Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 934

the big issues of our time – human rights, world poverty and environmental sustainability.(Quote ? )

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 1 February 2014

by bobmakin

In The Independent this morning MP Robert Bohn points out thatthe $350 million promissory note in relation to a Singapore company for a new Vanuatu airport does not really exist. The two-page proposal is, says Bohn, simply “a drafted proposed suggestion.” Bohn adds that Prime Minister Carcasses remains a keen supporter of the deal with the Singapore company for a new airport. However, there has been little if any consultation with the tourism industry, which has expressed itself against such a proposal. Nor has there been discussion wih custom owners of South Efate and the general public. An airline pilot of Boeing 787 Dreamliners passing through Vanuatu, and well-known to aviation personnel here, has recently pointed out thatBauerfield’s existing runway can easily facilitate all operations for 787s fully laden from China. This blog still questions why a bigger airport is considered needed by government.

Daily Post today reports the Chief Justice pointing out at the opening of the judicial year yesterday how easily trust in the judicial system of a country can be lost. He instanced the recent governmental errors of Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek mentioned progress being made with several projects, one of which involves increased computerisation and has enabled a much better track of all files. However, the opening of the 2014 court year heard him emphasize yet again the critical need for a Supreme Court building for which the judiciary has been appealing for more than 6 years now. Prior to the opening of the judicial year at Dumbea, the legal fraternity was addressed by Pastor Nos Terry on the divine law in which all respected man-made law is based, at a church service at Portoroki SDA Church.

The Vanuatu Times says that dual citizenship will protect ni-Vanuatu interests. It is essentially pointing out that thoseacquiring dual citizenship do not have immediate availability of rights still reserved to ni-Vanuatu of long standing. CIIP is also going to raise VT 9 billion by March we are again told by the Times.

The Times also points out that a case against two senior police officers has been dropped for lack of evidence. Samson Miller and Job Esau were alleged to have forged the Commissioner’s signature to gain promotion.

The position of GM of VBTC is being reviewed says the Times. Fred Vurobaravu is nearing the end of his second term at the helm. Whilst accounts of the Corporation are now being paid on time, it is said there are still places in the Republic which do not receive the VBTC signal. Vurobaravu is believed to be committed to making sure all islands receive TBV in time for the World Cup.

Heinrich Bregulla has died at his home is West Berlin. The author of the highly praised “Birds of Vanuatu” helped considerably in measures to protect wildlife in Condominium times, says Keith Woodward, formerly of the British Residency.

Daily Post reports significant rock falls on the wharf roadalthough much less than with the earthquake of 2002.

Happy World Wetlands Day tomorrow.

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 31 January 2014

by bobmakin

Sincere apologies for the absence of a newsblog yesterday (owing to internet problems) and the lateness of today’s despatch owing to my wanting to cover the opening of the Judicial Year by the Chief Justice (more on that and everything else important) tomorrow.

Yesterday the Daily Post announced the resignation of the controversial Public Prosecutor. In a separate matter that paper referred to an Australian allegedly facing forgery charges. Today that person was granted bail.

The PM’s “charting the way forward” in the retreat being held by leaders of all political parties in government, in order to harmonise their activities, was given priority yesterday.

Of great importance yesterday, too, the announcement of public awareness meetings around Efate concerning the recently introduced land legislation reforms. They begin next Tuesday on Ifira.

Much more tomorrow and have a good weekend.

AUSTRALIA

3) NT trials open speed limit on highway

1/2/14

An open speed limit trial has begun on a 200km section of the Northern Territory’s main highway in Australia, but doctors have called for it to be scrapped.

Transport Minister Peter Styles says the section of road, south of Barrow Creek to just north of Alice Springs, has undergone a major upgrade and seen a low number of speed related crashes since 2001.

Mr Style said that the Territory had a unique road network with long distances and low traffic volumes.

“With the implementation of this trial we are putting the responsibility back on motorists,” he said.

But the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Australian Medical Association NT and the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine say the trial poses significant dangers to motorists and pedestrians.

They say there’s strong evidence worldwide linking speed to accidents and claimed the NT government had brought in the trial for political expediency.

In an open letter to the NT government the groups have called for the trial to be scrapped.

“The government has said that the reasons for this trial are evidence-based, yet it will not publicly release the reports cited as evidence supporting the trial,” they wrote.

“There is no evidence to support the trial and it should be scrapped.”

The minister has warned people not to drive dangerously or without due care and said speed limits still applied to learner and provisional drivers and heavy vehicles.C/- Radio New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND

4) New NZDF chief sworn in

By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, New Zealand

Lieutenant General Tim Keating was sworn in as Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force at a ceremony in Wellington today.

The former Special Forces commander takes over from Lt Gen Rhys Jones, who was stood down after three years in the job.

During a ceremony at Government House in Wellington this afternoon, Governor-General Sir Gerry Mateparae presented Lt Gen Keating with the promotion to assume control of the 13,000-strong New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

“It is indeed my honour and privilege to lead this fine organisation,” Lt Gen Keating told guests.

“In this role as Chief of Defence Force, I have a distinct responsibility both to the Government of New Zealand and those who serve in the ranks of the Defence Force.

“When our Defence Force personnel are deployed, the advice I give will in all likelihood put young New Zealanders in harm’s way. Therefore the cause must be just, which is a decision for our Government, and the plan, it’s resourcing and its execution must be professional, which is my prime responsibility.”

Lt Gen Keating has previously been the commanding officer of the New Zealand contingent in the Sinai Peninsula. He was a commanding officer of 1st New Zealand Special Air Service and has supported international reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. He has also served as Chief of Army and Vice Chief of Defence Force.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said Lt Gen Keating was a strong, credible leader with 32 years of military experience.

“He has extensive organisational management, leadership, and operational experience, and has translated strategic ideas into practical achievable plans.”

Coleman thanked Lt Gen Jones for his service to New Zealand during his 35-year career.

“During his tenure as CDF he played a key role in devising the long term strategic vision for a future Defence Force, and he helped to set out a clear path forward on defence affordability.”

In September, Coleman confirmed Lt Gen Jones would not have his role extended

The Labour Party accused the Government of making him a “scapegoat” for multiple safety failures in the NZDF.

Lt Gen Jones also came under fire when he was sued for defamation by journalist Jon Stephenson over two articles regarding the treatment of Afghan detainees by New Zealand soldiers.

SOURCE: APNZ/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN

5) Minista i tokim Senate wanem i kamap long boda ino wanpla pablik stori

Updated 1 February 2014, 17:55 AEST
By James Glenday

Australia Immigration Minista Scott Morrison i sapotim disisin blong Gavaman long ino ken tok aut moa long ol boda protection polisi.

Mr Morrison na ol sinia ofisa blong Customs, Immigration na Defence ibin kisim ol askim insait long wanpla Senate inquiry long Fraide, bihain long ol askim blong painim moa long disisin blong Gavaman long ino laik mekim pablik ol dokument peipa igo long Operation Sovereign Borders.

Mr Morrison i tok sapos em i tok aut long ol secret document peipa long polisi blong border protection, em bai mekim hat long ol l ong stopim ol bot ikamk long Australia.

Lukluk bek long hao Senate Komiti bung ibin kamap.

Greens Pati i laikim Morrison long soim vidio blong bot em ol i salim igo bek long Indonesia.

Displa stori i makim sampla pipol blong Somalia, husait ibin peim wanpla bot na ol kru long kisim ol igo long Austalia, tasol, ol kastoms na nevi ofisa na bot blong ol ibin painim ol, na salim ol igo bek long Indonesia.

Nao wanpla Somali asailam sika i tok olsem paia ibin ibin kukim han blongen tasol ol Australia ofisa ibin prei long ai blongen taem ol i hansapim ol long bot long salim ol igo bek long Indoensia.

My Morrission i sakim displa ol toktok blong displa ol asailam sika.

Minista i tok ino gat wanpla evindens we ol Navy ofisa i bagarapim han blongen na i tok i tru, sampla operesin blong ol, ol i rekodim long vidio.

Nao Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young i tok ol imas mekim displa vidio igo long pablik long olgeta pipol iken lukim.

Mr Morrison i kamap nambawan House of Representatives minista long sidaun long ai blong wanpla Senate inquiry oa wok painim stat long 1992.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

6) UN askim PNG long lukluk ken long polisi blong kilim pipol i brukim loa

Updated 31 January 2014, 11:34 AEST

Tokman blong United Nations insait long Papua New Guinea i askim strong Gavman long Port Moresby long tingting ken long ol plen blong bringim bek loa blong kilim man oa meri, husait i kilim narapla.

Justice Minista blong PNG Kerengua Kua i tok aut olsem 13-pla kalabus, husait i wetim taem blong dai insait long kalabus, bai ol i kilim ol displa yar.

Tasol, toktok nao i wok long sut igo kam long wanem wei bai ol iusim long kilim ol.

Roy Trivedy, UN tokman long PNG, i tokim Radio Australia Pacific Beat ol wok painim i soim olsem displa pasin blong kilim man ino save stopim ol pipol i wokim ken, na gavman i mas lukluk ken long disisin ol i mekim.

Planti pipol i pilim olsem displa ino gutpla wei.

“Mipla i wari bikos em bai kamapim wanpla samting em ino gutpla long kantri.”

Justice Minista Kua i tok dispela death penalty loa i givim nem nogut moa long kantri, em igat bikpla heve long kraim oa trabol, na displa salens i pulim ol pipol ino laikim displa loa long lukluk long ol narapla wei blong ol pipol i kisim sas blong kilim narapla.

Mr Trivedy i tok wanpla bikpla nesinol ‘debate’ oa toktok imas kamap long displa isu. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

BAHASA

7) Kasus Bunuh Diri di Australia Barat Meningkat

Terbit 31 January 2014, 12:05 AEST

Saat ini muncul kekhawatiran tentang meningkatnya jumlah anak-anak yang melukai diri dan bahkan bunuh diri di kawasan utara yang terpencil negara bagian Australia Barat.

Awal bulan ini, seorang anak laki-laki berusia 12 tahun bunuh diri di kota Halls Creek. Sebelumnya terjadi pula insiden bunuh diri oleh seorang anak 12 tahun di komunitas terpencil Kalumburu tahun lalu.

CEO Dewan Urusan Pemuda Australia Barat, Craig Comrie, mengatakan, belum ada cukup data yang tersedia untuk memastikan apakah semakin banyak anak-anak yang melukai diri atau bahkan bunuh diri.

Namun ia mengatakan, nampaknya hal itu meningkat. “Kita mendengar laporan dari orang-orang di daerah Kimberley bahwa anak-anak muda yang mengalami masalah kesehatan mental dan bunuh diri sekarang lebih  muda usianya,” katanya.

Comrie mengatakan, insiden bunuh diri biasanya tidak dilaporkan karena dikhawatirkan akan mendorong orang lain menirunya, tapi ia mengatakan, mungkin pandangan itu perlu diubah.

Menurutnya, berbagi informasi tentang apa yang terjadi akan sangat membantu, sehingga dapat dipikirkan apa yang perlu dilakukan dan di bidang apa anak-anak muda itu perlu bantuan.

Statistik menunjukkan, sepertiga anak yang melakukan bunuh diri adalah dari komunitas Aborigin. Radio Australia

8) Tanah Kerukan akan Dibuang ke Great Barrier Reef

Terbit 31 January 2014, 16:18 AEST

Otorita Taman Laut Great Barrier Reef di Australia telah menyetujui usul untuk membuang tanah kerukan dari perluasan terminal batubara Abbott Point ke daerah Taman Laut.

Tiga juta meter kubik tanah harus dikeruk sebagai bagian dari proyek di Bowen di Queensland utara, yang sudah diberi lampu hijau oleh Menteri Lingkungan Federal Greg Hunt bulan lalu.

Para ilmuwan dan aktivis lingkungan sebelumnya mendesak pihak Otorita agar menolak perluasan itu, dengan 233 orang menandatangani surat kepada Kepala Otorita, Russell Reichelt.

Greenpeace memperingatkan, pembuangan tanah kerukan di taman laut yang masuk dalam daftar Warisan Dunia itu akan memalukan secara internasional, dan sama saja dengan membuang sampah di Grand Canyon.

Dikatakan, karang Beting Great Barrier Reef sudah menghadapi tekanan dari perubahan iklim, polusi dari darat dan wabah dari bintang laut.

Perluasan Abbott Point mencakup salah-satu pelabuhan batubara terbesar di dunia, yang terletak sekitar 25 kilometer di utara Bowen di pesisir Queensland tengah dan menangani ekspor untuk perusahaan-perusahaan yang menambang cadangan batubara yang sangat luas di Galilee Basin.

