Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 936

MELANESIA:

1) Liquica-Maubara road section completed under Timor – Leste road project
By Online Editor
1:47 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Timor-leste

A special ceremony was held today to officially open the Liquica-Maubara section of road recently completed under the Road Network Development Sector Project, funded by a grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The Project has rehabilitated 16 kilometers of national roads, developed a road maintenance program, and will have upgraded 60 kilometers of national roads when it is completed at the end of 2015.

Fernando Lasama de Araujo, Vice Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, led the road opening delegation at the ceremony alongside the Minister of Public Works, Gastao De Sousa, and Shane Rosenthal, Resident Representative from ADB’s Timor-Leste Resident Mission.

“As well as strengthening connectivity, the improved stretch of road will accelerated economic opportunities, promote private sector growth, increase agricultural productivity, and reduce poverty,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “This more reliable and safer road should increase passenger and cargo traffic while reducing travel times.”

A key element of the road project is its climate resilient design, meaning the upgraded road will be less vulnerable to floods and landslides. Improving the road between Dili and the border will boost ties with Indonesia, which is Timor-Leste’s main source of imports and third-largest export market.

The project is not only supporting road rehabilitation, but is also helping the government to establish systems and practices for road maintenance. The Ministry of Public Works is expected to replicate the models developed under the project in other regions of Timor-Leste. Training has been provided to build the capacity of national contractors in road maintenance technology, procurement, and project management.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region…
SOURCE: ADB/PACNEWS

AUSTRALIA:


2) DFAT considers options for Fiji staff
By Online Editor
09:50 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Fiji

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is still working out its staffing profile following its integration with the former AusAid.

In response to Fiji One News queries about redundancy offers made to local staff, a DFAT spokesperson said several options were being considered.

The spokesperson said “while the department will continue to look for savings across all business areas it is unlikely to meet these challenges by natural attrition alone.”

For now, DFAT is managing job losses through normal means like retirement and resignation.

Other options include voluntary redundancies and re-deployment of staff.

The spokesperson says this applies to department staff in Australia and at overseas missions.

That includes local staff engaged at overseas missions.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN:

3) Ol Panaeati Islands papa graun long Milne Bay long PNG i koros

Postim 5 February 2014, 17:31 AEST
Bethany Keats

Pasin sampela lain i salim sampela ailan long Milne Bay Province long mekim ol conservation project i mekim ol paparaun i koros. has angered local landowners who say they were not consulted on the sale of their land.

Ol Panaeati Islands papa graun long Milne Bay i tok ailan blong ol i mas stap long han blong ol yet
Odio: Siaman bilong Landowner Clans antap long Panaeati Islands long Milne Bay i toktok
Ol papa graun i koros long wanem ol i no save long sampela lain ibin salim graun blong ol na oli no kisim moni o wanpela samting long dispela.

Ol dispela ailan ol i bin stap pinis long han blong ol arapela insait long moa long 100 yar.

Taim nambawan lis agimen long 99 yar i pinis, gavman i iusim ken lis pastaim long toktok wantaim ol papa graun.

Wanpela bisnis man long London long England nau i praivet ona na em i plan na em i gat plan long wokim sampela developmen ol dispela ailan.

Siaman bilong Landowner Clans antap long Panaeati Islands i tok, ol dispela ailan i impoten long kaikai bilong ol pipal i i mas noken stap long han bilong ol pipal long narapela kantri.radio australia

4) PNG NGO i tok ripot blong SABL i kisim longpla taem

Updated 5 February 2014, 17:01 AEST
John Papik

Wanpela Papua New Guinea NGO, ACT NOW i sapotim ripot blong SABL olsem gavman imas hariap nau na rausim planti korap tok oraet oa agriman em oli bin givim igo long ol bisnis man long lisim graon blong ol igo long ol foran kampani.

Mr Numapo na tupla narapla Commissioner ibin painim olsem planti bisnis laen ibin kisim 99 yia leases, tasol planti papa na mama graon ino bin givim tok oraet blong ol.

Effrey Dademo program manager wantaim NGO grup ACt Now i tok laen blongen, ACT NOW i sapotim toktok blong Mr Numapo long wei wea Gavman igo pas long ino hariap long ol toktok ol i mekim insait long wok painim aut.

“Em i 6 mun nao na Gavaman ino mekim wanpla samting.”

“Mipla askim Gavaman nao long kisim ol pipol igo kot, em ol i neimim ol oa mekim wanpla samting i stap insait long ripot,” em ibin tok.radio australia

FRENCH:

5) PNG: Julie Bishop démine le terrain à Manus

Mis à jour 5 February 2014, 13:43 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’est la première visite officielle de Julie Bishop en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, et l’agrandissement du centre de Manus sera au centre des discussions, avec une polémique sur son impact environnemental, la présence d’amiante et de munitions non explosées de la 2ème Guerre mondiale.

La ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères arrivera aujourd’hui à Port-Moresby pour un séjour marathon de 48 heures, dominé par la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine et le centre de détention très controversé des demandeurs d’asile placés par l’Australie sur l’île de Manus, au large de la côte nord de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Vendredi dernier la Cour Suprême papoue a accepté la plainte déposée par le chef de l’opposition Belden Namah, qui demande la fermeture du centre de détention de Manus. Selon lui, la détention des demandeurs d’asile est anticonstitutionnelle, on ne peut pas enfermer quelqu’un en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée à moins qu’il ne présente un danger pour la société.

Parallèlement, le centre de détention est en cours d’agrandissement, il doit accueillir 2000 demandeurs d’asile et 800 employés supplémentaires. Et l’impact sur les humains et l’environnement inquiète Sinclair Knight Mertz. Le cabinet de conseil en ingénierie a remis son rapport au ministère australien de l’Immigration en novembre. SKM liste les risques liés à cet agrandissement. La construction des bâtiments supplémentaires et le stockage de tonnes de fuel pourraient détruire la faune marine. Mais surtout, SKM met en garde contre la probable présence de munitions non explosées, des bombes de la Seconde guerre mondiale, et d’épaves militaires, dont les produits chimiques – comme l’amiante- pourraient polluer les sols. On écoute la réaction de Julie Bishop, au micro de Karen Barlow sur l’ABC :

« Je vais bien sûr évoquer le sujet avec les ministres papous concernés. Mais nous sommes très reconnaissants à la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée pour sa coopération et son rôle prépondérant dans la lutte contre le trafic de migrants dans la région. »

Le cabinet de conseil SKM pointe aussi l’absence d’eau chaude dans les baraquements des demandeurs d’asile, un luxe réservé à l’encadrement du centre de détention.

Autre sujet délicat qui attend la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères : les visas. Depuis des mois, le Premier ministre papou Peter O’Neill se plaint officiellement du déséquilibre entre les deux pays. Un ressortissant australien peut obtenir un visa à son arrivée à l’aéroport de Port-Moresby. Mais la réciproque n’est pas vraie.

Un ressortissant papou doit demander son visa pour l’Australie depuis la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, et c’est un parcours du combattant, qui indigne beaucoup de Papous, car leur pays était une colonie australienne. Peter O’Neill menace de supprimer dès le mois de mars les visas à l’arrivée pour les Australiens qui viennent travailler en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Seuls les touristes australiens pourraient toujours obtenir un visa à leur arrivée sur le sol papou. Ce ne sont pour l’instant que des menaces, la visite de Julie Bishop peut changer la donne et apaiser le courroux papou.

« Nous espérons que la nouvelle procédure des visas n’entravera pas inutilement les déplacements des représentants des entreprises australiennes. Je ne pense pas que ce soit l’objectif de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. C’est un sujet que nous aborderons, pour améliorer la liberté de déplacement des hommes d’affaires australiens. De notre côté, nous avons amélioré l’accueil des ressortissants papous, nous avons créé des files d’attente qui leur sont dédiées dans les aéroports australiens, nous avons facilité la demande des visas pour les Papous, nous continuerons sur cette lancée. »

Depuis 2013, les Papous n’ont plus besoin de faire la queue pendant des jours devant l’ambassade australienne de Port-Moresby pour obtenir un visa, ils peuvent le demander par internet, si tant est qu’ils aient accès à Internet.  radio australia

6) Indonésie-PNG: un accord pour fluidifier les échanges transfrontaliers

Mis à jour 5 February 2014, 16:59 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

L’Indonésie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée signent un accord sur la conversion de leurs monnaies le long de leur frontière commune.

