on the death penalty.

“No one has actually been executed there in the last 50 years. So it would it would be a serious step back if PNG resumes executions.”

There are also concerns that PNG has not made moves, as promised, to withdraw reservations to the refugee convention.

Pearson says Human Rights Watch hopes Australia will work with PNG to change the focus of refugee policy from returning people to their country of origin.

“One of the issues is particularly around not sending people back if there are serious risks that they will be harmed upon return and the UN itself has said it is a very return-oriented policy, the environment at Manus Island,” she said.

“Really, what we are hoping is that Australia will address some of these concerns to ensure there is a fair and humane process in place before it would consider sending people off-shore.”

Pearson says Human Rights Watch hopes Australia will use its close relationship and leverage with PNG to help bring about change.

“I think it is really important that Australia tracks its funding and it knows and that it knows where its funding goes, particularly with the concerns about the mobile squad,” she said.

“Australia should insist that no funding really goes to the PNG police unless there is some kind of vetting in place for security forces, particularly because the PNG force has been so notorious.

“The other thing that should be done is really raising these issues publicly with the PNG government and asking why there has been so little progress.”.

SOURCE:RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILDREN:

39) Teen sexual abuse

Shayal Devi
Thursday, January 23, 2014

A SIGNIFICANT number of teenagers become pregnant after being sexually assaulted.

Lautoka-based NGO Empower Pacific revealed between September last year and January this year, the ten teenage pregnancy cases referred to the counselling agency involved young girls who were victims of sexual assault.

CEO Patrick Morgam said as a result, the teenagers were unable to instigate contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy.

“In the period of September to present, Empower Pacific has responded to ten separate cases of teenage pregnancy,” he said.

He said the issue was serious and needed the attention of parents and members of the community.

“Anecdotal evidence from previous reporting periods also suggests that in teenage pregnancies, there is a lack of education of ways to avoid getting pregnant.

“In relation to lack of knowledge on ways to avoid getting pregnant, education and awareness in our homes, schools and communities is essential.

“Teenage pregnancy is usually preventable.

“As adults, it is our responsibility to provide our young people with enough information so that they can then make informed decisions about their sexual behaviour.

“This would then not only decrease pregnancy but better protect them from sexually transmitted infections, like HIV.”

Mr Morgam went on to say the majority of cases that Empower Pacific came across involved pregnant teenagers going on to bear her child while still being supported by parents.Fijitimes.

SPORT:

40a) PNGOC need to raise K1.8 million for Games

Source:
The National, Thursday January 23rd, 2014

By HENRY MORABANG
THE Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee has a mammoth task to raise K1.8 million for the two games on its 2014 calendar of events.
PNG Olympic Committee secretary general Auvita Rapilla said this yesterday when giving updates on the 2014 Prime Minister’s Corporate Golf Challenge, an event sponsored by The National newspaper for the third year running.
The Prime Minister’s Corporate Golf challenge, set for May 30 in Port Moresby and June 15 in Lae, is one of the major fund-raisers for these games.
Rapilla said the two events PNG plans to attend are the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
The Glasgow games is scheduled for July 23 to August 3 with the Youth games from August 16 to 18.
Rapilla said the Commonwealth Games budget is K3 million for a team of 185 – 124 athletes and 61 officials.
“We anticipate K1.5m from Government and we have to raise the balance of K1.5m,” Rapilla said of the finances needed.
She said PNG will send a smaller team of 24 athletes and 8 officials to the Youth Olympic Games for which they need to raise K300,000.
Airfares to the Youth games will be subsidised by the International Olympic Committee.
“In total we have overall target of K1.8m to raise for the two games,” she said.
The money raised would go towards the participation budget for Team PNG to cover airfares, uniforms, medicals, transit, among others, she said.
For the Pacific Mini Games last year, Rapilla said PNG Olympic Committee raised K1,150,996 through the Trukai Fun Run, the Prime Minister’s’s Golf events and their sponsorship programme.
From the Port Moresby and Lae Prime Minister’s Corporate Golf Challenge, the PNG Olympic Committee raised K203,430.
Rapilla said she anticipated the same number of teams to register for this year’s PM’s Golf challenge but would still work hard at increasing the participation base.
“We had a good turn out last year, and we expect the same number of teams for Port Moresby and Lae,” she said.
Last year 51 teams participated in Port Moresby while 26 took part in the Morobe capital.