Beberapa konglomerat, antara lain Gina Rinehart dan Clive Palmer, sedang merundingkan lease untuk daerah itu. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH

9) PNG : est-ce que 13 condamnés à mort seront exécutés cette année ?

Posté à 31 January 2014, 8:25 AEST
Pierre Riant

Cela fait près d’un an que le Premier ministre papou, Peter O’Neill, a annoncé le rétablissement de la peine capitale pour les crimes jugés graves.

Depuis, un rapport sur la méthode de choix des exécutions a été posé sur son bureau et attend l’approbation du gouvernement.

Ce rapport a été préparé par  Éric Kwa, le secrétaire de la Commission des réformes législatives, qui a eu la difficile mission d’emmener une délégation à travers le monde pour étudier les méthodes d’exécution dans les pays où la peine de mort est applicable.

Une expérience traumatisante : « Et bien nous avons été aux États-Unis, au Texas où nous avons visité les chambres d’exécution de 5 prisons. Dans l’une de ces prisons, on nous a dit qu’une personne serait exécutée pendant la nuit. Nous y avons donc été à 21 heures pour observer les préparatifs et tout ce qu’il faut faire avant l’exécution. Mais à minuit, ils nous ont dit que nous pouvions partir et qu’ils n’allaient pas amener le prisonnier. »

Et après le Texas, la Thaïlande : « Oui, en Thaïlande, nous avons visité une salle des pelotons d’exécution et nous avons vu les armes qu’ils utilisent quand ils tirent sur le prisonnier et nous avons vu le trou des balles aussi.
Mais maintenant ils ont arrêté cette méthode pour passer à l’injection létale et nous avons visité la pièce où ça se fait. Ils vont plus loin que les États-Unis parce qu’il y a deux lits dans cette pièce, ils peuvent donc exécuter deux prisonniers à la fois. C’était un peu perturbant pour nous, mais c’est ce qu’ils font. »

Et en Malaisie : « En Malaisie nous avons été dans la salle des pendaisons où ils ont fait semblant de faire une pendaison pour que nous puissions voir toute les étapes et ce qui se passe après la pendaison. Nous avons vu tout cela. »

Est-ce que cette mission qui a de quoi en traumatiser plus d’un a eu un impact sur Érica Kwa ? Est-ce qu’il a été perturbé par ce qu’il a vu ?
KWA : « Ah oui ! Mais nous avons suivi les instructions du gouvernement. Nous sommes partis regarder 5 différents mode d’exécution puis nous sommes revenus rendre notre rapport et recommander la meilleure méthode, C’est ce que la loi stipule, le gouvernement doit approuver un seul mode d’exécution. Il ne peut approuver les cinq. »

Ces cinq modes d’exécution sont : électrocution,  injection létale avec privation d’oxygène, injection létale avec anesthésie, peloton d’exécution et pendaison.

13 personnes sont actuellement dans le couloir de la mort : 8 pour des actes de piraterie et 5 pour homicide volontaire.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

10) Tony Abbott tire à boulets rouges sur l’ABC

Posté à 31 January 2014, 8:36 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le Premier ministre australien apprécie de moins en moins les informations diffusées par la grande chaîne de diffusion publique : l’Australian Broadcasting Corporation, notre maison mère.

Dans une interview accordée à la radio 2GB, le Premier ministre a une fois de plus déploré les informations publiée par l’ABC sur les fuites d’Éric Snowden et les allégations de demandeurs d’asile concernant les mauvais traitements qu’ils auraient subis aux mains de la marine australienne.

Tony Abbott accuse l’ABC « de ne pas être patriotique » et « de prendre partie contre l’Australie ».

Les fuites d’Éric Snowden, qualifié de traitre par le Premier ministre, ont permis de révéler que l’Australie avait mis sur écoute les téléphones portables du Président indonésien et de son épouse en 2009. Et pour Mark Scott, le directeur de l’ABC, ces informations, qui ont envenimé les relations entre l’Australie et l’Indonésie, ont été publiées dans l’intérêt du public.

Plusieurs responsables politiques ont pris la défense de l’ABC, notamment la dirigeante de l’opposition par intérim, Tanya Plibersek, qui affirme l’ABC a toujours suivi attentivement tous les gouvernements australiens d’hier et d’aujourd’hui.

Pour la sénatrice des Verts, Sarah Hanson-Young, le Premier ministre est obsédé par le secret du huis clos et ne veut pas que les journalistes fassent leur métier de journaliste.

Plusieurs membres du Parti libéral au pouvoir ont également condamné les critiques de leur Premier ministre divisant ainsi le gouvernement.  http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11) Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée : Un père réagit

Posté à 31 January 2014, 8:44 AEST
Pierre Riant

C’est l’histoire de deux fillettes qui ont été offertes dans le cadre d’un versement d’une compensation à une tribu.

Joseph Molmb, père d’une fillette de 13 ans, a dénoncé cette pratique en précisant que sa fille a passé 9 mois avec la tribu de Kui dans la localité de Kol, qu’elle a maintenant besoin d’assistance médicale et qu’elle était profondément traumatisé quand il a réussi à la récupérer à la fin de l’année dernière.

John Molmb a précisé au quotidien The National, dans les Hauts Plateaux, qu’il était en déplacement à Port Moresby quand la décision de donner sa fille à la tribu de Kui a été prise par le Comité pour la paix et l’ordre public du village de Meginpol.

John Molmb a maintenant réclamé à la police locale l’arrestation des membres de ce Comité pour la paix et l’ordre public qui ont donné sa fille sans le consulter.

Les deux jeunes filles ont été données en compensation après la mort d’un enseignant du village de Kol voisin de Meginpol. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

12) Normalisation des relations entre Fidji et l’Australie

Posté à 31 January 2014, 8:55 AEST
Pierre Riant

Après 8 ans de froid, le Haut-commissariat australien de Suva a franchi une étape importante dans cette normalisation en invitant le 29 janvier le Président fidjien et plusieurs membres du gouvernement de Franck Bainimarama à participer aux célébrations de la Journée de l’Australie.

Glenn Milnes, Haut-commissaire par intérim, l’équivalent d’ambassadeur, a confirmé que le gouvernement australien est en passe de restaurer complètement ses relations avec Fidji.

C’est la première fois depuis 2006, date du coup d’État militaire, que la Journée de l’Australie est célébrée aux îles Fidji.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13) Les expulsions continuent à Nauru

Mis à jour 31 January 2014, 8:31 AEST
Pierre Riant

Le ressortissant australien et conseiller aux médias auprès du gouvernement de Nauru,  Rod Henshaw, a été escorté par la police à l’aéroport et mis dans un avion à destination de Brisbane.

Il y a près de 15 jours, l’expulsion forcée de Rod Henshaw a été bloquée par l’ordonnance d’un tribunal imposée par le magistrat résident, Peter Law, également Australien et lui aussi expulsé par les autorités.

Le Parlement de Nauru s’est réuni pour modifier la Loi sur l’Immigration pour permettre au ministre de la Justice, David Adeang, de signer des ordres d’expulsion.

Le Président de la Cour suprême, Geoffrey Eames, un autre ressortissant australien, a vu son visa annuler et ne peut plus repartir à Nauru.

Nous avons réussi à contacter Rod Henshaw à l’aéroport de Nauru peu avant son départ de l’île : « Trois policiers sont venus pour me donner mon ordre d’expulsion et me dire que je devais prendre l’avion aujourd’hui. Ils ont été totalement courtois, en fait je connais deux d’entre eux et je les considère comme des amis et ils ne voulaient pas vraiment être dans cette position.
Mais, ils n’avaient pas le choix après la modification de la loi la nuit dernière et qui a pour ainsi dire transformé cet endroit en une dictature et je n’ai pas la possibilité de faire appel.
En fait, selon la loi, j’ai droit à 7 jours [avant l’expulsion] mais ça n’a pas été pris en compte puisqu’ils m’ont conduit à l’aéroport.
Mais je tiens à dire que la police a été fantastique. Donc je suis ici assis à l’aéroport. En tous les cas, ils ont été très aimables, tout s’est passé dans le calme. C’est très calme. »

Et quelles sont les raisons qui ont été données pour cet ordre d’expulsion ?
HENSHOW : « Il a été signé par David Adeang et il n’y a pas de raison. Aucune raison de donnée. Vous n’avez plus besoin de raisons de nos jours. Nous vivons malheureusement dans une dictature et je me sens très triste pour Nauru, vraiment très triste. Et tout ce que je peux dire après hier soir, c’est que tous les expatriés ne sont plus en sécurité ici. Mais je suis sûr que la justice prévaudra un jour, mais ça n’arrivera pas aujourd’hui. »

Ces raisons, la ministre de l’Intérieur nauruane, Charmaine Scotty, nous les avait données quelques jours avant l’expulsion de Rod Henshaw. Charmaine Scotty qui a dénoncé un système de népotisme qui aurait été mis en place par les expatriés australiens. Voici ce qu’elle nous a confié : « Rob Henshaw était un expatrié. Un expatrié  qui travaillait à Nauru pour les services média et son contrat a été résilié. Au lieu de quitter Nauru puisque son contrat a été résilié, il a obtenu un visa d’affaires via ses petits amis et il est resté sur l’île. Je ne pense pas que cela soit un bon comportement.
Mais tout cela signifie que nous voulons contrôler ce qui se passe à Nauru parce que cela fait trop longtemps que les Nauruans ne contrôlent plus la situation.
Notre plus grand mandat est que le peuple veut que le gouvernement soit le gouvernement du peuple contrôlé par le peuple et non pas par le système de népotisme des expatriés. »

D’après ce que nous savons, et après son départ du Service des médias du gouvernement de Nauru, Rod Henshaw, aurait géré un bar dans un hôtel appartenant au gouvernement.  http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

PASIFIK

14) “Pacific Women Leaders Stand Together”

By Online Editor
4:43 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Fiji

A group of Pacific women parliamentarians, former parliamentarians, future parliamentarians, policy makers and civil society are meeting in Fiji to advance women’s political participation and leadership in the region.

The Pacific Islands have consistently produced the lowest number of women in governance in the world. In the Islands that comprise the Pacific Island Forum (without Aust and NZ), only 4.7% are women. If the 13 women elected in the 2006 Fiji election are not included, the figure drops even lower to 2.6% for the remaining Islands.

The 20 women from seven different Islands participating in the workshop organised by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) have come together to address the low levels of participation but also to share approaches to transformative leadership that prioritise consensus building,accountability and solidarity. “Adversarial models of government are one of the barriers to women’s participation” said Mere Samisoni. “Women can model different forms of Pacific leadership that are collaborative, democratic and accountable to our communities.”

This model of leadership is particularly critical in countries or communities where conflict and militarism have occurred. Countries recovering from long term conflict have often turned to women as leaders to offer a new form of leadership and to lead genuine commitments to development. But changing leadership models requires a larger cohort of women to have an impact.

“I was inspired by the way Fijian women leaders are working across party political divides in a spirit of collaboration and solidarity to secure a return to democracy” said former Papua New Guinea Member of Parliament, Dame Carol Kidu, a resource person for the training. Participants in the workshop include two of the three women elected in PNG’s recent election, the first woman elected in the Cook Islands from the outerIslands, five Fijian women elected in the 2006 democratic elections and a number of women planning to contest future elections.

The participants also discussed the need to promote gender equality and human rights across all portfolios of government. “Right now the world faces a critical juncture. Rising and deepening inequalities of wealth and resources between countries and between rich and poor, combined with the fact that the world is now exceeding safe planetary boundaries require new forms of leadership and of development. Sustainable and equitable communities require the empowerment of all members of community and genuine democracy and accountability”, Anne Pakoa, first ever female Presidential candidate for Vanuatu. The participants will also hold a roundtable to discuss the post2015 development agenda with representatives of the Pacific Island Forum and UN agencies.

Given the small numbers of elected women in the Pacific, the participants have decided to establish a regional Pacific caucus or network to support ongoing dialogue and solidarity.

SOURCE: FWRM/PACNEWS

WORLD

15) Shock in Tanzania at MPs’ pay package

1/2/14

The revelation that Tanzanian MPs voted themselves a $98,000 package each to be paid at the end of their parliamentary term has led to shock.

The send-off money, a 274 percent increase on the amount MPs received in 2010, was endorsed by the treasury at the end of last year, but only reported this week.

“The total sum is enough to build a hospital,” one resident told the BBC.