L’accord, qui entrera en vigueur dans cinq ans, permettra d’augmenter les échanges économiques entre les deux pays, les roupies et les kinas seront disponibles de chaque côté de la frontière, alors que pour le moment, changer des devises n’est possible que dans de rares endroits.

Voilà qui devrait changer la vie des Indonésiens et des Papous qui vivent à la frontière et la traversent régulièrement pour aller sur les marchés et reviennent vendre leurs marchandises dans leur pays.Radio Australia

PASIFIK:


7) Call for united Pacific voice on nuclear issues
By Online Editor
09:52 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Fiji

There’s been a call for Pacific Island leaders and churches to unite in the fight to ban nuclear weapons and address nuclear waste issues.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is urging these groups to be represented at the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons next month in Mexico and help build momentum for talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Reverend Francois Pihaatae of the Pacific Conference of Churches says the region must also get big powers to address the impacts of nuclear testing in the region last century.

“You can see those Pacific Islanders that are still a colony or under a government like the US, France or Britain, they are still always under compromise … if you do that, we will cut some of the aid’ … but our call is for all Pacific Island leaders to really be united.”

Reverend Francois Pihaatae of the Pacific Conference of Churches says nearly seventy years on victims of nuclear testing are still battling for justice for the misuse of their land and resources…

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

WORLD:


8) Scots urged to stay with UK

Updated at 6:32 am on 5 February 2014
England and Wales had one message for Scotland: don’t leave us. An opinion poll on Tuesday showed a rising number of English and Welsh want Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom.
A YouGov poll found 54 percent want voters north of the border to reject independence at a referendum on 18 September.
This is a turnaround from three years ago when a poll for the Sun newspaper found slightly more English and Welsh wanted Scots to go their own way than stay.
“Suddenly Scottish independence has become a real consideration and people are taking this more seriously and no longer just giving a flippant answer,” said YouGov political analyst Anthony Wells.
The latest YouGov poll of 5161 English and Welsh adults conducted last month found only 24 percent now want Scotland to break away while 22 percent did not know.
The poll found opposition to Scottish independence was strongest in the north of England where 55 percent of respondents favoured sticking with Scotland and was weakest in London where 50 percent opposed a breakaway.
The British government is opposed to Scottish independence, saying both sides of the border benefit from the union.
“The UK has a stronger global voice than any of us would have alone – this is common sense,” Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said in a statement.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond is leading the drive for Scotland to split from the rest of the UK, arguing that Scots will be better off in charge of their own finances.
But the YouGov poll found the economy was not a key consideration for England and Wales, with 56 percent saying Scottish independence would make no real difference or not make them worse off. Only 26 percent thought they would benefit.C/- Radio New Zealand.

9) Singapore employees unhappiest in the region due to lack of work-life balance

Updated 5 February 2014, 14:49 AEST
By Shivali Nayak

A report by Randstad has found the city-state of Singapore is home to the unhappiest workforce in Asia.

Employees in Singapore are the unhappiest in Asia, despite the country being home to the highest proportion of millionaire households in the world.

A study by global HR consultancy firm Randstad has found that more than sixty per cent of employees are planning to leave their present job within the next 12 months.

Steve Shephard, an employment market analyst with Randstad, told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacificprogram Singapore employees are looking for “work-life balance”.

“They are feeling they are working much harder and not necessarily getting the recognition or the opportunity as a result of that,” he said.

Audio: Steve Shepard speaks to Asia Pacific (ABC News)

The relatively low unemployment rate is a key reason that is encouraging employees to change jobs.

Mr Shepard says high staff turnovers could have an impact on companies and their bottom line.

“We do know that high staff turnover is a key factor in productivity drivers within business,” he said.

“Any organisation that is experiencing high turnover is likely to have a flow-on effect to productivity as experienced staff leave those businesses.”

Singaporean employee Nasirah Banu, who works in Singapore’s biomedical sector, says a large percentage of workers in Singapore “complain that the pay is not right and they do work long hours”.

How unhappy are Singapore employees?

64% plan to leave their job within the next 12 months
70% say they will change jobs for career advancement
What will make them stay: growth & advancement, work-life balance, competitive salary package

She says employers should implement work-life balance measures to retain staff.

“Employers should try to relate a bit of this work-life balance to their employees,” she said.

“Whenever they have finished a major assignment, maybe you can give them one or two weekdays off.”

Mr Shepard cautions it is not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to work-life balance measures.

“For some people, work-life balance could mean working less overtime,” he said.

“For others, it could be about having more flexible work arrangements so they can drop the kids off at school or study part time or a range of things.”

The report also found that Australia and India have the happiest employees in the region.

About one-third of the people surveyed plan to leave their jobs in Australia in the next six years and sixty-four per cent expressed satisfaction with their current roles.

How unhappy are Australian employees?

36% plan to leave their job within the next 12 months
57% say they will change jobs for career advancement
What will make them stay: good work-life balance, flexible work options, well-matched to the job

“In Australia, the number one reason why people would stay is good work-life balance,” Mr Shepard said.

“Number two reason is flexible work options… so we’ve seen Australian employers really focus quite heavily over the last 10 years about how they deliver a more flexible work environment for their employees.

“I think we’re starting to see that now manifest itself in employee satisfaction.”

Mr Shephard says employers in Singapore should make the change now or risk losing talent.C/- Radio Australia

10) North and South Korea agree to hold family reunions

Updated 5 February 2014, 21:21 AEST

North and South Korea have agreed to allow families separated by the Korean war to hold brief reunions later this month.

The reunions will begin on February 20 and last for six days at the North’s Kumgang resort, the South’s Unification Ministry said.

The agreement, reached at talks on the border, marks a small sign of progress between the two sides who in recent years have struggled to cooperate on even the most basic trust-building measures.

However, both sides have been here before.

The two Koreas had agreed to hold a reunion last September but Pyongyang cancelled the event just four days before its scheduled start, citing “hostility” from the South.

There are widespread concerns that the families could end up being disappointed again this time around.

South Korea-US military drills

South Korea is due to begin joint military exercises with the United States at the end of February, and North Korea has warned of dire consequences should they go ahead.

The annual drills are always a diplomatic flashpoint on the Korean peninsula, and last year resulted in an unusually extended period of heightened military tensions.

Some analysts are predicting that the North will use the reunion as a bargaining chip.

“Rather than cancelling the event again, it may try to extract concessions, like a scaling down of the joint military exercises, or an easing of South Korean sanctions,” Yoo Ho-Yeol, professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul’s Korea University, said.

North Korea has recently made a series of conciliatory gestures that critics have largely dismissed as a calculated bid to assume the moral high ground ahead of the South-US military exercises.

Pyongyang is also pushing for a resumption of six-party talks on its nuclear program – a long-stalled process involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Seoul and Washington insist substantive dialogue can only begin after Pyongyang demonstrates a tangible commitment to abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

War-divided families

Millions of Koreans were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, and the vast majority have since died without having any communication at all with surviving relatives.

Because the Korean conflict concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas technically remain at war and direct exchanges of letters or telephone calls are prohibited.

Up to 73,000 South Koreans are wait-listed for a chance to take part in one of the reunion events, which select only a few hundred participants at a time.

The reunion program began in earnest in 2000 following an historic inter-Korean summit. Sporadic events since then have seen around 17,000 relatives briefly reunited.

But the program was suspended in 2010 following the North’s shelling of a South Korean border island.

North Korea wants the South to resume regular tours to Mount Kumgang, which had provided a much-needed source of hard currency in the past.

South Korea suspended the tours after a woman tourist was shot dead by North Korean security guards in 2008, and it has repeatedly rejected the North’s efforts to link their resumption to the family reunion issue.

AFP/ABC

HEALTH:


11) Tahiti zika outbreak reaches Japan
By Online Editor
09:55 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, New Caledonia

There is concern about the spread of the zika virus in the region after a major outbreak in French Polynesia

People are advised to try to protect themselves against zika which is a disease spread by mosquitoes, similar to dengue and chikungunya.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says zika is new to the region and people lack immunity to the virus.

Zika is transmitted by mosquitoes that also spread dengue and chikungunya.

Dr Yvan Souares of the SPC’s Public Health Division says zika has spread from French Polynesia.

“We were also made aware recently of a couple of imported cases of zika virus in Japan directly from French Polynesia. That shows that the virus is travelling as expected throughout the region and sometimes widely outside of the Pacific region.”

Dr Yvan says the people should be vigilant.

“Everyone should wear long sleeves and long trousers preferably and put some repellent on the open skin. Make sure they have mosquito coils outside their premises.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

12) Cooks Nursing School reopens after five years
By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Cook Islands

The head of the newly re-opened nursing school in the Cook Islands says students will be trained to care for specific local health needs.

