Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 931

MELANESIA:

1) Advanced provinces urge to join Melanesian Spearhead Group

By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The economic group in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG

) allows member countries to explore trade, economic and market opportunities, an official says.

PNG Trade Commissioner, Moses Maladina is the MSG eminent person appointed by the Government.

He said the economic group must be apolitical like APEC, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong as members with China.

He said membership of the MSG economic group must include West Papua in Indonesia and Bougainville.

Maladina said PNG is relatively  a big nation among the Melanesian nations and more economically advanced provinces like East New Britain, Morobe, Eastern Highlands and National Capital District should also be members of the MSG economic group and be able to deal directly with MSG countries.

Maladina said the MSG economic group would encompass nearly 16 million people who owned huge resources in mining, petroleum, gas, fisheries, forestry and agriculture.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

2) Fijian foreign Minister brief MSG on West Papua visit

By Online Editor
2:19 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Vanuatu

Fiji’s foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola is in Port Vila to visit the Secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Minister Kubuabola had a meeting with the Director-General and staff of the Secretariat to discuss developments within the MSG and the upcoming events and activities for the year.

During the meeting, the Minister also briefed the Secretariat of the visit by the MSG Foreign Ministers delegation which he led to Indonesia from 11-15 January 2014. The visit was mandated by the MSG Leaders to assess the application of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) to become a member of the MSG.

Following the visit at the MSG Secretariat, Kubuabola was hosted to a lunch byEdward Natapei, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Vanuatu.

SOURCE: MIONFO/PACNEWS

3)EU Called To Put Pressure On Indonesia Over West Papua
Human rights campaigners gave testimony in Brussels

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2014) – A European Union committee has been asked to press the Indonesian government for greater media freedom and an open dialogue with Papua.

West Papuan campaigners gave testimony at the Human Rights subcommittee in Brussels last Friday into the situation in the region.

Norman Voss from Human Rights and Peace for Papua told the committee there is an underlying current of fear in West Papua, perpetuated by the ongoing military presence.

Mr Voss says before any real change can happen, Indonesia must follow through on promises to hold open discussion with Papua.

“We call on the EU to support president Yudhoyono’s pledges to hold a dialogue with Papua. Churches and other peace activists have been calling for years for a peaceful dialogue under neutral mediation between hard-liners on both sides. Jakarta shows reluctance while violations continue and conflict tensions are escalating.”

Norman Voss also told the hearing there is a high level of social disparity and Indonesia is exploiting Papua’s natural resources.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

4) Airport closes after plane collapse

Tvnz/Nz Herald/Pacnews
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

HONIARA – Honiara International Airport in the Solomon Islands has been closed until further notice following the collapse of the left undercarriage on a Toll cargo plane.

The 737 freighter was on rollout shortly after landing when the right hand main landing gear collapsed, causing the aircraft to slide to a halt on the runway.

“Shortly after landing, while the aircraft was on rollout, the right hand main landing gear collapsed causing the aircraft to slide to a halt on the runway,” a spokesman for aviation company Airwork Group said.

None of the three crew members onboard were injured, he said, speaking from New Zealand.

The aircraft, operated by Airwork Flight Operations, was flying under the livery of Australian-based freight company Toll.

5) Vanuatu daily news digest | 28 January 2014

by bobmakin

Radio Vanuatu News reports Prime Minister Carcasses dismissing rumours going round that there will be a re-shuffle in his cabinet. He added the government remains solid and able to run the affairs of Vanuatu. He also reminded listeners of the fact that he has a plan to organise a reconciliation between all the political parties in Vanuatu.

Radio Vanuatu highlighted the Head of State’s praise of Australian aid to Vanuatu at the recent Australia Day celebrations and Daily Post drew attention to two local investors’ tourism success stories noted on the occasion: one at Lakatoro and the other the Millennium Caves Tour at Santo. Both received TVET and APTC training and High Commissioner Bruer drew attention to their achievement stories.

Daily Post today leads with the PM Carcasses’ ‘green light’ to the CIIP “new product” of the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission and this blog is already being questioned as to how’blackbirded’ Australians might obtain dual citizenship. We will endeavour to find out.

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation – WPNCL – claims there was a “conflict of interest” for both Fiji and Solomon Islands in their participation on the MSG / Indonesian fact-finding tour involving West Papua. WPNCL’s Andy Ayamiseba claims in today’s Daily Post that these two countries turned the tour into a promotion of economic ties for their cooperation and development advantage with Indonesia.

The Vanuatu Fisheries Department Director Moses Amos has been appointed to the post of Director of the SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems. He has been director of fisheries in Vanuatu for a long time, and also worked as director of fisheries management at the Forum Fisheries Agency in Honiara. It is expected the highly educated professional will strengthen the collaborative work of both the FFA and SPC.

The Vete Association’s David Abel is calling on government to solve the Port Vila land ownership question immediately. The group has made claims to much land in the town area for a long time based on the oral histories of Tongoa and Efate. The rightful custom owners must be established quickly, Abel insists, especially following the claims of the south Efatese, demanding 50% of the annual rents as custom owners as soon as possible, reports Post.

POLYNESIA:

6) UN team wowed by Samoa’s preparations for SIDS

By Online Editor
2:23 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Samoa

Preparations for the biggest conference ever to be hosted in Samoa in eight months time are on the right track. That’s the conclusion by Hongbo Wu, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Department of Economic and social Affairs.

Wu is head if a delegation of 11 senior UN Secretariat members for discussions with the Government on preparations for the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to be held in Samoa this coming August/September.

Wu is also Secretary-General of the Conference.

The conference venue, collectively two gyms, the aquatic centre and two new structures under construction were studied by the delegation in a visit this week.

During the site visit delegation members asked questions of Fa’alavaau Perina Sila, National Coordinator of the SIDS conference.

Minister of Works Manu’alesagalala E. Posala helped with inquiries as did Vui Sebastian Mariner, representative of OSM Consultants, managers of the project to get the conference sites up to scratch.

Vui mentioned artificial grass is to be laid on the floor of the aquatic centre so conference participants won’t slip – and installation of standby generators.

“We’ve ordered 60 solar lights,” he told the UN delegation.

Wu showed interest in how Gym 2, the site of the main office for the conference, can be kept cool since once filled with 3 000 participants the heat level will rise.

“My general impression of the site visit is that Samoa is on the right track in creating a solid preparation for the 13th Small Island Development Sates (SIDS) conference in September,” Wu told reporters later.

He acknowledged the strong leadership by  Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi  in heading Samoa’s taskforce responsible for preparations for SIDS.

“Most of the work has already been put to place,” he said.

“The UN team of 11 will now be able to assess and identify the technical details and  areas that needed  further assistance,” he said.

But on the overall site visit this morning, Wu and his team were impressed.

He and Tuilaepa then had a joint press conference to explain the latest details for SIDS preparations.

Asked about the security for the conference, Wu said that every sub- committee conference will be held in different venues and will be equally covered by police with  New Zealand and Australia lending help.

“The main conference with country leaders will be covered by the UN police.”

The numbers of people to attend SIDS is estimated to be over 3000.

Asked about the accommodation status, Tuilaepa said, “It is well covered.”

“People will also be accommodated on the Pacific Jewel cruise ship brought in to assist with the number of delegates,” he said.

Asked if the UN will bring in extra motor vehicles for the conference, Wu said the UN is currently fundraising for the sole purpose of bringing in more participants from small island states.

Recently, Japan has committed to assist by way of providing vehicles for the conference.

Samoa’s contribution budget for the conference is estimated at $40 million.

Asked how much Samoa will get from the conference, Tuilaepa referred  to  Samoa  benefiting  from utilising the newly upgraded sports facility for future events.

Wu said the conference will be a chance to “showcase Samoa’s successful stories to the world.”

Before the media conference, Tuilaepa and Wu met with the donor countries and organizations.

“Both Wu and Tuilaepa met with donor community and briefed them on the status of preparation both at the national level and international community in the lead up to the conference,” said SIDS National Coordinator  Fa’alava’au  Perina Sila.

“This conference is a timely opportunity for  SIDS and their partners to renew their commitments  towards an agenda  of shared responsibilities and accountability  to ensure that SIDS key priorities are captured  in the post 2015 development agenda and implemented successfully,” Tuilaepa said.

“Samoa hopes that the SIDS conference will become the launching ground for a variety of effective and durable partnerships between SIDS and their development partners for the further sustainable development of SIDS,” he said.

Wu leaves Samoa on Wednesday leaving behind members of  the UN planning mission to continue  “bilateral meetings with the different committees to render technical advice and support in Samoa’s preparations.’

The official website for SIDS www.sidsamoa.ws  was also officially launched today.

SIDS theme for this year’s conference is “Small Island Development  States  through genuine and lasting partnership.”

The conference will be preceded by pre-conference activities from the 28- 30 August.

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA:

7) Palau Customs Division Launches New Information System
Improved capabilities funded by Republic of China

By Peter Erick Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Jan. 27, 2014) – Palau’s Division of Customs last Friday (January 24) launched its new information system in a simple ceremony held at their main office in Malakal.

The event was marked with a ribbon cutting that had Republic of China Ambassador Maggie Tien, Finance Minister Elbuchel Sadang, Attorney General Victoria Roe and Customs Acting Chief Iskawa.

The new information systems aim to bring the Division of Customs at par with international customs service with the advanced system. The system comprises with 16 close-circuit television (CCTV), phone system, website, email and attendance system.

Republic of China Ambassador Maggie Tien said that with the system it will facilitate further the efficiency and effectiveness of the Division of Customs to its clients.

“With the new information system it will secure and it will make it safe for things that will be brought in and out of Palau. We take pride in being part of this project that will help in protecting and taking care of the borders of Palau,” Tien added.

Finance Minister Elbuchel Sadang thanked the Republic of China for their assistance in making the new information system a reality. He added that the system marks another milestone in improving the government’s service to its people.

The new information system was fully funded by the Republic of China. For more information of the new information system of the Division of Customs log in at www.palaucustoms.org.

Island Times: www.islandtimes.us

8) Guam Officials Debate Proposed Pay Scale Changes
Senator says any reductions should be across the board

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 28, 2014) – Guam’s Legislature could make more changes to a new government pay scale after a public hearing on Friday.

Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz, D-Piti, and chairman of the Legislature’s committee on general government operations, said he’s hoping for information about the administration’s changes to the plan before the Legislature can move forward.

Cruz said it’s possible Bill 268, introduced last week by Sen. Michael San Nicolas, D-Dededo, could be used to move the pay increases forward, or a different bill could be introduced. It depends on the information gathered at the public hearing on Friday, he said.

Cruz said he wants to see how the Department of Administration (DOA) changed the original Hay Plan — the new pay scales created by consultant The Hay Group — submitted in 2010.

Among other things, DOA lifted the ceiling on compensation for teachers and other professions and allowed senior employees to continue to receive performance-based pay raises, even after they hit the ceiling on their pay scale.

They also added grades “W” and “X,” which will provide more career opportunities for employees.

The administration also added unclassified government of Guam employees to the plan, and said the new pay scale would be implemented in phases and completed by August.

San Nicolas’ Bill 268 creates a pay-for-performance standard for elected and politically appointed officials, including the governor and lieutenant governor.

It states they would not receive their annual pay increases unless the unemployment rate decreases, student test scores increase and crime decreases.

“If the governor is saying that we can afford to give him a raise, then why is the state of our public safety, education and health care system what it is today?” San Nicolas said.

The administration is opposed to the idea of performance-based pay for elected officials, and has suggested senators should include themselves.

The governor’s office has suggested that lawmakers revoke a pay raise they got in 2010, and should get that money back only if they meet the same requirements proposed by San Nicolas.

“They believe it’s wrong for the mayors to get a better wage, so I think they should look themselves in the mirror and give back the raise they gave themselves,” Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio said. “And if they want the rest of the elected officials to have pay pegged to performance, then that same standard should apply to them as well.”

A budget law passed in 2003 linked the salaries of senators to the salaries of Superior Court of Guam judges and the presiding judge.

When the Judiciary voted to give itself a pay raise in 2010, it resulted in an automatic pay raise for Guam senators.

“Senators should not exclude themselves from the standards they are applying to everyone else,” Tenorio said. “The height of hypocrisy is senators keeping their salary increases while refusing them to mayors and vice mayors, the public auditor, the attorney general or the cabinet. This is especially true, when their salary increase had nothing to do with merit or performance.”

San Nicolas said he’s open to decreasing the pay for senators, but said any reduction should be across the board, for all elected officials.

“He’s trying to make raises and cuts the same issue when it’s two separate conversations,” San Nicolas said.

Employees under the newly created General Pay Plan would see only half of their increase by Feb. 14, with full raises by August, under the administration’s plan. Those under other pay plans would immediately see their entire wage increase.

The Legislature can modify the plan during a 30-day review process or can approve it so it can go into effect earlier than Feb. 14.

Local law states the plan will go into effect 30 days after it is submitted to the Legislature if no action is taken on it.

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

AUSTRALIA:

9) Central Land Council rejects Warren Mundine’s Indigenous treaty proposal

Posted 28 January 2014, 8:19 AEST

The chair of the Central Land Council says Warren Mundine’s proposal for treaties between individual Indigenous nations and the Government is flawed.

The head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council says recognising Indigenous nations through treaties could be an alternative to native title claims.

Mr Mundine says the treaties would recognise Indigenous nations as traditional owners of a defined area of land and sea, while also recognising Australia and its right to exist.

But the the council’s chair Maurie Japarta Ryan says treaties with the Australian Government would not be appropriate.

“Any treaty should be done with the Queen of England. Not with Australia, with England because we never acquiesce our sovereignty for 1788 to present day.

“I hear Tony Abbott talk about sovereignty. I hear the Foreign Minister talking about the border situation.

“It is not Australian sovereignty, it’s the sovereignty of the first nation’s people.”radio australia

10) Peter Cosgrove named as Australian next governor-general, will replace Quentin Bryce in March

By Online Editor
4:47 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Australia

Former Defence chief Peter Cosgrove has been nominated as Australia’s next governor-general by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australia’s next governor-general Peter Cosgrove has vowed to steer clear of politics when he takes up the role, saying his job will be to “hold up a mirror” to the nation.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced the former Defence Force chief will replace Quentin Bryce, whose five-and-a-half-year term ends in March.

The highly decorated retired military officer says he is humbled and honoured to have been offered the role.