An opposition party leader said it showed a root-and-branch reform of government finances was needed. James Mbatia said Tanzania had lost the values of its founding father and first leader Julius Nyerere.

Economist Vincent Leyaro said the move would increase the burden to the taxpayers at a time the government was struggling to raise revenue and was mired in debt estimated at $25 billion.

The MPs’ move would also set a bad precedent, with other civil servants thinking that they should be entitled to more money from the government and ultimately the taxpayer, he said.

Tanzania’s 375 MPs already receive a monthly salary of almost $7000.

They also receive $22,200 a year for attending parliamentary sessions and an annual care allowance of about $13,000.C/- Radio New Zealand.

16) Recommendations to change Myanmar’s constitution

Updated 1 February 2014, 2:23 AEST

A parliamentary committee in Myanmar is due to recommend changes to the constitution which could allow the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president.

A clause in the Myanmar constitution drafted by the military government forbids anyone from being president if they have a foreign spouse or if their children have foriegn citizenship.

The nobel laureate says she wants the job but is currently barred from the position because her late husband was British and her children are British citizens.

A quarter of the seats in the Myanmar parliament are appointed by the army.

So for an amendment to be passed some of them will have to vote for it.

Earlier this month Myanmar president Thein Sein gave his backing for ammending the constitution.

He said changes could help national reconciliation, and that he doesn’t support laws that bar anyone from becoming president.

Thein Sein has reportedly said he won’t seek a second term in office.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-02-01/recommendations-to-change-myanmars-constitution/1257686

17) Thai election set to go ahead

1/2/14.

A court in Thailand has refused to halt Sunday’s general election which is set to go ahead despite large anti-government protests.

The opposition party is boycotting the election.

The ABC reports that thousands of protesters have occupied key intersections in the city and they are demanding sweeping political reforms before the vote takes place.

Thailand’s civil court refused a last ditch attempt by anti-government protesters to halt the vote, that means the disputed election will go ahead on Sunday despite concerns of an outbreak of violence in Bangkok, the centre of anti-government demonstrations.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has called for a peaceful blockade of roads in the city, but at the same time, vowed not to stop people from voting.

More than 93,000 polling stations will be set up around the country on Sunday.

The protesters forced polling stations in 49 of 50 districts in Bangkok to shut last weekend and early voting could only go ahead in three of 15 southern provinces.

The commission, which wanted to postpone the vote because of the volatility, says it had authority to order troops and police to help ensure the election takes place.

The BBC reports that the protests began in November, after the lower house backed a controversial amnesty bill that critics said would allow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, to return.

Mr Thaksin was ousted as prime minister by the military in a 2006 coup. He was convicted in absentia of corruption and lives overseas, but the protesters say he controls Ms Yingluck’s government.

They also accuse her Pheu Thai party and its Thaksin-allied predecessors – which have won the last five elections – of misusing state funds on ill-judged schemes that win rural votes.

The protesters say they want Thailand’s political system reformed and an end to money politics.

Ms Yingluck, however, who leads an elected government that enjoys strong support in rural areas, has asked protesters to respect Thailand’s democratic principles.

18) Indonesian trade minister resigns to focus on presidential campaign

Updated 31 January 2014, 22:21 AEST

Indonesia’s trade minister has resigned to build up his campaign to win the presidential nomination for the ruling Democratic Party.

The US-educated former investment banker is one of 10 candidates vying for presidential nomination by the party, whose fortunes have been slumping in opinion polls.

“I already met the president two days ago and he accepted it,” he said.

State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan, a media magnate, is expected to throw his hat in the ring, forcing a small cabinet reshuffle as early as this weekend.

But as the government has only a few months left in office, it is unlikely that the new ministers will be able to implement major policy changes.

The general election is in April.

Political parties must secure either 20 per cent of the seats or 25 per cent of the vote to nominate a candidate for the July presidential election.

Few, if any, are expected to reach that threshold, forcing the parties to form alliances to get their candidate into the presidential race.

Gita Wirjawan bio

Former investment banker at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs
Founded a Jakarta-based private equity fund, Ancora Capital, focused on mining and natural resources
Graduated from Harvard University

The telegenic Mr Wirjawan barely registers in recent opinion polls.

He said he would target the huge young vote, women and the more than a third of the electorate which he said did not vote.

The most popular presidential hopeful is Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi.

However, the main opposition party to which he is allied says it will not name its candidate until after the April parliamentary election.

As the elections approach, concerns grow over the failure of the outgoing government of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to resolve major problems facing Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

In particular, weak infrastructure is blamed for holding back the industrial sector and allowing regional competitors to pull ahead.

Mr Yudhoyono, who cannot run again after two terms in office, has faced criticism for vacillating over key issues.

Much of Jokowi’s popularity appears to lie in his straightforward style of leadership and his ability to engage ordinary Indonesians who see him as being on their side.

Reuters

19) US pledges to keep its presence in the Pacific

By Online Editor
2:56 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Solomon Islands

The United States government pledges to maintain its presence in the Pacific as part of building its friendship with island nations.

Commander T.J Zerr, Executive Officer of the USS KIDD (DD 100), reiterated this in an interview with the Solomon Star, Wednesday.

USS KIDD was in Honiara on Wednesday to refuel and allow its crew to rest and relax.

“Our trip here was also part of a security patrol in the Pacific waters,” they said.

They added the stopover was also a demonstration of the friendly relationship between the US and Solomon Islands.

“We value Solomon Islands as a historical spot because this is where some of our comrades fought and lost their lives,” Capt. Varela said.

On board the USS KIDD are 32 officers and 250 personnel.

USS Kidd (DDG-100) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She is the third Navy ship named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who was on board Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was the first American flag officer to die in World War II.

Commander Zerr said US military presence in the Pacific will remain robust to ensure the safety and security of islanders.

“The US as an international obligation to safeguard Pacific Islands from external threats,” he said.

But he said their stop-over here was not political, but a manifestation of the cordial relationship US and the Solomon Islands governments have established.

Commander Zerr added the US valued Solomon Islands as a historical site where many of their comrades fought and lost their lives to rescue Pacific from communist rule.

He said their trip around the Pacific is to allow them check out on illegal fishing in Pacific waters.

He added the US sees the Pacific as a significant neighbour and will ensure relations between the region and the US remain strong.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STA/PACNEWS

HEALTH

20) PNG-Aust to co-fund upgrade of hospital

Source:
The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014

AUSTRALIA and Papua New Guinea moved another step towards redeveloping Lae’s Angau Memorial Hospital yesterday, issuing a request for expressions of interest to prepare a health services and facilities master plan for the project.
The two nations have agreed to co-fund the reconstruction of the hospital through the Australia-PNG joint understanding on further bilateral cooperation on health, education and law and order signed in July last year.
The hospital redevelopment will be the largest health infrastructure project since PNG’s independence. Australia is investing up to A$207 million (K431 million) in the redevelopment including the master plan and 50% of the capital cost of works.
Australia’s High Commissioner to PNG Deborah Stokes said Australia was committed to working with PNG to advance the priorities agreed in the joint understanding.
“The masterplanning process will equip both governments with the information we need to redevelop the hospital facilities.  This redevelopment will be done in a manner which is adapted to the PNG population’s health needs, can be staffed, is affordable and is able to be maintained,” Stokes said.
Ambrose Kwaramb, manager health facilities standards  Department of Health, said: “The health service and health facilities design standards will guide the redevelopment of the hospital from master planning, to design and to the construction stage.”
The masterplanning process will include consultations with all stakeholders, an assessment of clinical and non-clinical services and facilities and an analysis of needs and gaps in services and facilities.

21) Almost 75 Percent Of Fiji’s Budget For Dengue Used
Advisor says majority of funds went to awareness, drugs

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 30, 2014) – Fiji’s Health Ministry has used almost 75 per cent of its 2014 budget allocated to combat dengue fever outbreak in the country.

And it stated that the 1422 lab confirmed cases are the highest ever on record with one suspected death since October 30 last year.

The ministry’s national communicable diseases adviser, Dr Mike Kama, said of the FJ$97,000 [US$51,002] allocated to fight dengue, three quarters of the budget had been used and the outbreak was now a burden on the ministry.

“The ministry tends to absorb this into its costs so early into the year. It’s absorbed into the cost of clinical care and for public health interventions. So the money is shifted in order for it to be able to resolve this situation,” Dr Kama said.

He said a lot of the money had been used for clean-up campaigns, awareness activities and for restocking drugs in hospitals for patient care.

Dr Kama said the suspected dengue-related death was from the Central Division, where the patient died while being transferred to the CWM Hospital.

“This basically has not been formalised. Otherwise there have been two other suspected deaths but that has been ruled out due to other causes,” he said.

He said out of the 1422 cases, the Central Division recorded 1203 cases, 165 cases in the Western Division and 54 cases in the Northern Division.

“The cases continue to rise – it hasn’t let off any bit from when we had last provided an update.

“We here in Fiji haven’t seen it to be so high. That’s why the concern is there.

“The bottom line is that this is the fight against mosquitoes because mosquitoes are the transmitting vector.”

He said the only way communities could assist themselves was by destroying mosquito breeding grounds and use repellents all the time.

“Safe use of mosquito coils, nets and air-condition chases the mosquitoes away.”

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

22) Viral Outbreaks In French Polynesia Brought Under Control
Health authorities say zika infected half of territory’s population

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 30, 2014) – The head of health surveillance in French Polynesia says two mosquito borne epidemics over the past three months now appear to be under control.

Dr Henri-Pierre Mallet says the zika virus infected up to fifty per cent of the total population of 270,000 people.

He says most only had a mild illness.

However Dr Mallet says 38 people with zika virus subsequently became seriously ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome and some needed ventilation and intensive care.

He says as zika begins to wane, the focus is now on the serotype-3 dengue fever, but this is not escalating as quickly as in other neighbouring countries, such as Fiji and Vanuatu.

“Zika outbreak is now decreasing in French Polynesia. We have still some cases in some islands. Probably more than half of the population has been infected. At the same time we continue to have dengue fever transmission; quite not so high, but it could increase in the next two weeks or more with rainy seasons.”

Dr Mallet says a child died of dengue fever in November last year but no one has died from zika.

He says mosquito control, public health awareness and surveillance have kept the situation under control but vigilance is still needed.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

EDUCATION

23) USP Assures Kiribati School Construction Will Go Through
Tenders for campus build higher than expected: vice chancellor

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 30, 2014) – The University of the South Pacific (USP) has assured Kiribati that construction of its replacement campus will begin within a few months.

The USP vice chancellor, Rajesh Chandra, announced last year that Kiribati was to be the first to benefit from an upgrade to tertiary education facilities in the region over the next six years.

The university had budgeted US$135 million for the development, which will also involve new buildings in Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands, and an extension of the Tongan campus.

Last week USP officials visited Kiribati to re-assure the government the development would go ahead but that tenders were higher than expected.

The USP says while it will still pay for the campus, the Kiribati government needed an additional supplementary guarantee from the Asian Development Bank.

The university says the ADB has indicated its willingness to provide another US$1 million for the project.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

POLITIC

24) Vanuatu Delegation Presented the UPR Statement / Report to the UN Human Rights Council

Dear CSOs & citizenry,

Vanuatu’s UPR delegation presented our UPR statement highlighting achievements and challenges in implementing the various ratified Human Rights Conventions.

Vanuatu as a member of the United Nations had ratified the following conventions and treaties on Human Rights.

1.     Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

2.     Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

3.     Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

4.     Convention against Corruption (CAC)

5.     Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

6.     Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

It is mandatory that Vanuatu reports back to the United Nations on the implementation of these ratified Human Rights conventions on a 4 yearly basis.

Vanuatu’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report has been completed including that of the stakeholders and the United Nations Joint Presence UNJP) in Port Vila and submitted to UPR Secretariat of the UN Human Rights Council in 2013.

Today 30th Jan 2014, the Vanuatu UPR team representing the sovereign state of the Republic of Vanuatu presented the Vanuatu UPR statement to the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais de Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Of all the sovereign states present, 47 posed questions and made recommendations to the Vanuatu UPR team for our consideration on human rights for Vanuatu. You can follow this presentation via the UN webcast on this linkhttp://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc

 attachment – please email Charlie C/- vangosec.