The principal of the School of Nursing based at Rarotonga Hospital says the school was closed for the past five years but the Ministry of Health has supported its re-launch with 12 students attending their first day of the three year programme yesterday.

Mary McManus says the 11 women and one man range in age from 18 to 40, with most of them coming from the outer islands including Mangaia, Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Pukapuka and Mitiaro.

She says they will be taught how to manage a wide range of medical conditions, how to promote public health, and how to deliver good maternity care in an isolated outer island environment.

“You usually have very limited opportunity to call on extra medical support or help and sometimes actually limited ability to refer people out. So the nurse is really working to a very, very high level and at quite a sophisticated standard. In New Zealand we’d probably be having our most advanced practice nurses actually working out in those islands, but here it might be a new graduate nurse.”

Mary McManus says the school is supported by the Cook Islands Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation, the NZ Aid Programme and the Counties Manukau District Health Board.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

13) Locals learn own dialect

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 4th, 2014

MOTHER tongue speakers of a language may converse, joke or compose poetry with ease, but few actually analyse the structures uses.
For language development practitioners, the opportunity to study the grammatical structures of their own language can provide insights into the quality of the work they produce – whether that work is a reading primer for literacy students or a translation of health materials or Scripture.
SIL PNG recently hosted a Discover Your Language course at the Ukarumpa Training Centre in the Eastern Highlands.
Eighteen participants from 12 language communities came to Ukarumpa for the four-week course.
Participants and mentors devoted nearly 150 hours to linguistic analysis and drafting grammar for their languages, several of which had not previously been described by linguists.
Participants collected texts during the course and entered them into a FLEX database, which they used to investigate the natural structure of their languages.

14) SHP to pay 50% for uni students

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 4th, 2014

THE Southern Highlands government will pay 50% of tuition fees for its students attending universities in the country, Governor William Powi says.
Powi said the sponsorship for university students would be tested for the first time and if successful, could also benefit students attending tertiary institutions.
“The provincial government will pay half of school fees for students attending University of PNG, University of Technology, Divine Word University, Pacific Adventist University, University of Goroka and the University of Natural Science at Vudal,” he said.
He has written to the universities to provide the number of students from the province enrolled with them.
He said the sponsorship was for all students from Southern Highland living in our outside the province.
Powi plans to improve education in the province and empowering its human resources.
He said Grade 12 dropouts in the province would be given an opportunity to continue their education through the New Horizon training programme.
He said the world class information technology and business training programme would provide the dropouts with life skills training.

15) Uni’s role in climate change education

Samuel Berenyi
Wednesday, February 05, 2014

USP is playing a leading role in utilising participatory approaches to climate change communication, according to the Fiji State of Media and Communications report 2013.

The report said the USP had been using community networks, school programs, including adding climate change to the curriculum and a climate zone completion to raise awareness.

The USP’s Pacific Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) expressed gratitude and appreciated the fact that its hard work was recognised in the report.

PACE-SD director Professor Elisabeth Holland said: “In total we have done vulnerability assessments in more than 200 communities in 15 countries throughout the region.” Fijitimes.

16) Retired Fiji Teachers Ready To Begin Classes In Vanuatu
Educators contracted to work in Vanuatu schools for two years

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 4, 2014) – Nine retired Fijian teachers arrived in Port Vila last Saturday. They were received by a delegation from the Ministry of Education led by Minister Loughman, political advisors and staff, Director Obed, DG Dick, Honorary Consul of Fiji in Vanuatu, plus members of the Vanuatu Teaching Service Commission.

Nine of the expected 15 Fijian retired teachers that were brought to Vanuatu by the government are currently in Port Vila, ready to begin teaching when classes begin this week.

The Minister of Education, Bob Loughman and political advisors, Director of Education Roy Obed, Director General Jesse Dick, chairman of Vanuatu Teaching Service Commission, Derek Alexander, staff of the ministry and the Fiji Honorary Consul in Vanuatu, Charles Valentine, were at the Bauerfield Airport to welcome these teachers on Saturday.

On their arrival inside the buildings, the minister of education’s delegation welcomed the teachers.

Minister Loughman said: “Before you spread out in the islands I will welcome you to Vanuatu. Today (Saturday) I am welcoming you to Port Vila.

“We look forward to your assistance of improving the outputs of our pupils in particular subjects at the end of this year as it is what we expect from you.”

Minister Loughman, on behalf of the Vanuatu government acknowledged the Fijian government for its commitment. He said this initiative will enhances relationship between the two countries.

After his speech, he presented traditional mats as a gift to the three female and six male Fijian teachers as a gift with orientation notes filled in.

These nine teachers will be filling up vacant positions in the areas of, Information and Communication Technology, Mathematics, Science, and Agriculture in these following schools: Arep Secondary School, St Patricks, Rensarie, Matevulu, Onesua Presbyterian College, Malapoa, Epi High School and Tafea College.

The Fijian retired teachers will be teaching in these Vanuatu schools for two years, based on their contracts approved by the Vanuatu government.

A formal briefing for the teachers will take place today (Monday) at the Ministry of Education before they make it to their schools.

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

17) Commentary

School Drop-Outs A ‘Time Bomb’ For Solomon Islands

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 27, 2014) – It has been the talk of the day after the ministry of education and human resources (MEHR) particularly NESU released the results of Forms 1, 4, 6 and 7 official placement.

The public at large frequently asked where the drop outs will go.

Interestingly, MEHR has confirmed that this year’s drop out exceeds the previous year’s drop outs and it should ring a bell to parents, relevant authorities and national government to do something about sooner than later.

It is undeniable truth that the increasing number of dropouts is a catalyst for the increasing of unemployment and unlawful activities in the country.

If those drop outs are unable to engage in any formal employment and contribute to the economic activities it will lead to increase urban drift with youths looking for employment.

And if there’s no opportunity to work, they can get involved in criminal activities.

We have witnessed in the April riot 2006, when China town was lotted. Similar incidents happened in front of our eyes during the recent show of Julian Marley at Panatina.

Current government and future governments must come to realise that increasing rate of unemployment in the country and needs serious consideration, otherwise we will put a cart before the horse.

Observers in the country and overseas believe employment for young people should be made available in places all around the country and not just in Honiara.

This is the most effective way to reducing or preventing urban drift.

Fundamentally, right thinking national government could also have a job creation vision. Certainly, some natural resources can be used, for wealth creation at a sustainable level, as they are also held in trust for future generations.

Locals persist that any development or economic activities taking place in the rural areas should recruit only locals and not foreigners. It’s not good to see Asians working in rural areas on jobs that can be easily filled by locals.

The government should put strict control on foreign workers and develop the local labour force. Foreign companies should not be allowed to bring workers in.

Government should inject more resources into vocational training centres where young people can learn marketable skills (carpentry, fishing, agriculture, mechanics, etc).

This nation is so blessed with natural, and sea resources, but it needs some new agriculture products that could be developed.

Unemployment is a major issue affecting Solomon Islands today and many of them are youths with age ranging from 15- 24.

These youths looking for employment but cannot able to find job because lack of education.

Politicians receiving fund overseas, from the Republic of China (Taiwan) for rural development purposes, yet did not utilize that money to curb poverty in their respective constituencies.

It’s important that constituencies should create and support any forms of developmental activity that will engage those youths to be involved and get paid for their efforts and energy wasted while improving the standard of living in rural areas.

It is indeed heartening to know that Solomon Islands is amongst the poorest in the world and the Pacific Islands with very low job opportunities as aid money or funding from Aid donors or donor partners over the recent past sky-rocketed.

With all these, it is high time that leaders of this nation especially from our National Government must consider the issue of unemployment and its impact to young people especially youths of this nation.

It is imperative that our national government and future governments must be genuine and be honest with their plans of establishing economic growth centers in the provinces. This will give rise to job creation for young people to involve in economic activities.

Also there is a great need for more vocational training institutions are established all around the provinces to enable young people develop useful skills for employment or enterprise development. In this way Solomon Islands can become a happier place for all Solomon Islanders.

As a matter of fact, lest we forget, unemployment is among the emerging threats to the national socio-economic stability and may have dramatic impact on services, infrastructure and the nature of politics in this nation.

MEHR is working on a framework, the Solomon Islands Qualification Framework (SIQF).

This standard will improve and reform all forms of human resources development. This framework will help address unemployment in the country, a statement from the ministry said.