“My approach to this job will be of course as I’ve approached all those times when I’ve been asked to serve Australia,” General Cosgrove told journalists at Parliament House.

“It will get my total commitment, all the energy I’ve got, good humour, and with an unfailing optimism that this is a great nation which will only get better.”

General Cosgrove rose to prominence as commander of the international peacekeeping effort in East Timor in 1999 and was later appointed as chief of the Defence Force in 2002.

Abbott has paid tribute to General Cosgrove’s long military service, saying he cannot think of a better person to take on the role of governor-general.

“He has given service of the very highest order to our country,” Abbott said.

“I am confident that in this new role he will continue to deliver to a grateful nation leadership beyond politics.

“I can’t think of a better way to start the year, and I can’t think of a better person to do this very important job.”

In announcing the appointment, Abbott Ms Bryce, saying she has discharged her duties with grace and distinction.

Bryce copped criticism in November when she publicly backed the idea of Australia becoming a republic and came out in support of same-sex marriage.

General Cosgrove says he intends to leave the “vexed political issues” to elected MPs.

“I think your responsibility is to shine light, but not to generate heat,” he said.

“I think you’ve got to listen a lot and take in everything that you see, but you’re not a participant in the political process.”

On the issue of whether Australia should cut ties with the British monarchy and become a republic, General Cosgrove says his “guiding light” would be the will of the people.

His appointment as the Queen’s representative in Australia comes as the nation prepares to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing in 2015.

General Cosgrove has described his elevation to the role as a “salute” to the men and women who continue to serve in the Defence Force, saying he intends to visit various military bases during his term.

He has also expressed a desire to spend time in remote Aboriginal communities with Australian of the Year and Indigenous footballer Adam Goodes.

“I was talking with the Prime Minister about that yesterday, and if that suits his program, I think it would be a wonderful thing for Adam and I to go to see some of the stressed Indigenous communities to see what their conditions are like.”

General Cosgrove retired as chief of the Defence Force in 2005, but in 2007 was asked to lead the recovery taskforce after Cyclone Larry devastated far north Queensland.

In recognition for his service, a suburb in Townsville was named in his honour.

General Cosgrove will be the 26th governor-general, but only the 12th to have been born in Australia. Fourteen were born in the United Kingdom.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

11) Australia’s Foreign-Born Population Continues To Grow
Expert says total population growing at nearly 1.8% a year

By Kate Arnott

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 28, 2014) – A record number of people took the pledge to become Australian citizens at Australia Day ceremonies over the weekend, as the nation’s foreign-born population continues to rise.

Almost 18,000 people became Australian citizens on Sunday, which has contributed to making more than a quarter of the country’s population foreign-born.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show people born in the United Kingdom continue to be the largest group of residents born overseas, accounting for 5.3 per cent of the population, followed by 2.6 per cent born in New Zealand, 1.8 per cent born in China and 1.6 per cent born in India.

Monash University’s population researcher, Dr Bob Birrell, says Australia is an attractive destination for migrants because of its affluence and substantial job opportunities.

“That along with the opening up of our migration program by successive governments has led to a record high influx of both permanent and temporary migrants in recent years,” he said.

As Australia’s total population approaches 23.5 million, demographer Bernard Salt says the country’s population is growing at close to record rates.

“At the current time, it’s largely driven by overseas migration, which is tracking around 230,000 people per year,” Mr Salt said.

Dr Birrell says Australia’s population growth is exceeding those of many other countries around the world.

“We’re growing at about 1.8 per cent a year, which is much faster than the other western countries and indeed most Asian countries,” he said.

‘Better opportunities’

People born in Nepal, India and Pakistan are among the fastest growing groups of migrants in Australia.

Electrical engineer and musician, Ranjan Vaidya, grew up in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu and moved to Australia 15 years ago.

“I came to Australia mainly looking for better opportunities and also I heard about Australia as a fair go country, with hard working people,” he said.

Mr Vaidya says most people from Nepal come for jobs, education and to get away from years of political instability.

“You have got a lot of things right here,” he said.

“The political system is right, your economic system is right, all the prosperity, everything is right.”

The main settlement point for those born overseas are the major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, as well as south-east Queensland.

“That’s where the jobs are,” Dr Birrell said.

“It’s also where the major migrant communities are located and Asian migrants in particular prefer to settle where there are established communities of their own ethnic and religious backgrounds,” he said.

According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, about 73 per cent of people aged between 15 and 64 have a paid job in Australia and the average disposable income is nearly US$29,000 a year.

Life expectancy at birth is almost 82 years and the OECD says there’s a strong sense of community.

Mr Salt says people can also find their own community within Australia.

“Australia has a place, I think, for everyone,” he said.

“If you want to do the outback thing you can, if you want city sophistication you can, if you want to raise a family in middle suburban you can do that as well.”

Room for more

Geographically, Australia is very diverse with vast coastlines, beaches, tropical rainforests and snowfields in between major cities and country towns, while nearly 20 per cent of the land mass is classifed as desert.

As the planet’s 6th largest country, Mr Salt says there’s room for more people.

He believes Australia can grow to over 30 million over the next 50 years.

“I think we have a moral obligation if you like, to accept migrants from overloaded parts of the rest of the world,” Mr Salt said.

“There’s also an economic argument that as the baby boomers move beyond the working age into retirement we need more workers or tax payers.”

But Dr Birrell says a growing population is not without its challenges.

“Worsening congestion, inability to keep up with infrastructure, education, health and other areas are where the pressure points are at the moment,” he said.

In addition, he says finding a job is becoming more difficult than it was a few years ago and the cost of living is on the rise.

It’s those challenges the nation’s governments will have to carefully consider when planning for more people.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

12) Screen addiction: Health experts say excessive amounts of time spent on phones, tablets can affect childhood development

Updated 27 January 2014, 23:51 AEST
By Connor Duffy

Health experts say excessive amounts of time spent on smart phones and tablets can be addictive and affect childhood development.

A handful of countries have quickly transformed themselves into education ‘superpowers’ so journalist Amanda Ripley thought she would find out how they did it. (Credit: ABC)

Health experts say excessive amounts of time spent on smart phones and tablets can be addictive and affect childhood development.

Smart phones, tablets and laptops have made life easier for many Australians but health experts are now monitoring and trying to limit exposure from the age of two onwards.

Jazz musician Sinj Clarke says screen addiction derailed his passion for music.

He says limiting the amount of time spent on social media made him feel more connected to his family and friends.

“At the point where it was worst, and I didn’t realise how much it was controlling my life, instead of sitting down and doing an hour or two of solid practice, it would be interspersed with checking my phone. It wasn’t just with music, it was with reading or anything,” he told 7.30.

“It’s a massive addiction. But you know people don’t notice it because it’s also quite culturally acceptable to use your phone all the time. It’s expected.”

He says he would sometimes wake up in the night and check his phone.

“[I’d] go to dinner, check it there, go out with family, check it there, go out with my friends, check it there, ” he said.

“[It was] ridiculous. I couldn’t go anywhere without it.”

Screen time releases ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain

Spending large amounts of time on tablets, smartphones, laptops and applications like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can change our brains over time.

Psychologist Jocelyn Brewer works as a counsellor for school kids and has helped depressed children shake their screen addiction.

She says screen time stimulates happy chemicals in the brain and can leave users anxious and distracted.

It works similar to other addictions in that there is a reward pathway that dopamine sets up.

Psychologist Jocelyn Brewer

“It works similar to other addictions in that there is a reward pathway that dopamine sets up. If you’re doing any activity that feels really good, you would want to do more of that activity and continue to have that good feeling,” she told 7.30.

“I think it comes down to not just the device necessarily, but it’s what people are doing with the device.

“Similarly to someone with a gambling problem, it might not be the racecourse, but it’s what you do at that racecourse.

“The negatives can be the in-built addictive qualities that some of the apps have that get you to want to be in them all the time and make them really hard to put down.”

Digital and real-life play ‘need to be balanced’

There are now guidelines on how much screen time children as young as two should have.

Education expert Kate Highfield says it is important children balance digital and real-life play.

“It’s not about children at two years of age being addicted to the media,” she said.

“I’d probably just say they’re having a bit too much of it and we need to revert to a balance.”

The big issue though it the time it takes away from other play. It can displace other key skills.

Kate Highfield

Ms Highfield says while tablets, computers and mobile devices can be useful educational tools some children are overly relying on digital media.

“Some of the concerns can be with eyesight, fine motor skills and pencil grip… and other skills [such as] posture, as children lean down to look at [tablets],” she said.

“The big issue though it the time it takes away from other play. It can displace other key skills.

“If I’m engaging with digital media, playing games and reading digital books, it might mean that I’m not building with blocks or painting with real paints or running outside and playing.”

She says a combination of technology and tradition is the best approach for parents.

“These devices, tablets and mobile technologies, have incredible benefits for parents and for children,” she said.

“For parents they can give you that five minutes of free time you just need. But for children they can also bring enormous educational benefits.”radio australia

NEW ZEALAND:

13) National would back Clark for top job

28/1/14

Prime Minister John Key says a National government would back his predecessor, Helen Clark, if she wishes to contest the position of the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is serving his second five-year term, which is due to end in 2016.

The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council and is subject to veto by any of the five permanent members.

Miss Clark is the third most powerful person at the UN, in charge of its Development Programme.

In a recent article in The Guardian newspaper, she leaves her options open when asked whether she would like the top job.

Mr Key says the present government would back her if she does go for the position, although it would be a hotly contested appointment.radio new zealand.

TOK PISIN:

14) PNG Praim Minista Peter O’Neill istap long Bougainville

Updated 28 January 2014, 16:08 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Praim minista blong Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill i kamap pinis long Bougainville we em bai stap long tripla dei long stretim sampla heve emi stap namel long national gavman na Autonomous gavman.

Despla  emi nambawan taem tru  long wanpla ten sikis yia we wanpla praim minista blong PNG igo wokabaut long Bougainville.

Wokabaut blong Praim minista igo long Bougainville em blong stretim sampla heve emi gat wantem President John Momis long moni.

Planti handrat pipal ibin bungim despla tupla lida long Buka island aste we oli bin brukim ol bonara blong pinisim ol belheve blong tupla.

Helen Hakena, direkta blong Leitana Nehan developman agensi itok ol pipal blong Bougainville i hamamas tru long wlekamim Praim minista igo long ailan blong ol.

Emi tok tu olsem ol pipal blong New Ireland provins husat ibin makim Mr O’Neill olsem chif blong ol long 2013 ibin bringim em na givim em igo long ol pipal blong Bougainville.

Planti ol lida tu blong East na West New Britain Provins ibin go wantem ol laen blong New Ireland long stap long despla seremoni aste long Buka.radio australia

15) Red Cross i halvim ol PNG femili insait long Kagua Erave Distrikt

Updated 28 January 2014, 16:34 AEST
Kenya Kala

International Komiti blong Red Cross wantaim Papua New Guinea Red Cross i halvim klostu 2-tausen femili bihainim ol fait insait long Southern Highlands.

Odio: Pauline Ross, Branch Coordinator blong Western Highlands Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society i tok ol i halvim klostu 2-tausen pipol
International Committee blong Red Cross na Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society i statim pinis ol wok halvim na sapot igo long samting olsem 400 femili, husait ibin bungim bikpla heve blong ol fait namel long ol laen wanpisin insaet long Southern Highlands Provins.

Displa ol halvim ibin kamap long las wik we ol i karamapim ol sapot olsem ol medikol saplai, ol samting blong kuk, olsem sospan, pleit, kap wantaim tu, ol haus sel blong silip.

Long pinis blong las yar 2013, fait namel long Wambea na Kombia haus-laen insait long Sugu Valley blong Kagua Erave Districk ibin mekim planti pipol i ronawe na lusim haus na properti blong ol.

ICRC i tok planti pipol i tok displa ol halvim i nambawan taim ol i kisim stat long ol fait long las yar.

Pauline Ross, Branch Coordinator blong Western Highlands Red Cross Society i tok International Committee blong Red Cross ibin igo pas long bungim ol pipol pastaim, wantaim ol volatia blong ol, long skelim na kandim olgeta pipol i stap long heve.

“ICRC igat wanpla program ol i kolim Restoring Family Link wea, long taem blong woa, ol femili isave go nabaut nabaut na ol i save stap namel man long traim long bungim ol femili wantaim.”

‘Displa ibin kamap insait long displa heve, iusim ol lokol volantia blong displa ol wokbung.”

“Narapla wok i stap long pinisim, em long stretim ol wari blong,” Paulim Ross i tok.radio australia

FRENCH:

16) Aborigènes: « C’est une croisade nationale très importante »

Mis à jour 28 January 2014, 14:50 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Tony Abbott a relancé le débat sur la reconnaissance des Premiers Australiens dans la Constitution.

Depuis ce week-end et la fête nationale australienne, le débat sur la reconnaissance des Aborigènes dans la Constitution a repris. Il avait été mis entre parenthèses par le précédent gouvernement Gillard, rendu frileux par des sondages révélant que les Australiens ne voteraient pas pour.

Depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir du Libéral Tony Abbott en septembre dernier, la donne a changé : le Premier ministre est considéré comme l’homme qui a le pouvoir de convaincre les plus conservateurs de ses parlementaires, qui, jamais, ne voteraient en faveur de la reconnaissance officielle des Aborigènes si un Premier ministre travailliste, donc considéré de gauche, le leur demandait.

On écoute un extrait du discours de Tony Abbott dimanche :

« C’est une croisade nationale très importante, c’est un sujet qui est très important pour moi, c’est très important pour tous les Aborigènes et tous ceux qui souhaitent un pays uni et indivisible. La reconnaissance des Aborigènes ne va pas modifier notre Constitution mais la compléter. Si nous avions su en 1901 ce que nous savons aujourd’hui, si nos cœurs avaient été aussi généreux qu’aujourd’hui, nous aurions du reconnaître l’existence des indigènes dans la Constitution à ce moment-là. Ceci dit pour que cette reconnaissance soit le moment d’union qu’elle doit être, alors il faut faire les choses bien. Nous souhaitons que cette reconnaissance soit actée au plus vite, mais on ne peut pas précipiter les choses, nous bâclerions le travail. »

Le débat a donc repris de plus belle. Hier Andrew Bolt, l’éditorialiste marqué à droite du quotidien « Herald Sun », a lancé la campagne contre la reconnaissance des Aborigènes dans la Constitution australienne, estimant qu’introduire une distinction raciale dans le texte suprême diviserait la société australienne et exacerberait le racisme.