40b) Green light for overseas coaches: Fiji Sports Comission

By Online Editor
10:50 am GMT+12, 22/01/2014, Fiji

The Fiji Sports Commission has approved their coaching applications which fall under the $2.2 million budget allocation from the Government and they’ll be spending an average of FJD$240,000 on each coach.

Fiji Sports Commission chairman, Peter Mazey says the expense is justified.

“A coach doesn’t just come on a salary, someone has to pay their fares, we’re doing that. Someone has to pay their accomodation and insurance, we’re including that. A motor vehicle, the cost of running it, we’re going to cover all of that.”

Fiji Volleyball Federation president, Elesi Ketedromo says this will be a good move for the sport’s development.

“Fiji Volleyball is prepared to have the international coach, coach our national teams of course with our local coaches who are willing to be a part of the coaching panel.”

15 national federations initially made expressions of interest to apply for an overseas coach but pulled out when they were asked to supply more information.

Mazey adds should they still wish to apply, they are welcome to do so.

Meanwhile, Litiana Loabuka’s contract as the chief executive officer of the Fiji Sports Council has been extended for another three years.

Her contract expired on January 5 and the council chairman Peter Mazey said they had received a large number of applications for the position.

“Since Litiana’s contract was up, as a normal practice of a corporate body, we advertised the position,” he said.

“There was a number of people who applied for the position and those applications that were considered were good candidates.”

Mazey said when making their decision, they looked at Loabuka’s record and her achievements during her term.

“All of the final applicants were interviewed by the full board and after due consideration and going through all applications, the board unanimously approved the re-appointment of Litiana.”

He said the council had taken a new approach and this would make Loabuka’s job more challenging and demanding.

“The Sports Council has to look in a new direction now, along a more commercial focus so that we can maintain our facilities.”.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/ FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

40c) Chiefs wing Tikoirotuma thinking of Europe move
By Online Editor
5:18 pm GMT+12, 23/01/2014, New Zealand

Family is the most important thing for Chiefs winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma, and it could lead him to Europe at the end of the Super Rugby season.

The big Fijian said he will do what’s best for his young family when it comes to his future, and although his plans keep changing, he is open to a big-money move to Europe if an offer came his way.

That is, after winning a third straight Super XV title, of course.

“If we can win this three-peat, I’ll be happy to move on, or see what happens from there,” he said.

Tikoirotuma made his debut for Fiji during their end-of-year tour last year, which provided him with a chance to showcase his skills on the world stage.

His wife and three kids, the oldest of whom turns 4 on Saturday, were happy he had made it to the Fijian team, and know it could open opportunities in the future.

“That’s another story, playing international rugby, another level of rugby. I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved,” he said.

“It wasn’t a goal at the start. Because I’m having a small family to bring up, I thought I’d play for Fiji and try and take my trade somewhere else so I can look after my family.”

Tikoirotuma has made a dream rise up the rugby ranks, having started as a Heartland Championship player with Wanganui for five years, before making the move to ITM Cup side Manawatu in 2010.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was in charge at Manawatu at the time, and then brought Tikoirotuma to the Chiefs when he started coaching the franchise in 2012.

Assistant coach Wayne Smith said Tikoirotuma is a player who would have fallen under the radar had it not been for the Chiefs coaching team.

“We were pretty lucky having Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry and Andrew Strawbridge all coming from ITM Cup, so they know the quality of these young guys, and it gave us a real advantage when we selected that first team,” Smith said

“Tiks is one of those that maybe no one else really knew about, but our coaches did.

“You know, he’s won two championships now, just like Andrew Horrell. They’ve both proven to me that they’re top-class players.”

“Tiks is a player who we really recognise as having huge value. For me, system-wise, I think he’s the best defensive winger in the country. He understands the game . . understands how to cover their plays from the wing. He’s a player that we’re really happy for.”