Best,

Charlie Timpoloa Harrison
Email: vangosec@gmail.com

25) AWEANES MO KONSALTESEN WETEM MINISTA BLONG LANDS LONG SAED BLONG OL NIUFALA LOA BLONG GRAON, EFATE AELAN

AWEANES MO KONSALTESEN WETEM MINISTA BLONG LANDS LONG SAED BLONG OL NIUFALA LOA BLONG GRAON, EFATE AELAN

NOTIS I GO LONG: Ol Jif, ol Woman Lida, ol Yut Lida, ol Jioj Lida, ol Eria Sekretri, mo ol memba blong Komuniti raon lo Efate

Long Novemba mo Disemba las yia 2013, Palamen blong Vanuatu i bin pasem sam niufala loa long saed blong graon.

Ol niufala loa ia oli mekem olgeta samting ia:
• Bae yumi mas stretem ol dispyut blong graon long nakamal o long Kastom Eria Land Traebunel, yumi nomo save yusum loeia o yusum kot. I gat wan niufala Customary Land Management Act blong jenisem or replesem Customary Land Tribunal Act we i stap finis we i stanemap niufala loa ia;
• I gat wan niufala proses o rod blong karem wan negotiating certificate mo mekem wan lis long wan kastom graon, thru long ol jenis long paoa blong Minista anda long Land Reform Act.

Minista blong Land mo Presiden blong Malvatumauri mo ol teknikol man blong olgeta bae oli kam raon long Efate naoia blong mekem aweanes long ol niufala loa ia mo karem sam moa tingting blong yumi long Efate long ol loa ia.

Minista mo Presiden blong Malvatumauri i invaetem ol jif mo ol lida insaed long ol difren komuniti long Efate blong yufala i patisipet long ol miting wetem mifala blong mifala save tokbaot ol niufala loa ia wetem yufala.

Program blong wokbaot hemi olsem:

Tyusde 4 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Ifira (Farea)
Tyusde 4 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Pango (Farea)
Wenisde 5 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Erakor (La Marie)
Wenisde 5 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Eratap, Teouma, Rantapao, Etas & No. 2 Lagoon (Eratap Presbyterian Jioj)
Tasde 7 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Mele/Melemaat (Farea Pacifika)
Tasde 7 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Mangaliliu & Lelepa Is (Mangaliliu)
Mande 10 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Moso Is (Sunae)
Mande 10 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Tanoliu, Malafau & Meten (Tanoliu)
Tyusde 11 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Siviri, Saama, Emua & Pauganisu (Pauganisu)
Tyusde 11 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Takara (long pasis)
Wenisde 12 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Nguna/Pele (Taloa Jioj Komuniti Hol)
Mande 17 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Emau (Wiana)
Tyusde 18 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Epule, Matarisu & Ekipe (Ekipe Nakamal)
Tyusde 18 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Epau Nakamal
Wenisde 19 Febuari – 8:30am – 12:00pm Eton (Komuniti Hol)
Wenisde 19 Febuari – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Pangpang/Forari (Pangpang Nakamal)

Credit : Charlie Timpoloa Harrison
Email: vangosec@gmail.com

26) Duban resumes police ministry

By Online Editor
2:52 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Re-elected Madang MP Nixon Duban has been re-appointed as Papua New Guinea Police Minister.

He was officially sworn in as Minister for Police by Governor General Sir Micheal Ogio Thursday.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, senior  People’s National Congress party ministers, acting Police Commissioner Simon Kauba and a number of friends and relatives witnessed his swearing-in at Government House.

O’Neill after the swearing-in ceremony told the media that he had assured Duban that the ministry will be preserved for him until after the by election and that was exactly what he has done.

He will also do the same for ousted Kairuku Hiri MP and Education Minister Paru Aihi if he is returned by his people,O’Neill said.

The main reason for this is to maintain continuity and stability in both Ministries, he said.

“Its not that other MPs are not capable but if a new person is appointed there won’t be stability and the new person will have new priorities, but I’d like to thank all the MPs for showing maturity because no one came to lobby for the two vacant ministries” he said

He congratulated Duban  and said the result of the by-election clearly showed that the people were happy with the Government’s policy resulting in his return and he is confident that Duban will continue the programs that he initiated before he was ousted as an MP and Minister.

Duban thanked the Prime Minister for having confidence in him and his people of Madang and said he will continue where he had left from.

Meanwhile, Bryan Kramer, the runner-up in 2013 Madang by-election, filed an election petition on Tuesday disputing the return of Nixon Duban as the Member for Madang Open electorate.

This will be Kramer’s second petition following the success of his first court challenge last year disputing Duban’s 2012 election for the same seat.

The National Court upheld Kramer’s petition, finding Duban guilty of two counts of bribery and fraud.

The court voided his election and ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct an immediate by-election.

Both Kramer and Duban and 16 other candidates contested the by-election in September last year with  Duban declared the winner on December 19 last year, polling 18,226 votes.

Kramer was the runner-up with 7,805 votes a difference 10,421.   This is a significant difference from the 2012 elections where the margin between them was only 544 votes.

Kramer this time is disputing the legitimacy of  Duban’s election on three grounds.

The first involved alleged illegal practices of bribery and undue influence levelled against Mr Duban and allegedly committed by his agents or servants with his knowledge, consent and authority.

The second was alleged omissions and errors on the part of the Electoral Commission in conducting the by-election.

The third allegation involves the Electoral Commission for allegedly committing a errors and omissions that impaired and tainted the integrity of the entire election process.

“I told the people of Madang if they voted for me, be it even only one vote I would fight for it, they did their part and now it’s time for me to do mine,” Kramer said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

27) Solomon Islands new voter registration date set

By Online Editor
09:46 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Solomon Islands

The actual biometric voter registration date for Solomon Islands has been set for 01 March 2014.

There has been slowness in awareness and registration due to financial constraints.

Chief Electoral Officer Polycarp Haununu, said that the change in date was to allow the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission address its financial and outstanding operational issues.

Haununu said those issues had been resolved.

“I wants to inform all Electoral Field Officers in the provinces of this new date and advised everyone to adjust all their activities in accordance with the new timeline.

“We apologize to the general voting public and our stakeholders for the inconveniences that this change might have caused and hope to deliver this biometric voter registration exercise as planned according to this new date.

“We appreciate your involvement and cooperation in implementing this new biometric voter registration to achieve a credible roll,” the electoral commission boss said.

Haununu said despite the changes, the commission is confident and assure all that it will still be able to prepare and finalize the voters list before the 2014 National General Election.

“We ask eligible electors to be in readiness to take part in this new process when it starts on March 10.”

He said more than one thousand electoral temporary staff who will man the voter registration centers (VRC’s) in the field have been recruited and trained.

He added that voter education outreach programs have being ongoing in most part of the country.

“Especially in our communities, educating eligible voters on what, why, when, where and how of this new Biometric Voter Registration System.

“However due to lack of funds, their work was put on hold and they are yet to finalize their work.
“With availability of funds, the commission is anticipating comprehensive voter education coverage.

“In supplementing the outreach program, the commission is coming to all eligible voters through various means of communication method such as, weekly radio updates, radio spots advertisement, newspaper and distribution of printed materials.”

The chief electoral officer said they will ensure field officers and equipments are deployed to all voter registration centers throughout the countries before March 10, and that boat arrangements and other logistical arrangements have been made.

“Currently, Staff are putting finishing touches on all other outstanding activities that needs to be worked on and completed before the registration date.

“However, the main focus now is on awareness therefore we call on the general public to closely watch the media for updates.

“Eligible voters are advised to continue to listen to radio and check all forms of media outlets for update information about the whole process and its requirements that will enable you to successfully register.

“The Electoral Commission wants to remind voters that biometric voter registration is a new system and will be used to generate an entirely fresh list.

“It is different from how it has been done before and it is important for everyone to take note.

“Registration officers will this time not come to you to your doors but instead will provide Voter Registration Centers for you to register – (Pleis u go fo rigista).

“Assistant Registration Officers will be stationed at these centers with a registration kit which comprises of a laptop computer, finger print scanner, camera, and all the registration application forms (Form B).

“All eligible voters need to go to a Voter Registration Centre in order to register.

“Remember, we will be compiling new voter lists, which means, the old voters list will be archived.
“All who are fit to register according to the law will have to register anew.  All that have been registered in the past and those who are now 18 years old at the time of registration must be registered anew.

“Please take time to read and listen to any Electoral Awareness materials or advertisements in the newspaper and on radio programs so that you are informed on what to do during this coming biometric voter registration process.

“With everyone’s desire to produce a new and clean list, we hope to do the best on our side to make this new change a remarkable one in our election history.”.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

28) New PNG envoy takes up office in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
09:42 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Solomon Islands

New Papua New Guinea high commissioner to Solomon Islands Fred Yakasa has presented his credentials to Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo in Honiara.

During the brief occasion, Lilo welcomed Yakasa and congratulated him on his appointment.

“I congratulate you on your appointment and I have full confidence that you will carry out your duties diligently,” the Prime Minister said.

Lilo also highlighted that Solomon Islands and PNG share a very unique and mutual relationship that not only embedded on the bilateral forefront but also traditionally through both countries culture and people.

Meanwhile, Yakasa thanked the Prime Minister for accepting his credentials.

Yakasa conveyed to Prime Minister Lilo greetings from his PNG counterpart Peter O’Neil and his cabinet.

“I am glad to be here and I assure you that I will uphold dignity and respect to my office, your government and your people,” Yakasa told the Prime Minister.

The new PNG high commissioner also stressed that PNG will continue to be a partner with the Solomon Islands through investment as well as other important sectors.

“As one of my priorities, I will make sure unfinished programs and MOU’s must move forward to enhance development plans between both countries,” he said.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

29) Australia Earmarks $54 Million For Aid To Fiji
Acting high commissioner says no cuts expected for program

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 30, 2014) – The Australian government has set aside a proposed AU$54.6 million [US$47.92 million] budget in aid to Fiji.

This is an increase compared to AU$49.2 million [US$43.18 million] that was spent on the program in 2012/2013.

Acting Australian High Commissioner Glen Miles said the implementation of the revised 2013/14 budget is currently under discussion with partner governments and organisations.

“Overall the program is in good shape,” Miles said. “We do not expect cuts to programs. We are continuing to consult our partners to work out areas that will be covered in the program.”

A report on the government’s Department of Foreign Affais and Trade website states the Australia Government is also expected to provide AU$37 million [US$32.4 million] in development assistance to Fiji in 2013–14, which will cover infant immunisation and maintaining coverage rate above 90 per cent.

It will also support the provision of 28,000 doses of human papilloma virus vaccine which will protect over 8000 young girls from the risk of cervical cancer and assist 70 civil society organisations to deliver health, education and financial services.

Over the previous three years from 2010-11 to 2012-13, Australia has invested AU$129.5 million [US$113.65 million] in Fiji which has contributed to significant development results which include an estimated 3,788 children vaccinated against measles and 4056 children against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and Hepatitis B.

An additional 36,749 people were able to gain access to financial services, such as savings, loans, remittance, micro-insurance and mobile banking through the aid program and 2,334 students benefitting from schools being more accessible to children with disabilities.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

30) Three locals, expat vie for Fiji Police Commissioner

By Online Editor
09:56 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Fiji

Three locals and an expatriate are confirmed to be vying for the post of Fiji Police Commissioner.

The Constitutional Offices Commission interviewed the shortlisted candidates Friday.

The Permanent Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office Pio Tikoduadua says for the first time all candidates are career Police Officers, two of them retired.

“We managed to interview three today and we’ll do one more next week because he’s actually away overseas on work commitments.”

Tikoduadua says the committee is looking for a new Commissioner who can create a more professional Force and improve the institution’s image with the public.

“We’re looking for a Commissioner that will take the Fiji Police Force into the future, understanding the requirements and the intricacies’ of Police work, understanding good leadership and management within an institution and there’s a whole lot of other criteria that we’re are looking at particularly looking at the challenges facing the Force today.”

Tikoduadua says once the Constitutional Offices Commission is satisfied with the calibre of the candidates, they will make their recommendation to the Prime Minister who will then submit the new Police Commissioner’s name to the President for appointment.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

31) Niue Government MPs Walk Out Of No-Confidence Debate
Opposition MP says government MPs lack ability to debate

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 30, 2014) – A Niue opposition MP says a number of government MPs don’t have the ability to debate issues, and are going to great lengths to avoid it.

Government ministers walked out of a parliament meeting today when a debate over a motion of no-confidence by opposition MPs was meant to take place.

The motion of no confidence was entered last week because of concerns over various policies the government has introduced such as the four-day working week for public servants.

The MP Terry Coe says the government wanted to go straight to the vote and when the speaker ruled a debate must take place first, government members walked out.