Qu’à cela ne tienne, Tony Abbott s’assure les services d’un ambassadeur efficace et populaire : le joueur de football australien Adam Goodes, qui a du sang aborigène, et a été choisi comme jeune Australien de l’année:

« La Constitution est un long document, qui date de 1901 et qui malheureusement ne mentionne pas les peuples aborigènes. Donc en ce moment nous faisons campagne dans toute l’Australie, nous parlons à un maximum d’Aborigènes sur ce que signifie la Constitution et en quoi consiste cette reconnaissance des indigènes. Ensuite nous expliquerons à l’ensemble des Australiens le but de cette reconnaissance constitutionnelle et espérons-le, dans un avenir proche, nous pourrons organiser un référendum pour que tous les Australiens s’expriment sur la reconnaissance des Premiers Australiens. »

Le débat pour le moment porte plus sur le principe de la reconnaissance constitutionnelle des Aborigènes, que sur le contenu de l’amendement. Le mot de « souveraineté » des premiers Australiens sera-t-il utilisé ? Que va changer la reconnaissance aux droits fonciers des Aborigènes ? Mystère. Le gouvernement n’a pas encore de projet ferme et définitif.

Mais les esprits s’enflamment déjà. La ligue monarchiste d’Australie a publié un communiqué dans lequel elle met en garde contre des explosions de violence dues au débat sur la reconnaissance des Aborigènes. La ligue célèbre aussi les réalisations des colons, estimant qu’elles sont plus importantes que les crimes commis. « La colonisation par les Blancs n’a pas été sans créer des problèmes, mais si les Britanniques n’avaient pas colonisé le pays, et apporté avec eux le concept de l’ordre public, l’Australie ne serait pas devenue la grande nation unie qu’elle est aujourd’hui », a déclaré Philip Benwell, le Président de la ligue monarchiste. radio australia

17) PNG: la justice interdit les déchets miniers dans le fleuve Fly

Mis à jour 28 January 2014, 14:54 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Depuis le début des années 80, les déchets de la mine d’OK Tedi sont déposés dans ce fleuve. Les dégâts sur l’environnement et la santé des riverains sont considérables.

La mine d’or et de cuivre d’OK Tedi, surplombe le fleuve Fly, où des milliers de tonnes de déchets miniers ont été jetés depuis le début des années 80.

En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, la justice a interdit à la compagnie d’OK Tedi de mettre ses déchets miniers dans le fleuve Fly, ce qui pourrait carrément stopper l’exploitation en attendant de trouver un nouveau système d’entreposage des déchets.

Une décision prise lundi et qui arrive bien tard au vu des dégâts considérables causés par l’exploitation de l’or et du cuivre depuis le début des années 80 à la frontière avec la Papouasie indonésienne.

C’est néanmoins une petite victoire pour les riverains de la mine, dont la vie est devenue un enfer jusqu’à 500 kilomètres en aval. La faune du fleuve a disparu. Les habitants attribuent aussi la multiplication des bébés difformes dans la province à la pollution créée par les déchets miniers.

Autre décision de justice : le gel des comptes bancaires de la compagnie minière d’OK Tedi, qui sanctionne un détournement de fonds qui étaient initialement destinés à la communauté des riverains. Le juge Gibbs Salika a ordonné que 19 millions de dollars soient saisis pour financer la recherche sur l’impact environnemental et sanitaire de l’exploitation de la mine.

La mine d’OK Tedi était exploitée par le géant minier anglo-australien BHP, qui a fait des milliards de dollars de bénéfices pendant 20 ans, avant de vendre ses actions à un fonds papou en 2001. En échange, BHP a obtenu l’immunité judiciaire pour ses crimes contre l’environnement.

En 2013, le Premier ministre Peter O’Neill a nationalisé la mine. radio australia

18) Papouasie indonésienne: l’Union européenne appelée à la rescousse

Mis à jour 28 January 2014, 14:40 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Les militants pour l’indépendance de la Papouasie auditionnés par le sous-comité des droits de l’homme de l’Union européenne vendredi à Bruxelles.

Norman Voss, le porte-parole de l’ONG Droits de l’Homme et Paix pour la Papouasie estime qu’il règne un climat de peur en Papouasie indonésienne, en raison de la présence des militaires et de matières premières lucratives pour l’Indonésie.

Selon lui la situation ne pourra s’améliorer que si le gouvernement indonésien accepte d’ouvrir des pourparlers avec les indépendantistes papous. Norman Voss a aussi demandé à l’Union européenne de faire pression sur le Président indonésien Yudhoyono pour qu’il tienne sa promesse d’ouvrir un dialogue. radio australia

WORLD:

19) Edward Snowden accuses US of industrial espionage, exploiting smart phone apps such as Angry Birds

Updated 28 January 2014, 13:39 AEST
By North America correspondent Michael Vincent and wires.

Former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has accused the United States of engaging in industrial espionage.

The United States has been accused of engaging in industrial espionage as well as using mobile phone apps such as Angry Birds to scoop up personal data.

In the latest revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden, he says the National Intelligence Agency (NSA) spies on big companies that compete with US firms.

During a recorded, six-hour interview with a German TV network at a hotel in Russia, the former NSA contractor said: “There is no question that the US is engaged in economic espionage”.

“If there’s information at a foreign company that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it has nothing to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless”.

The NSA has rejected his claims saying it doesn’t “steal trade secrets” on behalf of US companies.

Agencies exploiting leaky ‘apps’ like Angry Birds

Meanwhile the New York Times reported documents leaked by Snowden show the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters are tapping into smart phone apps to obtain personal data.

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It says classified documents show “leaky” apps such as Google Maps, mobile versions of Facebook and Twitter and the game Angry Birds, among others, are being exploited by the agencies.

Each time someone opens an application, the eavesdropping agencies can vacuum up data that reveals the user’s location, age, personal address list and other information, according to the Times.

The NSA has not denied the reports, reiterating that the agency is not out to spy on ordinary people and is respectful of privacy rights.

“The communications of people who are not valid foreign intelligence targets are not of interest to the National Security Agency,” spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement.

“Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the smartphone or social media communications of everyday Americans is not true,” she said.

Snowden tells German TV he sleeps well at night

After leaking explosive details of secret surveillance schemes to newspapers, Snowden fled the US.

He arrived in Russia in June as a fugitive and spent more than a month holed up in a Moscow airport before being granted a year’s asylum.

US federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Snowden, charging him with espionage and felony theft of government property.

His leaks have deeply embarrassed president Barack Obama’s administration by revealing the massive scale of America’s spying efforts, including on the country’s own allies such as German chancellor Angela Merkel.

In the interview with the German TV network, Snowden said he believes there are “significant threats” to his life, but that he sleeps well because his massive leaks about American spying were “the right thing to do”.

ABC/AFP

20) Jobless number at record high in France

28/1/14

The number of registered unemployed people in France is at a record high.

More than 3.3 million people are out of work, despite a promise by President Francois Hollande to tackle unemployment by the end of 2013.

The unemployment rate is now 11.1%. It went up by 5.7% in 2013, and rose 0.3% in December, the BBC reports.

However, the Labour Ministry said the rate of unemployment appeared to be slowing, with 177,800 people joining the jobless register in 2013 compared to 283,800 in 2012.

Earlier in January, Mr Hollande announced tax breaks for companies that committed to hiring more employees.radio australia

21) One in four tsunami children in Japan need mental care

By Online Editor
10:05 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Japan

One in four  preschool-aged children caught up in Japan’s 2011 tsunami disaster has psychiatric problems, a report says, with experts warning the effects could last a lifetime if left untreated.

Researchers found 25.9 per cent of children aged between 3 and 5 suffer from symptoms including vertigo, nausea and headaches, with some exhibiting worrying behaviour such as violence or withdrawal.

The Health Ministry study said youngsters were scarred by losing friends, seeing their homes collapse, by separation from parents or by the sight of the huge wall of water that crashed ashore, Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported.

The team, led by professor Shigeo Kure of Tohoku University School of Medicine, said young children who do not receive necessary care could develop much worse problems in later life. These could include developmental disorders and learning disabilities, which would have a knock-on effect on academic achievement and employment prospects, it said.

More than 18,000 people died when a 9.0-magnitude sub-sea earthquake sent a towering tsunami into Japan’s north-east coast in March 2011.

The country’s worst post-World War II disaster was compounded by reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which sent tens of thousands of people fleeing from radiation.

Researchers looked at 178 children whose parents or guardians agreed to cooperate in the three areas that were worst-hit by the catastrophe – Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

They used an internationally recognised child behaviour checklist, and met with children between September 2012 and June last year.

The level of children who need psychiatric care is more than three times that seen in parts of Japan that were not affected by the disaster – for example, 8.5 per cent of children in Mie prefecture in central Japan need help, the study said.

Officials at the Health Ministry and medical organisations involved in the study could not immediately be reached for commenton the report.

“It is known that children need [psychiatric] care right after an earthquake disaster, but this study was done more than a year and half after the fact, so that concerns me,” Makiko Okuyama of the National Centre for Child Health and Development, who participated in the study, told Mainichi Shimbun.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

22) BRIEFLY

Agencies
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Boat sinks

NEW DELHI – A boat carrying local tourists has capsized in India’s Andaman Sea in the Bay of Bengal, killing 21 people, officials say. Thirteen were rescued, said top administrator P. Jawahar. Rescuers were looking for another nine people believed to be missing, CNN-IBN television news channel reported.

Kefalonia quake

ATHENS – A very strong earthquake of a preliminary 5.8-magnitude has hit the Greek island of Kefalonia. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the 3.55pm tremor had its epicentre 279 kilometres west of Athens, near the town of Lixouri on the island. The epicentre’s depth is at 17 kilometres below the surface.

Grammy snub

LOS ANGELES – Not even the star power of Keith Urban could stem the snubs for Australian artists at the Grammy Awards. Urban, nominated with fellow country heavyweights Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift for Highway Don’t Care in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance, lost to The Civil Wars. Perth group Tame Impala also fell short in the Best Alternative Music Album and Melbourne’s Hiatus Kaiyote missed out on the Best R&B Performance Grammy.

Plug pulled

WASHINGTON – A brain-dead, pregnant woman has been disconnected from life support at a hospital in Texas, ending a legal battle that had kept her on a ventilator against her family’s wishes. After a drawn-out court feud, a US judge ordered the hospital to comply with the family’s request to pull the plug on Marlise Munoz, 33.

Thai voting

BANGKOK – A Thai protest leader has been shot dead as fellow demonstrators besieged polling stations in Bangkok, disrupting advance voting for hundreds of thousands of people before next weekend’s poll. Protesters descended on scores of polling stations in the Thai capital and several southern provinces, stopping ballot officials from entering and prompting authorities to shut 80 venues nationwide.

Bus crash

PUEBLA, Mexico – Seven nuns and two men were killed when the bus they were travelling in fell into a deep ravine in central Mexico. “It was a terrible accident,” Puebla Archbishop Victor Sanchez said on Sunday in his homily about the accident that also injured another two nuns. “I ask everyone to pray for them so that God takes them in his glory and help the families cope.”

Missile attack

MOGADISHU – A member of Somali rebel group al-Shabab has been killed by a missile fired by a suspected drone, a rebel commander says, blaming the US for the strike. Abu Mohamed said that Sahal Iskudhuq, a militant commander who was believed to be close to al-Shabab’s top leader, was killed when his car was hit by a missile.

CAR sanctions

WASHINGTON – The United States is weighing “targeted” sanctions against those fuelling violence in strife-torn Central African Republic. A fresh wave of sporadic shooting, looting and violence in downtown Bangui heaped pressure on the new interim authorities drawing up a strategy to end months of bloodshed.

HEALTH:

23) Bid to make medicine affordable

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MODERN pharmaceutical products and vaccines have revolutionised health care, but budget constraints and poor infrastructure have prevented hundreds of people in developing countries such as Fiji from accessing even basic essential drugs.

And the Fiji Commerce Commission has determined and fixed the maximum retail prices and maximum wholesale prices for 75 essential pharmaceutical products with effect from January 1 this year.

The commission said this was in furtherance of the obligations of the FCC, laid out under the Commerce (Price Control) (Percentage Control of Prices for Food Items) Order, 2012.

The commission is in its endeavour to make the essential pharmaceutical items affordable to consumer and at the same time to ensure that the stakeholders make a positive return and contribute towards Fiji’s economic growth and development.

It noted that post determination, regular submissions were being received by the commission for price reviews and this has caused price fluctuations and huge variances between traders of the same product category and within the same geographical markets.

“To curb such market practice, proposed to the key stakeholders was agreed to change the pricing methodology to the least cost product in each product category for the 75 essential to ensure price stability and uniformity throughout Fiji.”Fijitimes

24) Guam medical marijuana bill calls for referendum

By Online Editor
10:07 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Guam

Bill 215-32, or the Joaquin “KC” Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act of 2013, has been placed on the January legislative session agenda for consideration by the Legislature.

However, the bill has been rewritten to allow for a referendum this year.

Bill 215 authorizes the use of cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and medical treatments.

The bill will allow marijuana to be prescribed for serious illnesses and debilitating conditions including cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, among other conditions to be approved by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Senator Tina Muna-Barnes, the principal author of the bill, said that after discussing the issue at length with her colleagues, the overwhelming majority of senators from both parties felt that an issue of this importance should be decided by the people directly.

“Rather than lose the momentum that we have built up, and wishing to remain true to our commitment to the people of Guam, Sen. Aline Yamashita and I agreed to have the matter decided by referendum and we substituted the bill to allow for that,” Muna-Barnes said.

The measure will also authorize DPHSS to establish an advisory board consisting of practitioners representing the field of neurology, pain management, oncology, psychiatry, infectious diseases, medicine and one member of the public at large to review and evaluate medical conditions covered by the legislation.

The legislation will require the advisory board and DPHSS to promulgate rules and procedures governing its implementation, from the issuance of registry identification cards, licensure processes, and distribution systems, among other things.

Should the bill pass, Muna-Barnes said Guam will be the first territory on this side of the Pacific to authorize medical practitioners to prescribe cannabis without facing criminal and civil penalties.