Tikoirotuma said he has worked hard on his defence and is proud of that aspect of his game, having come into the Chiefs as a defensive liability.

“When I came here the first year I was struggling a bit, so I put more time and emphasis on that, and I think I came out firing in the second year.”

Now he plans to work on his kicking game, which he said needs to “sharpen up a bit”, and said he sometimes takes his speed for granted.

Any decisions about his future will come later in the season, although he does have one goal set in stone.

“That was my goal, to play for Fiji in the next World Cup, but again, we’ll see what happens. If there’s no injuries.”
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

40d) IRB sets tender process for key Sevens events
By Online Editor
10:57 am GMT+12, 22/01/2014, Ireland

The International Rugby Board has announced details of the tender process for hosting the IRB Sevens World Series rounds from 2015/16 and the flagship Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

With interest expected to be unprecedented as Sevens continues to break into new markets and attract record attendance and viewing figures, member unions have been given until February 28, 2014 to formally express an interest to tender.

Increasingly, interest at national and local government level is making the hosting of Rugby tournaments more accessible in both established and developing Rugby markets, with National Olympic Committees also significantly investing in Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport.

“These are exciting times for a sport that continues to enjoy strong growth in participation, profile, commercial and broadcast appeal around the world and Rugby Sevens has been an integral part of this,” said IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset.

“Since the IOC voted to include Rugby Sevens on the Olympic Games programme we have experienced unprecedented interest from unions and cities across all continents wishing to host one of our major men’s and women’s properties.

“International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Games will be great for Rugby.”

Tender timelines

The deadline for tender submissions for Unions interested in hosting Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is December 5, 2014 with the IRB Council selecting the winning bid at its May 2015 meeting. The deadline for formal tender submissions for hosting a Sevens World Series tournament is set for June 27, 2014 and the 2015/16 Series hosts will be selected by the IRB EXCO in October 2014.

The dual process follows a detailed strategic review of Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Sevens World Series hosting models and key overall considerations include growing hosting and participation opportunities for our 119 Member Unions, tournament format, increasing Sevens-related global commercial model values, and for the Series specifically, the number of events in the calendar.

Since the creation of the IRB Sevens World Series by the IRB in 1999, the grand-prix style event has been the stage for great entertainment, drama and incredible feats of skill with the likes of Kenya, Fiji, Samoa, Canada and Portugal mixing it with New Zealand, South Africa and England.

It has been a winning recipe for fans, broadcasters and sponsors and the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series accumulated over 4,500 hours of total airtime across 149 territories, a record television audience. Only eight years ago, that total airtime figure stood at just 300 hours.

Rugby World Cup Sevens has been a driving force for Sevens’ global outreach and the competition broke new ground in 2009 combining a 16-team women’s competition alongside the 24-team men’s competition, showcasing the increasing strength of Women’s Sevens on the world stage.

It was a format that was successfully repeated in Moscow 2013 with the IRB announcing last year that the next event would move to 2018 to sit within the middle of the Olympic cycle, providing the 40 participating teams with the optimum competition platform in the lead in to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS/PACNEWS

40e) Manchester City sails into final

Afp
Thursday, January 23, 2014

LONDON – Manchester City swept into the League Cup final with a ruthless 3-0 win at West Ham yesterday which completed a 9-0 aggregate victory in a brutally one-sided semi-final.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side had already effectively booked their place at Wembley after winning the first leg 6-0 at Eastlands, but they didn’t take it easy in the return at Upton Park.

Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero put City two goals up before halftime in east London and Negredo struck again after the break to cap another clinical display from one of the most potent strike-forces in Europe.

City will face arch rivals Manchester United in the final on March 2 if David Moyes’ side can overturn a 2-1 deficit in the second leg of their semi-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

With City in possession of a seemingly unassailable advantage, Pellegrini made eight changes from the side that beat Cardiff in the Premier League on Saturday.

The impressive depth of City’s expensively assembled squad was on full display as the Chilean was still able to field the likes of Negredo, Aguero, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce handed Andy Carroll his first start since the final game of last season after the England striker’s long struggle with a foot injury.

Given the inevitability of City’s progress to Wembley, it was hardly surprising to see vast swathes of empty claret and blue seats around Upton Park.