Developing a national qualification framework is one national instrument to address the unemployment.

According to the SIQF most youths in the country are unemployed because the domestic labour market is limited and short of specific skills demanded by industry.

As such, there was lack of recognition to some qualifications people acquired.

Thus the SIQF will set a foundation for an improved and skilled work force marketable domestically and internationally.

All Solomon Islands learners will have the opportunity to develop as individuals and possess knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to earn a living.

Solomon Star

18) Over 5,000 PNG Schools Won’t Get Government Subsidies
Education secretary says schools failed to meet requirements

By Miriam Malawa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 4, 2014) – More than 5,200 schools in Papua New Guinea will miss out on the Government’s education subsidy when classes start this week because they failed to comply with requirements, Education secretary Michael Tapo says.

Tapo said out of the 13,620 registered schools in the country, only 8,419 would receive their tuition fee-free funds.

Tapo said schools that missed out had failed to provide vital information required by the department such as school census forms.

Some of the school accounts had been dormant because of the quick withdrawal of money. Others had given false figures of students and teachers, he said.

He said the schools were being reminded again to comply with the requirements if they wanted to receive the government subsidy.

“I am reminding schools to comply with requirements and make sure that standard requirements are met and sent to the secretary’s office in Waigani,” he said.

The Government has allocated K605 million [US$231.4 million] to be distributed to schools this year. It has already paid out the first quarter allocation of K200 million [US$76.5 million] to the banks.

He said K7.7 million [US$2.9 million] had been paid to the ANZ Bank for schools that had accounts there, K165.8 million [US$63.4] to BSP and K11.7 million [US$4.4 million] to Westpac.

He said schools that did not comply with rules would receive their TFF funds in the second quarter – two to three months into the school year.

“The message is I would like to remind the schools, boards of management and boards of governors is that enough is enough. Schools have been neglecting rules and they need to be penalised for it,” he said.

“We must do that so that government resources are being used wisely and correctly and teachers would teach well.”

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

19) Samoa Schools Facing Shortage Of Science Teachers
Ten colleges set by ministry to have ‘full science’ programs

By Kerstin Ofisa

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 3, 2014) – Not all students will do full science curriculum because of a shortage of teachers according to the C.E.O. of Samoa’s education ministry.

Concerns have been raised on full science programs only being offered to some of the government schools.

A change which the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) says is because of the shortage of science teachers in schools. “We are trying our best to accommodate the needs of the students and we also need to be strategic in our thinking on resources”, said M.E.S.C. Chief Executive Officer Matafeo Falanaipupu Aiafi. According to Matafeo, they have zoned the schools according to their needs, to make sure that the students will have access to full science programmes.

“Ten colleges have been endorsed to have full science programmes for year 12 and year 13 while all colleges can still have science”, he said. Some of the schools still have concerns.

“At the moment, we haven’t received the new programme from the ministry yet about the change that was proposed on full science programs for year 12 and year 13,” said Easther Tagatauli, a science teacher for Samoa College.

“However we are looking forward to it and we also have to prepare ourselves for the change”, she said. According to Ms. Tagatauli, the new change will be a challenge for them especially now that full science will be endorsed for specific schools. Samoa College is one of them.

“It is a job that science teachers will now have to exert themselves in terms of commitment and hard work”, she said.

“A lot of jobs apply science and it is good that students will now be encouraged to take full science instead of just taking one subject from science because either their friends are there or they just don’t know the area they want to take”.

“With the change, students will now have the confidence about what they are taking because in that case they will only be focusing on science alone”, said Easther. Principal of Vaimauga College, Timoti Milikini shared some concerns.

“We may not have full science here in the college but it doesn’t mean we don’t take science anymore”, he said.

At the moment, Vaimauga College is only offering Biology and some subjects relating to science like Food Textile and Technology, Environmental Science as well as and Agricultural Science.

“Many parents come to us telling us that they want to transfer their children to other schools because we do not take science anymore, but no, we still take science,” said Mr. Milikini.

“We cannot stop students from taking science because it is a must”. Mr. Milikini said that nothing has changed with the way they run the school.

However, they will work according to what the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture gives them, he added.

“With every situation there is a good side and also a down side to it. However we must endure the challenges,” said Mr. Milikini.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

POLITIC:

20) Calls in Vanuatu for land reform pilot to be conducted

5 February 2014

The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs on Efate in Vanuatu says it should have been included in a consultation group on the recently passed land management laws.

But the chairman of the Vaturisu Land Reform Commission, Levy Tarosa, says they are not surprised they have been left out given their opposition last year to the changes initiated by lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu.

Parliament has passed the legislation but gazetting has been put on hold until further consultations is held.

The Vaturisu chiefs have made 21 proposals which have not been taken up.

Mr Tarosa says now they are advocating the reforms be applied in a pilot scheme.

“To pilot the new lease customary land dispute resolution process and the new lease application process in the island community outside of Efate. To actually see the pros and cons of this new legislation and that’s when we can argue with some real evidence of the weaknesses or the strength of this new process.”

the chairman of the Vaturisu Land Reform Commission, Levy Tarosa, http://www.radionz.co.nz/

21) Australian foreign Minister Julie Bishop in first ministerial visit to PNG

By Online Editor
09:59 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has arrived in Papua New Guinea for a two day visit, with asylum seekers among the top issues for discussion.

The Foreign Minister says investment and aid will also be raised.

It’s Julie Bishop’s first ministerial visit to Australia’s closest neighbour.

There have been reports of large asylum seeker protests at Australia’s offshore detention centre on PNG’s Manus Island.

A leaked report for the Australian Immigration Department has also identified hazardous materials on the site earmarked for the centre’s expansion.

Bishop says she will be seeking an update from the PNG government on the detention centre.

“Look I am aware of these allegations and some of the claims about the management of the centre,” she said.

“I will certainly be talking to the relevant ministers about it.

“We are very appreciative of PNG’s role and their cooperation and regional leadership in combating people smuggling.”

Bishop will also raise visa issues with the PNG government.

The Foreign Minister says she can’t offer PNG the visa waiver program the country has been seeking.

PNG’s prime minster Peter O’Neill last month withdrew visas on arrival for Australians after failing to secure a reciprocal arrangement with Australia.

Australia doesn’t have a visa waiver program with any country, but the Government has recently streamlined the visa application process for visiting PNG nationals.

“We have made matter much easier for people from PNG to apply for visas from Australia and so we will find ways to continue to enhance that arrangement,” Bishop said.

“If we can get visa arrangements to be far more streamlined then that is certainly something we will work towards.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

22) Australia to assist Fiji Election with technical expertise, voter registration details announced

By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2014, Fiji

Australia’s aid towards Fiji elections will be in the form of technical expertise.

And, Acting High Commissioner Glenn Miles confirmed there won’t be any monetary assistance.

He said discussions with elections officials in Fiji identified technical assistance as priority for the government.

“As we move forward, there will be other gaps identified. We’ll work with other donors and the Fijian government to see how we can help. What we can provide support in – is experts and technical assistance. That’s where they would like us to help and that’s where we have been offering help.”

There are currently two Australians working with the Elections Office in the field of human resources and logistics.

Miles said more technical assistance will be made available based on the needs of the Elections Office.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Elections Office has announced the details of its campaign to register Fijians living in Australia to vote in the 2014 General Election.

Five registration teams from the Elections Office will be registering potential voters from 14 February until 22 February at multiple locations across Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The teams will also be visiting other major towns and cities in these three states, such as Penrith, Griffith, Ballarat, Banyo, and Cairns.

Every Fijian over the age of 18 is being encouraged to come forward and is required to produce a valid Fijian passport.

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Chen Bunn Young said the Commission would be working closely with the Permanent Secretary Responsible for Elections, Mohammed Saneem, and the Fiji High Commission to oversee this important undertaking.

“This is the chance for Fijians in Australia to register to make their voices heard next year in the 2014 General Election and I urge them to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said.

In announcing the details of the registration drive, the Permanent Secretary urged potential voters to check the official program that is available on the Elections Office website or from the Fiji High Commission.

“With the assistance of the High Commission, careful planning has gone into this exercise to allow our registration teams to canvas as wide an area as possible in only nine days. It is very important that people check the program to know when a team will be visiting a town or city near them,” he said.

Commenting on the announcement, the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said that the registration of overseas voters was an important part of ensuring a free and fair election.

“The Bainimarama Government is determined to meet our goal of an election that is fair, credible and conducted to the best international standards. This includes giving Fijians living abroad the opportunity to register and vote,” he said.