Organizations such as the National Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project, two national coalitions promoting reforms in marijuana policies, have been monitoring the public hearings.

The neighboring CNMI, whose Legislature has rejected marijuana bills, has also been closely monitoring the outcome of the bill, according to Muna-Barnes.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

25) Vanuatu Nurses Association Takes Issue With Health Minister
Minister plans to use South Korean doctors to train local nurses

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2014) – The Vanuatu National Nurses Association (VNA) has taken issue with a plan by the Minister of Health to bring in doctors from South Korea to train local nurses.

Serge Vohor intends to recruit 200 young nurses this year, who would receive some training by doctors flown in from Korea.

The acting president of the Nurses Association, Anne Pakoa, says while nurses can benefit from the scientific expertise of doctors, the two fields of work are very different.

“I cannot agree that doctors can teach nursing care, nursing is a totally different profession, nursing care is a totally different area, only nurses can teach nursing care.”

Anne Pakoa says recruiting 200 nurses is ambitious and there isn’t enough money under the current budget for the new intake or to pay for their salaries upon graduating.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

EDUCATION:

26) 10 withdraw

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TEN students have officially withdrawn from the National Toppers Scholarship scheme since last week because they would prefer taking up the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme.

Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board co-co-ordinator Renuka Singh said if students wanted to take up whatever sectors were on the government priority list, they would be able to take the TELS loans, otherwise they would have to study privately.

“This is particularly so for students who had applied to pursue a degree in commerce majoring in accounting and economics and did not make the cut-off of the best 20 students,” Ms Singh said.

“We are trying to counsel the students because they had three choices. If the first choice was accounting, and the second for hotel management, we’d ask them whether they want to take up hotel management instead or BEd in secondary and take double majors in math/history, land management and project management.

“We have got about 10 students whom we have emailed and based on their telephone conversations they would not opt for other fields but go for TELS.”

Ms Singh said the toppers scholarship offers were based on a priority list set out by the government, and marks acquired in the external Form 7 exam or foundation studies.

She said the toppers hadn’t been confirmed because they were still deliberating.Fijitimes

27) Taga House Archaeological Study Nearing End On Tinian
Researchers preparing book for free to public

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 28, 2014) –Archaeologists are close to finalizing their report on the archaeological work near the House of Taga on Tinian that unearthed human remains predating Magellan’s expedition by 200 years.

Dr. Mike T. Carson and his wife Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung of Australia National University are looking forward to coming back to Tinian and sharing their report with the government and the community.

Carson told Variety, “For the House of Taga research, we now have all the completed professional illustrations of the pottery and other artifacts. We are organizing the chapters for a complete report-book.”

He said that as planned previously, they will make the results available for free to the public.

“Our only other concern is to work with the CNMI Historic Preservation Office, CNMI Museum, Tinian Mayor’s Office, and others to develop a good long-term solution for the storage and curation of the artifacts and other excavated materials,” said Carson.

He said this part may need some time “for everyone to have a chance to consider various courses of action, work on funding sources, and so on.”

In early 2013, the Carson-Hung couple — who have been working on early human settlements in the Marianas — uncovered five ancient human burials north of the House of Taga.

Among these bones, it was earlier confirmed to Variety by Carson that a tooth they uncovered at the site was 700 years old based on radiocarbon dating.

This tooth has a radiocarbon date of about 1300 A.D. “plus or minus some decades.”

This tooth was associated with a set of skeletal remains of a 7- to 8-year-old child, among remains of other individuals found by the Carson couple on Tinian.

Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung worked with Taiwanese anthropologist Dr. Hsiuman Lin of the Taiwan National Museum of Prehistory on this latest set of human remains.

These human remains found near the House of Taga were associated with the layer corresponding to the latte-building era.

Back in 2011, the couple also found remains of six individuals in the area where Fr. Marcian Pellett found a deeply buried ancient archaeological site in the 1950s that revealed finely decorated pottery, the earliest produced in the Marianas.

The establishment of human settlements in the Marianas over 3,500 years ago required long-distance migration and may perhaps have involved the longest ocean-crossing in human history.

Prior to their study, it was earlier thought that the first remote island settlement was built in Melanesia and Polynesia some 3000-2800 years ago.

Dr. Carson and Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung saw a pottery trail that extends from Northern Philippines to the Marianas where the oldest trace was in the Philippines from about 3800 years ago or earlier.

The couple found pottery in the northern Philippines and in the Marianas that had the same design motifs and were made at the same time 3,500 years ago.

Carson earlier told Variety that the decorative pottery style first appeared in the Philippines at least 3800 years ago but this style surfaced in the Marianas for the first time about 3500 years ago.

Pending funding, the couple will return to Tinian to continue their work.

Moreover, they also continue to work closely with the Historic Preservation Office, the Tinian Mayor’s Office and the CNMI government

Dr. Carson is a research associate at the University of Guam’s Micronesia Area Research Center.

He has been doing archaeological work in the Marianas for over a decade.

His book “First Settlement of Remote Oceania” was recently published by Springer and is available at http://www.fishpond.com.au.

His wife, Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung, is a teacher and researcher at the Australia National University.

Dr. Hung has been studying human settlements in Asia and the Pacific. She began her work in the northern Philippines back in 1995.

Their work on Tinian was funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and Australian Research Council.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

POLITIC:

28) Nyus i kam long MP mo Pati

Niufala Port Vila Munisipol Kaonsel

Olgeta –

Long ofisel risal blong Port Vila Munisipol Kaonsel eleksen, Grin Pati mo VP tufala i winim 5 Kaonsela, UMP i winim 4, GJP winim 2 mo 1 hemi wan Indipenden.

Bifo long eleksen blong Lord Mayor, VP, UMP mo GJP i saenem wan MOA blong givim Lord Mayor long UMP mo Deputi Lord Mayor long VP. Tugeta, VP, UMP mo GJP i gat 11 Kaonsela (simple majoriti hemi 9).
Be long taem blong eleksen blong Lord Mayor, 1 VP mo 1 UMP Kaonsela i vot blong sapotem kandidet blong Grin Pati blong Lord Mayor, Mr Eric Festa, mekem se namba blong VP-UMP-GJP blok i drop kasem 9. Be 9 ia i bin inaf yet blong yumi elektem Lord Mayor blong yumi we hemi Ulrich Sumptoh blong UMP mo Deputi Lord Mayor blong yumi Leimara Malachai blong VP.

Folem MOA, GJP hemi karem 2nd Deputi Lord Mayor mo Chairman blong Physical Planning komiti.
Ol posisen ia bae oli jas elektem long nekis wik.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu.

29) New Caledonia Airport Strike Could Disrupt Flights
Authorities say basic coverage will remain operational

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2014) – Travelers in New Caledonia have been advised to check with their airlines to see if their flights are affected by a strike notice.

Air control staff said last week they would strike from this morning (9am NZ time) until Friday afternoon.

However, the civil aviation authority says basic cover will be organised to ensure services from abroad and also within the territory.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

30) South Sea Islanders Dual Citizenship Awareness Office Set Up
Vanuatu’s constitution amended to recognize those in Australia

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 27, 2014) – An office that has been set up at Home Hill, North Queensland in Australia, will help to provide families in Australia awareness and information regarding dual citizenship and black birding.

The bureau was set up by the founder of Vanuatu Australian Connection Inc, former MP David Abel, in December 13 2013.

Dual citizenship was a long time desire for the Melanesian Australians whose ancestors were black birded to Australia; that it would open up connections in Vanuatu and Australia to come and go between the two countries and give both countries the chance to voice concern on a lot of issues of common interest.

In a special gathering hosted April last year, those descendants formally requested the Vanuatu Government to support them with dual citizenship and to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

A few days after the conference, included in the Prime Minister Moana Carcasses’ 100 day list was the proposed amendment of the Constitution to provide for dual citizenship.

In July the Government allocated a special additional budget of Vt1 million [US$10,309] towards a one-day commemoration of the 150th anniversary of black birding which was part of Vanuatu’s Independence Celebrations program.

External beneficiaries of the Government’s new investment program, Capital Investment Immigration (CIIP), are also South Sea Islanders in Australia.

Now that parliament has amended the Constitution to recognise dual citizenship, only the prime movers of black birding issues in Vanautu and Vanuatu Australian Connection Inc wish to assist by making information on the issue available to Australian South Sea Islanders.

It is the vision o f the Vanuatu Australian Connection Inc to establish offices around various areas in Brisbane and New South Wales to reduce the hours and cost of travelling, said founder Abel David.

Office of the Vanuatu Australian Connection Inc acknowledges the Government of today for its constant support in the issue.

Meriana Obed staffs Office in North Queensland.

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

31) PNG PM O’Neill apologises to Bougainvilleans

By Online Editor
10:15 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill Monday apologised to the people of Bougainville on behalf of the Papua New Guinea Government for the horrors of the Bougainville conflict.

And he pledged a further K1.5 million (US$1 million) to the people of Bougainville as a customary gesture to help with local reconciliation ceremonies.

“Following custom, I’d like to say we are truly sorry for all the bad things that happened in your communities in Bougainville and our country Papua New Guinea,” PM O’Neill said in Tok Pisin.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the Bel Isi Park in the middle of Buka town. He was there on the first day of an historic three-day tour of Bougainville – the first by a PNG prime minister since the Bougainville conflict ended.

“To mark this apology my Government is going to give K1.5 million – K500,000 (US$374,000) for each region.”

O’Neill said the money will go to the ABG and the chiefs to look after reconciliations that come up in the community.

Reconciliations – sikan or bel kol in Tok Pisin – on a village and community level are ongoing all over Bougainville as the people make peace and apologise for wrongs committed during the 10-year conflict.

“The money will come from our community development funds,” the Prime Minister said.

The crowd showed their appreciation with heavy applause.

Bougainville President Chief John Momis, on behalf of his people, thanked the Prime Minister and his government for the gesture.

“I’d like to thank the Prime Minister for this,” he said. “This means a new beginning and co-operation and collabo-ration to continue the work for development.”

He said although many had died and terrible things had happened, they had straightened this out in the customary manner.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

32/33) PNG Cybercrime Policy Framework Needs Approval
Working policy was not delivered to NEC last year

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 27, 2014) – The national policy framework for cyber-crime needs to be approved for a legal framework to be established, according to a Papua New Guinea official.

Ian Mileng, the legal service manager of the country’s sole ICT and spectrum resource regulator National Information Communication Technology, said an ad hoc group formed in 2012 had a draft of a proposed stand-alone cybercrime legislation.

The group consisted of representatives from NICTA, the Department of Communication and Information, Office of the Public Prosecutor, the National Intelligence Organisation, Attorney General and a member of the legal profession.

Mileng said the working policy framework was to be given to the National Executive Council in August last year but that did not happen.

“Hopefully the working policy on the proposed stand-alone legislation for cyber-crime can be given to the NEC during the next sitting of parliament this year for it to see and deliberate on,” Mileng said.

He said work on the policy framework, which started in 2012, for the eventual enactment by Parliament of the proposed stand-alone cybercrime legislation, had been slow because of the lack of funding.

Representatives of the state institutions involved volunteered to carry out the work.

Mileng said the provisions would enable authorities or agencies which administered the legislation to have the power to prosecute offenders.

“Provisions in the proposed cybercrime legislation will cover offences such as cyber unrest, child pornography using electronic means, pornography, hacking or unauthorised access, electronic Forgery and illegal system interference.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

34) Make a stand on human trafficking in PNG: U.S

By Online Editor
4:50 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The United States is calling on the  Papua New Guinea Government to certify and gazette its anti-human trafficking legislation to eradicate modern-day slavery.

US Ambassador to PNG Walter North said his country welcomed the legislation on human trafficking passed in July last year which unfortunately PNG was yet to enforce.

“The Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 passed in Parliament six months ago would have amended the criminal code of PNG on issues related to human trafficking and people smuggling,” North said.

“The bill would have given PNG law enforcement agencies and prosecutors the necessary tools to address trafficking crimes.

“Unfortunately, six months later, this important legislation is not yet in force in PNG. The US government urges swift certification and gazettal of this legislation.

“This amendment to the PNG Criminal Code is a significant step towards combating modern-day slavery.

“As we said six months ago, Parliament’s action and vigorous implementation of the new legislation offer hope that the scourge of human trafficking can be eliminated in PNG.”

North said the US Department of State was funding a project to combat trafficking of human beings in PNG through the International Organisation for Migration.

“The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the PNG government to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims of trafficking,” he said.

“The US works actively with the government and people of PNG not only to combat trafficking but to help implement programmes to combat corruption, increase transparency and improve governance in extractive industries, and improve the rule of law.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

35) Solomons Opposition Slams Suggested Moti Settlement
Derek Sikua: government’s silence ‘highly questionable’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 28, 2014) – Solomon Islands Opposition Leader Hon. Dr Derek Sikua remains adamant that any claim for compensation for the deportation of former Attorney General Mr Julian Moti must be through the Solomon Islands Courts.

Hon. Dr Sikua was responding to a suggestion by the Member of Parliament for East Choiseul that the government should proceed on with its decision for an out-of-court settlement with him (Mr Moti) for his December 2007 deportation from Solomon Islands to Australia.

“It is totally imprudent for the Government to make an out-of-court settlement for Mr Moti’s deportation. Any claim for compensation pertaining to his deportation should be made through the courts.

“It is only the courts that will make a fair decision and acceptable decision on whether or not compensation should be paid and not Mr Moti or the NCRA Government and Mr Moti’s sympathizers.

“So rather than trying to make an out-of-court settlement with Mr Moti, the government should take this matter to the courts for judicial review. This is the only right thing to do!”

The Opposition Leader said the government’s silence on this issue after the mere announcement of the out-of-court settlement by Prime Minister Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo is highly questionable.

“The Prime Minister owes an explanation to the nation as to why his government chose to make an out-of-court settlement with Mr Moti. He also needs to tell this nation his views regarding the suggestions I have raised to him on this matter. His silence indeed raises a lot of questions.”

Solomon Star

36) Solomon Islands establish diplomatic mission in NZ

By Online Editor
1:42 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government fortnight ago has opened a new diplomatic mission in Wellington, New Zealand.

It became operational as of Monday 13 January.

A statement issued by the Government Communication Unit said the opening of the mission fulfills the country’s foreign relations policy of broadening its presence in strategic locations abroad as well as enhancing relations with a close Pacific neighbor and development partner New Zealand.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Clay Forau Soalaoi welcomed the establishment of the New Zealand mission saying he is “pleased that the mission is finally operational.”