“A lot of them haven’t got the ability to debate and it’s quite common in the house when we do have motions a lot of the members don’t even speak, they only vote at the end of the motion and they look to the premier, if he puts his hand up, they put their hand up.”

Terry Coe says according to timeframes set out in the constitution, the vote must take place tomorrow.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

32) Niue no-confidence vote due today

By Online Editor
09:43 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Niue

A vote is expected Friday on a motion of no confidence in the Niue government.

Niue opposition MPs entered a motion of no confidence more than a week ago because of concerns over various policies the government has introduced.

But government members yesterday walked out of a parliament meeting when debate over the motion was meant to take place.

The MP, Terry Coe, says the government knows it has the numbers and wanted to go straight to the vote but the speaker ruled a debate must take place first.

“It says in the constitution and the standing orders that the debate is to take place and they know that, and to me if I was the government I would go for it because it’s a good chance to stick up for the government of the day.”

Coe says according to timeframes set out in the constitution the vote must take place today.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

MEDIA

33) Razor gang reviews ABC and SBS

By Online Editor
09:34 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Australia

With the relationship between the Australian government and the ABC continuing to deteriorate, the Coalition has established a razor gang to examine waste and inefficiency at the ABC and SBS, warning that the public broadcasters must deliver “maximum bang for the taxpayers’ buck”.

Just one day after Tony Abbott accused the ABC of lacking “affection for the home team”, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the terms of reference of the review that will “seek to clarify” the costs of the publicly funded broadcasters.

Retreating from an election commitment to preserve ABC funding, the review – to be conducted by former Seven West Media chief financial officer Peter Lewis – will scour the public broadcasters’ combined $1.43 billion annual expenditure for savings.

In a robust discussion with ABC radio’s PM presenter Mark Colvin, Turnbull denied an “assault on the ABC” and, despite some Coalition MPs’ claims of bias in the ABC’s news and current affairs coverage, he stressed that the broadcasters’ charters, editorial policies and programming decisions would be excluded from the efficiency study, as would the ABC’s prohibition on commercial advertising.

“It is important that the ABC gives the viewers of Australia, the taxpayers of Australia, the maximum bang for the taxpayers’ buck,” he said.

“I want to see a stronger ABC, a healthier ABC, a more resilient ABC, and it’s important that the government and minister support the ABC in making sure it is run cost-effectively.

“In other words, the study will not review the content of what is broadcast, but rather the cost of delivering that content and the operations that support it.”

The announcement was made on the day The Australian revealed the Coalition was reconsidering the ABC’s exemption from the cost-cutting efficiency dividends applied across the federal public sector, and that the ABC’s $223 million contract to deliver the Australia Network Asian television service could be scrapped.

The already strained relationship between the ABC and the government has deteriorated after the broadcaster’s criticised reporting of asylum-seekers’ claims of abuse by members of the Australian navy.

The ABC has been accused of overplaying the claims, which have been rigorously denied by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Defence chiefs, and of failing to practise standard editorial rigour to its journalism.

The situation worsened when an email from an ABC journalist was published containing suggestions that ABC senior news staff believed the claims “are likely to be untrue”.

Yesterday, senior ABC radio broadcaster Jon Faine questioned why the reports did not make clearer that the asylum-seekers’ allegations were nothing more than unsubstantiated claims, saying: “That would have been the only way in which I would have been able to put (the story) to air”

The week-old reports prompted Abbott to tell Sydney radio 2GB presenter Ray Hadley that the ABC lacked “affection for the home team”. “It dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but our own, and I think that is a problem,” the Prime Minister said during comments that have been widely seen as a direct attack on the broadcaster and its managing director, Mark Scott.

Last night, Turnbull said Scott was an “outstanding executive” who retained the confidence of the government.

Scott said that the ABC had “constantly reviewed its operations to deliver the best and most efficient return to Australian audiences”. “We have been in consultation with the minister and will work with the department and Mr Lewis on this new study,” he said.

The terms of reference for the study say it will “seek to clarify these costs, provide options for more efficient delivery of services (based on current practice in Australian broadcasting), identify risks and any impediments to change, and assist the national broadcasters to continue to deliver their charter responsibilities in ways that minimise costs and maximise benefits for the Australian community”.

“The study will focus on the costs of inputs – that is the ‘back-of-house’ processes applied to delivering ABC and SBS programs, products and services.

“It is not a study of the quality of the national broadcasters’ programs, products and services, or the responsibilities set out in their charters, but of the efficiency of the delivery of those services to the Australian public.”

Turnbull would not rule out merging the ABC and SBS, but doubted such an amalgamation would make either network more efficient. “The idea that you would save money by merging a small, leaner business with a larger, less lean business defies any experience I’ve had over many years of business,” he said.

Asked about his party’s election commitment, Turnbull told Sky News: “What we’ve committed to was that we did not have any cuts for ABC and SBS per se, but we have been very careful to say that if there were cuts across the board because of the budgetary challenges we face, then the ABC and SBS couldn’t expect to be exempt, and their management have always acknowledged that.”

Opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare said the review was “all about providing an excuse to cut the ABC’s budget”. “The night before the election, Tony Abbott said there would be no cuts to the ABC. If Tony Abbott cuts the ABC’s budget, it will mean he is a liar, simple as that.”

Speaking on September 6, Abbott told SBS there would be “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS…. PACNEWS

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/ABC/PACNEWS

34) Bishop concerned about regional network

By Online Editor
2:45 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Australia

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has expressed concerns about the coverage provided by the ABC-run Australia Network, and believes it’s appropriate the federal government review the Asian broadcasting service.

Speculation is growing the government is considering axing the network, which provides television services across the Asia-Pacific region, in the May budget.

Bishop says she has received numerous complaints about the content broadcast by the network and the image of Australia it presented to the region.

“I am concerned given the number of complaints … that while the content and program selection is obviously up to the ABC, that it’s not actually meeting its charter and code of practice,” she told ABC Radio on Friday.

She said it was appropriate the government review the contract.

The ABC was awarded the $223 million contract permanently in 2011 by the Gillard Labor government, but the coalition claims the tender process was botched.

Bishop said the network was an important tool of public diplomacy, and under the contract the ABC had agreed to advance some government objectives and increase awareness of Australia in the region.

“Overall the question of whether the ABC is fulfilling its obligations under that agreement is something that I’m considering right now,” she said.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

35) Former FijiTV employee joins OFC

By Online Editor
4:48 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, United States

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has appointed a new person to head its TV operations.

He is former Fiji Television career journalist and head of news and programming, Tukaha Mua.

Mua is now the OFC’s new Head of TV.

He will be based out of Auckland, New Zealand.

The OFC is one of the six continental confederations of international football, consisting of New Zealand and island nations such as Tonga, Fiji and other Pacific Island countries.

It promotes the sport in Oceania and allows the member nations to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

36) Illegal Vanuatu-based bookmaking operation ‘ripping off’ high-profile punters

By Online Editor
2:37 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Australia

An illegal offshore betting agency last year linked to the Melbourne underworld is being closely monitored by Racing NSW and the federal government, through the Treasury.

The Daily Telegraph has learned BetJack, a Vanuatu-based bookmaking business, has come under the spotlight along with two other operators in the tiny Pacific nation.

Several high-profile punters in Australia remain out of pocket, including one who deposited $50,000, got his account up to $200,000, only to be handed back his original $50,000 outlay and told “we’re all square”. It is illegal for offshore bookmakers to operate on Australian races because they do not pay any turnover tax.

Australian punters who bet offshore are not protected – and not guaranteed their winnings – because local authorities like Racing NSW have no power to hold the operators accountable. Punters tend to bet with offshore bookies like BetJack in search of a top price.

BetJack was yesterday offering odds on the Hawkesbury races.

When contacted by The Daily Telegraph and told it was illegal to bet on Australian races, a spokeswoman said:”We are a Vanautu-based company, and we are licensed in Vanuatu, and if you’ve got an inquiry, you’ll have to put it in writing.

“I’ve got no further comment.”

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’Landys said he was well aware of BetJack, and he had held discussions with government officials on how to stamp them out.

V’Landys was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia last Sunday, largely because of his efforts to take on the local corporate bookmakers and force them to pay turnover tax.

It was only after a lengthy battle that ended up in the High Court that the corporates were required to pay a 1.5 per cent turnover tax on every Australian race, and two per cent on “premium races” which carry more than $150,000 in prizemoney.

Australia Day awards recipient Peter V’Landys has been instrumental in making corporate bookmakers pay turnover tax.

V’Landys has now turned his attentions to those operating illegally on NSW racing.

He said one of the government options was to make it a criminal offence for banks to deal with accounts that paid or received money from offshore bookies.

“If you can’t transfer money to and from an account with an offshore bookie, you can’t bet with them,” V’Landys said.

“But that’s just one of the options, and we are in discussions with the federal government about this matter.

“These people aren’t paying to use our product. They’re not licensed in NSW, so they’re taking bets and not paying back money to the people who put on the show.

“But the big thing is the punter who isn’t protected. It’s a case of ‘buyer beware’. If you’re the punter and you want to bet with an offshore bookie, don’t run to us when something happens. Why would you want to bet with someone who isn’t regulated?”’

It is a criminal offence in NSW to bet with an offshore bookie, and the penalty varies from a $5500 fine to 12 months behind bars.

The Herald Sun reported last year that Melbourne underworld figures allegedly had a financial interest in BetJack. One figure denied any links, but admitted to knowing the owner.

SOURCE: COURIER MAIL/PACNEWS

37) Air Vanuatu and Air New Zealand increase services

By Online Editor
4:50 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Vanuatu

Air Vanuatu’s code share agreement with Air New Zealand has expanded to include an additional weekly flight to Auckland.

The Air New Zealand operated flight will depart each Friday from 25 April, with tickets on sale at Air Vanuatu as of now.

“The additional Auckland service takes the number of direct flights to Auckland to four a week,” Chief Executive Officer Joseph Laloyer said.

“We have a great partnership with Air New Zealand and look forward to a continued working relationship with them.”

Air Vanuatu operates its own aircraft to Auckland on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Air New Zealand flights will be on Friday and Sunday.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST /PACNEWS

38) PNG man heads coconut community

Source:
The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014

URON Neil Salum of Papua New Guinea is the new executive director of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC).
Salum was sworn last Thursday at APCC’s head office in Jakarta, Indonesia, for a three-year term.
Salum was accompanied by Trade, Commerce and Industry secretary John Andrias in his capacity as national liaison officer for APCC, and Dr James Kaiulo, managing director of Kokonas Industri Koporesen as alternate NLO to witness the inauguration.
It is the first time in the 45-year history of APCC to have a citizen of a Pacific island country heading this top inter-government organisation responsible for promoting coconut-based farming, industries and products.
APCC has 18 coconut producing member countries accounting for more than 85-90% of world coconut production and exports of coconut products.
The APCC member countries include Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, PNG, the Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
Jamaica and Kenya are associate member countries.
APCC aims to promote, coordinate and harmonise all activities of the coconut industry, which sustains lives of millions of small farmers.

39) Fiji Sets National Minimum Wage At US$1.05 An Hour
Minister says businesses couldn’t meet recommended $1.22

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 30, 2014) – Fiji’s labour ministry has set the country’s minimum wage at $US1.05 an hour, 17 cents less than the rate recommended by an independent consultant last year.

FBC reports the Labour Minister, Jone Usamate, as saying a lot of small enterprises can’t afford to pay $US1.22 an hour, recommended by Dr Mahendra Reddy.

Mr Usamate says the new rate will heavily benefit people employed in the informal sector and will be reviewed annually.

The new wage rate will come into effect on March the 1st, and the minister says employers who fail to comply will be taken to task.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

40) Communities Oppose PNG Court’s Ok Tedi Mine Orders
Groups ‘infuriated’ about not being consulted for suit

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 30, 2014) – Leaders of the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) communities and mine villages in Ok Tedi are protesting against the National Court orders issued last Friday in Papua New Guinea.

And they have congregated in the mining township of Tabubil, Western, to prevent lawyers Samson Jubi and Allan Bainyamai from presenting the court orders to Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML).

Among the orders issued by Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika is one that requires the Government to deposit K45 million [US$17.35 million] into the trust account of the lawyers who represented the seven plaintiffs from the South Fly area.

The funds are to pay for an extensive research into the extent of environmental pollution in the Fly River and its social, health and economic impact on the people. Some of the funds will be used to offset fees for the lawyers.

The court ordered OTML to refrain from dumping mine waste and tailings into the Ok Tedi and Fly River systems pending the hearing of the substantive matter on Feb 12.