The campaign of registering Fijian voters living abroad began in October last year in New Zealand. After Australia, voter registration teams will travel to the west coast of North America and Britain.

The registration teams in Australia will be led by Asenaca Kolinivala, Acting Principal Administration Officer at the Fijian Elections Office.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/ MINFO/PACNEWS

23) Molisa, Vurobaravu take up china and Fiji Posts
By Online Editor
2:01 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Vanuatu

Two veteran’s politicians in Vanuatu received their diplomatic appointments Tuesday to serve abroad.

The former Santo MP and Finance Minister as well as the Vanuaa’ku Party Secretary General, Sela Molisa, is now the new Vanuatu Ambassador to China.

Veteran politician and Vanuaa’ku Party Coordinator from Malo, Nikenike Vurobaravu, is the new Vanuatu High Commissioner to Fiji.

SOURCE” VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

24) No Explanation Given For Arrests Of Fiji Unionists: Urai
Trade union leader thinks order came from ‘higher up’ in regime

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 4, 2014) – The President of Fiji’s Trade Union Congress (FTUC) says he has yet to receive any explanation as to why he and five other unionists were arrested over a strike at Nadi’s Sheraton hotels on New Year’s Eve.

Daniel Urai says he was arrested by a special team sent from Suva one week after the strike was settled.

Mr Urai says the dispute was between the Nadi landowners and Sheraton hotel management and the union had no involvement in organising the strike.

While the labour minister, Jone Usamate, sent a letter to the union saying the strike was illegal, he says he did not direct the police to arrest the unionists.

Mr Urai says he suspects that order came from higher up in the regime.

“Fiji is a closely-knit community like all Pacific Islands. What I was told, what I heard from the police among them in general – it probably needs to be confirmed – is that the attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum gave the order for us to be arrested as he is also the minister for tourism.”

Daniel Urai says the police were desperate to find someone to say that the union was responsible, so the unionists could be charged.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International also reports Urai and FTUC General Secretary Felix Anthony are planning to run for parliamentary seats in this year’s forthcoming elections. Urai says, because of the decree against trade union officers holding political office, he and Anthony may have to resign from their positions. However, he also says workers have need for a voice in Fiji’s parliament, “the only area where the plight of workers can be heard.”]

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

25) Visa on arrival for Indonesians: PNG foreign Minister
By Online Editor
09:54 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

All diplomatic and official passport holders travelling between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia can now get visa on arrival in both countries.

And ordinary citizens of these two countries will also see visa on arrival granted once all other necessary documents are in place between these two countries by June this year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato announced Tuesday that PNG and Indonesia signed a reciprocal visa arrangement for diplomats and service or official passport holders in Jakarta last month, adding that these is now effected.

Pato explained that this was second such memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by PNG and another country. The first was with the State of Israel during the Prime Minister’s official visit to Israel late last year.

He said that this was in line with the Government’s policy of facilitating travel with key countries to promote people to people relations, tourism, investment and trade.

Pato stated that respective immigration agencies of both countries would be meeting over the next couple of months to conclude an MoU to facilitate travel by holders of ordinary passports by June this year.

“Under these arrangements diplomats and government officers from both countries would be granted visa on arrival for stay up to 60 days,” he said.

“Immigration agencies of both countries will discuss further details on implementation of the arrangements.”

Pato said other countries had also approached PNG to conclude similar reciprocal visa arrangements and the PNG Immigration and Service Citizenship Authority has been tasked to conclude these arrangements.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

MEDIA:


26) ABC asks Sky News for shows to feed Australia Network

By Online Editor
1:48 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Australia

The ABC has approached Sky News Australia to buy programs for its Australia Network service despite the bitter battle that ended with Labor awarding the soft diplomacy contract to the national broadcaster after twice defying expert advice that Sky was better placed to deliver the Asia-Pacific service.

Australia Network television controller Patrick Emmett approached its commercial rival last month expressing an interest in acquiring news and business content including the Asia Pacific Outlook and Switzer programs.

The ABC later also inquired about acquiring Australian Agenda – the weekly political program produced in partnership with The Australian.

“Australia Network is acquiring a range of programs for 2014 and would like to enquire about some properties on Sky News and Business,” Emmett wrote to Sky in an email.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told The Australian yesterday the episode showed the ABC was “struggling” to meet the terms of the Australia Network contract, while a predecessor, Alexander Downer, said the approach to Sky was a “concession that they’re not able to provide the service from their own resources”.
“It’s a concession that has come very late, possibly too late,” he added.

Richard Woolcott, a former ambassador to Indonesia, said there was “a need for an independent, objective TV news service” but that the Australia Network, which now screens Home and Away and The Block, had made questionable programming decisions.

“It’s a very good thing to have programs about what’s going on with Australian life, what’s happening with the indigenous community, and mining and environmental developments, and programs to help tourism by showing the beauty of Australia,”  Woolcott said.

“I just think the soap operas don’t serve a lot of purpose, except they can be used to fill up time.”

News of the ABC approach to Sky comes after Tony Abbott confirmed on Monday the government was considering the future of the network.

Sky provided programming to the service more than a decade ago, when it was known as ABC Asia Pacific, but the Australia Network has not used Sky material since 2006. ABC and Sky confirmed the contacts yesterday.

An ABC spokesman defended the move, saying: “The Australia Network currently features programming from the ABC, SBS and every one of Australia’s commercial television channels, as well as programming co-produced with many of the country’s leading production houses. Sky News Australia is in fact one of the very few sources of television content that we have not been able to access.”

In a report scathing of the Gillard government, the Auditor-General in 2012 found then communications minister Stephen Conroy twice rejected expert advice to award the 10-year, $223 million Australia Network television contract to Sky. The decision in 2011 to instead hand the contract to the ABC was opposed by the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Treasury and Finance.

Together, Sky, DFAT and the ABC spent $3m on the tender process before it was abandoned, although Sky later received $2m compensation.

The Auditor-General noted the apparent conflict of interest posed by Senator Conroy personally deciding a tender in which one of his portfolio bodies, the ABC, was competing.

Bishop said she was seeking advice on the contract not only given circumstances surrounding the botched tender, but whether the ABC was meeting its obligations to promote Australia in the region. “This is not about the ABC and its independence as a public broadcaster,” Bishop said. “This is a separate contract that was put out for tender for public diplomacy. They have an obligation to relay quality content to promote Australia in the region and promote a positive perception of Australia.” Bishop expressed concern the ABC was not meeting its contractual obligation.

“The audience is exceedingly small, we’re not reaching those we’re seeking to reach – the decision makers and the local population,” she said. “My understanding is that the audience is made up largely of expatriates.”

Bishop said many of the programs were repeats, and said ABC coverage of allegations of abuse of asylum-seekers by navy personnel and claims of Australian spies targeting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife had been “counterproductive to our interests”.

Lowy Institute research fellow Alex Oliver, who in 2010 co-authored a study on international broadcasting, commissioned by the ABC, said Australian expatriates were “certainly not the majority, but the minority” of Australia network’s viewers.

Oliver said while Australia Network should not rely on “wall-to-wall” dramas and reality shows, they helped to inform the target audiences, and build familiarity and affection for Australia’s values and lifestyles. “I think the danger in pulling out of these countries is that China will step in … it might become the dominant voice the Pacific hears.”

But Downer said the government should scrap the Australian Network and instead invest in cultural diplomacy.

The opposition opposed any plans to abolish the service.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

BUSINESS:

27) Trade mission to the US

Jone Kalouniviti
Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Fiji-USA Business Council president Rajeshwar Singh during an interview in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THERE are plans to send a trade mission to the US this year.

The Fiji-USA Business Council will provide support and work in conjunction with Investment Fiji towards this goal.

“In 2013, we provided support in the successful launch of the Cal Valley Solar company in Fiji. In 2014, we look forward to providing similar support to more American investors to our shores,” said council president Rajeshwar Singh.

Mr Singh said they would facilitate investment opportunities and queries from US investors and likewise support local exporters in attending to their concerns and providing a platform for wider engagement between the exporters, US Embassy and American regulators.

He said the council was happy with the support shown by the embassy in fostering business relations for local companies that export to and import from the US.

“So, this is also a time when we should explore the possibility of creating more businesses with the United States since we now have the support of their embassy in terms of trade relations.”

The council received a boost in 2013 with nine new members joining the council, which is on a membership drive this year for a bigger and better voice.Fijitimes

28) China to buy LNG products for 20 years
By Online Editor
1:49 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to PNG Qiu Bohua says China will begin to buy two million tonnes of LNG products annually beginning this year for the next 20 years.