“Maintaining a physical presence in Wellington will increase Solomon Islands links and connection with both the Government and private sector of New Zealand,” Minister Forau said.

Prior to the establishment of the diplomatic mission, Solomon Islands had maintained an Honorary Consul Office in Auckland, from 1994 to 2004.

The current Government, however, recognized the strategic importance and need to elevate its physical presence in New Zealand and committed to opening a mission last year.

New Zealand is considered an important development partner of Solomon Islands and will continue to remain a strong partner in the future.

While the SI-NZ partnership is often viewed from a development aid perspective, there is greater potential for Solomon Islands to benefit fully from its relation with New Zealand, particularly, in the trade and investment sector.

Having a Government office in New Zealand will contribute towards achieving benefits from this relationship.

In this regard, the successful implementation of the Recognized Seasonal Employers Scheme (RSE) is an example of the enormous potentials anticipated to be derived from the PACER-Plus arrangement.

Against the changing political dynamics in the region – New Zealand’s growing prominence and active engagement with the region and beyond was an important consideration for the Government’s decision for establishing the Mission.

In addition to diplomatic functions, the office will also carry out consular services which are important given the growing number of Solomon Islanders traveling to New Zealand, particularly, under the RSE Scheme, students studying at various institutions in New Zealand and Solomon Islanders living and working there.

A Head of Mission is yet to be commissioned to take up posting at the new Mission.

The office is currently manned by Charge de Affairs, Fiona Indu, a senior officer of the ministry of foreign affairs & external trade.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

37) Bonds Between People Of Australia, Fiji ‘Very Strong’
Ambassador reminds Australia keen to normalize relations

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 27, 2014) – The people to people bond is an integral part of Australia and Fiji’s relations.

This was highlighted by Australia’s acting high commissioner to Fiji Glenn Miles as the country celebrated Australia Day yesterday.

In an interview, Mr Miles said the people to people link between the two countries provided depth and strength.

“The people to people bonding is the key part of Australia and Fiji’s relationship. Essentially, the people to people link provide depths and strengths or give the relationship depth and strength,” he said.

Mr Miles said with 300,000 Australians visiting Fiji annually and 60,000 Fijians living in Australia, the bond was very strong.

“And every day Australians and Fijians are working together, talking together and of course playing together.”

He said Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had made clear that she wanted to normalise relations with Fiji following Fiji’s move towards election in 2014, unveiling of the new Constitution and the appointment of the Electoral Commission.

Mr Miles also outlined that trade relationship between the two countries were also very strong.

“We also have a strong trade relationship with Fiji across a range of sectors with the total trade valued at more than $3 billion for 2012 and in addition we have a strong development program valued at $100 million.”

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

38) NZ sanctions remain despite top Fiji general’s visit

By Online Editor
4:58 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, New Zealand

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says travel sanctions on Fiji military personnel remain in place, although there is discretion to provide temporary exemptions for individuals.

McCully’s comment comes a day after the Fiji information ministry announced Suva was sending Brigadier-General Iowane Naivalurua to New Zealand this week on a study tour on public sector reform.

Neither the Fiji nor New Zealand government has divulged travel dates.

Brigadier-General was the land force commander when the Fiji military staged its last coup in 2006 but became the interim regime’s prison commissioner and later the police commissioner.

Last week, he entered the diplomatic service as Fiji’s ambassador at large.

McCully says Brigadier-General Naivalurua and another Fiji ambassador, Isikeli Mataitonga, will meet officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the State Services Commission.

He also says New Zealand has progressively eased sanctions in response to progress toward credible elections in Fiji in 2014.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

39) Niue government not worried about no confidence motion

By Online Editor
4:52 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Niue

The Acting Premier of Niue says he’s not worried about a motion of no confidence and says it’s simply a case of the opposition wanting to smear the government.

Opposition MPs entered a motion of no confidence in the government last week because of concern over various policies such as the four-day working week for public servants.

The speaker adjourned a meeting for last Wednesday to discuss the motion but no one from the government turned up.

The Acting Premier Pokotoa Sipeli says there was no point debating the motion and says they have the numbers when the vote is held in two days.

“All the members who are supporting the government of today, they will support the government of today, no changing. But the main thing behind it is that they want to smear the government, that’s the whole story about it, we know they don’t have the numbers.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

40) PM Tuilaepa Defends Amendments To Samoa’s Constitution
Changes relate to expanding Chief Auditor’s term to 12 years

By Mata’afa Keni Lesa

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 26, 2014) – Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has defended the government’s decision to amend the Constitution in relation to the appointment of the Controller and Chief Auditor.

The amendment to extend the Chief Auditor’s term in office from three to 12 years – among other changes – was supported by 46 Members of Parliament when the House voted on the Constitution Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012 on Friday.

“Why do we need to extend the appointment of the Chief Auditor?”

Tuilaepa asked in Parliament. “So that he is not afraid to make a decision. He is not afraid to carry out an investigation (and) when it’s finished, they can submit (their report) directly to Parliament.”

In the past, Tuilaepa said the Chief Auditor could hold the position until he reached 62 years of age.

But “things had happened” that required the H.R.P.P. to change the law, he said. That’s why the term was reduced to three years.

Tuilaepa did not say what had happened.

However, he told Parliament that it has become a guiding principle among governments around the world to make the appointment 12 years.

There is a reason for this.

“There are two ways to judge the independence of a Chief Auditor in any government,” said Tuilaepa.

“Firstly, it’s the medium longevity of his appointment. Second, when his reports are submitted directly to Parliament. These reports should never reach the government.

“Those are the two things to judge the independence of a Chief Auditor in a country.”

The amendment means that after 12 years, the Chief Auditor will have to resign from the government completely.

“He will not work for another branch of government,” said Tuilaepa. “That’s the provision to prevent him from sucking up to any government so that when the time comes to resign, he resigns completely.

“There is no chance (for him) to be employed by any other government department.”

Tuilaepa said the amendment was critical in terms of accountability, transparency and good governance.

“A very important aspect of this morning (Friday) is the fact that no one opposed. Forty six Members (of Parliament) all agreed,” said Tuilaepa.

“What picture is this telling us? It is a picture of the willingness of that side (opposition) and this side (government) to do what’s right.”

Under the “Explanatory Memorandum” of the Bill, it explains that the amendment is designed to replace Articles 97 to 99 of the Constitution.

The bill also amends Article 83 of the Constitution in “order to strengthen the office, appointment, functions and powers of the Controller.”

The policy objectives of the Bill deals with the following:

To amend Article 83(h) of the Constitution to exclude the staff of the Audit Office from the definition of “Public Service”;
To strengthen the appointment provisions of the Controller, in particular the term of office and the involvement of the Legislative Assemble through its Committee in the appointment process;
To change the title of “Controller and Chief Auditor” to “Controller and Auditor General”;
To strengthen the functions and powers of the Controller and Chief Auditor, in particular the functional independence, non-interference by other persons and the provision of submitting the audit report directly to the Speaker who will table it in the Legislative Assembly;

Clause 8 of the amendments also provides “the continuation of the current Controller when the Bill is enacted and commenced, including the rights and benefits.”

The incumbent Chief Auditor is Fuimaono Camilo Afele.

He joined the Audit Office in 1996.

Fuimaono graduated from Otago University, New Zealand in 1995 with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and in 2007, he graduated from Monash University, Australia with a Master of Public Policy and Management.

Fuimaono is also the son-in-law of Prime Minister, Tuilaepa.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

41) Three retain seats in the Tokelau Government

By Online Editor
5:47 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2014, Tokelau

Tokelau’s provisional election results have been confirmed with only three members who retained their seats in the Council of the Ongoing Government for 2014-2017.

Foua Toloa from Fakaofo is the only Faipule from the previous term to be elected again with two new Faipule. Sio Perez will serve his inaugeral term as the Faipule for Nukunonu, and Kuresa Nasau who will serve again as the Faipule for Atafu. Kuresa Nasau has been Atafu’s Faipule for almost two decade since being elected 1983 until missing out on the seat in the 2011 election.

The Pulenuku (village chief) from Nukunonu and Atafu, Panapa Sakaria and Faafetai Taumanu, were elected again for another term with Mose Pelasio winning his his first term as the Pulenuku of Fakaofo. Three Taupulega (council of the elders) representatives were elected for Atafu and two for Nukunonu, with Fakaofo still yet to confirm its final representatives.

Two new representatives for the Aumaga/Taulelea (mens group) were elected with Tanu Filo from Atafu and Mateo Pelenato from Nukunonu. Fofo Tuisano of Fakaofo was re-elected for another term the Taulelea representative.

All Fatupaepae (womens group) representatives were elected for the first time. Malia Pue will represent Fakaofo, Saili Peau will represent Atafu, and Lepeka Amato will represent Nukunonu.

The confirmed provisional results will be made official after each village Taupulega has held a meeting to approve the elected candidates. The new Council will allocate ministerial portfolios when it first sits.

All 20 members will be inaugurated into the General Fono (national parliament) towards the end of February.

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

42) French President To Visit Wallis And Futuna, New Caledonia
Hollande says decreasing living costs in New Caledonia a priority

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2014) – The French president, Francois Hollande, says he will visit Wallis and Futuna as part of a regional tour this year.

In a televised interview for viewers in French overseas territories, Mr Hollande confirmed that he would also visit New Caledonia in November when he is due to attend the G20 summit in Australia.

Mr Hollande says a policy priority for the overseas territories remains the effort to lower the cost of living.

The issue has prompted unprecedented demonstrations across New Caledonia in recent years.

Mr Hollande has also re-affirmed France’s support to adhere to the terms of the Noumea Accord which after this year’s provincial elections opens the way for a possible independence referendum.

He has also welcomed investment plans in French Polynesia by Chinese companies who are poised to invest close to US$2 billion in tourism and fisheries ventures.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

43) No confidence motion in Nauru fails

By Online Editor
5:01 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Nauru

Reports from Nauru say a no confidence motion tabled in parliament today has failed, with eleven members voting for the government and seven against.

The Nauruan opposition put forward a motion of no confidence, which was defeated 11-7 at its Tuesday morning sitting.

The President, Baron Waqa, had come under pressure by the opposition to explain recent deportations and cancelling of visas.

Last week, the government deported the country’s only resident magistrate, Australian national Peter Law, and then ignored a court injunction to prevent the deportation.

The government also moved to cancel the visa of the Chief Justice, Geoffrey Eames, after his court issued the injunction, preventing him from returning the country.

MPs questioned Waqa over the cancellation of other expatriate visas, including that of the partner of MP Roland Kun.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ludwig Scotty, reportedly walked out of the parliament when the debate became heated.

Since 2012 the Australian government has had a deal with the tiny Pacific island under which asylum seekers bound for Australia by boat have their claims assessed and processed offshore, detained on Nauru.

Refugee advocate Julian Burnside has argued that until Nauru’s judicial crisis is resolved, Australia can have no confidence in how refugee processing is dealt with under the so-called Pacific solution.

SOURCE: RNZI/ GLOBAL MAIL/PACNEWS

MEDIA:

44) CCF launches media survey

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Update: 1:45PM THE Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) this morning launched a survey titled Changing Lenses: Media Advocacy Perception Index Survey 2012 in Suva.

The survey, which sampled a total of 388 people in Fiji, was put together in an attempt to assist CCFs media advocacy team in finding ways in which they can make best use of Fijis media in terms of publishing messages around good governance, human rights and advocacy work.

The report was the result of  CCFs quarterly strategic workshop which was held in March of 2012, in which they made it a target to get the index published.  Fijitimes

BUSINESS:

45) PNG piped water for Australia

By Online Editor
5:34 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The National Executive Council in Papua has approved in principle a proposal to pipe water from Papua New Guinea to the northern tip of Australia.

An Australian company, Might & Power Australia Pty Ltd, has been engaged to do a feasibility study on the proposed project in a joint venture with local firm, Water PNG.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, , said in a recent meeting Cabinet endorsed the proposal to look at the possibility of piping water from the Southern Highlands to Queensland.

“Cabinet has considered this pro­posal and has endorsed it as an important project with immense commercial, social and economic benefits for Australia and PNG,” he said. “This project seeks to utilise PNG’s abundant water resources to supply Australian users in the Murray-Darling Basin where there is a huge existing demand.

“It is expected that with the increase in population in the eastern part of Australia, water security will become critical in the immediate and long term.

“The NEC has endorsed the participation of Water PNG as the local joint venture partner with Might & Power Australia Pty Ltd to jointly develop the project from feasibility study to commercial development.”

Cabinet has endorsed the Department of Public Enterprises and State Investments to take the lead on all policy matters relevant to this project.

It has directed other departments like Works and Implementation, Environment and Conservation, Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Treasury, Finance and Provincial Affairs to support the project.

The concept to pipe water to Australia was first brought up in 2008.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

46) PNG chancery work resumes

By Online Editor
5:40 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Work on the incomplete Papua New Guinea (PNG) chancery in Honiara has started.

The multi-million dollar project construction resumed after PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil pledged for its completion with Lamana Group as the new contractor last year.

It came to a standstill in July 2009 after funds meant for the project were allegedly misused.

How the funds were misused were never known.

This happened ahead of the 2010 national elections, sparking speculations the project funds may have been used to support the campaign of certain politicians.

Although both the national and the PNG governments vowed to investigate the matter, there were no reports of any information regarding the outcome of the investigation.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

47) Bougainville landowners urged to be cautious: PNG PM

By Online Editor
10:04 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Landowners in major resource project areas need to be fully aware of the possible consequences of court action they take with regard to the future operation, and viability, of major projects, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

O’Neill said the national Government was appealing to  a court decision relating to the Ok Tedi mine and the discharge of waste into the Fly River and tributaries in the Western Province.

“We respect the courts, but we will fully exercise our appeal rights in relation to this decision, a decision which could well have massive and unintended, consequences,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said landowners needed to understand that the action they have taken, urged on by well-paid lawyers, could have horrendous financial, economic and social consequences for the mine, the landowners themselves, and the nation as a whole.

“I hope the courts generally understand the consequences of claims they are hearing. We don’t just rely on the courts to uphold the law; we rely on the courts to appreciate the consequences of their decisions and rulings.”

O’Neill said it was clear the action by so-called “landowners” in the mine area, and along the Fly River, was prompted by lawyers who would end up being the main beneficiary because of the high fees they charge.