The 20,000 stay-away fans couldn’t be blamed and their decision looked even wiser as West Ham’s creaky defence was breached with less than three minutes played.

City’s teenage Portuguese winger Marcos Lopes had time and space to float a cross into the six-yard box, where Spanish striker Negredo rose completely unmarked to power a header past Jussi Jaaskelainen from close range.

The muted City celebrations suggested even they were slightly embarrassed at the ease of both the goal and their path to Wembley.

40f) Real Madrid edges closer to semi-finals

Afp
Thursday, January 23, 2014

MADRID – Real Madrid took a huge step towards the Copa del Rey semi-finals with a 1-0 win away to Espanyol in the first leg of their quarter-final tie yesterday.

Karim Benzema got the only goal of the game as he headed home Alvaro Arbeloa’s cross on 25 minutes.

Espanyol were indebted to goalkeeper Kiko Casilla for not having an even greater deficit to overcome yesterday at the Santiago Bernabeu as he made a string of fine saves to keep his side in the tie.

However, they should have snatched a draw on the night as Colombian striker Jhon Cordoba fired straight at Iker Casillas when played through on goal eight minutes from time.

That save extended Casillas personal record of not having conceded for the past 592 minutes in which he has kept goal and Real boss Carlo Ancelotti lauded the Spanish captain’s professionalism having been dropped from La Liga duty in favour of Diego Lopez action for over a year.

“I congratulate Iker because he is doing very well, he deserves his record for his professionalism,” he said. “He made a save at the end and has played very well in all the games in which he has played.

“We have a lot of games at the moment and so both (goalkeepers) are playing the same number of games and Iker is as important as Diego Lopez is.”

40g) SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF

Anelka charged

LONDON – West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been charged after making an allegedly anti-Semitic salute during a recent English Premier League match, the Football Association (FA) announced yesterday. The 34-year-old French striker performed the quenelle salute, putting one arm across his chest and straightening the other last month during West Brom’s 3-3 draw.

Late goal

MILAN – A late goal from Ivorian striker Gervinho helped Series A title challengers Roma book their ticket for the Italian Cup semi-finals with a deserved 1-0 win over Serie A leaders Juventus yesterday. Roma, defeated in last year’s final by city rivals Lazio, will find out their last four rivals following the quarter-final tie between Napoli and Lazio on January 29.

Bach confident

BRASILIA, Brazil – IOC President Thomas Bach says he feels “very confident” in the preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after meeting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. But Bach acknowledged once again that Brazil has no time to lose and must speed up work for the first Olympics in South America.

Cup venue

RIO DE JANEIRO – Curitiba risks being dropped as a venue for this year’s World Cup finals if work on the stadium fails to make significant progress, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says. “We cannot organise a match without a stadium, this has reached a critical point,” Valcke said yesterday.

Salary cap rise

LONDON – English Premiership clubs will have an additional STG500,000 ($F1.5m) to spend on players next season after agreeing an increase in the salary cap. Premiership Rugby’s board have voted to increase the salary cap from STG4.26million ($F13.1m) to STG4.76million ($F14.7m) but officials insisted the move had nothing to do with trying to prevent players leaving England for offers from wealthy French clubs in particular.

Cibulkova wins

MELBOURNE – Dominika Cibulkova has marched into the semi-finals at the Australia Open with a commanding straight-sets victory over Romanian Simona Halep. The No.20 seed from Slovakia dominated the clash on Rod Laver Arena, winning 6-3 6-0 in 60 minutes to set up a semi against either two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka or Agnieszka Radwanska.

Fittler cleared

SYDNEY – The NRL has cleared the way for Brad Fittler to make a rugby league return in the NRL Nines competition. Earlier this month Fittler indicated his desire to the game with the Sydney Roosters at the Auckland Nines, 10 seasons since he retired.

No word yet

SYDNEY – Cronulla are yet to give the NRL any official indication whether they will appeal the $1million fine handed down over the ASADA scandal. Last month the Sharks were hit with the hefty fine after the game’s governing body completed its review into governance issues at Cronulla in 2010 and 2011.

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