The Government is also required to provide details and records of how it spent the dividends it received from OTML from 2001 to 2013.

The 36 CMCA leaders, who represent 157 villages and 120,000 people, gathered at the Tabubil airport on Tuesday to await the arrival of a chartered aircraft supposedly bringing the lawyers to serve the court orders on OTML.

They said in a statement yesterday they were infuriated for not being consulted or informed of the court application by principal plaintiff Pastor Steven Bagari and six others.

“That’s our money, not their money,” Raymond Pivini of Middle Fly said.

“If they didn’t consult us then they’re not going to come here.”

Middle Fly leader Richard Zumoi added: “That decision of the court has caused lot of pain. There’s enough suffering already, there’s enough pain that is faced by the people.

“We are supposed to be looking at good things happening and we are supposed to be discussing the benefits, we are supposed to be discussing the bigger issues of getting into ownership.

“We are calling on the people of Papua New Guinea, our impacted people, the rest of Western province, our leaders, elected leaders and the Prime Minister to take a special interest to get this stopped.”

Spokesman for the Mine villages Joel Dankim said: “If it means that we will stay here a week waiting for them lawyers bringing the court order, this is our place and we will do anything to block this person from coming here.

“This is our interest and our people’s interest.

Alice Kwause, a women’s representative from Kiwaba village, said: “Most of the women and children affected are in our area.

“This (lawyer) Samson Jubi, he has not done anything there, not even a good thing. We are not here to welcome them. We are here to turn them back.”

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

41) Samoa to benefit from offshore scandals – O.I.L.

By Online Editor
2:39 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Samoa

The Chief Executive Officer of Offshore Incorporations Limited (O.I.L), Martin Crawford, is confident that Samoa will be among a handful of tax haven countries expected to benefit from “worldwide scandals about offshore finance.”

The prediction is contained in an “expert insight” released by Offshore Incorporations Limited (O.I.L), a company with branches in ten different countries, including Samoa.

“Going forward, the mid-shore locations (particularly Hong Kong and Singapore), plus Malta, the Seychelles, and Samoa are expected to experience the greatest inflows,” said Crawford.

This is despite noticeable losses in 2012. Samoa “has seen a sharp drop in support against 2012,” the company states.

He continued long-standing attacks on what he calls “hypocrisy” among first world nations focusing attention on small offshore centres such as Samoa, while ignoring much bigger low tax regimes – including in rich countries themselves.

Attention on the O.I.L. survey from last month came to light after the publication last week online of some 37,000 documents exposing more than a dozen of leadership elite in China.

Connections between Samoa and China were also revealed where about $2 billion tala is routed through the offshore industry here and then sent back there as “investment” to avoid taxes.

O.I.L. points to those exposes, ongoing, by ICIJ, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its media partners, as putting pressure on leading tax havens like the British Virgin Islands as the reason for increased business for other finance centres, such as Samoa.

China is expected to be the single biggest source of business growth in finance centres, according to the briefing paper released last month.

This is despite China signing up last month to a tax information exchange agreement with O.E.C.D., the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Crawford’s company is poised to take advantage of any upswing in business from China.

On its website, O.I.L. states it currently has 83 “shelf” companies on file in Samoa for sale to overseas companies seeking to protect their interests here.

Of those, 39 shelf companies are available in Chinese language characters for the China market, a country with which Samoa shares no tax information exchange laws.

O.I.L. lists among three key advantages of registering a business in Samoa as a Chinese ” embassy on location for convenient legalisation.”

The company explains that the PRC, Peoples Republic of China, embassy “is particularly helpful when legalisation or documents is required for transactions and business in mainland China.”

O.I.L. counts Samoa as among top seven “major jurisdictions”.

Their combined estimates show that offshore registrations grew from 176,000 companies among the seven countries to an estimated 248,000 companies in the four years between 2009 and 2013.

This follows onset of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and widespread political promises to crack down on offshore finance centres by first world countries.

In the document, titled the Offshore 2020 report, O.I.L. figures from Samoa begin in 2012, with follow up figures last year.

O.I.L. started its global survey in 2010 with 47 organisations responding.

Last year, for 2013, that had grown to 228 organisations.

Among them, 73 Hong Kong organisations responded to the O.I.L. survey.

In their survey, O.I.L. rates Samoa at 2.1 in their survey, half of that of their top ranked jurisdiction, the British Virgin Islands, at 4.2.

O.I.L. does not quantify what this rating represents.

WhatCrawford is clear on is that there is “consensus” among those surveyed for better lobbying, public relations, transparency and education about the industry.

“Previous attempts to form a united lobby group by the jurisdictions themselves have been an exercise in ‘herding cats,’” he states.

While “they should be important stakeholders, it is the role of private industry to spearhead this.”

However, longer term, even if Samoa does benefit short term from the controversy prompted by the ICIL and other exposes, Crawford is still expecting things to return to business as usual.

“Five years from now, Delaware is likely to be as important as it is today, tighter US tax policies notwithstanding,” he states.

That’s the long term.

Amid all the short term uncertainty, Crawford is certain of one thing.

“We are not sure exactly how the next 12 months will unfold, but it is unlikely to be boring.”.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS

42) Dark prospects for tuna fishery in the Pacific Islands

By Online Editor
09:39 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Tonga

Intensive catches together with subsidised vessels have prepared the current dark scenario the Pacific albacore industry in going through, the Pacific Islands Tuna industry Association (PITIA) regrets.

In a recent statement, the organization that represents the tuna industry of the 14 nations that make up the Pacific Islands Forum, emphasized that the decline in the southern longline albacore fishery is verified not only in catch per unit effort (CPUE), but also in the fish size. The facts show that there has been a fast local depletion, irrespective of the status of the general population.

Some islands, with the support of powerful nations, such as American Samoa aided by the U.S., were able to put their fleet on the market. However, others lacking of foreign help see their longline fisheries decline to unprecedented levels. That is the case of Fiji, Tonga and Western Samoa.

The organization states that, to worsen the prospect, China announced at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting last December its intention to launch some 140 highly efficient and heavily subsidised vessels into a fishery, which has its vessels with domestic flags tied up and crew sent home.

The release points out that although some governments have reacted in an effort to protect future investments, it is too late for current players.

“PITIA has always advocated managing the fishery at MEY [Maximum Economic Yield]. The reality is, the subsidised Chinese vessel, is the only party operating at MEY in this fishery. Not the licensing authority and definitely not the unsubsidised domestic vessel nor the fisherman that is now seeking employment,” the article stresses.

The organization wonders about the fact that before the establishment of the WCPC, domestic fisheries enjoyed far better conditions than now, when conservation and management measures, which are aimed at increasing the activity, are in force.
SOURCE: FIS/PACNEWS

43) Solomon Islands Financial Management Act imposed

By Online Editor
09:37 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands’s new Public Finance Management Act 2013 has come into force on 01 January 2014.

The Act is the result of government’s commitment to improve the policy and legal framework for managing public finances.

The development of the new Act involved extensive consultations between government and stakeholders which subsequently replaces the Public Finance and Audit Act 1978.

A statement from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury yesterday said the new Act is aimed at promoting better financial management through greater transparency and accountability and improved fiscal reporting and monitoring.

An electronic version of the new Public Financial Management Act and other related materials to the Act can be viewed or found on the Ministry of Finance and Treasury website at http://www.mof.gov.sb/Homepage.aspx

The Ministry of Finance and Treasury said it is imperative that all senior government officials and relevant stakeholders are familiar with the new act and seek out the training opportunities that the Ministry will be offering over the coming months.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

44) Airport Authority and Polynesian talk money over Fagali’i Airport

By Online Editor
09:36 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Samoa

The controversial decision to transfer Fagali’i Airport to conbtrol of the Airport Authority has made the two parties knuckled down to talk money.

For Samoa Airport Authority (SAA) to take over the airport from Polynesian Airlines as per Cabinet decision last year, they have to first agree on a price.

SAA has to buy the airport property and business from Polynesian.

“Yes Fagali’i is still under Polynesian as we still have to go through an acquisition process before SAA can take over,” said outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Polyneisan, Taua Fatu Tielu.

The price?

“No I can’t tell you our price because it will prejudice our negotiations,” said Taua.

When the transaction is completed it will add a chapter to the chops and changes in the ownership of the airport land.

Last year Taua explained the ownership structure along with a bit of the history of the place.

The land at Fagali’i where the airport operates is owned by a private company called Polynesian Airlines Investments Limited (PAIL).

Polynesian, the airline operator is owned by a private company called Polynesian Limited.

Both companies trade under the name Polynesian Airlines (PAL) and both companies share the same shareholder the Government of Samoa and Board of Directors.

PAIL purchased the land at Fagali’i on 15 July 1990 from Western Samoa Trust Estates Corporation.

SAA agreed to own and operate Fagali’i Airport in 1999.

But it reneged on the deal and instead closed airport in January 2005 citing safety reasons.

The land at Fagali’i remained the property of PAIL and lay idle for close to five years.

Re-opening the airport became an attractive idea to Polynesian when its board returned its Dash-8 aircraft in September 2007 and return to a Twin Otter fleet only for commercial reasons.

In the second half of 2008, Polynesian submitted the idea to Cabinet to re-open Fagali’i Airport under Polynesian’s management.

Cabinet gave approval after a high level committee of high level had confirmed there was nothing illegal or wrong in Polynesian operating an airline as well as an airport as the two business models complemented each other.

Approval was granted in July 2009.

Polynesian spent over $1 million to do up the airport to meet safety and security standards stipulated by the Samoa CAA, the regulatory authority. Seven months later the airport was back in business.

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

MELANESIAN -TRIBAL LAW & ORDER

45) Sorcery killing

Rnzi
Saturday, February 01, 2014

TWO Vanuatu police inspectors have intervened to stop village chiefs in East Efate from drowning a man they had claimed was practising witchcraft.

A number of people from Matarisu and Ekipe Villages have died after complaining of stomach aches and diarrhoea and the man was blamed for their deaths.

The chiefs planned to hang a rock around the man’s neck and drown him but senior inspectors Jackson Noal and John Tete stepped in.

They say they warned the chiefs that taking another man’s life is against the law and a person can go to prison for it.

LAW& ORDER ( Western) 

46) Father, daughter held in custody

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, February 01, 2014

THE Suva Magistrates Court has remanded a man and his daughter for allegedly being in possession of illicit drugs, mainly a kilogram of methamphetamine.

Yesterday Josese Rakuita and Litia Rakuita were told their case would be transferred to the High Court.

Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman told the two that because of the nature of the drugs, the matter had to be transferred to the upper court and that all bail applications would have to be made in that court.

Mr Rakuita told the court his university course would start next Monday while Ms Rakuita said she had to look after her younger siblings. But Mr Lakshman said there was almost a kilogram of methamphetamine allegedly found on the two for which the maximum sentence was life.

Mr Rakuita is also charged with aggravated robbery along with Isireli Tamanikawanitabua.http://www.fijitimes.com/

47) Firm uncovers fraud in military

Source:
The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014

AN independent investigation has uncovered fraud involving more than a million kina at the PNG Defence Force headquarters at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby.
The investigative audit report by a management consultancy firm alleges that two senior officers authorised unverified transactions from the Command Officers’ Mess Independence Ball (COMIB) account between October 2008 and February 2011.
The fraud amounted to more than K1.2 million.
The account was set up to cater for the Command Officers’ Mess annual independence ball.
According to documents sighted by The National, the report was commissioned by an officer of the Defence Force Commercial Support Programme.
The consultancy was asked to investigate the COMIB account with respect to compulsory fortnightly deductions of monies which were supposed to be deposited into the Defence Force commercial support trust account but were instead diverted and deposited into the COMIB account between October 2008 and February 2011.
The officer who commissioned the report, lodged a complaint at Boroko Police Station against the two officers on Monday.
Copies of the report were delivered to the Task Force Sweep, the police proceeds of crime unit, the Chief Secretary to the Government, the police fraud and anti-corruption squad last month and recently to the Ombudsman Commission.
The audit investigation began in November 2012. It examined bank records and interviewed a number of people.
The report claims there was diversion of funds to the COMIB account from which the two officers jointly and separately made withdrawals.
Military sources familiar with the investigation have called on the government, the investigating authorities, law enforcing agencies and Defence Force to get to the bottom of the allegations.
“This was money meant to meet the welfare of our troops who were at times fed sub-standard food because very senior people in responsible positions were siphoning it off for their own use,” one source said.
“Such corrupt people should not hold public office because it would reflect badly on the integrity and reputation of the Defence Force.
“This fraud case is common knowledge among the military rank and file and we are angry about it.
“The government preaches a lot of fighting corruptions so it must act,” the source said.
“This is a case which when details of the extent of the fraud are made public, will greatly embarrass the government and the Defence Force but action needs to be taken and taken immediately.”