O’Neill said he was the first Prime Minister to address “front and centre” environment, landowner and community issues relating to the Ok Tedi Mine and he appealed to genuine landowners to have confidence that the national Government was not just addressing their concerns, it was in the process of actually resolving them.

“For a start, my government has insisted that a tailings dam be built at the mine as an absolute requirement if the mine is to operate long term. Design work on the tailings dam has begun – and it will be built as quickly as possible.”

“I froze all landowner and provincial government trust accounts until all the issues relating to the ownership, management, and operations of the mine are resolved. I did this when it was clear to me that the overwhelming wish of landowners, and communities, was for the funds to be frozen,” he said.

O’Neill said all benefit sharing arrangements are being reviewed by the high level committee chaired by the Chief Secretary, and the review process was making sure the structure of landowner groups, and the election of leaders, was transparent and genuine.

“I appeal to landowners to trust me – and trust my government. We are the first government to honestly address the environmental catastrophe along the Fly River, and its tributaries. We are the first government to take steps to ensure that the benefit sharing and other agreements benefit genuine landowners,” he said.

“The possible consequences of the court decision are absolutely massive.”

“It is absolutely critical landowners understand that before they contemplate legal action from which lawyers are most likely to be the only winners,” O’Neill said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

48) Breadfruit exports could benefit villagers

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Villagers could benefit from the export of breadfruit once markets open up in countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Picture: JAI PRASAD

LOCALLY grown breadfruit will soon be served on plates in the United States when negotiations between local authorities and the US Department of Agriculture are completed.

Nadi-based crop growers co-operative Nature’s Way said information sought by the USDA had already been submitted.

“This is another crop that could prove lucrative for local growers and even villagers in the Western Division,” said co-op CEO Michael Brown.

“Apart from interest from villages, we have a total of 23 farmers that have invested in breadfruit planting and they have managed to gain access to high quality trees from the Pacific Breadfruit Project.

“The farmers are considered commercial because they have planted at least 50 trees of the preferred export variety and are following good package management practices to prepare for fresh fruit exports.”

Mr Brown said 1323 breadfruit trees have been planted on close to 23.2 acres of land.

“The development of breadfruit orchards has taken place between Sigatoka and Rakiraki because of proximity to Nature’s Way and the Nadi International Airport.”

Another 500 trees will be planted on 10 acres of land in the West by June this year.Fijitimes.

49) Meeting strenghthens ties between Fiji and Maurititus

By Online Editor
4:46 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, India

Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,  has met the Mauritian Minister for Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Sayyad Abd-Al-Cader Sayed, in Bangalore, India on Monday 7 January 2014.

Both Ministers were attending the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Partnership Summit 2014.

During the meeting, the Ministers agreed to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between their two Governments, which will allow close cooperation between Investment Fiji and the Mauritian Bureau of Investments.

The Attorney-General said that the meeting will enable both countries to develop relations between their respective Government agencies and encourage mutually beneficial opportunities.

“The MOU will facilitate close collaboration between Fiji and Mauritius in facilitating investments and will drastically improve the ease of doing business,” he said.

He further mentioned that Mauritius has already developed and implemented its restructure program over the past two decades and since both Mauritius and Fiji have similar demographics, the possibility of working with Mauritius is encouraging.

The Attorney-General said that the Fijian Government had embarked on its own comprehensive set of political and socioeconomic reforms, which were bearing fruit.

“The aim is to ensure sustainability and consistency of policy in order to make a difference to the lives of ordinary Fijians,” he said.

Both Ministers also explored the possibility of enhancing cooperation and collaboration within the sugar and tourism sectors.

The Attorney-General briefed his counterpart on Fiji’s path to democracy, underscoring the assent to Fiji’s new Constitution on 7 September 2013 and the preparations for the up-coming election, to be held by the end of September 2014.

The Minister from Mauritius conveyed his congratulations to the Fijian Government for the “substantial and progressive” steps taken develop Fiji, which will culminate in democratic elections that will take place this year.

The meeting ended with both Ministers agreeing to finalise the MOU on investment cooperation and to develop bilateral relations further.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

50) Fiji AG in India talks to create new investment, trade opportunities

By Online Editor
1:40 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is in India to strengthen trade relations between Fiji and India.

He is leading a delegation for a series of high-level meetings to create new trade, investment  and tourism opportunities.

The delegation includes the Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry, Shaheen Ali, and his deputy Maciu Lumelume and the Chair of Investment Fiji, Truman Bradley.

They will be joined later by the CEO of Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, Jitoko Tikolevu.

Fiji’s High Commissioner to India, Yogesh Karan, is also with the delegation.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun, Sayed-Khaiyum said the trip would promote Fijian interests in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies.

He has been invited by the Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, to speak at the Partnership Summit that is being held in Bangalore, India from today to Wednesday.

“The summit will focus on the emergence of global value chain in international trade. With the rapid changes in the world trading system, Fiji cannot be complacent and simply do things the way they have been done.

“We as a country need to constantly lift our game and promote the opportunities brought about by the Bainimarama Government.

“Our economic model is different and working well and which we need to capitalise on. This involves robust and smart policy making, recognising the rapid changes around us and thinking ahead vis-a-vis our new direction.”

He said: policy makers and civil servants including those serving in our foreign and trade missions need to be switched on, put our country first, understand the specific dynamics that exist and vary from country to country.

“Countries that were considered non-players or unimportant or even unsophisticated are now very much on the ball. Team Fiji needs to understand these dynamics. We must be proactive, sophisticated and not simply react to the agenda of others.”

The summit will be attended by government ministers and business leaders from South East Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, North and South America and Europe – and Fiji’s participation will add a unique Pacific perspective to the Summit.

“We will also use this opportunity to have bi-laterals with the different countries attending the summit.”
As part of this hectic visit, the Attorney-General and the Indian Minister for Finance P. Chidambram, will sign the Double Taxation Avoidance (‘DTA’) Agreement.

“The DTA between Fiji and India has been long awaited, and will create transparency and certainty, which in turn will create opportunities for investorsand bolster investment and trade between Fiji and India”, stated the AG.

He will also sign the memorandum of understanding between the Bureau of Indian Standards and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“That this will facilitate closer cooperation and strengthen standardisation and conformity assessment activities in Fiji.  Fiji will be able to gain from the experience and expertise of the Indians in this specialised area”.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

51) Overseas Demand For Tongan Vanilla Growing
Heilala Vanilla working to become recognized globally

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2014) – A New Zealand business selling vanilla grown in Tonga says demand for its products is growing overseas, particularly in Japan and United States.

Heilala Vanilla is aiming to expand its exports with support from the Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade project, funded by the European Union and run by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The co-founder and director of the company, Jennifer Boggiss, says the IACT project has supplied her business with new equipment to prepare vanilla beans for export and assistance with its organic certification programme.

“The organic certification, that’s important to us really to formalise our organic principles and practices which we’ve been practising all along but it is quite an expensive process to go through. So that’s helped us which will in turn increase demand for our products in our overseas markets.”

Jennifer Boggiss says Heilala Vanilla is focusing on marketing and building networks to become a globally recognised brand.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

52) Hawaii longline boats face lower tuna catch quota

By Online Editor
1:33 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, United States

Hawaii’s longline fishing boat owners expect their sales of ahi will drop by millions of dollars under an agreement in which the United States will reduce its longline tuna catch for three years starting in 2015.

U.S. longline fishing boats in the western and central Pacific must cut their catch of bigeye tuna by 10 percent, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.  That will amount to at least a US$10 million drop in bigeye tuna sales by 2017.

The catch limits were agreed to by the 27-member Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission last month in Cairns, Australia. The commission, of which the U.S. is a member, is a multinational group formed to promote sustainable fishing in the Pacific.

U.S. representatives to the commission argued for a higher limit but agreed to the reduction because it was in the best interest of the country, said Russell F. Smith, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for international fisheries.

Smith, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the measure helps to ensure that tropical tunas, including bigeye, are better managed by the commission.

Each of the major developed countries’ longline fleets agreed to a 10 percent reduction in their bigeye tuna catch, he said, except for China, which agreed to a 25 percent reduction.

China agreed to a larger cut to make up for reductions it was supposed to take in earlier years, observers said.

Longline vessels string a line in the ocean, ranging from one mile to 50 miles long, to catch fish. Nearly 90 percent of the bigeye caught by U.S. longline vessels is caught by Hawaii boats.

Hawaii Longline Association President Sean Martin, who was part of the U.S. delegation at Cairns, said he was disappointed with the commission’s decision.

Fishing industry officials said the U.S. has complied with ongoing conservation and management measures set forth by the commission through strict monitoring and enforcement agreements, a number of other nations either exceed quotas or do not monitor catches to the same level as the U.S.

Martin said in 2008 the commission set a limit of 204 for the number of purse seine vessels which are large industrial ships that use giant nets to surround and capture schools of tuna in the Western Pacific, but there are now more than 300. The U.S., he said, has kept its number of vessels to the 40 as agreed to in the 2008 measure.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

53) American Samoa fishing association hopeful about industry’s future

By Online Editor
5:34 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2014, American Samoa

The American Samoa longliner group, Tautai Fishing Association, says if federal and local government, port owners and industry members work together, its suffering industry could be saved.

An association member, Carlos Sanchez, says it met the government to discuss falling fish prices, competition from subsidised Chinese fishing boats, lack of port space and the excise tax on fish.

Sanchez says the governor, Lolo Moliga, assured members they would get all possible help from the government but wants two weeks to review the issues to come up with a plan.

Sanchez says the industry needs some financial help from the government before it can turn things around itself.

“We need financing to make our boats more competitive. The problem is we cannot ask for loans at banks because the banks don’t loan any money especially now that we are in trouble. But we think a little bit of our part, and a little bit of the government we can resolve the issue.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER (Western) :

54) Reconsider death penalty plan in PNG , UN says

By Online Editor
4:56 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The United Nations is calling on the Government to refrain from implementing the death penalty, saying that once it is imposed, it will be irreversible.

United Nations resident coordinator in Papua New Guinea, Hemansu-Roy Trivedy said the world body was deeply concerned with reports that the country was considering implementing the death penalty.

“Resuming the death penalty would be a major setback for human rights in Papua New Guinea,” Trivedy said.

“Evidence globally shows that the death penalty has not proven to be a more effective deterrent than other forms of punishment.

“Miscarriages of justice have occurred in even the most robust justice systems.

“The imposition of a death sentence is particularly troubling in the context of reports of weakness in law enforcement and the judicial system in PNG.

“The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. It lies at the very heart of international human rights law.”

Trivedy said the United Nations had advocated globally for the abolition of the death penalty.

“There is a global trend towards abolition.

Some 150 countries worldwide – among them PNG – have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it,” he said.

“Since 2007, the UN General Assembly has adopted four resolutions which call on States to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view of abolishing it.”

Trivedy commended the Government’s commitment to address the high incidents of crime in PNG, including murder and rape.

“Confidence that those who commit such crimes will be apprehended, have recourse to fair trials and punished when found guilty is vital,” he said

“The United Nations appreciates the steps taken by the Government to strengthen the rule of law and human rights compliance.

“We stand ready to continue to support the Government and the people of Papua New Guinea.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

55) More soldiers to lose jobs in British Army

By Online Editor
10:11 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Fiji

More Fijian soldiers in the British Army stand to lose their jobs in the fourth and final phase of a redundancy program.

The Royal Navy, the Royal Air Forces (RAF) and the British Army announced the fields from which they will select personnel to be made redundant.

Responding to the questions sent to the British Army support officer based with the British High Commission in Fiji, Major Jim Hall, the British High Commission said these redundancies were not new and were the last tranche of the Armed Forces Redundancy Program that was announced in the strategic defence and security review in October 2010.

“This final tranche will only consist of up to 1505 personnel,” the high commission said.

“This will include a maximum of 1425 soldiers, 10 medical officers from the Royal Navy and 70 medical personnel from the RAF.”

The high commission further explained that the notice of redundancy would be issued on June 12 and those who had volunteered for redundancy and selected will serve up to six months notice before leaving the armed forces.

It said those selected, who have not volunteered to leave, would serve up to 12 months notice.

“Those who wish to leave earlier can apply to do so.

“Those who have not volunteered to be made redundant will be encouraged to transfer to trades, branches or specialisations where there is a shortage.”

The high commission said they would be entitled to the same resettlement package they would have received had they completed the whole of their service commitment.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

MELANESIAN TRIBAL LAW&ORDER:

56) Girls given away in compensation

By Online Editor
4:49 pm GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

The father of one of the two under-age girls offered as part of a compensation payment has condemned the act, saying those who made the decision must be punished.

Joseph Molmb, the father of the 13-year-old, said his daughter had already spent nine months with the tribe she was given away to.

He said she was deeply traumatised and needed medical treatment when he managed to retrieve her from the tribe last November.

Molmb clarified that the actual compensation payment was done in March last year.

He said his daughter and the other girl, aged 15, were given away to the Kui tribe in Kol.

Molmb told The National in Mt Hagen he was away in Port Moresby when the decision to give his daughter away was made by the peace and good order committee in Meginpol village, Jimi district, Jiwaka.

He has called on Jiwaka police to arrest the members of the committee who made that decision to give away his daughter without his consent.

The daughter and the 15-year-old were given away in a belkol compensation over the death of a teacher from neighbouring Kol village.

Molmb, the assistant returning officer for Kol, came to The National office yesterday with his daughter and wife.

He denied the Jiwaka police’s statement that the two girls were never given away as compensation.
Molmb said his daughter was in Grade Three at Meginpol when she was given away.

“I heard about the decision to give away my daughter while in Port Moresby and called the chairman of the peace and good order committee in the district several times not to give the girls away,” he said.
“But he and his committee just went ahead and gave away the two girls to the Kui tribesmen for the killing of the teacher.”

He said the 15-year-old ran away to Ramu after spending two days with the tribesmen and was now living with her family in Kurbokari.

“When I returned from Port Moresby, I paid K100 to two local boys from the Kui tribe living near the Kol airstrip to bring my daughter to Kerowagi in Chimbu,” he said.

“I took her back home in November last year.”

He said his daughter was traumatised and was receiving medical treatment and counselling at the Mt Hagen hospital.

Molmb said the peace and good order committee ignored his plea to exclude the two girls from the compensation payment.