China regards Pacific Island states as its neighbours, especially Papua New Guinea which is the largest Pacific Island country with the biggest population and rich in natural resources, Qui said.

Qui explained how this has progressed during his tenure and assured a positive economic outlook for both countries.

“In PNG we have Ramu nickel that had started production last year and I am sure there will be more Chinese investments coming into the country,” he said.

“We attach great importance to our bilateral cooperation.

“PNG has become our largest investment destination and the largest trade partner for the last two years and in both years the trade value between China and PNG was $US1.3 billion. I am sure that there will be more in the years to come.”

The outgoing Chinese Ambassador assured that China buying LNG products is an example of the great potential in the sharp increase of trade value between China and PNG.

“So we really have very bright future for bilateral cooperation. I am sure next time I come back, after one-two years, I will see very big difference, big change. I am very confident about the future of PNG,” he said.

He said currently about US$2 billion investment from China has been put into Papua New Guinea.

“In the last four years China’s cooperation with PNG really developed very fast smoothly to be the largest investment in the Pacific Islands region,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

29) Pacific govts told give preference to local fishing fleets
By Online Editor
4:18 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Fiji

Pacific Island governments have a responsibility to control tuna fishing in their waters, and should be giving preference to local fishing fleets instead of granting more licences to foreign fishing vessels.

Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn made the comments when asked about the current status of local fishing fleets in the South Pacific states.

Brownjohn said government tuna fishing policies should benefit domestic not the subsidised foreign fleets.

“The biggest hurdle is this misconception that just one more licence issued is more revenue, when in reality one less licence issued means better catch rates, better catches and economics and higher market prices and a better prospect to survive in the domestic industry,” he said.

Brownjohn said overfishing was naturally going to affect the supply and demand equation and this had driven all tuna prices down compared to the record prices as recent as last year.

“In recent years, even when the purse seine benchmark was US$5000 a day, some fleets paid US$8000 per vessel day, especially once days got scarce in a fishing zone.

“This year with prices down, some fleets paid well above the US$6000 bench mark even though due to excessive days available last year and a high supply of catch in the market globally, prices have crashed in the last six months to almost half.

“With expenses remaining largely constant, the collapse in recent record price is a collapse in super profits, yet the foreign vessels still fish profitably and can still afford to pay more especially when days become scarce,” he said.

Brownjohn said fisheries officials were not businessmen and they had a tendency to listen more to the lobby of foreign fishing interests who were keen on getting access at a cheaper rate.

“They undermine the domestic interests.”

Brownjohn said a good idea would be to extract a fair rent from foreign fleets to the advantage of domestic fleets, or ideally use the fleets to harvest your fish, not let them do as they like.

He said the region should give more preference to licencing genuine domestic ventures that actually create jobs and employ locals, which create other spinoffs for the local economy.

Brownjohn said the actual fish catch had risen slightly in recent years but the catch per effort has fallen because there were too many boats hunting for the same fish. And this applies to both the purse seining fishery which targets skipjack and longline fishing which targets albacore.

“These stocks are not overfished, although localised seasonal depletion is likely with albacore, but overall, the stock needs some governance now before it is too late,” he said.

“This is largely in the hands of the island governments and region themselves.

“The additional factors are the United States market for canned tuna including the premium albacore has been declining in recent years, and not just the South Pacific fleets targeting albacore, but Indian ocean and Atlantic albacore fleets are also supplying albacore into this region for processing for the same end markets.

He said thus oversupply influenced a fall in prices, thus compounding the economic problems of our domestic industry.

Brownjohn said his conclusion in the debate with over capacity and subsidised foreign effort was that foreign fleets could move on to other grounds, even other oceans, domestic economies and their fleets had few options.

“Compounding the issue of growing albacore catch has been the impact of falling catch rates for sashimi long liners traditionally targeting large sashimi grade yellow fin and bigeye, the weak Japanese market, high fuel and freight costs.

“So this has driven both domestic and foreign fleets to shift their focus to albacore where although they are of lesser relative value, catch rates are relatively higher.

“It is also frozen at sea and not landed fresh and freight by sea or processed locally making it a cheaper and an economically viable option.”

Brownjohn said Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association ( PITIA) and individual domestic industries could be more vocal for the region’s industry promoting domestic benefits to the region’s governments.

“The problem is really in the hands of our governments, he told ISLANDS BUSINESS.

“If they continue to issue more and more foreign licences, and don’t manage the foreign access or foreign direct investment companies using “domestic licences” they may enjoy the extra licence revenue, but lose out on the other benefits.

“This includes a vibrant genuine domestic sector, local jobs, salaries, taxes, foreign exchange earnings and by-catch for local consumption.”

Meanwhile, a number of PITIA members have had to stop operating their vessels as they cannot match the foreign fuel subsidised fleets they compete with.

“Licences with little or no obligation to the resource owners are not smart fisheries management,” PITIA stated.

“PITIA appreciates the need for an influx of income to national budgets, however, the sustainability of our resources and a continued ability to earn from our ocean needs to remain an overarching goal in today’s economic endeavours.

PITIA member and Fiji Fish chief executive Graham Southwick said the subsidised Chinese fleets had crippled the domestic fishing fleet in Fiji and this has forced his company and other companies like Solander to close operations and lay off staff.

A number of these fishing vessels are tied up in Suva bay.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:


30) Two University students in Fiji charged for laundering $24,000 from bank accounts
By Online Editor
09:52 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Fiji

Two tertiary students appeared in the Suva Magistrate Court Tuesday charged with five to ten counts of money laundering.

It was alleged that sometime between Christmas and New Year last year, the two hacked into a bank account and transferred a total of $24,000 (US$12,703) from two separate accounts.

The matter was only found out after the complainants turned up at the Police Cyber Crime Unit.

Accounting students Rajneel Vishal Chaudry and Manjeet Singh appeared in court today for allegations of money laundering.

It was alleged that the two individuals took $24,000 out of two private accounts.

The pair is alleged to have used social engineering techniques on social networks by getting personal details such as phone numbers.

The court heard that the two then allegedly used these details to open similar accounts now is fully accessible by them.

The court also heard that they targeted internet banking for this by exploiting the banking system.

The court also heard how the two started their scam with small amounts from $10 to$20 (US$5 – US$10).

Defense Counsel Aseri Vakaloloma appeared for Rajneel Chaudry asking for Bail saying he was a first offender and needed to attend classes at university.

The pair now remain in police custody until 06 February for bail ruling.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

31) Solomons Government Called To Explain Moti Settlement
TSI says former AG has lodged no claims against government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 4, 2014) – Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) is asking the government to explain to the public what’s behind it’s decision to settle out of court with the former attorney general, Julian Moti.

Julian Moti was the Solomon Islands Attorney General between 2006 and 2007, but was deported to Australia at the end of 2007 to face child sex charges.

However, the Australian High Court ordered a stay of charges in 2011 after it ruled he had been illegally deported, and the Solomon Islands government has recently indicated it will settle with Mr Moti over the issue.

Bob Pollard from Transparency Solomon Islands says it’s believed Mr Moti hasn’t lodged a claim against the government, so it’s unclear why the government is rushing to settle.

“The onus has to be put on Moti to establish the basis of why the government should pay, and there may not be a basis whatsoever. And until that’s clearly established, why is the government in a hurry to pay Moti, I think the government has plenty more priorities, pressing matters here on the Solomon Islands fund than paying the possibly large amount of money to Moti, for no basis.”

Bob Pollard says this has been a long, on-going saga, but the government is mixing legal and political issues, and it should be dealt with simply as a legal issue.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

REFUGEE/ASYLUM:

32) PNG Judges ‘Surprised’ Manus Centre Not Already Challenged
Asylum seekers could file human rights complaints: supreme court

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 5, 2014) – Non-government group Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) says comments from the country’s Supreme Court are likely to “galvanise” legal action by human rights groups on behalf of asylum seekers.

Last week PNG’s Supreme Court ruled that opposition leader Belden Namah did have legal standing to challenge whether the detention of asylum seekers at the Manus Island centre was constitutional.

In handing down the findings, the judges said they were surprised other organisations hadn’t already challenged the Manus centre.

While the ruling related only to Mr Namah’s case, the wider comments about other organisations have been welcomed by refugee advocates.

Transparency International PNG spokesman Lawrence Stephens told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the comments of the judges are logical.

“It’s always been my personal view and the view of many other people in Papua New Guinea that it was illegal to bring people across the borders and lock them up when they haven’t done anything to offend anybody in Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“It would seem very sensible that we don’t continue that.”