48) UN calls on PNG to reconsider death penalty policy

Updated 31 January 2014, 10:11 AEST

The United Nations representative in Papua New Guinea is urging Port Moresby to rethink plans to bring back capital punishment.

PNG’s Justice Minister Kerengua Kua has announced that 13 inmates on death row will be executed this year.

However, there’s debate over the method of the executions.

Roy Trivedy, the UN’s resident coordinator in PNG, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat research has shown the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime, and the government should reconsider its decision.

“There are people who feel very strongly in this country that the introduction of a death sentence is the right way to go. But there are equally many people who have very serious concerns about this,” Mr Trivedy said.

“Our worry is that a knee-jerk reaction and introduction of something which will actually have massive, massive implications for the whole country will be a retrograde step.”

Justice Minister Kua says the threat of the death penalty has already had an effect on the country’s crime rate, and has challenged critics to come up with a workable alternative.

Mr Trivedy says a national debate on the issue is needed.

“An effective judicial system, having an effective police force, are essential elements, but those by themselves are probably not enough. You also need a huge amount of public education, awareness raising which can actually help people to understand, and have the confidence in, the system,” he said.

“We welcome the Minister’s comments that he’s asking for alternative suggestions to be put forward and I think having a national dialogue about this is a good start.

“There are clearly many countries in the world where legal systems are not strong and well resourced. Papua New Guinea, the system here, falls within that category as well… Even in the best endowed legal systems in the world we know that there is always a likelihood that someone can be wrongfully condemned.”

Mr Trivedy says the PNG government is aware of the UN’s concerns, which have been raised both in country and through the United Nations internationally.

“The right to life is the most fundamental of all of the human rights and if the death penalty is introduced we are likely to see a real setback for human rights,” he said.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-01-31/un-calls-on-png-to-reconsider-death-penalty-policy/1257142

49) New PNG defence chief sworn in

By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Gilbert Toropo, the new Defence Force commander, was promoted from the rank of Colonel to Brigadier-General and sworn into office Thursday at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby.

Defence Force Judge Panuel Mogish and Defence Minister Fabian Pok officiated at the event.

Justice Mogish, after signing the oaths, congratulated the new commander while acknowledging the contribution by the outgoing Commander Brigadier General Francis Agwie.

“I am confident the new comman-der will continue to progress work already in place particularly the Defence White Paper,” Justice Mogish said.

“The National Constitution identifies the Defence Force as a body that provides assistance to civilian authorities in times of disaster or state of emergency, to restore order and security.”

Justice Mogish said rowdy and undisciplined conduct within the force is not part of the force’s character.

“Apart from the provisions of the Defence Act relating to discipline, the Constitution states that its members are subject to all the laws of the country in the same way as ordinary people are,” he said.

“Discipline has been declining within the force over the past months and measures to restore it in the force must be reviewed and strengthened; physical fitness is critical at all levels.”

Justice Mogish said at the constitutional level, commanding officers must be held accountable for the actions of their members.

“There should be avenues for commanding officers to liaise with civilian authorities. Addressing unlawful criminal conduct is a good way to maintain discipline.

“A further deterrent to unlawful criminal conduct is to increase the penalty regime for offences under the code of military discipline,” he stated.

The new commander praised the O’Neill-Dion Government for having trust and confidence in him to head the Defence Force and for appointing him as the commander.

Brigadier-General Toropo and outgoing commander Brigadier General Francis Agwi are smoothly going through the transition process which would be finalised during the handover parade today.

The new commander expressed his gratitude to the former commander for his time in office, which he described as uncompromising leadership during the trying times the force and the nation has been through.

“Despite challenges, the people of PNG and the government expects us to deliver in accordance with the mandated constitutional responsibilities of protecting sovereignty, nation building, internal security and international obligation of which I am prepared to deliver,” he said.

The handover ceremony will be held today at Murray Barracks.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

50) 2014 is the International Year of Small Island Developing states (SIDS)                                        information and video

It aims to promote the achievement of sustainable development of small island developing States and recognises the importance of coordinated, balanced and integrated actions to address the sustainable development challenges facing small island developing States.  Includes a short video by Pacific youth entitled ‘Youth as Partners in Sustainable Development’
To watch go to: http://un.org.au/campaigns/international-years/international-year-of-small-island-developing-states-2014/

Coming Events

What about our Islands?                                                                                                 Cairns community forum

The Friends of the Earth Brisbane Climate Frontlines and The GOODNESS Inc will be hosting a community forum on Torres Strait Islands and Climate Change:
Date: Friday 28 February
Time: 5pm for 5.30pm Start
Venue: Junior Eisteddfod Hall, 76 Greenslopes St, Cairns
RSVP by Monday 24 Feb to wendy.flannery@foe.org.au or 0439 771 692
This is a great opportunity for Torres Strait Islanders and their family and friends to share information and stories on the cultural, health, economic and environmental impacts of king tides, coastal erosion, sea level rise and other climate-related threats.

Women, Food and Climate; Honouring women’s role in creating a fair food future.

Oxfam Australia, The Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific Ltd (AFAP), The Edmund Rice Centre and the Pacific Calling Partnership invite you to a celebration of International Women’s Day: Women, Food and Climate; Honouring women’s role in creating a fair food future. The event will include a discussion panel of experts, short films, photographs, special performances followed by a luncheon.

Date:  Thursday 6 March 2014
Time: 12:00 to 2:00 pm
Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts Mitchell Theatre – Level 1  280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (a 5-minute walk from Town Hall station)
02 9262 7300 | smsa.org.au

 ‘Oceanscapes: Cooperation Across the Pacific’                                                        conference Sydney (22 – 26 April 2014)

This conference organised by the Australian Associatioon for Pacific Studies employs the concept of Oceanscapes from The Pacific Oceanscape Vision, introduced by President Anote Tong of Kiribati and endorsed by the Pacific Island Forum.

For details: http://sydney.edu.au/museums/research/aaps-conference.shtml

News

Masters student from New York University travels to Tarawa to learn

Marvin Alfaro is a graduate student at New York University currently working on his master’s thesis in collaboration with the Pacific Calling Partnership (PCP), focusing on how climate change is impacting Pacific Small Island Developing States’ (PSIDS) water and food security. The central motivation for the study is to learn about I-Kiribati’s greatest concerns, to identify what support would be welcomed from the United States, and to develop recommendations for best practices and potential future initiatives. Marvin is currently in Kiribati meeting with local government officials and different I-Kiribati communities across Tarawa to learn about local environmental and health concerns. He will be in Kiribati until 14 February 2014, but can be reached via email (mea379@nyu.edu) upon his return.

United States makes a strategic Pacific focus on climate change

The U.S. government continues to make significant strides in reducing the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, and is committed to reducing its emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Furthermore, the United States has made a strategic Pacific focus by expanding bilateral and multilateral climate change-related assistance to the region. In September 2013, the United States pledged $24 million dollars for vulnerable coastal communities to utilize in the Pacific. Last year the United States also launched new projects through its USAID organization to help Pacific islands cope with climate change. In this launch, USAID announced three main projects that include Kiribati, namely:

the Coastal Community Adaptation Project (C- CAP),
the Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably Managed, Healthy Forests (MARSH),
and a new USAID-U.S. Peace Corps Partnership .

United States Agency for International Development- Pacific Islands webpage- http://www.usaid.gov/pacific-islands/environment-and-global-climate-change

“Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
-Barack Obama, January 28, 2014, State of the Union address

Kiribati an “early warning system” for climate change

In a special event on ‘Strengthening the resilience of small island developing States (SIDS) within the context of sustainable development,’ Makurita Baaro, Permanent Representative of Kiribati to the UN, described Kiribati as the “early warning system” for climate change, noting that many coastal cities will eventually face the same challenges as Kiribati. She stressed the need for action, particularly on adaptation, emphasizing that Kiribati is “the most studied, most researched and most media-covered nation relating to climate change,” yet remains just as vulnerable today. She supported people-centered, durable partnerships based on mutual respect. Nov 2013
read more: http://sids-l.iisd.org/news/second-committee-discusses-sids-resilience/

Climate Change Is Wrecking The Pacific                                  article by Nic Maclellan

‘Once more, an island nation in the Pacific has been hammered by a tropical cyclone. The Ha’apai islands in the Kingdom of Tonga were battered over the weekend by Cyclone Ian, a category 5 severe tropical cyclone. Housing was destroyed, trees were stripped of their foliage, infrastructure was damaged and drinking water polluted….
Recent reports from the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) program have shown that climate change will increase the intensity (though not the frequency) of cyclones in the South Pacific in coming years.’
https://newmatilda.com//2014/01/13/climate-change-wrecking-pacific

WMO, UNESCO Initiatives Aim to Increase Coastal Resilience

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have announced their participation in two initiatives being undertaken to develop risk management strategies and tools for weather and water-related extreme events and to increase the resilience of coastal communities.
read more: http://sids-l.iisd.org/news/wmo-unesco-initiatives-aim-to-increase-coastal-resilience/

Over fishing must stop

“Overfishing cannot continue,” warned Nitin Desai, Secretary General of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development…. “The depletion of fisheries poses a major threat to the food supply of millions of people.”
…the rate of depletion of the world’s fisheries… has increased more than four times in the past 40 years.
Read  more: http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyID=800

Blue Economy Summit promotes healthy ocean ecosystems

Participants at the Blue Economy Summit adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which describes the blue economy as a tool to promote, inter alia, sustainable development, poverty eradication and climate change mitigation in small island developing States (SIDS) and coastal countries…. “We cannot keep using marine and aquatic resources as if they were endless. And we cannot keep using our oceans as a waste pool.”  Jan 2014
read more: http://sids-l.iisd.org/news/blue-economy-summit-adopts-abu-dhabi-declaration/

Credit: Jill Finnane Eco-Justice Program Coordinator
Edmund Rice Centre 15 Henley Rd Flemington – PO Box 2219 Homebush West 2140
Ph: 02 8762 4200   www.erc.org.au

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILDREN

51) Survey shows sexual abuse increase in Vanuatu

By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s second largest town, Luganville, is experiencing a huge increase of sexual abuse against girls below the age of 15.

A survey carried out by the Women’s Center in Luganville has proved this rise with 30% of girls under the age of 15 facing sexual activities.

Luganville itself has 24% who have been facing sexual abuses. Despite the rapid increase, the survey reveals that more abuses continue to happen particularly within the Northern Provinces while relatives are scared to report the issue to police and instead solve such abuses within the community.

The Luganville Women’s Center has revealed that many of the victims who face such acts continue to suffer throughout life following treatments they face during childhood.

Meanwhile, the Sanma Counseling Centre in Luganville is action with more awareness conducted inside schools around Sanma Province and Luganville.

However, last year some schools around Luganville attempted to stop the Centre from conducting awareness saying it is against traditional and religious believes.

Cathy Bani from the Sanma Counseling Centre said they are starting to conduct awareness for children in schools and encourage parents to take care of their children all the time.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST /PACNEWS

SPORTS

52) Govt commits K8.5 million to PNG Games

Source:
The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014

THE National Government commitment to the sixth PNG Games in Lae will be K8.5 million and not the K23 million as expected by the Host Organising Committee.
Minister for Sports Justin Tkatchenko and Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation chairman Graham Osborne made this clarification yesterday following a story in The National yesterday, quoting an unnamed member of the Lae HOC.
Tkatchenko said already the national government through PNGSF has committed K8.5 million for the upgrading of the Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium’s facilities.
Minister Tkatchenko brushed aside reports that the national government had turned a blind eye to the upgrading of sporting venues.
He said K7 million has already been released for a brand new synthetic track at Sir Ignatius at a cost of K2.5 million, another K2 million for the indoor stadium and outdoor stadium and a further K2.5 million for the swimming pool.
The outdoor stadium will cater for netball and volleyball.
An additional K1.5 million will cover administrative costs.
Tkatchenko added that Kokopo was a different story – it needed new facilities to run the games so the commitment had to be more.
“For Lae’s case, it has existing facilities and all we have to do is upgrade and the provincial government is supposed to come good too knowing that was one of the bidding requirements to allocate funding,” Tkatchenko added.
He said the K23 million is the Host Organising Committee’s budget for other venues apart from the PNGSF run facilities.
“Lae will host the PNG Games and we are ready to deliver that,” Osborne said, in supporting the Minister.
PNGSF executive director Peter Tsiamalili Jr chimed in that all focus was on facilitating the games and any suggestions of the games in limbo were totally misleading.
A PNG Games Council meeting is scheduled for February 8-9 in Port Moresby to discuss major issues regarding the bi-annual event.