“They just went ahead and gave away the girls against their will,” he said.

He said the committee members had spoiled the lives of the two under-age girls.

“They went through some painful experiences and it will take some time for the girls to recover,” he said.

Molmb said the man who killed the teacher in January last year was from Kol and known to police. But no attempts had been made to arrest him.

Meanwhile, his tribesmen are scattered all over the province after the Kui tribesmen raided their Meginpol village.

He said peace would only return if the police arrested the suspect and the two parties exchanged compensation for the teacher’s death and properties destroyed.

Police said last week they would arrest the people who made the decision to give away the two girls….

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT:

57) Cyclone brewing

Aap
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BRISBANE – There’s a good chance a cyclone will develop in the Coral Sea this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology is monitoring a low-pressure system inside a monsoon which extends from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, about 1000 kilometres northeast of Cairns.

Senior forecaster Michelle Berry says there is a more than 50 per cent chance the low-pressure system will develop into a cyclone tomorrow.

“The system is very disorganised but there is a possibility of it moving westward to the Queensland coast,” she told AAP.

“It’s a good time for people to revisit their cyclone preparedness and have their cyclone kit ready.”Fijitimes

58) PNG PM warns landowners of ‘consequences’ over Ok Tedi legal fight

Updated 28 January 2014, 13:31 AEST

PNG’s PM warns a court decision against Ok Tedi mine could have ‘massive consequences’ for landowners.

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned that a court decision against operators of the Ok Tedi mine could have “massive” consequences for landowners and the country.

Last week, a court ordered the company to stop dumping waste into the nearby Fly River and tributaries in the Western Province, citing environmental concerns.

The order could see the giant gold and copper mine grind to a halt.

In a statement, Mr O’Neill said the government is appealing the court decision.

“We respect the courts, but we will fully exercise our appeal rights in relation to this decision, a decision which could well have massive, and unintended, consequences,” he said.

The Ok Tedi gold and copper mine is the biggest single source of revenue for the government, and the only source of income for many landowners.

Paul Barker, executive director of PNG’s Institute of National Affairs, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat closure of the mine would have a significant impact on the country’s economy.

“Copper price has been down in the last year or so… the revenue has been coming to the government from a wider range of sources, so it hasn’t contributed as much has [sic] been forecast for 2013-2014,” he said.

“But it would certainly come as a major blow.”

‘Trust the government’

Mr O’Neill said it was clear the legal action was being urged on by lawyers who would end up being “the only winners”.

He appealed to “genuine” landowners to trust the government to address their concerns relating to the Ok Tedi mine.

“We are the first government to honestly address the environmental catastrophe along the Fly River, and its tributaries,” Mr O’Neill said.

“We are the first government to take steps to ensure that the benefit sharing and other agreements benefit genuine landowners.”

The court has also ordered that company bank accounts be frozen after allegations were made that money earmarked for local development had been misused.

Mr O’Neill confirmed he has frozen all landowner and provincial government trust accounts until matters surrounding the mine were resolved.

Tailings from the Ok Tedi mine caused widespread damage to the Fly River in the 1980s and 90s.

In 2001, BHP divested its majority share of the mine to a charitable trust called the PNG Sustainable Development Program, and in return was granted legal immunity.

Last year, the PNG Government passed legislation to take over the trust – effectively nationalising the mine.

The mine has continued to operate with the profits being used to promote development in communities affected by the pollution.Radio australia

59) iTaukei Affairs Board talks climate change

Nanise Loanakadavu
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Update: 1:03PM FIJI has the resources to respond to the effects of climate change positively.

This was the message of the iTaukei Affairs Board deputy CEO, Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga, at the first-ever iTaukei Affairs Boards conservation officer workshop at the Holiday Inn in Suva  this morning.

He said the board was charged under the iTaukei Affairs Act to oversee the good governance and the well-being of the iTaukei.

In line with these, the board recognises the task of conserving of our natural resources as a central priority for our organisation as significant to the indigenous communities we serve, Col Kurusiga said.

He said the conservation officers would  be on the ground co-ordinating with Roko Tui and provincial offices and interacting with impacted communities.Fijitimes

EVENTS:

60) Ol Melanesian kantri bai holim 2014 Arts Festival long PNG

Updated 27 January 2014, 17:15 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Papua New Guinea nau iwok long red-im ples blong lukautim Melanesian Arts Festival long mun July long despla yia.

Despla bai namba faif Festival blong ol kantri long Melanesia olsem Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea,Solomon Islands na Vanuatu.

Tupla nupla grup blong Melanesia bai joinim despla festival long nambawan taem tru, em long Torres Straits na ol pipal blong West Papua.

Solomon Islands ibin hostim nambawan MSG festival long 1998, bihaen Vanuatu long  2002, Fiji long  2006 na  New Caledonia long  2010.

Pius Wasi blong PNG Arts Council itok oli hamamas tru long tok welkam long ol narapla wan laen blong ol blong Melanesia long despla Festival.

Emi tok tu olsem klostu olgeta sho bai kamap long Port Moresby.radio australia

61) Reconnecting with traditional music in Vanuatu

Updated 28 January 2014, 16:09 AEST

Vanuatu’s Ambrym island will host the 2014 Singaot Musik Kamp where musicians can reconnect with traditional songs and dances

Following the huge success of  Vanuatu’s inaugural ‘Singaot Musik Kamp’ in  October 2013, organisers are  planning the next edition of the event. It will be held on Ambrym island, in September 2014.

Over sixty musicians from around the Pacific region and the world took part in the first edition of the Singaot Musik Kamp held in Santo last year,  in conjunction with the Fest Napuan festival, Vanuatu’s annual international music event.

The  two-week music workshops gave local musicians and international visitors the opportunity to delve into their cultural heritage, share their  traditional songs and dances and discuss developments for indigenous music.

Vanuatu musician and author Marcel Meltherorong could be considered as a music ambassador for Vanuatu. He is been exploring the use of traditional instruments in contemporary music for some time.  He says the Singaot Musik Kamp is a way for young urban musicians to reconnect with their cultural heritage and traditional songs and dances. It is also an opportunity for them to see that they have something unique.

Marcel Meltherorong  shares his thoughts on the importance of nurturing traditional culture in our globalized world with Isabelle Genoux

Listen to the interview: radio australia.
Speaker:  Marcel Meltherorong, musician, writer from Vanuatu
Presenter: Isabelle Genoux

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILDREN:

62) PNG put on alert

The National
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

PNG – AN international organisation is calling on the government to address police brutality and impunity, plus the continuing violence against women and children.

Human Rights Watch highlighted in its annual report published on Tuesday the cases of police brutality in the country last year, including beatings, sexual assaults and fatal shootings, most of which had not been resolved satisfactorily.

Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga had earlier said the cases would be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organisations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights and has existed for more than 30 years.

It focuses international attention where human rights are violated and gives voice to the oppressed and holds oppressors accountable for their crimes. The report noted that while some police officers had been arrested for the crimes, no one was convicted last year.

“Physical and sexual abuse of detainees — including children — by police and parliamentary police units is widespread,” the report said.

“Two years after the UN special rapporteur on torture issued a report on PNG, the government has failed to adequately respond to his recommendations addressing police abuse and impunity.”

The organisation’s director for Asia, Brad Adams said the government must put a stop to police abuse and punish officers responsible.

It highlighted an incident in the National Capital District last year in which police were reported to have slashed the ankles of 74 men with machetes after a street brawl.

SPORTS:

63) PNGOC teams up with media

By Online Editor
11:31 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee has a busy year ahead in partnership with the media to disseminate relevant information to the general public in the country.

PNGOC General Secretary, Auvita Rapilla stressed the importance of having the media working closely with them as they depend heavily on corporate funding to ensure they meet their obligations.

Rapilla made the remarks during a sports reporter’s media workshop hosted by the PNGOC last Friday in Port Moresby.

The media plays an integral role and the workshop was to update reporters on key events that they are working towards and why it is important that their media organisations promote their cause.

“The aim of the workshop was to help give sports journalists a better understanding of their roles and functions when disseminating information about its local and international events, programs, while promoting elite athletes and their sports,” Rapilla said.

“We cannot get mileage out of the roles we play unless the media works with us to promote our corporate backers which is crucial,” she said. “We have 22 member countries’ delegates coming to Port Moresby for the general assembly in July and later with their teams in 2015,” said Rapilla.

PNGOC is working overtime to send Team PNG to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July, the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in August to stay in tune to meet the 2015 Pacific Games deadlines.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

64) PNG Netball names its 2014 train-on squad

By Online Editor
11:35 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

PNG Netball national selectors have announced a competitive pool of 67 member Train-On- Squad which commenced training this week in preparations for PNG Netball’s High Performance Program for the next 18 months. The selection of this 67 member squad was undertaken during the 2013 Digicel National Titles in Port Moresby from September, 23 – 29 in 2013.

The train-on squad team comprises of 30 players selected at the 2013 national titles, current members of the Pacific MMI Pepes and the Junior Pepes who participated at the 2013 World Youth Championships. The train-on-squad will undergo a 6 months (January – June) high level training regime which will include 3 fitness testings in January, March and April, and 2 training camps in country.

The first selection trials will be held from March 29 – 30, 2014 in Port Moresby to select the Top 20 in preparation for the World Cup Qualifying tournament in the Cook Islands from June 4– 7, 2014. The 2nd selection and final trials will be held April 28 – May 2 where the final 15 players will be selected. This 15 member team will then undergo intensive training both in country and off-shore in preparation for the WC qualifying tournament and PNG is hoping to secure the first 2 placing’s.

PNG Netball has expressed satisfaction in the outcomes of the 2013 High Performance results by the respective national teams and we look forward to bettering these results in the next 18 months. The 67 member train-on squad looks promising particularly when you have a mixed pool of potential players from the 3 netball playing regions of the country.

It is enlightening to see players from netball growing areas such as the Gulf, West New Britain, East New Britain, Morobe and Western Province making inroads into PNG Netball’s High Performance Program and for that we are excited about the prospects this may bring. It is going to be competitive for these 67 players particularly when there are only 15 spots available so it’s all hard work, commitment and perseverance that will be the determining factor.

The program has been put in place and will be executed under the watchful eyes of head coach Annie Iamo and her assistant Mona-lisa Leka. From this 67 member team, a final development or feeder squad will be selected to participate at 1 or 2 PNG Netball sanctioned tournaments regionally, as this squad will act as a feeder team for the Pacific MMI Pepes team.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

65) Fiji sack coach disappointed

By Online Editor
11:39 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Fiji

The cash-strapped Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) on Monday sacked coach Inoke Male in a money-saving move less than a month before they start their defence of the Pacific Rugby Cup.

Male was one of five staff dismissed in a restructuring that follows a damning International Rugby Board (IRB) review which included the suspension of financial aid.

“Included in these terminations is the position of (the) national 15’s coach which will be advertised locally and internationally,” an FRU statement said, without naming who had been axed.

A disappointed Male, who was appointed head coach in January 2012, had no warning his job was in jeopardy.

“My termination is out of my power. That is something the FRU board has decided,” he told AFP.

“I would have loved to have taken the team to the Pacific Rugby Cup, the World Cup qualifier against the Cook Islands and the Test matches in Europe in November.”

Fiji are due to defend the Pacific Rugby Cup in a tournament starting in Australia in late February and also involving Tonga, Samoa, an Argentinian XV and development teams from Australian Super Rugby  sides.

The IRB announced earlier this month it had axed all direct financial support to Fiji because the FRU had not implemented measures to address “significant concerns regarding the administration and governance of the union”.

The IRB said it committed £1.1m in direct funding to Fiji last year as well as significant additional financial assistance to participate in international tournaments.

But it was concerned the financial position of the union was “unsustainable and could create instability and impact on the management of the union and key IRB-funded development and high performance programmes”.

The FRU statement did not say how much it expected to save from the dismissals.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

66) NZ, Fiji to resume rivalry in Wellington

By Online Editor
11:38 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, New Zealand

New Zealand will kick off the Wellington Sevens against Fiji in what shapes as a testy rematch of their controversial showdown in Las Vegas.

Coach Gordon Tietjens’ side will not lack for motivation at their home tournament after losing the final and their IRB world series lead to South Africa at the end of an eventful three days in Sin City.

New Zealand’s recent history of heartbreak in the United States continued with a 14-7 loss to South Africa yesterday, the fourth time the Kiwis have lost the final in Las Vegas.

South Africa were worthy champions and when Scott Curry scored early in the final it was just the second try they had conceded over the three-day tournament.

It proved to be the last.

Branco du Preez levelled the scores at 7-7 on the stroke of halftime and when Gillies Kaka overcooked a lineout after the break Werner Kok was over in the corner for the winner.

But the low-light for Tietjens’ men came on day two when two players, George Tilsley and Sam Dickson, were cited and then suspended following a physical 12-7 pool win against the Fijians.

Dickson was subsequently banned for nine matches for reckless contact with Fiji player Emosi Tuitoga’s eyes late in the second half, while Tilsely received a two-match ban for a tip tackle and missed New Zealand’s 26-7 semifinal win over Canada.

Though there is no bad blood between the sides, matches between New Zealand and Fiji have been highly charged affairs of late.

The Pacific Islanders embarrassed the Kiwis 44-0 in Dubai, while New Zealand’s win in Vegas dumped Fiji out of the cup draw before the knockout stages.

The rivalry will continue on Friday week in Wellington where New Zealand have been drawn in pool B along with Fiji, France and Spain.

Tietjens first priority will be picking his squad.

The injured trio of Tomasi Cama, Sherwin Stowers and Joe Webber face fitness tests, while teenager Akira Ioane comes back into contention.

Ioane, 18, could be Tietjens’ trump card in the capital after missing the Vegas tournament due to complications with his visa and would be a neat replacement for Dickson’s physicality and skill.

The squad for Wellington will not include Dickson with Tietjens confirming there would not be an appeal despite the belief his actions did not justify a citing, let alone a lengthy suspension.

“I’ve reviewed the footage and had a look at it. I feel for the guy [Dickson]. He’s never been the aggressor at any stage as a rugby player. He couldn’t even recall the incident that’s how low-end it was quite honestly.”

Television footage suggests the Cantabrian unintentionally raked his hand across Tuitoga’s eyes as the pair wrestled on the ground.

“From what I saw he was on the ground trying to look after himself. The penalty’s been given and we just have to punch on really,” Tietjens said.