As part of their 41-page ruling last week, the judges said asylum seekers could make a complaint to the national court for constitutional breaches of personal liberties or file a human rights enforcement application.

The ABC understands this has always been the case, although the judges queried whether asylum seekers understood their rights.

The judges also queried whether Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were aware they could apply for legal standing to bring a case on behalf of asylum seekers.

Mr Stephens says the comments are likely to “galvanise” activity by human rights groups on behalf of those detained in Manus.

“I don’t know whether they’ve been deliberately deceived but it does seem that somebody has been making a serious error in not letting them know what their rights are,” Mr Stephens said.

Under PNG law, judges themselves can start a human rights inquiry.

Mr Stephens says Australia has made a mistake in encouraging PNG to effectively ignore its own laws.

“Yes, that is my view,” he said.

“We saw that (in) the arrangements made between Australia and Papua New Guinea, both occasions are times when Papua New Guinea is desperate for the assistance of Australia.”

“It is unfortunate that with all the legal wisdom that’s available to the Australian government they would take the path that encourages Papua New Guinea to simply ignore its own laws.”

The Manus Island detention centre was first set up by the Australian Coalition government of then-prime minister John Howard in 2001.

It was closed by the Labor government in 2008, but re-opened by Labor four years later.

Its legality has been challenged before, and human rights groups have criticised Australia’s policy of offshore processing of asylum seekers.

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

33) Australia Blocks Human Rights Commission Leader From Nauru
Immigration minister says Nauru outside Gillian Triggs’ jurisdiction

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 4, 2014) – The President of Australia’s Human Rights Commission says she has been barred from entering Nauru to visit children detained in Canberra’s asylum seeker camps.

The Commission has launched an inquiry into the impact of detention on the health, well-being and development of children in the camps.

But Professor Gillian Triggs says her jurisdiction doesn’t extend to other countries, which is the reason Australia’s immigration minister, Scott Morrison, has given for not letting her go to Nauru to investigate.

“I should say that I nonetheless have the jurisdiction to consider complaints from families and from the children on those islands and, similarly, I have the power to inquire into why some children are being transferred to Nauru and others are not. So, I think we should get some accurate, hopefully balanced information as to what’s happening with these children.”

Gillian Triggs has also expressed frustration at the level of cooperation from the Department of Immigration in handing over information on things like self harm and mental illness.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:


34) Cyclone Edna off western coast of New Caledonia
By Online Editor
4:13 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, New Caledonia

A tropical cyclone warning is in force in the north of New Caledonia as a storm is heading south east.

Cyclone Edna, with sustained winds of more than 90 kilometres and hour, is expected to weaken late tonight.

It is moving on a trajectory off the west coast of the main island.

The cyclone follows a depression, which according to police have left two people dead and two missing.

They say in Bourail, a six year old boy died when four cars were carried away bya swollen river near Bourail.

The adults managed to get out of the vehicles but the boy was carried away.

In Kone, a man drowned trying to cross a river.

Police also say in Mont-Dore, near Noumea, two young people were carried away while trying to cross a river.

Search efforts have been unsuccessful.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

35) Lau people struggle in Fiji cyclone season without AM radio
By Online Editor
4:03 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Fiji

Residents on Fiji’s Lau group of islands say they are struggling without clear radio reception especially during the cyclone season.

AM services in Fiji have been axed and Fiji’s easternmost islands are having to rely on a weak FM signal carrying news and weather bulletins from the state broadcaster, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

The chairman of the Lakeba Tikina Council, Eroni Tadu says he only got warnings of Cyclone Ian in the vicinity last month after making phone contact with friends in Suva.

The CEO of the FBC, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says it is working to restore AM services with the assistance of the Japanese government.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

36) Radio project ends, transmission equipment given to SIBC
By Online Editor
09:46 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Solomon Islands

An emergency radio service project that has helped people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Temotu Province last year has successfully reached its end of project timeframe.

World Vision has formally handed over a 100 watts FM transmission mobile radio unit to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) after the Emergency Radio Service project closed on 24 December 2013.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between World Vision, SIBC and NDMO, was signed by the three parties to formalise the arrangement to have the radio equipment prepositioned at SIBC and have a common understanding on the use and sustainability of the radio equipment and its accessories.

The equipment was handed over by Lawrence Hillary, Operations Coordinator for World Vision Solomon Islands, who thanked SIBC for the partnership to assist the communities from Santa Cruz Island heal and recover from the disaster that rocked Temotu Province on 6 February 2013.

“It is now the responsibility of SIBC to pre-position the equipment for immediate deployment in future disasters and to use the equipment when necessary to maximize its usage on information purposes that are in line with SIBC’s regulations,” said Hillary.

The General Manager of SIBC, Ashley Wickham received the equipment on behalf of SIBC and NDMO and acknowledged the partnership and success of the project.

“We will continue to give World Vision, NDMO and other agencies in their humanitarian effort in the future through advisory and technical support,” said Wickham.

World Vision, with funding from the New Zealand Aid Programme, provided two deployable radio units and training for community-based volunteers, while SIBC provided the technical expertise and facility to house the project at Lata.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

37) Special protection for Fafa Island’s fragile reef and sea
By Online Editor
4:07 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Tonga

Tonga’s Fafa Island Resort Tuesday celebrated the declaration of about 485 hectares of reef and sea area around Fafa Island as a Special Management Area.

“We at Fafa realize how important our role is in helping to protect these fragile habitats,” stated the resort owner.

Tonga’s Minister of Minister of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries, Sangster Saulala declared the Fafa Island SMA, to come under the management of the Coastal Community Management Committee, on 4 December 2013.

The special protected status means that only a person or a fishing vessel that has been approved by the Coastal Community Management Committee may enter the area.

Owners and the staff of Fafa Island Resort appreciated the government’s declaration, and will play a role in preserving and protecting the unique and abundant marine life of Fafa Island.

“As our many returning guests know, snorkeling is an excellent way of exploring these spectacular environments,” the resort owner stated.

In addition to Fafa Island, Nomuka in Ha’apai and Taunga in Vava’u also have Special Management Area, managed by their own Coastal Community Management Committee. The declarations were made under the Fisheries Management Act.
SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

SPORTS:

38) Vodafone Fiji is new FRU sponsor
By Online Editor
11:09 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, Fiji

Vodafone Fiji has signed a five year deal as Fiji Rugby Union’s main sponsor.

In a letter leaked to FijiLive, FRU acting chief executive Dr Berlin Kafoa told his staff that Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Company was their new sponsor.

In the letter signed with his initials “BK”, Dr Kafoa confirmed that Vodafone Fiji was the new sponsor and staff at the rugby house were informed to stop using fones and other supplies provided by another communication company which was a sponsor previously.

He also advised staff that they will be getting new sim cards from Vodafone and some would also receive new phones according to their job descriptions.

Board chairman Filimone Waqabaca confirmed signing a five year deal and securing a sponsor  Monday.

However he did not reveal the name of the sponsor and stated that an announcement would be made soon.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

39) Akira Ioane brings size, pedigree to NZ sevens
By Online Editor
11:01 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, New Zealand

Akira Ioane has a rugby body with a pedigree to match.

Standing at 1.95m and weighing 103kg, the 18-year-old is an impressive and imposing sight with ball in hand.

It’s unfair to make the comparison with the ambassador of this year’s Wellington Sevens, but, like Jonah Lomu in his youth, Ioane is a No 8 in fifteens.

A year ago he was the star of the Auckland Grammar first XV and New Zealand Secondary Schools off the back of the scrum.

Now he’s flying in open spaces and showing off some of the genes passed on to him by his father Eddie, a lock in the famous Manu Samoa squad that took the Rugby World Cup by storm.

Proud parents Eddie and Sandra along with younger brother Rieko will be in the stands at Westpac Stadium on Friday to watch Akira’s national sevens debut.

Akira owe much to his dad’s rugby career, including his name, which in Japanese means “bright and clear”.

After playing five tests for Samoa during the 1990 and 1991 seasons Eddie played for Japanese club Ricoh.

“I’m an Auckland boy through and through, but I lived in Japan as a little boy growing up,” Akira said after terrorising Australia during a practice match at Porirua Park yesterday. “I was born in Auckland, but my dad played over there for Ricoh for four years. I don’t remember much.”

He said he’d always been aware his dad being a member of the 1991 Samoan team was a big deal, but said he wanted to make his own name as a rugby player.

There’s every chance that will happen this weekend when he makes a belated sevens debut.