53) NSL in limbo

Source:
The National, Wednesday January 29th, 2014

By HENRY MORABANG
THE National Soccer League season is delayed for another week.
The competition has already been postponed three times with the last kick-off date on January 25 but the games were called off because of a pending case before the court.
As a result the Oceania Football Confederation, the governing body in the region, has ordered its disciplinary committee to investigate the row between FC Port Moresby and the NSL board.
Oceania secretary-general Tai Nicholas said on Jan 6 the confederation had written to the Port Moresby club to withdraw its court proceeding after being excluded from the competition.
They were given seven days to comply or face disciplinary action.
With no action by the club, a second letter dated January 24 was issued. In it Nicholas said the club had failed to respect the directive and their action  was in violation of FIFA rules.
He said the Oceania disciplinary committee would be convened and the club would have to appear before it.
The club has written to the national body agreeing to withdraw its court proceeding on condition they be included in 2014 competition.
But the controlling body said the club must withdraw the condition and come for talks to find an amicable solution.

54) Pacific Games Funds acquitted

By Online Editor
5:15 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has won the first “gold medal’ before the 2015 Pacific Games has started in presenting the first report of the first K400 million (US$158 million) allocated in 2013 Budget.

Finance Minister James Marape was full of praise to Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko with his team from the Pacific Games Authority, Games foundation and the Venues committee. The report from the Sports Minister is the first of its kind since independence on the use of public funds.

The O’Neill government allocated K400 million for the games, K180 million (US$71 million) has been drawn down, K80 million (US$13 million) is in the bank and the Games organizers expect immediate draw-down after their initial K700 million (US$276 million) budget submission failed. Tkatchenko presented the acquittal reports on behalf of the PNG Sports Foundation, the Pacific Games Authority and the Venues Committee for the period ending December 31, 2013.

He said the government has committed K1.1 billion for the Pacific Games to ensure that it is run and operated and done properly, for the benefit of not only the Pacific Games but to leave a lasting legacy to have these venues help promote the country and to bring in future international events. He said 90 percent of all contracts were done and work was now 30 percent on track and is expected to be completed on schedule before the Pacific Games in July, 2015.

Minister Tkatchenko said it was very important for him for the money to be properly recorded and accounted for as government is spending huge amounts on the Games. The people and public must know how the funds are being spent. Finance Minister James Marape using the occasion issued a stern warning to all government agencies to furnish their 2013 Public Expenditure report before they access their 2014 funds.

“On behalf of the O’Neill-Dion Government and the Department of Finance I would like to take this time to thank the office of the Minister for Sports, National Events and Pacific Games, Justin Tkatchenko, for presenting his Financial Performance Report 2013.

“It is prerequisite requirement for all government departments, provincial governments and statutory organizations to submit quarterly or annual financial reports as stipulated in the Public Finance (Management) Act before funds are released for the next quarter,” Minister Marape said.

He applauded Minister Tkatchenko for showing great leadership in ensuring good governance by adhering to all laws that govern all organizations that vie for prudent management of finance by furnishing the financial activity report of 2013.

He said it is very important Minister Tkatchenko submitted his report early because his organization has the mammoth task to deliver the infrastructure and venue for the Pacific Games on time and needed to access funds early for the works that are continuing.

Meanwhile, two swimming pools at Taurama Barracks and Murray Barracks which will be used by the athletes for training in preparation for the 2015 Pacific Games will be completed and ready for use in April this year.

This was the assurance undertaken by both L & A construction manager of Taurama pool and Murray Barracks gymnasium Mark Bessell and Nipuks Works Ltd project manager Norman Tokunai of Murray Barracks pool to the Sports and 2015 Pacific Games minister Justin Tkatchenko and the media during a site inspection this week.

Bessell said the construction work is well underway for the 45 meter by five lanes swimming pool at Taurama which has been refurbished including change rooms, toilets and kiosk. “The indoor gymnasium has also been modified to a high standard and will be ready for use at same time for training,” he said.

Tokunai said the 25 meter pool at Murray Barracks has also been improvised to international standards including change rooms, toilets and a kiosk similar to the Taurama pool. Minister Tkatchenko said the facilities will be used by the athletes to train and prepare for the Games.

“The two swimming pools and the gymnasium will also benefit the Defence force soldiers to use for their training and will also have public access to the facilities,” Tkatchenko said. A total of K11 million funded by the PNG Sports Foundation through the Central supply and tenders board to the two construction companies. The construction phase of the Rita Flynn netball courts will be announced next week.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

55) Fiji 7s Captain confident, Mata replaces Tuwai

By Online Editor
5:09 pm GMT+12, 31/01/2014, Fiji

Fiji 7s captain Osea Kolinisau is confident his troops will do wonders at the Wellington 7s next weekend.

He says the players are aware of the expectations of the people and are ready to lay their bodies on the line for Fiji.

“We are very disappointed in Las Vegas but we have done some positive things over the two days of competition in Vegas,” said Kolinisau.

“Our defence stood out very well against Wales and Kenya compared to the game against Australia and New Zealand.

“As for Wellington we just need to pick up on our defence and add some technical aspects to our attacks.

“There are positive vibes among the boys we are looking forward to the Wellington 7s.

“We will try and win the tournament after disappointing the fans in Las Vegas.”

Kolinisau said the players had learnt a lot from the Las Vegas loss, especially the different interpretations of the laws by match officials.

“We just need to play well and we are going to do things perfectly.”

Meanwhile, Fiji national 7s squad member Viliame Mata will replace robust forward, Pio Tuwai, at the Hertz Wellington 7s next weekend.

Tuwai did not travel with the 11-member team led by skipper Osea Kolinisau as they departed for the Wellington yesterday.

The Votua, Ba native suffered a knee injury he sustained at the USA Sevens Las Vegas over the weekend.

Kolinisau said the team was disappointed with South African referee Rasta Rasivhenge’s control during Fiji’s pool games against Australia and New Zealand.

“There were some controversial decisions made at the expense of the Fijian side but that is all history,” Kolinisau said.

“You cannot change things that happened but the team was disappointed in Vegas.”

Fiji is on third spot with 56 points in the HSBC World Sevens World Series, behind leaders South Africa (78), and New Zealand (77) on second.

“We had high hopes of winning but we managed to win the Bowl so we get some points so as to be in contention,” he added.

He said the team will be working on their discipline.

“We always work on that and we need to keep our penalty count lower compared to Las Vegas.

“It is a good chance for us to rectify our game from last weekend and the first match against NZ will be an interesting one.”

Fiji plays New Zealand in its first pool match at 2.06pm next Friday while the second match against France at 5.35pm before facing Spain at 7.28pm.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/ FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

56) FORU to host sports science conference in Fiji

By Online Editor
4:15 pm GMT+12, 30/01/2014, Fiji

The Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) will host the region’s leading Rugby sports scientists and sports medicine experts at a two-day conference in Nadi, Fiji, from 30-31 January.

It will be the first Sport Science Sport Medicine (SSSM) Conference in the region dedicated to Rugby. Its establishment is the result of FORU’s strategic partnership with Oceania National Committees (ONOC) and the International Rugby Board.

“Both ONOC and the IRB are committed to rolling out the latest educational programmes in the important areas of sports science and sports medicine across Fiji and throughout the region,” said IRB High Performance Manager (Asia Pacific), Peter Horne.

“The conference is a part of the IRB’s ongoing investment in the region. From 2009 and 2012 the IRB invested nearly £16million in Pacific Islands Rugby. It is forecast that a further £19 million will be invested between 2013 and 2016 in Rugby development, high-performance programmes, regional tournaments, and education and training.”

“An important part of this investment is the continued role out of best practice principles in sport science that have the aim of improving levels of performance through a variety of disciplines, such as conditioning, mental skills and nutrition. Hand in hand with this are the latest sports medicine protocols in areas such as injury and illness prevention,” added Horne.

Convener of the conference is the IRB’s Physical Conditioning Consultant and Senior Lecturer at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport and Adventure, Matthew Blair. He will be assisted at the conference by several high-profile presenters including:

*Dr Warren MacDonald, the Australian Rugby Union’s Chief Medical Officer who has been involved in elite sport for more than 20 years

*Dave Hadfield (MA Psychology) one of New Zealand’s best-known high-performance consultants who has worked widely in high-performance sport in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France

*Prof. Ken Hodge, a professor in sport and exercise psychology at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand

*William Koong, Fiji’s senior national team physiotherapist and President of the Fiji Physiotherapy Association

*Gary Slater, National Performance Nutrition Coordinator for the Australian Rugby Union, a sports performance focused dietician and sports physiologist who has been working in elite sport since 1996

*Jason Healy, the Performance Analysis Manager at NZ Rugby, based in Wellington and leads a small team that focuses on Data Analytics and Sports Technology.

In Rugby’s global world the SSSM disciplines are becoming increasingly important in terms of player welfare and Blair believes the Oceania region has a vital role to play in ensuring the region has relevant sports science and sports medicine policies in place.

“The main objectives of this conference are several fold to be honest, but I suppose at the top of the list is ensuring the region is fully compliant and conversant with all IRB rules, regulations and policies which refer to sports science and sports medicine,” Blair said.

“It’s also very important we develop sports science and sports medicine practices that deliver to the unique requirements of the Oceania region,” Blair added.

Topics covered over the course of the two-day conference will include:

*Sport medicine challenges and solutions in the Pacific Islands
*Sports analysis – how does it make the boat go faster?
*Common sports nutrition myths and misconceptions
*Motivational climate in a world champion team
*Sport science challenges and solutions in the Pacific Islands

Delegates to the conference will be coming from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

57) No holding back, say Wellington Phoenix

Aap
Saturday, February 01, 2014

AUCKLAND – The Wellington Phoenix begin a pivotal phase of their come-from-behind bid to make the A-League play-offs when they host in-form Adelaide United in Auckland.

The Reds are one of three teams from the bottom half of the table that the Phoenix, themselves back in ninth spot, will face in consecutive weekends, making the fixtures effective six-pointers.

But Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has ruled out any retreat from his side’s attacking intent because of the stakes involved at Eden Park tonight, and then against Newcastle and Melbourne Heart.

“We want to win the next three games,” he said.

“We’re not playing for draws. It doesn’t matter about the form of the other side.”

He cited Wellington’s approach in their 2-1 defeat to leaders Brisbane in the heat and humidity at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night, when they tried to build on a 1-0 lead and then chase the winner after the Roar equalised.

Adelaide will go in with the confidence of an unbeaten seven-match run that has lifted them to sixth on the table.

Three of the Reds’ four wins during their streak have been against the league’s top three sides, although they needed a late Ryan Griffiths goal to snatch a 2-2 draw with the bottom-placed Heart last weekend.

They are sitting just four points behind Adelaide, having picked up 13 points from their five matches before the trip to Brisbane.

In what will be the first meeting of the season between the clubs, Merrick will have Costa Rican pair Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham back from international duty.

However, Belgian striker Stein Huysegems, the league’s top marksman with eight goals, might need to pass a match-day fitness test on a calf problem, although the player himself is confident of taking the pitch.

58) Draxler ‘not joining’ Arsenal

Afp
Saturday, February 01, 2014

BERLIN – Schalke 04’s general manager Horst Heldt has denied British media reports suggesting their Germany midfielder Julian Draxler is on the verge of signing for Premier League side Arsenal.

“I am very sure that Julian will not only play the second half of the season for us, but also probably beyond,” the Schalke boss told a press conference in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

“We are happy that we have a world-class player in our ranks.”

With the transfer window to close at midnight on Friday, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder has been strongly linked to Arsenal.

59) SPORTS NOTEBOOK

Compiled By Zanzeer Singh
Saturday, February 01, 2014

SOCCER

Navua

THE Navua Football Association annual general meeting will be held on February 22, 2014 at Vashist Muni College hall at 7.30pm

Agenda: preliminaries, presidential address, minutes, annual report, annual financial report, motions, by-elections, general, closure

Nausori Masters

THE newly-formed Nausori Masters Soccer club would like to invite all interested players who want to join the club for the soccer season. Interested players are to avail themselves for a meeting at Syria Park in Nausori tomorrow at 9am. For more information contact Suresh Kumar on 9918278 or Attar Ali on 8479609.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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