An appeal was considered, but would be futile.

“Quite clearly they state within the IRB that anything around the face if you are involved in an incident you can receive a suspension of 12 weeks onwards.

“I suppose when you look at the footage in slow motion his hand is around the face trying to free himself. I know there was never any intent from Sam Dickson because I know the boy that well.

“If they did reduce the sentence, they only get reduced a couple of matches and we’d only have him for a couple of matches in Wellington.”

Tietjens had no problem with the two-match suspension handed to Tilsley in the same match, but the entire squad were shocked by Dickson’s punishment.

“Sam’s is the one we thought wouldn’t go anywhere near the suspension he got. We didn’t think he’d be suspended to be fair.”
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

67) Wallabies set to be forced to choose between Sevens and Super Rugby to be at Rio Games

By Online Editor
11:36 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, Australia

Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver says the door remains wide open for Wallabies to play in Australia’s sevens team at the Rio Olympic Games.

But despite saying stars are still likely to have to make the “compromise” of not playing Super Rugby in 2016, Pulver also suggested the ARU could fund player contracts so they don’t suffer financially by focusing on sevens.

The chief executive’s comments came after Wallaby vice-captain Quade Cooper publicly questioned the ARU’s stance on who’ll be eligible for the Olympic sevens team.

The current position of the ARU is that stars such Cooper, Kurtley Beale and Michael Hooper will not be able to be parachuted into the sevens team before the Olympics, but instead have to walk away from their Super teams and commit to the 2016 sevens season if they want to go to Rio.

Success in sevens requires ultra-high fitness levels and tournament experience, but given the IRB world series is staged from October to May, the clash with the Super Rugby could see most of the biggest stars in Australian rugby grudgingly abandon an Olympic dream.

“The Olympic Games is something which goes beyond a lot of the rules and guidelines which you see in place across the different professional sporting codes and competitions,'” Cooper told The Australian at the weekend.

“It is a real privilege rugby has been afforded and I think it is wrong to have any professional code using that privilege to force athletes into playing in one particular place.

“If we are serious about putting our best team on the park … we need to be looking at Aussie players, no matter where they are playing.”

Pulver, who conceded he needed to speak more to players on the Olympics issue, said he would like the best Australian players to be in Rio but didn’t back away from the stance that players would have to choose between 15s and 7s rugby.

“In terms of making Test players available for the Olympics sevens, I have no doubt we would be prepared to do that,” Pulver said.

“Let me tell you, from a strategic perspective, winning medals is enormously important for the game in Australia.
“The issue is that in a sevens tournament you don’t throw 12 great players together on a day and get a great team. You have to play together for an extended period of time.

“The position of Michael (O’Connor, the Aussie sevens coach) is he is clearly eager to pick the best team available but his point is you would want that team to be playing together for the year leading up to the Olympics event. I think that’s entirely logical.”

Pulver said he’d personally like to see some Test stars diving into the sevens program for the Olympics, and suggested the ARU could even subsidise the pathway.

“My view is we will be doing everything we can to compete successfully at the Olympics … it is a question of how you actually get a program together that is going to put the best team on the paddock,” he said.

“That may force some compromise on behalf of players, in terms of whether they’re prepared to give up a season of Super Rugby to play sevens.”

“There are a couple of financial considerations that need to take place. Obviously as a Super Rugby player and a Test rugby player, your earning capacity is at the moment way above a sevens player. But from an ARU perspective we will doing our best to overcome that issue.”

The New Zealand Rugby union have appeared to use the Olympics as a lure for Sonny Bill Williams and Benji Marshall, and both have expressed desire to chase that dream.

While Kiwi sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has a similar view to O’Connor, he said last year Williams would only have to play “some” tournaments to be in contention.

Asked if Australian players could juggle Super Rugby and sevens duties, a sceptical Pulver said: “I’d be more than happy to give that thought, if our best brains think that’s appropriate I would be more than willing to consider it,” he said.

“But the rigour of an annual program of sevens is so difficult – and so is Super Rugby – that I’m not sure you can combine them. I am not sure you could combine the two and keep your body intact, capable of participating in the Olympics.”

The other issue at play for the ARU is maintaining fairness and respect to the current Australian sevens squad, who will be tasked of qualifying the team for the Olympics when the 2014-2015 season begins in October.

Only four sides from the Oceania region will get an Olympic berth, and Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga are all high-class rivals.

Samoa knocked an injury-depleted Aussie side out of the Las Vegas tournament on Sunday with a last-second try in the quarter-final.

SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

68) France’s wings clipped by foreign mercenaries

By Online Editor
11:33 am GMT+12, 28/01/2014, France

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre surprised himself as he said it and, when he finished, he shook his head sadly. “It sounds unbelievable, but in France we have no wings.”

No wings? In the country that gave Patrice Lagisquet and Eric Bonneval to the world; that blessed us with Christophe Dominici and Philippe Bernat-Salles and – how could we forget? – the wondrous Saint-Andre himself, scorer of the try from nowhere at Twickenham in 1991 and architect of the try from the end of the earth in Auckland three years later? We may as well talk of an Ireland with no writers.

The former national captain was appointed head coach of Les Bleus after the 2011 World Cup, the end of the Yachvili/Servat/Harinordoquy era, and charged with rebuilding the side in time for the next one in 2015. It is a project that cannot be said to have gone entirely to plan, given that France finished bottom of the Six Nations table last time out.

Reasons? There are many, some of them structural and others merely temporary. But when Saint-Andre says that 70 per cent of the wings in the elite Top 14 club tournament are from Fiji or Tonga or New Zealand, he puts his finger on the most pressing of his problems; a massive imbalance between home-produced talent and foreign imports.

It remains to be seen whether this particularly savage form of selectorial straitjacketing undermines Saint-Andre when his Tricolores take on England in Paris in the opening round of Six Nations fixtures next weekend, but there were times at the official tournament launch in London when he appeared to be fearing the worst.

As well as bemoaning the poverty of his wing reserves, he also expressed concerns over the scant resources at tighthead prop.

“We are lucky that Rabah Slimani has come through so quickly at Stade Francais because until recently, we had no one behind Nicolas Mas,” he said – and admitted that international-class No10s were also thin on the ground. He has no goal-kickers, either.

You can see his point. At the last count, using squad lists filed by each of the top-flight teams at the start of the current campaign, more than 43 per cent of players come from somewhere other than France, and while a proportion are keen to qualify as French through residency, most have either played representative rugby for their homelands or have plans to do so.

Toulon, the European champions, are more than 50 per cent foreign and frequently play major matches with a dozen imports in their starting XV. Clermont Auvergne do not have a French outside-half specialist; the Basques of Bayonne have no French centres. At Bordeaux-Begles, there is no French wing in sight.

Saint-Andre has been grappling with the effects of this mercenary internationalism since succeeding Marc Lievremont as coach and is accustomed to getting a rough ride from those who point out that during his successful club stint with Toulon, and before that with the Premiership club Sale, he was not averse to signing from abroad – and signing big.

Luke McAlister, the All Black midfielder, materialised in Greater Manchester when the Frenchman was in charge there, as did Fernandez Lobbe, the magisterial Argentine loose forward, and several big hitters from the Top 14. When he moved to the Cote d’Azur, in came Wallaby centre Matt Giteau and Springbok lock Bakkies Botha.

“When Sale won the Premiership title, there were a lot of English players in that side – players we had brought on rather than bought in,” he said. “When I worked in Toulon – and I want to say that I am proud of my association with the club – the chairman was extremely ambitious and wanted to win things very, very quickly. So I said, ‘OK, we sign Giteau and Botha’. When you sign players such as these, you don’t wait five years for success.

“But this does not change the fact that there is a big debate to be had in France. At least we have made some progress in other areas: the new agreement between the Top 14 league and the French Federation means that for the first time, the test squad will have limits on the amount of rugby they play and can prepare properly for a Six Nations over a period of two weeks.

“Last season, people were going into the tournament after playing eight games in succession, sometimes for the whole 80 minutes. This recent development is vital for French rugby. I believe it holds the key to our future success at test level, along with making sure more players make the step from academy rugby and are given time on the field in the Top 14.”

Yet even that is not without its controversy. No sooner had the French version of England’s elite player squad deal been struck than Guy Noves, the long-serving boss at Toulouse and undeniably one of the great men of European rugby, lobbed in his six euros worth.

What is the point today for a club to develop a young player with international potential, knowing that if you get him there, he will be pinched from you by the test team and you won’t have him any more, he asked rhetorically.

“I find it odd that the broadcasters and supporters are asked to pay more for their club rugby when we see the best players on the field less and less.”

Noves – and yes, he also played on the wing for his country – went straight to the heart of matters with that little outburst. Club rugby across the Channel is booming and while rugby administrators elsewhere in Europe believe, and indeed hope, that the French union economy is overheating and will burn itself out, a new broadcasting deal worth the fat end of 60 million ($120m) a year to the Top 14 means the high temperatures can be sustained for quite a while to come.

England have it in them to prevail in Paris next weekend, but there are bigger games being played on the far side of the Channel, by businessmen and broadcasters who are pursuing a far richer prize than a mere Six Nations victory over the enemy from over the water. Saint-Andre’s battles are only just beginning.

SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT/PACNEWS

69) South Africa take lead in Series after USA win

By Online Editor
12:08 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2014, United States

South Africa successfully defended their USA Sevens title with a 14-7 victory over New Zealand and in doing so leapfrogged Gordon Tietjens’ side into first place in the overall HSBC Sevens World Series standings.

Branco du Preez and Werner Kok scored tries either side of a Scott Curry effort in a repeat of last year’s final ensuring Neil Powell’s side won their second Cup of the Series.

The impressive blitzbokke set a record with their victory, conceding 14 points in their six matches, the fewest ever in a Cup win.

Powell’s side reached the Cup final in Las Vegas with a 14-0 win over the 2010 an 2012 USA Sevens champions Samoa.

A try either side of half time from Chris Dry and Sampie Mastriet ensured the blitzbokke reached a third final in four years still having conceded just one try in their first five matches.

New Zealand set up a repeat last year’s Cup final coming from 7-0 behind to beat Canada, appearing in only their second Cup semi final, 26-7 including two tries from Bryce Heem.

Canada went on to finish third, their highest-ever finish at a World Series event, coming from 12-0 behind to beat Samoa 22-19 and claim 17 Series points thanks to Phil Mack, named in the Las Vegas Dream Team, scoring a penalty drop goal with the last play of the match to take his tally to 11 in the match.

England claim silverware in Las Vegas

England overcame Australia 26-24 thanks to 11 points from the Series leading points scorer Tom Mitchell and collected 13 Series points to take their tally to 53 for the season.

Peter Schuster sent Australia through to the Plate final with a try in sudden death extra time after Michael O’Connor’s side had finished the normal 14 minutes locked at 19-19 with Argentina.

England booked their place in the final with a 21-12 win over France.

Fiji impressive in Bowl

Five different try scorers crossed the line for Fiji as they beat Kenya 35-0 in the final of the Bowl.

Having been knocked out of the Cup, much to the disappointment of coach Ben Ryan, Fiji came out firing on the third and final day and beat Wales 40-12 in their semi final with six different players scoring.

In the other semi final Kenya came from 7-0 behind to reach the Bowl final after tries from Dennis Ombachi, Billy Odhiambo and Collins Injera secured a 21-7 win against Scotland.

Host celebrate Shield

Zack Test and the USA saved their best for the third and final day of their home tournament, beating Spain 31-0 in the final of the Shield with Test scoring two tries to the delight of the home crowd at the Sam Boyd Stadium.

Matt Hawkins’ side earlier defeated Uruguay 28-14 with tries from Test (2), Brett Thompson and Carlin Isles as they claimed important Series points.

In the other semi final Spain beat their neighbours Portugal 19-12 to reach the final with Francisco Hernandez scoring nine points.
SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

70) BRIEFLY

Afp/Aap/Pa
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First goal

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Mariah Williams’ first international goal has helped Australia beat host South Africa 4-1 and draw their three-Test women’s hockey series. Williams’ goal put the Hockeyroos at 2-0 up following an earlier strike by Jodie Shulz before Kellie White and Georgia Nanscawen completed the commanding win with 2 goals.

Missed out

SAN DIEGO, California – The usual Torrey Pines magic was missing for Tiger Woods as the world number one missed the secondary cut at the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open. On a Torrey Pines South Course where he has won eight titles — seven US PGA Tour trophies and the 2008 US Open — the 14-time major champion staggered to a seven-over par 79.

Crucial win

MILAN – Captain Francesco Totti scored a late penalty to cap a crucial 3-1 win for Roma at Verona to close the gap on Serie A leaders Juventus to six points yesterday. Elsewhere, Giampaolo Pazzini scored a precious winner for struggling AC Milan to seal 2-1 win away to Cagliari, while city rivals Inter were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Catania.

Title race

EDINBURGH – The relentless Celtic march on retaining the title continued yesterday as the Glasgow giants sealed their 11th victory in a row with three late goals in a 4-0 win over Hibernian at Easter Road. Victory sent the Hoops 15 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership as they extended their unbeaten start to 22 games and kept their ninth consecutive clean sheet.

Korda victory

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Jessica Korda has won the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Bahamas Classic for her second tour title, holing a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Stacy Lewis by a stroke. Korda closed with a seven-under-par 66 for a 19-under 273 total on Atlantis Resort’s Ocean Club course. Lewis parred the final four holes — two of them par 5s — for a 66.

New signing

LONDON – Stoke City manager Mark Hughes said yesterday that he expects to sign Peter Odemwingie on loan from Cardiff City, with Kenwyne Jones moving in the opposite direction. Nigeria international Odemwingie, 32, joined Cardiff from West Bromwich Albion last September, but he has had to play second fiddle to Fraizer Campbell.

Last Test

ADELAIDE – As they have all summer, Australian captain Michael Clarke and his English counterpart Alastair Cook are again flying in different directions. Clarke flies to South Africa, while Cook flies home after admitting his English team choked in the fifth and final one-dayer in Adelaide on Sunday night. Chasing 218 to win, the tourists crumbled to 212 all out.

Striker back

BERLIN – Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored on his return after five months out with injury in Schalke’s 3-0 win at Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga yesterday. The Dutch striker opened the scoring in the 34th minute when he got between two defenders to head Jefferson Farfan’s cross past Hamburg goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny.

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