He was supposed to be in Las Vegas a few weeks back, but was stranded in Auckland after officials failed to put his visa application in on time.

“That was a bit frustrating, but you can’t do much about it,” he said. “I had training every day, fitness, skills, so when I came back into the environment I wasn’t feeling too far behind.”

Expectation is a tough burden for those introduced to the rugby world in Wellington.

The likes of Roy Kinikinilau, Victor Vito and Declan O’Donnell have grabbed the opportunity with both hands, but there are plenty to pass quietly into the background.

Ioane doesn’t look like the latter, big and skilful with an ability to beat smaller men on the outside with sheer pace. There is a touch of Frank Halai about his play.

“Coming in here the senior players are teaching me a lot. They’re giving me a good insight into the game, making me a better player and hopefully I can use that to get a rugby career after this,” he said, noting his fifteens aspirations have been on hold since he played for Auckland at this year’s nationals in Queenstown.

Ioane is the only new cap in a New Zealand team bolstered after a close 14-7 loss to South Africa in the final of the Vegas tournament.

Big Auckland wing Ben Lam comes back for the first time this season after breaking his foot last year, while veteran playmaker Tomasi Cama returns from injury.

The two unlucky players to drop out of the initial squad of 14 are Canterbury’s Mark Jackman and robust Northland hooker Matt Moulds.

NEW ZEALAND SQUAD: Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, DJ Forbes (c), Bryce Heem, Gillies Kaka, Akira Ioane*, Ben Lam, Tim Mikkelson, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, George Tilsley. …PACNEWS

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

40) Samoa and Spain ready for Wellington Sevens
By Online Editor
11:00 am GMT+12, 05/02/2014, New Zealand

The Wellington Sevens kicks off in two days’ time, and this afternoon teams will make their annual parade through the CBD.

The parade and the tournament will be new experiences for a lot of players, not the least of which those in Samoa and Spain, with both teams packed with Sevens rookies.

This weekend will be just the second time Spain have played in Wellington and the first for captain Matias Tudela.

They’re languishing in 15th place on the ladder and their tough pool means it’s unlikely they’ll move up but Tudela only sees positives.

“I think being against Fiji and New Zealand and France is going to be good fun for us, I prefer big teams than smaller teams,” he says.

Samoa also have a few fresh faces. Six rookies have joined the team for this series, and coach Viliamu Punivalu says it’s been a reality check.

“We did pretty bad in Gold Coast and Dubai, and I think they realise where they’re at and where they need to be to adapt to the speed of the game and I think they’re coming through,” he says.

Samoa face Kenya, Tonga and Australia in their pool – it’s a tough group, but Punivalu says that’s the nature of modern sevens.

“I think those days are gone where you have some teams who are easily beat, we are not underestimating anyone,” says Punivalu.

Meanwhile, Manu Samoa 7’s management have called in a replacement for injured speedster Tom Iosefo.

He is Lole Tualaulelei, 23 of Sinamoga, who has returned home after two years in France playing for US Oyonnax at centre. He was a member of Manu 7’s in 2011.

The 90kg, 182 cm, St. Joseph’s College old boy was an age group national player.

Manu Samoa 7’s has now called in two replacements for the Wellington leg of the World Series scheduled for the weekend in the capital city of New Zealand.

Patrick Fa’apale has already joined the team to replace suspended Sani Niue.

SOURCE: TV3/ TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

41) Kevin Pietersen sacking leaves England batting line-up shorn of entertainment value

Posted 5 February 2014, 18:37 AEST

England may have just become a lot less watchable after the unceremonious sacking of Kevin Pietersen.

Not really teeming with exciting strokemakers, England, from a fan’s perspective, may have just become a lot less watchable after the unceremonious sacking of Kevin Pietersen.

The international career of Pietersen, without doubt the most talented and flamboyant England batsman of his generation, ended after the 33-year-old was kept out of the team’s rebuilding processfollowing their recent Ashes whitewash.

Every top team recognises the need for at least one maverick batsman whose unorthodox aggression can unsettle opposition.

David Warner does it with aplomb for Australia, while team-mate Shane Watson can also step in.

India relies mostly on Virat Kohli and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to provide that spark while AB de Villiers does it for South Africa.

In Pietersen, England finally had a batsman whose batting and swagger injected the much-needed zing in an otherwise workmanlike batting line-up.

Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle, another master blaster with box office appeal, lamented Pietersen’s loss for Caribbean crowds set to watch England’s upcoming limited overs matches against the West Indies.

No @kp24 for the Caribbean tour later this month against W.I?That’s really sad for English/International cricket!Don’t let the fans suffer

— Chris Gayle (@henrygayle) February 4, 2014

Was really looking for the hype of having @kp24 in the caribbean, would be big tickets sales for us. #Sad – Learn to MANAGE Big Names!!

— Chris Gayle (@henrygayle) February 4, 2014

\Photo: Entertainment value … Kevin Pietersen. (Getty Images: Ryan Pierse)

KP’s career

Made his Test debut in first game of 2005 Ashes series at Lord’s
Played 104 Tests for 8181 runs, averaging 47.28
Highest score of 227 came in England’s dominant 3-1 Ashes win in 2010
Played 136 ODIs, scoring 4440 runs at 40.73
Played last of his 37 T20s in June last year

There was rarely a dull moment when ‘KP’ was at the crease, whether taking it to the bowlers or getting under the skin of opposition batsmen on the field.

His ability to lift the gloom, even in a losing cause, endeared him to cricket-lovers worldwide and may be what England fans miss the most as the team rebuilds.

The exit of the South Africa-born right-hander only adds to the plethora of queries dogging Alastair Cook’s side.

No tailor-made number four batsman appears ready to step in to a team already rocked by the loss of number three batsman Jonathan Trott to a stress-related illness and the retirement of spinner Graeme Swann.

The experienced Trott’s early exit from the Ashes caused shockwaves in the England camp. It remains to be seen how they cope with the loss of another experienced campaigner in Pietersen, who was the team’s leading run-scorer in the test series Down Under.

The sprouting Twenty20 leagues across the world will, however, be glad for the extra time Pietersen now has in his hands.

Franchises across the globe will be vying for Pietersen’s signature, even as England fans are left to rue his absence in national colours.

Reuters

42) Chelsea robs City

Afp
Wednesday, February 05, 2014

MANCHESTER – Chelsea has defied Manchester City’s scintillating home form with a superb 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium that injected fresh intrigue into the English Premier League title race.

Imperious in recent weeks, City were looking to reclaim top spot from Arsenal and move six points above Chelsea, but it was the visitors who prevailed thanks to a 32nd-minute bullet by Branislav Ivanovic.

City had won all 11 of their previous home league games this season, losing only to European champions Bayern Munich on home turf, while it was the first time they had failed to score at the Etihad in the league since November 2010.

The hosts had been seeking a ninth successive league win, but instead Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea were left to celebrate a home-and-away double, having beaten City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in October’s reverse fixture.

Chelsea also hit the woodwork on three occasions, but Ivanovic’s vicious strike proved enough as they moved level on points with City, two points shy of leaders Arsenal.

City were without top scorer Sergio Aguero because of injury, while Martin Demichelis had to fill in for the injured Fernandinho in central midfield, but the hosts attacked with their usual abandon nonetheless.

43) Leapai secures Klitschko fight

Afp
Wednesday, February 05, 2014

BERLIN – Australian heavyweight Alex Leapai will have a shot at a historic world title fight, with Ukrainian champion Wladimir Klitschko announcing he will defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles against the underdog challenger.

Klitschko’s management company says the bout, which will take place at Oberhausen in Germany on April 26, will be the Ukrainian fighter’s 25th world championship fight.

The 183cm Leapai defeated the previously unbeaten Denis Boytsov in November to become the WBO’s mandatory challenger.

The 34-year-old, who was born in Samoa, has a 30-4-3 record with 24 knockouts since turning professional in 2004.

“I’ll beat Wladimir and it won’t even be my toughest fight,” Leapai said.

“Everyone talks to me about Wladimir’s 61 victories and how great he is, but all I’m thinking about are his three defeats against opponents who can’t strike as hard as I can,” said Leapai in a statement.

The 37-year-old Klitschko, who comfortably defeated Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow in October, is 61-3 with 52 KOs.

“I am wary, but I will prepare myself as well as I can and I’m looking forward to a great challenge,” said Klitschko, who will turn 38 in March.

Klitschko’s older brother Vitali, the former WBC champion, has stepped back from boxing to concentrate on politics in their native Ukraine.

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